TopSpeed’s Top 5 Physics-Defying Performance Crossovers And SUVs
Technology has a very strange habit of turning the impossible (or at the very least, the improbable) into reality. This is especially true in the automotive world, where seemingly contradictory attributes manage to find a happy middle ground with surprising regularity. Case in point – the performance crossover and SUV segment. Once a body style relegated to utility, the modern tall-bodied, cargo-tastic crossover or SUV can now be had with a heavy dose of speed as well, apparently defying the laws of physics with mammoth grip and absurd levels of power. These days, it doesn’t matter if a model is heavy and huge – add the right parts, and it’ll be quick as well.
It’s a combination that seems to be growing in popularity, with a nice assortment of options available across the market. As such, we’ve collected five of the best right here for your perusal. Each offers a decent amount of cargo space, high levels of luxury, and the option for performance as well, all for a price tag around $70,000 (give or take). Our picks look like this – BMW X3 M, Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, Mercedes-AMG GLC63, Porsche Macan Turbo, and Land Rover Range Rover Sport. We’ve got the lowdown on each right here, so read on for more info. And don’t forget to post your favorite in the comments section below!
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TopSpeed’s Top 5 High-End Track-Ready Sports Coupes
Let’s say you’ve got a solid six-figures burning a hole in your pocket, and you’re looking to get out on the track for a little turnin’ and burnin’. Sure, why not? But here’s the catch – whatever you bring to the pits has to make its way back home as well, and without a trailer to boot. Luckily, there are options aplenty these days that fit the bill, with a rash of barely street-legal track stars making headlines with ever-increasing levels of presence, poise, and performance. But which to pick?
Never fear, because we’ve got five of the best lined up for your reading enjoyment right here. Each can be driven on the street and each offers some modicum of comfort. However, the emphasis here is clear – speed, and loads of it, with apex-hungry suspension and tons of power under the right pedal. Restrictions for this list include a maximum of two doors and a price tag around $150,000, but we tried to stay flexible on that latter bit to keep things interesting. As such, we’ve included the Acura NSX, Audi R8, McLaren 570S, Mercedes-Benz AMG GT R, and Porsche 911 GT3. Which is your track-ready sports coupe of choice? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget the bench racing.
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TopSpeed’s Top 5 Luxury Compact Crossovers
When it comes to the U.S. automotive market, compact crossovers are cleaning up. The segment continues to see unprecedented growth, even with a huge variety of options already on offer. The appeal of the luxury compact crossover is multifaceted, mixing a “go anywhere, do anything” attitude with comfort and inherent driveability. Luxury compact crossovers are practical and spacious, without going overboard in terms of exterior dimensions, improving fuel efficiency and maneuverability over larger SUVs. Inside, there are amenities aplenty without breaking the bank, while the high seating position provides ample views of the road ahead. And while better suited for mall crawling rather than rock crawling, luxury compact crossovers still get that “off-roader” style, plus AWD when the weather turns sour. And of course, the extra room in the rear supports a range of lifestyles, whether its kid hauling for a family, or gear running for active outdoorsy activities. There are even performance options, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Boil it down, and the philosophy goes something like this – mix equal parts practicality, comfort, and road presence, then spread evenly on a tall-bodied package. But where to start? To help you navigate this seemingly bottomless sea of possibilities, we’ve collected facts and figures from five of the best entries in the segment, including the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Audi Q5, BMW X3, Jaguar F-Pace, and Mercedes-Benz GLC Class. Read on for the lowdown.
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TopSpeed’s Top 5 Convertibles That Won’t Break The Bank
Well, it’s officially summertime, and that means it’s the right season to get out and enjoy the warm weather. And, if you have the means, that should also include breaking free from the confines of a fixed hardtop roof and enjoying unlimited blue-sky headroom. Unfortunately, getting behind the wheel of a convertible isn’t always the cheapest proposition around, but fear not, because we’ve assembled five of our top picks for going topless without breaking the bank.
Of course, there are plenty of other options out there at this price range, but we decided to cut out the flab and only keep those droptops that you’ll actually want to drive. That means each offers something interesting under the hood, all while maintaining that fun in the sun factor. Of course, no roof means you’ll get a little extra slop in the corners, given the lack of chassis rigidity, but that’s okay – you’ll be enjoying your time in the elements all the same. Let us know which you’d have in the comments!
