So what has EngageSportMode’s local car manufacturer been up to at the Paris Motor Show? Seemingly sticking bits of red trim to everything it can get its hands on, in order to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the NISMO brand.
Chiefly known to anyone who has played Gran Turismo in the last 15 years as the tuner of Skyline GT-Rs, NISMO was formed thirty years ago by Nissan, to lead on the development of race cars and performance parts. Up until relatively recently, Nissan had seemingly been content to keep the NISMO name tag reserved for Japanese-market only products. However, the company now seems determined to use the Nissan Motorsport badge on pretty much the entire model range, with four models on display at the Paris Motor Show.
We’ve seen some of that quartet already, but the Pulsar NISMO is a new twist on the only recently released c-segment hatchback. It’s Nissan’s first real attempt at a hot-hatch since the Almera GTI; yes, the one with the advert, but is sadly only a styling concept for the time being. It certainly adds some much-needed visual clout to the standard Pulsar which, if we’re being completely honest, looks a little ordinary.
Volkswagen’s XL1 eco-car is already a thing of wonder. So, how could you make the lightweight, low-drag, special even better? By slotting a 200 PS Ducati motorbike engine into it; that’s how.
For those unsure why an Italian motorbike engine is sitting in the rear of a German sportscar concept, it’s best to remind you that the Volkswagen Group bought Ducati back in 2012, through its Lamborghini subsidiary. So, in some respects, it’s just the same as that EA888 2.0 litre engine appearing in both a VW Golf GTI and the Audi S1. Kind of.
The engine in the XL Sport isn’t just any old Ducati unit though. It’s the 200 PS (197 bhp) V-twin 1,199cc motor taken from the limited edition Ducati Superleggera. It also happens to be the world’s most powerful production two-cylinder engine, and is capable of revving to 11,000 rpm, thanks to some trick titanium connecting rods. Torque is, inevitably, motorbike-engine low at just 99 lb-ft but what more do you need in a carbon-fibre monocoqued car weighing just 890kg?
The 2014 Paris Motor Show kicks off properly tomorrow but, it seems, manufacturers are more intent on unveiling every concept and new car before the actual event. Regardless of that, here’s the Audi TT Sportback concept show car:
Ever wished the TT coupé came with five-doors? No? Well, Audi has already got an answer for something you hadn’t even worried about, in the shape of the TT Sportback. Given the brand already has a Sportback version of the A5, along with the A7, it’s perhaps reasonable to presume Audi is concerned about a potential gap in the five-door coupé range it offers.
Longer, wider and lower than the regular TT, the Sportback concept also features a 12cm longer wheelbase; presumably to incorporate some room for those two potential rear seat passengers. We particularly like the subtly kicked up boot lid – a feature similar to that seen on the A5 and A7 – which follows the elongated roofline. Being a concept, the wheels are naturally 21″ in diameter, and look distinctly similar to the ones fitted to the 2003 Nuvolari concept car. The TT Sportback also features Audi’s favourite technology feature at present; laser main beam headlights.
You know what they say: ‘more doors, more… door handles?’