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Five Sports Cars To Consider In 2018

Five Sports Cars To Consider In 2018

Five rides to help you drop the hammer in the new year

Now that we’re knee-deep into the 2018 calendar year, it’s a great time to look ahead and think about all the great opportunities just over the horizon. Naturally, we here at TopSpeed are practically frothing at the mouth at the thought of all the great sports cars expected to drop over the course of the next 365 days. As such, we’ve assembled five of them right here for your collective amusement. Give the list a looksee, and make sure to let us know about the sports car you’re most excited about in the comments below.

Continue reading for our list of five sports cars to consider in 2018.

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BMW M5: Old vs. New

BMW M5: Old vs. New

What changes do you spot?

2017 brought us the new BMW 5 Series, so it’s only fitting that 2018 brings us a new M5. We must have been good this year because Santa came early, and with him, he brought a whole slew of updates that include an updated V-8, loads of new technology, BMW’s xDrive AWD system as standard (optional outside the U.S.,) a lighter chassis, and better performance. Talk about some good news, right? Truth be told, the M5 dropped as much as 127 pounds, has more aggressive styling, an updated interior with the latest infotainment system, and an extra 38 ponies and 51 pound-feet over the outgoing model – that brings total output figures up to 591 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. It can now hit 62 mph in as little as 3.4 seconds and 124 mph in just 11.1 seconds. Of course, top speed is still pinned at 155 mph, unless you get the M Driver’s package, which increases the top speed to 189 mph.

Now, it’s set to take on other established beasts in the market that include the Mercedes-AMG E63, the Audi RS7, and the Cadillac CTS-V – I know, it’s not German, but this thing is seriously a beast, so don’t get caught slipping because it will eat you alive. With all this in mind, we decided to throw together a little infographic for the M5 to help bring its best features and qualities to the forefront. Check it all out in our visual comparison below.

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High Rollin': Five Sports Cars You Can Buy For Less Than The Price Of Tires for the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo

High Rollin’: Five Sports Cars You Can Buy For Less Than The Price Of Tires for the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo

Those tires cost $93,000, folks.

Remember the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo Concept? I’m sure most of you do because it’s on the short list of most incredible reveals in 2017. It’s essentially a more hardcore version of the Bugatti Chiron, and there’s only one of its kind in the world. Yes, it’s a legitimate one-of-one. It also happens to be super expensive and in the short life that it’s had, it’s already been owned by two people. Prince Badr bin Saud of Saudi Arabia was the hypercar’s original owner, who bought it from Bugatti for an undisclosed sum that’s rumored to be in the ten-figure range. It didn’t take long, though, for the Vision GT Concept to change owners as the one-off has found its way to the US courtesy of its new owner in Los Angeles.

As important as those things are, I’m here to talk about a startling discovery about the Vision Gran Turismo, and as some of you might expect, that “discovery” is related to its tires. Apparently - prepare to sit down for this one - a new set of tires for the Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo costs $93,000. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that’s $93,000. No typos. No misprints. No nothing. $93,000 for a set of tires.

Granted, it’s not out of the ordinary for the tires of Bugatti’s supercars to fetch insane amounts. A set of brand-new tires for the Veyron, for example, costs around $50,000 and a similar set for the all-new Chiron is actually a bargain at just over $40,000. But the Vision GT Concept trumps both of them, and it’s not even close. The price for a set of new tires for the concept is so preposterous that I’ve actually managed to come up with a list of sports cars that you can buy brand new for less than the price of the Vision GT’s tires. This is the auto world we live in now, folks. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that it’s dripping in absurdity.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Is the new BMW M5 a Waste of Money? Why not Just Get the M550i?

Is the new BMW M5 a Waste of Money? Why not Just Get the M550i?

It really boils down to what you plan to do with the car and your general taste…

We’re fortunate enough to live in a world where brands like BMW take pride in their performance arms and like to apply M-power to just about everything. But, is it for everyone? Probably not. M-cars are typically much more expensive than the model that sits below them, but the tradeoff is usually lots of extra power and slightly more aggressive looks. Unless you’re one of those people that needs to have the best of everything, you could find yourself questioning whether or not the M5 is really for you, and I honestly can’t blame you. The new M5 comes just a year after the 5 Series transitioned into its seventh generation. With this transition, the 5 Series lost some weight (as much as 137 pounds) and came complete with some updated engine options that deliver better fuel economy and performance. On top of that, BMW finally decided to give the M5 all-wheel drive (standard in the U.S. but optional everywhere else) which is enough to bring it up to par with the competition from Audi and Mercedes. But, with a car like the BMW M550i xDrive resting just below the M5 in the lineup, do you really need to pony up for the M5?

