A convertible is a car body style with a folding or retracting roof. The collapsible roof section is typically made from flexible canvas or vinyl, although plastic, aluminium and steel have occasionally been used in elaborate folding designs.

Hyundai Genesis

Just over 10 years ago, Hyundai was still pretty much the black sheep of the automotive industry. Despite the fact that the Hyundai Excel of the 1980s won several awards, Hyundai Hyundai ’s quality was still considered low and very few took them seriously. In the past 10 years, Hyundai has managed to dig itself out of the grave that it placed itself in and is now a legitimate competitor to import giants like Honda , Toyota , and Nissan .

Regardless of the brand’s recent resurgence, no one would ever suspect that the words “BMW” and “Hyundai” would ever be used in the same sentence, except in the case of someone saying “I can’t afford a BMW, but this Hyundai will do.” Well, that was until just now…

There are rumors being passed around the automotive world that Hyundai and BMW have been seen courting one another rather intensely, as reports indicate that Chung Euisun, the son of Hyundai’s chairman, and BMW brass were discussing sharing engine development costs.

These types of development sharing partnerships are not uncommon. Currently, we have Audi sharing its cost with VW , Toyota and Subaru joined up for the BRZ/GT 86/FR-S project, and in the past we have seen Ford and Mazda joining forces. However, those collaborations are all pretty much linear, as they are all on the same level with each other. With exception to the top-level Genesis sedan and Equus , Hyundai couldn’t be much more non-linear with BMW. In fact, Hyundai is pretty much the anti-BMW .

In reality though, Hyundai does build quality engines now and they still remain significantly cheaper than BMWs. With CAFE regulations becoming more of a reality every day, BMW needs to find a way to increase its vehicles’ fuel mileage without sharply increasing cost. Sharing some developmental cost with a company that produces quality and economically friendly engines just might do the trick.

As expected, both companies have adamantly denied any discussions of collaborating, but that means nothing in this day and age. Nearly every car company denies everything until they decide to officially release it.

We’ll keep you updated on this situation as more info comes out.

Image is of the 3.8-liter Lambda engine with direct injection (GDI) technology found in the 2012 Hyundai Genesis .

Source: Paul Tan

The one-off Lamborghini Aventador J Speedster will find its lucky owner very soon. But for the rest of the world’s population that will never get to own a supercar as unique as this one, UK design house Prindiville Design has released a rendering of what they would do to the Aventador J Speedster if it was given an aftermarket conversion of sorts.

According to Prindiville, the work on the Aventador J Speedster begins with replacing the car’s original panels with something along the lines of carbon fiber. From there, the UK tuner would add a host of interior features, including dressing up the cabin in black leather and Alcantara while also adding a five-inch LCD TV screen, a DVD player, satellite navigation, and bespoke software featuring maps, setups, and telemetry.

Prindiville would also take in the task of upgrading the Aventador J’s braking system with new ceramic discs and an adjustable suspension. Finally, the UK tuner would give the Italian supercar a little electric tweaking, taking the car’s 6.5-liter V12 engine and increasing its output from the standard 700 horsepower all the way up to 805 horsepower, allowing the car to hit 0-62 mph in just 2.5 seconds with a top speed of 220 mph.

Of course, all of this is only theoretical because unless the owner decides to send the Avetador J Speedster, we’ll never get to see it actually happen.

Nevertheless, Prindiville founder Alex Prindiville still knows that his company can do with the one-of supercar.

“Although this model was created as a one off-example, the design which we have created showcases the beauty and technology which we are able to offer clients across ourcustom-built supercar model range including the Aventador ," he said.

The original AC Shelby Cobra debuted back in 1961 in a joint venture between AC, a company owned by famed racecar driver Carroll Shelby Shelby , and Ford. An interesting fact is that had it not been for Chevy trying to protect its sacred Corvette model, the AC Shelby Cobra would have ended up being a Chevy -powered machine. As it ended up, Chevy turned down AC, and Ford stepped in to help power the Cobra.

The AC Shelby Cobra was a short-lived project that lasted only three generations between 1961 and 1967. AC managed to hang on for another 17 years before closing up shop in 1984. During the fire sale that took place following AC’s closing, Autokraft snatched up all of the toolings and spare parts of the failed company, which allowed it to become a parts reseller and replica car builder.

Autokraft’s replicas were so awesome and respectful to the history of the AC Cobra that the Hurlock family, the family that purchased the AC name, sold off its closely guarded rights to the name to Autokraft in 1986. This sale officially made all Autokraft Cobras the real deal, and not just the replicas of the past.

Staying true to the sequence of the original AC Shelby Cobras, Autokraft dubbed this model the AC Cobra MkIV – the prior three Cobras were dubbed MkI, MkII, and MkIII. Despite the fact that the MkIV Cobra was produced for a decade, only 480 models ever made it to the street, making this sometimes called “kit car” just about as rare as the original Shelby version.

