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Car News

Posted on by Christian Moe +  

Mini owners, pack your bags, get your car serviced and then get your butt to San Francisco; the Mini Takes the States road rally is back! This biennial event is the largest official Mini road rally covering 18 states, 15 cities and more than 5,000 miles. The trip will begin on Saturday July 26 in San Francisco California and will end two full weeks later on Sunday August 10 in Boston.

Along the way, you will get the chance to see much of our great country as the journey winds West into Colorado, then cuts south into Texas. From there you head towards Memphis, Tennessee and up to Chicago finishing with a northern detour to Buffalo, NY and finally arriving Boston. There are several more stops scattered through the middle as well.

While the cost for the trip will be what you make of it, Mini has thankfully made the entry and registration fees decidedly affordable at $45 per person with kids under 12 and all pets being freebies. If you decide that a 14-day cross-country vacation is not quite your cup of tea, Mini happily invites you to join for any portion of the festivities you prefer.

Whether you own a Cooper Hardtop , Clubman , Countryman or any other member of the Mini brand, join in and have fun.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mini Takes The States Event.

Ah, April 1st is upon us, and the tom foolery of April Fools day seems to have come to an end. We shared with you our own little April Fool with the "teasing" of the new Barracuda , which was obviously a dolled-up and re-badged Dodge Dart . A few of our colleagues seemed to enjoy our little joke, and we saw a bunch that we loved too.

We saw a Ford SVT Bronco, news that the GT-R Hybrid would debut at the 2014 NYIAS, a new BMW "technology," a sportbrake SRT Viper and many more. Some were great and others were pretty crappy. I may be wrong, but my opinion of a good April Fool is an unbelievable story that you can somehow believe. Things like a four-door Ferrari are overdone and completely obvious, but a story like the Ford SVT Bronco is just believable enough to get you going.

We have queried a few of the TopSpeed editors to find out which piece they enjoyed the most.

Click past the jump to see each of our favorites.

A new batch of spy shots of the 2015 Mercedes M-Class has found its way onto my desk, making these the fourth set of photos we’ve seen of the German SUV since the first batch arrived in early December.

Compared to what we’ve seen, these photos of the M-Class come with an even deeper camouflage with pretty much every body panel covered in the hypnotic camo. But from what we’ve seen in the past, our initial notion that both the front and rear sections of the M-Class are going to be updated looks to be spot on.

Since the current generation model was revealed in 2011 as a 2012 model, you can notice that the front end has a more elaborate grille setup with more accessible openings for the air to cool the engine. The main grille looks to have been split in half, possibly to create a unique space for the Silver Arrows logo. The headlights also appear to be more rectangular in design compared to the swept back almond look of its predecessor.

As for the rear, it’s hard to make out any distinctive changes, given that the rear lights don’t look like they’ve been changed. But a particularly interesting tweak are the twin-tailpipes that are now on the front passenger side of the SUV.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Mercedes-Benz ML-Class.


Oh there are some really, really savvy spy photographers out and about these days and this time they caught the mother of all shots. The Barracuda has been an on-and-off venture for Chrysler for some time now, but we now have proof — via these exclusive spy shots — that it will debut this year at the New York International Auto Show in April. What’s more, it’s nothing like any of us imagined it would be...

We so happen to have a little "birdie" that works in the printing department at a large monthly automotive publication, and he noticed that the "boss man" was making sure only a select few saw the inside of this magazine. When he happened across a stray copy, he was as shocked as we are to see that the Barracuda will return not as a muscle car , but as a rebadged Dodge Dart .... sigh.... Our dreams are now crushed.

He managed to whip out his cell and snap off a few quick pictures, and this was the clearest one he could get, as he worried his boss could come around the corner at any second. We cleaned it up a bit by changing it to black and white, as the colors were a little messy from the poor lighting.

According to our source, the Barracuda features the same Fiat Compact platform as the Dart and Chrysler 200, but with some extra performance goodies. On top of the images, he scanned the page for as much information as he could absorb, and managed to catch that it will feature turbocharged four-cylinder with somewhere in the 250-horsepower and 260-pound-feet range, and that it will debut in New York this year. Unfortunately, that is all the information he could grab in the short amount of time he had alone with the stray mag.

