NEWS – NISSAN AT THE TOKYO AUTO SALON 2011
The 2011 Tokyo Auto Salon is only a few weeks away now and the press releases start to pour in. While the 2010 edition has been low key, with many of the big players licking their market crash-inflicted wounds away from the Makuhari cavernous halls, the 2011 TAS should show a return to form. Nissan just announced its 9 cars lineup, with a number of interesting things in it.
The car that will certainly warrant the most attention is the Leaf Aero Style Concept pictured at the top of this post. Nissan is going full blast on the promotion of their electric car, and it is no surprise that they chose it as their headliner. They pitch it as a futuristic sport EV driving. Is that the way forward? Tuning for EVs is still an uncharted territory…
The other hot Nissan car of 2010 is the Juke, and the one on display will be sporting various pieces of kit available at overseas Nissan dealers. Meh. Let’s hope somebody will step up and do a more focused version. The punchy 1.6l turbo and the surprisingly competent chassis beg for a serious hotrod treatment.
The hotrod treatment, Nismo gave it to the new Elgrand S-tune. We saw this mildly tuned version, with lowered suspensions and a louder exhaust, lapping the Fuji Speedway during the Nismo Festival a couple of weeks ago. It looks pretty good, much slicker than the previous Nismo Elgrand, thanks to the cohesive, sportier design of the base car.
Autech, the special vehicles branch of Nissan, went to work on the Elgrand in a different way, building a luxury 4 seaters from the big minivan. This has been done before, for example by Modellista with the Elgrand Toyota competitor the Alphard, and it is a great idea as a VIP hauler because you cannot beat the interior space of these huge things unless you go limo. I cannot wait to try and seat in this rolling lounge.
The most awaited car of the lineup is the only one mentioned in the press release without a picture, to keep people attention focused to the event : the Nissan GT-R RC. Described as a production based car for circuit driving, it is eligible for races in various races series overseas and features the corresponding safety equipment, a 120 liter racing spec fuel tank, suspension settings for slick tires and air jacks.
Although the TAS will be the official launch by Nismo, a car called GT-R RC and corresponding more or less to the press release description has been entered at a number of events in the Super Taikyu series in Japan this year. This car is clearly aimed at privateers wanting to enter it in production based series, and we might finally see GT-Rs popping up in races around the world. Here are a couple of pictures of the car as it was shown to the press before the Fuji round of the Super Taikyu championship this summer.
The other cars on display will be the Super GT Nismo GT-R, the Nismo Fairlady Z, the March Bolero and the Serena Rider. See you in Makuhari on January 14th !
7tune – The Ultimate JDM Experience
Words – Pierre-Laurent Ribault
Source and Photos – Nissan – Nismo