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TopSpeed’s Top 5 Street Cars With Ridiculous Spec Sheets
We’re not sure if you’ve noticed, but things have been getting a little out of hand lately. In the never-ending quest to one-up the competition, automakers have unleashed some truly astounding machines upon the world, each packed to the brim with jaw-dropping stats. The numbers these things bring to the table are simply ridiculous – outrageous power, mind-warping speed, and otherworldly performance potential. Any one of these rides will permanently alter your perception of what it means to go fast, even if all you do is digest the numbers. As such, we’ve listed here our top five favorite street cars with simply ridiculous spec sheets.
Obviously, super cars make up the majority of the entries, but we’ve also got the king of the muscle cars and even an all-electric icon on the list as well. Each entry is fully capable of melting face in its own special way, and each serves as a reminder that we are indeed living in a special time. Enthusiasts, say hello to the ultimate bench racers, the four-wheeled monsters bringing the hottest of the heat. Which would you have? Let us know in the comments section below, or post up your pick for the car with the most ridiculous spec sheet.
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TopSpeed’s Top 5 All-Electric Performance Cars
Last week, we took a look at our top picks for the best five hybrid sports, listing off some truly awe-inspiring gas/electric combos that proved hybridization wasn’t something to be feared by the common auto enthusiast. But while adding a big battery pack and a few electric motors might seem like a pretty sizable modification to the traditional sports car formula, there’s an even-greater change lurking just over the horizon – the pure-electric powertrain. That’s right, gasoline need not apply in this crowd, and yet, the speed potential is still enough to melt your face. This is our list of the top five all-electric performance cars.
There are plenty of benefits that electric power offers over internal combustion, especially when it comes to the business of going fast. For starters, the torque curve for an electric motor is totally flat, with maximum twist created the instant you touch the long pedal to the right. There’s also zero power loss at high altitude, a characteristic that’s particularly useful at hill climb events like Pikes Peak. What’s more, with enough motors and a little electronic wizardry, you can get away with some pretty kick ass torque vectoring dynamics. Of course, it’s not all roses – for example, the all-electric appliance noise will never beat the sound of exploding dino juice. Regardless, all-electric performance is still quite impressive. Here are five examples that prove it.
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What’s The Best Upscale Performance Sedan You Can Get For Less Than $50K?
The sport sedan – talk about a hotly contested segment. Almost every major automaker out there has one, but as you might expect, not all are created equal. And that’s where we come in, armed with a boatload of facts and figures to help rank the various entries from best to worst. Of course, more attentive TopSpeed readers out there are sure to point out that this is a topic we’ve covered before, most recently in a comparison piece looking at the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Chrysler 300, Infiniti Q50, Jaguar XE, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. But unlike that last article, which focused on luxury cars with a sporty flavor, this piece will instead focus on cars that place a greater emphasis on performance, with luxury as a secondary priority. As such, we’re picking apart the Acura TLX, Alfa Romeo Giulia, Cadillac ATS, Subaru WRX STI, and Volvo S60. Sure, there’s overlap, but in this crowd, the effort is made more for grins behind the wheel than backside coddling.
That isn’t to say these cars aren’t comfortable – indeed, each offers a fair amount of upscale treatment, some more so than others. That said, we weighed performance much more heavily this time around, giving otherwise more spartan models a shot at the top of the list. So how do we place these five four-doors? Read on to find out.
Continue reading for the full comparison.
The Best Driving And Racing Schools In America
Just because you think you can drive, that doesn’t mean you can really drive. See, there’s a difference between casually going to your local market in a Honda Civic and blasting along a race track at speeds in excess of 200 mph. The latter takes time to learn and even then, only a small population of drivers can really be adept at driving race cars to their full potential. Everyone can try it, though, to see how far they can go. And for them to find out, the best way is signing up for any one of the many racing schools populating the great ‘ol U.S. of A.
Obviously, we’re not here to list down each and every racing school in America. That would likely end in the thousands when talking about them quantitatively. Rather, we’re lining up some of the best racing schools in the country. Each of the schools on this list is either run by high-end automakers or drivers with racing pedigrees. Regardless of who or where it is, these schools all have something unique to offer with a catalog of classes and racing opportunities all at the table. So, with the summer season fast approaching, now may be as good a time to compare the best racing schools in the U.S.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
What’s The Best Sporty Luxury Sedan You Can Get For Less Than $50K?
