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Archive for the ‘Nissan’ Category

GT-R SUV 2012?

In Nissan on January 26, 2009 at 5:03 pm

It seems that Nissan are determined to follow in Porsche’s footsteps with their GT-R brand. 

Both the upcoming 4 door GT-R and also an increasingly possible SUV version envisaged to Rival some of the premium cross-over vehicles from Europe, specifically the Porsche Cayenne and BMW X6 are still planned as of now.

Originally expected to make an appearance in 2010/2011 the 4 door version of Japan’s fastest ever sports car is now not anticipated until 2012 with the less secure SUV version to follow.   No need to tell you that the delay is as a result of the world not having any money at the moment and especially America which is the intended main market for both models.

Mechanically both cars are still predicted to use the same engine as the current GT-R super car although the 4 door in particular may receive something different.

New GT-R edition, Spec M

In Nissan on January 14, 2009 at 6:15 pm

Whilst Honda has been continually slapping itself on the wrist for entertaining the idea of a new NSX replacement,  trying Formula 1 and indeed have been making noises about forever committing to making mundane cars from now on, luckily a little more optimism exists at Nissan.

Whether they like it or not the Yokohama Firm created the GT-R before the world went tits up and so they are forced to make it sell and plan on introducing more models to achieve their dream of offering a like for like range to rival Porsche’s dominance in the niche and it is very much a niche where the Stuttgart company resides in.

Within the GT-R brand may come the still planned 4 door and seperately an SUV model but before those two models arrive a more comfort orientated version of the standard car is set to debut in 2010.

Designated Spec M, the new GT-R is conceived as a more luxury alternative to the standard.

Although mechanically the same, Spec M customers will have the choice of outfitting their cars with all kinds of interior trim options.

It is though a range of softer less motor-sport inspired seats will be offered in a range of colours and materials.  A very, very high end audio system will be a part of the package and further exterior colour options are to be made available.

Apparently the focus of the Spec M is flexibility of order with the car to be available in in any mixture of trim or bells and whistles that the customer wishes.

Pricing is not clear but you would have to be a bit silly not to imagine it’s going to be somewhere north of the standard GT-R.

Nissan GT-R Spec V Released

In Nissan on January 8, 2009 at 9:56 am

Nissan today released the long awaited Spec V version of its Porsche beating GT-R super car.

Designed to be a more extreme and performance focused version of an already phenomenally fast car the new Spec V goes on sale at only seven specially selected dealers across Japan for an almost breathtaking 15,750,000 Yen.

Naturally in order to justify such a large premium over the existing standard model, Nissan have been busy making the Spec V a little special.

Just so that everybody knows that yours is a Spec V the specification includes a carbon fibre rear spoiler,  a carbon fibre grille and carbon fibre brake ducts.  The carbon fibre theme continues inside where the material embellishes various trim areas (basically there is a lot of carbon fibre).  Unlike the standard model, Nissan’s Spec V only comes available with two seats and features very expensive carbon fibre Recaro buckets. 

Most wonderfully of all is that the Spec V is finished in its very own unique black opal body colour (no other colour is available).

Although Nissan don’t seem to have increased the power output of the engine they do claim to have enhanced performance with a new high gear boost control device, which momentarily increases boost to the twin turbochargers for greater torque and better acceleration.

The Spec V is also adorned with an exotic titanium coated exhaust system and carbon ceramic brakes showing through some new lightweight wheels shod in sticky rubber and all looked after by an exclusive suspension set up. 

Of course all the attention that has been lavished on the car has resulted in a lighter vehicle than the standard GT-R.

Although this car was already highly developed by the time the global recession struck it is still a wonder that such a fabulously excessive automobile has made it to production.  If Nissan were Honda it would have been axed already but thankfully that is not the case and the Spec V has seen the light of day.

Deciding whether the car is really worth 7 million Yen more than the standard GT-R will be down to those who can afford to think about it but it does seem to be priced more to maintain exclusivity than for the level of equipment.

