Next generation GT-R to go all-electric?

September 14th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

There is speculation Nissan might be going all-electric with it’s Nissan GT-R. A new report penned by Nissan’s Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga explains the radical idea and suggests the possibility of turning Nissan’s already heavily electronic sports car into a pure EV.

Shiga’s statements are rather sketchy with no suggestion of conforming the super-EV, but his considerations of fuel economy and carbon emissions together with the desire to keep the GT-R badge alive do make a mild implication. We have seen reports that the GT-R could go hybrid, so perhaps the leap to all electric isn’t as extreme as once thought.

Anything built with the GT-R badge with an all-electric powertrain is likely to be well into the $100,000 (U.S) plus bracket.

With the current GT-R still in the early planning stages of new enhancements in SpecM or “Egoist” guise, the next generation Nissan will be easily at least two years away. Which allocates time to make the move to pure electric drive, as well as look at the legislative requirements of tighter emissions requirements which will justify the move.

2012 Nissan GT-R updates leaked to the web

August 27th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The go-fast specialists at Nissan are at it again reworking the GT-R, this time for the 2012 model year. Following on from the initial launch of the GT-R in 2007, and after the revisions in December 2008 and October 2009, Nissan is getting ready to present the very latest version of its flagship sports model.

The Japanese automaker still hasn’t made anything official but that hasn’t stopped resourceful car nerds posting leaked images and info on the upcoming model up to the web.

So, what’s new on the 2012MY GT-R? Well, in terms of sytling, the Japanese sports car receives a reworked front bumper with LED running lights and a new rear diffuser. These changes will apparently help drop the GT-R’s drag coefficient figure from 0.272 to 0.268 and also improve rear downforce by 10%.

Packing out the guards are a new set of Rays forged aluminium wheels, which reportedly save a total of 12kg in weight. There is also two new colour options a new shade of blue and black.

Interestingly, there is also rumour of a possible RWD-only mode, which is hidden under the fuel saving setting, accessed by holding down the ‘fuel save’ button for a few seconds. This will put the GT-R into RWD mode but only till it is turned off, then it will return to normal. Perfect for a bit of impromptu drifting.

The 2012 GT-R will also benefit from some subtle interior upgrades, as well as some chassis and engine tweaks, but little more is known at this stage.

Check back as we bring you more details on the 2012 Nissan GT-R.

Nissan Navara ST-X 2010 Review

August 20th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

When Nissan launched its current model Navara ST-X ute a few years back it came packing 403Nm of torque — the most in its class. It was a mighty figure that allowed ST-X owners bragging rights on building sites and rural pubs around our great country. Then Mitsubishi fought back unleashing its Triton ute with 407Nm of torque and there was a new sheriff in town. But the importance of this mini arms race clearly hasn’t been lost on Nissan because the 2010 Navara has been given a mild facelift, 450Nm of torque and a special badge branded on its hind quarter to let everyone know. Car and SUV saddled up with the refreshed Navara ST-X to see if it makes for a wild ride.

What’s most impressive about the jump forward in torque is that Nissan have retained the same engine with the same displacement and still achieved it. The 2.5-litre turbo diesel motor has received a new cylinder head design, an upgraded direct-injection system and a new variable-nozzle turbocharger. The end result is a 12kW increase in power to 140kW and the 12 percent gain in torque to 450Nm. Surprisingly fuel economy has also improved and is rated at 9.0l/100km combined with the automatic box that our test vehicle used.

The figures are impressive and so was the drive with the effortless and generous supply of torque being a defining characteristic. Almost anywhere in the rev range and at all speeds a prod on the gas pedal would bring on rapid acceleration and only minimal turbo lag. At open-road cruising speeds the Navara is settled and easily capable of quick overtaking manoeuvres. The motor while brawny is also fairly refined and happily potters along in urban traffic with minimal engine rattles or vibration entering the cabin.

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2011 Nissan X-Trail updated for NZ market

August 19th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Late 2010 will see the launch of the new 2011 model Nissan X-Trail, which undergoes a series of extensive updates to maintain its position in the New Zealand SUV market.

The changes refresh X-Trail’s exterior styling; improve the interior perceived quality and functionality, as well as mechanical and aerodynamic changes. These revisions contribute to X-Trail’s improved economy and CO2 emissions.

The most obvious changes have been made to the frontal aspect of X-Trail, with completely redesigned grille, new headlights and bumper assembly. The lower part of the bumper is also angled further outwards, indicating a more solid stance.

At the rear, the X-Trail’s distinctive vertical lights have been updated to incorporate LED light technology for the running lights and braking.

In profile, the X-Trail’s stance has been updated by an increase in wheel size, with a ten-spoke 18 inch alloy wheel design which is also wider, now up to 225/55R18 in size, giving the X-Trail more stance to the road. A 17 inch alloy wheel is fitted to some variants, a new design featured for the 2011 model.

In the interior, the design has been updated with new materials and colour coordination. The materials used for the switch surrounds on the steering wheel, around the gear selector and on the door-mounted armrest have all been upgraded, while thicker, soft-touch materials have been chosen for the cloth seats.

Across the entire X-Trail range, all models now feature a 6CD in-dash autochanger with MP3 CD compatibility and auxiliary input, along with integrated Bluetooth handsfree phone system. All models feature steering wheel controls for audio, Bluetooth phone, drive computer and cruise control.

With optimised underbody aerodynamics, X-Trail’s drag coefficient is reduced from 0.36 to 0.35 and the X-Trail’s environmental impact has been lessened, with noticeable improvements in CO2 output and fuel consumption. These aerodynamic enhancements along with other improvements in the drivetrain result in fuel economy improvements of 2% for the petrol variants, and almost 9% for the diesel variants.

Full specification and pricing will be released closer to the New Zealand launch date, later this year.

Nissan Pathfinder 450T 2010 Review

August 6th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Sometimes if you can’t find a path you just have to make a new one and that’s exactly what Nissan did back in 1986 when it released the first generation Pathfinder. Now, three generations of Pathfinder later Nissan are still cutting that same path towards a large SUV that mixes a comfortable, well-equipped interior with rolled-up-sleeves off-road ability. For 2010, the third-gen Pathfinder has received a facelift that has brought aesthetic and mechanical upgrades to the single-variant model. So how good is this refreshed bastion of boxy styling? Car and SUV made tracks in the new Pathfinder 450T to find out.

Externally, it’s not immediately obvious that anything has changed with the no-nonsense design, but a closer look reveals some subtle differences. The facelifted Pathfinder is 80mm longer than its predecessor thanks to a new, more pronounced front bumper. The bonnet and grille are also new and Xenon headlamps have been added which boast auto leveling and headlight washers hidden in the bumper mouldings. Elsewhere the Pathfinder’s styling is generally straightforward and almost timeless in its traditional SUV two-box shape. One interesting design detail is the high, vertically mounted rear door handles that certainly look cool but may prove difficult to reach for children or midgets. Our NZ-spec Pathfinder is better dressed than most and comes with integrated roof rails, front fog lamps, side-steps and 17″ alloys which finish off the distinctive look.

Jump into the Pathfinder cabin and what’s immediately noticeable is the cavernous space, it’s wide and very long. Three passengers can fit on the rear seat with plenty of shoulder and legroom and air-con vents in the ceiling will keep them cool too. If that’s not enough the Pathfinder also comes with a third row of seats that easily fold flat into the floor to create a massive luggage area. The middle row can also be folded flat to make a 2-metre long loading bay — perfect for large cargo or taking a nap.

