PIMS 2016: The Nissan GT-R Has Finally Landed In Manila, Facelifted Altima Launched

The Nissan GT-R is a technological tour de force. Priced at a fraction of its equally capable rivals, it has put even Lamborghinis and Ferraris to shame, with its grippy AWD system, intelligent electronics, and potent turbocharged V6 engine. The Nissan GT-R is known by the world over, and it has a cult following, even here in the Philippines, where countless Nissan GT-R from gray market vendors have long existed. Finally, Nissan Philippines has decided to officially bring in the Nissan GT-R, in its 2017 facelifted guise.

Each year since it was launched 10 years ago, the Nissan GT-R has seen incremental improvements that in that 10 year time frame, the Nissan GT-R has been able to keep up with the ever intensifying competition. Just years before the R35’s successor will be released, Nissan has done more than just changes under the skin, because it actually has made considerable changes to the GT-R’s skin. There are now LED headlights with LED daytime running lights just above the vents up front, a revised front end, now carrying Nissan’s V-motion signature grille. The sides and rear carry even more subtle changes, with only a revised side skirt and rear diffuser that aids aerodynamics and creates downforce. The rear lights have a new signature graphic, which are now done in thinner LEDs.

Inside, the changes are a lot more pronounced. The entire center console has been revised, adding a new 8-inch touch screen in the process, with revised graphics for the car’s interesting stats, which has a G-force meter, turbo pressure gauge, oil temperature gauge, and other data. Answering criticisms from past GT-Rs, the interior is now a more premium place to be, with the interior being wrapped in plush Nappa Leather.

As with every year, there are changes that are made skin deep. Addressing complaints from past GT-R wherein the ride was too harsh and the car was unrefined, the springs have been softened a bit, but not at the expense of handling. Active Noise Cancellation and Active Sound Enhancement has been added to the Titanium Exhaust, so that the GT-R can be quiet when you need it to, and loud when you want it to. Acousting glass and added sound deadening in key areas further improve the GT-R’s refinement. The GT-R’s twin turbo 3.5 liter V6 engine gains 20 hp from last year, now producing 565 hp and 645 Nm of torque. The torque curve is now flatter, which enables the GT-R to have more torque on demand whatever the situation.

Priced at P7,350,000, the Nissan GT-R is very competitively priced, as it is priced less than half of its chief rival, the Porsche 911 Turbo and Turbo S. The GT-Rs are made in Japan, and due to its 3.5 liter twin turbo V6 engine, it is covered by JPEPA, therefore there are no tariffs imposed in the GT-R.

Meanwhile, under the shadows of the GT-R is the facelifted Nissan Altima. Perhaps not receiving as much attention due to the GT-R’s presence, the Altima is still a commendable midsize executive sedan. It now gains Nissan’s V Motion grille, with the boomerang shaped LED daytime running lights together with the HID headlights, and hightening the Altima’s new found sporty character is its all black interior. The Altima drops the 3.5 V6 variant, opting for a lone 2.5 liter petrol engine that produces 180 hp and 243 Nm of torque. Power is sent exclusively through the front wheels via Nissan’s XTronic CVT. New to the Altima is Active Understeer Control, which is a torque vectoring technology that makes the Altima even more agile through the corners.

Upping the Nissan Altima’s luxury, it is fitted with a Bose sound system, sunroof, and power seats. For all this, Nissan is asking P1,745,000 for the facelifted Altima.

2016 PIMS: Mitsubishi Gives The ASX A Facelift, Outlander PHEV Slated To Arrive Soon, XM Concept Premiered

The Mitsubishi ASX has been facelifted, which now carries the brand’s “Dynamic Shield” design language, and the design is further amplified by the 18 inch alloy wheels.

Inside, the changes are very minor, with only revision to the seat material and steering wheel design as noticeable changes, and minor equipment changes.

It seems that it really is the face that receives changes, because in the powertrain department, it carries over from the previous ASX. Still powered by a 2.0 liter 4-cylinder petrol engine that produces 150 hp and 197 Nm of torque, and is mated to a CVT, the only transmission choice.

Perhaps the most headline-grabbing cars at Mitsubishi’s booth are the Outlander PHEV and the XM Concept that premiered at the GAIKINDO Indonesia International Auto Show last month.

