topspeed garage

topspeed garage

Posted on by Bryan 5

Jaguar Design Director, Ian Callum, is a genius. Maybe not literally, but in the design world, the man can’t be beat. With great results, Callum has redesigned the Jaguar product line for the new millennium. One can tell that the XF was simply the beginning of a grand reshaping that has taken over the company. The new XJ and XK are just some examples for the XF’s revolutionary design.

It took a team three years to create the car you see in the photo above. At the time, the launch of the car was overshadowed by the worrisome future of the company itself. That meant that the XF was important for more reasons than one might think. If the car was a hit - which it was bound to be - it could save the brand and give the business a new value.

There is no need to get into the company’s business plans. We all know that once Ford let them go, an Indian company bought them. The company is called Tata and although it’s not a very flattering name, they have helped turn Jaguar into the company you see today.

Hit the jump to keep reading.

Posted on by Bryan 1

When one takes time to think about how the years have gone by it can be a tad bit overwhelming. The days of grunge rock don’t seem like they were that long ago, but one glimpse at the calendar and it’s clear that time sure has flown.

Many years ago, back in the late 1980s, there was an interesting trend happening in New York City. The baseball team that was consistently overshadowed has grown up and become a major player in the race for the title. The Mets had always been the baby brother of the Yankees. They were never quite good enough and they never had millions of fans from around the world. Yet, as the Yankees declined, the Mets grew.

That brings us right to the Subaru WRX . For years, the normal WRX has been in the shadows of the bigger and faster STI variant, but those days seem to be over. With the 2011 model year, the WRX has gone off to camp and come home a grown up, ready to take on the sports sedan world like never before.

Hit the jump to read on.

Posted on by Bryan 2

The Ford Mustang is like apple pie and baseball in the United States. The Chevrolet Corvette might be in that phrase somewhere, but we like the Mustang more. In the minds of many different Americans, the Mustang hasn’t changed a whole lot under the skin. While we’ve had some fancy Roush versions and the GT500, most Mustangs actually haven’t changed much and that can easily be said about the base V6 version.

The previous home of the base Mustang was the rental car fleet for people traveling on business trips, because leisure in a previous generation Mustang V6 wouldn’t be possible. Not to mention many thought of the V6 powered Mustang as a sacrilege that could only be purchased if the world were ending. To sum it up, it was crap.

With 2011 came the same bum economy, a still falling apart Motor City, and a new base Mustang. Luckily, while the first two were a tad depressing, the latter will change the way you think about the Mustang V6. Gone is the stone age 4.0-liter V6, replaced by an all-new 3.7-liter with 305 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Hold your breath and clinch your rear, because here in the rear kicker, the motor still delivers 31 miles per gallon.

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Posted on by Bryan 2

This morning, we woke up to a normal day. It was a bit cold, being that it’s September in Northern Ohio, but all in all a good day in the year 2010. At least, we thought it was 2010 because when we looked outside it seemed to be 1969. In the driveway was a Dodge Challenger SRT-8 , a Chevrolet Camaro , and the Ford Mustang GT. Three cars that might have our current year before their names, but look like their older generations.

The new Chevrolet Camaro has just about the same overall look of the older versions from the late 1960s. Except, of course, in a few interesting areas. The tires are much larger, the back end looks like it’s had too much cake, and the beltline is hiked up like a nerd’s trouser line. Not to mention the squished roof that makes the car appear fatter than it actually is.

Our SS version had a smattering of SS badges, massive 20-inch wheels, a hood scoop, and a rear spoiler. The front slot – located on the front fascia – doesn’t actually do anything, as it’s just for show. All these vulgar additions help the car stand out like a man wearing an orange suit in a Ritz-Carlton hotel ballroom.

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Posted on by Bryan 17

In this current economic and environmental situation, the new 2010 Dodge Challenger is like building a mansion for a banker in the middle of downtown Detroit. Not only isn’t it the best place to live, but it might be a bit inappropriate to the underprivileged of the city. Building a car that manages to get 13 miles per gallon and uses a motor the size of a tug boat seems a tad off in today’s green age.

That being said, they’re not the only ones who are going all out to kill more endangered animals in the arctic. Ford has the Mustang - although their new V6 gets 31 miles per gallon - and Chevrolet has the new Camaro SS , both aren’t exactly green.

During the Challenger’s first year, Chrysler was on the ropes and was looking down the barrel of demise. With Fiat taking control of the helm, the company seems to headed in the right direction, but let’s not forget that this muscle car was created during darker days.

Hit the jump to read the rest of the review.

Posted on by Bryan 8

It wasn’t that long ago that Ford was offering us vehicles that were just plain awful. Showrooms were filled with Five-Hundreds, older Escapes, and current generation Focus models. Could this have been the reason why Ford went down the tubes? Possibly.

Ford wasn’t alone though, as General Motors and Chrysler were falling like dominoes as well. General Motors owned more car companies than Coca Cola does drink brands, and needless to say, it wasn’t working. Pontiac went down the drain, as did Oldsmobile, Hummer, and Saturn. What they were left with wasChevrolet , Cadillac , and Buick , three companies that failed to offer a competitive vehicle.

Chrysler , who owned Dodge and Jeep, might have been worse off, if that’s possible. Most of the Jeep products were horrendous and Dodge was in the same boat. Chrysler on the other hand, had a hit on its hands with the 300C, but outside of that, most of their products weren’t very good. After it was all said and done, Chrysler was partly taken over by Fiat, in the attempt to turn the company around and GM was in the hands of the government.

Among the big three car makers in the United States, Ford has undertaken the largest overhaul. The new 2011 Mustang and the new Fiesta are just starting points, but they have changed the way we think about the company. They are wonderfully built, gorgeous to look at, and sensational to drive.

The next machine to come out of the Ford juggernaut is the 2012 Focus , which will be shown at the 2010 Paris Auto Show in just days. The new Focus is an example of Ford’s “One Ford Ford ” product strategy and it will likely be the largest seller for the company. The Focus that we have been seeing in photos will be sold in Europe and in North America, with a few changes in the motor offerings and minor details.

Hit the jump to read on.

Posted on by Bryan 18

During our drive of the new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee , we overheard many shoppers commenting about a need for four-wheel drive in their vehicles. Now, let’s be honest for a moment. Most of these moms and dads will never use the abilities of a four-wheel drive machine. The parking lot at the local grocery store doesn’t have rocks that you need to scale in order to get into the parking lot or deep lakes in front of the door.

Yet, there are those who do use these machines the way they are supposed to be used. A real four-wheel drive machine can do so much in the rough stuff that it’s hard to be stopped. Crossovers and luxury SUVs – besides the Range Rover – would be left for dead.

When looking at the top ten vehicles that have wonderful off-road abilities we first need to find ten of them. It was actually quite a task to find ten vehicles like this. It seems the days of the big off-road SUV are in the past. When we managed to locate them, we looked at build quality, off-road ability, on-road ability, style, comfort, and power.

Hit the jump to see the list.

Posted on by Bryan 12

Some people are willing to pay a pretty penny for luxury. Just look at the price of a first growth French Bordeaux or a tin of Beluga Caviar. These objects are for the rich, the very rich, and to go along with their high-end eats they need high-end vehicles.

We all know that the Bugatti Veyron is the most expensive car in the world, along with its many different variations, so we aren’t just going to do a list of the Bugatti’s, even though it sure would be easy.

Most of these machines are extremely high performance and they aren’t the sort of machines you will see hanging around the local Wal-Mart. In fact, many won’t see BMW’s around Wal-Mart, but that’s beside the point.

Years ago, we reported the top ten most expensive cars in the world as created by Forbes Auto. Well that list detailed how expensive these cars are to own, but we have always held the notion that if you afford these sorts of machines, you can afford to service them and if not, you need an accountant.

Hit the jump to see the list.

Source: Forbes Auto
Posted on by Bryan 0

It has not been an easy couple of years for the third member of America’s big three. Their products were lame and their profits were even worse, not to mention public perception after the bailout wasn’t that good. While General Motors and Ford have been dominating with new vehicles, Chrysler has been laying low with the same old stuff. Needless to say, this machine has been a long time coming.

With 2010 comes a whole new machine, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee , a stable in the Chrysler lineup for years, redone and ready to dominate the competition. Not that there is much competition for a full size off-road SUV.

Taking cues from the new Dodge Ram , the 2011 Grand Cherokee takes them in a whole new direction that results in one of the best interiors money can buy. Not to mention a vehicle that is quiet and refined on the road, but hard and aggressive in the rough stuff, not that we were able to go in any.

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Posted on by Bryan 2

It’s been awhile since we test-drove a car, but it’s usually the same old affair. Potential customers drive up to the dealership, get harassed by salespeople who don’t really know the product they are selling, and finally, if you’re lucky –we’ve been turned down before – drive the car you hope to buy.

Usually, the drive is five minutes around the block and that short amount of time can make a Chevrolet Impala look good. The real way to test a car is a road trip, and – for the reader of course – we took a 1,000 miles journey in the biggest and most luxurious Lexus of them all, the LS460L, to the coast of Georgia. The things we have to do for good reviews.

Our journey began on Interstate 77, down through the mountain roads of West Virginia, through the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, and finally down the most insane highway of them all, Interstate 95 to a location only 50 miles from Florida.

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