Mark McNabb

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.


Audi’s latest remake of the TT Coupe and Roadster could potentially pave the way for an entire family of TT-based cars, including the Offroad concept seen at the Beijing Motor Show.

In an interview with Autocar, Audi boss man Rupert Stadler mentioned some fairly revealing information regarding the idea. “The TT can be a family,” Stadler said. “This concept shows that we can do it as long as the genetic code is kept.” This sort of ‘genetic code’ of sorts is what makes the TT unique, including the wheels arches, unique side windows, the exterior lighting, and the interior themes.

What this means for Audi, and more specifically for the TT, is a series of cars all based on the same platform, but with different seating configurations, number of doors, and possibly several powertrain options. It seems the sky is the limit for the TT except for the one design direction that Stadler specifically shot down: a bigger sedan. “The TT should be an icon and that icon has to be respected and that means a compact car that sporty to drive.

Still, that leaves options like a three-door hatch, a two-door shooting brake, the Offroad concept (pictured above), or a smaller four-door compact sedan like the one Audi Technical Chief Ulrich Hackenberg hinted at last month. This sort of sedan would compete nicely with the hot-selling Mercedes CLA and BMW M235i. However, it does seem this sort of compact sedan might cannibalize Audi sales elsewhere in its lineup, namely the A3. Perhaps Audi will include enough differentiation to separate the cars in terms of performance, intended function, and targeted audience to make production of both make sense.

Click past the jump to read more about the Audi TT Offroad.

Source: AutoCar

MotorTrend has gotten very good at head to head video reviews, and their latest one is no exception. This time, the new BMW M235i goes up against the Mercedes CLA45 AMG. Both cars represent the smaller, more nimble side of each automaker’s lineup, but still pack a punch under the hood. Check out the video above to see who Motor Trend crowns the victor. The winner just might surprise you.

Staffer Jonny Lieberman starts out carving canyon roads in both cars. Turns out, he’s quite fond of the BMW’s power output from the 3.0-liter, inline-six and its eight-speed automatic. As a whole, the car looks better than the old 1 Series, as Jonny heralds it as having the best looking BMW front end in a long time. The BMW seems to have only one major drawback: its brakes. Though the do stop a few feet shorter than the CLA45 AMG’s, they tend to fade and have inconsistent pedal feel. Otherwise, the M235i appears to be a hoot to drive with its drift-happy rear end.

Conversely, the CLA45 AMG produces more power from its 2.0-liter, turbocharged, inline four-cylinder, coming in at 360 horses and 331 pound-feet. Adding to its bag of tricks are its superb brakes with good pedal feel and fade-free stopping power. The car’s biggest downfall — dynamics-wise — is its understeer. Though its minimal compared to a regular sedan , the Mercedes just doesn’t grip the road in the same manner as the BMW. On a more subjective side, Jonny shares his distaste for the CLA’s coupe-like sloping roofline and stubby rear end.

Which one is crowned the winner? Click past the jump to find out.

Volkswagen seems to be shaking that bland, boring vibe it’s currently got going on, swapping it in favor for style and attitude in the German automaker’s latest concept just revealed at the Beijing Auto Show . Known as the Midsize Coupe Concept, the car is shorter than the Jetta but wider than the CC, , making for a much sportier appearance from the onset.

Skipping right to the good part, the VW Coupe Concept lives up to its sporty appearance with the familiar 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder banging away 217 horsepower on its way to a 6.5-second run to 62 mph. What’s more, it achieves an estimated 34 mpg while cruising the highway, and its top speed is listed at 152 mph.

Besides its size and sporty character, the VW concept sports some new design cues both inside and out. The three-bar grille’s chrome bars continue into the LED headlights and LED Daytime Running Lights, while a detail-rich lower air dam and side grilles pull in extra air and extra attention. Around to the side are large 20-inch, multi-colored wheels wrapped in performance 245-series rubber.

There is quite a rumble of excitement surrounding this concept, though VW hasn’t announced any official plans to build it. We do know the automaker plans to incorporate some of the design and styling cues into its product lineup in the future, but whether the Midsize Coupe Concept will actually live has yet to be seen. Beyond it getting a green light for production, we’ll have to further worry about its entry into the U.S. as VW has a tendency to hold back the performance-oriented products from burning rubber on our shores.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Volkswagen New Midsize Coupe Concept.

The coupe-SUV domain has been dominated by BMW’s X6 for quite some time now. The Porsche Cayenne has come into the picture in the past few years, and now, Mercedes is thinking of joining in on the fun with the debut of the Mercedes Concept Coupe SUV at the Beijing Auto Show .

The vehicle is being billed as a coupe version of the M-Class , and judging by the official images, the Concept Coupe SUV looks incredibly awesome, the kind that could give the X6 fits in the future.

