$40K-$50K

$40K-$50K

We’ve seen a lot BMW -badged safety cars recently, including the M4 Coupe DTM safety car and the BMW i8 that paces the newly founded Formula E series . Needless to say, Munich’s vehicles are quite common with racing events, but IMSA is among the very few sanctioning bodies that prefer other marques. For this year’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, IMSA opted for the 2015 Nissan 370Z Nismo . The coupe, as you may remember, received an extensive facelift in 2014.

Seeing the 370Z make its debut as a safety car in North America isn’t surprising at all. Nissan is an official partner of IMSA, the sanctioning body for both the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championships, and has fielded multiple race cars throughout the 2014 season. In addition, the Japanese automaker also provides powerplants to various independent companies. The Circuit of the Americas race, scheduled for September 19th, will also include Nissan racers. Two 370Z Nismos and a couple of Altima-based race cars will battle for victory in Texas.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Nissan 370Z Nismo.

Volvo turned a lot of heads in August 2014 when it revealed the new XC90 . Who knew the Swedish automaker — known more for safe, boxy cars — had the creative juices to develop a luxury SUV that has garnered a lot of praise. Not long after the debut of the XC90, Volvo followed that up with the debut of the XC90 R-Design.

The XC90 R-Design is an XC90 dressed up in a nice tuxedo. Ok, the bowtie might be a little too much but you get the point. It has a bagful of extra options for the SUV’s exterior, interior, and wheels. There are just the right amount of modifications to get noticed without going overboard.

The Volvo XC90 R-Design should begin production in May 2015 with deliveries to follow sometime in the latter part of the year.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Volvo XC90 R-Design.

It took BMW about a year to release the 2 Series Convertible to sit alongside the Coupe version , but now that the drop-top is here on official terms, Munich is rolling out all the goodies that come with each new model. This time around, the Germans started with the M Sport Package, a bundle that adds a touch of aggressiveness to the stylish cabriolet. It’s for those looking to get more than just a plain 2 Series Convertible in terms of looks, but can do just fine without the brawnier engines of the M235i or the M2 .

As you might have already guessed, the M Sport Package leaves the drop-top’s powertrain unaltered. The proven 2.0-liter, four-cylinder unit gets to keep its 240 ponies and 255 pound-feet of torque, which do an excellent job at pushing the 2 Series Convertible from 0 to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds with rear-wheel drive or 5.6 seconds with the available xDrive system.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW 2 Series Convertible with the M Sport Package.

The crisp, cold air caught me off guard when I stepped from the hotel into the staging area where Lexus had filed a handful of its newest creations into two lines, prepped for a drive through the lush countryside that envelopes New York’s Hudson Valley. The brisk air might not have been what this Floridian was used to in mid-September, but once behind the wheel of the 2015 Lexus RC F, things became familiar.

Though I’d not sat in Lexus’ two-door, rear-drive sports coupe a day in my life, the interior was an immediately recognizable place, harking back to my time in the 2014 IS 350 F-Sport. The controls fell in the same position, the infotainment screen showed the same Enform system, even the overall design looked like I’d accidentally sat in the wrong Lexus.

And that’s not a bad thing.

While there’s plenty of IS flavor in the new RC, there’s even more that’s unfamiliar. The beautifully stitched sports seats, the reworked gauge cluster, and the center console arrangement are all new, not to mention the 2+2 seating configuration.

Slipping the eight-speed automatic into gear, the faintly audible rumble of the RC F’s 5.0-liter V-8 mumbled at a lower tone. Our entourage of journalists was off to conquer a two-hour drive before arriving at our destination, Monticello Motor Club.

My recent drive around the Monticello Motor Club in the 2015 Lexus RC still has me pondering all the possibilities Lexus could throw at its new two-door coupe. TopSpeed has already reported Lexus’ hints at a four-door version of the car, but then the idea struck about a drop-top version. It makes perfect sense, so just follow along.

See, the RC’s chassis is a mishmash of sorts. It’s front clip, engine cradle, and suspension supports are borrowed from the GS sedan . The rear section is from the new IS sedan. But the middle section is pulled off the aging IS C, Lexus’ 2+2 hardtop convertible. Now with that stiff center section acting as the RC’s foundation, plus the serious bracing Lexus put in the chassis’ middle section, it seems completely possible for the RC to get a convertible version.

The idea becomes even more plausible when considering Lexus could replace the old IS C convertible with the RC Convertible. Development and engineering costs would be minimal as the majority of the work should already be done. Lexus’ customer base then gets a new hardtop convertible that could come available with the F Sport and track-ready F packages. That puts Lexus in line to compete with the BMW M4 Convertible and Audi RS 5 Cabriolet.

The RC Convertible would span all trim and powertrain levels, so expect the base RC 350 to get the topless treatment too — just as our rendering shows. Expect the RC Convertible to debut for the 2016 model year if the project gets the go-ahead.

Click past the jump to read more about the future Lexus RC.

Infiniti’s all set to debut the QX70S Design at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in October. But first, how about a few teaser photos to get us all started. That’s the approach the company’s taking with its newest special-edition model. Fortunately, details aren’t as limited as the photos, so at least we get a mental picture of what we can expect to see when the QX70S Design makes it entrance.

