It appears Chevrolet is preparing a mid-size crossover based on General Motors’ new C1XX, or “Chi” platform. Spy shots of the vehicles were recently captured, pouring fuel on rumors of the Blazer nameplate returning to Chevy’s lineup. Could we really see a Chevy Blazer and Ford Bronco matchup by the decade’s end?
The photos come by way of Automotive News, whose photographer caught a test mule roaming the streets of Michigan. The three-row crossover will be a corporate cousin to the new 2017 GMC Acadia and slot between the upcoming 2018 Chevy Equinox and full-size Traverse.
This would give Chevy a huge boost in crossover offerings, allowing it to strongly compete in the exploding crossover and SUV market. With the Blazer in place, Chevy would have six vehicles in the category. The upcoming Blazer also answers questions on why Chevrolet decided to downsize the Equinox for 2018.
As for the test mule itself, it clearly shares its platform with the Acadia. This is most evident in the lower portion of the body, with the fuel tank skid plate hanging below the unibody chassis, the area between the rear door and wheel well, and the rear lower rear bumper area. Each is all nearly identical to the 2017 Acadia.
As for its Chevy trimmings, the grille features horizontal chrome slats like the Traverse, the LED headlights look similar to the 2018 Equinox, and the rear tailgate has chrome trim just above the license plate. Dual exhaust tips give the crossover a sporty flair.
The Blazer is expected to debut sometime in 2017, perhaps at the Detroit Auto Show, ahead of its 2018 release. And like its size, Its price will slot between the Equinox and the Traverse.
So will Chevrolet bring the Blazer back for a fight with the upcoming Ford Bronco? Keep reading for more.
Continue reading for more information.
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Unveiled in 2014, the Mercedes-AMG GT is the company’s latest halo sports car and replaces the SLS AMG in the lineup. However, the AMG GT is smaller than its predecessor and aimed at a slightly different market niche, having been developed as a competitor for the Porsche 911. The sports car was also used to introduce AMG’s brand-new engine, a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8. Launched in GT and GT S variations, the two-door gained higher performance GT R (coupe) and GT C (roadster) models, as well as a GT3-spec race car version in 2016.
For 2017, Mercedes-Benz is preparing a second race car based on the AMG GT, this time around in GT4 specification. Although the brand has yet to say when this car will be ready to hit the track, it will be eligible for various GT4 racing series in the FIA calendar, including the GT4 European Series and the British GT Championship. If you’re not familiar with the GT4 class, it’s a less powerful, more affordable version of GT3 and it’s mostly dedicated to amateur drivers. The cars are also equalized in order to allow driving skill to become key.
“The development of the Mercedes-AMG GT4 is another important step in the continuing expansion of our Mercedes-AMG motorsport program. The excellent feedback of our Customer Sports teams concerning the AMG GT3 and the increasing interest for GT4 race cars strengthened us in our decision. We are delighted to address an even larger target group of amateur and professional drivers and teams in the future with it,” said Tobias Moers, chairman of Mercedes-AMG.
Most details are still under wraps and we have just a couple of photos to run buy, but I’ll be back with an update as soon as Mercedes-AMG spills the beans. Meanwhile, check out my speculative review below.
Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG GT4.
Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that the Toyota 86 sports car has been everything Toyota hoped it would be, warts and all. It’s never been the most appealing sports car of its market, but it did give the Japanese auto giant entry into a segment that it hasn’t been in since the last legs of the Toyota MR-2 back in 2007.
Good news then for fans of the 86 because Toyota has reportedly given the green light to develop the second-generation model of the sports car. Speaking with Autocar, Toyota’s European boss, Karl Schlicht, said that the second-guess 86 has been penciled in to arrive in 2019, slotting below the Supra successor that itself is on track to make its debut in 2018.
Details are still scarce on how Toyota wants to proceed with the development of the second-generation 86. At this point, it’s hard to expect anything in the way of details since the company is probably still in the process of hashing those out itself. Even Subaru’s involvement is still a mystery at this point and without a clear-cut response from either company, expect that to be one of the most talked-about facets of the second-generation 86, especially after the extent both companies co-developed the first-generation model, right do its styling and mechanical characteristics.
For his part, Schlict is hopeful that a partnership between the two Japanese brands continues, saying that there are “a lot of reasons to continue with Subaru.”
