When Cooper set out to make the CS5 Touring line of car tires, it didn’t want to create just another tire. It wanted to celebrate what it has built and grown into over the last 100 years. It wanted to create one of its best tires ever. More than that, the company wanted to prove that it could create tires that are world-beating, and every bit as impressive as those from companies like Michelin and Pirelli.
Cooper invited a collection of journalists including myself to come to its tire testing facility in Texas to give these tires a real test. We spent time doing laps in wet and dry to push these slabs of rubber to the breaking point. As there are two models in the lineup, Grand Touring and Ultra Touring, Cooper was even kind enough to round up cars wearing competitor rubber from Pirelli and Hankook to prove just how good the new tire really was.
Cooper threw the gauntlet, handed us the keys to some BMWs and Mustangs, and let us decide who the winner was. Does the CS5 live up to all the hype?
Read on to learn more about the Cooper Tire CS5.
Once Wintertime falls upon us sports car owners, we typically park our babies in the garage for the season to avoid slipping and sliding all over the place in the snow and ice. Well, Goodyear has released a tire that helps eliminate slipping and sliding and is sized just right to fit your sports sedan and coupe.
Enter in the all-new Goodyear Ultra Grip 8, which is available in 11 popular sports sedan and coupe sizes, including ones that fit the Audi A6, Cadillac CTS, BMW 3 Series and many more. These tires feature a saw-shaped center section to help plow the snow out of the way when braking and variable-edged angle to grip firmly in the remaining snow and ice under the tire. Additionally, the Ultra Grip 8 features a directional pattern that helps usher water away after the snow melts.
Another common complaint about sports cars in the Wintertime is the fact that the tires never properly warm up, leaving the sidewalls and tread stiffer than normal, which lowers ride quality and reduces handling capabilities. Well, Goodyear solves this with its special blend of polymers and silica to keep the rubber compound soft and tacky, even in very cold conditions, so you can enjoy the twisties below freezing without drastically reducing handling capabilities.
We’ll get a full review on the all-new Goodyear Ultra Grip 8’s as soon as possible, but like all Goodyear tires, we expect them to live up to the hype.
With summertime about halfway over and fall bearing down on all of us, the thought of taking the summer tires off of your beloved ride in favor of all-season rubber that just doesn’t perform the same is depressing. With exception to us southern-state dwellers, you need a set of tires that can handle the rain, snow and ice that the winter, fall and spring present us, and most summer tires simply can’t handle the elements. Well, Michelin has an all-new all-season tire that packs summer tire-like stickiness with an all-season design and features: the Pilot A/S 3.
This all-new Pilot Sport tire uses a special blend of silica to help enhance the "sticky" feeling of the tire and a tread design that helps jettison water from under your car’s footprint. The combination of water channeling and extra silica really helps the tire bite down on the road. Additionally, variable-thickness sipes on the outer section of the tread help break up the tension in the water and then lock together to create maximum rubber contact to the asphalt.
When it comes to tires, you cannot base purchasing decisions on sheer performance, unless you have tons of money to blow. You also have to consider how long the manufacture guarantees the tire will last. Most summer tires don’t include a mileage warranty and most all-season tires with any sort of warranty are too hard to perform well. Michelin obviously found a nice balance with the Pilot A/S 3,as these shoes come with a 45,000-mile warranty.
A truly unique feature on the A/S 3 that surprises even me - a seasoned expert in the tire industry - is Michelin’s Helio Compound, which helps the rubber retain its soft and sticky properties in cold temperatures. This is a frequent complaint of all-season tire users, as it can take seemingly forever for your tires to get up to temperature on a cold day. Not only does this increase cold-weather grip, but it also increases comfort in cold weather.
You can snag up these tires now between the sizes of 175/65R15 and 285/35R20, which covers cars ranging from the Fiat 500 to the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG. Once we get our hands on a set of them, we will let you know just how well they do, so stay tuned!
Click past the jump to see detailed videos on these all-new tires and the crazy tests they underwent.
BFGoodrich is coming up with a new extreme-performance tire, the Rival. That category of tire is the last street-legal step before you go to the dark side with race-only tires. If you are looking for mind-blowing performance, you owe it to yourself to shop in that category. The usual suspects are the Hankook RS3, Toyo R1R, Yokohama AD08, Kumho XS and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup.
Until now, BFG’s most extreme street tire was the Comp-2. Launched in 2012, the Comp-2 tire received first place on TireRack’s ultra-high-performance tire survey, not bad.
