topspeed garage

topspeed garage

Posted on by Bryan 14

The automotive industry has seen a massive shift this year. Two legendary supercar manufacturers have created two new amazing products that could change the way we think about the ultra-performance, super-expensive sports car and we will take them head to head in the ultimate competition.

In the left corner is the old workhorse, the Lamborghini Gallardo , but this isn’t the normal run of the mill version. This new model is the LP 570-4 Superleggera, a sort of midlife refresh for the venerable old performance car. Meanwhile, in the right corner, we have the new supercar from the legends of fast car manufacturing, the Ferrari 458 Italia . Unlike the Lamborghini, the Ferrari is all new, taking the place of the old 430.

One is an old veteran with a new outfit and some more power under the hood, while the other is an all-new machine from the Italian legends. This should be one great fight between two companies that have been competing for years and years.

Hit the jump to read on.

Posted on by Bryan 11

A few weeks ago we took a trip to a local bar to watch our hometown baseball team, the Cleveland Indians. Normally we would just go to the game because the tickets are pretty cheap, but even $5 is a bit much to watch a team that really stinks.

Going into the game it was hard to get excited because we have won very few games and are in last place in the division, so needless to say, we weren’t expecting a whole lot. Amazingly though, the team did pretty well and even won the game.

It wasn’t easy for them, but it was determination that brought them a well deserved win. The same can be said for Suzuki . It’s been quite some time since they have been anything to write home about, but after years of hard work and staying under the radar, they finally have a winner on their hands.

The 2010 Suzuki Kizashi was one of those cars where you never quite knew what to expect. Sure, people have written that it was good and a step in the right direction for the company, but, like buying a generic brand cereal, you never want to believe the hype no matter what they tell you or how good it might be.

Hit the jump for the rest of the review.

Posted on by Bryan 3

The Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG can be easily summed up in just two words. The first is massively powerful, with a 457-horsepower V8. The second word is flashy. The C63 has looks that can turn heads and a noise that can shatter windows. Welcome to one of the most insane German sedans on the road.

When you first see the C63, you want it. That massive power and those stunning looks are shocking at first, but that initial impression does wear off.

So, does the 2010 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG deserve those looks or is it another look fast and go-slow family car. There’s only one way to find out, take the car to the track.

We usually start with looks first, but in this German monster, it’s the engine that matters most. The 90-degree DOHC V8 engine displaces 6.2-liter and has an 11.3:1 compression ratio. This monster puts out 457 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 442 pound-feet of torque. Not bad for a start.

Hit the jump for the rest of the review.

Posted on by Bryan 10

A few years ago Audi started a big clean diesel push in the United States market when they brought the Q7 TDI over. The Q7 TDI was one of the most fuel efficient seven-seat SUVs on the market, but man was it ugly. Thankfully, the diesel Q7 was just the first step for the German company in its diesel push. Welcome to the Audi A3 Sportback TDI .

The A3 is the entry-level model for Audi here in the U.S. Previous models have been sold with a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder or a 3.2-liter V6 engine that were petrol powered. Now, Audi has added a new motor to the lineup, a diesel motor. We had a chance to take the diesel hatch out on the streets of Wisconsin for a few hours.

The A3 is in the same market as its brother, theVolkswagen Golf and the BMW 1-Series . It comes in front and all-wheel drive modes with a transverse-mounted engine. Unlike our European brethren, we only get the five-door model.

Hit the jump for the rest of the review.

Posted on by Bryan 4

When BMW dropped a larger engine into the Z4 it could only mean one thing. That instead of an M Z4, we would have to make do with the 35is. If you want a fast BMW roadster, this is as close as it’s going to get.

Still, considering that this 35is has just as much power as the old Z4 M, it’s not that terrible. The only things that you’re going to have to do without are those M badges.

From the outside, the Z4 sDrive 35is looks very good. In fact, we think that this is the best-looking Z roadster yet. In a way, this new car takes a bit of the old Z8’s styling. The look is butch and very aggressive and that’s good for a car like this. We love the straps look on the hood, trunk lid, and the ducktail spoiler.

Inside, the Z4 isn’t bad. BMW has raised the quality of the materials that should have been there in the first place. It feels low down, almost as if you’re sitting on the road. There are plenty of toys to play with, especially if you get the navigation system that comes with iDrive. We didn’t really have time to fiddle with the system, but we hear that it’s a bit easier to use than the old versions.

Hit the jump for the rest of the review

Posted on by Bryan 6

Who in the world said family sedans needed to be boring? Whoever they were, they must not have driven the 2010 Nissan Altima 3.5 SR. The new performance Altima is still a perfect family sedan and one of the best cars to drive in its segment.

The new Altima gets some minimal surgery and it would take a person with incredible eyes to find most of the changes. Yet, what Nissan did is make the car more aggressive and, we have to say, the 3.5 SR looks quite good.

Some of the new toys for 2010 include a newly shaped hood and “T-grille” that give the car a wings sort of look. A new front bumper, and what Nissan refers to as the “license plant finisher”, is at the rear. The taillights are some of best in class, with sharp angles and different colored lights. From the side, the new 17-inch alloy wheels help give the sedan a planted look.

Nissan gives buyers a few engine options to choose from. First, there is a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder that produces 175 horsepower and 180 pound-feet of torque. This motor is capable of 23 miles per gallon in the city and 32 on the highway. This version of the Altima isn’t our favorite, as the engine doesn’t quite have the power to compete with the new Hyundai Sonata or the great noise of the Subaru Legacy.

Hit the jump for the rest of the review.

Posted on by Bryan 12

Fuel-sipping sedans are the in things in today’s economy. No longer are we buying massive military vehicles or run-around-the-town-and-get-5-miles-per-gallon SUVs. With high gas prices, come small vehicles.

While they can be fashionable, they can also be downright nasty. Take for instance the Toyota Corolla . Now, this isn’t a bad sedan, it’s just not great. Nothing stands out or makes you get excited when you drive it. So with that in mind, we took out our three favorite fuel-efficient sedans, starting with the king, the Honda Civic .

The once little Civic has grown up. From a tiny hatchback of the 1970’s to a nearly midsize sedan that simply put, dominates the sales charts. With a gas motor and the option of a hybrid, the Civic is a midsize sedan for everyone.

Don’t want a Honda? Well, the second car in this test is the Mazda 3 . The 3 is a fantastic little car that smiles at you when it’s going past. It handles well and has always been a good seller in the midsize segment.

While the Civic and Mazda have been around the block a few times, the 2010 Kia Forte is just a newborn. With brilliant looks, a fantastic interior, and more power than the Civic, the Kia is a great alternative to the mass market Civic and 3.

Sounds like a round of testing is coming up.

Posted on by Bryan 7

The 2010 Honda Civic sedan is one of the most iconic cars in the world. Sometimes, iconic cars can get a bit soft, like the Toyota Camry, but the Civic has continued to push the boundaries in terms of style and performance. The new 2010 Civic is a really good, economical car and still sells very well. In times of high gas prices, the Civic proved to be a best seller. It’s offered in a wide variety of styles, trims, and prices and it can be tailored to meet everybody’s expectations.

Once Honda’s smallest car, the Civic is more of smaller mid-size sedan than a compact one. The 2010 Civic is actually the same size as the Accord was 15 years ago. Yet, despite the size increase, the Civic retains its agility, efficiency, comfort, and reliability. That being said the Honda Civic is a good car, but it’s not great. A few years ago the Civic was a fantastic little car and the best buy in the segment, but years have passed and the competition is becoming a real threat. The Civic is due for a refresh.

Some of the Civic’s design elements are too weird for us, like the dual-tiered instrument panel. This means that the rev-counter is on the bottom tear, while one tier up and far back in the digital speedometer. Most shoppers will forget about this odd fashion, but it never really grew on us in the time we had the car.

The 2010 Honda Civic is available in sedan form or as a coupe. For both, there are five trim levels: DX, LX, EX, EX-L, and Si. On the Civic sedan, Honda offers the DX Value Package, the LX-S, a GX, and a Hybrid.

Hit the jump for the full review.

Posted on by Bryan 11

So, you want to buy a small sedan for the family? Something that gets great mileage, offers decent room inside the cabin and the trunk and is also able to give out a little power here and there. Let’s not forget fuel economy, this little sedan needs to get 30 miles per gallon or better on the highway. So, what shall you buy?

Well, Kia is offering up the Forte. A new sedan that offers loads for your money, but isn’t as cheap as Kias used to be.

The Forte is the kind of... sort of...the successor to the Spectra, but that really isn’t the case at all. Gone are the bland and boring looks of the old Spectra, replaced by a great soulful product. Kia needed this car in a big way considering all of the competition in the segment from Honda , Toyota , Mazda , Ford and Chevrolet .

With a muscular body style, the Forte continues the wonderful looks that came previously on the Soul. With a pronounced shoulder line that extends back to the rear, the car has a very butch look. The stance is wide and low, giving the Forte good cornering ability. The sweptback headlights and curved grille help give the front fascia a clean appearance.

Hit the jump for the full story.

Posted on by Bryan 1

When you first look at the new 2010 Audi S4 , it might appear that Audi has taken a step backwards with a less-powerful, less-expensive S4, but you’d be wrong. The “third” German car company is finally an individual, no longer shadowing behind the Mercedes AMG or BMW M.

Today, visit an Audi dealership and you will find a completely revamped S4 with more power than the base A4 2.0T and better handling than the Mercedes C63 AMG .

This newest S4 pushes aside the old V8 for a far more efficient supercharged V6 with more torque. Some purists might whine about this change, but the fact of the matter is that the car is now $3,000 cheaper and just as fast.

With the new A4 range, Audi is hoping that its cheaper models will lure people into buying the more expensive high performance sedan. Unlike the old S4, which was pitted against the Mercedes AMG C-Class and the BMW M3 , the new $40,000 range S4 is more suited to battle the 335i orC350 .

Full review after the jump.

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