This is a rather historical moment in Japanese automotive history as the Nissan GT-R Spec V represents the most expensive and fastest new car ever to go into production in Japan.

 

Nissan GT-R Spec V

Nissan GT-R Spec V

New 2009/2010 Nissan Silvia?

In Nissan on January 7, 2009 at 5:36 pm

In a rare piece of positive news from the world of Japanese sports cars, it emerges that Nissan are considering a successor to the Japanese market Silvia last produced in 2002.

Rampant speculation suggests that the Yokohama firm have been speaking to their dealers and trying to gain some insight into how a reasonably priced sports coupe might be received by an increasingly frugal Japanese public.

To be perceived as a lead in sports model to sit below the Fairlady Z, if the car goes ahead it will be designed as a classic front engined rear wheel drive layout based on Nissan’s adaptable FM platform that currently underpins the recently released new generation Fairlady Z.  The new coupe however is expected to be both shorter and narrower in dimension.

Rumblings indicate that power may be derived from a 1800 cc turbocharged unit so over 200 PS would seem entirely possible.

Nissan would likely offer a 6 speed manual transmission along with a sequential paddle shift as an available cost option.

On a gracious note, Nissan is hoping to be able to sell the coupe to us the recession weary public for less than 2.5 million JPY.

Expect more information over the next few months but no doubt the rumour machine will start in earnest (at least quietly) at this months Tokyo Auto Salon.

Should they go ahead with the car?

Of course they should although it might contradict Nissan’s seeming desire to move their sports products upmarket.

To succeed, first of all it will need to to be an up yours sort of car ( in true Japanese sports car style) but maintaining unquestionable dynamics and mechanics.

With recorded waning interest among Japanese young people Nissan will have to fight for sales but with recent reduced interest from other domestic manufacturers in the performance market they might have a little niche all to themselves for a while.

Nissan would also need to keep their recent aversion to all things third party tuning under their cap (as evidenced by the restrictions programmed into the GT-R’s ECU to limit tuners access) as the tuning market and all its followers will make a large proportion of sales in Japan.

Lastly if the home market don’t buy it then foreign lovers of lairy Japanese sports cars will.

Build it Nissan.

Last Generation Silvia

Last Generation Silvia

Revised GT-R And Cost Increases

In Nissan on December 11, 2008 at 5:42 pm

Of all of the car bosses in Japan, Carlos Ghosn of Nissan has been the noisiest in calling for a general price increase on all cars and citing increasing raw material costs as the reason. 

He previously stated that he would wait for Toyota to take the lead but seems to have decided to strike out on his own. 

First to receive fiscal scrutiny is the Porsche baiting GT-R. 

Nissan’s flagship model has gone up by an average eleven percent on the original price. 

Meaning revised costs as follows.

Standard GT-R   8,610,00 JPY

Premium GT-R   9,240,000 JPY

Black Edition GT-R 8,820,000 JPY

Of course to justify the price increase, Ghosn has got his hands dirty and fettled with the car a little.  He’s managed to increase power by 5 ps to 485 ps and at the same time improve fuel efficiency to 8.3 km/l from 8.2 km/l.

Both fairly negligible so Nissan has also thrown in a reworked suspension set up that is said to upgrade handling.

Buyers of the Black Edition only will also have their car shod with the famous Nurburgring smashing Dunlop Sport 600 tyres.  Purchasers of the standard and premium GT-R will have to make do with the current Bridgestone shoes.

All this farting around has caused a bit of a stir with potential customers who walked into a Nissan dealership in November (when orders were not being taken due to the ongoing pricing decisions) hoping to secure a prime slice of high technology Nissan beef at the previously stated 7.7 million yen.

Upon trying to pass over a suitcase full of cash to the knowing salesmen they were told that no orders were currently being accepted for at the time  mysterious reasons. 

Apparently Nissan’s sales people were also less than impressed at the sudden controversy and being forced to pass on the bad tidings to expectant punters.  Basically they were as much in the dark as their customers as to what was occurring.

