RUMOUR HAS IT
Godzilla may not last long — it’s being overtaken by Nissan’s GT-R hybrid
Meanwhile, Kia and Hyundai plan to go solar-powered while VW speeds up its EV programme
The current Nissan GT-R may not gallop for long. According to industry rumours, the exceptionally fast Japanese sports car (nicknamed Godzilla) is nearing retirement, and its replacement may feature some sort of electrification in its power unit.
There’s been speculation that the next GT-R could be inspired by the Italdesign GT-R50 concept car which was unveiled in June to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the GT-R and the Italian design house, but Nissan insiders have denied this.
The gold-and-black colour scheme of the GT-R50 commemorates the 1972 2000 GT-R, and it’s believed the prototype could become the blueprint for an extremely limited run of hand-built production vehicles, but doesn’t necessarily forecast the looks of the next-generation GT-R.
On power-train potential, it’s very likely that the next GT-R will be a hybrid featuring a front-mounted turbocharged V6 engine assisted by electric power.
The current GT-R is moved along by a 3.8-litre, twin-turbo V6 petrol engine that produces 408kW and 632Nm of torque, and features all-wheel drive.
Kia and Hyundai go solar
Kia and Hyundai have announced plans to introduce electricity-generating solar roof chargers on selected vehicles by 2019. To be installed either on the roof or bonnet of cars, the technology is being developed to support internal combustion, hybrid and battery-driven electric vehicles (EV) with additional electrical power, increasing fuel efficiency and range.
Said to be capable of charging 30% to 60% of a hybrid vehicle’s battery over the course of an ideal weather day, the semi-transparent solar roof will be applied to internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and can be integrated with a panoramic sunroof for dual roles brightening up cabins while charging the vehicle’s battery.
“In the future, we expect to see many different types of electricity-generating technologies integrated into our vehicles. The solar roof is the first of these and means that automobiles no longer passively consume energy, but will begin to produce it actively,” said the developer of the technology Jeong-Gil Park, executive vice-president of the engineering and design division of Hyundai Motor Group.
BMW M8 takes shape
From the race track to the road: the new BMW M8 is rounding the final corner en route to series production. BMW is putting an early prototype of its upcoming flagship through its paces at the Estoril grand prix racing circuit in Portugal.
The high-performance version of the recently-launched 8 series will do justice to the M badge with its minimised weight, low centre of gravity, even weight distribution, and wide track, while the high-revving TwinPower Turbo 4.4-litre V8 engine will fire 441kW and 750Nm to the wheels via an M xDrive all-wheel drive system. Like the latest M5, the drivetrain will have a rear-wheel bias and a two-wheel drive mode, ensuring a mode for all levels of driving skill and enthusiasm.
The market launch of the BMW M8 Coupé will be in 2019, to be later followed by the M8 Convertible and M8 Gran Coupé.
The new 8 Series is expected to arrive in SA in the first quarter of 2019 in an M850i xDrive model priced at R1,887,827.
VW speeds up it speeds up its electric programme
Volkswagen (VW) is accelerating its EV programme with a possible tie-up with rival Ford. VW plans to launch its MEB entry electric car for a price of about €20,000 (R320,000) in Europe, and is expected to discuss far-reaching alliances with Ford, according to Automotive News Europe.
A November 16 strategy meeting will discuss VW’s transformation plan to shift from being Europe’s largest maker of ICE vehicles into a mass producer of electric cars, a source familiar with the deliberations said. VW’s strategy shift comes as cities start to ban diesel engine vehicles, forcing car makers to think of new ways to safeguard 600,000 German industrial jobs. An electric van, the ID Buzz, is also due to be built.
VW and other car makers are struggling to adapt quickly enough to stringent rules introduced after the company was found to have cheated diesel-emissions tests, with its CEO Herbert Diess warning last month that Germany’s automotive industry faces extinction.
VW and Ford are in exploratory talks about an alliance to develop self-driving and EVs and to complement each other’s global production and sales footprints, Reuters reported last month.
The companies are considering co-operation deals in the areas of commercial, electric and autonomous vehicles, although a final agreement is unlikely to be announced at the November 16 strategy meeting at VW, the second source said.
The details of a co-operation deal with Ford may take until the end of the year to be finalised, a second source said.