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Porsche Macan SUV gets hot GTS treatment

Porsche Macan SUV gets hot GTS treatment

Porsche Macan SUV gets hot GTS treatment

Porsche has revealed its hot new Macan GTS at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show.

Based on the Porsche Macan S, the GTS boasts 360hp from its 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 – an increase of 20hp. That means, as with other Porsche models, the GTS sits below the Turbo in the Macan range.

Performance wise, it’ll hit 62mph in 5.0 seconds when Porsche’s optional £729 sport chrono pack is fitted (5.2 seconds without), and it’s good for a top speed of 160mph.

It’s not all about power, however. A throatier exhaust is fitted as standard, while the Macan’s electronically controlled dampers have been tweaked to provide a sportier (and lower) ride.

You can tell the Macan GTS apart from the S on which it’s based by a plethora of GTS badges, the usual smattering of black exterior trim and 20-inch black alloys.

Inside, there are special seats and the latest version of Porsche’s touchscreen infotainment system.

If it matters, the Macan GTS returns an official 31.4mpg and emits 212g/km CO2. Orders are now open in the UK, with prices starting at £55,188. Deliveries are likely to start early in 2016.

Mazda's RX-Vision rotary-engined concept car makes the internet go 'phwoar'

Mazda’s RX-Vision rotary-engined concept car makes the internet go ‘phwoarrr’

Mazda's RX-Vision rotary-engined concept car makes the internet go 'phwoar'

Rejoice, the rotary engine is back! Mazda’s unveiled its RX-Vision concept car at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show.

It previews a new model from Mazda, set to take on the Porsche Cayman as a successor to the Mazda RX-8.

In typical RX fashion, it sports a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout – but just the two seats.

Details are vague, but expect it to follow Mazda’s lightweight philosophy. Power will come from a new SkyActiv-R engine – likely to be turbocharged, so expect commendable efficiency combined with impressive performance if it makes it into production.

Reliability will also be important – something Mazda struggled with on the RX-8. Mazda president and CEO, Masamichi Kogai, said: “We have had quality issues with our rotary engines in the past, and want to make certain we don’t cause customers any more problems.”

The manufacturer has confirmed dimensions – at 4,389mm by 1,925mm by 1,160mm it’s slightly shorter, wider and lower than the RX-8.

Although previously rumoured to preview an ‘RX-9’ model, many are now saying it could see a return of the RX-7 name.

Whatever it’s called, we’re not alone in hoping Mazda puts the RX-Vision into production with few changes…

Mazda's RX-Vision rotary-engined concept car makes the internet go 'phwoar'

Mazda's RX-Vision rotary-engined concept car makes the internet go 'phwoarrr'

Mazda's RX-Vision rotary-engined concept car makes the internet go 'phwoar'

Rejoice, the rotary engine is back! Mazda’s unveiled its RX-Vision concept car at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show.

It previews a new model from Mazda, set to take on the Porsche Cayman as a successor to the Mazda RX-8.

In typical RX fashion, it sports a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout – but just the two seats.

Details are vague, but expect it to follow Mazda’s lightweight philosophy. Power will come from a new SkyActiv-R engine – likely to be turbocharged, so expect commendable efficiency combined with impressive performance if it makes it into production.

Reliability will also be important – something Mazda struggled with on the RX-8. Mazda president and CEO, Masamichi Kogai, said: “We have had quality issues with our rotary engines in the past, and want to make certain we don’t cause customers any more problems.”

The manufacturer has confirmed dimensions – at 4,389mm by 1,925mm by 1,160mm it’s slightly shorter, wider and lower than the RX-8.

Although previously rumoured to preview an ‘RX-9’ model, many are now saying it could see a return of the RX-7 name.

Whatever it’s called, we’re not alone in hoping Mazda puts the RX-Vision into production with few changes…

Nissan IDS Concept

Nissan IDS Concept previews next Nissan LEAF at Tokyo Motor Show

Nissan IDS ConceptNissan has revealed the IDS Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show 2015 to demonstrate its take on the autonomous car of the future – and provide a clear tease as to how the next-generation LEAF EV will look.

The IDS Concept is a zero-emissions EV that blends autonomous self-driving car functionality with artificial intelligence. This, says Nissan, helps give autonomous drive tech real-world relevance – something the firm is planning to launch on several vehicles within the next five years.

