Posts Tagged ‘nurburgring’

Toyota C-HR Racing Crossover To Debut in Nürburgring 24 Hour Test

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, January 16th, 2016

Toyota is entering their racing crossover into the Nürburgring 24-hour endurance test this May. It looks like this isn’t the only car that Toyota is entering into the contest this year, pitting it against two other vehicles from their Lexus line; the Lexus RC and the Lexus RC F.

Toyota C-HR Racing Crossover

The endurance race takes places May 26 through May 29 at the infamous Nürburgring track in Germany.

The C-HR racing crossover isn’t in production yet. It’s getting there, and it has certainly made progress since being introduced as a concept in the 2014 Paris Motor Show in France.

Lexus RC will make its second appearance this year and entry in Nürburgring. It will be entering the race under the TOM’s banner.

Akio Toyoda remembers back in 2007 when Gazoo Racing first entered the infamous race and having fond memories of the event. His take on the event long since passed is how the very characteristics of the circuit tend to change with varying weather patterns.

Nürburgring’s Course Is Not for The Fainthearted

The Nürburgring is a harsh, unforgiving circuit that serves to amp up the intensity of the race. However, the participants in the race enjoy the track for that very reason. It makes them better drivers. For Toyoda, this event is the pinnacle and at the very heart of what he calls motorsport. He’s been attending the event for over nine years straight.

Toyota as a company is not too keen about sharing vehicle specs before the vehicle is released, and this vehicle is no exception. The specs remain unknown, but not for long. The car is set to be revealed and ready for production at the Geneva Motor Show. It vehicle said to be similar in size to the Nissan Juke. The show takes place in March of this year, so it doesn’t look like we’ll be waiting too long before we can get our hands on this car.

The Auris Cross

Autocar reports that the name *might* be “Auris Cross”. At the Frankfurt Motor Show, the vehicle was called “courageous” and already made quite an impact. The endurance race entry is a move to not only show off the car but to send a message: this baby is ready for production.

2016 Honda Civic Type-R Detailed, Hot Variant Possible

Posted by Stephen On Friday, June 5th, 2015

2016 Honda Civic Type R on the track

The “most extreme and high-performing Type R ever built” is finally here. Or rather, it’s getting extremely close. The 2016 Honda Civic type R is set to make its worldwide debut in July 2015, less than one month away. Now that we are officially into June, Honda is really starting to heat up the hype.

For example, this weekend we finally got an official, production-ready rundown of the new hot Hatch’s stats. Under the hood, you’ll find a 2.0L turbocharged VTEC engine that can rev up to 7,000 rpm and outputs a hefty 306 hp at 6500 rpm.

2015 Honda Civic Type R

The car has excellent mid-range torque of 295 lb-ft from 2,500 to 4,500 rpm, but the car was really made to excel at all ends of the rotational spectrum. The VTEC and VTC valve timing technologies work in tandem to optimize low-end torque response without taking away from up-to-the-redline acceleration, and the car is offered with a six-speed manual transmission.

This mighty pound-for-pound powertrain was powerful enough to take a near-identical prototype of the civic type R around the Nürburgring in just 7 minutes and 50.63 seconds – a new lap record for commercial cars in this class. For those of you interested, the 2016 Civic Type R can blast from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 5.7 seconds and returns a surprisingly conservative 32.2 mpg.

2016 Honda Civic Type R interior

We’d already seen inside the cabin, but these pictures confirm that Honda has done a superb job with the hatchback’s interior. The cabin is exactly what we’d want from a track-ready hot hatch like the Type R. The red-and-black bucket seats and the sleek dashboard are our favorite parts.

Perhaps most exciting of all, though… There is now a fairly credible rumor going around that Honda is planning to launch an extra-hot version of the Civic Type R sometime in the next couple years. According to an interview between Motor Trend and the Type R’s project leader, Hisayuki Yagi, “At the start of development we set the target to be the fastest front-drive hatchback around the Nurburgring Nordschleife. And we are. If someone takes our record, we will take it back.”