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Königseder gives some tuning treatment to the R35 Nissan GT-R

August 5th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

If the R35 Nissan GT-R in factory form just isn’t enough machine for you then Austrian tuning firm Königseder will help out with a new styling package along with some performance upgrades for the top-model Nissan. To most it will just look like your standard GT-R with a McLaren orange paint job, but don’t be fooled as this Godzilla has a new ECU tune installed.

The upgraded ECU takes the standard 3.8-litre V6 engine – which in standard form produces 485hp – up to a whopping 572hp. In addition to the reworked ECU, a new air filter a full Akrapovic exhaust system are included. In terms of performance 0 to 100kph figures haven’t been provided but the car will be able to hit 200km/h in just 9.8 seconds.

The GT-R also receives a revised suspension set-up with an adjustable coilover kit from KW and new 21-inch HRE alloy wheels shod in Yokohama Advan Sport rubber size 245/35 up front and 285/30 at the rear.

Body changes are fairly limited consisting of a new and more dramatic front lip spoiler and matching side skirts.

Nissan GT-R Club Track Edition revealed

August 3rd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

For some of us the Nissan GT-R is the ultimate machine, it’s got all the speed, handling ability and technology we could want. But for others the refined almost automated GT-R doesn’t offer enough of a raw and wild driving experience. Nissan now has an answer for those nutters with its GT-R Club Track edition.

Back in April, Nissan said it would be working with third parties to set up a Japanese driving club that would offer members track-ready Godzillas, and the result is the Track Club Edition GT-R, a product of the minds at Nissan, NISMO, NOVA Engineering in Shizuka and Nordring tuning in Saitama, Japan.

Only in Japan, this umbrella organization is called The Prestige Club of GT-R, and to run in it will require rubbish sacks full of Yen: the car itself naturally isn’t cheap, costing ¥10,479,000 ($165,300 NZ); membership in The Prestige Club is ¥2 million ($31,500 NZ) and annual fees are a further ¥1 million ($15,250 NZ). But for all of that you get to have a hell of of time thrashing around your new worked GT-R in two race days a year and an annual gathering.

The car itself has performance upgrades including a new ECM, traction control, ABS and VCD programming, two-way adjustable Bilstein dampers and revised upper front links, a front lip spoiler, NACA duct and brake air guides among other things. Inside it’s all business with a four-point harness over a Bride Gardis III seat, automatic fire suppression system and NISMO data logging kit.

In terms of power the twin-turbo motor puts out in excess of 493 horsepower and 434 pound-feet, and the package rolls on 20-inch Rays Forged Aluminum wheels from the SpecM wrapped in Dunlop Direzza Long Life Slicks. If you’re a fat cat whose going to be in Japan and want a part of this series then applications are being accepted until September 20. Continue reading “Nissan GT-R Club Track Edition revealed” »

Nissan Qashqai Ti 2010 Review

July 30th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Being named after a nomadic tribe of people it’s fitting that Nissan’s Qashqai has undergone a mid-cycle facelift and a movement towards an even more modern look. Selling in massive numbers in Europe, the small crossover has gained good traction here in NZ with 600 sales already achieved since its launch. The 2010 facelift is more a well-calculated nip and tuck than a butcher’s chop, with subtle changes both inside and out. Will the refresh move the quiet achieving Qashqai on to even greener pastures? Car and SUV spent a week living with the top-spec Ti model to find out more.

Visually, the major changes are at the Qashqai’s front where a new bumper, bonnet, honeycomb grille and headlamps distinguish it from its predecessor. The changes bring a smoother less awkward and more modern look while retaining its unique appeal.  At the rear differences are less obvious but the taillights have been replaced with new LED 2-piece units and the tailgate spoiler has been tweaked to help reduce aerodynamic drag. The Ti tested vehicle also includes front fog lamps and rolls on some nicely suited 18-inch alloy wheels. Overall the Qashqai remains a distinctive machine thanks to its bold styling but also its stocky dimensions and off road styling cues like the low black plastic mouldings and raised ground clearance.

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