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News

In the wild-and-crazy world of the automotive enthusiast, there are all shapes, sizes and manners of ways to have fun. You can climb up a mountain at 3 mph in a modified Jeep , you can blast across the dessert at insane speeds in a Baja truck , or you can fling a small roadster like the Miata at your local autocross. Despite all of this, there is still one true “enthusiast” machine that stands above all; the sports coupe.

Two doors of sexy, fast, and exciting have long defined the term sports car . There have been many great coupes over the decades, but it seems to me that now is about the best time in our history to be a lover of the coupe .

To celebrate this pinnacle of fun and performance I have gathered together a quick list of what I think are five of the best sports coupes that exist today. As always, make sure you hit those comments when you get done reading. Let me know what I got right, what I got wrong, and what I was missing. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Continue reading to find about the 5 Best Sports Coupes

It’s no secret that carbon fiber is one of the latest breakthrough materials that provides a high-strength, low-weight solution to nearly any problem. Today it is used in making body panels, support bracing, and even entire monocoque chassis. But now, companies are developing complete one-piece carbon-fiber wheels. Jay Leno takes a look at Carbon Revolution, a company that is on the brink of releasing its carbon-fiber wheels to the marketplace, including to an undisclosed OEM automaker. Yep, soon we’ll see a mainstream automaker release a vehicle rolling on a set of carbon-fiber wheels.

Brett Gass, Executive Director for Carbon Revolution stopped by Jay’s garage to show off the new wheels. Weighing in at roughly 15 pounds, the carbon-fiber wheels weigh an average of five pounds less than a set of lightweight aluminum wheels normally found of today’s sports cars. Gass also elaborates on how his wheel is certified by the German government to pass all safety and strength requirements.

To test the wheels, Jay, Gass, and a group of friends head out to Willow Springs Raceway in a 2008 Porsche 911 GT3 RS . Besides a sideways slip into the dirt by Jay, the carbon fiber-shod Porsche holds the road. The group of guys talk about how standard, lightweight aluminum wheels flex, while the carbon-fiber rims don’t. The premise seems a little far-fetched to me that a novice driver in a borrowed car can feel the aluminum wheels flex, though I don’t doubt the benefits of lighter wheels. Either way, it’s an interesting look at the future of wheel design and construction.

Ever wondered what Ferrari would look like if it became, to quote former CEO Luca di Montezemolo, “American?" Well, Jalopnik writer and artist Jason Torchinsky did just that, creating a series of hilarious Ferrari-based renderings that show a number of models receiving America’s unabashed imprint.

The F12 Brougham and the FF Sportwagen could actually pass of as legitimate Ferraris if you’re looking at them while in an inebriated state, but that’s the extent of it. The rest of the renderings take a turn for the insanely hilarious. There’s the 458 Montana SUV that looks like a moustachioed 458 on PEDs; the 458 Eagle with “vertical stabilizing fins” and a Pontiac Firebird-inspired eagle hood graphic; the 458 Rebele with welded doors and General Lee-inspired livery; and the three-wheeled Florida T with an exposed supercharger and a meth-dispenser system.

But the coup de grâce is the limited edition LaFerrari Van that might actually make for a pretty decent family car if not for the fact that it isn’t real.

Well done, Jason. Well done. Somewhere Ferrari executives are typing up a cease and desist letter.

Click past the jump to see how Ferrari’s lineup will look like if it really was becoming "American."

Image Credit: Jason Torchinsky
Images used with the express permission of Jalopnik.

Source: Jalopnik

Luca di Montezemolo’s abrupt resignation as Ferrari president (effective October 13th) caught a lot of people by surprise. It was a bombshell, to say the least, but don’t start feeling bad for Ferrari because the company, largely due to di Montezemolo, is raking in a whole lot of money these days. Even in the U.S., Ferrari’s revenues have never been healthier, especially after selling 1,062 cars in the first half of 2014. That unprecedented success also coincides with the 60th anniversary of the Italian automaker in the U.S., which we all know is a pretty big deal. It’s so big, in fact, that Ferrari’s planning to commemorate the occasion by releasing a special edition Ferrari exclusively for America.

