Porsche just revealed the 2019 Macan at a special world premiere event in Shanghai, China, allowing the many fans of the current model to breathe a sigh of relief that their favourite SUV isn’t changing…

Porsche refreshes its best-selling Macan for 2019

2019 Porsche Macan
Porsche has visually widened its refreshed 2019 Macan by extending and squaring off its front side vents. (Photo: Porsche)

Porsche just revealed the 2019 Macan at a special world premiere event in Shanghai, China, allowing the many fans of the current model to breathe a sigh of relief that their favourite SUV isn’t changing too much. 

First off, with the purpose of reflecting the DNA of the brand’s iconic 911 sports car and the 918 Spyder, the front and rear designs have been enhanced to appear wider, giving the Macan a sportier, more rooted to the road appeal. Specifically, the grille includes more pronounced horizontal slats, while the ducts to each side get squarer outer edges that taper outward as they drop down, with a thicker, more visible vertical trim piece finishing off their corners, and narrower LED fog lamps positioned on the slats instead of above or below depending on the model, as was done previously. What’s more, the lower fascia gets more horizontal lines to broaden its look, while previously optional LED headlamps with trademark Porsche four-point character lights are now standard. 

2019 Porsche Macan
The changes add more aggression to the design, which is never a bad thing. (Photo: Porsche)

Walk around to the rear of the 2019 Macan and you’ll see the most significant change, the taillights having morphed from two individual units into one single three-dimensional strip of LED elements, similar to the recently redesigned Cayenne. Like the headlamps, the larger wraparound corner portions of the new mono-taillight also incorporate four-point character LEDs, while the rest of the liftback, bumper, and lower fascia appear to be carryover. No matter the angle, the end result is an attractively modernized 2019 Macan, while owners can further personalize its appearance with various trim levels, myriad wheel and tire combinations, plus new Dolomite Silver Metallic, Mamba Green Metallic, Miami Blue, or Crayon exterior colours. 

2019 Porsche Macan
The new Macan’s rear design gets a single LED taillight element spanning the entire tailgate. (Photo: Porsche)

As for the cabin, the big changes are digital as is often the case these days. It begins with a new 11.0-inch full-HD Porsche Communication Management (PCM) touchscreen replacing the 7.0-inch unit in the outgoing model. The visual effect is stunning, with much sharper, clearer resolution, and enhanced graphics to complement the look. Likewise, the system’s operating system is faster, which will no doubt improve the speed of new standard intelligent voice control and the now standard navigation system’s mapping adjustments, plus other functions, while it’s more intuitively designed for easier use, this thanks in part to predefined tiles that allow customization. 

2019 Porsche Macan
Full LED headlights with Porsche’s four-point signature LEDs are standard. (Photo: Porsche)

Additionally, Porsche has now made its Connect Plus module standard, which means that every new Macan is fully networked for real-time traffic information. A key element of this system is “Here Cloud”, which utilizes swarm-based traffic data to find you the quickest route to your destination. What’s more, the Macan’s new Offroad Precision App makes it possible to record and analyze off-road driving experiences. 

2019 Porsche Macan
A wider, brighter, higher resolution and all-round better HD infotainment display modernizes the Macan interior. (Photo: Porsche)

The larger, wider screen design necessitated additional modifications to the centre stack, so therefore Porsche moved the air vents from their previous positions at each side of the touchscreen, to a new location just below the display where a lidded bin was before. Additionally the audio/HVAC control panel, which slots between the two, is now wider and narrower, maintaining Porsche’s new horizontal design theme. 

Also of note, the 2019 Macan gets an optimized chassis designed to enhance neutrality while maintaining stability and improving comfort, plus the standard intelligent Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive system’s already lauded high-speed handling characteristics can be further assisted via newly developed 20- and 21-inch performance tires. 

2019 Porsche Macan
The centre air vents have been relocated under the redesigned row of ancillary audio and HVAC controls. (Photo: Porsche)

Options in mind, the 2019 Macan can now be had with a GT sports steering wheel sourced from the 911, while adding the Sports Chrono Package includes a Sport Response Button on the right-side spoke. 

Of course, comfort options will improve as well, with an ionizer plus a heatable windscreen available, while Porsche has also added its suite of advanced driver assist systems that include adaptive cruise control with Traffic Jam Assist, this allowing semi-autonomous driving amid congested, slow-moving traffic at speeds up to 60 km/h, with the ability to automatically steer, accelerate and brake. 

2019 Porsche Macan
The 2019 Macan remains a capable off-roader, setting it apart from many rivals. (Photo: Porsche)

Porsche hasn’t confirmed the powertrain lineup for the North American markets, but it’s expected the base turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder will receive more output than its current 252 horsepower. As for the model’s V6 engine lineup, the Macan S will likely get a new single-turbo 3.0-litre unit making about 350 horsepower, while the Macan Turbo will be fitted with a new twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 expected to push power up into the high 400 range. The Turbo should once again be available with a Performance Package upgrade, which currently adds 40 horsepower, while the sporty GTS model will no doubt remain, splitting the difference between S and Turbo trims. Lastly, the current seven-speed automated dual-clutch PDK transmission will remain standard. 

The 2019 Macan shown in Shanghai is specific to the Chinese market, so make sure to stay tuned for Canadian market information about trims, features, options, etcetera as the redesigned model prepares for launch later this year. 

Until then, make sure to check out a few videos about the 2019 Porsche Macan below:

 

The new Macan – More adventure. More life. More thrills. (0:51):

The new Porsche Macan. Exterior design. (1:31):

Design documentation: The new Macan. (6:33):

The age-old question “Porsche 911 Turbo or Aston Martin Vantage?” has taken on even greater relevance this year, due to the arrival of the all-new 2019 Vantage.  Making the argument from Gaydon,…

New 2019 Aston Martin Vantage now available for $172,495

2019 Aston Martin Vantage
Aston Martin completely redesigned its Vantage for 2019, and it looks fabulous! (Photo: Aston Martin)

The age-old question “Porsche 911 Turbo or Aston Martin Vantage?” has taken on even greater relevance this year, due to the arrival of the all-new 2019 Vantage. 

Making the argument from Gaydon, England even more appealing, the revolutionary new Brit is $11,705 less expensive than the continually evolutionary German, at $172,495 compared to $184,200 (2018 model year pricing). 

If you think that’s impressive, consider the 2019 Vantage is a shocking $50,940 more affordable than the previous generation, that being the $223,435 2017 iteration that only came to Canada in 565-horsepower V12-powered trim. 

2019 Aston Martin Vantage
The classic Aston grille remains, it’s just much larger and farther down the front fascia. (Photo: Aston Martin)

Then again, only a year prior the base 2016 V8 Vantage was priced at a mere $109,400, just above the 370-horsepower Porsche 911’s starting price, but before we stop celebrating the just-noted $50k savings and begin to lambaste the UK powers that be for upping the new 2019 model’s price by $63,095, consider its 4.7-litre V8 only made 420 horsepower and 346 lb-ft of torque compared to the new 2019 model’s 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 that puts out 503 ponies and 505 lb-ft of twist, and then factor in that it’s a completely redesigned car from the ground up, making the outgoing model look and feel like the modern-day classic it truly was. 

2019 Aston Martin Vantage
The rear design is much more aggressive, appearing like one of the brand’s Le Mans fighting Vantage GTE race cars. (Photo: Aston Martin)

After all, the Vantage dates back to 2005, and during that near 14-year period it had only seen minor updates. Such is common amongst smaller industry players in the ultra-luxury sector, with similarly positioned cars such as Bentley’s Continental GT dating all the way back to 2003, despite a second-generation in 2011 that looked very much like the original. 

That Continental is totally new for 2019 too, and beautiful in its own right, but we can safely say the new Vantage is a far more radical design departure from its predecessor than Bentley’s upcoming Conti is from its forebear. The new AMV 8 was heavily influenced by the sensational DB10 prototype best known for its “star car” appearance in the 2015 James Bond film Spectre, although close inspection shows a great deal of refinement from concept to reality. 

