Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Nissan's Nuvu concept (think "New View") is Nissan's vision for the type of car we'll be driving in cities by the middle of next decade. Although it is an electric car, Nissan says the Nuvu is not the electric car the company recently announced it will sell in the U.S. and Japan in 2010. The Nuvu does carry some technology destined for the production vehicle.

As befitting a proper city car, the Nuvu is small: about a foot longer than a Smart Fortwo. A unique 2+1 seating arrangement allows for a third passenger when needed, or the seat can be folded down. Unlike many city cars, the Nuvu has enough luggage capacity for a proper supermarket run.

Of note, the Nuvu's roof has 12 small leaf-shaped solar panels, which charge the battery via a "tree-trunk" within the car. And to further emphasize the Nuvu's "green-ness," the cabin makes use of natural, organic and recycled materials.

"Nuvu is a concept car, for sure, but it is an entirely credible vehicle," says Francois Bancon, the general manager of Nissan's Exploratory and Advanced Planning Department.

Monday, December 1, 2008


The year 2009 has another thing to offer. The world debut of the 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 Spyder at the Los Angeles Auto Show is designed to build on the success of the coupe version, which was launched in early 2008.

According to Lamborghini president and CEO Stephan Winkelmann, "With the Spyder, we are now unveiling a car that is quite simply a new dimension of the latest Gallardo range."

Underpinning the car is the same mechanical package of the coupe — a brawny V-10 engine that produces 560 bhp, delivered to all four wheels. In addition to delivering 40 more horsepower than the previous-generation Gallardo, the new generation model is also lighter, further improving the car's power-to-weight ratio. The drivetrain includes Lamborghini's e.gear automated manual that has an automatic mode or can be shifted manually via steering wheel-mounted paddles. Improvements to the e.gear transmission have reduced shift times by 40 percent.

Lamborghini claims a 0–100 km/h (62mph) acceleration of just 4.0 seconds and 0–200 km/h (124 mph) in 13.1. Top speed is listed at 201 mph.

Unlike the trend toward retractable hardtops, the Gallardo LP 540-4 Spyder employs a soft top that when in place, nicely integrates with the lines of the car. Although the styling is similar to the coupe's, the Spyder looks slightly more aggressive and muscular thanks to its more prominent haunches that house the convertible mechanism. The power top takes just 20 seconds to open or close. One unique feature of the top: The backlight functions as a wind blocker when the roof is stowed.