Mark McNabb is one of those eccentric people who, for whatever reason, cannot stop thinking about mechanical modes of transportation, especially the automobile. With dirty hands and a background in automotive journalism, Mark is excited to join TopSpeed.com in providing the latest news and most interesting reviews to this corner of the internet.
Everyday, thousands of new cars, trucks , vans , and SUVs roll off assembly lines the world over. They represent the newest technology and innovation their respective manufacturer has to offer, and for many buyers, will be the second-largest single purchase they make following their house.
But what happens to a vehicle once its life on the road comes to a stop? The latest infographic from gocompare.com details just how automotive recycling programs are cutting back on unused waste and reintroducing the market with quality recycled materials by shredding the old family sedan for all it’s worth.
Before the recycling process can begin, all fluids are drained, tires are removed, and special equipment like mercury switches and batteries are sent off for separate recycling. The tire-less, dry vehicles are then crushed and ground up. The fist-sized chunks coming from the grinder are then sorted, depending on material. At this point, roughly 15 to 25 percent of the vehicle is considered waste and enters a landfill, with the large remainder headed for further processing.
Plastics and metals are two of the largest reclaimed materials from recycled vehicles. In fact, recycled vehicle plastics save roughly 24 million barrels of oil annually in the U.S. alone. Metals like iron and steel are separated with magnets while copper and aluminum are separated by weight. Car batteries are also a highly recyclable material and can yield up to 97 percent of its original lead content in the process.
Automotive recycling is big business in America with over 12 million vehicles processed annually. Recycling is a $22 billion dollar industry and growing. That growth helps conserve resources and reduce landfill waste while expanding job growth the world over.
There is something about Black Friday that brings out the crazy in people. Trampled store employees and fistfights over the latest Elmo doll in the toy aisle have become an unfortunate yearly tradition only hours after observing Thanksgiving. It’s ironic to say the least.
But perhaps equally as ironic is the idea of a station wagon hitting 60 mph in under four seconds while hauling a trunk-full of Christmas presents for the whole family. We’re not afraid to explore the ironic here at TopSpeed, so we compiled a list of vehicles we would use to snag all those infamous Black Friday deals.
These Black Friday cargo haulers had to be fast enough to outrun other shoppers, have enough cargo room to haul a flat-screen TV with other boxes stacked around, and flashy enough to let others know you mean business.
Scroll on down for TopSpeed’s top-10 list of Black Friday deal-getters and why we chose them. Leave a comment on which one you would be driving.
Click past the jump for the Top 10 list of best wagons, hatchbacks , SUVs and — uhm — "Other" gift getters
The folks over at BMW Blog report that sources close to German magazine Autobild say BMW’s got a couple new SUVs planned for the near future. Coming out first is the new two-door X2 scheduled for shipment in 2016. It’s said to be based on the UKL front-drive platform that will also underpin the second-generation X1 .
BMW Blog says the X2 will also share the X1’s powertrain lineup that includes a three- and four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines. Keep in mind, the diesels will likely stay in Europe if or when they debut. A hybrid variant may well be on the drawing board as well. We suspect a hybrid X2 would make a highly respectable option for inner city customers looking to make a statement while cutting fuel costs.
Less is known about the possible X7 SUV . This is not the first time BMW Blog has reported on an X7 as they covered its initial media leak and then purported demise, as BMW supposedly didn’t feel the need for a large full-size SUV at the time. The magazine does however dive into the possibility of three different plug-in hybrid systems for all X Series models. Included is a three-cylinder offered in front-wheel-drive only; a four-cylinder engine offered in rear-drive X3 and X4 models; and a six-cylinder offered in four-wheel drive for the X5,X6, and possible X7. Stay tuned to TopSpeed for any breaking news on the topics.
BFGoodrich has certainly made a name for itself over the years in all arenas of motorsports , but its last major victory was in the 46th annual Tecate SCORE International desert racing series within the 2013 Baja 1000. Drivers rolling on BFGs captured four of the top five overall positions in the series. Adding to BFGoodrich’s bragging rights, the company also equipped seven of the top 10 Trophy Trucks with its tires.
What’s more, BFGoodrich claimed wins in 10 vehicle classes, including defending its title in the Baja Challenge Class as Team BFGoodrich’s BC2 team emerged victorious by a clear four-hour margin to with the event for the second straight year. The BC2 vehicle was driven by Terry Earwood, the Lead Instructor for Skip Barber Racing School.
Percentage wise, BFGoodrich was the clear leader with nearly 65 percent of all four-wheeled, race-finishing vehicles rolling on BFG-branded tires. Everything from BFG All-Terrain and Mud Terrain tread designs to desert-race specific tires and tread designs were represented.
The grueling high-speed, off-road race is 883 miles of huge dips, gullies, jumps, and deep sand that begins and ends at Ensenada, Mexico. Nearly 300 racers representing more than 20 counties must endure the incessant pounding and jostling of obstacles that would shred any stock vehicle. In fact, more than 50 percent of racers failed to finish the race within the 36-hour time limit. Adding to the Baja’s difficulties are booby-traps scattered across the course set by ill-willed spectators looking for a harrowing crash. More than a few vehicles each year are claimed by such a fate.
Click past the jump for more on the 2013 Baja 1000
Not much gets our blood racing faster than a good dyno test, especially one featuring a new model. This one happens to be with the brand-new 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S .
Our friends at dragtimes.com report that Champion Motorsports was given keys to the 911 Turbo S for use in developing its new lineup of go-fast bits for the 3.8-liter turbocharged flat-six. Before Champion could get to work, it borrowed the dynamometer over at HP Logic to get the coupe’s baseline numbers.
Turning all four wheels through the impressive seven-speed PDK transmission, the new 911 laid down a healthy 486 horsepower and 456 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers are fairly close to the advertised output of 560 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, all things considered.
Now we must sit patiently for news to break on what new performance upgrades Champion rolls out for the new-generation 911 Turbo S. Keep in mind, the last 911 its engineers worked their magic on ran the quarter-mile in the high 10-second range. Stay tuned to TopSpeed for all the updates.
Click past the jump to see the actual dyno sheet and to read more on the 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo
Lexus again stretches the design envelope with its latest and second version of the LF-NX crossover , the LF-NX Turbo concept. Based on the hybrid version that debuted at the Frankfort Motor Show , Lexus’ new Luxury Utility Vehicle breaks ground for Lexus in the turbo world and continues the company’s development into some very futuristic-looking user interfaces.
The turbo is mounted to a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder that “paves the way for the introduction of turbocharged powerplants in future Lexus models.” The engine features Lexus’ advanced high tumble port, fan spray fuel injection, D-4S and VVT-iw combustion technologies; along with a cylinder head-integrated exhaust manifold. The twin-scroll turbocharger features an active wastegate valve for better computer controllability.
Outside, this Lexus looks sharp – literally. If Sweeney Todd used an electric razor to decapitate his victims, it would look like the LF-NX front grille. The angular lines and deep crevasses lend an intimidating look, while the tall stance gives it a purely aggressive attitude. Perhaps the only thing not aggressive about the LF-NX Turbo is the segment name Lexus tagged it with: Luxury Utility Vehicle, or LUV for short. Images of the small Chevrolet pickup from the 1970s are conjured up – something Lexus probably doesn’t want associated with its new luxury crossover.
While the exterior looks like an instrument of malicious intent, the interior looks like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise in the last two J.J. Abrams movies. The inputs and controls are branded the “Human Machine Interface” and feature the latest iteration of Lexus’ upper display zone and lover operation zone dashboard design. The operation-portion of the dash houses what Lexus calls “a new generation of touch-sensitive, electrostatic switches” and new Remote Touch Interface, or RTI. The RTI is a touch tracer display with an updated design over Lexus’ current touch pad and is designed for easier use.
Overall the Lexus LF-NX Turbo is a compelling design with an incredible amount of innovative features. And since Lexus is spending money on a two LF-NX concept vehicles, we’d be surprised if they didn’t make production.
Click past the jump to watch an animation of the LF-NX Turbo in action
The Tokyo Motor Show has been full of excitement and interesting new designs, but one bit of bad news has surfaced: Subaru’s brand chief Yasuyuki Yoshinaga dismissed the idea of a convertible Subaru BRZ.
[Automotive News] has reported that Yoshinaga wasn’t too fond of Toyota ’s drop-top concept displayed at Tokyo, saying his engineers believe the chassis would require a complete redesign in order to safely create a convertible BRZ.
Unfortunately, the lack of Yoshinaga’s blessing spells doom for Toyota’s attempts at building the car even without Subaru. Yoshinaga is also president of Fuji Heavy Industries, the parent company that owns Subaru and manufacturer of both the BRZ and FR-S . “We make the car, so if we don’t make it, it can’t happen,” says Yoshinaga.
With that sort of nail in the coffin, it seems unlikely a convertible FR-S or BRZ will ever appear – at least in the car’s current generation. Perhaps when the car’s second generation rolls out, Fuji Heavy Industries will have accounted for the heavy interest in the roadster. Yoshinaga himself knows the market is ripe for the car, "I understand well that Toyota is receiving strong requests from the American market for the car," he said. "But the biggest challenge is meeting our internal safety standards. There are big technical difficulties."