2019 Aston Martin Vantage
Exterior colours have the ability to transform the styling, especially when key trim is painted in Lime Essense. (Photo: Aston Martin)

The result is a major deviation from the classic Aston Martin grille design, or at least the placement thereof. To be clear, the general shape of the grille remains the same, this easier to see with Vantage models featuring the inner outline of their grille painted in a coat of bright, colourful Lime Essense, but with cars that alternatively leave this section shaded in a darker hue the lower portion of the grille seems to completely disappear into the road surface below. Certainly Aston will allow customers to play with this optical illusion via the myriad paint colours available, which should provide some wonderful results. In the end, enlarging and lowering the classic AM grille has created an entirely new, much more modern look for a brand that was probably relying too much on past glories before, while keeping all-important heritage fully intact. 

2019 Aston Martin Vantage
The Vantage strikes a classic sports coupe pose when seen from its side profile. (Photo: Aston Martin)

The flush LED headlamp clusters look small in comparison to that grille, while the always long and elegant Aston hood appears even more extended thanks to the need to reach further downward to meet the grille. Likewise, the front fenders snuggly hug a large set of alloys, leaving a mere sliver of bonded aluminum bodywork above before bending inward to incorporate subtle functional side gill wheel well vents. These bleed rearward into the door skins that hover over wide sill extensions, the latter visually pulled around the car from the front splitter. 

2019 Aston Martin Vantage
Upon close inspection the headlights are intricately detailed. (Photo: Aston Martin)

Those thinking the design departure is radical when watching a new Vantage approach may realize they hadn’t seen the half of it upon witnessing its hind end round the corner, the model’s single curving car-width taillight an impressive display of LED creativity in action. The rear lamp fluidly flows with the uniquely shaped Kamm-like tail design, raised up in the middle like sports car racers of the past, while the working rear diffuser under the bumper cap looks as if it could’ve been pulled directly from a World Endurance Championship (WEC) Vantage GTE racecar. 

2019 Aston Martin Vantage
When a design is inherently good, details like wheels can be kept elegantly simple. (Photo: Aston Martin)

Like with the new DB11 V8, the new hand built 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged eight-cylinder stuffed under the Vantage hood hails from Mercedes-AMG, although Aston tunes it for their unique feel and sound. Standstill to 100km/h takes a mere 3.6 seconds, this aided by a 1,530-kilogram curb weight. Aston’s engineering team positioned the new engine as far forward and as low as the chassis design allowed, which resulted in ideal 50/50 weight distribution. 

2019 Aston Martin Vantage
The Kamm-style deck lid provides excellent aerodynamics and a wonderful prop for the curving strip of LED taillights. (Photo: Aston Martin)

That balance was aided by the new Vantage’ rear-mounted, eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, while the carbon-fibre driveshaft that spins in an alloy torque tube benefits all performance criteria. The automatic is standard, which means no manual gearbox is available for the time being, but rumour has it a seven-speed DIY transmission will become the base gearbox in the near future. 

Of course, Aston provides the Vantage with driver selectable modes including Sport, Sport Plus and Track, while the new electronically controlled differential is a Gaydon first, this working in conjunction with the braking system to enhance high speed handling via torque vectoring. 

2019 Aston Martin Vantage
The new Vantage interior combines the British brand’s legendary artisanship and materials quality with entirely new, modern electronics. (Photo: Aston Martin)

Being that the Vantage is the sportiest Aston in the lineup, its speed-sensitive electric power steering features a tighter lock-to-lock ratio than the larger DB11, while it’s also tweaked for more aggression off-centre. Added to this is a 2,704-mm wheelbase, the new Vantage 100-mm shorter than the DB11 and therefore more reactive to turn-in through tight, fast-paced corners. 

2019 Aston Martin Vantage
A flat-bottomed sport steering wheel comes standard with shift paddles, while an 8.0-inch display sits at dash central. (Photo: Aston Martin)

Sharing components with its larger sibling would only make sense, and to that end 30 percent of the aluminum Vantage chassis comes from the DB11. This of course means that 70 percent of the Vantage chassis is completely unique, this portion including the rear frame that’s now solidly mounted to increase lateral rigidity. The stiffer design results in 2.2 degrees of roll per cornering G-force, which compares to 3.0 degrees with the DB11. Additionally, the newest version of Aston’s Skyhook adaptive suspension provides progressively firmer damping characteristics in its various drive modes, while that 30-percent figure mentioned a moment ago relates to the front suspension components pulled from the DB11. 

