Nissan’s incredible GT-R for 2017 underwent quite a makeover with a new interior, front and rear bumpers, grille, hood, side sills, and 20-inch forged aluminum wheels. Tweaks to the engine produced an extra 20 horsepower to 565 ponies and 467 lb-ft of torque, or four more foot pounds than the current model. Down under, the chassis has been stiffened and the suspension reworked to make it even more fun for a Saturday track excursion, or a brisk run on some rural roads. Climb inside and you will find a new dashboard and center stack with a slightly larger touchscreen. Nissan has reduced the number of buttons down to 11 from 27 and the paddle shifts are now located on the steering wheel itself instead of the column. Look for the 2017 GT-R to hit showrooms this summer.
Not to be outdone, Audi revealed the R8 Spyder, a convertible version of the high performance hardtop complete with the 5.2-liter V10 rated at 540 horsepower with 398 lb-ft of torque. Audi quotes a 0-62 run of just 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 198 mph for track days only. There’s lots of aluminum to keep weight down and the top is made of fabric, weighs just 100 pounds and can be raised or lowered at speeds up to 31 mph. To better listen to the V10 do its thing, the rear window can be lowered even when the top is up. No word on price yet. The Spyder will appear in showrooms this summer.
Now it is time to go electric:
Hyundai introduced to the U.S. its Ioniq Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid and Electric models. The Hybrid and Plug-in feature a 1.6 direct-injected Atkinson-cycle four delivering an estimated 104 horsepower and 109 lb-ft of torque matched to a six speed automatic. In addition, the Hybrid gets an electric motor estimated at the equivalent of 43 horsepower to raise the total output to 139 horsepower. Hyundai said the Plug-in provides an estimated all-electric range of more than 25 miles while the all-electric has an estimated driving range of 110 miles with an estimated 125 MPGe rating. Charging the electric’s battery to 80 percent full charge takes only about 20 minutes, Hyundai claims, using a Level 3 DC, 100 kw fast charger. Both Hybrid and the Plug-in give the driver a selection of Sport or ECO driving modes. Sport holds lower gears longer and combines power from the engine and electric motor. It is not clear at this time when the models will hit the market. The Hybrid is pictured.
Toyota unveiled the Prius Prime, an updated Plug-In electric that is expected to offer an estimated two times the electric range of the previous model, or 22 miles. Toyota said that would meet the daily commuter distance of over half of U.S. drivers. Inside is an 11.6 inch HD multimedia screen with standard navigation and available full color head up display. The exterior design is such, Toyota claims, that its coefficient of drag is expected to be among the lowest for production sedans. With a full charge and full tank of gas, the car may have a total driving range of 600 miles or roughly the distance from New York City to Louisville. Using the supplied cord on household current, the car can be recharged in about 5.5 hours. Look for the Prius Prime in showrooms in late fall.