The first indication points to the prevalent use of dark chrome on the full-sized luxury crossover . Infiniti says that there’s plenty of the dark chrome finish on the QX70S Design, including the grille, fog light surrounds, side air scoops, side sills and rear numberplate surround. Meanwhile, the headlights now come in a smoked finish, which should give the front end a more stylish look.

There’s been no indication on any performance upgrades, and we don’t expect there to be any. Either way, the QX70 already has a brute of a 3.7-liter V-6 under its hood. It’s capable of producing 325 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque, which is good enough to accelerate the SUV to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds to go with a top speed of 155 mph.

Infiniti’s plans for the QX70S Design call for the special edition SUV to hit selected markets in Western Europe as soon as the car finishes up at the Paris Motor Show.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Infiniti QX70S Design.

The BMW 1 Series M has been regarded as one of the best pieces of performance machinery to come from the halls of BMW for decades, but sadly it was limited to a very short run of cars and it was only sold as a coupe . Now that BMW has moved its two-door models to the new naming scheme, it seems that we are at least getting a topless model that approaches the same fun and tossability as the 1M Coupe with the freshly announced 2015 M235i Convertible.

It shares many similarities with the new M235i Coupe , but with much more headroom and sunshine. It also marks the first convertible version of an M Performance model. With a turbocharged, straight-six engine, a six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive, it has all the proper bits to make for a truly memorable driving machine.

Like all machines that roll from the BMW factory, the M235i Convertible also promises to offer a sublime blend of handling ability and ride comfort. What else makes this machine different from a regular 2-Series ? Read on to find out.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW M235i Convertible.

This is the new Infiniti Q70, just announced at the New York Auto Show , and at first blush you may not peg it as a new or refreshed model. To be honest, not much has changed since it was still called the M Sedan . There have been some visual changes to distinguish the new 2015 model from the current 2014 version, but by and large this is the same swoopy and fluidic sedan Infiniti has been selling since 2010.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as I think the Q70 is one of the best looking cars in the class.

The big news for the 2015 car is the addition of new technology and the announcement of a long wheelbase Q70L, specifically created to cater to the booming Chinese markets. Thankfully for those of us who enjoy the idea of extra rear legroom, the Q70L will be coming to the U.S. and other important Infiniti markets. This isn’t a China exclusive like so many long wheelbase models tend to be these days.

Updated 09/02/2014: Infiniti announced prices for the 2015 Q70 set to be put on sale later in September. Prices will range from $49,850 for the Q70 3.7 version and up to $67,050 for the Q70L 5.6 AWD version. Details after the jump.

To find out about all the changes coming to the freshly announced 2015 Q70 and Q70L hit the jump.

The Volvo XC90 is one of the best-selling and most critically well-received models from the Swedish brand. Since its inception in 2002 the XC90 has been praised for its incredible build quality and its family-friendly design. Despite its many great features, very little has changed for the XC90 in the last 12 years, and the car is starting to show its age. The refresh in 2007 and the updates over the last few years have been merely stop gaps for this; the all-new second-generation Volvo XC90 . The SUV was just redesigned for the 2016 model year and the Swedes updated it in every department. Brand-new styling, a completely reworked interior and state-of-the art convenience and safety features are here to help the XC90 give its competitors a run for their money.

The platform is also all-new and brings a hybrid drivetrain with it. A first for the XC90, which enters a new era that focuses on fuel economy more than anything else. Gone are the 4.4-liter V-8 and the 3.2-liter inline-six. This SUV is now a four-cylinder exclusive machine. Don’t worry though, power is still up there and the amount of technology is greater than ever before.

So let’s jump right into it, shall we?

Updated 8/27/2014: Following a series of leaks, Volvo released the majority of the information on the 2016 XC90.

Continue reading to find out about the all-new Volvo XC90.

The Ram truck has been around since its nameplate was officially used on the 1981 Dodge pickup. Dodge trucks dating back to 1933 were known for their ram hood ornament, so the mascot went from decoration to the trucks’ name. Big news happened again in 2010 when the Fiat Chrysler Group moved the Ram lineup outside the Dodge umbrella, making the Ram its own brand. Now in its fourth generation, the Ram truck is breaking ground on uncharted territory. That uncharted ground includes innovations like dumping the traditional leaf-spring rear suspension design in favor of a smoother-riding, five-link with coil springs and introducing the industry’s first V-6 turbo-diesel in a half-ton package. The diesel aspect has garnered the Ram some notable attention from both the auto industry and the truck-buying public.

In fact, more than 8,000 EcoDiesel trucks were ordered by Ram dealers in the first weekend the books opened — a number than represents nearly half of the Ram 1500’s normal monthly production run. Since that February weekend in 2014, Ram EcoDiesel sales have exceeded the automaker’s expectations and have contributed to Ram’s overall sales increase over last year.

So what’s the big deal about a diesel, you ask? Well, I squeezed 33 miles per gallon out of my Ram 1500 EcoDiesel tester I recently had. Sure, that was with me babying the throttle down the highway, but by the week’s end, the dash still showed an average of over 24 mpg. That’s the big deal. Not to mention my tester was equipped to pull 9,200 pounds at the hitch and haul an impressive 1,620 pounds in the bed.

Skip on down fore the complete run-down of the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel


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