Posts Tagged ‘sports car’

The Nissan Maxima is No More… Almost

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

2016 Nissan Maxima

If you walked up to the average US resident and asked them which name sounded more familiar, “Nissan” or “Maxima”, most of them would pick the latter. That’s according to Pierre Loing, vice president of Nissan NA product planning, from an interview between him and Automotive News.

And yet, even though the Maxima is a Nissans all the longest-selling nameplate in the US and more recognized than the brand name itself, just four years ago, Nissan almost axed the car from their lineup completely.

2016 Nissan Maxima rear

With the next-generation Nissan Maxima set to go on sale in the US in barely a week’s time on June 2, we’re certainly glad that Nissan decided to keep the family size sedan in their lineup. You’ve probably already seen the Maxima several times this year… It first debuted in a Super Bowl ad, then made its in-the-metal premiere at the 2015 New York Motor Show back in April.

What will be the eighth-generation of Nissan’s “4 Door Sports Car” is substantially sportier than the car you’ll find it Nissan dealerships today. It’s got Nissan’s new V-motion front-end design, complete with a lower, more aggressive roofline, a curvier body and an all-around better powertrain. The next-gen Maxima runs on a new 3.5L V6 that outputs 300 horsepower, which is a noticeable boost in performance over the current model year. In a classic “have your cake and eat it too,” Nissan has somehow managed to eke 15% more fuel-efficiency out of the upgraded engine, made possible by stripping and replacing a full 60% of the old engine’s parts.

2016 Nissan Maxima side

Inside, the new Maxima is even better. It boasts a truly plush interior with quilted leather, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and a modern, premium-feeling design. Takeshi Yamaguchi, the VP for vehicle engineering and program management for the Maxima project, says, “When I look at this car, I’m proudest of the fact that it’s here at all.” Yeah, us too Yamaguchi. “And on top of that, I’m proud of the fact that we took the Maxima beyond where it was, instead of taking it backward.”

… Apparently that was the other option on the table. Nissan was thinking about gutting the sedan to make it cheaper to both manufacture and sell. Instead they went the opposite direction, and what they came up with is perhaps the best, most refined execution of a non-premium sedan we’ve seen in the past 10 years.

So, in a month as you start seeing those sleek new 2016 Nissan Maximas on the road, be thankful for the sight… It almost didn’t happen!

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2013 Audi TT

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

We’ve been talking a lot entry-level sports coupes recently here on Integrity Exports, primarily the recently facelifted Toyota GT86 and Scion FR-S. So, it seemed fitting today for us to do an auction find focused on one of the most popular sports coupes on the road – the Audi TT.

2013 Audi TT

Part coupe, part hot hatch, the Audi TT is impossible to ignore. This particular auction find is a 2013 Audi TT 1.8 TFSI, the base model for the TT lineup. But, don’t let its position in the trim line fool you – AutoExpress says the 1.8 TFSI is “the best TT in the range.” It’s starting price is the same as the Toyota GT 86 in most markets, and it gives you an arguably more premium sports car experience.

Starting outside, the TT has a distinct design among other coupes. It almost resembles a hatchback with its bulbous rear-end and all-around curvy aesthetic. Audi designed the fourth-gen TT specifically with the shooting-brake body style in mind, and we’d say they succeeded in applying the silhouette to the coupe form. This model is in a classic piano black with chrome accents around the grille.

2013 Audi TT rear

Under the hood, the 1.8 TFSI name tells you that this TT runs on a four-cylinder 1.8L EA888 Turbocharged Fuel Stratified Injection engine (which tells you where the ‘TFSI’ comes from). The car outputs a solid 160 horsepower which can propel the TT from 0 to 62 mph in 7.7 seconds. Fuel economy is 30 mpg, which makes this one of the cleanest non-hybrid coupes under $50K.

The interior is where this 2013 Audi TT really shines. Audi has used nothing but premium materials inside the cabin, and the overall layout is spacious and comfortable thanks to the higher-than-normal roofline. The styling is exactly what you’d expect from a European sports car – minimalist and classy. It has a simple dashboard with a stunning color LCD nav system just below the air vents, positioned at the same level as the steering wheel for easy reach.

2013 Audi TT interior

Speaking of, even the baseline 1.8 TFSI TT comes with a flat-bottomed steering wheel and paddle shifters for the six-speed automatic transmission, as you can see in the image above. The rear seats can be folded down for additional trunk space, which is probably how they’ll be used for 9 out of 10 TT drivers.

According to KBB’s review of the 2013 Audi TT, you’ll like this car because of it offers a “fine balance of performance and style – especially style. If it catches your eye, there’s really nothing else quite like it.”

If you’d like more details on this particular model, you can get a translation of the auction sheet below:

2013 Audi TT auction sheet

“Interior A, exterior A, first registered November 2013, two wheel drive, 1.8T FSI model, FAT, AAC, official dealer right-hand drive import, power steering, power windows, original alloy wheels, airbag, ABS, original navigation system, original TV, official dealer right-hand drive import, 2014 model, first time in auction, minor scratches, marks as per map”

Japanese Car Auction Find – 1992 Suzuki Cappuccino

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Earlier this week, we got really excited about the new Honda S660 Kei car that’s making its debut in Japan even as we speak. The Kei sports car is a rare thing with barely a handful on the market today. That spurt of reminiscing got us thinking about some of our old favorites from years past. Behold today’s Japanese car auction find – a 1992 Suzuki Cappuccino:

1992 Suzuki Cappuccino

This classic Japanese roadster is an extremely agile piece of machinery, weighing in at barely 725 kg, or 1,598 pounds. There were only about 28,000 Suzuki Cappuccinos ever produced during its single-generation existence from 1991 to 1997, and there are only two of those models currently up for auction in Japan (at the time of this writing). This one is from 1992, so only the second year of production.

Since the Suzuki Cappuccino was made to fit Japan’s strict key car regulations, the powertrain is very small – a three-cylinder 660cc engine that outputs 63 horsepower. Doesn’t sound very much, does it? But, because of the roadster’s extremely light curb weight, it can still pull off a 0 to 60 mph time of just 8 seconds.

1992 Suzuki Cappuccino rear

The Suzuki Cappuccino has earned cult status for a couple key features that distinguish it from many other roadsters of the time.

First, it has an extremely impressive rev range. Peak power output doesn’t come until 6,400 rpm, and the car redlines at 8,500 rpm. Suzuki did an extremely impressive job of delivering sports car performance in such a small, low-power roadster. It has powerful brakes and a perfect 50:50 weight distribution when both seats are occupied. It’s known to have extremely responsive steering and that 660cc engine is paired to a smooth-as-butter five-speed transmission.

1992 Suzuki Cappuccino interior

The other really cool feature in the Suzuki cappuccino is its customizable three-part roof. It doesn’t have the fancy automatic retraction of today’s convertibles, but it makes up for it by offering four modes of configuration. You can have a hardtop coupe with all panels in place, a T-top by removing the two side panels, a targa top by removing the middle bar, or a full open-top cabriolet by removing the roll bar and rear window.

This 1992 Suzuki cappuccino is particularly well-kept. Only a few minor dings mar the car’s exterior, and the odometer has a mere 13,020 km on it. If you’d like to learn more, keep reading below for a full translation of the auction sheet:

1992 Suzuki Cappuccino auction sheet

“Grade 4, interior B, first registered 1992 (month not stated), 5-speed manual gearbox, power windows, one owner, 13020KM, black seats, AM steering wheel, original 14 inch alloy wheels, service book, fuel pump replaced, possibly has artifical leather seats, steering wheel worn, seats worn, paint marks and rust underneath vehicle, scratches and dents, front windscreen stone scratches, marks as per map”

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Posted by Stephen On Monday, February 16th, 2015

The other day we discussed the possibility of a revival of Mazda’s MPS performance brand, starting with a possible Mazda2 MPS that could make an appearance sometime in the next few years. When/if that car comes to fruition, it will compete with sporty hatchbacks like the Ford Fiesta ST and the Volkswagen Golf GTI. So, today we’re showcasing one of the latter up for auction in Japan. It’s a 2014 model year, pictured below:

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI

Let’s start with the basics. This is an affordable five-door hatchback with a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder petrol engine. The powertrain offers a vigorous 217hp system output and 207 lb-ft of torque. That sporty engine is configured for front-wheel-drive and paired with either a 6-speed manual or, in this case, an upgraded 6-speed automatic transmission. It also gets a dual-clutch transmission with a limited-slip differential, complete with paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel.

Since this model uses the automatic transmission, you’ll enjoy an improved fuel economy of 32 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg in the city… Not bad at all for such a punchy little sports car. The Golf GTI is still popular even after all these years due to its incredible on-road handling, thanks in large part to its sport-tuned suspension and brakes.

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI rear

Despite a relatively minimalist design, that red accent on the grille, the 18-inch alloys and the ever-so-slight rear spoiler still help the car stand out on the road.

For your information, this same car won the 2013-2014 Japan Car of the Year award to become the first-ever international import to receive that particular accolade.  Quite an achievement!

Unfortunately, we don’t have any interior pictures for this particular Japanese car auction find. However, since it’s a Volkswagen, you can rest assured that you’ll enjoy plenty of cabin amenities. For example, heated seats, automatic air conditioning and Bluetooth connectivity all come standard, along with a booming audio system with an auxiliary input and built-in iPod cable. It also offers you a surprising amount of cargo space given the car’s relatively small size.

All in all, 2014 was a great model year for the Volkswagen Golf GTI. This particular auction find is in great shape with an overall rating of 4.5. Overall, the Golf GTI is a relatively affordable premium hatch with a huge fun factor and an excellent interior. It may not have the same aesthetic appeal as Mazda’s new 2, but it definitely holds up on the performance front. To learn more, keep reading below the auction sheet:

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTI auction sheet

“Interior A, exterior condition B, first registered February 2014, GTi model, FAT, AAC, official dealer RHD import, idling stop, cruise control, xenon lights, original navigation system, ABS, airbag, original AWs, power steering, power windows, rear view reversing camera, spare smart key, scratches under bumpers, minor scratches on exterior paintwork, front windscreen stone scratches, marks as per map”

Official 2016 Mazda MX-5 Specs Released

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

four generations of Miata

Mazda has finally released official details for their fourth-generation MX-5 Miata roadster, due out as a 2016 model at the end of this year. We already knew that it would feature a whole host of improvements, including a stiffer, lighter-weight chassis and a new sporty design. With today’s press release, we now have official powertrain specs and full details.

2016 MX-5 Miata top down

So, what can we expect under the hood of the 2016 Mazda MX-5?

The American-spec model will get a SKYACTIV-G 2.0L direct-injection engine that outputs 155 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. That compact engine will be paired with a SKYACTIV-MT six-speed manual transmission and an advanced suspension – double wishbone in the front and multilink in the back.

2016 MX-5 Chassis

The outgoing Miata offers 167 hp and 140 lb-ft, so the new model will get fewer horsies but more torque. However, with a curb weight that’s over 100 kg less than the third-gen model, we expect that the 2016MY will feel faster and more responsive than ever, even if it’s technically less powerful.

2016 Mazda MX-5 roadster rear

To maximize the power of their new SKYACTIV-G engine, Mazda made a number of tuning improvements to the next-generation Miata.

First, the powertrain is mounted closer to the middle of the vehicle for a perfect 50:50 front-rear weight distribution. Second, Mazda has integrated a ton of aluminum into the vehicle’s body – the hood, the front fender, the bumper reinforcements and the trunk lid are all made from the lightweight alloy. The softtop of the convertible has also been reengineered for reduced weight, which enables an overall lower center of gravity in the 2016 model.

2016 Mazda MX-5 interior

This meticulous tuning continues inside the car too… Mazda tells us that the pedals, meters, controls and other equipment have all been positioned for ideal ergonomic driving. Visibility is better than ever with extra-thin A-pillars and a higher windshield header. With ventilated discs in the front and solid discs in the back, even the brakes feel more controllable and reassuring than the outgoing model.

To learn more, you can read Mazda’s full product release for the 2016 MX-5 Miata here

Japanese Car Auction Find – Audi TT 1.8TFSI

2012 Audi TT

Since we’ve already shown you a couple Mazda roadsters up for auction in Japan, today we’re showcasing one of the MX-5’s chief competitors – the Audi TT. What you see here is a pristine white 2012 Audi TT 1.8 TFSI.

2012 Audi TT rear view

This is the baseline model in the Audi TT’s lineup, but it has received high accolades from a number of different editorial reviewers like the folks at AutoExpress. It’s regarded as a fun and efficient sports car that offers a surprisingly sporty drive for its economical placement in the segment. You get a 0 to 60 time of just over 7 seconds paired with a fuel economy of 44.1 mpg.

2012 Audi TT interior

To learn more about this specific Japanese car auction find, keep reading the translation below the auction sheet:

2012 Audi TT auction sheet

“Interior A, exterior condition A, first registered September 2012, 1.8 TFSI model, 2WD, FAT, AC, original RS Coupe front bumper and side steps and rear spoiler, power steering, power windows, ABS, airbag, original AWs, original navigation system, minor interior grime, minor scratches, official dealer RHD model, marks as per map”