Posts Tagged ‘frankfurt motor show’

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 to Sell Rogue Select Alongside the Next-Gen 2014 Model Year

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Apparently, the current Nissan Rogue is so popular that the second largest Japanese automaker wants to continue offering the 10-year-old SUV in 2014 and possibly beyond. It will be renamed the Nissan Rogue Select, and it’ll be sold alongside the next-generation Rogue we saw last month at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. As you continue reading, we’ll discuss the specific reasons for this carry-over and what, if any, changes you can expect in the 2014 Rogue Select.

Is the Current Nissan Rogue Really That Popular?

Short answer: yes. The 2013 Nissan Rogue is the Nissan’s second-best-selling car in the US, with ~142K units sold in 2012. Sales are up 16 percent so far in 2013 and they don’t show any signs of slowing down. Consumers have shown how much they like the current Rogue, and Nissan sees no reason to take it away from them.

Fred Diaz, divisional VP of Sales and Marketing for Nissan NA, has an explanation for the current Rogue’s current and future success, “As the compact SUV segment is becoming very specialized, there is an opening for a low-cost, high-content offering, which is a gap that Rogue Select will fill.” In other words, an economical SUV that’s ordinary apart from being well-made and fun to drive is exactly what a lot of drivers are looking for.

As far as any possible cannibalization of the incoming 2014 Nissan Rogue’s sales, Diaz isn’t worried. The old-new Nissan Select will continue being built in Nissan’s Japanese plant while the new Rogue will be built in the new Tennessee plant. However, for the time being, the US-based plant actually can’t produce enough new 2014 Nissan Rogues to meet consumer demand. That’s why Diaz said, “The Rogue Select will allow Nissan to continue its strong performance in the segment, which will only get stronger once the all-new, U.S.-built 2014 Rogue goes on sale.”

Any Changes from the 2013 Rogue to the 2014 Rogue Select?

Aside from a base price that will apparently drop under $20,000? No, not that we know of.

It’s important to remember that these carried-over models are typically sold to fleet buyers, such as rental companies, who want a good deal on as many vehicles as possible.  While Nissan will undoubtedly sell a significant number of Rogue Selects to ordinary drivers in 2014, it seems likely that they’re really just trying to keep as many all-new Nissan Rogues in dealerships as possible.

All that to say we probably won’t see any mechanical changes between the 2013 Nissan Rogue and the 2014 Rogue Select.  There is some possibility that Nissan will add, remove or make adjustments to some of the current Rogue’s trim packages, but we won’t know for sure until closer to the Select’s launch in January 2014.

We’ll let you know if there are any significant updates, otherwise stay tuned for more Japanese carnews!

What Mazda and Suzuki Brought to the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, September 14th, 2013

By next Monday, the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show will be old news, and the ripples of the week’s biggest stories will have finally died out across the web. So, today we’re going to get in a some last minute coverage of the smaller Japanese automakers who might’ve been glazed over throughout the week.  Keep reading to get a quick overview of what Suzuki and Mazda brought to the Frankfurt Auto Show.

Oh, and for those of you wondering about Mitsubishi, the most noteworthy thing they brought to Frankfurt was the powertrain seen in their Outlander PHEV. Instead of putting you to sleep with that, we’re just going to focus on Suzuki and Mazda and call it a wrap.

Suzuki iV-4 Concept

Suzuki iV-4 Concept

Unfortunately, our U.S. readers will never get to drive whatever production model spawns from the Suzuki iV-4 Concept pictured above.

For a basic understanding of what the Suzuki iV-4 Concept is all about, simply dissect the name – the first “i” apparently stands for “individuality”, the “V” stands for “vehicle”, the hyphen stands for… well, nothing actually. And the “4” stands for “4-wheel-drive”. In other words, it’s the Suzuki Individuality Vehicle 4 Wheel-Drive Concept!

Very clever, isn’t it? (Except “i” think that the “i” is one of those boring, early 21st Century fads of basking in Apple “i” coolness. I’ve had enough of it, personally.)

