Topspeed founder, Philippe Daix is a motorhead at heart but also a computer geek. More often behind his keyboard than on the road, you can still catch him on the auto show floor, harassing engineers to understand what lies beneath the pretty body work. And if you were wondering about the accent, yes it’s French Monsieur.
But part of the hoopla is genuine excitement that Chevy has produced such a vastly-improved sports car. After a few different drives by the TopSpeed team, the similarities in what we observed in these two different C7 models are remarkable.
Two guys who were traditionally more anti-Corvette would be hard to find. So the shared observations about the handling, power, cabin and - especially - theC7’s vastly improved structural rigidity are a resounding vote of confidence in the new Corvette.
For skeptics, all we can say is try it out before you flock to Porsche or BMW for classy driving thrills.
With palm trees flying by the windows and the blue sky visible above Phil’s curly hair, the Miami Vice jokes are on the tip of my tongue. I will refrain, however, as my first Stingray review already ruffled some feathers among the Vette faithful.
But the red leather of Phil’s Stingray Z51 really looks right so close to the ocean and all the glamor of South Beach.
Click past the jump to enjoy this detailed TopSpeed First-Drive Video of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z51, one of the first media outlets to sample the Vette with its targa top panel stowed in the giant trunk.
Regardless of its age — about 40 years old in car years — the Sonata Hybrid still looks pretty modern, with its distinctive front fascia that shows off LED-trimmed headlamps and a wavy front grill. The LED taillights and aerodynamic rims are the only details that scream "hybrid." Though it remains relatively up to date, we do expect Hyundai to reveal a redesigned Sonata line for 2015, including the hybrid model.
The interior is very well-appointed, and only LCD gauges and "Blue Efficiency" button on the steering wheel clue you in that this is indeed a hybrid model. A quick press of this "Blue Efficiency" button, and the Sonata Hybrid awakens from its efficient — boring — mode. The hybrid system is attached to a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that pumps out 159 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque. The hybrid system chimes in with an extra 47 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. In all, this system puts down a respectable 200 horsepower, but don’t expect the mid-3,000-pound, midsize cruiser to pin you to your seat.
After some seat time in the Lexus ES Hybrid , we are a little spoiled, but we have to remind you that you get what you pay for. The Sonata checks in around $30,000, and it delivers a premium look and feel. Taking into consideration that hybrid cars tend receive a 20 to 30 percent premium over their gasoline counterparts, the Sonata Hybrid is a relative bargain.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited
With every passing year, compact cars seem to get better and better, so it’s no surprise that the the Sentra is not the same entry-level, cheapo Nissan it used to be. Our Sentra tester is fitted with the SR trim package, which adds in plenty of bells and whistles that you would expect from a more expensive vehicle, including keyless entry, push-button start and navigation. The best part is the price; at $21,550 as tested, the Sentra SR offers plenty of bang for your buck.
The Sentra SR’s exterior is very well appointed with LED headlight surrounds, sport front and rear bumpers, and side skirts that look like they belong in "The Fast and the Furious" series. Even the alloy wheels look pretty good for the price.
What really pulls the whole exterior together is that Electric Metallic Blue paint that we last saw on the 370Z a few years back. Sure, it’s not a Ferrari, but there’s a lot to take in for the price point.
The interior is a not quite as satisfying as the outside, but the push-button start and navigation system for under $22k, we’re not complaining.
The seats are cloth, but they look good for the class, and the dash is padded with the more expensive, soft plastic. Add to that trimming that doesn’t feel like it was stamped in the same Chinese factory as your iPhone case, and the overall interior package is fairly attractive. Top that with good rear leg room, nice visibility all around and folding rear seats, and you have a flexible product with very little compromises.
On the road, the Sentra drives okay, but with a CVT driving the front wheels, it is not an overly exhilarating experience. The leather-wrapped steering wheel feels better than a lot of more expensive cars, and the CVT does a good job at limiting torque steer and unwanted movement in the steering wheel.
The suspension is comfortable for daily use, but it also allows you to take corners with confidence. We even caught ourselves taking a few corners fast enough to get a little feedback from the tires, which added a some extra fun to the drive. Is it Porsche fun? No, but it is above average for the econo-box class.
Overall The Nissan Sentra SR gives you a lot for your money. On the outside, it looks good enough to prevent your buddies from chuckling at you when you roll up in it, and inside, you have plenty of premium features to keep you happy for years to come.
Of course, with the 2014 Toyota Corolla debuting a sporty look, your choice of entry-level sedans is getting harder.
The 2014 truck season is in full swing, and some of the main manufacturers are launching all-new variants of their resident pickups. Chevrolet already released its new 2014 Silverado , and Ford is set to reveal its all-new 2015 F150 that will be based on the 2013 Atlas Concept .
Even SUVs are off to a good start, with the debut of the 2014 X5 and 2014 Range Rover Sport . Toyota has been waiting patiently for the pickup market to come back, and its is now set to launch the 2014 Tundra with "Truck Of The Year" aspirations.
The Tundra looks quite similar to last year’s model but if you look closer, you’ll find that it is loaded with improvements.
