AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
The original V8-powered R8 had only been on the streets for a few days when rumors began to surface about a drop-top roadster version of the exotic Audi. Then Audi threw a curve ball with the 12-cylinder turbo-diesel R8 concept before unveiling the V10-powered monster.
Now that the V10 R8 is on the streets, those drop-top rumors have resurfaced.
The U.K. publication WhatCar? is claiming its sources inside Audi have confirmed a convertible version of the R8. More specifically, it will be a soft top.
If Audi is to build a convertible version of the R8, a soft-top is most likely for many reasons. For starters, as the R8 is mid-engined there really isn’t much room for a hard top. Also, we’ve seen Audi stick to soft tops, even on new models like the A5/S5, due, in part, to the fact that Audi’s are notoriously heavy and adding a complex mechanized hard-top would only add to that problem.
It isn’t clear of the convertible version will use the V8 or V10 powerplant but it is supposed to be in dealerships by 2011. If that is the case, Audi might use the Frankfurt Auto Show in September to give us a peek.
Ahead of the New York International Auto Show, Nissan dropped the cover (and the top) on the roadster version of its new 370Z. Normally convertible versions of coupes aren’t all the different from their hard-top cousins, and while that is mostly true here we have to hand it to Nissan on the design of the new model – especially after the 350Z Roadster was, from a design point of view, an automotive hack job.
The new 370Z Roadster looks purposefully designed and is as elegant as the Coupe is sporty. To achieve this, Nissan designers used a shorter windshield and a new deck, which, by the way, completely covers the convertible roof when in the down position. This “tonneau” cover also incorporates the two-seater design with sculpting behind each of the seats.
The top itself is a material unit (in keeping with Nissan’s commitment to reduce the weight of the new Z cars), which raises or lowers in roughly 20 seconds. The operation is completely automated and can be done by the flick of a switch on the center console or by a button located on the door.
The soft-top also features a larger rear window (over the 350Z Roadster) for improved visibility.
“As expected, the 370Z Roadster delivers an exhilarating connetion to the air, wind and environment on top of the new Z Coupe’s exceptinal levels of performance,” said Nissan North America general manager Al Castignetti. “But perhaps unexpected for a car this sporty is its greatly enhanced refinement and quality – as seen in features such as its one-touch auto-locking convertible top and beautifully crafted interior.”
The interior comes standard with cloth seats, as well as the Nissan Intelligent Key with a push button ignition and power windows and locks, with Touring models getting power seats and “net” leather seating, with both heating and cooling functions. Touring models have three color choices for the leather seats: Gray, Black or Wine. Other Touring model features include HomeLink, Bluetooth compatability, an 8-speaker Bose audio system and aluminum pedals.
The Z Roadster comes with 18-inch factory wheels with an option to upgrade to a Sport Package that includes light weight 19-inch RAYS wheels with Bridgestone Potenza RE050A P245/40R19 front/P275/35R19 tires. This upgrade also includes the NISMO brakes with four-piston front calipers and 14-inch rotors and rear two-piston calipers with 13.8-inch rotors.
All models come with Nissan’s new 3.7-liter V6 engine with 332hp and 270 ft-lbs of torque, an increase of 26hp and 2 ft-lbs over the past Z Roadster.
“The new 370Z Roadster lives in the same sweet spot of performance, style and value that the Z Coupe does,” said Castignetti. “Open air diriving just begs for open riads and the new 370Z Convertible is the perfect companion.
The 2010 370Z Roadster will be available late this summer in six colors (Solid Red, Magnetic Black, Brilliant Silver, Platinum Graphite, Pearl White, Monterey Blue), as well as a special Black Cherry.
GALLERY: Nissan 370Z Roadster
GALLERY: 370Z Roadster additional photos
More on the 370Z Roadster after the jump:
When you’re an automaker, there are two ways to significantly improve profits. First, you can sell a vehicle to as many people as possible, using the “economies of scale” approach. Second, you can sell a reduced number of vehicles at a higher profit margin, feeding off an increased demand and a reduced supply.
The Lamborghini Reventón most certainly falls into the latter category and now Lambo is hoping to repeat the success of that car with an even more limited edition Reventón Roadster… yummy!
According to CarsUK.net, which cites not one but two “very reliable” sources inside the company, the Reventón Roadster is set to become a reality. And why not? Lamborghini already has the crazy Reventón bodywork all figured out and they can easily fabricate some Murciélago chassis. They’d be crazy not to build it.
