TB’s journey into automotive journalism has been a long road. The road is paved with piles of car mags under the bed, Porsche posters in glass frames, and pushing the limits of whatever car he is driving.
His car passion started out like many other kids, with an obsession for mechanical toys from day one. Born in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1982, Tom’s family moved to Chicago in 1985.
There, he discovered an *amazing* new candy called Skittles, which was brand new at the time and not available anywhere in the South yet. He sent bags to his old pals in Charlotte.
Growing up in the Chicago suburbs was filled with Construx, big-wheels, two-wheeler bikes, R/C cars, Ariens lawn-mowers and neighborhood sports year-round.
Auto shows were a feast of gathering bags and bags of the newest brochures. Cut out and made into collages, the auto show was heaven. Weeks of bulletin boards and Blu-tac bedroom wall art would follow.
The McLaren P1 is a huge step forward for the company and for the hypercar game in general. It represents the pinnacle of McLaren ’s knowledge in creating road cars that integrate the best Formula 1 technology to achieve searing performance on par with the best of the best from Ferrari and Pagani .
The P1 risked being overshadowed during its big debuts in Paris and Geneva, thanks to the concurrent reveals of LaFerrari and the Lamborghini Veneno , which both pack more styling drama and a more artful execution than the P1. Not one to shy away from competition, McLaren is ready for the sales brawl in the hypercar segment with their vision of the ultimate road car.
The difference for McLaren (versus Bugatti , for example) is that this is a make-or-break technical showcase whose failure could threaten the stability of the entire fledgling McLaren Automotive division. The Woking crew needs the P1 to be a real hero car in order for its marketing magic to trickle down to their 12C and upcoming 911-fighting P13 models.
Among the admirable traits of McLaren supremo Ron Dennis is his willingness to make running changes to the models. Following the 12C’s debut, the team bumped the power output, made the engine and exhaust much louder, and re-programmed the stability controls – all in the name of driving pleasure.
Will McLaren implement what they’ve learned from the 12C program to make the P1 a thrill to drive, or just a clenched-fist technical marvel?
Updated 04/30/2013: McLaren has unveiled a new video (above) featuring the new P1 supercar put under extreme testing in northern Sweden. Enjoy!
Update 10/21/213: McLaren has unveiled all of the performance specs for the P1, and that its first buyer took delivery today. See all of the official specs after the jump.
Click past the jump for the full review, the latest images of the P1 in Monaco, and new details on the engineering package.
Updated 10/17/2013: This review has been updated with video reviews of the GSR version, and a memory-card full of high-resolution photos of this Cosmic Blue stunner.
Since spending a week with Mitsubishi’s gorgeous 2014 Lancer Evo GSR, I came to appreciate many things that make this such an incredible lap attack car, but also a great daily driver with incredible torque.
The legendary Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution returns for 2014 with a new touchscreen infotainment unit to enhance the interior of one of the finest road-going rally race cars ever produced. The Evo’s flypaper grip on tarmac, snow and gravel continues with two trim levels and sprint times that are as low as 4.5 seconds to 60 mph.
The Mitsu ’s competitive landscape has changed significantly since this Evo X generation arrived more than four years ago. It largely demolishes the current-gen the Subaru WRX STi on all but the roughest gravel roads, but this comes with a higher-than-expected cost.
With prices creeping past the $40,000 mark on well-optioned 2014 Evolution MR models, the modest Lancer variant now faces competition from the more-powerful BMW 135i and upcoming Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG . These Germans are each packing well over 325 horsepower and are able to match the Evo’s turbocharged punch with much-more-refined image and interior comfort levels.
While it is true that prices can climb to the luxury level in MR trim with options, the most accessible Evo remains the $35,000 GSR model with a five-speed manual and fewer pricey party tricks in the suspension and transmission. All Evo’s, of course, leverage the brilliant computer-managed AWD system with its crushingly effective yaw control and active torque vectoring.
The Evolution’s cult audience is thrilled to have this 10th gen car available for another year. More time on the market also means a huge pool of aftermarket support and even factory accessories like front and rear strut braces, a front air dam and full racing body kits – right from the local Mitsubishi dealer.
How hot is the Toyota Supra on the internet, even a full 15 years since it was last produced? Along with googling ‘Amanda Bynes’ and a few other search engine phishing lures, the Supra is still a dangerous thing to discuss and search for online.
What do we mean? Well, when researching this article, we were cruising some very strange parts of the internet to gather all these image assets.
