2014 McLaren P1
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 Veyron, 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 07/06/2016: While the McLaren P1 is long time sold out, somewhere in Tokyo, Japan, one lucky guy uses the P1 for the daily commute and also takes it into the mountain passes at the weekend. Check him out in the new video released by McLaren!
Continue reading to learn more about the McLaren P1.
The 201 mph Ferrari F40 is unlike all other supercars: every year that passes, its stunning exterior design and brutal turbocharged power delivery seem even more appealing. In the new-is-best world of supercar ownership, the lasting and growing influence of this 30-year-old exotic is quite unique.
The F40 legend started with a bang as the final car to be presented by Enzo himself on the year of his death. Rows and rows of the matching Rosso Corsa red F40’s lined the Fiorano pit area with another key figure in Ferrari lore: a young Luca Di Montezemolo smiling in his 1980s power suit next to this line of exotica.
As much a story about the passionate men and women behind the scenes, there is almost nothing boring about the F40 in any way. Originally set for a 399-unit production run, the total swelled to more than 1,200 over the car’s lifetime from 1987 to 1992.
The F40’s shocking looks and speed are appreciating in value steadily, and may one day even overtake the Ferrari NART Sypder’s $27 million dollar auction record from this past weekend.
Until then, this Ferrari is already one for the ages. It is as much a joy to drive as it is to admire, almost like a fine painting — new details emerge and captivate the mind. Collectors are notoriously fastidious when it comes to flogging their prized investment, but the F40 is no show queen.
The F40 can dance. The mid-mounted V-8 engine’s then-state-of-the-art twin turbochargers power just the rear wheels through an 8-ball billiard gear knob and the classic polished H-gate pattern.
Weighing more than 500 pounds less than its arch rival — the Porsche 959 — the Ferrari F40 slams its driver toward any horizon at light speed (once those parallel IHI turbochargers spool up).
Updated 08/10/2015: A 1992 Ferrari F40 was auctioned this past weekend for a record €1.12 million ($1.22 million) at Coys auction at the 43rd AVD Oldtimer Grand Prix in Nurburgring, Germany. This amount represents a record for the F40, but it may not come at such a big surprise, considering it was the last model signed by Enzo Ferrari.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 1987 - 1992 Ferrari F40, arguably the absolute pinnacle of supercar design and influence.
The growling Fiesta ST is finally arriving in American Ford dealerships! After a long run-up and many tweaks to the global three-door’s interior technology and body style, this five-door pocket-rocket is finally on the Ford order books with a starting price of just $21,400. A hot body kit and the 2014 Focus ST’s Rado Gray wheels with red calipers are available, as are Recaro bucket seats to keep you in place while pulling G-force in this monster go-kart.
Endlessly lauded by the English car mags, the Fiesta ST’s American debut was partially delayed by a Fiesta-wide nose restyle and revamp for this year. The two models launch together with deliveries starting in September to Ford dealerships nationwide – and both have an EcoBoost engine option for the first time.
The base Fiesta’s turbocharged 1.0-liter three-cylinder marks a first in this modern age of fuel economy, but still lags nearly two seconds behind the potent ST’s 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder at the drag strip.
Power is only part of the fun with this flyweight sports car – the other half comes from its responsive cornering and impressive agility. Even the quickest luxo-barges like the Bentley Continental GT have nothing on the Ford when it comes to transient handling dynamics – like you need on the tightest of race tracks.
In this regard the Fiesta ST is indeed the most accomplished in a U.S. market class that also includes the Chevrolet Sonic RS and the new Kia Forte5 Turbo.
Is the ST’s rally styling even better in other colors? Does it even come in any colors that are not orange or red?
Continue reading for the full review of the Ford Fiesta ST – including an exclusive graphic of the ST-exclusive paint colors offered.
Did the 2015 A8 just eat something sour, or is the A8 pouting while the Panamera soaks up all the praise within the hyper-competitive VW Group? Whatever the reason, all is not well with the new Audi flagship’s facial expression.
The 2015 Audi A8 made its public debut at Frankfurt Auto Show this week, where the new A8 range benefits from a facelift, and detail tech refinements for safety and efficiency.
The latest A8 range is larger than ever, with a much broader range of models coming to American Audi dealers in spring 2014. The U.S.-market A8 range will add a Hybrid front-wheel-drive option for the 2015 model year, as well as the current V-6, V-8 and W-12 engine choices.
Audi’s potent 3.0-liter TDI also joined the A8 line for the 2014 model year, and is available now. The engines for 2015 all feature mild output and performance tweaks, which are aimed at improved acceleration stats as well as fuel economy.
The bulk of the A8 volume in America is expected to still be the firm’s advanced 3.0-liter and 4.0-liter gasoline V-8 engines, each paired with quattro AWD as standard equipment. Short and long wheelbase choices are available, with prices that are expected to range from $76,000 to $88,000, before options.
The A8’s facelift brings an even more serious and technical appearance to the nose, with scowling LED running lights that look meaner than a junkyard dog. Part of the advanced debut of the A8 is to allow time for NHTSA approval of the all-new Matrix LED forward lighting system. Bundled with the A8’s new active safety technology, the LED style statement can actually be a key selling point for some buyers.
This facelift for the A8 leaves a number of issues from the previous model unresolved, which is not great, considering the strength of the latest Jaguar XJ and the brand-new S-Class.
Updated 06/04/2014: Audi today announced prices for the newly redesigned 2015 A8 model line which will arrive at dealerships this month. Prices will range from $77,400 for the base version to $137,900 for the A8 L W12 version.
Click past the jump for a detailed review of the 2015 Audi A8, with all the latest specs and stats from Audi on the performance and equipment these models will offer executive limo buyers.
The Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive is very different from the norm for Mercedes. Instead of the big V-8s featured across the network, this little car hums along silently on batteries driving its front wheels. It will be the first all-electric vehicle from Mercedes-Benz, and the first of any B-Class to cross the pond. This matches the latest company strategy to fatten the range of models from all sides.
Most of the systems that charge and run the little B-Class will be shared with its bright-yellow sibling: the upcoming SLS AMG Coupe E-Cell. Both systems are part of a deep tech partnership between Mercedes parent company Daimler and Tesla. Fruit from this sharing agreement has been limited to date, and arguably, some of the most sour fruit on the branch via the Smart ED. That car ran Tesla Roadster parts, but downsized. The resulting “car” was appallingly slow. Tesla didn’t seem to be sharing the good, M5-beating stuff yet.
This is set to change when the B-Class Electric Drive hits U.S. showrooms in January 2014. The model will arrive in dealers first before a limited roll-out in Europe.
As Mercedes’ first viable EV, the B-Class Electric is a complete package that excels in its mission of effortless city efficiency plus Mercedes-levels safety, durability, luxury and ownership experience.
Updated 04/30/2014: Mercedes announced prices for the 2014 B-Class Electric Drive which will go on sale in summer 2014. The model will be priced at $41,450, excluding $925 destination and delivery. Customers may be eligible for federal tax credits (which run up to $7,500).
Click past the jump for the full review.
The all-new 2015 Cadillac Escalade has arrived! Official images followed a posh event in New York last night, debuting the production version of the new Cadillac flagship.
After becoming quite familiar with the updates to the similar 2015 Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon Denali, it is clear that all three of these machines are vastly improved in almost every way. As the Cadillac of the line, the Escalade naturally brings the best 420-horsepower, V-8 engine and third-gen magnetic shocks as standard.
The Caddy’s exterior is defined by some striking LED lighting front and back. Luxury details abound inside the cabin, including special leathers and better seats than its cheaper siblings. Offered as a gurgling rear-drive or refined all-wheel-drive setup in regular or ESV sizes, the new Escalade is faster, smoother and more efficient than ever before.
The Escalade is still the king of the road in many places, and the new grille is certainly enough to grab some flash bulbs. This big truck looks great versus the previous three generations of Cadillac full-size SUVs. With pricing and dimensions that put most other SUVs in "time out," the Escalade is tipped for pricing between $65,000 and $95,000 when it arrives in early Spring 2014.
Update 11/8/2013: The 2015 Cadillac Escalade is making tis auto show debut at the 2013 Miami International Auto Show today. We will bring you any new information that comes from this debut as soon as we hear it. Stay tuned!
Updated 01/20/2014: A leaked image of the 2015 Escalade reveals that the new SUV will arrive at dealerships this spring at a price of $71,695 - which represents a price increase of $3,725 over the previous year. (GM Inside News)
Updated 02/11/2014: Cadillac revealed a new video in which it highlights the SUV’s new headlamps that combine the precision and execution of advanced technology with elegance and beauty of fine artistry.
Updated 06/02/2014: Cadillac unveiled a series of new images - about 80 - revealing new details of the exterior and the interior. Check them out in the "Images" tab.
Click past the jump for all the official launch details from Cadillac on the exciting new 2015 Escalade.
The Fiat 500 Abarth is back for 2014 with new colors, new wheels and a more comfortable passenger seat design. The 500C cabrio was new with Abarth trim in Spring of 2013, and is expected to be the volume leader for 2014 with almost no performance or interior room downsides versus the coupe.
These cute Fiat 500 twins are looking just as fresh and intimidating as always versus the hum-drum base-engine 500 models, and the rest of the econo-car hatchback market in the U.S. These are two cars for people who have chosen the ultra-nimble hot hatchback route, plus they offer up both driving thrills and the feeling of driving a classic Italian racing brand.
While the regular 500 undercuts the Mini Cooper significantly on price, the $6,000 Abarth premium makes life more challenging versus the hottest Mini performance cars. Even so, the Mini’s dated styling means the trendiest shoppers have long since moved on to something more current.
The 500 Abarth also undercuts the equivalent Mini Cooper S engine on price, but moves this tiny machine past $26,000 for the Abarth 500C - which is uncomfortably close to the Subaru BRZ and other performance cars.
The arrival of the American-spec Ford Fiesta ST certainly complicates the theoretical comparison test for these performance supermini’s.
Logic is typically not the most critical factor in this realm of the new car segment, and the 500 Abarth nails the less-concrete buying criteria like passion, brand image and performance zest.
Click past the jump for the full review of the Fiat 500 Abarth and the new 500C Abarth, with all the updates on the new features and changes for 2014.
Updated 11/7/2013: TopSpeed’s Phillipe Daix got his hands on a 500 Abarth this week and put together a short drive video of the peppy city car. Check out the video after the jump.
The 2014 Camaro RS really knocked my socks off. Its arrival was perfectly timed with some incredible track videos of the brand-new Z-28, and we hit it off right away.
Let’s address the elephant in the room. This is a V-6 engine ponycar - three words that over the years have become synonymous with soft, underpowered and uninspiring editions of the Mustang and even the previous F-body cars.
The 2014 Camaro V-6 is hard from its $24,555 base pricing: with a creamy six-speed, 5.8-seconds to 60, and a limited-slip diff out back (unless you get the 6-cog auto).
Over the week we spent having a ball driving this potent and rear-drive machine, the improvements versus any previous Camaro V-6 are significant. With all the highest-tech equipment now in reach of the V-6 buyers, there simply is no ’wimpy’ version of this car.
Even with lots of work to do back at the office, every lunch run was a lot more fun in the 2014 Chevrolet RS.
Click past the jump for the full TopSpeed Driven review for all the details.
Do you prefer a shabby beach house or high-tech luxury condo with 60 floors of pure ocean views and in-unit garages?
Vacation living just got a lot swankier for car-loving fat-cats across the globe. The new Porsche Design Tower in Miami broke ground this April with a fabulous pre-launch gala showcasing unique features, tech and style of the new Porsche beach-front high-rise.
The Porsche association is the most newsworthy element of this A-list project in Miami’s Sunny Isles, but the building itself is a masterpiece of holistic and conceptual design.
From the drafting tables and wild technology of the Porsche Design think-tank comes this 130-unit oceanfront tower on some of the best beaches in the world. Even the most affordable of the $5-million-plus floor-plans will be enough to feel like king of the Atlantic with 4200 square feet of living space and a glass-walled, two-car garage right next to the living room fireplaces.
No, this is not a timeshare in Boca. This is a fully-staffed, museum-quality building that is both a showpiece for Porsche’s foray into lifestyle design, and a tech-infused beach getaway for some of the world’s richest people.
These residences are not yet complete, but the developer preview renderings are enough to fill your dreams of the ultimate high-rise castle in the sky.
Click past the jump for all the high-res details of the upcoming Porsche Design Tower in Miami, including its automated system of elevators that bring a driver — and his whole Panamera full of groceries — up as high as 60 floors and into his glass condo garage.
The Juke NISMO is a hilarious riot to drive. If you take one thing away from this full review, that should be it.
Highway fast lanes clear rapidly when any hint of GT-R or NISMO is coming up from behind.
As the second NISMO-tuned effort after the incredibly transformed 370Z Nismo, the Juke is the perfect combination of economy-car basics, but with the highest-tech racing components outside, inside and under the hood.
A similar upgrade in a past Nissan phase would have been the Nissan Sentra SE-R. Nismo isthe new hotness.
There are amazing details all over the Juke Nismo, especially with its very fun and entertaining persona on the roads. This car loves to be floored in AWD V-spec and Sport modes, slamming through seven virtual - and seriously sporty — upshifts at the red-line. In a CVT!
It is true. A huge part of the NISMO magic in the Juke is the reprogrammed ECU that makes sport mode a mandatory button push - right after lighting up the push-button ignition.
TopSpeed’s Juke Nismo press loaner is the $25,000 AWD automatic with the navigation system upgrade, but all the joy and fun cornering stance is also on offer in the manual-transmission, front-drive Juke Nismo from just $22,990.
The Nissan Juke NISMO is an incredible machine for sports-car fans and hooning boy-racers alike.
Click past the jump to hear all the reasons why this might be the smartest Fiesta ST alternative on the market.
The 2014 Ram Heavy Duty is heavily revised with new air suspension options, an all-new interior, and a fifth-wheel trailer towing option that allows these huge trucks to hitch a trailer right into the bed of the pickup truck.
The Heavy Duty Ram line also brings a mild exterior refresh with the projector-beam lights on posh trims like the Laramie test truck.
A quick spin was enough to have me looking for poundage to haul somewhere, maybe a friend who likes to ride dressage horses competitively?
Sadly, not enough time to test the limits of this tall workhorse by towing some show ponies out back.
This all-new 2014 Mega Crew Cummins 2500 is the big chief of the Ram family, with over 800 pound-feet of torque and tow ratings that would make a tractor trailer blush with embarrassment. For a non-truck-guy, the 2500 Ram is generally thought of as the 20,000-pound trailer max — in the right settings.
The 3500 Ram is now in a class of one with a 30,000-pound towing max, again with the right option boxes ticked.
With base pricing just below $30,000, how does the Ram HD line compare with the best-sellers from Ford and Chevy?
Click past the jump for the full TopSpeed Driven review of the 2014 Ram Heavy Duty 2500 Diesel.
Transformers 4 is deep in filming major action sequences all over the world this year, with director Michael Bay’s latest tweets from Hong Kong proof enough to love or hate this guy.
As an effects and brand integration expert, Mr. Bay’s Transformers films have a huge fan base all over the world. Since 2007, these movies are directly attributed to more than $400 billion in total attributed revenue from ticket sales at the movie theaters, but also for all the products Mr. Bay integrates into his films.
Product placement is so irritating some times. More so than even Mr. Bay himself, at times, which is a big achievement.
When the brand integration is forced, it ruins the plot’s authentic feel. Seeing a Nokia or Sony smartphone in any music video since 2000 is a good example of bad product placement.
