Mercedes AMG GTR is the Ultimate Roadster: 1 of 750

In 2020, roadsters represent the most fun way to get around town on a beautiful day. They use to be the best way to get around the race track too because of their light weight nature. Less steel / aluminum = less weight. But as cars started getting faster and faster, engineers learned the affects of drag at high speeds and discovered that coupes are significantly more aerodynamic. On top of that, consumers began wanting automatic convertible tops, which negated the weight savings due to the electric motors. After that, manufacturers then started putting their most power engines only in coupes; leaving drop top gear heads like myself with less powerful engines.

Mercedes-Benz apparently disagrees with the pack, and has released their AMG GT Convertible in GTR in spec. The “R” stands for race. The boys in Stuttgart deserve an extra 27 pints of beer for this one. It delivers the same 4.0L AMG biturbo V8, suspension components, forged wheels, carbon ceramic brakes, and the same active-aero dynamics as the coupe variant.  My particular favorite is the carbon fiber spoiler paired with the “solar beam yellow” metallic paint, so stoplight drag races know you mean business. It is boy racer in all the right ways. I just don’t know if I could pony up $9,900 for a paint color.  Click Here To Continue Reading

Topless In Miami 2019 Winners

For the past 9 years, the Southern Automotive Media Association has hosted an event called Topless in Miami. It is an annual gathering of its members to determine what are the best convertibles on the market. The definition of a “convertible” has obviously changed over the years with the introduction of hardtop convertibles and “convertible like” vehicles such as panoramic vehicles, which are becoming more and more popular. However the spirit of the event holds true now more than ever… soaking up the sunshine is the best way to enjoy the streets of South Florida.

Here are this year’s winners and why I think they deserve the title:

Convertible Of The Year: Mercedes AMG GT C Roadster

This Roadster deserves a home run with classic Roadster styling, a knockout exhaust and racing inspired interior. It not only looks and sounds fast, but it rockets from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds thanks to 550 horsepower bi-Turbo V8 engine.

This vehicle also won the luxury convertible of the year award.  Click Here To Continue Reading

The 2018 Chevy Camaro SS Is A Toy For BIG Kids

The Chevrolet Camaro holds a special place in my heart, mainly because the 1992 Camaro Z28 was my first car. Under the hood was a 5.0L V8, which was good for a little over 200 horsepower – not bad for the time. My car had a 4-speed automatic transmission but was available with a 5-speed manual. I was the coolest guy at Saint John Vianney High School (in my mind) with that car… It was fast, looked cool, and I could fit all three of my best friends in it!

Fast forward to 2018 and you have the Chevy Camaro SS with a 6.2L engine. The Corvette derived pushrod V8 is good for 455 horsepower and 455 pounds of torque. Off the line you can do 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds flat with the 8-speed automatic transmission and 4.3 seconds with the manual. That is Porsche territory for a vehicle that starts at $38,000. The vehicle is obviously no slouch when it comes to raw power, but the new Camaro also makes a decent road course track car. Powerful Brembo brakes are standard on the SS model, as well as, a drive selection mode to tailor the car’s driving dynamics based upon on-road or track use. The noticeable differentiators with each drive mode are throttle response, shift points (automatic), body roll (with optional magnetic ride), the exhaust note, and how much or little the stability computer will let you slide the rear end before it catches you. When going around tight corners, the Camaro SS felt heavy in the front, which lead to significant understeer. But thanks to the immensely powerful V8, you can gently create rotation by carefully applying throttle to the rear wheels.  Click Here To Continue Reading

Ultra Luxury meets Super Car performance with the Mercedes S63 AMG Cabriolet

Life doesn’t get much better than cruising around in an S-Class… or does it? Well it does because the S63 AMG Cabriolet makes the ultimate daily driver, and here is why:

Mercedes has breathed new life into there flagship sedan by reducing the number of doors, increasing the horsepower, and giving it a ragtop. The S63 AMG is still every bit as comfortable (for the driver) as an S-Class sedan, but now the vehicle excites the driver. All of your senses begin to tingle as you lower the top and smash the gas pedal. Your head begins to stick like glue to the headrest as all 603 horses shift there brute power though a 9-speed automatic gearbox. Then when you least expect it, a curve in the road approaches you vehicle. As you begin to take it, the S63 AMG Cabriolet’s adjustable air suspension tightens in order to reduce body roll on your 4,800 pound rolling lazy boy sofa. Click Here To Continue Reading

