topspeed garage

topspeed garage

Posted on by Bryan 3

Take a step back from the SLS AMG and take a look at the old SLR McLaren . It was more of a cruiser than an all-out performance vehicle, but it was pretty good nonetheless. Pretty good, as it turned out, wasn’t good enough.

Mercedes and McLaren took the SLR back to the garage and put their engineers to work and out popped the SLR 722. Taking a fast car and making it faster is the German way and they are at it again with their latest model. Unlike before though, the new SLS AMG GT3 isn’t road legal. This thing is a pure adrenaline pumping race machine.

We liked the basic SLS more than most performance vehicles on the market, including the Lexus LFA , so we should like this new version even more. Sadly, we have no idea how it drives because we aren’t racing drivers, even though we like to think we are sometimes. That’s not going to stop us though, as we take a look at the SLS GT3 and the LFA.

Hit the jump to find out.

Posted on by Bryan 8

Nobody will ever get excited over a washing machine. It does one job and if it does it well, that’s enough to make you smile for at least a few seconds, but you will never get tingly over it. The same can easily be said of midsize sedans. There will never be one parked outside of a very expensive Beverly Hills country club and no super spy will drive one. Yet, that won’t stop theHyundai Sonata from being a damn good car.

What makes this machine so amazing is the fact that Hyundai wrapped so much into a package that costs so little. You get a 2.4-liter direct-injection four cylinder with variable valve timing, six-speed automatic with manual shift, an Ipod/USB/AUX jacks with Bluetooth, ABS, stability control, power everything, and a warranty that will outlast some of the owners, 10 years/100,000 miles, all for $20,195. That cost saving bundle is more shocking than this year’s San Diego Padres.

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata is the sixth version of the sedan in the Korean automaker’s history. The plan with this car is to offer families more for their money than they get with the Honda Accord , the Toyota Camry, the Chevrolet Malibu , and so on. On paper, this is the best car for the money.

Hit the jump to read on.

Posted on by Bryan 3

There are much better ways to drive around without getting noticed and driving around in cars that cost well over what any of us make isn’t one of them.

Our cars - a Mercedes-Benz S600 AMG , BMW 760Li , Jaguar XJ and the Audi A8 - are dressed in their best colors with the waxed paint job glimmering in the evening sunlight. Driving through the heavily used highways around the Cleveland area is prime gawking time for motorists. At first, the stares and pointing fingers can make you feel a bit uncomfortable, but can you blame them? It isn’t everyday that you see a luxury barge roll through a relatively poor city, especially now that LeBron James is gone.

These four sedans might be large in stature, but one nudge or poke in the wrong place and its goodnight in one impressive display. So, with more onlookers than a Thanksgiving Day parade, we are obliged to find the best luxury sedan among the four.

Hit the jump to continue.

Posted on by Bryan 15

In the world of automotive journalism, it can be difficult to really love a car. We sit behind computers, making assumptions on new products that we have yet to drive. It’s easy to love a car or hate a car from a chair, but will we feel the same way when we actually get a go? This was our dilemma with the Mazda 2 . We have been praising this little car for its quirky looks ever since it debuted in 2007. We were as excited as a child with a new toy for the chance to get to take one out on the road for the first time.

The Mazda will be hitting showrooms soon, but it wasn’t that long ago when the future of this machine was still up in the air. We hoped and prayed that we would finally get a good small car. So, does the little Mazda fulfill our every desire?

At first glance the Mazda seems to have kept its slender figure. Where as most cars gain weight when they make the trip to the U.S – as do most humans – the Mazda2 has kept its figure. Sure, there are larger reinforcements to help the car pass U.S safety standards, but, all in all, this is the same machine we saw during its debut.

Hit the jump to continue reading.

Posted on by Bryan 16

There are cars out there that come out and you know, right off the bat, they are going to be the golden child. Then there are cars that are produced and people shrug their shoulders and say, "That’s average." Those "average" cars have to work hard and strive to become the automotive men that everyone vehicle hopes to be. The 2010 Mazda6 fits into the average category. The 6 started out as a nothing, a lowborn family sedan that came from the same platform as the rest of the sedans created by Ford’s legion of minions. After years of hard work things have begun to look up. How things have changed for the 6.

No longer a nobody, the midsize Mazda has grown up and moved away. Ford has cut its stake in Mazda to 13% and my, what it has done. This is no reflection on Ford, they make fantastic cars, but now that Mazda is free to create and produce what they please, the 6 has become a man.

The base model Mazda6 is nicely equipped with loads of power stuff and standard stability control; pretty much the usual things you’ll find on most midsize sedans. The price is even highly competitive at $19,220. Who wants base though, it’s like settling for second best. We chose the i Grand Touring, a seemingly luxury sedan with so many different options on it that it would take a while to describe them all. Hope you have time to spare. Our Mazda Mazda 6 came with proximity-sensing keyless entry and push-button start; 17-inch alloy wheels; rain-sensing windshield wipers; auto-dimming heated outside mirrors with "puddle" lights; automatic Xenon headlights and LED taillights; leather upholstery; and a blind-spot monitoring system. Add the optional moon roof/navigation/Bose audio package and tax and title and you’re looking at one pricey ride.

