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PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Tesla’s Uber-fast Roadster Is Proof that Elon Musk Is Desperate

Boy, these past two weeks have been all about high-speed and high-power action. I barely had time to get over Koenigsegg’s new world speed record and Chevrolet launched its monstrous Corvette ZR1 yet. Now, with the weekend upon us, Tesla took the wraps off its new semi truck and the second-generation Roadster. Neither are ready to go into production just yet, but the preliminary data hints at tremendous performance and new benchmarks for the electric car market. The Roadster’s 0-to-60 mph sprint only 1.9 seconds probably caused a few heart strokes over at Ferrari quarters. And I have a feeling that the guys working on the next-generation Nissan GT-R Nismo aren’t feeling better either. But behind Tesla’s new tour de force hides Elon Musk’s fear that his automobile brand may not succeed as planned.

It may seem that Tesla is simply pushing the envelope and presenting the world with revolutionary electric cars, but there’s more to this showcase. Tesla is actually struggling to keep its promises. The new Model 3, which is supposed to become the affordable electric car everyone is dreaming about, is late to the party. Production isn’t going as planned and it seems that the Model X fiasco is happening all over again. On top of that, the Model S isn’t getting the best reviews and Consumer Reports isn’t very optimistic about the Model 3’s reliability. So Tesla needs to find a way to keep all the hype alive, and the upcoming Roadster is the perfect car for this. The strategy is simple, unveiled a cool looking prototype, claim it will hit 60 mph in less than two seconds, set a big preorder price, and wait for the cash to fix ongoing problems.

Continue reading for the full story.

From Affordable to $200K


Pops' Rants: Tesla's Uber-fast Roadster Is Proof that Elon Musk Is Desperate - image 746100

Yup, that’s all it takes. A couple of incredible but fictional performance figures, and everyone will get excited. And some of them will even agree to pay $50,000 reservations for a car they won’t get to drive until 2020. Assuming that Tesla manages to roll the new Roadster out by then. If the Model X and Model 3 are any indication, it won’t happen sooner than 2021, or even 2022.

But that’s not the only issue. Let’s say that I’m wrong and Tesla will get production sorted and everything will be fine and on time. And quality control will improve and Consumer Reports won’t upset Elon Musk ever again. In this perfect scenario, the new Roadster is still a meaningless car. Let’s not forget that Musk’s objective was to deliver an affordable EV for the average Joe. It was supposed to be the Model 3. But it’s not. The Model 3 costs some $30,000 before options, and the nice extras will actually push the sticker beyond the $40,000. At this point, the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Bolt are the better options.

And while I can understand that expensive, $200,000 supercars like the upcoming Roadster are used to fund affordable vehicles, it seems that Elon Musk is out to prove that Tesla can make the quickest production car before anything else. With this car, Tesla is basically moving farther away form its professed goal and slowly becoming a disappointment for the electric car industry. The fact that Tesla is the leading automaker in this field makes things that much more frustrating.

PostHeaderIcon Quick Comparo: Tesla Roadster – New vs. Old

Tesla just unveiled the second-generation Roadster and launched a big shock wave around the world. It’s not the Roadster’s return that took us by surprise, but the incredible specs that the car comes with. Not only set to become the quickest production vehicle ever with a 0-to-60 mph sprint of only 1.9 seconds, it also has a 250-mph top speed. The latter is downright spectacular for gasoline-powered supercar and I honestly didn’t think I’d live to see a production EV hit that much. But before we get overly excited, we must remember that the second-gen Roadster won’t become available until 2020. And given Tesla’s habit of delaying production, it may take a bit longer than that.

Many details are still under wraps, but Tesla made sure that all the new Roadster’s spectacular features hit the news. So we now have quite a few figures to compare with the first-generation Roadster. It takes just a quick glance to notice that Tesla made tremendous progress since 2008, and this is exactly why we need to put the numbers next to each other. While the first Roadster marked Tesla’s debut on the market and the beginning of a spectacular career for the California-based brand (albeit sprinkled with plenty of issues), the second Roadster could take Elon Musk’s firm to new heights. If all goes according to plan of course, because it may happen the other way around too.

This comparison is far from complete given that the latest Roadster is far from being a production model, but the aim is to look at Tesla’s progress rather than provide an comprehensive comparo.

Continue reading for the full story.

Exterior


Quick Comparo: Tesla Roadster - New vs. Old - image 746104

Quick Comparo: Tesla Roadster - New vs. Old - image 233849

Note: Roadster 2.0 on the left, original Roadster on the right.

“The new styling is obviously a big departure from the original Roadster ”

The design features of the two Roadsters are the easiest to compare, because Tesla released shots of the new car from every angle and the renderings appears to be pretty close to the actual things. The design is definitely doable, includes many of the company’s trademark cues, and I can’t spot too many features that wouldn’t make in on the production model. Speaking of which, have you seen our rendering of the rumored Tesla supercar? We almost nailed it!

The new styling is obviously a big departure from the original Roadster. The first-gen car was pretty appealing when it was launched in 2008, but the new design is definitely more spectacular. But that’s far from surprising. The first Roadster had a unique design that did not carry over to the Model S, the company’s second car. It was the Model S that actually inspired the Model X and Model 3, a quick look at the new Roadster reveals quite a few familiar details.

“The new car boasts a grand tourer-inspired look with muscular fenders”

Also, while the the first Roadster had looks that usually define lightweight sports cars, the new car boasts a grand tourer-inspired look with muscular fenders, a wider stance, and overall more aggressive fascias. The light units are particularly interesting, sporting a thin, sleek design that’s different than anything else Tesla used so far.

Much like it’s predecessor, the new Roadster ha a targa-type roof layout. But instead of a canvas top, it has a glass roof that can be stowed in the trunk.

Interior


Quick Comparo: Tesla Roadster - New vs. Old - image 746105

Quick Comparo: Tesla Roadster - New vs. Old - image 233851

Note: Roadster 2.0 on the left, original Roadster on the right.

“As you'd expect when comparing a car from 2008 with one from the future, the differences are huge”

As you’d expect when comparing a car from 2008 with one from the future (almost 15 years apart), the differences are huge. Again, the first Roadster looked pretty fresh when launched, but it was also rather spartan, mostly because Tesla was aiming at the lightweight sports car segment. The new Roadster is just a rendering for now, but it’s pretty obvious that it will compete in a more premium market. The design is still plain and simple overall, but all that brutshed aluminum, the leather on the seats, and the massive screen in the center stack suggest a higher quality cabin.

The new Roadster will also come with heavily bolstered, modern looking front seats, as well as a pair of second-row seats. The latter is what makes it different compared to the first-gen car, which was a two-seater. This also makes the new Roadster a significantly different vehicle. Instead of an actual successor, this new sports car plays in a different league, offering space for two more passengers and more convenience. The renderings also show carbon-fiber dash and panels, as well as a flat-bottom steering wheel with no buttons and no upper rim, but it remains to be seen if these features make it on the production.

Drivetrain


Quick Comparo: Tesla Roadster - New vs. Old - image 745806

Quick Comparo: Tesla Roadster - New vs. Old - image 103581

Note: Roadster 2.0 on the left, original Roadster on the right.

“The upcoming Roadster will be radically different under the skin”

Based on Tesla’s preliminary specs, the upcoming Roadster will be radically different under the skin. The first thing that sets them apart the platform. While the first-gen car was built on the same underpinnings as the Lotus Elise and Exige, the second-gen model will ride on a newer platform. There’s no word on whether it will be based on the Model S, but chances are it will be brand-new.

Tesla had nothing to say about the upcoming car’s electric motors, but it did mention all-wheel-drive, which means it will have at least one for each axle. The first Roadster was a rear-wheel-drive car. The new two-door will also be significantly more powerful. No word on output either, but Tesla mentions wheel torque of 7,375 pound-feet. It also claims that the car will be able to hit 60 mph in an incredible 1.9 seconds. That’s two seconds quicker than the standard Roadster (248 horsepower) and 1.8 clicks quicker than the Roadster Sport (288 horsepower). The sprint to 100 mph will be achieved in only 4.2 seconds, just three tenths slower than the first Roadster from 0 to 60 mph!

“At 1.9 seconds to 60 mph, the second-gen Roadster will be the quickest production car in the world”

At 1.9 seconds to 60 mph, the second-gen Roadster will be the quickest production car in the world. Assuming that a quicker vehicle from another automaker won’t be launched until then, but it’s very unlikely to be honest.

Tesla also claims that the new Roadster will have a top speed of 250 mph. That’s nearly as fast as the Bugatti Veyron and faster than any Ferrari, McLaren, or Lamborghini out there. And exactly twice as fast compared to the first-generation Roadster. The quarter mile will be achieved in 8.8 seconds, almost four seconds quicker than the old model. Want more juicy bits? The estimate range for the upcoming car is of 620 miles per charge, compared to up to 244 miles delivered by the old model. I guess it’s goodbye range anxiety in 2020!

Pricing


Quick Comparo: Tesla Roadster - New vs. Old - image 745804

Quick Comparo: Tesla Roadster - New vs. Old - image 103575

Note: Roadster 2.0 on the left, original Roadster on the right.

The first Roadster was pretty expensive when it was launched in 2008, retailing from around $100,000 (with preorders set at $50,000). But the second-gen car will cost twice as much. Tesla is asking $50,000 for reservations, but the second-gen model will cost $200,000 before options. There will also be a launched edition priced from a whopping $250,000. That’s Ferrari money right there, but somewhat justified given the incredible performance. And despite the high sticker, the second-gen Roadster will definitely sell better than its predecessor, which moved about 2,500 units in almost five years on the market.

Conclusion


Quick Comparo: Tesla Roadster - New vs. Old - image 746104

Quick Comparo: Tesla Roadster - New vs. Old - image 233849

Note: Roadster 2.0 on the left, original Roadster on the right.

It’s definitely too early to draw a conclusion in the absence of a production model for the second-gen car, but it’s safe to say that the new Roadster will be a massive improvement over its predecessor. Big improvements are visible in just about any department and the extra comfort features and the two additional seats could finally give Tesla a shot at the supercar market dominated by Ferrari, Lamborghini, and McLaren. And we may even see a host of new world records in the performance and range departments.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Roadster

2020 Tesla Roadster

Back in 2008, a little upstart EV company named Tesla threw a lithium-ion battery pack and electric motor into a Lotus Elise and called it the Roadster. It was the very first model to bear the Tesla badge, and it was the first highway-legal series production all-electric car to travel more than 200 miles in a single charge. Now, nearly 10 years and several remarkable models later, Tesla is at it again, revealing a second-generation Roadster in a surprise debut alongside its new all-electric semi truck. While it’s still several years away from hitting public roads, Tesla dropped a variety of specs and numbers for the Roadster 2.0, and long story short, this thing is shaping up to be an absolute monster. If it really can do everything that Tesla CEO Elon Musk claims it can, the second-gen Roadster will set numerous performance records, including quickest to 60 mph, quickest to 100 mph, and quickest in the quarter mile. And that includes internal combustion-based production vehicles, by the way. It’ll also set new standards for EVs in the realms of range per charge and top speed. This is faster than Insane Mode. This is faster than Ludicrous Mode. This, dear readers, is straight up Plaid.

While we knew Tesla had a new Roadster coming down the pipeline, few would have guessed what it might be capable of. We even put together a speculative piece about a potential Tesla supercar a while back, but it turns out the California automaker combined the two ideas into one incredible world-beater. “The point of doing this is to just give a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,” says Musk. “Driving a gasoline sports car is gonna feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche.” Indeed, the Tesla Roadster 2.0 is framed as a bona fide halo car, an ultra-quick speed machine that’ll show Tesla’s true performance potential. Read on for the details.

Updated 11/17/2017: Tesla just revealed the new Roadster!

Continue reading to learn more about the 2020 Tesla Roadster.

Exterior


2020 Tesla Roadster - image 746107
  • Most aggressive design Tesla has ever made
  • Compact dimensions
  • Active aerodynamic elements

While the original Roadster showed its Lotus bones through the bodywork, the Roadster 2.0 is all-new. It looks like the progeny of a Model 3 and modern Acura NSX, with the familiar Tesla fascia, now drawn back and pointy with slim arrow-like headlights that fall into hugely flared fenders. The stance is low and wide, with prominent cuts in the lower front bumper, side skirts, and rear end. The proportions move the cabin back, enhancing the front hoodline.

Yeah, you know it looks good. In fact, we’d say we pretty much nailed it with our original Tesla supercar rendering –


2020 Tesla Supercar - image 721328

Note: TopSpeed Tesla Supercar rendering pictured here.

Of course, it’s not the most streamlined Tesla we’ve ever seen, but we like it like that. Drag doesn’t seem to be a major problem here, as you’ll find out in the drivetrain section below. What’s more, it’s obvious the Tesla Roadster 2.0 comes equipped with active aero elements that will surely keep it planted while exploring the car’s absurd speed potential, then recede back to eke out a few more miles while cruising.

Interior


2020 Tesla Roadster - image 746109
  • Large touchscreen provides the inputs
  • Highly bolstered sports seats
  • Clean layout and design
  • 2+2 seating arrangement
  • “Capacious” storage space
  • Targa top offers unlimited headroom

The space age aggression continues inside, where we find a simple dash and control layout. The user inputs are dominated by a large touchscreen, which stretches down through the center of the cabin to provide readouts on navigation, road speed, and similar stats. The seats are contoured and highly bolstered, while the color scheme incorporates large swaths of primary colors that enhance the natural “clean” feel of the layout.

The steering wheel is a tiny, rectangular thing that looks like it came straight out of Star Trek. Lots of brushed metal and carbon give it that premium sports vibe you’d want from the segment. There’s also a G meter to show you just how hard you’re bending the laws of physics.

“Lots of brushed metal and carbon give it that premium sports vibe you’d want from the segment. There’s also a G meter to show you just how hard you’re bending the laws of physics.”

