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.
Russian tuner Larte Design may not be a household name on the tuning scene, but that hasn’t hampered the company from dishing out a new program in attempt to gain more recognition front the public and the industry.
It’s latest work is based on the Range Rover Evoque and despite not being a jaw-dropper at first glance, the kit does still include a variety of aesthetic and performance modifications
A new wide body kit was install, featuring a new honeycomb grille and large air intakes in the front apron. The kit also has a redesigned rear apron, a centrally-mounted triple exhaust system, and a set of gloss-black, 21-inch lightweight alloy wheels. Additionally, the Evoque’s suspension was tuned to drop the SUV by 30 mm (1.18 inches).
Meanwhile, power comes in the form of a 2.2-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 190 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. Thanks to Larte Design, the Evoque saw its output increase to 220 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque.
The modifications are simple, but ultimately, effective to give the SUV a serious upgrade in style, attitude, and flair.
Click past the jump to read about the Range Rover Evoque
A highlight of the 2013 Essen Motor Show is the TUNE IT! SAFE! car and this year, the Association of German Vehicle Tuners (VDAT) has introduced the BMW 4 Series -based ACS4 2.8i Coupe.
The Bimmer coupe was worked on by AC Schnitzer, hence the familiar nomenclature, and comes with a steady diet of aftermarket upgrades that would make the the Police and the Federal Ministry for Transport, Construction and Road Development really proud.
It’s an extensive project, just like previous TUNE IT! SAFE! models and appropriate for an event like Essen. The ACS4 2.8i Coupe comes with a number of new aero components from AC Schnitzer, including a front and rear spoiler, a rear roof spoiler, and a rear diffuser. Adding to those new items to the exterior are a new set of 21-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Hankook 245/30ZR21 Ventus S1 evo tires and an adjustable race-spec suspension that not only lowers the height of the coupe by 25 mm (0.98 inches) but also gives it improved stability in the event the police car is used for law-enforcing purposes.
For the interior, AC Schnitzer continued with its functional modifications on the 4 Series Coupe. None of the upgrades will blow your socks off, but for what they’re worth, the new floor mats, key holder, and aluminum gear knob, foot rest, handbrake handle, and pedal set all represent upgrades in their own right.
Under the hood of this specially-prepared 4 Series Coupe, AC Schnitzer did a sizable performance bump, increasing the output of the sports car ’s 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbo engine from 245 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque, all the way up to 294 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. With these new numbers, the sports coupe can now hit 62 mph in 5.7 seconds, 50 to 112 mph in 12.7 seconds. Top speed is still limited to 155 mph, though, so that’s a little disappointing.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 BMW 4 Series Coupe ACS4 TUNE IT! SAFE! by AC Schnitzer
Porsche is no stranger to releasing special edition models and if there’s a possibility that public interest will dictate strong demand, the automaker has no problem giving the people what they want.
Recently, Porsche unveiled its latest special edition work for the Cayenne SUV . It’s called the Cayenne Platinum Edition and it was designed to combine style and exclusivity, two hallmarks of German engineering.
As is always the case with a special-edition model, the Cayenne Platinum Edition will come dressed with a variety of color options, including a choice of models like a Platinum Silver Metallic finish to go with a Black, White, Meteor Grey Metallic, Basalt Black Metallic, Mahogany Metallic and Carrara White Metallic colors, all of which are available upon request.
Bi-xenon headlights, a fancy privacy glass, and a set of 19-inch Cayenne Design II wheels are also part of the exterior program.
Meanwhile, the interior also received a fancy set of upgrades, highlighted by a two-tone interior trim that has partial leather seats, a SportDesign steering wheel and a Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system with GPS navigation. Anti-dazzle interior mirrors, special floor mats and "Platinum Edition" sill plates, are also part of the interior digs, giving this Cayenne Platinum Edition the workings of an certifiably exclusive SUV.
The Cayenne Platinum Edition is powered by a 3.6-liter, V-6 engine that develops 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, in addition to a 3.0-liter, V-6 diesel that hits 254 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque. The model retails for €66,379 for the Cayenne Platinum Edition and €67,212 for the Cayenne Diesel Platinum Edition, which is about $90,300 and $91,500 based on current exchange rates.