In all seriousness, the Suzuki iV-4 does come off as a bit confusing and a bit stale. The design feels just as mashed together as the name; like Suzuki was trying to maintain their current design language while still throwing in new ideas. It reminds us of a less refined Lexus LF-NX Concept, which people already complained about for being over-dramatic.  Hopefully the production model will be more refined and more toned down.

Fortunately, Suzuki has plenty of time to work out the kinks in their newest small SUV. Honestly, we’re not worried since the rogue Japanese automaker has a surprisingly long history of well-made midsize and compact SUVs. The press release says they’ll be launching the production version of the iV-4 Concept in Europe sometime in 2015, with further details coming intermittently until then.

European Mazda3 Debut and Lots of Confirmations

Mazda brought their newest addition to the SkyActiv lineup, the Mazda3 hatchback, to the Frankfurt Motor Show. With it they released full specs and pricing details for the European version of the car.

On the whole, the European Mazda3 gets smaller powertrains than the U.S., with no 2.5L petrol available, and surprisingly only one diesel. Starting price is £16,695, but the five trim packages available can inflate that beyond £20,000.

Interestingly enough, each of the four Mazda3 hatchbacks on display in Frankfurt made a 9000+ mile journey to appear there. Each car was boated from Japan to Vladivostok, and then driven through five countries and two continents to arrive in Frankfurt. So either Mazda’s pockets are rather more empty than we had feared, or this was some kind of endurance publicity stunt. Or both.

In other news, Mazda re-confirmed that we’ll be seeing 5 more new SkyActiv vehicles by 2016, with one completely new SUV. Apparently, the three current SkyActiv models have already bumped European sales by 20% in 2013, thanks in large part to their best-selling model, the new Mazda CX-5. In the future, we’re expecting a Mazda2 supermini, a Mazda5 replacement, a co-developed MX-5 with Alfa Romeo, and then two more SUVs – one to slot below the CX-5 and one to slot above it. Keep in mind that things could still change, but these are what seem most likely.

Well, with that we’ll wrap up our coverage of the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. Hope you liked it, and if you have any thoughts, please leave them in the comments below. Thanks for reading and come back next week for more Japanese car news.

What Toyota and Lexus Brought to the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Honestly, we weren’t expecting any surprises from Toyota or Lexus at this week’s Frankfurt Motor Show.  Both Japanese automakers had already teased just about everything there was to tease about their new concepts – the Lexus LF-NX Concept and the Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept. But, we were wrong.

Whether you’ve been keeping up with Frankfurt previews or this is your first time seeing any of these new concepts, keep reading to get the down-low on Toyota’s, and the world’s, first ever hybrid-only motor show stand. And yes, they did that deliberately because hybrids are “no longer niche,” but mainstream. Apparently, Didier Leroy of Toyota Europe predicts that 27% of cars sold in their market during 2013 will be hybrids.

Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept

First up, we have what is likely one of the most hyped vehicles prior to the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.  Which is odd, because it was our understanding that we weren’t going to see the full Yaris Hybrid-R Concept until the Tokyo Motor Show in November. But, always full of surprises, Toyota made their big debut ahead of time. So, the car you see above is the real-life Toyota Hybrid-R Concept.

The timing is the only surprising thing about the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept, though. Not because the car is boring, but because Toyota already spoiled everything about it…

We already knew that the Yaris-based concept would feature a total output of 420 horsepower.  We knew that the first 300 hp would come from a turbocharged, 1.6L four-cylinder gas engine up front, and that the remaining 120 hp would come from independently controlled 60 hp motors on each rear wheel. Then, another 60 hp motor sits in the middle of the Hybrid-R to collect and send power along to the same supercapacitor that’s found in the Toyota’s TS030 Endurance Championship racecar. We even knew that the super-tuned Yaris would sit on a quartet of 18-inch Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires.

So, not much new here, but you’ll still enjoy watching Toyota’s official promo video below:

Lexus LF-NX Concept

Next up we have the Lexus LF-NX Concept, made to compete with other compact crossover all-stars like the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Mercedes GLA. As with the Yaris Hybrid-R, we already knew a lot of what there is to know about the LF-NX. But, here’s a recap with a couple new tidbits for your enjoyment:

We’ve already talked a lot about the design, so you can make your own opinions about that. Keep in mind, though, that the production model will be MUCH more toned down than the show car above. So, if it’s a little extreme for you as is, that’s alright, it’s purposeful. Instead of focusing on that, let’s go over some newly revealed/rumored technical details.

