2017 Nissan GT-R Nismo reveals its secrets

Godzilla on steroids strikes again

Nissan is treating its GT-R fans this week. After the earlier breakdown of the “base” 2017 GT-R, Nissan is now revealing details of the hopped-up Nismo version.
Just like the 2016 Nismo, this GT-R has 600 horsepower and 481 lb-ft of torque being sent through a six-speed dual clutch automatic. We expect this one will be good for about the same 3-second run to 60 mph as the current car.
Changes to the new GT-R Nismo are focused on handling and stability. The body structure of the base GT-R has been stiffened for the 2017 model year, prompting Nissan to tweak the Nismo specific shocks, springs and stabilizers. On top of that, bodywork has been modified to provide more downforce at speed. A reinforced hood, stiffer carbon fiber front bumper and redesigned canards help provide a slipperier shape and direct wind. To help feed more cool air into the mill the grille has been enlarged as much as possible without affecting other aero bits.
This Nismo gets an updated interior featuring fewer buttons than the previous GT-R on its center stack. This version also gets special Nismo leather Recaro seats fitted with red suede inserts. Swaths of Alcantara suede cover the dash and steering wheel taking the place of leather from the last model.

2017 Ford Fusion Energi ups range to 610 miles


For now, PHEV is the solution to range anxiety
The 2017 Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid now gets an EPA estimated 610 miles of available range. While the previous Fusion Energi plug-in spanned 550-miles, the new Fusion Energi’s extra 60 miles of range is a sign of things to come as both energy storage and fuel efficiency improve.
Ford hit the 610-mile mark through a 14 gallon fuel tank, the fuel sipping 2.0-liter I4’s 41 mpg city/43 mpg highway/42 mpg combined EPA rating and 21 miles of electric range. The package won’t break your butt-dyno with only 188 combined hp, but it does offer convenience. Plug-in hybrids do consume gasoline, but they offer the convenience of running on full electric power for a limited distance, switching to gas when the juice runs out.

“Plug-in hybrids are electric vehicles until you run down the battery,” said Wade Jackson, marketing manager for Ford Fusion, “then they work exactly like a conventional hybrid. Fusion Energi – with a full battery and a full tank of gas – can go from San Diego, through Los Angeles and all the way up to San Francisco, and still have up to 110 miles of range remaining.”
Until charging stations become more prevalent, plug-in hybrids make a lot of sense for environmentally conscious commuters who also plan on taking their cars longer distances. Ford thinks so too — the company plans to release 13 new plug in hybrids in the next four years.

Kia will introduce a turbocharged Soul Hatchback This Year

Kia-Trackster-concept-pl-626x382

The only thing more popular than the Kia Soul, sales of which have risen each year since it was introduced for 2009, seems to be the commercials Kia drums up for the little hatchback. You know the ones we’re talking about—they’re filled with dancing hamsters (which Kia dubs Hamstars) and typically feature catchy, of-the-moment hit songs. The latest such ad is out, and it’s chock-full of those now familiar tropes, not to mention Hamstar appearances, but what really caught our eye was a winking tease at the end of the spot that hints at a coming turbocharged Soul model.

In the closing frames of the new Soul ad, an overview of the Soul lineup is shown and includes the regular gasoline-powered model, the electric model, and something new: a “Turbo” version, coming Winter 2016. We’ve heard rumors about a possible turbocharged Soul for years, but this is the first hard evidence—and apparent on-sale timing—that we’ve seen. We really like the Kia Soul in its current form, as it offers standout styling, a roomy interior, and useful in-car tech for not a lot of money. The only thing the breed has been missing is more pep; currently, the gas-powered Soul is offered with either a 130-hp 1.6-liter or a 164-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the latter of which is paired only with an automatic transmission. Kia has a 201-hp 1.6-liter turbo four in its parts bin, now on the Kia Forte5, that would add quite a bit of pep, as well as manual and dual-clutch automatic transmission options.

2016 Mazda CX-9

zda has an incredible talent for injecting athleticism into every vehicle it makes. It’s a consistency that starts with the company’s smallest hatch and runs all the way through to the largest crossover. Heck, Mazda could probably make a Conestoga wagon feel sporty if it wanted to. And one of the best examples of that know-how came in 2006 when the company launched its first three-row crossover, the CX-9.

The original CX-9 was a roomy seven-passenger family hauler that was actually fun to throw into a set of switchbacks. It made everyone else’s three-row crossover seem a little dull by comparison. However, 10 years is a long time to wait for a replacement. Last year the company moved a little over 18,000 CX-9s down from a high of almost 35,000 back in 2011. The CX-9 needed an update.

“From a corporate priority, it just got stacked up last to be redesigned,” says Mazda senior vice president of U.S. operations Robert Davis. “And I think it also suffered from being such a great car to begin with, so it was the one that could wait the longest”

Indeed, if you were to flip the CX-9 upside down, Davis says you’d certainly see similarities with other Mazda cars in the way parts are connected to the chassis. However, for use in the big CX-9, many of those parts have been scaled up and strengthened. The philosophy clearly works well for weight savings. Front-drive CX-9s have lost around 200 pounds over the old model, yet they’re about the same size. The wheelbase has been stretched by 2.2 inches but engineers shaved 1.2 inches from the overall length. Better still, they’ve cut more than 2 inches of overhang from both the nose and tail. Viewed in profile, it’s clear that the A-pillars are moved back further on this new model. It not only makes the CX-9 look more athletic but it draws attention to the longer hood, beneath which is the big news.


