topspeed garage

topspeed garage

Posted on by Bryan 4

Take a trip back, if you’re able, to a few weeks ago when we reviewed the Lexus IS250C . In that review we made the claim that the IS250C was a major step up from the old SC, which we hate with the same passion as Republicans hate Democrats.

While Lexus had years to realize their SC mistake, Infiniti had nothing. The company hadn’t had a convertible since 1992 with the M30. Starting from scratch might be saying a tad much, as the G37 was built with a hardtop in mind. That being said, taking the top off a car, even if it was designed to have it done, isn’t an easy task to accomplish.

With all these different factors in mind, we took out the new 2010 Infiniti G37 Convertible, with the sport package, out for a week of driving around town. Did the newest Japanese hardtop live up to big veteran Lexus?

Hit the jump to find out.

Posted on by Bryan 7

From the hood to the wheels, and all the way back to the exhaust pipes, this car puts a little fear into your blood. The blue metallic paint, carbon fiber roof, and the chrome exhaust pipes aren’t flashy, but they do give off the perfect performance look. In the attempt to match the competition - most notably the Lexus IS-F - we had nearly every option put onto this car, bringing the price to right where we wanted it; $66,000. Sometimes we amaze even ourselves.

One interesting note with the M3 is driving it in cold weather. Not that it was cold out though, just in the mornings before the sun had risen. Most of time we wouldn’t be awake at that time for any reason, but the temptation of an early morning drive was just too much. The BMW’s motor is limited while it’s cold, but once it warms up, all hell can then break lose. Other publications have reported that first and second gear can be stiff when cold, but we never had that issue.

Hit the jump to keep reading.

Posted on by Bryan 1

Too long have we been under the German and Italian wave of performance cars. Too long have we been forced to drive, in Germany’s case, their perfectly engineered soulless rocket ships. Too long have we had to drive gorgeous cars that catch fire from Italy. We want something fast, hardcore, and from an Allied nation. Britain and team McLaren to the rescue.

Let’s start with the name shall we. It might sound stupid, like BMW’s constant use of numbers that mean nothing to the normal person. Is the 750i better than a 760 or a 740? In this case though, the name has some serious weight behind it. The MP4 should ring a mental bell for those of you who love and follow Formula One. Every Vodafone McLaren racing car carries the name MP4 along with it. That should give us some sort of understanding as to how the new car performs.

The 12C aspect of the car isn’t that historical. In fact, it’s not very exciting at all. The C stands for carbon and the 12 for to McLaren’s internal Vehicle Performance Index. See, pretty boring stuff. Despite this, we are about as excited as a child during Christmas to learn more about this new McLaren.

Hit the jump to keep reading.

Source: McLaren Media
Posted on by Bryan 8

The new 2010 Lexus IS-F is the brand’s first attempt at creating a performance machine to rival the German juggernaut. The car started life as an IS350, so we didn’t have high hopes for it right off the bat. The normal IS is a reliable and capable sports sedan; boring and plain in mostly every way. Then, it found the steroid cabinet.

The IS-F is very interesting to say the least. It’s got bulging front fenders, a 416 horsepower mountain of power, an eight-speed transmission, and a hard ride that would scare away most Lexus owners.

A useful car to Lexus ? No, not even close. As pointless things go, the IS-F is on top of the pile. But, it makes a little sense when you remember that the one major flaw with the company was that it could never rival the Germans and their high-performance sedans. The sort of cars that sell in small numbers, but help automakers land big spots on automotive magazines and websites, like this one for example.

Hit the jump to read on.

Posted on by Bryan 4

Take a visual trip with us down to Florida. Ignore the hot sun, sticky humidity, alligators, hurricanes, and all the other stuff that makes the state terrible, and focus on the retirees. What sort of car are they driving at 10 miles per hour below the speed limit? If you guessed a Buick , you would be right. We would have also accepted Cadillac and Toyota.

That’s the image that most people get when they think of the Buick brand. Grandparents above the age of 65 driving around in boats dressed up in the shape of a car with a suspension so soft and leather so plush that you could mistake it for a yacht. That is the exact reason why General Motors nearly went belly up.

