Some useful reading for anyone who owns a car or plan to buy or sell one in the near future

Posted on by Bryan 13

What is a high-end sports car? Are they Italian performance machines like the Ferrari 458 and the Lamborghini Gallardo , or are they more sensible vehicles like the BMW M5 and theMercedes-Benz SL63 AMG ? We think they’re the latter.

For this top ten, we are going to set the price cap at $120,000, if you can call that a cap. That should eliminate most of the extreme vehicles, but keep the basic Porsches and so on within the limits.

What kinds of things are we looking for with high-end sports cars? Obviously, they need to be fast with agile handling and excellent driving dynamics. The car needs to look stunning with a functional yet stylish interior. It would also be great if it could stand the test of time, so reliability is also a factor.

Let’s review the previous winners of our sports car test. The Volkswagen GTI took the top spot in the entry-level test due to its excellent performance, build quality, and versatility. There were numerous winners of the mid-level test , as we had multiple categories. We chose the Audi S4, the BMW M3, and the Ford Mustang GT500 as the top cars in their classes.

Hit the jump to see the list.

Posted on by Bryan 3

When most people think of Pebble Beach they think of hitting a little while ball with a club next to the most beautiful scenery in the United States. We don’t think of those sort of things though. We think of the automotive festivities that take place on the coast.

This year, we had many cars that were shown. There were new cars like the new Ford Mustang Boss 302 , and there were old cars like the Ferrari F40 birthday collection. In total, 2010 was a spectacular year at the beach for petrol heads.

With all the new car introductions and high-end auctions, automotive lovers of any age will love the extravaganza that was the Pebble Beach Week in California.

We have compiled a list of every new car that was shown in Cali, and some of them are truly amazing. There is even a F1 looking car.

Hit the jump to read on.

Posted on by Bryan 9

Why do we love cars? Why is it that we know nearly every make and model of vehicle on the road? Why is it that the sound of an Italian V8 or the low-down grumble of old muscle cars excites us? There are many answers to those simple, thought provoking questions.

Some of us love the automotive world because of the engineering aspect. It can be easy to have the best time of your life working under the hood of your favorite car. Some love their beauty and the way artists have sculpted such brilliant shapes. We love them because of the freedom and speed they represent.

Luckily for people like us, there are events that can give us that sense of speed and the freedom to drive as fast we want with no laws to worry about. Two events that are coming up allow anybody to come and take their machines to the limit. The Texas Mile 324 and the World of Speed 2010 at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

UPDATE 08/26/2010: This article has been updated to include another top speed event. Check out the information on the Mojave Mile!

Hit the jump to read on.

Posted on by Bryan 13

So, entry-level sports cars aren’t good enough. You make too much money to be seen in a Mazda MX-5 or a normal Ford Mustang . Your successful self needs something powerful and exciting. Well, there is plenty of choices in the market.

To be as precise as possible, there is actually an overwhelming amount of choices in the market, with each car being a little different. There are German performance coupes, American muscle, and Japanese street rockets. These machines have the same sort of mind-bending power, but the way each puts that power down is as different as Apollo and the Space Shuttle.

Due to that reason, we had a hard time putting machines like the Dodge Challenger in same category as the Porsche Boxster . How can you compare two machines that are so vastly different? Sure, we could have, but it just wouldn’t have worked. So, after the jump we have three - even though the title says ten - different top fives. The price cap is $60,000.

We broke it down like this. At the top we have four-door performance machines that use amazing power with epic grip and practicality. Then we have the coupes. Don’t get these coupes mixed up with the Corvette-type coupes because these European cars are tuned for a mixture of speed and cornering ability. Finally, we have the American straight road muscle. Cars that run the quarter miles as naturally as a sports analyst getting a prediction terribly wrong.

Hit the jump to read the lists.

Posted on by Bryan 2

The world’s quintessential high performance machine has and probably will be for some time the Bugatti Veyron . When it was first thought up by the engineers at Volkswagen, we thought they were mad. A car with 1,000 horsepower and a super high top speed of over 250 miles per hour? Yeah right, go work on the new Golf and quiet down.

In a true foot in mouth moment, Bugatti and its crack team of geniuses have produced a car with rocket ship power and a top speed that is simply hard to imagine. The Veyron has always been a car that we have admired and, given the chance, it would be hard to turn down a go in one.

With the success of the Veyron, Bugatti looked to capitalize on their success. They created many different variations of the car with different colors and trims and all sorts of stuff to keep the rich entertained.

Now, Bugatti has gotten bored. They have created a car that has so much power that it’s hard to up it and make it faster and better performing. So, they decided to design new limited production machines for the super rich and, during that time of interior and exterior design modifications, they actually made the car faster with the latest version, the Supersports.

With so many different models, it can be hard to keep them straight. We have assembled a list of every model made to try and simplify things a bit. Most models use the same W16 motor unless otherwise stated.

Hit the jump to see the variations.

Posted on by Bryan 12

We have always been a bit confused with Ford. The Detroit born automaker has become a huge sensation in Europe. One example of this old world takeover was theMondeo . This sedan was so intensely popular that it spawned a new nickname, ’Mondeo Man’. Have you ever seen a Ford here in the United States that was that popular? We think not.