Nissan says the IDS Concept offers two functions, Manual Drive and Piloted Drive. Intriguingly, it will learn the driver’s own style and apply this to piloted driving: the cars will perform slightly differently, based on who’s been driving them previously.

Potentially some self-driving Nissan IDS Concepts will autonomously corner, accelerate and brake more quickly and sportily than others!

Nissan is keen to emphasise the fun-to-drive part and says the driver will still remain engaged even when the car is driving itself. This is an important factor in occupants having confidence in autonomous cars.

“Two zeroes”

Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn said: “Nissan’s forthcoming technologies will revolutionize the relationship between car and driver, and future mobility.”

“Nissan Intelligent Driving improves a driver’s ability to see, think and react. It compensates for human error, which causes more than 90 percent of all car accidents.”

It’s part of Nissan’s aspirations for zero fatalities and zero emissions, “in our mission to help create a sustainable car-based society”. The firm dubs this the ‘two zeroes”.

Two interiors

The IDS Concept has two interior layouts, one for each driving mode. In Manual Drive, all seats face forward, the steering wheel, dials and head-up display are all present, and interior lighting switches to blue: this is said to improve the ability to concentrate.

However, in Piloted Drive, the steering wheel folds away and the dashboard slides back below the windscreen, replaced by a large flatscreen instead. Seats rotate inwards, the interior is illuminated by soft light and all driving-related functions are handled either by AI or driver voice and gesture control.

Nissan reckons it’s like relaxing in a living room.

Drivers can switch between modes using the PD Commander between the front seats. When in Piloted Drive, this is the only control the driver can operate.

Multi-function exterior

The exterior panels are also functional. For example, there’s an illuminated silver bodyline LED strip that switches to red when pedestrians and cyclists are nearby – this is to assure them the car knows they’re there. The dashboard also has an electronic display that can flash text messages to pedestrians.

The Nissan IDS Concept wears lightweight carbon fibre bodywork that’s just 1,380mm high to lower the aerodynamic drag.

Wheels are large in diameter but relatively narrow in section, like on a BMW i3, again, to reduce drag. It’s a wheel-at-each-corner design to maximise interior space.

High-power EV

The IDS Concept has a 60kWh battery – twice the size of the revised Nissan LEAF we drove recently – and Nissan says the low weight, sleek aerodynamics and low stance “meet the need to drive long distances”.

Today’s extended-range LEAF can do up to 155 miles on a full charge, and the IDS Concept has double the battery capacity. With these other improvements in the EV drivetrain too, a driving range of 400 miles or more per charge seems likely.

For added convenience, the IDS Concept has wireless charging.

Future EV: future LEAF?

The big question is, does the IDS Concept preview the next Nissan LEAF? It seems almost certain the next-generation LEAF will include elements of its styling, such as the crossover-look stance and space-efficient proportions.

Remember, Nissan continues to have huge success with the Qashqai and Juke in Europe; it seems natural for its groundbreaking EV to incorporate similar elements.

We can also expect the next LEAF to be much more aerodynamic, perhaps with bigger, narrower tyres and plentiful body-smoothing features.

What’s also interesting is the autonomous element. Nissan says this is going to happen sooner than we think: a car that has a reconfigurable dashboard may be a bold step for 2020, but having more autonomous functionality on the already highly networked LEAF would also be logical.

Nissan knows the LEAF has done the groundwork in preparing the world for mainstream EVs: its successor can fully capitalise on this if the firm gets the styling and the functionality right. The pretty, clever IDS Concept suggests it’s preparing to roll out another EV revolution in the next few years…

Tokyo Motor Show 2015

Why I’m looking forward to the Tokyo Motor Show

Tokyo Motor Show 2015To Tokyo, and the biannual motor show that this year seems THE event to be at.

The last time I came to the Tokyo Motor Show was back in 2009, in the depths of the recession. You felt it: the show didn’t seem as confident as the European norm, had clearly been scaled back, felt as if rushed economising was pervading throughout.

Tokyo Motor Show 2015 on MR

Despite this, I really enjoyed it, because Japan is such a shock to those of us used to Western normalities. Such as, even if you can’t speak the language, still being able to read road signs. Or subway maps. Or elevator buttons. Seemingly straightforward things are suddenly alien: it’s the most foreign place I’ve been to, and I adore it.

The Japanese culture helps too. Walking through the airport, you’re struck by how immaculately clean and cared for it is. Everyone smiles, and nods, and asks to help. Respect is everywhere. It can’t help but rub off on you, making every interaction a feel-good pleasure.

Past experience tells me the motor show is going to run exactly on time and be logistical perfection, so I’m looking forward to the many, many surprises and curious waiting on the stands. This year’s theme seems to be future fuels, autonomous driving and alternative mobility: just as it always is, you may say – only now, it’s right on the horizon.

Making this year’s exhibits more relevant than ever. Who knows, in two years’ time, we may be building up to see their production-ready equivalents…

Tokyo Motor Show 2015

Why I'm looking forward to the Tokyo Motor Show

Tokyo Motor Show 2015To Tokyo, and the biannual motor show that this year seems THE event to be at.

The last time I came to the Tokyo Motor Show was back in 2009, in the depths of the recession. You felt it: the show didn’t seem as confident as the European norm, had clearly been scaled back, felt as if rushed economising was pervading throughout.

Tokyo Motor Show 2015 on MR

Despite this, I really enjoyed it, because Japan is such a shock to those of us used to Western normalities. Such as, even if you can’t speak the language, still being able to read road signs. Or subway maps. Or elevator buttons. Seemingly straightforward things are suddenly alien: it’s the most foreign place I’ve been to, and I adore it.

The Japanese culture helps too. Walking through the airport, you’re struck by how immaculately clean and cared for it is. Everyone smiles, and nods, and asks to help. Respect is everywhere. It can’t help but rub off on you, making every interaction a feel-good pleasure.

Past experience tells me the motor show is going to run exactly on time and be logistical perfection, so I’m looking forward to the many, many surprises and curious waiting on the stands. This year’s theme seems to be future fuels, autonomous driving and alternative mobility: just as it always is, you may say – only now, it’s right on the horizon.

Making this year’s exhibits more relevant than ever. Who knows, in two years’ time, we may be building up to see their production-ready equivalents…

Yamaha sports car

Yamaha sports car concept to debut at Tokyo Motor Show

Yamaha sports carMotorcycle manufacturer Yamaha has revealed it will show a sleek sports car design concept at the Tokyo Motor Show 2015 next week. The car will be part of its huge 20-model display.

Said to be “inspired by motorcycles and express(ing) the unique style of Yamaha”, the firm has yet to release official details on the new sports car concept, but has teased us with an image.

This shows a compact two-seat sports car with a light, glassy cockpit, long nose and compact rear.

Proportions appear to suggest a mid-engine design and the multi-stack rear wing could indicate novel aerodynamic features.

Yamaha’s hint suggests the sports car concept could be powered by a high-revving motorcycle engine, of which the firm has no shortage of options.

However, the sports car could also be derived from the Yamaha Motiv city car, jointly developed by Gordon Murray Design and revealed in 2013.

This offers a choice of all-electric drive or range-extender petrol and electric power. Yamaha has since committed to putting the car into production, with a due-date of 2019.

McLaren F1

There’s no word yet on whether Gordon Murray has been involved in this sports car concept, although we can’t help but spot similarities to the McLaren F1 (above), particularly in the side profile and shape of the cockpit…

 

 

Honda FCV

Production-ready Honda FCV fuel cell car to debut at Tokyo Motor Show

Honda FCVHonda will showcase a production-ready hydrogen fuel cell car at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show ahead of customer sales beginning in 2016.

The production-intent version of Honda’s earlier FCEV Concept and FCV Concepts, the firm admits the FCV name is still a ‘tentative’ one.

But, given how it already has the FCX Clarity – the world’s first bespoke hydrogen fuel cell car – we think FCV fits in pretty well.

Cleverly, Honda has packaged the fuel cell kit into the space normally occupied by the engine and gearbox, which means the cabin is a full five-seater.

The Japanese-spec car to be shown at Tokyo can also act as a mobile powerplant: it can both generate and provide electricity to communities if there’s a power cut.

Car as power generator? That surely is a world first.

As for the driving range, Honda is quoting around 435 miles, although this is the Japanese cycle (ssh! Nobody mention fuel economy cycles! -Ed): we’ll wait to find out how far it goes between hydrogen refills in European driving.

Speaking of Europeans, Honda will also be debuting the Civic Type R at the Tokyo Motor Show – proudly built at its UK manufacturing facility in Swindon then exported to Japan…