Good product placement means writing the brands into the plot of the movie from before day one.
Chevrolet has been a generous partner for the Transformers films, both footing the bill for a new fleet of Autobots for each film and also marketing the movies pretty aggressively with its own dollars.
The reason for this is simple: full-length action films have a global and multilingual reach far beyond any 30-second television commercial.
Oh, and could our new car be the Star of the film? The 2007 Transformers film debuted the Camaro before it was on sale, and since then has shown interesting concepts for what ultimately became the 2014 Corvette Stingray.
These movie cars take the ’pulse’ of GM’s styling departments by letting them create without production feasibility or engineering limits. They are, in short, the best concept cars Chevrolet makes.
So feast your eyes on the nearly 20 high-resolution pictures snapped by Ron Alder Photography in Hong Kong this week.
Click past the jump for real-life images of the Camaro BumbleBee concept that is featured in Transformers 4, arriving in theaters in June 2014.
The 2014 XJ sedan finally achieves all the potential of this iconic luxury brand with long-wheelbase, all-wheel-drive or even supercharged versions that match buyer priorities and also Jaguar’s inherent sportiness.
The previous XJ sedans have all been brilliant at one or two of the executive limo buyer’s checklist areas, including style and interior panache. At different times, the previous XJR was hilariously fast and full of roaring character. But never has the XJ offered buyers such a wide swath of excellence in body styles, technology, style and performance.
The XJ really snapped to attention on the sales charts with the 2013 inclusion of a new 3.0-liter, supercharged V-6 and AWD grip near the base $74,000 configuration. This not only catapults the XJ into consideration for Audi and Lexus buyers, but it also improves the previous standard V-8’s mileage stats.
So like a chorus or an orchestra, all the instruments in the Jaguar symphony finally seem to be playing the same some. And it is a catchy tune with the XJ’s beautiful nose and subtle styling that is a perfect match for the ultra-limo segment’s discerning buyers.
A brief sample of the 2014 XJ L 3.0 AWD was enough to take in its liquid curves, attractive nose detailing, and a cabin so full of leather that it smells like the inside of a Burberry purse.
Click past the jump for the full TopSpeed Driven review of the 2014 Jaguar XJ L 3.0 AWD, including photos of the huge back seat and details about the entire XJ lineup.
The Buick LaCrosse is fresh for 2014 with a variety of improvements in almost every area, but with pricing that holds the base line at $34,000.
The outside is sharper than before with LED and bi-xenon lighting up front, while new LED styles for the brake lights come in out back.
Inside, everything takes a step toward classier finishes and surfaces, while tech integration for the touchscreen infotainment and active safety is now one of the best from any luxury brand.
Larger wheels all around are a LaCrosse feature for 2014 as well, but the most notable improvements to this smooth full-size sedan really come from its manners on the road.
A far stiffer chassis than ever before is married to the traditional Buick attributes of smooth, quiet and safe cruising. The increased rigidity for the platform brings only benefits, including a ride that is just as cozy as before in standard settings, but with a firmer ride selectable electronically, as well, for windy mountain roads.
During its stay here at the TopSpeed Garage, the LaCrosse’s benefits were clear from the moment we sat in its huge leather chairs.
Our tester was the 304-horsepower, V-6 model, but almost all of the new tech and other updates also apply across the new-for-2014 eAssist hybrid model at the base side of the price range.
For this much roominess and comfort, the only other contenders in the Buick’s $35,000 to $45,000 segment are the revised Lincoln MKZ or the smaller Audi A6.
How does the flagship Buick define itself in a segment filled with other classy limousine options?
Click past the jump for the full TopSpeed Driven review of the 2014 Buick LaCrosse for all the details.
What has four seats under a dreamy soft top, a twin-turbo V-8 making over 400 horsepower and all the latest LED style from the new E63 AMG?
The 2014 E550 Cabriolet, of course.
This car really stops the conversation, to some extent. Much as new cars get critiqued and reviewed from afar, only a few hours with the E550 Cabrio on a sunny day is all we — or you — will need to fall in love.
All the best parts of the soft new Mercedes-Benz aesthetic and brand appeal are present, from the high-tech full-LED option up front, to the AirScarf and embracing Sport seats inside that use active bolsters in the twist.
All that, with the breeze in your hair and 60 mph in just over 5 seconds. There is only one.
Click past the jump to enjoy the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E550 Cabriolet as much as we did on our brief test route.
For an entry-level engine configuration, the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado LT Double Cab 4.3-liter is quite a contender as the most affordable and stylish do-it-all truck on sale now.
A quick intro to the fuel-economy leader of the all-new Silverado Double Cab V-6 was accompanied by only a brief spin around the block.
Even so, the bright red paint, huge chrome grille, and six-lug wheels made quite the impression.
Click past the jump for all the details of TopSpeed’s intro to the most affordable Silverado trucks on the lot for 2014.
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.
Are the Evo’s world-beating capabilities still intact and on top in one of its final years on the market? Will this generation be known as one of the best when the long-rumored hybrid powertrain brings changes to the Evo’s driving style in 2015 or 2016?
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, with detailed comparisons between the Evo GSR manual and the Evo MR twin-clutch models.
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.
All this talk of gorgeous HD Point-of-View driving videos reminds me of a knockout drive to share here as part of a travel article.
The four videos show the high-def ascent of the Pikes Peak Toll Road outside Colorado Springs, Colorado. Taken earlier this summer by none other than this grinning goon.
The car of choice for this adventure is the only car for the job, in my opinion. My cherished but battered 2005 SubaruSubaru Legacy GT manual Wagon.
This is the car that I mention in my bio as currently non-functional in garage ion the updated TopSpeed Team page...
It is still needing a big electronics overhaul to come back to life as spunky as it was when new.
But watching the clouds roll by while the upgraded turbo spins furiously and boost spikes as high as 19 PSI.
Climbing Pikes Peak takes about 45 minutes and costs about $12.00 per car. It is mostly tourists driving very slowly, with double yellow no-passing zones all the way to the top.
But on that rare sunny day, the only things slowing you down are fear of heights and the thin atmosphere at the 14,000-foot crest of the peak.
Click past the jump for the next four videos in this series, in order, going up and coming down the legendary Pikes Peak in all its high-definition glory.
The Cadillac Elmiraj concept is still creating a furor weeks after its public debut at Pebble Beach 2013.
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.
The drama continues to unfold since Chevy released an outstanding high-def video of its new 2014 Camaro Z/28 hitting ridiculous speeds and lap times on the Nurburgring earlier this week.
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.
The stars are aligned for TopSpeed and the Camaro as well, because no sooner did we stop speculating about the Z28’s driver on Twitter... a brand-new Camaro RS had arrived out front.
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.
If the new Stingray has really been to chassis and charm school for 2014, what about the equally-exciting 2014 Camaro Z28?
With tires from a steamroller and a soundtrack to match, the Camaro is faster than ever with its refreshed aerodynamics and electronics for 2014.
What Chevrolet shows in this high-resolution video is a single brave driver challenging the ultimate proving ground, the north circuit of the Nurburgring. For give the lack of ’umlat dots’ over the U - this is breaking news.
An insider tip gives TopSpeed the jump on this story, which is sure to be huge news.
Not sure what size shoes this driver wears, or how he became so brave on the dizzing array of corners, elevation changes, and ultimate blaring high-speed run down the back straight.
The headline is the time achieved by the Z28 in these damp conditions. A 7:37:47 is a major accomplishment for the Z28, easily lopping 30 seconds off what a similar SS could achieve before 2014.
Performance Traction Management brings part of the thrill under control, but the blaring soundtrack and high-definition timer visuals offer a Camaro like no other.
And none with absolutely super-car-fast lap times on the world’s hardest track. This video this a must-watch event, so put it on HD mode, and sit back for the thrill ride of a lifetime in the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z28.
Updated 10/15/2013: This article has been updated with a mega photo gallery of the 2014 Z/28’s most recent adventure.
The Nissan Juke Nismo is a really surprising little machine. After a week with my foot on the floor (in ’normal’ mode), I was vaguely unimpressed with the little truck’s ability to hustle out of its own way. I thought it looked cool and handled well, had great seats and a good image. But... even the coolest car in the world still needs to be fast to get my attention, and yours too I bet.
Silly me. The TopSpeed team is mostly hard at work during the day producing news content, so the amount of miles we put on the press loaners is pretty low overall.
That extra time was exactly what I needed to discover the Juke Nismo’s sport buttons, which allow personalization of numerous parameters between normal, sport and eco.
Most sport buttons in mainstream cars are a waste of time. They might make the engine hold shifts longer, or thump harder over bumps - but generally achieve very little beyond that.
The Nismo sport tune is far from subtle, however. Cars have to generally start up in their ’Normal’ setting so that they can achieve the emissions and economy required by the test and buyers.
Flipping to Juke Nismo to Sport mode opens up a totally different little crossover. One that has front, AWD auto or even a V-mode all-wheel-drive setting to keep traction.
Skinny tires ensure more playfullness than is normal in a compact, and the sport mode also transforms the optional CVT auto of our test car into something much, much more special. It thrums and upshifts like a real sports car, with handling and steering precision on the highway that seems autobahn-ready.
A quick walk-around video of the Juke Nismo highlights some of the reasons I loved this car by the end of our time together. It also shows of an impressive exhaust rumble and all the Nismo-exclusive styling features of this $27,000 pocket rocket.
Click past the jump to see some clips of the Nissan Juke Nismo ahead of the full TopSpeed Driven review in the coming weeks.
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray hysteria is just reaching full steam, so please avert your eyes if you are already bored to tears with the legendary Vette.
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.
My drive was up near Chicago in a blue C7, whereas TopSpeed’s founder Philippe was lucky enough to take a top-off cruise around Miami in a white example.
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.
The Nissan GT-R is my hero. I was so amazed by the performance of the R35 generation of GT-R when launched that I modified the back of my Legacy 2.5GT to read “2.5GT-R” with an expensive and genuine GT-R emblem from Japan.
To put a badge from another car onto your own, as a grown man, is pretty pathetic in retrospect. But for the year or so that my Subaru was a 2.5GT-R, every time I saw the beveled red letters of that logo, I could not help but smile.
My car, I told myself, was sort of like a GT-R for people with dogs and cargo flexibility needs. I eventually grew up and mounted the GT-R emblem in prime position on my refrigerator, where it delights me even today.
Do not meet your heroes, they say. A lifetime spent worshiping a professional baseball pitcher, only to find out he is meaner than a rattlesnake and twice as deadly. Seeing the underbelly of any icon could ruin baseball altogether - if that was your life’s passion until seeing the bad parts up close.
I got to meet my hero last week via the 2014 Nissan GT-R Track Pack. While the car defined my day, and has consumed my thoughts ever since, I am unable to form an opinion even a full week later.
This is rare for me. Love it or hate it, I generally get a good sense of a car’s merits and issues within a few minutes behind the wheel.
But the GT-R is very different. Our time together was more of a fling than going steady, but if I thought I loved the GT-R more than anything else in the world before I drove it, what do I think now?
Still hard to say. I do know that sitting down in the GT-R for the first time was very intense on a number of levels. The hoon before me had every setting in race mode, and, frankly, I was not prepared for the performance the GT-R offers its drivers every second it is on the roads.
So while I try to stop shaking with cold sweats after only a few full-throttle sessions, the GT-R is better than a hero to me. It was better than everything I had previously read or knew about the vehicle.
We are putting together the full Driven review for next week, but until then, please enjoy these TopSpeed First-Drive Video reviews of the 2014 Nissan GT-R.
Click past the jump to see me sweat it out while hitting 60-mph in a claimed 2.8 seconds.
The Ferrari F12berlinetta and its predecessor, the 599, are some of the baddest front-engine, V-12 supercars in the world. Poke each with a sharp stick, and they will easily hit 60 mph in less than 3.5 seconds, and deliver lap times ahead of anything else with the engine out front.
But the Ferrari pricing and positioning strategy seems backwards to some outsiders. The 458 is the entry-level car, then the FF wagon, then the F12 and ultimately, the million-dollar LaFerrari.
As the flagship production car line, the F12 is absolutely one of the best cars ever made. Period. Its high-dollar clients like it so much that the previous 599XX program of special, owners-only racing events has become a major profit center for the Prancing Horse.
A bit like renting a car for about $50,000 a day for a few days a year, the Corsa Clienti and XX evolution programs have some rich history with Ferrari. Worth recalling that the 288 GTO Evoluzione both directly spawned the F40 and a whole generation of turbocharged sports cars from Japan.
So to really get buyers to open the checkbook wider than ever, the F12XX program must whet their appetite for the front-engine exotic, but also leave them wanting even more. A buyer of one car suddenly owns two red stallions. It does not take an accountant to know how lucrative this double-down selling strategy is.
Of course, spending time on Yas Marina circuit or Imola with hundreds of racing-overalls-wearing Ferrari engineers does bring a bit more street cred when wearing a red baseball hat back home in the standard F12.
So what do these double-rich buyers want from the XX program of the latest F12 supercar? Will it be a lightness and stripped-out racing program, a test-bed for new tires and manettino settings?
Or just a fun way to set the brakes on fire while keeping the wide-eyed racing stare of F1 heroes?
This exclusive TopSpeed rendering shows a speculative preview of the next Ferrari F12, which we have dubbed the F12berlinetta XX - or just F12XX for short.
One really cool thing about TopSpeed right now is that we are getting better. Fast.
The TopSpeed auto news and games portal is in ’Dynamic’ mode - as on the best track cars - with traction and stability control buttons each pushed until everything is disabled.
More access to news and cars means far better reviews to read with better photos, so we are working hard to up our game to the highest levels of automotive news.
On the journey of driving supercars for the first time, the stumbling blocks are many to achieve really good, informative and entertaining car content.
Something really surprising is how much one’s opinion of a press loaner car changes from day one of the loan to day seven. No, we do not get one-year loaners to complain about in print (yet!).
Even so, the real quality of many high-performance machines is hard to grasp at first sitting. It takes time to appreciate their quirks.
This video review format previews some of the awesome TopSpeed Driven reviews that are coming in the next few weeks.
Adding all the specs takes time, but why should YouTube people be the only ones to see us miss gears, bomb around corners and floor throttles on the world’s hottest new cars?
The first segment is based on a car that many readers adore, the 2014 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR.
The goal here is to make the coolest and best car news that is always fresh and fun to read. We always read the comments, so rant away if TopSpeed seems to be changing too much. A Facebook Like is a vote in the right direction, so let us know!
Until then, enjoy the above clip of my first-ever drive in the Evo X GSR that is out front of the TopSpeed Garage this week.
For more information on the 2014 Evo, sprint over to the full review comparing the Evo GSR manual with its TC-SST brother, the Evo MR here.
The arrival of a diesel engine in the luxurious and easy-driving 2014 Ram 1500 pickup is huge news. Until this point, diesel engines for all truck lines have been restricted to just 2500 and 3500 models.
Ford and Chevy continue without a small diesel engine in their light trucks, and are about to feel the hurt from the new 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel.
As much as car buyers traditionally loathe the idea of diesel engines, truck buyers adore it.
Under the chrome Ram hood, the 3.0-liter, V-6 diesel option even delivered a (momentary) 36 mpg via the standard eight-speed automatic during a light cruise on the test route. But that is not even the best part.
The Ram EcoDiesel packs all the benefits of 25-mpg-plus highway efficiency, but none of the typical diesel engine noise or the driving dynamics of an 18-wheeler. This is a machine whose huge torque reserves and lighter front end join forces to make a smooth, quiet and nimble truck. All that comfort on the air springs front and rear has virtually no major tradeoff in the capabilities tallies versus the F-150 or Silverado.
While both of those leading trucks — Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado — are also quite refined in the drivetrain these days, none offer the absolutely S-Class-rivaling smoothness of the Ram 1500 Laramie over bumps.
Un-laden half-ton trucks might have smooth engines, but are still a pitter-patter of suspension clatter in back on good sunny days. On bad snowy or rainy days, that inherent over-sprung feel can become downright treacherous over mid-corner bumps.
Jittery and gas-guzzling pickups are starting to feel mighty obsolete in direct comparison to the swanky new Ram EcoDiesel.
Click past the jump for this exclusive TopSpeed Driven preview of the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, which is arriving in showrooms across five trim levels starting in December.
The GMC Yukon and its jumbo sibling, the Yukon XL, have been the grey sheep of the General Motors full-size SUV line for quite a few years now.
Without the badge cache of the Cadillac Escalade or the flagship status of the Suburban for Chevy’s SUV line, the Yukon is a bit of an odd man out in among the GM full-size SUV nameplates that are redesigned for 2015.
At least, that used to be the case. The new Yukon is looking like a smart and savvy decision for many more buyers than ever before. This is not just a Secret Service convoy machine any more, and it brings subtle but elegant styling that even makes the Denali chrome grille look really out-of-touch versus current preferences toward more-subtle matte finishes.
While the new Denali, Escalade and even the Tahoe wear so much chrome up front that it might cause blindness in direct sunlight, the latest Yukon has a very mature, simple and timeless grille execution up front.
While still ringed in chrome, the dark inner grille detailing and the whole presentation just seems much more refined than the grinning Suburban and Tahoe.
But what about the Escalade’s big V-8 that is not shared with the Suburban at all, or the Denali’s high-tech LED headlight accents?
The best of the GM SUV buffet goes into the new Yukon and Yukon XL, which are expected to continue their mid-tier value pricing when the pair arrive in showrooms around February 2014.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2015 GMC Yukon and GMC Yukon XL, with all the details on the best shared Cadillac technology and features available on this lovable family truck.
By the early 1960s, the Corvette had triumphed over the Thunderbird and was now firmly America’s sports car for the second-gen’s arrival as a 1963 model. Car guys, pilots and engineers all over America had taken the lightweight-big engine formula to heart with their prized first-gen Corvettes, but now they wanted more performance by every measurement. Much more speed, in particular.
Chevrolet had similar ideas when brainstorming ways to replace the C1 as far back as 1957. The Q-Corvette concept was a working idea of a smaller, lighter and nimbler Corvette than ever before. Four-wheel discs were to be standard, and the car was could hold its own on a racetrack right off the showroom floor.
Over the C2’s relatively short time — until 1967 — this Corvette became the quickest factory machine ever in the quarter-mile with the 11.02 second time recorded by the 1967 Corvette L88 Sting Ray Convertible.
Click past the jump for the full history of the 1963-1967 Chevrolet Corvette C2, with highlights from two prize-winning concours examples.
The Nissan 370Z was the first model to get the comprehensive Nismo upgrade from the revered tuning arm of the Japanese auto giant. Long housed in an anonymous mid-rise factory with only a bright red door to signal something special inside, the Nismo team is spreading its wings with further upgrades to normal Nissan models.
The best-known work from these honorable speed demons is, of course, the GT-R. As we will see, this is not a team who adds some stickers and a lightly revised ECU to cars that don the "Nismo" badge.
The pitfalls of creating a performance spin-off series are many. Too much change and the price can nearly double, cutting volume by four in the process. The previous Cadillac CTS-V suffered such a fate.
On the other side of the spectrum; too little enhancement, and the car is dismissed as badge and stickers job by those in the know. So there is a fine line to walk between the loaded 370Z Touring’s $38,000 price and the $43,000 base of the Nismo version.
After some seat time and some driving videos (viewable below), the 370Z Nismo is unlike any other Z-car driven to date. It features extensively restyled bodywork from every angle, a far lower ride height, and exhaust drums so large they might be packing oil reserves.
For those with allegiance to only hardcore performance, the 370Z Nismo really trumps the equivalent Genesis Coupe R-Specs and Camaros of the performance world. An apt comparison would be to the previous Ford Mustang Boss 302 that was basically a Laguna Seca time attack special.
The spec sheet of the 370Z shows how busy the Nismo team was in revamping the Z-car to its standards. This is far more than a body and paint shop; this car is purpose-built from the body-in-white chassis upward by Nismo.
Click past the jump for the full TopSpeed Driven review of the 2014 Nissan 370Z NISMO, including a few videos of driving impressions.
Off-roading can be just as challenging, scary and life-changing as a high-speed track session with a supercar.
With supercars, the chances of a costly mistake are present but manageable. The tracks are typically perfect, the guard rails are there to keep you out of the trees in the case of a spin out, and generally, backing off the throttle is enough to recover control before anything goes *crunch*.
Off-roading, however, brings a real chance that poor driving or the wrong car will result in serious damage to both that driver’s confidence and the car’s rolling ability.
While most racetracks are filled with other cars to help you get home after putting yours into a wall, the situation out on desolate off-road trails is much more grim is something really breaks. Being stranded becomes a real possibility, with bad results almost a sure thing.
After popping three tires and cracking an alloy rim of the 18-inch wheels and 35-section tires of my (poor, abused) Subaru Legacy GT wagon in Oak Ridge, Tennessee a few years ago, I had to limp down the mountain on two hideously-bent donut spare steel wheels. Tires sheared off long before, so it was a clunky and scary ride to a place that a tow truck could find me.
It was this moment I finally realized something: as with everything challenging, to go off-roading the right way, you need the right tools.
Those tools have adjustable suspensions, huge wheel travel, and tires so knobby that a 65 mph cruise on the highway sounds like a Monster Truck.
Great A/C, comfy seats and mechanical reliability are also key parameters for this list.
Click past the jump for the full Top-Ten Best Off-Road SUVs, featuring everything from Bowler Land Rovers to the Nissan Xterra.
The 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG is finally out of its doldrums of quad-oval lights and messy body kits. The AMG Hammer is well and truly reborn with this latest generation of ultra-fast, luxurious and stylish new E63 models.
The E63 now wears the trendy sheetmetal to challenge even the sporty M6 and the Audi RS7. Understated appeal has always been an AMG E-Class feature, but the new styling enhancements mean that the E63 is extremely serious, attention-grabbing and highly entertaining to enjoy up close.
Despite a subtle sedan shape, even blind people know that a very special car is approaching as the E63 AMG gurgles into earshot. This engine maintains much of the previous staccato machine-gun fire noise from the last cars’ naturally-aspirated engines.
In 2014, the E63 — for the first time — gains 4Matic all-wheel-drive as standard in the U.S. to go along with this beastly twin-boosted V-8, and a cabin whose luxury and comfort are contenders for world’s best.
Click past the jump for this exclusive TopSpeed Driven review of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S-Model, including a few videos of the car in action as it slams through the gears on full throttle.
Something that is really incredible about the Olympic Games is how enthralling it can be to hear the winning athletes talk about their sport. Even if the sport is something the viewer has never done or even seen, hearing an expert break it down can really bring it to life.
That is the mood from Brian Darwas in the latest promo for his mastercraft custom car shop, Atomic Hot Rods. He walks us through his vision for the hot rod’s final state: authentic and real are the goals, so much that a bystander cannot tell if the car was made into a hot rod in 2002 or 1952.
There’s a real art to his craft and a beauty to bringing dead cars back to the roads. The best part of this expert promo video? The car (or one quite similar) featured within is for sale. A one-of-a-kind 1932 Ford Roadster with an all-steel Brookville Body is currently on the market from Atomtic Hot Rods.
Click past the jump to watch the promo video, featuring Brian Darwas and Atomic Hot Rods.
Guess who got his paws on a 2014 Corvette Stingray out in the wild this week?
The joy of hooning this hotly anticipated sports car was spoiled only by having to give it back to Chevy at the end of the day.
Are the touted enhancements to the cockpit, performance and road stance enough to put the C7 on the radar of young enthusiasts for the first time in decades? Or just a bald fatty special like the C5?
Much as the pace and V-8 bellow was to be admired in the C5 and C6, the Vette was too Plastic Fantastic to cause much of a sensation to the uninitiated. The old Vette’s key buyer group of Wal-Mart-shopping "rich" people certainly would not help any car’s cool factor.
But the C7 feels about a million miles from those two Extenze-popping machines.
Despite screeching performance and the all-conquering ZR-1, the C6 Vette was mired in image hell based on some of its buyers. An interior so low rent that catching crabs was a real possibility only confirmed suspicions that America’s Sports Car was just for creeps and perves.
Big, big changes for the C7 line. In a dream scenario this week, we found ourselves set loose in the C7. It was the meat of a day that also included a frightening hour in the Nissan GT-R (that left me trembling with delight) and a brief intro to the lumbering and oddly off-putting SRT Viper GTS.
But what to do in that Nirvana moment: a full tank of gas, the brand-new Chevrolet Corvette C7, and a heavy right foot? We cooked the tires, did a few straight-line blasts, and took as many pictures as the camera would hold.
Luckily, the impression this incredible car left is etched in the memory with the staying power of a brain tattoo.
Click past the jump for this exclusive TopSpeed Driven review of the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, with nearly 75 all-new, high-resolution images of the production model we sampled.
The new Pathfinder is lighting up the sales charts with its seven seats and a newly luxurious, efficient and smooth driving experience. Far from going soft, the Pathfinder is still able to do all the truck-like things that made its previous body-on-frame models so memorable.
The TopSpeed Garage is much classier with the 2014 Pathfinder Platinum in "valet 1st position" out front.
Have kid-friendly features totally stomped out the lenedary toughness of the chiseled hardbody Nissan SUV’s from the 1980s? The irrelevance of this question is pretty clear. This is a business, and Nissan knows it.
We’re thrilled to report that the Pathfinder has not lost its way.
Guiding the trails like it did as one of the first semi-premium, imported SUVs in the 1980s, the Pathfinder is on a new trail now — a much smoother trail. One that has dual video monitors in back, a sliding/reclining second row to stretch out with the wireless headphones, and even a heated rear seats for the ultimate in couch potato lounge amenities in back.
But what about the irritating and non-premium character of most previous CVT automatics?
As confessed CVT haters and without rug-rats (yet), our expectations were quite mixed before the 2014 Pathfinder Platinum rolled into the TopSpeed Garage. The latest CVT automatic is standard and truly is a new breed of lightweight and economical transmissions, and we took a quick video of a brake torque launch to show how snappy this new Xtronic box is.
Click past the jump for the full TopSpeed Garage review of the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder Platinum 4x4, by far one of the most impressive seven-seat crossovers on the market.
The swinging 60s just brings up this roasted and muddy air of sex, sweat and drugs. Enough to intoxicate even the plastic hippies among us, the 1960s is rapidly becoming the most profitable segment of the classic supercar market.
And for good reason. Simple leather is mixed with gasoline until emotions boil. This list spans such greats as the Ferrari 250GT California Spider LWB Competizione to the 365 GTB/4 Daytona. And what a long, strange trip it was between those two masterpieces.
The birth of the Porsche 911, the Aston Martin DB5, the Shelby Cobra and Ford GT40, the Maserati Ghibli Spyder and many more.
All of the cars from this era are rich in prose. Sean Connery’s name pops up repeatedly, and so does Steve McQueen and Sir Paul McCartney. These were mens’ men in a time of changing morals on a global scale.
But the coupes and ragtops these gents preferred are really fit for the ages. So throw on some Aviators and slip into your slimmest racing loafers.
Click past the jump for a sunny-Sunday donut run in the Top-Ten Best Supercars from the 1960s.
Infiniti’s name change is starting to take hold with the QX50 and QX80 officially carry over from their previous nameplates aside from the new badges. The name change is hard to swallow. Let’s just get that in the open.
Not only are the new names confusing, but they ditch all the old short-hand for model and engine size. One upside I know from starting my career as an Infiniti dealer runner is to call the pronounce the name differently. QX4 became "Q by four" - and so QX50 could be called "Q by 50." Still not exactly peachy to say, but I digress.
The EX37 is now the QX50 for 2014, and comes in four flavors of trim and rear- or all-wheel-drive traction from about $35,000. Where does this model fit with the new Infiniti Q50 that is leading the brand?
Style-wise, the crossover QX50 was never really the centerfold of its first-gen FX cousins. Even so, it is an even closer replica of a G35 wagon that was never offered stateside. Near-perfect weight distribution, a 325-horsepower engine and a swanky seven-speed automatic are still the main benefits of this sporty crossover.
Quality and interior luxury is up there as well, but certainly not space, with no quoted figure for the seats-down luggage capacity, one has to fear the worst.
How does the 2014 QX50 stack up versus the forthcoming Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, the Audi A4 Allroad or the cute BMW X1?
Updated 05/22/2014: Infiniti announced today prices for 2015 QX50 which continues to offer the same features as the 2014 model year. The only change is the Bluetooth Hands-free Phone offered as standard feature on the base models. Prices for the 2-15 QX50 will start from $35,000.
Click past the jump for all the details from Infiniti on the freshly-renamed QX50.
Dream cars are such a regular and normal part of every car guy and gal’s life growing up. Waiting for that license, dreaming about the wild places you will go and friends you might meet. For generations of enthusiasts until the 1950s, however, such dreams were so unattainable they were foolish.
The only non-mass-market car around was the coach-built Phaeton from Rolls-Royce, Mercedes-Benz or Duesenberg.
Such was the gulf between the rich and poor at the time that it makes today’s 99-percent protests seem as ridiculous as they are. In those days, the ratio was more like 99.99999 percent versus the 0.00001 percent.
You can probably guess which group we and most young car shoppers would fall into. And it is not the one with the nines.
For a generation of hot-shot former military officers, pilots and engineers: coming home from the battle fronts of Europe and the Pacific had whet their appetites for speed. The enormous volume of men and women enchanted by steel machinery during wartime was unprecedented.
But coming home, the cars these speed demons found were lumbering, great heavy beasts with no power and little cornering ability whatsoever. These men were chasing the rush they felt in fighter bombers - but in a stylish and affordable package.
The Corvette from 1953 was the answer to these wishes and much, much more. Initially just a throw-away concept for the Motorama events, such was the demand that Chevy had no choice but to produce the car for sale.
But those shapes could never be made in steel! And never made in time to get the car to eager buyers. So a stop-gap solution was born to make the panels out of fiberglass over a ladder frame chassis. Little did the fabricators know, this template would underpin America’s sports car for the next 75 years or more.
The Chevrolet Corvette C1 is a very special automobile. Collected here are three incredible examples of this ground-breaking achievement for affordable dream cars ever since.
Click past the jump for this debrief of the 1953-1962 Chevrolet Corvette C1.
The latest Dodge Charger Pursuit just spanked its two arch-rivals in another high-speed test session by the Michigan State Police, whose data and recommendations are highly regarded in the law enforcement community. And can you blame them for choosing the only model running a Hemi V-8 to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic?
You read that right. The latest Charger is not only on the police order books as a rear-drive V-6 and V-8, but now also with the V-8 to all four wheels.
This is big news because it effectively makes the Charger Pursuit as one of the fastest cars on American highways — year round. With a powertrain and seamless AWD system offered for the V-8, the Charger is hotter than ever below its menacing panels.
No big changes outside since the 2012 refresh brought and updated nose and the full LED racetrack of brake lights in back. Even so, the numerous combinations of police-ready trims are enough to make even a grown man tinkle himself a little when viewed in the rearview mirror.
