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industry news

  Automotive industry news, it feels like nothing of what they say is really important but put it together and you will get the big picture before the others.

Posted on by Simona  

TopSpeed team wants to thank all of you for following us back in 2013 and promises that in 2014 will try to do even better! To sum up, 2013 was a pretty good year for the automotive industry. We’ve seen lots of cool cars, like the Jaguar F-Type , Alfa Romeo 4C , Ferrari LaFerrari , BMW i8 , McLaren P1 , Porsche 918 Spyder or Lamborghini Huracan , but also a few not so cool: Lamborghini Veneno .

Unfortunately 2013 also brought a few bad things, like the death of Paul Walker or the recent accident of Michael Schumacher. Luckily this year ended with all its good and bad stuffs, and we hope that 2014 will be even better!

Happy New Year! Lets hope that 2014 will bring you only good things, health and lots of completions!

BMW i8

The partnership between Toyota and BMW has been reported ad nauseam in the past few months but both companies have remained tight lipped on what kind of collaboration its going to be.

But that’s not the case anymore after a high-ranking BMW exec essentially confirmed and described the collaboration between the two brands. Speaking to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, BMW development chief Dr. Herbert Diess essentially laid out all the cards on the table, detailing what a lot of us have suspected for a while now before throwing out a caveat that gave us a clearer picture of what we can expect with this partnership.

"We have agreed on a joint architecture for a sports car," Diess said, before adding that "there will be two different vehicles that are authentic to the two brands."

So...the Toyota -BMW technological dance will give way to at least two models, one carrying a Toyota badge and one carrying a BMW badge. That’s cool and all, but with that piece of information all but confirmed, the onus now turns on exactly what kind of models these vehicles are going to be under their respective brands.

Could it be that we’re in store for a successor to the Lexus LF-A or the long-awaited return of the Supra ? On the flip side, maybe a new BMW sports car that will be a class above the Z4 , or something along the lines of the new i8 ?

A lot of potential models are in play and its exciting that we’re going into 2014 with all this speculation on what kind of offspring the Toyota and BMW marriage is going to have.

Note: Photo is of the 2015 BMW i8

Click past the jump to read about a car that could be a nice representation of what Toyota and BMW are building towards, the 2015 BMW i8

Michael Schumacher Suffers Head Injuries in Skiing Accident

Michael Schumacher’s head injuries from his skiing accident in Switzerland appear to be far worse than what was initially reported.

According to a statement released by the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Grenoble, the French hospital where the seven-time Formula One world champion is currently in, Schumacher underwent emergency surgery from his injuries. The injuries were so severe that the statement described it as "head trauma with coma, which required immediate neurosurgical treatment."

Schumacher was skiing at a resort in Meribel, France with his 14-year old son when he lost control in the slopes and hit his head on a rock. The accident occurred at 11:07 AM CET and while initial reports indicated that he was conscious immediately after the injury, it appears that his condition has taken a turn for the worst since then.

Our thoughts and prayers to Michael Schumacher and his family and we pray that he recovers from this ordeal like a true champion that he is.

Click past the jump to read about Michael Schumacher

Source: ESPN
Ferrari California T

More and more details of the Ferrari California successor are coming out and slowly but surely, the puzzle coming from Maranello is becoming more and more complete.

The latest bit of information is pretty big and it comes by way of Autocar. According to the popular UK magazine, the next-generation Calfornia will carry a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine that will carry an output of 552 horsepower. The turbocharged powertrain will likewise provide Ferrari’s entry-level model with a throatier soundtrack, at least compared to the naturally-aspirated V-8 that the current California has under its hood.

Equally important news is the styling of the next-gen California, which, as its been reported, will draw inspiration from the F12berlinetta , particularly the front end. It’ll definitely be interesting how Ferrari designers can infuse the spirit of the F12berlinetta into the design without compromising the California’s distinctive style.

There are definitely still more questions than answers at this point. But if it’s true that the next-gen California will have that much power under its hood, then it should bode well for those who have been waiting for the model to arrive.

Click past the jump to read about the 2014 Ferrari California

Source: Autocar UK
Citroen DS3 Cabrio Racing Concept

Citroen’s presentation of the DS3 Cabrio Racing Concept at the Goodwood Festival of Speed earlier this year went well enough that the French company has now confirmed that a production version is on its way next year.

It’ll only be sold in limited quantities, which is a little bit of a letdown, but then again, knowing that supply is going to be limited, you can bet that a lot of people will be signing up for one when Citroen opens its order books for the car on January 2nd.

That being said, what we really like about the DS3 Cabrio Racing is that there weren’t a lot of changes made to the production model from the concept version. Actually, you’re going to have to look pretty deep to notice anything different.

The production version of the DS3 Cabrio Racing will feature a new paint color, Matte Moondark Grey, that will be packaged with a black roof, and accents of Carmin Red strategically finished in various parts of the car, including as wide strips on the doors and the wheel centers.

The interior also comes in its own shade of Moondark Grey, which Citroen used on the upper dash, the center console, and the instrument panel. The front seat headrests have the Citroën Racing signature embroidered on them, while uniquely numbered identification plates are placed on the base of the gearshift lever, ensuring that it’s limited appeal is displayed for everyone to see.

Carbon fiber will also be plentiful on this upscale model, as you will be able to find the lightweight material on the air diffuser, front splitter, wraparound body sills and wing flares. Rounding out the sporty exterior is a chrome-finished, twin-exit exhaust system.

A 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine will be powering the DS3 Cabrio Racing with output slated at 207 horsepower, a speck more than the 202-horsepower output of the concept version. No performance details were announced, but we assume it’s going to hit 60 mph in around 6.7 seconds to go with a top speed of about 155 mph.

Citroen has made no mention on how many models of the DS3 Cabrio Racing it’ll make available, but there’s a good chance that there’s going to be less than 1,000 units available. So if you’re interested, circle January 2nd on your calendars now because we suspect that the books will be filled up really quickly.

Click past the jump to read about the Citroen DS3 Cabrio Racing Concept

Bertone Concept Nuccio

We thought that we could go through the last two weeks of the year without having to deal with another auto company going though bankruptcy proceedings.

Turns out, we may see one pretty soon.

According to Italy’s La Repubblica, one of Italy’s most famous design houses, Bertone , is close to filing for bankruptcy after asking for court administration on December 11th. With this move, Bertone has 120 days to get its ship in order, specifically to find new investors that could inject some much-needed financing for the company.

Despite the popularity of its more recent models, Bertone has been teetering on shaky ground since the 2008 global economic crisis, and has failed to recover, causing it to drop a whole lot of its businesses in the process, including the sale of its Grugliasco factory in Turin to Fiat . Incidentally, the said plant is now the production home of the Maserati Ghibli and Quattroporte .

But that’s not all that’s been gut-punching Bertone in recent months. It’s struggled to field orders for Bertone Workshop, a division of the company it created to help offset its losses. Heck, it’s even failed to pay its employees for months, causing a lot of them to go on strike.

All that though pales in comparison to what Bertone is reportedly going through right now. it’s very existence is in serious danger, and unless the court-appointed administrator finds new investors for the company, it’s going to be a long winter for one of our favorite Italian design houses.

The good news is that Italian media has reported that a number of companies have expressed interest in buying Bertone, including a Turkish company that offered €2 million, which is about $2.75 million at the current exchange rates, for the company.

Here’s to hoping Bertone gets to right its ship sooner than later, and in one form or another. It’s a shame that it’s going through something like this, but like it or not, such is the reality of the world these days.

Click past the jump to read a little about one of Bertone’s latest creations, the Jet 2

Posted on by Simona  

Technical partnerships between competing brands is becoming a key part of surviving the crazy ups and downs of the automotive realm. We’ve seen it with Toyota Toyota and Subaru Subaru , Toyota and BMW BMW , Renault Renault and Nissan, and so on. To date, we’ve had yet to see a splash of a deal between two luxury automakers, but that is now history, as Daimler, AMG and Aston Martin have entered an interesting quid pro quo deal.

Now, the partnership between Daimler and Aston Martin has been through the rumormill before. At one point a rumor also incorrectly claimed that Aston Martin’s future depended on this possible partnership with Daimler . Well, that turned out to be untrue, of course, but this deal will certainly speed things along for the British sports car builder.

Daimler will receive up to 5-percent, non-voting shares in Aston Martin without cash consideration in return for helping build bespoke V-8 engines that will see use future Aston Martin models. The goal of these new engines is to deliver high performance and improved fuel efficiency. The shares will be awarded in stages that correspond to the progress made in this project, and the shares will allow Daimler to observe Aston Martin operations, but they will not have any direct control over Aston.

Daimler will be the fourth company to own Aston Martin shares — the other three are Prime Wagon, Adeem Investment and Investindustrial. Unlike the other three, Daimler also plans to start an additional cooperation to supply of electric components, plus a few other areas of cooperation that will be announced in the future.

