Super Street Network

 |   |   |  Spin Out - News
Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter

Spin Out - News

All The News With Out Fear Or Favor

Mar 28, 2007
0605_sccp_01_z+spin_out+volvo_c30_concept Photo 1/1   |   Spin Out - News

Auto Show Spooge Fest 2006!In early January, the automotive world descends upon Detroit for the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Considering the ass-freezing reality of January in Detroit, the show had better be pretty damned good to make a trip to Michigan worthwhile. This year it nearly was.

This month's Spinout is obsessed with NAIAS and herewith we present our view of it.

Simply Stunning:Infiniti Coupe ConceptThis is the car that will replace the current Infiniti G35 Coupe and serve as the base upon which the all-wheel drive, twin-turbocharged (Skyline) GT-R will be erected. It's flat-out gorgeous.

Designed by the Nissan Technical Center in Atsugi, Japan, the Coupe Concept takes the forms established by the current G35 Coupe (Skyline in Japan) and makes them more voluptuous, with softer, more gently rounded fenders and wheel openings flared around 20x9-inch wheels. The most distinctive element of the Concept, however, is the glass panel that runs the entire length of the car. Infiniti didn't share much about the Concept Coupe's mechanicals, so we'll just assume that the engine is some variation on Nissan's VQ-series of V6s.

Expect the second-generation Infiniti Coupe to hit showrooms sometime this year. It shouldn't be too much different from the Concept.

Best Future Chick Car:Mitsubishi concept-CTMitsusbishi's twist on the inevitable gas-electric hybrid was the Concept-CT, and it was most impressive for being so aggressively adorable. Can the company that makes the world-slaying Evo really be on the verge of building a car that only looks good parked in front of sorority houses?

The Concept-CT is not, however, without some technical innovation. The 1.0-liter, three-cylinder gas engine is mounted mid-ship and produces just 67hp, which it sends to the rear wheels. A generator charges a bank of lithium-ion batteries that can send power to electric motors in each of the machine's wheels. It's a neat piece of packaging-and it's cute!

Production? Not likely. But Mitsubishi can't stay broke forever.

Best Of Show:Mazda Kabura ConceptIf there was one concept car at this year's show that should be put into production, this is it. Sporting rear-wheel drive, a 3+1 seating layout and a 2-liter engine, the lightweight concept blends the unadulterated driving experience of the MX-5 with the convenience of a top and additional seats. Check out our first drive on page 58!

Nordic Beauty:Volvo C30 ConceptOne of the best-looking Volvos ever was the P1800 ES sport wagon that the company built between 1971 and 1973, and the C30 Design Concept does an outstanding job of reviving that car's basic elements. A production version of the C30-only barely different from the Concept-will be displayed at September's Paris Auto Show.

Obviously based on the same front-drive architecture as the S40 sedan and V50 wagon (also shared with the Mazda3 and Ford's European Focus), the C30 is obviously a two-door with, like the old P1800 ES, a tall tail with extended side-glass and a rear hatch made of frameless glass. In the Design Concept, power comes from a turbocharged inline-five, producing about 260bhp. Lets hope the turbo motor makes it into production when the C30 goes on sale as a 2007 model.

Slightly Wacky:2007 Honda Fit SportWith the Civic growing larger (and more expensive) there was obviously room in Honda's line-up for a smaller, more affordable machine. Here it is, the 2007 Fit-the first Honda sold in America smaller than the Civic since 1972 (not counting motorcycles, lawn mowers and outboard motors).

Dinky as the Fit is, it should be decently quick (for its class), with a 109bhp, 1.5-liter VTEC engine aboard, driving the front wheels through a 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. A Fit Sport model will even feature paddle shifters on the steering wheel when it's ordered with the automatic. And the Sport model will also pack huge (somewhat) P195/55R-15 tires instead of the P175/65R-14s lesser Fits get.

