Car News

The U.S. auto industry have given us some of the most incredible automobiles over the last 100 hundred years. Starting with the Ford Model T , the first vehicle mass-produced on moving assembly lines, and ending with the aluminum-bodied, 2015 Ford F-150 pickup truck, America has made a name for itself as one of the world’s biggest automobile manufacturers. Before the Great Depression, the U.S. produced over 90 percent of the vehicles sold globally, and after World War II it was responsible for 75 percent of the world’s production. That’s no longer the case in 2014, when China manufactures nearly 20 million vehicle a year, more than both the U.S. and Japan.

Sure, these numbers don’t mean U.S. manufacturers have lost their touch. Just look at the new Mustang and Corvette Z06 , and you’ll notice the brilliant engineering and the passion are still there. However, it’s common knowledge that global production works on different standards which restrict the availability of certain models in certain markets. It works both ways. Europe, for instance, can’t have many of the vehicles sold in the U.S., while Americans can’t buy cars made by a variety of European brands. Ironically, North American manufacturers have launched a bevy of nameplates that can’t be had in the U.S. And while most of them wouldn’t stir any interest on these shores, some vehicles have caused great frustration to the American enthusiast.

I’m going to talk about the latter. The cool cars we can’t buy and drive over various production or import issues, or even the manufacturer’s lack of interest in the U.S. market. Take a look at my choices below and tell me what you guys think. I narrowed the list down to 10 vehicles, so feel free to let me know which ones you think I should have included in the comments box.

Click past the jump to read more about the cool cars we can’t buy in the U.S.

The turbocharged California T came as a big surprise in early 2014, but it appears Ferrari aims to add forced induction to all of its V-8-powered sports cars . Concerned about both fuel economy and safe ways to increase output, the Italians are testing a turbocharged version of the Ferrari 458 as we speak. While rumors about a force-fed 458 surfaced in early 2014 when a white mule was spotted playing in the snow, a new batch of spy shots featuring a camouflaged sports car comes to confirm the turbo 458 is well underway.

Reportedly dubbed M458-T , the new iteration of the company’s entry-level sports car is expected to see significant gains in terms of horsepower. Specifically, the turbocharger attached to the new V-8 unit is likely to push output to around 670 ponies, a 74-horsepower addition to the 596 ponies available with the 458 Speciale. Of course, more power means an updated cooling system and revised aerodynamics as well, with minor design changes to further mark the introduction of the first turbocharged 458.

Click past the jump to read more about the Ferrari 458 M

Every one of us here at TopSpeed is foaming at the mouth to see the Q50 Eau Rouge take production form, but there may be a handful of roadblocks ahead. On January 8th, Infiniti filed a trademark application for the super-sedan’s "Eau Rouge" name, and the patent office has yet to approve it. It is almost a certainty that the patent office will approve it, but it will then go up for contention, and this is where the issues may pop up.

You see, the Eau Rouge name is actually inspired the famous uphill bend on the Spa-Francorchamps course owned by the Wallonian government. Though there is no American trademark on the name, the track does have the "L’Eau Rouge" name registered with the European Union’s trademark office. This would give the track and its owners legal grounds to contest the name, which could spell trouble for Infiniti.

Contention would ultimately give Infiniti two options. Option 1: change the name altogether. Option 2: pay Spa-Francorchaps a sum for each vehicle sold, much like GM did to SCCA for using the Trans Am name.

It is doubtful that the racetrack’s owners would turn down an offer to make a couple bucks with each vehicle sold just to use the nickname. Race tracks are notoriously expensive to run and go bankrupt regularly, so the extra cash flow for simply signing off on Infiniti using the name would likely be welcome.

We’ll keep an eye on this situation and update you as soon as the trademark issue is addressed.

Click past the jump to read more about the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge

Source: Bloomberg
Posted on by Nico DeMattia  

Land Rover has always been on the forefront of off-road technology . It’s a company that prides itself on pushing the bar upward with each new model. For instance, the new Range Rover is quite possibly the best, most advance off-roading production vehicle on the market today, with its all-aluminum body and frame, it has anti-roll bars that disconnect electronically and it can even come with a sonar system that allows you to monitor wading depth. All Land Rovers are highly advanced vehicles, and Land Rover seems to be teasing some new tech for the upcoming Discovery Sport .

The video seems to be tying the history and future of Land Rover with that of the space program, showing numerous Evolution Of Man-style aeronautic images. At the end of the video it even references the partnership between Land Rover and Virgin Galactic, the space program branch of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin empire.