The Limited Edition Jaguar F-Type 400 Sport

Whether you are driving Jaguar’s large XJ sedan or their nimble F-Type roadster, there is no mistaking that you are driving something special. The F-Type is Jaguar’s modern day heart and soul. Its performance roots trace back to the D-Type (yes, I know that their is a C-Type), to a time when Jaguar was the king of sports car Jungle. It wasn’t just a LeMans race winning champion. The coolest of cool, such as Steve McQueen, drove Jaguar D-Types on their every day commutes. Click Here To Continue Reading

I am loving this RED hot Mustang

Few colors are more passionate than, and few cars are more iconic than the Ford Mustang. While the vehicle has evolved over the years from boxy to round, and then back to a retro look across 6 generations, one thing has remained the same – the Ford Mustang creates an emotion connection to everyone who experiences it. You will be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t reminisce about driving on the open road with their friends, or burning rubber… after all it is a Pony car. Click Here To Continue Reading

The Rolls Royce Dawn is the “World’s Best Luxury Convertible”

“There is no substitute.” 

“The Best or Nothing.”

“The Pursuit of Perfection”

All three of these automotive tag lines describe the Rolls Royce Dawn even though they belong to other manufacturers (Porsche, Mercedes, and Lexus respectively). After spending a week with the Dawn, I understand why people enthusiastically spend over $400,000 on an ultra-luxury car. It’s not just for the prestiege of owning a car from the iconic brand who once held the speed records for land, air, sea. Discerning millionaires and billionaires drive (or better yet, are chauffeured in) Rolls Royce Motors Cars because of the unparallel experience.


Quality

Nothing comes close to the level of detail Rolls Royce has placed into the Dawn. This is because over 90% of Rolls Royce vehicles are bespoke works of art. Every detail, from the type of exotic materials used to the embroidery of family crests, are handcrafted. The particular car I tested feature a sporty design with bulls leather read and black seats, and piano black wood trim. I was told that on average, craftsmen spend 80 hours just on the interior of each car – that is someone spending 8 hours a day for two weeks!!!

Comfort

Roll Royce calls their patented suspension system, “Magic Carpet Ride” for a reason. Driving a Rolls Royce feels like you are floating on a cloud. The vehicle glides over bumps like nothing was there in the first place. 

While all Rolls Royce vehicles have amazing rear passenger compartments, the Dawn was built for the owner to drive it. I put approximately 350 miles on the car and every minute was a surreal experience. 

Cruising down the boulevard or along a coast road with a cool breeze flowing through your hair is what the Dawn was designed for, but it quickly adapts to any situation.


Even when sitting for hours in rush hour traffic, it is a pleasure to drive the Dawn. You feel relaxed because you are sitting in an extremely comfortable and roomy seat, plus you are enjoying studio quality tunes from you favorite brands via the satellite radio. When the noise from the other vehicle start to bother you, simply push a button and the top closes in a matter of seconds, delivering a nearly silent experience.

The noise isolation on the Dawn is an impressive feat, because at full speed on the highway, you barely hear anything from the outside. Convertibles on the highway are typically a noisy affair when compared to hardtops – even modern convertibles. Rolls Royce Dawn breaks the mold, with the top up, it is quieter than most fixed roof vehicles.

Luxury

There isn’t a car manufacture that represents “true luxury” more than Rolls Royce. The Dawn I tested featured a multitude of unnecessary, but nice to have features – all of which enhance the experience of driving the “World’s Best Luxury Convertible.”

Example 1: Motorized doors. A distinguished gentleman (or lady) should never have to close his own door when entering a vehicle. So, Rolls Royce added a mechanism to close the front doors with a button.


Example 2: A Beautiful Mascot. Every proper motor car deserves mascot. Jaguar has a cat, Mercedes has a Star, and Rolls Royce has “The Spirit of Esctasy.” Unique to Rolls Royce though, their hood ornament mechanically pops in and out of the front fascia. It pops up automatically when you unlock the car. And when you lock the car, it automatically hides into a spot right above the grill. You can bespoke your car with the Spirit of Esctasy made using an assortment of materials, including crystal. If you want to highlight its beauty at night, and optional LED spotlight is available.


Example 3: Performance. Gas mileage is terrible on the Rolls Royce Dawn – I got less than 300 miles on a single tank of gas – this is thanks to a thirsty 6.6L V12 motor. What is more luxurious than having a V12 engine that can rocket your 5,776 pound car from zero-to-sixty faster than a Porsche 911? 4.3 seconds to be exact. 

Before I conclude this review of the Dawn. I want to give a shoutout to the Dawn’s discontinued bigger brother, the Phantom Drophead Coupe. It is the only convertible “nicer” than the Dawn. The Phantom Drophead Coupe took the passenger experience to another level. It was larger and featured a more refined backseat with options such as a champagne cooler. While the Dawn is all about the driver, the Phantom was about cruising in style while your man servant drives you into town. So if I had to choose between the two vehicles, I would take the Dawn… Which is why I say the the 2017 Rolls Royce Dawn is the “World’s Best Luxury Convertible” that money can buy.

Visit your local Rolls Royce dealer or go to www.Rolls-RoyceMotorCars.com to learn more.

The SLC43 AMG is the perfect daily driven roadster!


Daily driver and roadster rarely fits into the same sentence unless you are a complete car enthusiast. That’s because roadsters traditionally trade comfort for the ride of a lifetime. Some classic roadsters such as the Jaguar XK120 roadster didn’t even have rollup windows! And if you think that is unpleasant, the Porsche 550 Spyder didn’t even have a top! Those lavish features were meant for “convertibles.” Modern roadsters have power windows and most have automatic cloth top.

Mercedes-Benz, staying true to the motto “The best or nothing,” has brought comfort back to the roadster – first with the SLK in 1996 and now again, 20 years later, with the SLC.

The car’s best feature is its retractable automatic hardtop. It allows the SLC to transform within seconds from a roadster to a sporty coupe. You literally get the best of both worlds! There is no more saying that roadsters are too noisy on the highway or that they are too hot during the summer (or too cold during the winter for my northern friends). Some might argue that modern rag tops are just as well insulated as hard top convertibles – they might be – but I don’t think so. When I am driving with the top up on a rag top, I am constantly wishing in the back of my mind that the weather was nice enough to put the top down. When I drove the Mercedes SLC43 AMG with the top up, I kept thinking to myself how great the coupe experience is.

Also rag top roadsters such as the Porsche Boxster, Jaguar F-Type, and Audi TT don’t look nearly as good with the top up as the Mercedes SLC43 AMG does. Now there are a couple drawbacks to having a hardtop convertible: 1) It weighs more because of the mechanical mechanisms. 2) You typically have less trunk space. With that being said, this is your daily driver and not a track car, so weight is less of an issue. In terms of trunk space, the SLC43 AMG does have less room than the 718 Porsche Boxster (with its two trunks), but I was able to fit more groceries in my SLC tester car than I was in the Jaguar F-Type convertible I tested last year.

The interior quality has also been kicked up a notch with the SLC43 AMG versus the competition. I instantly fell in love with its saddle brown leather interior with white stitching. As part of the AMG variation, the SLC I tested also had a semi-alcanta flat bottom steering wheel to accentuate the performance aspects of the vehicle. With a 362hp 3.0L V6 biturbo engine and a 9-speed gearbox, the Mercedes-Benz SLC43 AMG is no slouch. It will do zero-to-sixty in less than 5 seconds. The rear-wheel-drive SLC43 AMG also handles surprisingly well thanks to a well tuned AMG Sport suspension. I specific rear-wheel-drive because one of its unnamed German competitors (the Audi TT) has a front-wheel-drive bias for its all-wheel-drive system.

With a performance oriented mindset, luxury accommodations, and the benefit of having both a convertible and coupe, the Mercedes-Benz SLC is my pick for the best daily driven roadster… The top seals the deal!

You can find more information about the Mercedes-Benz SLC43 AMG by visiting your local deal or by clicking here to visit the Mercedes-Benz website.

“You Have Arrived” with the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Cabriolet

The Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Cabriolet is a status symbol in the truest form, but it also delivers the ultimate luxury convertible experience on four-wheels. Some will argue that Bentley Continental GT V8S and Rolls-Royce Dawn deliver are in a league of their own because of their posh manufacture marques, but I think the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Cabriolet delivers an unprecedented driving experience. Mercedes has created a fusion of modern technology and old-world ultra luxury, combined with true AMG high performance.

The standard drivetrain is a handcrafted AMG 5.5L Bi-Turbo engine paired with a AMG 7-speed automatic transmission and a AMG Performance all-wheel-drive system. This shoots the 4,817 pound car from 0-to-60 in 3.8 seconds. That is faster than a Porsche 911S! Stopping this beautiful machine isn’t a problem, because it comes with 6-piston AMG high-performance brakes. Cornering isn’t this vehicle’s strongest suit (when compared to a traditional sports car), but it feels remarkably nimble when compared to the Rolls-Royce Dawn that I recently tested at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Its agility comes from an adaptive sports suspension system that allows drivers to stiffen or loosing the suspension based upon your driving style – stiff on a curvy road and soft while cruising around town. This is definitely the ultra-luxury car to get if you want to have a little fun with it! If found myself constantly switching back and fourth between comfort and performance modes while testing this car for a week in Ft Lauderdale. I also found myself stomping the gas peddle and enjoying the roar of the exhaust every opportunity I got.