Perhaps a bigger issue of concern is the apparent inter-company quarreling happening over the convertible idea. Toyota, the company responsible for the overall design of the BRZ/FR-S cars, seems adamant about the idea and has toted several convertible FR-S concepts around to other car show around the world, while the President of the manufacturing company and brand chief of Subaru, responsible for the powertrain and underpinnings of the cars, is dead set against it. Such an open and publicly played out situation cannot be good for future product development.
Lets just keep our fingers crossed that Toyota’s desire for a chopped-top FR-S doesn’t put the entire FT-86 project on the chopping block.
Click past the jump for more info on the FR-S and BRZ coupes
The Colorado is based on the global truck platform, but is highly ‘Americanized’ with many key components swapped out for heavier-duty items based on the new Silverado. The Colorado rides on a fully-boxed, hydroformed steel frame giving it a sturdy platform for hauling and towing. Initially the Colorado will come with two gasoline engine options with a diesel debuting the following year.
The base powerplant is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with an optional 3.6-liter, V-6 engine. Both feature the latest suite of GM technology, like variable valve timing and direct injection. They share similar construction materials with aluminum blocks, forged-steel crankshafts, and oil jet-spray piston coolers. A Six-speed automatic transmission is standard across the board and features tow/haul mode and auto grade braking.
Exterior features include Chevy’s clever bumper CornerStep and bed rail hand-grabs, an EZ lift tailgate, two-tier loading capabilities within the bed, and no less than 13 tie-downs for securing payload. Available projector beam headlamps light the way while front bumper tow hooks provide a means of recovery if the going ever gets too muddy. Silverado-derived inlaid doors with triple seals keeps wind noise to a minimum while active aero grille shutters open and close to maximize aerodynamics and cooling efficiency.
Interior accoutrements are similar to the Silverado with a large, pronounced center stack with similar knobs and buttons. An available eight-inch color touchscreen inhabits the prime real estate up top while multiple USB ports down low live in a specially designed front compartment for charging personal electronics. A center console-mounted gear shifter splits the front bucket seats and gives plenty of storage options big enough for hiding a tablet safely out of sight. GM’s next-generation OnStar and MyLink are also present, along with a standard rear-view backup camera.
The folks at General Motors say the new Colorado is designed for customers who want the extra capabilities a truck offers like hauling and off-road agility, but don’t need the size and expense of a full-side truck. GM is now the first manufacturer in quite a while to offer a full plethora of mid-sized, full-sized, and heavy-duty trucks. Our hats are especially off to the fact that GM revamped its entire truck lineup within a two year model cycle.
Click past the jump for photos and details of the all-new 2015 Chevy Colorado
The 2013 LA Auto Show is upon us. Starting today, manufacturers will be rolling out new products and designs for the upcoming year. There’s plenty to cover from each automaker and this show preview gives a shallow glimpse into what we already know to be coming out.
We know Ford , Subaru , Acura , and Chevrolet will be unveiling never-before-seen vehicles for the first time, along with announcing smaller updates to current models. As the next few days roll on, we will bring you coverage vehicle by vehicle as the information becomes available with new cars literally being announced by the hour.
Scroll on down for our rundown on what details we already know, what vehicles will be seen in person for the first time, and even which ones have never seen the light of day.
Click past the jump for info on the 2013 LA Auto Show
Here at TopSpeed, we give you the rundown on some pretty expensive equipment. Whether it is a Ferrari , Maserati , Ford or Fiat , all these things cost money. We know caring for that new rig can be nerve-racking with all the rogue shopping carts and distracted drivers looming inches away – not to mention the jealous thieves who’d love to help themselves to your new 911 .
That’s why our eyes popped wide when we saw the latest product from Globalstar, Inc.: the SPOT Trace. It’s a GPS-based tracking device wrapped in a small but tough box designed to be hidden within anything valuable, like a car, ATV, motorcycle or boat.
The SPOT Trace uses GPS signals to monitor any movement, even down to vibrations, of whatever the device is secured to. Any movement can be automatically sent to a cell phone, via email or text message, to alert of possible theft. The SPOT Trace also has a dock mode for monitoring boats moored in harbor.
Users can set their preferences to receive updates in 2.5, 5, 10, 30, or 60-minute intervals. They can also view their asset’s location 24/7 in real time on Google Maps. Even if the thief tries to flee internationally, the GPS tracker will follow the SPOT Trace almost anywhere in the world. And with an 18-month battery life, the thief’s chances of keeping his loot are dramatically slim.
Perhaps the SPOT Trace’s best feature is its affordability. The unit itself only runs $99 and the yearly GPS subscription costs the same. A hundred bucks seems like a real bargain for some peace of mind knowing that your $100,000 Porsche or $1.5 million yacht is right where you parked it.
Click past the jump to read the press release about the SPOT Trace GPS tracker