Such a mean grille surely lets any driver know that a big ticket is coming. Why? The Charger is most popular among money-generating State Highway Patrols versus the boring Tahoe and Taurus Interceptor PPV’s run by suburban mall cops.
The big Charger Pursuit in your rearview means no chance of escape. The old Pursuit Hemi was able to char the freeways at 160 mph-plus top speed, with a 60 mph sprint now projected to be as low as 5.7 seconds for the AWD Hemi.
What red-blooded cop would turn down this as a daily driver?
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Dodge Charger Pursuit, with details on its newly-available AWD on the potent Hemi V-8.
A luxury limousine needs no explanation. For many buyers, is the only type of car on the market they will consider. Transporting themselves, family members and business colleagues in comfort and luxury is the name of the game.
It is much more than comfort for these affluent clients, or we would see American businessmen lapping up the Chevy Impala or Toyota Avalon like they do stock options in a venture capital-backed, start-up company.
No, for these buyers - it is either a professionally-driven car service or it must be the something extremely luxurious and "on brand." In other words, something these fancy folks think matches their lifestyle, clothing, accessories, vacation spots and what-have-you.
The luxury sedans on this list start at about $65,000 and go way up from there. These limos need to be huge in the back seat, ruling out the BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class and Audi A6 from contention.
So, let’s talk big. A back seat so roomy that you can read the full newspaper and cross your legs. For that, it will take the size of the Audi A7 at minimum, and up to the Rolls-Royce Ghost LWB at maximum.
Click Pass the jump for the full list of the Top-Ten Luxury Sedans.
The Nissan GT-R is by far Japan’s longest-running and most-talked-about supercar. Even in the face of an all-new hybrid NSX and the shrieking Lexus LF-A’s V-10, the magic of the GT-R formula continues to fascinate and captivate car guys and gals across the world.
The latest R35 Nissan GT-R is the most accomplished in the family lineage by not only dominating the press in Asia and Australia — where the previous-gen cars were sold — but also taking headlines across America and Europe.
And the headlines are good. Not the standard "newcomer tries to beat Porsche, loses" we are all so familiar with. The GT-R is a machine that wins objective and subjective comparison tests against some of the absolute quickest and highest-tech machines in the world.
It has taken two generations of 911 Turbo models to get anywhere near the GT-R’s pace, and the $100,000 Nissan also regularly spanks Ferrari’s finest.
So much so that Porsche and Ferrari will no longer let one of their cars be in a comparo with the GT-R. Now that is an achievement.
So where to go with this legend of a race car? Keep the world-beating pace and all the latest component upgrades from the forthcoming GT-R Nismo, but improve the weight balance, center of gravity, aerodynamics and style.
A daunting task, to say the least. Luckily, the TopSpeed artists and graphic design team have created a few exclusive previews of where the GT-R’s styling will go in the next generations.
Tagged a 2016 Nissan GT-R, these renderings are purely speculative design studies. The ideas presented here are still quite interesting, with two distinct flavors of modern GT-R from which to select your favorite.
Click past the jump for a closer look at these TopSpeed exclusive previous of the next-gen Nissan GT-R.
Update 3/13/2014: A possible leaked image and insider information puts the 2016 GT-R at over 800 horsepower and gives it a whole new look. See more after the jump.
What is the appeal of a really hardcore performance sedan? There are a dozen valid reasons, and most car guys will not need much persuading to get on-board. Killer pace starts from the new Panamera Turbo’s projected 3.2-second blastoff to 60 mph.
The ingredients for the recipe are deceptively simple: big power all over the rev dial, rear-drive bias strongly preferred, and a manual box unless the automatic is absolutely state of the art.
The last and least important part? Those rear doors. Buyers of the hottest full-size performance sedans typically do not mind a tiny back seat. After all, the best possible passengers back there will probably be adoring ladies in thousand-dollar outfits.
So, megalux atmosphere back there is more important than true comfort and versatility. After all, you cannot take three beautiful and giggling best friends for a windows-down, radio-up spin in the hills without a swanky coupe-like sedan.
Even better is a stomping acceleration soundtrack and real panache outside the hottest bars and restaurants. No longer just Euro exclusives: all the cars on this list can be bought or ordered right here in the U.S. for 2013 or 2014.
Representatives from BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Jaguar, Audi and Cadillac are also proudly represented in this market for $50,000-plus super sedans.
Click past the jump for the current Top Ten Best Performance Sedans, with a few in there you might not have expected.
With the roaring applause still ringing from the recent debuts of the new Silverado 1500, Tahoe and Suburban, Chevy has also revealed a pretty heavy revamp for the 2015 HD trucks.
It seems the welcome reception to all the other new bow-tie trucks means that the 2014 model year will be very short: GM pushed up the HD release so that all the factories can start gearing up for the hugely-improved 2015 model year.
The Silverado HD’s updates are actually much deeper than a facelift, with the largest changes coming from the way the truck body is mounted to the chassis. Chevrolet is using a new type of welding process that is claimed to bring large increases in all rigidity measurements, cabin quietness and ride comfort.
The new nose looks pretty great, actually. Chevy’s truck styling really seems to be very sharp these days. Projector beam lamps update the nose nicely, and a very dramatic chrome grille has far more shaping and structure to its surfaces.
Improvements to cooling and aerodynamics are hoped to increase highway fuel economy, where these big trucks really start to chug whatever fuel they are using at anything over 65 mph.
Drag is a real issue for these machines, and any HD owner will tell you that an 80 mph cruise with a trailer can switch the usual miles per gallon into gallons per mile.
Other changes include a totally-redesigned cabin, seats, infotainment and the whole vehicle’s electronic architecture. Under the hood, the engines are carryover but have a new engine management that integrates all the towing and stability safety features into its work flow.
What this boils down to for buyers is better economy, higher payload and towing stats, and a cruise control that now claims to be able to maintain a set speed even with a heavy trailer out back. Previous cruise controls for many cars will pop off and fail to keep a speed if doing so might make the engine stall.
So it is truck-a-palooza at Chevrolet this winter. Are buyers swayed by the new looks and vastly superior cabin?
Click past the jump for a closer look at the new sheetmetal, plus all the mechanical specs of the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and Silverado 3500HD.
The 2014 TSX Sport Wagon is the perfect example of Acura giving shoppers a competitive, unique and well-built luxury station wagon for just above $30,000. And what does the market say in response to the only low-roof hauler in a time when Shooting Brake and coupe bodies have never been hotter?
The market yawns, then saunters over to the RDX sitting nearby in the (usually totally empty of humans) Acura showroom floor. A slightly taller ride height and a V-6 engine are available for a few thousand over this classy and nimble TSX Sport Wagon.
For that cash, the RDX brings much, much newer infotainment controls and available AWD that the TSX lacks.
But the RDX is wearing (even worse) looks these days that are like a melted and shrunken MDX. Or maybe a mushed up Starburst candy.
So the RDX solution is not quite as appealing as when the RDX was a spunky turbocharged bandit.
After being outsold by the brand’s crossovers by more than twenty to one, the TSX wagon is 100-percent carryover for 2014. Some new pics that are not renderings or a photochop are welcome from Acura, but the TSX is in a holding pattern while Acura tries to define its future strategy.
The TSX Sport Wagon is not alone in offering frugal family transit with great quality and handling. The BMW X1 is a sporty and quick rear- or all-wheel-drive crossover new in America for 2013, while the Mazda CX-5 is even a bit more eager in corners than the Acura.
But for the shopper who really wants to make a wagon envy statement?
Please follow the jump for all the details on the 2014 Acura TSX Sport Wagon.
Car television shows have come a long way in the last five years. From the previous drought of anything car-related but entertaining on American television, there are now at least 10 incredible automotive-themed television shows.
Some focus on road and track testing, some on adventures and some on the popular resto-mod template. Finding which of these shows is the best for real car enthusiasts can be tricky. They take a long time to film, are expensive to make and edit, and generally are nowhere near as popular as TMZ and other garbage.
To help car guys to find the best way to see all the latest cars being driven to the max, these 10 television programs are our favorites right now. The best part? The new seasons of Top Gear USA and Fifth Gear UK are airing, so there is some new car content to devour.
So sit back, relax, and never have to suffer through MotorWeek again.
Please click past the jump to see the full details of the Top Ten Best Car TV Shows.
A new Chevy Suburban really is a rare event. Since the six-pack of new full-size SUVs was revealed by GM, buzz generated quickly for the arrival of these new trucks into dealers. Perhaps the most important news for shoppers is how much the Suburban LTZ will benefit from the highest-tech features from the much pricier GMC Yukon Denali XL and forthcoming Cadillac Escalade ESV. On the top LTZ Chevy specification comes virtually all of the latest cabin luxuries, like power folding for the third row, a dozen charge ports and a central 8-inch touchscreen interface. Below the chrome smile of the new Sub are also major enhancements for all trims, and even the magneto-rheological dampers for, again, the LTZ spec.
There’s only one critical piece of missing gear from the GMC and Cadillac trucks, and we’ve combed all the details thoroughly to find out what that thing is.
Updated 03/05/2014: Chevrolet announced today prices for the 2015 Suburban which will go on sale later this spring. The 2015 Suburban will be priced from $48,590, including $995 destination freight charge.
Click past the jump to read about the 2015 Chevrolet Suburban’s new fold-flat seats, speedier V-8 engine and new tech throughout.
If every car company has one division of rock star engineers and stylists assigned to work on the most important projects, what do Lexus’s biggest brains focus on? The new sport sedan platform is the result of intensive engineering at the very highest levels in the Toyota and Lexus organization. Twinned with the IS sedan, the GS was all-new for 2013 with looks that really warm up over time.
But the GS has always somewhat failed to deliver on its V-8 engine’s initial "Something Wicked This Way Comes" advertising campaign, even more than 15 years since the GS400 made every Lexus dealer a little bit more ’hip and trendy lounge’ versus a ’hip replacement center.’
The world seems like quite a different place now. The GS competes in the most challenging and action-packed segment of the luxury sedan market, the $40,000 to $60,000 class that also includes such exceptional machines as the Mercedes-Benz E350 with a new nine-speed automatic, the always-rapid BMW 535i and the quietly stellar Audi A6.
The GS needs to be among the best if Lexus is to be successful outside its core niche of affluent and comfort-focused car shoppers who prefer not to own a German car.
Whether thinking the servicing will be too expensive, the image is not right, or myriad other reasons, Lexus wants to expand its niche to real car guys. If all goes well, the company should be able to please its existing clients and also have a shot at some respect in Europe and China, where Lexus is currently destroyed in sales by the three German luxury juggernauts.
Coming in the GS 450h Hybrid or the gasoline GS 350 or the GS 350 F Sport, the 2014 Lexus gets a new eight-speed automatic and some detail trim enhancements like something Lexus calls a ’superchrome’ finish on the wheels. The battle for luxury sedans is hotter than ever, and the new GS finally has some real advantages over its competition.
But is that enough for the 2014 Lexus GS 350?
Click past the jump to find out.
The video game business is evolving much more rapidly than many movie studios in terms of their broad reach and level of interactivity with the players who devote hours to winning the race, collecting a mad fleet of exotic cars, or even doing the most efficient kill shots on retro robo future zombies. Or something.
The automotive genre of the gaming industry is quite a unique subset. Guys and gals who have never enjoyed most first-person-shooters, RPGs and other fantasy wizard content can somehow really love driving games.
Gran Turismo is obviously the mack daddy franchise, but its lead over the improving Forza, Need for Speed and others is diminishing.
As awesome as GT5 and GT6 are, the level of game play is always pretty serious. It might start out with paint jobs and ECU chips for an old used MX-5 that is now a giant killer, but Gran Turismo gets extremely stressful and difficult as the Mario Kart friendliness of the first tracks becomes the brutal London F1 course, Sardinia rally stage, or the legendary Nordschleife in Nürburg.
The light-hearted escapism of the old Donkey Kong Country series is long gone in this intense generation of lifelike games. Your escape will be directly into the racing cockpit. Your eyes will bleed from starting at the 250 mph warp speed down the Mulsanne straight, hate your own slow-fitted fingers, and maybe - just maybe - win a race or two.
Grand Theft Auto takes a totally different path. Instead of the glamor of the world’s best tracks and circuits, the GTA approach is much more down-to-earth. You are a professional criminal building an empire. But there are guys around every corner who want to be the next Tony Montana also.
So you become a fierce and hardened street tough playing the game. Even in the lush green lawns of posh suburbs, the boys will always be in the basement doing evil deeds and wild burnouts on GTA 5. The goal is to be a fun escape from the reality of speed limits, paying tolls and parking tickets. All the boring parts of life.
So where does the new GTA app fit into this mix? Called iFruit, the new iPhone and iPad apps are companion pieces that integrate with console game play. Build your ideal whip, train your Rottweiler or just browse the enormous game play guide application when stuck.
Is iFruit the perfect time-waster for all those boring hours spent *not* playing GTA 5?
Click past the jump to find out.
Sounding like a marriage between a vacuum company and a grocery-store cell phone, Drayson Racing Technology and Qualcomm are preparing the next wave of revolutionary EV technology: induction charging with no cords. As the marquee sponsors and tech suppliers of next year’s all-new electric racing series, dubbed Formula E, these two companies might be some of the most innovative movers and shakers in electric vehicle technology.
The lack of brand recognition for these companies is not really a problem. While they stopped making their own cell phones almost a decade ago, every new Android or iPhone sold brings a payday for Qualcomm. Thousands of inventions, patents and licensing deals mean that Qualcomm is happy to sit behind the scenes, cashing checks and investing in research and development.
Every racing series would like to claim its direct influence of road car technology, but the link is often completely fictional and done for marketing authenticity. Race on Sunday, sell on Monday is the old adage explaining how to convert racing fans into buyers of humdrum production models. The Formula E concept is exciting because almost everything has to be designed and imagined from the ground up.
No 10,000-page rule books, infighting or Bernie gives the new series the freedom to explore and experiment. The challenges of an electric racing series are many, including the fact that most electric cars run out of juice after about 10 minutes of track driving.
Battery swaps at pit stops are a possibility at first, but Drayson and Qualcomm’s vision is an uninterrupted race, using induction battery chargers built into the track concrete itself. There are more than a few enormous engineering challenges to overcome, but the technology could eventually be transferred into highway charging for normal EV models like the Nissan Leaf or Tesla Model S.
Click past the jump for more details on the new technology partnership between Drayson Racing Technologies and Qualcomm’s Halo Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging system.
Frankfurt’s legendary auto show is winding down this week, with fewer than expected debuts and almost none of the surprise guests that many were hoping to see from Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Volvo, BMW and Ford.
There are at least a half-dozen Volkswagen Group projects that the auto world is eagerly anticipating, but it seems the continuing grey clouds in the forecast is delaying projects left and right. Not only is there not as much cash to invest in so many simultaneous projects, the market climate is all wrong to launch most of these models in the usual ’as soon as possible’ fashion.
The Lamborghini Cabrera was a no-show, as was the Bentley Falcon, Porsche Macan, Audi Q7 and many others. The new XC90 was nowhere to be found on the Volvo stand, while the promised flood of VW crossovers seems to have slowed to a drip.
Even so, there were still plenty of spotlights and smoke machines for the cars that did make their grand entrance.
The BMW i3 and i8, the Renault Initiale Paris, the Audi Nanuk and Sport Quattro, the Jaguar Crossover Concept and the S-Class Coupe all brought some serious glamor to the stage. Fiat’s 500L Living was also hiding awkwardly in the corner, while the Volvo Concept Coupe finally brings some new blood to the snooze-fest Swedish lineup.
