First drive: BMW 2-Series Convertible

Yet another niche-busting BMW?

Not really. This is the replacement for the old 1-Series Convertible. And, spoiler alert, it’s a whole lot better. Sharper to drive, for a start.

And the 2-Series Convertible is roomier, yet it doesn’t look so much like a bathtub. That’s not just because it’s wider and longer, but it has wedgier styling that emphasises the rear wheel-arches.

But why not a folding hard-top?

Cost, weight and size. Having a folding hardtop instead of this soft roof would add another 100kg or so. And it would take up nearly all the boot.

The folding hardtop in the 4-Series brings all sorts of disadvantages, and it would be even harder to package in the shorter 2-Series.  more…

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New GT-R will be ‘front-engined 2+2 hybrid’

Shiro Nakamura might be a diminutive chap in stature, but in car-drawing terms Nissan’s Chief Creative Officer is a colossus.

TG caught up with Nakamura-san – fresh from winning the Grand Prix du Design award at the International Automobile Festival – at the London launch of Infiniti’s revised Q70 exec saloon.

Of course we should have been complimenting him on the Q70’s new LED lights and tweaked bootlid, but, um, we want to know about the new GT-R instead.

So we asked Nakamura-san if he’d seen any of the speculative renderings the internet has spewed out, all purporting to show how the new GT-R will absolutely definitely look.   more…

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The Jeep Renegade Is Going To Make Fiat Chrysler So Stupid Rich

We’ve explained why the Jeep Renegade is a great option for consumers, but we should mention why it’s great for Fiat Chrysler.9

Sure, they’re probably going to sell many of them and it’ll help them reach their goal of moving a trillion Jeeps a year, but the real benefit to FCA is in running up their profits on the back of Italian autoworkers and a slumping euro.


What’s going on?

The dollar is much stronger than usual relative to the euro and the vehicle is made in Italy, so when it’s exported over here the company is making a higher profit margin. But wait, that’s not all!

more …

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This is Alpine’s Vision GT concept

The Vision Gran Turismo concepts keep coming. And when they look like this, we’re not complaining one bit.


This is Alpine’s effort. Alpine, if you need a reminder, is a sports car maker with ties to Renault; production of its Porsche-rivaling A610 ceased in the 1990s, but it still has motorsport presence and a new mid-engined road car lies on the horizon.

A madcap concept may go some way to help stymy impatience as the latter remains in development, away from our prying eyes.

The VGT concept is certainly an arresting diversion. There are hints of LMP2 endurance racer in its side profile – no surprise given it’s Alpine’s current area of motorsport expertise – but beyond that, the Vision GT spins off in its own barmy direction.   more…

Bond’s Aston DB10: the real story

TG exclusive: we interrogate Aston design boss Marek Reichman for the inside line on the ‘Spectre’ star.

“Sam Mendes wanted this to be the poster car for every boy who watches James Bond for the first time,” says Aston Martin design director Marek Reichman. He’s discussing the conversation with Spectre director Mendes that led, eventually, to the DB10, Daniel Craig’s company wheels in the 24th Bond outing, which reaches cinemas late in 2015.

“My interpretation of that was that Sam was talking about a brand-new DB5,” continues Reichman in an exclusive chat with TG. The DB5, of course, was Sean Connery’s ride in 1964’s Goldfinger, a gadget-laden masterpiece that established the Bond-Aston love affair and remains, for many, the archetypal Bond car. But, says Reichman, the DB10 doesn’t revive its predecessor’s gadgetry, but rather its philosophy.   more…


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Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang brought back with more than 500 hp

The original Shelby GT350s from 1965 were Ford Mustangs tuned by then-newcomer Carroll Shelby from everyday pony cars into track-ready rides, ones that proved their capabilities by beating Corvettes and Ferraris on circuits across America.

Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang

Today, after a 43-year hiatus, Ford resurrected the name with the 2016 Shelby GT350 Mustang — and by its reckoning, the mission hasn’t changed much.

