Infiniti luxury brand coming downunder next year

March 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Nissan’s luxury brand Infiniti has confirmed its intentions to enter the Australian car market from 2012.

Infiniti is on a drive to expand its reach around the world and will begin sales of its range of sedans, coupes and crossovers in Australia from the third quarter of 2012. Australia is the latest new market for Infiniti after it set up shop in the UK, Western Europe and select Asia Pacific markets.

The Japanese company said it will create Infiniti centres in each of the three major east coast capitals of the country in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. The initial lineup will include the FX sport crossover, G37 hardtop convertible and coupe, and the M luxury sedan.

Infiniti will launch in Australia with three models: the FX sport crossover, the G37 coupe and convertible, and the new M luxury sedan (pictured). The M sedan comes in sports-focused forms and will be available as the M37 and M56, with a 235kW 3.7 litre V6 or 313kW 5.6 litre V8 under the bonnet.

Kevin Snell, newly appointed to the General Manager role, believes Infiniti will act as a “clear alternative to the traditional premium makes” adding that the brand will target a younger buyer demographic aged between 30 and 40 years.

‘Infiniti customers are ‘‘quiet rebels’’. They’re rebellious of the mainstream and are typically looking for something different,’’ says Snell. Continue reading “Infiniti luxury brand coming downunder next year” »

Nissan upgrades 370Z with new GT Edition

March 9th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Nissan’s latest Z car the 370Z is certainly a looker and has the power to match but it isn’t getting any younger. To stretch out the lifespan of the Japanese sportscar Nissan’s announced an update of the 370Z Coupe, initially for the European market. For the new model year, Nissan is introducing a number of suspension, transmission and equipment improvements for the entire 370Z Coupe range while also adding a new trim level named the GT Edition.

The good news is that some of the upgrades are mechanical with the new 370Z Coupe receiving retuned dampers which promise to provide a better balance between ride comfort and high-speed handling. Nissan has said that with the higher average speeds that are a part of driving in Europe, technicians from Nissan Technical Centre Europe sorted out the changes. For 2011, refinement is also being increased through revisions to underbody insulation reducing road noise.

While many buyers go for a bit of self-shifting in their Z-car, the optionally available seven-speed automatic transmission now gains a snow mode. When used the 370Z sets off in second gear and controls engine revs to prevent wheel spin on ice or snow.

Equipment upgrades include a rear view-parking camera as part of the new Nissan Premium Connect satellite navigation option. Continue reading “Nissan upgrades 370Z with new GT Edition” »

Nissan reveals futuristic Esflow concept (+video)

February 10th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Nissan has revealed details on its latest concept vehicle, an eco-friendly sports car concept called the Esflow. This space-age-styled concept is set for a debut at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show next month.

The released batch of images show a vehicle with traditional sports car proportions, but with economy and ecology on its mind there may be no big burnouts and drag racing on the cards.

The Esflow uses similar technology used in the popular production Leaf EV hatchback. However, the concept makes use of a separate motor to turn each rear wheel and can sprint 0-100kph in under five seconds. The laminated lithium batteries are fitted low down in the vehicle to keep the centre of gravity low and can achieve 240 km on a charge. While the energy storage system may be heavy it is offset by an rollbar-integrated aluminum chassis and a composite shell.

It seems very unlikely a high-tech, high-cost machine like the Esflow will reach production but it’s good to see electric tech finding its way into Nissan’s sportier offerings. While the Leaf might be the current champion for Nissans EV program, the future could see the Japanese brand lead the way in affordable electric sports cars.

Check out a short promo video and images of the Esflow concept below. Continue reading “Nissan reveals futuristic Esflow concept (+video)” »

Nissan risks putting launch control back into 2012 GT-R

January 24th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

A group of Nissan GT-R fans managed to get their hands on the owner’s manual for the upcoming 2012 Nissan GT-R recently and were surprised with what they found out. Apparently Nissan has reinstated the previously ousted Launch Control feature for the 2012 model year. But this time it’s called something totally different.

It’s the same deal but this time it’s called ‘R Mode Start Function’ and it’s a fairly complicated process required to achieve the GT-R’s quoted 0-100kph sprint time in the low three-second range.

It was after numerous reports of transmissions and half-shafts wasting themselves soon after the GT-R was released with launch control that Nissan removed the feature for the 2011 model year. This new system appears to do the exact same thing, except for the 4,000 rpm rev-limit which is significantly higher than the last version and the ECU limits the start function to four consecutive runs before its automatically disabled to protect the GT-R’s twin clutches and the rest of the transmission.

If 2012 GT-R owners use the system with care perhaps they won’t spoil it for everyone this time round. For 2012 it looks like one of the world’s baddest sports cars just got a little bit meaner.

Check out the text image in the gallery below to view the launch control instructions. Continue reading “Nissan risks putting launch control back into 2012 GT-R” »

Nissan unveils Nismo GT-R RC at Tokyo Auto Salon

January 18th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

The Tokyo Auto Salon is currently taking place and its already bringing us some high-tech Japanese metal with the latest being the Nissan Nismo GT-R RC (Racing Competition), production racer.