Michelin acquired BFGoodrich in 1988, so while BFG tires are solely manufactured in the USA, BFG benefits from all the research and development Michelin can offer. Think about it, all the goodies at a lesser price and made in the USA!
The Rival offers a couple of very distinctive features that make BFG hope it will be the next big thing. To prove its worth, they invited us for a full day of torture testing against the competition. Keep reading for our impressions first hand.
UPDATE: BFG posted two new videos to promote their new Rival tire, check them out after the jump.
The beautifully exquisite Porsche 911/991 made its debut earlier this year and the number of people wanting to own one probably far outweighs the number of people who have enough money to do so. For the latter, Falken Tire is hosting a huge social media campaign that will see the grand prize winner driving away in a new Porsche 911/991 Carrera. Okay, so technically, the amount of money you make has no influence whatsoever on your chances of winning, but you get our point.
Falken Tire’s sweepstakes will launch today on their Facebook page, marking the beginning of the ALMS 12 Hrs of Sebring race weekend (March 16th-18th, 2012). Falken will actually be competing in the GT Class of the American LeMans Series with a 2012 Porsche GT3 RSR. Veteran Drivers Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers will return to pilot the car.
For a chance to win the 911/991 sports car, all you have to do is head to Falken Tire’s Facebook page and "Like" it. Once that is done, players will be able to compete on a Falken-branded racetrack on CityVille and be entered to win the 911.
For official contest rules, please visit www.facebook.com/falkentire.
Porsche can’t seem to shake the lemons off it’s model tree. Once again the Stuttgart manufacturer has been forced to issue a recall, this time centering on 235 2011-2012 models which may have had defective seat belts installed. According to Inside Line, the models that are affected include the 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera 4, 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS, 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S, 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera GTS, 2012 Porsche 911 Carrera S, 2011 Porsche 911 Speedster, 2012 Porsche 911 Targa 4, 2012 Porsche 911 Targa 4S, 2012 Porsche 911 Turbo, 2012 Porsche 911 Turbo S, 2012 Porsche Boxster S, 2012 Porsche Cayman, 2012 Porsche Cayman R, and 2012Porsche Cayman S. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration points out that these defective seat belts are centered on the mounting holes in the seat belt anchor plates fitted to the vehicle being too small. If the hole diameter is too small, the anchor plate may not be able to rotate about the fastening bolt as designed. Should this occur, the seat belt may not be routed optimally around the occupant, or may potentially loosen at some point in the future increasing the risk of injury during a crash. Although this problem is serious, it is noted by the NHTSA that no deaths or injuries have resulted from these defective seat belts. Porsche also says this defect stems from a "manufacturing issue" at their seat belt supplier.
We don’t think this will affect Porsche at all. We still look at Porsche cars as the one of the finest sports car manufacturers in the world.
In the gear head community, the arrival of a new Shelby GT 500 Mustang is always eagerly awaited. The 2013 Shelby Mustang is no different and this anticipation has been exaggerated because of rumors of a new power plant.
Car and Driver points out that, initially, a turbocharged engine was rumored to be under the hood, but Ford has confirmed that the 2013 Shelby Mustang will keep its supercharged V8. This supercharged V8 will reportedly put out 600 horses. There’s been no word on the price of this top-end pony car, but it will most likely remain in the $50-60K range.
This latest Mustang will face stiff competition from its muscle car rivals from Chevy, Dodge, and Chrysler. The list of rivals from these manufacturers include the Camaro ZL1, and the Dodge Challenger and Chrysler SRT-8, if they get the addition of a supercharger.
This is another example of the renewed Detroit civil war and this "conflict" is pushing innovation and engineering to the forefront again in a cut throat competition for the toughest crowd of all: automotive enthusiasts.
The Audi A7 has not even been on US shores for a year and already the engineers from Ingolstadt are busy making this hatchback a land rocket, as shown by new spy images of the RS7 version. The tuned up S and RS versions are reportedly going to be propelled by the brand new turbocharged Bentley V8. In the RS, the engine will produce about 600 horsepower. In addition to more horsepower (20 more than the outgoing V10 from the previous RS6) this engine weighs less than the outgoing engine, which points to the fact that Audi appears to working hard on lightening and improving the balance of the RS7. What makes us salivate even more is the fact that an Audi engineer admitted that the RS7 won’t just be a Bavarian drag racer. He said, "The last RS6 has focused too much on straight-line performance. We want to put more emphasis on cornering ability...We want to bring back the feeling of raw power that the first RS6 gave drivers. That means more sound, more responsiveness, more connection between car and driver."
