Car Reviews

Lexus unveiled the 2014 GS 450h in September 2013, so it’s a little surprising that the automaker took a full year to launch the GS 450h F Sport. Despite the lack of an F Sport package for a year, the GS 450h remained a really, really sharp car that crossed out just about every item on our checklist. Giving it a sporty F Sport package simply makes it an even sweeter package.

The F Sport package is a new addition to the 2015 GS 450h. It may not come with any engine upgrades that bump the car’s already potent 338-horsepower output, but there are still enough performance upgrades to give it a sportier look and ride. Besides, the F Sport is mostly about making small improvements to many parts of the car, not just focusing on one aspect of the car and leaving the rest entirely untouched.

The exterior and interior of the GS 450h F Sport both receive notable upgrades, plus improved technology . Most importantly, all these changes didn’t cost the GS 450h its notable EPA rating, which is still estimated at 31 mpg combined.

Lexus looks like it has another knockout model to add to its growing F Sport lineup. At some point, it stops being surprising and starts becoming expected.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Lexus GS 450h F Sport.

Saleen may have built its reputation on tuning the most iconic American cars like the Chevrolet Camaro , Ford Mustang , and Dodge Challenger , but company front-man Steve Saleen seems bent on making his mark in the budding performance electric car category as well.

Rumors have circulated for more than a year regarding Saleen’s entrance into the category, with TopSpeed’s own firsthand confirmation coming from Steve himself in a late-2013 interview.

Well the rumors and speculation can all be put to rest as the company debuts the Saleen Tesla Model S Foursixteen at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance . This Tesla Model S receives a bespoke exterior design, interior updates, and of course, increases in power and performance.

Thankfully this isn’t some one-off show car, but rather a pre-production example of what will be publicly available to those looking for extra spice in their Model S. The performance upgrades include a sport-tuned suspension, bigger brakes, upgraded rear differential, and more aggressive aerodynamic surfaces.

Updated 9/8/2014: Saleen has revealed a video of the Foursixteen in action, and "breaking the sound barrier." It doesn’t literally break the sound barrier, like supersonic jet, but rather it makes a noise unlike any other Tesla Model S. Have a look at the video (above) and let me know if you think the noise is cool or annoying as all hell...

Click past the jump for all the info on the Saleen Tesla Model S Foursixteen.

Toyota’s commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Land Cruiser 70 by doing something it’s never done before. The Japanese automaker is reintroducing the model, except that it’s going to be limited to its local market. I don’t know if I speak for everybody here, but I’m completely jealous that Japan’s getting exclusive dibs on the re-released Toyota Land Cruiser 70 . All 200 planned models, to be exact. It doesn’t seem fair, does it?

To make things interesting, Toyota’s also producing a double-cab pickup version of the Land Cruiser 70, which will also be limited to the Japanese market.

Granted, I’m not that excited about the pickup version as I am about the traditional enclosed body classic. The latter model speaks to a level of nostalgia you don’t see in today’s models anymore. I’m counting those retro-inspired ones, too.

If I knew that Toyota was considering re-releasing the model due to widespread requests in Japan, I’d be screaming for the model to go Stateside. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that Toyota will do that, leaving me with no other choice than to just drool over these photos. Such a shame.

Click past the jump to read more about the Toyota Land Cruiser

About 16 years ago Chevrolet launched the Niva, a mini SUV spawned from a joint venture between General Motors and Russian manufacturer AvtoVAZ. The Chevrolet Niva is based on the no-nonsense Lada Niva, which has been around since 1977 without major updates, using the same Russian-built underpinnings. But don’t let the dated appearance fool you, the Chevy Niva is a capable off-roader that can put many modern SUVs to shame.Nearly two decades after rebadging the Lada Niva, General Motors is finally upping the ante to deliver a more appealing second-generation SUV. For the moment only a concept, the new Chevrolet Niva is a massive departure from the current SUV, boasting an all-new design, a more rugged appearance, and revamped drivetrain.

The production model won’t break cover until 2016 and we likely won’t see it in the United States, but it’s definitely a vehicle worth a mention. If you like to spend your weekends taking on the roughest off-road paths in your SUV, then the Niva Concept is a rock climber you need to have a look at.

Click past the jump to read about the Chevrolet Niva SUV Concept

Panoz , an American sports car manufacturer founded in 1989, rolled out the Esperante back in 2000. Developed as a mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, luxury sport convertible , the first Esperante featured an aluminum body and a modular, extruded-aluminum chassis with steel subframes. The first iteration was powered by a Ford -sourced, 4.6-liter, V-8 engine that cranked out 305 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque with modifications made by Elan Motorsport Technologies. First-gen models were capable of 0-to-60-mph sprints of 4.9 to 5.1 seconds and top speeds of up to 155 mph. The Esperante also spawned a GTLM race car with notable results in the American Le Mans series . As we approach the 2015 model year, Panoz has launched an updated version of the Esperante, this time with larger, more powerful engines, a revised exterior and a completely new interior.

As with most Esperantes, the 2015 model is available in both standard and GT versions, with the latter being highlighted by a wider body kit. The revised Esperante Spyder GT comes just as Panoz is celebrating its 25th anniversary as one of America’s most exclusive sports car manufacturer. Let’s see what Don Panoz has in store this time.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Panoz Esperante Spyder GT.

