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Nissan GT-R

Recently, Auto Express had a sit-down with Andy Palmer, Nissan’s executive vice president of product planning, and he let us all in on what’s coming up for the Nissan lineup. In the interview, Palmer confirmed that the Nismo Leaf would make it to production with numbers expected to be in the 125-horsepower and 320 Nm (236 foot-pound) range. That’s nothing spectacular, but it is a significant bump from the standard specs.

Palmer also confirmed that the 370Z Nismo would make its way to the UK, which we already get here in the U.S. He also let us know that the GT-R would receive the Nismo treatment sometime in late-2013.

The biggest news comes in the form of the announced Nismo RS models. We already know that the Juke-R is heading to production , but it will almost certainly carry with it a $100,000+ price tag. Buyers can opt for a lower—powered Juke Nismo RS and still get good performance, without the huge price tag. This model will likely push 270 horsepower from its boosted 1.6-liter 4-pot.

The biggest of the big news is Palmer’s announcement that the 370Z and GT-R will both get an RS configuration in their next generations. We have no idea what to expect from these models and we likely won’t know until their respective base models arrive in 2014. The 370Z has a very high ceiling, as little has been done to make it perform on a higher level, but how exactly Nissan plans to add to the 545 horsepower that the GT-R already pumps from its 3.8-liter V-6 engine just baffles and excites us.

We will keep a close eye on the entire Nissan RS lineup and keep you updated as these models inch closer to production.

Source: Auto Express
Nissan DeltaWing

The DeltaWing , which most people know as the “Nissan ” DeltaWing, took a run at the Le Mans series and was doing well until a wreck put it out of commission. What some people may not know is the fact that the group that put together the DeltaWing were originally attempting to put it into play in the INDYCAR series. That never happened, and the rest is history.

With the Indy Lights series gaining some notoriety and its base chassis, the Dallara , getting on in age, Indy is now seeking a new manufacturer to build a base chassis to replace its aging unit. Now the entire group, less Nissan, is pitching the Delta Delta Wing to become the successor to the Dallara. To achieve this task and even be considered for Indy Lights, the group needs to fit the DeltaWing with the required paddle shifting capability, upgraded data systems, and alternative fuel considerations.

Overall, the DeltaWing looks like it would be a shoe-in, if it can get those few requirements taken care of. However, there are five or six total entrants trying to win this spot in the Indy Light series, so the Delta Wing group needs to focus on getting the car perfect, so they can get it into the circuit.

For now, this is just another pipe dream for the DeltaWing, but so was its entrance into the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. It succeeded in getting into that race, though it didn’t last for more than half of the race.

We’ll keep you updated on this race to the Indy Light series and let you know once Indy makes its final decision.

When us 30-somethings were kids, Powerwheels cars were all the rage. We could drive our own miniature car at a snail’s pace for roughly 10 minutes before the battery drained and left us stranded wherever we were. Those 10 minutes were typically the highlight of our week, despite the fact that molasses could flow down the road faster than our Powerwheels car could drive.

Well, FFTEC Motorsports, who is best known for building monster Mitsubishis , Porsches , Subarus , etc., decided that, after one of its employee’s son wore the rubber wheels off of his Lightning McQueen Powerwheels, it was time for some minor modifications.

FFTEC completely stripped the guts from the Powerwheels car, leaving pretty much just the plastic body. From there, FFTEC installed an aluminum sub-chassis in the rear end and installed new bearing-style hubs with disc brakes. On these hubs are a set of rubber all-terrain tires, so the Powerwheels car could literally put rubber to the road instead of plastic.

FFTEC didn’t stop there, as technicians decided that the car just wasn’t quite fast enough, so they installed a 500-watt, 0.66-horsepower electric motor to drive the rear wheels via a chain system. They also installed 24-volt gel batteries to help prolong the car’s running life. Also part of the build is a variable-speed throttle, in placer of the Powerwheels all-or-nothing throttle, and a Sparco battery cutoff switch.

After it was all said and done, FFTEC produced a video and slapped it on YouTube for us to see. Have a look for yourself and think about how you could have easily beaten everyone in the Driveway Le Mans Series of Powerwheels.

Nice job FFTEC!

Fiat 500 BEV

Chrysler has had only one mass-produced electrified vehicle in its history and that was the now-discontinued Durango hybrid . According to a report from Bloomberg, Chrysler is once again kicking around the thought of electrified vehicles, be it by 100 percent electricity or some sort of hybrid system.

Bob Lee, the head of Chrysler’s engine and electrified propulsion engineering department was quoted as saying “We do believe in electrification, sparingly and for the right kinds of targeted applications.” This basically means that Chrysler is taking its dive into electric propulsion very carefully until it knows that there is a market among Chrysler buyers.

That’s not a huge shock, considering that Chrysler was pulled from the financial flames twice in the last decade, or so – once by Daimler and once by Fiat . Chrysler is finally pulling in a profit and now it’s actually carrying its parent company, Fiat, on its shoulders to keep it from drowning in debt.

Speaking of Fiat, Lee also confirmed in the same report that Fiat is moving into production of the anticipated 500EV, the electric-powered Fiat 500 . The 500EV will go into production later on this year and be ready for release sometime in the 2013 model year.

The 500EV will likely be the testing grounds for Chrysler to see if it is a profitable venture or not. We are willing to bet that buyers gobble up the 500EV and that Chrysler soon follows suit with a small EV of their own. Down the road, with fuel prices going how they are, we may even see the Viper utilizing a hybrid system, much like Ferrari is planing to install on its upcoming Enzo/F70.

We’ll keep an eye on this and let you know once there is some confirmation on a Chrysler with electric propulsion.

Source: Bloomberg

The 3.0-liter BiTDI engine that Audi has developed has pretty much flipped what we think of diesel engines – that they are torque-loaded but underpowered – on its rear. MTM has taken the A6 3.0 BiTDI, which we don’t see in the U.S., and turned it into even more powerful of a ride, as well as helping look and handle a little better.

The A6 3.0 BiTDI’s body remains essentially unchanged with MTM’s package and we don’t mind one bit. The A6’s body is pretty sexy, for a station wagon, so we are happy to see that MTM didn’t go overboard with the body kit for it. The only styling change added to the A6 are a set of custom wheels. There are actually a variety of Bimoto wheels available from MTM for this package, which range from €1,729 to €5,230 ($2,140 to $6,471 at current rates).

Helping the handling and ride height is an aftermarket F-Cantronic ECU for the air suspension, which allows you to drop the car’s center of gravity up to 25 mm (0.98 inches). This increases both handling and gives the A6 a more stylish look. This ECU runs €1,740 ($2,153 at current rates).

Helping the A6 come to a halt is a brake upgrade that includes 380 x 34 mm (14.96- x 1.33-inch) rotors with 8-piston calipers squeezing them. This kit runs €4,900 ($6,063), but you can opt for another upgrade that includes 405 x 36 mm (15.94- x 1.41-inch) rotors for an additional €1,500 ($1,856), but to get this size, you must opt for at least 20-inch wheels.

The engine sees some significant increases too, as the base ECU modification, which costs €1,700 ($2,103) will net you 365 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque. This is a 57-horsepower and 81 pound-feet bump from stock. You can pump this up to a full 381 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque for an extra €100 ($123).

In all, this package will run between €10,069 ($12,464) and €15,170 ($18,771), depending on the options you choose. That’s quite a hefty fee, but this will make your A6 a true screamer.

Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4

The TopSpeed time machine has taken us ahead before to see what Porsche has in store , now that VW controls it. It has also taken us to an alternate reality, where we got to see just how the i8 could completely fall on its face. Well, now with McLaren confirming what we all suspected (that the V-12 is about to becomes extinct), we are going to fire the old time cruiser back up and see what the supercar world might have in store for us in 2020.

McLaren has already come out and said that the V-12
"belongs in a museum" and plans to downsize its engine lineup, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. You see, in 2014, the FIA is dropping its engine sizes to petite 1.5-liter V-6 plants with turbochargers and energy recovery systems. Six years after that changeover, fuel will likely be so expensive that the FIA may drop to a 4-cylinder regulation, which opens the door for supercars to borrow said technology.

This would mean no more V-12, V-10, V-8, or V-6 engines and just super-powerful 4-cylinders will remain. Pumping 500 to 600 ponies from a 4-pot is not an impossible task, but it requires very precise research and development. The smaller engines will also result in lower weight, more manageable weight ratios, and better handling. Lower weight, in turn, results in better fuel economy and quicker acceleration.

There will be some tradeoffs, as expected. No longer will we have these 200+ mph supercars. You will also have a much less comfortable drive than expected, as these 4-bangers will be much more high-strung and touchy, much like a race car.

The big picture is what matters in all of this. No longer will there be a hunkin’ V-12 engine chugging down a gallon of fuel every 8 to 11 miles. In 2020, we should see smaller 4-pots getting 16 to 18 mpg and still keeping up with their larger ancestors up to 100 mph, which is really all that matters. Ask yourself, “When was the last time I drove 200 mph in my Aventador ?”

But what about electric? Click past the jump to read about electric-powered supercars in 2020.

When Honda was teasing us with the Honda CR-Z back in late-2009 and early-2010, the teaser commercials showed us a hybrid that provided the perfect balance of economy and sport. This made us all immediately think that we were about the get the performance-minded hybrid we had been hoping for.

Well, when we finally received the specs on the 2011 CR-Z , we were slightly disappointed with the 122 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque that its 1.5-liter 4-pot pumped out. We were even more distraught when we found out that it only got 31 mpg city and 37 mpg highway – both numbers are now eclipsed by gasoline-only cars. The lack of power translated out to an 8.3-second sprint to 60 mph, which was about 1.5 seconds slower than we all expected to see.

Well, it looks like Jackson Racing has finally come up with a solution for those disappointed CR-Z drivers, as it has released a supercharger that will add some excitement to the equation, but only for 6-speed models.

This supercharger is available in three stages: tune yourself for $3,995, factory tuned for $4,495, and tuner system for $4,995. The first option includes only the supercharger system, the second system includes the supercharger, Hondata ECU remap and high-flow injectors, and the final kit includes the supercharger, Hondata FlashPro, Jackson’s CR-Z FlashPro calibration and high-flow injectors.

The latter kit will push the CR-Z’s output up by up to 50 horsepower and 45 pound-feet of torque, which increases it to an acceptable 172 horsepower and 173 pound-feet of torque. This likely brings the CR-Z’s 0 to 60 time into its anticipated range of about 6.7 seconds.

According to Jackson, this kit will not affect the CR-Z’s fuel economy under regular driving. However, if you like to keep your foot in the cooling fan, you will likely see steep fuel economy drop off. Jackson is currently working on an option for those with the whiny CVT. We say step one of that process should include scrapping the transmission, but we may be a little biased...

Click past the jump to read the presser.

Toyota managed to climb itself back into road racing with the development of the TS030 prototype, but it wasn’t without its issues. The entire project was delayed by a month, due to damages caused to its monocoque from a wreck during a round of practice.

Some people may think that Toyota is haphazardly testing these cars without the drivers being properly trained, but they would be sorely incorrect with that thought. Sin Sin ce before Toyota pulled out of road racing, it has had a racing simulator to allow drivers to get a good feel for the car they will be driving and the track they will be on.

The simulator, according to TMG driver, Kazuki Nakajima, has all of the pedal and steering wheel feel of the real cars, as well as the real feel of the track. Much like the simulator rides that were popular in the early-1990s and are still around today, the simulator is on a hydraulic base that bounces the car and moves it along with the driver‘s input through the steering, brakes, and gas.

The simulator includes 20 different tracks, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans track that you see in the above video. It also includes a slew of cars, so that drivers can get the feel of the varying cars TMG uses in races. Mild adjustments are made to the simulator to compensate for changes in the vehicle’s suspension, aerodynamics, horsepower, etc., making for a very real experience for the drivers.

Have a look at the above video and see the simulator in action yourself.

Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4

If someone hears the term “Green Aventador ,” it’s likely that they would think the supercar is just painted green and has nothing to do with the vehicle’s Eco-friendliness. Well, you may start seeing the Aventador in a completely different – and greener – light in the near future.

Auto Motor & Sport out of Sweden is claiming to have official documents that show a revised Aventador that sports cylinder deactivation and engine start-stop technology. Both of these technologies are obviously fuel saving and neither have been seen on a Lamborghini.

Supposedly, Lambo is using information from its parent company, Volkswagen , to create the deactivation system. The start-stop system is reportedly Lamborghini’s own design that is super-capacitor-based and fires up the engine faster than the typical battery system, which will result in a 180 millisecond start-up time.

The cylinder deactivation system is pretty much just like all others. At cruising speed, a series of cylinders will shut down, but once you need extra power, just slam on the gas and the cylinders fire right back up. This system, combined with the start-stop feature, is claimed to save up to 7 percent in the Aventador ’s fuel consumption.

Also in the documents is a revised suspension to make the Aventador’s ride a little more bearable. That takes it from the equivalent of a go-cart on a cobblestone road to a go-cart on a brick road. Yeah, we don’t think anything can fix the Aventador’s unbearable ride.

For now, these are just reports and rumors. We will update you as soon as Lamborghini confirms or denies the reports.

Electric vehicles and various hybrid systems are taking over the front pages of the automotive world as of late. One of the areas where hybrids and EVs haven’t completely infiltrated is the world of pickup trucks. Well, that’s until former GM executive, Bob Lutz, joined forces with the little-known Via Motors.

Via Motors has quite literally taken the electric truck, SUV, and van ball and run with it, and has started carving itself a nice little niche in the automotive world. One of its entrants is the Vtrux, which is a range-extended electric truck. The information on this new green pickup is not 100 percent available yet, but Via has posted a good amount of information on this pickup’s upcoming release.

The question on the mind of the automotive world is can an electric truck actually do well in this world of powerful diesel- and gasoline-powered pickups? The answer to this question is very simple, but to get to that answer, we have to tear into the Vtrux and find out what makes it tick.

Click past the jump to read all about the Vtrux and find out the answer to that all-important question.


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