2018 Nissan 370Zki
There’s a prevalent belief within automotive circles that the Nissan 370Z is in dire need of an update. The current version of the sports coupe has been on the market since 2009. That’s a long time for any car, let alone one that belongs in a niche segment. As the clamoring for a next-gen 370Z grows louder, Nissan has apparently been listening all along. All this time, the Japanese automaker was actually developing a new 370Z. The only problem is it’s not the 370Z replacement we’re expecting.
Feast your eyes on this creation. It’s a Nissan 370Z…on skis. Nissan calls it the 370Zki, and it’s actually something the automaker is bringing to the 2018 Chicago Auto Show later this month. I don’t suppose it’s the version of the 370Z that we’ve all been waiting for. On the bright side, it is a positively cool creation, at least once you get past the awkwardness of seeing the compact sports car sitting on snowmobile equipment.
2018 Mercedes X-Class Camper Concept
The new Mercedes X-Class is lustful looking machine with an upscale vibe typical of the three-pointed start mixed with rugged capability thanks to its body-on-frame architecture and beefy solid rear axle. And despite the X-Class still being extremely new, aftermarket companies are already building interesting products for the pickup. Perhaps the most interesting is this – a slide in camper build specifically to the X-Class’ bed dimensions.
The camper is designed and built by the coachbuilder Tischer and features a main sleeping area over the cab, a three-person seating area that converts into a sleeping area, a kitchen with a three-burner stove, and a bathroom with a swivel toilet, fold-away sink, and a shower.
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2018 Nissan Xmotion Concept
Nissan didn’t have as big of a presence as other automakers at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. But that doesn’t matter. What it lacked in volume, Nissan made up for with the debut of the Xmotion, a concept SUV that’s meant to showcase what a future Nissan SUV could look like. The Xmotion generated a lot of reaction, though not all of them were of the positive nature.
2018 Lexus LF-1 Limitless
Back in 2014, Toyota got us excited with the FT-1 concept, an aggressive-looking sports car that many believed it previewed the next-generation Supra. The spy shots suggest that the production model won’t get that many styling cues from the radical concept, but the FT-1 remains the company’s greatest flagship car to date. Four years have passed, and Lexus is using a similar nameplate, now revised to LF-1, to showcase its own future flagship vehicle. But unlike its parent company, Lexus wants its range-topping luxury model to be a crossover. Meet the LF-1 Limitless, Lexus’ idea for a new genre of luxury vehicle: the flagship crossover.
Unveiled at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, the LF-1 Limitless preview a brand-new niche in the premium market. Or at least that’s what Lexus claims. Just like it established the luxury crossover segment with the RX 300 some two decades ago, the Japanese firm thinks it could invent a new class with the LF-1, the flagship crossover. Yes, it sounds a bit confusing, mainly because "flagship" is usually associated with the largest vehicle in a lineup, so the LF-1 would make more sense as a model placed above the LX, but hey, it’s the 21st century and rules have changed. Actually, the current automotive market no longer works by the book, so it’s not as awkward as it seems at first glance.
But it’s all PR talk so far, as Lexus hasn’t confirmed actual production plans for the LF-1. But this crossover looks gorgeous, and it’s packed with the company’s latest technology. Let’s have a closer look below.
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2018 Infiniti Q Inspiration Concept
Infiniti has made tremendous progress in recent years, evolving from a brand that used to sell slightly more upscale Nissan models into a full-fledged luxury company that competes against the likes of Lexus and Lincoln. Come 2018, and the Japanese brand is looking to expand into new niches, including the electric car market. The Japanese firm is also readying a new design language, which was previewed at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show by the Q Inspiration concept.
A slightly futuristic midsize sedan, the Q Inspiration is giving us a glance into Infiniti’s future car design. It also signals a next-generation Q70 that’s sportier and uses a new-generation engine with variable compression ratio. "The premium sedan segment has become rather conservative. The Infiniti Q Inspiration previews something that could appeal to a younger audience, who seek modern design and new technologies to inspire and empower them," explained Christian Meunier, the company’s Global Division Vice President.
Infiniti didn’t say whether the Q Inspiration also previews an upcoming flagship sedan, but the concept car should serve as inspiration for all future products. Let’s have a closer look at what it brings to the table in the review below.
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2018 Toyota Research Institute Platform 3.0 Autonomous Car
A few years ago, concept cars were mostly about futuristic design features and new technology. This is still available today, but most automakers are including semi or fully autonomous driving systems in their show cars. This technology is supposed to become a production feature in 2021, and everyone is racing to get there first. Toyota is among those companies, and it just introduced an update to the LIDAR-equipped Lexus that it showed off twice in 2017. It’s still built around the old LS600hL — the Japanese firm launched a new LS last year — but it’s now called Platform 3.0 and comes with numerous upgrades.