Though the image is blurry, he described it as "a Dodge Dart with SRT aero mods and rims, and a dark grille." He couldn’t tell if it was an SRT model or a Plymouth , but the chances of Chrysler bringing back Plymouth for just this one model are slim to none.

So there you have it folks; Fiat has struck again by releasing another Chrysler icon from the muscle car years as a front-driven sedan, a la the Dodge Dart. We’ll go bury our heads in the sand until the NYIAS is over...

Update 4/1/2014: In case you haven’t figured it out just yet, this is a figment of our crazy imaginations here at the TopSpeed offices. Our rendering artist extraordinaire put a modified Dodge Dart on the pages of some random magazine, blurred the text a little and pasted in a Barracuda emblem and even a swimming barracuda in the background for the added "cheesy" effect. Thanks for playing along, we’ll be here all night; make sure to tip you waiters and waitresses...

You’re not seeing double – This is the second camo-covered 2015 Porsche 911 we’ve brought you today, though this one is the 911 Carrera S Cabriolet, instead of the 2016 911 Turbo . What this 911 does have is a reworked, more aggressive front fascia with more angular air inlets under the headlights. The turn signals appear to have the same design as the upcoming 911 Turbo S we caught testing, yet still similar to the current 911. And though it’s hard to tell from these new pictures, the previous set of spy shots show three bars lying horizontally across the inlets. Also very apparent on this test mule is the radar-based cruise control mounted in the center grille.

Out back, things look very similar to the 2015 911 Cabriolet we caught testing in January. Quad exhaust pipes protrude from the lower fascia, while what appears to be camouflage covers up the rear air extractors just aft of the rear wheels. The taillights are covered in the same transparent covering with the oval shapes to throw off any signs of reworked shapes underneath. Lastly, the engine bay louvers are hidden behind the same black metal mesh, protecting their appearance for a latter date.

Unlike in January, this test mule has its top down. The ragtop material is hidden nicely within the rear deck lid. Giving away its Carrera S status are the grey, 10-spoke, aluminum-faced wheels and round exhaust tips — providing Porsche keeps the same combinations currently found on the 2014 911.

It’s doubtful Porsche will change too much with the 911 Carrera S’ 3.8-liter powertrain. Naturally aspirated and making 400 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque, the current 911 Carrera S scoots to 62 mph in just 4.3 seconds. The possibility always exists for Porsche to increase the 3.8-liter’s outputs, however.

Click past the jump to read more about the facelift Porsche 911.

Posted on by Ciprian Florea +  

A little more than a year has passed since McLaren unveiled the P1 supercar , and the Woking-based manufacturer is already busy rolling out a brand new sports car. We’re obviously referring to the 2015 650S, a vehicle that gathered so many orders the past few weeks it prompted McLaren to halt production of the 12C.

With the 650S in production and its Spider sibling revealed at the Geneva Motor Show last month, the British are already looking toward adding a new model to their new family of V-8-powered supercars . What are they preparing now, you may ask? Well, a recent report claims the Brits are readying a track-tuned version of the 650S.

That’s the word from McLaren chief development driver Chris Goodwin, who says the newly-launched 650S "is not as far as we’re going to go." "There’s plenty more we can do," he added, hinting that the yet unnamed track-prepped 650S will be aimed at the 12 percent of McLaren customers that hoon their cars on race courses.

There are no actual details for us to chew on right now, but Auto Express suggests that the upcoming sports car is likely to cost £25,000 more than the regular 650S, which translates into a premium of nearly $42,000 at the current exchange rates.

Click past the jump to read more about the McLaren 650S.

Source: AutoExpress

This isn’t an April fools joke, but Porsche already seems focused on the next iteration of the 911 Cabriolet, despite the refreshed version just hitting the market for 2014. What you see here is a 911 Turbo S Cabriolet dressed in very light camo as it rolls down a sleepy European road. And because the new car smell has yet dispersed from the 2014 911, we’d expect Porsche to hold off until 2016 for another refresh, at the earliest.

The noticeable changes include reshaped turn signals up front, new rear heat extractor just aft of the rear tires, reworked taillights, and possibly revised styling on the louvered rear deck lid as evidenced by the metal grates covering them.

