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And with talk of adding a new edition to the Nissan lineup of crossovers in Europe, namely the Juke, Murano and Qashqai, that means a production version of the Hi-Cross will pick up where the boxy X-Trail left off.
As for the US, well Nissan dealers said they didn’t want the X-Trail when it was first introduced in 2005, but given how fast things change in the auto business, what might have seemed like a good idea then, probably isn’t now or in the near future, so such a vehicle might have a fighting chance this time around.
Nissan says the Hi-Cross showcases the future direction of corporate vehicle design, though it does have an aura of Infiniti FX about it, thanks to its coke bottle contours. Although a compact, the Hi-Cross boasts three-row seating, giving it considerable interior flexibility as well as great potential sales appeal.
Utilizing a development of Nissan’s new Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) drivetrain, the Hi-CROSS combines a 2.0-liter gas four-cylinder engine with an electric motor and compact lithium ion battery system. The result is said to provide the performance of a 2.5-liter motor with the fuel economy and emissions of a much smaller engine.
As for the transmission, well it probably isn’t surprising that a version of Nissan’s XTRONIC CVT is employed, though smaller pulleys and a new belt have been incorporated to improve efficiency, while a “one motor, two clutch” system allows the gasoline engine to be engaged and uncoupled at will.
Although Nissan’s Deputy Division General Manager of Product Strategy François Bancon, says the Hi-CROSS is “purely a concept car, exploring potential ideas for the future,” it does seem rather advanced for such a machine, plus the segment it’s aimed at is currently one of the most lucrative of all, which begs the question; could a production model be announced in New York or Paris? Watch this space.
GALLERY: Nissan Hi-Cross Concept
Okay, so it’s a show car and despite the rendering above, the chances of being able to drive something like it on the road, unless you perhaps live in the Middle East are on the far side of slim.
Nonetheless, the Dodge Charger Redline, which makes its debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week, showcases just what will be possible through the Mopar parts catalog in 2012.
Like the Chrysler 200 Super S (see separate story), the Redline incorporates a number of different Mopar enhancement packages designed for the R/T version of the big four-door.
Stage One, features cosmetic upgrades, namely a full-width carbon fiber chin spoiler, body colored grille surrounds and a “crosshair” insert. There’s also carbon fiber door scoops with R/T logos, designed to pay homage to the hot 1970 Charger, plus a fairly dramatic carbon fiber, three-piece rear deck spoiler. Rolling stock consists of 20 x 8-inch Mopar Envy wheels with a Pitch Black wheel face and polished accents.
The Charger show car also sports special Redline Tri-coat exterior paint and a Mopar vinyl roof graphic. Inside, there’s Mopar aluminum shift and instrument cluster bezels with Redline accents and sporty Mopar pedal covers.
The Stage Two package, adds chassis stiffening, in the shape of a front strut tower brace and caps, plus brake upgrades (in this case the addition of high performance Mopar linings) and a Mopar after cat exhaust system, designed to reduce back pressure and enhance the 5.7-liter Hemi V8′s already melodious sound.
Yet for hardcore performance fans, the best part of the Charger Redline, is the Stage Three package, which consists of the formidable 426 cubic inch (7.0-liter) Hemi race V8. Cranking out some 590 hp (200 more than the standard Charger R/T), this all-aluminum piece weighs 100 lbs less than the cast-iron crate version and is a professionally built motor, sporting a fully balanced reciprocating assembly, forged steel crank, H-beam style rods and forged pistons on an 11.1:1 compression ratio.
An aggressive roller camshaft and high flow cylinder heads are also fitted, while tie bars are available to help stabilize the valvetrain at higher engine loads. Billet fuel rails and and cast aluminum Mopar valve covers are also included as part of the Stage Three Mopar kit.
The three Mopar performance kits for the Charger will be available through official channels later this year, though bear in mind that the Stage III package is for off/road racing use only, that said, you could always side-step the rules and put this motor between the fenders of a vintage Charger for some tarmac tearing fun.
