Automotive News

Calgary Gets a New Kart Track

Well, technically, it’s outside of Strathmore, but who cares. As we mentioned in our Kart School review, the Calgary Kart Racing Club has been working hard at securing a new site for their new kart track that serves Calgary and surrounding areas. They’ve finalized on the location and will be starting construction immediately. The new track is 1.3km long with 14 turns, making it the longest kart sprint track in Canada. It is scheduled to open late summer/early fall.

What I am most excited about are the rumors of a Junior Karting program coming to the new track. Many F1 drivers start their careers as young as 4 years old in junior karts, and the lack of such a program in Canada is a big reason why we do not have many Canadian F1 drivers. It’s a great way to build talent and skillset at an early age to challenge drivers out of Europe.

The CKRC is hosting a fencing party, where volunteers are invited to join in building the new fence for the track. For more information on volunteering, as well as track design, check out the link here.

Nissan Concept 2020 at Goodwood Festival


While many manufacturers have participated in the Vision Gran Turismo project by letting their designers run wild to build some digital concept vehicles, Nissan has gone a step further by actually building the Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo. The concept car can be seen at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.

That definitely took some wind out of Aston Martin’s sail as they also used the Goodwood Festival as a backdrop to their unveiling of the DP-100 Vision Gran Turismo. Unlike Nissan however, their affair was strictly digital.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I think there is a good chance some of this Nissan Concept 2020 design will make it into the next generation GT-R. We’ll see soon enough how much truth there is to that though as Nissan should be releasing next gen GT-R news later this year. For now, check out more pictures of the Nissan Concept 2020 in the gallery.

More Nissan Concept 2020 Vision GT Pictures

Aston Martin Unveils DP-100 Vision Gran Turismo


Aston Martin has joined other automakers by announcing their own entry into the Vision Gran Turismo project with their DP-100 concept at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. They join the Nissan Concept 2020, the AMG Vision Gran Turismo and others as DLC for Gran Turismo on Playstation later this month.

The twin-turbo mid-engined racer offers up to 800 horsepower, endowing it with blistering performance fully in keeping with the high octane nature of the game.

Created using many of the same techniques as applied in the development of Aston Martin production sports cars, such as hand sketches and 3D modelling, followed by full realisation in the virtual world, DP-100 provides an exceptional level of detail with a fully functioning suspension system and state-of-the-art electronics.

Google Announces CarPlay Competitor, Android Auto


Hardly a secret, aside from the name, Google has finally announced its in-car infotainment system it had been working on as part of the Open Automotive Alliance. The OAA is a group currently consisting of 28 automakers and 16 technology partners whose stated goal is “making technology in the car safer, more seamless and more intuitive for everyone.” The new in-car infotainment system will be called Android Auto.

Some of the automotive partners include Audi, Acura (and Honda), Chevrolet, Infiniti, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru and Volkswagen. Noticeably absent are a couple luxury automakers BMW, and Mercedes-Benz both of which are Apple CarPlay exclusive for the time being. Time will tell if one or both of these guys will make the jump to Android Auto. While not an OAA member, the Mercedes-Benz CarPlay introduction has been delayed so it could be the result of adding support for Android Auto in their Comand Infotainment system.

Android Auto when it arrives will essentially be an extension of the Android device. Everything you as the driver interact with on the system is actually still powered by your Android device. The display is simply streamed (or casted in Google speak) to your vehicle’s display. If you’re familiar with Google Now, you’ll feel quite at home with Android Auto as that is how Google provides bite-sized contextual information to the driver. As with Google Now, Android Auto will be heavily voice-based providing quick, easy access to apps, navigation and even text messaging. One key difference over CarPlay is that Google will be providing an SDK for Android app makers while Apple has decided to keep their system a bit more closed.

So when will we start to see cars with Android Auto? Google says later this year as automakers release their 2015 model year vehicles. Audi sent out a press release shortly after the Android Auto announcement at Google I/O stating that vehicles with Android Auto will be coming out this fall.

Mercedes-Benz SL63 and SL65 AMG 2LOOK Edition


Contrast is a wonderful thing, and that’s the design theme of the new 2LOOK Edition SL63 and SL65 AMG seen here. Mercedes-Benz has given the SL their unique 2Look treatment, offering heavily contrasted colors that will grab anyone’s attention. The roof, cross-strut in the AMG front lip, mirror housings, fins on the wings and hood, surrounds of headlamp cluster, spoiler lip and diffuser insert are all coated in high-gloss black, polar opposites to the white paintjob. The interior is wrapped in exclusive Nappa leather, while trim pieces feature designo platinum white pearl Nappa leather. The biggest change is the steering wheel, wrapped in a mixture of Nappa leather and Alcantara, with the bezel in high-gloss black.

The 2LOOK Editions are available this June in German dealers, with the SL63 AMG 2LOOK Edition starting at €169,991.50, while the SL65 version starts at a piggy bank busting €244,188.00. There is no word on these editions heading our way, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is another European exclusive.

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The Mercedes-Benz CLS Gets Refreshed


The CLS class, now 4 years into the second generation, gets its facelift for the 2015 model year this fall. A rework of the front end features a lower wing design much like the refreshed E-Class. New multibeam LED headlamps with the adaptive highbeam feature allows drivers to concentrate on the road, while the car adjusts lighting for changing road conditions. The rear bumper also gets the makeover treatment, with a more aggressive rear end featuring cooling exit vents.