Those front turn signals look quite similar to the one found on the 911 we spotted cold-weather testing earlier this year . The shape is just different enough from the current model to be new, yet it still holds that iconic 911 look. Around back seems to be the most heavily modified. It’s hard to tell from these shots, but it appears the heat extractor just behind the rear wheels have been reworked. Instead of the large grille of the current model, these seem to just be slats in the bumper. However, the slats could just be a clever camouflage of the vents underneath.

The taillights look revised as well. Just like the front turn signals, they are covered in a transparent film with oval shapes to break up any discernible pattern underneath. The way the taillights meet the bumper may also be revised since it’s covered in tape. Lastly, metal grates camouflage the louvers over the engine bay. It appears the louvers have been turned to face outward rather than rearward as before.

Click past the jump for more info on the spied 2016 Porsche 911 Turbo S Cabriolet

Posted on by Christian Moe +  

If you happen to be a fan of our fancy new TopSpeed.com Podcast, you may have noticed that all three of us fancy the Porsche Cayman S and the Alfa Romeo 4C quite a lot. They are both mid-engined cars that are trying to put the enjoyment of driving back into a world that is full of hybrids and a push for self-driving technology.

But which of these two cars is the better choice? Unfortunately nobody on our team has yet had the chance to sample both cars back-to-back, so we will have to settle on the advice from another outlet; enter Chris Harris.

Chris Harris was absolutely in love with the Alfa 4C when he drove it last year in Italy, and he also firmly believes that the Cayman S is possibly the best sports car in the world. In this video we get to ride along as he tries to figure out which one he would rather take home.

Does the perfection of execution in the Porsche win out in the end, or does the Alfa charm its way into the winners circle with an a experience that is more raw and pure? Click play to find out.


How is it possible that Dodge’s flagship model, that being the 640-horsepower SRT Viper , may not even be the most powerful model in the entire lineup? For Chrysler , the answer might very well be tied up to what it does with its new "Hellcat" supercharged V-8 engine, specifically if it uses it to power the next-generation Dodge Challenger.

Should that be the case, it could prove prophetic to what SRT boss Ralph Giles told Hot Rod magazine. In the April issue of the mag, Giles talked about an "internal horsepower race" brewing within Dodge, one that could determine whether the Viper maintains its post as the brand’s flagship, or if it gets undermined by the next-gen Challenger .

It’s an interesting pickle to be in the middle of, especially if the Hellcat engine is everything it’s been hyped up to be. The company has made no bones about its plans for the Hellcat, with a recent leak of what could very well be an official Hellcat logo having made the Internet recently.

Every indication seems to point to the arrival of the SRT Challenger Hellcat within the year, and the word out is that it will come in a 6.2-liter, supercharged package, producing close to 700 horsepower, more than what the SRT Viper and its 640 ponies is capable of producing.

If that doesn’t smash eggs in the face of the Viper, then the potential demand for the SRT Challenger Hellcat would. With the Viper struggling to get its sales going , the last thing it needs is a competitor from within its ranks.

Note: Current Dodge Challenger pictured here.

Click past the jump to read more about the Dodge Challenger.

To say Tesla is the world’s leading automotive start-up of the last 90 years would be a gross understatement. The company has done extremely well for itself, considering its mere 10-year existence and two-model lineup. Now solely producing its second product — the Model S — Tesla is on the forefront of all-electric car design and manufacturing. The Silicon Valley company can pin the majority of its success on the shoulders of its founder and CEO, Elon Musk.

CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley recently sat down with Musk for an interview about Tesla. “Well, I didn’t really think Tesla would be successful,” Musk answered regarding how he could start a car company and be successful at it. “I thought we would most likely fail. But I thought that we at least could address the false perception that people have that an electric car had to be ugly and slow and boring like a golf cart.” That sort of tenacity seems to be a driving force behind Musk’s inability to think small. “If something’s important enough you should try. Even if you [think] the probable outcome is failure.”

The Model S has shown an electric car can be successful inside the U.S. It’s so successful, in fact, Tesla is having a hard time keeping up with demand, turning out 600 cars each week, despite a few fiery setbacks. Musk is even planning a $5 billion factory to be built within the U.S. for constructing enormous amounts of lithium-ion batteries. With the eventual lowered cost of battery production, Tesla’s next major goal is producing an all-electric car costing roughly $35,000, making the company and its technology open to a far greater number of consumers.

Click past the jump for more info on Elon Musk’s other projects


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