Car News

The Formula E Championship kicked off in spectacular style over the weekend, featuring a last-lap crash between the race leaders Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld that gift-wrapped the historic win to Lucas di Grassi. That’s what everybody’s talking about and rightfully so. But the inaugural Formula E race also saw the BMW i8 take center stage as the series’ official safety car.

Isn’t it fitting that a championship among electric-powered race cars would have a low-emission, hybrid sports car like the i8 serving as its safety car?

The BMW Qualcomm i8 Safety Car, as it’s officially known, was joined by its little brother, the BMW i3 , which also performed duties as the series’ official medical car and extraction car. Might as well keep it in the family!

True to form, the i8 Safety Car ended up taking part in a busy and action-packed race, none more dramatic than the hellacious crash in the last lap of the race. While jockeying for the lead, Prost’s Renault made contact with Heidfeld’s Venturi, sending the latter into the barricades in one of the most spectacular crashes we’ve seen this year. Fortunately, both Prost and Venturi escaped the accident in relatively unscathed.

At the very least, it gave us a good preview of how exciting the new FIA Formula E Championship can be. The BMW i8 Safety Car already knows that after only one race manning the track.

Click past the jump to read more about the BMW i8 Safety Car.

We’re all familiar with today’s Caterham Seven or the Lotus -badged, simpler sports car that preceded it. It’s a pure driver’s car suitable for both public roads and tracks, although it’s not exactly the vehicle you’d want to drive to work on a daily basis. However, if you need a no-nonsense sports car in your life, you can’t go wrong with the Seven.

You can have anything from a Suzuki -sourced, 660cc to a 2.0-liter Duratec engine under the hood. That gives it an output range from 80 ponies for street cruising to as much as 311 horsepower for quick laps around the track. Sure, 311 horses is quite a lot for a vehicle that weighs only 1,147 pounds, but the power-to-weight ratio can get even more ridiculous than that. All you have to do is head to Donkervoort, the Dutch shop that has been manufacturing its Seven-based sports cars since 1978.

Its latest creation, the D8 GTO, is unlike anything Donkervoort ever built. Sure, it resembles its predecessors, but things are completely different when it comes to the GTO’s shell and powerplant. Unlike other D8s, which came with either Ford or Audi four-bangers, the GTO comes with Ingolstadt’s famed 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine. Output ranges between 340 and 380 horsepower, more than anything Caterham has delivered so far. As if that wasn’t enough, the D8 GTO received a full carbon-fiber body that results in an insane 1,543-pound curb weight. This end is a power-to-weight ratio that rivals the initial Bugatti Veyron’s ratio. I’m talking about a supercar motivated by 987 ponies; is this amazing or what?

So how does a D8 GTO look, sound and run? You can find out in XCAR’s comprehensive review in the above video . Make sure you don’t miss it, you won’t be seeing one of these monsters on U.S. streets anytime soon.

Posted on by Simona  

The Porsche 911 started its run back in 1963 - and oh what a run it is -, but it wasn’t until 1999 that a GT3 version was offered up for our ravenous consumption. It came to complete the series of performance vehicles that started back in 1973 with the 911 RS, a model that was capable of sprinting from 0 to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and to 100 mph in 13 seconds. Why the short history lesson? Well, the new generation GT3 has just made its world debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and would be nice to make a comparison between the things that were and the things to come.

The new GT3 is lighter and more powerful than the model it replaces, and it brings innovative features like the first active rear wheel steering in a production Porsche. There is a bad news too unfortunately: the new GT3 will only be offered with a PDK transmission - at least for now!

Updated 09/16/2014: Porsche unveiled a new video showing the new 911 GT3 in action on the track. Enjoy!

Hit the jump to read more about the next generation Porsche GT3.

It appears Toyota is readying a new iteration of its famed Hilux midsize pickup truck . Our spy photographers grabbed these images along a mountain road in southern Europe as the Japanese automaker put this test mule through its paces.

