Posts Tagged ‘la motor show’

2016 Demio / Mazda2 Hatchback Officially Revealed w/ Pics

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

We’ve been waiting to see the next-generation Mazda2 since the great-looking Hazumi Concept made its premiere at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. After an unexpected photo leak of the new production subcompact earlier this week, Mazda made the decision to release their full multi-media suite today as production officially began in Japan.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the 2016 Mazda2, known in Japan as the Mazda Demio:

2016 Mazda2 Demio

Wow. That’s one slick lookin’ supermini, very reminiscent of the Mazda3 sedan and Mazda’s Kodo design language as a whole. There’s no doubt that this little car, complete with its characteristic shield-style grille and swooping linear body, will be winning some design awards when it finally makes its global launch this fall. Ultimately, though, Mazda’s greatest reward will be driver satisfaction, and they’ve devoted a lot of time and detail into making this car both fun to drive and easy-to-use.

2015 Mazda2 Demio pink

Let’s start with the powertrain. The new Mazda2 will likely be available with two or three different engine options, depending on the market you’re in. The baseline trim will run on a 1.3L SKYACTIV-G petrol engine outputting a conservative 77hp. This engine makes up for its low power with incredible fuel economy; Japan’s highway test cycle rated it at around 70mpg, which is probably ~45mpg by EPA standards. There’ll also be a bigger 1.5L SKYACTIV-G with 99hp which probably will be available in the US, and a 1.5L SKYACTIV-D diesel engine with 104hp which probably won’t.

Of course, the Mazda2’s fuel savings can be attributed to more than just the powertrain… The Skyactiv suite covers the chassis, transmission, aerodynamics and Mazda’s overall engineering principles for a simple but efficient approach to fuel economy.

2015 Demio Mazda2 interior

Looking inside, Mazda has overhauled the interior with a beautiful black and red color-scheme which more than holds up to the aesthetic standard set by the exterior. And it looks just as good in any of the other color-schemes available too; the interior is always tailored to match the exterior color of your specific vehicle. You’ll also find a redesigned driver-focused gauge cluster with a tablet touchscreen positioned on top of the dash, as seen below:

2015 Mazda2 Demio interior

This cool little gadget can be controlled by the dial at the driver’s side, which makes it easy to use on the road. Mazda says, “The [Mazda2] also features a wide range of cutting-edge technologies such as the Mazda Connect next-generation car connectivity system, and a wide range of i-ActivSense advanced safety features that aid the driver in recognizing and responding to hazards.”

As you can see, there’s a lot to look forward to in the 2016 Mazda2 subcompact hatchback. Mazda has stated that the new model will go on sale in Japan by the end of this year, and come to the US sometime during 2015. We’ll get more details about the car prior to its global launch, probably along with some big debut at the Tokyo, LA or Paris Motor Show this fall.


Bye-Bye Subaru BRZ STI; Hello BRZ FA-20 by Cosworth

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

FA-20 Power Packages

Ever since the launch of the Subaru BRZ, performance enthusiasts all over the world have been clamoring for an STI-tuned version of the acclaimed sports coupe. The regular BRZ drives like a dream, but with ‘only’ 200hp it just doesn’t give the kind of kick that a true speed junky craves.

Unfortunately, as time goes on it has seemed less and less likely that the Japanese automaker will release an STI model, despite the fervent pleas of their fans. In fact, a few weeks ago an anonymous insider was reported saying that Subaru had no plans whatsoever to develop a BRZ STI. Apparently the WRZ STI is the only car in their lineup that warrants the STI treatment.

You can understand why Subaru and their partner Toyota/Scion would want to leave the BRZ/GT86/FR-S as-is – they’ve said from the beginning that the three coupes were intended to offer excellent handling at an affordable price, which they do. Still, we want more! And it seems that the good folks over at Cosworth have finally heard our cry.

Check out this sweet teaser video Cosworth released of the upcoming Subaru BRZ FA-20 Power Package:

For those of you who don’t know, Cosworth has been involved in F1 racing for decades, supplying their own engines and mechanics to championship race cars as far back as the late ‘60s. Their engines have claimed 176 wins in 50 years, second only to Ferrari. In addition, they offer engineering consultancy, specialized performance electronics and bespoke precision manufacturing to major automakers. Now, they’re turning their attention to the BRZ/GT86 to pick up the slack.

Unfortunately, the teaser video isn’t very specific about what exactly the FA-20 Power Package will include. Still, there are a few obvious additions… For starters, the car in the video clearly has an enormous rear spoiler and a sleek front spoiler to go with it. We can also see indications that Cosworth will incorporate a new performance exhaust system, tune the suspension and upgrade the tires. Best of all, the video clearly spends some time panning around the engine, implying that we’ll see some sort of upgrade on that front; perhaps a turbocharger or something similar. Plus, the FA-20 name actually comes from the 2.0L Boxer engine that Subaru uses in the BRZ – it’s designated as the FA20 engine, derived from the old FB engine line.

Believe it or not, Cosworth actually previewed this FA20 Power Package in November of last year at the LA Motor Show. They called it the Stage 1 Power Package, and in addition to the new performance exhaust system, it also included a completely new ECU. At the time, they had this to say about the FA20 Power Package: “The Cosworth Stage 1 has been designed from the outset to operate as a complete tuning solution with all components working in complete harmony.”

As you can see, there’s a lot that we still don’t know about the Subaru BRZ FA20 by Cosworth, but there’s one thing we do now – it’s definitely going to come. And that’s a lot more than we could ever say about Subaru’s own BRZ STI.


Nissan’s New NISMOs Unveiled at the 2013 LA Motor Show

Posted by Stephen On Friday, November 22nd, 2013

We’ve been waiting for this week to come for two solid months now. The last two weeks of November are always a spectacular time for any automotive enthusiast. Not because of any holidays, but because of the two enormous motor shows that inevitably fall in very close proximity to each other this time of year.

The 2013 LA Motor Show has officially opened doors. Friday, all the way across the Pacific Ocean, the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show will do the same.

Obviously, that means we have a lot of new Japanese cars to talk about. And, with only a couple days between the motor shows, not very much time to talk about them. But, we’re going to do our best.

Today, we’re going to start by talking about two of the hottest Japanese cars at the 2013 LA Motor Show – the Nissan Sentra NISMO Concept and the Nissan Juke NISMO RS.

Nissan Sentra NISMO Concept

Nissan Sentra NISMO Concept

Stunning, isn’t she?

This is the Nissan Sentra NISMO Concept and it’s a perfect example of why NISMO is such a great platform for Nissan – it allows them to get so much more mileage out of their lineup.

Let’s talk specs:

Other than the overall aesthetic, the biggest difference between a normal Nissan Sentra and the Sentra NISMO seen above lies underneath the hood. The Sentra NISMO boasts an impressive 240+ horsepower 1.8L turbocharged engine coupled with a 6-speed manual transmission with limited-slip differential. Compared to the whimpy 130bhp engine in the normal Sentra, it’s safe to say that the Sentra NISMO will be a lot more fun to drive. And that’s before you take the new performance-tuned suspension, 19-inch aluminum alloy tires, and brand-new Brembo brakes into consideration.

From the exterior, we see design improvements all over the vehicle. The front boasts a deepened fascia with red accents and a restyled grille. Along the sides we find new red side skirts to match those in the front. In the rear we find a diffuser and twin tailpipes, along with a restyled bumper.

Inside, the dramatic style improvements continue… The regular front seats have been ditched for Recaro Sportster editions. The instrument panel has been upgraded to utilize carbon fiber. And of course, there’s the characteristic NISMO sports steering wheel, with a matching leather-clad gear shift. Leather and Alcantara are the primary materials used throughout the car, with black-and-red trim in classic NISMO style.

Unfortunately, as appealing as this concept may be, we don’t have official confirmation that Nissan will ever manufacture a Sentra NISMO. If they do, it’ll likely be US-only.

Nissan Juke NISMO RS

Nissan Juke NISMO RS

Unlike the Nissan Sentra NISMO Concept, this is a car that we know for sure will make it to production. In fact, it’ll go on sale in the US this coming December, and in the UK sometime during 2014. But that’s because it’s not a brand-new car; it’s simply the next iteration of Nissan’s already-existing Juke NISMO. This one has more power and better all-around performance, along with some sporty improvements to the interior.

More specifically, the Nissan Juke NISMO RS gets a tuned-up 1.6L turbocharged 215bhp engine, compared to the 188bhp of a normal Juke NISMO. Interestingly, the upgraded power doesn’t come from any changes to the mechanics of the engine itself, but from a re-programmed ECU and an improved exhaust system. When combined with the reinforced chassis, the RS is supposed to offer a substantially more pleasurable drive. Sounds like the kinds of upgrade tweaks Nissan is accustomed to giving their GT-R each year.

The Japanese compact also gets bigger brakes and the option of a limited-slip differential just like in the Sentra NISMO, but only if drivers opt for a manual transmission.

As far as aesthetics, the biggest difference between the Nissan Juke NISMO RS and the regular Juke NISMO are the Recaro seats. It seems like a small feature on paper, but they make a dramatic difference in how the Juke RS feels from inside. The RS also gets more heavily emphasized red-and-black NISMO ambiance throughout, complete with a restyled steering wheel and a new NISMO instrument dashboard.

If you want to see more of the new Juke NISMO RS, just watch the video below:

All in all, both new Nissan NISMOs look great. No surprises there. Let’s just hope that Nissan hears our praises and manufactures a Sentra NISMO. It’s hard to imagine a car like that not flying off dealership floors.

Fortunately, these aren’t the last new NISMOs we’ll see this week… The new Nissan GT-R NISMO debuts very soon too. Stay tuned!


Subaru WRX Teased Ahead of its 2013 LA Motor Show Debut

Posted by Stephen On Friday, November 15th, 2013

As you may know, the next-gen 2015 Subaru WRX is scheduled to debut at the 2013 LA Motor Show next Friday. Ever since the refreshingly aggressive Subaru WRX Concept from this year’s New York Auto Show, we and the rest of the automotive blog-o-sphere have held high hopes for the production model’s aesthetic.

For reference, this is the Subaru WRX Concept we saw earlier this year:

Subaru WRX Concept

However, our hopes were shaken a couple months ago when we found a disturbing story in which an unknown car made a television appearance on a Japanese news show showcasing Subaru’s new EyeSight technologies. The car looked very much like an Impreza with a hood scoop, but Subaru gave no name for the car on TV. This is what it looked like:

Subaru WRX prototype

That’s where we’re at coming into today’s story; we’re eager to see the new Subaru WRX production model, but we’re also nervous that it will share previous generations’ Impreza-ness. Especially because Subaru has specifically said that’s what they’re trying to avoid.

Fortunately, Subaru eased our fears earlier this week when it released an official front-clip-only teaser for the upcoming 2015 Subaru WRX, which is pictured below:

Subaru WRX

As you can see, the rendering looks muscular and sleek. Distinct body lines, an aggressive grille, a squared-off bumper, the signature hood scoop and new LED headlights all lead us to believe that Subaru has successfully translated the initial WRX Concept into an appealing WRX production model. If anything, it looks as if the upcoming Subie has even more musculature in production than it did in concept, which would be a rare feat.

But then, these front-and-back images were leaked online…

Subaru WRX front

Subaru WRX rear

And like a splash of ice-cold water, we were snapped back to reality. The Subaru WRX Concept was too much to hope for. The digital teaser was too much to hope for. It was all too much too hope for.

As you can see, the rear image in particular looks almost exactly like a regular Subaru Impreza. If not for the sculpted fenders and the slight rear spoiler, you wouldn’t notice a difference between the Impreza and the pictured WRX without extensive inspection.

There’s no doubt that the 2015 Subaru WRX will be significantly more attractive than its predecessors, but in the clear light of day, it simply doesn’t live up to our (admittedly) high hopes.

Fortunately, all hope is still not lost. As said earlier, these are unofficial, leaked images, which may mean they’re fake. Subaru has not released any confirmed teasers beyond the original front-clip-only image. So, if these are fake renderings, it would make sense for the rear shot to be unimpressive since Subaru’s official teaser only details the front half of the vehicle. Plus, even if they’re real, we can still hold out hope that the Subaru WRX STi will be more impressive; we should hopefully find out for sure at the beginning of next year.