Full story after the jump.
When Mazda first introduced its Wenkel engine in 1961, the automotive world was set alight it. Soon after, many manufacturers clamored to build their own. This engine was an automotive Gibraltar, no matter the challenges it faced, the Wenkel soldiered on. These challenges came from every angle from new emissions standards in 1970 to an oil crisis three years later, in addition to innumerable engineering issues. Mazda cultivated their Wenkel engine and planted it in their sporty RX-7 and it was an instant hit. Even when the RX-8 emerged as a successor to the RX-7 in 2001, the Wenkel heart beat on. Now as the RX-8’s production run is scheduled to end in 2011, a steady stream of rumors about the current Wenkel engine’s successor have flown past our desks.
First, we are going to ask all Mazda fans to take a deep breath. Okay, now that that is taken care of, we have some bad news according to Ward’s Auto Mazda is considering putting the new engine development on hold. The reason for this cutback was that at this time of economic woe, Mazda was looking for a way to reduce expenses and apparently this new engine program is very expensive.
We hope that even as the bean counters are clamoring about diminishing profit margins, Mazda continues to develop this engine. It provides the RX-8 and it’s successor with fantastic high performance and, in the era of pretty and almost all identical cars, Mazda offered a unique take on a sports car. We all hope that Mazda comes to their senses and keeps this iconic power plant.
When the BMW 1-series was debuted in the US as a 2008 model, comparisons were immediately made to the iconic BMW 2002. We were skeptical of this little coupe trying to cash in on the legacy of classic BMW models, but as we got behind the wheel of this BMW Mighty Mouse, we quickly realized it stuck to a successful sports car formula. This equation references classic BMW performance and yet moves the marque forward. When you get behind the wheel of the 2012 BMW 128i it’s like hearing your favorite Eagles song, it takes you back to a simpler time. This time capsule also teaches a new generation what a sports car can be.
The micro-sized sports car that is the BMW 128i has proved very popular since its introduction for the 2008 model year. The 128i is a new take on the BMW philosophy of excellent handling and superb engineering. Whereas many models in the line are now turbocharged, the 128i stubbornly sticks to the naturally aspirated inline 6. In addition to this, BMW "roots album" presents the full package for a driver that wants a car with two distinct personalities: a) a cheap and "chuckable" sports car and b) a pleasant everyday driver. These personalities always meet in the middle and never force the driver to pick which he wants.
More details on the BMW 128i after the jump.
As the English philosopher Francis Bacon once said, "Nothing is pleasant that is not spiced with variety." Most car manufacturers, after efforts like the 2012 Bentley Continental GT, would have been happier to call it a day. However, Bentley looked at this automotive Adonis and decided "everything can be improved." This style of constant tweaking has resulted in multiple versions of the GT Continental. The first of these "tweaks" for the 2012 Bentley Continental GT is the new GT Speed.
This Adonis in an Armani suit will be given a shot in the arm. The previous GT Speed had 9% more power and 15% more torque than the base GT Continental. If this same increase applies to the new GT Speed, the W-12 will be pump out around 621 horses and 590 ft/lbs of torque. This would install the GT Speed as a next door neighbor to the top of the line Continental Supersports.
Full story after the jump.
When most people just see a Nissan GT-R, they are in awe of this seminal feat of engineering. This car offers super car performance and practicality that perhaps makes it the best daily driver on the road today. Yet the Chicago based tuning company, AMS Performance, looked at the GT-R and set themselves a monumental engineering challenge. Cue dramatic music; they set out to build the fastest GT-R . To make this daunting challenge even harder the engineers from AMS kept the GT-R’s stock interior and amenities like air conditioning.
To accomplish the task, they endowed a GTR with 1,500 horsepower. That’s 300 more horsepower than a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. This car is like showing up to an 8th grade science class with a Polaris missile while everybody else has a stomp rocket.
So did these engineers from Chicago accomplish their lofty goal? The answer is a resounding yes. This car posted the fastest GT-R quarter mile in history, posting a time of 8.97 second a astonishing 169 miles an hour.
Check out the video of this record breaking quarter mile run!
When Mercedes burst onto the automotive stage with the CLS 4 door coupe in 2004, a new vehicle type was born. This big 4 door "coupe" caused widespread approval and since its inception in 2004, the Mercedes has cornered the market. The field recently got a bit crowded when Audi introduced the A7 and now BMW has brought out their brand new 6-Series 4 door coupe. Although BMW was late to the party, details have just emerged about this latest BMW’s innards that almost guarantee it will be nothing short of stupendous.
