Ferrari unveiled the 458 Italia in 2010, then followed that up with the more precise and track-ready 458 Speciale in 2014. As is the tradition with all modern mid-engined Ferraris, Maranello creates a great car, then a year or two later it chops the top off of it to create a roadster version. We knew it was coming, but now the convertible version of the Ferrari 458 Speciale is here, and it’s calling it the “A."
It may be a silly name, but that A stands for Aperta, the Italian word for open. This is also more than a simple roofless version of the 458 Speciale; the Speciale A features the most powerful naturally aspirated V-8 the company has ever used in a spider. Compared to the old 458 Spider, this new machine is faster and more powerful, and Ferrari was even able to keep the weight down. This new car only weighs 50 kg (110 pounds) more than its hard-top sibling.
If you want one, you need to get your order in yesterday. Ferrari is limiting this new car to just 499 units. We don’t know how many of those are slated for U.S. consumption, but rest assured it won’t be a lot. If you are undecided about taking home one of these beauties, hit that jump and read our full overview of this incredible new Italian convertible.
Updated 08/18/2017: We added a series of new images taken during the 2017 Monterey Car Week.
Continue reading to find out more about the Ferrari 458 Speciale A.
2015 Mercedes-AMG C63
AMG began meddling with the C-Class in 1995 — one year after the C-Class debuted — when it released the C36 AMG and its 268-horsepower V-6. The 1998 model year brought about the release of the C43 AMG, which featured a larger V-8 engine rated at 302 ponies. AMG then followed that up with the 349-horsepower C32 AMG in 2002, and then with the 362-horsepower C55 AMG in 2005. Finally, in 2008, the C63 AMG sent the sedan into 450-horsepower territory with a huge 6.2-liter V-8 tweaked to generate 451 horses. With the standard 2015 C-Class having arrived in dealerships in early 2014, Mercedes-Benz is rolling out a brand-new iteration of the AMG-prepped C63.This time around dubbed Mercedes-AMG C63, with the Germans dropping the Benz moniker from the official name, the new-generation vehicle marks the beginning of a new era for the sedan.
Much like its predecessor did in 2008, the 2015 Mercedes-AMG C63 gets a brand-new engine in the form of a biturbo, 4.0-liter V-8. The unit is identical with the one previously launched in the AMG GT sports car and comes not with just more horsepower, but with improved fuel efficiency as well. Read on for the full details surrounding AMG’s new high-performance compact.
Update 5/26/2017:The Mercedes C-Class is up for a mid-cycle update, and now we’re finally getting the first look at the facelifted version of the C63. The spy shots still show some camo, but give us an idea of what to expect later this year when the updated C-Class makes its debut. Check out the spy shots section below to hear about what we know so far.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Mercedes-AMG C63
2017 BMW 5 Series
In 2014, our spy photographers spotted the new-generation BMW 5 Series stretching its wheels on the Nurburgring track for the very first time. Later that year, the sedan was caught once again testing in Europe. Come October 2016 and the new 5 Series finally made its official debut, showcasing its evolutionary design and state-of-the art features.
As seen with recently launched new Bimmers, the new midsize sedan lost some weight thanks to BMW using the carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) technology in the larger 7 Series, as well as magnesium, aluminum, and high-strength steel in the car’s chassis. The sedan is up to 137 pounds lighter than its predecessor (depending on trim and equipment), which isn’t a whole lot but enough to make a difference in the performance and fuel economy departments.
As expected, the new-generation 5 Series was unveiled with inline four-cylinder, six-cylinder, and V-8 engines for the North American market, with a high-performance M5 to follow in 2017. Meanwhile, the four-door made its U.S. debut at the Detroit Auto Show and is slated to arrive in dealerships starting February 2017.
Continue reading to find out more about the 2017 BMW 5 Series.
