When Nissan unleashed its latest version of the GT-R in 2007, it seemed there was no room for improvement. Engineered to extreme levels, this GT-R used a high-power twin turbo V-6, essentially a racing engine, a dual-clutch six-speed automated manual transmission, and a very advanced all-wheel-drive system.
But Nissan demonstrates with the 2012 model that technology can always be improved, increasing engine output by 45 horsepower. And what looks like a minor bodywork update also increases downforce by 10 percent. For a cosmetic update, Nissan added LED running lights.
We also found a slight mystery on the all-wheel-drive control switch. … Read more
LOS ANGELES--Earlier this year Mini said it would integrate Web radio and other smartphone apps with its cars, but gave little detail of how the system would work. At the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, we had a Mini representative to give us a demo of its new ConnectedDrive system.
To answer our most immediate question, Mini developed its own iPhone app, so Web radio, Twitter, and the other functions it is offering actually reside on the phone, using its processor power and data connection. With the iPhone connected to the car's USB port, control of the app gets taken over by the Mini's onscreen interface.
Added to the list of audio sources on the Mini's LCD was Web radio, right along with satellite radio, AM, and FM. That Web radio entry only appears when a phone bearing the Mini ConnectedDrive app is hooked up. The Web radio feature of the Mini app lets you listen to thousands of radio stations that stream their audio to the Internet.
The Mini ConnectedDrive app also offers Google Local Search, Twitter, and Facebook. The interfaces for each of these functions have been designed by Mini to avoid on-road distraction. For example, the Twitter feature does not let you type in a Tweet. Instead, the car comes up with canned Tweets that you can send.
This Tweet function is kind of brilliant, as it uses data the car knows, such as location, current temperature, or how long you've been driving. It can take this data and punch it into Tweet templates, letting you easily update Twitter with your location or what a nice day it is while you're driving around. Mini suggests this feature will encourage social networking amongst Mini owners, making it possible for them to enjoy a drive together while keeping organized. For example, a lead car could Tweet direction changes. Users will also be able to create their own Tweet templates. … Read more
LOS ANGELES--Wandering the floor of the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, we happened across a dashboard display in the Chrysler area. Attached to a wall, it lacked an actual car, but its touch-screen head unit showed off the next generation interface for Chrysler's UConnect infotainment system.
Unlike Chrysler's current system, there were no buttons on the sides of the touch screen. A row of icons ran across the bottom of the screen, allowing access to navigation, audio, climate control, and the phone system. These icons were attractively designed and easily readable.
On current UConnect systems, we've complained … Read more
The 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show played host to the introduction of Mitsubishi's i electric car for the U.S. market. Up until this introduction, Mitsubishi had used the Japanese market version to introduce the car to the press, but the U.S. version shows substantial changes. It seems to have dropped the Miev from its name, simply becoming the i.
Most importantly, the steering wheel moves from right to left. Also significant is the fact that the car has grown in size for the U.S. market, allowing for a wider cabin and U.S. safety equipment. With … Read more
When we took a sneak peek at the world's first all-wheel drive crossover convertible, we knew that its looks would be polarizing. Now fully unveiled at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, Nissan's Murano CrossCabriolet has us scratching our heads. Is it a brilliant creation of a new vehicle segment or an experiment in packaging gone horribly wrong?
As we already knew, Nissan started with its Murano crossover, which featured the automaker's 3.5-liter V-6 engine mated to an Xtronic continuously variable transmission sending power through an all-wheel drive system. The crossover featured a high driving position, … Read more
We've been seeing a number of four-door coupes hitting the market, relying on their steeply sloped rooflines to create a sporty look. Nissan takes a different tack at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show with its Ellure concept, a vehicle that embraces its "sedan-ness" with a more traditional profile and a modified hybrid drive system that features components from Nissan's luxury-branded Infiniti M45h.
Starting with the striking exterior, the Ellure features an evolution of Nissan's now trademark boomerang headlamps and taillights. Severe angles and dramatic curves characterize the sedan, which draws inspiration from Japanese imagery, … Read more
The Los Angeles Auto Show maintains a green focus, with alternative drivetrains and electric cars dominating. So it is here that Volvo let us drive the electric version of its C30 model, known as the C30 Drive Electric.
The car was waiting for us in a parking garage of the Los Angeles Convention Center, plugged in to an AC outlet through an extension cord. Volvo chose the C30 model for an electric drivetrain because it is the smallest and lightest car in the lineup, although by European standards this car is on the large side. It is an attractive design … Read more
Tesla got a great deal on the NUMMI plant in its deal with Toyota this year, but what does Toyota get out of it? At the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, Toyota let us know, pulling the wraps off of its RAV4 EV Concept powered by Tesla. However, the EV wasn't the production-bound model that many were expecting. Rather, what we were shown was more of a stepping stone to a more complete vehicle that may come later.
To call the RAV4 EV a glorified test mule would be understating things a bit. Then again, the concept is built … Read more
Every year at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Green Car Journal crowns one new car the Green Car of the Year. This year that vehicle is the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.
In previous years, this honor has gone to vehicles as varied as the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid to Toyota's Prius, while the last two years have been dominated by Volkswagen and Audi's TDI vehicles. This year, Chevrolet brings it back to the electric camp with its solution to what GM calls range anxiety: a range extended EV powertrain that starts as an electric, but features a gasoline engine that … Read more
It's been a while coming, but it's finally here. At the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, the Chrysler Group debuted the first fruits of its union with the Fiat Group in the form of the production-spec, U.S. market Fiat 500.
Expectedly, the 500 looks and probably behaves similarly to the European market model. It features the same compact packaging and cute sporty looks. However, Fiat's engineers have tweaked a few bits beneath the sheet metal to make the ultracompact more U.S. market-friendly.
Under the hood is Fiat's award-winning 1.4-liter MultiAir engine, which uses … Read more