The Lexus GX sport utility has been around since 2003 when Lexus added the midsize SUV to its lineup. Slotted between the smaller crossover RX and the larger LX platforms, the GX offered plenty of room for seven passengers and loads of rugged abilities that the then up-and-coming crossover segment lacked. A heavy refresh came in 2010 and included the 4.6-liter V-8 to replace the older 4.7-liter, a revised interior, and some slight updating to the exterior. Now for 2014, Lexus has reworked the GX460, giving it the corporate-wide Spindle Grille up front with HID and LED lighting, a reshaped rear bumper, and a new range-topping trim level. Lexus has also subtracted some stuff, namely the pricing. In fact, the base GX460 is roughly $4,700 cheaper than 2013 model. That said, the GX460 isn’t a cheap SUV, thanks to a starting price still touching $50,000.

The GX460 does offer a lot for that scratch, however, and it makes a solid case for itself when considering its heritage and capabilities as a true SUV — and one that can still haul seven people. It’s able to tow a 6,500-pound trailer, engage low range and hit the trails, yet still look at home parked at the county club.

I recently spent a week getting to know the 2014 GX460 with all its quirks and strong suits. The week was spent doing mixed driving, split pretty evenly on highways and city streets. Hauling passengers and hill climbing even happened on a few occasions.

Click past the jump for the full report

The Lexus IS dates back to 1998, when it was introduced as an entry-level luxury car mainly in Japan and the United States. Initially launched as a four-door sedan and five-door wagon , the IS didn’t receive a two-door version until the second-generation model came in 2006. However, the Japanese only built a convertible , postponing the coupe for a few more years. The much-anticipated coupe has finally arrived for the 2015 model year, about 12 months after Lexus unveiled the third-generation IS. But unlike the latter, the coupe carries the RC F nameplate.

Although it borrows most of its styling from the IS sedan, the RC F features a more aggressive design, which is supposed to pay tribute to Lexus’ only supercar as of 2014, the LFA . The RC F, however, is not intended to compete with the likes of the Nissan GT-R , but rather take on the BMW M4 , the upcoming Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe and the Audi RS5 . Does it have what it takes to play with Germany’s main weapons for the sports coupe market? Read on to find out.

Updated 09/05/2014: Lexus announced full details and prices on the all-new RC F sports coupe which will be put on sale starting this fall. Prices will start from $63,325 including $925 destination charges.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Lexus RC F.

The McLaren 650S has drained many wallets since debuting at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show . That comes with the territory of buying a supercar that costs $265,000. It costs a lot to get your hands on one, but it costs even more if the 650S gets the McLaren Special Operations treatment, which is exactly the case for this thing of beauty right here.

MSO has been responsible for a handful of special-edition 650S models. This time, McLaren’s very own bespoke division created a unique example of the 650S specifically for a McLaren retailer in Paris.

The car itself doesn’t appear to be headed to a specific owner, but will instead be featured at the Chantilly Arts & Elegance event this weekend at Domaine de Chantilly near Paris. It sounds like a fancy event and judging by the way MSO designed this particular 650S, I’ll venture a guess that it’s going to be well-dressed for the occasion.

Hopefully, this 650S finds an owner soon after it shows off for the cameras at the Chantilly Arts & Elegance event. It would be a travesty if nobody gets to enjoy the beautiful work MSO did to this saucy McLaren.

The McLaren 650S is powered by a 3.8-liter, twin-turbo V-8 that produces 640 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque. The engine is bolted to a seven-speed DSG transmission, allowing it to hit 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds to go with a top speed of 207 mph.

Click past the jump to read more about the McLaren 650S Pearl White By MSO.

The Dodge Viper saga began in 1991, when Chrysler introduced the semi-supercar commonly known as the modern-day Cobra. The production model was based on a concept car showcased in 1989 and carried an 8.0-liter, V-10 engine under its long hood. Sold as a roadster at first, the Viper gained a coupe version in 1996, when the second-gen car was unveiled. Numerous upgrades were implemented until 2010, including a displacement increase to 8.3 liters and an output update to more than 500 horsepower, when the Viper was discontinued after four generations only to return as the SRT Viper in 2013. Heading into 2015, the SRT and Dodge brands have again become one, allowing the Dodge Viper SRT to return.

When the Viper returned under the SRT brand, it arrived with a redesigned body and a slightly larger engine. Enlarged to displace 8.4 liters, the V-10 powerplant delivered 640 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque, a figure that remained unchanged until 2014. Going into 2015, the iconic Viper remains pretty much the same, save for the name change, a five-pony power bump, and various, but minor interior and exterior upgrades.

Updated 07/28/2014: New details on the 2015 Dodge Viper report that the sports car will deliver an additional five horsepower over the 2014 SRT version. The only question is if the 645 horsepower will help boost the very poor sales of the sports car. (Road And Track)

Updated 09/08/2014: Dodge announced that the 2015 Viper will go on sale at a price of $84,995 - which represents a reduction of $15k over the previous year.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Dodge Viper SRT.

The Audi RS6 Avant has been the go-to choice for anyone needing a truly all-weather-capable supercar with five doors. When it first debuted, it created an unprecedented combination of AWD performance, horsepower, and practicality. Despite its powerful position in the marketplace, Audi has killed the model twice since it debuted in 2002. The first-generation car was only around from 2002 until 2004 when Audi discontinued the RS6 in favor of the smaller RS4. The mightiest of the A6 models returned again in 2008, but was gone by 2010. Finally the car returned for the last time in 2012, and it appears as though it may be here to stay. Unlike the previous models that only survived for three years, the current model is in fact going to live a long and illustrious life as Audi announced a refresh for the 2015 RS6 Avant. Please start thanking your preferred deity.

While the entire A6 family is getting a pretty thorough refresh with new engines and drivetrains, the changes to the RS6 Avant are mostly visual with the majority of the drivetrain and chassis components carrying over from the current machine.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Audi RS6 Avant.


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