The message coming from automotive enthusiasts finally sunk in to GM’s thick skulls and they presented us with the new Buick Regal , basically an Opel Insignia with a new badge. So, does this new sedan shake off the old image, or should we leave it at the retirement home when the test is complete?

Hit the jump to find out.

Posted on by Bryan 4

Americans love their wagons. Actually, that’s not true in the slightest. Americans hate wagons for some odd reason. Instead, they love crossovers that are about as fun to drive as a horse and buggy. Nonetheless, Cadillac thought it would give the wagon thing a go, hoping that they could succeed where BMW and Mercedes failed. For those anoraks out there, this is the first time in the company’s 106-year history that they have built a wagon, or estate as some call it.

While some estates offer maximum cargo space, the Cadillac went for a more stylistic approach. It’s only 1.25-inches taller and about 200 pounds heavier. It’s like wearing flip flops in the winter, simply a fashion thing and not practical in any way. The look is deceiving though, as Cadillac has stretched the taillights to a total of three feet. They’ve also added roof racks and, of course, no Cadillac would be complete without chrome.

Hit the jump to read the review.

Posted on by Bryan 7

There is no doubt in our minds that the Mini Countryman will split opinions more than U.S politics. For some, this machine will be a savior. It will be for people who found the Mini Cooper a tad too small and a bit impractical. For others, it’s a pointless new development from a company who continues to try and force different variations of a legendary car down our throats.

The newMini , made by the German automaker BMW , has always had some issues. We all know it’s a small car, but some have managed to package room and space in a small frame. Mini must have forgotten how, as the interior of the Cooper is a tiny place.

Mini gave us the Clubman in order to solve our size needs. Sadly, this was an abomination of the great Mini name. It accomplished the goal of size and practicality, but at a terrible price. It’s like bulking up on Big Macs and fried foods. Sure, it will accomplish the goal, but you’re not going to attract anything with eyes and you probably won’t live long. So, how does Mini bring a larger vehicle to the market without losing the normal characteristics?

Hit the jump to read just how they did it.

Posted on by Bryan 4

With the real World Cup far behind us, we thought we would host our own world challenge, minus the annoying horns. Okay, yes, the cars do have horns in them, but none of them could be worse than those vuvuzelas.

We took four cars from four different countries in a serious attempt to see which country produced the best performance machine, and to give some self esteem back to the countries that were knocked out of the football tournament. We gave it our all to get four vehicles that were similar in mostly every way. Performance, power, styling, driving dynamics, and build quality inside and out were all examined with a fine tooth comb.

So, it was off to the car dealers to grab our wheels for the test. From the good old United States we have the new Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 , America’s most powerful and most ostentatious sports car. From the fatherland, we have the classic Porsche 911 , but this one has a turbo up its backside. From the land of the rising sun, we have the technical wonder, the Nissan GTR . Finally, from our home land, the United Kingdom, we have James Bond’s preferred choice, the Aston Martin DBS .

Let the games begin.

Posted on by Bryan 13

What is a high-end sports car? Are they Italian performance machines like the Ferrari 458 and the Lamborghini Gallardo , or are they more sensible vehicles like the BMW M5 and theMercedes-Benz SL63 AMG ? We think they’re the latter.

For this top ten, we are going to set the price cap at $120,000, if you can call that a cap. That should eliminate most of the extreme vehicles, but keep the basic Porsches and so on within the limits.

What kinds of things are we looking for with high-end sports cars? Obviously, they need to be fast with agile handling and excellent driving dynamics. The car needs to look stunning with a functional yet stylish interior. It would also be great if it could stand the test of time, so reliability is also a factor.

Let’s review the previous winners of our sports car test. The Volkswagen GTI took the top spot in the entry-level test due to its excellent performance, build quality, and versatility. There were numerous winners of the mid-level test , as we had multiple categories. We chose the Audi S4, the BMW M3, and the Ford Mustang GT500 as the top cars in their classes.

Hit the jump to see the list.

Posted on by Bryan 13

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.

Hit the jump to read the lists.

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