Click past the jump to read more about the revived Lagonda - one of the first models rumored to get the new V-8 engine.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

My, how things have changed for Mercedes-Benz .

It wasn’t that long ago when Mercedes was fretting about the S-Class ’ lagging sales in the face of strong competition from the BMW 7 Series and the Audi A8 . So Merc sought an answer, and like a self-fulfilling premonition, it found a solution in the next-generation S-Class.

With a new flagship model in its fleet, customers can’t seem to have enough of the new S-Class, so much so that the German automaker announced that its ramping up production of its new luxury ride.

The law of supply and demand at its finest, folks.

With demand that its predecessor never received in its final days, the new S-Class has compelled Mercedes to add an extra 74 minutes a day on its employees’ schedule, beginning in 2014 at the Sindelfingen assembly plant in Germany where the luxury sedan is built. And this extended time comes after Mercedes already increased work days by 30 minutes this year on top of adding four shifts on Saturdays.

Such is the consequence of a strong 2013 in which the company reported an 11-percent increase in sales from January to November compared to the same time a year ago. In fact, the company has sold 1.32 million units in the first 11 months of the year, almost the same number it managed to sell for the entirety of 2012.

One reason for that is the surprising popularity of the S-Class, a car that has reinvigorated Mercedes’ attempts to rule the luxury car market.

So far so good, Mercedes. Now all you have to do is retain that momentum as 2014 rolls around.

Click past the jump to read about the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Source: Auto News
Ferrari California T

It looks like a future where Ferrari starts using turbocharged engines is drawing closer and closer to reality.

Rumors that Maranello is considering such a move have risen to the surface in recent weeks and now, well placed sources within Ferrari have told Motor Trend that the next-generation California will indeed get a turbocharged engine, in the form of a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-8, similar in design to the powertrain that currently resides under the Maserati Quattroporte’s hood.

It’s not going to be an identical engine, as the one the California will have will be built using all-Ferrari components, but make no mistake, it’s going to be turbocharged, making the new Cali the first Ferrari to use this engine setup since the mighty F40 .

Ferrari didn’t release the performance numbers of this engine, but its worth noting that the Quattroporte’s twin-turbo V-8 packs 523 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, which is significantly more powerful than the current California’s naturally-aspirated, 4.3-liter V-8 that produces 483 horsepower and 372 pound-feet of torque output.

In addition to the turbocharged surprise, the next-gen California will also have its own physical makeover, none more important than reports that the supercar will have receive new body panels to go with an updated interior that will likely be driven up in class relative to what we’ve seen with past California models.

With the rest of its fleet still sparkling from their youthful ages, it’s high time that the California gets the same treatment.

Click past the jump to read more about the Ferrari California

Source: Motor Trend
BMW 7-Series

For all the strides BMW has made in expanding its lineup, one model that’s still noticeably absent from its fleet is a performance-oriented 7 Series .

Talk of a potential M7 has floated around for years, but nothing has really come out of it, leading a lot of people to think that Bimmer is more than content letting Audi and Mercedes enjoy the high-performance luxury segment with the S8 and S63 AMG , respectively.

But not everybody inside BMW seems to agree to this point, including M development chief, Albert Biermann. Speaking to Autocar, Biermann indicated that if he had a say on the issue, he would emphatically call for the M division to develop the M7 so that it could compete with its aforementioned rivals, not to mention the suddenly resurgent Jaguar and its prized luxury cat, the XJR .

Biermann did acknowledge that, while he feels strongly about having an M7, the company still has no current plans to make one, nor does it have any intention to do so in the foreseeable future.

Those who believe that an M7 isn’t feasible can likewise point to the Alpina-tuned B7 as the car that can generally match wits and power with the S8s and S63 AMGs of the world. To that, Biermann contends that a B7 and an actual M7 could be packaged as two totally different models with the latter making full use of Bimmer’s performance division.

But as they say, one voice won’t exactly lead to the change of battle plans and Biermann appears to be resigned to the fact that an M7 isn’t in the cards for the time being. It’s a consequence that could be attributed to BMW’s approach to limit its M models, opting instead to package its new babies as M Performance models the same way its doing with the X3 and the X4 .

It’s a shame considering that an M7 would’ve been awesome. Really, really awesome.

Note: photo is of the 2013 BMW 7 Series

Click past the jump to read about the 2013 BMW 7 Series

Source: Autocar UK

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