It’s Mazda’s version of a Lexus , without the dull looks.

Hit the jump to read the rest of the review.

Posted on by Bryan 4

Like a ditzy party animal or an all-out slacker, Honda was late for work. The Japanese automaker went into the office and decided to wage war against the Toyota Prius, only to discover that Toyota has moved on from the model they were aiming for.

The weapon that Honda has chosen in the green wars is the new 2010 Honda Insight, a sloped-nosed four-door hybrid that looks about the same as the Prius, just cheaper. Honda’s aim with this new car was to take away Toyota’s customers by offering 41 miles per gallon without the premium price tag.

We had a chance to drive the new Insight for a weekend and our test car was around $20,000, well below the Honda Civic Hybrid and the last generation Prius.

Seems too good be true? Honda is offering the same sort of thing that you get in the Toyota, but at a price that is far more affordable for the masses. Amazing.

Sadly, it’s not as good as you might think. Toyota has moved on from the Prius that Honda’s fighting and created an all-new version that’s massively better. The new model is capable of 50 miles per gallon, a number that will let Toyota keep it’s standing as the most fuel-efficient car in the United States. At least for now.

Hit the jump to read on

Posted on by Bryan 14

It was created at a time when Chrysler was pretty much as broke as a third world country. Their cars were horrendous boxes on wheels and they could only manage a few miles before breaking down. Needless to say, 1989 was not a good year for the Detroit automaker.

Nonetheless, a crack team of 85 engineers was put to work on one of the most iconic sports cars in our country’s short history. It might not have the same legacy as the Corvette or the Mustang , but the Dodge Viper had something completely different. Insanity.

The Viper was never that good, but that’s why we love it. It didn’t have any fancy toys, or even windows in the early stages, but it was brutally fast and crude in every way. Nothing was quite as fun to drive around a track as the Dodge Viper .

Sadly, its time is at an end. Chrysler may still be making terrible cars, but the rest of the world has moved on. This month will be the last production month for the Viper. We, at TopSpeed, have produced a brief look at the lovable Dodge .

Hit the jump for the rest of the story.

Posted on by Bryan 16

There are certain vehicles that just sell well. Take the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry for instance. No matter what happens or how good the competition is, these two will sell well for their companies. We’re not saying that there is anything wrong with these two models, except for the Camry, which is dull as a dishwasher, but a buyer needs to look at what else is on the table. The first choice might not be the best choice.

In many cases, the cars that are often ignored are the better buys. These are the dark horses of the automotive world. These are cars that fly under the radar of the American public.

Below are our ten best cars that aren’t quite known to the general public. Sure, us car people know about them, but your average consumer might be unaware. This list is not a top ten; so don’t think that one is better than ten, because it might not be.

There are a few models on the list that won’t be under the radar for long, but as of now, we still consider them dark horse models.

Hit the jump to see the list.

Posted on by Bryan 9

The Honda Accord has been the Iron Man of the midsize sedan market for generations. Now, with the great Accord name on the back, Honda has created an all-new version of the family sedan. Meet the Accord Crosstour, which adds a touch of modern versatility and a premium ride to the Accord lineup.

The Crosstour is Honda’s take on the swoopy five-door coupe-like crossover that seems to be making its rounds in the automotive world. So, is the new Crosstour good enough to be called an Accord?

If you think this design is new then you would be quite mistaken. The 2010 Accord Crosstour is just another five-door utility in the market. BMW has the X6 , Toyota has the Venza , and Acura has the ZDX.

Amazingly, despite being nearly the same company, the Acura ZDX is not at all similar to the Crosstour. The ZDX is based on a truck chassis, while the Crosstour is pure Accord.

Hit the jump to keep reading.

Posted on by Bryan 6

The Honda Accord is a wonderful car, but every once in a while you get tired of seeing it all over the road. Everybody knows somebody who owns a Honda Accord. We know that was a line used by Toyota , but it works in this situation as well.

In order to avoid being just another Accord driver, we have been having some fun in the 2010 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ and, too be honest, there aren’t many on the road.

In our opinion, the name is a big reason why this car won’t sell. When one thinks of the Malibu they think of the bland and stylistically uninteresting previous generation Malibu and no matter how many commercials Howie Long stars in, that opinion isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

On looks alone, the 2010 Chevrolet Malibu LTZ isn’t that bad looking and shows a giant step in the right direction.

The exterior is sleek, handsome, and much fitter and hipper than the old Malibu. Even the Cobalt looks like an unattractive mongrel next to the Malibu. While not as good looking as the Accord, Civic , or Mazda3 , the Malibu isn’t an ugly duckling.

Hit the jump for the rest of the review.

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