Absent from the pictures but present on-site was a Volkswagen Amarok , a direct competitor for the Hilux. While the two trucks aim at the same market, the VW is regarded as more spacious and comfortable than past Hilux trucks. Since Toyota brought it along, perhaps we can expect a more civilized and roomy Hilux.

We can expect the upcoming Hilux to include a bevy of gasoline and diesel engine options, along with both manual and automatic transmissions and two- and four-wheel-drive. At this point, no details exist about its powertrain options.

Considering the new offerings coming to the U.S. by way of the Chevrolet Colorado , GMC Canyon , Nissan Navara , and a rumored Honda Ridgeline , Toyota may elect to bring the new Hilux to the States as the Tacoma . If this possibility becomes a reality, then we could see a new Tacoma by 2017, if not sooner.

Then again, Toyota could stick with its current U.S.-spec Tacoma, opting for a heavy refresh with new looks, new underpinnings, and generously updated powertrain options. Only time will tell, but rest assured TopSpeed will cover it.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Toyota Hilux.

There’s been a lot of talk about Ford’s upcoming Shelby GT350 , especially in regards to what engine might find its way under the hood. At some point, word on the street pointed toward the next Shelby carrying either a twin-turbo, 5.0-liter V-8 or an updated version of the 5.8-liter eight-banger found in the 2014 Shelby GT500 . Those rumors went down the drain in September 2014, when Ford’s own parts website leaked some precious information, including that the GT350’s powerplant will displace 5.2 liters with no forced induction whatsoever.

Was that enough to quench our thirst for GT350-related details? Heck, no! But, fortunately, the folks over at Motor Trend did some digging to find out the precise configuration of the mill Ford is planning for the GT350. And as it turns out, the upcoming muscle car will get its juice from a flat-plane crankshaft V-8. It’s a bit tricky when it comes to vibrations, the report adds, which is why development has been a little slow, but it appears Ford’s SVT division found a way around these problems by fitting the pony with a host of heavy-duty parts.

The engine can now spin at 7,500 rpm, which brings it close to what the initial GT350’s capabilities. Add an output that’s rumored to be close to the 600-horsepower mark, and we have a neck-snapping rig in development.

Click past the jump to read more about the Ford Shelby Mustang GT350.

Source: MotorTrend

Holden has built small utility vehicles since the early 1950s. At first it was the Special-based Utility. The Kingswood-based coupe utility followed in 1968 and remained an integral part of the lineup until the model got the axe in 1984. The body style returned in 1990 as part of the Commodore family and adopted the familiar Ute name. Since Chevrolet cut the El Camino from its lineup in 1987, the Ute remained the only mainstream utility coupe manufactured by General Motors. The Holden Ute has become increasingly powerful over the last two decades, especially with HSV building its beefed-up version. Unfortunately, the Ute saga will come to an end in 2016, when Holden is scheduled to cease vehicle manufacturing operations in Australia. As the 2015 model year looms, HSV is bidding farewell to its iconic muscle pickup by launching the GTS Maloo, the most-powerful Ute ever created in Australia.

Still cranky about GM not wanting to import the Commodore Ute to North America? Well, then get ready to have a seizure because the GTS Maloo is the coolest coupe utility since the 1970 El Camino SS 454 LS6. And it’s supercharged!

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 HSV GTS Maloo.

The crisp, cold air caught me off guard when I stepped from the hotel into the staging area where Lexus had filed a handful of its newest creations into two lines, prepped for a drive through the lush countryside that envelopes New York’s Hudson Valley. The brisk air might not have been what this Floridian was used to in mid-September, but once behind the wheel of the 2015 Lexus RC F, things became familiar.

Though I’d not sat in Lexus’ two-door, rear-drive sports coupe a day in my life, the interior was an immediately recognizable place, harking back to my time in the 2014 IS 350 F-Sport. The controls fell in the same position, the infotainment screen showed the same Enform system, even the overall design looked like I’d accidentally sat in the wrong Lexus.

And that’s not a bad thing.

While there’s plenty of IS flavor in the new RC, there’s even more that’s unfamiliar. The beautifully stitched sports seats, the reworked gauge cluster, and the center console arrangement are all new, not to mention the 2+2 seating configuration.