2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain
The fifth-generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class, also known as the W213, was unveiled at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show and went on sale for the 2017 model year. A significant departure from its predecessor, it uses a brand-new architecture and styling language based off the S-Class full-size sedan. More comfortable and efficient than ever before, the new E-Class also debuted a handful of new Mercedes-Benz technologies, including a semi-autonomous system. The sedan was followed by a beefed-up AMG version and a wagon variant with two-door coupe and cabriolet models also set to follow. But unlike its predecessor, the W213 also spawned crossover-like model. It goes by the name E-Class All-Terrain and it is aimed at the likes of the Audi A6 Allroad.
When Mercedes-Benz called 2016 "the year of the SUV" and announced a further expansion of its already large collection of SUVs and crossovers by 2020, most people expected more niche models like the GLC Coupe or the Mercedes-Maybach GLS. As it turns out, Mercedes-Benz was considering competitors for the Audi A4 and A6 Allroad as well. The news initially came straight from Mercedes-Benz vice president of sales and product managements, Matthias Luehrs, who said that the company is essentially "looking at everything." What was just a possibility in 2015 became certainty in 2016, when Mercedes-Benz unveiled its Audi A6 Allroad fighter ahead of the Paris Motor Show.
Dubbed E-Class All-Terrain, the new vehicle follows in the footsteps of Audi’s midsize Allroad model, blending the styling of the utilitarian, yet still sexy E-Class wagon with the taller ride height and cladding of a crossover. Described as a "flexible all‑rounder for unpaved roads, family and leisure time," the All-Terrain gives the German brand access to a previously unexplored niche and likely opens the door for a similar model based on the C-Class too. But until that happens, let’s have a closer look at the brand-new E-Class All-Terrain.
Continue reading for the full story.
2017 Mini Countryman
Launched in 2010, the Countryman is one of the newest additions to the Mini family. Based on the Crossover Concept, the company’s first mini SUV debuted at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show with a range of four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, a six-speed manual, and a six-speed automatic transmission. An all-wheel-drive model was added for the 2014 model year, a year before the Countryman received its mid-cycle refresh. Longer, wider and taller than any other Mini, the Countryman just got even larger with the second-generation model.
The new Countryman was spotted testing in Germany as early as September of 2014. Two years have passed and the crossover was unveiled at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show. Significantly larger than its predecessor, the new Countryman boasts a new exterior and a revamped interior with modern features and new technology. Although Mini claims that the new crossover "remains firmly rooted in the tradition of the British brand," the modern-day Countryman has very little in common with the original two-door estate from the 1960s.
This will be highly noticeable among purists, some of which might be offended by the comparison, but open-minded fans will probably appreciate the enhanced roominess and larger trunk space that come with a longer and wider body. The redesigned crossover will hit North American shores starting March 2017. Stay tuned for updates.
Updated 12/07/2016: Mini announced prices for the 2017 Countryman which will go on sale in March 2017.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2018 Mini Countryman.
2016 Honda Civic Type R Concept
When you go to an event like the Paris Auto Show, you expect some crazy exotic or some new luxury car to steal the spotlight, but at the 2016 Paris Auto Show, it was a Honda that was in the limelight. Specifically, it was this Honda Civic Type R Concept, which serves as a preview of the upcoming production model. This concept is all about looks, but it’s widely believed that there’s an uprated 2.0-liter, turbocharged, VTEC hidden away under the hood – the same engine that will eventually make it into the road-going Type R. And, that engine could produce upward of 350 horsepower.
It’s hard to believe that a concept car from Honda is getting such a following, but Honda has finally tapped back into the hot hatch market in a big way with the new Civic Hatchback. Mainly because the new Civic Hatch is built on a global platform, which means we’ll finally get it, and the Type R all of us tuners have been dying to have, here in the U.S. With the aggressive styling seen on this concept from the gnarly front bumper all the way back to that meticulously designed spoiler, this concept proves that Honda is finally listening to its fan base again.
So, with that said, let’s dive on into the best Civic we’ve seen from Honda in a long time and go over the details that make this Type R concept one of the coolest cars to roll into the Paris Auto Show.
Updated 11/21/2016: We added a series of new images taken during the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show, where the Type R made a brief appearance next to the Civic SI.