The Outlander PHEV is promised to be sold “very soon” in the Philippines. In the UK, the Outlander PHEV is priced the same as its petrol and diesel counterparts, as these types of cars rely heavily on government incentives in order to be competitively priced.

The Outlander PHEV you see here is the facelifted version, which carries Mitsubishi’s “Dynamic Shield” design language, and makes the compact crossover look very sleek and futuristic. The case is the same with the XM Concept, but concept cars always look very cool, and we certainly hope that the production MPV it’s previewing will follow the design very well.

The pricing for the facelifted Mitsubishi ASX are as follows.

GLS: P1,163,000
GSR: P1,263,000

2016 PIMS: Toyota Ups The “Waku-Doki” Ante With Facelifted 86, All-New Prius, and FT-1 Concept

Toyota’s booth is very exciting for this year, as it shows three new cars that have been redesigned for better driving dynamics, or ups the ante further in driving excitement. First up is the 2017 Toyota 86.

The Toyota 86 has been a godsend to driving enthusiasts 4 years since it was launched. The affordable sportscar, like the Mazda MX-5, has become the epitome of driving fun, proving that you don’t need a lot of horsepower to make a fun car. Naturally, as a car goes through its life cycle, it goes through a facelift to keep it competitive.

The Toyota 86 receives a revised fascia, which has been revised for better aerodynamics in mind. The grille opening has been expanded, and the nose lowered. Canards have been added to the design mix as well, and combined together, form a more aggressive look, but more importantly, makes the 86 perform better aerodynamically. Additionally, it is feeding the engine more air. Full LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, LED turn signals, and LED foglights give the 86 a very sophisticated look both during the day and night, while 17 inch alloy wheels in a two-tone finish (the Japanese seems to love doing these things I just noticed), and revised LED tail lights round up the changes done to the 86.

Inside, the driver-centric cockpit receives a new multi-function steering wheel (it used to have no buttons), and at 362 mm in diameter, it is the smallest steering wheel ever fitted to a Toyota, further emphasizing its nimble handling credentials. The gauge cluster has also been revised, now incorporating a color TFT LCD display that shows a multitude of information, including a new G-meter, to tell you how much motion sickness you are bringing to your passenger. The interior materials have also been updated, addressing complaints of the 86 having cheap feeling interior materials. While we know that a sportscar should be entertaining to drive, it is still a good thing for Toyota to replace its old shool Fujitsu 2-DIN stereo that is often made fun of, now replaced by a more sophisticated 2-DIN Kenwood touch screen infotainment system with CD/DVD/Bluetooth/USB and smartphone mirroring via Wi-Fi.

The 2.0 liter direct and port injected (D-4S) boxer engine is still producing the same figures, 200 hp and 205 Nm of torque, but it has been revised to have a better torque delivery. As ever, it is mated to a proper 6-Speed Manual or Automatic transmission to those who prefer to have a robot do the shifting for them, though paddle shifters are equipped.

Improving the handling of the 86 further are a revised suspension, and an increase in spot welds to the body, increasing chassis rigidity, which adds stability to the 86’s handling.

There is only one variant in two transmission options, making life simpler to 86 customers. The manual is priced at P1,749,000, and the automatic adds P100,000 to the SRP.

In addition to the 86, the all-new Toyota Prius has also been previewed, and is expected to finally be launched within the year. In a bid to turn its boring image more exciting, the Toyota Prius has been redesigned to have a striking appearance. As we have first seen at Toyota MEGAWEB in Tokyo, the Prius certainly looks better in the flesh than in photos.

Breaking the stereotype are design cues that are inspired from the Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car. The “dolphin roof”, so they say, is the biggest inspiration from the said fuel cell vehicle. Chiseled lines all around the car make for an aggressive, if not overly styled appearance. The tail lights look particularly interesting.

Build quality overall is excellent, and the materials used now are top notch. Soft touch padded materials have been predominantly used in the cabin, but in the lower parts of the cabin, the plastics still feel low rent and cheap. The overall interior design feels like a spaceship. It has weird shapes and floating effects here and there, and there’s even this weird white porcelain effect thing that looks like a toilet bowl, which is something makes the cabin more interesting, but not exactly sure if it makes it look good. As before, the new Prius will really let its occupants know you are driving a hybrid, with all these futuristic digital gauges on the top of the dashboard, and other gadgets scattered across the cabin.