In other words, there’s room to grow, and they are willing to modify the car to do it (provided there’s a record-related or marketing-related need for it, of course).

What would a hot Civic Type R look like?

2015 Honda Civic Type R

Turns out, it’s not so much what it would look like, but what it would feel like. According to MT’s interview, the engine could be tuned up by about 20 horsepower and the car could shed something in the realm of 120 lbs.

We’re happy to hear that Honda is throwing down the gauntlet with their new Civic Type R, and we hope someone takes them up on it. That way we can see the Honda Civic Type R’s true power! Bwahahaha!

Toyota Corolla ESport & Camry Extremo Debut in Bangkok

Posted by Stephen On Friday, March 27th, 2015

We don’t always get a chance to cover some of the smaller international auto shows, but this week’s Bangkok Motor Show had a couple special treats from Toyota that we wanted to share with our dear readership. Check out the Nürburgring Edition  of the Toyota Corolla ESport and the Toyota Camry Extremo below:

Toyota Corolla ESPort Nürburgring Edition

Toyota Corolla ESPort Nurburgring edition

Toyota Thailand has prepared a special version of their Corolla to commemorate the Corolla Altis’ 7th place finish in last year’s 24-hour endurance race on the Nürburgring. This is a direct homage to that car, labeled the Toyota Corolla ESport Nürburgring Edition.

Toyota Corolla ESPort Nurburgring edition rear

Unfortunately, an honest to goodness high-performance Toyota Corolla is a little too good to be true. Toyota Thailand hasn’t made any actual powertrain upgrades to the Corolla ESport – it still runs on the same 1.8L four-cylinder petrol with a modest 141 horsepower, paired to a CVT that drives power to the front wheels of the car. However, they have revised the suspension to offer more invigorating driving dynamics than the regular Corolla ESport.

Toyota Corolla ESPort Nurburgring edition interior

The rest of the changes are purely aesthetic. Toyota Thailand added beautiful 17-inch alloys that perfectly accentuate the new piano-black grille and extra-large front bumper. They’ve also added a spoiler and diffuser to the back of the car, and the cabin gets black leather-wrapped seats with sporty red accents.

Toyota Camry Extremo

2016 Toyota Camry Extremo

Unlike the Corolla ESport Nürburgring Edition, the facelifted Toyota Camry Extremo doesn’t commemorate any on-track achievement. We find it a bit funny that Toyota Thailand decided to add horsepower to this one and not the Corolla ESport. Granted, the Camry Extremo is a permanent offer for Thailand’s drivers so it makes sense that they would put a bit more effort into it, even if it isn’t a limited edition model.

Under the hood you’ll find that the 2.0L engine has been tuned up to 167 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque, and the transmission has been upgraded to a six-speed automatic. The Extremo will slot beneath the Camry 2.5G in the Toyota Thailand’s lineup, and will be the first Camry they’ve targeted specifically at young, sporty drivers. Of course, the real appeal for the new Extremo comes from the aggressive new body kit complete with side skirts and chrome 17-inch alloys.

2016 Toyota Camry Extremo interior

Inside, the Toyota Extremo’s cabin stands out from the crowd with features like adaptive cruise control, conductive wireless smartphone charging, and three-zone custom climate control complete with ventilated seats to keep everyone in the car comfortable.

While we don’t ever expect either the Camry Extremo or the Corolla ESport Nurburgring Edition to go on sale internationally, it’s always fun to see what Toyota’s domestic branches are doing to find new ways of reaching out to their domestic market.

Wrapping Up the 2015 Geneva Motor Show

Posted by Stephen On Friday, March 13th, 2015

The 2015 Geneva Motor Show officially closes its doors this weekend on March 15, and most of the Internet had moved on by mid-last week. However, there are a few really cool concepts we have yet to highlight, so today we’re going to do a quick wrap-up to make sure you get to see everything.

Infiniti QX30 Concept

Infiniti QX30 Concept unveiling

We had really high hopes for the Infiniti QX30 Concept after the B-roll teaser we saw just a couple days before the event. Sure enough, the premium compact crossover that Infiniti showed off in Geneva was arguably one of the best-looking cars of the show.

What we really love about the Infiniti QX30, though, is that it’s a truly European model. For many years, both Nissan and Infiniti struggled to identify exactly what European drivers wanted out of their vehicles. Over the past five years, the Japanese automaker has really found their footing.

Infiniti QX30 Concept at the Geneva Motor Show

With those heavily sculpted lower bumpers, 21-inch wheels, and a functional roof rack framing the floating roof, this new premium crossover looks well-primed to take on the best of the best from European automakers. We expect the QX30 to launch shortly after the upcoming Infiniti Q30 hatchback, and our bet is that this premium compact crossover will quickly jump to the top of Infiniti’s European sales.

Goodyear Bh-O3 & Triple Tube Tire Concepts

Goodyear BH-03 and Triple Tube Tire Concepts

Bh-03 tire concept (right) and Triple Tube tire concept (left)

Tire concepts… Kind of weird, right?

That’s what we thought too, but after looking at them we’re honestly shocked these didn’t get more coverage. These innovative Goodyear concept tires are actually really cool! While they definitely won’t make it to production anytime soon, it’s good to see that car manufacturers aren’t the only ones innovating in the automotive industry.

The first tire concept is called the Triple Tube tire. It gets its name from the fact that there are three individual tubes that run around the inside of the tire, which allow the tire to literally change shape depending on the needs of the driver and road conditions.

  • Eco / Safety Mode – All three outer tubes are inflated normally. This is more or less ‘normal’ driving mode.
  • Wet Traction Mode – Here, the center tube is extra-inflated. This causes the car’s weight to be pinpointed to the middle part of the tire, which uses a raised tread to significantly reduce the chance of hydroplaning.
  • Sporty Mode – In this mode, the inboard shoulder tube is deflated (the one closest to the middle of the car), which gives drivers crisp track handling with an optimized contact patch.

The BH-03 concept tire has much more straightforward purpose. It harnesses heat created by normal driving to produce electricity, which can then be routed to the motor of a hybrid or electric car. It’s a simple goal that’s accomplished with nothing short of mechanical genius:

2016 Honda Civic Type-R

2016 Honda Civic Type-R

Honda’s new “racecar for the road” was one of the few production models to make its debut at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. To be fair, we saw more than our share of Honda Civic Type-R concepts and prototypes, so this was certainly a long time coming.

The hot hatch Honda showed in Geneva is the same model that recently broke a Nürburgring record by lapping the track in under eight minutes – 7 minutes, 50.63 seconds to be exact. That’s thanks to an explosive 2.0L turbocharged VTEC engine that outputs 306 bhp and a full 400 Nm (295 ft-lb) of torque.

2016 Honda Civic Type-R interior

From a styling standpoint, the new Honda Civic Type-R is about exactly what we hoped for after seeing the previous prototypes. Honda has kept the car’s extremely aggressive stance intact, complete with a truly epic rear spoiler. And that interior is to die for!

3 Cars You Can’t Miss From the 2015 Tokyo Auto Salon

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, January 17th, 2015

While the Detroit Motor Show rages on in the US (we’ll be back next week with more coverage), the Tokyo Auto Salon is quickly drawing to a close, and we haven’t yet had an opportunity to share our favorite finds from the show. Yesterday we showcased some really neat aftermarket concepts from Subaru, but there’s oh so much more to see.

As you continue reading, you’ll get a look at three of our favorite Japanese cars from this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon.

Honda Vezel Mugen Concept

Honda Vezel Mugen Concept

This Vezel-based concept is a semi-quirky racer customized by M-TEC (aka. Mugen) in celebration of their performance in the SUPER GT 300 class in the last Super Formula series. It’s a conventional JDM Vezel fit with Mugen parts, including an off-the-wall bodykit, upgraded brakes and suspension, sleek 20-inch alloys and a sporty interior.

Toyota Mark X GRMN

Toyota Mark X GRMN Concept

What we have here is a conventional Toyota Mark X that’s been modified by Toyota-affiliated racing firm GAZOO Racing, known by the acronym GRMN. The firm made a number of aesthetic improvements, including a subtle body kit with a rear spoiler and 19-inch alloys, a revised interior with sport seats and steering wheel, plus plenty of carbon fiber trim. But the truly noteworthy improvement here is the new powertrain, which GRMN borrowed from the current Lexus IS 350. So, you get a 3.5L V6 paired with a 6-speed manual, which delivers a full 316hp and 280 lb-ft of torque.

Only 100 units of the Toyota Mark X GRMN will be sold, and they’ll start at about $45,000.

Toyota GT86 GRMN Concept

Toyota brought a total of 34 concepts to the Tokyo Auto Salon from a number of different tuning firms. Our other favorite would have to be the GRMN GT86 Concept, seen above.

Nissan GT-R Nismo N Attack Package

Nissan GT-R NISMO N Attack Package

Much like Toyota, Nissan brought multiple NISMO-tuned models to the Tokyo Auto Salon, but none more eye-catching than the Nissan GT-R NISMO N Attack Package. This is the exact same car that achieved a record lap time for volume production cars of 7 minutes and 8.679 seconds on the Nürburgring last year.

NISMO showcased two versions of the GT-R kit; the N Attack Package A – an identical model to the Nurburgring record-setter – and the N Attack Package B – which is toned down a bit for daily driving.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2015 Honda Vezel

2015 Honda Vezel

Since we’ve already showcased multiple Nissan GT-R and Toyota GT86 Japanese car auction finds (even a Toyota Mark X), we thought today would be a good time to showcase the new Honda Vezel crossover. What you see here is a brand-new 2015MY with near zero miles on the odometer.

2015 Honda Vezel interior

The Vezel has been a huge hit in Japan, and for good reason. It’s a reliable Honda with above-average styling for the stereotypically plain-looking automaker. The Vezel is well-primed to take the place of the CR-V as Honda drivers’ go-to crossover, and you’ll find several models in various colors up for auction in Japan. When  you log into our Integrity Exports database, all you have to do is select Honda as the manufacturer and Vezel as the model, and within seconds you’ll have a list of over 20 models (at time of writing) to choose from.

For more information about this particular model, keep reading below the auction sheet for a translation of this car’s specs.

2015 Honda Vezel auction sheet

“Grade S, interior A, first registered January 2015, Hybrid Z Navi S Package, original alloy wheels, power steering, power windows, airbags, cruise control, smart key, rear view reversing camera, AT, AC, service book, spare key, hole where stereo has been removed, marks as per map”

Toyota C-HR Concept Teased Ahead of 2014 Paris Motor Show

Posted by Stephen On Friday, September 19th, 2014

Toyota C-HR Concept

Today Toyota revealed their first teaser for a concept that will definitely make it to production. It’s called the Toyota C-HR Concept, and we’ll see the car in-the-metal next month at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.

Sadly, the image at the top of this post is the only one we have of this new C-HR Concept. Toyota did do us the courtesy of publishing a press release with the teaser photo, offering us a few more details about the new compact crossover. As you continue reading, you’ll learn everything we know about the Toyota C-HR Concept, along with every rumor for what production model the concept could eventually become.

Let’s start with the press release. It’s short and to the point, with little more than a mission statement and a release date. You can read all three sentences of it below:

“Toyota will present a new C-HR concept vehicle at the Paris motor show (2 – 19 October), revealing the company’s innovative vision for a compact crossover model.

“The C-HR concept combines a powerful new design language with an engaging driving experience and a hybrid powertrain. It will take centre stage on the Toyota stand in hall 4 at the show … on October 2, 2014.”

To be fair, the press release goes on to tell us that Toyota will also host the first official European debut for their Fuel Cell Sedan, but that’s not really relevant to the C-HR.

Obviously, Toyota isn’t saying too much about their new compact crossover concept. All we have to go on are these three major keywords:

  • Compact crossover
  • Hybrid powertrain
  • New design language

If we want anything more than that, we’ll have to look back at pre-existing rumors for more information. Fortunately, rumors aren’t hard to come by on the Internet.

Toyota Auris Cross Spy Photos

The most popular rumor about the Toyota C-HR – and the most realistic – is that the concept will preview the new Toyota Auris Cross. This particular rumor holds so much weight because a number of spy photos like the one above hit the web a couple months ago of a supposed Auris Cross making laps around the Nürburgring. However, the photo at the top of this post suggests a much sportier silhouette than what we saw from the camouflaged test mule.

Unfortunately, that’s all we have for you regarding this particular preview. If you want to know specs, a launch date or anything else about the Toyota C-HR Concept, you’ll have to wait until next month’s Paris Motor Show to find out. Of course, we’ll keep you updated if we learn anything more.


First Details for the 2016 Toyota Prius Emerge

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, July 17th, 2014

2014 Toyota Prius

We still have over a year until the next generation of Toyota Prius makes its official debut. It was originally set to premiere early in 2015, but Toyota moved that date back to allow plenty of time for an out-of-the-park launch. However, even though we still have a while to wait, Toyota is already starting to drop some serious hints about what we can expect in the next-gen hybrid.

High-Density Lithium Ion Battery

The first major addition to the 2016 Toyota Prius will be a second battery option. Toyota will still offer the affordable nickel-metal hydride battery that’s in their current model, but they’ll also offer an upgraded lithium ion battery pack.

This rumor was confirmed by Toyota’s chief managing officer of powertrain development, Koei Saga, in an interview with Automotive News. While he didn’t give us any specifics, we can assume that the high-tech lithium ion battery’s higher density will allow the Prius to more efficiently store and use energy, allowing for improved fuel economy and longer electric-only range. The downside is a higher manufacturing price, which in turn necessitates a higher MSRP for any Prius with that technology.

Toyota New Global Architecture w/ AWD

To help Toyota achieve their stated goal of an 8% improvement in fuel economy and 40% thermal efficiency, the next-gen Prius will ride on Toyota’s New Global Architecture. This new modular chassis will offer up to 20% weight reduction over their current underpinnings, which in and of itself makes for significant efficiency improvements. And, while it’s not written in stone, it may even feature an all-wheel drive layout in addition to the front-wheel drive available in today’s model.

This actually makes a lot of sense for Toyota. The whole point of their New Global Architecture is to increase sharing of parts and technologies between different vehicles in order to save on manufacturing and development costs. If they can build an AWD hybrid drivetrain for the Prius, then it’ll be easy to port that same setup over to any of their other vehicles that eventually use the new platform. In fact, Saga even hinted at the possibility of new “unprecedented” concepts for large hybrid vehicles built on their NGA.

All in all, it’s already clear that the next-gen Toyota Prius will be just as groundbreaking as the original model all the way back in 1997. Saga agreed, finishing his interview with Automotive News by saying, “The batteries will be renewed. Everything will be revised. And I think we will come up with a fuel economy that will surprise everyone.”

And that will be surprising, after all the current Prius has just lapped the Nurburgring at 698 MPG. (That’s MPG, not MPH!). Of course, that’s a bit of a cheat, given that for most of the course it was using electrical power, and that power had to come from somewhere. After all, you could put an all-electric Tesla Model S on the same track and claim that it’s MPG for the circuit was infinte because it did not use any gas at all.

In any case, it’s an impressive feat, which shows what hybrid tech + renewable electricity generation can do in partnership. And it whet’s our appetite for the next Prius.

See the current one lap the Nurburgring slightly slower than fellow hybrid, the Porsche 918, in the video below: