Car News

The Vitara, one of Suzuki’s most iconic vehicles, was launched in 1988 as a compact SUV . Dubbed Escudo in Japan and Sidekick in the United States, the small crossover came to North America for the 1989 model year. The Vitara name, mostly used in Europe and some South American and Asian market, was introduced in the United States starting 1999. That’s when the second-gen Vitara was born as a slightly larger, pricier and more powerful version of the first-gen model. A replacement was developed for 2005, but the current Grand Vitara has very little in common with the original concept. For 2015, however, the Vitara nameplate is making a surprising return to its roots, as it’s pinned as a compact SUV destined to compete against the Nissan Juke .

Set to break cover at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in October, the brand-new Vitara promises to have "a striking road presence," a "distinctive design," and numerous personalization options, the latter a feat Suzuki rarely offers. So is the Vitara signaling the Japanese are reinventing themselves? It’s a bit too early to draw a conclusion, but the compact SUV is definitely a new approach for a company such as Suzuki.

Click past the jump to read more about the Suzuki Vitara

BMW’s M5 is rumored to get a healthy boost in power while the rest of the 5-Series lineup gets some additional features both inside and out. That’s according to the German website Autobild, which reports the changes will come with the next generation of BMW’s full-size sedans .

Leading the headlines is a rumored 626-horsepower M5 that will feature all-wheel-drive. Not much is know on how BMW plans on producing that power, but it’s a possibility the automaker will still use the same twin-turbocharged, 4.4-liter V-8. Currently that engine produces 560 horsepower, so adding an extra 66 horsepower shouldn’t be an impossible task.

The next-gen 5 Series lineup is said to also roughly 100 pounds lighter, thanks to extensive use of aluminum in place of steel. Despite the added lightness, the Bimmer will feature more premium interior materials. The iDrive controller will be revised to use smaller turn/push knob and its voice recognition software will be easier to use. The car’s automated driving features are also set for an extensive update, making fully automated driving a closer reality.

A plug-in hybrid is also set for release. Its 109-horsepower electric motor will work in conjunction with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, itself producing 240 horsepower. The hybrid is also rumored to have inductive charging abilities.

The remainder of the BMW 5 Series lineup will get power updates as well. The top version of the 3.0-liter I-6 will produce 354 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque; the diesel will produce 324 horsepower with a respectable 486 pound-feet of torque; and the M550xd will kick out 402 horses and 553 pound-feet of torque.

We can expect the new 5 Series to hit German roads for the 2016 model year.

Click past the jump to read about the current BMW M5

Jay’s latest adventure takes a deep dive into hot-rodding history with this beautiful 1932 Ford Highboy roadster . But don’t pass this off as just another deuce coupe . No, this car is the deuce coupe. Jay has with him Bruce Meyer, the car’s restorer and current owner, who tells of a storied past barely imaginable.

The story began in the late 1940s as U.S. soldiers were returning home from the war. At that time, Bob McGee was a student at the University of Southern California and had customized the 1932 Ford in ways never done before. He had notched the frame in order to lower the car, added a custom three-piece hood, V-notched the spreader bar, removed the fenders, shaved the radiator cap and door handles, reworked the car’s interior, and added a 21-stud, Flathead V-8 from a 1934 Ford.

The car then gains even more notoriety when Bob Petersen, the owner of Hot Rod Magazine and Petersen Publishing, shot a picture of McGee in his deuce coupe cruising along the USC campus for the cover of Hot Rod Magazine. As it turns out, McGee’s roadster was one of the first hot rods to grace the magazine’s cover.

McGee eventually had to sell his beloved roadster and the car underwent many other modifications over the years by the hands of several owners. That’s when Bruce Meyer got a hold of it. He painstakingly restored the car back to its original glory, even employing the direction of McGee in his older age.

Now we get to enjoy this piece of history as Jay and Bruce drive the 1932 Ford down its native streets of Southern California. This, my friends, is the definition of hot-rodding.

SUVs and crossovers became increasingly popular beginning in the 1990s. Few automakers have yet to join this profitable segment, while most manufacturers that offer such vehicles are elbows deep into providing the sportiness and chutzpah more and more customers are demanding nowadays, while struggling to keep up with the stringent fuel-consumption and CO2-emission regulations. Granted, SUVs are now more than just plain, slow vehicles designed to haul people or tackle the roughest off-road trails.

Need a sports car that rides higher than usual and can carry four people comfortably? Porsche is ready to take your check and deliver a Cayenne . If legroom is what interests you most, but you also need more than 500 ponies and an off-road capable rig, then you’re better off with the Range Rover LWB . You’d rather trade British elegance and German sportiness for some American bling? No problem, you’re the reason why Cadillac is building the Escalade . There’s no doubt these are all great machines, but they all come with at least one drawback, they’re awfully expensive.

That’s not to say there aren’t any affordable SUVs that can offer seating for seven people out there. There’s a handful of seven-seaters you can buy for less than $50,000 that still offer plenty of posh features. We put together a list comprising the cheapest luxury seven-seater SUVs you can buy for the 2015 model year. Check it out below and let us know which one would you pick as a daily driver.

Click past the jump to find out more about the Top 5 Luxury 7-Seater SUVs priced under $50,000.

It appears Bentley’s Mulsanne Convertible Concept is back on the drawing board. This comes after the project was killed by Bentley’s then-new CEO Wolfgang Schreiber back in 2012. Originally debuted to a small number of customers at the Concours d’Elegance a few months prior, the project went cold when Bentley’s former CEO Wolfgang Duerheimer left the company.

With Duerheimer gone, Schreiber told journalists “we will not do that car,” saying there was “just regional demand” and that it lacked a strong business case. Well the turn of fates has Duerheimer, the father of the Mulsanne Convertible Concept, returning as CEO of Bentley just two years after his leaving.

“When I returned, I was a bit irritated by the fact that no work had been done on this project in two years, Duerheimer said, later reassuring Automotive News that the project was “back on track.”

During his absence at Bentley, Duerheimer spent time as Audi’s Chief of Research and Development, along with a short period at Volkswagen coordinating all its motorsports activities.

Duerheimer is convinced the Mulsanne Convertible will be a strong competitor to the upcoming convertible versions of the Rolls-Royce Ghost and Mercedes-Benz S-Class . Still at this point we don’t know much about the Mulsanne’s pricing or future availability. But with Wolfgang Duerheimer back at the helm, his brainchild will assuredly make it to production.

Click past the jump to read more about the Bentley Mulsanne Vision Concept

Mazda is now confirming details on its upcoming launch of the all-new 2016 MX-5 Miata . The event is set to take place in Monterey, California on Wednesday, September 3, 2014. It will in fact be a global launch with simultaneous debuts in Tokyo and Barcelona. Coverage will also be viewable live on Mazda’s YouTube channel.

Besides the new MX-5 getting the spotlight, 1980s rock band Duran Duran will headline the event, singing plenty of their classic hits. “Duran Duran and the MX-5 Miata both made their world debuts in the 1980s and captured the hearts and imagination of an entire generation,” says Russell Wager, vice president of marketing for Mazda North American Operations. “In 25 years, both the car and the band have evolved while staying true to their roots.”

This is a special time for the MX-5 Miata, as it celebrated its 25th anniversary on February 10, 2014 and will soon break the one millionth unit sold. As of this writing, Mazda quotes that it’s sold over 930,000 Miatas globally since its debut back in 1989.

The details about the new Miata are still unknown, but that won’t last for long. Its debut is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. PDT.

Mazda is throwing a second party for the MX-5 in partnership with Fashion Rocks. The event will be broadcast live on CBS on Tuesday, September 9 at 9:00 p.m. ET. Fashion Rocks will be hosted by Ryan Seacrest at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The two-hour event will celebrate the close relationship between fashion and music.

Click past the jump to read the full press release

Good morning, TopSpeeders; we’re serving up a hot helping of vulcanized donuts for your visual consumption. Today’s chef is Brian Scotto and his 1991 Porsche 911 Turbo do the cooking. This isn’t just a regular 911 Turbo, this Porsche has been worked over by the Japanese company Rauh-Welt Begriff. Scotto and RWB have done some serious modifications to the Porsche , not exclusive to that outlandish body kit. The car’s suspension sits an inch and a half lower, and it rides on 265/40 series tires up front and crazy-big 315/30 series tires out back. The rubber wraps wheels from Fifteen52 sized in 18-by-11 inches and 18-by-12 inches respectively.

Since the car was built just days before the 2011 SEMA show, Scotto and RWB initially left the engine and drivetrain alone. That meant the turbocharged, 3.3-liter, flat-six engine originally cranked out 315 horsepower at 5,750 rpm and 332 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. Those were pretty healthy stats for a car built over 20 years ago. However in recent times, the guys at BBI Autosport slapped on a new exhaust and engine management tuning to squeeze an estimated 440 horses from the rear-mounted engine.

The story behind this Porsche’s trip to SEMA circles around Scotto’s and co-operator and WRC driver Ken Block’s launching of the Hoonigan brand. The Porsche served as the point car and help differentiate Block as an independent driver not attached to Ford.

All that’s well and good, but donuts are more fun. So enjoy this heaping helping of tire-burning, smoke-billowing, hooning fun. And make sure not to miss the vintage Mr. Donuts reference in the video.

The second coming of the muscle car era in the late 2000s and early 2010s has brought about the reintroduction of factory-built drag cars. And Chrysler is no stranger to this realm. Hell, its Challenger Hellcat could hold its own against plenty of amateur dragsters, but for semi-pro and lower-level pro drag racing, you need a little more. This is where the Challenger Drag Pak comes in to play, and Chrysler and Mopar have just shown off the first test vehicle for this upcoming rig.

What is so awesome about these factory-built drag cars is that they are true-to-the-original racers. Unlike so many race cars , these models have real headlights, taillights and other details, and not just stickers in the places where these items would be.

We’ve already seen what the latest Mustang Cobra Jet and COPO Camaro have to offer, now it’s time to see what Mopar and Chrysler can do to get the new 2015 Challenger down the quarter mile as quickly as possible.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Dodge Challenger Drag Pak Test Vehicle.

As the redesigned, 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is being prepared for its unveiling on September 3rd, the rumormill is brimming with unofficial information ranging from the massive design changes to the displacement of the SkyActive engine under the hood. More recently though, yet another rumor emerged, this time claiming the fourth-generation MX-5 Miata will spawn a coupe . That’s the word coming from Automotive News, who does not list a source, which is why we advise you take this report with a massive grain of salt.

The Miata coupe is supposedly scheduled to arrive "roughly a year" after the soft-top goes on sale. If this report proves to be accurate, the coupe will go on sale in mid-2016 following a late 2015 launch. The report goes on to say that the Miata coupe will be more than just a similarly shaped, hard-top MX-5. According to Auto News, Mazda is working on a unique, fastback-style body. My best guess is Mazda could adopt the same styling solution seen on the BMW Z4 Coupe . If the Japanese will indeed build such a thing, that is.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Source: Auto News

Mercedes-Benz has released yet another teaser for the upcoming AMG GT . Nothing new here, as the Germans have been doing that for quite a few months, but this new video confirms the sports car will make its world premiere on September 9th, 2014. Other than that, the footage showcases the development of the AMG GT, which took 32 months of engineering and testing in no less than 15 countries. Impressive!

What’s more, the video confirms that the sports car will be available with two outputs at launch. The base model will benefit from 455 horsepower, while the range-topping model will come with 503 ponies on tap. Yes, I know the video above says "462 to 510 hp output," but like so many European brands, Mercedes is incorrectly interchanging PS and U.S. horsepower. Naturally, both will be powered by the all-new, turbocharged, 4.0-liter V-8.

A spiritual successor to the SLS AMG , the AMG GT is aimed at the likes of the Porsche 911 . Smaller than its predecessor, the AMG GT will also be much lighter, due to extensive use of aluminum and carbon fiber. Styling-wise, it is known the AMG GT will mirror the SLS with its Coke-bottle design. Teaser videos and spy shots hint toward a sleek and wide body, with a curved rear end inspired by the iconic 300SL Gullwing. Speaking of which, Mercedes has decided to drop the gullwing doors for the AMG GT, the only major departure from the mighty SLS.

The jet-inspired cockpit will feature acres of leather and soft-touch materials, alongside plenty of aluminum and carbon-fiber inserts. As with most Mercs, the AMG GT will be packed with convenience and safety features. Stay tuned to TopSpeed for the full details as we approach the official launch date.


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