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PostHeaderIcon Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Daytona 500 Pace Car

The 2017 Daytona 500 has now come and gone, but the essence of the Chevy Camaro ZL1 pace car is still resonating after being driven by none other than Jeff Gordon, who has won the Daytona 500 in 1997, 1999, and 2005. There were a total of three pace cars on site, for the Daytona 500, all of which shared the same graphics. Based on the latest Camaro ZL1 design, each model was practically bone stock, save for the special graphics and Whelen LED safety lighting system. But, the ZL1 is a pretty special car in the Camaro lineup, so that’s okay – I mean, who can argue with a 6.2-liter, LT4, V-8 that’s paired with a new 10-speed automatic and magnetic ride control? Surely, the pace car was an absolute blast to drive around the track even if Gordon didn’t get all up in the action.

Can you imagine how hard it must have been not to just jump on it and take over Daytona? The new ZL1 is the most powerful, factory-built Camaro to date and it’s certainly ready to play with the big boys. But, there’s also something to be said for a man that has that kind of self-control, as I’m sure none of us here at TopSpeed could have restrained all that much. Anyway, let’s take a better look at the pace car and talk a little more about it.

Continue reading to learn more about the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 Daytona 500 Pace Car.



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PostHeaderIcon Peugeot Instinct

Over the past few years, automakers have gone crazy with the concept of autonomous vehicles – something that has led to some futuristic, spaceship-looking concepts that have somehow embedded themselves into our brains as the direction cars will take some time in the future. Think about models like the Toyota Concept-I, the Faraday Future FF 91, or even the Honda NeuV – all of which blend four wheels with wild design and so much technology we’re not sure what to do with it. Now, Peugeot is joining the party.

It might be a little late to do so, but it’s put together the Peugeot Instinct, a shooting brake concept – yes, it’s a true shooting brake – that manages to bring connectivity, relaxation, driving pleasure, and style all into one exciting package. Samsung’s Artiktm Cloud system is used to connect the car to other devices like smartphones, watches, and even smart devices in your home when within range. So far, Peugeot has said little about what motivates this concept, but it’s apparently functional as the brand has said that the “lengthy bonnet hints at the 300 horsepower delivered by the PHEV powertrain.”

Of course, Peugeot concepts rarely turn into production models, and Peugeot’s concept designer, Matthias Hossann, has told Autocar that this concept won’t see production. But, it is quite likely that some of the styling seen here will find its way onto production models, so at least there’s that to look forward too. After all, the Peugeot brand has made some pretty big strides lately in the name of design with models like the 2017 Peugeot 3008, the new 5008 SUV, and even the updated Peugeot 301 all helping to usher in a new era for the brand that promises a bright and stylish future.

But, before we toot Peugeot’s horn too much, let’s take a better look at this concept before it makes its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2017.

Continue reading to learn more about the Peugeot Instinct.


PostHeaderIcon Pininfarina H600

Pininfarina was once the coachbuilder of coachbuilders and over the years has designed some of the most beautiful cars the world has to offer. The design house has worked with greats like Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati. But, it’s also done work for Chery, Changfeng, and even Hyundai. At the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, Pininfarina is set to display its latest concept, the H600 00 a luxury sedan that’s said to offer the “perfect combination of pure design and eco-friendly technology.” Designed for Hybrid Kinetic Group, the few teaser images we have showcased a sporty and aggressive exterior that is sure to be on point with other Pininfarina designs to go with an interior that’s technologically advanced and fitted with the finest materials available.

Of course, at this point, there’s very little to go by as Pininfarina is waiting until Geneva kicks off on March 7th to spill all of the beans. But, it’s released enough shots to give us a somewhat accurate idea of what we can expect. Of course, we’re talking about Pininfarina here, so it’s far from likely that it will disappoint or not draw a huge crowd at one of the world’s greatest auto shows. So, with that said, let’s take a good look at the few photos we have and talk a little more about it before it makes its debut.