CarsUK is reporting that the Roadster version would use the updated engine from the new LP670-4 SuperVeloce, with 670 neck-snapping horsepower. As for production numbers, Lambo would keep the Reventón Roadster in even more limited supply with just 9 models being produced – and apparently 9 deposits have already been made.
As for the asking price, it’s a serious $1.6 million. It appears as though this over-the-top raging bull is also a cash cow.
GALLERY: Lamborghini Reventón
356 Speedster to be based on Volkswagen Blue Sport concept
As automakers downsize their payrolls, many are also looking to downsize their auto offerings by producing smaller and more affordable vehicles. While we expect as much from the GMs and Toyotas of the world, luxury and sportscar makers are also hopping on the band wagon. We recently reported that Audi is now selling a less powerful version of the TT Roadster in the U.K., and latest reports suggest Porsche might be bringing a new entry-level vehicle to market to slot in under the Boxster.
The new model would be called the 356 Speedster and would be a two-seater, mid-engine, rear drive machine, based on the Volkswagen Blue Sport Concept unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.
There is no word on a powerplant for the new model, but there is speculation that Audi’s 2.0 TFSI engine could be used, with an output of just over 200hp and 200 ft-lbs of torque. This would seem appropriate were it not for the fact that we can’t really see Porsche using an Audi /VW powerplant for a sportscar. It also wouldn’t be very likely that a turbocharged model would be the standard engine, as Porsche typically reserves turbos for high-performance “Turbo” models.
From here the speculation continues to get even more ridiculous with German source autozietung stating that through the use of aluminum and magnesium the new model could weight as little as 1,675 lbs – that’s a good 300 lbs lighter than a Lotus Elise – which has all the comfort and convenience features of a gym locker (we still love them though).
The possibility of such a model actually making it to market is, however, quite good as Porsche is eager to expand its market share and essentially repeat what it did 10 years ago with the Boxster – a vehicle that has grown up in a decade to be a significantly faster and more expensive model. The 356 Speedster wouldn’t see production until 2013 with pricing expected right around the $40,000 mark (undercutting the $46,600 Boxster).
GALLERY: Volkswagen Blue Sport Concept
[Source: autozietung via WorldCarFans]
Fourth generation sportscar to be lighter, with a soft top and use smaller forced-induction engines
The fourth generation Mazda Miata, due out in 2012 is going to be more in line with the original Miata, with a smaller engine and lower curb weight. There is also a strong possibility that Mazda will bring back the soft-top (as well as offer a hard-top) – a move that would easily save a bundle of weight.
This most recent news come from Australian publication GoAuto, which cites an inside (but unnamed) source.
The article claims that the new model will not only get lighter thanks to a traditional soft top, but do to the use of electric power steering (over hydraulic) and by using a new lighter suspension. Apparently the adapted RX-8 suspension parts used in the current Miata were forced upon Mazda engineers by the accountants at Ford (Mazda’s parent company) who wanted to keep costs down.
The target curb weight of the fourth-gen model is set at less than 2,200 lbs – significantly lower than the current 2,485 to 2,595 curb weight of the third-generation model.
The report also states that the Miata will be powered by a smaller and more efficient engine; possibly a 1.4-liter or 1.6-liter engine with forced induction. A dual-clutch transmission is, however, unlikely.
With the economy in its current state, many people can’t (or aren’t prepared to) shell out big bucks for a sportscar. Audi understands this and so it is offering its U.K. customers a new version of its TT Roadster – with a smaller engine.
The new TT Roadster 1.8 comes with Audi’s turbocharged 1.8-liter powerplant – similar to the engine in the original TT. Power is rates at 158hp from 4500 to 6200 rpm and 184 ft-lbs of torque are handy from 1500 to 4500 rpm. Mated to a six-speed manual transmission, this is good for a 0-62 mph run of 7.4 seconds and a top speed of 139 mph.
It’s also good on fuel with an average fuel-economy rating of 40.9 mpg.
Other specifics for the new model include 17-inch wheels, electronic climate control, power windows and cloth seats.
This new 1.8-liter model also comes in a front wheel drive setup, which is significantly less expensive than the quattro models. The asking price is set at £23,910 (which comes out to $34,717), a significant difference from the £27,355 (or $39,748) cost for a 2.0 TFSI model.
More on the 1.8 TFSI TT Roadster after the jump: