“Well, here’s one way to stay productive with all the downtime we’re experiencing: Some geniuses in Europe are currently busy swapping the Nissan Navara’s turbodiesel with, get this, a GT-R’s twin-turbo V6. Crazy.
“SB Motorsport, which has sizeable experience messing around with the Japanese carmaker’s Godzilla, says it’s using the current racing lull to get this Frankenstein build on its feet. Once complete, the mill will give its new pickup truck body upwards of 1,000hp.”
“This beast packs a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V8 that generates a whopping 797hp and 957Nm of torque and is mated to an eight-speed gearbox. Just to give you an idea, the Redeye produces at least 300hp and 300Nm more than the standard Challenger, and at least 90hp more than the regular SRT Hellcat.
“With this much power, this Challenger on steroids can rip through the quarter-mile in just 10.8sec. It can hit 100kph in just 3.4sec, and is capable of reaching a top speed of 327kph. Now, for the big question: How much does it cost here in our market? Well, this thing comes with a not-so-measly price tag of P7,890,000—going for the four-door option will cost you another P100,000. That’s the price you have to pay for that much power, we’d say.”
“But wait a second. Lost in all the noise following yesterday’s teaser are the handful of other cars that preceded the next-generation Z in the minute-long clip. These include an SUV, which by the looks of it is the refreshed Nissan Patrol, a couple of small crossovers, and a pair of pickup trucks.
“The last one we mentioned is intriguing. The two models teased appear to be a full-size truck and a midsize one. The Japanese car manufacturer offers only the latter in the Philippines in the form of the Navara, and the current one has been around since 2014. The Navara hasn’t received a serious refresh, only minor updates and special variants, since then.
“So, did Nissan just tease the refreshed, or perhaps even next-generation, Navara? The answer is yes—or at least we’re pretty sure it on account of the ‘N’ in the background as the pickup drives by, and, well, by ‘Navara’ flashing towards the end of the video along with the other nameplates featured in the teaser. You probably only would have noticed that last bit if you managed to stay seated in your chair when the Z car popped out, though.”
The sports car isn’t dead. Not yet. Not if Nissan—yes, Nissan—can help it.
After centuries on sale, during which it’s been owned by the likes of King Henry VIII, Joan of Arc, and Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, the 370Z is set to make way for an all-new Nissan Z-car. There’s life in the sporting coupe yet, folks.
Naturally, details on the new model are as scarce as cheap bottles of hand sanitizer. Nissan has merely released a video promising a fleet of new models under the ‘Nissan Next’ banner, one of which is clearly a long-hooded, swoopy-rear’d coupe. Oh, and there’s a big ‘Z’ in the back of shot. We’ll go out on a limb and say that, just maybe, this is a successor to the 370Z, which came after the 350Z, continuing a lineage that goes right back to the half-century-old 240Z. Happy days beckon.
“Last year, Geely had one foot inside the Philippine market’s door with the launch of the Coolray subcompact crossover. Now, the Chinese car manufacturer may have just solidified its local presence by bringing in the all-new Azkarra.
“As a compact SUV, the Azkarra will be taking on the likes of the Honda CR-V, the Subaru Forester, and the Toyota RAV4. Geely’s offering, though, has one clear advantage: how much it costs. It undercuts all of the above-mentioned competitors by a considerable amount. Now, we’ve already announced its pricing, but here it is again in case you missed it the first time around:
2020 Geely Azkarra
- Geely Azkarra 4x2 Premium – P1,438,000
- Geely Azkarra AWD 48V EMS Luxury – P1,598,000
“The more affordable Azkarra variant comes equipped with a 1.5-liter turbocharged DOHC gasoline engine capable of 177hp at 5,500rpm and 255Nm of torque at 1,500-4,000rpm. The Luxury version, meanwhile, is powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged DOHC and a 48V Electric Motor Synergy system that puts up 190hp at 5,500rpm and 300Nm at 1,500-4,000rpm.”
“Never let it be said that run-of-the-mill hatchbacks and superminis don’t deserve our attention. Yes, a midlife refresh of the fourth-generation Kia Rio may not sound like the most exciting news right now, but listen up...
“The big changes here are clearly not in the styling department—the Rio looks much the same as it did before. You’d have done well to spot the narrower ‘tiger nose’ grille, the lower and wider front bumper, and the new foglamp housing, although you may just have been able to pick out the new 16-inch wheel design and LED lights.
“No, the breaking news here refers to the Rio’s powertrains. As part of this facelift, Kia is introducing two versions of mild-hybrid system, where a 48V lithium-ion battery supplements the torque of either a 99hp or 118hp version of the 1.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine. That’s hardly groundbreaking, of course, but Kia also says this system will use clutch-by-wire technology with a six-speed manual gearbox.
“The clutch-by-wire system means the third pedal remains, but it isn’t directly connected to the clutch by a mechanical linkage. Instead, a sensor on the pedal tells the car’s electronic brain when to engage the clutch, and an electromechanical actuator does the operating. All very clever. Because the link between pedal and clutch is electronic, the car can automatically take over in certain situations, and means Kia has incorporated a coasting function, whereby the clutch is disengaged and the engine is switched off well before you come to a halt, all to improve fuel economy—something that’s usually the preserve of automatic and dual-clutch transmissions.”
“There’s nothing earth-shatteringly new about the ‘new’ Mini Countryman. It’s still the biggest Mini you can get, still a crossover for Mini owners who’ve outgrown their three-door hatchbacks but can’t quite bring themselves to buy something as sensible as a Volkswagen Tiguan.
“Still based on a BMW, too—the Countryman rides on the same platform as most small, front-wheel-drive Bimmers including the new 1-Series, the X1, the X2, and so on.
“Most of the changes are superficial—new LED headlamps and foglights, those famous Union Jack taillights, a new grille, new alloy wheels, and an expanded color palette. Inside, there’s a raft of new color and material options, plus the same digital dials as the Mini GP and Electric. Not transformative, but that’s fine. Should be enough to keep the Countryman humming along until a completely new one inevitably comes out in a few years’ time.”
“Back in March, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the facelifted versions of its E-Class sedan and wagon—how long ago does that feel? And now, we’re being treated to midlife updates on the two-door Coupe and Cabriolet versions.
“The four-door versions were given quite the overhaul during their facelifts, and much of the same tech has made its way onto both the Coupe and the Cabriolet. The visuals have certainly been transferred over, too, although the update was far more conservative in that department.
“On non-AMG models (like the Cabrio pictured above) there are new, flatter headlights and the Merc ‘A-shape’ grille, as well as four new paint colors, LED lights front and rear, and some special aero wheels. The top-spec AMG E53 4MATIC+ gets the same light treatment, but the now-universal AMG grille also comes in, as does a quad-exit exhaust and a rear diffuser.
“The engine and tech changes were the big news for the four-door E-Classes, with seven variants offering plug-in hybrid options and most others getting 48V mild-hybrid systems integrated into their nine-speed automatic gearboxes. For now, it seems like only the latter powertrains will make it into the style-orientated two-doors—leaving either a 191hp or 335hp diesel, plus a range of petrols with power outputs stretching from 194hp right up to 268hp from the E450 4MATIC.
“The E53 is still the most interesting flavor, of course, and that gets a 3.0-liter straight-six with one normal turbo and one electric compressor for 429hp and 520Nm of torque. Zero to 100kph is dealt with in 4.4sec by the coupe and 4.6sec by the cabriolet. We’ve got our fingers crossed for a V8-powered E63 Coupe once that combination makes its way back to the four-door cars, though.”
“On the power front, all engines in the 5-er and 6GT are either full plug-in hybrid or, newly, 48-volt mild hybrid. The mild-hybrid means a torque bump to cover for turbo lag, and an extra 11hp at peak. The 540i and 640i are now 333hp. Their mild-hybrid setup adds to efficiency by allowing significant energy recovery on the over-run, plus smoother and more wide-ranging idle-stop.
“The diesels also have twin turbos on all models. That takes the 520d to 190hp – slightly more power than the 520i petrol.
“For PHEV, you can have a 530e as saloon or Touring, in either case with or without 4WD. There will also be a six-cylinder 545e, with system power nearly 400hp, a sub-5.0 second 0-100kph acceleration, and quoted CO2 of under 50g/km if you choose tires and options carefully. You’ll only get this sort of amazing economy if you plug it in, but with an electric range of 56 kilometers, it’s not worthwhile.
“There’s no PHEV for the 6-series.
“But in general BMW is still rolling out its PHEV strategy. The latest is the X2 25e xDrive. Whereas in the bigger BMWs the electric motor and petrol engine drive through the same transmission, in the X2 (like the Mini Countryman and X1 PHEVs) you get a three-cylinder petrol engine and autobox up front and a single-speed electric drive at the rear.”
“Good lord—look at the size of that rear wing. Looks like California-based tuner Sigala Designs was influenced by the Plymouth Superbird when dreaming up its widebody kit for the new Chevrolet Corvette. That is something else.
“Draw your eye away from the wing for a second and you’ll notice that the rest of the kit isn’t exactly subtle, either. Sigala is calling this the C8.RR, and although it might only be rendered here, the whole thing can be preordered in either fiberglass or carbon fiber.”