Edition 37 - September 6, 2001

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Nissan 350Z Convertible

In addition to the coupe. Nissan will also introduce a convertible version of the new Z-car, to be named the 350Z. The new 350Z will be unveiled in final form at the Tokyo Motor Show next month. The engine is called VQ35DE V6 DOHC and will produce 280ps @ 6500 rpm in initial trim. A 6-speed manual and a 5-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic-style +/- shifting is part of the game plan. 18 inch wheels and tires will help give it an aggressive stance that is so trendy amongst the European competition.

Honda NSX Type-R (+facelift)

More information trickles out of Honda Japan with regard to the upcoming facelift of the venerable NSX. To maximise its image potential, especially in light of the deadly 350Z competition, it will be introduced as a Type-R version.

To be unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in October, the facelifted NSX will be sold in November of this year at Japanese Honda dealers. Honda is determined to put up a good show with the facelifted NSX before it can finish work with the true new NSX, to be debut in 2004.

The facelifted NSX Type-R will retain the 3179-cc V6 engine (C32B) and still produce an official 280-ps. Expect Brembo brakes, 17 inch front tires, 18 inch rear tires, BBS-designed alloys, Recaro sports seats, simplified interior, and a price tag of 10 million Japanese Yen (approx. US$83,600). 

To the left are Best Car magazine's estimates of the different colors available at debut time. I would also expect silver and metallic blue to be part of the export versions' palette, as the Europeans hardly order any white colored models, even if it is a Type-R Honda model.

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2004 Toyota Altezza / Lexus IS

Instead of evolution, Toyota continues the Japanese way of updating models: revolution. The next Altezza, which will continue to be the basis of the Lexus IS, will receive a much more aerodynamic looking front end.  The pulled-back headlights of the Windom and Camry will continue to be an integral part of all future sporty Toyotas. The engine will be changed to a more compact V6 design with the same engine capacities as of now (2,000 cc and 3000cc). The top-spec model will likely develop 250ps to beat the BMW 330i's 231-hp.

2003 BMW Z3 Roadster

The next Z3 will have a modern face instead of the retro-look of the current model. The ugly X Coupe concept car will lend some of its design elements, especially the "flame surfacing". The oft-critised handling due to the current Z3 using the venerable E30 generation 3-series semi-trailing arms will be greatly improved by replacing with the current E46's suspension. A new M Roadster will follow later, and will feature the full 343-hp of the new Z3 (the current M Roadster also uses the same new engine, but the tight engine bay restricts air intake capacity and yields "only" 321-hp).

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