Click past the jump to see more of the Platinum Edition and the 2014 Porsche Cayenne
All this bankruptcy talk has left a bitter taste in our mouths. Fortunately, one of the companies that filed insolvency proceedings earlier this year has managed to get itself back in order.
Wiesmann took the step of filing bankruptcy back in August. Anytime something like this happens, the first thought immediately goes to the future of the company, or whatever future it has left.
But after a few months of being relatively quiet, Wiesmann has announced that it has filed an application to dismiss its bankruptcy filing, putting an end to what would’ve been a pretty sad end to the German specialty marque.
The company’s management has scheduled a meeting with creditors on December 16 to talk about the company’s future, something we hope is a lot brighter now than it was back in August.
Hopefully, more news of this sort comes out of all those other troubled brands. At least Wiesmann was able to get its act together; here’s to all the others following suit.
Click past the jump to read about the 2013 Wiesmann GT MF4-CS
On the surface, this may not look anything close to an attractive special edition model, but Opel , together with MotoGP star Valentino Rossi and designer Aldo Drudi, is attesting that there’s more to this Opel Adam than meets the eye.
For one, the model has been specifically dubbed the Adam & Vale for Charity, a one-off creation that was designed by no less than Rossi and Drudi themselves. A lot was put into the design of this particular Adam to make it stand out from the rest and both Rossi and Drudi put in the time to accomplish that.
The custom paint finish on the body of this Adam was derived using MotoGP as inspiration. The choice of colors — hints of silver, grey and lime green — were intentionally used to evoke the spitting image, or at least, resemblance to the world’s premier motorcycle racing series. Inside, the colorful interior cabin was equipped with Dainese leather seats with a style inspiration taken from a motorcycle suit, similar to the ones that Rossi uses when he’s out racing all over the world.
More importantly, the Adam & Vale for Charity is as its name suggest: a car that will be auctioned for charity this coming December with the proceeds benefiting the Meyer Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Click past the jump to read about the standard Opel Adam
Who knew a special-edition Volkswagen would be a popular car for aftermarket programs. Somehow, though, the Polo R WRC has managed to attract not just one tuner, but two.
A few days ago, we showed you a program that came from B&B . Today, it’s ABT Sportsline’s turn, and while not exactly as comprehensive as what B&B did, ABT Sportsline’s take on the Polo R WRC is no less impressive, especially in the way it was able to take advantage of the sports hatch’s already impressive setup and fine-tune it without completely going overboard.
A new set of 18-inch, DR alloy wheels are prominently added to the sports hatch while the interior gets a few noticeable upgrades as well.
ABT Sportsline badging was also added to the grille and rear, enhancing the appeal of the Polo R WRC by ensuring people know that a real tuner worked on this bad boy.
The tuner hasn’t announced any performance upgrades to the vehicle, but safe to say, the 290-horsepower output coming out of its 1.6-liter, TSI engine is enough to enjoy the aesthetic and performance spoils of the Polo R WRC.
Click past the jump to read about the 2013 Volkswagen Polo R WRC Street
Brabus’ attendance at the 2013 Essen Motor Show will be highlighted by a new program for the Mercedes E63 AMG Wagon . So what if the car doesn’t look as sexy as sexy as other Mercs; when you have the kind of performance upgrade Brabus did to it, you won’t be sweating about the car’s lack of "aesthetic appeal".
Before we get to the performance boost, it’s important to point out that the program also comes with its share of new carbon-fiber body parts, including the front spoiler lip and a diffuser insert. A new sports exhaust system was also installed, this time coming with quad tailpipes. Similarly, new wheels are also part of the program, with customers being given the liberty to choose in sizes up to 20 inches.
Moving inside, the cabin of the E63 AMG Wagon comes with a number of customization options that customers can choose from, including picking their leather trim, Alcantara, aluminum shift paddles, among other things.
Finally, there’s the performance modification. Not content with just a 5.5-liter, V-8 twin-turbo engine, Brabus increased the displacement to a monstrous six liters. From there, the tuning firm installed custom turbos with bigger compressors and bespoke exhaust manifolds to feed the beast a healthy amount of oxygen.
With all these upgrades, the German tuner was able to increase the output of the wagon from 585 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, all the way up to 850 horsepower and 1,069 pound-feet of torque. The latter, though, will be electronically-limited to just 849 pound-feet of torque, to prevent the engine from twisting itself and the transmission right out of the wagon.