There are more examples of this as well. The Fiesta , Focus , Ka , and the ever famous Transit van have been dominating the European market for ages. Finally, with some persuasion, Ford is going to bring a few of those wonderful models to the United States.

The Fiesta has been in the shadows for most if its pre-release life. Ford has decided to attack the young audience with Facebook pages and all of that other nonsense. In our opinion, Ford needs to stop all this and get out in the mainstream, and we want to help.

So, here we have a lime-green Ford Fiesta with a five-speed manual transmission just waiting to be taken out on the roads, and we were more than happy to oblige. Yet, who wants a normal review, those are so dull. Awaiting the Fiesta was the gang of small hatchbacks that have already established there turf; the Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, and the Honda Fit. Now we have a proper test on our hands.

Hit the jump to keep reading.

Posted on by Bryan 18

Now that the sedans have been taken care of, we are moving on to something a bit more fun. Sports cars may not be for everybody because of their limited interior space and minimal cargo room, but they do provide an excellent driving experience that most of the other car segments can’t match.

The sports car segment is littered with different makes and models, the terrible and the good, the fun and the not so fun. Luckily, TopSpeed is here to give you a unique look at the sports cars that we love. Like usual, we don’t care about sales or anything of that nature. We are looking for driving experience, comfort, power, handling, interior space, and something very important in the sports car segment, styling.

We have set a price cap of $30,000, which should be enough for any sports car lover. So, hit the jump to see our top ten sports cars.

Posted on by Bryan 14

When you take the time and effort to go through old family photo albums, something interesting pops up. Fashion trends are an odd thing. They come and they go, but a lot of the time, they come back. For better or for worse, the clothing that your parents or your grandparents wore might be coming back into style.

Large sunglasses - which are pretty hideous - were huge back in the day and are big once again, literally and metaphorically. Other examples include leather handbags, bell-bottom jeans, and funky jackets. It’s all very fascinating.

The automotive world is no different. Back in the 1940s, cars were just beginning to get experimental. They were called fastbacks, hatchbacks, and four-door hatchbacks. No matter what you call them, they died out.

Or did they? The 2000s saw a revival in this design. It might be here to stay or it might not be, but let’s take a look at the old cars that paved the way for the CLS and the CCs of the world.

Hit the jump to find out which ones we are talking about.

Posted on by Alexander + 4

We don’t know whether Ford is running out of ideas or if they are just really interested in what the minds of non-automakers can produce. After placing a "Your Ideas" section on their interactive consumer website and getting together with University of Michigan students for their “American Journey 2.0” project, Ford has teamed up with TechShop to open a DIY workshop in Detroit for anyone with a design mind and able hands.

TechShop already has locations in California and North Carolina set up to offer space, tools, and machinery to anyone who would like to create a prototype of whatever idea is kicking around inside their head. The list of tools and machines is extensive with innovators being able to use milling machines and lathes, welding stations and a CNC plasma cutter, sheet metal working equipment, drill presses and band saws, industrial sewing machines, hand tools, plastic and wood working equipment including a 4’ x 8’ ShopBot CNC router, electronics design and fabrication facilities, Epilog laser cutters, tubing and metal bending machines, a Dimension SST 3-D printer, electrical supplies and tools, all to make whatever the member’s little heart desires. Dream coaches are on hand to help every inventor in creating a product and will also help the inventor with connections they may need to complete their projects.

Full story and press release after the jump.

Ask any rationale man on the face of this planet to name the car they’d want to have inside their garage and there’s a very good chance that the answer you’re going to get involves two supercar brands that call Italy home.

Ferrari and Lamborghini. The Prancing Horse and The Raging Bull. Which one is better? Depends on what you want in a supercar.

No two brands have generated as much awe and high-praise as these two Italian thoroughbreds and that, in some ways, have been joined at the hip since the rivalry began almost 50 years ago.

In one corner – or red corner, to be a little more obvious – is the marquee from Modena, the iconic and legendary Prancing Horse: Ferrari . Synonymous with building some of the most exotic machines on the planet, Ferrari has long been regarded as the measuring stick to which all other supercars are compared, with the possible exception of Lamborghini. The brand, which was born from the mind of Enzo Ferrari Ferrari – a successful racer in his time - back in 1929, initially as a racing company that manufactured race cars while also masquerading as a company that sponsored race drivers. From those beginnings, Ferrari delved into production cars that eventually became one of the most sought-after car brands in automotive history.

In the blue corner is Lamborghini , a company that was founded by a man who plied his trade in tractor manufacturing before turning his sights on competing with an already established auto brand. Auto lore even has it that Ferruccio Lamborghini created the brand as a result of his dissatisfaction towards his Ferrari, which he claimed to be noisy and rough around the edges. So as any enterprising visionary would do, Lamborghini decided that he could build his own race touring car, one that would take all the elements of Ferrari and bring them to a whole new level.

Thus, the Italian supercar war was born.

Hit the jump for the rest of the story.

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