The first bit of interior tech Land Rover teases, is the satellite-image-style navigation system, which could offer an incredibly accurate way of tracking yourself while off-road in dangerous and desolate places, or allow fantastic exploration abilities. The second bit is the set of seven rear seats that seem to have a high range of maneuverability. The last piece of tech Land Rover teases is a large, panoramic moonroof that seems to stretch almost the entire length and width of the roof.

Land Rover doesn’t tease too much, but it is hinting that this new Discovery is on the cutting edge of technology. The Discovery Sport is rumored to use space-grade techniques, borrowed from its Virgin Galactic partner, such as "see-through" view of the road ahead, helping you avoid dangerous terrain while tackling tough terrain, as well as gesture control, which will allow the driver to operate various parts of the vehicle with hand gestures. These are all just rumors, of course, and we’ll see how high-tech the Discovery Sport really is when it debuts September 3rd, 2014. For now we can only speculate as to what kind of tech the Discovery will really have, and hope that a zero-gravity key-fob is one of them.

Flyin’ Miata has this incredible ability to create unique and wonderful cars from the Miata . Nancy the supercharged NC is a sprightly car that is set for rally racing, Atomic Betty is a world class GT car and the Exocet is a track-day phenom. These are all shop cars, however, and are set up to portray a certain style and characteristic.

But what would an employee of Flyin’ Miata do to their own car. With no need to highlight a certain part or feature, and no need to cater to the desires of a customer, what would they create. If you are Keith Tanner, you create the Turbo Smurf.

This 1990 Miata has been fettled, upgraded and altered in essentially every manner to become what is Keith’s ideal daily driver. From the drivetrain and suspension to the interior and even the sound insulation, there is almost no part of this roadster that has been left untouched.

Are the results a carefully created car that coddles as well as it excites? Or did Keith just create a Frankenstein of speed and noise that only just manages to ferry him to the shop without killing him? I spent some time behind the driver seat to figure it out.

Read on to discover more about the Flyin’ Miata Turbo Smurf Miata

The Volvo XC90 is one of the best-selling and most critically well-received models from the Swedish brand. Since its inception in 2002 the XC90 has been praised for its incredible build quality and its family-friendly design. Despite its many great features, very little has changed for the XC90 in the last 12 years, and the car is starting to show its age. The refresh in 2007 and the updates over the last few years have been merely stop gaps for this; the all-new second-generation Volvo XC90 . The SUV was just redesigned for the 2016 model year and the Swedes updated it in every department. Brand-new styling, a completely reworked interior and state-of-the art convenience and safety features are here to help the XC90 give its competitors a run for their money.

The platform is also all-new and brings a hybrid drivetrain with it. A first for the XC90, which enters a new era that focuses on fuel economy more than anything else. Gone are the 4.4-liter V-8 and the 3.2-liter inline-six. This SUV is now a four-cylinder exclusive machine. Don’t worry though, power is still up there and the amount of technology is greater than ever before.

So let’s jump right into it, shall we?

Updated 8/27/2014: Following a series of leaks, Volvo released the majority of the information on the 2016 XC90.

Continue reading to find out about the all-new Volvo XC90.

Posted on by Nico DeMattia  

Imagine this, you’re driving down a twisty, winding road, in a convertible BMW with the top down, wind in your hair and in your ears, and the sound of…nothing because you’re driving a hybrid. Sounds pretty awful, right? Well don’t worry because BMW isn’t making a hybrid convertible, at least until the i8 goes topless. BMW has officially stated that six, inline cylinders will drive the upcoming Z4 replacement. This is good news. The Bavarians have always made wonderful I-6 engines; with smooth, buttery powerbands and lovely, growling exhaust notes.

The engine in question, code named B58, will be a 3.0-liter, turbocharged I-6 that will put out around 335 horsepower and 324 pound-feet of torque. Combine that with an estimated curb weight of around 3,084 pounds, and you’ve got one hell of a convertible sports car. Rumor also has it that this car will be developed together with Toyota and its upcoming Supra replacement. Based on the success of the Toyobaru twins and all of the success BMW’s had developing sports cars, I cannot see this car being anything other than fantastic.

This is a whole new line of engines from BMW. It’s in the same “Efficient Dynamics” engine family that its newly released, 1.5-liter, three-cylinder and 2.0-liter. four-cylinder engines are from. This engine is also rumored to debut in the upcoming 7 Series replacement, and should trickle down into the 3 Series and 5 Series cars shortly after. It’s also good to see Bimmer sticking with six-cylinder engines. Many automakers have been ditching sixes for turbo-fed fours, and while the turbo fours pack quite a punch, they lack in emotion and excitement compared to sixes. So while the Z4 might eventually get the familiar 2.0-liter turbo four as well, it’s refreshing to see BMW also offer an I-6.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW Z4 successor.