Ultimately, it’s fully possible that we’re being too pessimistic. So, if you’re a Subaru fan, don’t let our cynicism ruin your excitement for the LA Motor Show’s WRX debut! The car will undoubtedly look better in the metal than in any rendering. Plus, there’s more to a car than mere design, and we’re sure that the 2015 Subaru WRX will be even more responsive and fun-to-drive than its well-loved Impreza WRX predecessors. Either way, we’ll find out for sure next week when the car officially debuts.

Until then, thanks for reading!


Subaru WRX and WRX STI Confirmed for Debut at the LA Auto Show

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, August 31st, 2013

New Subaru WRX front

Earlier this week we heard some very interesting tidbits of automotive gossip from the folks over at Automotive News concerning Subaru’s plans for future vehicles. Among the various confirmations and possibilities put on the table, the most relevant by far is that the new Subaru WRX and Subaru WRX STI will make their debut at the 2013 LA Auto Show in November.

Looking Back to the Subaru WRX Concept

Regular readers will recall the Subaru WRX Concept that was shown in March of this year at the 2013 New York Auto Show. For the first time ever, we got a glimpse of a WRX without “Impreza” at the front of its name, and it was a very sweet glimpse indeed.

While Subaru specifically stated that the WRX Concept shown in New York was NOT close to production, the car looked undeniably appealing. Here’s an image of the WRX Concept, for those of you who either missed it the first time around, or otherwise want a reminder of what we’re dealing with:

Subaru WRX Concept

As you can see, the Japanese brand’s concept WRX sedan looks great. Flashy, aggressive, and sleek; clearly a car that was meant to burn rubber.

Sedan-Only WRX and WRX STI Coming in 2014

Unfortunately, while the WRX Concept sedan looked spectacular, we now know that the sedan is the only class of WRX we’ll be seeing from here on out. So, all our readers craving a new Japanese hot-hatch will just have to look elsewhere. The old Impreza WRX hatchback just didn’t get enough attention. After all, the “classic” WRXs are all sedans.

Fortunately, if the production WRX / STI is anything close to the concept, very few people will be crying over the lack of a hatchback option. As far as we know, the next-gen WRX/STI should feature goodies such as a lightweight carbon fiber roof, an integrated rear spoiler, the iconic WRX hood scoop, a slightly wider wheelbase complete with a lower and larger front fascia to increase engine cooling and decrease aerodynamic lift.

In addition, we can be fairly certain that the new Subaru WRX / STI is coming sometime in the first half of 2014 as a 2015MY. The production model will feature Subaru’s favorite 2.0L four-cylinder boxer engine (same as what’s in the BRZ), tuned up with direct-injection and turbocharging. The Japanese automaker has confirmed the WRX will output at least 265 horsepower, if not more. And that’s just in the standard version… The higher-performance WRX STI will get a high-performance engine capable of at least 305 hp.

Note that’s “at least”. The Golf R’s going to have 296HP and get to 60 in 4.9 seconds. Subaru will want to at least match that, for sure.

Subaru BRZ STI Still a Ways Off…

I confess, when I first read about the LA debut of Subaru’s WRX STI, for a split-second my heart jumped for joy because my mind read “WRX” as “BRZ”. As you may or may not know, Subaru fans have long been waiting for a BRZ STI. Earlier this month we thought we had it, thanks to a misleading teaser for the debut of Subaru’s BRZ tS. Which explains why the “BRZ STI” was so fresh in my mind.

Nonetheless, after that teaser I think it’s safe to say we were all hoping to see a BRZ STI by the end of 2013. But alas, it’s not meant to be. In fact, Automotive News’ reports only leads us in the opposite direction… Subaru is apparently not planning to “freshen up” the BRZ line until late 2015. That’s 2 more years!

Even if we’re not getting a BRZ STI anytime soon, though, the Subaru WRX and WRX STI definitely have the potential to steal a lot of press attention at the LA Auto Show. Of course, there are still several months between now and then, and Subaru could end up watering-down the WRX Concept more than they ought, but on the whole this is excellent news for Japanese car fans everywhere.