GALLERY: Dodge Charger Redline
One of them is this, the Chrysler 200 Super S, which sports both cosmetic and mild engineering enhancements that actually give this milquetoast car a bit of sass. The former, which will be listed as a Stage One package through Mopar’s parts catalog, includes a prominent front chin spoiler, satin chrome trim around the grille and foglight housings, plus mesh inserts for the gloss black finished upper and lower grille portions.
Further aspects of the Stage One package include requisite rocker panel extensions, black chrome “200″ emblems, 18-inch alloy wheels finished in gray or hyper black, plus rump upgrades in the shape of a rear decklid spoiler, satin chrome light bar and a matte black lower diffuser.
A Stage Two performance kit, adds a coilover suspension, which drops the ride height and improves cornering thanks to a lower center of gravity, plus a cold-air intake kit for the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and an after-cat low restriction exhaust with dual outlets that blend in with the rear diffuser.
Although not much more information is currently available, Chrysler has said that the Stage One and Two Packages for the 200S will be available through authorized Mopar dealers later this year.
GALLERY: 2012 Chrysler 200 Super S
Meguiar’s is sending nine of the world’s top show cars from around the world to this year’s SEMA Show, holding its first ever Car Crazy International Vehicle Showcase. These nine cars along with their owners will be brought in from all over the globe and will be on display front and center right outside the Convention Hall, next to Meguiar’s Car Crazy TV Stage. All week long, both the vehicles and their owners will be a major attraction of this year’s SEMA Show.
Each vehicle was meticulously selected to ensure that they represent their respective country with pride. Just some of the vehicles that are heading to Meguiar’s Car Crazy International Vehicle Showcase include a 1953 Ford Truck F100 from Costa Rica (pictured), a 1981 VW Golf Mk1 from the United Kingdom, a 1939 Lincoln Zephyr Custom from Mexico, a 2000 Toyota Celica from China, and a 1978 XC GS Ford Falcon Hardtop (pictured) from all the way in Australia.
Prior to making the trek to Las Vegas though, the vehicles will make a pit stop during the month of October at the Marconi Automotive Museum in Southern California for private showings to visitors throughout the month.
GALLERY: Meguiar’s Car Crazy Vehicle Showcase
Some of us might remember the beginning and end of the Pink Panther Show where our favorite animated feline exits and enters into a dramatic, low slung custom car. That machine, appropriately named the Panthermobile, was originally built by Hollywood custom car legend Jay Ohrberg in 1969 for the show, which aired on NBC in the US from then until 1976.
Now, some 35 years after the show ended, the car scheduled to make an appearance at the Chelsea Auto Legends Show, which takes place next month in London, UK. At the same time, it’ll also be offered for auction online, via Robson Kay.
The Panthermobile is in unrestored, original condition and need of some work (it currently doesn’t run); nevertheless when it was first offered up for auction in 2007 via COYS, a bidder paid £88,000 ($55,000) for the thing.
How much it’ll fetch this time around is anyone’s guess but it’ll be interesting to see the bidding response this one-of-a-kind creation generates. The auction runs from September 4th (Auto Legends opening day) to October 14th.
In an interesting debate of whether or not two negatives make a positive, Hot Import Nights and NOPI have combined forces for a seven show tour in 2010. While it’s hard to argue that both series have had huge success in the past, business decisions by both companies as separate entities were questionable at best in 2008 and 2009.
NOPI canceled their drag, drift and show series in the middle of the season in 2008 much to the dismay of its competitors and sponsors. Hot Import Nights, riding on yet another buyout in 2009, canceled the last few shows of their season, upsetting many of the competitors that had qualified for the season finale and were relying on the season-end payout to cover their traveling expenses in 2009. Either way, the decisions made by both entities when they were ending their respective seasons were abrupt and offered no consolation to their sponsors and competitors.
But if there’s anything we know about the sport compact industry it’s how quickly people tend to forget, especially those that weren’t affected. It will be interesting to see how the joining of these two forces will work out. On paper, there is a recipe for success if the joining of these two minds are on marketing and conducting a proper show series. On the other hand, certain sponsors and competitors must be hesitant to be signing back on board. Only time will tell how successful the HIN NOPI Super Show tour is.
See after the jump for a list of tour dates: