Archive for May, 2008

MX-5: The Best of Its Class

The Mazda MX-5, still popularly known as the Miata is a sleek and well-engineered convertible. It is a 2-door, 2-passenger convertible sports car, available in 8 trims, ranging from the SV to the Grand Touring Power Retractable Hardtop. It is released as a Special Edition MX-5 with an exclusive Saddle Brown folding top. According to the, this car ranks first out of ten Affordable Sports Cars.

“The SV is equipped with a standard 2.0-liter, I4, 166-horsepower engine that achieves 22-mpg in the city and 27-mpg on the highway. A 5-speed manual transmission with overdrive is standard. The Grand Touring Power Retractable Hardtop is equipped with a standard 2.0-liter, I4, 166-horsepower engine that achieves 21-mpg in the city and 28-mpg on the highway. A 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive is standard.” It is available with a choice of an automatic transmission with paddle shifters or a five-speed manual transmission. says that the new exterior as “a stronger face, more rakish lines and accentuated fender contours.” Head and tail lamps are mounted inboard for better compactness. Great designs evolve over time but the door mirrors continue the elliptical theme used in the original MX-5 Miata.

Passenger-side airbags and standard drivers–side airbags provides safety without sacrificing the beauty of the interior. It features an ear-blasting entertainment system which is made up of a BOSE 7-speaker AM/FM/6-CD. Overall, interior quality and appearance are way better than any past MX-5 Miata. The hardtop opens or closes in 12 seconds, and consumes no luggage space.

Reviewers see its soft top and new power-folding hardtop as the best in their class.

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A Hybrid for Nissan

The Altima Hybrid Electric is Nissan’s first hybrid car. It is a 4-door, 5-passenger family sedan. Nissan have had an agreement with Toyota in using some of its hybrid technology in the new Altima for the 2007 model year.

It is a 158-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine and 40-horsepower electric assist motor. Torque-wise it’s a stump-puller, with 162 pound-feet from the gas engine and 199 from the electric motor. Its mileage reaches up to 35 miles a gallon in the city and 33 on the open road. This hybrid has a 20-gallon tank, so it must reach an approximate distance of 700 miles.

They say that it is the first hybrid that drives like Prius, this Altima hybrid is also a full hybrid, so it can be powered purely by electricity at low speeds.

Here are some features included in the new Altima; 16-inch alloy wheels, Intelligent Key with Push Button Ignition, power windows/door locks, 6-speaker AM/FM/CD system with auxiliary audio input jack, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), Traction Control System (TCS) and dual-zone automatic temperature control that includes an Altima Hybrid-specific electrically powered A/C.

The 2008 Nissan Altima Hybrid ranks 20 out of 25 Affordable Midsize Cars. In the US, they are selling this only on states with strict clean-air regulations where the automaker needs near-zero-emissions cars, because they think they will have higher buyer interest. These are namely; California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

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The GT-R Concept

The Nissan GT-R is a coupe created by Nissan, and released in Japan on December 6, 2007. Nissan showed the GT-R Concept as the prospective successor to the R34. It is expected to be released internationally by early June of 2008.

“It is powered by an all-new 3.8-litre twin turbo V6 “VR38” engine, featuring plasma-sprayed bores and a special twin-turbo exhaust manifold system. The Nissan GT-R’s new engine produces 480PS (353kW) at 6400rpm and maximum torque of 60kgm (588Nm) from 3200 to 5200rpm.” It can reach the top speed of 193 mph.

It has got a super lightweight forged aluminum wheels with knurled bead area, which was designed to maximize tire adhesion to the wheel under extreme condition. Its body construction consist of super silver special metallic paint, with an 8-stage process including three clear coats and hand polishing to achieve a lustrous, liquid effect.

This car also features a long list of safety and environmental features, including, for enhanced visibility inside and out of the vehicle, high-mounted LED stop lamps, bright LED rear combination taillights, “super wide beam” headlights, heated door mirrors and flat-blade wipers.

For me, it may not the best looking car in the world but who cares as long as it is incredibly fast. And in any sense, I’ll reserve judgment for its looks until I see one in person. This thing is surely going to be a beast on the road. I’m sure it’ll be a blast to drive. Pricing for the sports car starts at $69,850 – $71,900 for the premium edition.

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BMW M1 Homage

BMW introduced the world to their M1 Homage concept at the Villa d’Este Concours d’Elegance last April 2008. The concept vehicle uses a mid-engine layout and borrows its styling from both the original M1 and the Turbo show car. The reason the car was introduced is to mark the 30th anniversary of the BMW M1, which to this day is still one of the most stunning sports cars ever created. It’s been thirty years since the first BMW M1 supercar rolled out of the company’s facility in Munich, Germany.

The styling is directly influenced not only by the original M1 but also from the M1’s inspiration which is the BMW Turbo Concept. In the original M1, the body was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, an Italian automobile designer. Taking inspiration from the 1972 BMW Turbo, the M1 is remembered as a very smooth and well polished supercar in the true BMW tradition.

I’ve always been a fan of the old M1’s looks. I thought they were outdated already but with this new vehicle, it looks like the company has just bred a new M1.

Cool features from the M1 Homage include “invisible headlamps” and a squat version of the trademark BMW grille. The new wave “cheese grater” wheels and the double roundels at the rear corners were also very noticeable and they added sophistication to the car.

I’m less convinced though that this car would be making its way to the for real as a production vehicle after seeing it at the show. I hope that they would actually produce it. I surely would want to see one at a local BMW dealer’s.

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