The company’s Research Institute teamed up with more firms and departments than ever to create the third prototype, including CALTY Design Research in Michigan, Toyota Motor North America Research and Development, and Luminar. The latter has recently developed the most powerful LIDAR system on the market, which made its debut on this autonomous Lexus. Production of the CES-bound concept car is scheduled to commence this spring, but volume will be kept low, and all vehicles will be built for testing purposes only. Let’s find out more about Toyota’s most performant autonomous car yet in the review below.
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2019 Byton Concept EV
A Chinese electric car start-up called Future Mobility (FMC) is dipping its toes in the electric car market by launching car company Byton. The new automaker isn’t taking long to make its presence felt in the segment as it already has an electric mid-sized SUV that it plans to showcase at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week. It all sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
2018 Kia Niro EV Concept
Launched for the 2017 model year, the Kia Niro is a subcompact crossover positioned below the popular Sportage. Previewed by a concept vehicle introduced in 2013, the Niro is built on the same platform as the Hyundai Ioniq, and it’s available with a 1.6-liter gasoline engine and electric motor combo, in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants. A gasoline-only version isn’t on a drawing table yet, but a fully electric model is definitely underway. Already spotted testing on public roads in 2017, the Niro EV broke cover at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in concept form.
Heavily based on the production model, the electric concept is more than just a Niro with an electric motor and a battery. Kia also meddled with the exterior design and created a new lighting system for the show car. Inside the cabin, it features an updated "human-machine interface" and an array of new safety features. Surprisingly enough, Kia redesigned the Niro’s interior for the all-electric model. Alongside the Niro EV, Kia also unveiled plans to launch 16 new electrified vehicles by 2025. The range includes five hybrids, five plug-in hybrids, five all-electric models, and a hydrogen-powered vehicle. The latter is planned to arrive in 2020 and could be based on the Hyundai Nexo, also unveiled at the 2018 CES.
The production version of the Niro EV is likely to debut by the end of 2018.
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2019 Hyundai Nexo
Hydrogen fuel cell technology has been making headlines in the auto industry for a few decades now, with many claiming it’s the future of the fossil-free automobile. However, unlike the electric car market, the hydrogen segment has evolved rather slow, with most automakers opting to stay away from the big development costs and the expensive carbon-fiber fuel tanks. Until Toyota debuted the Mirai, Hyundai was the only company that actually launched a production model. The ix35 FCEV, also known as the Tuscon FCEV in some markets, was introduced in 2013. After several tests, full-scale production began in 2015 and examples were delivered in more than 20 countries worldwide. Come 2018 and Hyundai wants to take things up a notch with a brand-new model, called the Nexo.
Introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show, the event where automakers launch their high-tech products for a few years now, the Nexo will replace the ix35/Tucson FCEV. And the new hydrogen-powered EV is a significant departure from its predecessor. Not only riding on a new platform, it also features a unique design, a brand-new interior, and bespoke technology. And unlike many vehicles we usually see at the Consumer Electronics Show, the Nexo is ready to go into production and will become available in select markets later in 2018. Let’s find out more about Hyundai’s next-generation FCEV in the review below.
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2017 Toyota FT-AC Concept
Toyota’s been hitting it big with its recent concept vehicles. This year alone, we’ve seen the Japanese automaker unveil the Concept-i, the FT-4X, and the GR HV Sports Concept. Now that we’re less than a month away from flipping our calendars to 2018, Toyota introduced one last concept at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. It’s called the Future Toyota Adventure Concept (FT-AC), and in my mind, it’s the best Toyota concept to come out this year.
Yes, I’m picking it over the GR HV Sports Concept, the sexy, taiga-style, two-door concept that we first saw at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show last October. I like the GR HV Sports Concept, but given a choice, I’d probably pick the FT-AC Concept over it. There’s something about this angry-looking SUV prototype that’s hard to ignore. Maybe it’s because of its design. Perhaps it’s because of the assortment of tech and connectivity features it has. It might even be a combination of both. The FT-AC is a concept that screams to my imagination, telling me to tell Toyota to turn it into a production model. I don’t know if I have that kind of cache, but I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to seeing it happen.
