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Auto blogFri, 23 Aug 2013 10:32:00 EST
Yesterday, Nissan teased us with a video showing a Patrol pulling up to a 170-ton cargo plane at an airport in the Middle East - we could only assume that the not-for-America sports utility vehicle would attempt to tow the jet.
Well, somebody leaked the official Nissan video, which indeed shows the Patrol successfully pulling the plane 30 meters for what reportedly is a Guinness world record. While Guinness hasn't confirmed the record on its website at time of writing, the 170-ton jet would be the heaviest plane ever towed by a production automobile. The video was taken down quickly, but another video shot by an observer at the event was posted for our enjoyment. We figured Nissan would move to repost the official video sooner rather than later, and it did.
The Patrol seems to have no problem towing 340,000 pounds, but let's just say it wasn't a quick ordeal. Check out the official and unofficial video of the tow below, as well as Nissan's teaser video. In a reversal of fortunes, we also threw in another, somewhat smaller but perhaps just as impressive vid, just for fun.
Among automotive enthusiasts, no one seems to hold a neutral opinion when it comes to continuously variable transmissions. CVTs are either praised for their ability to boost fuel economy or chided for their occasionally poor driving dynamics. Nissan is among the masters of these un-shifting gearboxes in the US, and it uses them in many vehicles in its lineup. However, for the 2015 model year, several models are getting a software update to make their CVTs a bit more like a conventional automatic.
To give drivers the option of feeling gearshifts while on the road, Nissan is adding its D-Step Shift Logic feature to the CVTs in multiple vehicles. Steve Powers, Nissan's senior manager of powertrain performance, told Autoblog the system forces the transmission to "hold a ratio and then shift" to simulate the way that a traditional automatic would. It's simply a change in software, but the company "can't do it to older CVTs," he said, because it would require changes to transmission logic, as well. According to Automotive News, the upgrade is coming to the 2015 Versa, Versa Note (pictured above), Sentra, V6-equipped Altima, Pathfinder and Quest. "We're rolling it out to all programs," said Powers.
Interestingly, buyer perception appears to be pushing the upgrade. John Curl, a Nissan North America regional product manager, told Automotive News that the decision to add the tech partially comes because some owners are bothered that the CVTs aren't changing gears. According to Powers, D-Step "avoids the rubber band feel," that many drivers didn't like. The different sensation of these transmissions seems like something consumers would notice during the test drive, or that the salesperson would inform them about. The same issue cropped up last year when the company was facing customer satisfaction problems among new buyers customers' unfamiliarity with the gearboxes.
The German owner of the only Nissan Skyline GT-R to survive filming Fast & Furious (a.k.a., The Fast and the Furious 4) has put his car up for sale following the death of Paul Walker, Yahoo Autos reports. The original sale price was reportedly an already hefty 300,000 euros ($412,110), but it has since been raised to 1,000,000 euros ($1.37 million).
Despite many well-intentioned efforts, the Skyline GT-R was (and still is) illegal to import for street use in the US, so this R34-generation GT-R and seven others were shipped here without engines and classified as kit cars to sidestep federal law. Once here, the engines were installed, and seven street-legal GT-Rs proceeded to be destroyed during the filming of F&F. But one car, the "hero" car for sale here, was driven by Walker in non-violent scenes and thus is the only GT-R that survived filming.
Then, in July 2009, the federal government cracked down on importers of these cars, seizing almost 50 GT-Rs, including this one, telling owners to export them or risk having them destroyed. The hero GT-R was therefore exported, and its whereabouts have been unknown until recently, when the current German owner allowed it to be featured in a review (watch the German-language video below). You can see the online ad (also German) of the heavily modified GT-R here, where it sits proudly with its sky-high price tag.