Suzuki Kizashi EcoCharge and Apex concepts bow in New York [w/video]

Suzuki Kizashi EcoCharge Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Suzuki is building a car that we wish more people knew about – the Kizashi. The automaker's mid-size sedan was featured in Suzuki's first-ever Super Bowl ad, a modified version set a Bonneville speed record and the stock car traveled a grueling trail from Tokyo to Los Angeles. Now, Suzuki has prepared two new concept versions, showing us what might be in store for the Kizashi down the road. And believe us, our fingers are crossed that these two make it to production.

First up, the Kizashi EcoCharge Concept is a hybrid sedan that adds a touch of style to a segment rarely getting that extra dash of curb appeal. (Sorry, Ford Fusion Hybrid – you aren't nearly as pretty as this thing.) Traditional gasoline oomph is provided courtesy of a 2.0-liter inline-four, while a 15-kilowatt motor and 115-volt, air-cooled, lithium-ion battery give the EcoCharge its electric giddy-up. Suzuki says the combination is good for a 25 percent increase over the standard Kizashi's 30-mile-per-gallon highway fuel-economy rating. But it's not just the hybrid powertrain providing the MPG lift – the Kizashi EcoCharge Concept is fitted with start/stop, has regenerative braking and wears low-rolling resistance tires.

To help it stand apart from its standard Kizashi siblings, Suzuki has gussied up the exterior of the EcoCharge. Unique headlights, LEDs in the fascia and a white satin paint job communicate that this Kizashi has something else going on. The LEDs also help communicate that this is still a concept, since we don't think the local authorities would be too fond of the blue lights up front (they're illegal, y'all).

The EcoCharge wasn't the only sedan on the stand. On the other end of the spectrum, the automaker debuted something more focused on outright performance rather than efficiency.

Continue reading Suzuki Kizashi EcoCharge and Apex concepts bow in New York...

Suzuki Kizashi Apex Concept
Suzuki Kizashi Apex Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

Suzuki is known for far more than its automobiles. To that end, the automaker has created a Kizashi that acts as a bridge between its high-performance motorcycles. Called the Kizashi Apex Concept, Suzuki has seriously upped the power flowing from its 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Thanks to a Garrett turbocharger, air-to-liquid intercooler, electronic boost control and a recalibrated ECU, the Kizashi Apex will pump out an estimated 275 to 300 horsepower. That power will flow through a six-speed manual transmission, and Suzuki says it's the only tranny that would be offered if the car enters production.

The concept vehicle ties in perfectly with Suzuki's GSX-R race bikes. Both wear the same livery and both are aggresively styled vehicles. Sure, a production version would have to tone down the crazy a notch. All we ask is that the Suzuki make's sure to keep the alcantara inserts, 19-inch wheels and size 245 Yokohama rubber if the car winds up on dealer lots.

Scroll down to read Suzuki's press release about both vehicles and to watch a video of the two cars being revealed live in New York. Be sure to click through our high-res image galleries of both cars, as well.

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[Source: Suzuki]

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Innovative Gas-Electric Concept Leads Automaker's U.S. Advanced Propulsion Strategy

NEW YORK (April 19, 2011) – American Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC) unveiled a gas-electric concept variant of its Kizashi sedan at the company's 2011 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) press conference this evening. With the moniker Kizashi EcoCharge Concept, this innovative and eye-catching four-door further illustrates Suzuki's global eco-mobility story, and accentuates the company's effort in socially-conscious motoring.

"We are continuing to study the virtues of the gas-electric technology found in the Kizashi EcoCharge Concept," said Steve Younan, director of automotive marketing and product planning for American Suzuki Motor Corporation. "Our basic concept was to attain substantial gains in fuel economy without the traditional sacrifices in drivability required with today's mid-size hybrid sedans. The proof of our concept is that the Kizashi EcoCharge has the capability to deliver a 25 percent fuel economy gain in real-world driving through an electric charge to the powertrain system while still retaining the production Kizashi's dynamic handling and braking advantages that make it a standout category performer."

