Roadster cars are convertible compact sport cars, more or less luxurious but with a bold look and providing lots of feedback to the driver. they are the fun fast cars by excellence

The Chinese market is well on its way to become the biggest automotive market in the world, so it’s not at all surprising that automakers are sending them special editions by the boatload. BMW sent them the beautiful M3 Tiger Edition last year, and this year they are bringing the special Z4 sDrive23i Flame Edition.

The Flame Edition gets its name from the special desert yellow metallic paint on the exterior. This color was inspired by the Art Karma desert located in the central west coast of South America. Combined with a new set of 17-inch alloy wheels, this paint provides the Z4 with a dynamic and elegant appearance.

The incredible exterior look is highlighted by the elegant touches in the interior. The special BMW Z4 sDrive23i Flame Edition features Alcantara / Nappa leather combined with yellow stitching, a yellow center console, and Alcantara trim for the doors and the center panels. BMW is also offering a personalized version of the piano black trim to provide the Flame Edition with an even cleaner look.

Volkswagen’s predicted domination of the automotive world just launched its next attack with three production versions of the Volkswagen Bluesport concept. According to Volkswagen, the BlueSport will see three different levels of performance illustrated in three different badges: Volkswagen , Audi , and Porsche . It can go without saying that the Porsche model will be the most powerful and, up until now, it was just known as the "baby Boxster ." Well, that baby Boxster has finally been named. Say hello to the future Porsche 550 .

The "550" name was first used in 1953 when Porsche unveiled a sports car inspired by the legendary 356 . At that time, the 550 was not considered a successor for the 356, but Porsche’s future 550 will more than likely carry that title. The new 550 will be the first model to be built on Porsche’s new sports car architecture and will be offered with a mid-mounted, turbocharged 1.6-liter engine that will deliver around 200 HP. This engine will be mated to a dual-clutch seven speed transmission.

The future 550 will be launched in 2014 and, on the European market, will be priced about €8,000 ($11,500 at the current exchange rates) less than the current Boxster . That difference accounts for about 20% of the current Boxster’s price tag, which means our fellow Americans will have to pay about $38,000 to purchase it.

UPDATE 09/30/2011: British magazine CAR reports that the upcoming Porsche 550 will feature a new trademark horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine developing a total of 210 HP and 215 lb-ft of torque. If Porsche decides to create a more powerful version for the 550, that would mean it will use a 2.5 liter flat four turbo engine that delivers a total of 360 HP and 350 lb-ft.

Stay tuned for more details on the 2014 Porsche 550.

Source: Autobild

Caterham has announced the launch of a new standalone engineering business, Caterham Technology and Innovation Limited (CTI). The new company will develop a completely new line of accessible and affordable sportscars inspired by the lightweight, minimalist philosophy of the Seven . The new models will use technologies and materials from the Group’s Team Lotus Formula One and Caterham Team AirAsia GP2 motorsport operations. Also, CTI will work at advanced projects from both automotive and aerospace sectors.

"The new shareholders are committed to investing in an exciting range of global products over the next 10 years," says Mark Edwards, CTI’s Chief Executive. "Tony Fernandes has been very clear from the start that Caterham needed a sustainable research and development business model in order to meet the plans the management have for the road car business. By establishing unique operating principles for CTI, we have managed to attract a world-class team of niche vehicle engineers eager to build on the ethos of Caterham and the DNA of the Seven."

When Lexus unveiled the LF-A Roadster concept at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show, everyone was hoping that the drop top version of the LF-A wouldn’t end there. Now, three years after the highlighted debut, the roadster model has finally been confirmed for production. Expect the Lexus LF-A Roadster to make its appearance in late 2014, only after all of the 500 coupes have been produced.

The design of the future drop top should remain parallel to that of the coupe with possible tweaking in the headlamps and a few other minor tricks. The biggest change will be the fabric soft top, waiting and willing to deliver a wind-in-your-hair experience. Under the hood, expect the same 4.8 liter V10 engine as found in the coupe version. This engine delivers a maximum output of 560 HP at 9,000 RPM and a peak torque of 354 lb-ft at 6,800 RPM. The sprint from 0 to 60 mph will still be made in under 4 seconds, while top speed will be kept in the 200 mph area. The only question remaining is if Lexus will also offer a Nurburgring package for the Roadster model.

