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Formula Drift kicks off 11th season on Streets of Long Beach

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Formula Drift Streets of Long Beach 2014

The 2014 Formula Drift series kicked off last weekend in Long Beach, and saw Chris Forsberg, who you’ll recall went mad and drifted around a warehouse in an Infiniti M, take the title behind the wheel of his Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z (shown above).

Forsberg ran away with the first round of competition, beating out second-place finisher Kenneth Moen and his Bridges Racing Nissan 240SX in the head-to-head final. In third place was 2013 championship winner Michael Essa and his Yokohama BMW M3, who beat out Justin Pawlak for the final podium spot thanks to his top scoring qualifying run.

In the manufacturers’ title, Nissan took an early lead with 122 points, which isn’t a huge surprise considering five of the top ten drifters were piloting either a Z or a product of the brand’s S platform. Ford, which had two drivers (Justin Pawlak and Vaughn Gittin, Jr.) in the top ten, took home second place, while BMW is currently third in the manufacturers’ standings.

While Forsberg, who finished second in the overall standings in 2013, has pulled out to an early lead, there are still six more events in this year’s championship. The next contest is set for May 9th and 10th at Road Atlanta. You can check out the entire Formula Drift schedule at the series’ homepage.

We had photographer Drew Phillips on hand for the Long Beach contest. Take a look at his gallery of smoking tires and sideways cars at the top of the page. You can also scroll down for the complete results right from Long Beach.

Continue reading Formula Drift kicks off 11th season on Streets of Long Beach

Formula Drift kicks off 11th season on Streets of Long Beach originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 08 Apr 2014 17:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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April 8th, 2014

Official: Hagerty says these 2014 models are tomorrow’s classic cars

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Jaguar F-Type Coupe R

Hagerty has announced its annual list of future classics, the 2014 Hot List. Naturally, these are some of the prettiest, fastest and most entertaining vehicles on sale. There are limits, though. You’re not going to see a Ferrari LaFerrari or Rolls-Royce Wraith on this list, because Hagerty only considers vehicles with MSRPs below $100,000. Other requirements are that the vehicles are produced within the 2014 model year, although certain vehicles were considered if they missed out on previous Hot Lists.

“Most new car news focuses on the latest interactive technology, alternative power sources, and the race to increased efficiency,” said McKeel Hagerty, the insurance company’s president and CEO. “But for a car to be collectible in the future, it has to be cool right off the assembly line. A collectible car has to grab you and not let you go.”

Occupying the Number One slot – and just barely, considering the $100K price cap – is the new Jaguar F-Type R, the svelte coupe that debuted at the 2013 LA Auto Show. Also squeaking in is the $92,900 BMW M5 and Chevy’s $90,000, drag-ready COPO Camaro.

The rest of the list is slightly more attainable, with the $75,000 Maserati Ghibli S coming in at number four. Alfa Romeo’s $54,000 4C, the new $51,000 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and the $43,000 Nissan 370Z Nismo cover the semi-affordable sports cars. Finally, the Dodge Challenger R/T with its new shaker hood, the off-road-ready Jeep Wrangler Rubicon X and the Ford Fiesta ST hot hatch round out the list.

Scroll down for Hagerty’s explanation behind each car making the list, and then take a look at our gallery of images of each car.

Continue reading Hagerty says these 2014 models are tomorrow’s classic cars

Hagerty says these 2014 models are tomorrow’s classic cars originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 07 Jan 2014 12:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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January 7th, 2014

ETC: Man sells testicle to buy Nissan 370Z

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2013 Nissan 370Z

We aren’t entirely sure what’s stranger about this story – that a man actually sold a vital piece of his manhood for a car, or that he did it for a Nissan 370Z. That’s not to discredit the trusty Fairlady, a car we generally like, but that if we were to do what Mark Parisi did and sell one of his testicles to science, we’d be asking for a helluva lot more than $35,000.

But Parisi did just that, and announced live on CBS’ The Doctors (we really can’t make this up) that the sale of his nut would go towards the purchase of a Z. According to our friends Down Under (Australia, get your mind out of the gutter), $35K is the going rate for one slightly used testicle, so if you get nothing else from this story, gentlemen, know that you have $70,000 swinging between your legs.