The best and worst are all in this list, but you will have to click past the jump to see which were the heroes, and which were the zeroes.
The Toyota Tundra really needs an all-star halo truck to liven up its competent but forgettable range of full-size trucks, which are redesigned for 2014. This exclusive speculative preview of the 2015 Tundra Baja 1000 imagines how a Ford Raptor rival from Toyota would compare with the hot-selling off-roader from the segment-leading F-150.
The Tundra reached its U.S. sales peak in 2007, when the big rig was all-new and came from its billion-dollar assembly plant right in the heart of Texas. Since then, the Tundra has struggled to even crack 100,000 units, which is a major sore spot when even the dullest Toyota sedans like the Corolla are able to rack up more than triple the total volume of the Tundra.
So what is missing from the Tundra’s three cab styles, short and long bed options, and three engines that top out with a potent 5.7-liter V-8 making 383 horsepower? The Tundra is missing more than a few million loyal customers, first and foremost, versus the long-trenched buyers of Ram, Ford, Chevy or GMC trucks.
Even the also-ran Nissan Titan PRO-4X is trying on some new off-road hero truck ideas for next year’s all-new model. For slow-moving
Toyota? So far, the world’s most admired car maker has only dipped its toes into the pool.
The new 1794 Edition of the Tundra packs more fake silver trims than a Nokia factory, and the Toyota Racing Development 4x4 stickers its dealers like to apply do not seem to have the same effect as the Raptor’s unique grille, huge fender flares, Fox racing suspension and sand-basted attitude.
TRD is just about the worst acronym imaginable, so this TopSpeed preview of a Tundra off-roader is dubbed the Baja 1000.
Click past the jump to get a closer look of the 2015 Toyota Tundra Baja 1000.
The legendary Mercedes-Benz Unimog all-terrain trucks are refreshed for 2013 with a comprehensive makeover inside the cabin, underneath that boxed ladder chassis and outside with a menacing new grille and LED lighting.
The top of the new Unimog lineup in terms of off-road ability is the new U5023 model, which replaces the previous U5000 nameplates. Sharing the nose layout with its shorter sibling, the U4023, these models are the freshest outside with a dramatic new single-wing grille to house the dinner-plate-sized Mercedes star emblem.
This is a unique touch for the U5023, as this design is usually reserved for the sportiest models in the lineup, like the SLS AMG. Regardless, the new design is functional more than stylish, with a new cab and engine mounting position that is farther back in the chassis and other significant changes to go along with this new grille design.
The chassis itself of these off-road models is quite something. With a flexible central spine, the Unimog U5023 is able to articulate its wheels farther than any other production vehicle, and now can even flex the chassis to ensure at least one wheel has traction on the ground.
The other big news for the Unimog line is a vastly improved cabin with better visibility, easier off-road traction settings, a vastly improved driving position with a tilt/telescoping wheel, and a new Euro6-complaint BlueEfficiency turbo diesel engine.
Despite a (limited) top speed of 56 mph in Europe, the Unimog U5023 has some of the most clever and innovative off-road tech designed right into its chassis.
How far ahead of a Jeep is the Unimog? Well it has 664 pound-feet of torque and an eight-speed automatic for forward movement. A six-speed automatic handles reverse, where the Unimog can also hit its 56 mph top speed going backwards. Not something many would attempt in a Jeep.
While the Mercedes G63 AMG 6x6 is a big draw for flashy people, the Unimog will always be the real king of mud, sand, rocks and water.
Click past the jump for the full review of the new 2014 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U5023.
Tucked inside the wealthy enclave of Santa Barbara, California is one of the most awe-inspiring collections of pre-war French automobiles ever assembled anywhere on earth — even inside France.
Just a few hours south of Monterey and Pebble Beach, the Mullins Automotive Museum is almost as exclusive as the cars inside. And for good reason: dozens of the cars in the collection are priceless and completely unique.
The Mullins museum has dozens of Bugatti’s, including the all-time most-valuable car ever: the Type 57 Atlantique. This is too easy and common, so we will focus on some of the more obscure pieces in its priceless collection.
There are highlights are every turn, but we’ve assembled some of the most influential and visually breathtaking cars here in a list of Top Ten Coach-Built French Imports - between 1930 and 1950.
This list could also have been called the "unpronounceables" because their names are quite complicated to say out loud. Doing so is a real treat, however, especially in the case of the all-star Hispano-Suiza H6C Xenia. This gorgeous coupe has some of the most otherworldly styling ever seen then or since.
Winner of Best in Show at Goodwood 2009, this Hispano-Suiza features sliding side doors, a rounded fuselage design, and bespoke luggage that looks like a million bucks.
Click past the jump for all ten of these stunners: including a number of Bugatti’s, Avoins Voisin and the first hard-top cabrio: the 1938 Peugeot 402L Cabriolet Metallique Decouvrable.
The Ferrari F50 is by far the least popular of the firm’s first four generations of modern hypercars. All the world’s respect and awe for the F40 met the F50 at its debut, but the tide quickly turned for this $480,000 machine after reviewers and Ferrari customers alike revealed the F40 replacement’s familiar styling hid dynamics and a driver experience nowhere near the ferocity of the legendary original.
Instead of a peaky and violent Group B reject like the F40, the F50 was a heavy, high-speed missile with limited tractability at low speeds from the V-12 versus the explosive F40’s twin turbochargers and short gearing.
Make no mistake, there is nothing wrong with the performance of the F50, which easily spanked [the hottest thing available from Lamborghini at the time, the Diablo VT in sprint pace, as well as maximum velocity. The construction is carbon-fiber with the rigidity of a fortified bunker, the rear wing is eye-catching, and the 1990s makeover of the F40’s simple nose was beautiful, at first.
The F50 largely included the F40’s exaggerated and exotic proportions and clamshell hoods front and back. Headlamps above the bumper and hood’s leading edge were possible via shrouded enclosures for the first time in three decades, and the unadorned intake wears only a simple and modest prancing horse.
The F50 is an enjoyable case study for armchair experts and everyone else forced to endure Ferrari’s frequent grandstanding. It also shows a few nice things for all supercar fans, especially those who are, unfortunately, not debating which Ferrari to purchase (at least not any time soon)!
Click past the jump for the full debrief of the Ferrari F50: the Ferrari’s hypercar sophomore album that is now a study in what *not* to do when replacing a legend.
The Ford Fusion is becoming one of the biggest hits for any American automaker who dares tussle with the best-selling Accord and Camry. A grunty and quick EcoBoost triple-cylinder 1.5-liter joins the engine and drive layout choices for 2014, which now reaches seven variations — an unprecedented total for any American car starting at just $22,000.
So this handsome Ford runs a three-banger in 1.5-liter EcoBoost specification? Will it have the speed of a lawnmower and the engine note of a go-kart? Nope and nope. This is a potent engine, with much more power at all revs than the base 2.5-liter, four-cylinder. It’s also quite affordable to produce, so will hopefully take a larger percentage of Fusions than the pricier EcoBoost engine options.
Lastly, AWD is on the table with the top-spec 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine. Larger wheels look terrific, like they were milled from a solid block of aluminum, some swanky comfort and active safety tech, and a few new colors round out the Fusion’s updates for the new model year.
All this sounds good, but buying a Camry can be done blindfolded over the phone: are all these choices a recipe for confusion on American dealer lots?
Since becoming fans of the Fusion this summer with our Fusion Hybrid and Energi tester models, we’re happy to keep the Fusion rocking the sales charts.
Even so, the gasoline choices are fantastic for keen drivers: the manual box 1.6 EcoBoost or the 2.0-liter AWD are arguably even better vehicles for their lack of electrified tech.
Click past the jump to read all the latest updates for the 2014 Ford Fusion, one of the most confident and stylish midsize cars available.
The 2014 Ford Taurus SHO only brings minor updates to the speedy sedan’s active safety technology, and a new setup for the wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The SHO still wears its standard 19-inch wheels and exclusive exterior styling with pride: happy to explode from any stoplight with the full force of its twin-turbocharged EcoBoost engine.
A near-equal 55:45 front-to-rear default split for the SHO’s standard all-wheel-drive traction really performs miracles on this large and tall sedan’s handling attitude and eagerness. The SHO looks like, feels like, and drives like the best Taurus out there for a reason: it is.
The SHO still brings hundreds of unique touches to its performance credentials, interior luxury and tech sophistication versus the base models.
No one likes a stripped-out car. Years of driving is no fun when forced to stare at all the blanked-off switch holes, and driving a modern Ford without the Touch controls and other tweaks can lessen satisfaction over time. If missing a decent radio, what other extra tech or performance was left on the table?
Luckily, the SHO acronym might as well mean "everything," because that is what this roomy and wide hot rod brings as standard. No more regrets, other than the updated Performance Pack or the adaptive cruise control that are on the options list.
A two-fer of new arrivals from Chevy is set to bring some pressure to the SHO nearing the end of this model cycle: the new front-drive 2014 Chevrolet Impala and the rear-drive 2014 Chevy SS sedan.
With pricing that is a bit steep for the handling or sprint pace, is the 2014 Taurus SHO still the hero car that Ford needs at the top of its sedan range?
Click past the jump to find out.
The super-luxury coupe market is heating up rapidly this year with the production debut of the Rolls-Royce Wraith fastback and the brand-new Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe concept.
Both are aiming for the meat of the market occupied by the Bentley Continental GT: a car so successful and profitable that it almost single-handedly relaunched the $100,000 to $150,000 market for two-door, four-seat dream coupes.
While the Conti GT V-8 S is now far more nimble but just as rapid as before, the styling of the Bentley is looking quite tired and unappealing for the sharpest and most fashion-forward shoppers.
In the ultra-chic world of luxury cars, yachts and homes on three continents - old styling and previous ownership of the Bentley means these buyers are ready to move forward.
New styles are poised to capture these Bentley refugees with the Wraith and S-Class Coupe, which is quite near production specification despite being officially tagged a concept.
These two swish shapes are both absolutely fresh designs that introduce advanced styling concepts for both the RR and Merc brands. If well received, the cues seen here will have a strong influence on the next-generation vehicle designs from these storied luxury marques.
As sedan-based two-door coupes, they both essentially start at the same place as the Bentley did when remodeling the VW Phaeton.
But which car is more beautiful, technically interesting, and the winner of this TopSpeed Design Showdown between the 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith and the 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe concept?Updated 10/24/2013: This article now features the latest photography from Rolls-Royce and Mercedes-Benz
Click past the jump for a side-by-side battle of these two exotics from all angles.
Comfort, safety, durability and power are the key reasons for upgrading to these heavier pickups from the lighter-duty Silverado that is all new for 2014. Even while the new model has projector beam headlights and some extra cabin tech, the 2500HD and 3500HD Silverado’s continue with only detail tweaks for 2014.
These updates include a new standard final drive ratio that boosts tow ratings by 4,500 pounds across the board, and a bi-fuel option that can run on normal gasoline or clean and affordable natural gas at the flip of a switch.
Chevy packs quite a bit more strength into these $30,000 to $50,000 2500 HD and 2500 HD trucks than their fierce cross-town rivals from Ford’s F-Series Super Duty and the Ram Heavy Duty choices.
These trucks have the rock-solid capabilities that would have required heavy and specialized machinery even a few decades ago.
Two quite unique buyer groups exist for these Texas-sized pickup trucks: people using the HD trucks to earn a living, and people who are so rich that they need to be able to transport all their toys to the cabin - at the same time. 10,000-plus tow maximum’s and fifth-wheel trailer hitches available, the Chevrolet Silverado HD trucks are only of the only ways to move a family of five, a large boat, jet ski’s and ATVs all in one trip.
These days, the Silverado HD series will happily get filthy doing the dirty work from dawn to dusk, but it must also deliver far more friendly service during the off hours. This is the real challenge for all pickup trucks, and the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD models are the last bastion of (at times) crude manners and a DuraMax exhaust drum wider than a telephone pole.
All this while hauling its drivers and their families in comfort and safety that still seems unimaginable at times for these big work trucks. Is the aging 2014 Silverado HD still up to the task in the face of a revised 2014 Ram Heavy Duty with an air suspension in back? How about versus the ever-popular Ford F-Series Super Duty and its huge cabin space?
Meet the ultimate Fiat 500 Abarth: the new Corsa Stradale concept from Zender Italia. This bad-ass racing hatchback wears a milky metallic shade of white over a custom carbon-fiber body kit. Even better, creator Zender Italia promises turbo power and road stance so far unseen from the world’s favorite pocket rocket, even on the latest Abarth 595.
The 500 Corsa Stradale is gorgeous, with a huge track stretch and fender flares so wide that it almost looks like it has square dimensions all around. To go with that revamp outside is a butter-toffee leather cockpit and 240 horsepower from its 1.4-liter turbocharged stinger up front.
This upgrade is a concept built by styling and aftermarket equipment manufacturer, Zender Italia. This division of the company is enjoying a rebirth, even as the Zender Germany off-shoot fell on hard times in 2008. All signs from the Italian side of the company point to its intention to produce these designs for sale to buyers, if there is enough interest.
Would the Zender Italia upgrade let the 500 Corsa Stradale trample the still-speedy Mini Cooper GP? Even better; how might its extra 80 horsepower improve the sprint pace of the nimble U.S.-market 500 Abarth?
Click past the jump for the full details on the 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth Corsa Stradale by Zender Italia.
The SRT Viper is sliding into 2014 on a plume of tire smoke and V-10 rumble: sure of victory over the new Corvette in its launch specification.
The new Viper suffered a serious black eye when it ranked behind the outgoing Corvette ZR1 in a few big comparison tests, so the SRT crew has been busy refining the model with a new Bilstein DampTronic adjustable suspension, a ‘Rain’ mode on the stability and traction control, and matte-black paint on the new-for-2014 Anodized Carbon Edition.
SRT is fresh off a class victory at Road America with the racing GTS-R version of the latest Viper, but is this V-10-powered brute still in touch with sports car buyers in the age of the Nissan GT-R?
The most impressive is the yet-to-be-seen 2014 Viper Anodized Carbon Edition, which packs all the interior and exterior carbon options from the 2013 Time Attack model, but brings Chrysler’s first-ever matte-black paint job.
The T/A model shares its handling refinements with the base and GTS Vipers for 2014 via a track pack that also cuts the big supercar’s curb weight by 57 pounds.
How does the new Viper compare to its rivals like the all-new Corvette Stingray that barely costs half as much as the SRT? In the $100,000 super-coupe segment, is the Viper’s newly-gentrified cockpit enough to lure in Porsche 911 Turbo buyers?
Updated 9/18/2014: This review has been updated with all of the official details for the 2014 SRT Viper.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 SRT Viper, with info on the new Uconnect with built-in WiFi and the new-for-2014 Anodized Carbon Edition.
Mitsubishi’s biggest seller brings a number of new updates for 2014 to increase refinement, style and interior technology. Both models move up a notch in driving ability, helping maintain the 2014 Outlander Sport’s class-leading status among the compact crossover market segment.
A new LED running light design is available up front, along with some snazzy blue LED brake lights out back for 2014. A black leading edge of the roof is also quite stylish, and marks out the Outlander Sport SE at the top of the range. In the top trim level, the 2014 model year also brings better leather and a a standard display audio screen.
All Outlander Sports now pack a new balancer shaft for the engine, extra insulation and redesigned steering wheel controls. Overall, the Outlander Sport is still one of the sportiest and best-handling compact crossovers out there.