Kizashi Powertrain Electrification

The Kizashi EcoCharge Concept derives power from a 2.0-liter inline-four gasoline engine, working in tandem with an advanced electric propulsion system, which consists of a liquid-cooled 15-kW motor/generator unit tied to a 115-volt air-cooled lithium-ion battery. The combination optimizes fuel economy and delivers an electric power boost during acceleration for a more spirited driving experience. The Kizashi EcoCharge Concept delivers a 25 percent lift to highway fuel economy over today's Kizashi.

To help maximize efficiency, the Kizashi EcoCharge Concept also utilizes numerous fuel-conserving technologies, including regenerative braking, automatic engine shut-off when the car comes to a stop, fuel cut-off during deceleration events and low-rolling resistance tires.

Power management is provided via an advanced six-speed automatic transmission designed for smooth operation and a seamless flow of power when called upon by the driver.

Simple, But Striking Exterior Styling

The exterior of the Kizashi EcoCharge Concept is highlighted by a unique luminescent white satin paint design with a subtle blue undercoat. To further set the concept apart from its production Kizashi sibling, it has been given a specialized headlight treatment, as well as LED foglight illumination integrated into the front fascia. The lightweight aluminum wheels communicate a futuristic feel, and are wrapped in low-rolling resistance tires.

Eco-friendly Interior

Within, the Kizashi EcoCharge Concept utilizes advanced seat materials. These materials require 84 percent less energy to produce, and create 80 percent fewer emissions than virgin material production.



Turbocharged Sport Sedan Conveys Iconic Suzuki Sportbike Heritage

NEW YORK (April 19, 2011) – American Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC) unveiled a turbo concept version of its Kizashi sport sedan at the company's 2011 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) press conference this evening. The turbocharged Kizashi Apex Concept showcases the link between Suzuki's automotive division and its championship-winning motorcycles.

"Our turbo-equipped concept leverages the already-exceptional Kizashi platform and infuses it with a substantial boost," said Steve Younan, director of automotive marketing and product planning, American Suzuki Motor Corporation. "The Kizashi Apex Concept will further elevate our flagship sedan in the U.S. among enthusiasts who crave added power and performance."

More Power Under the Hood

The Kizashi Apex Concept features a Garrett turbocharger, an air-to-liquid intercooler, electronic boost control, and a specific engine control unit calibration to provide outstanding drivability. The system takes the Kizashi's peak output into the 275-300 horsepower range, with a maximum boost of 8.5 psi. This powertrain is matched exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission. Specific system components are as follows:

• Garrett/Honeywell 2871 R ball bearing turbocharger
• Internally wastegated 0.86 A/R turbine housing
• Oil and water cooled bearing system
• Turbine housing cast from high-nickel "Ni-Resist" material for extreme applications
• Turbine wheel cast from lightweight iconel materials for extreme applications

Key to the Kizashi Apex Concept's performance is its air-to-liquid intercooler, purposed for more effective charge air cooling in a smaller package. The unit's relatively small heat exchanger and circulation pump are designed to be minimally intrusive to vehicle cooling. The intercooler's primary advantage comes from the reduction in the overall length of ducting, which results in faster throttle response and a lower turbo lag, giving peak boost faster than most air-to-air intercooler systems. For impressive engine breathing, the Apex Concept utilizes a free flowing true dual exhaust system.

Race Bike Grapics

The livery on the Kizashi Apex Concept is based on the actual Suzuki superbike race design theme and highlights the vehicle's bloodline connection to Suzuki's GSX-R Superbike. For a more expressive front-end, the lower fascia wears customized LED-based foglights. The Apex Concept is shod with Yokohama S.Drive 245/35-R19 tires, featuring advanced nanotechnology micro-fiber compound to maximize traction in both wet and dry conditions. The wheels are lightweight performance alloys with a "burnt asphalt" finish to communicate this Kizashi turbo's high level of performance. To make sure all this power is put to use in the right place, the Kizashi Apex Concept uses Suzuki's Euro-spec high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps.

Race-inspired Interior

The Kizashi Apex Concept's cabin receives an eye-catching treatment in black leather, with laser blue Alcantara® accents on the sport seats and steering wheel.

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