Man sells testicle to buy Nissan 370Z originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 27 Nov 2013 18:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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November 27th, 2013

Report: Nissan exec Andy Palmer derides Toyobaru coupes as ‘midlife crisis’ cars

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2013 Subaru BRZ

Andy Palmer, Nissan’s executive vice president, does not like the Scion FR-S or Subaru BRZ. To us, that’s like saying you enjoy barbecuing puppies, but we’ll let him slide, because his statements about the Toyobaru twins are much, much more than just idle trash talk.

Speaking to Motor Trend’s Nate Martinez, Palmer said, “Do we have any competitors [in the small, rear-drive coupe segment]? Are you talking about the Subaru [BRZ]? It was a car designed for a 50-year-old. It’s for a midlife crisis. That’s not what we do.” Strong words, but what followed was even better.

“Are you coming to the Tokyo Motor Show? You’ll see the answer to the midlife crisis. Except it won’t be for the midlife crisis.” So, if you were wondering whether Nissan is working on a competitor to the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ, the answer seems to be a resounding “yes.”

According to a previous report from MT, whatever Nissan’s “answer” for the BRZ and FR-S is, it’ll be rear-drive, and sport a detuned version of Nissan’s VQ37, 3.7-liter V6 from the 370Z, but will also be available with a 2.5-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder. We’re now more excited than ever before about Tokyo.

Nissan exec Andy Palmer derides Toyobaru coupes as ‘midlife crisis’ cars originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 28 Oct 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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October 28th, 2013

Quick Spin: 2014 Nissan 370Z Nismo

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2014 Nissan 370Z Nismo

Michigan is one of those places where we can sub-divide the seasons into good and bad portions, with each producing a noticeable shift. The week prior to my time in the 2014 Nissan 370Z Nismo, it was 65 to 70 degrees and sunny, all week long. Anyone care to guess what the following week was like?

Windy, cold and damp weather typified my week in the Z, with temps hovering around 55 degrees and several days of showers. Yes, I got the first week of the bad part of fall. The Z was hardly happy during its time with me, but we both persevered, and I made a point of sprinting out to the garage anytime the ground seemed remotely dry enough to test this striking two-seater. That enthusiasm waned quickly, though, as the week wore on.

By all accounts, the Z is a car that I should like. It’s an uncompromising sports car, but as I discovered during my travels, sometimes a little compromise is welcome, and living with a car like the Z – particularly the angrier, Nismo-tuned model – quickly becomes a case of too much of a good thing.

Driving Notes

  • The 370Z Nismo gets an uprated version of Nissan’s 3.7-liter V6 engine, complete with 350 horsepower at 7,400 rpm and 276 pound-feet of torque at 5,200 rpm. The engine pulled well, provided I carefully managed the revs. Even with the retuned exhaust and ECU producing the Nismo’s extra grunt (the standard engine produces 18 hp and 6 lb-ft less), the Z is prone to being caught flat-footed, but can be dynamite at the right engine speed and in the right gear. I don’t consider these criticisms, by the way – having to manage the engine speed makes for a more involving drive.
  • The engine’s sound, though, remains as raspy and unpleasant as ever, even with the new exhaust. This is one of those engines that’s begging for the aftermarket to save its owners’ ears, as it sounds grating under most circumstances. I’ll make an exception at wide-open throttle between 3,500 and 4,500 rpm, when a proper singing voice sneaks out.
  • The sole gearbox choice for the 370Z Nismo is a six-speed manual. It requires a bit of strong-arming, as it has just a hint of notchiness at each gate, although again, I consider the extra effort an asset in a proper sports car. The clutch is fairly linear with a nice weight to the pedal and a broad and predictable catchpoint. It’s let down, though, by a numb throttle response, which makes working the clutch more of a chore than it should be.
  • Nissan gave the 370Z Nismo an aesthetic overhaul for 2014, swapping out the uniform body color of previous models for a contrasting scheme that works well with our tester’s Pearl White paint. The grey aero kit, mirrors, spoiler and wheels add some extra visual pop, while subtle red accents are noticeable on closer inspection.
  • It’s a shame Nissan couldn’t give the cabin a similar freshening. The Nismo variant sports an Alcantara-and-leather steering wheel, which adds a hint of specialness but isn’t enough to hide the Z’s age. Antiquated radio, climate and instrument cluster controls feel more suited to a Versa than Nissan’s mighty Fairlady. And the fact this Nismo variant, which sits atop the 370Z hierarchy, can’t be had with a navigation system is inexcusable.
  • For being a driver’s car, I did not find the Z’s cabin very accommodating. The Nismo-branded seats lack a suitable range of adjustment and the fixed lumbar does the driver no favors. I was shifting and squirming after about 45 minutes behind the wheel, just trying to find a better seating position. The steering and instrument cluster move as one, and offer no telescoping option – at just over six feet tall, I was forced to choose between bumping knees on the steering wheel or fully extending my arms to reach it, with neither being a desirable option.
  • The combination of Nismo-tuned shocks and springs and forged, 19-inch wheels from RAYS makes for a ride that is too firm for the street. On Michigan’s sub-par roads, the Nismo Z heaves and hops about with excessive amounts of vertical motion, plenty of impact noises and generally poor manners on all but the smoothest of roads. Unless you have a racetrack in your back yard or live in a land where the roads are made of silk, the Nismo Z is simply too stiff to use as a daily driver.
  • The Bridgestone Potenza S001 tires are offset at P245/40R19 in front and P285/35R19 in the back. They offer up plenty of grip in cornering, but produce too much road noise in regular cruising. Like the suspension, their heroics are far outweighed by their annoyances in everyday use.
  • With a starting price for the Nismo trim at $43,020, not including a $790 destination charge, the flagship 370Z is already pricey. Replace the anemic, four-speaker stereo with the $1,350 Bose Package like in our tester, and the price climbs further. With the Z sitting in the $44,000 range, it’s playing in the wheelhouse of some serious contenders. It’s undercut by the more powerful Ford Mustang GT ($39,885 with the Track Package and Recaro Seats), Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE ($40,535 for a 2013 model), and the Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track ($33,895). It also faces potential cross-shop pressure on the higher end from the Audi TTS ($48,700) and even the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray ($51,000).
  • The biggest challenger to the 370Z Nismo, though, is the regular 370Z Sport. At $33,830, I estimate that it will do 85 percent of what the 370Z Nismo will, but for $10,000 less, and will also be a far more tolerable car to live with on a daily basis. If you find yourself at the Nissan dealer with your eyes on the striking, two-seat Z, just go for the Sport.

2014 Nissan 370Z Nismo originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 22 Oct 2013 14:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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October 22nd, 2013

Video: Nissan 370Z Nismo races man in wingsuit

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Nissan pits a 370Z Nismo against a BASE jumper in a wingsuit in a race down the Susten Pass.

For its latest ad, Nissan brought together a racecar driver in a 370Z Nismo, a BASE jumper in a wingsuit and a Juke crossover with three computer screens to the Susten Pass in the Swiss Alps. As odd as the combination sounds, the ingredients come together quite nicely for an action-packed display of man versus machine in a race to the end of the pass.

No, the Juke didn’t race. Nissan left that to 2012 Nissan GT Academy Champion Peter Pyzera in the 370Z, who diced his way down the windy mountain pass. Pyzera faced renowned BASE jumper Dave Barlia in the wingsuit, who jumped off a cliff and relied merely on gravity and lift to rocket down the side of the mountain.

The Juke we mentioned earlier, known as the JukeRide, played an important role in the event, but you’ll have to find out by watching the set of videos we provided below, which includes the commercial and behind-the-scenes footage. If you like what you see, rejoice; Nissan says there will be more short films like this to showcase its Nismo cars and athletes.

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Nissan 370Z Nismo races man in wingsuit originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 01 Oct 2013 19:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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October 1st, 2013
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