At its most basic, a sport sedan should be a happy balance between two competing philosophies. The “sport” half of the equation should make it engaging, both in the way it drives, and the way it looks. A sport sedan should issue a dose of adrenaline when the hammer is down, and be a willing dance partner in the corners. It’s also gotta draw attention, turning heads as it goes, making its owner pause momentarily after exiting and locking the doors. Then there’s the “sedan” bit. A sport sedan isn’t supposed to be stripped down and basic – practicality and comfort are paramount. Often used as a daily driver, backside coddling should be there in abundance, complementing the car’s speed potential, rather than taking away from it. All told, it’s a big ask, but this segment has plenty of contenders vying for the title of best. In this comparison, we look at six of the top entries and sort them out, from first to last.
Listed in alphabetical order, this comparison will take a look at the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Chrysler 300, Infiniti Q50, Jaguar XE, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. We’ve evaluated each in terms of exterior aesthetics, interior comfort and technology, powertrain and drivetrain specs, and chassis and handling. We’ve also included a glut of info in chart and graph form to help you make a quick comparison. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the best sporty luxury sedan you can get for less than $50,000.
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Ditch The SUV And Try One Of These Wagons Instead
In case you haven’t noticed, American consumers are still enamored with the idea of driving around in a tall-bodied, relatively off-road capable SUV with loads of space to haul around many people and lots of things. Sales of such vehicles continue to rise, and automakers are responding by churning out new models by the truckload. But is there a better means to achieve similar ends? What if, for example, you want something with the capability, cargo space, and attitude of an SUV, but the maneuverability, ease of use, and comfort of a regular passenger car? Luckily, such a combo does exist, and we’ve got five of the best examples on the market lined up right here in this in-depth comparison article.
The five vehicles in question are (in alphabetical order) the Audi A4 Allroad, the Mini Clubman All4, the Subaru Outback, the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, and the Volvo V60 Cross Country. That’s right folks – wagons, representing a diverse price range and wide array of tastes. Once the torchbearer of utility and practicality, the wagon body style has declined in popularity with the rise of the SUV. But just because something is trendy doesn’t mean it’s good, right? Read on to find out what makes these five vehicles fantastic alternatives to the SUV status quo. You rebel, you.
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The 8 Great of Fate – the Cars of ‘The Fate of the Furious’
It was all going so well. The crew was settling into their own routines, finally finding a little refuge from the crazy life they lived before. Then she appeared, and suddenly, the quiet life got a whole lot louder… That’s right folks, the eighth installment of the Fast and Furious franchise has arrived. And what an arrival it’s been. The movie reportedly took in $532.5 million over the weekend, making it the biggest worldwide debut ever. And what’s not to like? Explosions? Ridiculous stunts? Enough corny dialogue to fill Iowa? Check, check, and oh yeah, that’s a check. But of course, if you’re reading this on TopSpeed, then I know what you’re looking for – cars, glorious, gas-burning, flame-spitting, tire-roasting cars.
Whether they’re racing through the streets, tearing up an ice sheet, or flying through the air, we know you’re in it for the cars. Thing is, at this point, we’re taking a broad approach to that term, happily including a wide assortment of vehicles, several of which don’t even have wheels. Translation – tanks and trucks are welcome.
So with that, here are the eight big ones to look for in ‘Fate of the Furious.’ Let us know your favorites in the comments.
Continue reading to learn more about the cars of Fast & Furious 8.
TopSpeed’s Top 10 Karts For The Road
If you’re into cars and going fast (and for some reason, I suspect you are), you owe it to yourself to get a session in with a real, honest racing kart. Notice I’m not saying the word “go-kart.” That’s because a go-kart is something you drive at the carnival, something just this side of bumper cars in terms of adrenaline production. No, I’m talking about racing karts, some of the most terrifying, violent machines you can pilot without a permission slip from the military or Bernie Ecclestone. And while racing karts are a hoot on the track, their performance potential is off limits everywhere else. So what do you do if you want kart-like fun, but in a road-legal package? Well, we’ve got 10 solutions for you right here.
The criteria for this list are straightforward. To be considered, each car has to have the traditional kart-like characteristics. It’s gotta be small, lightweight, agile, and uncluttered in its engineering and design. Oh, and it’s gotta be fun, too.