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2018 Nissan Titan AT-M6 Walker
Stars Wars: The Last Jedi is hitting theaters next week, and like in year’s past, Nissan is hitching its wagon on the monolithic movie franchise. We saw the fruits of that partnership last year with the launch of the Nissan Rogue One Edition. This year, Nissan and LucasFilms are upping the ante by launching a whole fleet of Stars Wars-inspired creations, including the vehicle you see here.
This is a Nissan Titan, or at least it was until it was redesigned to look more like one of those giant AT-M6 Walker bots that the First Order deployed against the Resistance in The Force Awakens. The overall look and the details that went into creating the Titan Star Wars is a feast for the senses. We should give credit to Vehicle Effects for making this transformation. The California-based company is famous in Hollywood circles for building some of the best cars to hit the silver screen, including all the vehicles in The Fast and Furious and Marvel Cinematic Universe franchises. In addition to the Titan, Vehicle Effects also created the Nissan Altima Special Forces TIE Fighter, Nissan Maxima Kylo Ren, Nissan Maxima Kylo Ren’s TIE Silencer, Nissan Maxima Captain Phasma, Nissan Rogue Poe Dameron’s X-Wing with BB8, and Nissan Rogue Sport A-Wing.
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2017 GMC Sierra 2500HD All Mountain Concept
About the best means of transportation on snow-covered mountain trails is a Snowcat – those machines that cross between a tank and snowmobile. The only problem is luxury or that vast lack thereof. Well, GMC now has an answer for this frigid conundrum. Meet the 2018 GMC Sierra 2500HD All Mountain Concept.
This one-off monster is basically a Sierra 2500 with a ton of upgrades, but its foundation is familiar. The truck runs the new-for-2017 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V-8 with a stump-pulling 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque. The Alison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission and two-speed transfer case are responsible for shifting gears while five people can ride in the leather-lined crew cab. Naturally, GMC started the concept build with a Sierra Denali, meaning nearly every available feature and amenity comes standard. Oh, and of course heated seats and a heated steering wheel are included.
Keep reading for the rest of GMC’s upgrades.
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2017 Honda Vision Gran Turismo Concept
The rumor mills we’re churning, anticipation was building, everything was falling into place. Word of Honda’s plan to build a “baby NSX” reached fever pitch when patent images, spy photos, and teasers found their way to the surface. Would it be possible for Honda to actually double-dip on the NSX nomenclature and introduce two versions of it? Well, we finally have our answer and it’s a “no.” What we do get instead is the Honda Vision Gran Turismo, a no less exciting concept that we can all enjoy… in the world of Gran Turismo Sport.
I honestly don’t know if I’m going to be thrilled or disappointed at this development. I suppose it’s a mixed bag of both, though like everyone else, I was genuinely over the moon at the thought of seeing a baby NSX hit the real world. Not only would it provide us with a new option to get our NSX fix, but as the supposed “baby” of the two, it would, in theory at least, be the far more affordable version than the current NSX that starts at $156,000. As awesome as it is, the NSX’s price tag has priced a lot of people out of buying one so the excitement surrounding a smaller and more affordable version was tantalizing. The good news is that the version that we did get - the Vision Gran Turismo - is a lot cheaper than what a baby NSX would’ve been priced. It comes free as part of Gran Turismo Sport so at worst, you’re only spending for a PlayStation 4 console and a copy of the game. That’s what, $400? Still, it would’ve been much better if all that teasing led to a baby NSX. That’s not the case this time, but there’s still hope for the future, right, Honda?
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2017 Lamborghini Terzo Millennio Concept
Just when you think that you have the auto industry all figured out, it still finds a way to make you question what you know. Very few automakers are as good at doing that as Lamborghini, and after bearing witness to the madness that is the Terzo Millennia Concept, I might as well just throw my hands up and admit defeat. I don’t know enough to know what Lamborghini knows because, if I did, I would’ve seen the Terzo Millennio Concept coming a while ago. But nothing prepares you for this kind of presentation, especially when the Italian automaker is involved. You just sit back, be amazed, and try not to piss yourself in the process.
The narrative surrounding the Terzo Millennio Concept is a pretty straightforward one. The concept is a joint creation by Lamborghini and some smart folks from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was created to showcase the future of the Raging Bull, or rather, the possibilities of what can happen in automotive design and engineering when smart people work together for a common purpose. History hasn’t always been kind to this innovative bullishness, but if there’s one automaker that has proven to be adept at bringing state-of-the-art tech to life, no matter how ridiculous they may be, it’s Lamborghini. All that is why the Terzo Millennio Concept is so intriguing beyond the fact that it proudly wears the iconic Sant’Agata Bull badge. The concept may be defined by tech offerings that don’t exist yet, but that’s not to say they can’t happen, especially when Lamborghini’s involved.
