convertible

convertible

  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.

***We will start this party at approximately 0945 US EASTERN TIME***

Ladies and Gentleman, you are invited to join us for a special early-week TopSpeed Podcast . The best part? It is totally live. Feel free to click the play button on the YouTube video to hang out with us; you can even chat and comment live to give us feedback and ask us questions.

I know the show is a few days early, but I have a special announcement to make. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it involves lots of horsepower and an epic road trip. You have to watch to see what the announcement is.

Beyond the special announcement, we are going to talk about Justin’s drive of the new 4-Series , the new McLaren P13 GT and the future of solar powered roads .

Mark is also going to regale us with tales of his time with the Chrysler Town & Country , and then we plan on discussing the changed coming to the 2015 Nissan Frontier and then we plan on covering the crazy Hyundai Veloster Midship Concept .

We may have another piece of news or two, and of course we will have viewer questions, and a round of Own, Drive, Burn.

Click that play button and hang out!

Mini has never built anything aside from countless iterations of the Cooper , but that could change over the next couple of years if the BMW board approves production of the Superleggera Vision Concept .

Showcased with great success at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este , the lightweight roadster was created in cooperation with Italian design house Touring Superleggera and a production version may arrive just in time to drag Mini out of its decade-long design hole.

Of course, the study borrows a few cues from the 2014 Cooper design language, but the overall approach is entirely different, with a new feel attached to it. It’s no longer feeding on the classic Mini , but relying on the same British heritage that spawned sports cars such as the Jaguar F-Type . The rear body fin, the low-cut windshield are there to tell us about a classic, sporty Mini that never existed.

Will these cool features make production? Probably not. But this concept car has huge potential and Mini has all the necessary instruments to take on a brand-new market. Because of its coolness and the possibility of production, we created a rendering of what we think this car may look like if it hits dealerships (above).

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Mini Superleggera.

*Note: Above image is a TopSpeed rendering, not the actual Mini Superleggera.

Karmann has built more than three million vehicle for various automakers in its century-long history, but the Germans are mostly known for their cooperation with Volkswagen , for whom they assembled more than one million units of Beetle , Golf , Scirocco and Ghia models.

Although the partnership came to an end in the early 1990s and Karmann went bankrupt in 2009, Volkswagen is still paying tribute to its life-long partner by releasing limited-edition models of their compact vehicles. Last year, for instance, the Germans placed a Karmann badge and a few unique amenities on the Golf Cabriolet . In a similar fashion, they are now rolling out the Beetle Cabriolet Karmann, a special edition bug that celebrates the classic vehicles built by the Osnabruck company between 1949 and 1980.

Highlighted by a number of unique exterior features and near-luxury interior attributes, the Beetle Cabriolet Karmann is based on the "Design" equipment line, which includes a wind deflector and the Park Pilot parking distance monitor and can be ordered in any engine and transmission configurations. Engine options thus include anything from the 2.5-liter to the turbo 2.0-liter units, as well as the more frugal TDI Clean Diesel oil burner, while transmission offerings consists of a six-speed manual and a six-speed dual-clutch.

Click past the jump to read more about the Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet Karmann Special Edition.

Being a car photographer can be one of the hardest and most rewarding jobs on the planet. Delicacy is important with this job, especially when you’re dealing with a supercar as exclusive and as expensive as the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse Rembrandt Bugatti .

Car photographer Pepper Yandell recently had the privilege of shooting the exclusive Veyron and as the video shows, you really need to know what you’re doing to capture all the good angles of this supercar.

But Yandell clearly knows what he’s doing, pulling out all the photography tricks in his bag to showcase the Veyron in various angles. The play in lighting in these photos are pretty incredible, too. Yandell captures them beautifully, casting different shadows and highlighting different parts of the Veyron.

This video is a nice lesson on how to be a good car photographer. You can’t just rely on the car itself to create the photos, even if said car is one of the most unique supercars in the world. You need to be creative and find ways to emphasize all the positive qualities of the subject.

It’s easier said than done, but if you know what you’re doing, you can create photographic masterpieces the same way Pepper Yandell does on a consistent basis.

Audi is adding to the number of A3 models that are available with the very efficient 1.4-liter, I-4, TFSI engine currently sipping gasoline in Europe. The impressive powertrain is now available in the four-door sedan, three-door hatch, five-door Sportback, and of course, the Cabriolet pictured above.

Audi is offering the engine with a choice of transmissions: standard six-speed manual or seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch. The highly engineered mechanics inside the engine allow for outstanding fuel efficiency to the tune of nearly 50 mpg on the European combined cycle. The engine’s carbon footprint is equally impressive, emitting only 175.4 grams of C02 per mile.

Though the engine does well at sipping fuel, it lacks somewhat on power. Its horsepower rating is listed at 150 and it propels the car to 62 mph in an underwhelming 8.1 seconds. Then again, 50 mpg is a pretty solid trade off for losing nearly every light-to-light drag race.

If torque is what’s needed, Audi also offers the 1.6-liter, TDI engine in the A3 Ultra. Making 110 horsepower, the turbo diesel consumes fuel at the sparse rate of 71.3 mpg. Its clean-diesel technology also keeps it from cutting holes in the atmosphere, emitting only 141.6 grams per mile. The TDI is available in both the four-door sedan and three-door hatchback versions.

Sadly, it seems Audi will be keeping these fuel-efficient models away from these United States, likely due to regulations and red tape.

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi A3 1.4 TFSI Cabriolet Ultra.

The early 1970s was a grand time for American muscle cars with plenty of iconic iron rolling off the Big Three’s assembly lines. But few cars have reached the level of rarity as the Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda. Production numbers of these legendary street machines were rather low compared to other muscle cars of the era. In the case of this particular ‘Cuda and its combination of options, the number is one.