It’s pretty evident that the design of the Concept Coupe SUV fits its name. It’s like a coupe riding on an SUV platform, akin to the architecture of the X6. More importantly, Mercedes appears to be pretty serious about sending it to production, intent on rebadging it as the MLC-Class with a production timeline of 2015.

It certainly adds a whole lot of credence to the MLC-Class when the company’s boss proudly proclaims the concept as a preview of a vehicle that has a lot of potential. "With the Concept Coupé SUV we aim to secure new customers by opening up new segments for Mercedes-Benz," says Mercedes CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche, as quoted by Auto Express.

Those are words that shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially once combined with the official words from the press release below saying, “With this concept car, Mercedes-Benz is announcing the possible expansion of the previously uniform SUV off-roader family.”

Click past the jump to read more about the Mercedes-Benz Concept Coupe SUV.

Buying a Lamborghini puts you in fairly exclusive club of ownership, but if even that small group seems a little big, the Italian automaker makes it possible to customize a vehicle just the way you want it. Case in point: this Aventador decked out from Lambo’s Ad Personam personalization program dubbed the Nazionale edition.

Making its debut at the Beijing Auto Show, this car represents what customers can do with the Ad Personam program. This particular customer decided on an Italian theme, obviously paying homage to Lamborghini’s roots.

Proudly displaying an Italian flag strip down the center of the car, the Nazionale edition also features some pretty unique tailoring on almost every surface. The Bianco Opalis exterior paint color is completely unique, nicely offset by the blacked out 20- and 21-inch matt Titanium wheels on the car’s front and rear. Behind them are massive red brake calipers, reminding onlookers of the Aventador’s performance-minded function.

The Italian theme continues inside with the flags adorning the headrests and the tri-color stripe running along the center of the headliner. The leather seats, carpet, and much of the dashboard are covered in two contrasting colors called Nero Ade and Blu Cepheus. The seats also get unique Q-citura stitching. Capping off the bespoke work is an Ad Personam logo on the upper door panel and steering wheel.

The Aventador is powered by a raucous 6.5-liter, naturally-aspirated, V-12 engine making 700 horsepower. Its mid-mounted location allows for crisp handling and nearly perfect weight distribution. Zero to 62 mph times come in at 2.9 seconds on its way to a 217-mph top speed.

Click past the jump to read more about the standard Lamborghini Aventador Nazionale.

Lincoln Motor Company has just announced its launch a full product lineup in China, including five new vehicles. One of those – a midsize luxury SUV – accompanies the news in this teaser video above. Though Lincoln hasn’t given away much info on the new vehicle, the video does reveal some interesting aspects.

From the few glimpses visible, the SUV appears to be a highly sculpted crossover with plenty of LED trickery and accent lighting. Most eye-catching are the massive turn signals that surround the headlight fixtures and continue to the side mirrors. A strong belt line runs just under the windows with a large rear haunch laying above the rear tire. If things stay true to the artist’s drawings seen here, the front will feature some fairly stunning sculpted lines with plenty of drama.

This SUV will join a lineup of four other cars including the MKZ, the MKC, a new full-size luxury sedan , and the refreshed Navigator – all of which will be built inside the United States. What’s more, Lincoln is taking an entirely new approach to selling cars, one based relationships and an inviting dealer environment.

Lincoln’s goal is a network of 60 dealers in 50 cities across China by 2016, with the first eight opening this fall. The dealers will run under the ideology of “The Lincoln Way,” a much more personal, relationship-biased approach to selling cars. “It completely shifts luxury automotive ownership from a sales and service transaction model to an experience model,” says Jim Farley, Ford’s executive vice president of global marketing.

The dealers will feature a more home-like atmosphere with a tea room and other amenities like the Personalization Studio where customers can customize and order their particular vehicle. The new dealership style will concentrate its focus on providing good relationships and quality treatment than having a large, uninviting room packed with products. It’ll be interesting to see how this business model works for China and if it could work within the U.S.

Updated 04/21/2014: Lincoln pulled the covers off its MKX Concept at the Beijing Auto Show and release these detailed images. Sadly, there isn’t much news about the interior or engine options at this time. Click past the jump to see the new shots and read the updated press release.

Click past the jump to read more about the Lincoln MKX Concept Crossover.

The General looks like it’s back to badge engineering these days, as the Chevrolet Trax treks across the state at the 2014 New York Auto Show. Though it might only be a reworked Buick Encore, the Trax is aimed at a completely different audience — one that is noticeably younger.

The Trax may be a new vehicle for the U.S., but it’s been sold in Canada and other markets around the world since 2012. Thought it’s not new, the Trax gets some needed updates before entering the U.S. market. The interior receives the majority of the updating with an upright dashboard, optional center touch screen and infotainment system, a Chevy Sonic- like gauge cluster, and a steering wheel copped from the Cruze .

