Remember the ZEOD RC, and the DeltaWing before it? Nissan’s fascination with narrow-track and electric power continues, but now in the form of something that could actually appear on the street. Oh, and with a drift mode.According to Nissan, this is the future of electric cars that enthusiasts shouldn’t be scared of. That a car can be fun, despite not burning fossil fuels inside, but relying on the gentle hum of batteries instead. Whilst the name sounds like something Gillette would sell, the BladeGlider is a very serious attempt at showcasing what the near-future might hold. This is the Leaf with excitement added: the drama of dihedral doors, an open roof, and technology from Williams Advanced Engineering beneath the radical styling. The narrow front-end and wider rear is lifted straight from the DeltaWing design, maximising aerodynamic efficiency. Cameras replace the wing mirrors for the same reason.Previously displayed as “just a concept” in 2013, Nissan is using the 2016 Olympics to showcase the real-word potential of the BladeGlider. If you happen to be in Rio de Janeiro, and be a fancy VIP, you may well find yourself being shuttled around by the BladeGlider. That’s chauffeured around at considerable pace, too. With the equivalent of 268hp available, and a thumping 521 lb-ft of torque, the BladeGlider can hit 0-62mph in less than 5 seconds and go all the way to 115mph. Whilst that isn’t quite Tesla Model S Insane Mode fast, it’s certainly punchier than your average Leaf.With each rear wheel using an individual electric motor, the BladeGlider’s real party trick is the ability to torque vector. Just like a Nissan GT-R, or a certain Ford Focus RS. Should the car detect understeer, it’ll send torque to the outside rear wheel to turn the car back onto line. But it also allows for added fun with the drift mode option – perhaps there is some extra karma from doing lairy drifts in an electric vehicle… (more…)
We’re continuing our twelve car odyssey through this year’s SMMT Test Day. Part one can be found here if you need to refresh yourself. Things get a little weird and a little crazy in part two. If our first selection of cars at SMMT were varied, although generally performance themed, the second sextet proved to be incredibly diverse. From the ridiculous to the sublime, and everything in between.
7. MG3 1.5 SportRemember the world before everything became turbocharged and you had to rev the nuts off a naturally-aspirated engine to make progress? Drive the MG3 and the 1.5-litre VTI petrol motor will take you back to those heady days. Let’s not kid ourselves here – the MG3 is undoubtedly a cheap car – but any real potential it has is hamstrung by an outdated engine. In a world of EcoBoosts and Boosterjets, having to pin the throttle to the floor constantly just to keep up with traffic becomes a chore.
A chore that damages fuel economy and C02 figures compared to rivals. It also makes for unrefined progress, matched by the slightly bouncy ride quality. Handling is, however, pretty neat and although the interior is built to a price it’s relatively well-equipped. There’s the potential for an acceptable bargain supermini in the MG3; it just desperately needs a modern small-capacity turbo engine.
ESM Rating: 5.5/10
Stats: £9,899, 1.5-litre I4, 105hp/101lb-ft, 0-60mph 10.4 seconds, 108mph top speed.
8. Subaru Forester 2.0i XT LineartronicThe Subaru Forester is a product which appeals to a certain niche population in the car market. Typically farming folk who want something reliable and usable. This particular car, being the performance turbo petrol XT version, manages to be even more specialist in its appeal. Rural people who want to get to the market in a hurry. It’s the quickest horse in the Forester stable, although we only tried it off-road, so can’t really comment if 238hp turns this into a high-riding performance SUV like the RS Q3. The boxer engine was noticeably quiet – no iconic flat-four burbling here – and overall refinement was strong for something many might label as mildly agricultural.
Hitting the dirt tracks of Millbrook’s ‘brown route’ showed off the genuine ability the Forester has in the rough. It was more than capable with steep inclines, juggling torque to the wheel with most grip quickly and efficiently. The hill-descent control system was brilliantly easy to use, with a simple tap of the brakes to set the speed you want, and the Forester handling the rest on the way down. It’s intuitive, doesn’t require messing about with extra buttons, and is very effective. Overall the Forester has a lot of charm and, whilst it might make more sense in diesel specification, you can’t doubt the capabilities of this XT version.