UPDATE 09/21/2011: Despite the fact that everyone was waiting to see a roadster version of the LF-A supercar fairly soon, in a recent interview with British magazine, CAR, Lexus sources have confirmed that plans for a roadster model have been axed due to the economic uncertainty in markets around the world. Ouch!(CAR)

UPDATE 01/16/2012: We all know that Lexus axed the LF-A Roadster due to economic uncertainty in some markets, but then a Lexus LF-A Roadster made a surprise appearance at the D1GP Kick Off Drift event that took place just outside the 2012 Tokyo Auto Salon.

This LF-A Roadster could just be a one-off custom job from one of its owners. But seeing what a drop-top version of the Lexus supercar could look like has us pining to see the roadster program get kick-started again.

Check out the video after the jump to see the LF-A Roadster burn some rubber on a drift track at the 2012 TAS.You can get to the tire thrashing at the 48-second mark.

German automaker, Artega , first unveiled the Artega SE at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show last March, showing the promise of what a German electric sports car could look like. Of course, their purpose was to also give the US-based Tesla and their pride and joy, the Roadster 2.5 , something to think about.

Recently, the Artega SE was in attendance at the Frankfurt Motor Show with plenty of updates on the vehicle. The model that we saw at Frankfurt looks to be one of the few test prototypes of the electric sports car. While expectations are understandably high for the SE, Artega is tempering its expectations on the car, leaving it with a concept tag while it still undergoes testing and development.

Ultimately, the company has made no bones about its intention of bringing the Artega SE into something more than just a concept car. Artega chief executive, Peter Müller, put it in simple terms: "Our aim is to combine environmental responsibility with the passion for automobiles."

The Artega SE is an electric version of the company’s initial offering, the Artega GT . The two cars sport the same body and aluminum spaceframe with the only notable difference being the powertrain fitted under its hood.

UPDATE 09/20/2011: Engadget has received confirmation that the Artega GT’s younger brother - the Artega SE - will indeed be heading to US shores. There’s no specific timeline as to when this will happen, but at least we know it will!

Details on the Artega SE after the jump.

Aftermarket companies have waited a long time for the Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster . If for nothing else, they just couldn’t wait to get their hands on one to see what kind of tuning program they could make.

At least one tuning company will agree to this because we already have the first tuning program for the SLS Roadster courtesy of Kicherer.

In building the program for the supercar, Kicherer paid careful attention in not completely changing the overall essence of the car, although they did add a few carbon dress-ups to make it stand out as a Kicherer project. The most noticeable is the hand-made GT front grille, but many other fancy parts got added, including a new front spoiler, new side skirts, aerodynamic fins that were added onto the bonnet and on the wings, and a set of three-part, double-spoke 20" RS-1 lightweight wheels.

Kicherer also installed a new coilover "Front Up" suspension system that improves the car’s handling and a stainless steel exhaust with four oval end pipes with an integrated valve control, giving the driver free reign to choose the kind of exhaust tone he prefers.

Without leaving anything behind, Kicherer also took the time to tweak the SLS AMG Roadster’s powertrain with their own sports air filter, taking the Merc supercar’s 6.3-liter V8 engine and increasing its output from the standard 571 horsepower all the way to 630 horsepower. If that isn’t powerful enough, Kicherer is also offering a second performance tweak that includes an exhaust manifold system and a sports catalysor, further bumping up the output to 650 horsepower.

Take all these improvements in and you have a supercar that can accelerate from 0-62 mph in 3.5 seconds with a new top speed of 199 mph. Fantastic.

Toray Industries is a multi-national company based in Japan that is considered as one of the foremost carbon fiber makers in the world. With all the resources it has on tap, Toray is venturing into the world of automotive building with the help of renowned auto designer, Gordon Murray.