Simply put the fast Nissan was too cheap to begin with and Nissan soon realised this especially when combined with real production cost increases.

It’s actually worth a lot of money and probably even more than the revised price suggests.  If  Porsche produced a car this capable they’d sell it for double but they have that privilege and Nissan still do not.

To pass on the bad news as nicely as possible and to disguise it as a developmental improvement cost the Japanese firm has had a fiddle with the car.

All said and done, it’s still an exceptional value supercar.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that if you complain loud enough Nissan will offer you a night of splendour at a fancy restaurant in your area accompanied by one of their Many magnificent Super GT race queen’s followed by a bit of slap and tickle at a love hotel of your choice, discretion assured.

Or did i just make that up.

New Nissan Fairlady 370 Z

In Nissan on December 1, 2008 at 6:31 pm

 

Yesterday marked the day that Nissan’s all new Fairlady Z hits the market.  From now, Japan’s credit crunched public will have their chance to acquire the latest evolution of Nissans 39 year Z car heritage.

In today’s financially fearful climate sales are unlikely to reach epic proportions at least initially but the Z is competitively priced from 3.6 million JPY.

The old  Z was a fine looking machine that sold well globally.  A lot of the reason it prospered is because unusually for a Japanese design it didn’t polarise buyers with either eccentricity or a perceived immaturity which can bedevil Japanese sports cars outside of Asia.  It was a grown up sort of vehicle that was seemingly bought in equal numbers by Japanese car aficionados as well as migratory buyers from prestigious marques.

The 350Z was an old school GT sports car with its naturally aspirated large capacity engine, 2 seats, classic layout and conservative Europeanesque lines.  All this came at a very reasonable price, especially when you stood the car next to a Porsche Cayman for example. 

Of course many are disappointed that the new car has not much departed from the formers aesthetic design but to say that the new Z is not significantly altered both cosmetically and mechanically would be mistaken.

Naturally the new designation of 370 Z is indicative of the new power plant that finds itself in the front engined RWD platform.  with capacity increased to 3700 cc comes an average power increase to 336 PS.  Nissan have developed a unique synchronized rev control that regulates the engine speed to the drivers manual gear changes negating the need for double de-clutching (some operators may find that intrusive to driving pleasure).  A newly developed 7 speed automatic transmission is also available.  The car has also been lightened through the extensive use of aluminium and carbon fibre.

All very exciting but best of all the car is even more beautiful than its predecessor. 

The new rendering comes in with a shorter wheelbase that along with the flared arches really accentuates the rear wheels.  Sculpted lines flow through the athletic body giving off a flame surfaced look that succeeds in appearing complicated but functional and exceedingly attractive.  Massive attention has been focused on the front and rear lights with an aggressive stance that sinks into the bodywork wonderfully.  Showing indication of the cars intent is a prominent front air intake and twin tail pipes adding to the general muscular, energetic but elegant pose of the Z.

It is a very, very pretty car that is easy to get emotional about and as you can see i have, it’s just a crying shame that i recently purchased a new vacumn cleaner and subsequently can’t afford to buy the Nissan now.

Whether the car will offer enough difference to persuade current Z owners to trade in is a question that will be answered in time or maybe Nissan hope for new buyers to emigrate from some of the German marques as they have successfully achieved with the GTR.

At some point comparison must be made with Nissans supercar.

Who would buy a 370 Z over a GTR ?

It’s doubtful it’s a question Nissan are asking themselves or indeed anybody else but it’s an interesting one none the less.

  I find myself in the unenviable position of not being able to afford either so i feel i’m qualified to give thought to this dilemma.

The 370 Z is the car i want.

Why?

The GTR try as you like is not beautiful except from the rear.  Owning one also means that Porsche drivers will hate you and may try to chase you off a cliff, so as you can see it’s a dangerous proposition considering the number of 911’s on the worlds roads.

The 370 Z on the other hand is beautiful (achingly so), powerful (admittedly Not GTR powerful) and it will also come in pale blue if you like.