Is the Mitsu’s tight handling and build quality enough of an incentive over the Jeep Patriot? How about the turbocharged Nissan Juke?
Updated 02/06/2015; Mitsubishi announced that its Outlander Sport lineup will be expanded with the addition of a more powerful 2.4 version, which gets of course a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine. The new engine delivers an extra 20 horsepower over the base 2.0-liter engine. Prices for the new 2.4 version will start from $21,295 for the 2.4 ES and $23,595 for the 2.4 GT version.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, with all the updates for this model year, options info, and pricing data on the optional huge glass roof
Classic Vettes are on the upswing in values this year, with the $3.2 million earned by this 1967 L88 Sting Ray Convertible at Mecum’s Dallas auction the highest total yet for any example of America’s sports car.
Corvette collection can become an obsession thanks to the huge variety of models, special editions and racing derivatives over the model’s 60-year history. Just like a bag of chips: once you pop... you can’t stop collecting these iconic machines.
Valuations for these models are incredibly sensitive to the car’s history, rarity and restoration quality. Beauty and the driving experience take a back seat to the engine specification and matching serial numbers. As such, this investment-grade L88 convertible’s huge earning at auction is a bit confusing to outsiders.
Part of a giant Bobby Herin collection sold by Mecum Auctions, to an outsider’s eye there seem to be many more special and beautiful examples out there, including some from Mr. Herin’s garage as well.
But they provenance of this L88 convertible is beyond reproach, with all the required documentation, the fuel tank sticker, and the other minute details collectors look for when purchasing a car at these prices. The authenticity of the interior adds patina, as does the car’s NHRA drag racing championship, old drag racing time slips, and the painstakingly-recreated original Marlboro Maroon paintjob.
How cool is this L88? It was beyond a ZR1 upgrade in its day, and the color directly influenced the new 2014 Stringray Convertible’s launch color.
Click past the jump for the full review of the most valuable Corvette (and perhaps any American road car) ever sold at auction, this 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Convertible.
Tuner, tuner on the wall, who is fastest of them all? Tuningwerk from Germany just launched its upgrades for the factory BMW M135i hatch, a body style and trim name not sold in America. This upgrade goes far beyond engine management, with big changes under the hood, in the suspension and on the limited-slip diff out back.
Power is a quoted 355 horsepower for the light upgrade, and a whopping 443 horsepower with everything included. From a posh commuter car, this Tuningwerk M135i is a triple threat with its monster sprint pace, high-speed overtaking power that is on par with supercars, and its track and racing prowess
In the magic world of aftermarket performance, verified claims are always hard to nail down.
Even so, an extra 50 or more Tuningwerk horsepower creates quite a handful of a sports car, and one that is so powerful that driving it safely on the road can become part of the thrill and challenge.
Tuningwerk really cranks up the menace of the BMW 1 Series, and this humble hatchback is suddenly a lot more like the ‘breadvan’ Z3 M Coupe as a real banshee of power over-steer.
All good things. After all, hatchback car guy is grumpy when trouncing big Audi’s or Porsche’s in stoplight drag races.
Click past the jump for a mega photo gallery of the 2013 BMW M135i by Tuningwerk.
Detail changes refine the best-selling Ford Escape for 2014, including a new backup camera and better towing compatibility when equipped with the clever foot-activated power tailgate. The biggest other change to celebrate? A price cut of over $1,000 on the sporty Titanium EcoBoost trim versus 2013.
Full (versus partial on 2013 and before) leather trim inside the Titanium specification is joined by a gigantic available moonroof and a new style of wheels, in what Ford calls 18-inch sparkle nickel painted aluminum.
The Escape still carries much of its concept-car style onto the roads even without the upgraded Titanium’s xenon and LED lights. The proportions are firmly modern but maintain a sense of adventure with tough plastic for the fenders as sills. Overall, this redesign of the previous boxy Escape is a large leap, perhaps two or three normal generations in a single bound.
As such, the tech underneath also matches the future-tech mission of the exterior styling. Three available engines and a twin-clutch automatic are at the very forefront of tech in the crossover space, where the RAV4 and CR-V still bumble along with dated four-bangers and thirsty transmission setups. Is there anything slower than a Honda driver on the phone?
The Escape’s appeal is very solid in the crossover market, even with a price range that can grow far larger than its budget rivals. In top specification, this is truly the thinking man’s Evoque: a mechanically identical sibling of the mini Range Rover, but for almost exactly half the price at all trim levels.
In the real world, is the Escape as sporty as the Mazda CX-5, or as big as the brand-new, 2014 Nissan Rogue that arrives at dealers in November?
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Ford Escape, including all the new colors and trim options to go along with the latest backup camera and SYNC technology.
Full-size news this week in the world of truck-based SUVs: the new Tahoe, Suburban and GMC Yukons have all gone public with a bold revamp ahead of an on-sale date in early February. Remember this moment, because such drastic changes to these lovable family haulers only happen about once a decade.
Such a long model cycle makes sense once you live a few weeks in the life of one of these luxury trucks. For most of the Tahoe’s and Sub’s out there, the key mantra really is Like a Rock. Just get the basics so right that buyers will forgive the shiny and nasty leathers, previous purple-power colored plastic interiors, and a thirst for fuel like a Nascar fan slamming morning beers in the infield.
The Yukon Denali and its siblings will soldier forward over almost any obstacle, tow any ski boat, and - usually - become part of the family identity itself after years of reliable service.
In a segment they once owned all to themselves, there are now far more premium entries to choose from than ever before. Bringing these buyers back into the fold is part of the GMC Yukon Denali’s mission: match or best the Mercedes-Benz GL and Range Rover not just on all-weather ability, but also on technology, performance and style.
Even a quick glimpse at the Yukon Denali’s glamour shots will give you a good idea of the refinements on the table for this generation of GM full-size models. The Yukon Denali gets the pick of all the best new tech, like third-gen magnetic shocks, blue-ray players and more USB ports than an Apple store.
Click past the jump for a detailed look at the 2015 GMC Yukon Denali, with info on its new EcoTec3 direct-injection V-8 engines that increase power and mileage significantly.
The first reviews of the production i8 and i3 are finally out, and the styling really cleans up nicely without the trademark blue disguise wrap worn by the prototypes over the past two years.
The other shock of shocks? The first drive impressions of the i8 are coming back as highly favorable, with great interactivity on the limit and track poise beyond any current EV.
This is huge news for the future of the Ultimate Driving Machine as we know it. The slow creep of isolation and refinement is becoming problematic on the M6 and other fast Bimmers, so the worry has been that adding electricity to the mix will further isolate and dull the experience.
Everyone can sigh a breathe of relief. Both BMW i models run a 50:50 weight balance, carbon-fiber tub with alloy crash cradles. These are all extremely advanced designs shared between the i8 hybrid supercar and the i3. So, where does a potential i3 M fit in the pricing and technology mix for the future BMW i range?
With the i3 and i8 arriving at American BMW dealers together as 2015 models, all systems are go for the global roll-out of these production models. The price gap might raise an eyebrow or two: from about $43,000 for the i3 up to $135,000 for the i8.
This exclusive preview brings the first renderings of a performance middle ground for 2016: the BMW i3 M.
Click past the jump for this amazing three-pack of renderings that show the potential style of the 2016 BMW i3 M.
A few significant updates mark out the 2014 Dodge Charger SRT, but boy are they hard to find in this old-looking package. An active air intake and modified lifters join new adaptive dampers and finally some wheel-mounted paddles for the aging AutoStick transmission.
The 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 now brings a round 470 count for both horsepower and torque, with a new SRT badge to replace the previous SRT8 labels. This change extends across the entire Chrysler lineup for 2014, where the SRT Grand Cherokee is the first to use a high-torque version of the company’s new ZF transmission.
The Charger SRT carries on with the older five-speed automatic, which is one of the only automatic transmissions from any automaker that can send nearly 500 horsepower to just the back wheels. Worth remembering is that this exact automatic is also a fixture on the SL65 AMG and a few other torque monsters, despite lacking a few gear ratios versus Mercedes’ new nine-speed auto.
Active cruise control and a few other safety innovations join the Charger SRT for 2014, as does the Super Bee package in a variety of yellow or non-yellow colors. The Super Bee lacks much of the style and tech available on the SRT Premium, which is now a de facto 392 Core with available xenon lights and active mufflers that are not offered on the Super Bee.
Are paddle shifters and the active intake enough to keep the Charger SRT fighting fit versus the Taurus SHO and the forthcoming Chevrolet SS?
Click past the jump for more info on the 2014 Dodge Charger SRT, with info on all its tech and performance updates.
The all-new 2014 Nissan Rogue crossover broke cover today ahead of its arrival in U.S. showrooms this November.
The biggest news for the Rogue is a hugely revamped interior layout and level of tech integration. Now offering a third row of seats, for a total of seven seats, the Rogue also offers a longer wheelbase and wider-opening rear doors to provide easier access to the second and third rows.
The second row is now limousine-comfortable, with nine inches of fore and aft sliding capability, and a deep recline adjuster. A third row in a crossover and a starting price of just $22,490 is quite an achievement.
The exterior style is also virtually unrecognizable versus the last Rogue, which started strong as one of the first compact crossover launches. The current Rogue’s styling is not quite distinctive enough in the face of huge competition from all over the automotive world: so this redesign will inject some concept-car emotion into the surfaces and high-tech options to the exterior, including available LED headlights.
Standard automatic transmissions and a choice of front- or all-wheel-drive puts the Rogue right at the cool bull’s-eye of the crossover market. It is also much more distinctive than the RAV4or CR-V, and is the first Nissan to wear the company’s new V-bar grille — a look that will be soon be rolling out across the globe on Nissan cars and trucks.
Click past the jump for all the details on the brand new, seven-passenger 2014 Nissan Rogue, including its pricing, features and options information.
As the Jaguar product renaissance continues full-steam ahead with the XQ-type crossover’s reveal, there is even more excitement back home with the debut of the Eagle Low Drag GT.
Sharing the lawn with dozens of other priceless exotics, the Eagle Low Drag GT applies the same priceless supercar restoration and upgrade that makes its Speedster such a showstopper.
Finished in gorgeous hand-polished aluminum for the panels and chassis, the Low Drag GT revives one of the most celebrated Jaguar racing concepts ever: a fastback E-type that was wider, more powerful and far more streamlined than any production Jaguar coupe from then or now.
The original E-type was many things during its prime, including a super-rapid, high-speed express that could reach huge top speeds for a fraction of the price of its competition from Italy.
For all this beauty and heritage that flows into the F-type today, the E-type was surprisingly never a truly successful racing machine or a good-looking two-seat coupe.
As Jaguar puts the final touches on the F-type Coupe ahead of its arrival this spring, the Eagle Low Drag GT is the perfect example of Jaguar fastback style.
With pricing likely to be in the seven digits and a total production run of perhaps five cars, the 2013 Eagle Low Drag GT writes a new chapter in the celebrated Jaguar E-type legacy.
Toyota announced the 2014 Tacoma’s updates and revised pricing this week, and the best-selling Tacoma line actually has some meaningful interior tech for the new model year. Very modest price increases average only about $100 per model, so this is still one of the toughest-ever pickup trucks in its price range of $17,875 up to $28,000.
Available with three cab lengths, multiple bed sizes and plenty of trim levels: buying a Tacoma still takes some research to identify the best one for your needs. From stripped-out white work trucks up to the Baja-ready TRD Sport and TRD Off-road Double Cab models, the Tacoma range has something for everybody.
On the market since 2005 with a few nips/tucks along the way, the current-generation Tacoma is nicely styled but showing its age a bit with the giant clear headlamps and much less chrome up front than the F-150 and Silverado offer customers. The Tacoma is one of the top five most-supported vehicles on the aftermarket, with dozens of firms offering catalogs full of upgraded parts and equipment - so the lights are easily updated that way.
Toyota even gets involved heavily with the accessories and post-sale modifications, which means there is a bolt-on TRD Supercharger that can be bought and installed right from any local Toyota dealer - giving this pickup truck 320 pound-feet of torque and 296 horsepower from the 4.0 V-6 engine.
How does the refreshed Tacoma’s cabin tech rank versus the cheapest Ford F-150’s or the Nissan Frontier?
Click past the jump for all the official updates and info about the 2014 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck line, which seats up to five people in its largest body style.
When it comes to Mr. Snuggles (Kobe Bryant) and his West Coast Customs’ 1963 Impala SS Convertible, it seems that having $100,000,000 in the bank will change a man’s taste in automobiles.
From this air-ride and 808-thumping beast, Kobe’s previous taste in cars was not quite as universally refreshing as his favorite brand of soda, which is Sprite, by the way. Painted a hideous purple/blue blend and with Cheech and Chong-style low-rider wheels: this nasty custom is really an L.A. special.
The 100-spoke, 13-inch wheels and the interior are reasonably well done, but watching the West Coast Customs’ brain trust on cable TV does not inspire confidence in one inch of the engine mechanicals, handling, reliability, performance or value of this 1963 Impala SS.
This example is for sale at $100,000 even, with over 700 people watching the auction and dozens of offers already rejected. No word if West Coast Customs would do a barter deal for tutoring and (maybe!) get these artistic geniuses a GED certificate or two.
Click past the jump to take a fantastic voyage in Kobe’s baller Impala, which might even come with a grumpy meet/greet with Jesse James.
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.
First-hand driving impressions of this track toy are included, as are comparisons with the WRX STI’s potent competition from the BMW 135i and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution.
Click past the jump for the full TopSpeed Garage review of the 2014 Subaru WRX STI, still a game-changer with wild turbo boost and AWD traction to make every corner seem like a straightaway.
The latest VW Beetle upgrades from ABT Sportsline add some real machismo to the styling, performance and handling of this lovable coupe and ragtop. Typically sold on a individual basis, the full ABT kit is also available to turn a stock Beetle into something much more sinister.
The beauty of these ABT upgrades, despite the Euro-market’s sometimes trashy appetite for car modifying products, is that they can generally be applied across any of the engines or trims from the 2011 to present Volkswagen Beetle coupe and cabriolet. This full-line strategy is smart for ABT, and with only a few pieces that are model-year or trim-specific, providing other options to fit a diesel engine or GSR. These guys know Beetles inside and out, so they are a good resource for personalizing your love bug.
Driving a fast Beetle might sound like a joke to serious GTI fans, but there is a special joy in this shape that’s still present after all these years. Additionally, a higher seating position amplifies all the senses, with the G-force feeling even more enjoyable and hilarious inside.
When you pass someone in a fast Beetle, they will be: confused, impressed, and then confused again. That is part of the fun, and ABT certainly gets it.
Click past the jump for all the details on ABT Sportsline’s upgrades to the 2011-present Volkswagen Beetle and Beetle Cabriolet.
The bi-annual Frankfurt Auto Show is easily the most important in the world, battling with Geneva and Detroit for the most important reveals. A gentleman’s agreement sees Frankfurt and Paris alternate every other year, so each can hog the limelight and be the year’s prime spectacle — larger than any other traveling circus in history.
The reason it is so critical is that it is able to draw a huge number of the world’s best automakers, suppliers, tech partners and executives in one place. Even as shows in Asia and lifestyle/hybrid launches in Los Angeles gain momentum, typically nothing compares with Frankfurt in terms of volume of new models, debuts and concepts.
For competitive insights and also a great look at the current agenda of the global auto industry, there is no better place than Germany in mid-September. Its overlap with Oktoberfest — in September, despite its name — allows the best time to soak up the local culture of beer gardens, honeybees, pretzels and roaring Deutsch laughter.