Details are still sketchy at this point, but Ferrari did say that only 10 units of this yet-to-be-identified model will be released. In other words, that’s exclusive with a capital "E." Let the speculation begin on what this model’s going to be. If I’m going to guess, I think it’s going to be based on the Ferrari California T . I have no intel whatsoever; I just have a hunch.

Aside from this limited-edition Ferrari, the company’s plans for the U.S. also include selling even more models in the second half of the year. In addition to more sales, the company is also planning to have a charity initiative and what di Montezemolo describes as “a major event in Los Angeles to bring together all our American clients and collectors."

Maybe that’s the time and place we see this limited edition, U.S.-only Ferrari. It makes sense, doesn’t it?

Click past the jump to read more about Ferrari’s future special edition.

The appointment of former Nissan executive Andy Palmer as the new CEO of Aston Martin has opened deeper talks between the British car maker and German auto conglomerate Daimler . Reuters is reporting that Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche is “fundamentally open” to deeper talks with Aston Martin so long as Palmer wants to have one.

That appears to be a certainty given Palmer’s attempts to persuade Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn to invest in Aston Martin when he was still with Japanese manufacturer. Those discussions didn’t amount to anything and many in the industry believe that it was a factor in Palmer jumping ship — or cars — to the British automaker.

Now that he’s with Aston Martin, Palmer’s close relationship with Daimler during his time at Nissan is expected to play a big role in Aston Martin’s dealings with the German luxury car maker.

Daimler already owns five percent of Aston Martin and the two companies have existing engine deals with each other, including a tie-up to develop a new generation of AMG V-8 engines.

Don’t be surprised if talks between the two sides heat up soon. Daimler’s open to it and with Palmer now the CEO of Aston Martin, the pieces are in place for that to happen.

Click past the jump to read more about the Daimler-Aston Martin partnership.

Source: Reuters

Liveries and sponsors are an important part of motorsport. No wonder certain models are best recognized when wearing the colors of Martini, Gulf Oil or even Coca Cola. Take Porsche for instance; the Germans have scored some of their most important racing wins while wrapped in Martini, Gulf and Rothmans liveries. The 911 , 935 , 936, 956 and the 962 are all related to these brands. But there’s a certain livery that’s often overlooked when it comes to Porsche. The white, red and blue of Brumos Racing , a team established by Peter Gregg in Florida, in 1971.

A race driver himself, Gregg took on the IMSA GT Championship with sponsorship from Brumos Porsche, a dealerships that had been importing rear-engined sports car into America since 1959. Granted, Brumos never reached the heights of the Gulf- and Rothmans-sponsored Porsches, but it did win the 24 Hours of Daytona four times. Its first success dates back to 1973, while the most recent win occurred in 2009. Brumos’ career also includes appearances in the Can-Am series with the incredibly fast 917. Although the company folded in 2013, its white cars adorned by red and blue stripes remained iconic figures among endurance racing aficionados.

To honor Brumos Porsche and its successful track record, the Germans launched a special-edition 911 Carrera GTS in 2012. Dubbed B59, it consisted of only five bespoke units that came in Carrara White with the famous Brumos stripe design. These sports cars also payed tribute to Hurley Haywood, who raced Porsches for around 20 years and played a big part in Brumos’ success. All five were delivered to the United States, where they found homes in collectors’ and Brumos enthusiasts’ garages. Some keep them alongside other Porsches, while others store them in garages that also include British vehicles and pure American muscle cars .

They all share a common passion that has been captured brilliantly in the video above. Hit the play button to meet the owners and the story behind Brumos and Hurley Haywood.

Land Rover is set to embark on a massive and admittedly ambitious expansion the likes of which we haven’t seen from the British SUV maker. The company’s Range Rover brand has always been its meal ticket, but there’s a good chance that it might soon share honors with the Discovery and Defender models, each of which is set to expand into its own family of models.

Car Magazine is reporting that that Land Rover is laying the groundwork to create a separate line of models for the Discovery and the Defender, effectively creating three sub-families under the Land Rover name. The British magazine discussed this development with Land Rover’s design director and chief creative officer, Gerry McGovern. According to McGovern, Land Rover is aligning its brands to create three separate families - Range Rover, Discovery, and Defender - with each family having one standout characteristic.