2019 Aston Martin Vantage
This bright, colourful digital gauge cluster embraces the future, yet puts an end to Aston’s beautiful analogue dials. (Photo: Aston Martin)

As you might expect, the new Vantage interior is now fully immersed in the 21st century, so therefore along with the usual Aston Martin handmade detailing of carbon-fibre, aluminum, leather and suede-like Alcantara trim and upholstery finishings, it incorporates the latest high-resolution digital displays ahead of the driver and atop the centre stack. The latter is an 8.0-inch touchscreen, which, like in the DB11, is sourced from Daimler’s parts bin, along with its knurled metal rotating wheel controller and palm rest. 

2019 Aston Martin Vantage
The trio of big aluminum knobs up top are for the HVAC system, while the inverted “V” just below includes buttons for engine start/stop and gear selection. (Photo: Aston Martin)

Speaking of knurled metal, Aston has kept its trio of rotating metal knobs on the centre stack, albeit now the centre one is part of the HVAC system, while a bevy of metal trimmed rocker switches fills the open spaces in between while rows of buttons line each side of the aforementioned infotainment controller on the lower console. Additionally, the ignition and gear selector buttons have been repositioned from a horizontal row high on the centre stack to an inverted “V” formation below, where the stack bends into the lower console, while shifts continue to be executed by large, metal paddles fixed to the steering column. 

2019 Aston Martin Vantage
The details are sensational. (Photo: Aston Martin)

The steering wheel is an appropriately sporty flat-bottomed, leather-wrapped design that features just enough switchgear to appear modern yet not enough to look cluttered. It frames a fully configurable TFT gauge cluster, just like the DB11, which is an important step that once again locks Aston into the new century, yet traditionalists will miss the glorious mechanical/analogue dials that have long been part of the AM mystique. 

Comfort is reportedly large on ultra-luxury buyers’ wish lists, even in the more performance-oriented classes, so therefore the new Vantage passenger compartment is improved ergonomically with more headroom and legroom, plus some additional side-to-side spaciousness. 

2019 Aston Martin Vantage
And yes, the Vantage is practical too. (Photo: Aston Martin)

As you might expect, the new Vantage is well equipped with luxury and convenience features too, but take note you’ll still need to pay extra for heatable seats, parking assist, blindspot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, etcetera. Four option packages include Sport, Exterior Black, Tech, and Comfort, with each of these allowing for ample personalization as well. 

2019 Aston Martin Vantage
The new 2019 Vantage provides an exotic look that some of its competitors are missing. (Photo: Aston Martin)

The 2019 Aston Martin Vantage is available now, but those wanting the convertible Volante version will need to wait until 2019.

Before delving into another story here on TheCarMagazine, make sure to browse through the largest photo gallery we’ve ever put together on any car by clicking on the big photo at the top of this page, and after that check out some videos of the new 2019 Aston Martin Vantage below: 

 

2018 24 Hours of Le Mans – The Pursuit Of Beautiful (1:50):

ASTON MARTIN RACING IS BACK! IT’S TIME TO BE BOLD (1:19):

The new Aston Martin Vantage – #BeautifulWontBeTamed (1:29):

Vantage GTE: The Birth Of A Future Champion (9:04):

New Vantage – Cold Environment Testing in Finland (1:19):

New Vantage Launch – Tokyo (2:22):

Daniel Ricciardo & Martin Brundle meet #NewVantage (1:48):

New Vantage Road and Race Car Launch (1:08):

Beautiful Won’t Be Tamed – The New Vantage (1:18):

When Max Verstappen met #NewVantage (3:11):

As far as car companies go, Porsche is still youthful and vigorous at 70-years young. Nevertheless it’s done a lot with its seven decades, much of which was celebrated at this year’s Goodwood Festival…

Goodwood Festival of Speed celebrates 70 years of Porsche sports cars

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
The Porsche 356 “No. 1” Roadster, shown here at the 2018 Goodwood Festival, arrived on the sports car scene in 1948. (Photo: Porsche)

As far as car companies go, Porsche is still youthful and vigorous at 70-years young. Nevertheless it’s done a lot with its seven decades, much of which was celebrated at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex, England. 

The event is best known for the annual Goodwood Hill Climb, which sees a host of historic race cars, modern-day Formula One machinery, World Endurance Car racers, one-off prototypes, supercars, motorbikes, and most everything else powered by a varying array conventional and alternative energy sources perform demonstration runs up a 1.86-kilometre (1.16-mile) road course, with fans cheering them on from either side, after which they’re put on show for all to enjoy. 

