• New Tesla Roadster coming in 2019

    July 20, 2015
    Tesla Motors has discreetly announced that the next Roadster is scheduled to go on sale globally in 2019.
    “There is of course one speed faster than ludicrous, but that is reserved for the next-generation Roadster in four years: maximum plaid,” hinted the company in a press release that details the latest Model S upgrades.

    Tesla’s announcement suggests the next Roadster – a moniker that might not be retained – will be able to sprint from zero to 60 mph in less than 2.8 seconds, a figure that will make it at least a full second faster than its predecessor. To put that time into perspective, the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 performs the same task in 2.9 second, while the 700-horsepower Lamborghini Aventador takes 2.9 seconds to reach 62 mph from a stop.

    Range will improve, too, and that’s no small feat for the California-based car maker’s research and development department. The Roadster 3.0 update that was released last December used new battery technology and improved aerodynamics to bump the convertible’s maximum driving range to an impressive 400 miles in the right conditions.

    The original Roadster was built on a Lotus-sourced platform and it was sold as a limited-edition model. While nothing is set in stone yet, the next Roadster is expected to ride on a platform designed in-house by Tesla and launch as a regular-production model.

    More details about the next Tesla Roadster will gradually emerge in the next few months.

  • Next MINI Countryman to be bigger, more rugged

    July 20, 2015

    MINI engineers are busily developing the second-gen Countryman, and a new report coming out of England provides us with a better idea of what we can expect from it.
    Visually, the next Countryman will fall in line with MINI’s newest design language but it will adopt a much more rugged appearance than the current model thanks to styling cues borrowed from the Dakar-winning X-Raid rally car (pictured). It will stretch roughly 167 inches long, making it the biggest member of the MINI lineup.

    The Countryman will ride on BMW’s ubiquitous UKL front-wheel drive platform, and it will launch with three- and four-cylinder engines sourced from its parent company’s parts bin. Buyers will be able to order an evolution of the all-wheel drive system that equips the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer at an extra cost.

    Interestingly, British magazine Autocar reports that MINI could capitalize on its Dakar successes by launching a more off road-focused version of the Countryman capable of going far off the beaten path. The crossover could also spawn a BMW X6-style four-door coupe model, though neither project has been given the green light for production yet.

    The next-gen MINI Countryman is scheduled to land in showrooms in about a year and a half, so it will likely be introduced at next year’s edition of the Paris Motor Show.

  • New Honda CEO doesn’t own a car; is holding out for the Civic Type R

    July 20, 2015

    Honda’s recently anointed CEO Takahiro Hachigo doesn’t even own a car, but there’s a very good reason for that: he’s waiting for the new Civic Type R.

    Hachigo, who last month took over the company from former president and CEO Takanobu Ito, has promised to “create a new Honda” by invigorating the company’s lineup with exciting new offerings. A self-avowed car enthusiast, Hachigo has stated he would like to focus on product rather than chasing sales numbers.

    It appears he will also put his money where his mouth is. When asked by members of the Japanese press recently what kind of car he owns, Hachigo admitted that while he doesn’t yet have one, though his wife drives a Honda N-One supercompact city car finished in red and black two-tone. Hachigo himself keeps a Honda VTR250 motorcycle in the garage, but is waiting for the next-generation Civic Type R to begin production so he can add one to his garage.

    The Civic Type R is the upcoming 300hp compact that will revive the legendary Type R moniker, a long-time identifier of top-level performance Hondas. Close-to-production prototypes have claimed the fastest lap times for a front-wheel-drive car on the Nurburgring circuit. Notably, the new Civic Type R will be coming to the US for the first time in the model’s nearly two decades in production.

    Hachigo is also reportedly a fan of the new S660 roadster, and an S2000 successor is rumored to be in the works.

  • Nissan takes crown for best selling Asian marque in Europe

    July 20, 2015

    Nissan has taken the crown as Europe’s best-selling Asian marque, taking over a long held from Toyota.

    During the first six months of 2015, Nissan sold 384,726 cars on the continent, besting sales from the same period last year by 4.3 percent. The newfound success means Nissan now claims 4.2 percent of the overall European market. Nissan’s stellar growth showed in individual markets such as Germany (11 percent), Spain (18 percent) and the UK (with a whopping 34 percent). Nissan, incidentally, is also the UK’s largest car manufacturer.

    Nissan attributes its rise in sales primarily to the Qashqai, a compact crossover not sold in the US that splits the size difference between the Juke and the Rogue. It is so popular, in fact, that Nissan corporate bedfellow Renault has just released its own rebadged version, called the Kadjar. Nissan noted that the X-Trail crossover (sold as the Rogue in the US) and the Leaf electric car helped boost sales as well.

    Nissan has seen five consecutive years of growth in Europe, a feat made possible by a concerted, sustained marketing push and a constant refreshing of its model lineup. The growth is expected to continue into the second half of 2015.

  • Shelby introduces 50th anniversary Cobra Daytona Coupe

    July 20, 2015
    Shelby American took home its first Manufacturer’s Title 50 years ago, and it is celebrating the occasion by building a limited run of continuation Cobra Daytona Coupes.
    Shelby offers an aluminum-bodied version of the Daytona Coupe that’s all but identical to the cars that were built during the 1960s, and a fiberglass-bodied model designed to provide a glimpse into what the coupe could look like today if it had remained in continuous production. The two cars are built using the original blueprints and measurements, but Shelby’s engineers have designed a stronger frame and fitted a set of disc brakes.

    Buyers can choose from a long list of paint colors. Although pictures of the cockpit are not available, Shelby explains that all cars ship with a period-correct wood-rimmed steering wheel and black leather upholstery on the seats.

    Both cars are sold as a rolling chassis, meaning they do not come with an engine. A numbers-matching 289-cubic inch engine is available as an option directly from Shelby’s engine-building division. Alternatively, well-heeled enthusiasts who want to build their dream Daytona Coupe can opt to install just about anything that fits in the coupe’s engine bay.

    Limited to just 50 examples, the Shelby 50th Anniversary Cobra Daytona Coupe is on sale now with a price tag that isn’t for the faint of heart. The fiberglass-bodied car carries a base price of $179,995, while the period-correct aluminum-bodied model starts at $349,995. Those figures likely seem extraordinarily high, but they pale in comparison to the millions that collectors are ready to pay in the off chance that one of the six original Daytona Coupes built in the 1960s comes up for sale.