BMW’s challenger to the Audi A7 and the Mercedes CLS first made an appearance at the 2010 Beijing Motor Show where it was known as the Gran Coupe. This new model is due to hit our shores sometime next year. We are intrigued by this four door coupe model because it is a first for BMW and our intrigue turns to salivation when we read about the thoroughness with which the Munich manufacturer has gone about designing this "coupe."
Hit the jump for the full story.
Not too many things remain static throughout our lives. Yet throughout mine one thing has remained a part of the landscape of my life: my dad’s 1968 BMW 2002. He has had this car since it rolled out of Munich in 1968. I have many childhood memories sitting in those Recaro bucket seats. The learning did not cease; if anything it picked up because as I became more interested in cars, this car become the embodiment of everything I look for in a great car: style, performance, fuel economy. Then my dad and I upgraded virtually every component of it and made it better.
This was my study hall where some of my fondest memories were with my dad installing the engine and soaking up the knowledge like a new sponge. Now as I sit in its seats, the recollections flood back. Yet when I turn the key, the engine rumble prompts me to go out into the world and make new memories.
Details on the 1968 BMW 2002 after the jump.
When you buy a 2012 Chrysler 300 SRT8 or 2012 Dodge Charger SRT-8 you definitely will not be lacking power. These suburban bruisers are powered by massive 6.4 liter Hemi V8’s that pump out a spleen crushing 470 horsepower and 470 lbs/ft of torque. Now, what is an SRT-8 owner to do if he/she wants more power? The answer up to this point has been paying big bucks and taking it to a tuner, but now this will change.
Chrysler is reportedly considering adding a top end engine option for certain SRT models. According to MotorAuthority, this new engine will be based on the current one albeit with a Eaton supercharger that will push the horsepower to between 540-570 horsepower. With this power addition, these muscle cars will be put on the road with Ferrari 458-esque power. Where do we sign?! In addition, to control the extra ponies, this new engine will supposedly be mated to a new eight speed automatic gearbox. This new engine can be implemented on those SRT models which are based on the LX platform (Sorry, Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, no upgrade for you just yet). An exception may be the Dodge Challenger SRT-8 which is based on a tweaked LX platform.
This is an important step in the reemergence of the muscle car in the American market. This reemergence has ignited an automotive world war with Ford, Chevy, and Dodge, each trying to outdo themselves in terms of engineering and appeal. This new Detroit cold war has only one winner and that is the muscle car enthusiasts around the world.
BMW’s M division has always been known for consistently pushing the envelope in performance and engineering. For example, the E30 M3 had a ferocious 192 horsepower inline-4 that had thrust comparable to a Jupiter missile and could still go around a corner properly. The next generation E36 M3 was powered by a brand new six cylinder engine with 240 horsepower. M’s desire to be the automotive equivalent of Magellan didn’t start or end with the M3 - the e60 M5 set the bar high with its revolutionary V10 which revved to over 7000 rpm! - but BMW keeps excelling at taking the sports car to the next level.
Proof of this comes in the latest details for the future M3. According to AutoExpress, the new M3 (due out in 2014) will revert back to a six cylinder motor as opposed to the current V8. But just because it has lost two cylinders to the relentless push for greater fuel economy, don’t think that the innovation has stopped. The newest engineering masterpiece from BMW is the tri-turbo engine. That’s right, an engine with three turbos. How does this work? Well, the first two will be rather conventional since they will run off exhaust gasses, but the third will be an electric turbo. This new engine will reportedly push out around 450 horsepower and, in addition to this inventive engine, AutoExpress reports that BMW will add more carbon fiber parts to help lower the weight.
If this M3 does come into production, BMW will set an engineering benchmark that few can hope to surpass and a performance threshold that will set them atop the heap.
The Porsche 911 can be considered as classic as a Rembrandt, becoming an artistic addition to the often style-less sports car category. The shape has remained constant because well, why toy with perfection? The fact that it is well know for its iconic look might explain why the 911 has only been changed three times in its 48 year history. The 2012 911, known by its codename “991”, is the latest interpretation of Porsche’s classic 911.
