VWWG Files: Suzuki announces Tokyo Motor Show concepts

Here's a few for the Vehicles We Won't Get files: the Air Triser (above), the Mighty Deck (below), the Hustler Scoot (right), and the concept GSX (after the jump). Suzuki (now officially divorced from Volkswagen, phew) is preparing these concepts for the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show. The Air Triser is a three-row compact minivan with a personal lounge. The Hustler Scoot (don'tcha just love the names? translation?) is a 50cc scooter with numerous storage solutions. The Mighty Deck is a minicar with a canvas roof and an open deck. And, the concept GSX gives a look at the possible direction of performance motorcycles. Won't see them but they are cool looking. For more information, including info on a few production models, check out the release after the jump.

Source: Suzuki - Press release after the jump.

BMW introduces the performance "compact" SAV coupe: the X4 M40i

Yes sports fans, this is the X6's little brother, the X4, with all of the M Performance goodies. The X4 M40i is the first Bimmer to use their new 3.0-liter, TwinPower Turbo in-line six that puts out 355 hp and 343 lb-ft. of torque (enabling a 0 to 60 run in 4.7 seconds) mated to the Sport Steptronic eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. SAC (Sports Activity Coupe) indeed. Other standard equipment includes Dynamic Damper Control, Variable Sport Steering, Performance Control, Park Distance Control front and rear, Xenon adaptive headlights and LED fog lights, as well as Sport seats, M leather steering wheel and 19-inch M light-alloy wheels. In addition, Nevada Leather upholstery, Comfort Access keyless entry, Lumbar support, and Satellite radio with 1 year subscription are all standard on the X4 M40i. Also included are the M Performance body accents like the unique front and rear fascia, wheels, and the Ferric Gray metallic accents. Seven exterior colors are available (including the new Long Beach Blue Metallic hue shown) as well as six Nevada Leather upholstery colors and four different interior trim options. All this personaliztion won't come cheaply, but then if you have to ask... For lots of information, check out the informative press release after the jump.

Source: BMW - Informative press release and pics after the "read more" jump.

Volkswagen Passat gets a mid-life update for 2016 - w/videos

With all the bad news VW has been generating recently, it's easy to forget that they still make cars and not all of them are diesel-powered. Remember also that while VW sells a lot of diesels (compared to other automakers) , they sell a lot more regular gas-fueled models (including hybrids and also EVs). For 2016, VW has upgraded the mid-size Passat that is built in Chatanooga, Tennessee that differs from Passats in other markets (it's a bit larger). The interior has been upgraded and the front fascia has been given a more aggressive look. VW has also expanded their R-Line (sport) offerings to include the Passat for the first time. Engine choices include the new 1.8-liter four (the base engine), the TDI diesel (will be available when it passes EPA testing), and the VR6 that produces 280 hp. VW's updated MIB II infotainment system is on board complete with smartphone integration and the newly available Volkswagen Car-Net® system (a comprehensive suite of connected vehicle services and features)  VW Car-Net includes App-Connect technology, featuring the three major smartphone integration platforms—Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto™ and MirrorLink®. Depending on trim level, Passat models come equipped with the following driver assistance systems: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist); Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert; Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist), which actively steers the car back into its lane; and Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist). In other words, you get get (and spend) whatever your heart desires. This refresh is a nice update to a clean, yet conservative design. For more info, check out the press release and two videos after the jump.

Source: Volkswagen - Press release and videos after the "read more" jump.

Mazda shows the Koeru Concept at the IAA ahead of expected production

Mazda unveiled the Koeru crossover concept at the Frankfurt International Motor Show. Koeru is the latest Mazda to wear the company's KODO design language (really automakers, don't worry about design names, just make the vehicles purdy) and is rumored to preview a new crossover that could be a CX-7 or 9. The mid-sized Koeru is sleek with a low roof line and big wheels just like some current Mazdas. In other words, this one looks ready to go. Maybe Mazda will give more info regarding production at either the upcoming Tokyo or Los Angeles shows. Until then, bask in the loveliness that is Mazda's latest "concept." For more info, check out the press release after the jump (watch for production hints). More to come, fo sho...

Source: Mazda - Press release after the "read more" jump.