Continue reading to learn more about the Honda Civic Type R Concept.
2017 Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta
The Ferrari LaFerrari made its first public appearance at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, taking center stage in spite of massive competition from the McLaren P1 and the Lamborghini Veneno. Not only the fastest road-legal supercar to come out of Maranello, the LaFerrari is also the first Ferrari to carry a hybrid powertrain. Developed as a successor to the almighty Enzo and the F50, the LaFerrari is the first Ferrari not to be designed by Pininfarina since 1973.
Built in just 499 units and priced from $1.7 million, the LaFerrari became an instant hit with deep-pocketed enthusiasts, who rushed to pay the hefty sticker and help Ferrari close order books in a matter of months. Although both the standard supercar and the highly exclusive, track-only FXX K are already sold out, the LeFerrari saga continues in 2017 with a convertible version.
Rumors about a LaFerrari convertible have been flying around since 2014, when we rendered the model based on the coupe version. Come 2016 and Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne finally confirmed that a drop-top model is in the works. In July 2016, Maranello unleashed the first official photos of the Laferrari Aperta, while the Paris Motor Show hosted to supercar’s public debut.
Updated 11/11/2016: Ferrari dropped a very cool promo video for the LaFerrari Aperta with Formula 1 driver, Sebastian Vettel behind the wheel.
Continue reading to find out more about the LaFerrari Aperta.
2017 GLM G4
The shockingly blue slab of speed you see before you is the latest concept from Green Lord Motors (GLM), a new all-electric start-up from the Land of the Rising Sun that will attempt to break into the top-shelf BEV segment with ultimate velocity and style. Recently unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, GLM introduces the G4 by describing it as “just like a powerful lightning of innovation coming from Japan.” Sounds good. Outside, you’ll find styling from a Dutch design studio, while underneath is enough full-throttle grunt to hit 60 mph in less than four seconds. Inside is a crystalline layout that looks like it was plucked from an alien spaceship.
Who is GLM? Based out of Kyoto, GLM was founded in 2010 with the goal of creating the ultimate all-electric sports car. Just four months after it’s founding, GLM inherited Tommykaira, a Japanese tuning company known for modifying some of the island nation’s most popular performance rides. Then in 2014, GLM released the Tommykaira ZZ EV, a lithe little all-electric open-top two-door that ran up the hill at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Now, GLM appears to be gearing up for something bigger and a whole lot badder. The G4 looks to be a true battery-powered exotic, but the question is this – is it all just vaporware?
Continue reading to learn more about the GLM G4.
2017 Renault Zoe
The Renault Zoe came to be in 2012, as part of the company’s Z.E. electric car initiative that also includes the Twizy city car and the Kangoo Z.E. compact panel van. Originally launched with a 22 kWh battery that returned a 93-mile range, the Zoe received a second battery good for 150 miles in 2015. At the 2016 Paris Motor Show, Renault announced the introduction of a brand-new battery for the Zoe. Boasting 41 kWh of useful energy, the new stack returns an NEDC driving range of 250 miles and a real-world range of up to 186 miles.
Set to go on sale in 2017, the updated Zoe will hit the streets in the same form as the original hatchback. Aside from the new battery and upgraded infotainment apps, the Zoe will carry over unchanged inside and out. However, the new battery makes it the most capable, affordable electric car on the market, at least until the Opel Ampera-e lands in showrooms.
The updated electric arrived just as Renault sold its 100,000th Zoe, an impressive achievement in this market. Although not as popular as the Leaf, which sold more than 230,000 units globally as of 2016 (note that the Leaf is also offered in the U.S.), the Zoe is the best-selling hybrid in France and a notable competitor for the Nissan in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Norway.
Will the more powerful battery make a difference and boost Zoe sales in Europe? Let’s have a closer look at the numbers before we draw a conclusion.
Continue reading to learn more about the Renault Zoe.
2017 Audi RS3 LMS
Launched in 2013, the A3 Sedan is the latest iteration of the compact hatchback that Audi introduced way back in 1996. Essentially identical to the five-door save for the extra bodywork at the rear, the sedan features the same interior and drivetrains. The four-door gained a performance-oriented S3 version in 2015, while the range-topping, RS3 was unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show.