However, while you might expect very little practicality from a machine like this, the Roadster 2.0 actually has a lot to offer as a simple means of transport. The seating arrangement accommodates up to four passengers in a 2+2 layout, and while Musk admits that “you can’t put giant people in the rear seat,” the fact is has one at all is pretty impressive. Add to that a “capacious” storage space, undoubtedly mostly thanks to the extended frunk (Tesla’s term for the spot under the hood left empty by the all-electric powertrain), and this thing should be able to swallow enough luggage for at least a weekend getaway.

Finally, a removable targa top opens up the Roadster 2.0 to unlimited headroom. And that’s great, because after all, anyone driving a Tesla obviously cares about enjoying lots of fresh air, right?

Drivetrain


2020 Tesla Roadster - image 746108
  • Potentially sets multiple world records
  • 0-to-60 mph in 1.9 seconds
  • 0-to-100 mph in 4.2 seconds
  • Quarter mile in 8.9 seconds
  • 250+ mph top speed
  • 620 miles of range per charge
  • 7,376 pound-feet of torque
  • Three motors, 200-kWh battery

So it looks awesome and the cabin makes you feel like firing off some photon torpedoes. That’s all well and good, but by far the most impressive thing about the Tesla Roadster 2.0 is its powertrain technology. The specs getting tossed around are almost absurd, but if they turn out to be real, the Roadster 2.0 will break multiple world records.

Here’s the score – 0-to-60 mph in 1.9 seconds, which would make this Tesla the first production car to break the 2-second barrier in the 0-to-60 mph test. A run from 0-to-100 mph takes 4.2 seconds, another record for production cars. Finally, the quarter mile takes just 8.9 seconds, which would make the all-electric the first production car to break the 9-second barrier in the benchmark.

And take note – these are records for all production cars, not just EVs. Impressed yet?

“These are records for all production cars, not just EVs. Impressed yet? ”

We sincerely hope Tesla can actually follow-through here, and based on the automaker’s resume, it most likely will. After all, the Model S P100D can already hit 60 mph in just 2.3 seconds.

Incredibly, these numbers represent the base model Roadster 2.0, which means Tesla is cooking up even quicker iterations for the future, with a possible reveal hinted at next year.

Now it’s time to talk about the EV-specific records this thing could set. First up – top speed, which is stated to exceed 250 mph top speed. That would make it the fastest production electric car ever made by a huge margin, and place the Roadster 2.0 amongst the fastest of the fast from the world of internal combustion. Range per charge is rated at 620 miles, which is again, the most of any electric car ever made, and a total game-changer for EVs. It would make the Roadster 2.0 the first production all-electric passenger vehicle to do more than 1,000 km at freeway speeds in a single charge. Say goodbye, range anxiety.


2020 Tesla Roadster - image 746104
“Torque figures are rated 10,000 Nm, or 7,376 pound-feet, a figure that even Musk agrees is “stupid.””

Making it all work is a new 200-kWh battery pack, which sends its prodigious flow of electrons to three motors, one up front two in the rear, which means it’s also got AWD grip. Horsepower figures are still forthcoming, but apparently torque figures are rated 10,000 Nm, or 7,376 pound-feet, a figure that even Musk agrees is “stupid.”

Finally, torque vectoring helps it handle. We don’t know how much this thing weighs, but we’re guessing it’s probably pretty heavy for its size, so it’s likely not the liveliest thing ever in the corners. Still, 10,000 Nm of torque can fix a lot.

Tesla Roadster 2.0 Performance
0-to-60 mph 1.9 seconds
0-to-100 mph 4.2 seconds
Quarter mile 8.9 seconds
Top speed 250+ mph
Range per charge 620 miles
Battery pack 200 kWh
Electric motors 3 (one in front, two in rear)
Torque 10,000 Nm

Prices

Although previously scheduled for a release in 2019, the Tesla Roadster 2.0 has been pushed back a year to 2020. Tesla is taking reservations now at $50,000 a piece. The final sticker is expected to be around $200,000.

What’s more, Tesla is offering the first 1,000 units as part of the special edition Founder series. Perks for the Founder series are currently unknown, but pricing sees a rise to $250,000, and interested buyers are required to front the full quarter million bucks up front to reserve theirs.

Competition

NextEV NIO EP9


There's A New King Of The Nürburgring And It's Not Who You Think - image 716730

Based out of China, NextEV is already on the EV supercar scene with its NIO EP9. Crafted from carbon fiber, the NIO EP9 does its performance dance thanks to four electric motors producing a combined 1,314 horsepower. Acceleration and top speed can’t touch the Roadster 2.0, with 2.7 seconds to 62 mph and a maximum of 195 mph. However, this thing’s handling might have the Tesla beat, with active suspension and aero helping it pull up to 3 G’s in the twisties.

Rimac Concept_One


2017 Rimac Concept One - image 666768

Here’s another battery-driven slab of speed, this time coming from the Croatian-based manufacturer Rimac. Producing upwards of 1,072 horsepower and 1,180 pound-feet of torque, the Concept_One can snap off a run to 62 mph in 2.6 seconds, while maxing out at 221 mph. AWD keeps it sticky.

Read the full review here.

Conclusion


2020 Tesla Roadster - image 746100

While it’s possible the Tesla Roadster 2.0 will look and go a bit differently when it finally hits the public streets in 2020, odds are this early preview is pretty close to the mark already. And that’s a truly incredible thing, if you think about it. Both competitors listed above are at least four times as expensive, and can’t come close in terms of sheer all-electric muscle. Throw in the fact the Tesla breaks 1,000 km per charge and even has space for luggage, and it quickly becomes obvious that the California automaker is launching a new epoch in the world of the automotive.

It looks like the future just got a whole lot brighter.

  • Leave it
    • Very expensive
    • Still three years out
    • Likely to be delayed multiple times

References


2007 Tesla Roadster - image 233849

Tesla Roadster


2015 Tesla Model S 70D - image 625893

Tesla Model S

Rendering


2020 Tesla Roadster - image 638858

PostHeaderIcon Top 10 Greatest Chevrolet Corvettes Ever Built

Chevrolet just introduced the latest Corvette ZR1, setting a new benchmark for the iconic sports car. Not only the quickest and most powerful Corvette ever built, the new ZR1 is also the most aerodynamic iteration of the car and comes with features usually found on high-end supercars. It definitely eclipses every road-legal Corvette built to date in terms of performance. It also wins battles with every classic Vette I can think of, but it’s not the only Corvette that made a massive impact upon arrival. It’s rather difficult to talk about Corvettes from the past with a car as incredible as the new ZR1 on its way to showrooms, but I compiled a list of iconic models that deserve to share the same celebrity page with this supercharged monster.

I’ve made my picks based on a few factors. For starters, I wanted to include at least one model from each generation, so this list goes back to the original C1. I also took horsepower and performance in consideration, as well as market impact and production figures, favoring limited-edition models that evolved into prized collectibles. I also included a concept, an experimental racing project that barely made it out of the factory, as well as an aftermarket upgrade, just to add an extra bit of flavor to the selection. Check it out below.

Continue reading for the full story.

1955 Corvette V8


Top 10 Greatest Chevrolet Corvettes Ever Built - image 745745
“The 4.3-liter V-8 engine enabled the C1 Corvette to compete with the then-new Ford Thunderbird”

The first-generation Corvette is now regarded as one of the most iconic classic cars out there, but the truth is that the C1 was very close to be discontinued after only a couple of years on the market. Which would have put an end to the Corvette nameplate and all the great cars that followed. Launched with an inline six engine that wasn’t particularly exciting, the first Corvette was also plagued with water leaks, doors that wouldn’t stay shut, and shoddy quality of the otherwise innovative fiberglass body. These issues and the negative customer reaction caused sales to plummet, with only 2,500 units sold in 1954. Things didn’t look good for the Corvette, and Chevy was already thinking about pulling the plug.

But things changed dramatically in 1955. While not yet part of the Corvette project, Zora Arkus-Duntov insisted that the brand’s new 4.3-liter, small-block V-8 was added to the car. The 195-horsepower unit not only improved the Corvette’s marketing and image but also enabled it to compete with the then-new Ford Thunderbird. The 0 to 60 sprint dropped from 11 seconds to a more impressive 8.5 seconds with the V-8, while the three-speed manual transmission turned into a true driver’s car. As a result, Duntov was also named the director of high-performance vehicle design and development for Chevrolet in 1956.

1962 Corvette Grand Sport


Top 10 Greatest Chevrolet Corvettes Ever Built - image 745753
“Zora Duntov initiated a program to produce a lightweight version of the second-gen Corvette”

Just like the 1955 V8, the Corvette Grand Sport was also the work of Zora Duntov. However, this project was entirely different, as the Grand Sport was conceived as a full-fledged race car. Chevrolet was no longer involved in motorsport in the early 1960s, and Duntov was converned about Ford and its tremendous Shelby Cobra, which was already hitting the race track with good results. Zora initiated a program to produce a lightweight version of the second-gen Corvette, set to go on sale for the 1963 model year, and planned to build 125 units to allow the car to be homologated for grand touring racing. The program was kept secret, mostly because GM executives didn’t want Chevy involved in motorsport. But they found out soon enough and stopped the project after Duntov built only five cars. Fortunately, they weren’t destroyed, and went on to compete and even win a few improtant races. Powered by V-8 engines rated at up to 550 horsepower, the Grand Sport was driven by famed race car drivers such as Roger Penske, A.J. Foyt, and Jim Hall.

Due to its interesting story and limited production run, the Grand Sport is among the most coveted and valuable Corvettes ever built.

1961 Corvette Mako Shark


Top 10 Greatest Chevrolet Corvettes Ever Built - image 745744
“Designed by Larry Shinoda and Bill Mitchell, the Mako Shark previewed the second-generation Corvette”

Like the Grand Sport, the Mako Shark isn’t a production car. Designed in 1961 by Larry Shinoda and Bill Mitchell, the Mako Shark was the concept car that previewed the second-generation Corvette. As the name suggests, it was partly inspired by the shortfin mako shark, the fastest-swimming shark in the world, capable of bursts of speed of up to 42 mph. A tremendous success on the auto show circuit, the Marko Shark, was sleek, had side-exit exhaust pipes, and its paint scheme matched that of an actual shark with the blue-gray upper surface gently blending into the white underside. The C2-generation Corvette that followed in 1963, also known as the Sting Ray, borrowed several design cues from the Mako Shark, including the muscular fenders, the windscreen, and the pointy front fascia. The concept was redesigned in 1965 into the Mako Shark II, which eventually went on to inspire the third-generation Corvette, launched in 1968.

1967 Corvette Sting Ray L88


Top 10 Greatest Chevrolet Corvettes Ever Built - image 745743
“Not only more powerful, the L88 engine was also closer to a pure racing powerplant than any other engine Chevy had ever offered”

Significantly more aggressive than its predecessor design-wise, the C2-gen Corvette also spawned higher performance versions. The L88 was the C2 to end all C2s and arrived in the generation’s final year on the market, 1967. The badge came from the engine, as the L88 was a beefed-up variant of the 7.0-liter V-8 that Chevrolet introduced in 1966. Not only more powerful, it was also closer to a pure racing powerplant than any other engine Chevy had ever offered in a production car. It had lightweight heads and bigger ports, hotter camshaft, stratospheric 12.5:1 compression, an aluminum radiator, small-diameter flywheel, and a single huge Holley four-barrel carburetor. The very high compression ratio required 103-octane racing fuel, which wasn’t widely available at U.S. service stations. Output was officially rated at 430 horsepower, but word has it that the L88 was actually capable of around 560 horses at 6,400 rpm. Naturally, the L88 didn’t come cheap. With the Positraction, transistorized ignition, heavy-duty suspension, power brakes, and radio and heater delete options made mandatory with the package, the L88 added an extra $1,500 over the base $4,240 price. As a result, only 20 units were sold, which makes the L88 one of the rarest Corvettes ever built.

1969 Corvette ZL1


Top 10 Greatest Chevrolet Corvettes Ever Built - image 745746
“The first-ever ZL1 was offered for the 1969 model year only”

The third-generation Corvette was introduced in 1968, just as the muscle cars were getting bigger and becoming more powerful. This came to a halt in the early 1970s when the oil crisis and new regulations nearly killed the high-power V-8, but the C3 had a few good years. The Corvette ZL1 is arguably the most exotic example. Now sporting a sleeker, even more aggressive design, the C3 also spawned new engines and upgrade packages. The ZL1 was offered for the 1969 model year only and added an all-aluminum, 7.0-liter big-block which was developed primarily for racing. The engine was officially rated at 430 horsepower, but testing revealed that output was actually at around 460 horsepower. The ZL1 was quick enough to run the quarter mile in 12.1 seconds. But much like the L88, it was highly expensive, adding a whopping $4,700 to the Corvette. It’s probably why only three were sold. The main reason why I’ve included the ZL1 on this list is that it was the fastest production car ever made back in 1969.

1988 Corvette Callaway Sledgehammer


Top 10 Greatest Chevrolet Corvettes Ever Built - image 745748
“The Sledgehammer had a top speed of 254.7 mph!”

For our next Corvette, I’m going to step away from the Chevrolet-made cars. I know it’s not exactly, but a Top 10 Corvette list without the Sledgehammer is incomplete. If you’re not familiar with Callaway Cars, it was established in 1977, and it’s been modifying engines ever since. Callaway began altering Corvettes in the 1980s and became famous when its twin-turbo kit for the C4 became a dealer option. The Callaway Twin Turbo Corvette was introduced in 1987, but it took the firm one more year to produce its most radical design yet. Based on the highly criticized C4-generation Corvette, which hit the market with delays and various issues, the Sledgehammer actually helped te fourth-gen car gain some notoriety. Heavily modified on the outside, the Sledgehammer was more than just a pimped-up Corvette.