This new 911 is going to undergo a bit of makeover with a 4 inch longer wheel base and wider axle tracks. However, the biggest change happens under the hood. Porsche appears to have decided to downsize the flat six engine from 3.6 liters to 3.4 liters. Motor Authority also points out that the base engine will be based on the one found on the Boxster S and Top Gear says Porsche has ”fitted it with new cylinder heads to allow it to rev higher.” Don’t react to this with angst though because the base power plant pushes out a meaty 350 horses. The Carrera RS version (replacing the Carrera S) will have a nice 400 horsepower which is 15 more than the previous model. As the power goes up, torque goes down in the base model by 8 lbs/ft, while in the RS it goes down by 15 lbs/ft. According to Top Gear, Porsche has also been shaving away the weight (30-40kg) by using aluminum for the floor and most of the external panels. This was done by Porsche to improve fuel economy and lower emissions. Then supporting these new power plants will be a new seven speed manual or the optional double clutch automatic.
Hit the jump for the full story.
The title of being the World’s Fastest Supercar is a name that has been restricted for the Bugatti Veyron of today and the McLaren F1 of the past. Many different vehicles can be considered for this prestigious title, but the main component that makes it relevant is the fact that the car that holds the title is a production vehicle. This means it goes from a manufacturer’s factory to a dealership and into the hands of a customer who drives it off the lot. What happens when aftermarket companies and kit cars are put into the mix?
Basically, you end up with some of the fastest “production” vehicles ever made. The Hennessey Twin-turbo Vipers are some of the fastest accelerating vehicles on the planet, but don’t exactly come from the factory. The Ultima GTR has broken nearly every speed record in the book and the company that created it has claimed it to be the Fastest Supercar in the World. The biggest difference with the Ultima is that you could build it in your garage.
Being a kit car has its advantages and every owner has the opportunity to build it to their exact specifications. The factory in England will ship out all the necessary parts so you can get the engine here, and not have to deal with meeting safety regulations. Let’s delve into this so-called record breaking connector set called the Ultima GTR.
Hit the jump for more details on the Ultima GTR.
The Chevrolet Corvette – GM’s little performance savior. This car has meant everything to Chevrolet for one simple reason; because it used to be the only car with some style. It was the only model that made anyone feel emotional about driving a Chevrolet and its history is second to none. The American sports car market has been utterly dominated by the Corvette from the Airbox models to the legendary Stingray.
The Z06 was originally introduced to push the envelope in terms of performance for the Corvette lineup. Recently Chevrolet decided that the Corvette needed to incorporate the largest and most powerful engine thus creating the ZR1. The ZR1 model has become the poster child of American supercar fame taking on the challengers from across the pond and, with the hiatus of the Dodge Viper, it is likely to keep its crown for some time.
Even with the invention of the ZR1, the Z06 model has not been neglected. Several different levels of Z06 trim exist, each coming with different types of option packages delivering varied results depending on what type of driving the car will most likely encounter.
Hit the jump for more details on the 2011 Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
Canepa design is offering an opportunity to own one of the most famous Formula One race cars in American history. The 1985 Tyrell Formula One is one of the last Cosworth machines to ever compete in this race series. Its 3-liter Ford V8 made plenty of power helping to propel this race car into the history books at the U.S Grand Prix and the Constructors Championship in 1985. These 012-series race cars are often found in vintage races throughout the world and have remained a popular choice in inspiring future designs.
The Scott’s Valley, California company, Canepa Design, has put this car through an intensive restoration lasting 3,000 hours. This company has always been known for its styling and performance upgrades to various manufacturers’ vehicles as well as the care and sale of collector vehicles. The history of this specific Formula One race-car is well documented and has a rich history with the Tyrell racing team – for more information on its availability contact Canepa at 831-430-9940.
Hit the jump for more details on the 1985 Tyrrell.
The California based tuners Vorsteiner have just released their latest racing technologies package for the current generation Porsche Turbo. The package consists of a complete aerodynamic alteration of the Porsche’s body panels to create a more functional design that can slice through the air. Vorsteiner also fitted the V-RT 997 with a set of the company’s own 3 piece forged rims measuring 20 inches in diameter.
Press release after the jump.
AutoWeek is reporting that GM Vice-Chairman Robert Lutz says the company will have to undertake a “massive restructuring” of product plans if the 35 mpg fuel economy standard which passed the House of Representatives yesterday becomes law.
“The minute we have confirmation of the 35-mpg rule, that is the point where we go through all of our forward product plans and probably introduce, frankly, massive restructuring of the product plan,” he said. “A 35-mpg fleet mix means there is a bunch of (...)