However the dominoes fall, it is reassuring to hear a Toyota higher-up vouch for plans to develop the second-generation 86. Now it’s all about waiting for more details and hoping that a lot of the real or perceived issues of the existing model will be addressed by the next-generation version.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Unveiled just a couple of years ago, the Mercedes-AMG GT has proven to be a worthy successor to the SLS AMG, despite being a bit smaller and rivaling the awesomeness that is the Porsche 911. Since it’s debut at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, the AMG GT has spawned three other versions, including the GT S Roadster, track-ready GT R, and the GT C Convertible. Power output for these models ranges anywhere between 456 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque in the entry-level GT all the way up to 577 horsepower and 516 pound-feet in the GT-R, all of which comes in one sexy and stylish package.
Just recently, AMG boss Tobias Moers told Autoblog that the next model in the GT lineup will be a coupe version of the GT C, but it was also disclosed that a roadster version of the GT R was being discussed. While that does sound promising, it’s nowhere near what we would call a confirmation. It does, however, tell us that it is possible and, as such, we’ve decided to create a rendering to see just what a GT R Roadster would look like. As is the usual case with coupes turned roadster, there’s not much in the way of difference below the waistline, but the GT R Roadster would obviously have its own uniqueness.
So far, little is known about what kind of time frame we’re looking at for even the GT C Coupe, but a leaked roadmap document last year showed that it might come to be by late 2017, which would put the GT R Roadster in line to show up sometime toward the end of 2019. We’ve still got some time before we’ll see the GT R Roadster (if we ever will), but let’s take a look at the rendering we’ve put together and talk a little more about it.
Continue reading to learn more about the Mercedes-AMG GT R Roadster.
On the surface, the question is preposterous, maybe even a little blasphemous. Bugatti struggling to sell its new Chiron supercar sounds like the backbone of a not-so funny joke. Haha, right? Here’s the thing, though. There might be some layer of truth to it, now that no less than Bugatti’s own CEO, Wolfgang Durheimer, admitted that the French supercar brand has received a total of 220 confirmed orders for the Chiron so far. Considering that Bugatti has plans to build 500 units of the Chiron over a span of eight years, 280 unaccounted for units seem a lot for a car that’s succeeding the Veyron, one of the most iconic performance cars of this generation.
There are, of course, a number of ways to interpret Durheimer’s comments. On the one hand, it is possible that Bugatti is taking its time accepting new orders for the Chiron now that production for the car has started. According to GT Spirit, Bugatti has even increased production capacity in order to build 65 models for 2017, a sign that the company is going to be up to its head next year building all these units without any delays. The capacity also means that there’s a three-year wait for new orders, which would explain why the Chiron has yet to sell out despite its overall awesomeness.
On the other hand, even Durheimer himself seems to think that the Chiron isn’t selling as well as Bugatti expected. In the conversation with GT Spirit, the Bugatti boss expressed “hope” that new orders for the Chiron will come in once prospective customers see for themselves the surreal experience of driving one of the fastest and most powerful cars in the world. “I’m confident the customers who have not yet decided to order a Chiron will do so when they have had a chance to drive it,” Durheimer added.
Color me skeptical, but that sounds like a man who’s still trying to sell the merits of the Chiron to would-be customers. The supercar’s $2.6 million price tag certainly doesn’t help its cause. Nor does the $200,000 deposit that Bugatti is asking to secure a reservation for the supercar. These factors could have played significant roles on why Bugatti has yet to find owners for more than half of the Chirons it plans to build.
So while it’s not entirely accurate that Bugatti is “struggling” to sell the Chiron, the fact the model has yet to sell out is pretty surprising.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Everyone knows that if you put racing stripes on your hood and flame decals behind your wheels, you cut at least a half second from your 0-to-60 mph time and pad your top speed by at least 10 mph. That’s just a scientific fact. But beyond the obvious boost to perceived performance, the color of a fast car (especially if it’s of the racing variety) can be hugely important. That’s why we see the same shades used time and again throughout automotive history. So to celebrate these velocity-inducing hues, we’ve collected our top five picks right here in the following list.
While compiling the following five entries, we looked into time-honored racing color traditions from across the globe and took inspiration from some of the most famous cars to ever turn a wheel in anger. Europe, the U.K., Japan, and of course, the United States are all represented.
So with that, break out the swatch, get those settings on your monitor just right, and read on.
Continue reading for TopSpeed’s Top 5 Racing Colors.