Tesla Model X SUV EV takes flight

If you were hoping for a traditional SUV from Tesla think again. Instead think BMW X6 and/or Mercedes GLE Coupe. But even with its sloping roofline, the Tesla Model X can be configured to seat six or seven (see pic after the jump). I never understood the Model S' grille so I'm glad to see that the front fascia offers venting for needed cooling only. In fact, one of the front vents pushes air into the cabin through a HEPA filter so you can "breathe easy." I like the grille-less look and my only complaint about the Model X styling is that it looks unfinished on the rear...like they forgot to put on the bumper. Maybe a bigger bump for low-speed crash safety? The windshield sweeps well back into the roof for improved viewing and probably due to the fact that the Falcon Wing doors preclude any kind of sunroof. I'd also allow for larger wheels as well. And while the Falcon Wing doors strike me as a big gimmicky, they do ease rear entry, especially in tight spaces with minimal clearance around the vehicle. The Model X is Tesla's "top dog" right now, so the new EV gets everything the automaker has available like, an automatically deploying rear spoiler; maps and navigation with real time traffic updates; 17-speaker premium audio; power-folding and heated side mirrors; front trunk with room for luggage, strollers or two golf bags; free long distance travel on Tesla's expanding Supercharger network (within limits); an 8 year, infinite mile battery and drive unit warranty; GPS enabled Homelink; parking sensors, blind spot and side collision warnings; automatic emergency braking; and more including Tesla's configurable dash that includes the 17-inch center display. The Model X's two electric motors have a combined rating of 763 hp (259 hp front, 503 hp rear) accelerating the Model X from 0-60 in 3.2 seconds (with the Ludicrous Speed update) and hitting a top speed of 155 mph, while producing zero emissions. Model X has a low center of gravity due to Tesla's EV platform architecture and a low aero rating of 0.24 cd. There is a lot to like here not to mention that the Model X has an expected range of approximately 250 miles depending on your driving style and how often you hit the Ludicrous button (if so equipped). Prices have not been announced (even to the more than 25,000 people have reserved their own Model X) but the top-of-the-line Model X is expected to start in the low six-figure range. Can't wait to see them on the road now that deliveries have started. For more info, check out the press release (with added info) and a link (at the bottom) to the Model X launch video. Enjoy.

Source: Tesla - Press release after the "read more" jump.

All-new Kia Sportage shown at the Frankfurt International Motor Show - w/videos

Kia took the wraps off of the all-new Kia Sportage compact crossover at the IAA in Frankfurt. The new Sportage is longer, has more interior room, wears new clothes, and adds a new "GT Line" model. Of course, this information is based on European press release, pics, and videos, but sharp readers can glean the information that should be pertaining to the US Sportage (specs released later possibly at the LA Auto Show). In the US, we can expect an engine line-up similar to what is in today's Sportage, but lets hope the new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic makes the trip across the Pond. From the back and the side, the new Sportage is attractive, especially in the new GT Line trim (red car) with the large wheels and sporty accents. The Sportage's grille is something else all together. It seems somehow pinched and out of place on the rest of the car. We shall see. More to come...soon. 'Til then, read the Euro press releases and enjoy the videos after the jump. It is interesting to see the equipment offered on Euro Sportages. Is this all-new Sportage moving up-market? Time will tell...(sorry running out of cliches)

Source: Kia - Press releases and videos after the "read more" jump.

Audi e-tron quattro concept wants a piece of the Tesla EV pie - w/video

First, let's start with the obvious that this is one fine-looking automobile and I happen to like the "Electric Green" paint that makes the Audi e-tron quattro concept stand out. They call it a "concept" at this point, but Audi suits reassure us that a production version is coming (Geneva show in the Spring maybe?). Let's get down to the basics here. The e-tron quattro is an all-wheel drive EV that uses three motors (one on the front axle, two on the rear) and lithium-ion batteries to store the juice. Audi currently claims a range of just over 300 miles with charging taking place in under an hour (there is even a system on board that perfectly aligns (parks) the car for contactless induction charging if it is available). Sound familiar? Everybody's aiming for Tesla (of course they - Tesla - did set the bar rather high when everyone else was saying it couldn't be done). The e-tron quattro hits 60 mph from a standstill in well under 5 seconds on the way to a 130 mph top speed. The five-door technology study has a coupe-like silhouette with a flat greenhouse that tapers strongly toward the rear. The car’s drag coefficient measures just 0.25 – a good number for the SUV segment, where figures are usually considerably over 0.30. The interior is clean and bright with OLED displays for major gauges and systems. The e-tron quattro is equipped with all the technologies that Audi has developed for piloted driving: radar sensors, a video camera, ultrasonic sensors, and a laser scanner. The data these supply come together in the central driver assistance controller (zFAS) in the luggage compartment which creates a complete model of the car’s surroundings and makes this information available to all assistance systems and the systems for piloted driving. These technologies are also nearly ready for use in production vehicles. Can't wait to see this one when it's done baking. For more info, check out the press release and video after the jump.

Source: Audi - Press release after the "read more" jump.

Ford gives a first look at the 2017 F-Series Super Duty at the Texas State Fair - w/videos

Ford brought its 2017 Super Duty F-Series trucks to the Texas State Fair for a first look at the heavy-duty people and stuff mover. With it's high-strength steel frame (that is 24X stiffer than before) and the new military-grade, aluminum-intensive body the new Super Duty is expected to be lighter, stronger, more fuel efficient, and have the ability to carry heavier loads and possess class-leading tow capabilities when compared to the current model (and probably the competition as well). There is a reason Ford sells lots of these. Powertrain options include the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 diesel, 6.8-liter V10 gasoline or 6.2-liter V8 gasoline engines. Equipment options run the gamut with new choices that are class firsts like LED lighting, Sync 3, adaptive cruise control and more. The Regular Cab, SuperCab and Crew Cab models are larger than before and can be had with at least two bed lengths and come in five flavors: XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum. AS with all these trucks, you can spend a fortune but you;ll get one hell of a truck than can do just about anything. The 2017 Ford Super Duty trucks go into production next year at Ford's Kentucky truck plant with deliveries starting late in 2016. For more info, check out the press release and four videos after the jump.

Source: Ford - Press release and four videos after the "read more" jump.

Infiniti prices updated 2016 QX50 crossover

Infiniti's QX50 was popular years ago when it was called the EX (and a number like 350 or 37 noting engine size). It was stylish and had class-leading performance, but the back seat legroom was practically non-existent. In the Chinese market, that won't do, so Infiniti extended the wheelbase by 3.2 inches and overall rear legroom jumped almost 4 inches to make the (now) QX 50 (number now denotes vehicle size and class) competitive with vehicles like the Acura RDX and various luxury compact crossover models. The wheelbase extension makes the QX a little less sporty looking and more, well, like the competition. The fact that the QX 50 still looks good says a lot about the original design (see side views of old and new models after the jump). Your $34,450 (plus taxes, license, fees, options, packages, and destination) gets you a rear-wheel drive QX50 with leather, the 325 hp V6, 7-speed automatic, push button ignition, SiriusXM® Satellite Radio (SiriusXM subscription required, sold separately), Bluetooth® Hands-Free Phone System, rear-view monitor, 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, a power sliding tinted glass moonroof and more. Your $35,850 (plus) gets you the all-wheel drive QX50. A new Premium Plus Package has been added to the previously available Premium, Deluxe Touring, and Technology packages. For more info check out the press release after the jump. I have included the first in a long list of videos (after the jump) that are available to explain various aspects of the new QX 50. The automatic link to YouTube will let you watch as many as you like. Enjoy.

Source: Infiniti - Press release after the "read more" jump.

Final Scion xB special-edition model: the 2015 xB 686 Parklan

Scion is putting the xB "box" out to pasture at the end of this model year and to mark the model's departure, Scion has teamed with 686 Technical Apparel to create the xB 686 Parklan Special Edition. Only 686 of these special-edition xBs will be available to the public. As a result of the limited edition status will this become a classic? I doubt it, but you probably won't pass another one on the road either. Start with the regular xB and add an interior accented with 686's quilted patterning and modern cubist camo style along with all-weather floor and cargo mats (you know to protect your car from all that snow and dirt). Outside, the xB 686 Parklan wears Cocoa Bean Metallic paint ( it appears to have a matte finish) with red accents and black 16-inch alloys. Most exterior trim pieces have been blacked-out as well. These special-edition models (And Scion does it well) offer unique looks and features for a usually competitive price (compared to adding the features individually) and the xB 686 Parklan Special Edition can be yours for $19,685 (plus taxes, license, fees, options, and $795 destination and handling). If you want to be one of the 686, get to your local Scion dealer ASAP. For more info, check out the press release and pics after the jump.

Source: Scion - Press Release after the "read more" jump.

Quick Look 2: 2016 Nissan Titan XD - w/videos

Nissan made a "splash" at the Texas State Fair with its all-new Titan XD pick-em-up. Titan is an "all-American" effort as the truck was planned in Tennessee, designed in California, engineered in Michigan, tested in Arizona, and assembled in Mississippi. Titan will eventually be available in three cab configurations, three bed lengths, two frame sizes, 4x4 and 4x2 drive and five grade levels, but will be introduced as the XD model which comes equipped with a Cummins V8 turbo diesel. And yes, Nissan is watching how the VW fracas affects diesel acceptance (although truck owners have opted for diesel engines, when available, for many years due to the prodigious torque, fuel efficiency, and towing capability of diesel-powered trucks). Gasoline-fuel engines will follow when the rest of the line is rolled out sometime after the Titan XD's launch in December. For lots of info, check out the press release, 2 videos, and the previous post.

Source: Nissan - Press releases after the "read more" jump. Previous post.

Porsche introduces Mission E EV sedan concept that looks kinda like a 911 - w/videos

Porsche introduced its challenge to the Tesla Model S at the Frankfurt International Motor Show, the Mission E concept. The Mission E is a good-looking four-door sedan that looks like a Porsche 911 sports car, which is a very good thing in this case. The Panamera should look this good. The design is low-slung and svelte. The all-wheel drive chassis uses an electric motor on each axle that puts out about 600 hp (equivalent combined) and will hit 60 mph from a standstill in just over 3 seconds. Range is just over 300 miles on a full-charge and the 800 volt system can be charged to 80% in about 15 minutes (charging at 800V, natch). The interior reminds one of an early 911 but with extensive use of OLED screens that change instrument perspective based on driver location. The hidden mirror cameras project the rear side view onto the lower corners of the windscreen. Cool stuff that should make its way to production. How much of this concept will we see out on the road you ask? Time will tell, but most automakers are developing EVs, so keep your fingers crossed. I mean we will run out of oil one day so automakers should be preparing now. For more info, check out the informative press release and 2 videos after the jump.

Source: Porsche - Press release and videos after the "read more" jump.

Next-gen 2016 Mini Clubman debuts at the IAA and Mini USA announces US pricing - w/video - Update

Mini showed the production version of the new Clubman model at the IAA (Frantfurt International Motor Show). To start with, the new tailgate doors are a huge improvement both from a design standpoint (love the taillights) as well as by usage. The center pillar is much slimmer making the rear view much improved and, if so equipped, the rear doors can be opened remotely (refootly? Watch the video after the jump). Cool. You start with the improved new Mini (well not really, the Clubman uses a small FWD BMW platform) stretch the wheelbase, add four side doors, the new rear "barn" doors, add lots of newly available equipment and you've got the new Clubman. This new Clubman is a departure for Mini as it is (currently) the largest Mini available (yes, it is larger than the current Countryman until it receives its update). The interior is the vastly improved "new" edition with improved ergonomics and lots of new stuff like the ambient lighting. I mean the speedometer is now in front of the driver and the window controls are on the doors. There are lots of options, but many are now bundled into packages making it easier to "spec" your Clubman and spend your bucks. Prices start at $24,100 for the Clubman Cooper and $27,650 for the Clubman Cooper S (base prices include destination but not taxes, license, fees, and options). Choose a Clubman Cooper in the US and your $24K gets you a three-cylinder turbo engine mated to a six-speed manual or optional 8-speed automatic, Mini Connect infotainment, dual-zone automatic climate control. keyless ignition, 12-color ambient interior lighting, rain-sensing wipers, 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, carbon black leatherette upholstery, and more. Spend the extra $3,550 for a Clubman Cooper S and add the turbo four-cylinder engine, sports seats, 17-inch forged alloys, halogen foglights, unique Cooper S fascia, and more.  The Sport Package will get you LED headlights and taillights and the Dynamic Damper Control adjustable suspension among others. The Premium Package adds a dual-pane panoramic sunroof, a 12-speaker, 410-watt harman/kardon audio system, and Comfort Access keyless entry with hands-free Easy Opener for the split rear doors. The Technology Package adds an 8.8-inch high-resolution widescreen display, turn-by-turn navigation with real time-traffic information, MINI Connected XL with support for Journey Mate companion app and the full MINI Connected app portfolio, and a rear-view camera and rear parking sensors. Package prices weren't provided, but I'd want them all, you? For more info, check out the releases, pics, and video after the jump. The 2016 Mini Clubman will hit US dealers in January of 2016. Do Minis have to be small? Guess not, although this new Clubman is not huge by any imagination stretch.

Update: The build and price site is up for the new Clubman and there is a Fully Loaded Package that combines the content from the Premium ($1,800), Sport ($1,750), and Technology ($1,750) groups for, hold it, $5,000, a savings of about 300 buckaroos.

Source: Mini - Press releases after the "read more" jump.

Let's Talk About - Diesel Engines and Volkswagen

If you've read a few of the posts on this blog, you'll know that I'm a fan of diesel technology. I owned a Volvo station wagon years ago that had an in-line six-cylinder diesel engine (sourced from Volkswagen BTW) that was a blast to drive and got amazing fuel economy. Today's newer clean-diesel engines have taken care of the problems that diesel owners had with bad fuel (also new EPA diesel fuel regs)  and other issues. That's why this betrayal by Volkswagen (and its divisions) hits owners and fans sooooo hard. If you've talked up diesel tech, you know that today's clean diesels meet current emissions standards (well most do) and they emit fewer carbon dioxide particles due to their (clean diesels) great fuel efficiency. For the most part, that hasn't changed. (Read the Diesel Technology Forum statement after the jump.) What has changed is the trust many gave VW who was (sorta) leading the "clean-diesel charge." I have a couple of questions to ponder that hopefully will be answered in the coming days. Firstly, if the engines (at least briefly) met the standards, why change the settings? Did the performance and fuel efficiency suffer at the "clean" test setting? Secondly, did you really think you'd get away with this Volkswagen (and heads are rolling)? Thirdly VW, how are you going to fix this? Buy back cars? Reset emissions equipment? And Fourthly, will this be the "death knell" for diesel engines in the US? GM tried to kill diesels (and almost did) with their "light-duty" V8 diesels (for cars) decades ago, but diesels soldiered on, especially in Europe where fuel prices are 2 to 3X higher than in the US. Many see hybrid vehicles picking up the slack, but diesels generally return fuel numbers at (or better than) the numbers from the EPA, where hybrids usually can't attain the EPA numbers without ridiculous hyper-miling driving techniques (you've been stuck behind them in traffic, right?). When friends buy hybrid vehicles, I tell them to expect real-world fuel economy numbers that are about 25% off of the EPA figures (which is still better than non-hybrid vehicles and is dependent on driving style). The proverbial ball is in VW's court and the fate of future diesel technology and acceptance is in their hands. Diesel engines have a reputation for fuel efficiency and durability (usually) with driving dynamics that are well suited to the needs of many. We shall see... It is unfortunate that as a result of this scandal, we won't see the Golf GTD Sportwagen (top photo aka a GTI wagon with a performance diesel engine) in the US. For more info, check out the three statements from the Diesel Tech Forum and VW after the jump.

Oh yeah, and a few more questions. Have automakers fiddled with the emissions equipment on other (non-diesel) engines and is this going to get really ugly? Congress cut the EPA's budget and now you know what happens when the EPA isn't verifying test results from automakers due to a lack of funds. Also, is the VW diesel problem only related to the four-cylinder versions? Are the VW six-cylinder diesels still okay?

Source: Diesel Technology Forum/News Press, Volkswagen - Press releases after the "read more" jump.

Buick announces Cascada pricing - w/video

When the Opel Cascada was introduced, people said "what a lovely Buick it would make" and here it is, the Buick Cascada. The Cascada droptop will hit dealers early in 2016 as a premium, well-equipped model with prices starting at $33,990 (plus taxes, license, fees, options - destination included). A Premium model will set you back about $3k more and adds equipment like forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, automatic headlamp control with tunnel detection, front and rear Park Assist, Rainsense automatic windshield wipers, 20-inch wheels with “diamond graphic” bi-color finish, and front and rear air deflectors. Standard models include a 1.6-liter turbo four (200 hp), six-speed automatic, 20-inch wheels, an acoustically and thermally insulated electro-hydraulic power roof (that lowers in only 17 seconds at speeds up to 31 mph), rear seat roll-over bars, rear-vision camera, remote start, dual-zone climate control, Intellilink infotainment, premium audio, rear park assist, and much more. A good looking convertible at a decent price. Who knew Buick/Opel had it in them? For more info, check out the press release, video, pics and competition chart after the jump.

Source: Buick - Press release and video after the "read more" jump.

US-bound '16 Ford Focus RS hits 60 in about 4.5 seconds on the way to 165 mph for less than $37K

The hot hatch segment is alive, well, and vibrant in Europe and other parts of the world. In the US, it seems we only buy (mostly) crossovers and SUVs. Strike one. Hot hatches generally come with manual transmissions. Strike two. And, they ain't cheap which seems counter-intuitive to many. Strike three. Yes I'm exaggerating, but compact hatchbacks with powerful engines haven't been big sellers here in the US. This may change now that Ford is bringing its most powerful Focus, the RS, to join the current Focus ST top performer. Ford starts with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost four from the Mustang and pumps up the volume to 350 hp and 350 lb.-ft. of torque. Power gets to all four wheels through a six-speed manual transmission and Ford Performance All-Wheel drive with Torque Vectoring and Launch Control. Focus RS drivers can select from four different drive modes that configure the all-wheel-drive system, damper controls, electronic stability control, steering and engine responses, and exhaust sound. All the look-fast goodies are here as well like the rear spoiler, body kit, unique front fascia, and special alloy wheels. I've always liked the look of the Focus and these updates take the styling to the next level. As I mentioned, all this goodness doesn't come cheap(ly). Built in Germany, the Focus RS prices will start at $36,605 (plus taxes, fees, license, options, and destination). If the RS model is popular, maybe some production will shift here and prices will come down. The Focus RS will be at your local US Ford dealer in the Spring of 2016. For more info, check out the press release after the jump.

Source: Ford - Press release after the "read more" jump.

The new Dawn enters the Rolls-Royce ranks - w/videos

This is one fine-looking automobile. What is it you ask? This is Rolls-Royce's latest convertible/droptop, the new Dawn. This four-seat convertible will seat four comfortably. No 2+2 for Rolls (I mean why should Jeeves get all the comfort?). But this is also a driver's Rolls-Royce. It shares a platform with the new Wraith as well as the V12 engine (563 hp, 575 lb.-ft. of torque, 0 to 60 in less than 5 seconds, 155 mph top speed), sumptuous leathers, fine woods, spectacular audio. premium infotainment system, and unparalleled craftsmanship. It was also engineered for silence and ease of motoring but with speed and dynamic handling when desired. I do have to say that the person who wrote the press release should get an award for writing a piece that certainly exudes Rolls-Royce with a style that says if five words are good, twenty are better (no, not a knock...that's not easy). The new Dawn will be heading to your local retailer in the coming months with what is expected to be a mid-six-figure price tag. Customize your Dawn and you could spend serious moola, but that is the idea, right? If you want to be one of the first to roll up in your new Dawn at the country club or venue, get thee (or your people) to your Rolls-Royce dealer now. Seriously, check out the extensive press release and additional video after the jump.

Source Rolls-Royce - Press release,pics, and additional video after the "read more: jump.

Nissan Gripz Concept: Taking Z to new places - w/videos

Nissan unveiled its Gripz sport crossover concept at the Frankfurt International Motor Show. Yes, just about everyone showcased their latest production and/or concept crossovers in Frankfurt. Nissan designers took inspiration from several places including racing bicycles and from special 70s-era 240Z sports cars that were raised, given all-wheel drive, and raced at Baja. The design is certainly dynamic with many interesting features like the Kamm-back tail, four side doors (fronts open up and the rear half-doors hinge at the back). special 22-inch wheels and tires developed by Bridgestone (whose design is echoed on the steering wheel), the latest Nissan grille, boomerang running lights, and enough body sculpting to satisfy well...a sculptor. The running gear is a new series hybrid system called "Pure Drive" e-drive that seems to use an efficient gasoline engine to power the cars electric motor(s). Interesting. That would mean no transmission, and the motor(s) could be placed on either or both axles which would ease design packaging and allow for the best utilization of space (assuming I'm reading this correctly). Performance could (would) be spectacular. and with the engine running at its most efficient, fuel economy would also be good. If the Gripz came from any other carmaker than Nissan, I would dismiss it immediately as "pie in the sky" stuff, but this could be the new Juke or it could be the sport crossover model in a new range of "Z" vehicles. Time will tell. More to come. Press release and two short videos after the jump.

Source: Nissan - Press release after the "read more" jump.