The changes in the cabin are fairly minor, with the biggest change being the move to the now standard iPad style screen already featured in the G, C, CLA, GLA and A Class. The COMAND navigation is upgraded with new online features that includes Google Maps integration, 3D satellite views, as well as internet based traffic information. Mechanically, the North American engine choices stay the same (the AMG non S model is no longer offered), while the non AMG CLS gets a new 9G-TRONIC 9 speed transmission which boosts fuel efficiency. DISTRONIC PLUS finally gets Steering Assist, which allows the car to drive itself in stop and go traffic up to 60km/h.

Expect to see the updated CLS in showrooms this September. Sadly, the beautiful shooting brake shown in our gallery won’t make its way to North America.

Click for more photos of the updated CLS.

NISSAN CONCEPT 2020 Vision GT Hints at GT-R Design


It turns out that the Nissan concept car that we were anticipating was not a GT-R concept car per se, but the NISSAN CONCEPT 2020 Vision Gran Turismo may still provide some hints at what we should expect from Nissan when the next generation GT-R does show up. As you can see in the new shot revealed today, the design is pretty wild and conceptual but that is because the designers were given complete free reign to design a car that they envision would cruise the streets of the future. It was created through close collaboration with the creators of Gran Turismo, Polyphony Digital Inc., and will be available as DLC for GT6 in July.

Video of the Nissan Concept 2020 Vision Gran Turismo

Engine details for the new Mercedes AMG GT


Mercedes AMG has released a new video on their YouTube channel that gives some more insight into what is going to be under the hood of the all new Mercedes AMG GT.  The GT is intended to be a smaller SLS (not a direct replacement) and is to compete with the likes of the Porsche 911. We are also getting confirmation that the M178 engine will push out over 500 horsepower at 6250rpm and about 480 lb-ft of torque.

AMG is following the industry trend of powering all of their cars with forced induction engines.  AMG is also following other manufacturers by opting to put the turbos in the middle between the cylinder banks.  They call it a “hot inside ‘V’ ” configuration.  This puts the turbos as close as possible to the exhaust side of the cylinders and shortens the routing necessary for the cold side of the turbos.  This should allow for better throttle response.  This configuration also makes for a much more compact engine compared to the traditional mounting of turbos on the outside.

On the AMG GT (C190 model), the M178 engine comes with a dry sump.  This is unlikely to transfer over to the eagerly anticipated C63 that is rumored to be powered by the same 4.0 biturbo V8.  In the video, you can also see that the engine will be sporting twin air to water intercoolers that sit far ahead of the engine.  In fact, it looks like the engine cover is actually covering those intercoolers, rather than the engine itself.  This is because the engine in the C190 will sit behind the front axel for a mid-front engine mounting.

The video also shows what the new AMG GT might look like with a transparent outline of the forth coming sports car.

I, for one, am looking forward to hearing this engine in person.  AMG takes great care in making sure their engines sound superb even when turbo charged.

Check Out the Video after the break

Nissan Unveils New NP300 Frontier Pickup


Last week Nissan had posted a new pickup truck that had a white cover draped over top of it and said news will be coming out today. Today, they kept that promise and announced the 12th generation Nissan NP300 Navara (sold as the Frontier outside of Asia). There was a small chance that Nissan was doing a mid-cycle refresh of the Titan but all signs were pointing to a new Frontier debut, the most obvious of which were the roof racks visible under the white cover. The new Frontier gets the updated V-motion front-end design found on all the latest Nissan models and an updated pair of headlights with LED daytime running lights. The front-end updates and the blacked out B-pillar instantly makes the current Frontier look dated. I bet many Frontier owners will be heading to the dealers to put their orders in. The new Frontier will be available in two new colors, Earth Bronze and Savannah Yellow (pictured above). Savannah Yellow looks nice on the Frontier, but looks more like orange to me than yellow.

“The Nissan New NP300 Navara sets new benchmarks for performance, toughness, versatility and running costs; all the qualities that are critical for pickup users,” adds Andy Palmer, Nissan’s Chief Planning Officer.

Nissan didn’t announce any engine options for the Frontier, but the Navara in Europe will be getting an improved verison of Nissan’s 2.5L turbo diesel good for 188 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque. Buyers in Europe and Asia can also opt for a 2.5L inline 4 gas engine if they don’t want the diesel option. Both engines will be paired with a 6-speed manual transmission with an optional 7-speed automatic. The 7-speed automatic provides for low fuel consumption at slow speeds as well as better acceleration, expanded gear ratio for wider range of speeds, and smooth acceleration and shifting. The 6-speed manual features enhanced fuel efficiency from low to high gear, while its optimized shift stroke makes for quick and effortless gear changes.

Pictures of the Earth Bronze paint and interior can be found after the break along with a video of the new Frontier in action.

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Is This Performance Concept the 2016 Nissan GT-R?


Nissan had teased last week a new vehicle that would become the 149th Nissan vehicle to join the Gran Turismo car list and since over half of the vehicles are GT-R variants its not that far fetched to assume that this latest concept vehicle they have teased is a GT-R Concept Vehicle of some sort. Could this be a preview of the next generation Nissan GT-R? If so, Nissan has shown that their concept vehicles are not that far off from production vehicles.

Not much is known about the next generation Nissan GT-R other than the plan that Nissan has to include a hybrid powertrain and if this teaser is any indication, may borrow some design cues from their Le Mans Prototype, the GT-R LM Nismo. The waiting game continues for more information as the announcement expected today did not materialize and instead we are being told that June 16th is the next date to mark on our calendars.

From Nissan’s Press Release:

LOS ANGELES – On Monday, June 16, we will reveal the next chapter in our Nissan story to an audience that has always shared our passion for performance.

A couple more shots in our gallery after the break.

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