All Fit models come as five-door hatches riding on 96.5-inch wheelbases and stretching out 157.4-inches long overall. That compares to the 106.3-inch wheelbase and 176.7-inch overall length of the current Civic sedan. Interestingly, the original 1973 Civic was even smaller, riding on an 86.6-inch wheelbase and stretching out 139.8-inches overall (and it only had 50hp on tap from its 1.2-liter engine). The Fit's chassis is a conventional mix of struts up front and a torsion beam in the back. That's probably good enough.

With Toyota's new Yaris, Nissan's new Versa and now Honda's new Fit, suddenly the sub-subcompact segment is overflowing with fresh products. With gas prices up and unlikely to go down, that's probably not surprising. What is surprising is how well these machines work as everyday transportation devices. The question now is whether they'll work as sport compact heroes as well.

The Fit hits Honda dealers' mitts this April.

Meanest Korean: Hyundai HCD9 Talus ConceptIf nothing else, the Hyundai HCD9 Talus Concept looked like a Corvette that some guy who works at a Chevy dealership had slipped the chassis from an old Blazer under. And that's a compliment.

Emerging from the Hyundai Design Center in Irvine, California, the HCD9 Talus is intended, explained the Center's head designer Joel Piatowski, "For a person who has grown accustomed to the needs and benefits of an SUV, but desires the emotional gratification of sports car styling and performance." It's jacked up in the air like the 4x4 that it is and sports a 340-or-so-horsepower 4.6-liter, DOHC 32-valve V8 in its nose, which feeds a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The HCD9 Talus body is attractive and includes a dinky set of hinged rear doors for tail-end access. It would look better if it weren't riding so high, but then it would just be another sport coupe.

Best Hybrid: Honda GRX ConceptHybrids may well be the most virtuous cars on Earth. But they're dang-near invariably boring. The exception to that rule is Honda's GRX Concept.

Built as part of the Michelin Challenge Design exhibit, the GRX is built around a 1.5-liter engine (based on the unit in its Gold Wing touring motorcycle) coupled with batteries and an electric motor. Truly tiny, the GRX has a muscular and sporty appearance that belies its efficiency. It might even be fun to drive.

Building any car around the ultra-smooth, creamy-and-powerful Gold Wing engine is a brilliant idea.

Second Best Hybrid: Ford Reflex conceptFord's Reflex Concept is so good-looking it's almost a disappointment to discover it's powered by a hybrid drivetrain, mixing a three-cylinder diesel engine and an electric motor system. Ford is predicting something like 65mpg for this three-seat twerp, but we'd settle for less if they packed this thing with a turbocharged four. The neatest features are the two doors, which are hinged high on the back of the roof so that they open like massive air brakes.

Styling this good shouldn't be wasted on a hybrid.

Rumors & Lies* Ford of Europe produced its four-millionth Focus in January. At least three million of them are currently in the Hertz lot at Frankfurt Airport.

* According to the Riverside Press-Enterprise, the Riverside office of the California Highway Patrol has received a $335,000 grant to be used specifically to crack down on street racing around Southern California's Inland Empire. The paper reports that the money will be used to fund officers on a special street racing patrol with particular emphasis on the warehouse districts around Mira Loma and Rubidoux.

* The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that street racing deaths in that Southern California county have dropped 94-percent since 2002. In 2002 there were 16 deaths and 31 serious injuries directly related to illegal street racing there. During 2005, there were no deaths and only three serious injuries attributed to the same activity. Some of that is the result of the RaceLegal program of drag racing run in the parking lot of Qualcomm Stadium. "There is no doubt in my mind, nor among my colleagues, that the viable league option of the RaceLegal program has contributed to the dramatic decline of illegal street racing," Capt. Glen Revell of the Sheriff's Department told the newspaper.

* Oregon has enacted a new "speed demon" law that increases the penalties for running over 100mph drastically. According to The Oregonian newspaper, one of the first to encounter the new law was Abelardo Villarreal Jr., 19, of Gladstone, who was clocked doing 120mph in his Acura Integra along I-205. For going 120mph in a 55 zone, Villarreal was fined $1,103 and taken into custody on suspicion of reckless driving and endangering a passenger.

* Toyota is supposedly considering the construction of a new engine plant in Michigan. This would be the Japanese manufacturer's first plant in the home state of Ford and GM.

Inevitable: 2007 Mitsubishieclipse SpyderIt was obvious that a drop-top version of Mitsubishi's latest Eclipse was on the way... and here it is. It's just like the Eclipse coupe except- get this-the top goes down! We'll have more on the 2007 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder next month after we've driven it.

Weirdest Hybrid: Toyota Fine-TFuel Cell Hybrid ConceptWith electric motors in its wheels and a fuel cell under its floor, the Fine-T isn't really a hybrid-it's a fuel cell electric. But such is the power of the word "hybrid" that Toyota apparently couldn't resist throwing it on.

Sure the Fine-T's nearly carbon-neutral construction and zilch emissions are impressive but does the future have to look like this?

Not At Detroit! Prodrive P2Britain's Prodrive made its name with Subaru's World Rally Cars and it doesn't look like they're about to give that up. However, Prodrive also wants to be known for it's own talents and not just for monster Subies. So they recently unveiled the P2; a two-seater entirely engineered and designed at Prodrive's facilities in Banbury and Warwick UK.

Weighing in at just about 2200 pounds, the P2 relies on a Subaru WRX all-wheel drivetrain and modified two-liter flat-four. Prodrive's enhancements to the Subie stuff include an anti-lag system and "Active Torque Dynamics" which shuffles the torque distribution mix through active center and rear diffs, according to the vehicle's current situation.

Prodrive obviously has the ability to design the P2, but they don't really have the backing to put it into regular production. However they would be happy if another manufacturer would like to. And they predict a price of around $70,000.

Prodrive obviously has the ability to design the P2, but they don't really have the backing to put it into regular production. However they would be happy if another manufacturer would like to. And they predict a price of around $70,000.

Brand extension special mention 2006 scion xb rs 3.0Scion is shameless about shoving special-edition models into its nooks near the back of Toyota showrooms. The division-within-a-division's special release for 2006 started with the xB Release Series 3.0 that went on sale in February.

Painted "Envy Green," the Series 3.0 features a solid, color-keyed "Aero Speedgrille," seven-spoke wheel covers (much better than those crappy six-spoke wheel covers) and a color-keyed rear spoiler. Inside there's an Alpine DVD audio/video receiver with an extended range six-speaker system and iPod integration and Vizualogic(tm) (they trademarked the word as if anyone else would want to use it) "Dual Headrest Rear Seat Entertainment System" that plants seven-inch LCD monitors into the back of each front seat headrest. All that for $2,310 more than the regular xB's base price of $14,030.

Think of the "Envy Green" paint as a really thick primer, and you can re-spray the thing with Krylon in your own garage over a weekend.

BROWSE CARS BY MARKET

MORE FEATURES

After taking some time off from the Honda game Robert Tellez is back with a build that has plenty of options for progression
RodrezNov 16, 2018
The new BMW Z4 only exists because Toyota wanted a new Supra.
ManufacturerNov 15, 2018
The Subaru WRX STI Diamond Edition features a yellow body kit - complete with front splitter, side skirts, and rear diffuser - and 349 ponies under the hood
Kelly PleskotNov 14, 2018
Jaguar gave its rally F-Type a full roll cage, ripped out most of the interior, and added auxiliary lights to the hood
Collin WoodardNov 12, 2018
The one car that caught our attention the moment we stepped into VIP Fest 12 and not only held it, but had us coming back for another visit (or three) as the day continued
RodrezNov 9, 2018
Sponsored Links

SEARCH ARTICLES BY MAKE/MODEL

Search
CLOSE X
BUYER'S GUIDE
SEE THE ALL NEW
NEWS, REVIEWS & SPECS
TO TOP