Kirby’s fascination with cars began when he first laid eyes on his first Micro Machine. At that time, he thought they were the coolest toys in the world, narrowly edging out those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures. Over time, his love for cars evolved to Matchbox cars and Burago models, then finally, it all became a reality when he bought his first ride — a 1998 Honda City — back in 2002.
His tastes and preferences on cars has changed over time, but his passion remains (as does his love for TMNT). Writing about his passions for Top Speed has been the closest thing to a dream job this side of being a Ferrari test driver.
Remember when Porsche released the Cayenne ? Remember all the people in their Porsche owners club shirts sitting around and telling you about how this new SUV was a disgrace to the Porsche logo and that all the company should design and produce are 911 variants? Well, the Cayenne turned out to be a real success, so the company decided to further expand its SUV lineup with the addition of a new model placed under the Cayenne.
After being tested for a very long time, the new Macan finally made its world debut today at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show. Initially the model was rumored to be called "Cajun," but Porsche opted for "Macan" - a name coming from the Indonesian word for tiger. This means that the new model will be "powerful and ready to pounce at any time, yet light-footed and tenacious on off-road terrain."
On the U.S. market Porsche will only offer the Macan S and the Macan Turbo versions, with prices starting from $49,900, but Europeans will also enjoy a diesel version.
Updated 11/20/2013: This review was updated with the official details, images and specs.
Updated 12/03/2013: Porsche unveiled a new video explaining the design process behind the new Macan. Check it out!
Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Porsche Macan.
There’s a lot of hype building around the upcoming release of the Need for Speed movie and for good reason, the racing game franchise has become one of the most iconic in the history of video games and a move towards the big screen is usually a sign of a healthy financial standing.
The first trailer was released a few months ago and while it did little to spark our interest in the movie, we did see that the whole thing is filled with lots and lots of supercars . That and Aaron Paul, our dude from Breaking Bad, will play the starring role in it.
Following up on that teaser trailer, the full length trailer for Need for Speed has finally been released, giving us a better indication on what we can expect when the movie is released in March 2014. It might be hard for Need for Speed to compete with the Fast & Furious franchise, but if the movie plays it smartly and develops an identity of its own, it probably won’t need to.
The many fans of the video game franchise will make sure of that.
Click past the jump to watch an on-the-set preview for Need for Speed: The Movie
Somewhere along the way, people have continuously slept on the Chevrolet SS as a performance-minded sedan that’s ready for its turn of the spotlight.
With aftermarket tuners like Callaway on its side, the SS is primed and ready to be the car we all thought it would be. Callaway knows what its doing when it comes to Chevrolet vehicles and the program it prepared for the SS just goes to show how far the performance sedan can go when treated with a nice dose of tender love.
The unquestioned highlight of Callaway’s program is the engine upgrade, which comes with an extensive list of new components, including an Eaton Roots-style TVS supercharger system, liquid-to-air intercooler, increased-flow-rate fuel injectors, a high-flow intake system, and a low-restriction exhaust system, all of which lets the car’s 6.2-liter, V-8 engine produce a staggering 570 horsepower and 535 pound-feet of torque — a nice increase from the stock 415 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of twist. This is good enough to allow the SS to cover 0 to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds — down from teh stock 4.9 seconds — to go with a top speed of somewhere in the neighborhood of 180 mph.
A few other pertinent features highlight Callaway’s program for the SS, including the tuner’s badging on the car, embroidered seat mats, and key fobs, among others.
Click past the jump to read about the Callaway-tuned 2014 Chevrolet SS Performance
Toyota seems to be on course to give us a different take on its new vehicles, or at least those that we’re accustomed to seeing from the Japanese automaker. Instead of the usual list of models, Toyota is using the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show to present a handful of concept models that fall under the Aqua name.
After introducing the Air Roadster Concept , Toyota is following that up with the Aqua C Crossover Concept — a compact hybrid vehicle that the company is presenting as a potential future crossover. Maybe there’s a future for this crossover, possibly even in Japan, or maybe there isn’t, but the vehicle, like the other two it rolls with, looks pretty bubbly and could be a nice for the younger markets.
As far as the concept itself goes, Toyota gave it a nice design touch, complete with an identifiable front grille, skid plates, aggressive wheel arches, and roof rails. Who knew; this concept has a lot of functionality to it, too.
Toyota has made no announcement on what lies ahead for the Aqua C Crossover Concept, but the good news is that we should find out soon enough when the Tokyo Motor Show opens its doors in a few days.
Click past the jump to read about the 2014 Toyota RAV4, Toyota’s current crossover.
Gemballa’s troubles seem like distant memories now. It’s not really worth rehashing all the details of the company’s recent history; instead, we can celebrate how it has rebounded from it to produce some pretty impressive tuning programs.
It’s most recent project will be on display at this year’s Essen Motor Show and by all accounts, it’s going to be a pretty incredible project. The program, called the GTP 700, is for the upgraded Porsche Panamera Turbo and like the name indicates, it gives the German sedan quite a hefty performance boost, increasing the output from the already-impressive 520 horsepower to an incredible 700 horsepower.
With the Panamera carrying a 4.8-liter, V-8 twin-turbo engine, that spike in output is made more impressive by the fact that Gemballa was able to massage the modification to ensure that no stones were left unturned in giving the Panamera Turbo that jump in numbers.
No word yet on how the increased output translates to performance numbers, but considering that the standard Panamera Turbo already hits 60 mph in 3.9 seconds to go with a top speed of 189 mph, we won’t be surprised if the final numbers approach 3.5 seconds with a top speed of around 205 mph.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo
The launch of Ferrari’s Tailor Made personalization program has given way to some pretty interesting creations over the years.
Recently, the Italian automaker added another project to its list and this one pays homage to Formula One legend Niki Lauda. Thanks to the always-ingenious work by a personal designer from the Maranello Style Center, this Ferrari 458 Italia received the treat of a host of styling upgrades.
The red body of the supercar is accentuated by a white roof that features a longitudinal image of the Italian flag. Adding to the exterior touch is the new set of gold alloy wheels that brings out the unique look of the Lauda-inspired 458 Italia.
Inside, there are plenty more distinctive touches, highlighted by the Italian flag motif on both the seats and the center tunnel. Matching red stitching was also applied on numerous parts of the cabin, including the dashboard, the seats, the steering wheel and the instrument panel.
The program is impressive in a lot of ways, but one thing we noticed was the lack of details attributed to Lauda’s home country of Austria. It’s true that the Austrian racer won two of his three world championships with Ferrari, but a simple tribute to his homeland would’ve been pretty nice.
Other than that, there aren’t a whole lot of complaints coming from us with this 458 Italia Niki Lauda Edition.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2013 Ferrari 458 Italia Niki Lauda Edition
Hot Wheels may market itself as a toy company that makes die-cast cars for kids, but somewhere along the way, the lines of what constitutes a "kid" gets lost in the mix.
That’s exactly what happened during Hot Wheels’ latest publicity stunt, which turned out to be more of a impromptu competition among dads. The elaborate setup included the creation of one of the craziest race tracks Hot Wheels has ever built. From there, the company invited kids for a casting call, except that the real targets were actually the little ones’ dads.
Proving that even adults still are kids at heart, Hot Wheels took the dads on an impromptu competition to see if any of them can complete the unfinished racetrack before the cars cross the finish line. One dad was able to do it, but others were deemed "too slow."
But in the end, it was probably worth seeing the reactions from these dads, who probably believe now more than ever that it’s never too late to relive their childhoods, even if its in front of their kids.
Click past the jump to take a tour inside the Hot Wheel factory
German tuner MTM has always been one of the most successful Audi tuners in the world, so when news comes out that it is hard at work on another program, we all stand up and wait for the project to finish.
