Posts Tagged ‘beijing motor show’

2015 Lexus NX Pricing, Launch Date & Trim Specs Announced

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Lexus NX 200t and 300h

After almost a year and a half of buildup, we finally saw the production Lexus NX crossover at the Beijing Motor Show last month. However, there were still a few things that we didn’t know about the new luxury compact crossover, price and trims being two major ones.

Today Lexus Europe unveiled the full pricing spectrum and everything else still left unsaid about the new Lexus NX, including official launch dates. While it wasn’t explicitly stated that the numbers would carry over into the US market, Lexus already confirmed that the NX will come follow the same timeline for both Europe and the US.

The 2015 Lexus NX will officially hit dealership floors in October of this year. You may recall that there will be two different models beneath the NX nameplate – the NX 300h and the NX 200t – but only the 300h will launch in Europe this year. In case you didn’t know, the difference between the two NX models is that the 300h uses a 2.5L Atkinson engine hooked into a hybrid system, while the 200t gets Lexus’ first-ever turbocharged engine.

Lexus NX 300h

Whichever powertrain you prefer, let’s take a look at the different trims of the new Lexus NX crossover, listed in order of price*:

Lexus NX S

(£29,495 or $49,495)

Lexus’ new crossover comes with plenty of goodies straight from the ground floor. The entry-level package includes LED headlights, 17-inch alloys, an eight-speaker audio system, dual-zone climate control, pre-crash safety system, Lexus Media Display, DAB digital radio, and Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management.

Lexus NX SE

(£31,495 or $52,995)

Gets everything from the NX S, but also gets upgraded 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic rain-sensing windshield wipers, heated seats, roof rails and AWD.

Lexus NX Luxury

(£34,495 or $57,995)

The Luxury trim gets the addition of LED fog lamps, keyless entry, privacy glass around the rear of the car, power adjusting front seats, parking sensors, an automatically dimming rearview mirror and a revised, silver-accented interior trim.

Lexus NX F Sport

(£36,995 or $62,495)

This is where we see some mechanical upgrades, with the F Sport trim getting official F Sport suspension and performance dampers, along with a power steering column, an automatic tailgate and a wireless charging tray. Oh, and this one gets sleek two-tone 18-inch alloys.

Lexus NX Premier

(£42,995 or $72,495)

Finally, the “fully loaded” NX Premier trim gets all of the above along with a beautiful heads up display to futurize the dash, automatic high beams, heated steering, GPS navigation and 360-degree panorama, Lane Keep Assist, and heated/ventilated performance seats with lumbar support and driver memory. And of course, it gets an upgraded Mark Levinson fourteen-speaker audio system too.

Fancy, huh?

As you can see, the Lexus NX crossover will most definitely be competitive in both US and European markets. With a wide range of features and powertrains and what Lexus claims will be the absolute best driving dynamics in its class, this premium Japanese car looks like a recipe for success.

Of course, the key question is whether this will be enough to beat Range Rover’s Evoque and Porsche’s new Macan? “Premium” may be enough to convince US buyers, but in Europe and many other markets style and dynamics are key — and I am not sure this NX has what it takes to go up against those two heavyweights.

If you’d like more information, you can watch a detailed Lexus NX features video below:

*All Lexus Europe’s prices have been roughly converted to their US Dollar equivalents at time of writing.

Nissan Hints at Intentions for the Next-Gen Nissan Leaf EV

Posted by Stephen On Monday, May 12th, 2014

Nissan has big changes in store for their next-generation Leaf even though the new model isn’t due for debut until sometime after 2017. There’s no doubt that the Leaf is an important vehicle for Nissan, so they’re going to take the next few years to improve its foundation – the battery.

2014 Nissan Leaf

The information comes via recent interview between Nissan company executives and Automotive News, as well as an interview with Andy Palmer following last month’s Beijing Motor Show.

Better Range from a Better Battery

The 2014 Nissan Leaf has an EPA-estimated driving range of 84 miles, which is a 9-mile improvement over the previous model year’s 75 mile range. However, even though Nissan credits the improvement to some slight mechanical tweaks, the truth is that the EPA updated their driving range calculation for 2014, so nothing’s really changed. Nonetheless, the fact that Nissan wants you to think something’s changed reveals a truth about electric vehicles – better range equals more sales. Nissan’s executives confirmed exactly that in their interview with Automotive News.

So, how do you get better range from an electric vehicle?

With a better battery!

According to the aforementioned interview with Andy Palmer, “Battery chemistry is all about range and energy density. That’s where you see the technology moving very, very fast. This really is the game-changing technology.”

The next obvious question is, exactly how far will the next Nissan Leaf be able to go?

While Palmer didn’t give us a specific answer, he did estimate that an electric vehicle would need to travel a minimum of 186 miles (300km) per charge to compete with the HFCVs that’ll be on the market within the next few years. That would be a 120% improvement over the current Leaf’s range.

In the meantime, Nissan intends to update current and future Leafs over the next couple years with more durable batteries for increased lifespan.

Next-Gen Nissan Leaf Design

Automotive News also elicited a few hints about the next-gen Leaf’s aesthetics, and they’re actually quite interesting. According to Mamoru Aoki, Nissan’s chief of global design, the Japanese automaker has a new policy for electric vehicle design. “The current Leaf is aiming too much at an EV-like appearance. Tesla doesn’t look EV at all. The Tesla S just looks nice, very sporty, sleek, but very authentic.”

To translate this point of view into possible design projections, you can expect the next Nissan Leaf to retain its hatchback structure, but look a lot less like an EV. That means it’ll probably inherit Nissan’s V-Motion design theme with a classy, premium-feeling aesthetic instead of a bubbly, hipster one.

Speaking of premium, Nissan executives also offered a possible launch date for the delayed Infiniti EV sedan. Palmer had already cited insufficient battery technology as the reason for the wait, so with this news about the next-gen Leaf’s improved range, it’s natural to assume the Infiniti EV will come around the same time. That means it’ll probably arrive in late 2016 or early 2017. However, Palmer did explicitly state that it would come BEFORE the next-gen Leaf, citing that the Infiniti EV’s larger body allows more room for a bigger battery.

As you can see, Nissan definitely isn’t going to rest on their laurels with the successful Leaf EV. Even as sales continue to grow year after year, the Japanese car maker is seeking ways to improve their already top-notch vehicle.

Honda Bringing Two New Concepts to 2014 Beijing Auto Show

Posted by Stephen On Friday, April 11th, 2014

The 2014 Beijing Auto Show is just two short weeks away, and Honda has finally made their contribution to the stream of teasers coming into the automotive blogosphere. It seems that they will be bringing not one, but two brand-new concept vehicles to the Chinese motor show, along with a couple other Chinese premieres.

As you continue reading, we’re going to take a look at each of the two concepts that Honda has promised, along with another model that may come in production-ready form.

Unknown New Concept

New Beijing Honda Concept

Unfortunately, we don’t know very much at all about this first concept, which is arguably the most exciting one. Other than the image above, Honda has told us very little. Their exact words were that it would be a “concept for a new model exclusively for the Chinese market.” We also know that the new car will come be a collaboration between multiple Honda branches, namely their Chinese subsidiaries – Guangqi Honda Automobile Co. and Dongfeng Honda Automobile Co.

Clearly, the new concept will be a sedan or coupe of some sort, although it’s not clear whether the car has four doors or just two. Early rumors point to a possible Chinese version of the Acura TLX prototype, although nothing is certain.

What we do know is that the car will use Honda’s new design language, labeled as the Exciting H Design!!! And yes, the three exclamation points are part of the name. They apparently represent the three different aspects of the new aesthetic – High Tech, High Tension and High Touch. In other words, the design will be focused around innovation (Tech), shapes, lines and colors (Tension), and textural materials both inside and out (Touch).

Next-Gen Honda Spirior Concept

This one doesn’t need a whole lot of explanation. This will be Dongfeng Honda’s concept model for the next-gen Spirior, which is basically be a Chinese version of the Accord / Acura TSX. However, there are no images to go with this particular teaser, so we’re left largely in the dark as to what the next generation of the luxury sedan will look like. All we know is that it will be badged as a Honda.

It’s probably safe to say the Spirior will strive for a more premium feel without sacrificing its economic appeal. And it’ll likely continue to be noticeably smaller than its US counterpart.

China-Exclusive SUV

In addition to the two concepts outlined above, Honda will also bring another new car exclusively for the Chinese market. It’ll be a middle-class SUV of some sort. Since we also know that they’ll be making the Chinese debut of the new Honda Fit, our bold but completely unfounded guess would be for the SUV to be the Honda HR-V/Vezel that we discussed earlier this week.

Stay tuned for the 2014 Beijing Motor Show on April 20th to see all three of the new Honda vehicles!

Production Lexus NX Crossover Finally Debuting in Beijing

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

The New York Auto Show isn’t the only major automotive event set to take place this April… Just two days after doors open in New York, the 2014 Beijing Auto Show will open too. With it, we’ve now discovered that the production version of the Lexus NX crossover will at last make its debut.

 Lexus NX Crossover Teaser

To jog your memory, we first heard about a possible NX crossover all the way back at the beginning of last year when Lexus first trademarked the model ‘NX’ moniker. Then, last September at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show the rumors were confirmed with the first Lexus LF-NX Concept. Following that, we saw a turbocharged version at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show in November.

As you can see, even from the darkened teaser it looks as if the Lexus NX crossover has kept the majority of its aggressive design. We can clearly see the enormous, low-riding spindle grille dominating the left side of the photo. In fact, the angular headlight design with the checkmark LEDs look even sharper than the concept versions. That trend continues along the rest of the crossover’s body – the wheel arches, the sideskirts, even what little we can see of the window lines and hood look almost identical to that of the NX Turbo Concept.

As we covered a couple months ago, it’s possible that we’ve already seen the Lexus NX during CEO Jim Lentz’s speech at this year’s Detroit Auto Show. This potentially inadvertent slip showed us a depiction of the NX that’s somewhat more watered down than what this new teaser would lead us to believe. A screen capture of the aforementioned image is shown below:

 Possible Production Lexus NX

How sharp or mild the Lexus NX crossover ends up being compared to its LF-NX brethren will only be confirmed when we see the actual vehicle in Beijing. Or, should we say vehicles…

Just like we saw two different versions of the LF NX Concept, we can also expect to see two different Lexus NX crossovers, although it’s not clear whether both different trims will be represented at the Chinese motor show. We also don’t know if both versions will make it to the US.

The first version of the NX, the Lexus NX 300h, will feature a hybrid powertrain with a 2.5L Atkinson-cycle petrol paired with an electric motor and lithium-ion batteries (we hope), just like we’ve seen in the Lexus ES 300h. The engine itself will likely output upwards of 200hp, but may not achieve the ES 300h’s 40mpg given the increased size of the crossover.

Lexus LF-NX Turbo Powertrain

The second version of the luxury crossover, the Lexus NX 200t, will feature the premium Japanese brand’s first ever turbocharged engine. It’ll be a 2.0L four-cylinder with direct-injection and a twin-scroll turbocharger. Lexus claims that this version of the NX will offer incredible throttle response and thrilling driving dynamics, all while offering reasonable fuel economy.

There are some other speculations to be heard about the Lexus NX regarding its interior, price and technologies, but we won’t know anything for sure until the crossover makes its official debut at the 2014 Beijing Motor Show. So, come back after April 20th to get the full scoop.

Nissan Bringing ‘New Sedan Concept’ to 2014 Beijing Motor Show

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Nissan New Sedan Concept

With the 2014 Geneva Motor Show officially behind us, the next major auto show is set for the end of April. It’s the 2014 Beijing Motor Show, otherwise known as Auto China. As you might expect, it’s set to be an event automakers will use to show their newest cars and concepts primarily intended for the Chinese market. However, that’s not to say that it won’t have international impact, especially for the likes of Nissan.

Just a couple days ago Nissan released their first official teaser of the car they will primarily showcase at Auto China 2014; a car known only as the ‘new sedan concept’. Whether or not the concept will get a more creative name between now and then remains to be seen, but since the Sport Sedan Concept was their last show car, we wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t.

Even though the concept has a boring name right now, the concept itself is slated to be anything but. Nissan has described it as the climax their past three concepts have been building towards, each embodying a different aspect of Nissan’s future vehicles. So, even though all we’ve seen of the new sedan concept is a vague, sheet-veiled image in the video at the bottom of this post, we can actually glean quite a bit about what that sheet may hide.

First, though, go ahead and watch the video for yourself. It features Nissan’s executive design director, Mamoru Aoki, discussing how they’ve taken the various concepts and evolved them into what we’ll see in April.

Although he doesn’t discuss anything about the concept’s mechanics, he does emphasize several aesthetic attributes we can expect to see in Nissan’s new sedan concept.

First and easiest to confirm is the V-Motion grille, which you can barely make out beneath the sheet covering the car. This is the same grille we originally saw in the Friend-ME Concept last year.

Next, Aoki spends a significant amount of time discussing the car’s lines, particularly those of the front clip, the beltline and the windows. He implies that the new concept will feature the same kick-up beltline and floating roof as seen in the Resonance and Sport Sedan concepts. That being said, expect the car to most closely resemble the Friend-ME Concept from last year’s Auto Shanghai, as Nissan states that this is the evolution of that concept in particular. In fact, it’s the second car that the automaker’s Chinese design firm has had a hand in making, the first being the Friend-ME.

Unfortunately, that’s about all we can confirm for the new sedan concept, although Nissan’s press release revealed that they’ll be showing a couple other special cars at the Beijing Motor Show as well. For instance, they’ll have a special 10th anniversary Teana sedan on display, as well as the all-new X-Trail and NV200 Xtronic transmission. They’ll also show their BladeGlider Concept and Autonomous Drive Car in their special three-layer, theater style show booth.