PostHeaderIcon Ford Fiesta ST

The seventh-generation Ford Fiesta was launched in the summer of 2016 and arrived in dealerships for the 2017 model year. It’s been less than a year since the new hatchback broke cover, and Ford is already launching the performance-oriented ST version. Unveiled ahead of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the new hot-hatch will make its public debut at the Swiss event and join both European and North American markets shortly after.

Sporting the same styling language as the standard model, the new Fiesta ST arrives with a sporty exterior package and an interior that stands out by means of badge-specific features and extra standard equipment. The ST was also redesigned under the hood, where the previous four-cylinder engine was replaced by a three-pot unit. The new ST also features three drive modes, a first for the nameplate, and various modification to the chassis.

“Our next generation Fiesta ST is true to the philosophy of delivering cutting-edge technology to enhance every facet of the responsive Ford Performance chassis and powertrain,” said Joe Bakaj, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe. “With selectable Drive Modes and an all-new EcoBoost engine delivering an unprecedented combination of performance and fuel-efficiency, the new model will deliver the most versatile, fun, engaging and rewarding Fiesta ST driving experience yet.”

Although Ford revealed plenty of details about the car, there’s more to come at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, so make sure you stay tuned for updates.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ford Fiesta ST.


PostHeaderIcon BMW M240i ACL2S by AC Schnitzer

Noted BMW tuner AC Schnitzer has been in the tuning game for three decades and the company is preparing a special edition package to commemorate its 30th anniversary. And it’s only fitting with the 2017 Geneva Motor Show just around the corner. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the ACL2S, an evolved version of the ACL2 Concept the tuner showcased at last year’s Geneva show. Befitting its status as a legitimate anniversary piece, the ACL2S will not only be limited to just 30 units, but just as important, it was developed to encompass the tuner’s storied history as the quintessential tuning shop for all models wearing the BMW badge.

There’s a lot to piece through here, but it is quite obvious from the photos that AC Schnitzer has another winner on its hands. Not that people need to be convinced of that, but for those who are curious to know why the ACL2S is as good a celebratory special edition as there is in the market today, evidence can be found under the M240i’s hood where Bimmer’s new 3.0-liter straight-six B58 engine resides. Even with a few extra cc’s and a slightly larger turbocharger, the German tuner still put in the work to get the output up to 400 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. Don’t look now, but those numbers actually slot comfortably between the BMW M2 and the BMW M4.

Beyond the impressive power gains, the ACL2S is also defined by extensive upgrades on the car’s exterior and interior, all of which come with the full scope of AC Schnitzer’s patented aftermarket expertise.

The attractive 30th-anniversary special edition M240i will no doubt turn some heads when it makes its official debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. From there, it should be a mad dash to scoop up one of the 30 units that AC Schnitzer is going to make available to the public.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon This Is What A Naked Koenigsegg Regera Looks Like

Supercars and hypercars, by their definition, are meant to scream for attention. Whether it’s with their outlandish looks, colorful bodies, or their stomach-churning power, these cars are as likely to be as ignored as discounted freshly baked bread. I say this because Koenigsegg is back at it with another one of its employee renderings and the latest design study is a shining example of a stylistic approach that eschews all-around flamboyance in favor of a simpler look meant to showcase the hypercar in about as raw a state as it can be.

This rendering comes by way of Koenigsegg’s current facility manager and overall longtime employee Chrille. According to the Swedish automaker, Chrille (no last name was mentioned) has been around Koenigsegg so long that he’s probably worked in just about every division in the company. Apparently, he’s worked in the composites branch, the finishing station, and the service area, and that doesn’t even include his current occupation as facility manager.

So when pressed to create his very own interpretation of what a Koenigsegg Regera should look like, Chrille took a far different approach with his rendering compared to what everyone else before him has done. Instead of dressing it up in fancy colors and saying that it’s been inspired by this-or-that, Chrille went back to basics… and barely touched the Regera.

Sure, his rendering has tone-on-tone black stripes, anthracite-finished brake callipers, and an optional aerodynamic kit, but the body of the hypercar, by and large, is devoid of any color. We all know that since Regeras are built largely from carbon-fiber, what’s left of the body without any color is the carbon-fiber, or at least in this case, naked carbon-fiber in its complete, unaltered, natural shade. That fact alone makes this particular Regera rendering a true sight to behold, even if it does look a little too close to the Raven Black Regera designed by Koenigsegg’s own art director, Lisa Johansson.

Say what you will about Chrille’s design choice, but you can’t argue that a naked carbon Regera looks just as good as all the other renderings we’ve seen in recent weeks. It may not have their flash and panache, but it is natural. At the end of the day, that counts for a lot too.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Drivetribe Takes A Spin In The Audi R18 LMP1: Video

Prototype racers are on another level. The technology and engineering that goes into these machines is simply baffling, making them not only unbelievably fast, but incredibly reliable as well. These aren’t some point-and-squirt drag racers that need a complete engine overhaul every 1,320 feet. Don’t get me wrong – I have massive respect for Top Fuel cars, but compared to an endurance prototype, you could call them a little… delicate. After all, competitors in the top class of the World Endurance Championship are expected to run at 200 mph for hours on end, all while dodging traffic through variable track conditions. Audi knows all about that kind of action, as evidenced by its dominating performance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in which the Four Rings has collected a record-setting 13 wins in the past 17 years. But now, Audi has decided to exit the WEC to instead focus on Formula E, leaving us with this – the R18 LMP1. Drivetribe recently had a go behind the wheel, and documented the experience with this 8-minute, 11-second video.

After a little history and background, Drivetribe’s Jethro Bovingdon gives us a break down of the specs, from the diesel hybrid powerplant and AWD system, to the materials and suspension under the skin. Bovingdon then straps into the fighter jet-like cockpit, fires it up, and puts it around Audi’s test track in Neuburg, Germany.

Understandably, Bovingdon doesn’t go 10/10’s, but getting an insider’s perspective and hearing about the experience is a treat nonetheless. “Even on a freezing day on treaded tires, it beats a GT3 car on slicks for braking and cornering, and accelerates in the lower gears like a P1 GTR running nitrous,” Bovingdon explains enthusiastically. “It’s simply the purest, most exciting driving experience I’ve ever had.”


PostHeaderIcon Cristiano Ronaldo Drives the Bugatti Chiron, Takes it Home

Much like its predecessor, the Veyron, the Bugatti Chiron is the kind of supercar that doesn’t need anyone’s approval. The fact that it’s super powerful, super fast, and very, very expensive turns it into an instant hit with car collectors. Yet Bugatti felt the need to get the seal of approval from Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo.

Okay, I’m not exactly serious. Bugatti obviously doesn’t need Ronaldo’s approval for the Chiron, but it can certainly benefit from the massive attention he gets on and outside the pitch. After all, he’s been named World Player of the Year several times, he’s the reigning European Champion with Portugal, and winner of many titles with Real Madrid. He’s one of the greatest superstars alive, and he’s also a big sports car fan. All solid reasons for Bugatti to want him in its latest hypercar.

The so-called test video is pretty much of the commercial variety, lasting a little over a minute and being packed with special effects. In the end, Bugatti test driver Andy Wallace asks Ronaldo to give the key to the car back, adding that he has to call Bugatti if he wants to keep it. You’ll have to find out the outcome for yourselves, but it’s safe to assume that Ronaldo already paid for his Chiron and maybe even taken delivery of the car.

Not bad for an ad for a super expensive vehicle rated at 1,479 horsepower and all the luxury you can get, but I’m not sure Ronaldo is the best man to approve it. He may own several supercars, but he also crashed at leas a couple of them. He’s not the best driver out there.