The aggressive exterior was backed by a massively powerful drivetrain that sent no less than 898 horsepower and 772 pound-feet of torque to the wheels. The incredible output was achieved using a NASCAR-spec engine block with Mahle pistons and forged connecting rods, as well as a Brodix aluminum head and a pair of turbochargers from Turbonetics. The suspension was designed with help from Carroll Shelby, while the 17-inch aluminum wheels were wrapped in bespoke Goodyear tires. The sprint to 60 mph took only 3.9 seconds, while the quarter-mile run took just 10.6 clicks. These were incredible figures for the 1980s and are still impressive in 2017.

“The sprint to 60 mph took only 3.9 seconds, while the quarter-mile run took just 10.6 clicks”

But the Sledgehammer’s most impressive feat is its top. In October 1988, with John Lingenfelter behind the wheel, Callaway’s super coupe hit a record top speed of 254.7 mph. Although the benchmark wasn’t filed as a Guinness world record due to Sledgehammer being a unique car, it stood as the world’s fastest road-legal car until 2010, when Bugatti hit 267.8 mph with the Veyron Super Sport. The standard Veyron is actually almost one mph slower than the Sledgehammer. And we’re talking about a car built in 2005 with far more modern technology.

And that’s why the Sledgehammer deserves a place on this list.

1990 Corvette ZR-1


Top 10 Greatest Chevrolet Corvettes Ever Built - image 745747
“Co-developed with Lotus, the ZR-1 set a number of endurance world records”

While the Sledgehammer wasn’t available for purchase, the Callaway Twin Turbo package was, and its success prompted Chevrolet to build its very own high-performance version of the Corvette. The opportunity to do this arrived in the mid-to-late 1980s after General Motors acquired Group Lotus. The Corvette division approached the British firm with the idea of developing the world’s fastest production car based on the C4 Corvette and Lotus went on to design the iconic LT5 engine. Using an aluminum block, four overhead camshafts, 32 valves, and a unique air management system, the V-8 generated 375 horsepower, 125 horses more than the standard Vette at the time. In addition to the engine, Lotus also helped design the ZR-1’s braking and steering systems. The 5.7-liter V-8 engine was upgraded to 405 horsepower and 385 pound-feet of torque when the C4 Corvette was updated in 1993. When it first hit the market, the ZR-1 needed only 4.4 seconds to hit 60 mph, while its top speed was estimated at more than 180 mph. The coupe actually set a number of world records, including the 12 Hours Endurance at 175.5 mph, the 24 Hours Endurance at 175.8 mph, and running for 5,000 miles at 279.6 mph. The C4 ZR-1 was the first vehicle to wear the badge since 1971, but as we’ll see below, it wasn’t the last.

2001 Corvette Z06


Top 10 Greatest Chevrolet Corvettes Ever Built - image 745749
“The C5 Z06 reintroduced the Z06 badge and turned the Corvette into a modern, track-oriented vehicle”

Although it dates back to 1963, when it was created as a performance package that circumvented an SCCA racing ban, the Z06 badge was shortlived until the 2000s. Launched as a spiritual successor to the C4 ZR-1, the C5 Z06 had a similar approach. The exterior was closely related to the standard model, but the drivetrain was different. The new LS6 engine was a higher output, tuned version of the regular LS1 and initially developed 385 horsepower. This was less than the ZR-1, but the Z06 was much lighter, which gave it a superior power-to-weight ratio. It was also significantly more affordable, which helped it become a more mainstream proposition. The 2002 update increased power to 405 horsepower, which resulted in a 0-to-60 mph sprint of 3.9 seconds and a quarter-mile run of 12.4 clicks. A carbon-fiber hood introduced with the Commemorative Edition made the Z06 even lighter. Production ended in 2004 as Chevrolet began working on the C6-generation car. While the following Z06 models were faster and more powerful, I went with the C5 model because this was the car that reintroduced the Z06 badge and turned the Corvette into a modern, track-oriented vehicle.

2009 Corvette ZR1


2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - image 221025
“The C6-gen ZR1 was unveiled with a supercharged, 6.2-liter LS9 V-8”

Although the Z06 was first introduced as a spiritual successor to the ZR-1, the two nameplates eventually became regular versions of the Corvette beginning with the C6-generation model. While the Z06 returned in 2006 and was built until 2013, the ZR1 made a comeback in 2009, after a 19-year hiatus. While the Z06 had a 7.0-liter LS7 under the hood, the C6-gen ZR1 was unveiled with a supercharged, 6.2-liter LS9 V-8. The mill produced 638 horsepower, 133 more than the Z06, and at the time of its launch, it was the most powerful Corvette ever made at the factory. It was also the quickest, needing only 3.4 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standing start. Its top speed was rated at 205 mph, another record for a Corvette. It also made extensive use of carbon-fiber, having the roof, engine hood, fenders, front splitter, and rocker moldings made from the lightweight material. It was also equipped with the larger wheels ever used on a production Corvette, carbon-ceramic brakes, and Magnetic Selectiv Ride Control with sensors to automatically adjust stiffness levels based on road conditions and vehicle movement. A supercar in its own right!

2018 Corvette ZR1


2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - image 744658
“Although it's the last vehicle on my list, it's the most extreme Corvette ever built”

Finally, we’re moving on to the latest Corvette ZR1, unveiled in October 2017. Although it’s the last vehicle on my list, it’s the most extreme Corvette ever built. A significant upgrade in terms of exterior design compared to the current Z06, the ZR1 sports the most comprehensive aerodynamic package Chevy has ever created for a road car. On top of the redesigned front bumper and the massive bulge on the engine hood, the ZR1 comes with two distinct rear wings. There’s a standard low wing that delivers up to 70-percent more downforce and the highest top speed and a motorsport-spec high wing that provides maximum downforce for the quickest lap times. That’s a first for any Corvette. Under the hood, lurks the most powerful engine Chevy has built to date. Dubbed LT5, the 6.2-liter V-8 uses a massive supercharger to generate a whopping 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque. It sprints from 0 to 60 mph in less than three seconds and tops out at more than 210 mph, yet another record for the Corvette. The new ZR1 is also the first vehicle of its kind to use an automatic transmission thanks to the eight-speed option offered alongside the standard seven-speed manual.

This concludes my list of the greatest Corvettes ever built. A list I probably won’t alter until Chevy introduces the much-rumored mid-engined Vette. I’m well aware that this list is very subjective and that many other iconic Corvettes weren’t mentioned, so feel free to add your own in the comments section.

PostHeaderIcon Tesla Makes Surprise Debut Of Next-Gen Roadster

2020 Tesla Roadster 2.0

Following the debut of its new semi truck, Tesla dropped a bombshell with the surprise reveal of its second-generation Roadster. The specs on this thing are simply outlandish – 0-to-60 mph in 1.9 seconds, which would make it the first production car to break the 2-second barrier in the test. The sprint to 100 mph will take 4.2 seconds, while the quarter mile is dispatched in 8.9 seconds. Top speed is rated at over 250 mph. Torque output comes to a mind-bending 10,000 Nm (that’s 7,376 pound-feet, by the way). This thing is a world-beater in every single sense, capable of setting multiple world records, and Musk knows it, quipping that the new Roadster is basically a “hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars,” and that after driving the Roadster 2.0, internal combustion would feel like “a steam engine with a side of quiche.”

No kidding. Not only do the acceleration specs blow away the current crop of dino juice sports cars, but the new Tesla Roadster also has the stamina to back its insane performance. Packing a 200-kWh battery and three motors (yep, its AWD), range-per-charge is an astonishing 620 miles on the highway, which means it would have the most range of any production electric car ever made. Throw in the 2+2 seating arrangement and some decent storage (frunk for the win?), and you can bet the big makes are feeling the heat right about now. And oh yeah, it also looks fantastic, rocking a targa top for extra headroom if you want it. The cherry on top? This is the base model, which means more range and more speed are on the way.

Availability for the second-gen Tesla Roadster is scheduled for 2020. Pricing will be around $200,000, although the first 1,000 units will be dubbed the Founder series and will cost at least $250,000. Reservations are open now, with a $50,000 deposit required for the standard model and the full $250,000 required to reserve a unit from the Founder series.

PostHeaderIcon Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose by Spofec

2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose by Spofec

The Novitec Group is arguably the biggest tuning company in the world. It’s tentacles run long, thanks in large part to sub-brands that cater to a specific automaker. We’re familiar with Novitec Rosso that works exclusively on Ferraris. We’ve also touched base with Novitec Torado with Lamborghini, Novitec Tridente with Maserati, and Spofec, which is responsible for developing programs for Rolls-Royce models. For this instance, the focus will be on Spofec and it’s latest tuning masterpiece, the Dawn Overdose.

You probably realize by now that the focus of this program is the Rolls-Royce Dawn. No surprises there. What you might find surprising though is the level of work that was put into creating a kit that not only adds a significant amount of extra power to the Dawn, but also gives it a wide-body kit that gives the lavish convertible a whole new level of physicality to it. The Dawn Overdose is an all-encompassing kit so if you happen to own Rolls’ newest luxury top-down and you’re itching to give it upgrades fit for a car of its status, there are few tuners who can do it about as comprehensive as the tuning company that literally gets its name from the “SPirit OF ECstasy.” Best hurry though because only eight units of the Dawn Overdose will be made created so if you miss out on any of these eight, you’ll be completely out of luck.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose by Spofec

Exterior

  • Wide body kit made from carbon fiber
  • Front fenders add 5.1-inches of width
  • New rocker panels with air intakes
  • Front and rear fascias are more aggressive
  • Wider body accommodates extra-wide, 22-inch wheels

2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose by Spofec - image 745418
“A new carbon fiber wide body kit helps create a more muscular look to the Dawn.”

Working on a car like the Rolls-Royce Dawn can be especially tricky for a tuner. The challenge itself isn’t so much about giving the luxury convertible a new look, but in accomplishing that while trying to navigate around the design elements that already make the Dawn stand out. This is, after all, a Rolls-Royce creation, so it’s not like a tuner can just take out certain elements of its design, change it, and then say it’s an “improvement.”

Fortunately, the people at Spofec are well-versed in the art of customization, having already build a more subtle upgrade for the Dawn in the past. Now, it’s taking it a step further with a new carbon fiber wide body kit that helps create a more muscular look to the Dawn. The kit itself includes a host of significant components, none more visually apparent than the large fenders that contribute an extra 13 cm (5.1 inches) to the overall width of the Dawn at the front axle. It’s a jarring physical transformation by itself, but the good news is that Spofec complimented it by also adding a bigger front bumper. It’s the same story at the back where new air rocker panels have been added into the mix, each carrying its own air intake on each side. The rear bumper also gets an upgrade in size to maintain the consistency of the carbon fiber wide body kit while the addition of a carbon fiber spoiler lip is instantly recognizable.


2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose by Spofec - image 745421
“The Dawn Overdose gets a new set of 22-inch SPOFEC SP1 alloy wheels that were specifically created for this program”

Finishing off the exterior upgrades for the Dawn Overdose kit is a new set of 22-inch SPOFEC SP1 alloy wheels that were specifically created for this program. Th wheels themselves measure 10.5Jx22 and are wrapped in 295/30 ZR 22 tires. Seeing as only eight of these kits will be made, I’d venture a guess that the wheels themselves are going to be about as exclusive as they come.

Interior


2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose by Spofec - image 745429
“There are a rich number of choices to pick from, at least if you’re looking to dress up your Dawns to match your personality”

Interior upgrades are always the trickiest ones to gauge because of the level of customization and personalization that can be offered with programs like the Dawn Overdose. It’s no different here as SPOFEC’s offering for this section of the 2+2 luxury sedan involves a great deal of personalization from the customer. That said, there are a rich number of choices to pick from, at least if you’re looking to dress up your Dawns to match your personality. On that note, Spofec has an endless variety of premium and bespoke materials to choose from, be it fine leather, Alcantara, noble-wood inlays, and enough carbon trim components in a range of designs and colors that will literally make your head spin.

The example that we’re seeing here provides us a good sampling of what we can expect fro the Dawn Overdose program. It’s hard to make out what kind of shade it is, but it is more like tan leather than it is brown leather that covers just about every square inch of surface inside the cabin of the Dawn. Regardless of the technicalities surrounding the collar’s exact name, it is obvious that it’s made of premium craftsmanship, the likes of which we can only get from a tuner that’s as in sync to its clientele’s needs as Spofec.

Drivetrain

  • Tuned 6.6-liter twin-turbo V-12 engine
  • Turbo pressure increased
  • Ignition an injection timing remapped
  • New N-Tronic tuning module
  • Power increased by 115 HP & 118 LB-FT
  • Total Output: 686 HP & 723 LB-FT
  • 0-to-62 mph in 4.6 sec; 0.3 seconds faster than stock

2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose by Spofec - image 745420
“That adds up to an increase of 115 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of twist over the Dawn’s standard power of 571 ponies and 605 pound-feet of torque”

If you’re familiar with the way any of the tuning companies under the Novitec Group operate, then you’ll know that all of them rely on a specific tuning kit to get those engine upgrades up and running. The kit itself is called “N-Tronic,” the tuner’s go-to, plug-and-play, processor-controlled tuning module that’s responsible for tuning the engine control unit on the Dawn’s 6.6-liter twin-turbo V-12 engine. Specific mapping for injection and ignition to go with moderate increases to the boost pressure help the Dawn increase its output to 686 horsepower and 723 pound-feet of torque. Do the math, and that adds up to an increase of 115 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of twist over the Dawn’s standard power of 571 ponies and 605 pound-feet of torque. Pretty impressive for a car that already packs quite a punch by itself.

An eight-speed automatic transmission is till the gearbox-of-choice and all that power is sent to the two rear wheels. The result of that power increase is a Dawn that can sprint from 0 to 62 mph in just 4.6 seconds, ridiculous for a car of its size. It’s also 0.3 seconds quicker, which tells you the quality of Novitec’s N-Tronic tuning module. Unfortunately, top speed sticks at 155 mph because it’s electronically-limited and Spofec didn’t think too much to even uncap it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing given that 155 mph is plenty fast enough for me.

Suspension and Brakes

  • Air suspension tuned to lower by 1.57 inches below 87 mph
  • Spofec carbon-ceramic braking system sheds 84 pounds from stock
  • Larger rotors measure 405 x 30 mm in the front and 395 x 38 mm at the back

2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose by Spofec - image 745427
“Spofec is adding an air suspension system to the program, one that’s capable of dropping the convertible’s ride height by as much 40mm”

Needless to say, with this much going on as far as the Dawn’s performance capabilities are concerned, the need for suspension and brake upgrades are warranted. That’s why Spofec is adding an air suspension system to the program, one that’s capable of dropping the convertible’s ride height by as much 40mm, or around 1.57 inches. This feature is only available though up to speeds of 87 mph so anything higher than that, the whole body goes back up to its original level.

Complementing the air suspension unit is a new carbon-ceramic braking system from the tuner itself. This system comes with vented discs measuring 405 x 30 mm at the front and 395 x 38 mm at the rear axle. More to that, the whole unit actually weighs 38 kilos (84 pounds) less than the standard version. That’s the kind of functionality mixed in with quality use that I can get behind on.

Pricing


2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose by Spofec - image 745426

Somewhat expectedly, pricing figures for the ultra-exclusive Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose program are available on a need-to-know basis. That’s usually the case with programs that offer a significant amount of personalization, largely because the scope and subsequent price of a specific upgrade may vary depending on the amount of owner-directed customization that goes on in the build of this kit.

Competition

Rolls-Royce Dawn by Mansory


2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn by Mansory - image 673224

It’s true that most of the non-standard Rolls-Royce Dawns we’ve seen over the years are of the special edition variety. That seems to be a specialty of Rolls-Royce anyway considering that I’ve literally lost count of the number SE Dawns that have been released since the car itself made its debut in 2015. But there have also been tuners that have worked on developing programs for the luxury convertible, one of which is a pretty familiar name to al of you. Mansory’s program for the Dawn was presented for all the world to see back in April 2016. Among other bits and pieces, that program featured its own handful of aesthetic and aerodynamic upgrades. It received a new front spoiler with larger air intakes and LED daytime running lights, a carbon fiber front lip, and a lightweight hood.

On the performance front, Mansory relied on its own versatile engine tuning module, one that was able to increase the convertible’s output up to a staggering 740 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque. Yep, that’s an increase of 177 ponies and 162 pound-feet of twist, a clear-cut indicator that the Mansory-tuned Rolls-Royce Dawn is going to lay down and roll over for everyone. Even better, the increased power of the car also
helps it print from 0 to 62 mph in just 4.5 seconds. It’s 0.4 seconds quicker than the standard model, though more importantly, it also beats out Spofec’s performance time by 0.1 seconds. It even has a higher top speed of 177 mph on account of the speed limiter getting its own update.

Read our full review on the 2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn by Mansory.

Conclusion


2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn Overdose by Spofec - image 745424

I don’t think I’m the best authority when it comes to aftermarket tuning programs that come out of the Novitec Group umbrella. Not that I don’t consider myself to be well-versed in them, but more because I’ve always had a similar reaction whenever I see a Novitec program in the news. It’s hard not to be impressed with the time and dedication that were put into creating this kit, but more importantly, there’s that consistency in creating incredible work that Spofec has become known for. I’m sure that if you own a Rolls-Royce Dawn, the itch to get more out of it has probably crept up in your mind. Well, now you won’t have to think too much anymore because what Spofec is offering for the 2+2 luxury convertible is about as good as it gets for everybody involved.

  • Leave it
    • Limited to only eight units worldwide
    • Hard to come by as it is
    • Other options available

References

Rolls Royce Dawn


2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn - image 645010

Read our full review on the 2017 Rolls Royce Dawn.



Read more Rolls Royce news.

PostHeaderIcon Corvette ZR1 Convertible by Xtomi

Chevy just released its new Corvette ZR1, and the spec sheet is just this side of insane. All told, this thing is the fastest, most powerful production Corvette ever created, with a thumping supercharged V-8 under the hood, advanced adaptive suspension components and tuning, and more wing than an international airport. All good stuff, no doubt, but what happens when you take off the roof? To find out, X-Tomi Design put together a rendering, and long story short, we approve.

The ZR1 convertible bears the same upgraded front fascia as its hardtop sibling, with aggressive, angular front intakes, a large splitter, and a taller hood to accommodate the bigger blower underneath. The wheels, fender vents, and enormous rear wing are also a carryover. Up top, though, you’ll notice the expanded headroom. If we’ve got your attention, then you’re in luck, because word has it a factory-made ZR1 convertible will break cover soon, possibly alongside the coupe version later this month at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Read on for the details.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Corvette ZR1 Convertible by X-Tomi Design.

What Makes The 2019 Corvette ZR1 Convertible By X-Tomi Design Special


2019 Corvette ZR1 Convertible by Xtomi - image 745417

While overall we like the rendering, we can’t help but point out that it looks a little silly with that carbon fiber monstrosity hanging off the tail – indeed, cutting the roof off the ZR1 would do a good job in screwing up its formidable aerodynamics package. Chevy says the coupe makes close to 1,000 pounds of extra stick at speed, a vital feature when considering the ZR1’s 210-mph top speed. So what effect would a convertible have on performance?


2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - image 744527
“Cutting the roof off the ZR1 would do a good job in screwing up its formidable aerodynamics package.”

Luckily, recent spy shots seem to reveal that the factory convertible will get a few tweaks, including a less aggressive wing in back. The rest of it should be identical to the hardtop version, with as much as 755 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque on tap from a boosted 6.2-liter V-8. Magnetic ride suspension and a seven-speed manual transmission round it out, although we’re guessing convertible lovers will instead go for the optional eight-speed automatic gearbox.


2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - image 744531
“The real question is how a roofless ZR1 will hang on the track.”

The real question is how the roofless ZR1 will hang on the track. The aero will likely be much less effective, and with no top, the car’s torsional rigidity will take a nosedive, affecting how it corners as a result. Basically, it’ll be pretty sloppy, especially with all that tire that’s stuffed in the corners. Chevy’s engineers might counter this with additional bracing in the flanks, but that’ll inevitably increase the car’s curb weight, once again hampering performance.

Either way, we’ll keep an eye out for any further developments. What do you think? Does a ZR1 convertible make sense to you, or does it neuter this latest ultimate ‘Vette? Let us know in the comments!

Drivetrain Specifications

Type: LT5 6.2L Supercharged V-8 with direct and port injection
Bore & stroke (in / mm) 4.06 x 3.62 / 103.25 x 92
Block material: Cast aluminum
Cylinder head material: Cast aluminum
Valvetrain: Overhead valve, two valves per cylinder
Fuel delivery: Direct and port injection
Horsepower 755 HP @ 6,300 RPM (SAE certified)
Torque 715 LB-FT @ 4,400 RPM (SAE certified)
Transmission 7-speed manual with Active Rev Match
8-speed paddle-shaft automatic
Fuel economy city/highway 15/22 mpg (manual)
13/23 mpg (automatic)
Front Suspension: Short/long arm (SLA) double wishbone, cast aluminum upper and lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite spring, Magnetic Selective Ride Control
Rear Suspension: Short/long arm (SLA) double wishbone, cast aluminum upper and lower control arms, transverse-mounted composite spring, Magnetic Selective Ride Control
Steering Type: Variable-ratio rack-and-pinion with electric power assist
Turning Circle (ft. / m): 39.2 / 11.6
Brake Type: Front and rear power-assisted discs with two-piece carbon ceramic matrix rotors; fixed six-piston aluminum front calipers and fixed four-piston aluminum rear calipers
Brake Rotor Size (in / mm): Front –15.5 / 394
Rear –15.3 / 388
Wheel Size: Front: 19-inch x 10.5-inch
Rear: 20-inch x 12-inch
Tire Size: Michelin Pilot Super Sport run-flat (std.)
Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 (ZTK)
Front: P285/30ZR19
Rear: P335/25ZR20

References

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1


2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 - image 744525

Read our full review of the 2019 Chevy Corvette ZR1

Chevy Corvette Stingray


2014 - 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray - image 526921

Read our full review of the 2014 – 2017 Corvette Stingray

Latest Corvette News


1969 Chevrolet Corvette 427/430 L88 - image 639510

Or, read our full review on the 1969 Chevy Corvette 427/430 L88

PostHeaderIcon Insider Knowledge – You can Save BIG Money on the Jaguar F-Type Right Now

So, here’s the deal – Jaguar isn’t advertising it, but it’s dealers are getting a major discount for each Jaguar F-Type sold. How Much? As much as $30,000 Gertrude; that’s how much. The nitty-gritty: Dealers are getting $30,000 cash incentives on the F-Type SVR, $20,000 on the F-Type R, and $10,000 on the F-Type V-6. So, if you’re planning to buy an F-Type, walk into your dealer with this knowledge, otherwise, they might try to get one over on you. Either way, this is a pretty big deal, and even if some dealers try to play stupid, others out there are already applying a full discount. And, they should.

See, the whole point of this huge dealer cash incentive is to help them move 2017 inventories, not for them to make $30,000 on some poor guy who doesn’t know what’s going on. The dealers can mark them down as much as they want, to the maximum amount and will still get their full incentive, but, there’s a catch. See, the dealers only get the cash incentive if the sale isn’t combined with promotional financing. That means you’re either paying case or walking into the door with a check pre-written by the loan agent at your bank or credit union – you know, outside financing.

With that in mind, you could – in theory – get yourself a V-6 F-Type for as little as $50,000 if your dealer has one in stock and will give you the full $10,000 cash incentive. OF course, most dealers have already sold out of the base model, as usual, so you’ll probably have to go for an R or SVT, both of which will drain the bank a bit more. But, with when you take into account that just a week ago the F-Type SVR had a sticker of $130,000, and you can now find them listed for just over $100,000, you’re still getting a damn good deal for a car that’s still new. Oh and, by the way, there’ are absolutely no dals on the table for buying or leasing a 2018 model with all current offers expiring after the new-years blowout on January 1, 2018. So, I wouldn’t hold my breath expecting to get a better deal on a 2018 model and, for what it’s worth, the 2018 model will probably be the exact same anyway so do yourself a favor and take advantage of this deal while you still can.

References

Jaguar F-Type


Insider Knowledge – You can Save BIG Money on the Jaguar F-Type Right Now - image 666146

Read our full review on the 2017 Jaguar F-Type SVR.


2017 Jaguar F-Type - image 655250

Read our full review on the 2017 Jaguar F-Type.


2016 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe AWD - Driven - image 648333

Read our full driven review on the 2016 Jaguar F-Type R.



Read more Jaguar news.

PostHeaderIcon The Gift That Keeps On Giving: A New One-Off Pagani Zonda Is On The Horizon

One-Off Pagani Zonda Created For TopCar Customer

Just when you thought it was safe to assume that the Pagani Zonda will now get to rest in peace, those assumptions are once again getting thrown out of whack because a new one-off Zonda is about to be unveiled. At this point, thinking of the Zonda as a departed model has turned into a futile exercise. It’ll always be around for as long as there’s someone out there willing to pay for an opportunity to get one. That seems to be the case with this new one-off Zonda, which comes to us by way of Pagani and Russian tuner TopCar.

Judging by the visible presence of TopCar’s shark logo in the photos, this particular one-off Zonda appears to be some sort of collaboration between the Italian automaker and the Russian tuning company that’s known in the new world for some racy exotic tunes in the past. The full details on the nature of the build have yet to be revealed, but the project itself has been billed as an “original car,” suggesting, it seems, that this particular Zonda is a new model and not a reconfiguration of an existing model like the three other one-off Zondas that have already made their debuts this year. Regardless of its roots, this new one-off Zonda will live up to the legacy of its one-off predecessors as a bonafide head-turner. It already looks the part of a legitimate one-off, and at this point, the only thing it needs now is a fancy nickname.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

What do we know about this new one-off Pagani Zonda?

  • Body has exposed carbon fiber with a unique shade of blue
  • Gold trim and wheels create a contrast and adds to the tri-color trim
  • Gold wheels round out the exterior package
  • Some custom work by TopCar – A first for a Pagani Zonda
  • Interior gets carbon fiber, leather, and wood trim

The Gift That Keeps On Giving: A New One-Off Pagani Zonda Is On The Horizon - image 743489

Apart from the nickname or whatever Pagani decides to call the color scheme, everything is pretty much on the table here, that is if these images paint an accurate picture of what we can expect.

From the looks of it, this Zonda example carries an exposed carbon fiber body that’s been dressed up in a specific shade of blue. Gold trim on the sides help to create a nice contrast to the overall look while the unmistakable tri-color trim representing Italy’s flag is likewise present throughout the car, including on the sides of the hood scoop and the sides of the rear wing. The prevalent use of carbon fiber on the body of the Zonda is a Pagani specialty, and this new one-off Zonda is no different. As a final touch, a new set of gold wheels has been added to the equation. While it’s not explicitly said, I suspect that these wheels and some of the aerodynamic components in the supercar – the rear wing, perhaps? – are some of TopCar’s contributions to this build. I may be wrong, but since this one-off Zonda was commissioned by a customer of the Russian tuner, I think that TopCar put in a few bits and pieces of its own to make this car stand out from the rest of its one-off counterparts.


The Gift That Keeps On Giving: A New One-Off Pagani Zonda Is On The Horizon - image 743487

Move inside, and the presence of carbon fiber is just as evident as parts of the dashboard and door panels were sculpted using the same lightweight material. A good amount of leather is also included in the mix, adding to the bespoke quality of the cabin. The same can be said for the wood trim, which we can see, plain as day, on the steering wheel, handbrake, and gear shifter. The quilted pattern on the while leather section of the seats and the blue formats provide a good amount of visual balance to the plain blue leather and the aesthetics of all that carbon fiber.