With how rare these cars are, it is typically a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to snag one up. Well, RM Auctions is making this a possibility at its Dingman Collection auction on June 9th through June 10th, 2012 in Hampton, New Hampshire.

So how does this replica car company turned legit Cobra builder stack up today?

Click past the jump to read our full review.

Source: RM Auctions

In 1968, Ferrari saw it fit to replace the four-year-old 275 GTB/4 . Its replacement was codenamed the “Daytona” in honor of Ferrari’s 24 Hours of Daytona win, but Ferrari had no plans to use this name for the production model, despite the outcry from enthusiasts.

In 1968, the GTB/4 was introduced and Ferrari enthusiasts took it upon themselves to dub it the Daytona. The nickname was so popular that the GTB/4 became almost more noticeable under its nickname than its given name. In the same model year, a rare convertible model was released based on the same GTB/4 chassis.

Ferrari did not stray too awfully far for the name of this convertible model, as they simply dropped the “B” in “GTB” and replaced it with an “S,” which stands for Spyder, creating the GTS/4. There were several models of the GTS/4, including: European-spec RHD, US-spec LHD and European-spec LHD. The latter of the group is the rarest, as only 18 of the 122 Daytona Spyders built were Euro-spec LHD.

If owning one of these masterpieces is something you would like to do, but never thought you could get your hands on one, RM Auctions has solved that part of the equation. On May 12, 2012 in Monaco, RM Auctions will be auctioning off a 1971 version of the Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder. This means you can not only own one of the rarest Ferraris, but also the especially rare LHD Euro-spec model!

Click past the jump to read our full review on this legendary machine.

Last year a British bespoke tuning company called Imperium has unveiled a very cool tuning package called Audentia based on the Bentley Continental GT . Now the tuner repeats the history, but this time the Audentia package is based on the Bentley Continental GTC . Just like with its coupe sibling, the new Audentia GTC will be built in a limited edition and is now available to order directly only through UK based Imperium.

The Audentia GTC package will be distinguished by a new front bumper with grille, air vents and visually lowering sport side skirts. For the rear the tuner added a custom rear apron with a new subtle boot lip spoiler, rear diffuser and newly designed sports exhaust tips. All the elements will be built in the finest ultra light prepreg autoclave carbon fiber.

Imperium did not revealed the prices for the new tuning kit, but we believe it will be similar to the coupe version: £25,000, which is around $39,400 based on current exchange rates.

Every year, you can always count on MINI to be a presence at the Life Ball charity gala. As a matter of fact, the German automaker is more than just a presence there; they bring with them a specially designed MINI vehicle that will be auctioned off at the event with the proceeds going to projects that battle HIV and AIDS.

2012 is the 12th straight year MINI will be part of the occasion. Each year, the German automaker brings a specially designed MINI vehicle that has been designed by a plethora of the fashion world’s pre-eminent designers, including D’Squared ,Diane von Furstenberg, Kenneth Cole, Francisco Costa of the Calvin Klein collection , and the Blondes .

This year, the mantle has been passed to Franca Sozzani, the chief editor of Italian Vogue and UN Goodwill Ambassador for Fashion 4 Development. Sozzani was tasked to design a MINI Roadster and she went about with the design and development of the one-off Roadster, saying that the inspiration comes from a "beautiful woman who put a scarf on her head when she drives a Roadster."

UPDATE 05/21/2012: Franca Sozzani has unveiled its specially designed Mini Roadster at the 20th Life Ball in Vienna. The car comes painted in Deepest Purple matte paintwork combined with a gold hallmark MINI rally stripes, gold wheels and wing mirrors, and a stylishly intricate floral design on the car’s roof. The car was sold for an impressive 54,000 euro ($68,800 at the current exchange rates). Check out the picture gallery for a pretty impressive set of images from the car’s official launch.

Posted on by Brad Anderson 2
McLaren MP4-12C

McLaren has been facing some massive changes in the past few years with the MP4-12C re-energizing the British automaker after in excess of a decade with no new cars rolling into showrooms. Furthermore, McLaren has been furiously expanding its dealership network across the globe during this time, with one dealership even recently opening in Australia.

However, it’s the U.S. which seems to be the most profitable market for McLaren with MotorTrend reporting that 40 percent of the 1000 MP4-12C’s currently ordered are heading to America and for those who don’t find mathematics their forte, that equates to 400 units. So it goes without saying that the MP4-12C is extremely appealing across the U.S.

On one hand this is a huge shock, as the U.S. is already up there as one of Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s biggest markets, but on the other hand it shows that McLaren’s efforts to open up a network of dealers in the U.S. has paid off.

It’s currently unclear if any private U.S. customers have had their MP4-12C’s delivered, after McLaren ‘recalled’ them due to various complaints from road-testers. Either way, McLaren sales in the U.S. are sighted to rise even higher in the coming years with the F1 successor currently being developed, while various variants of the MP4-12C will also be produced, possibly even an MP4-12C Shooting Brake .

Source: Motor Trend
Posted on by Brad Anderson 2
Lotus Esprit

With Lotus having to cease production completely for the past 60 days as a result of its sale from Proton Proton and acquisition by DRB-Hicom, production has finally resumed. Fingers crossed; this could be the start of a much needed recovery for the ailing brand.

Even though we knew production would resume eventually, we are very surprised that it’s happened so soon, especially after reports surfaced just days ago that DRB-Hicom was already looking for a Chinese buyer to take Lotus off their hands.

Up to this point, Lotus has more than $316 million in debts and in order for these debts to be overcome, Lotus has to decrease production costs significantly and increase output. If these two strategies cannot be met, then we can’t see how Lotus can be a viable business in the future.

Autocar is reporting that production will restart at the beginning of May, when Lotus hopes to pump out no less than 44 cars weekly with the Elise , Exige , and Evora all being produced yet again. The most exciting news to come out of this revelation however, is that development of the upcoming Esprit supercar should resume including development of the brand new V-8 engine it’ll feature. This new V8 is being developed completely in-house and will deliver between 550 - 570 HP.

Finally, Dany Bahar confirmed that DRB-Hicon is not actually looking to sell the flailing brand off to the Chinese stating, “It’s just not true,” he says. “There is no fire sale, no selling process and no bidding. If there were, lots of strange people would be here doing inspections and due diligence, but there is nobody. Besides, I have no authority to sell the company. That’s a job for the shareholders. I am just an employee.”

Source: Autocar
Posted on by Brad Anderson

The market for track-only race cars available to all members of the public has grown substantially over the past few years, so much so that various manufacturers are now building cars specifically for track-days. At the upper end of the market, we have the Pagani Zonda R and the Ferrari 599XX , but there are more affordable alternatives available for U.S. buyers, and the Caterham SP/300.R is the latest. Dyson Racing recently received its first unit, before Caterham ships more 300’s across the pond.

Dyson Racing will be the sole distributor of the SP/300.R in the U.S. market, and this latest delivery will surely prompt Caterham to sell more in the U.S. If, of course, there are enough prospecting customers out there. As a matter of fact, Dyson Racing received chassis #1 and plans on using the vehicle for demonstration purposes to convince wannabe-racers to splurge around $95,000 for the car.

It’s worth keeping in mind that the SP/300.R isn’t road-legal in any state, so if you live in the middle of nowhere with no race tracks in sight, then this incredible track-car obviously isn’t for you. Fortunately however, all citizens will be able to enjoy the following two videos which Caterham recently released in conjunction with Dyson Racing taking delivery of the first SP/300.R.

Enjoy the second video after the jump!

Source: Caterham

Rastatt, Germany is, by most accounts, a place you wouldn’t be able to point on a map even if you’re life depended on it, but that doesn’t mean the town is a mere afterthought. On the contrary, it’s the home of German tuner ATT-TEC, a tuning company that specializes in wicked programs for BMWs .

Their latest project is for the BMW M3 E93 Convertible . Comprised of a complete aerodynamic and performance upgrade, ATT-TEC went to great lengths to give the M3 some serious looking edge. Aesthetically, the tuner gave the sports car a matte black wrapping foil to go with new carbon fiber components, particularly on the hood, the grille, mirrors, and side gills. Then, they fitted the M3 with a new set of 20" one-piece forged ADV.1 rims wrapped in 245/30R20 (front) and 295/20R20 (rear) Vredestein Ultrac Sessanta tires. Finally, ATT-TEC gave the car a KW Variant 3 inox-line coilover kit, which is adjustable for ride height, rebound, and damping.

Moving on to the engine, ATT-TEC fitted an SK I “Sporty Drive” supercharger system from G-Power to the M3’s 4.0-liter V8 engine, before reprogramming its ECU unit and adding a new stainless steel exhaust. The result of all the engine tweaking is a car that now carries an output of 520 horsepower, a 100-horsepower increase from the stock model’s 420-horsepower output.

As far as prices go, the aesthetic modifications cost €2,600 ($3,400) while the complete wheel-and-tire set hits €7,150 ($9,400) with the coil over kit costing €1,929 ($2,500). From there, the supercharger system will cost you €12,740 ($16,800) with the stainless steel exhaust setting you back another €1,595 ($2,100). Basically, customers are going to have to REALLY want to upgrade their M3 to dish out all of this cash.

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