Mazda’s new turbocharged Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter four is 132 pounds lighter than the old V6. Perhaps more impressive is that it has been designed to deliver a healthy 310 lb-ft of torque way down at 2,000 rpm. That’s 40 lb-ft of torque more than the old V6. And Mazda says three-row crossover drivers appreciate a healthy serving of low-end torque much more than they do horsepower made high in the rpm range. So peak horsepower, Mazda reckons, is perhaps less important. The new four-cylinder makes 227 hp (250 hp on premium) at 5,000 rpm. If you’re counting, that’s 23 fewer hp than the old V6.

Subaru BRZ: Refreshed styling and more power


Performance Pack BRZ looks like a factory track weapon
The Subaru BRZ has been left largely unchanged since the 2012 debut, but after four years in production, the sport coupe was due for some updates. Subaru redesigned the front fascia, with a more aggressive bumper cover and new headlight assemblies with integrated daytime running lamps, and turned the optional fog lights into LED units. Rearward, Subie slaps on a standard aluminum wing and went with LED lighting for its tail lamp assemblies.
Subaru also gives the BRZ a slight bump in power — 205 hp compared to the outgoing model’s 200. Twist gets an equal bump, rising from 151 lb-ft to 156. The power bump will only be available with the six-speed manual, which should be an incentive for people who would normally nab an automatic to master rowing gears. Folks opting for the stick will also get a shorter gear set in the rear Torsen limited-slip diff — 4.3:1 from 4.1:1. Subaru felt the improvements were substantial enough to change the sport button into a track button, though the button’s function remains the same: it turns off stability control.


Performance Pack BRZ looks like a factory track weapon
The Subaru BRZ has been left largely unchanged since the 2012 debut, but after four years in production, the sport coupe was due for some updates. Subaru redesigned the front fascia, with a more aggressive bumper cover and new headlight assemblies with integrated daytime running lamps, and turned the optional fog lights into LED units. Rearward, Subie slaps on a standard aluminum wing and went with LED lighting for its tail lamp assemblies.
Subaru also gives the BRZ a slight bump in power — 205 hp compared to the outgoing model’s 200. Twist gets an equal bump, rising from 151 lb-ft to 156. The power bump will only be available with the six-speed manual, which should be an incentive for people who would normally nab an automatic to master rowing gears. Folks opting for the stick will also get a shorter gear set in the rear Torsen limited-slip diff — 4.3:1 from 4.1:1. Subaru felt the improvements were substantial enough to change the sport button into a track button, though the button’s function remains the same: it turns off stability control.
2017 Subaru BRZ interior

The Subaru BRZ’s interior will also be refreshed for 2017 and now includes a multifunction steering wheel, a new instrument cluster with an LCD screen and new HVAC controls.

Subaru also updated the interior of its 2+2 sports coupe, adding a 4.2-inch LCD display right of the tachometer in the gauge cluster, a multifunction steering wheel and now standard paddle shifters for the folks that still spring for an automatic. The LCD display in the instrument cluster displays myriad details like g-forces, oil temperature, water temperature, accelerator pedal position and even includes a stop watch to record lap times.
Stick novices will also find the 2017 Subaru BRZ coupe’s incline start assist helpful. The system holds the vehicle for a few seconds before you start accelerating on a hill, which makes the risk of rolling back nearly nonexistent.
The BRZ is still split into two different trim packages, Premium and Limited, but a new performance package arrives for stick-shifted Limited models. The performance pack adds Brembo calipers, larger rotors and Sachs performance shocks — helping your BRZ become track ready from the showroom floor.
Pricing hasn’t been established, but we can’t imagine it straying too far from the current figures. The 2017 BRZ coupes will hit dealers in September, but if you want the performance package you’ll have to wait until winter.

570BHP Mercedes GT R

show track-focused Mercedes-AMG GT R with 570bhp, which will appear at Festival of Speed

A more track-focused version of Mercedes-AMG’s GT supercar called the GT R is on the way, and will make its debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed 2016.

There are no details from Mercedes yet, but tyre manufacturer Michelin has revealed that the car will make an appearance in a list of the cars that will appear in the supercar paddock that the brand sponsors. The only other details about the car are that it has 570bhp and uses Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 R-compound tyres.

It’s likely the car will be a GT3-style version in a similar vein to the likes of the Porsche 911 GT3 and recently-renamed Aston Martin Vantage GT12. We expect the faster AMG GT R will get chassis upgrades for sharper handling, to give the Aston and Porsche a run for their money. 

Spy shots of a testing prototype show racier styling additions including a purposeful front splitter, albeit one that’s slightly toned down from the GT3 championship race car we saw at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show in March. There are also large intakes at the front and new ones in the bonnet, while carbon-fibre louvres channel air over the sculpted body.

Mercedes GLB spied testing

Mercedes’ crossover range set to expand with more practical version of the GLA

Mercedes is readying a new model for its crossover range – and it’s likely to use the GLB name. Following Merc’s new badging structure, the GLB would slot in between the GLA crossover and GLC SUV as a pumped-up version of the slow-selling B-Class MPV.

The brand recently registered the GLB name, but until now we’d seen no evidence of the company putting it into production. Our spy photographers have since caught the car testing, though, on what looks like an extended version of the A-Class and GLA’s front-wheel drive platform.

Whereby the GLC is related to the C-Class, and the GLE part of the E-Class family, the new GLB would fall under the B-Class tree. Mercedes would be looking to capitalise on the current trend for small crossovers with its sixth SUV offering – hitting cars like the BMW X1 and Audi Q3 right where it hurts.