Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Nissan 200SX replacement on the backburner

Nissan has apparently delayed the appearance of its replacement for the excellent 200SX coupe until the world's economy gets back on its feet.

Reports from Europe say the Japanese carmaker has signed off on the car it will aim at the Mazda MX-5, Honda CR-Z and the Toyota MR2.

The unnamed open-top, rear-wheel-drive two-seater takes its styling cues from the 370Z coupe - which arrives in New Zealand next month - and Nissan's Urge concept, seen at the 2006 Detroit motor show.

Nissan hasn't had a presence in the mid-range sector of the sports car market since production of the rear-drive 200SX ended in 1998. The new model is likely to be powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine delivering around 150kW and with claimed fuel economy of 8 litres/100km (35mpg).

Expect a zero to 100km/h time of around six seconds and a top speed of 220km/h. Word from Europe is that the new model will be in showrooms by 2011 - that's if the recovery kicks in by the end of 2009.

While Nissan has its car on the backburner, German carmaker Audi has ditched plans for the storming diesel-engined version of its R8 supercar.

Top brass have confirmed that the V12-powered project has been halted.

The German carmaker claims the cost of re-engineering the petrol R8 to accommodate the diesel engine is too great to recoup its investment through sales alone.

Tests showed the 5.5-litre diesel R8 prototype produced 375kW and 1001Nm of torque and powered from zero to 100km/h in four seconds.

It was inspired by Audi's R10 Le Mans racer.

But reworking the R8's aluminium spaceframe chassis to shoehorn the V12 engine and its twin turbochargers into the engine bay blew out the boundaries of Audi's budget.

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