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2017 Infiniti Q60 Red Alpha Concept
Raise your hands if you feel a little hoodwinked by Infiniti and its Q60 Red Alpha Concept. I know I have my hands in the air because I expected something completely different from this concept. But, that’s the beauty of the auto industry. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, it gives us a car like the Q60 Red Alpha. I don’t think I’m the only one who thought that the concept would be a traditional go-faster iteration of the performance coupe. You know, something along the lines of the Q50 Eau Rouge with some extra luxury offerings thrown in for good measure.
Instead, Infiniti went a completely different direction in achieving the same goal. There may be a significant power and performance increase, but any hints of wood or carbon fiber trim are not just in short supply, they’re non-existent, to begin with. What we do get is a gutted interior with a roll cage in the back, Mickey Thompson drag racing tires, and a racing parachute in the back. A racing parachute! Did anybody see that coming? Granted, the concept does also come with a range of performance parts that will be available in the future for Red Sport 400 versions of the Q50 and Q60. We can at least look forward to that. But everything else about the Q60 Red Alpha speaks about a car that’s been heavily modified for one purpose: drag racing. I will admit though that I’m a little curious on how it’s going to fare on a drag strip, even if it’s something that I completely did not expect.
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NASCAR Champ Truex Jr. Designs All-Black Toyota Camry for SEMA
Toyota got really busy for the 2017 SEMA Show and its lineup for this year’s event included a handful of bespoke Camry sedans designed by NASCAR drivers. Among those who created their own race-inspired Camry was Martin Truex Jr., who recently clinched the Sprint Cup title behind the wheel of his NASCAR-spec Camry. Built as a homage to his track-prepped car, the production Camry was modified with help from Toyota’s Motorsports Technical Center (MTC) and Misfit Industries.
Much like the race car he used this season, the SEMA-bound Camry is finished in black. But the color is far from being a Toyota palette standard. Crafted by Misfit after going through six different shades, the final paint is covered with a satin top coat for a unique, nearly matte look. What’s more, all existing chrome trim was refinished in durable cobalt Cerakote, which turned the exterior of the Camry completely black. The wheels, which are based on those of Truex Jr.’s race car are also finished in black. But NASCAR’s new champion didn’t stop at new paint, trim, and wheels. The Camry also sports a front splitter, a ducktail spoiler with visible rivets, and a new diffuser with redesigned exhaust pipes with three holes on each side.
The interior matches the sober look of the exterior with black leather with black stitching on the seats and Truex Jr.’s initials stitched on the headrests. Under the skin, the Camry gained an AEM intake system, a TRD exhaust, a custom Tein coilover suspension for lowered ride height and bigger brakes from StopTech. The Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric high-performance tires also add to the sedan’s improved performance.
Needless to say, Truex Jr.’s options for this Camry are a bit too serious as far as exterior updates go, but I must admit I would like to see this package offered on a limited-edition model. High-performance features and black matte paint are the perfect combination if you like subtle looks on beefed-up cars. Of course, a few engine upgrades would be nice too. What do you think? Let me know in the comments section.
2018 Chevrolet Silverado Performance Concept
Folks like to modify their rides for a variety of reasons. Some like to add a dash of personalized style, while others want to enhance the vehicle’s natural talents. However, some of the most interesting results come from the desire to take a vehicle out of its comfort zone, and as a result, create the unexpected. The Chevrolet Silverado Performance Concept is a great example of something from that third category. While the Silverado is best known for its ability to haul goods, Chevy decided to see what would happen if it built a Silverado that could also haul ass. As such, this 2018 model gets a boatload of extra power thanks to a new concept supercharger system that ramps up output from the truck’s 5.3-liter V-8 engine by more than 100 horsepower. Of course, while gobs of extra power is always appreciated, a well-rounded build needs the complementary gear to go with it, and the Silverado Performance Concept delivers with additional performance parts, styling upgrades, and more.
Making its debut at the 2017 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the Silverado Performance Concept joins roughly 20 other factory-backed Chevy models in attendance to entice both builders and enthusiasts alike with Bow Tie-styled goodness. Read on for the details on this go-faster truck.
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Nissan Titan XD Snow Plow Package Is Ready for a White Christmas
Recent U.S. winters have had greater than average snowfall, and it seems that the upcoming cold season won’t be any different. Nissan is doing something about it, though, by offering the Titan XD with snow plow and all the accessories needed to turn the pickup truck into a reliable, commercial or personal snow remover. Called the Snow Plow Prep Package, this special winter upgrade was showcased at the 2017 SEMA Show and will become available this fall.