In my opinion this car is the vegetable bits hanging off the underside of a large Japanese Tosa dog.

New Fairlady Z

New Nissan Cube

In Nissan on November 19, 2008 at 6:33 pm

Car manufacturers are increasingly talented at designing maximised space in vehicles that are essentially built on small platforms.

A direct result of this is the cubist design revolution that has especially found a foothold here in Japan.  Think Toyota bB, Daihatsu Coo, Subaru Dex and especially Nissan Cube, the second generation of which was unveiled in Tokyo yesterday.

Reputedly based on the same underlying platform as the upcoming March/Micra model, the Cube comes equipped with a 1.5l petrol engine producing an adequate 109 PS and returning a sort of frugal 19.2 km/l. 

It would be easy to say that Nissan has become a little passive with its designs of late, as evidenced by the latest generations of X Trail and Fairlady Z (370Z) appearing to be distincly similar aesthetically to their predecessors although it would be easy to contradict that statement by observing the GT-R.

Cube 2 follows the design theme of its foregoer closely and it’s clear that Nissan believes the basic composition of the Cube still has some way to go before exasperating.  If the previous generation had only been released now it would still garner praise for being contemporary (actually this is now the third generation Cube but the 1998 mark 1 looked more like a turd than a car so it doesn’t warrant mention, apologies to any owners).

The new model does look changed somewhat with the most striking exterior difference at the front where a particularly well resolved headlight and bumper arrangement take precedence.  Attention has also been focused on the rear lights although i can’t work out if they look better or not.  A unique feature of the old car that’s been carried over is the rear wraparound glass on the opposing side to the driver which should be helpful if you’re a crap parker etc.  The perhaps polarising consequence of this is that the single rear D pillar can give the impression of the Nissan looking a bit like Jane from Tarzan.  Front passenger windows are well thought out resulting in a very designed look that emphasise the thick pillars on the car.  A real feature for the observer.

The architecture succeeds in looking squat (not to be confused with sporty) and funky.

Inside is where Nissan really got their crayons and paper out and it looks frankly fabulous. 

A steering mounted CVT transmission enables bench seating and liberates lots of space.  The sofa like seats appear very soft and springy and suit the character of the Cube exceptionally, creating a proper lounge atmosphere.  Attractive interior fittings abound, particularly the metal door handles but most of all the wave effect dashboard and console.

The Cube will be looking for the younger market again for sales but it is a fairly universal car with a much softer stance than some of its domestic competitors.

Prices start at 1,449,000 JPY.

Nissan Cube

Nissan Cube

Nissan GTR LM Race and Road Car

In Nissan on November 10, 2008 at 3:53 pm

Japanese media speculation suggests That Nissan may be planning a bit of an international racing assault and have their sights on Le Mans.

Unsurprisingly the Japanese firm will base their efforts on the R35 GTR to compete in the GT1 class at the historic French circuit.

If the rumours are true then we might see a few GTR’s pounding the Mulsanne against  some of the world’s finest racing hardware next year or in 2010.

In the GT1 class, Nissan will find itself amongst a ferocious pack of European and American sports cars including, Corvette, Aston Martin and Saleen.

To Compete against such distinguished rivals the GTR will require some heavy modification for the track and an increase in power to at least 600ps which is about what the competition weigh in at.  Nissan will have to rely on some of the R35’s natural talents if they are to spill blood at the legendary race.

It is likely that Nissan will use the services of its well known tuning arm Nismo to handle the design and preparation of the cars.

As would be sensible in these lean times, Nismo will try to make the project self financing by producing a handful of race ready R35’s and selling them onto professional race teams as well as preparing their own full or semi works entry.  Presently Nismo already produce a racing version of its current generation Fairlady Z that produces 400ps, costs 30 million yen and is most certainly not road legal.  This car is available to purchase as a race ready contender for a number of championships but is ostensibly raced in the Japanese Super Taikyu series.

Now, rather excitingly due to homologation rules Nissan will be obliged to make a small number of road cars based on the Le Mans Platform.  It is thought that this car will be known as the GTR LM and that Nissan plan to produce 300 examples.  The LM series will be the most expensive R35 road car and by all accounts should be faster than the upcoming V Spec edition.

The R35 already has experience racing and winning in the very competitive Japanese Super GT Championship this season but because of that race series notoriously loose rules regarding tuning, changing parts etc it is expected that the heavily aerodynamically modified GTR’s seen charging the circuits of Japan will not be eligible for the Le Mans GT1 class.  So it’s back to the drawing board.

It would be hard to think of a good reason for Nissan not to undertake a Le Mans assault.  Of course it won’t be cheap and anything as frivolous as motorsport is unlikely to be viewed too positively in todays cash strapped car making world but if Nismo can make a business case for it then it may happen.

Owners and fans would be thrilled and it would go some way in cementing the GTR brand in Europe where it still suffers from a very skeptical and high capability Japanese sports car wary public, most of whom are largely unaware of the many previous generation GTR’s long motorsport heritage.  Amusingly it would also serve as a further affront and up yours to some of the legacy sports car makers on the continent.  Especially if Nissan win and they might.

Nissan GTR V-Spec

In Nissan on November 3, 2008 at 5:09 pm

A few weeks back Nismo shocked the car enthusiast world with word that it had created an upgrade package for its newly released GTR.  It turned out that people weren’t unbalanced by the option of making a very fast car faster but instead were feeling a little queasy at the horrendous cost.

5,460,000 JPY.

For that princely sum you get some new lightweight wheels, Bilstein suspension, carbon seats, titanium exhaust system and a carbon rear diffuser.

All rather delicious sounding but surely not worth the price of 5.4 Nissan March/Micra’s.  The price is so large that most people still think they must have read it wrong but you haven’t.

It doesn’t take a Sherlock or even a bloody Watson to deduce that these modifications are closely related to or even identically to the upcoming V-Spec edition of the GTR.

Nissan are going to release more official information regarding the car before the end of the year but it is becoming clearer that the V-Spec will carry all the previously mentioned upgrades as well as (we hope) an increase in power.

The V-Spec is going to be a spartan affair with no air con, sat nav or frilly bits and bobs in order to set it out as a very focused machine.  It will also be lightened, noisy and generally scary.  Target market types are likley to be lunatics and trackday regulars.

No doubt the new GTR will represent the quickest production car in Japanese automotive history and will likely take its place amongst the fastest in the world.

A word about pricing.  The current standard GTR sells for 7,770,000 JPY and mumblings indicate that the V-Spec should be under 1.3 million yen when it goes on sale in 2009/2010.

Nissan only plan to build about 400 V-Spec GTR’s a year to maintain exclusivity and also no doubt indicative that this very focused edition is unlikely to be everyones cup of tea but this time around the GTR is very much a world market car so demand should be strong.

Back to Nismo’s horribly priced upgrade package for the standard GTR.

Non V-Spec GTR owners who feel short changed at the difference in performance will be able to bring their cars performance closer to the V-Spec but without compromising the relative luxury and everyday livability of the standard R35, effectively creating a sort of soft V-Spec.

All will have to wait a little longer before fully knowing what kind of witchcraft is lurking inside the ultimate GTR. 

Alternatively just take your car to one of the many respected Japanese or American tuning houses and let them have a play.

Nismo GTR

GTR SUV Whispers

In Nissan on October 27, 2008 at 2:57 pm

Unconfirmed reports suggest that in addition to the GTR 4 door, Nissan now have aspirations to further the GTR’s versatility and plan on releasing an SUV version of the legendary sports car. 

No doubt inspired by their new rival Porsche’s success with the Cayenne SUV.

If and this one is a big if, it will result in Nissan effectively having an equivalent model for every current Porsche. 

Meaning GTR vs 911, GTR 4 door vs Panamera, GTR SUV vs Cayenne and this will unsettle the Porsche fan boys, 350Z vs Boxster/Cayenne. 

Let’s see what materialises in the next few months.