PostHeaderIcon Hunting For A 6-Second Pass In A Nissan GT-R R35: Video

We all know the Nissan GT-R is an absolute beast – after all, in stock form it’ll lay down a blacktop-churning 565 horsepower thanks to its twin-turbo 3.8-liter V-6 powerplant, six-speed automatic transmission, and high-performance AWD drivetrain. But per usual, tuners the world over see these figures as not much more than a starting point to build something bigger, badder, and a helluva lot faster. Enter Chicago-based tuner AMS Performance, a legendary shop with a long history of producing simply outrageous speed machines. One of its latest creations is this – the aptly named Alpha G GT-R. Total output is rated at a staggering 3,000 horsepower, which is enough to motivate this lightened and drag-slick-shod Godzilla to a low 7-second pass down the quarter mile. 1320 Video highlights the Alpha G in his 5-minute, 33-second video as its owner chases sixes.

Hit play, and you’ll get a walkaround on the Alpha G, from its carbon-laden exterior, to the exposed boost-makers and air elements in the nose, to the side exhaust, to the fat Hoosiers in the corners, to the parachute in back. Afterwards, we get to watch the Nissan strut its stuff, attacking the drag strip in a flurry of six-cylinder blasts, turbo spool, and barely contained traction.

You’ll have to watch the whole thing to see if the GT-R manages to dip into the six-second range, but trust me, there’s plenty of entertainment to be had along the way.


PostHeaderIcon The Ariel Nomad Might Be The Perfect All-Terrain Vehicle

The BBC’s Top Gear has a new segment called Rory Reid’s Road Trips, and it’s fantastic. In it, the new host takes a long drive through an interesting place while driving an even more interesting vehicle. This time, it’s the Ariel Nomad. Now you’ve surely heard of Ariel, the small British automaker that hand-builds open-air, street-legal cars. They’re best known for the Atom, a super lightweight rocket powered by any number of four-cylinder (or even a V-8!) engines with big, sticky tires and the ability to out-handle supercars. Well, the Nomad is the Atom’s tough cousin.

Built for off-roading adventures, the Nomad is built on a similar skeletal chassis as the Atom, but has big shock absorbers, meaty tires, and tall ground clearance. Though it doesn’t have 4WD, its low curb weight and Honda-sourced four-cylinder with 235 brake horsepower allow the 1,477-pound Nomad to dig its way over any obstacle – including a rally circuit. Oh, and on dry pavement, it’ll hit 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds!

As Rory Reid finds out, the Nomad is a fantastic drifter, both on the road an on the dirt. It performs even better with the legendary rally driver David Higgins behind the wheel. Reid gets schooled on throwing the Nomads rear around a corner, while the throttle pedal is hammered to the floor. Having a handbrake lever doesn’t hurt either.

So this begs the question: is the Nomad the perfect all-terrain vehicle? Well, before we answer that, it’s important to look at the Nomad’s intended function. It’s lack of 4WD means it isn’t intended for deep mud or rock crawling. Rather, this thing is built for moderate to high-speed blasting. Granted, traction isn’t much of an issue thanks to the engine and transmission being directly over the rear wheels. So yeah, it can probably go 75 percent of place anyone in a Jeep Wrangler is willing to go. And if push comes to shove, the Nomad can be fitted with a Warn recovery winch.

In our eyes, the Ariel Nomad might indeed be one of the best all-terrain vehicles sold today. Its open-air cabin, outrageous power-to-weight ratio, and go-anywhere tires and suspension make it impossible not to want.

Let us know what you think in the comments below.


PostHeaderIcon Let's Hope That Tesla's Production Timetable For The Model 3 Doesn't Have "Delays" Written All Over It

The start of production of the Tesla Model 3 is all set to begin this July in a “limited” capacity, although according to InsideEVs, the first wave of models that roll off the production line are earmarked for Tesla’s employees and investors. While that allocation part isn’t entirely that big of a deal, the timetable for the car’s production is, especially if Tesla is serious about achieving its goals of producing 5,000 units per week by the fourth quarter of this year and 10,000 units per week sometime in 2018.

To its credit, Tesla has already started production trials for the car in anticipation of the massive volume it has to deal with once full-scale production commences. Tesla, after all, has more than 370,000 deposits to deal with, right?

For everyone’s sake then, let’s hope that the company’s production plans for the Model 3 are all ironed out. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is saying all the right things at the moment, even telling reporters recently that the ramp-up in the production of the Model 3 will happen slowly to give Tesla some form of breathing room to address potential bugs and issues.

That’s good to hear because history hasn’t been kind on Tesla’s production promises. Remember, both the Model S and Model X experienced massive production delays during their launch. The Model X, in particular, was delayed numerous times for a myriad of reasons, including issues with suppliers that ended with ugly lawsuits on both sides. Those delays pushed the launch of the Model X from its original launch timetable in the early part of 2014 all the way to the end of 2015. That’s almost two years, if you’re keeping score.

For the sake of the Model 3, which Tesla is promoting as the model that would signal the company’s entry into mainstream markets, delays of any sort would be devastating to the company. It’s not a premium model like the Model X that can be explained through automotive and legal jargons. This is a car that has almost 400,000 pre-orders attached to it, and you can be sure that a lot of those deposits will be canceled if Tesla suffers any delays in the production of the Model 3.

Let’s all hope that it doesn’t come to that then.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon You Can Now Watch Acura Build Your NSX Supercar In Front Of Your Eyes

Suppose you want to make a splurge and spend at least $157,800 on a car like the Acura NSX, it wouldn’t be outrageous to at least ask for some freebies or bonuses along the way, would it? Well, you might not have to now that Acura has launched what it calls the NSX Insider Experience that grants you access to, among other things, watch engineers and car developers build the NSX in person at the automaker’s Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio.

The whole experience of being able to watch the NSX come to life is one of many offers Acura is dangling as part of the experience. There’s also the opportunity to go to a test track – in this case, the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty, Ohio – and learn the skills needed to drive the 573-horsepower hybrid performance car on the track with a professional driver on-hand to provide assistance on the session. Other options like a visit to Honda’s Heritage Center, also in Marysville, can also be added on top of the basic tour that comes with the whole experience.

The basic, one-day tour starts at $2,700. That’s a pretty steep price to pay for a one-day tour, but since those who do get it are likely to have already made reservations to buy an Acura NSX, I don’t think $2,700 should be too much of a problem. There are options, though (like the aforementioned visit to the Heritage Center) that can turn the one-day tour into a two-day excursion. Availing of this option gives customers a one-night stay at the Joseph Hotel in Columbus, Ohio where a concierge will be tasked to arrange the entire itinerary.

Continue reading for the full story.


PostHeaderIcon Watch the Lambo Huracán Performante Flex Its Muscles at the Nürburgring: Video

Since its unveiling at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, the Lamborghini Huracán has already spawned three new versions — the Spyder, Super Trofeo, and GT3 — with two more iterations underway. I’m talking about the lightweight, high-performance version of both the coupe and spyder, which will be unveiled in 2017. It’s not yet known which will arrive first, but logic dictates that the coupe should break cover earlier. This will happen at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show in March according to Lamborghini’s latest teaser video.

The 43-second clip shows a beefed-up Huracán on the Nürburgring track. The supercar is equipped with active aerodynamics front and rear, and also has a large wing atop the decklid, which makes it safe to assume that it’s not a regular Huracán. Lambo showcases its mobile front spoiler and rear wing, which can provide either maximum downforce for better stability or minimum drag for enhanced acceleration. The firm also announces March 1 as the date we will find out more, but doesn’t say anything else about the car. Not even a name is mention, so we don’t know what badge this new Huracán will sport.

If the previous Gallardo is any indication, the coupe should be called the Huracán Superleggera, while the Spyder should be christened the Performance. However, some sources claim that the latter is more likely to be used for the coupe. But whatever the name, it’s pretty obvious that the upcoming iteration of the Huracán will be incredibly fast and loud. We will find out more in March so stay tuned for updates.


PostHeaderIcon The 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE Is Here To Rip Your Face Off

Chevy just revealed the new Camaro ZL1 1LE, calling it the most track-capable model to ever wear the nameplate thanks to high-tech suspension, new aerodynamic enhancements, and exclusive uber-grippy Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar 3R performance rubber. Hell yeah.

Let’s take a closer look at the specs. First, the suspension – keeping it shiny side up is Multimatic Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve (DSSV) dampers in all four corners. These race-bred bits offer a good deal of adjustability, and come complemented by an adjustable sway bar and camber plates.

Next, the aero. In back is a sizable spoiler made from carbon fiber, while up front are canards and a splitter for more grip and improved turn in.

Making the most of the extra stick are forged aluminum wheels, now offering a full inch in extra width compared to the regular ZL1, complete with that gummy Goodyear compound already mentioned. Put it on the skidpad, and Chevy says it’ll post 1.1 g.

Better suspension, more wing, and grippy rubber – check, check, and check. The final piece of the puzzle is reduced weight, with about 60 pounds cut from the curb weight of the ZL1 Coupe.

Those upgrades make it quite a bit quicker. To put it in perspective, Chevy says the ZL1 1LE is a whole 3 seconds faster around its 2.9-mile Milford test track than the regular ZL1 Coupe.

Making the go is 650 horses from a blown LT4 6.2-liter V-8, the same lump you get in the regular ZL1.

Official pricing has yet to be announced, but look for the ZL1 1LE in dealers later in the year.


PostHeaderIcon Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe S By Fostla

In standard configuration, the Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe S packs a mean punch. It’s powered by a 5.5-liter bi-turbo V-8 engine that spits out 577 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, allowing it to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds to go with an electronically limited top speed of 186 mph. By most metrics, those numbers add up to a car that’s as potent as they come. Then again, that sentiment doesn’t mean much when you’re talking about a tuner like Fostla whose business has always been about giving cars like the AMG S63 Coupe S more power at their disposal. And so, the German tuner is here to present its latest tuning kit, a walloping program for the high-performance Merc that comes with an increased output of 740 horsepower and 885 pound-feet of torque.

The numbers are attention-grabbing, but they’re not the only things worth mentioning about this program. It also has some snazzy visual effects meant to bring out more personality out of the AMG S63 Coupe S. There are also a new set of wheels and tires that Fostla received from aftermarket peer Prior Design.

All told, the engine upgrade is the unquestioned showpiece of the program. Not only does it bring the output of the AMG S63 Coupe S to supercar levels, but those numbers are enough to actually up-end competing tuners and their own takes on the Mercedes.

It’s true that Fostla is entering a competitive field with this program since a lot of other tuners have kits for the same high-performance Mercedes-AMG model. Rest assured, though, Fostla makes a good account of itself with an engine upgrade that should make an impression to owners of the Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe S.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe S by Fostla


PostHeaderIcon The Toyota iM is an Odd Little Car

This week I’m driving the 2017 Toyota iM, you know, the rebadged Scion iM that survived the death of Toyota’s funky youth brand. The little car is proving to be rather fun to drive, mostly thanks to its six-speed manual transmission, light clutch, and very noticeable light weight. The iM has also proved itself to be incredibly practical, offering tons of cargo room in its hatchback body. But those can’t cover some oddities baked into the iM’s inherent inexpensiveness.

For starters, the infotainment system is the exact same unit shared by the Toyota 86 (yet another Scion survivor), the C-HR, and the iM. Selecting the small gear-like button pulls up a menu screen that should be labeled “Home.” Well, one of the soft-key buttons says “Vehicle.” But rather than being a settings and preference page, it literally gives all the vehicles this infotainment system can be programmed for. The choices include all the vehicles above, along with “Other,” just incase Toyota develops a new vehicle within the next five years that needs a generic infotainment system.

Other indicators of the iM’s $19,615 as-tested price is the digital clock. It looks like the same digital clock found every Toyota product 15 years ago. Granted, Toyota has moved away from this clock in most of its newer stuff, but boy, this clock not only tell the time, but also the decade.

Another telltale sign of having no option packages are the numerous block-out panels on the dashboard. They forever remind the owner of options not chosen or those simply not offered on the iM – at any price. There are two in the cubby hole in below the center stack, and another two just left of the steering wheel.

Last but not least is an interesting observation. Trying to adjust the backlighting brightness of the gauge cluster is, well, a cluster. Believe it or not, you’ve got to press the TRIP button on the steering wheel. Press two times to see the two tripometers. Press it a third time and you’ll see a blue bar indicating the brightness level of the backlighting. Then press and hold the TRIP button in order to cycle through the preset brightness levels. That were you thinking, Toyota?!

Ranting aside, I really do like the Toyota iM. It’s priced well against its competitors, it gets and EPA-estimated 35 mpg on the highway, and it comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission. There’s certainly a lot to love. You’ll just have to get past the few “interesting” quirks.

Oh, and I’ve lovingly named my tester, “Snot Rocket.” I feel it’s appropriate given its color.


PostHeaderIcon Wait, Mercedes Might Actually Offer X-Class in America?

Mercedes was very clear it had no intentions of offering its upcoming X-Class pickup to North American customers. Adding insult to injury, the German automaker confirmed nearly every other global region outside American and Canada would have access to the luxury pickup, including those in Europe, South Africa, Australia, and South America. But Mercedes might be changing its mind.

News from The Detroit Bureau suggests Mercedes is reevaluating the American pickup market ahead of the X-Class’ launch for the 2019 model year. Volker Mornhingweg, the head of the Mercedes-Benz Vans division, said this at a news conference on February 24, 2017:

“In the past year the (U.S.) mid-sized truck market has come back a bit. We are watching developments very closely, and we will take a decision at the appropriate time.” Mornhingweg was reportedly pointing to the success of General Motors’ mid-size pickups, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.

There’s no doubt Mercedes is also watching Honda’s success with its second-generation Ridgeline, along with Ford’s upcoming Ranger and Hyundai’s upcoming Santa Cruz pickup.

What’s more, Mornhingweg went on to say Mercedes’ assembly plant in Argentina would not have enough capacity to build X-Class trucks for both South and North America. As a result, the U.S.-spec X-Class would likely be built inside the States. That theory is further backed by President Trump’s threat of tariffs on imported goods, meaning a U.S.-built X-Class would be more cost-effective.

Mercedes has several routs it could take for U.S. production of the X-Class. For one, it could add to its existing assembly plants, including the one Tuscaloosa, Alabama or the plant near Charleston, South Carolina that’s currently under initial construction. Mercedes could also build an entirely new assembly plant with the help of Nissan, which partnered with Mercedes in developing the X-Class. Both the X-Class and upcoming Nissan Frontier will share a similar platform. Conversely, Nissan could expand the Frontier’s assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi to accommodate the X-Class.

Needless to say, Mercedes as a number of options, along with a very wide and untapped customer base in the U.S. And based on the number of high-end trim levels available with current pickups, a luxury-minded Mercedes pickup will likely do rather well.

Continue reading for more information.


PostHeaderIcon Wait, Mercedes Might Actually Offer X-Class in America?

Mercedes was very clear it had no intentions of offering its upcoming X-Class pickup to North American customers. Adding insult to injury, the German automaker confirmed nearly every other global region outside American and Canada would have access to the luxury pickup, including those in Europe, South Africa, Australia, and South America. But Mercedes might be changing its mind.

News from The Detroit Bureau suggests Mercedes is reevaluating the American pickup market ahead of the X-Class’ launch for the 2019 model year. Volker Mornhingweg, the head of the Mercedes-Benz Vans division, said this at a news conference on February 24, 2017:

“In the past year the (U.S.) mid-sized truck market has come back a bit. We are watching developments very closely, and we will take a decision at the appropriate time.” Mornhingweg was reportedly pointing to the success of General Motors’ mid-size pickups, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.

There’s no doubt Mercedes is also watching Honda’s success with its second-generation Ridgeline, along with Ford’s upcoming Ranger and Hyundai’s upcoming Santa Cruz pickup.

What’s more, Mornhingweg went on to say Mercedes’ assembly plant in Argentina would not have enough capacity to build X-Class trucks for both South and North America. As a result, the U.S.-spec X-Class would likely be built inside the States. That theory is further backed by President Trump’s threat of tariffs on imported goods, meaning a U.S.-built X-Class would be more cost-effective.

Mercedes has several routs it could take for U.S. production of the X-Class. For one, it could add to its existing assembly plants, including the one Tuscaloosa, Alabama or the plant near Charleston, South Carolina that’s currently under initial construction. Mercedes could also build an entirely new assembly plant with the help of Nissan, which partnered with Mercedes in developing the X-Class. Both the X-Class and upcoming Nissan Frontier will share a similar platform. Conversely, Nissan could expand the Frontier’s assembly plant in Canton, Mississippi to accommodate the X-Class.

Needless to say, Mercedes as a number of options, along with a very wide and untapped customer base in the U.S. And based on the number of high-end trim levels available with current pickups, a luxury-minded Mercedes pickup will likely do rather well.

Continue reading for more information.


PostHeaderIcon 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro – Driven

Toyota has a long history with mid-sized, high-riding pickups in America. Many might remember Marty McFly’s 1985 Toyota truck with its tube bumpers, lifted suspension, alloy wheels, and black paint job. While most of these trucks have rusted into the history books, their spirit lives on in Toyota’s modern Tacoma – and no more so than with the Tacoma TRD Pro. This lifted truck with its blacked-out wheels and bold grille give it a flair for the past, while still answering trends of today.

I had the chance to spend a week with the 2017 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, which came dressed in Super White and built on the Double Cab platform. I spent an extensive amount of time driving the highways and surface streets surrounding my Central Florida home. And of course, I sampled the deep, sandy ruts of trails running through wooded landscapes that appeared untouched since the Spanish Conquistadors landed in the 1500s.

The Tacoma TRD Pro attracted a lot of attention during is stay in my driveway, and it’s no wonder. The Tacoma is the best-selling mid-size pickup in the U.S. these days, outselling the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Nissan Frontier, and Honda Ridgeline. There’s something about the truck that snags people’s interest. Most comments tended to focus on the black-on-white color scheme and the blocky TOYOTA grille.

So what’s it like living with the Taco Supreme? It’s spicy… but sometimes not in a good way. Keep reading for the explanation.

Continue reading for the full driven review.


PostHeaderIcon Compact Hatchback Battle Royal – Finding The Best In A Six-Model Slugfest

Here’s the scenario – you want a car, but it has to be the right car. It’s gotta be practical and comfortable, but it can’t be a complete snooze-fest behind the wheel either. You don’t want a crossover, and a sedan isn’t gonna cut it. What you want is a hatchback, something with a little zest and personality, but something that won’t break the bank. Thankfully, there are plenty of options out there, but which to choose? To help you decide, we’ve gathered six of the top contenders and put them head-to-head in the following comparison article. Let’s get ready to rumble.

To keep it all apples-to-apples, each of the entries in our comparison comes packaged in a five-door body style, gets standard FWD, and is instilled with at least a hint of sportiness. Each is also tagged with an MSRP around the $20,000 mark. With criteria like that, we decided to include the Ford Focus ST, Honda Civic Hatchback, Hyundai Elantra GT, Mazda 3 Hatchback, Mini Cooper Hardtop Four-Door, and Volkswagen Golf GTI.

While all six of these hatchbacks are solid choices in their own right, the question remains – which is the best? Read on for our take.

Continue reading for the full comparison.


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2014 Ford Mustang Base Convertible 2-Door 2014 FORD MUSTANG V6 PREM CONVERTIBLE SOFT TOP AUTO 33K #293310 Texas Direct
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