Well, that’s not something I can answer directly, but I would be lying if I told you that the M550i didn’t have some intriguing points to back up why it just might be a better candidate. After all, the M550i is a gorgeous car with attractive and aggressive looks that make it stand out among its brethren, and it does have enough balls to compete on its own in most cases. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at why the M550i may be a better option for you and talk a little more about it.

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TopSpeed's Top 5 High-End Track-Ready Sports Coupes

TopSpeed’s Top 5 High-End Track-Ready Sports Coupes

Two doors and too much fun

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.

Continue reading to learn more about TopSpeed’s Top 5 High-End Track-Ready Sports Coupes.

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Have Wing, Will Travel – The History of the Porsche 911 GT3

Have Wing, Will Travel – The History of the Porsche 911 GT3

Tracing the evolution of one of Stuttgart’s finest

To many, the Porsche 911 is the quintessential sports car, offering the perfect balance of grip, feel, downforce, and power. This is not a model for the timid or the foolish – the rear-engine, RWD drivetrain layout will quickly turn on any driver unfamiliar with handling eager rotation, and the output produced by the right pedal is more than enough to get you into big trouble in no time at all. But while the standard 911 is certainly an impressive machine, it’s the high-spec variants the truly make the nameplate shine. Enter the 911 GT3, a modern interpretation of the formula originally laid out by the legendarily good 911 Carrera RS. The specs on the GT3 read like a how-to for enthusiast cars – it’s lightweight, stripped down, and no nonsense, with a high-revving naturally aspirated powerplant behind the driver and even the option for a manual gearbox. The terms “track ready” and “race proven” come readily to mind.

The end result for the pilot is an extremely pure driving experience, like the distilled essence of performance, a machine that still feels mechanical, eager, and challenging. Not only that, but the GT3 is still driveable on the street, presenting relatively few issues when doing normal, everyday “car stuff.” And it’s for these reasons you can call us fans. Read on for a little background and history, as well as the facts and figures behind the badge.

Continue reading to learn more about the history behind the Porsche 911 GT3.

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Porsche 911 GT2 RS - From 444 to 700 Horsepower

Porsche 911 GT2 RS - From 444 to 700 Horsepower

A history of GT2 drivetrains

Porsche has been offering high-performance versions of the 911 since the early 1970s, with the most iconic model being the Carrera 2.7 RS. But once the Germans adopted turbocharging, the traditional RS stepped down, making room for a new range-topping sports car, the 911 GT2. First introduced in 1993, the GT2 is now in its fourth generation, which is based on the 991.2 model. It’s faster, more powerful, and more aerodynamic than its predecessor, while also boasting more technology than ever. Thenew GT2 RS is a massive departure from the first GT2 from more than two decades ago under the skin, and we’re going to look at those changes in a drivetrain comparison for all four generations.

The GT2 was born out of the 993-generation 911 as a homologation vehicle for motorsport purpose. Built to meet GT2 class regulations, the road cars were named accordingly and the nameplate survived to this day. The first GT2 was discontinued in 1998, but Porsche revived the badge in 2002 for the 996 model. After three years, it was again discontinued, only to return as the 997 GT2 in 2008. The 997 was also the first GT2 to get an RS designation, which was offered in very limited numbers from 2010 to 2012. Come 2017 and the GT2 returns to the market as an RS model only. Since 1993, the drivetrain not only swapped air-cooled for water-cooled engines, but also gained more displacement a lot more power. Let’s find out more about that below.

Continue reading for the full story.

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TopSpeed's Top 5 Convertibles That Won't Break The Bank

TopSpeed’s Top 5 Convertibles That Won’t Break The Bank

Enjoying unlimited headroom with limited outlay

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!

Continue reading to learn more about TopSpeed’s Top 5 Convertibles That Won’t Break The Bank.

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TopSpeed's Top 5 All-Electric Performance Cars

TopSpeed’s Top 5 All-Electric Performance Cars

They slice! They dice! They even destroy performance records!

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.

Continue reading to learn more about TopSpeed’s Top 5 All-Electric Performance Cars.

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TopSpeed's Top 5 Hybrid Sports Cars

TopSpeed’s Top 5 Hybrid Sports Cars

Going green never went so quick

Ready or not, the hybrids are coming. Scratch that. They’re already here, and their numbers are steadily increasing. But fear not, brave auto enthusiast, the ever-increasing popularity of the hybrid powertrain isn’t going to diminish your fun behind the wheel. In fact, the addition of electric assistance might actually increase the smile factor of the modern sports car. Despite rampant speculation and fear mongering over the Prius-ification of the performance segment, hybrid powertrains can add mph in addition to mpg. To prove as much, here are five of the best examples of exactly that.