The Netherlands isn’t exactly the first place you look to if you’re in the market for a sports car. But even if the country isn’t particularly known for building and developing hell-raising performance models, the Dutch sports car cupboard isn’t completely barren. That’s thanks in part to Donkervoort, the Lelystand-based manufacturer of authentic and ultra lightweight sports cars. Donkervoort isn’t a big automaker by any means; it’s model lineup consists of just the D8 GTO. But where it lacks in model variety, it more than makes up for with the D8 GTO-RS, a souped up version of the open-wheel sports car that packs improved performance characteristics.
The D8 GTO-RS is limited to just 40 units, but given the overwhelmingly positive reception of the car, Donkervoort decided to expand the range with a pair of special edition versions, namely the D8 GTO-RS Bare Naked Carbon Edition and the D8 GTO-RS Race Edition.
Both models come in extremely limited numbers as the Bare Naked Edition will be limited to just 15 units while the Race Edition will only have 10 units available. Each variant will also come with features unique to itself, hence the decision to differentiate one variant from the other.
The good news is that both the Bare Naked Edition and the Race Edition are D8 GTO-RS models at heart. That means that, among other things, they come with a tuned version of Audi’s 2.5-litre, five-cylinder engine. The Dutch automaker didn’t say how much power these SE D8 GTO-RS models have at their disposal, but considering that the five-cylinder is capable of producing 400 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque, it wouldn’t be impossible for both models to have similar numbers.
Whatever the case may be, these two special edition D8 GTO-RS units are performance cars at their core. That should be more than enough to convince people of their capabilities in and out of the race track.
Continue after the jump to read more about the Donkervoort D8 GTO-RS Special Editions.
Muscle cars are supposed to be rear-wheel drive, tail-happy, V-8-powerd street machines build to quarter-mile times and hot dates on a Friday night. However, Dodge is expanding the muscle car’s repertoire by adding all-wheel drive to its popular Challenger coupe. Yes, the Challenger is getting AWD for the 2017 model year. Sadly, the option is only available with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 and eight-speed automatic transmission. No V-8, manual, or Hellcat version exists – yet.
Its official name is the 2017 Dodge Challenger GT and it uses the same AWD equipment as the Dodge Charger AWD, including its active transfer case and front-axle disconnect. The Challenger GT is designed to give all-weather traction to those who live in areas regularly plagued by adverse weather conditions. Dodge has not designed the Challenger GT to be a track monster or rally car – although both are easy to imagine in the aftermarket industry.
Naysayers who cry foul over no V-8 might be surprised to know the 3.6-liter V-6 offers 305 horsepower. That’s more than many versions of the original Challenger from the early 1970s. Torque is rated at 268 pound-feet.
As for an official statement from Dodge, Tim Kuniskis, who is the head of passenger cars for Dodge, SRT, Chrysler, and Fiat in North America, said, “Dodge is shifting the muscle car paradigm with the new 2017 Dodge Challenger GT – the world’s first and only all-wheel-drive American muscle coupe. The Challenger has always been the most wide-ranging and functional muscle coupe, and now, with the new 305-horsepower all-wheel-drive Challenger GT, we are stretching the functional and geographic boundaries even further.”
Dodge is putting the 2017 Challenger GT on sale this winter, likely during the first quarter of 2017. Prices will start at $34,490, which includes the $1,095 destination charge. Keep reading for the full review.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Dodge Challenger GT.
News about the future Jeep Grand Wagoneer has gone from promising to problem-ridden over the last month. Reports have suggested Jeep is canceling the high-end SUV for good, while others suggest nothing is wrong. Well, word has just surfaced from two different third-party parts suppliers that Jeep in putting the Grand Wagoneer project on hold.
The news comes from Larry Vellequette, a reporter with Automotive News whose dedicated beat for the last decade has been Chrysler and now FCA. He reports the luxo-Jeep isn’t officially dead, but it isn’t alive and well. The major problem, according to Vellequette, is FCA’s very limited cash reserves. FCA is currently funding a company-wide game of musical chairs and retooling with its assembly plants. Vehicles are being moved around, plans are getting refurbished, and this is eating into cash reserves.
Also a major factor is the limited size of vehicle that’s capable of being produced at FCA’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit. It currently builds the Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango, but anything larger, say like a three-row Range Rover competitor, simply wouldn’t fit down the assembly line.