ESM Rating: 8/10 (off-road only)
Stats: £30,995, 2.0-litre flat-four turbo, 0-62mph 7.5 seconds, 137mph top speed
9. 1988 Nissan Micra 1.0 Automatic ‘K10’
Nissan was keen to celebrate three decades of production at the NMMUK Sunderland factory, so wheeled out three heritage models. Which includes this original Mk1 Micra – resplendent with three-speed automatic gearbox and unassisted steering. If anything, it serves as a reminder to just how far automotive technology has come in the past 30 years, and how we should be grateful for that progress! (more…)
As the post goes live it’s April Fools’ Day, which means the press offices and PR departments of car companies have been in overdrive trying to find the wittiest way of plugging their products.
We’ve covered these efforts before on ESM but, instead, this year we’ve decided to take a completely different approach. The fact is, car advertising in the UK finds itself embattled with the Advertising Standards Authority, which takes a dim view of anything dangerous or exciting. Quite frankly, it’s amazing that we haven’t had car adverts banned from TV altogether, for fear of upsetting Britain’s Victorian morals. Read the industry guidance on car advertising and you’ll begin to understand the minefield marketing departments have to navigate.
Take, for instance, this BMW M4 Convertible advert – banned by the ASA in 2014 after a grand total of a single complaint. Yes, one person, or more likely a single safety-minded organisation, put the brakes on the advert which featured the car on road and race track. The ASA were concerned viewers might not be able to tell the difference, and thus be encouraged to drive dangerously on the public highway.
So that’s why, to celebrate the ridiculousness that are the rules imposed by the ASA, we’ve featured two videos from the incredibly talented director Alessandro Pacciani. We’ve no doubt his work would be banned instantly were it shown on TV, but that’s more of a reason to like it. Also, we were attracted to the absurdity of a Nismo-spec Nissan Patrol in the first video, and the obvious irony of a BMW M4 doing naughty things in the second one:
Consider these your welcome break from the April Fools’ adverts you’ll have endured this morning.
The Nissan GT-R has been around for almost nine years now, with several minor facelifts along the way. Other than a new ESM-pleasing colour, how many changes can you spot on the 2017 Model Year GT-R?
Existing as a rival for the Porsche 911 Turbo, there’s a chance Nissan’s engineers have adopted the German marque’s love of incremental styling changes. But, in GT-R terms at least, the new 2017MY car actually features some relatively dramatic alterations. The splitter certainly juts out more from the revised front bumper, the leading edge of the front wings appear more pronounced, a new bonnet has appeared, and there’s new corporate grille surrounding the GT-R badge. At the sides there are more prominent sills to cut through the air easier, feeding into a revised rear end that features new vents aside the quad exhaust tailpipes.
No, it’s hardly revolutionary, but as a pure facelift it was never going to make huge changes. Nissan claims the alterations have decreased aerodynamic drag, whilst maintaining downforce at the same level of the previous version GT-R, proving this isn’t purely just a styling exercise. The addition of the distinctive ‘Katsura Orange’ paint option is all about aesthetics, however, and is meant to reflect the new car’s sophisticated character. Possibly the only time we’ve seen tango paintwork and sophisticated in the same sentence. The US-market gets the slightly less subtle name of “Blaze Orange” for the satsuma hue.
Red, white and – well, more red actually. Not the colours of the American flag, but the colours of pretty much everything on show at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show. Perhaps rouge is this colour of choice for motor show cars?
As the first big event of the year, the North American International Auto Show offers the chance to spot trends we might see for the rest of the year. It also has the potential to prove if the US market is still obsessed with making the biggest stuff possible.
Pickup trucks are getting more outrageous
If there’s one vehicle that sums up the US automotive market in one fell swoop then it’s the pickup truck. But 2016 seems to be the year that manufacturers have truly gone XXL with their offerings.