Of course, you won’t be able to get one of these machines for cheap, as adding a performance hybrid system to the powertrain also adds quite a few dollars to the bottom line. But that’s to be expected when dealing with top-of-the-line technology, especially tech born and bred for the racetrack. Eventually, we’ll see this stuff trickle down to more accessible models, but for now, hybrid sports cars occupy the top of the pyramid. Tell us which model you want in your garage, and if we missed something we shouldn’t have, by posting in the comments.

Continue reading to learn more about TopSpeed’s Top 5 Hybrid Sports Cars.

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Attack of the Coupes: Subaru BRZ vs Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

Attack of the Coupes: Subaru BRZ vs Mazda MX-5 Miata RF

A deep dive into both coupes, both on the streets and track

The Subaru BRZ and Mazda Miata MX-5 RF are two interesting coupes that couldn’t be more different yet still belong to the same category. The seat count, roof style, and driving dynamics are the major differentiators, while cylinder count, drive wheels, and manual transmissions keep the two related. But which is better? To find out, I spend a week with each car, back-to-back, and flogged each at the Circuit of the Americas racetrack.

The chance to get production cars on the Circuit of the Americas racetrack doesn’t come around too often. The busy track holds events for Formula One, MotoGP, American Le Mans, and the Rolex Sport Car series, among others. However, I got the chance with the Texas Auto Writers Association and their Springtime Auto Roundup. Forty-plus vehicles from several automakers were on hand with an open track for testing. How’d the Mazda and Subaru stack up? Keep reading to find out.

Continue reading for the full run-down.

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Sport Compact Invasion – Breaking Down 5 Of The Best Pocket Rockets

Sport Compact Invasion – Breaking Down 5 Of The Best Pocket Rockets

Small dimensions, big attitude

Small cars can be really, really fun. Sure, it’s not uncommon to see the compact segment associated with less than thrilling prospects, such as commuter mules and plain-old boring A-to-B transport, but if you do it right, the pairing of diminutive size and low curb weight can be the right recipe to make something thrilling, something to get your juices flowing. Whether it’s attacking cones at the autocross, slinging dirt on a rally cross course, zipping between the apexes on the road course, or charging up a deserted mountain road on the weekends, a sport compact is the right fit for a wide range of speed lovers. This is the realm of the pocket rocket, a giant slayer with a mean little attitude and a whole lot of potential. If you like mixing your performance with a compact body style, there are lots of options out there. Here’s the top five.

For this comparison, we chose the following entries – the Ford Focus RS, Honda Civic Type R, Mini Cooper Hardtop John Cooper Works, Subaru WRX STI, and Volkswagen Golf R. All are turbocharged and slot in around the $35,000 mark. While there are other options available, these are some of the most popular. As such, we looked at the styling and aero, interior comfort and convenience, engine and drivetrain, chassis and handling, and of course, the price and optional equipment. We also looked at some of the more intangible characteristics of each entry.

Are you looking to get into a new sport compact? Read on for the info you need to know.

Continue reading for a breakdown of five of the best pocket rockets.

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Hot Hatch Shakedown – Honda Civic Type R Vs. Ford Focus RS

Hot Hatch Shakedown – Honda Civic Type R Vs. Ford Focus RS

How can Honda justify the Type R’s asking price against Ford’s Focus RS bombshell?

For older stateside hot hatch fans out there, it’s probably crystal clear that we’re currently in a new golden age of performance, one that was once relegated to the realm of fantasy and bench racing. High-powered, tear-drop-shaped compacts with an odd number of doors, turbocharged power, and sports car-like handling are finally, finally finding their way to the U.S. market, and after decades of waiting and ogling from afar, U.S. buyers will soon have a chance to get behind the wheel of four-wheeled superstars previously considered forbidden fruit solely for Europe and Japan. Two of the biggest contenders in this space are the Honda Civic Type R and the Ford Focus RS, both incredible cars aimed squarely at the enthusiast buyer. But which is better?

You can’t help but put these two compact titans in a side-by-side comparison. Both are roughly the same in terms of cost, both come with turbocharged four-cylinder engines, both get manual transmissions, and both offer five-door practicality. Both also carry a long history of making speed lovers smile, and command a veritable army of zealous followers to champion their claim to hot hatch supremacy.

But there are some serious differences as well. While the Focus is an AWD hammer, boasting four corners of grip and some impressive firepower under the hood, the Civic is a FWD scalpel, packing less weight and a history of apex-hunting prowess.

Which will come out on top – the Blue Oval Drift Mode bomber, or the H Badge slice and dice katana? It’s America versus Japan in a hot hatch shakedown. Read on for our take.

Continue reading for the full comparison.

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Car and Driver releases "The Periodic Table of Sports Cars"

Car and Driver releases "The Periodic Table of Sports Cars"

You think Dimitri Mendeleev had something like this in mind when he created his greatest contribution to mankind? Probably not, but given his gift of foresight and how incredibly famous he became for creating the Periodic Table of Elements, it probably dawned on him that one day, an auto magazine named Car and Driver would use his work as a basis for creating their own periodic table.

Only this time, it consists of sports cars instead of elements.

Tongue and cheekiness aside, the ‘scientists’ over at Car and Driver have devised a pretty cool chart that categorizes sports cars according to their properties and laying them out to create a cool and colorful table.

Take a good look at it and you’ll notice how extensive the list is, from the Lotus 7 (Element 1) to the Saleen S7 (Element 103) and everything else in between. Car and Driver has a PDF version of their ‘Periodic Table of Sports Cars’ that you can download at their website.

By the way, here’s a nice little idea for those of you in a rut on what to get your car-loving buddy for Christmas: download the PDF, have it framed, and make it your present!

From one genius idea to another, right?

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TopSpeed's 10 Best High-End Sports Cars for 2010

TopSpeed’s 10 Best High-End Sports Cars for 2010

What is a high-end sports car? Are they Italian performance machines like the Ferrari 458 and the Lamborghini Gallardo, or are they more sensible vehicles like the BMW M5 and theMercedes-Benz SL63 AMG? We think they’re the latter.

For this top ten, we are going to set the price cap at $120,000, if you can call that a cap. That should eliminate most of the extreme vehicles, but keep the basic Porsches and so on within the limits.

What kinds of things are we looking for with high-end sports cars? Obviously, they need to be fast with agile handling and excellent driving dynamics. The car needs to look stunning with a functional yet stylish interior. It would also be great if it could stand the test of time, so reliability is also a factor.

Let’s review the previous winners of our sports car test. The Volkswagen GTI took the top spot in the entry-level test due to its excellent performance, build quality, and versatility. There were numerous winners of the mid-level test, as we had multiple categories. We chose the Audi S4, the BMW M3, and the Ford Mustang GT500 as the top cars in their classes.

Hit the jump to see the list.

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TopSpeed's 10 Best Mid-Level Sports Cars

TopSpeed’s 10 Best Mid-Level Sports Cars

So, entry-level sports cars aren’t good enough. You make too much money to be seen in a Mazda MX-5 or a normal Ford Mustang. Your successful self needs something powerful and exciting. Well, there is plenty of choices in the market.

To be as precise as possible, there is actually an overwhelming amount of choices in the market, with each car being a little different. There are German performance coupes, American muscle, and Japanese street rockets. These machines have the same sort of mind-bending power, but the way each puts that power down is as different as Apollo and the Space Shuttle.

Due to that reason, we had a hard time putting machines like the Dodge Challenger in same category as the Porsche Boxster. How can you compare two machines that are so vastly different? Sure, we could have, but it just wouldn’t have worked. So, after the jump we have three - even though the title says ten - different top fives. The price cap is $60,000.

We broke it down like this. At the top we have four-door performance machines that use amazing power with epic grip and practicality. Then we have the coupes. Don’t get these coupes mixed up with the Corvette-type coupes because these European cars are tuned for a mixture of speed and cornering ability. Finally, we have the American straight road muscle. Cars that run the quarter miles as naturally as a sports analyst getting a prediction terribly wrong.

Hit the jump to read the lists.

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TopSpeed's 10 Best Entry-Level Sports Cars

TopSpeed’s 10 Best Entry-Level Sports Cars

Now that the sedans have been taken care of, we are moving on to something a bit more fun. Sports cars may not be for everybody because of their limited interior space and minimal cargo room, but they do provide an excellent driving experience that most of the other car segments can’t match.

The sports car segment is littered with different makes and models, the terrible and the good, the fun and the not so fun. Luckily, TopSpeed is here to give you a unique look at the sports cars that we love. Like usual, we don’t care about sales or anything of that nature. We are looking for driving experience, comfort, power, handling, interior space, and something very important in the sports car segment, styling.

We have set a price cap of $30,000, which should be enough for any sports car lover. So, hit the jump to see our top ten sports cars.

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Top Five Mid-Life Crisis Cars

Top Five Mid-Life Crisis Cars

Well, it’s that time of your life. You know the time when you just turned 40 years old. Your family is in full swing and maybe your children are off to college or just about to finish up high school. Your job is okay, but nothing excites you much anymore and life is just plain dull.

Like most people, when the mid-life crisis stage sets in the only thing that every man needs is to have a fast car that makes him feel excited and young again. The question now becomes what car to buy?

The obvious choice is a Ferrari, a Lamborghini, or an Aston Martin. Nothing says youth like a DB9 or a 458 Italia. Let’s be honest with ourselves though, not many people can afford a car like that, especially with a family. We need to find something for under $100,000 that is fast, looks good, and isn’t on two wheels.

These are the top five mid-life crisis cars on the market today in the United States. Check them out after the jump.

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