Feet will ache from hours wandering circles in this massive expo center. Despite being mostly an open floor plan, the importance of the show means the manufacturer stands are two and three-story buildings assembled inside. By conservative estimates, this two-week event will cost a major player like BMW Group over $35 million in planning, design, signage, stages, turn-tables, media displays, etc. once the crowds have left.
This makes walking around seem like visiting a very crowded future IKEA, but instead of desk lamps, Frankfurt is all about concept cars, booth babes and Porsche posters. This giant automotive candy store is massive, though, so wear your most comfortable walking shoes and get ready for some warm beers! The show runs from September 12th through the 22nd for the general public and the press days run from September 10th through 11th.
Come join the fun after the jump for the full Frankfurt 2013 Auto Show preview, with a full list of manufacturers on display and the special concepts they will reveal.
The Nissan Maxima’s replacement is finally on track for arrival next fall as a 2015 or early-2016 model, with a shift in focus toward performance to better differentiate Nissan’s flagship sedan from the popular (but bland) Altima sedan.
Exclusive TopSpeed Renderings show a speculative preview of this hot new sports sedan, which looks to shake off the front-drive proportions and goofy grin in favor of a wider, lower and meaner style like the 370Z and GT-R.
Nissan’s sports car lineup has never been this strong, and continued support for the company’s two tiers of performance cars has really helped the brand’s image, despite being diluted from selling millions of basic Sentra’s and Versa econoboxes to pay the bills.
The Maxima was really at a crossroads before this current re-alignment to its 4DSC roots. The next generation was even mooted to go the full EV route, with the cab-forward styling of the 2011 Nissan Ellure concept thought to be previewing both the just-launched Altima and next Maxima.
Another option on the table would adapt the 370Z’s latest chassis for use in a rear-drive sedan, or even a stretched GT-R of our dreams. These two scenarios are far less likely than a continued front-drive layout, but low and dramatic proportions that evolve the boring Nissan look very nicely.
Keeping the existing Maxima layout is a safe bet because it is the only way to continue the current model’s $31,000 to $36,000 price range. Nissan’s ability to sell a volume sedan for more than $40,000 is less than a sure thing, especially with Infiniti’s billion-dollar name changes and new Q50 sedan to replace the G37.
Click past the jump for a closer look at these exclusive renderings, with the 2015 Nissan Maxima debuting as soon as this fall or winter at one of the major auto shows.
A Moroccan supercar is not an oxymoron. The 2013 Laraki Epitome Concept is a prototype showing off the otherworldly style of this $2,000,000 exotic, with nine production cars possible for sale.
There are dozens of really worthwhile supercar startup companies out there, and car guys generally root for all of them to succeed. After all, a world with more horsepower and exhaust rumble can only be a good thing, right?
The standard article caveat for even the most impressive new brands might as well be boilerplate stamp: most new supercars fail rapidly versus the rapidly evolving tech and style of giants, like Ferrari and Porsche.
This will make Laraki’s third concept launch since 2003, with none of the previous Borac or Fulgura models ever making production. A healthy bit of skepticism is only natural.
Laraki Automobiles folded in 2008 without making a single car for sale. Signs are not good for the Epitome’s success either.
Without a functioning Website, press releases, real specifications or any path to ordering one of these models (if you are not already a Laraki Yachts client like the King of Bahrain), the Epitome is not off to a good start.
Click past the jump for more info on this unique hypercar, which promises up to 1,750 horsepower and a 205 mph top speed for its outrageous price.
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.
Will the loss of the "8" on the badge hurt its street cred versus the Range Rover Sport? Is the price premium and five-seat layout a problem versus the Ford Explorer Sport?
Click past the jump for all the latest images and details of the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT.
The Nissan Maxima is back for 2014 with only a handful of updates late in this model’s life cycle. A new Limited trim on the base model offers all the coolest elements from the $36,000 SV Sport package for only $31,750. Upgrades include a new dark-grey wheel design, dark grille and light surrounds and xenon low beams.
As equipped, the Maxima looks far more youthful and sporty than its tenure on the market would suggest. In fact, there is even a little bit of modern-day Infiniti Q45 about the slinky lights, giant fender arches and boxed jaw. The Nissan Maxima’s best asset is still its $31,000 base price, which holds the line for 2014. The SV trim is now about $700 more expensive, but brings big upgrades in equipment and handling.
The classic 4DSC is no longer the golden performance car that it once was, when it was a standout with its standard V-6 engine and manual transmission. Those days are gone for the Maxima in this generation, as a CVT automatic saps some of this big sedan’s hot rod charisma.
The sports sedan idol at Nissan was clearly passed to Infiniti almost a decade ago, so where does that leave this flagship in buyers’ minds versus the Acura TL or the new Chevrolet Impala?
lick past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Nissan Maxima, with info on the latest updates and specs on the latest Limited Edition styling updates.
Jaguar is getting serious about revamping its image. As with all luxury and premium brands, the desire to be young, cool and sexy is a very powerful draw. Audi has used a similar approach very successfully over the last decade, to now being a global luxury powerhouse with more brand appeal in some sectors than BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Launching a successful luxury expansion takes bold vision, charisma and - most importantly - the right cars to match the brand’s potential. While Audi took a colder and more tech-driven brand identity, Jaguar is going to emotional route to branding itself a sports car specialist.
Jaguar is taking itself into a new arena with some very racy marketing launches for the F-type around the world, including a steamy Playboy collaboration.
Embracing social media, video formats, glamour photography, fashion spreads, everything: the F-type launch is so horny that you can almost smell the perfume wafting out its vents in the Jaguar’s official videos.
One of these sexually-charged videos stands above the rest, due to its slinky song lyrics, silk sheets and wind machines at a low fan setting. We get to watch Playboy’s 2013 Playmate of the Year, Raquel Pomplun, as her beauty team adds red Chanel lipstick to match her new 2014 F-type roadster.
She then lounges tauntingly in front of her new Jag, given to her as part of the prize for her incredible ... modeling.
She has the bad-girl pout of Lana Del Rey, and the song is just as moody and sinful as her red dresses. Click past the jump to enjoy 90 seconds of passion with 2013 Playboy Playmate of the Year, Raquel Pomplun and her new Jaguar F-type.
Top Gear USA is finally back for its Season 4 premiere this Tuesday, September 3rd at 8pm on History Channel. The season looks outstanding, starting off with a bang via a top speed run through the Eisenhower Tunnel in Colorado in a McLaren, Lamborghini and SRT Viper.
The show is, of course, the American version of the legendary BBC TopGear formula, which finally took the dull and nap-inducing American car show equivalents (like MotorWeek), and sent them to the crusher.
This high-budget thrill-ride of a television show maintains the production values, incredible locations/filming methods, and finally the creativity to successfully re-launch the series with American tastes in mind. This season: out goes the boring Big Star Small Car and studio shoots - and in goes even more awesome driving action.
Central to this humorous and personality-oriented approach to cars, part of what makes Top Gear USA such a must-watch television show is the manly camaraderie and mischief of these three car guys.
Rutledge, Tanner and Adam almost could not be more different, but over the first three seasons, a real bond is forming among them that is funny and entertaining to enjoy. Watching the show makes you feel like one of the gang, and the guys are all very social in reality on Twitter and in the blogs.
Each Top Gear USA host brings a special verve and energy to the show’s sometimes-difficult driving challenges, which is pretty easy considering these gents are a cool 20 years younger than Clarkson, Hammond and May.
The adventures are many, and Top Gear USA should be on the DVR of all car guys in America and abroad. This series really gets the magic formula right, with enough laughs and stunning cars to make every hour event television.
Click past the jump for the Top Gear USA Season 4 Sneak Peek, ahead of the season’s estimated 8-episode run starting Tuesday September 3rd on History Channel.
Ever the tornado of creativity and speed, Ferrari was quite a volatile company in the early 1960s. For every race Enzo won, it seems like the Old Man made a few enemies as well. The failed buyout from Ford and the epic “palace revolution” of management resulted in a brain drain at Maranello.
Competing hot-shot engineers would form nearly a dozen competing supercar marques, including: Lamborghini, De Tomaso, Iso, ATS, ASA and Bizzarrini.
Each led by a mastermind engineer, stylist, machinest or visionary, only Lamborghini’s brand was strong enough to make it to the 1970s and beyond. The Ferrari exodus left all these talented men with huge ideas, but less of a real concept of how to bring the car to market effectively and resolve development problems outside their specialized area of experience.
Giotto Bizzarriniworked with all of the above firms before eventually launching what would be his best-known model: the 1965 Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada Alloy supercar. With all the latest curves, a wide road graphic and a low roof: the Strada was a gorgeous hit right from the start.
Sharing the low nose and mid-engine stance of the Lamborghini Miura, the Strada is actually a front-engine coupe powered by a reliable and torque-rich 5.3-liter Chevrolet small-block V-8.
That’s right, the long history of Chevy small-block V-8 engines in bespoke supercars started well before the 2013 Local Motors Rally Fighter’s 6.2-liter LS3 motor.
Click past the jump to read more about the 1965 Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada Alloy, with high-res images and performance details on its proven 161 mph top speed.
Only a 1950s Maserati Spyder racecar could decline a $2.2 million dollar auction bid and go home disappointed. This 1953 Maserati A6 Sypder by Fantuzzi did not sell after failing to meet its reserve, but is still one of the most breathtaking automobile designs in history.
Who knows what collectors are thinking during these boozy social events of the high-dollar auction world. This Spyder, known by its code name of A6GCS/53 and/or chassis number 2053, has had quite the racing history to go with its stunning red paintwork, topless style and luxurious Jaeger dashboard gauges.
Despite some on-track crash damage in 1955 and a Chevy engine living under that soft nose in the 1960s, this Maserati Spyder is finally back in concours condition following a six-figure restoration since coming back to America in 1999.
Originally a U.S.-imported racing machine, the legendary Juan Miguel Fangio even took this exact Maserati Spyder for its first few laps in 1954.
Like many racecars from bygone eras, the Maserati A6 Spyder by Fantuzzi does not have mind-popping performance specifications or top speed claims. What is does have is true classic car history, with every panel and curve of this gorgeous bodywork telling the stories of long-passed racing glory for the Trident brand.
It also can stop your heart with its simple and delicate beauty, and knowledge that its drivers needed equal parts bravery, physical strength, and mental focus to take home podium trophies.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 1953 Maserati A6GCS/53 Spyder by Fantuzzi, certainly one of the best-looking racing speedsters in automobile history.
This 1958 Facel Vega coupe has not been seen in public or ever sold at auction in its 55 years living in Texas. Part of a 300-unit run in total, the FVS Series 4 Sport Coupe is widely viewed as the most elegant and successful car from this fledging Parisian automaker. Powered by the potent Chrysler 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 from the 1950s, the Facel Vega has distinctly European elegance in its styling, but proportions that made this car look like a tank versus the mini cars otherwise driven by the French middle class.
Originally advertised as the car “For the Few Who Own the Finest,” Facel Vega’s were ideal transport for the Monaco crowd. A two-speed, pushbutton automatic and Bugatti-quality cabin materials set the tone for a giant price.
A cruiser at heart, the FVS Series 4 Sports Coupe brings together two sides of the Atlantic in a partnership that would spin pure gold for Carroll Shelby when done the other way around.
Shelby brought over a few of the lightest and smallest European roadster he could find, then added a monster American V-8 engine. Facel Vega went a different route, importing the frame chassis and engine of Chrysler 300C to France, before adding custom coachwork outside and in.
Both were big advancements toward international collaboration during a time when even mailing a postcard from New York to Paris took almost 6 weeks to arrive.
This coupe does not major in business lessons, as it was the high point for Facel Vega’s car manufacturing venture. The Facellia replacement was a failure, taking the company and its styling grace with it.
Click past the jump to see more about the 1958 Facel Vega FVS Series 4 Sport Coupe, with exquisite images of its red leather cabin and bespoke luggage.
This fall’s second Mitsubishi lifestyle concept car looks good enough to cause a double take. The 2014 Outlander H360 Winter Edition adds rich white paint and 20-inch wheels outside, plus a gorgeous quilted leather and suede cabin, to create a very cozy and fashionable way to hit the slopes.
In partnership with lifestyle brand H360 and professional snowboarder Bryan "Guch" Iguchi, Mitsubishi has transformed their popular seven-seat crossover into the ultimate winter shuttle. The styling outside is refined and classy, with those giant wheels really transforming the regular Outlander’s lines into something much sleeker and sportier than the standard model.
The beauty of these H360 makeovers is that they can inspire other Mitsubishi owners to personalize their own cars, and draw people into the brands by reinforcing their outdoor credentials.
Looking like a mix between a Range Rover Evoque and an Audi RS4 Avant, the Outlander H360 Winter Edition is powered by a smooth V-6 engine with S-AWC traction and a very quick sprint pace versus some four-cylinder crossover competitors.
More importantly, the H360 Winter Edition will look at home in Beaver Creek Ski Resort’s valet parking line. A host of interior and exterior additions make up this concept car, which will do the rounds at major auto shows this year.
These H360 concepts are just design exercises, and are not for sale themselves. Even so, they show the scope of accessories and versatility of one of the only value-priced crossovers to offer a third row of seats.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander H360 Winter Edition, with high-res images of this beauty’s quilted leather interior and trunk-mounted coffee maker.
Mitsubishi just revealed a pair of fitness and adventure-themed concepts, based on the best-selling Outlander and Outlander Sport. The Summer Edition is a thorough personalization effort, on par with the high-dollar luxury car makeovers from Kahn Design.
The custom Outlander Sport shows off: unique burnt orange metallic paintwork and 20-inch Vossen wheels, with matching satin graphite accents all around and sticky track tires. The wheel size jumps a full 2 inches over the 18-inch rims that are otherwise standard on all the Outlander Sport trims, which start from just $19,170 in manual front-drive configuration.
This H360 Summer Edition is based on the higher-range model, with a SportTronic paddle shift automatic and Mitsubishi’s AWC four-wheel-drive system. Thule roof bars and matching Trek bikes are only a preview of the inside of this fitness machine.
Created with the help of celebrity fitness coach Jay Cardiello, the Outlander Sport Summer Edition is packing some bold color accents and numerous fitness and outdoor adventure gear. Hard-wired chargers are awesome details for the built-in GoPro and iPad mini in the grey suede headlining.
Click past the jump to get a closer look at those semi-slick Nitto 420S tires of the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport H360 Summer Edition.
Land Rover is taking fuel economy concerns with a stiff upper lip and a cup of tea, relaxed as it starts taking UK orders for its 45 mpg 2015 Range Rover SDV6 Hybrid flagship starting in September 2013. The first customer deliveries are expected in early 2014, wearing far fewer off-road accessories and prepared for a life of luxury.
This pair of test prototypes is enduring the opposite of luxury: a 10,000-mile durability journey from Land Rover headquarters in England to Tata Group’s home base in Mumbai. Called the Silk Trail 2013 experience, the plucky Brits seem to have forgotten their own maritime excellence, and the blue part of the map that has long been the best passage to India.
Calling it the Silk Trail is more accurate than its other description, the Silk Road. Mud up to the door mirrors cannot stop the Range Rover Hybrid’s mission.
Going over land is a bold undertaking, and also highlights the production 2015 Range Rover Hybrid’s fuel economy and off-road credentials along the way. Arriving in Mumbai around 55 days later, taking a brand new Range Rover into dozens of foreign countries along the way is certainly a vote of confidence in its reliability - long a sore spot for this advanced machine.
A 3.0-liter diesel engine is paired with a jumbo 35kWh Li-ion battery pack, which is fully production-ready and will also be rolled out on the seven-seat 2015 Range Rover Sport SDV6 Hybrid as well.
The diesel-electric power is not exactly peachy news for U.S. Range Rover devotees, but the technology package should work well with Land Rover’s new 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 as well.
Updated 09/13/2013: When Land Rover launched the first details on the Range Rover Hybrid everyone believed it will be an European-only model. However, in a recent interview Andy Goss, the current CEO of Jaguar Land Rover USA confirmed that a North American version of the Range Rover hybrid "It’s not a matter of ‘if,’ but ‘when.’" (LeftLaneNews)
Click past the jump for all the high-res images of this jungle-prepped ’Silk Road 2013’ test of the forthcoming 2015 Range Rover SDV6 Hybrid.
Shocking news this morning from Volvo! The 2013 Concept Coupe has looks to make a Camaro and M6 weep with envy, 400 horsepower via a plug-in, all-wheel-drive chassis, and gorgeous LEDs inside and out.
The Volvo cargo trucks will be loaded to the brim on the way to Frankfurt, as this is also the debut of the not-yet-seen XC90 replacement.
If the Concept Coupe’s intricate and taut surfacing, stunning proportions and cool new Maserati-style inverted grille make it to the XC90: Volvo’s American showrooms have quite the sharp new seven-passenger crossover on its way.
The VCC’s styling is really fantastic. It is great news for all fans of Swedish cars, with beauty as deep and marvelous as the Roman statues of the press photos. It shows a number of important steps in one single image, and gives Volvo’s semi-independent new company identity a goal at which to strive in the mainstream S60 segment, where the current model is lost in obscurity.
A feast of details about the VCC’s styling floods over you like the wave of relief, with a roof pillar layout that is almost as racy as the Nissan 350Z. A new portrait-style navigation system shows Volvo admires the Tesla Model S. Overflowing with good looks outside, the VCC is also quite potent underneath.
An all-new 2.0-liter engine up front is paired with a plug-in battery pack and a rear axle electric motor. Supercharged as well as turbocharged, the combined power outputs are 400 horsepower and 440 pound feet of torque.
Come see the future of Volvo after the jump, with a giant image gallery of the 2013 Volvo Concept Coupe in all its glory.
Deep in the press preview of next month’s public reveal of the 2015 Audi A8 facelift, a nugget of very newsworthy information is buried: the 2015 A8 will be offered as a four-cylinder, front-drive hybrid for the first time.
Ditching the quattro all-wheel-drive that is otherwise an A8 standard feature, the A8 Hybrid model is important for a number of reasons. First off, it is a full hybrid with a Li-ion battery pack in the trunk allowing brief EV-only driving.
Secondly, it uses a small and powerful gasoline engine as the primary drivetrain, eschewing the intellectual preference for diesel-electric hybrids from the European luxury brands. This gasoline setup means its performance and economy will be highly tailored to the American and Chinese markets, with arrival in U.S. dealers with the rest of the remodeled A8 gang next spring.
The major reason this car is important is of course its primary USP: fuel economy. With a quoted 37 mpg on the U.S. cycle, the A8 Hybrid will comfortably be able to add 10 mpg to the fuel economy of the second-most-efficient (U.S.) engine: the supercharged quattro V-6 A8 3.0 TFSI.
All the A8’s rich and formal styling, LED lighting and interior tech upgrades promise a new A8 experience, but with a relaxed drive more along the lines of the Lexus ES350h than any previous exec hybrid from Germany. Previous eco-themed limousine models from BMW and Mercedes for the American market, like the BMW ActiveHybrid 7 and Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid, were both total sales failures with almost no economy incentive for buyers.
Click past the jump for the full preview of the 2015 A8 Hybrid, with all the latest details from Audi about its power outputs, EV range and in-car WLAN hotspot technology.
The gifts just keep coming from Audi’s quattro performance tuning division: stunning first official images of the brand-new 2014 RS5 Cabriolet, which will be coming to American Audi dealers later this fall.
Joining the R8 and the new RS7, the RS5 Cabriolet brings enough horsepower and visual aggression to break glass with just one stare. Yes, the Audi’s LEDs are not exactly the friendly smile worn by many cars in traffic. The metallic honeycomb grille is gigantic and looks capable of ingesting a whole family of birds at its 174 mph top speed.
The atmospheric V-8 produces 450 horsepower, with an optional sports exhaust and Black Optics package hiding the twin coffee-can oval exhaust outlets under the diffuser panel. These cans are so large that they define the lower rear graphic of the RS5, and look really incredible with the sharp bumper corners up top. Dark wheels bring standard steel discs with an interesting fluted edge design, but carbon ceramic brakes are available for ultimate autobahn stopping power.
Any tradeoff versus the RS5 coupe yet? Wind in your hair, Audi’s classic aluminum brightwork on the windshield surround, and a flat soft-top all seem better than the coupe. Seating for four is also possible in the RS5 Cab, which loses only 2 cubic-feet of luggage room with the top down.
A $10,000 premium sees RS5 Cab base prices at $78,000, but the optional comfort seats with heat and ventilation look ideal for this beach bruiser, so budget about $85,000 in total for the Black Optics upgrades as well.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Audi RS5 Cabriolet, the hottest four-seat Audi drop-top ever made.
Kahn Design is at it again with a blacked-out 2013 Range Rover Vogue available as a complete model in the U.K. for the equivalent of about $115,000. It takes a bold vision to strip away the Range Rover’s iconic hood letters in favor of your own design firm, so how does Kahn Design add value to what is already the Rolls-Royce Phantom of SUVs?
This is a look-good design pack consisting of gorgeous alloy wheels, liquid gold-painted brake calipers and satin-matte-black exterior accents all around. Inside, things are much more conservative, with perforated leather in thatched bulges over piano black trim.
Compared with the hideous previous monochrome packages that celebs have driven over the years, this version is pretty conservative and quite stylish. The Kahn Design plan is far more popular on off-roaders versus the other celeb and ’footballer’ ride of choice: the Bentley Continental GT.
Among these ‘super smart’ individuals, value is much more about being unique and of the moment. If buying a brand new car to their exact modified spec is faster but a bit more expensive, Kahn is only savvy to oblige their whims.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2013 Land Rover Range Rover Vogue Signature by Kahn Design.
Toyota is attempting to build excitement around one of the company’s longest-running and most conservative nameplates: the Corolla. It’s an uphill climb that started months ago with the 2013 Toyota Corolla Furia concept making the rounds at the major 2013 American auto shows and culminated with the official launch of the new `Rolla in Santa Monica. The redesign aims to bring some life back into the model after years of languishing while the entire Toyota lineup was redesigned around it.
The Corolla is a serious cash cow for Toyota, with 2012 sales reaching nearly 300,000 units, despite the lack of substantive changes since 2003. What’s the rush to replace a model whose tooling and engineering costs have long since been paid off? After eleven years, the 2014 model finally promises to bring the Corolla into the fold with modern electronics and styling, refined engines and more spacious dimensions all around.
Those expecting revolution will be mildly disappointed, but the changes are far deeper than a facelift in hopes of re-energizing what has become a laughing stock in the wider automotive enthusiast community. Desperate to ditch its beige image, the new Corolla promises to win back the boy-racer crowd that’s long-since abandoned the Corolla in favor of the mechanically similar Scion tC coupe or the rear-drive Scion FR-S.
With two solid sports models in the Scion corner of Toyota showrooms, does the new Corolla’s style risk alienating loyalists? Or do the new updates simply massage in a quieter ride, better infotainment tech and a bit more room in the back?
Ahead of the 2014’s arrival in early September, we’ve prepared a full review, image gallery and styling analysis of the new Corolla.
Update 8/27/2013: Toyota has just released the pricing details for the 2014 Corolla. It starts out at $16,800 and caps at $20,100, minus optional equipment. Se the specifics after the jump.
Update 10/7/2013: The 2014 Corolla just underwent testing from the IIHS, and it received a shockingly low "Marginal" score in the small-overlap test. See more after the jump.
Click past the jump for the full story.
A dyno, a laptop and a dream: the BBM Motorsport upgrade for the E91 generation of BMW 3 Series brings an extra 251 pound-feet of torque with a simple induction, exhaust and ECU re-flash. Yep, this 330d has 635 pound-feet of torque to go with its appealing red foil wrap and 19-inch BBS alloys.
BBM Motorsport’s impressive project really shows the scope of tasteful performance modifications to this generation of BMW 3 Series wagons. From looking like it probably has melted candy in the leather seats, to now looking at home making sparks on the Nordschleife and racing RS6 Avants on the autobahn until the tires or nerves call it quits.
This revamp is pretty cost effective as well, with BBM offering component sales for guys who might only be able to afford one upgrade at a time. The LED lights and matte wrap might be eye-catching, but the real gold comes from 30 minutes of ‘hotsynching’ to the BMW’s OBDII port.
A more effective ECU re-flash is hard to recall, but as we all know, tuners are not quite OEM in their durability and long-term reliability testing. Does the BBM kit push the limits of this excellent BMW turbo-diesel engine too high?
Despite sounding like a tractor or school bus to American ears, there is actually much more soulful inline-six bellow from the BBM upgrades. Bellows are the last thing you hear before your head meets the seat when the torque comes in a knockout punch.
Click past the jump for the full image gallery and details on the BMW E91 330d Touring by BBM Motorsport’s performance and style upgrades.
The Local Motors Rally Fighter is still going strong two years after the first deliveries of this 2000-unit purpose-built off-road racer’s production run. With 50-state compliance on lighting and emissions, the road-legal Rally Fighter runs a 6.2-liter V-8 to the giant rear wheels before reaching a tire-limited top speed of 131 mph.
Available for special orders from anywhere on the globe, the Rally Fighter is one of the most unique and exciting launch models from a new manufacturer. Outside the muddy ruts of the English countryside and the mutant Land Rovers, like the Bowler EXR-S and RallyRaid DW3, most new supercar ventures are focused on the 6-lane drag strips of central Dubai.
Local Motors takes a totally different path, with its unique engineering and prototype method leveraging the passion and skills of the internet to draw in R&D talent from across the world.
The result is a steel space frame and crash cage that looks Armageddon-proof, and suspension travel and off-road prowess to stop a 2014 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor Special Edition in its tracks. The final piece of the Rally Fighter puzzle is this: styling so otherworldly that it causes more of a stir in traffic than taking the Gravedigger monster truck to the grocery store.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2013 Local Motors Rally Fighter, including a mega image gallery, links to the new online configurator, and info on how to order your own custom version of this off-road beast.
A 2014 price increase of just $100 is Subaru’s bow to the warm global reception given to its high-profile sports-car engineering and manufacturing bid for Toyota. The 2014 BRZ is still an all-star sports car that delivers ideal rear-drive dynamics for just $26,000.
Key inspirations obviously come from the AE86 Celica, but the dynamic portion of the BRZ also draws from the Honda S2000 and the Datsun 240Z. The Z-car reference is important: it kicked off Subaru’s 1984 Turbo Coupe, the XT6 performance coupe until 1991, the the SVX through the mid 1990s.
Only once Subaru started printing money with Outback wagons and a World Rally image did it shy away from its sports coupe heritage.
The Toyota partnership offered Subaru the dream of many blue-sky engineering sessions by the Fuji Heavy Industries’ experts as well as legions of Subaru fans across the globe. What would happen to the already-incredible steering and handling dynamics of my WRX if it were magically rear-drive?
The conversion is not as simple as kicking out a pickup truck’s prop shaft, as Subaru quickly learned when undertaking the project. In fact, a complete engine redesign was needed to adapt the engine to its new driveshaft (and this time with no center diff - long the point from which all Subaru designs originate.)
The old boxer’s legendary thirst for fuel (and oil) became problematic, so the boffins at Toyota shared a tera-flop worth of direct injection engine data with Subaru to keep the project moving. Thus, a brand new generation of 2.0-liter boxer engine was born: and this time it can be as lean on fuel as it is on weight balance.
All the good and honorable about this affordable rear-drive coupe continues for 2014, with only a new key fob design for the BRZ Limited with remote start. The big news is mainly that they are available - after major shortages and early buyers having to order their car in advance.
Updated 05/29/2014: Subaru announced today prices for the 2015 BRZ which will go on sale later in the summer. Prices will start from $25,695 for the base BRZ Limited version and go up to $29,490 for the latest addition of the lineup: the new BRZ Series.Blue limited edition.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Subaru BRZ, but this time with less drift hyperbole and more mechanical/performance/price comparisons between the auto and manual transmission options.
Details about the new Jaguar XQ-type midsize crossover are emerging from Coventry ahead of the $45,000 model’s expected debut next month in Frankfurt. Exclusive TopSpeed renderings offer a speculative glimpse at the styling of this make-or-break next generation of aluminum models.
Twinned with the XQ-type is the Q-type sedan, which will be the smallest models in Jaguar’s range outside of the F-type sports cars. The XQ-type aims for the sweet spot of the premium crossover market occupied by the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, each of which are formidable competition for Jaguar’s first American family SUV.
Fast-tracking the XQ-type’s ‘PLA’ code name aluminum chassis and body panels means this new compact benefits from both a nimble chassis and the best current and future components in the Jaguar Land Rover parts bin. Both the XF’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the supercharged V-6 are expected, with the latter to offer Jag’s new Instinctive AWD as seen on both the U.S.-market XF and XJ.
A sporty bias for The XQ-type offers enough space between this model and the Land Rover SUVs, and the XQ is even likely to run as a rear-drive model in base configurations.
The XQ’s performance will be closely benchmarked against its German rivals, with further R and R-S options on the table. The beauty of this chopped-length PLA architechture, which will also underpin the new XF and XK, is that even the compact models will be quite wide and should be able to fit the firm’s rorty supercharged V-8 under that shapely ’bonnet.’
Is this the dream Jag for sporty crossover shoppers? Click past the jump to stare into the future of the Jaguar XQ-type, which is a sure thing to be officially imported into the U.S. as a late 2015 or early 2016 model.
The BMW 2002tii is one of the most fun-to-drive and affordable classic cars available. Most classic cars have a distinctly fragile and wooly way of handling and accelerating down the road, causing drivers to think... ‘Don’t floor the throttle because something might break!’
Not in the BMW 2002tii. This car is plugged into the tarmac and every pebble is felt through the giant unassisted steering wheel, pedals and shift knob.
The seating position and performance sensations are far more modern than the VIN number stamp would have you believe. It was this light and nimble attitude that brought BMW back from the brink of bankruptcy in the late 1960s, when Germany was reeling from a prolonged recession even as the rest of the world danced in tie-dye shirts and went to Woodstock.
BMW had big problems at the time, most critically being a lack of cash to invest in the business. Their primary 1500 sedan was well-regarded in Germany as a more agile and cheaper Mercedes alternative, but the small sedan was a fish out of water on U.S. roads clogged with millions of Ford Mustangs. Sedans and BMW’s U.S. sales were out of gas as two-door coupes became all the rage.
As with some other TopSpeed Hall of Fame models like the NART Ferrari Spider from last weekend, the beginnings of the BMW 2002 legend start with a strong-arm tactic from a U.S. importer.
Against BMW’s protests, he cajoled them into adding their largest engine under the 1500’s hood and chopping the rear doors. Instant sports coupe and American success meant nothing less than salvation for this historic engine manufacturer.
And for a clue about the origin of the 4 Series coupe names, a quick look at the (odd) 1500 sedan becoming the (even) 2002 two-door explains BMW’s logic.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 1972 - 1974 BMW 2002tii, with special highlights on this sport model’s extra performance and style.