Yes, out of the total 16,159 Barracudas sold in 1971, only 11 were fitted with the sportiest ‘Cuda option powered by the 426 Hemi and ordered as convertibles. Of those 11 cars, only three came with the four-speed manual transmission. Over 40 years later, one — yes o-n-e — B5-coded “Bright Blue” ‘Cuda is the only numbers-matching, 426 Hemi-powered, four-speed, convertible in existence. Talk about rare.

Updated 06/16/2014: This very cool Hemi Cuda Convertible was auctioned during this week-end’s auctions at Mecum for the amazing amount of $3,500,000.

Click past the jump to read more about the 1971 Plymouth Hemi ’Cuda Convertible.

Source: Mecum

Although enthusiasts regard the E-Type as the most iconic and beautiful Jaguars ever built, I think there’s at least one other Jag that can match its distinction. I’m talking about the XKSS, a limited-edition, two-seat roadster based on the D-Type race car.

My reasoning is pretty much simple here. The XKSS has the gorgeous looks of the 1950s Jaguars, the racing heritage of the Le Mans-winning D-Type , and a track-prepped structure coming straight from the company’s motorsport division. Add the fact that Jag built only 16 of these sports cars , and you’ll understand why the XKSS is a coveted and expensive collectible.

The XKSS also benefits from an association with famed American actor Steve McQueen , who owned a British Racing Green-pained example and drove it around Los Angeles for years. Now resting its wheels in the Peterson Automotive Museum, McQueen’s Jag just took a trip to Jay Leno’s garage , the place where the world’s greatest vehicles are taken to be reviewed and showcased.

But unlike other cars that have passed through his garage, the XKSS seems to have mesmerized Leno, as the TV host can’t stop praising the roadster enough throughout the 20-minute episode. Just hit the play button and you’ll find out what we mean.

In general I like the cars that Mini makes, but I despise the iterative nature of its designs and its constant collection of “different” models and trim levels. Taking one basic car and turning it into one-hundred and eleventy different models is silly and annoying. That said, Mini’s latest concept creation, the Superleggera Vision Concept , is every bit as interesting as it is stunning to look at. It feels like the first true new Mini design since the brand returned in 2003. With a collection of retro cues and futuristic design touches, the car is a truly inspirational design.

I am not the only person who feels that this should be the new future direction of Mini design, and now rumor has it that Mini could actually build it.

The story comes from Automotive News, which cites information provided by Mini boss Peter Schwarzenbauer at the car’s unveiling. Schwarzenbauer said the car was created to see how well the Mini fans would respond to something that looked like a radical departure from the brand’s traditional design. His words were, “It has received overwhelming appreciation.” He also said he could see a production version of this roadster if the BMW board approves the project.

Here is to hoping.

Click past the jump to read more about the Mini Superleggera Vision Concept.

When it comes to cars that deliver pure driving pleasure, the Caterham Seven is tough to beat. Maybe this is why the roadster has used the same recipe for more than 50 years. Caterham has been working to improve it since 1973, but we mustn’t forget that Colin Chapman, who built the first Lotus 7 in 1957, penned the Seven. It’s true that the technology behind it has changed over the decades, but Chapman’s iconic "simplify, then add lightness" philosophy remained printed in the Seven’s DNA. Caterham sells a host of iterations nowadays, ranging from the bone-stock 165 model to the lightning-fast 620 R, but, from time to time, it also releases special-edition models that become prized collectibles.

For instance, the Brits created quite a stir with the Seven JPE, a Vauxhall -powered Seven developed with input from F1 driver Jonathan Palmer and launched in 1993. More than 20 years have passed since then, and Caterham turned to another Formula One driver to create a new limited edition track rocket. This time it was Kamui Kobayashi’s turn, a Caterham F1 Team ace that has five Grand Prix seasons to his name.

As with most Caterham special editions, the Kobayashi Seven is gifted with a unique appearance and the latest tricks in carbon-fiber embellishment. It packs the same no-nonsense attitude present in all Caterham Caterham -badged vehicles and it has everything it needs to make a petrol-head grovel at its wheels. There is a catch though; the possibility that we may never see one blow past us on the highway is very low. But you’ll have to join us in our in-depth trip to find out why.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Caterham Seven Kamui Kobayashi Special Edition.

Note: Porsche 550 rendered here.

The rumors about Porsche’s baby-Boxster roadster are swirling up again with new reports coming out of Germany. This time, the news suggests the new car will surface for the 2016 model year and sport two versions of a flat-four engine. Dubbed the 718, this rumored roadster will slot under the Boxster in terms of price, horsepower, and weight, while still offering plenty of go-fast performance for buyers looking to spend less than the Boxster’s $63,000 asking price.

The report from Focus pins the 718’s two four-cylinders as displacing 2.0- and 2.5-liters with horsepower outputs of 282 and 355, respectively. Porsche will combine these engines with a DSG gearbox and manual transmissions that will drive the rear wheels. The combination of a lighter, mid-mounted, four-cylinder engine and a lighter chassis means the 718 will surely be a hot performer.

Rumors also claim that Porsche engineers are using a modified Boxster platform with a reduction in mass coming from extensive uses of aluminum. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the new Roadster also use lots of carbon fiber, as the cost of CF production keeps falling and becomes more pervasive in the industry.

Though the official word isn’t out yet, experts say the car will cost roughly $53,000 — a solid $10K less than the base Boxster. That said, the 718’s upper trim level, which includes the 355-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder, will probably only undercut the Boxster by a few thousand. Either way, we appear to be getting a more pure drop-top from Stuttgart by 2016.

Click past the jump to read more about the Porsche 718.

Source: Focus

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