While the RS3 Sedan was rumored for quite a few years and was somewhat expected to debut in 2016, its official launch brought a huge surprise from Audi, in the form of the RS3 LMS. Named after the race-spec, already iconic R8 LMS, the RS3 LMS is the first factory-built race car based on the A3 sedan and was developed specifically for the TCR series.
If you’re not familiar with the competition, it’s a new touring car championship that debuted in 2015. Promoted as a cost-effective spin-off of the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC), the TCR series is sanctioned by the FIA and based on a three-pillar concept that includes national and continental championships, along with the global TCR International Series. All three tiers function under the same technical regulations.
The Audi RS3 LMS will compete in the top-tier TCR International Series, which has been disputed by several brands in 2016, including Alfa Romeo, Ford, Honda, Opel, Peugeot, Seat, Subaru, and Volkswagen. The beefed-up sedan will debut in the 2017 season as a customer race car backed by Audi Sport, the company’s motorsport division.
"With the Audi R8 LMS, Audi Sport customer racing, in a very short time, managed to build a successful customer sport program alongside the factory commitments in the WEC and the DTM. The Audi R8 LMS has since become the market leader in its segment. We have the same plans for the Audi RS 3 LMS, which offers customers an attractive opportunity to get started in fascinating Audi racing," said Stephan Winkelmann, managing director at Audi Sport.
Continue reading to learn more about the Audi RS 3 LMS.
2016 Volkswagen I.D. Concept
Volkswagen got caught red handed cheating on emissions tests and lying to consumers worse than any other automaker and history. Since then, it has done its best to make us forget about it while it hemorrhages money at the speed of light. As such, VW has had to shift its focus completely and, instead of fighting the death of the diesel, the brand has decided to embrace our inevitable electrified future. Promising a range of 248 to 372 miles, the I.D. concept that you see here is slated to become a real production model by the turn of the decade. The all-electric and “zero-emission” powertrain isn’t the only big news here, though. This car also showcases VW’s future in the autonomous car market, with the plan to offer fully automated driving by 2025.
According to VW, the I.D. will definitely be hitting dealerships by 2020, but I’m sure it will be toned down a bit for production. It does feature certain things like a retractable steering wheel (for autonomous driving) and is said to be the first of many new electric vehicles that will be introduced to Volkswagen’s fleet. The car is built on Volkswagens MEB platform that is also known as the Modular Electric Drive Kit. All of this sounds pretty promising, but there is so much skepticism surrounding VW right now, that It’s probably best to take the brunt of this car with a grain of salt.
Either way, the car is unique in its own right, but it also features a look that we’ve seen before. We’ll talk about that a little later, though. For now, let’s dive on in and talk more VW’s latest electric concept.
Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen I.D. Concept.
2017 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
The current-generation Porsche 911, known as the 991, was introduced in 2011. Penned by Michael Mauer, it features an evolutionary design and rides on an entirely new platform, only the third since the nameplate’s introduction back in 1963. In 2016, Porsche launched the so-called second-generation 991 (dubbed 991.2), essentially a facelift with revised exterior features and new drivetrains.
Along with the facelift, Porsche has developed a revised version of the current 911 GT3 Cup. Based on the RS, the GT3 Cup is a track-only vehicle that’s available to privateers competing in the one-make series that Porsche organizes globally. The new race car received exterior updates similar to the road-going 991.2 911, new safety features, and a brand-new engine under the hood.
Set to make its debut in the 2017 racing season, initially exclusively in the Porsche Mobile 1 Supercup and the Porsche Carrera Cup (in both Germany and North America), the revised 911 GT3 Cup will be built on the same production line as the standard road car. The basic race tuning will be performed at the Weissach motorsport centre, where vehicles are also thoroughly tested by professional race drivers prior to delivery to the customer. Keep on reading to find out what updates the new GT3 Cup has in store.
Continue reading to learn more about the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.