For Sale By:Dealer
Sub Model: Coupe
Exterior Color: Red
Interior Color: Black
Number of Cylinders: 6
Action Nissan: Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Renault isn't letting up with the return of its Alpine brand. After announcing a partnership with Caterham to bring a new Alpine to market by 2015 (now expected by 2016), the French firm has announced it is taking Alpine racing again in the European Le Mans Series this year - and that includes The 24 Hours of Le Mans.
It has been 35 years since Alpine last competed in Le Mans, when it won the race outright and dropped the mic as it left the pits, never to return. Before that, in the 11 years it campaigned in the most famous endurance race on the planet from 1963 to 1978, it took seven class wins.
Caterham won't be involved with the race team, however; that will be an effort spearheaded by the Signatech-Nissan team that has been running GT Academy winners in LMS racing. Alpine is preparing an LMP2 chassis that will get a 500-horsepower Nissan engine for this year's championship, with the first two named drivers being Nelson Panciatici (above right) and Pierre Ragues (above left). The third driver for Le Mans will be announced later this month when the racer is launched at the Le Castellet race track in southern France.
The Nissan Juke boldly reinvented the subcompact crossover for the modern age a decade after the niche's progenitors - the first-generation Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V - grew well beyond their original, diminutive sizes. Since being introduced in 2010 as a 2011 model, the Juke has proven to be a huge sales success for Nissan in Europe and quite a success here, too. A modest refresh is planned for the 2015 model year of Nissan's tiniest crossover, and our spy shooters have caught an early glimpse.
The exact changes are not easy to spot, but you can bet that anywhere you see camouflage, a modestly new look is hidden underneath. The biggest change up front is the narrower grille that appears to no longer extend over the headlights. Assuming this isn't just a clever disguise, the change gives the impression that the Juke actually has distinct headlights, instead of massive fog lights. The more angular front air dam also appears to extend slightly lower than before, and the intakes appear to be revised as well.
The changes to the rear are even more minor. You can still see the outlines of the boomerang-shaped headlights, and any alterations to the rear bumper are impossible to spot behind the camouflage tape. It's also unclear at this point whether the interior will receive any refinements or new options.
Over the years, I've been given many nicknames - a few of them have even been repeatable around small children. One such moniker is "Mr. Other Makes," a title given to me because of my predilection for sifting through eBay Motors seeking out automotive misfits and orphans. I've got a soft spot for the dreamers and automakers who take big chances on beancounter-enraging flights of fancy.
I count Nissan among that bunch, because for every safe-as-houses Altima or Sentra that rolls out of its factory gates, the Japanese automaker has often secreted away a little funding for white-space niche vehicles that any sane person wouldn't expect to pencil out. Some, like the Juke, have proven to be massive hits. Others, like the GT-R, have become icons. And then there are models like the Murano CrossCabriolet, a segment-bending mashup the likes of which we haven't seen since the AMC Eagle Sundancer.
Yesterday, upon revealing the new third-generation Murano ahead of its New York Auto Show debut, we reported "the writing appears to be on the wall" for the midsize crossover's novel convertible cousin. It appears we were right. Autoblog can now confirm that the CrossCabriolet will die at the end of this model year, and our source at Nissan tells us unequivocally, "there is no plan for a next-generation Murano CC."