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!
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.
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.
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 the Mondeo. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 – 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.
You’ve finally got that big time job and you want something that isn’t too cheap, but you don’t want to spend $80,000 quite yet. There is much to choose from in the middle luxury segment and each car has it’s own unique characteristics that make it better, or worse than the competition.
Just like the entry-level luxury segment, the Germans have always had the middle levels to themselves. The Japanese and the American automakers have never been able to catch up. Yet, 2010 is a new year and things might be changing in the automotive marketplace.
As you have seen by now, we have a tendency to rank cars differently than other car sites. While we love practicality as much as the next site, at TopSpeed, we put speed, performance, and that certain sparkle above the size of the trunk and the back seat.
With entry-level luxury cars, finding the gems between the boring sales rep vehicles can be a pretty hard task. We have so many terribly dull sedans that are only good for taking you down the motorway to work and that’s about it. We aren’t looking for that. We don’t care about sales, we don’t care about popularity, we care about how these cars drive on the track and in the real world. We are aware that a point to point car is what most people will like, but we want an entry-level sedan that provides excitement on that everyday journey. Something that can make you smile and enjoy the drive home. A car that will make you take the back roads.
Over the course of this series we have jumped price by $10,000 each time, starting from $20,000 with the small cars and then $30,000 with the midsize. For this test, we are jumping by $15,000, to make the price cap at $45,000.
Hit the jump to see what our top ten entry-level luxury vehicles are.