Tag Archives: roadster

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Mercedes-AMG Unveils Soft-Top GT Roadster Series

It looks like the good guys at Mercedes and AMG are really stepping up their game. Not since the Mercedes-AMG GT series has its cars commanded such a presence. Sure, the distinctively long bonnet might seem a bit in-your-face, and the gullwing doors were kind of boisterous, but not once have we thought, “maybe the AMG-GT would look better with a shorter bonnet, or how awful are those doors?” We’d bet our last dollar you were too busy gaping.

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If you aren’t a fan of the latter, however, you’d be happy to know that the German automobile giant has done away with gullwing doors for the all-new open-top version of its namesake in two variants: the Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster and GT C Roadster. The former stands as the series’ base model, and packs 469 hp – not quite a jump from the base AMG GT coupe’s 456 – while the latter is a feistier 549 hp. That’s 46 hp more than the GT S Coupe, but 28 hp less than the GT R version. In the GT C Roadster, expect to hit nought to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and achieve a top speed of 196 mph. Comparatively, the standard version achieves the same in 4.0 seconds and tops out at 188mph; both new figures are possible thanks to the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 under the roadster’s mile-long bonnet.

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The AMG-GT Roadster borrows several features from its GT R brethren, such as the rear-wheel driving system and the active aero flaps behind the front bumper that minimize drag and maximize cooling. Otherwise, expect features like AMG’s performance exhaust and electronic differential as standard, more rear width (to accommodate larger wheels) and a shorter first gear ratio for its seven-speed twin clutch. An active pop-up rear spoiler will control the ride based on speed and transmission mode. The retractable roof can also now be lowered and raised in 11 seconds at a maximum speed of 30mph.

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These drop-top GTs will only be available next year, so you’d have to make do with a poster first, but expect to fork out a little over the GT S Coupe’s $132,000 base model for the GT C Roadster. The base GT Roadster will also see a premium over the GT Coupe model.

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Mercedes-AMG SLC 43

Mercedes-Benz SLC: A New Dynamic

After 20 illustrious years, Mercedes-Benz has swapped the ‘K’ in the SLC to a ‘C’ – could the roadster that once defined an entire car category be going through a mid-life crisis? Far from it –  this year, the German automobile firm acknowledges the SLK’s undeniable relationship with the C-Class, of which much of the roadster’s technology is inspired by, with visual tweaks and significantly optimised tech upgrades.

Mercedes-AMG SLC 43

Mercedes-AMG SLC 43

Each car in the model line up — from the economical SLC 200 to the muscled-up Mercedes-AMG SLC 43 — sees the diamond radiator grille that is synonymous with the brand, only this time more steeply raked. This standard feature elongates the arrow-shaped bonnet, giving it its striking sporty silhouette. The electro-hydraulic Vario-roof now continues to operate up to a speed of 40km/h, so you don’t have to come to a stop should untimely meteorological circumstances hit. Other creature comforts include the Airscarf (a neck-level heating system) and the above-mentioned Magic Sky Control.

Mercedes-Benz SLC 300

Mercedes-Benz SLC 300

Slap the AMG tag on any Mercedes-Benz car and it immediately becomes high-performance. At the heart of the AMG SLC 43 is a revvier 3.0-litre V6 biturbo engine that produces a feistier 367hp than the AMG SLK 55’s 302. The model obliges 100km/h in 4.7 seconds. Comparatively, the new entry-level SLC 180 sees an output of 156 hp. Higher up the scale is the SLC 200 and SLC 300, both equipped with a 1991 cc four-cylinder engine, which produces 184hp and 245hp respectively. In the SLC 43, the AMG Sport exhaust system reacts with two adjustable exhaust flaps to adapt the sound to one of the five modes on the Dynamic Select feature, which hooks up to the engine, transmission, steering and suspension for a customizable ride. The SLK would be so proud.

Mercedes-Benz SLC 300 Interior

Mercedes-Benz SLC 300 Interior

Like the latest E-class series, the SLC is chock full of new assistance and safety systems. The new Active Brake Assist (previously called a lengthier Collision Prevention Assist Plus) provides autonomous braking that reduces risks of rear-end collisions when the driver fails to react despite intermittent alerts. The LED Intelligent Light System adapts to light and driving conditions including fog and cornering situations, while the Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus adjusts between high and low beam by detecting other illuminated road users for dazzle-free continuous usage. Small children are also no longer at risk of getting injured by airbags when a pressure sensor detects the use of a child seat.