Source: Motoring
Posted on by Nico DeMattia  

BMW M3s have always been about high-revving, naturally aspirated engine and lightweight, nimble handling. In fact, that was the case for all M cars until the M5 came along with a twin-turbocharged V-8, which then made its way into the M6 as well. The E92 generation M3 was the last M car to have a free-breathing engine. The new one, chassis code F80, gets forced induction — much to the dismay of many M car fans. With the help of two turbochargers, the new, 3.0-liter inline-six makes 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. That’s a considerable bump over the 295 pound-feet of the previous M3 and it comes on 2,050 RPM sooner. This makes the new M3 much more of a weapon than the E92, which needed to be revved to eternity to really get going. And this shows, as the F80 gets from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds where as the old E92 took 4.1.

Chris Harris seems to think, despite what all of the haters say, that this new M3 is best of the breed. And he should know, being that he used to own an E92 M3 and currently owns an original E30 Sports Evolution M3. Harris say the engine, despite drawing such criticism for its blown-nature, is a masterpiece. It doesn’t sound all that great but it works wonderfully.

The chassis balance, as always with M3s, is fantastic and the gearbox is epic. One place where the new M3 might still draw criticism though, is the steering. It’s electric and many people, including Harris himself, think that it feels a bit artificial, but it’s incredibly accurate and is nicely weighted. Chris seems to think that this new M3 moves the game dramatically forward over the previous generation. If a man who drives some of the most hardcore sports cars out there says that, then I’m going to listen.

Chris Harris makes lovely videos because they help people like me, who don’t always get to drive some of these awesome sports cars, really get a feel for what they’re like. He really beats on the M3 in this video and shows what it can do, drifting through turns on a circuit and bombing a twisty, mountain road. In doing so, we can really get an idea of just how good the new M3 is. It may not be as pure as an E30, but it’s damn close, and that’s good enough for me.

Ever find yourself longing for a Bugatti Veyron but don’t have the $2 million in cash lying around to buy one? Well if you happened to have $300k in your pocket, then here’s a Veyron you could have had. This lovely, pre-owned Bugatti comes complete with beautiful two-tone, black and blue paint scheme with a spotless tan interior. With only 19,836 miles on the clock, there are plenty of fun-filled years left in this supercar’s carbon-fiber-filled chassis.

Of course, as with any pre-owned vehicle, there are a few nicks and bumps to be found – but overall, nothing major. It seems the previous owner accidentally left the racetrack, getting its undercarriage slightly soiled with mud and grass. The wonderful European mud continues along the front chin spoiler, around both sides of the car, and is partially evident at the rear air diffuser.

There appears to be a slight pit in the paint just beside the passenger side headlight and along the lower chin splitter on the driver’s side. Those will likely buff out, no problem.

It’s also recommended that a new set of tires be purchased for the Veyron, as it seems the previous owner left one back at the track. A full alignment is also recommended, as it appears the right rear control arm is aimed slightly off center.

Sadly for you, the bidding on this beautiful Bugatti has already ended with the winning bidder paying CHF253,900 ($277,418, as of 8/25/2014). Good thing the winning bidder didn’t let those slight imperfections get in his way of owning this wonderful coupe. Remember, it is powered by a reliable and efficient Volkswagen engine and comes standard with all-wheel-drive.

Click past the jump to read about the Bugatti Veyron

Source: Axa

The upcoming Mercedes-Benz MLC has been spotted doing hot laps around the famed Nürburgring wearing its swirly camouflage. Mercedes engineers appear to be pushing the BMW X6 -fighter pretty hard around the track, as those low-profile tires scream in protest around every turn. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Mercedes testing the fastback SUV , but it is the first time seeing it perform on the track.

While we don’t have official word of what lies under the MLC’s hood, but the engine powering this example let off plenty of cracks and snarls at it accelerated away. This may very well be an AMG model, though we suspect the bodywork for AMG-specific MLCs would be more aggressive. It does seem to keep up with the Porsche Cayenne at the video’s one-minute mark.

Mercedes will likely have the MLC production ready for the 2016 model year. Since it’s a direct competitor to the BMW X6, we can expect it to carry a price tag of $60,000 to $70,000 depending upon trim levels.

Stay tuned to TopSpeed for any more developing spy shots and news regarding the upcoming Mercedes-Benz MLC.


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