Nissan Pulsar Nismo Concept Debuts in Paris 2014 Auto Show!

Nissan Pulsar Nismo Concept

Nissan’s plan to expand its sporty Nismo brand is well underway, and the latest vehicle to wear a Nismo badge is one not sold in the U.S., the Nissan Pulsar. The Pulsar Nismo concept debuted in Paris as a design study, but we hear a production model could be in the works.

Nissan Pulsar Nismo Concept Front Three Quarter 03

The Pulsar Nismo concept gets flared fenders and a more aggressive-looking “Double-Wing” front valance with characteristic red accents on the front lip and side skirts.

Nissan Pulsar Nismo Concept Front Three Quarter 02Nissan Pulsar Nismo Concept Rear Three QuarterNissan Pulsar Nismo Concept Wheels

In back, you’ll find a diffuser-style rear bumper, a center-mounted dual exhaust, and carbon fiber rear spoiler. The hatch is finished in satin gray, and rides on 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in 235/35R19 tires. Nissan says it used airflow analysis to design the body and improve aerodynamics. Inside, the Pulsar Nismo gets Alcantara-trimmed sport seats, a three-spoke sports steering wheel, alloy pedals, and a red tachometer.

Nissan Pulsar Nismo Concept Front ViewNissan Pulsar Nismo Concept Front Side ViewNissan Pulsar Nismo Concept Front End Top View

The concept has been lowered from the standard Pulsar’s ride height, and features unique spring and damper settings. Steering has also been modified for more direct response. Nissan says more details will be announced later, but Auto Express learned a few more juicy bits of info from the Paris show floor. The U.K. publication says a production version will get a 1.6-liter turbo-four producing 247 hp, with a Nismo RS variant to follow with 275 hp. That places the hatchback squarely in Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen GTI territory, but as the Pulsar isn’t sold here, don’t expect to see a C-segment hot hatch option from Nissan in the U.S. anytime soon. Nissan did, however, unveil a Note Nismo earlier this year, so there’s still hope that we could get at least one Nissan hot hatch.

Spotted! This is the facelifted 2016 BMW 6-Series. Can you spot the updates?

2016-bmw-6-series-facelift-spy-shots_100475790_h

The current-generation BMW 6-Series was all-new for the 2012 model year, so we’ll soon see the vehicle undergo its mid-cycle update. Today, we have the first spy shots of prototypes for the updated 6-Series coupe, which we expect to be revealed early next year, as a 2016 model.

2016-bmw-6-series-facelift-spy-shots_100475786_h

Being a mid-cycle update, the changes to the car are minimal. However, we should see the changes appear across the 6-Series range, which means we should be seeing prototypes for updated versions of the 6-Series Convertible, 6-Series Gran Coupe and M6 models, too.


2016-bmw-6-series-facelift-spy-shots_100475788_h

The camouflage gear on the prototypes suggests we’ll see new bumpers, new fender vents and revised lights. Changes are expected in the cabin as well, with the updated 6-Series likely to adopt BMW’s touchpad interface already found on some of the automaker’s vehicles.

2016-bmw-6-series-facelift-spy-shots_100475785_h

It’s not clear yet what changes will occur under the hood, but it’s likely the current powertrain lineup will carry over with only minor tweaks. It’s also likely we’ll see some new electronic driver aids added to the car.

2016-bmw-6-series-facelift-spy-shots_100475783_h

Stay tuned for updates as development progresses.

Automatic Parking Robot: just park your car and Ray will do the rest!

ray-parking-robot-head-640x353

A robotic parking system recently debuted at the Dusseldorf Airport in Germany, and while it’s not the first automated parking system to see the light of day, it is among the first to prioritize elegance and design. Most robot parking solutions have thus-far been rather warehouse-like, made with big yellow and blue steel girders and large, visible mechanical parts. Your average BMW owner would probably be much more likely to trust Billy the valet with his brand new paint job, whether or not that’s a justified view. Big, moving pneumatic platforms tend to have a dour, steam-ejection aesthetic, and people don’t generally like watching their $100,000 car get shunted around like boxes at an Amazon factory — but what about a slick, friendly robot named Ray? That’s a solution that could capture the lucrative luxury market.

The user experience on Ray is seamless — just park your car in Ray’s little area, pay for parking, and walk away. The system performs a 3D scan of the vehicle, and Ray adjusts its tines and tires to perfectly slide beneath each car and lift it by the tires. When holding a car aloft, Ray does not take up much more space than the car itself, allowing the system to pack vehicles densely without blocking anything off. You don’t need to remember where you parked, because you won’t be going there anyway; Ray will retrieve your car and bring it to the pickup area when you’re ready to leave. In many cases, this means the system will have your car waiting for you when you walk out of the terminal, since your flight schedule is logged with the airport.

Check out the video below for some shots of Ray in action.

The creators at Serva Transport Systems, which created the system, say that Ray can pack up to 60% more cars into the same parking area. That’s an impressive claim, and not a difficult one to believe if you’ve ever tried to navigate a large, chaotic parking garage. Not only does Ray pack cars more closely together, but it can plan elaborate and efficient layouts no collection of human drivers, or even valets, would put up with.

Of course, there are downsides to Ray — such as the fact that, right now, getting a robot to park your car will cost you almost $40. If you’re choosing Ray over a human valet service though, that might not be such an enormous fee, as tips and valet fees are often quite hefty themselves. Many people are more comfortable ordering machines around than people, and getting more drivers to use parking services (human or robot) should increase efficiency. Additionally, Ray is fully insured against any damage it might cause to a car, so drivers needn’t worry about too much about hypothetical hiccups in the self-driving software.

Cool, but certainly not the parking robot from Minority Report.Ray can also only lift cars just high enough to move them, which means it can’t do any multi-level stacking of automobiles. Ray can dramatically increase parking density in a given area, but it can’t take advantage of any vertical space — though it could theoretically drive cars up and down ramps between floors of a parking garage. The incredible Volkswagen autopark system at Autostadt Wolfsburg (which you can see below) certainly marries the aesthetic and technological sides of robot parking quite effectively, though the costs are prohibitive; one of Ray’s biggest advantages is that it can go to work in virtually any parking area with minimal need to retrofit.

Right now, people are paying for novelty and to subsidize a nascent industry, but costs should come down soon enough. When they do, high-traffic facilities all over the world may find that buying a few automatic parking robots is cheaper, easier, and more readily embraced by the public than building 60% more parking area.