More news from Nissan’s luxury marque that few in Europe have heard of. The new QX50 is a standard large SUV crossover of the sort that occupies plenty of US freeway real estate - European rivals include the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.
What marks this car out, however, is its radical new engine.
The turbocharged in-line four-cylinder has effectively two crankshafts which are linked by a series of connected rods. These can be moved in relation to each other to vary the engine’s effective compression ratio to increase efficiency by up to 25 per cent.
It is the Alchemist’s Stone of combustion technology which has frustrated so many rivals - Mercedes-Benz has even abandoned its research into this interesting automotive byway, while Mazda has also been working on this sort of technology for some years.
A variable compression ratio also provides a gateway to another form of combustion, homogenous charge compression ignition (HCCI) which combines the advantages of spark-ignition petrol and compression-ignition diesel engines.
The Infiniti engine doesn't do this, but by just altering the compression ratio this 2.0-litre four is claimed to deliver the power of a V6 with three-quarters of the fuel consumption.
The QX50 goes on sale in the US early next year and will arrive in Europe by the autumn.
An American icon (which is good and bad) that can claim lineage from the old Willys Jeep of the Second World War and which, like Land Rover’s old Defender, has a unique place in American hearts was renewed into a fourth generation at the show.
Slightly longer, with improved off-road geometry, a smaller turning circle and a new four-cylinder turbo petrol option, the new Wrangler goes on sale in the US in January and arrives in the UK much later in 2018.
For the purists the slotted grille, round headlamps and the ability to remove both the roof and the doors is retained.
The new Wrangler will be available in two- and four-door versions and there are various trim options topping out with the Rubicon, named after the rocky trail where Jeep has done its testing in the past.
The new 2.0-litre petrol will deliver 270bhp/295lb ft and comes with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox. A 260bhp three-litre V6 diesel is also promised in a year's with an eight speed automatic transmission and in 2019 Wrangler will get a hybrid power unit as well. We'll have to wait for UK delivery dates and prices.Lexus RX350L
Launched 20 years ago, the Lexus RX is one of the first ever SUV crossovers and is enormously popular in the US. This new stretched (longer) version of the soccer moms’ favourite is essentially a modern take on the old "woodie" estates from the Sixties and Seventies.
To accommodate a third row of seats the body has been stretched by 110mm and the tailgate is now more upright. The rear seats are mightily small and, although there is respectable headroom once you are in there, you aren’t getting out without assistance. However, they increase the utility for those "could-you-just-drop-an-extra- child-at-school?" emergencies.
It goes on sale in the UK next year, and we’ll learn about prices and availability nearer the date.Yes, but is it art?
Even if you owned a Ford GT, you'd never see it like this. Its curves might well be described as art, but we'd rather drive a Ford GT than mount it on a wall.BMW i8 Roadster
Promising to have pure electric, plug-in hybrid and conventional combustion engines in all its vehicles by 2027 (including Rolls-Royce and Mini), BMW rolled on the latest incarnation of its i programme which cynics suggest has been largely self-funded from the avoidance of EU fines for busting forthcoming carbon dioxide emissions targets. Discuss.
But what a way to avoid a fine. And if the i8 coupé lacks a little something in the dynamic stakes, with the new Roadster it doesn’t seem to matter. The top speed is 155mph, with 0-62mph in 4.6sec (0.2sec slower than the coupé) and it has a published - if unrealistic - EU Combined fuel consumption of 134.5mpg, with CO2 emissions of only 46g/km. It goes on sale in the UK from January priced at £124,730. Apart from the price, why wouldn’t you?
Funnily enough, the cabriolet looks more assured and more futuristic than the coupé, although both models gain a raft of drivetrain improvements. These include an uprated lithium-ion battery pack rated at 34 instead of 20Ah and gross energy of 11.6kWh over the old model’s 7.1kWh.
That means the electric-only range of this 4x4 supercar has been boosted to 33 miles at under 65mph. The most important statistic, however, is the 16 seconds it takes to raise or lower the roof at up to 31mph.For when the going gets tough...
English spied - well, he couldn't really miss it - this extraordinary extreme-weather double-cab pick-up with caterpillar tracks at each corner.
Should we tell GMC that Land Rover did the same thing, using Cuthbertson tracks, way back in 1958?
If you really want to know, it's the 2018 GMC Sierra 2500HD All Terrain Concept.Mercedes-Benz CLS
Early reactions have not been kind to the latest version of the Mercedes CLS, Stuttgart’s E-class super coupé, which began life as a svelte four-door coupé in 2005. The first version was the kind of car that could make the average Mercedes owner - usually a placid sort of cove - almost green with envy. The Mk2 version of 2010 turned down the looks, which weren’t lifted much by the 2014 facelift.
Now this car, the third version, has firmly pressed the louche button, with a super-surfaced, almost over-refined appearance, although we should wait until we see the car away from the show stand and in the daylight to give a full opinion.
This new coupé debuts Mercedes’s new range of in-line, six-cylinder engines: a 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel and a turbo petrol. The diesel is essentially the new 2.0-litre four-cylinder with a couple of cylinders added; in the C350 d 4Matic, it produces 286bhp and 442lb ft of torque, with the 400 d 4Matic developing 340bhp and 516lb ft.
The 450 4Matic turbo petrol model has 367bhp and 369lb ft, but it also packs a 48-volt integrated starter generator which adds a further 22bhp and 184lb ft to the wheel for short periods, and recoups braking energy to the car. Mercedes claims it adds up to the equivalent of a V8 engine - but I bet it doesn’t sound as good.
The new CLS goes on sale in December starting at £57,000 with the first deliveries in March. Interestingly there won’t be a shooting break version, which leaves a gap in the market - possibly. Also there won’t be an AMG 63 performance version to leave clear blue water between this four-door coupé and the forthcoming four-door AMG GT model.
Instead, the performance version is rumoured to be the AMG53 hybrid driveline, which is also slated for installation in the E-series - including the coupé and cabriolet versions - next year.
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