Vellequette makes an interesting observation though. Why retool Jefferson at great expense for a low-volume SUV rather than build a high-volume, body-on-frame SUV that competes with the Chevrolet Suburban and Ford Expedition? Why not base that SUV on the upcoming refreshed Ram 1500? It’s certainly an idea worth exploring.
Ram has never made a three-row SUV based on its pickup despite GM and Ford having outstand success with the concept. Should Jeep choose to pursue this, the Grand Wagoneer name would likely drop the “Grand” portion, recalling the more utilitarian Jeep Wagoneer of 1974 through 1983.
Should Jeep go this route, it could even create a heavy-duty version, competing where the Suburban 2500 and Ford Excursion once did. What’s more, it could even create a Rubicon or Trailhawk version based on the Ram 2500 Power Wagon. Best of all, FCA would need far less cash to pull this off. The Ram’s Warren Truck Assembly Plant could accommodate the 1500-series Wagoneer, while FCA’s Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Mexico could accommodate the heavy-duty and Power Wagon versions.
Of course, this is pure speculation on our part based on speculation by Vellequette. One thing is for sure though – Jeep will not be getting its Grand Wagoneer by 2018 or 2019.
Continue reading for more information.
Ford is conducting additional tests on some models of F-150 equipped with the new 10-speed automatic transmission. The news comes by way of Ford executive Joe Hinrichs, who is the head of Ford’s automotive operations in the Americas. Despite the testing, Hinrichs made clear these trucks would reach dealer lots by the end of 2016.
The news comes from Automotive News who interviewed Hinrichs Monday, December 5th. “We are launching the new Raptor and F-150 with the new 10-speed transmission,” Hinrichs told AN. “We continued building but we’re holding (trucks) longer so we could do more testing and make sure everything is right before we release them.”
Undoubtedly this is a smart move in today’s climate of near-daily announcement of recalls and publishing of Technical Service Bulletins. Ford has to get the F-150 right as so much of its business rides on the pickup’s success. As for the F-150 Raptor, this off-road beast serves as the company’s halo truck and ambassador to the wealthy. Having issues with the transmission while in customer hands won’t bode well.
Despite their rivalry, Ford co-developed this 10-speed transmission with General Motors. GM’s first application with the gearbox will be the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Six-speed manual-equipped ZL1s are already in showrooms, but GM has not shipped Camaros with the 10-speed as of early December. The transmissions share physical components, but Ford and GM have ownership of the proprietary software they use for programming. And of course, the Camaro ZL1 will have much different software than the F-150 – even the sport-tuned, 450-horsepower Raptor.
Neither Hinrichs nor Ford has disclosed the number of F-150s being held for testing, though it’s possible every example could. Ford will have plenty of other 2017 F-150 iterations at its dealerships, thankfully. Only the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 and its high-output Raptor version are currently offered with the 10-speed. While we expect the 10-speed’s prevalence to grow, Ford is still using a six-speed automatic in most versions of its F-150.
This story will be updated once Ford begins shipment of 10-speed automatic-equipped F-150s.
Continue reading for more information.
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.
The eighth installment of the Fast & Furious franchise is shaping up to be the biggest movie of the series and you can be sure that the people behind the movie are going to milk the hype for all it’s worth. That’s a big reason why Fast 8’s first official trailer is once again getting its own teaser. That’s how sophisticated movie marketing has become; trailers getting their own teasers have become par for the course for blockbusters as big as Fast 8.
The teaser itself doesn’t show a lot because it’s not a traditional one. It mostly focuses on the movie’s five long-standing stars – Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Tyrese Gibson, Michelle Rodriguez, and Ludacris – each talking about the franchise’s roots, how far it has come, and the central ethos that lies at the heart of the F&F universe: family.
You might think that it’s a PSA of some kind, especially after the highly publicized beef between Diesel and Johnson, the two cornerstones of the franchise. The good news is that the Fast 8 stars also did a good job setting up the table on what we can expect from both the trailer and the movie. Diesel even calls the movie “our most ambitious, most entertaining, fastest, and most furious ride yet.”
History says that we can thank his word for it, but only time will tell if Diesel is tone true. In the meantime, we can all wait for December 11 and catch the first official trailer of Fast 8. Some snippets from the teaser have shown some pretty interesting scenes, including what appears to be a heel turn from Domenic Torreto. Could it be that he turns bad?
Fast 8 hits theaters on April 14 and there’s already growing momentum that this could very well be the biggest one yet.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Toyota is an absolutely mammoth automaker, rivaling even Volkswagen in terms of total units sold annually. And that means any time Toyota makes a big company-wide move, the industry pays close attention. You may have heard about Toyota’s intention to move towards widespread use of the Toyota New Global Architecture, a modular auto architecture set to underpin everything from SUVs to the new Prius, with support for FWD, RWD, and AWD platforms. The idea is to consolidate and cut costs, streamlining mass production across the product portfolio. Several other automakers are following suit with similar plans, and now, Toyota has announced details on the powerplants it’ll stuff into those upcoming TNGA models.
Included in the exhaustive announcement is an outline for the automaker’s upcoming engines, transmissions, and hybrid systems. All-electrics are also mentioned briefly, but look to be introduced in the long-term. And if you read closely, you might even find a few hints about the new Toyota Supra, although it’s not mentioned directly.
TNGA was first used with the fourth-generation Prius, just released last year (check out our driving impression and review here. The platform promises performance upgrades like a lower center of gravity, a lighter curb weight, and a more compact fit. In fact, Toyota even says it starts by asking if a car is “fun to drive.” And since modular platforms will indeed save money, TNGA could lead to new sports cars. Like a new Supra, for example.
But unsurprisingly, the new powertrain units seem focused on lowering environmental impact, something that’s to be expected from the company that created the Prius.
With its new highly efficient engines and transmission units, Toyota hopes to cut total CO2 emissions by 15 percent across each of the major global markets in five years, all by itself. That’s a hugely ambitious for a single automaker, even one as big and influential as Toyota.
But what about the actual driving experience? Toyota says it focused its development team on creating something that’s “Direct & Smooth,” even going so far as saying the new powertrain units will “change how Toyota cars drive.”
The new TNGA powertrain units will see implementation starting in 2017.
Continue reading for the full story.
If there’s anything the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio has taught us, it’s that there’s plenty of room for high-performance SUVs in the premium SUV market. Now, it seems that Alfa Romeo’s sister brand, Maserati, is gearing up to join in on the fun as the Italian automaker has expressed interest in launching a high-performance version of the Levante SUV.
Maserati global operations chief Alberto Cavaggioni made the proclamation, telling Autocar that the company is open to the possibility, provided that it can make a good business case for it. Ah yes, that all-too familiar “business case” phrase. It’s the automotive equivalent of “we’ll see” that parents tell their children when the little ones want to buy a toy.
On a more serious note, Cavaggioni pointed out that Maserati has the capability to introduce a performance version of the Levante SUV. For one, it has a 3.8-liter V-8 engine that it can use for the SUV. It’s the same engine that powers the Quattroporte sedan and it’s good for 523 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, putting it right smack in the middle of the 505-horsepower Alfa Romeo Stelvio QV and the 542-horsepower Jaguar F-Pace SVR.
The concern – because there always has to be one – is whether a high-performance Levante can move the needle in a market that’s become increasingly more competitive. It’s not just the Stelvio QV and the F-Pace SVR that Maserati has to contend with. Other models like BMW’s entire lineup of M SUVs also populate the segment, as does Mercedes-AMG with the likes of the AMG GLE. Even Audi has expressed interest in beefing up its RS line to add more SUVs into the mix.
If Maserati does push forward with a performance version of the Levante, Cavaggioni says that it needs to be “justified by volumes.” It’s admittedly easier said than done, but given how so many brands have already made that leap, Maserati may not have a choice but to take that plunge since it has a lot riding on the SUV to carry the company in the next few years.
It’s especially more crucial for a performance Levante to enter the fray in light of conflicting reports regarding the status of both GranTurismo and GranCabrio models. Remember, Maserati Europe general manager Giulio Pastore told Autocar that both the GranTurismo and GranCabrio models will get updated in 2018 and 2019, respectively. But a new report from Car Magazine also quotes Pastore hinting that Maserati could go three years (2018 to 2020) without a sports car in its lineup.
Whatever happens to both the GranTurismo and GranCabrio models, one thing appears clear, at least from the outside. A high-performance Levante SUV is an important model for the Italian automaker. The only question is whether Maserati wants to make that leap.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
To keep them rolling down the road, autonomous cars need all kinds of technology to work together seamlessly. Radar, ultrasonic sensors, cameras, GPS navigation… all are essential to operation. And if you’re truly expecting to step into a sci-fi future filled with robo cars, go ahead and add vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) tech to the list. V2I is important because it provides insight into the kinds of stuff onboard sensors might not be able to pick up or handle, such as road conditions a mile ahead, heavy traffic management, and toll collection. But before the whole world goes fully autonomous, V2I still has huge potential to improve our daily motoring lives right now, and it looks like Audi is moving forward with the latest innovations for the modern consumer.
Recently unveiled in Las Vegas, Audi has introduced a new V2I feature that uses an onboard 4G LTE connection to interface with the city’s traffic management system and monitor real-time traffic light info.
Dubbed the “time-to-green” feature, the feature works like this – when a V2I-equipped car is stopped at a “connected” traffic light, the driver will be able to see a countdown of the time until the light turns green in the driver instrument cluster, or, if so equipped, the heads-up display. According to Audi, this info will “reduce stress and [allow] the driver to relax knowing approximately how much time remains before the changing of the light.”
Usually, I do the same thing by watching for the change to yellow in perpendicular lights, but granted, it’s not a foolproof system. Something that’s actually digitally connected to the lights would probably be a bit more accurate.
Anyway, Audi says “time-to-green” is the first feature of the Audi Traffic Light Information service V2I technology, with possible future uses including engine start/stop integration, navigation optimization, and “a speed recommendation designed to maximize the number of green lights one can make in a sequence.”
Traffic Light Information is a feature of Audi connect Prime, and will be incorporated in certain 2017 Audi A4, Q7, and allroad models produced after June 1, 2016. The service launches this month exclusively in Las Vegas, but it’s expected to see an expansion to other cities in the near future.
Continue reading for the full story.
The ‘90s were a special time. The Sega Genesis wowed gamers with 16 bits of raw processing power, Seinfeld was the funniest thing on cable television, and the Internet still promised enlightenment and the free exchange of information, rather than a tsunami of celebrity social media rants. But without a doubt, some of the greatest things about the ‘90s were the cars, specifically those sporty offerings hailing from The Land of the Rising Sun. The decade produced a huge number of exciting, fun-to-drive Japanese imports, and truly defined the “tuner culture” we know and love today. As such, we’ve collected five classics from the era for your nostalgia-filled reading pleasure.
Picking just five ‘90s-era Japanese imports wasn’t easy, and we’re quite certain more than a few of you readers out there will feel snubbed by the fact your favorite wasn’t included. Hell, even some of the staff are a little miffed (sorry Robert, no Acura Legend this time!). If that’s the case, post your pick in the comments so we can all get in on the feels.
So with that, grab your K&N air filter, break out your Video Option tape, and keep on reading.
Continue reading for TopSpeed’s Top 5 Japanese Imports From The ‘90s.
Bentley’s Mulliner personalization division is capable of some luscious creations. Just last week, it presented the Bamford X Bentley Mulliner Mulsanne Speed. That one featured a black-on-black color scheme that was created through a process called Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD). It’s a complicated process that flies over my head; all I know is that Mulliner is capable of such a thing. I mention all of this because Mulliner’s back with a new creation, only this time, it’s for the Bentley Flying Spur.
At this point, refinements like a Peacock Blue paint finish and British Elm in the interior are what you can expect from Mulliner. They’re quintessentially British by nature, and so is the Flying Spur, which makes this particular personalization program a treat to the senses for those who prefer going over-the-top with their luxury amenities.
I don’t think it necessary to remind everyone of the kind of class and status surrounding the Bentley Flying Spur. It’s a sedan that’s made to ooze those qualities on its own. Then again, it doesn’t hurt that a personalization program like Mulliner is a skip and a knock away from rolling up its sleeves and working on the well-crafted additions that a particular customer may want from there Flying Spurs.
The results certainly speak for themselves, and in this particular instance, the final product is a testament to the quality of the Bentley Flying Spur and the all-around ingenuity of Bentley’s go-to personalization program.
Continue after the jump to read more about the Bentley Flying Spur by Mulliner.
Unveiled in 2015, the Ferrari 488 GTB replaced the successful and still very potent 458 Italia in the lineup. Although the new sports car isn’t radically different than its predecessor, it created a small revolution in Maranello’s lineage of entry-level supercars by introducing the turbocharged engine. Arguably the most important upgrade, the force-fed, 3.9-liter V-8, replaced the iconic, naturally aspirated 4.5-liter V-12. Like its predecessor, the 488 received a convertible version (Spider), as well as two racing variants for international motorsport series, GTE and GT3. For 2017, the 488 also replaced the 458 Challenge in the company’s one-make racing series.