With these new performance figures, the E63 AMG Wagon is cable of hitting 62 mph in just 3.1 seconds to go with a top speed of 186 mph with regular tires and 217 mph with high-performance rubber.
Click past the jump to read more about Brabus’ program for the 2014 Mercedes E63 AMG Wagon
The Arrinera Hussarya has been in the fringes of the auto world in the past couple of years and while it’s probably taken longer to build than a lot of people would’ve liked, the good news is that it’s still in development and not sent back to the heap.
But if the first Polish supercar has any plans to be recognized as a treat to the senses, it has to get past the point of being "in development" and move into becoming a dealership-ready best. Apparently, Arrinera is doing all it can to get the job done and it’s even bringing in help from a very useful source: Lee Noble.
The man responsible for the Noble brand has given his assistance to Arrinera from the very beginning and its no surprise that when the company decided to give the Hussarya a rolling chassis test, Noble was there to give it a spin.
Considering that Noble vehicles are known for their handling, it was a smart move to bring in Lee Noble to see what kind of sagely advice he can give to Arrinera so that the latter can put in into the Hussarya.
We’re still waiting for the supercar to be officially launched as a production model but the wait has been softened a little now that Lee Noble appears to be getting more and more involved in the development of this Polish hammer.
Click past the jump to read about the 2014 Arrinera Hussarya
If there’s an automaker that has done a remarkable job in changing its image and uplifting its own brand, it’s Jaguar .
Gone are the days when the British brand was described as bland and unreliable. In recent years, it’s been far from that, displaying an edge and aggressiveness to its design that has endeared itself to a lot of people.
The dramatic change in business approach by Jaguar also gave way for a lot of aftermarket companies to begin looking at the company’s cars for potential programs.
One such tuning firm, 2M-DESIGNS, did just that. With the help of Loder1899 and MB-Individual Cars, 2M-DESIGNS was able to build a rather spunky program for current generation Jaguar XF . Sure, it’s a 2011 model, but it still looks spry and agile, two qualities you can attribute to the cat that shares the company’s name.
A host of aerodynamic changes were done to the XF , highlighted by a new front spoiler borrowed that was actually borrowed from the XFR-S . A minor tint was also applied on both the headlights and taillights while a PWF Diamond White and Black Brushed wrap was used on the body of the sports sedan . From there, Loder1899 was tasked to install a new quad exhaust system, as well as a new set of 21-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Continental tires.
Under its hood, the XF also received an impressive performance boost from 2M-DESIGNS, one that made use of a number of new components, all of which contributed in giving the XF an improved output of 340 horsepower, a significant increase from the 275-horsepower output of the standard model. The resulting uptick in power also allowed the XF to improve its 0-to-60 mph time to just 5.4 seconds with a top speed of 175 mph.
If you’re interested in this program, 2M DESIGNS is making it available for just €15,017, which is about $20,400 based on current exchange rates.
Click past the jump to read more about 2M DESIGNS’ program for the Jaguar XJ
TheFord Fiesta ST is a pretty snazzy ride, notwithstanding the fact that it doesn’t do much in the way of inspiring anybody to start pursuing a life in auto racing.
But there’s a lot of things about the Fiesta ST that we like even if we’re not about to disagree if an aftermarket company decides to give it the ’ol circle around the tuning block.
Loder1899 doesn’t have the cache of the more esteemed tuners out there, but it still can pull off an impressive piece of work. No more is that evident than in what it did to the Fiesta ST.
With a few tweaks here (upgrading the exhaust and intercooler) and a few tweaks there (remapping the car’s ECU unit), Loder1899 was able to take the Fiesta ST’s 1.6-liter, Ecoboost engine and increase the output from 182 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, all the way up to 235 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque, resulting in a performance improvement that includes a 0-to-60 mph time of 6.9 seconds — 0.4 quicker than the standard figure — and a new top speed of about 145 mph.
Those are some pretty serious numbers, especially for a hot hatch like the Ford Fiesta ST. Then again, you expect things like this from Loder1899, which has crafted a reputation as a fine Ford tuner.
Click past the jump to read more about Loder1899’s program for the Ford Fiesta ST