According to the official Nissan statement, “The Nissan Nismo GT-R RC is the latest entry to the RC (Racing Competition) line of high performance, production model race cars developed and outfitted by NISMO. It’s built up from the world renowned, top performance Nissan GT-R (R35) road car.”

So what’s it all about? Well this track-spec GT-R is based on the pre-facelift version of the R35 GT-R. The pre-faceift donor vehicle’s VR38DETT 3.8 liter twin-turbo V6 has been left untouched, which means it generates 485 hp and 588 Nm of torque.

This means it doesn’t offer 530 hp like the refreshed version of the street-spec GT-R, but this racer comes with a lighter body, thanks to extensive use of carbon fibre on the bumpers, bonnet, boot lid and rear wing. The rear windows have also been replaced by acrylic and all together the vehicle weighs in at 1,520 kg.

Other upgrades include height adjustable racing suspension and a stronger braking system that uses 410 mm (front) and 380 mm (rear) rotors. The vehicle uses ADVAN 290/710 R20 slick tyres, which are standard for all RC models.

Continue reading “Nissan unveils Nismo GT-R RC at Tokyo Auto Salon” »

Nissan reveals new global sedan at Chinese show

December 21st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Nissan has officially revealed its new ‘global sedan’ at the Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition in China this week. Although Nissan’s new global sedan will be sold under the 2012 Nissan Sunny name in China, it could get a different name in the rest of the 170 countries it will be sold in. Here in NZ it could be called the Sunny or may even mean a comeback for the Pulsar nameplate.

The new model is aimed at appealing to young buyers and young families, combining what Nissan describes as an upscale interior design with spaciousness and quality materials. It features conservative styling with a prominent shoulder line, sweptback headlights, and Maxima-inspired taillights.

Nissan’s new model is powered by a 1.5-litre HR15DE engine with dual injectors coupled with a Xtronic CVT with an auxiliary transmission. It should produce around 75kW of power and 136Nm of torque. Suspension is managed by MacPherson struts up front and a torsion beam rear. With this small engine this new global sedan is expected t be a class leader in fuel economy.

The Sunny will be produced by Dongfeng Nissan’s Huadu Plant in Guangzhou and will go on sale in China in January, before being launched in 170 markets worldwide. Continue reading “Nissan reveals new global sedan at Chinese show” »

Updated 2012 Nissan GT-R acceleration time announced

December 2nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

When Nissan announced that its upgraded 2012 GT-R had its power output increased to 395kW, fans didn’t really know exactly what that would mean for performance. Now, Nissan has released official performance figures for the latest and greatest Godzilla and the results are staggering.

Nissan tested the GT-R’s sprint time on the Sendai Hi-land Race Way in Japan a couple of weeks ago in the middle of November and the car returned a very impressive result. Standing start to 100 km/h clocked in at a flat 3.0 seconds.

There was no funny business either with the company using a standard specification model including tyres and wheels. No optional parts were fitted to the test vehicle and the car was set to “R” mode for the suspension and VDC-R (Vehicle Dynamic Control) system.

With the GT-R priced from $172k here in NZ, it would be hard to find another car which offers this much bang for your buck. Continue reading “Updated 2012 Nissan GT-R acceleration time announced” »

Nissan Leaf makes history in claiming European Car of the Year award

November 30th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

In a historic moment for Nissan and zero emission vehicles, the 100% electric Nissan Leaf has been awarded 2011 European Car of the Year.

The world’s first mass-marketed, affordable, zero-emission vehicle for the global market beat 40 contenders to win motoring’s most important accolade. This is the first time in the 47-year history of the annual competition that the award has gone to an electric vehicle. Nissan Leaf’s rivals included vehicles from brands such as Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Dacia, Ford, Opel/Vauxhall and Volvo. The jury included 57 motoring journalists from 23 European countries.

Victory for the battery-powered Leaf, marks Nissan’s first win since the Micra took home the award way back in 1993.

“The jury acknowledged today that the Nissan Leaf is a breakthrough for electric cars. Nissan Leaf is the first EV that can match conventional cars in many respects,” said HÃ¥kan Matson, President of the Jury, Car of the Year.

Nissan Motor Co President Carlos Ghosn was suitably happy and said, “This award recognises the pioneering zero-emission Nissan Leaf as competitive to conventional cars in terms of safety, performance, spaciousness and handling. It also reflects Nissan’s standing as an innovative and exciting brand with a clear vision of the future of transportation, which we call sustainable mobility. With three other electric vehicles in the pipeline from Nissan — and with the imminent market introduction of four additional electric vehicles from our Alliance partner Renault — Nissan Leaf represents a significant first step toward a zero-emission future.”

Continue reading “Nissan Leaf makes history in claiming European Car of the Year award” »