Car News

Imagine if Ferrari made you a custom wallet that was as futuristic and modern as the LaFerrari supercar . There is a good chance that it may look like the Billetus. The Billetus is a minimalist wallet form the mind of Dennis Kaping that uses modern exotic materials like carbon fiber, aluminum, and titanium to create a unique and bold minimalist wallet that has lots of visual substance with very little weight.

The wallet comes in two flavors. The first is the solid-aluminum Billetus Minimus that holds five cards and five folded bills, while the larger Billetus Maximus adds carbon fiber and titanium to the build sheet and will hold seven to eight cards comfortably as well as five bills. What makes the Billetus wallet unique from other minimalist wallets is its rigid structure and compact dimensions. The stiff shell structure means that it will hold its shape permanently, and it won’t swell with every item you place in it. It also has notably smaller than other designs of this nature. At 9.5 mm (0.37 inches) thick for the larger Billetus Maximus, it is only slightly thicker than a modern smartphone like the Samsung Glalaxy S5 or the iPhone 5c.

If this wallet sounds like something you would be interested in buying, it needs your help to make it to the market. The project is currently on Kickstarter, and it is $4,000 away from its goal. There are 35 days left before the funding period ends, so there is plenty of time for you to get your pledge in. Pledges range from just $5 all the way up to $575. The smallest donation to secure yourself a Billetus Minimus is $45, and you can get a Maximus for a pledge of $105.

Click past the jump to read more about Billetus.

Source: kickstarter

Audi looks to be putting the finishing touches on is upcoming 2015 RS 3 Sportback as this test mule runs ‘round the Ring. Spotted thanks to its larger, more aggressive front lower fascia, lowered suspension, and the aggressive note spewing from the four oval exhaust tips, this Audi means business.

Under the hood, we expect the Audi to have a turbocharged, 2.5-liter, inline five-cylinder engine and Quattro all-wheel drive. This updated version of the same I-5 mill found in the previous RS 3 will likely find a home in the new TT RS as well. Rumors suggest the engine could produce more than 360 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque. Backing the five-banger would likely be the seven-speed, S-tronic dual-clutch found elsewhere in the Audi lineup.

What’s more important is the U.S. has an actual shot at getting the RS 3 Sportback on its shores. If you’ll recall, Audi set a goal back in 2011 of doubling sales of its sporty RS-branded cars in the United States by 2015. Well, the time has come, and the RS 3 Sportback is a likely candidate. The likelihood increases further considering Audi needs a competitor to the Mercedes CLA45 AMG and BMW M2 .

We expect to see the 2015 Audi RS 3 Sportback officially unveiled at the 2014 Paris Motor Show . If not, expect it at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show . Until then, enjoy this spy video of Audi’s meanest hot hatch tearing up the Nürburgring .

If you missed this week’s episode of the TopSpeed Podcast , you might not be aware that I am currently reviewing the new Forza Horizon 2 game. I am not allowed to tell you much about it now, but if you want to get an idea of what the game is about, you can take a look at this video. This is the opening cutscene that takes place as soon as you turn the game on for the first time.

This video sets up the whole premise of the game. Forza isn’t a game about racing; it’s a game about the culture of the car. It celebrates the fun, the excitement, the friendship and the freedom that all comes with owning a car. It looks and feels a lot like my experience in the Gumball 3000 .

The video is a live-action piece, so don’t get too excited about how realistic it looks at first. I think the video is incredibly well-done and sets an excellent tone for the game as a whole. If you are interested in the game, you can buy it starting September 30th for both the Xbox One and the Xbox 360 . If you want a bit more information about the game, my review will go live Thursday September 25th.

While you wait for the review and the game to come out, why don’t you watch some of the other trailers and look over the official car list for the game.

The term "sleeper car" goes back to the 1950s, when American manufacturers started building high output cars that would eventually spawn into muscle cars a decade later. Tracking the first sleeper is a daunting task, but most stories lead to the 1955 Chrysler C-300, a two-door, luxury coupe motivated by a 5.4-liter V-8 engine rated at 300 horsepower. It was the first production passenger car to come with 300 ponies on tap and a design that had nothing to say about that. The "all go and no show" car was born, a trend that would continue with vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9, the Lotus Carlton or the Audi RS2 Avant.

Sleepers are still among us in 2014. Looking for a very fast car that doesn’t scream "I’m fast as a bullet!"? There are plenty of options to choose from that cover various segments. Sedans , wagons, SUVs , you name it. Be careful though, you might miss them due to their bland styling. Make sure you have a look under the hood and check that spec sheet.

Meanwhile, I put together a list of Top 5 Sleeper Cars available today. It includes a few American-built vehicles, and a couple more coming from cold, snowy Sweden and rugby-loving Australia. Check them out past the jump and tell me your thoughts in the comments section. Did I miss anything? Is there a vehicle that shouldn’t be on this list?

Click past the just to read more about the best sleeper cars on the market.

With all the influx happening within Ferrari these days, you can at least count on one thing happening moving forward; the Italian automaker will continue to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2021. In order to accomplish that, Ferrari powertrain director Vittorio Dini told Automotive News that the company will continue down the path of using turbochargers on its V-8 engines and combining hybrid systems with its V-12 engines.

Ferrari already has two cars using a variation of each engine system. The California T already features a turbocharged V-8, becoming the first production turbocharged Ferrari since the iconic F40. On the flip-side, the LaFerrari became the first Ferrari to use a hybrid system, which was combined with a 6.3-liter V-12 to produce a combined 963 horsepower.

Moving forward, Dini told Automotive News that all V-8-powered Ferraris will use turbochargers, including the next iterations of the 458 Italia and the 458 Spider, which are scheduled to arrive in 2015 and 2016, respectively. The challenge with these turbocharged V-8 engines would be to decrease their displacements while increasing their output numbers.

A similar re-engineering is also expected to happen to the Ferrari FF and F12berlinetta , two models that currently use V-12 engines. Dini stopped short of officially confirming plans to use hybrid technology on both models, but don’t be surprised if the next FF arrives in 2016 with a hybrid system of its own. Same with the next F12berlinetta, which Ferrari may release in 2017 with modified version of the hybrid system.

Click past the jump to read more about Ferrari’s future engines.

It appears the idea of BMW building a drop-top version of its popular i8 has been completely nixed. The word comes straight from a BMW representative when questioned by the Europe-based website, InAutoNews.

“There are no plans to produce the BMW i8 Spyder,” says the BMW rep.

Such a definitive and short answer is hard to question, but we still do. Perhaps BMW is saving a spyder version for the rumored i9 , the hyped-up version of the i8 rumored to have a twin-turbo, 3.0-liter I-6 pulled from the M4 . With such a potent gasoline powerplant combined with the electric motors from the i8, the i9 could potentially be BMW’s hottest performer.

Still, if BMW does launch the i9, we can expect it to arrive in coupe form first and then followed by a spyder version later. In short, don’t hold your breath.

The BMW representative then spoke on possible iterations of the BMW 7 Series , after future prodding from InAutoNews. Rumors suggest BMW would follow Mercedes’ lead in offering multiple versions of its luxurious 7 Series. The BMW rep again answered, “…there are no plans to produce any derivatives of the 7 Series outside of standard and long-wheelbase.” Kiss a 7 Series coupe and convertible goodbye.

While reports confirm BMW is building a larger flagship SUV slotted above the X5 , dubbed the X7, rumors had suggested the 7 Series would be the base for the X7. Again the BMW rep shot the theory to the ground. “The BMW X7 will be produced in the future, but that is a different proposition and is not based on the 7 Series.” Well then.

Regardless of its platform, the X7 will be a direct competitor to the Mercedes GL-Class and the new Range Rover . Expect the X7 to hit European showrooms by 2017 or 2018.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW i8.

Source: inautonews

Well, that was our show. As always, a big thanks goes out to anyone who watched live. We appreciate you chatting with us. We sadly had to have the show without Justin today, however. Google was not cooperating with us, and he couldn’t log onto the call.

After sorting through the technical problems and deciding to leave our man behind, Mark and I jumped straight into Weekly Wheels. I spent some time discussing the surprisingly good Lexus GS450h , and Mark was driving around in the three-row QX60 from Infiniti. Justin will just have to tell us about the ILX next week.

News was a rather full segment with lots of interesting pieces. We talked about the $100 Lego Mini Cooper, an Audi SUV based on the TT sports car, some Australian Miata specs and a bit about aftermarket parts from Hennessey. We also spend some time talking about how good the Challenger Hellcat is, how good the 2015 Mustang isn’t, and we also delve into the mess that is Ferrari right now. Oh, we also mention the multi-million dollar, 60th anniversary, special-edition Ferrari that is coming soon.