Well, the latest one is done and its got a pretty intense engine upgrade, to say the least. This is the Audi RS6 Avant and, while it doesn’t inspire the kind of break-neck power and fancy aesthetics that seemingly all station wagons carry with them, MTM made sure that this RS6 Avant packs a wallop of an engine upgrade.
The engine remains the same, which is to say that the RS6 Avant is still powered by a 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8 engine, but MTM went to work on tuning it. This tune resulted in an increased output of 722 horsepower and 652 pound-feet of torque — a dramatic increase from the RS6 Avant’s standard output of 560 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. With this significant upgrade in tow, the RS6 Avant is now capable of hitting 62 mph in 3.3 seconds, 124 mph in 11.3 seconds and a top speed of 211 mph.
At the corners, the RS6 carries MTM 20-inch bimoto wheels wrapped in 285/35ZR20 Michelin Pilot Supersport rubber. Up front, this hopped up wagon features an MTM-exclusive Brembo monobloc six-piston braking system with 405-by-36 mm (15.9-by-1.4-inch) discs.
This massive engine modification program does come at a cost with MTM charging €13,751.80 ($18,504.42) for the treat of getting the RS6 Avant’s output up to the 700-horsepower range.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2013 Audi RS6 Avant by MTM
To commemorate the annual Vans Warped Tour, Kia and Popular Mechanics are tapping into their youthful and fun spirits to present a Kia Soul that defies explanation at the 2013 SEMA Auto Show.
The specially created crossover was designed and developed with the idea of taking to the road to enjoy the famous touring music and extreme sports festival. If there ever was a car that captures the idea and essence of the Vans Warped Tour, it’s this one.
Not only does the Soul carry a custom, albeit bombastic, paint finish that was inspired by the colors of the tour itself, Popular Mechanics and Kia decided to give it an eye-catching airbrush artwork detail, complete with references to the blending in of the music and action sports worlds. The windows of the Soul are all gone, and in their place are custom-built fiberglass body panels, each housing a pair of Infinity eight-inch speakers. Wonder how you can appreciate the outside world when you’re inside this vehicle?
But thoughtful musings like those are far from the objective of this Soul, as this specially-produced crossover has one objective in mind: to bring the spirit of the Vans Warped Tour to life inside a rolling set of wheels. A 50-inch flat-panel monitor has also been mounted atop the car with running footage from the tour itself so you never miss out on the experience of the festival.
Finally, a slide-out rear barbeque was also fitted into the this Soul, giving you the full music-inspired tailgating experience so you can enjoy the tour like nobody’s business.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Kia Vans Warped Tour Soul after the jump
You would think that the Audi S3 , the company’s performance-oriented version of the A3, already has enough power under its hood to satisfy some customers.
While that may be true for some, others would want some extra juice, or in this case 70 horsepower’s worth.
That’s where ABT Sportsline comes into the picture. The German tuning firm has become one of the foremost Audi tuners in the world, and its latest take on the S3 just goes to show that the possibilities are endless if you know what you’re doing.
There aren’t a lot of aerodynamic changes done to the S3, as far as this program is concerned, but there’s always room for improvement on the performance front. ABT did so by installing its own ECU unit, jumping the power of the S3 Coupe to an impressive 370 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. That’s a serious improvement from the standard 300-horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque output of the standard S3 Coupe.
With this, ABT slashed five-tenths of a second off of the S3’s 0-to-60 mph time, now hitting it at 4.6 seconds to go with a top speed of 165 mph.
With all the attention paid on the engine upgrade, it’s important to note that ABT also offering a new set of wheels for the S3 , with sizes ranging from 18 to 20 inches, as well as new fender inserts that ABT says underscores the car’s dynamic character.
With ABT, who are we to disagree.
Click past the jump to read more about the Audi S3 Coupe by ABT Sportsline