Slipping the eight-speed automatic into gear, the faintly audible rumble of the RC F’s 5.0-liter V-8 mumbled at a lower tone. Our entourage of journalists was off to conquer a two-hour drive before arriving at our destination, Monticello Motor Club.

My recent drive around the Monticello Motor Club in the 2015 Lexus RC still has me pondering all the possibilities Lexus could throw at its new two-door coupe. TopSpeed has already reported Lexus’ hints at a four-door version of the car, but then the idea struck about a drop-top version. It makes perfect sense, so just follow along.

See, the RC’s chassis is a mishmash of sorts. It’s front clip, engine cradle, and suspension supports are borrowed from the GS sedan . The rear section is from the new IS sedan. But the middle section is pulled off the aging IS C, Lexus’ 2+2 hardtop convertible. Now with that stiff center section acting as the RC’s foundation, plus the serious bracing Lexus put in the chassis’ middle section, it seems completely possible for the RC to get a convertible version.

The idea becomes even more plausible when considering Lexus could replace the old IS C convertible with the RC Convertible. Development and engineering costs would be minimal as the majority of the work should already be done. Lexus’ customer base then gets a new hardtop convertible that could come available with the F Sport and track-ready F packages. That puts Lexus in line to compete with the BMW M4 Convertible and Audi RS 5 Cabriolet.

The RC Convertible would span all trim and powertrain levels, so expect the base RC 350 to get the topless treatment too — just as our rendering shows. Expect the RC Convertible to debut for the 2016 model year if the project gets the go-ahead.

Click past the jump to read more about the future Lexus RC.

Sometimes you just need a manual transmission to row. That’s how our friend Chris Harris feels before he hops in two of the last manual-transmission track cars still around, the older 997 Porsche GT3 RS and the famed 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 .

A rain-soaked racetrack nestled in the rolling English countryside provides the playground, and despite the standing water, the two cars stay planted on the tarmac. Sure, Harris has plenty of sideways action, but it seems nothing was unplanned.

The point of this little track test, according to Harris, isn’t to compare the Z/28 and GT3 RS side-by-side, but to just have fun rowing gears in a proper sports car — something our host isn’t used to saying in regards to a Camaro . Nevertheless, the Z/28’s engine with its high-tech internals and 7,000-rpm redline, provides plenty of fun. Its 305-series tires provide enough grip around the wet track to keep the 3,800-pound car from sliding into the wall.

Manual transmission-equipped sports cars are becoming less and less popular, as the performance numbers provided by these new flap-paddle gearboxes outdo those of the manual and as fewer people know how to drive stick. While it’s probable most folks looking to buy a hyped-up sports car know how to do the three-pedal dance, it’s undeniable that dual-clutch automatics are faster around a track.

But that begs the question; is speed everything, or is the connection and experience with the car worth more? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Infiniti’s all set to debut the QX70S Design at the 2014 Paris Motor Show in October. But first, how about a few teaser photos to get us all started. That’s the approach the company’s taking with its newest special-edition model. Fortunately, details aren’t as limited as the photos, so at least we get a mental picture of what we can expect to see when the QX70S Design makes it entrance.

The first indication points to the prevalent use of dark chrome on the full-sized luxury crossover . Infiniti says that there’s plenty of the dark chrome finish on the QX70S Design, including the grille, fog light surrounds, side air scoops, side sills and rear numberplate surround. Meanwhile, the headlights now come in a smoked finish, which should give the front end a more stylish look.

There’s been no indication on any performance upgrades, and we don’t expect there to be any. Either way, the QX70 already has a brute of a 3.7-liter V-6 under its hood. It’s capable of producing 325 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque, which is good enough to accelerate the SUV to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds to go with a top speed of 155 mph.

Infiniti’s plans for the QX70S Design call for the special edition SUV to hit selected markets in Western Europe as soon as the car finishes up at the Paris Motor Show.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Infiniti QX70S Design.


Back to top