Our Questions and Answers portion this week is one of the best we have had in a while. We spend some time talking about what is next for Ferrari’s departing chairman Luca di Montezemolo, take a look at what we would name our cars if we owned a car company and then we talk about the best cars to take on epic cross-country road trips.

There may also be a mention of Forza Horizon 2 in there somewhere.

We wrap things up with a quick Own, Drive, Burn that sees us choosing between three of the original ultimate sports cars from Jaguar , Aston Martin and Mercedes-Benz.

Make sure that you leave us a bunch of comments, questions and Own, Drive, Burn suggestions for the next show. Have a safe weekend and we will see you all next week.

If you find yourself on a California expressway, you may just be next to a self-driving Audi . That’s right; Audi snagged California’s first permit that allows autonomous driving for automakers developing the technology . The news comes after years of negotiations between several automakers and the State of California to allow more extensive testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads.

The news is especially important for Audi, as its Electronics Research Laboratory is in Belmont, California. Now the German automaker can stick closer to its Belmont base camp rather than testing in Nevada, a state that has previously welcomed driverless cars.

While this milestone marks a first for California, it isn’t Audi’s first autonomous rodeo. The automaker has logged tens of thousands of autonomous driving across Europe.

“Driverless vehicle technology has the potential to revolutionize driving, reduce traffic accidents and save lives,” says California Senator Alex Padilla. “I applaud the efforts of Audi of America and others whose commitment is making this technology a reality.”

Audi and future autonomous-testing automakers will have to show proof of insurance or surety bonds before being awarded a permit for testing — a slight formality for automotive giants sinking big bucks into driverless research and development.

Audi’s automated Piloted driving system is geared toward freeway traffic conditions, eliminating the need for a human to control the vehicle through crowded, mostly straight-line, stop-and-go traffic situations. Current internal forecasts have Audi introducing driverless systems to the public within a five-year timeframe.

Click past the jump to read more about Audi’s self-driving technology .

The Toyota FT-1 "Vision GT" is headed to the virtual world of Gran Turismo 6. It’s only appropriate considering that the concept was created specifically for the purpose of celebrating Gran Turismo’s 15th anniversary. Still, it’s pretty cool that we now have a chance to drive the FT-1 Vision GT, albeit as a video game car.

The high-powered concept is already available for download so you can expect Gran Turismo 6 fans to stumble amongst themselves to get the vehicle into their garages as quick as possible. Yes, I speak from experience, although my slow Internet connection turned the whole download experience into an exercise in patience.

Still, seeing the FT-1 Vision GT Concept and controlling it was a real treat, even for a discerning and admittedly high-brow GT6 player like me. It’s also a nice followup to the earlier FT-1 Concept that became downloadable in the game back in January 2014.

Now that there are two of these concepts available on Gran Turismo 6, I can’t imagine fans of Toyota playing with any other car than this one. Again, I say all of this through experience and calloused fingers.

Click past the jump to read more about the Toyota FT-1 "Vision GT."

“The king of today’s muscle cars .” That’s what Carlos Lago says about the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat in MotorTrend’s latest episode of Ignition. The crowning comes after much flogging, something the Hellcat is surely used to by now.

A trip to the dyno revealed the Challenger’s supercharged, 6.2-liter, V-8 HEMI puts down 671 horsepower at the rear wheels — well within the expected range for parasitic driveline loss. Torque was equally impressive, putting down 606 pound-feet at the wheels.

Of course raw numbers don’t tell the whole story. For that, a trip down a desert road is needed. The Hellcat makes a surprising boulevard cruiser, just like its less-powerful Challenger stablemates. Lago notes the redesigned interior and Uconnect infotainment system make long drives a pleasant experience.

What’s more, the Hellcat’s hellacious 707 horses are well integrated into the car. It doesn’t overwhelm the car at slow speed when just cruising around town, implies Lago. “The car is inching towards being a GT car,” he says.

Handling the abuse the track and drag strip dish out is a big aspect of the Hellcat’s personality. That’s why it’s got some serious intercoolers knocking engine temperatures down. Massive Brembo brakes with six-piston calipers up front and four-piston calipers out back help bring things to a stop.

No matter what you think about the Challenger Hellcat, you’ve got to admit it exudes more presence and intimidation than just about anything on the roads today.


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