First up, the Lexus LF-NX will feature a “new variant of the Lexus Hybrid Drive system,” just like we’ve seen in the IS300h, but “tuned for SUV performance.” This fits perfectly with what we already knew, since Toyota trademarked the NX300h moniker at the beginning of 2013. It also makes sense with Lexus’ debut of the new GS 300h alongside the LF-NX in Frankfurt, too (we’re not going to discuss it, though, since it’s an old car with a new powertrain).

The LF-NX compact crossover will definitely be manufactured with FWD, but it may also be available with AWD in some countries. It also seems likely that the LF-NX will be manufactured on the same platform as the new RAV4. If you’d like to learn more about the Lexus LF-NX Concept, check out the premium crossover’s official promo video below:

Confirmation of Toyota GT86 Hybrid

This is where things are getting interesting… Apparently, the folks over at got an exclusive interview with Koei Saga, one of the head honchos of Toyota’s drivetrain engineering division. According to him, a new Toyota GT86 Hybrid may be coming soon. Maybe even closer than you think; he says, “The development work is quite advanced now, so if the green light is given, we are ready to do it.”

Putting the Pieces Together

What’s really interesting about this news of a GT86 Hybrid is that it will be made with a compilation of drivetrain technologies that Toyota has already been used in… Get this… Production passenger cars and pure race-oriented hybrid systems. In other words, it’s very likely that the GT86 will feature powertrain technology nearly identical to that found in the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept! And now everything fits together, right?

All in all, an excellent hybrid-only showing from Toyota and Lexus at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. It was nice to see the Yaris come early (which means we’ll probably get some new car-candy for Tokyo), the LF-NX lived up to expectations, and the possibility of a new hybrid GT86 is absolutely titillating.

Stay tuned here for more Frankfurt coverage tomorrow, and until then, thanks for reading!

What Infiniti & Nissan Brought to the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Doors opened to the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show today. As you might expect from our previews last week, there are a ton of new Japanese cars to talk about. While we’d like to devote a full blog post to each new car and concept showcased in Frankfurt (we’re nothing if not thorough), unfortunately, it’s just not feasible. So, instead, we’re going to group our Frankfurt coverage by brand marque; we’ll start today with Nissan and Infiniti.

Infiniti Q30 Concept Targets “Younger Customers Coming Into the Premium Segment”

First up we have the highly anticipated Infiniti Q30 Concept. We’ve already seen lots of previews, so chances are you’re familiar with the design. What we didn’t know is that this vivacious five-door hatchback is going to be Infiniti’s first major push towards younger drivers. Apparently, Infiniti is prepared to acknowledge that the future of luxury is in youth, and so their “future growth in the premium sector is about more than shifting customer demographics.” It’s about shifting attitude; it’s about changing the way a premium car appeals to a buyer.

Towards that end, the Infiniti Q30 Concept is a self-acknowledged design mash-up. It’s undeniably attractive, but it doesn’t quite fit into the normal market segments. It’s technically labeled a hatchback, but no one would fault you for calling it a crossover. The goal here is to cast a wide net to a larger base of customers, and then hope that the Q30’s natural appeal and (we’re hoping) excellent drivability will move units off the lot.

Unfortunately, the one thing we knew nothing about – technical specs – is also the one thing Infiniti declined to share with us in Frankfurt.

Infiniti Announces a New Flagship Car

The Q30 Concept was Infiniti’s primary showcase in Frankfurt, but they made one other interesting announcement about their future flagship car.  This new upmarket vehicle is rumored to arrive in 6 years, and it will likely be built tuned with help from Red Bull Racing.

Unfortunately, that’s about all we know as Infiniti’s boss, Johan de Nysschen, deliberately withheld any further details. He said, “I’ll leave you to decide whether our new flagship is a saloon, coupe or supercar, but it will be a car. We won’t have an SUV like it is now.”

Nissan X-Trail / Rogue

Last, but not least, we have Nissan’s 2014 X-Trail, which is Nissan’s first car to be engineered with the new Renault-Nissan Common Module Family. For those of you don’t know, CMF is a platform designed to simplify research and development through the use of almost Lego-like components (very simplistic example) that can be applied to numerous vehicle classes and models. And FYI, the Q30 will also be built with CMF.

Nissan Rogue / X-Trail

Basically, we already knew most of what there is to know about the new Nissan X-Trail/Rogue. New features we saw in Frankfurt include a 3rd row of seats, a variety of new technologies in-cabin, and strangely enough, down-sized powertrain options.

Making the X-Trail’s engines smaller may seem odd, but Nissan says that, “By reducing power sapping friction in its drivetrains, new X-Trail provides excellent performance [compared to] the latest generation of downsized engines.” In other words, Nissan’s chosen efficiency over power, and that means smaller engines.

All in all, Nissan and Infiniti both had a great showing in Frankfurt. The Q30 looks just as appealing as it did last week, and the development about the X-Trail’s smaller engine options is certainly intriguing. If you’d like more coverage of Japanese cars shown at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show, be sure to check back tomorrow for Toyota and Lexus.

Top 5 Japanese Cars Coming To The 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Over the past several weeks, we’ve kept a steady pulse on the automotive blogosphere to keep you updated on the most exciting Japanese cars slated to make an appearance next week at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. As the first major auto show of the season, most of the well-known Japanese automakers are bringing out the big guns, so to speak. Since there are so many different cars and concepts to keep track of, we figured that today we’d review the most important ones to keep an eye out for when the veils come off in a few days.

So, without further ado, here are the top 5 new Japanese cars or concepts you won’t want to miss out on next week in Frankfurt.

1. Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept (powertrain only)

It feels like we’ve already talked the Yaris Hybrid-R nearly to death, but the hybrid hot hatch seems really cool and I think the whole automotive world is waiting to learn more. While we won’t see the full-fledged concept in Frankfurt, we’ll get an in-the-metal look at the intricate mechanical components that allow the Hybrid-R its jaw-dropping 420 hp total output.

2. Lexus LF-NX Concept

We thought (hoped) it might’ve been the Lexus RC coupe at first, but the LF-NX Concept looks cool enough to assuage our dashed hopes and expectations. Basically, the LF-NX is Lexus’ aim at a smaller luxury compact crossover to compete with the BMW X1, the Audi Q3 and the Mercedes-Benz GLA. This class of vehicle has historically been most appealing in European markets, which would explain the Frankfurt reveal. When Lexus pulls off the veil next week, we’re hoping to learn more about the powertrain and performance, as well as get a more comprehensive feel for the crossover’s aggressive design.

3. Nissan Rogue

Okay, we’ve covered the biggest Japanese car maker, what about the second largest?

From Nissan, we get a cryptic teaser for the next Nissan Rogue, which is 7-years stagnant in its current iteration. Nissan has been much less forthcoming than Toyota with details for their new CUV, but we know that it will be coming out in dealerships sometime next year, so we can expect a near production-ready model in Frankfurt.

4. Infiniti Q30 Concept

From Nissan’s luxury arm, Infiniti, we get the Q30 Concept, which is both similar to and different from the Lexus LF-NX. Where Lexus is looking to target a very specific market segment, Infiniti is looking to capture widespread appeal. How? By combining three different body styles into a single vehicle… If you think that the above-pictured concept looks like a coupe mashed up with a crossover and a hatchback, then congratulations! You’ve pinpointed Infiniti’s advanced marketing strategy.

In all seriousness, though, the Q30 Concept looks very drivable; it’s sleek, aggressive, contemporary, and the large wheels make it look like it has a good ride. Like the new Nissan Rogue, we don’t know much else about the Q30. Specifically, we’ll be paying close attention to the premium compact’s technical specs when the veil is pulled in Frankfurt.

5. Honda Civic Tourer

Honda and its luxury arm, Acura, together have the least fanfare surrounding their reveals for the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show. From Honda we’re expecting the new Civic Tourer, which will go on sale in Europe early next year. The spacious wagon will almost certainly sell very well, but there’s no getting around the sheer plainness of the vehicle. So, while we’ll be keeping an eye out for more details in Frankfurt, we won’t be doing so on the edge of our collective seat.

As far as we know, Acura is simply bringing a slightly revised NSX Concept, which we’ve seen multiple times before.

Well, that just about wraps it up. Those are the top five Japanese cars to keep an eye out for next week during the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. Doors open Tuesday morning, September 10th, so stay tuned until then for more automotive news and entertainment. In the meantime, thanks for reading!

Here’s the Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept Coming to Frankfurt

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Well, the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show is right around the corner, and it’s usually about this time when Toyota makes their attempt at nabbing an ‘I always have to have the last word’ final impression on the automotive blogosphere. So, it was no surprise when yesterday, just five days before doors open in Frankfurt, Toyota unveiled the full specs for their Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept.

As you continue reading, we’re going to discuss and recap what we know about the Hybrid-R Concept, as well as attempt to accurately set our expectations for the in-the-metal reveal next week. But first, here is one of the new pictures Toyota has released to go with their preview:

Toyota Yaris Hybrid R

What We Know About the Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept

As far as we can tell, the primary goal of this most recent media kit really and truly was just to remind us what we’ve been waiting for. Aside from the new “live action” photographs (which we’ll go over in a moment), the press release itself is mostly focused on confirming the Global Racing Engine details we’d heard a week or two ago.

For those needing a reminder, we can expect a 300 hp 1.6L four-cylinder petrol engine with direct-injection and a turbocharger powering the front, while the two rear wheels each get a 60 hp electric motor, plus an additional non-drive 60hp motor in the center to help charge the super-dense capacitor.

The math whizzes will no doubt calculate that the Yaris Hybrid-R is capable of 420 hp when it’s in Track mode, which is incredible for a hybrid, and much more so for a hybrid hatchback. But, this new concept isn’t just a study in sheer power — Toyota wants it to showcase finesse and advanced technology, too. That’s why you’ll repeatedly hear how the Hybrid-R features a super capacitor, “just like in the TS030 HYBRID!”

So what’s Toyota trying to say with this Hybrid-R? Well, perhaps they’re sick of the taunts of the likes of Jeremy Clarkson saying that hybrids are boring and pointless. Perhaps they are thinking that to break into new areas of the automotive market, they are going to have to offer more than just economy. After all, a lot of Europe prefers diesels. But what if the instant on-tap torque of electric motors could be used to give the hybrid an extra performance kick? That’s exactly what Porsche, Ferrari and McLaren are doing with their hyper-exotica — the 918, LaFerrari and P1 respectively. If they can do it, why not Toyota, the grandfather of the hybrid world?

The Sportiest Hatchback You Ever Did See

In addition to reconfirming mechanical details, this newest preview of the Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept also fills in the blanks on the aesthetic front, both from without and within.

As far as exterior design, we have a high-contrast silver-white paired with charcoal black and electric blue. We see a much more expressive front clip with a larger grill, redesigned headlights, and two large air intakes built into the fender. Along the side we see more prominent wheel wells with large 18-inch Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires for maximum versatility. From the rear. We see a large diffuser, a unique, customized spoiler, and the new Yaris Hybrid LED taillights.

Inside the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept, the carpet matches the drapes… We have black leather accented by blue Alcantara for a “racing inspired feel”. The shift lever is apparently kept deliberately close to the driver for easy gear-changes, and the steering wheel literally features a boost button – it’s how you tell the Hybrid-R that you want the capacitor to release it’s energy in either Road Mode or Track Mode.

It’s probably safe to say that this is the last full-fledged preview we’ll have before Frankfurt next week. Stay tuned tomorrow for a rundown of all the Japanese cars to look out for at the European motor show, and then next week we’ll dive into the on-site reveals.

Sources: Autoblog, Autocar

Introducing the Lexus LF-NX Concept to Debut in Frankfurt

Posted by Stephen On Friday, September 6th, 2013

Over the past few weeks we’ve discussed more than a few new cars and concepts that will be making their debut at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. One of the major Japanese brands we had yet to confirm a concept for, though, was Lexus… We knew we’d be getting something new, since Lexus released a cryptic teaser for a never-before-seen concept a couple weeks ago.

Here at Integrity Exports, our guess (and hope) was that we’d be seeing the Lexus RF-C. However, as of today, we now know that Lexus is not bringing the RF-C Concept, but the LF-NX Concept.

Even though we were wrong about the RF-C, we are certainly not disappointed. Just take a look at the Lexus LF-NX Concept pictured below to see why:

Lexus LF NX

While we still don’t know very much at all about the mechanics of the Lexus LF-NX concept, what we can plainly see is that this is one sharp looking compact luxury crossover. All that we know about the powertrain is that the LF-NX will feature “a new variant of the Lexus Hybrid Drive system tuned for SUV performance.” So, we know that there will be at least one hybrid option available when the Lexus LF-NX finally goes on sale sometime next year.

As far as aesthetics, this is one of the best looking concepts we’ve seen in awhile… Definitely one of the best in 2013. But, this incredible design isn’t at all surprising. Lexus has been consistently pushing their design language in a more aggressive direction, and the LF-NX pictured above is an over-the-top, but not at all on pleasant, embodiment of that effort.

In case you still haven’t caught on to the new pinched spindle grille that Lexus is pushing on all their new vehicles, the LF-NX makes it unavoidable, but the domineering front clip is (literally) just the tip of the iceberg. Between the overly exaggerated wheel arches, the deeply angular exterior lines, the high belt line, the subtly fluid LED headlights and the blocky rear bumper, the LF-NX looks as if it were chiseled from an onyx glacier.

Although Lexus has only released one image of the LF-NX’s interior, it looks like the inside of the luxury compact crossover will be just as eye-catching and entertaining as the outside. As far as design, the press release tells us that the LF-NX will continue with L-finesse interior themes; including an upper display zone accompanied by a lower operation zone and dashboard. New technology will include touch-sensitive electrostatic switches and a new Remote Touch Interface, both aimed to make the crossover feel as human-oriented as possible.

Obviously, there are still quite a few holes in what we know about the Lexus LF-NX. However, you certainly won’t hear any complaining from us. This compact crossover concept looks amazing, and we can’t wait to see more at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show next week. Stay tuned for more information when the Japanese crossover makes its debut on September 10.

Source: Autoblog, Car and Driver

Toyota Reveals Hot Yaris Hybrid-R Concept With Mechanical Details

Posted by Stephen On Friday, August 30th, 2013

You’ll probably recall a couple of weeks ago when we first discussed Toyota’s Frankfurt-bound concept, the Hybrid-R. At the time, the only info we had to go on was a simple Hybrid-R logo, which, unsurprisingly, didn’t give us much fodder for speculation. Nonetheless, our theory was that the Hybrid-R Concept could possibly be the prequel to a Toyota Supra revival.

Unfortunately, that particular theory no longer seems such a likely explanation given the “Yaris” (Vitz in Japan) in the new concept’s name. However, as you continue reading, I think you’ll remain as enthused, if not more so, than if our theory had proven true. So, without further ado, here is the official Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept:

Yaris Hybrid R

What’s that, you say? Why would Toyota think that anyone in their right mind would want to drive a Yaris supercar?

Well, here’s the kicker: the once-drab three-door subcompact now features a total power output of 420 bhp! Even without exterior modifications (of which there are plenty), any car powered by a “high-density super capacitor” is enough to arouse even the most latent of automotive curiosities. And c’mon, 420 bhp!

Technically, the powertrain breakdown is as follows:

Up front, the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept features a turbocharged gas-powered 1.6 liter Global Race Engine with 300 bhp (FIA compliant, of course). In the rear, each back wheel is independently powered by a 60 bhp electric motor. Then just like in Toyota’s 2013 Le Mans race car, the TS030 Hybrid LMP1, you’ve got the 60-hp non-driving-motor generator and the super capacitor setup in the middle to rapidly harness power during deceleration, and then quickly deliver that power to the rear motors during bursts of acceleration.

Electric motors deliver instant torque at any RPM. Did I hear you say “yummy”?

Yaris Hybrid R powertrain

What’s really cool is that Toyota tailored the Hybrid-R Concept with both street driving and track driving in mind. So, depending on the mode you’re in, the capacitor will deliver a 10-second boost of approximately 80 bhp, or a 5-second boost of 120 bhp. And of course, the rear wheels receive different amounts of torque depending on road conditions and curve radius. With the high-power engine and intelligent driving capabilities, Toyota says that the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept could be made suitable for a number of different applications.

With the 16th anniversary of the Toyota Prius in mind, perhaps that broad spectrum of application is exactly what the Yaris Hybrid-R Concept is trying to prove. Toyota did say that the concept was, “created as a showcase for possible future hybrid development ideas,” and that they, “will have introduced a further 16 new or revised hybrid models” by the end of 2015. In fact, it seems reasonably likely that there will never actually be a Yaris Hybrid-R, and that the concept is purely for technology showcasing purposes. Either way, we’re excited and you should be too. We’ll get to see everything come September 10 at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.

And hey, maybe the Hybrid-R previews a new Toyota Supra after all? Anything’s possible! With a drivetrain like that on board, I don’t think there was be any complaining out there in Internetland.

Source: Autoblog & press release

New Infiniti Q30 Concept Revealed Ahead of Frankfurt Motor Show

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Earlier in August we discussed the great news that the Infiniti Q30 Concept would be making its official debut next month at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. At the time, we promised to keep you updated should there be any further news on the subject.

Well, as of today, there is.

With your jaw securely fastened to your skull, let your eyes creep down this page to behold the first official image of the new Infiniti Q30 Concept:

Infiniti Q30 Concept Car

She’s a beauty, ain’t she? Obviously, this particular photo is a bit on the artistic side, but it still gives you a very clear idea of what Infiniti’s new concept will look like in the metal.

A Frankfurt debut is appropriate for the new Q30 Concept given Infiniti’s intention for this new offering: to bring their A-game against a competitive market dominated by European automakers. Thus, the Q30 is the result of what Infiniti believes the contemporary (aka, young) European premium driver wants from a compact… It’s sleek, stylish, efficient and completely unique. The Q30 is not quite sedan, not quite crossover, not quite coupe and not quite hatchback; it’s a little bit of everything. These blended styling trends can sometimes come off as misguided or ‘trying too hard’, but the Q30 Concept exudes its unique style and feel with refinery and class; no easy feat.

Infiniti itself admits that the Q30 Concept is “the next step in Infiniti’s foray into new premium segments,” and that the premium compact “will target a new generation of premium customers.” According to the press release, “Infiniti is confident this merging of the dynamic design and sportiness of a coupe, the roominess of a hatch and the higher stance of a crossover will resonate with these customers.”

Unfortunately, while this brand-new preview tells us just about everything we could want to know about the Infiniti Q30 Concept’s appearance (except for specific size), we’re still mostly in the dark regarding the car’s powertrain configuration. Here’s what we know:

* The Q30 will likely feature front-wheel drive and might not even offer all-wheel drive.
* Infiniti is using the platform from Mercedes’ A-Class vehicles, thanks to a technical alliance.
* It’s possible that Infiniti will borrow an engine from Mercedes-Benz, too.
* Even though the Q30’s prequel concepts from previous years showcased hybrid powertrains, it’s reasonably likely the new compact will be petrol only
* Various sources across the web have estimated a powertrain capable of somewhere between 200hp and 260hp

Realistically, though, as long as the Infiniti Q30 drives well, it should do just fine when it eventually makes it to production as a 2015MY. There probably aren’t too many young European drivers who will nitpick over powertrain specs; a unique aesthetic and a thrilling ride are more important.

Either way, this is probably the last we’ll hear about the Infiniti Q30 Concept before the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show opens doors on September 10. Until then, feel free to check out Infiniti’s official press release for more information. Otherwise, stay tuned in a few weeks and we’ll have the full scoop for you.

Source: Infiniti