When doing so, even my normally-silent anti-virus and security programs went bananas, blocking things and demanding updates and directions on next steps.
Far more than Japan’s first rear-drive, straight-six supercar with a twin-turbocharged engine: the Supra is still competing and winning on race tracks and show circuits all over the world in 2013.
Heavily modified and often with more crash damage than Lehman Brothers, the Supra’s that are left are terrifying night-stalkers capable of pushing 900 horsepower.
The looks will define the Supra’s importance as a halo car. And locked lips from Toyota have not stopped the world’s Supra fanatics from rendering their own speculative Supra concepts.
In partnership with BoldRide, TopSpeed is thrilled to share this latest set of Supra renderings.
In black with some familiar features about the rear wing in particular, these are very unique and exciting compared with the Bullfinch mystery render and Toyota’s own white FT-HS concept.
Click past the jump to get a closer look at these BoldRide renders, or also a re-cap of some other quite surprising outside proposals for the next Toyota Supra.
Speculation is rampant about the concept’s direct market potential as well as its broad influence over many future Cadillac decisions. Such is the price of an absolutely knockout concept car, one that nailed the seaside mood of the year and, perhaps, this summer’s automotive zeitgeist.
Big words for big luxury cars. The collective consciousness that Cadillac ’s Elmiraj put on four wheels is one of uncertainty about the future, but also shaping that future to our wildest dreams.
As such, the Elmiraj is very important, despite being just a subtle nip and tuck versus the Ciel of 2012. Purple paint became blue, the grille lost its chintzy plastic egg crates, and a new badge was born without the wreath.
But what should Cadillac do with the Elmiraj? Should it inspire a new version of the on-again, off-again 2016 Cadillac Fleetwood limousine? Personal Luxury coupes are well and good for the 1-percent crowd, but could never offer real brand power, sales volume or the high-profile flagship duties a true rear-drive Cadillac sedan should.
A well-executed Fleetwood could even serve as a new armored upgrade of the current presidential limo: DTS-styled 3500HD pickup truck, affectionately referred to as "The Beast."
A special contributor to GM Inside News has visions of a future Fleetwood that are addictive to watch. In its enhancements of the Elmiraj concept, there at least three viable models looking ready for sale tomorrow at $75,000. This is truly a knockout series of digital renderings about a future Elmiraj-inspired Cadillac lineup.
Low roof, high roof, stretched, coach doors, no B-pillar: they all whir by in a mind-bending blur. There are even two crossover versions to ponder.
Design credit for these speculative renderings is firmly with whiz kid "MonaroSS" of GM Inside News, who wishes to remain anonymous, but this TopSpeed-exclusive animation now belongs to the ages.
Click past the jump to feast your eyes on all these possible future Cadillac’s, including various Fleetwood limo’s and Elmiraj-based crossovers.
Updated 10/15/2013: This article has been updated with the final video and a charming piano soundtrack.
48 hours ago, as the Youtube link of the video hit the TopSpeed newsdesk: the Z/28 track video views count stood at 111. Total.
After making waves for the last few days, the video has crested 330,000 views and is climbing fast. Why is this eight minutes of Point-of-View racing footage such an event? There are a few reasons, visible in the video itself from about 5:00 onward, when the rain starts coming down hard just as the Z/28 is on the back straight-aways. The driver briefly touches 161 mph after a lap that would sap the arm strength of pop-eye himself.
This is not a driving sim. This is not a digitally remastered classic. This is news, happening with the same leafy trees turning fall colors in Germany as in America and the rest of the world.
This crowd-sourced and social news environment is fun. It brings everyone into the game, and being included is fun.
The Z/28 has more uphill battles to climb when carving out a sales niche for itself in the Camaro lineup. As an all-new model for 2015, the intimidating badge can now finally back up its bar-room swagger out on the roads.
But who was this brave ace of a racing driver behind the wheel of the eardrum-shattering supercar? Initial ideas about who hangs out at the ’Ring led us to the Queen: Ms. Sabine Schmitz and her expertise on this track on everything from a bike to a semi truck. If there is one driver who knows this course and its many, mnay variables in traction: it is Sabine.
But the world is filled with many other superhero drivers. TopSpeed has a strong hunch that the white helmet behind the wheel of the Z/28 was not Sabine, but rather… another household name.
Some say… to click past the jump for the full TopSpeed "Wanted" Dossier on the 2014 Camaro Z/28’s Nurburgring driver.