Their first project, a two-seat electric concept, is called the TeeWave AR1 Concept and it has got enough carbon fiber to last multiple lifetimes. That’s hardly surprising, either, considering that they have all the carbon fiber they need at their disposal. Almost every panel of the car is made from carbon fiber, reducing the body’s weight to just 846 kg (1865 lbs) while also making it roughly ten times stronger than reinforced steel. By comparison, the Tesla Roadster weighs 1,220 kg (2689 lbs), 44% heavier than the AR1 Concept.

According to Toray, the TeeWave AR1 can reach a top speed of 91 mph with a range that hits 115 miles. The extensive use of carbon fiber on the AR1 Concept allows it to be as light as it is, but the cache to all that is the tremendous cost that comes with building just a prototype. Word has it that one prototype of the carbon fiber-decked AR1 Concept comes with a price of $3.88 million, a number that’s ridiculously expensive even by the standards of the most exotic of supercars.

That’s not to say that there’s no future for the AR1 Concept past the prototype phase, but the whole point for Toray has always been to introduce the prevalent use of carbon fiber, not just on high-priced exotics, but on everyday vehicles as well.

Hit the jump to see a video of the TeeWave AR1 Concept during its debut at the 2011 Toray Advanced Materials Exhibition.

Jaguar C-XE

The Jaguar C-X16 Concept may be catching the eyes of many at the Frankfurt Motor Show, but over in the European Alps, Jaguar engineers are working the kinks out of the production version of this concept: the Jaguar XE . The XE will be debuting sometime next year and will be offered in both coupe and roadster versions, with the roadster debuting ahead of the coupe. After both of those models come out, a GT3 version for the coupe will also show its face. Maybe we’ll get lucky and get R and R-S versions as well.

Either way, the new Jaguar XE will be built on the same platform as the current XK sports car and will be powered by a 3.0 liter V6 made entirely of aluminum and delivering some 380 HP. Jaguar has promised that the XE will be a true two-seater sportscar with plans to hunt down models like the Porsche 911 .

Lofty goals aside, the new Jaguar XE will fit in nicely with the Porsche clan by offering a price tag that falls somewhere between the Boxster , the Cayman , and the 911 .

Volkswagen has released a full army of concept vehicles based on their new Up! platform at the Frankfurt Motor Show. One of the concept vehicles, the Up! Azzura Sailing Team, is a version of the Up! that takes nautical pleasures to a new level.

As an open-top concept with a lack of doors too, the Up! Azzura Sailing Team was penned by no less than Volkswagen chief, Walter de Silva, and Giorgetto Giugiaro with the idea of bringing to life and paying homage to nautical life. As such, the design elements featured in the concept carry some of those nautical characteristics, including an open-cabin with mahogany and maple wood trims, chrome components, and white-blue leather. On top of that, the car has also been dressed in a resin coating to make it waterproof, which would make sense considering the whole point of the concept.

As for the powertrain, the Up! Azzura Sailing Team runs on an electric motor, although nothing appears to be set in stone since the concept is unlikely to ever make it to production.

From the people that gave us the SR2 and the SRZero comes a new track-day and road-focused roadster that’s expected to be the company’s flagship model of 2011. Radical Motorsports recently introduced their new bad boy, the SR3 SL, at the Autosport International Show in Birmingham, England.

According to Radical Motorsports , the SR3 SL is expected to be their most advanced supercar yet. Certainly, there’s a lot to like about this British beast. It’s got 300 horsepower inside of it, making for a scintillating open-top joy ride. It’s lightweight structure - overall weight is just 675 kg - allows it to to quick and agile, even for Radical’s standards.

And if you just happen to have an insatiable lust for power and speed, Radical Motorsports is offering a Race Pack for the SR3 SL that comes with added features, including an engine calibration map selection that provides ‘road’, ‘wet’, and ‘racetrack’ suitable maps, a racing bi-plane rear wing, racing tire options, and an FIA-approved fuel cell.

Suffice to say, Radical took the time to load up on the SR3 SL, much to our approval.

UPDATE 09/15/11:The Radical SR3 SL has been around for some time now, but it was only this week when it made its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Suffice to say, the car looks hella nice up close and personal, too. Check out the new images in the gallery provided!

Details on the Radical SR3 SL after the jump.

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