Toyota invited us to the woods of Georgia to test drive it and see how it does on and off the road, as well as with a trailer hitched to the back end.
The 2014 STI risks getting lost in the shuffle of the next-gen WRX ’s launch at this fall’s Los Angeles auto show . As is customary for Subaru when upgrading the Impreza -based models, the next-gen STI will follow the regular WRX as a projected 2016 model year intro.
That is more than enough time to fall in love again with the current model’s brash styling, forceful turbocharged power delivery, and better tech integration in the cockpit than ever before. 305 horsepower and a 4.7-second sprint to 60 mph means the WRX STI is still a favorite here in the TopSpeed Garage .
Introduced for 2011, the current STI’s strength as a Subaru performance flagship is fully intact. As a low-volume model, its boxer rumble casts a performance glow over even the base $18,000 Impreza sedan. No changes to the STI for 2014, aside from the audio system now offering integration of Aha’s music app.
The Grand Cherokee SRT is Jeep ’s real hero car, and the only one to compete effectively with the super-SUV benchmark from Porsche . The Jeep ’s drastic SRT makeover is arguably the most effective across the Chrysler range by blending the huge Hemi V-8’s torque with the sure-footed and quite advanced Grand Cherokee platform.
A change across the board from “SRT8” to “SRT” for all the performance trims prepares the range for its next generation of super and turbocharged SRT models - with forced induction making the SRT6, SRT4 etc cylinder counts much less meaningful.
The SRT conversion makes the Grand Cherokee one of the most entertaining models out of Auburn Hills, with all the track attitude and road muscle of the Viper but far fewer tradeoffs in daily driving.
As almost a totally distinct model from the Grand Cherokee range, the SRT version is new for 2014 with the latest interior tech upgrades, a new eight-speed auto transmission, and the tasteful headlight LED accents that were new this year on the base models.
Combined with the menacing nose graphic of the Grand Cherokee SRT, the additional LED lights update the nose appearance nicely. A black lower bumper shroud makes the SRT seem mean even with the lights off, with its 20-inch wheels and giant tires looking very prominent from all angles.
The real news with this latest Jeep is new launch control programming for the cutting-edge autobox that should offer an even quicker sprint than the last model’s 5.1-second rush to 60 mph. Smoothness, economy, and tow ratings are also all up across the board, making this Grand Cherokee SRT quite an appealing prospect for hot-rod SUV shoppers.
It’s no secret that Lambo has huge plans for its 50th anniversary and that the Aventador is due to lose its top in the U.S. market… officially. The Italian automaker decided why not just kick them both off at the same time, which it did today in Miami and we were there to witness it all.
The day kicked off at noon today in Miami, and began with a press conference across from the Breakwater Hotel and a 40-car parade down Collins Avenue. During the press conference, Lambo unveiled the much-anticipated Aventador LP700-4 Roadster to us media folk and it was definitely worth the wait. Have a look at our collection of images and you can see just how sexy the car really is.
On top of the official unveiling of the drop-top supercar, Lambo also satisfied our appetite for some speed. It accomplished this feat by closing off a runway at the Miami International Airport – the first time MIA has ever close a runway for an automotive event – to allow 12 Aventadors to run wild down the long straight stretch, peaking out at over 180 mph.
BFGoodrich is coming up with a new extreme-performance tire, the Rival. That category of tire is the last street-legal step before you go to the dark side with race-only tires. If you are looking for mind-blowing performance, you owe it to yourself to shop in that category. The usual suspects are the Hankook RS3, Toyo R1R, Yokohama AD08, Kumho XS and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup.
Until now, BFG’s most extreme street tire was the Comp-2. Launched in 2012, the Comp-2 tire received first place on TireRack’s ultra-high-performance tire survey, not bad.
Michelin acquired BFGoodrich in 1988, so while BFG tires are solely manufactured in the USA, BFG benefits from all the research and development Michelin can offer. Think about it, all the goodies at a lesser price and made in the USA!
The Rival offers a couple of very distinctive features that make BFG hope it will be the next big thing. To prove its worth, they invited us for a full day of torture testing against the competition. Keep reading for our impressions first hand.
UPDATE: BFG posted two new videos to promote their new Rival tire, check them out after the jump.
For all of the press and hype surrounding the Toyota GT 86 and the Subaru BRZ , not a lot of people know or have given love to the third model of the bunch, the Scion FR-S.
All that’s about to change because the Scion FR-S has arrived. For those that have shed rivers of tears when they found out that neither the GT 86 nor the BRZ were headed Stateside, news that the FR-S will arrive in America is tantamount to a post Thanksgiving blessing.
Now, we’ve actually seen a concept version of the FR-S - called the FR-S Concept - at the New York Auto Show , so it really didn’t come as a surprise to a lot of us that the sports coupe was coming to the US, but seeing the concept and seeing the production version are two different things.
It doesn’t even matter that we’re not getting the GT 86 and the BRZ. We have the FR-S, and just like a child that comes to us, we’re going to shower it with as much love as we can possibly give.
Find out more about the Scion FR-S after the jump.