The Trax seems aimed at those shopping for Sonics or Cruzes, but want something more high-riding and SUVish. That combination of small dimensions, an upright posture, and a large cargo hold (with the seats down) has worked well for Buick so far.

Like the interior, the drivetrain is rather familiar. Power comes from the 1.4-liter, turbocharged, inline four-cylinder making 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. While it’s a direct bolt-in from the Cruze, the Trax does offer an all-wheel-drive option. That combined with the higher ground clearance, and the Trax seems well suited for trudging through those pesky Polar Vortexes.

Chevy’s newest crossover offers plenty of standard features across its trim levels. Available in LS, LT, and LTZ, the Trax comes standard with a backup camera, StabiliTrak with ABS and electronic brake force distribution, and 10 airbags.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Chevrolet Trax.


Toyota is turning up the fun factor with the heavily refreshed 2015 Camry, making it more exciting to drive, quieter inside, and more appealing to look at. A new interior includes better materials and even a handy wireless phone charger in the center console. This update comes only two years after the Camry’s last refresh, but in its quest to excite customers with a more upmarket sedan, Toyota is staying poised on its toes, jabbing at the competition.

Though much of the car’s underpinnings are not new, the car will have a fresh feel and character. Revised suspension components make the Camry a better handler while upgraded insulation keeps NVH levels to a minimum. Outside, every body panel except for the roof has been replaced in a effort to liven up the Camry’s demeanor.

While the Camry gets a new look, the greasy bits under the hood will carry over. The 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder and the 3.5-liter V-6 return, as does the six-speed automatic transmission. The hybrid trim carries over as well, utilizing the same Atkinson Cycle 2.5-liter I-4 mated to an E-CVT. All three engines are good performers and get impressive fuel economy numbers, though none of them will be setting lap time records or leaving burnout marks up Interstate on-ramps.

The Camry might not be setting records around a racetrack, but it sure has set plenty of sales records, leading the pack as the best selling sedan for the last 12 years. Toyota has sold nearly a million Camrys in the last two years alone. So is messing with success worth it? Click past the jump for all the details on the new 2015 Camry and decide for yourself.

Click past the jump for the low down on the 2015 Toyota Camry

It’s undeniable the impact the Ford Mustang has had on the American automotive market, and this week celebrates the iconic Pony Car’s 50th birthday. Helping commemorate the occasion is this one-off Mustang built by RK Motors based on the 1967 Shelby GT500. We say ‘based on’ because under its factory-fresh appearance lies a host of performance add-ons and go-fast bits that could make a grown man cry. At the ‘Stang’s heart is a hand-built 527-cubic-inch Boss Nine, all-aluminum V-8 cranking out roughly 800 horsepower. It’s backed by a custom-built Tremec T56 six-speed manual transmission that sends power to the pavement through vintage style 18-inch wheels mounted with BF Goodrich G-force sport comp rubber.

A heaping helping of other parts helps this Ford handle like a go-kart. That’s a good thing because this car is no trailer queen. In fact, RK Motors owner and chairman Rob Kauffman will drive the RK527 during the upcoming HOT ROD Magazine Power Tour — a 1,500-mile excursion between Charlotte and Wisconsin. Taking place June 7th through 14th, the challenging even tests man and machine in an endurance-style road trip with only hot rod and muscle car contenders.

There’s much more lurking underneath the RK527’s candy apple red paint, so click past the jump for the complete rundown.

Click past the jump to read more about the Shelby GT500 Tribute "RK527".


The wait is over for the all-new 2015 Dodge Charger, though with a quick glance at the photos, it seems ‘all-new’ is a bit of a stretch. But while everything but the front grille may look carried over, nearly every body panel has been updated. The subtle changes continue inside with a reworked dashboard, a more techno-laden gauge cluster, a new center stack, and a sweet T-handle gear selector.

Things under the hood are still familiar, too. The base 3.6-liter, Pentastar V-6 returns, as does the venerable 5.7-liter, HEMI V-8. The transmission options have changed, however. The eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic is now standard across the board, helping the Pentastar V-6 achieve 31 mpg highway while assisting the 5.7-liter HEMI sprint to 60 mph in roughly 5 seconds.

The interior sees a host of electronic upgrades and new technologies within Chrysler’s latest version of Uconnect. Voice texting, updated 3D navigation, WiFi hotspot capabilities, and the all-new Dodge Performance pages all find a home within the 8.4-inch touch screen. That latter item holds a plethora of performance options and customizable settings including launch control and its rpm settings, performance timers, extra gauges, and even a g-force meter.

Matching the updated and more upmarket interior is the Charger’s reworked outer skin. The most noticeable changes lie up front with its more Dodge Dart -like appearance. Around to the sides are scalloped doors still flowing into the large rear haunches and then to a detail-rich rear fascia. A new crop of wheels completes the 2015 transformation.

Click past the jump for the complete run-down on the 2015 Dodge Charger


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