INVADER L60 is a eeer… tuned Lexus LX 570 coming with a wide bodykit, a supercharger boosting power to 600 ps, a performance exhaust system, lowered suspension and a heavy-duty breaking system. The company responsible for this modification is Japanese and it is called INVADER (インベーダー). Of course, the interior is highly customized as well.
Although it's not my cup of tea, the L60 won't be a car that you will easily spot, since only 100 of them will be built, which will be primarily sold in the UAE.
In many occasions, there are agreements between Japanese manufacturers for selling rebadged versions in Japan, but this time I think it's a bit bizarre. There was an announcement yesterday that Nissan will sell its own version of Mazda's 5 model (aka Premacy プレマシー). Although Nissan claims that its version will be clearly differentiated, I am really curious to see what will happen to the Nagare-inspired waves that stretch across Mazda's 5 side...
This is Mag-X's impression of the upcoming Daihatsu e:S (earlier post). No surprises really since the actual production model is expected to look very close to the prototype.
[Source: Makoto Garage Illustration]
As you will have already figured out, one of the most disappointing cars, in my opinion, is the Honda Insight. I was really excited when it was under development and I was convinced that it would be my next car. Unfortunately, the final result was rather bad and far away from what Honda was promising back then.
In any case, the current model will get a nip/tuck this year (earlier post), in July, and a full model change is due in February 2013. The new model will come with a bigger petrol engine, having a displacement of 1.5L, featuring Honda's variable valve timing system, VTEC, plus VTC. The new engine will be called 1.5L e-VTEC. The new Insight will be the first Honda model to use the new Fit platform (earlier post) and the main aerodynamic characteristics of the current model will remain.
In terms of overall dimensions, the new model will be slightly longer (4425 instead of 4400 mm) and taller (1435 instead of 1430 mm).
Detail changes to interior finishes (new seat materials and door linings)
Improvements to emissions and economy on all engines
138 g/km 2.2 i-DTEC introduced
Ride and handling improvements for all model
Auto High-Beam Support System and Active Cornering Lights debut on Accord *
180 PS Type S model now available across Europe with bespoke interior and exterior styling
On sale across Europe from April this year.
* High Beam Support system is fitted on vehicles with the bi-xenon headlights. This system is controlled by a CMOS camera fitted to the windscreen in the area of the driver rear view mirror. The camera detects oncoming headlights or the taillights of a vehicle in front and automatically dips the headlights onto their normal setting if they are on high-beam.
Toyota's next-gen BTCC racer, based on the Avensis, is undergoing extensive wind tunnel testing at the UK’s leading aerodynamic analysis facility, MIRA.
Built by GPR Motorsport, the Avensis racer will make its competition bow in the opening rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch on 3 April.
The NGTC Avensis was joined in the MIRA wind tunnel by a road-going model, on which TOCA technical staff had installed a rear wing to help establish a baseline for the car’s aerodynamics. “We needed to fix a position for the rear wing, based on the aerodynamics of the road car, which gave the levels of downforce we were looking for,” said the championship’s technical director, Peter Riches.
“I am pleased to say that this was quickly achieved, and it means that we now have a base line for all cars built to the NGTC regulations and have saved a lot of development time and potential expense for the teams.”
Subaru has already announced that it will show a concept of its FT-86 version at the Geneva Motor Show (earlier post), but apparently Toyota plans to do the same!!! Toyota Motor Europe has released a teaser photo showing the FT86 II Concept! As you can see, the new "concept" has larger headlamps and it looks a bit more aggressive IMO.
The new issue of Mag-X magazine is coming out and this is a scoop on the new Daihatsu Copen! It is reported that a new 2-cylinder turbocharged engine with direct injection will be fitted. It's a shame that we will never have the change getting it in Europe...
BC's article about the upcoming FT-86 doesn't reveal much new info, just that the top versions, badged as G's and STi, are very likely to be powered by a turbocharged engine. The naturally aspired FB20 engine, which will power the standard versions, will produce 180 ps and 20.5 kgm of torque. That's less than the expected 200 ps, but I guess as the launch date approaches, more accurate info will be revealed.
The low weight should enable the FT-86 to be among the "greenest" cars in its class (earlier post), and the estimated fuel efficiency is 17.5 km/L (10.15 mode). The overall dimensions of the FT-86 (L x W x H) are 4,160 x 1,760 x 1,260 (mm).
Back in December, it was reported that the mighty Lexus GS-F would arrive as early as 2012 (earlier post). Well, BC (which I consider it as very well informed source) claims that the GS-F will actually arrive in August 2011!
Other information revealed include that power will come from a 3.5 L V6 engine plus an electric motor, a combination which will result in a fuel efficiency of 13.0 km/L (10.15 mode). This "F" hybrid machine will be pricey though, with an estimated price tag of... ¥ 9,000,000!
The Lexus CT 200h was released this month in Japan, and already rumours have started suggesting that an "F" version is around the corner. Best Car magazine has published an interesting article, which mentions that the CT-F is one year away. Don't expect great thrills, it's not going to be like the IS-F.
The plan is to fit the oily (2.4 L) and electrical bits of the HS 250h into the CT. This move will add 51 ps, which should be able to make it faster, taking into consideration that it's a small car. Hmm, it sounds like a... hybrid GT sort of thing.
This HPI scale model of the Nissan Fairlady Z Z34 (aka 370Z) arrived today, but unfortunately it is damaged as the steering column has been broken. Anyway, I just thought that it would be nice to post some photos of it before returning it back. The level of detail is really impressive!
Today, those two beautiful scale models arrived!!! Both are made by HPI and they are in 1/43 scale. The red model is a Celica GT-Four GR.A (ST165), while the second model is a Celica Turbo 4WD (ST185).
The new Colt is expected to be launched in March 2012 and it going to be built in Thailand. Targeted fuel efficiency is 27.0 km/L. What is surprising though is the fact that the successor of the Colt will not be sold in Europe!
Mitsubishi plans to launch 8 new EVs and Plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2015 (earlier post). This was revealed during the presentation of the mid-term business plan. Sales of a hybrid model will start in 2013.
Mitsubishi will stop making cars designed for specific regions including Europe and North America and concentrate management resources on world-strategy cars such as compact cars and SUVs, for which demand is expected to grow in emerging nations.
In terms of the global small car (earlier post), Mitsubishi forecasts that it will manage to increase sales in emerging markets by 280,000 units in 2013 (global sales target of 1.37 million units). According to a Japanese source, Mitsubishi has set a target, regarding the fuel efficiency of the new model, of 30.0 km/L. A concept previewing the new small car will revealed at the Geneva Motor Show.
Mazda announced today that it is independently developing an EV with plans to commence leasing in Japan in spring 2012. The new EV, based on its Demio subcompact, is expected to have a driving range of 200 kilometers and will be leased mainly to local government bodies and fleet customers.
Similarly to what Mag-X claims (earlier post), BC has published an article stating that the new Subaru Impreza will be launched at the end of this year (most likely in December).
The new-gen boxer engines will be fitted, e.g. FB20, which will enable the new Impreza to achieve a much better fuel efficiency (11.5 km/L). In terms of dimensions, it will be bigger with the most noticeable difference being the width, which will increase to 1,820mm.
The current-gen CR-V was introduced in 2007 and following a cycle of almost 4 years, the new model will be introduced in October this year. BC's article mentions that a 2.4L engine, delivering 170 PS, will be used for the JDM version, achieving a fuel efficiency of 12.0 km/L (10.15 mode).
In terms of styling, the specific rendering suggests that the new CR-V will have a coupe-like roofline, similar to the BMW X6. Now, this can't be good...
The all new Lexus IS is coming in September, ready to compete with the new BMW 3 series. As you can easily guess, there is going to be a hybrid version as well, which will be fitted with the 2.5 L V6 engine, and it will achieve a fuel efficiency of 25.0 km/L under the 10.15 mode!
As with the current gen mode, a convertible version will be available but this time it will get also the "F" treatment!!! It will be a bit challenging in terms of naming though... IS C-F perhaps?!
The current model is struggling and Toyota plans to bring out a much sharper Corolla, which of course will be better in terms of fuel efficiency. Again, as in the case of the new Auris, the use of a 1.5 L turbocharged petrol engine is very likely and also, a hybrid version will be added. The platform of the new Corolla will be used for the new compact SUV (earlier post).
BC claims that the new model will be revealed, in Japan, in June 2011 with the hybrid version coming a few months later.
If the rendering is accurate, then I really look forward for the new Corolla. Otherwise, I won't be suprised since I have been used to the "Corolla = boring to death" practice.
Toyota is preparing the next Auris and plans to follow VW's example by downsizing its engines. According to BC, the use of a 1.5 L turbocharged engine is very likely. The hybrid version will use a Li-Ion battery and the new model will be slightly longer, by 15 mm. However, the best part is... that TRD will bring out a spicy version in order to compete with VW's Golf GT!!! The new Auris is expected to be launched, in Japan, in May 2011.
Hmm, Auris to become an exciting car??? Fingers crossed...
SUV sales in the States are dropping and the current RAV4 hasn't been left unaffected. Fuel efficiency is one of the most important factors nowadays, as the price of the petrol has been significantly increased worldwide, and therefore, Toyota plans to bring out a lot of hybrids (earlier post). Therefore, Toyota plans to replace the 3.5 L V6 engine of the current model with a hybrid version equipped with a 2.5 L petrol engine.
Currently, the are two versions of the RAV4 in Japan, as a longer version called Vanguard ヴァンガード is being sold as well, but this is about to change since the new model will be offered only in one. The length of the next-gen RAV4 is going to be 4,500 mm, which between the length of the current RAV4 and Vanguard. According to Mag-X, the next-gen RAV4 will make its debut in October 2012.
President of Fuji Heavy Industries Mori Ikuo, has already confirmed that the Scoobi version will be revealed at the end of 2011 (earlier post), and rumors have suggested that both versions (detailed post) will make their debut at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.
Well, it seems that Mag-X claims the same and according to the report, sales are expected to start in April 2012!
The next-gen Toyota Crown (クラウン) is under development and from I could make out of the Japanese text (Mag-X), Toyota is working on a hybrid system for its FR sedan model featuring two clutches. Toyota aims to reduce the price of the hybrid version by ¥ 1,000,000 (the current model costs ¥ 5,400,000), making the hybrid version the leading one in the Crown family.
Of course, the hybrid version will not only have an advanced version of the THS (current system shown above), but also the current V6 engine found in the hybrid will be dropped and a 2.5 L straight four will be used. The new Crown, which will use the new platform of the next-gen Lexus GS, will be launched in September 2012.
The development of the new Lexus GS had been frozen last year and thus, the original target of hitting the markets in August this year has been postponed. Toyota was affected by the reliability issues of the Prius (including brakes, engine valve springs etc) and therefore, priority was given in the resolution of the quality problems.
It seems though that Lexus has started again developing the new GS, which is now heading for a launch in August 2012. The new car will be rear wheel drive and according to Mag-X, it will ride on a new platform. In terms of styling, initial reports suggest that the four-lamp design will continue to be present, although there are some concerns as to whether buyers will get tired of the same theme over three generations.
Lexus wants the new GS to be sporty and to be able to compete with the premium German models, which means that a lot of work has to be done in the interior. Also, there is going to be a new interface for all the electronic toys inside.
The new GS will not grow anymore, measuring 4,830 x 1,840 x 1,450 (mm), and the base model is likely to be powered by a 2.5 L V6 engine.
The first production EV, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, has been crash tested by ADAC in Germany. When performing such a test, passive safety is not the only concern, since EVs use high-current drives with a voltage of 200 to 400 volts, and thus the safety of the electrical systems is also important.
Although it didn't score perfect marks, there was some deformation in the footwell, there were no major problems noted. The i-MiEV went through 64 km/h frontal and rear impacts.