Luxury is synonymous with the S-Class brand, and you can tell that no expense was spared when crafting the S63 AMG Cabriolet. Detailed stitching outlines every piece of nappa leather on the seats, armrests, doors, and dash. Also on the center armrest is the AMG crest, which is subtle reminder that the ultra-luxury vehicle you are driving can beat half the cars on the road in a drag race. Another reminder of this vehicles high-performance prowess is the alcantara and Nappa leather steering wheel, which mimics racing steerings with a flat bottom. Oh by the way… the steering wheel, seats, and armrests are all heated. The two front seats also feature Mercedes’ exclusive “air scarf” heating element. A tiny space heater is positioned above your shoulders to provide a little something extra on those cool days with the top down. So how do you top that? The S63 AMG Cabriolet is available with massaging seats.

My only complaint with the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Cabriolet – and its not even my compliant, it was my 5’4″ girlfriend’s complaint – is the backseats. They are beautifully dressed in perforated Nappa leather with detailed contrast stitching, but the backseats are “unbearable” to sit-in for long periods of time. You would expect an S-Class to have an amazing backseat, but I guess most Cabriolet owners don’t sit in the back.

Now back to the title of this story… “You Have Arrived” with the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Cabriolet. I say this because I am 30 years old and everywhere I went, people treated me different in the S63. I instantly got more respect from other drivers on the road, with many randomly giving me a thumbs up. I also got better service at restaurants. In once instance I immediately got a table even though there was a line for seating because the hostess saw me pull up in the car. At the Ft Lauderdale Boat Show, the parking valet attendant put the car upfront and didn’t charge for parking even though a big sign read $60 for valet parking. All of these things could be a coincidence, but I give the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Cabriolet all the credit. The car you drive makes a statement wherever you go, and this one says that you have finally arrived…

Visit your local dealer for more information about the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Cabriolet or click here to visit the Mercedes website.

The Alfa Romeo 4C Spyder is every racer’s dream car!


In racing you want a car that is fast in a straightline and quick around the corners, which means that you need a powerful engine paired with a light weight and well balanced chassis. It was with this inspiration that Alfa engineered the 4C a couple years ago. The mid engine design means that the car is perfectly balaned, and it’s use of a carbon fiber tub increases occupant safety and greatly reduces weight. The US version weighed in at around 2,400 pounds (the Europen version weighed even less) and launched the car from zero to sixty in only 4 seconds. It is and was a true racing driver’s car with limited comfort amenities, but full on performance. The vehcile comes equipped with a turbocharged 4-cylinder and a six speed dual-clutch gearbox, which means that the Alfa Romeo 4C shifts quicker than you can say Alfa. The transmission rivals that of its much bigger cousin, the Ferrari 488 GTB/S.

You can read more about the Alfa Romeo 4C coupe here. Continue reading for details on the 4C Spyder.


The next variant of the Alfa Romeo 4C is here, and it comes as a Spyder. The targa top version of the 4C protects you from the elements using a folding cloth top, and lets the sunshine in with the release of two screws and four levelers. It is a manual collapsible top, so removing it and attaching it can be tricky, but it is easy once you get the hang of it. I even removed it once while stopped at a long stoplight! The ease of removing the top reminds me of the glory days of T-Tops. You can either fold the top up and place it in the seat next to you or their is a spot for it in the trunk. Putting the top on though requires you to get out the car for a few minutes in order to ensure a proper fit – I got caught in a rain storm one afternoon during my week with the car, so I pulled off the road and rushed to put the top on in order to protect the beautiful leather interior. While rushing to put the top on, I forgot to slip part of the cloth into the windshield seem; it protected me and the interior from the rain while stopped, but as soon as I started moving, I was blasted with water. I had to pull over again to remove and re-attach the top for a tight fit.

Driving with the top off and the windows down, it is a what you would expect from a Spyder: The wind blowing through your hair and an enhanced sound of an exotic engine exhaust roaring the in the background. The wind is almost non-existent with the windows up, because the rear window acts as a windscreen. This combination works well on the highway if you are trying to talk on the phone or have a conversation with the passenger next to you.

Driving with the top on is a very similar experience to the coupe version of the Alfa Romeo 4C. I haven’t compared the two side-by-side, but the only drawback that I can think of is a reduced noise insulation… But I don’t mind because I love its Italian exhaust note!

Choosing between the 4C Coupe and 4C Spyder is a difficult decision. The 4C Coupe looks sexier with a rear window peeping into the mid-engine bay, but the Spyder offers an enhance driving experience.

So the choice is yours!

Visit your local Alfa Romeo dealer for more information on the 4C or click here to visit Alfa Romeo’s website.