Unveiled at the Ferrari World Finals event in Daytona in December 2016, the 488 Challenge is the sixth model to participate in the one-make series. Set to celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2017, the Ferrari Challenge was established in 1992 and has so far, used Challenge-spec versions of the 348, F355, 360, F430, and 458. Having hosted over 1,000 races, with over 1,000 drivers taking part in up to three series organised on three continents, the Ferrari Challenge series has proved to be an ideal starting point for drivers looking to compete in international GT and prototype championships. Needless to say, it’s not surprising that Ferrari was so quick to replace the 458 Italia with the faster and more aerodynamic 488 GTB in the one-make racing series.
The new Ferrari 488 Challenge will make its North American track debut in January 2017 at the Daytona International Speedway. The Ferrari Challenge North America season will also include races at Sonoma Raceway, Circuit of the Americas, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Lime Rock Park, and Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Continue reading to learn more about the Ferrari 488 Challenge.
Okay, so color me guilty for being slightly misleading with my title. No matter how hard you look you won’t find an original PlayStation console hidden away somewhere in any vehicle with the new nine-speed transmission, but it does use similar technology. In a world where cars come with hard drives, hot spots, and digital, touchscreen displays, among other large doses of modern technology, you might find it mildly entertaining to know that not everything is as modern as you might think. I’m talking about the transmission control module for the new nine-speed transmission. It seems like cars these days might as well be rolling supercomputers, but GM’s new gearbox just so happens to use a 32-bit control module. That’s the same rating as the original PlayStation console, Sega Saturn, and Atari Jaguar from the early 1990s! It doesn’t sound like much compared to the technology we find in cars these days, does it?
Surprisingly, that’s really all it takes, and GM says that the new, nine-speed transmission, with the help of its 32-bit control module, can offer “excellent off-the-line acceleration” and low-rpm highway cruising. It also supports stop/start technology for fuel savings, smooth and precise shifts, and can utilize engine braking to help prevent the need for braking during hill descent. The hydraulic system inside the transmission is controlled electronically, with the valve body cover acting as an internal expansion tank that holds excess fluid until it’s needed for shifting duties. The 9T50 transmission is also said to come with DEXRON-VI transmission fluid that, according to GM, doesn’t require changing if the car is always operated under “normal” driving conditions.
“Everything about the new nine-speed is designed to maximize benefits for the customer,” said Steve Majoros, director of Chevrolet Marketing. “It helps offer greater fuel efficiency in the city and on the highway, all with the world-class refinement that makes the drive quiet and smooth.”
The new transmission will make its debut in the 2017 Chevy Malibu and will also be available as an option in the 2017 Chevy Cruze Diesel and the 2018 Chevy Equinox. By the end of 2017, it will be available as an option on as many as 10 models.
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Automakers overproducing special edition models is nothing new to the auto industry. It’s happened before and it’s going to continue to happen for as long as demand for these cars remain high. Besides, who really cares about a limited edition vehicle becoming slightly less limited, right?
That said, there are some exceptions, especially when it comes to models as sought after as the BMW M4 GTS. Apparently, members of the BimmerPost forum have been tracking the production of the high-performance M4 GTS based on actual VIN numbers of the cars that have already been produced. Based on the count, there are reportedly 803 units that were made of the sports car, not counting 27 more models that will be used for promotional purposes. That brings the total up to 830 models, 130 more than BMW initially intended.
A member of the forum even specified that the last non-U.S.-spec, left-hand drive M4 GTS model (VIN: K576992) was produced on October 27, 2016, while the last right-hand drive model (VIN: K577821) was produced on November 8, 2016. Finally, the last U.S.-spec model (VIN: K579111) was produced on November 28, 2016.
It’s unclear if BMW intended to overrun the production of the M4 GTS (likely) or there were some simple mistakes in counting (unlikely), what’s important is that there are more models to go around for buyers looking to score the souped-up version of the M4.
Interested buyers with deep pockets could also go online to look around different BMW dealerships all over the country that still have M4 GTS models with them. We counted 21 new or used models in Autotrader’s database, priced anywhere from $134,000 to $254,000. That tells us that there are still a handful of the 300 allocated units for the U.S. that are still looking for owners. Who knows, maybe you’ll be one of them.
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