As stylish as the exterior and interior of this one-off Zonda are, the drivetrain is the one section that I’m most curious about. Normally, past one-offs didn’t come with any engine upgrades, so it was safe to assume that almost all of them carried stock drivetrain credentials. In this case, the Zonda looks to have been based on the Cinque variant of the supercar so the easy answer would be that it gets its heebie-jeebies from an AMG-coursed 7.3-liter V-12 engine that produces 670 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque.


The Gift That Keeps On Giving: A New One-Off Pagani Zonda Is On The Horizon - image 743488

But here’s the thing: TopCar is somehow involved in this build, and we know from the tuner’s history that it has a long menu of engine upgrades available to a variety of exotic cars. Could it be possible then that this particular one-off Zonda has an engine tune? It’s a question that’s certainly worth asking given the players involved in the build. Is an Inferno kit in there? Maybe a Stinger? Whatever’s lurking inside the carbon fiber guts of this one-off Zonda, I definitely wouldn’t be surprised if TopCar’s fingerprints are all over it.

How does it compare to the three one-off Pagani Zondas we’ve already seen this year?

2017 has been an eventful year for the one-off Zonda craze. We’re almost halfway to November, and we’ve already seen four one-offs make their debuts this year.

Back in July, Pagani pulled the covers on not one, but two one-off Zondas, all in the space of a few days. The first of these two one-offs made its debut sporting a red carbon fiber body with matching black accents and a prominent tri-color trim. It was called the Zonda Fantasma Evo, and it received a new front fascia with the LED daytime running lights of the Zonda Tricolore. Four new carbon fiber canards were also installed, same with a large Zonda Cinque-inspired carbon fiber roof scoop, an auspicious rear wing, and a central carbon fiber fin. As definitive as these upgrades are, the defining feature of the Zonda Fantasma Evo is its history, which dates all the way back to 2005 when it first came alive as a Zonda F. It received numerous upgrades over the course of its life, and has had multiple owners in that span of time. Now it looks better than ever.


2017 Pagani Zonda Fantasma Evo - image 724538

Note: photo of the Pagani Zonda Fantasma Evo

Barely a week after the Zonda Fantasma Evo surfaced, another one-off Zonda burst into the scene, this time wearing the “Riviera” monicker. That model was based on the Zonda F and received its nickname because of the inspiration it placed on the French Riviera. While it remains a Zonda F at heart, the Zonda Riviera received its one-off status after getting dressed up in a white carbon fiber body with matching blue accents on the hood and side profile of the supercar. It also received a good amount of aerodynamic carbon fiber bits, particularly a new roof scoop and a much larger rear wing than the stock version that came with the Zonda F. The front canards were also upgraded while more carbon fiber pieces appear around the headlights. All that said, the cosmetic and aerodynamic upgrades given to the Zonda Riviera didn’t equate to any engine upgrades. As such, the one-off Zonda still features a 7.3-liter V-12 engine that packs 600 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque.


2017 Pagani Zonda Riviera - image 725281

Note: photo of the Pagani Zonda Riviera

Exactly a month after the Pagani Zonda Riviera was unveiled, the Italian automaker showcased a doozy of a Zonda. It was billed the Zonda HP Barchetta, and it was built exclusively for the man behind the company, Horacio Pagani himself. It’s fitting, then, that of all the exclusive Zondas ever created, the HP Barchetta stands out for a number of reasons. For one, it comes with a cropped windshield, a feature that no other Zonda has. It also gets its fair share of carbon fiber accessories, including the front canards and rear wing. A central scoop was also added, and for good measure, the model’s set of wheels comes in different designs and colors: silver on the left and blue on the right. That’s only a small sampling on the legitimacy of the super exclusive Zonda HP Barchetta.


2017 Pagani Zonda HP Barchetta - image 727484

Note: photo of the Pagani Zonda HP Barchetta

References

Pagani Zonda


2005 Pagani Zonda F - image 12232

Read our full review on the Pagani Zonda F.


2010 Pagani Zonda Tricolore - image 350168

Read our full review on the Pagani Zonda Tricolore.

PostHeaderIcon Come on Honda – Take on the Mazda Miata and Subaru BRZ with the Sports EV Concept

Will Honda Take on the Miata, BRZ, Z4, and Supra?

One could argue that the sports car market is slowly deteriorating, leaving us with nothing but slightly faded memories of our illustrious past in which we would dream of owning cars like the Nissan 350Z, Honda S2000, Toyota Supra, or Nissan Skyline. But, those days might as well be gone as the Nissan Z line is in danger of becoming a badge for the SUV, the Skyline (for intents and purposes in the sports car market) is dead, Honda has remained quiet about an S2000 successor, and it seems like every day another SUV is born, and even taking the name of once awesome cars (think of the abortion on wheels known as the Eclipse Cross, for example.) With the EV evolution slowing taking shape, however, we can find new hope in a future where sports cars may once again reign supreme or, at the very least, maintain a firm hold in a market that we hold so near and dear to our hearts.

Regardless of your taste in sports cars, or ideal price point, you can’t deny the fact that the offerings for sports cars seem to be dwindling unless you’re willing to pay out the ass for something like the Nissan GT-R, or Mercedes-AMG GT, for example. Even the Nissan 370Z has been practically untouched for the last decade, leaving it as a poor choice even if you could afford one. But, we still have cars like the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ twins, and Mazda recently hit us with the new MX-5 Miata. BMW and Toyota are about to bring a new Z4 and Supra to the market within the next year, so you could say things are starting to look better, but we’re still missing something. I’m talking about, of course, the Honda S2000. And, while Honda hasn’t said a word about a successor, we could have already seen a glimmer of hope in the 2017 Honda Sports EV Concept. The question is, does Honda have the balls to step back into the compact sports car market? Let’s talk some more about it!

Is the Sports EV a Future S2000?


2007 Honda S2000 - image 105510
“A specific segment or niche doesn’t need a lot of models competing”

Whether or not Honda will ever announce a successor to the Honda S2000 remains to be seen, but it’s certainly got its eye on the compact sports car market as seen with the Sports EV Concept that it brought to the Tokyo Motor Show. Sure, Honda didn’t say much about it, and it is electric, but that’s the future of the automotive industry, right? Why couldn’t Honda jump back into the market with its first, dead-to-rights all-electric vehicle? Well, it damn sure could, and the Sports EV would be a prime competitor.

Take this scenario for example. Honda manages to give this baby a range of about 350 miles and motors capable of delivering around 300 horsepower while keeping the weight in check. It could be rear-wheel drive or even all-wheel drive – it could be optioned either way. As a coupe, it would take on the BRZ and 86 twins, or as a hard-top convertible it could take on cars like the Mazda MX-5 Miata RF, Toyota Supra, or the BMW Z4. The latter would require the sports EV to have a little more power at its disposal, and it would have to be luxurious enough to compete, but it could certainly pose a serious threat. A specific segment or niche doesn’t need a lot of models competing – manufacturers like Mercedes and BMW have proved that with their funky coupe-ish crossovers, wagons, and sportbacks – so there’s no reason why the market has to die now that we have replacements for the Z4 and Supra coming. If Honda put this sports EV into production – even with a gasoline engine – it could be on point when this niche is at its strongest, and it could claim itself a pretty decent chunk of the pie too.

Taking it a Step Further


Come on Honda - Take on the Mazda Miata and Subaru BRZ with the Sports EV Concept - image 743170
“Honda needs something to compete in the little sports car market again, and the sports EV will provide the basis”

Let’s take the Sports EV Concept, and put it into production much quicker. I say, Honda keeps it front-wheel drive and drops the new Type-R drivetrain under the hood. Hell, it could do one even better and drop it into the rear, making it rear-engine, rear-wheel drive. That would be something, don’t you think? Think about this little compact with 306 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of turbocharged, four-cylinder, six-speed, three-pedaled Honda madness on tap. In the Civic Type R, that engine is enough to push the car up to 60 mph in as little as 4.9 seconds. It can also run the quarter mile in 13.5 seconds, with maximum speed (if you have a long-enough straightaway coming in at 169 mph. Take a lighter, more compact car like the Sports EV Concept with the same drivetrain, two seats, and plenty of weight reduction measures, and I bet that Type R engine will push it to 60 mph in close to four seconds, with the quarter-mile coming in less than 12.5 seconds. Top speed might even be a little higher too, but who cares about that – this little car will be fast, and that’s exactly what Honda needs. Honda needs something to compete in the little sports car market again, and the sports EV will provide the basis with battery packs or a gas tank – it doesn’t matter at this point as long as the brand does it.

2018 Honda Civic Type R Specs

Engine Type Turbocharged In-Line 4-Cylinder
Turbocharger Single-Scroll MHI TD04 with Internal Wastegate
Boost Pressure 22.8 psi
Displacement (cc) 1,996
Horsepower (SAE net) 306 HP @ 6,500 RPM
Torque (SAE net) 295 LB-FT @ 2,500-4,500 RPM
Fuel economy (City/Highway/Combined) (mpg) 22 / 28 / 25
Curb Weight (lbs.) 3,117
0 to 60 mph 4.9 seconds
Quarter-mile 13.5 seconds at 108 mph
Top Speed 169 mph

Oh, How I want to see this Happen


Come on Honda - Take on the Mazda Miata and Subaru BRZ with the Sports EV Concept - image 743176

Oh Honda, please please please make this happen. I would love to see the Sports EV come to market. I would even love to see it come to market as an according-to-Hoyle EV, but I’m willing to settle for getting it faster if you can just throw that Type R drivetrain under the hood. I’d really love to see it come in a rear-engine, rear-wheel configuration too. Will that ever happen? Well, I wouldn’t hold my breath, but having the Type R drivetrain up front or having it as an official EV that can take on the BRZ, 86, Z4 and Supra is well within the realm of reality. Someone over at Honda just needs to greenlight it and make it happen. Lord knows I’m waiting. What do you all think, though? Would the Sports EV be successful as a competitor against the cars currently on the market or about to be, assuming it delivers enough power? How about a rear-engined Honda? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

References


2017 Honda Sports EV Concept - image 740626

Read our full review on the 2017 Honda Sports EV Concept.

Honda Civic Type R


2017 Honda Civic Type R - image 719343

Read our full review on the 2017 Honda Civic Type R.



Read more Honda news.

PostHeaderIcon Polestar 1 Convertible

Polestar 1 Convertible Rendering by http://xtomi.blogspot.com

The debut of the Polestar 1 turned a lot of heads for the right reasons. It was as impressive a first offering for Volvo’s newly-minted performance stand-alone brand, and like most cars with a lot of anticipation surrounding them, the thought of different body styles for the Polestar 1 has begun to take shape. We’ve already seen renders for a shooting brake-style Polestar 1, but what I’m really looking forward to seeing – if it ends up getting here – is a convertible version. There’s no guarantee that Polestar is going to appease our calls for one, but I think it’s a good idea, in large part because we haven’t seen a convertible from the Swedish automaker since the C70 ended production in 2013.

Ok, so it’s only been four years, but a lot has happened in those four years, especially as it pertains to Volvo. Back then, the company had only been a few years into being under Geely ownership, so it was still in the process of reinventing itself. Fast forward to 2017 and Volvo is in much better shape now to the point that its former performance division, Polestar, has been turned into a stand-alone performance brand with one model – the Polestar One – that’s already on the way. There’s no guarantee that a convertible will follow after because the company has already laid out plans for its second (a Tesla Model 3 rival) and third (an electric SUV) models. Fingers crossed we see one in the future, though, because the way the Polestar 1 looks right now, it would be very interesting to see if it somehow lost its hardtop and got a soft one instead.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Polestar 1 Convertible

Exterior

  • Soft top roof
  • Muscular side profile
  • Heavy Polestar 1 inspiration

2018 Polestar 1 - image 738892

Note: Polestar 1 Coupe pictured here.

“There’s simply no reason for Polestar to veer away from it given the impressive grand tourer styling of the coupe”

This is all speculation so forgive me if my imagination goes a little haywire in piecing together how I’d like the Polestar 1 Convertible to look. Off the bat, I will say that I’m not opposed to the convertible retaining most of the aesthetics as its coupe counterpart. There’s simply no reason for Polestar to veer away from it given the impressive grand tourer styling of the coupe. I’m especially particular with the front end design of the car to the point that I probably wouldn’t touch it at all. Sure, the similarities are there with Volvo’s models, namely the S90 sedan, but I don’t care. It’s one of those things wherein the saying “don’t mess with a good thing” applies. The set-up of the headlights is top-class with the T-like LEDs separating the upper and lower portions of the entire lighting fixture. That design element has been one of my favorite things about Volvo’s new design language, and it’s cool to see that Polestar adopted it too. I’d even go so far as use it on a convertible version of the 1 because it actually looks better on a convertible. Same thing with the large intakes and those sweet-looking aero blades.

Move to the side profile, and I’d like to see a more robust-looking aesthetic than the coupe version. Remember, the Polestar 1 Convertible’s biggest calling card will be its roofless look, so there’s no point to the car getting an aggressive roofline. In this case, the shoulder and body lines, as well as the wheel arches, will be the biggest factors in creating a dynamic profile. I’d be a little more aggressive in those departments, particularly the lines that run across the length of the body. Don’t make it too rigid because it could end with the 1 Convertible looking a little too boxy. Throw in some nice curves and find a way for these lines to seamlessly integrate themselves into the flared wheel arches, and you could have something special here. If Polestar can do this, the 1 Convertible could turn itself into a full-fledged threat in its own segment.

Interior

  • Sporting touches
  • Carbon fiber trim
  • Polished aluminum

2018 Polestar 1 - image 738877

Note: Polestar 1 Coupe pictured here.

“With a convertible, I think Polestar will have to dial up the sportiness a little bit more, even if it comes at the expense of toning down the luxury”

This is where I venture a little bit off from the interior design of the Polestar 1 Coupe. I’m not saying that the convertible wouldn’t look good carrying the same design architecture as its coupe counterpart, but it wouldn’t have the same feel to it. Hear me out for a second. The interior design of the Polestar 1 Coupe has a luxury feel to it. That’s a good thing because that ties into the persona of the car as a performance luxury coupe. With a convertible, I think Polestar will have to dial up the sportiness a little bit more, even if it comes at the expense of toning down the luxury. That would fit into the personality of a convertible, which, let’s face it, is often bought by customers specifically for the purpose of impressing people with the car’s sporting looks and performance qualities.

I wouldn’t be opposed to the convertible getting its share of polished metal and carbon fiber trim because those two elements work well in just about any kind of design setting.

I’d also keep the digital screen in the center stack and the whole controls and configuration that come with. It’s the use of fine leather that I’m looking at cutting back on. I think the convertible version of the Polestar 1 would be much better off if the interior was dressed up with the kind of leather that can withstand the elements, especially when the roof is down and the car is blasting along a scenic mountainside road. Bespoke leather, as awesome as it is from a stylistic point of view, will be difficult to maintain. So instead of using that, I’d like to think that the Polestar will adopt a more functional approach in designing the cabin of the Polestar 1 Convertible.

Drivetrain

  • Hybrid electric powertrain
  • 600 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque
  • Different driving modes

2018 Polestar 1 - image 738876

Note: Polestar 1 Coupe pictured here.

“Anything less than the 600-horsepower and 738-pound-feet of torque out of the Polestar 1 Coupe will be a disappointment”

This section is the easiest one to predict because I don’t see any reason for Polestar to veer away from the hybrid electric-gasoline powertrain that’s already sitting under the hood of the Polestar 1 Coupe. In fact, I wouldn’t do anything past maybe adjusting the power and performance figures for the 1 Convertible to make it perform like a proper performance convertible. Ultimately though, I’m perfectly fine with the idea of using the same drivetrain set-up on the convertible version.

That would mean the Polestar 1 Convertible making use of something akin to a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s both turbocharged and supercharged to go along with the usual hybrid step of electric motors on all four wheels to go with a more potent lithium-ion battery pack that will essentially be tasked to feed the energy requirements of those electric motors.

As far as output is concerned, anything less than the 600-horsepower and 738-pound-feet of torque out of the Polestar 1 Coupe will be a disappointment. Power should sit around that number, maybe even a little higher, in order for the Polestar 1 Convertible to completely differentiate itself from its coupe counterpart. That should be one of Polestar’s main focus because any other scenario could lead to people thinking of the Polestar 1 Convertible as nothing more than a roof-less version of the grand tourer.

Prices

Since the Polestar 1 Convertible is nothing more than a figment of our imagination for the time being, determining a price point could be tricky, especially with the actual Polestar 1 Coupe’s price pegged at an incredible $177,000. It’s too hard to say how much a convertible is going to cost, but since they’re traditionally more expensive than their coupe counterparts, I’d say that the Polestar 1 Convertible could fetch costs amounting to around $180,000, supposing that you don’t avail of the subscription offer that the company is offering.

Competition

Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet


2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet - image 707577

I suppose that if Polestar did roll out a 1 Convertible, it would theoretically enter a market occupied by the likes of the Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet. It’s admittedly tricky to line up these two models opposite each other because at their respective roots, they’re two different models themselves. They do have some similarities being convertibles and all, but the likely difference in powertrain set-up could mean that we’re looking at two distinct performance times. Never mind the fact that the Polestar 1 Cabriolet isn’t even a sure thing yet.

That said, if Polestar wants the 1 Convertible to be as successful as it hopes, it’s going to have to take customers away from picking a car like the E-Class Cabriolet, or in this case the AMG E 63 Cabriolet. It’s easier said than done given that the Merc has enough power on its side to make a statement – 550 ponies form a 4.0-liter V-8 – and most importantly, it has the heritage over the Polestar. Whereas the new performance brand is still trying to establish its identity and experience in this competitive segment, AMG already has decades of them under its belt.

Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet.

Conclusion


2019 Polestar 1 Convertible - image 741405

Would it be too early to hope that Polestar moves forward with a soft-top convertible version of the 1? I certainly hope so though I do understand that there are far bigger and more important priorities on the table. We already have an idea about the company’s plans for the Polestar 2 and Polestar 3 models.
The two will slot in the mid-size segment and, according to its Polestar, “will join the competition around the Tesla Model 3.” Then there’s the 3, which is being prepared to come in the mold of a large SUV. Those two models are the two priorities at the moment so if Polestar does decide to bring out a convertible version of the 1; it might have to wait in line for quite some time since the 2 and 3 will most likely come out first, possibly around 2020 and 2021, respectively. Still, if patience is a virtue, then I’m going to drown in it if it means seeing the Polestar 1 Convertible come to life. There’s a lot of potential that Volvo’s new standalone performance brand should consider, even if it’s a few years from now. We can wait, or at least I can.

  • Leave it
    • No word on production yet
    • If it is going to be built, it won’t be around for a few more years
    • Let’s see how the Polestar 1 Coupe does first

References

Polestar 1


2018 Polestar 1 - image 739271

Read our full review on the 2018 Polestar 1.

PostHeaderIcon Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante Tom Brady Signature Edition

Tom Brady is a five-time Super Bowl champion, is regarded as the greatest quarterback in NFL history, and has a wife who is somehow more popular than he is. Tom Brady has so many things going for him that he now even has a special edition Aston Martin named after him. This is the Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante Tom Brady Signature Edition, the product of a collaboration between Touchdown Tommy and the bespoke design team over at Q by Aston Martin – Commission. It’s limited to just 12 units – no surprise there – and getting one will probably be as difficult as stopping Brady and the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Sorry, Atlanta Falcons.

There’s no word yet on how much each of these special edition Vanquish S Volantes will cost, but rest assured, they’re not going to come cheap considering the status of the name that’s attached to it. See, this isn’t so much an Aston Martin as it is an Aston Martin that Brady had a hand in designing from scratch. He may not be known for having creative design instincts, but it is pleasantly surprising to see the Vanquish S Volante Tom Brady Signature Edition turn out as well as it did. For one, it has impressive bespoke qualities, the kind that you expect from Brady himself. Then there’s the attention-to-detail, another hallmark Brady quality that we’re saying on full display in this Vanquish S Volante.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante Tom Brady Signature Edition.

What makes the Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante Tom Brady Signature Edition special


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante Tom Brady Signature Edition - image 741082
“According to Aston Martin, the special edition Vanquish is finished in a rich Ultramarine Black paint.”

Remember when Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said that owners would have to pay at least $2.6 million to secure a one-off Aston Martin? The Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante technically doesn’t qualify as a one-off but it does show the quality of work that Q by Aston Martin can come up with. Brady’s involvement in the design of the limited edition Vanquish is also an excellent selling point on account of the man’s popularity and status as the greatest quarterback in NFL history.

The result speaks for itself, even with the curious name of the paint color. According to Aston Martin, the special edition Vanquish is finished in a rich Ultramarine Black paint. The name sounds fancy and befitting Brady’s esteem, but apart from the soft-top roof, the body actually looks more blue than black. Still, it’s a fancy shade on the Vanquish that brings out a sporty and athletic profile.


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante Tom Brady Signature Edition - image 741083
“It also plays well with the extensive use of carbon fiber in the interior and Brady’s choice of Dark Knight leather to dress up the whole cabin”

It also plays well with the extensive use of carbon fiber in the interior and Brady’s choice of Dark Knight leather to dress up the whole cabin. Specific details like the California Poppy leather paddle shift tips and the Aston Martin One-77-sourced color-keyed steering wheel not only point to the kind of bespoke potential that Q by Aston Martin has but also the meticulousness by which Brady conducts his affairs. These small details create a unified look to the interior of the special edition Vanquish S that makes me wonder if Brady has a future in car design once he decides to hang up his football helmet for good. And, to make sure that each of the 12 Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante Tom Brady Signature Edition models will have Brady’s seal of approval, his signature literally appears on the sill plates together with his “TB12,” which can be found on a fender badge, embossed on the headrests, and as a pull tab on the rear of the car. The latter even gets the same California Poppy treatment.

There are no engine upgrades here, but who really cares about that at this point. Even in standard form, the Vanquish S Volante still features an imposing 6.0-liter naturally-aspirated V-12 engine that pumps out 592 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers help the Vanquish S Volante sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds, 0.1 seconds quicker than its coupe counterpart. Top speed is the same at 197 mph though I don’t think that’s going to be an issue since a 197-mph top speed will still make your face do funny things.


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante Tom Brady Signature Edition - image 741080
“The “TB12” logo can be found on a fender badge, embossed on the headrests, and as a pull tab on the rear of the car”

All 12 units of the Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante Tom Brady Signature Edition will come in a convertible body style. Prices have yet to be announced, but don’t expect it to come cheap either. Pricing for the Vanquish S Volante already starts from $312,950 so it’s easy to think that this 12-unit, Tom Brady-designed Vanquish S Volante will probably fetch somewhere in the neighborhood of $500,000.

There’s no way I’ll be able to afford this, but I’d actually love to see Brady drive this car full blast with the roof down. With so many things going for him, it would only be fair for the rest of us if his contorted face gets immortalized as a meme. I even have a name for it already: Aston Martin Brady. Sounds good, right?

References

Aston Martin Vanquish


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante - image 725492

Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Vanquish S Volante.



Read more Aston Martin news.

PostHeaderIcon Pops’ Rants: Here’s What’s Wrong with the Awesome Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato

So Aston Martin just launched a new version of the Vanquish Zagato with a shooting brake body. Pretty cool, eh? Actually, it’s more than that. Cool is something I would use to describe a Toyota 86 with an extra 30 horsepower. This thing is exciting, to say the least. The sporty cues of the Vanquish, the more aggressive styling of Zagato, and all that carbon-fiber make for a great combination, especially if the end result is a shooting brake. Yeah, I’m crazy about wagons, and I like shooting brakes even more. But despite my feelings toward long-roofed vehicles and the fact that the Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake is brilliant in just about any department, I still have a big rant to shoot out of my system.

Why would I complain about a seemingly perfect car (from my point of view)? Well, it’s not exactly the car I want to complain about. It’s about Aston Martin’s marketing strategy, and the fact that this Vanquish Zagato run is too damn exclusive. And it’s like Aston Martin is going against the tide, which isn’t exactly what it needs at this point as it has yet to reach that safe point after years of struggle. Let me explain what I mean.

Continue reading for the full story.

Make the Zagato a Full-Time Lineup


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake - image 740279
“These designs deserve to become full-time models in the Aston Martin lineup”

Yes, that’s what’s wrong with the four Vanquish Zagato model that Aston Martin launched since 2016. They’re way too exclusive, with just 99 coupes, convertibles, and shooting brakes each and only 28 speedsters. These designs deserve to become full-time models in the Aston Martin lineup and an upgrade for more than just the Vanquish.

Specifically, Aston Martin should find a way to turn Zagato into a higher-end offering for at least the Vanquish and the DB11. Granted, making Zagato some sort of luxury or performance division isn’t the easiest thing, as the Italians seem to enjoy being an independent company, but a collaboration of sorts is definitely possible in today’s market. But Aston Martin could also start thinking about creating its own division. With every important carmaker out there having either a performance or luxury division at its disposal, Aston Martin would make quite an impact with something a little different. And by that, I mean products similar to these Zagato-upgraded Vanquish. Keep the interior similar, but add extra features, uprate the engine, so it stands out compared to the standard unit, but revise the exterior completely for a unique design. What’s more, the speedster and the shooting brake could remain exclusive to this high-end brand, prompting customers to take the big financial step for something entirely different.


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster - image 726604
“The speedster and the shooting brake should remain exclusive to this high-end brand”

Definitely more appealing than the larger vents and different wheels you get with the “AMG,” “BMW M,” and “RS” badges.

As for pricing, there’s a reason why I haven’t labeled the Vanquish Zagato as overpriced, despite the fact that the Speedster is rumored to cost more than $1.5 million. If these cars become full-time production models, Aston Martin would be right to charge way in excess of $500,000 or even $1 million, given that factory output remains limited and the cars are built by hand with tremendous attention to detail.

Seriously now, it may sound difficult to achieve, but it’s not. At least not for a company like Aston Martin. It may require some serious funding, but the Brits are getting back on their feet. Actually, an SUV might solve that problem. And in an era where every automaker is annoyingly predictable and we get similar products from every direction, a full-time lineup of Zagato-designed cars would finally add some excitement.

Revive the Great Coachbuilders

This would also be a great opportunity to save the famous coachbuilder that have entered bankruptcy or have been sold to other firms recently. If more carmakers adopt the idea, we could see Pininfarina and Bertone return to their former glory. Ghia and Vignale could also roll out more intriguing designs instead of Ford trim lines. And why not, maybe we could witness rivals of iconic coachbuilders like Frua, Karmann, Gurney Nutting, Vanden Plas, and Fleetwood.

I can dream, can’t I?

References

Aston Martin Vanquish


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake - image 740277

Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake.


2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster - image 726604

Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Speedster.

PostHeaderIcon Lotus Elise Cup 260

Arguably the most iconic Lotus still in production, the Elise has been around for more than two decades. Now in its third generation, the tiny Elise is heading toward a major redesign that will bring a faster, lighter car into dealerships. But despite working on a brand-new model, Lotus isn’t yet willing to give up on the current Elise, and it keeps pushing the limits of the small roadster with all sorts of limited-edition packages and upgrades. With several new iterations launched in 2016 and 2017, Lotus has prepared yet another version of its supercharged two-door. It’s called the Cup 260 and its the lightest, quickest road-legal Elise built to date.

Developed as the company prepares for the 70th anniversary of when founder Colin Chapman built his first car in 1948, the Cup 260 is based on the Cup 250 model that came in 2016 and includes nearly all of the lightweight Elise Cup options as standard. It also sports the latest visual upgrades that Lotus introduced for the standard Elise, as well as a comprehensive aerodynamic package that adds a tremendous amount of downforce at high speeds. Naturally, it’s the quickest Elise on the brand’s Hethel track, and its production is limited to only a handful of examples. Find out more about that below.

Continue reading to learn more about the Lotus Elise Cup 260.

What makes the Lotus Elise Cup 260 special

Unique, Aggressive Exterior


2017 Lotus Elise Cup 260 - image 739735
“The front bumper was revised with a wider and taller center grille”

A quick look at the Cup 260 will leave you wondering what changed compared to the Cup 250. Well, upgrades aren’t exactly visible upon first glance, but take a closer look and you’ll notice a few new features. For starters, there are a couple of louvers atop each front wheel fender. These vents not only give the Elise a more race-inspired look, but also reduce aerodynamic lift.

The front bumper was also revised with a wider and taller center grille, as well as significantly larger side vents. Down below, the standard carbon-fiber splitter has smaller winglets on the sides. Onto the sides, we can see a black panel on the rear fender, just below the intake that feeds air into the engine. The latter is also slightly different, now missing the center fin and sporting a fine mesh. Surprisingly enough, the Cup 250’s aggressive carbon-fiber side skirts have been removed.


2017 Lotus Elise Cup 260 - image 739738
“Based on the Lotus 3-Eleven, the new rear wing turns the Elise into a full-fledged race car”

The rear end boasts the biggest change in terms of aerodynamics. While the Cup 250 has a pretty large wing, the Cup 260 gained a much bigger element that’s also mounted higher. Based on the rear wing of the bonkers Lotus 3-Eleven, this feature turns the Elise into a full-fledged race car. The huge wing is backed by a revised diffuser that’s smaller than the Cup 250’s, but exually aggressive. A center-mounted exhaust pipe and the Elise’s new taillights with smaller inner reverse lights round off the look.

The sports car is also equipped with ultra-lightweight, forged alloy wheels measuring 16 inches at the front and 17 inches in the rear, both wrapped in Yokohama Advan Neova tires. Much like the Cup 250, it comes with a wide array of carbon-fiber features, including the sill covers, roll hoop cover, front access panel, and engine cover. The motorsport-style polycarbonate backlight glass also helps cut down weight by at least 13 pounds.

Finally, the Elise Cup 260 has a laurel wreath decal on the left buttress and the Union Jack on both the rear wing endplates. Optionally, the car can be ordered in the iconic Championship Gold color, as seen in the official photos above.

Carbon-Fiber Seats and Trim


2017 Lotus Elise Cup 260 - image 739736
“The carbon-fiber seats are wrapped in black Alcantara with red or yellow stitching”

The interior is pretty much identical to the Cup 250, featuring the same carbon-fiber race seats and open gearbox mechanism. The seats are wrapped in black Alcantara with red or yellow stitching, as are the door panels. The package also includes body-keyed color inserts in the seats, transmission console, HVAC trim, and window switches, which means you can have a bunch of cool Championship Gold accents inside the cabin. The exposed aluminum and carbon-fiber elements, including new instrument cluster cover, complete the race-inspired look. Options include an Acantara steering wheel and matching sill covers, leather or tartan trim packs for the seats and door panels. Tech geeks can also opt for an in-car entertainment system with iPod and Bluetooth connectivity.

250 Horsepower and a Record Lap


2017 Lotus Elise Cup 260 - image 739734
“Lotus upgraded the Toyota-sourced engine with new induction components and revised calibration”

Under the hood, the Cup 260 hides the same supercharged, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine as the Cup 250. However, Lotus upgraded the Toyota-sourced unit with new induction components and revised calibration. As a result, the engine now generates 250 horsepower and 188 pound-feet of torque. That’s seven horsepower and four pound-feet more than the Cup 250. It might not seem like a lot on its own, but it makes a big difference when combined with the enhanced aerodynamics and the lighter body and chassis.

Specifically, the Cup 260 hits 60 mph from a standing start in 3.8 seconds, a tenth-second quicker than the Cup 250, and laps the Hethel track in just one minute and 32 seconds. That’s an impressive 2.5 seconds faster than the Elise Cup 250! This is obviously the result of the Cup 260 being 33 pounds lighter (1,989 pounds unladen and 1,900 pounds dry), but it’s also because the revised design and aero configuration generates up to 397 pounds of downforce at 151 mph, a 44-percent gain over the Cup 250.


2017 Lotus Elise Cup 260 - image 739737
“The Cup 260 hits 60 mph from a standing start in 3.8 seconds”

The race-bred chassis is also responsabile for the outstanding performance. The roadster rides on a fully independent double wishbone suspension with an adjustable front anti-roll bar, Nitron coaxial coil springs, and, for the first time on an Elise, adjustable Nitron high-performance dampers. Stopping power comes from two-piece brake discs combined with AP Racing twin-piston calipers at the front axle and Brembo calipers to the rear wheels.

Limited Production Run


2017 Lotus Elise Cup 260 - image 739740

Pricing information is not yet available, but the Elise Cup 260 will be limited to only 30 units. This means it will cost significantly more than the Cup 250, which retails from £45,60 in the United Kingdom and €61,100 in Germany. The Lotus Elise isn’t available in the United States due to safety regulations, so don’t get your hopes up on getting the Cup 260 on this side of the pond.

References

Lotus Elise


2016 Lotus Elise Cup 250 - image 665809

Read our full review on the 2016 Lotus Elise Cup 250.


2015 Lotus Elise S Cup - image 611648

Read our full review on the 2015 Lotus Elise S Cup.


2011 Lotus Elise - image 359235

Read our full review on the 2017 Lotus Elise.

PostHeaderIcon Rolls-Royce Dawn Neiman Marcus Special Editions

Neiman Marcus’ annual Christmas Book has just been unveiled, and as expected, a car is included in it. This year’s different though because instead of offering just one ride in the catalog, Neiman Marcus is rolling out two special edition Rolls-Royce Dawns, each one dressed in a unique summer look that promotes a his-and-hers vibe.

In keeping with the summertime theme, each of the two Rolls-Royce Dawn models also get names attached to them. One is called the Dawn Lago di Como, a nod to Italy’s famous Lake Como, a favorite tourist destination in the hot months. The other is called Dawn Saint-Tropez, named after the French coastal town that’s famous for being the playground of the rich and famous. In those terms, these two Dawn models appear to have been named appropriately considering their own pedigree as Rolls-Royce models. As expected, the Dawn Lago di Como and the Dawn Saint-Tropez will be extremely limited with only 20 total models set to be made available, presumably just 10 for each of the two SE Dawns. That said, before you start placing your orders, remember that items from Neiman Marcus’ Christmas Book don’t come cheap. That’s certainly the case for these two Dawns as one of them – the Lago di Como – costs $439,625 whereas the other – the Saint-Tropez – is priced a little higher at $445,750. Either way, you’re bank accounts will have their work cut out for them should you decide to get either one of these two beauties.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Rolls-Royce Dawn Neiman Marcus Special Editions.

What makes the Rolls-Royce Dawn Neiman Marcus Special Editions special


2018 Rolls-Royce Dawn Neiman Marcus Special Editions - image 739552
“It’s defining feature is its blue paint finish, which is supposed to evoke the beautiful blue waters of Lake Como.”

I don’t know if it was a case of timing, coincidence, or both, but when I wrote about the 2016 Ford Mustang Convertible Neiman Marcus Edition yesterday – that one that was headed to the auction block – I had no inkling that the luxury department store was set to unveil this year’s Christmas Book. In any case, let’s chalk down that up to a happy coincidence.

Now about these two special edition Dawns. Let’s take a look at the Dawn Lago di Como first. It’s defining feature is its blue paint finish, which is supposed to evoke the beautiful blue waters of Lake Como. The exterior look is completed by a silver hood and a silver fabric top. Inside, the treatment involves the use of black and grey leather and a brushed aluminum dashboard. There’s no mention of any badges or plaques denoting the model as an exclusive to Neiman Marcus, but you can rest assured that if history is an indication, there’s going to be some of them in there in some form or fashion.

The other special edition Dawn is the Saint-Tropez Edition. It’s flashier in terms of appearance, thanks in part to the use of orange as the main body color of the luxury drop-top. It also gets a silver hood and silver fabric top just like the Lago di Como Edition. But the best part of the Dawn Saint-Tropez Edition is its interior, particularly how it stands out compared to its Lago di Como counterpart. Officially, Rolls-Royce calls it a Seashell and Dark Spice upholstery, though you can be forgiven for thinking of the colors simply as white, orange, and dark reddish-brown. It also gets open-pore wood on the panels and lambswool floor mats, two features that are distinctly absent from the Dawn Lago di Como.

Unlike the 2016 Mustang Convertible that was featured in the 2015 Christmas Book, neither of the two special edition Dawns received any engine upgrades. It would’ve been unlikely anyway owing to the car’s status, but it’s still something worth mentioning. In any case, both special edition models are powered by a massive 6.6-liter V-12 engine that produces 563 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough power to make a statement.


2018 Rolls-Royce Dawn Neiman Marcus Special Editions - image 739556

2018 Rolls-Royce Dawn Neiman Marcus Special Editions - image 739558
“Only 20 units are going to be made of them – 10 for each version – and there’s a precedent for these SEs to sell out quickly”

So now that the two Rolls-Royce Dawn Neiman Marcus Special Edition models have been revealed, the question is which of the two are you most likely to get? Remember, only 20 units are going to be made of them – 10 for each version – and there’s a precedent for these SEs to sell out quickly. If you’re ready to make the financial commitment, remember that the Dawn Lago di Como Edition carries a price tag of $439,625. It’s a tough price to reach, but hilariously enough, it’s also the “cheaper” of the two SE Dawns as the Dawn Saint-Tropez Edition is slightly more expensive at $445,750.

References

Rolls Royce Dawn


2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn - image 645027

Read our full review on the 2017 Rolls Royce Dawn.


2017 Rolls Royce Dawn in Fuxia - image 727499

Read more Rolls Royce news.

PostHeaderIcon Rolls-Royce Dawn Neiman Marcus Special Editions

Neiman Marcus’ annual Christmas Book has just been unveiled, and as expected, a car is included in it. This year’s different though because instead of offering just one ride in the catalog, Neiman Marcus is rolling out two special edition Rolls-Royce Dawns, each one dressed in a unique summer look that promotes a his-and-hers vibe.

In keeping with the summertime theme, each of the two Rolls-Royce Dawn models also get names attached to them. One is called the Dawn Lago di Como, a nod to Italy’s famous Lake Como, a favorite tourist destination in the hot months. The other is called Dawn Saint-Tropez, named after the French coastal town that’s famous for being the playground of the rich and famous. In those terms, these two Dawn models appear to have been named appropriately considering their own pedigree as Rolls-Royce models. As expected, the Dawn Lago di Como and the Dawn Saint-Tropez will be extremely limited with only 20 total models set to be made available, presumably just 10 for each of the two SE Dawns. That said, before you start placing your orders, remember that items from Neiman Marcus’ Christmas Book don’t come cheap. That’s certainly the case for these two Dawns as one of them – the Lago di Como – costs $439,625 whereas the other – the Saint-Tropez – is priced a little higher at $445,750. Either way, you’re bank accounts will have their work cut out for them should you decide to get either one of these two beauties.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Rolls-Royce Dawn Neiman Marcus Special Editions.

What makes the Rolls-Royce Dawn Neiman Marcus Special Editions special


2018 Rolls-Royce Dawn Neiman Marcus Special Editions - image 739552
“It’s defining feature is its blue paint finish, which is supposed to evoke the beautiful blue waters of Lake Como.”

I don’t know if it was a case of timing, coincidence, or both, but when I wrote about the 2016 Ford Mustang Convertible Neiman Marcus Edition yesterday – that one that was headed to the auction block – I had no inkling that the luxury department store was set to unveil this year’s Christmas Book. In any case, let’s chalk down that up to a happy coincidence.

Now about these two special edition Dawns. Let’s take a look at the Dawn Lago di Como first. It’s defining feature is its blue paint finish, which is supposed to evoke the beautiful blue waters of Lake Como. The exterior look is completed by a silver hood and a silver fabric top. Inside, the treatment involves the use of black and grey leather and a brushed aluminum dashboard. There’s no mention of any badges or plaques denoting the model as an exclusive to Neiman Marcus, but you can rest assured that if history is an indication, there’s going to be some of them in there in some form or fashion.

The other special edition Dawn is the Saint-Tropez Edition. It’s flashier in terms of appearance, thanks in part to the use of orange as the main body color of the luxury drop-top. It also gets a silver hood and silver fabric top just like the Lago di Como Edition. But the best part of the Dawn Saint-Tropez Edition is its interior, particularly how it stands out compared to its Lago di Como counterpart. Officially, Rolls-Royce calls it a Seashell and Dark Spice upholstery, though you can be forgiven for thinking of the colors simply as white, orange, and dark reddish-brown. It also gets open-pore wood on the panels and lambswool floor mats, two features that are distinctly absent from the Dawn Lago di Como.

Unlike the 2016 Mustang Convertible that was featured in the 2015 Christmas Book, neither of the two special edition Dawns received any engine upgrades. It would’ve been unlikely anyway owing to the car’s status, but it’s still something worth mentioning. In any case, both special edition models are powered by a massive 6.6-liter V-12 engine that produces 563 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough power to make a statement.


2018 Rolls-Royce Dawn Neiman Marcus Special Editions - image 739556

2018 Rolls-Royce Dawn Neiman Marcus Special Editions - image 739558
“Only 20 units are going to be made of them – 10 for each version – and there’s a precedent for these SEs to sell out quickly”

So now that the two Rolls-Royce Dawn Neiman Marcus Special Edition models have been revealed, the question is which of the two are you most likely to get? Remember, only 20 units are going to be made of them – 10 for each version – and there’s a precedent for these SEs to sell out quickly. If you’re ready to make the financial commitment, remember that the Dawn Lago di Como Edition carries a price tag of $439,625. It’s a tough price to reach, but hilariously enough, it’s also the “cheaper” of the two SE Dawns as the Dawn Saint-Tropez Edition is slightly more expensive at $445,750.

References

Rolls Royce Dawn


2016 Rolls-Royce Dawn - image 645027

Read our full review on the 2017 Rolls Royce Dawn.


2017 Rolls Royce Dawn in Fuxia - image 727499

Read more Rolls Royce news.

PostHeaderIcon An Old Entry To Neiman Marcus’ Christmas Book Will Hit The Auction Block In Vegas Next Month

It’s become somewhat of an annual tradition for the auto industry to wait with baited breath to find out which car is making its way into Neiman Marcus’ Christmas Book. We’re going to have to wait a little longer to see who makes it on the catalogue this year, but fret not because if you’re itching to own a previous entry in the Christmas Book, a 2016 Ford Mustang Convertible that was featured in the 2015 edition of the Christmas Book is now on the auction block, lined up to hit the hammer at a Barrett-Jackson event in Las Vegas next month.

The Mustang Convertible’s inclusion to the 2015 Christmas Book was a huge deal, in part because it joined a list of other exotics to have had the privilege to be featured in the holiday catalog. Other cars to have graced the pages of Neiman Marcus’ book include a Jaguar XJL Supercharged, Chevrolet Camaro Convertible, Aston Martin Vanquish Volante, and an Infiniti Q60. Safe to say that the Mustang Convertible is in good company among that roster of models. As far as this particular model is concerned, Barrett-Jackson describes it as one of only four Mustang Neiman Marcus Edition models in existence. It has, among other things, a Neiman Marcus badging includes #004 badge on the dash, Neiman Marcus illuminated door-sill plates, and a framed Certificate of Authenticity. Oh, and it also has just 73 miles tacked onto it so it’s still as good as new.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

There’s more to the 2015 Ford Mustang Convertible Neiman Marcus Edition than meets the eye


2016 Ford Mustang Convertible Neiman Marcus Limited-Edition - image 649848

If you missed out on owning one of the four 2015 Ford Mustang Convertible Neiman Marcus Editions back in 2015, now’s your chance to redeem yourself. The Barrett-Jackson listing does not indicate a reserve price either so you better be prepared to make your bids count should you decide to take a stab on buying it.

For those who need a refresher, this particular Mustang Convertible is unlike most of its standard peers. It has all of the identifiable markings of a Neiman Marcus Edition car – the badging, door-sill plates, and COA all scream “Neiman Marcus!” – and, more importantly, it also benefits from having its 5.0-liter V-8 engine tuned by no less than Roush Performance, which provided it with an engine upgrade that resulted in the car having 727 horsepower at its disposal. It’s safe to say that with that kind of credential, this Mustang Convertible is going to attract a lot of bids when it goes up for auction next month.

A brief refresher on our favorite Neiman Marcus Edition models to make it to the Christmas Book

It’s become an annual tradition for the luxury department store to feature a car on its Christmas Book. I don’t know how long the tradition dates, but we’ve seen all of them from the last decade, beginning with the 2007 BMW M6 Convertible from the 2006 Christmas Book all the way up to the 2017 Infiniti Q60 from last year’s catalog.

We’re going to save our comprehensive rankings of the best Neiman Marcus Edition models for another day. For now, though, we’re putting a spotlight on our five favorite models to be featured in the retailer’s annual holiday gift book.

5) Maserati Ghibli S Q4 100th Anniversary Neiman Marcus Limited Edition (2014 Christmas Book)


2014 Maserati Ghibli S Q4 100th Anniversary Neiman Marcus Limited Edition - image 572118

In my mind, the Maserati Ghibli S Q4 is one of the most underrated performance sedans in the market today. I’ve had that sentiment for a long time now, so it was very reassuring to see it grace the pages of the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book back in 2014. Like most of its kind, the special edition Ghibli S Q4 received unique exterior and interior details to separate itself from standard Ghiblis. For one, it was dressed up in a Grigio Maratea exterior paint finish with gloss black door handles, a Shadowline exterior trim, and commemorative center caps acting as complementary style cues.

Inside, it received Cuoio premium leather dress-up, complete with a Piano Black lacquer trim and black contrast stitching on the seats, dashboard, and armrests. The stitched treatment continued on the tridents found on the headrests while a special Neiman Marcus Edition number badge and 100th-anniversary logo can be found on the center console, emphasizing the special edition stature of this model.

4) Aston Martin Vanquish Volante Neiman Marcus Edition (2013 Christmas Book)


2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante Neiman Marcus Edition - image 532252

There was a four-year run a few years ago wherein all four cars featured in the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book were European in heritage. One of those cars, the Aston Martin Vanquish Volante that appeared in the 2013 catalog, came with arguably the sexiest-looking paint job of any car I’ve seen in a long time. For those who don’t remember, the color chosen for the special edition Vanquish Volante was Seychelles Blue.

It’s hard to properly describe it, but it had a rich and shiny look to it that brought out the best of the Vanquish Volante’s design. Complementary design elements like the Atlantic Blue roof and the Aurora Blue stitching in the interior helped aid in enhancing the convertible’s character.

3) BMW M6 Convertible Neiman Marcus Limited Edition (2006 Christmas Book)


BMW Creates 2007 Limited Edition Individual M6 Convertible - image 739355

One of the first cars to grace the pages of Neiman Marcus’ Christmas Book was the 2007 BMW M6 Convertible. The best compliment I can give is that it set a good precedent for all succeeding cars. Even as far back as 2006, using exclusive paint colors was already in vogue. The M6 Convertible certainly had one in the form of a custom Ruby Black exterior finish remains a sight to look at to this day.

In addition to the fancy body color, the M6 Convertible Neiman Marcus Limited Edition also came with Piano Black trim elements and power sports seats wrapped in a custom Gold Brown shade of BMW Individual’s Merino leather material. As old as it looks now, this early offering to the Christmas Book remains as one of the best-looking ones.

2) Ferrari FF Neiman Marcus Limited Edition (2011 Christmas Book)


2012 Ferrari FF Neiman Marcus Edition - image 421060

Neiman Marcus really took it up a notch in 2012 when it identified the Ferrari FF as that year’s car showcase on its Christmas Book. Not that the FF needed any convincing to do so, but it was cool for Neiman Marcus to work on refining the Ferrari supercar’s aesthetic, including giving it a Grigio Caldo paint finish and a special interior plaque to properly identify it as a true special edition model.

Arguably the best feature of the FF Neiman Marcus LE though is tied into the other goodies that came with buying any one of the of 10 cars that Ferrari created specifically for the occasion. A lot of you may not remember this, but those lucky enough to buy the FF Neiman Marcus Limited Edition also received a spot at the 2012 Ferrari Winter Driving Experience in Aspen, Colorado.

1) McLaren 12C Neiman Marcus Limited Edition (2012 Christmas Book)


2013 McLaren MP4-12C Spider Neiman Marcus Edition - image 477145

The best of the best in my opinion. The McLaren 12C Neiman Marcus Limited Edition was offered in the 2012 Christmas Book and not only was it dressed for the holiday occasion – a Volcano Red body paint was a perfect shade for the Christmas season – but it also outgunned the Ferrari FF in terms of the added extras it came with.

Think a stop at the Ferreri Winter Driving Experience was exciting enough? Consider then what McLaren offered the year before: a McLaren luggage set, a business class trip to England, a VIP dinner with no less than former McLaren chairman Ron Dennis, and a tour f the McLaren Technology Center. As far as customer service was concerned, McLaren’s Christmas Book offer back in 2012 remains as one of the most memorable ones.

References

Ford Mustang


2016 Ford Mustang Convertible Neiman Marcus Limited-Edition - image 649842

Read our full review on the 2016 Ford Mustang Convertible Neiman Marcus Limited-Edition.


2018 Ford Mustang - image 702950

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford Mustang.

PostHeaderIcon Care to get a Mazda MX-5 to go with Your Copy of Gran Turismo Sport?

Gran Turismo Sport has officially gone live so expect a few busy weekends ahead over here at the TopSpeed office. For those who haven’t gotten their copies yet, it’s important to remember that you can buy the game in a number of bundle options, including a Limited Edition version here in the U.S. that adds a metal case, several Group B rally cars, a couple of unlocked prototype cars, and 1 million credits. That’s a pretty nice offer, but it’s nothing compared to the Gran Turismo Sport Super Bundle that’s being offered in Taiwan. That package not only comes with a Sony Bravia 4K HDR OLED TV and an assortment of other goodies, it also comes with a special edition Mazda MX-5 Miata that’s all dressed up in a Soul Red paint finish.

That’s right. An actual MX-5 is included in the Super Bundle. It’s not exactly as insane as the Grid 2: Mono Edition that came with a BAC Mono dressed in a GRID 2 livery, but it’s certainly a big step up from the 1:43 scale Nissan GT-R Spec V that Gran Turismo 5 came in a few years ago. Should any of our friends in Taiwan avail of this bundle, they also stand to get a PlayStation 4 Pro, Playstation VR, a year of the PlayStation Plus online multiplayer service, a Thrustmaster T-GT steering wheel controller, and an Apiga AP1 racing seat just in case your couch doesn’t feel real enough. The downside to getting that treasure chest’s worth of goodies is that the Super Bundle doesn’t come cheap. The cost of one is just under $1.4 million NTD, which converts to around $46,000. Still interested?

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Is the Gran Turismo Sport Super Bundle a good buy?


Care to get a Mazda MX-5 to go with Your Copy of Gran Turismo Sport? - image 739262
“The cost of one is just under $1.4 million NTD, which converts to around $46,000”

I guess it depends on who you ask. If money’s not a problem, then it’s something that’s worth buying, if only for the fact that you’ll be able to say that you did. Unfortunately for us here in the U.S., the Super Bundle is not available in this market though that doesn’t mean that there’s no chance to actually get one. You just have to be creative in doing it.

See, all the items included in the bundle are available in the US individually. Piece them all together, and you get a cost estimate of something like this:

Item Price ($)
Sony PlayStation 4 Pro $399.99
Playstation VR $299.99
Sony Bravia 65-inch 4K HDR OLED TV $3,999.99
Thrustmaster T-GT steering wheel controller $149.99
Apiga AP1 racing seat $389.99
Mazda MX-5 Miata (M/T) with Soul Red paint finish $26,090

Care to get a Mazda MX-5 to go with Your Copy of Gran Turismo Sport? - image 739263

Do the math on those prices, and you’re looking at a total price of about $31,330. That’s about $14,700 less than what our Taiwanese friends will have to pay to buy the Super Bundle. I don’t know about any of you guys, but that’s what I call a better deal.

Whatever bundle you get, Gran Turismo Sport should be packed with excitement

Ultimately, it really doesn’t matter what bundle you get as long as you get Gran Turismo Sport. I understand the temptation of taking home an MX-5, but the game itself is the highlight here. The game itself is packed to the brim with cars (over 700 of ‘em!), race tracks, city circuits, and the best and newest in car racing video game technology.

Don’t miss out on the game because it’s already shaping up to be one of the best ones in the franchise’s long and rich history.

And again, if any of our friends in Taiwan get the Super Bundle, please let us know about it!

References

Mazda MX-5


2016 Mazda MX-5 - image 614586

Read our full review on the 2017 Mazda MX-5.


Finally! Gran Turismo Sport is Upon Us: Videos, Car Lists, and More!! - image 738663

Read more Gran Turismo Sport news.

PostHeaderIcon 2018 Porsche 718 GTS Unveiled

Porsche just announced new GTS iterations for the 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman, offering more power, more standard equipment, and blacked-out exterior trim. The star of the show is the mid-mounted, turbocharged, 2.5-liter flat-four engine, which gets a power boost thanks to a new intake plenum and turbo optimization. Peak output now comes 365 horsepower, a 15-horse increase compared to the existing 718 S. Making the cog swaps is a standard six-speed manual, although a seven-speed PDK automatic is also available. Torque is rated at 317 pound-feet if you get the PDK and 309 pound-feet for the manual. Acceleration to 60 mph takes 3.9 seconds with the PDK, while top speed is rated at 180 mph.

Helping it corner is a standard mechanical rear-differential lock and Porsche Torque Vectoring. The Sport Chrono Package, Porsche Active Suspension Management, and a sport exhaust are also standard.

Aesthetically, the new GTS models get black 20-inch wheels, as well as a tweaked front fascia, tinted lights, black badges and trim, and black tips for the exhaust. Inside, you get a standard chronometer on the dash, as well as standard sport seating with the GTS logo embroidered into the headrests. Alcantara is the material of choice for the upholstery, and can also be found on the steering wheel, center console, and armrests.

Pricing starts at $79,900 for the Cayman and $81,900 for the Boxster, which is about $26,000 more than the standard models. Order books are open now, with deliveries expected for March of next year.

PostHeaderIcon Mazda Releases “Decision Tree” For Miata Owners Asked To Lend Their Car

We’ve all been there. Maybe it’s a buddy whose daily is in the shop for repairs. Maybe it’s a younger sibling who wants to impress a member of the opposite sex. Maybe it’s a significant other who just wants to see what the fuss is all about. Whoever happens to be asking it, it’s a question that can send a cold chill down the spine of any and all automotive enthusiasts: “Can I borrow your car?” Normal folks won’t get it, but if you frequent this website, you’ll understand. This shouldn’t be some off-hand, casual request, like asking for a stick of butter or to borrow your neighbor’s lawn mower. This is your car, the four-wheeled light of your life, the thing you daydream about, the hobby that eats up all your spare time and money, the machine that speaks to you in a language of squealing tires and popping upshifts. Luckily, Mazda gets it, as evidenced by this handy flowchart. Designed as a handy reference guide for Miata owners, we’d argue it’s applicable for anyone wise enough not to denigrate their ride by seeing it as merely some sort of transportation appliance.

Of course, we wanna know – would you be comfortable loaning your car out? Under what conditions would you be willing to give up the keys? What car-lending fails (or wins) have you experienced in the past? Let us know in the comments!

Mazda MX-5 – decision tree


Mazda Releases “Decision Tree” For Miata Owners Asked To Lend Their Car - image 738537

References

Mazda MX-5


2016 Mazda MX-5 - image 614586

Read our full review on the 2017 Mazda MX-5.

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