The Chevrolet Camaro is fresh for 2014 with a wide variety of new technology and features for all levels of the iconic pony-car lineup.
There are highlights at every price level, with the all-new Z28 ’s rainy-day lap record of the Nurburgring setting the tone for much more capable and handling-focused rear-drive sports coupes from Chevy in 2014.
This RS is so far removed from all the previous appearance packages that comparing new to old is almost impossible. Despite carrying a DOHC V-6 engine in place of the Corvette’s OHV V-8, the Camaro RS sings with just as much throaty rumble under power.
How to make a V-6, direct-injection engine bellow? Four giant stainless tips peek out from below the new LED tail lights - giving a big clue that this is no old Vulcan V-6 Mustang .
Matching polished 20-inch alloys and LED lighting up front completes the Camaro RS’s exterior makeover.
But the ultimate show piece is the new dual-mode active exhaust option. At $900, this will be money in the bank for years to come. The baffles open at about 3,250 RPM and stay clear through the Camaro V-6’s 7,000 RPM red-line.
But if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth a million. Enjoy these first drive video reviews ahead of the full TopSpeed Driven review in the coming weeks.
Click past the jump for even more fun in the Camaro RS, including POV video of the hot new Chevy doing a pair of donuts in an empty parking lot, then roaring past a Mustang GT out on the road
"Iconic" is a word that is thrown around far too often in the automotive world, but after 100 years and dozens of colors and text styles, the lasting importance and brand symbol of the Chevy bowtie emblem is a sure thing.
As the bowtie evolved over the ten decades, its transformations were barely noticeable versus the complete revolution in transport they adorned - from the first Chevy ’Classic Six’ model to today’s industrial heavy-hitter with more than 50 global model lines.
General Motors’ Chevrolet brand was launched with a script logo with the words Chevrolet written in stylized cursive.
Legibility and pronunciation of this French name were a real problem versus monosyllabic "Fords " across the street.
Soon, a baby blue bowtie logo appeared along with Chevrolet written in all caps in 1913, but the exact origins of this bowtie are unknown.
What we do know is that the Chevy bowtie instantly means cars.
Along with Ford , Coca Cola and General Electric, the emblem of the Chevrolet lineup is a globally-recognized symbol of freedom, prestige and mobility.
Logo changes are often fraught with peril for the companies who fail to understand the symbol’s importance to their most loyal consumers. Just a brief look back shows disastrous results followed when Gap Inc. tried to remodel their emblem, or the huge drop in real-life sales following Tropicana’s disastrous package redesign.
With the new 2014 Cadillac logo (without the wreath!) in place on the Elmiraj Concept , here’s a look back at the evolution of the Chevrolet bowtie over the Chevrolet bowtie over the last hundred years.
Click past the jump for the full Chevy’s BowTie Emblem Turns 100, Reflects On Badge’s Evolution article - to find out the most likely source of the bowtie emblem.
Updated 10/14/2013: This article has been updated with Chevy’s latest skinny emblem, which the original article did not highlight as the new bowtie in use since 2010.
Seeing a line of pristine Carrera White Audi ’s from across the paddock at Autobahn Country Club was almost enough to make a guy start jogging to get the first seat time. The brand-new S Q5 was on the pre-event list of attendees, and the new grille finish of the Q5 in brilliant white was very promising.
Within closer range, the “TDI clean diesel” script was visible on the side of almost all ten Audi ’s on offer for the car writers to sample. The A7 and A8 were common sights leaving the club gates, but at least one car writer was mildly disappointed.
Not only was the S Q5 not present, but diesel engines all around? Eek. One bright spot was visible: a gigantic white Q7 with some snazzy fender flares on anthracite grey alloys.
Also... a diesel, but this was more TopSpeed style.
A quick blast up to my gravel road photo spot was enough time to fall head-over-heels for the big Q7, even as its replacement is firmly on the horizon for 2014 or 2015.
This Audi is a creamy beast with torque for days even in the 3.0-liter TDI specification. The real clue to its fresher-than-average looks is the S-line trim worn by the tester, which brings along a host of sporty programming options and décor inside as well.
When a Cayenne is too bouncy, and an Escalade is too soft, look no farther than the Q7 TDI S-line for a seven seats and a ride that is ’juuusst riight’.
Click past the jump for all the beautiful sunny photos of the 2014 Audi Q7 TDI S-line, plus some first-hand observations on how the small-capacity diesel engine performs.