Based on the new Mustang chassis, Ford says the GT350 will boast not just ample power  — more than 500 hp — but better handling than any Mustang the company has produced in the past 50 years, with technology far beyond what Shelby could have envisioned in 1965.

The biggest news lies in the engine bay, where the GT350 brings the term “flat-plane crankshaft” into the limelight for the first time in decades. If you imagine a see-through version of a typical V-8 engine, the pistons move in a stair-step fashion — alternating power strokes in a way that maximizes the engine’s smoothness. It’s the reason a Corvette, Mustang or Challenger sounds the way it does; the traditional V-8 burble comes from exhaust pulses created by so-called cross-plane crankshafts. More …

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Mercedes AMG GT3 lands in 2016

This will get confusing very quickly, so please pay attention. Mercedes-Benz has announced that the Mercedes-AMG GT3 – the racing version of the new Mercedes-AMG GT – will launch in 2016.

That’s a lot of AMGs and GTs in one sentence, but it’s a big bit of news, though not entirely unexpected. At the Paris Motor Show earlier this year, AMG boss Tobias Moers confirmed to that the new AMG GT sportscar would spawn a variety of models.

So here’s one for the Nomex brigade. We’re told that testing of the “new sportscar based on the street version” will commence next year (that’s 2015), with a season debut at the beginning of 2016.

And that’s about all we can tell you at the moment, but for those of you who’ve just shelled out for a racing SLS GT3, fear not: Mercedes will continue to support the big ol’ gullwing even after the AMG GT3’s launch.   more…

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1050bhp LaFerrari XX lands this December

Exclusive: TG gets the inside line on Maranello’s most extreme production-derived car in history

The track-only ‘XX’ version of Maranello’s hybrid hypercar, the LaFerrari, will be launched at the firm’s World Finals in Abu Dhabi in early December, company insiders have confirmed to Top Gear.

And we’re told most extreme production-derived car in Ferrari’s history will make a monstrous 1050bhp, some 100bhp more than the road-going version. Yep, that’s about 50 per cent more power than a 2014 F1 car. Sheesh.

Though it was rumoured the race-spec LaFerrari could use an F1-issue turbo V6, TG is told the XX will employ the same powertrain as the road car – so a naturally aspirated V12 and electric motor – but bumped up to a total output of around 1050bhp, 60-something horsepowers north of the similarly track-only McLaren P1 GTR. It seems that extra power has been found from the V12 rather than the electric modules, which are said to produce the same 161bhp as before.  More . . .

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First Chevy Corvette Z06 comes off the line

Production of the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is finally underway, according to a posting on

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

The first car, a black beauty destined for motorsports icon Rick Hendrick, came off the line yesterday at 9:26 AM, according to the forum poster, who was on a public tour at the lucky moment.

Chevrolet’s Bowling Green, KY factory is building just seven cars an hour. Now, we’re sure this is very, very happy news if you’re one of the lucky folks that placed an order. It does not, however, mean you’ll be taking delivery straight away, according to Chevrolet.

“Yes, we started producing customer cars yesterday,” Chevy spokesman Monte Doran told Autoblog. “We are not shipping cars to customers yet, though. We’re still doing final quality checks and audits and will begin shipping cars in the coming weeks.” More . . .

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The Dodge Trans-Am is back!

458bhp retro-hardcore Challenger concept unveiled at SEMA, but will Dodge make it real?

If you’re a fan of Seventies muscle cars, you may be familiar with the Dodge Challenger Trans-Am, a legendary homologation special of the day. If you’re too young to remember pony-car racing pre-history, fear not: Dodge has revealed a modern day interpretation of the Trans-Am to bring you up to speed.
Unveiled at this week’s SEMA show, the Challenger T/A Concept (that accronym stands for Trans-Am, not Track Attack as in the Viper) is a throwback Sam Posey’s original number 77 race car.  More . . .

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