The Range Rover will be a luxury sub-brand, that was established a long time ago. The Discovery, however, will be all about "Leisure," something Land Rover began with the arrival of the sportier-than-usual Discovery Sport, which is apparently taking the place of the Freelander . Discussions within the company are also on-going regarding the development of the fifth-generation Discovery that was showcased in preview guise by the Discovery Vision Concept at the 2014 New York Auto Show .

Land Rover will also work on differentiating the Range Rover models from the Discovery models.

Then there’s the Defender. McGowan described it as the dual-purpose sub-brand that will be markedly different from the Range and Discovery brands. Don’t expect the new lineup of Defenders to be similar in aesthetics to its brothers, as these models will retain the same utilitarian character best associated with the roots of Land Rover. McGown specifically pointed to the importance of having multiple Defender models, largely because it’s the brand that will cater to traditional fans of Land Rover.

“The Defender is about durability,” McGowan told Car. “You kick the hell out of them and they get up for more.”

Click past the jump to read more about Land Rover’s future plans.

Source: CAR

You can go ahead and mark another successful TopSpeed Podcast in the books. Thanks for everyone who hung out with us live. We really appreciate it. If you missed the live show, don’t worry. You can watch or listen to the entire show right here.

We start things off with Mark’s week spent with the Hyundai Sonata Turbo . I take some time to talk about how incredibly well-designed the new 2015.5 Volvo XC60 is, and Mark comes back to talk about the incredible fun that is the Lexus RC and RC F .

When we make it over to the news portion of the show we spend the start of the show discussing the departure of Ferrari’s chairman, Luca di Montezemolo and what it could mean for the brand going forward. After that we move on to some Viper talk with the announcement of the new price cut, and we look at our beautiful rendering of what a new Viper Roadster would look like.

We keep up the excitement of new car news with a discussion about how great the new Mercedes AMG GT and Jaguar XE look now that both have been officially announced.

In this week’s Viewer Questions we talk about the V-8 engines we think sound the best and we discuss what happens if we get a press car that we don’t like. Do we still drive it, or does it sit in the driveway while we enjoy our personal cars?

We finish things up with an Own, Drive, Burn segment that consists of three legendary cars from Nissan’s past.

As always, we appreciate everyone who watches or listens. Don’t forget to leave your comments below. We love any and all feedback; good or bad. We also love to get questions and Own, Drive, Burn suggestions for next week’s show.

Stay safe and have a wonderful weekend, everyone. We will be back to see you next Thursday!

With the lightweight Jaguar XE soon to start battling the BMW 3 Series , rumors about the British company planning to roll out an entire family of vehicles are flying all over the place. Although not officially confirmed, the move makes a lot of sense considering Jaguar is aiming to become a strong competitor to Germany’s finest. Naturally, this scenario got us all excited and thinking what would an XE Coupe and Sportbrake version of the look like. Our rendering team was quick to provide us with some answers in that aspect, and, with the coupe already online, we have returned to show you the XE Sportbrake.

Yes, that’s right, we’re 100-percent positive the station wagon version of the XE will carry the Sportbrake moniker. It’s already a tradition in the Jaguar family and the Brits wouldn’t have it any other away, considering the same nameplate is used for the larger XF. Read on to see what it takes for the XE to become a premium grocery-getter.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2017 Jaguar XE Sportbrake.

It has become inevitable that electric-powered cars are the way of the future. We aren’t quite sure how electricity is going to be created to power these cars, but it has been almost universally accepted that batteries and motors are the way forward. Of course, people are lazy and they get concerned about things like charging times, plug variations and charging locations. BMW and Daimler have teamed up to hopefully make charging as easy and painless as possible with new wireless charging technology .

I won’t go too deep into the technology behind it, but think of it as a really large version of the wireless charging technology that some cellphones use. Basically, there is a large conductive coil installed into the bottom of the car that is attached to the batteries. If you park over the top of a second large conductive coil that is attached to a power source, the car batteries will begin charging. BMW has also managed to develop this system to be extremely fast and efficient. They say that this system can fully charge the new BMW i8 in less than two hours with the current prototype system.

Another benefit of this system is the ability to build it into any flat pavement. Entire mall parking lots or even highways could theoretically be wired with conduction coils, so your car would actually be charging as you went shopping or drove to work. If electric cars are the future, this is like warping into the age of the Jetsons.

Click past the jump to read more about BMW’s new Inductive Charging System.


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