Ford’s latest version of the F-150 Raptor was launched at the Detroit show a year ago but, twelve months later, it’s already been tweaked. Now there’s a SuperCrew version of the 3.5-litre EcoBoost powered machine so you can fit even more people or stuff inside. Although persuading people to get in the back as you make use of the new Terrain Management system in mud, rock or even baja mode might be a challenge!
Not to be outdone, Nissan premiered the Warrior concept version of its Titan X.D truck, again just one year after showing off the regular production version. With a 5.0-litre Turbo Diesel V8 engine, race-derived suspension parts, and a smattering of carbon fibre body panels it’s a formidable sounding proposition. Whether it becomes a reality remains to be seen.
Not quite as dramatically-styled as the Ford or Nissan, Honda is concentrating on practicality with the all-new Ridgeline. With a design that focuses on things which really matter to pickup buyers, like hauling sheets of plywood or drywall flat in the loadspace, or a 540 watt sound system mounted in the truck bed to improve your tailgating experience. Could it just be a little too sensible for its own good?
ESM is rejoicing at the fact the roads of the North East might now be populated with a new car – the locally built Infiniti Q30.
When you live close to a Nissan plant that employs almost 7,000 people, every commute in the region involves the now subconscious spotting of Juke, Note, Leaf and Qashqai models. Be it on transporters heading to the Port of Tyne, or just frequenting the roads and car parks around the North East, there’s no getting away from the impact of having a major motor manufacturer in the local area. (more…)
This year’s Frankfurt Motor Show proved to be fairly impressive, with a host of big names revealing new products and concepts. Incredibly, this even included cars that hadn’t been previewed in a press release weeks beforehand! Who knew that was still possible? We’ve picked out some of the notable cars making an appearance in Germany.
ESM actually spent the first Frankfurt press day helping out the good people at Motoring Research with their live blog. We heartily recommend you go and read it, especially for the Periscope video action from Andrew and Gav. Trust us, you’ll find yourself longing for a special edition Suzuki Jimny or at least learning where not to leave you bag on a motor show stand.
Possibly the biggest talking point of the whole Frankfurt show was the Bentley Bentayga SUV. Promising to be more luxurious than a Range Rover, but with epic performance from a W12 engine, it’s a pretty big deal. To some it’s a step too far for the Bentley brand, and the styling is also equally divisive. However, ESM is pretty sold on it – especially in orange. The Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo is just as mental in real life as in the initial photos – a definite showstopper. Oh, and yes that is a tent on the back of the Citroen Cactus M.
We’d already seen PR photos of the Ferrari 488 Spider, but it’s seemingly even more impressive in the metal. Some even going so far as to say it’s better looking than the GTB coupé. The Hyundai stand was one of contrasts, with the Korean company pushing its new “N” performance sub-brand with the rather mental 2025 Gran Turismo concept, alongside the Santa Fe and i20 Active. Jaguar’s F-Pace stole the pre-show excitement with a Guinness World Record-breaking launch event, whilst the MotoGP-engined Honda 2&4 concept proved to be a winner.
In something that seems to be worryingly turning into a trend, the North East saw yet another automotive event take place here at the weekend. Naturally, ESM headed along to check things out.
The NE1 Motor Show, chiefly backed by the Benfield dealership empire, aimed to bring both new and classic cars right to the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne. Occupying the area around Grey’s Monument, and then the entire length of picturesque Grey Street, the NE1 show certainly hit the mark in pulling people in. Being free will, of course, have helped but it was still great to see so many people taking an interest in the event.
With our BTCC Correspondent and Uncle Steve, we made short work of covering the 100 or so cars which made up the NE1 display. Ok, so it wasn’t quite Geneva or Goodwood, but this is progress. We can now tell Katie Glass that ‘the North’ is so modern we even have motor shows these days. Who knows, we might have indoor toilets and colour television by next year… But, we digress. We’ve already written about the NE1 show for the good people at Motoring Research, so here are our collective photographic efforts for you, ESM readers. Enjoy.
Whilst the Festival of Speed has grown to become the de facto British motor show, it’s still all about the epic racing cars that tackle the hill climb course. Our second 2015 gallery features some of the exotic and expensive machinery found in the paddock.