Sound good? Then grab your helmet and driving gloves, and read on.
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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.
It was a busy week, but we managed to cover SEMA from one end to the other without having a nervous breakdown. Now, after numerous looks at each of these vehicles, we compiled a small recap of what was shown at the auto event in Las Vegas, Nevada.
There were a plethora of tuned vehicles, from Mercedes-Benz to Ford, and even a Ferrari. Each had their own unique style, with some wanting to make you sick, while others were visual masterpieces. Just imagine Fast and the Furious designs and you’ll get an idea of what some of these machines looked like.
Below is a list of most of the vehicles that were shown at the event. Take a look at all the vehicles and let us know which ones you thought were the creme de la creme.
Hit the jump to see the list.
It’s an automotive show like no other that takes place in the city of lights, Las Vegas, Nevada. The show itself is the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world and is held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Usually, SEMA draws around 100,000 people from 100 different countries around the world, just to see new products, tuned performance cars, and some gorgeous women.
TheSEMA displays are spread out around two million square feet of floor space. That massive zone is separated by 12 sections, with the largest section consisting of newly introduced parts, tools, and other various components.
Of course, the reason why we love the event so much is the unique vehicles that come out. There will be products from Hyundai, Ford, and many other car manufacturers, all tuned to high heaven and given a sick paint job.
The event will take place on November 2nd through November 5th.
UPDATE 10/27/2010: We’ve added some more vehicles headed to Las Vegas for SEMA. Check out the additions after the jump!
Hit the jump to see the list of cars prepared to sparkle on the show floor.
We love automotive shows and there isn’t a better place in the world to have one than Paris, France. Geneva would be a close second, but we’re pretty sure Paris wins. The bright lights of the city, the wonderful concept cars and the gorgeous European models. There isn’t a whole lot in this world that is better than that.
This years Paris Motor Show was brilliant in mostly every way. We had concepts from Jaguar and a few other companies. There were new models from Land Rover, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and even Italian exotic sports car makers Ferrari and Lamborghini.
Below, we have detailed nearly every one of the cars that was shown at the auto show, including the new Ford Focus ST, Land Rover Evoque and the new Mercedes-Benz CLS, the car that started the four-door coupe range. Some were very interesting, while others were normal is mostly every way.
Hit the jump to see the list of production cars,
It’s that time of year again, the biggest and the most exciting event is close upon us. No, it’s not a holiday or anything of that sort, but it’s just as good for people who love the automotive industry and the cars that the companies produce. The 2010 Paris Motor Show is just months away and TopSpeed has all the bases covered.
Over the next few months we will update you on every piece of automotive news that involves the motor show in France. So far we have plenty to look forward to, including a few Citroens, Mercedes-Benz cars, and, of course, a bevy of supercars.
The official show starts on October 2nd in Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles and it will run until the 17th.
We have all the information you will need to prepare for the festivity that is the Paris Motor Show below, so hit the jump to read on and enjoy.
In the world of classic cars, the Woodward Dream Cruise is the cream of the crop. The event is held annually on the third Saturday of August and it takes place in the former home of mostly all American car production, Michigan. The drive starts on Woodward Avenue in Pontiac, through Ferndale in Oakland County, and goes all the way to the State Fair Grounds inside the Detroit city limits, just south of 8 Mile Road. It might not be a Los Angeles beach cruise, as it’s Detroit, but for lovers of all the old days, it’s as good as it gets.
The event isn’t just big for the fans, it’s big for the city of Detroit as well. It is now the largest single day classic car event in the world, and brings in over $56 million annually for the Metro Detroit economy. It is, without a doubt, the world’s largest one-day automotive event, drawing about 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic cars each year.
After the jump, we have assembled numerous photos of the events. If you have photos of your own, feel free to share them with us.
The 2010 New York International Auto Show will be taking place April 2nd-11th, 2010 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City. Show times are from 11am-10:30pm and tickets are still available at the official website. However, if you want to get some sneak peeks at a few of the new 2011 automobiles that will be showcased at this show then you have come to the right place. We have a list of the hottest “It” cars that will be featured in New York.
"Whether you’re in the mood for a new car, or just fantasizing about your dream ride of the future, the New York Auto Show has got just what you’re looking for," said Show Director Candida Romanelli.
Follow the jump for the list of “It” cars making the 2010 New York Auto Show.