Concept cars are the stuff of dreams, representing the wondrous “could be” situations that make us salivate. Every year various auto shows pull the veil off auto industry pageants every year, and every year our collective pulses race to see what car companies have wrought in the way of wild designs, impressive technology and a foreshadowing of what might come in the not-too-distant future. Detroit has delivered ten of the most eye-catching concepts of 2014, and we’ve jumped in with a gusto. See which ones we love and why, here.
A Taste of Things to Come
Rising Stars from the Rising Sun
Japanese cars have long been the epitome of reliability and trustworthiness, but they haven’t always been beautiful to look at. Things have changed with the current generation of Japanese cars, which boast great design and more personality than ever, along with driving dynamics that can rival (and even best) the Germans in some cases. Their bombproof reliability hasn’t been altered through the generations, either. Here are the ten best rising cars from the land of the rising sun.
A Skyline in the city
With one of the highest thrill-to-dollar ratios of any production car on the planet, the only way to make the Nissan GT-R more monstrous (hello, 0-60 in less than three seconds) is a limited Track Edition. Luckily, we didn’t have to call in any favors or cash in our Bitcoins to get our hands on the 2014 Nissan GT-R Track Edition ($117,000), which serves dual duties as a sports car and a missile.
Zero SR Electric Motorcycle Electric cycles are awesome, sure, but some electric cycles are awesomer. Compared to the less balls-out Zero S, the SR boasts a larger, 660-amp motor that spins out 24% more power and 56% more torque — 106 lb-ft, to be exact. That translates to 100+ mph top speeds and a trip…
More beautiful beasts of burden
Baseball, apple pie and trucks: all iconic, savory slices of Americana. The urban cowboy may have given the pickup a bad rap, but don’t let that sour the segment. These ain’t your granddad’s haulers. No sir, the trucks of today have taken fuel efficiency to an all-time high in the segment, for starters, and have added touches of interior and exterior class that leave little to be desired, even when compared against luxury makers.
Yes, the beloved truck has changed, but it remains grounded in its roots as a tree-stump-puller. Indeed, the core functionality of the pickup truck has remained nearly unchanged through the years — that is, it still has the ability to blast copious amounts of diesel exhaust over smug, hybrid drivers. We found time to drive and rate the five best full-sized models on the market. Which one you choose is between you and your payload.
When Godzilla gets Juke'd
Have you ever seen “that couple” — the short, rotund Geek Squad individual and the Olympic beach volleyball player walking hand in hand? A similarly weird aura surrounds the incredibly unnecessary yet blissfully real 545 horsepower Nissan Juke-R ($665,000). We got some seat time in this, one of the rarest production automobiles in the world.
It’s hard to keep a longstanding car model fresh and consistent over the course of decades. Cars such as the Chevrolet Corvette, the Honda Accord and the BMW 3-Series are a few models that have stood the test of time. Then there are those models that keep on keepin’ on as the rest of us wonder why. The Nissan Maxima is quite possibly the poster child of this category. I heave a sigh of disappointment every time I see a current model on the road.
It's all in the hands
Though the supremely capable Nissan GT-R is a feat of automotive technology, the craftsmanship behind the monstrous VR38 twin-turbo V8 engines by the “Takumi” is nothing short of impressive. Only four men can boast this level of skill for Nissan and each one prides himself on handbuilding each heavy-breathing beast beneath the hood of the current Japanese supercar. There’s no shortage of skill or humility in these four “samurai of the streets”, and our latest Viewfinder shows you their handcraft in an age of burgeoning technology.
Makes the Italians sweat
Some claim the Nissan GT-R is a tad too clinical, born from a generation of Gran Turismo video game junkies who are better on a game console than behind a real wheel. But no one will dispute the fact that the GT-R is a bonkers supercar for a non-supercar price, and it makes just about every other competitor sweaty in the nether regions. The 2014 Nissan GT-R Track Edition should add an even heftier dose of fear into the hearts of performance cars with twice the price tag.
Great, in concept
As nearly every auto show evidences, status quo just doesn’t cut it — and concept cars, as crazy as they can sometimes be, give us a glimpse into the realm of automotive possibility. The concepts of NAIAS 2013 were no exception. Some were radical new designs for existing models and others are new to the…
Built for speed... and production
A couple of months ago, news of the Nissan Juke-R Concept hit the web. Nissan execs Jerry Hardcastle and Paul Wilcox gave the project the nod and approached the minds at Ray Mallock, Ltd. in the UK, who subsequently chopped a Nissan GTR by 250 mm and saved the all-wheel drive system, suspension and beefy…
Breaking the mold
There is definitely an auto racing establishment out there. Radical innovations in the field are seen from time to time, but they don’t always succeed. Funding and backing are tough ventures, and there is no guaranteed formula for victory. The creators of the DeltaWing hope to bring their innovative and radical new vehicle to the…
Cars and caffeine, an ideal pairing
Recently we found ourselves presented with a couple of problems. First. We were handed the keys to a deep blue pearl 2012 Nissan GT-R and 2012 diamond black edition Cadillac CTS-V at roughly the same time. Okay, maybe it doesn’t sound like so much of a problem but bear with us. In reality neither cars…
Smaller, Faster, Better, Stronger... Technologic
When the engine-ears at Nissan heard they were charged with refocusing the highly successful and storied Z-line, they did something remarkable, they listened. The launch of the new 370Z in January along with the NISMO and roadster versions in June and September, respectively, sees a number of small tweaks from the great, but sometimes flawed,…
Your Driving Life, Cubed.
Gear Patrol’s Bradley Hasemeyer takes the new (to the U.S.) Nissan Cube out for a test drive and gives his review on the seemingly square (yet not so square) ride.
[click on image to enlarge] Ahead of the New York Auto Show, some images of the 2009 Nissan Maxima have been unveiled at SuperNissans.net. We’re going to reserve judgement until we can reveal the specifications for the vehicle, but the new, polarizing look, of the Maxima takes from the forthcoming 370Z and in some odd…
CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE Looking at the 2009 Nissan GT-R the song “Going The Distance” by Cake comes to mind. This firebreathing 473 horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 all-wheel drive monster will make make you scream whilst screaming itself. An appropriate car for the upcoming Hallow’s Eve indeed. Arriving this coming Spring stateside, the 2009 Nissan…