Tue, 26 Aug 2014 18:01:00 EST
Take a Nissan Juke Nismo, replace all of its suede and Alcantara interior with leather and cross-stitching, replace all of its badging with the words "Infiniti ESQ," and boom! You've got a made-for-China crossover aimed at "the new millennials." Infiniti teased the coming of the ESQ last month, and today, we're treated to pictures taking it in from various toothsome angles.
Sun, 24 Aug 2014 13:03:00 EST
Whippersnappers with anywhere from 200,000 yuan ($33,507 USD) to 300,000 yuan to spend will get the same 197 horsepower, 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, sport-tuned CVT and all-wheel drive that we know in the Juke Nismo. We haven't tracked down any other official information about it yet, but potential buyers will get their first look at it during the Chengdu Motor Show that opens later this month, where it will share market-specific notes with Infiniti Q50 L.
With Formula One taking to Belgium and the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit this weekend - boasting a reputation as one of the most beautiful courses on the calendar - all eyes will likely be on the tricky Eau Rouge corner, which challenges drivers' high-speed car control over a rolling, tree-lined hill. Infiniti played on the turn's iconic legacy for its ruby red Q50 Eau Rouge concept, and now the brand hopes to trademark the famous racing name so it can keep using it for a potential production version.
Sat, 23 Aug 2014 16:56:00 EST
In January, the company filed for a trademark on Eau Rouge for "Automobiles and their structural parts; Fuel cell automobiles and their structural parts; Concept cars" with the US Patent and Trademark Office. According to Bloomberg, the application is still under consideration and not yet a guarantee. It's possible that the track could attempt to block the automaker from earning rights to the name. Alternatively, a trademark lawyer tells Bloomberg that the two of them could also strike a deal where Infiniti would pay a small amount for each car sold bearing the title, which could give Spa a bit of extra money in the bank.
Regardless of the name, a vehicle like the Eau Rouge is something enthusiasts have been wanting for years. It combines a modified, 560-horsepower version of the engine from the Nissan GT-R into a four-door sedan covered in aggressive, carbon fiber aerodynamic parts.
The Nissan IDx seems like the type of concept that auto enthusiasts wish they could be driving. With a compact size, style inspired by the classic Datsun 510 and a rear-wheel-drive powertrain, it certainly ticks many of the boxes that people want. Unfortunately, the car seems to be miles away from actually getting a green light for production, but rumors about the retro coupe's future keep cropping up.
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 11:57:00 EST
The last we heard about the IDx, the biggest complication with the coupe was that it was a tough project to make profitable. Nissan didn't have a cheap enough rear-wheel drive platform to make the affordable coupe work. The latest rumors point to a potential solution to this problem. According to Motoring from Australia speaking to an insider close to Nissan, the new plan is to tweak the styling to be less retro and adapt the car to work on the platform for the forthcoming, next-generation Z car.
The new look reportedly cribs from the Nissan Sport Sedan Concept from the 2014 Detroit Motor Show, including its floating roof design and sharper edges around the fenders. In terms of power, the source tells Motoring, the IDx could use a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with around 180 horsepower on tap. That might not sound like too much, but remember the Z car itself is rumored to get smaller and lighter when it's new generation hits the stage. If the weight is low enough, potentially using it for the IDx might just work.
"You're a long way from home!"
Sun, 17 Aug 2014 14:30:00 EST
When I signed up to drive a pre-production version of the Nissan NV200 Taxi, I expected to have a higher-than-normal level of interaction with the public at large. However, while I was hoping for unsuspecting Ann Arborites to perhaps hail me down, or maybe even get a hop-in when stopped at an intersection, I didn't really think I'd be hassled in parking lots so much. And yet, almost as if all of the Dad-Joke energy in the universe was drawn to my tall, yellow ride, seemingly everywhere I parked I heard some iteration of the phrase above.
Har har, guys.
While Pebble Beach is traditionally thought of as the refuge of the pristine and pricey vintage vehicles of the world, there's no shortage of newer vehicles on display. And when we say "new," we mean really new. As in, not even in production new. This is the concept car lawn, and it's home to an eclectic group of vehicles from past and present.
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 20:01:00 EST
Of course, calling it the "concept car lawn" is a bit of a misnomer this year (as it has been in previous years, too). Production models like the Alfa Romeo 4C were on display, alongside known quantities like the Hennessy Venom GT and modified versions of already-on-sale models, like the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Waterspeed Collection.
There were a few concepts on display, though. Toyota debuted the critically acclaimed FT-1 Concept in a new shade, while BMW's Beijing Motor Show stunner, the Vision Future Luxury, was also parked on the expensive grass. Also appearing were the Nissan GT-R in sheep's clothing, the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge, and the recently debuted McLaren P1 GTR.
Supercar slayer. That's what they call the Nissan GT-R. And in many ways it is, even though its price and performance over the years have risen to put it squarely in supercar territory of its own right.
Mon, 11 Aug 2014 14:01:00 EST
In fact, as Evo magazine has been compiling a list of its fastest cars - using the Anglesey Circuit in Wales as its common ground - the GT-R has came out on top... that is, until Evo tested the Ferrari 458 Speciale. The two are about as different as you can get within the supercar segment: one has a turbo six up front driving all four wheels in a 2+2 configuration, the other a mid-engined, rear-drive V8 two-seater. In fact the only common ground you're likely to find between them comes down to their two doors and dual-clutch transmissions. Though they serve it up in different ways, both are class-leading performers.
We're looking forward to watching Evo populate its leaderboard with more entries like the McLaren 650S and more potent Nismo GT-R, but in the meantime the British enthusiast magazine, by popular demand, has released side-by-side in-car footage of both supercars putting their best lap forward around the seaside circuit.
Nismo was a tuning division once content (or required) to restrict itself to just one or two models at a time, but these days Nissan is taking the gloves off and allowing its motorsport department to tune just about everything's it's got.
Sun, 10 Aug 2014 14:35:00 EST
Now in its thirtieth year, Nismo tunes versions of the GT-R, 370Z, Juke and Versa Note, and will soon be working its magic on the Sentra and European-market Qashqai and Pulsar. And that's not even taking into account its considerable racing programs. At this rate, Nismo is going to run out of vehicles to tune pretty quickly, so what has it done? Invent new ones!
No, we're afraid that Nissan is not letting its Nismo division produce its own stand-alone product, but it has released two sets of amusing renderings combining two vehicles into one. One depicts a GT-R crossed with a Teana sedan (better known in these parts at the Altima), while the other crosses a Sentra with a 370Z.
A pair of cyber security experts have awarded the ignominious title of most hackable vehicles on American roads to the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, 2014 Infiniti Q50 and 2015 Cadillac Escalade.
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 12:45:00 EST
Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek are set to release a report at the Black Hat hacking conference in Las Vegas, Automotive News reports. The two men found the Jeep, Caddy and Q50 were easiest to hack based not on actual tests with the vehicles, but a detailed analysis of systems like Bluetooth and wireless internet access - basically, anything that'd allow a hacker to remotely gain access to the vehicle's systems.
Considering this lack of hands-on testing, the pair acknowledge that "most hackable" could be a relative term - they point out that the vehicles may actually be quite secure.
Mötley Crüe isn't the only 1980s hair-metal band getting into the world of auto promotion. Poison frontman and reality show star Bret Michaels is following their lead and doing some advertising of his own. Where the Crüe have been all over the airwaves in recent years with a Super Bowl ad for Kia and music licensing with Dodge, Michaels has taken a very different route by becoming the pitchman for Nissan Commercial Vehicles.
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 08:01:00 EST
The videos run the gamut to advertise predominantly the NV line of full-size vans, but the NV200 shows up a few times too. The star of this new campaign is Michaels' full-length music video (above) for the song Tough Love. It's basically a parody of all of those '80s rock ballads where the bands would slow the tempo down a little and reveal their softer side. Michaels rocks out at the Nissan proving grounds in Stanfield, AZ, while showing off the evaluation process and strutting around like a proper rock frontman. There are also a bunch of shorter videos (below) with the singer highlighting each part of the vans' torture testing. Although, the dialogue in these come off a bit more stilted. With these '80s metal bands getting into advertising, can it be long before Warrant is shilling for Fiat or Ratt for Mazda?
Europeans get very serious about their hot hatches. So do the Japanese. In fact there's been a whole back-and-forth lately over who makes the fastest one, and now Nissan looks set to throw its racing hat into the 'Ring.
That would be the Nürburgring, of course, where automakers trade bragging rights like baseball cards - only they don't give them up willingly. Renault set the front-drive lap record in 2008 with the previous Mégane R26.R then set the bar even higher with the Mégane RS 265 Trophy. That was before Seat stole the honors with its Leon Cupra 280, only for Renault to take them back again with the Mégane RS 275 Trophy-R. Seat is rumored to be considering a renewed assault, but it won't be the only one nipping at Renaultsport's heels in the coming years.
Honda, for its part, has made no secret of its ambition to set the record with the upcoming Civic Type R, and now word has it that Nissan is planning an assault of its own. Its weapon of choice would be an upcoming Nismo version of the new Pulsar hatchback which is just hitting the European market now as a rival to the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, et al. There's no word on what its specs would be, but if it's going to challenge these players, it's going to need between 270 and 300 horsepower, a stiff suspension, big brakes and probably some sort of trick differential.