By mid-2009, Nissan plans to cover the entire gamut of the automotive spectrum, ranging from the compact Cube to the supercar-fighting GT-R. That's the word from Nissan as they announced that the new Cube will come to the US market next year to fill the void left behind by the dearly departed first gen Scion xB.
For now, Nissan is only showing off the current gen Cube that's available in Japan along with the Denki Cube. The Denki is the lithium-ion battery-powered version that Nissan is testing and hopes to bring to market early in the next decade. The batteries are a new laminated lithium type that are stashed under the floor and rear seats. Nissan has a joint venture with NEC to supply batteries for the new energy storage system.
Slated to slot below the hardcore S7 in Saleen's lineup, the S5S Raptor looks no less the part of a high-powered high-performance sports car. It's powered by a supercharged 5.0L engine mounted amidships producing around 650 horsepower and 630 lb-ft. of churn on a steady diet of E85 ethanol.
Developed as a collaboration between Saleen and specialty builder ASC -- both of which are owned by the same private equity firm -- the car is plenty of tech and a bit of throwback. The aluminum chassis 2-seater can get from 0-60 in a supercar-standard 3.2 seconds. When it's time to stop, six-pot calipers hidden by 20-inch wheels clamp down on 15-inch rotors up front. The retro bit: a six-speed manual gearbox.
Ever since Nissan took the Altima upmarket in both size and prize, the Maxima has suffered from an identity crisis. In the Nissan/Infiniti lineup, this premium front-wheel-drive sports sedan suffered a middle-child syndrome while slotted between the less-expensive yet still capable Altima and the more aspirational rear-wheel-drive Infiniti G35 sports sedan.
Nissan hopes to give the Maxima a new voice in its crowded lineup of large sedans with the new 2009 model that comes in your choice of a 3.5 S or 3.5 SV trim. Clearly, it packs a visual punch.The new design is something Nissan calls "Liquid Motion". It's dynamic, for sure, with peaks and valleys among flowing lines and sharp creases that combine to form a muscular shape.
Any hope that Scion would be revealing the next iteration of the tC, or a clean-sheet sports coupe with which to replace it, were dashed in New York when the wraps were pulled off the Hako Coupe Concept. The Hako is essentially a Scion xB that's lost a couple of doors and gained a massive schnoz, a seriously upright windshield and some highly stylized accents.
Scion's PR people insist that the coupe's design is inspired by the "emergence of American vintage style among young Tokyo trendsetters," which may be true, but Scions' veep, Jack Hollis, remarked that the Hako "is the sporty version of a box." Oxymoronic? We think so.As with most of Scion's concepts, the Hako is a combination of form and functionality, with an emphasis on living the Scion life that the brand has fought hard to establish.
Here it is, the 2009 Hyundai Genesis Coupe. We can hardly contain our enthusiasm over this car. On the one hand, Hyundai is offering enthusiasts the only rear-wheel-drive coupe on the market powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder (not all of us want our hair ruffled in RWD four-cylinder convertibles like the Mazda MX-5, GM's Kappa convertibles and the Honda S2000).
While on the other, it's also debuting a RWD coupe powered by a 306-horsepower 3.8L V6 (310 hp when drinking premium) that should undercut all similarly powered competition by thousands of dollars. The Genesis Coupe is a win-win car no matter which engine you choose.
Where better than New York for Ford to show off a taxicab? And what better platform than the company's new Transit Connect van? Ford's Mark Fields and designer J. Mays were on hand for the unveiling of the Transit Connect Taxi Concept, and both were somehow amazed at the applause. Seeing as how there were only a handful of us there and that the rest of the crowd consisted of Ford employees, we find it hard to believe there wouldn't be applause aplenty.
Seriously though, this is one fun cab. After spending some time in the regular fleet of bumblebee-colored Crown Vics this past week, we can attest that the Transit has a lot of things that make it a natural improvement over standard taxis. Our favorite was the panoramic roof that allows passengers to take in tall buildings with a single glance, but we also liked the flexible seating and cargo configurations, as well as the funky interactive infotainment system for the back seat.
Again with musical accompaniment from the Young Lords, Maximum Bob Lutz heralded the return of the El Camino Pontiac G8 Sport Truck to the U.S. market for the first time in over two decades. Joining Lutz to make the sales case for how wonderful the new G8 ST was Fifty Cent who the company claims is a loyal Pontiac owner.
The platform is a longer wheelbase version of the one under the G8 sedan, and the suspension remains all-independent, although the rear end has been beefed up to provide some load carrying and towing capacity.
A self-effacing and impeccably dressed Bob Lutz took shots at the old Pontiac during the live reveal of the 2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe. Busting on the arrowhead's former taste for cladding and Iron Dukes in the "excitement" product line, Lutz confidently strode alongside a silver 2009 Solstice GXP Coupe as it rolled out amidst fanfare provided by the Young Lords.
The Solstice Coupe replaces the world's flimsiest soft-top setup with a composite targa panel. 50-Cent also made an appearance and touted the performance of the GXP-trim Solstice, saying "It's faster than a Porsche Boxster. For $30,000 ... pick this one, not that one," while pointing at the Porsche display. The look of the Solstice Coupe is definitely zoomy - think of a C3 Corvette left in the dryer too long and you get the idea.
It's a rare occurrence when honest applause breaks out in a press conference over a new model, let alone a transmission. But that's exactly what happened when Maximum Bob talked up the G8 GXP, and specifically its optional six-speed manual transmission. Mated to that highly coveted cog swapper is the 6.2-liter LS3 V8 pulled from the Corvette, making 402 hp and 400 lb.-ft. of torque. If you opt for the 6L80 auto 'box, you can check your manhood and an extra two lb.-ft. of torque at the door.
In addition to the upgraded engine and manual tranny, the GXP benefits from the 19-inchers originally shown on the G8 concept, Brembo brakes (sized 14-inches up front and 12.76 inches out back) and some revised suspension bits. Zero-to-60 times are down to 4.7 seconds and the G8 GXP (along with the Solstice coupe and 'ute) are all due to hit dealers later this year.
The KOUP is a cab-forward two-door in a similar vein as the Honda Civic, but fortunately or unfortunately, that's not where the similarities end. The front fascia is a nice amalgamation of the Euro-Civic, with a few cues that are strikingly similar to Mitsubishi's current gaping maw.
The beltline, beginning beneath the carbon fiber wing mirrors, plummets to define the slightly sculpted sides and terminates into a Lancer-like rear end. Naturally, Kia saw fit to outfit the KOUP with a handful of typical concept elements, including a panoramic glass roof, carbon fiber diffusers (front and rear) and Brembo calipers with cross-drilled rotors.