Filed under: Concept Cars, Convertible, Performance, Aston Martin, Design/Style Generally speaking, today's Aston Martin is known more for its beauty and power than for its minimalism or lightness. But that could change if it decides to produce a version of this CC100 Speedster concept, designed to celebrate the company's centenary. The V12-powered roadster is being unveiled at the Nordschliefe today ahead of the 24 Hours of Nürburgring, where it is expected to lap the circuit with Aston CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez at the wheel. The rakish concept is a nice surprise, and will be run around the circuit along with a 1959 DBR1 with racing royalty Sir Stirling Moss in the driver's seat. No surprise, then, that designers had the company's Nürburgring- and Le Mans-winning '59 racecars in mind when they conceived of this car. Aston says that the two-seat CC100 Speedster came together in under six months time, carbon fiber bodywork and all. Powered by the British automaker's well-known naturally aspirated 6.0-liter V12 and six-speed sequential manual paddleshift gearbox, the company estimates 0-60 in four seconds and a top speed of 180 mph. Aston claims the butterfly-doored CC100 affords onlookers with "teasing glimpses of potential future design direction," suggesting a pugnacious new face is in store for the company. Production hopes? None are mentioned, but even if today's Aston isn't known for its minimalism or lightness, it is known for turning concepts into production cars, and we wouldn't be surprised to learn in a few months that a handful of the company's best customers have managed to cajole it into building a handful of examples. Oh, and about that Stirling Moss connection - forgive us if we're experiencing a bit of déjà vu. After all, doesn't this half-door speedster concept remind you a bit of another car? The Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR Stirling Moss comes to mind for us. For some reason, however, this doesn't really bother us. If it doesn't bother you either, scroll down for to watch a video from Aston and to find the official press release.Continue reading Aston Martin CC100 Speedster is a 180-mph centennial celebration [w/video]Aston Martin CC100 Speedster is a 180-mph centennial celebration [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 19 May 2013 09:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Filed under: Convertible, Performance, Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Jaguar, Luxury With its new "Your Turn" global ad campaign, Jaguar has introduced its 2014 F-Type to the world of broadcast media. The effort takes aim at the monied 25-54 demographic, which makes sense of Jaguar recently shacking up with the 2013 Playboy Playmate of the Year Raquel Pomplun and San Francisco NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. You'll also be seeing the new roadster on ESPN's SportsCenter, late night ABC talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live, the USA Network show Covert Affairs, the Sundance Channel and theaters, magazines and everywhere digital. On top of all that, a social media campaign includes a contest called #MyTurnToJag that will reward four winners with a custom drive in the new convertible. You'll find the first two spots below, along with a press release on the roaring red marketing onslaught headed your way.Continue reading Jaguar F-Type meets America in first TV spotsJaguar F-Type meets America in first TV spots originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 15 May 2013 16:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Filed under: Convertible, Performance, BMW, Luxury, Quick Spins The BMW Z3/Z4 roadster has never really had a widespread following because it has either been too humble and small a roadster (albeit with some fun and very low-volume M editions) or it has been - in this E89 generation - too casual an image leader with no racier aspirations. The current 480-hp Z4 GTEs don't count, since they are as stock a Z4 as today's Pamela Anderson is the same blonde actress we knew as Heidi on Home Improvement. You know, sort of like those ever-so-slightly modified Toyota Camry coupes competing in NASCAR. The ultimate highpoint for the BMW Z roadster franchise was at the very start of its life in the mid-90s, in the James Bond film GoldenEye with Pierce Brosnan. The Stinger missiles that Q's team installed behind the Z3's headlights were never fired, and BMW never even offered this self-defense package as an option. Yet another case of the ol' bait and switch. And in all these subsequent years of Z3s and Z4s strutting their long-hooded stuff, the little sporting Bimmer could really have used a live Stinger missile or two to spice things up. The current Z4 exists, it is pretty dang sexy, and BMW seems content to let it linger there. We just drove the new midlife version of the roadster near BMW headquarters in Munich, and it served to reinforce our feelings. Driving Notes We have always harbored a desire to fall in love with this swoopy and well-proportioned roadster, but it still strikes us a bit like the way the over-designed Mercedes SLK now strikes us: a really nice lifestyle/reward car, with not much else going on. All BMW had on hand for us was this Z4 sDrive35is with its 335-horsepower, 3.0-liter TwinPower Turbo straight-six that also cranks to 332 pound-feet of torque, all spiffed up with the M Sport spa treatment and adaptive dampers. Things could be worse. If we were going to take the graying-chest-hair plunge and grab a BMW Z4, it would be this exact car. Otherwise, and despite all the positives of the newer 240-hp four-cylinder sDrive28i model, what's the point? This particular roadster needs its strong six-cylinder to give it some character. We would also be happier if this top-trim roadster could be equipped with the six-speed manual transmission that is offered on the aforementioned sDrive28i. The optional Valencia Orange Metallic paint does look a bit two-tone precious to us when the black folding hardtop is closed, but it's still a sweetheart to gaze upon. Looking at the standard Monroney sticker of $64,800 (the base sDrive28i now starts at $47,950) and then dragging our eyes down the hyper-extended list of optional add-ons until reaching our car's $80k-plus price estimate, one has to pause to take it all in. The Z4 35is is a wonderful enough, but, man, it can cost a ton. Our 19-inch, $1,200 optional M alloys with Bridgestone Potenza RE 050A run-flat treads, combined with the speed-sensitive electric power steering and Servotronic assistance, made for a usually fine but occasionally woggy feeling under some circumstances. Through series of curves taken at real speed, there was, at times, a vagueness of trajectory, again leaving the feel that BMW wants the Z4 in any trim to be a car of leisure. The adaptive M suspension package does help treat this vagueness from behind the wheel somewhat, but overall the various dynamic elements taken together create a slightly confused ride and handling experience for a sexy car that promises so much. Basically, the Z4 ends up feeling every bit of its 3,549 pounds. (For reference, a Porsche Boxster S weighs a tick under 3,000 pounds at its heaviest PDK curb weight and feels like even less than that.) Attempting to make up for any black marks on the Z4's resume is this model's sheer power and torque. That final "s" tagged on to the name certainly helps. And while we miss a manual option, the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddle shifters is a sweet setup when its most dynamic mode is selected. However, we understand that BMW has no intention of even offering a self-locking sport limited-slip rear differential. Oh, well. This freshened 2014 BMW Z4 has been on sale in North America since the end of March. It's a shame the car has become so sexy and interesting, yet so little time has been spent spicing up its chassis dynamics and overall drive feel. The absence of an M edition of the Z4 has been rather conspicuous, but perhaps that's because BMW's engineers know the platform isn't up to the job. This one's for sunny-day happy time cruising only... with style.2014 BMW Z4 sDrive35is originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 May 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Filed under: Convertible, Coupe, Hybrid, Sedan, Audi, Rumormill, Luxury We still only have rumors about the third-generation Audi TT said to be scheduled for launch in late 2014, but based on a report in Car and Driver, we know a tiny bit more about it. The base engine will be the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder with direct injection, but horsepower is said to be 220 horsepower - that would make for a nine-hp jump over the current output. The TTS would get an even larger power boost, going from 265 currently to 300 hp. The TT RS would stick with it's 2.5-liter five cylinder, with output increased from 360 to 380 hp. If Audi includes a nice dose of the go-light engineering involved in the TT Ultra Quattro, these horsepower numbers might be even more impressive. As with the TT concept and first-generation production car, though, it sounds like the brand is concentrating on aesthetics. It's been widely reported that Audi wants to reclaim the juju conjured by the original TT, and while we still don't know what that means outside, CD reports that the interior gets simplified, "futuristic-feeling" styling thanks to instruments served up on a TFT screen. Remember, the first Audi TT had a cockpit that Car magazine dubbed simply, "The Cabin." About a year after the coupe comes, the Audi TT Roadster will show up and should be joined by the next A5. The news for the next version of the subtly beautiful coupe is the arrival of a plug-in hybrid with torque vectoring via an electric motor for the rear axle. Beyond that is wilder speculation of an A9, which might be called Q9, and which was the four-door-coupe flavor of the month two years ago when it was possibly going to share a platform with the Lamborghini Estoque. According to the CD story, the thinking now is around "a combination of fastback and crossover proportions," a two-fer we've yet to see any carmaker pull off without making us go, "Oh. I see."More next-gen Audi TT details revealed originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 10 May 2013 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
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