The all-new Prius is still powered by a 1.8 liter petrol engine, but it has now been overhauled to have 40% better thermal efficiency, which means that the fuel being pumped into the engine is actually used to produce power, and not wasted through heat. Simply increasing an engine’s thermal efficiency can already do wonders to a car’s fuel efficiency, and thermal efficiency has always been man’s greatest challenge when developing a combustion engine. On its own, the engine produces 95 horsepower.

The car’s electric motor and continuously variable transmission has also been redesigned in order to have less parasitic losses in the transmission of the power from the battery to the electric motors and to the transmission. The electric motors are juiced up by a nickel-metal hydride battery in the base model, and a lithium-ion battery for the rest of the range. Because the batteries are mounted underneath the rear seats, boot space is now considered spacious.

In the pursuit of making the Prius a more fun car to drive, the torsion beam rear suspension has now been replaced by a more sophisticated double wishbone rear suspension. This should make the Prius have better handling capabilities and a better ride compared to its predecessor. There is no pricing for the Toyota Prius as of the moment, and is expected to be announced once delivery dates draw nearer.

In addition to the 2017 Toyota 86 and all-new Prius, Toyota Motor Philippine Corporation showcased to the Filipinos the FT-1 concept, which is a preview to the upcoming Toyota Supra successor.

2016 PIMS: Mazda Launches All-New CX-3, Facelifted Mazda 3

There’s simply no stopping the crossover trend these days. The crossover  category has blurred the line between SUV and hatchbacks so much, it’s hard to tell nowadays if what you see is merely a lifted hatchback, or a proper SUV with off-road credentials and flood wading capability. Let yourselves get even more confused with the launch of the all-new Mazda CX-3 compact crossover.

The Mazda CX-3 is a rival to the spacious Honda HR-V, strange unique Nissan Juke, cheap affordable Ford EcoSport, and the turbocharged Chevrolet Trax, and it is an ever growing segment soon to be filled with competitors, and so far, so good for Mazda, as the CX-3 is perhaps the best looking of the bunch. The Kodo design language works well in this small SUV. As ever with Kodo, it has a cab-rearward design, which carries the typical rear-wheel drive car layout, with a long hood, short overhang design. The front wheel arches nicely to the side of this small SUV, and the blacked-out D-pillar is a nice touch to the CX-3’s eye-catching design. Sport and AWD models get automatic LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, LED rear lights, and 18 inch alloy wheels.

Inside, the CX-3’s interior is very similar to the Mazda 2’s, which it is based on, and it’s no bad thing, as the 2’s interior is a very pleasing and stylish place to be. There are a some hard plastics present, but the graining is nicely done. Mazda’s MZD Connect infotainment system is fitted as standard on all variants, and it comes with navigation, Bluetooth, USB connectivity, and for the AWD variant, an excellent sounding Bose sound system and a head-up display.

All variants are powered by Mazda’s 2.0 liter Skyactiv-G 4-cylinder engine with direct injection and a high compression ratio, the same one found in the Mazda 3, but slightly detuned. It produces 148 hp and 192 Nm of torque, and is mated to a 6-Speed Automatic with paddle shifters. All variants come with a drive mode selector, varying from Sport, Normal, and Eco.

All variants have a rear view camera, ABS with EBD, stability control, while the AWD and Sport get 6 airbags, and for the AWD only, rear parking sensors and smart entry in conjunction with the push button start that is already standard on all variants.

All CX-3 comes from Japan, and since these are not covered by JPEPA, the CX-3 carries a slight premium over its rivals, but are these generous features enough to offset the price premium? For us, it’s a yes.

AWD Activ: P1,480,000
FWD Sport: P1,380,000
FWD Pro: P1,280,000

Apart from the CX-3, the Mazda 3 has been given a facelift. Shown in Speed guise, the Mazda 3 Speed is priced at P1,398,000, and with it comes with a revised face, adaptive LED headlights with LED daytime running lights, and a slightly revised interior, now equipped with an electronic parking brake, which is also standard in the 2.0 R.

All variants, as ever, are equipped with MZD Connect with navigation, but this time, adds the luxury of a rear view camera, which is also standard on all variants.

The 2017 Mazda 3 is also equipped with Mazda’s new G-Vectoring Control, which is standard on all variants. Basically a torque vectoring system, the system brakes the inner wheel when turning, which makes the car even more fun to drive and more agile, and Mazda claims that G-Vectoring Control also improves ride and stability in the process as well. The new feature is also fitted as standard in the 2017 Mazda 6.

1.5 V: P998,000 (Sedan) P1,018,000 (Hatchback)
2.0 R: P1,249,000 (Sedan) P1,269,000 (Hatchback)
2.0 Speed: P1,398,000

2016 PIMS: BMW PH Celebrates 100 Years With 2 Special Editions and i8 Preview

Having been launched in 2014, worldwide, the BMW i sub-brand is BMW’s vision for the future of mobility. With a lack of government support for vehicles running on alternative energy sources, or hybrid and electric vehicles, BMW i’s presence in the Philippines is bleak.

The BMW i8 is BMW’s vision for a sportscar that has eco-friendly credentials. The BMW i8 follows a philosophy that is unique among sportscars around the world. Most sportscars around the world are now powered by hybrid powertrains, but those hybrid sportscar or supercars, such as the Porsche 918, LaFerrari, McLaren P1, and the Honda NSX, their hybrid systems are performance oriented. Though the NSX, P1, and 918 can run on electric alone, their hybrid systems are mainly built to fill the gaps in torque a combustion engine posses when changing gears, or when the turbos are needed to be spooled up, since turbos will always have turbo lag. It only varies in how bad the turbo lag is. If someone says an engine has no turbo lag, they’re lying, and have no clue on how a turbo works. The BMW i8’s hybrid system, on the other hand, is meant to provide breathtaking performance, while using less fuel.

How breathtaking and efficient you say? How about 228 hp and 320 Nm of torque from a 1.5 liter three-cylinder engine from the Mini Cooper and BMW 318i, with power sent through a 6-Speed Automatic driving the rear wheels, and an electric motor developing 129 hp and 250 Nm of torque powering the front wheels, with a combined power of 357 hp and 570 Nm of torque, enabling it to spring from 0-100 kph in 4.4 seconds. Despite the figures, it returns an unreal 2.5 l/100 km (40 km/l) fuel consumption based on BMW’s claims, but in real world testing, 13.5 km/l even under track conditions are the actual figures, which is still frugal considering it has the fuel consumption of a humdrum compact sedan whilst being able to keep up with a Porsche 911 Carrera.

Matching its high tech powertrain are its sci-fi looks. The outside is trimmed with blue highlights, which is a hallmark of the BMW i brand. Swooping lines and aerodynamic trickery make the BMW i8 a car unlike anything else on the road today. The inside is the same story as well. A futuristic layout is implemented, with blue highlights and blue ambient lighting highlighting yet again the ethos of BMW i. The cabin cell is made out of carbon fiber reinforced plastic, which enables the BMW i8 to be structurally rigid, and relatively light despite the high tech powertrain.

Unfortunately, the BMW i8 still is a difficult business case in the Philippines, since cars such as these have a lack of support from the government. Because hybrids heavily rely on government incentives to be competitively priced, the BMW i8 will be very uncompetitive in terms of price with its rivals. On a brighter note, BMW Philippines has launched 2 limited edition models to celebrate BMW’s 100 Years of existence worldwide, in the form of the BMW 4 Series and X4 Centenary Edition.

The two M Sport based Centenary Editions are equipped with a host of M Performance Parts, setting them apart from other typical BMW 420d and X4 xDrive20ds with the M Sport package. The 420d and X4 Centenary Editions retail for P4,490,00 and P5,090,000, respectively.

2016 PIMS: (Asian Premiere) Lexus Manila Showcases Seductive LC 500h Sports Car

The Lexus LF-LC is a concept that supposedly previews an upcoming Lexus sportscar sometime in the new future, and apparently, the future is now. Coming as a huge surprise to the general public, the Lexus LC 500h is almost relatively unchanged from the concept it was based on 4 years ago.

Designed by Lexus to “break convention”, the Lexus LC is proof that Lexus is a company that does not allow compromises. Concepts often do not make it into production as their radical designs often do not meet safety standards for pedestrian protection, or is simply a case of form over function. The LC is Lexus’ way of saying to the world that we can make a concept into a reality, with only the wing mirrors being the most noticeable difference from the concept.

The Lexus LC is a radical design for the Lexus brand, carrying with it a bold spindle grille that is part of Lexus’ design language, but is in its boldest ever interpretation. It has a low and wide imposing stance, with eye-catching details such as the LED headlights with very thin projectors enabling for a low hood design. The front character lines flow all the way to the rear in what seems to be the most interesting rear LED light design ever, which are done in somewhat a 3D pattern that fades into the background. An active rear spoiler and rear diffuser help manage airflow and help put the grip down to the ground.

The inside is also almost a carry over from the concept, except for the excessively large screens that fill the interior. The driver’s and passenger’s seating height has been designed to be as close to the car’s center of gravity, in order for the driver to feel as close to the car’s movements as possible, which by physics, would be very true, as you feel the car’s movements through the corners, making the driver truly engaged as the car drives around. A driver-centric cockpit wraps around the occupants, with a mixture of different shapes and textures that make the LC a very seductive place to sit in for hours end. The TFT LCD gauges are inspired as ever from the LFA supercar, but in our opinion, the LC has the better overall interior design.

Powering the LC are two powertrain options. The LC 500 is powered by a 5.0 liter V8 that is found in the RC F and GS F. It produces 467 hp and 527 Nm of torque to the rear wheels via a 10-Speed Automatic Transmission, which is lighter than most 8-Speed Automatics in the industry, and can match the lightning quick shift times of dual-clutch transmissions. The LC 500h meanwhile, as we see here, is powered by a Multi-Stage Hybrid system, which combines a 3.5 liter V6 and an electric motor, with power sent to the rear wheels with what seems to be the most interesting transmission in the industry, which is a combination of a CVT and a 4-Speed Automatic. The Multi-Stage Hybrid is the first ever for a Lexus, and is designed for exhilarating performance in mind. Combined with Lexus’ all new GA-L platform for premium rear wheel drive luxury sports cars, the Lexus LC is a new chapter in Lexus’ future.

Sales are expected to being in 2017. If you want to see the Lexus LC in person, it’s time for you to visit the Philippine International Motor Show, which runs today until September 18 (Sunday), from 10 am to 9 pm.

Isuzu Gives The D-Max A Plastic Surgery

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Isuzu gives the D-Max a facelift in order to keep it fresh from the competition that has received some changes as well. The most prominent being the front of the D-Max. It now has a more sculpted face. Equipped as standard are projector halogen headlamps with LED daytime running lights, which give the D-Max a modern presence on the road. At the back, the new D-Max receives a spoiler-like design, which supposedly helps aerodynamics (seriously?) and makes it better looking (I think we can all agree on that one). New, larger 18 inch alloy wheels complete the new outside look of the Isuzu D-Max.

Inside, the D-Max also receives generous changes. There’s a new electroluminescent gauge cluster, a sharper LCD color screen sandwiched between the two gauges, which for manual models, comes equipped with a gear shift indicator, telling the driver when is the optimum time to shift up or down for better fuel consumption. Improving the driving experience is a powered driver’s seat, leather seats, smart entry with push button start, and a 7-inch touch screen system that can be fitted with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System.

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If you’re wishing for the 1.9 liter Ddi BluePower diesel engine from the D-Max in overseas market, you’d be hugely disappointed by the D-Max’s engine. It is still powered by the proven but less powerful, and less environmentally friendly 3.0 4JJ1-TC diesel enigne. It still produces 163 hp @ 3,200 rpm and 380 Nm of torque @ 1,800-2,200 rpm, and is mated to either a 5-Speed Automatic or Manual Transmission, with the choice of 4×2 or 4×4.

3.0L LS 4×2 MT: P1,140,000
3.0L LS 4×4 MT: P 1,450,000
3.0L LS 4×2 AT: P 1,210,000
3.0L LS 4×4 AT: P 1,520,000