Mercedes-AMG SLC 43

Mercedes-AMG SLC 43

Inside, Mercedes-Benz attempts to heighten the luxury experience with aluminum trim parts and carbon fiber finishes. Contrasting red needles on black dials, as well as an improved new-generation sports steering wheel reaffirm’s the SLC’s resolution to being race-centric. The infotainment display is also significantly larger, but remains lacking in the system upgrade department. Otherwise, expect “sun-reflecting” leather upholstery that has a perforated design, or the “sun-reflecting nappa leather” option that sports contrasting piping and top-stitching with two new colourways added– saddle brown and platinum white.

Aston Martin Bespoke Vantage GT12 Revealed

A luxury car company such as Aston Martin is always looking to outdo itself in order to provide customers with the highest degree of exclusivity possible, even creating unique models. Aston Martin elevated its game at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this year, transforming the already limited Vantage GT12 coupe into a special bespoke commission. This whole package was unveiled at Goodwood as the Vantage GT12 Roadster – a drop-top Aston Martin that contains not only a completely reworked performance but a reworked style as well.

Taking such an action as chopping the roof off a car can have serious consequences on overall handling and safety. Thankfully this project was placed in the capable hands of ‘Q by Aston Martin’ – the in-house bespoke customization department. In order to make this drop-top version possible, they reworked the suspension, added magnesium inlet manifolds, a magnesium torque tube plus a titanium exhaust system for better engine breathing and to shed weight.

To give off a sense of visual drama, unique carbon fiber body panels are utilized all over the model. There’s the engine bulge in the hood, the reimagined door skirts at the side, and a rear bumper/diffuser of increased prominence. To keep this exclusive look unique, the owner paid a further premium to ensure Q never recreates this car for anyone else. Yes, this car was made specially for a customer who did not want to share his vision with anyone else.

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“The Vantage GT12 Roadster is a hugely exciting project. Not just because it’s sensational to look at, but because it vividly demonstrates the expanded capabilities of Q by Aston Martin,” said Dr. Andy Palmer, the CEO of Aston Martin. The company, like a number of premium automotive marques, has been elevating its bespoke services in order to remain competitive in the face of other companies with similar services, such as Mansory. Some limited edition cars done up by Q in recent years include the Vulcan, the Aston Martin Lagonda Taraf and the limited edition hyper car, the One-77.

“In just nine months we took a customer’s dream and realized it, with a fully-formed, exactingly engineered and fully road-legal one-off. That is the essence of the Q by Aston Martin service” said David King, Vice President and Chief Special Operations Officer. With this project done, the company puts forward a good case for their capabilities to fit in with the customer’s unique desires. You can expect more and more specially tailored designs to start appearing out on the open road, soon enough.

Powerhouse Reborn: Audi TT RS 2016

This makes for a hard choice for us: the Audi TT RS drops on the same day as the newest generation Porsche Cayman. We had to postpone covering it for one day because of that pesky Cayman but no matter. Simultaneously launching in London and Beijing, this update pushes the 2016 TT as the most powerful series production model in history, with a 2.5-liter five-cylinder, turbocharged powerplant boasting a remarkable 395 horses while weighing 10kg less than existing five-cylinder unit. Yes that’s the weight the clever engineers shaved off the engine. We are still on record though with our gripe about internal combustion but we digress…

How does it compare with that Cayman? It seems to trump the figures we have. Demolishing the 0-100km/h mark in 3.7 seconds, the RS performance figures go higher in terms of the acceleration (4.2 seconds on the Cayman S) and output (350hp on the Cayman S). They match closely on top speed, at around 280km/h. Both are also evenly matched in therms of price at €65,000.

There’s a range of customizable options for the RS. It can come in either a soft-top roadster or in hardtop coupé form. There’s a choice of nine colors with an option for 20-inch lightweight forged alloy wheels.

On the exterior front, the RS has larger front air intakes, a honeycomb grille pattern and wider side sills, all contributing to a meaner affect. It also has a fixed rear wing as standard. A huge multi-fin rear diffuser and an OLED rear light cluster (a first for Audi) gives the car an edge more potent that the vanilla TT.

“The newly developed turbo five-cylinder engine, with which we are continuing our great tradition from the 1980s, conveys pure emotion,” said Dr. Stefan Knirsch, Audi Board Member for Technical Development.

When the tough competition rolls over on the release, we’ll be eagerly looking to see whether the RS or the Cayman wins out in the reviews and sales. While one manufacturer will probably come out with a loss, though, it’s great to have more choice on the side of the consumer. Also, both names are part of the VW Group so it is a win-win for the beleaguered behemoth (neither Audi nor Porsche have been tainted in the ongoing scandal about emissions cheating).

Mercedes goes from SLK to SLC

Ahead of the Detroit auto show and in the wake of the Land Rover Defender auction, there is a lot of motoring news to get through and we begin with Mercedes-Benz decision to go from SLK to SLC in 2016. Announced last week, even as we were pushing out news on the V12 S-Class, this one is a bit of a sleeper because there is more here than a new mix in the alphabet stew. The compact, drop top sportscar is getting a new look, new engines and new technology for a new era.

Set to make its first public appearance at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January, the new SLC (which is replacing the SLK) won’t be going on sale until April, but for those that like ferocious power, wind-in-the-hair motoring but no compromises when it comes to inner-city maneuverability or everyday cosseting, it will be worth the wait.

“In 1996, Mercedes-Benz redefined the roadster with its innovative vario-roof and combined open-air driving pleasure with uncompromised comfort in poor weather,” said Ola Källenius, the company’s head of sales and marketing. “The renamed compact roadster remains an ideal combination of passion and rational common sense, appealing to both the heart and the mind.”

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Nowhere is this truer than in the new six-model line up which offers a diesel and, for the first time, a 1.6-liter entry-level option. Even the range topping AMG 43 will serve up its power with responsibility.

With a twin-turbo 3-liter V6, it’s capable of going from 0-100kph in 4.7 seconds and of outputting 362bhp via a nine-speed gearbox complete with a range of pre-set driving modes for comfort, economy or break-neck speed. The outgoing SLK AMG had a huge V8 engine and lashings more horsepower, but it was only 0.1 seconds faster off the mark and is incapable of returning the new car’s 7.8 l/100 km.

Regardless of powerplant, all new SLCs come with the same revised nose, sloping hood and diamond grille that brings the car in line with Mercedes’ other sportier offerings — the AMG-GT and the SL. The folding metal Vario Roof has also been given a serious upgrade. It will now automatically raise or lower at speeds of up to 40kph and now also knows if there is too much luggage in the trunk to retract into the available space.

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For those that are worried about catching the sun but still want to feel like the roof is down, the car can be specified with Magic Sky Control. This system allows the panoramic glass roof to stay in place but to tint or untint at the touch of a button to let the light in or keep it out.

Mercedes will announce pricing for the new car in Detroit on January 11.

Lamborghini Veneno Roadster pic

$4.5 million Lamborghini Veneno Roadster

Lamborghini Veneno Roadster pic

Lamborghini is set to build just nine convertible versions of its already exclusive Veneno hypercar, which was officially unveiled at this year’s Geneva motor show.

Thanks to prodigious use of carbon fiber, Lamborghini has managed to remove the roof without denting performance too much — it won’t flex like a skateboard or wobble like a jelly.

Power is provided by the same 6.5-liter V12 engine found in the Veneno coupe, which means the roadster will have 750 horsepower at its disposal.

Sent to the four wheels via an ISR transmission, it enable the roadster to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 2.9 seconds and reach a top speed of 355 km/h (220 mph).

Lamborghini says that all nine models will be built in 2014, and that the color “Rosso Veneno” was specially developed for the car and won’t be carried over to other models in the range. And the price? Just €3.3 million (£2.8 million, $4.5 million), before tax.

Lamborghini Veneno Roadster photo

Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster

Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster

Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster

The new Aston Martin V12 Vantage Roadster has leaked ahead of an official debut later this week.

The V12 Roadster gets the same engine and gearbox as the V12 Vantage Coupe which means the 6.0 litre V12 with 510bhp and a six-speed manual ‘box.

Differences to the coupe include a revised rear deck lid with a reshaped spoiler, redesigned front air intake and modified front and rear suspension.
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Lamborghini Aventador J Roadster

Lamborghini Aventador J Roadster

Lamborghini Aventador J Roadster

The new Lamborghini Aventador J Roadster, recently revealed at the Geneva Motor Show, is not just a concept car but now a real one-off production vehicle.

The Aventador J doesn’t have a roof, not even the retractable kind. Nor does it have a windscreen, with Lamborghini apparently having concluded that its “force of nature on wheels” should be as exposed to the real nature as possible.
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Mazda MX-5 Special Edition

Mazda MX-5 Miata Special Edition

Mazda MX-5 Special Edition

Mazda is to launch a limited-edition model of its popular MX-5 sportscar at the Chicago Auto Show next week.

The Japanese brand said that only 450 Special Edition variants of the MX-5 will be produced, boasting an upgraded roof and new interior.

Since its launch in 1989, the MX-5 Miata has become the world’s best-selling two-seat roadster and is a popular — and much cheaper — alternative to high-end models from the likes of Porsche and BMW.
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Tesla Model S photo

Tesla Roadster Final Edition

Tesla Model S photo

Electric car maker Tesla has announced a special edition model of its Roadster sports car, as it prepares for the debut of its new Model S (pictured above).

The brand, which created the world’s first high-performance electric car in the Roadster, will sell just 15 of the Final Edition Roadster models.

Although the specifications of the model haven’t been changed, it is finished in distinctive Atomic Red paint, dark stripes and exclusive anthracite aluminium wheels.
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The Tesla Roadster in London

Tesla: Roadster retires

The Tesla Roadster in London

Tesla Motors announced that it is going to stop production of its Roadster electric vehicle (EV) by the end of this year.

The high-speed model, which is built in the UK for Tesla by Lotus, will end production after the 2,500th vehicle is put together, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk told the San Francisco Chronicle that there aren’t many vehicles left.

There are only a “handful” of models left in the US, Musk is reported as saying, with just a month or two to go until the vehicle is totally sold out.
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Tesla Roadster

Tesla sues Top Gear to ‘correct the record’

Tesla Roadster

Luxury electric car maker Tesla has sued BBC television program Top Gear after a protracted disagreement over a review of its Roadster sports car.

The California-based firm, which makes the world’s only serially-produced electric supercar, announced legal proceedings against the BBC March 29 claiming libel and malicious falsehood, after a spat which has lasted over two years.

Tesla’s complaint relates to an episode of the show which featured the show’s host Jeremy Clarkson reviewing its Roadster, before saying the car would run out of power after 55 miles, the motor had overheated and the brakes had failed.
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1933 Delage takes Pebble Beach’s top honor

A prewar vehicle once used for transporting hotel guests at a Madrid hotel has been named “Best of Show” at the 60th Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

The 1933 Delage D8S De Villars Roadster was named the top car out of the 250 collector cars from 14 countries that were showcased on the Pebble Beach Golf Course this past weekend.

As well as being used to transport guests of the Gran Hotel Velasquez in Madrid, Spain, the 1933 Delage also made an appearance at the 1933 Salon de Paris.
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Tesla Roadster and Tag Heuer go on world tour

Luxury watch brand TAG Heuer has unveiled a new concept watch for its specially designed Tesla Roadster March 18 – and announced plans for a world tour.

To celebrate its 150th anniversary, Tag Heuer will send the Tesla Roadster around the world, leading a travelling exhibition of the brands timepieces.

At the centerpiece of the car’s console will be the Grand Carrera Pendulum, a 2010 concept watch specially designed to fit in the Roadster that was also launched at the event.

The all-electric Roadster, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, will travel some 37,000 miles — the first round-the-world tour by a zero emission GT car.
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Tag Heuer Tesla Roadster

Tesla Motors have teamed up with Swiss luxury watch company Tag Heuer to produce a special edition of its Roadster.

The vehicle will make its debut at the Geneva Auto Show this week. The idea is for both luxury brands to increase their global cachet.

Tag, which is unveiling a new tech-savvy watch on March 18, has yet to become a major presence in the U.S., while Tesla is still building its presence in Europe.

The car itself, designed by Tesla chief designer Franz von Holzhausen, integrates Tag design features into the dashboard, center console and exterior.
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Mercedes-Benz F-Cell Roadster

Daimler today has unveiled the F-CELL Roadster, the latest in their line of “F-Series” concept vehicles, and it draws its inspiration from a diverse variety of automotive eras.

Controlled with drive-by-wire technology and utilizing a joystick rather than a conventional steering wheel, this whip is powered by a 1.2kW emission-free fuel cell system located at the rear.

It took a year and more than 150 trainees to create, but the entire project involved using “junior employees”, giving the company’s up-and-coming employees a creative way to learn how alternative-fuel systems come together.

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Mitsuoka Himiko: The Classiest Mazda Ever

Mitsuoka, arguably the most interesting car company in Japan, has released another Japanese homage to a classic British automobile.

Their latest design the Himiko is an amazing mix of the British sports car- Morgan and the Mazda Mx-5. The company has taken the Mazda MX-5, one of the best driving roadsters in the world, and made it look like the British sports cars it so dutifully emulated back then.

The 2 L four cylinder engine and the six-speed automatic transmission generating 170 hp and 190 Nm torque allows three models of the good looking Himiko, like Himiko Standard, Himiko Premium and Himiko Hi Premium.
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