The bundle includes snow plows from five leading manufacturers, so you get to choose between Boss, Fisher, Meyer, SnowEx, and Western. The package also comes with higher capacity front springs that increase front gross axle weight rating (GAWR) capacity by from 4,325 to 4,900 pounds). This allows fitment of snow plows on all three body configurations of the Titan XD (Single Cab, King Cab, and Crew Cab). It’s worth mentioning that the heavy-duty springs aren’t anything new, being already available for the Titan XD with the Heavy Duty GAWR Package, which makes vehicles equipped with that package snow plow-capable.
All these vehicles are powered by the massive, 5.6-liter V-8 engine rated at 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to move large quantities of snow off anything from neighborhood alleys to interstate highways. There’s no word as to how much the Snow Plow Prep Package costs, but commercial buyers will benefit from a $500 Nissan Upfit Allowance to help defer the cost of the equipment.
2018 Toyota Camry Rowdy Edition II
One of the best-selling sedans in the United States in recent decades, the Camry is known mainly for its solid quality, good bang for the buck, and excellent reliability. It was never among the best looking vehicles in its niche and needless to say, Toyota received a lot of heat for that. This changed with the latest-generation Camry, which arrived with a decidedly sportier exterior design that borrows a few cues from the premium Lexus brand. The new styling was immediately transferred onto the NASCAR race car, which was used by four different teams and driven by more than 15 drivers during the 2017 season. Among them is Kyle Busch, who designed a custom Camry for the 2017 SEMA Show.
In second place in the Sprint Cup standings as of November 1, Busch teamed up with Chuck Gafrarar of Chuck G Fabrication, who collaborated with NASCAR race teams since 2002, to give already eye-catching sedan a bit of a twist design-wise. Busch also delved into the Toyota parts bin for performance-enhancing upgrades and called his creation the "Rowdy Edition II." If you’re not familiar with the term, Busch uses the nickname "Rowdy" after Days of Thunder character Rowdy Burns. He’s actually nicknamed "Shrub," as the younger brother of Kurt Busch (a shrub is a smaller bush, get it?), but let’s face it, the Camry Shrub Edition doesn’t sound as appealing.
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2017 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 AEV Concept
While SEMA certainly has plenty to offer when it comes builds that are low and fast, the annual vehicle modification extravaganza also offers loads of rough-and-ready off-roaders, many of which are rocking big suspension and the right stuff to tackle whatever Mother Nature has in store. The Chevy Colorado ZR2 AEV Concept is one good example, which looks to add to the Bow Tie’s already impressive performance truck cred as one part in a duo of custom Colorado concepts. Unlike its desert-running counterpart, the AEV focuses more on overland capability, adding robust off-roading exterior protection, enormous 35-inch tires (plus the requisite suspension lift), and even a fridge in case you get hungry while stomping around the great outdoors.
And that’s about right, considering AEV stands for American Expedition Vehicles, a private Montana-based manufacturer that’s been making comprehensive off-roader packages for the past two decades. “Our collaboration taught us that Colorado makes a great platform for building an off-road truck that can take you as far out as you want to go, safely,” says AEV’s founder, Dave Harriton. Read on for the specifics on what that claim entails.
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2018 Toyota Camry XSE Denny Hamlin
The Toyota Camry is a lot of things. Flashy isn’t one of those things. That’s the usual narrative surrounding America’s top-selling model, but just because the Camry has been pigeon-holed as a certain type of car, that doesn’t mean that it can’t spread its wings every so often and break out of its own house, especially when you get someone like Denny Hamlin involved. The 36-year old NASCAR racer may drive a race-spec Toyota Camry in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, but at the invitation of Toyota, Hamlin’s trading in his race overalls for a chance to design his own custom Toyota Camry. The result is this stand out piece of work.
Hamlin’s Camry may not be the quintessential Camry upgrade, but it looks the part of one. It has a wide range of custom features, ranging from fancy graphics, shiny wheels, and a wide-body conversion. And, those are just on the exterior of the sedan. Instead, Hamlin’s influence is clearly evident, particularly in the choice of colors the 2016 Daytona 500 winner picked to stamp his personalized touches on the four-door ride. All told, the Hamlin-designed Camry makes up one of the handful of custom-tuned Camrys that are on display at the 2017 SEMA Auto Show. It may not have the visual presence that Rutledge Wood’s Camry has, but it certainly qualifies as the most dynamic build among all the Camrys that were designed by Hamlin’s peers. At the very least, it’s the one that I’d like to have for myself.
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