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
The Goodwood Festival grounds were packed full of classic Porsche production and racing cars. (Photo: Porsche)

The first Porsche to climb the hill this year was the legendary 356 ‘No.1’ Roadster, the actual car that got the brand off to such a good start in 1948. The 356 ‘No.1’ Roadster was one of seven iconic road-going Porsche models that took part in the event, all of which are normally on display at the Porsche Museum at the brand’s headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. Porsche chose each of these cars to represent a 10-year period, allowing attendees to experience the evolution of the Porsche sports car. 

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
The 1964 Porsche 911 looks downright humble next to its progeny, but it was nevertheless a force to be recognized in the ’60s. (Photo: Porsche)

This was the 356 ‘No.1’ Roadster’s debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and therefore a very special experience for the brand’s many fans. The car is replete with Porsche DNA, from its mid-engine layout to the horizontally opposed “boxer” engine design itself, while its lightweight construction and fuel-efficiency, which helped the 356/1’s progeny defeat many more powerful competitors on the track, is still a core ideal behind the development of current road and race models. 

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
It doesn’t get much better for a car enthusiast than witnessing the stunning V8-powered 904 F1 car hightail it up the Goodwood hill climb. (Photo: Porsche)

Additional production Porsche models that put on a show at this year’s Goodwood Festival include a 1964 911, 1973 911 Carrera RS, 1987 959, 1997 911 Turbo, 2003 Carrera GT, 2015 918 Spyder. 

In addition to these, a dozen Porsche racing cars also took their turn on the hill, including the 1962 804, 1974 911 Carrera RSR Turbo, 1978 935/78 ‘Moby Dick’, 1984 911 SC ‘Paris Dakar’, 1986 961, 1987 962, 1988 2708 Indycar, 1994 Dauer 962 GT Le Mans, 1998 GT1 ’98, 2000 LMP 2000, 2007 RS Spyder, and the 919 Hybrid Tribute Tour. 

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
Goodwood festival attendees have plenty of opportunities to get close to some of the most amazing sports cars to ever enter motorsport. (Photo: Porsche)

Making clear that Porsche isn’t only about celebrating past success, the 919 Hybrid Tribute Tour (the final model noted above) is actually a modified version of Porsche’s championship winning WEC LMP1 car otherwise known as the 919 Hybrid Evo, which completely obliterated a 35-year-old Nürburgring-Nordschleife lap record in June of this year, with Porsche factory race driver Timo Bernhard at the wheel, although Neel Jani did driving duties on the Goodwood course. 

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
The Nürburgring-Nordschleife dominating Porsche 919 Hybrid Tribute Tour car was likely the fastest car to climb the hill this year. (Photo: Porsche)

The factory Porsche 911 RSR ‘Pink Pig’ was also part of the program, taking a sort of victory lap after winning its GTE Pro category at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. 

Following the competitive sports car theme, the latest 911 GT3 Cup race car from the Porsche Carrera Cup GB was also included in the demonstration run, this model featuring the same 4.0-litre H-6 engine as the 911 GT3 road car. 

Additionally, the 911 Speedster Concept, a one-off prototype inspired by the 356 ‘No.1’ Roadster, took part in the Supercar Run. 

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
The 911 RSR ‘Pink Pig’ took a Goodwood victory lap after winning its GTE Pro category at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. (Photo: Porsche)

Visitors to Goodwood also had opportunity to see the 911 GT2 RS up close and personal, this 700-horsepower, twin-turbocharged, 3.8-litre flat-six beast having lapped the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in just 6 minutes and 47 seconds to earn fastest production car bragging rights last September. The record has since been beaten, but without doubt Porsche will soon find its way back to the top of the podium again. 

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
The 911 Speedster Concept, which was inspired by the original 356/1, took part in the Supercar Run. (Photo: Porsche)

Also on hand at the Porsche Experience Centre stand was the 2015 Mission E concept car, the production version having been recently dubbed Taycan. The beautiful four-door coupe is solely powered by electricity, and therefore is said to represent the future of Porsche performance. 

Quite notably, Porsche has taken part in every Goodwood Festival since the annual event began in 1993. Back then Goodwood only managed to attract 27,500 enthusiasts, but it now brings in more than 200,000 visitors each spring. 

Whether you were able to join in on the festivities at this year’s event or weren’t able to attend, we’re sure you’ll enjoy some collected videos, one of which shows the unveiling of a special sculpture that commemorates the marque’s 70 years of production road car and motorsport heritage: 

Porsche Central Feature Sculpture reveal at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018 (1:16): 

Grand Prix legend: the Porsche 804 at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018 (1:00): 

Future focus. Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018 (1:18): 

Mid-size sedan sales may be on a downward trend, but the once dominant market segment still makes up a significant portion of most mainstream brands’ sales volumes, so therefore they remain a critically…

New 2019 Nissan Altima adds standard AWD to Canadian mid-size sedan segment

2019 Nissan Altima
The 2019 Altima arrives with a bold new take on Nissan’s trademark Vmotion grille. (Photo: Nissan)

Mid-size sedan sales may be on a downward trend, but the once dominant market segment still makes up a significant portion of most mainstream brands’ sales volumes, so therefore they remain a critically important ingredient for overall success. 

To put this in perspective, Nissan sold 16.7 percent more Altima mid-size sedans than Sentra compact four-doors in the U.S. last year, with 254,996 examples of the former and 218,451 of the latter delivered. Here in Canada the numbers are reversed at 6,626 for the Altima and 13,883 for the Sentra, but the larger, pricier car is more profitable, so it nevertheless remains an important model in the lineup. 

2019 Nissan Altima
If the new Altima’s styling doesn’t make enough of a dramatic statement on its own, the announcement of standard AWD will. (Photo: Nissan)

Like many in this segment, Altima numbers have taken a hit in recent years. In fact, they’ve been steadily sliding for decades, the mid-size Nissan having lost 64.2 percent in sales volume over the past decade and a half, 36.8 percent of which was only in the last five years. 

That’s almost as long as the current fifth-generation Altima has been with us, its production starting in May of 2012. The mid-size four-door received a dramatic facelift for the 2016 model year, adapting the brand’s new Vmotion grille and other stylish improvements, but three more years of availability means the time for change has come once again. 

2019 Nissan Altima
This exciting redesign makes the 2019 Altima one of the sportiest looking in its segment. (Photo: Nissan)

Enter the 2019 Nissan Altima, a much bolder looking mid-size four-door sedan that should please fans of the nameplate that have been looking forward to an update. It now wears Nissan’s Vmotion 2.0 grille, which is a reshaped version of the now trademark Nissan grille design. Basically the “V” shape of the new Altima’s grille has been flattened on the bottom to form more of a “U”, just like other recent Nissan redesigns. Also, following current trends that grille has grown to epic proportions, giving the car a grander, more premium look. 

2019 Nissan Altima
The new Altima includes a floating roof design like its larger Maxima sibling. (Photo: Nissan)

Additionally, new LED headlamps and taillights look sharper and more sophisticated, while the rear C-pillars feature a narrow glossy black strip for a floating roof effect, similar to that on the brand’s flagship Maxima luxury sedan. From front to back the new look is hardly subtle, but it was tastefully penned so should be widely accepted by Altima owners and newcomers alike.

2019 Nissan Altima
The Altima’s rear styling isn’t as dramatic as its frontal design, yet it’s still plenty attractive. (Photo: Nissan)

The updated model is 25 mm (1.0 in) longer, 23 mm (0.9 in) wider and 28 mm (1.1 in) lower than the car it replaces, giving it a sportier stance all-round, while its wheelbase has grown by 48 mm (1.9 in). The sleek sheetmetal helps Nissan achieve a slippery 0.26 coefficient of drag, improving highway fuel economy while reducing wind noise, plus its larger dimensions provide more interior room all-round. Additionally, the wheels have been pushed farther to each corner, adding to its athletic appearance while theoretically providing more stability at high speed and a better ride, but we’ll have to wait for a test drive before confirmation. 

2019 Nissan Altima
The 2019 Altima effectively plays on the current big grille design trend. (Photo: Nissan)

That should happen shortly after the updated Altima arrives this fall, at which point we’ll also be able to advise on its reportedly quieter, smoother and more efficient 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, now 9 horsepower and 3 lb-ft of torque stronger than the outgoing engine at 188 horsepower and 180 lb-ft; its revised Xtronic CVT that gets an expanded lock-up area for improved fuel economy, plus available paddle shifters; and its standard all-wheel drive. 

2019 Nissan Altima
Standard AWD should be appealing to Canadians who live in colder climates. (Photo: Nissan)

Yes, for the first time ever the 2019 Altima won’t be available with front-wheel drive, at least not in Canada. This is a bold move for the brand’s Canadian division, but it certainly separates it from most competitors that don’t offer AWD at all. 

Dubbed Intelligent AWD, it features an advanced torque split design that automatically distributes power from 100 percent up front and zero at the rear, all the way to an even division of 50 percent front to rear. The bias depends on road conditions and resulting wheel slippage, with the default being front-wheel drive to save fuel. Nissan says the new AWD system works seamlessly with the Altima’s standard limited-slip differential too, plus its Hill Start Assist system. 

2019 Nissan Altima
Stylish LED taillights also react faster than incandescent bulbs, making the new Altima safer. (Photo: Nissan)

Currently, Ford offers AWD with its 2.0-litre Ecoboost engine, found optionally in its near-premium trimmed Titanium and Platinum non-hybrid models, plus standard on its performance-oriented Fusion Sport, a 325 horsepower beast that’s a bit of an anomaly in this mostly fuel-efficiency focused segment, while the Subaru Legacy is the only mid-size sedan entrant to provide standard AWD, and it’s a minor player in Canada’s market with last year’s volume sitting at just 2,451 units compared to the Altima’s 6,626, let alone the Honda Accord’s 13,504 deliveries and the Toyota Camry’s 14,574. 

2019 Nissan Altima
The new Altima includes standard LED headlamps, allowing for brighter forward illumination. (Photo: Nissan)

The Subie actually brings up the rear in this 10 model strong segment, but Nissan no doubt isn’t feeling too proud about besting its fellow countryman, because it only sits sixth in sales, with the (soon to be cancelled) Ford Fusion in third with 9,736 deliveries in 2017, the Chevrolet Malibu in fourth with 8,152, and the Hyundai Sonata in fifth with 7,827. Amongst the stragglers is the Kia Optima with 4,496 down the road last year, Volkswagen Passat (and CC) with 4,145, Chrysler 200 (no longer available) with 2,842, and Mazda 6 with 2,541. Time will tell if all the changes made to the new Altima will push it further up the sales chart, but a quick tour of the interior makes its prospects look promising. 

2019 Nissan Altima
The 2019 Altima has a much cleaner, more minimalist interior than the outgoing one. (Photo: Nissan)

Nissan promises a sporty yet sophisticated cabin that replaces traditional chrome embellishment with matte chrome accents and satin finishes, while there’s a bit less of each than with previous Altima models for a more modern look. This said it’s not a breakthrough design, but instead features a lower dash top resulting in an airier, more open ambience, the entire instrument panel tastefully minimalist, seeming to naturally flow from one element to the next. 

2019 Nissan Altima
The new Altima appears to have a large, roomy cockpit, ideal for all sizes of driver. (Photo: Nissan)

Likewise it’s almost completely devoid of clutter, with most centre stack controls housed in a large 8.0-inch fixed tablet-style infotainment touchscreen protruding upward from the dash top, this complete with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a rearview camera, and more. A nicely sorted dual-zone automatic climate control interface sits on its own just below, while the driver gets a dedicated full-colour 7.0-inch TFT multi-information display within the gauge cluster. 

2019 Nissan Altima
An 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen will be standard, complete with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a backup camera and more. (Photo: Nissan)

Nissan says it put special emphasis on giving all of the Altima’s switches and controls “an intuitive, effortless feel and natural operation,” so we’re looking forward to experiencing the result of this concentrated effort, while the NASA-inspired Zero Gravity seats have our curiosity piqued as well. Nissan claims these are especially good at providing long driving range comfort thanks to dual-density foam, plus some extra bolstering is said to improve support while driving around town. 

2019 Nissan Altima
The 2019 Altima will once again make use of Nissan’s advanced continuously variable transmission. (Photo: Nissan)

Something else that sets the Altima apart from key rivals is Nissan’s ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous driving technology. To be clear, ProPilot Assist doesn’t turn your Altima into a self-driving autonomous vehicle, but instead helps to keep drivers in the middle of a chosen lane by adjusting the steering automatically, has the ability to navigate stop-and-go traffic, and maintains set speeds and distances to vehicles ahead, simply by pressing two buttons. Basically, all you need to do is activate the system and then set the adaptive cruise control, at which point the Altima will steer itself as long as your hands are still touching the wheel. 

2019 Nissan Altima
The new model’s longer wheelbase provides more legroom. (Photo: Nissan)

Of note, Canadian Altima buyers won’t yet have the option of Nissan’s new variable compression turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder, or VC-Turbo that can vary its compression ratio from 8:1 to 14:1 through an innovative system that can alter the piston throw inside the cylinder, resulting in 248 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque when fuel with premium unleaded. Why the negative news? Because this highly advanced engine is only mated to the model’s front-wheel drivetrain, and so far no AWD option is available outside of Infiniti’s new QX50. As you may have guessed it’s available as an Altima option south of the 49th, as is AWD, their base model being our 2.5-litre four mated to FWD. 

2019 Nissan Altima
The rear seating area appears very roomy. (Photo: Nissan)

Both markets will receive the same standard front MacPherson strut and rear multi-link suspension setup, plus identical electric power steering systems, featuring new dual steering pinions for improved precision, while an upscale set of monotube rear shocks improves damping. 

We won’t know about standard features, trims and pricing until closer to launch, or for that matter anything to do with options and packages, but we can expect the same eight-way powered driver’s seat as offered to our American friends, plus standard fabric and optional leather upholstery, heated front seats, LED headlights, a Bose audio upgrade, available navigation, a powered moonroof, and more, while a bevy of advanced driver assistance systems will likely include forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blindspot monitoring, active lane control, adaptive cruise control, and more. 

Stay tuned for a more detailed report as the fall of 2018 draws near.

Infiniti had more reasons to celebrate than just Canada Day on July 1, 2018, because extremely strong June sales resulted in the best month it has ever recorded.  The Japanese luxury brand increased…

Infiniti monthly sales in June were best ever in Canada

2018 Infiniti QX80
Infiniti’s largest QX80 SUV grew its sales by 13.7 percent in June. (Photo: Infiniti)

Infiniti had more reasons to celebrate than just Canada Day on July 1, 2018, because extremely strong June sales resulted in the best month it has ever recorded. 

The Japanese luxury brand increased nationwide deliveries to 1,398 units last month, which represents a 16.3-percent year-over-year increase as well as an all-time monthly sales record. 

As you might expect, sport utility vehicles were key to its success, with the brand’s largest QX80 growing its sales by 13.7 percent in June. 

2018 Infiniti QX60
Infiniti’s most popular QX60 mid-size luxury crossover achieved 567 sales in June, resulting in a new monthly record. (Photo: Infiniti)

Additionally, Infiniti’s most popular QX60 mid-size luxury crossover achieved 567 sales, this resulting in a new monthly record as well as 14.5 percent growth when compared to June 2017. 

June was also a big month for the QX50 compact luxury crossover, which arrived as a completely redesigned 2019 model halfway through the month and therefore benefited from 335 Canadian deliveries for its best June ever, not to mention 119 percent year-over-year growth. 

2019 Infiniti QX50
The all-new QX50 sold 335 units in its first half month for its best June ever, while also achieving 119 percent YoY growth. (Photo: Infiniti)

Even the discontinued QX70 crossover found traction in June, its sales rising by 19.1 percent, while the ever-popular Q50 sport-luxury sedan also received a bump in popularity, finding 2.3 percent more buyers than it did a year ago. 

The Q50 helped keep Infiniti’s car sales from sliding farther backward than the -2.5 percent slip they experienced in June, whereas SUV sales grew by a substantive 23.3 percent. 

That said Infiniti cars are the big winners so far this year, with 2018 year-to-date deliveries at the close of Q2 resulting in +9.2 percent compared to -8.5 for SUVs.

When Q2 of 2018 came to a close, Nissan Group certainly had reason to celebrate thanks to its Canadian division achieving its best June ever. Sales increased to 16,330 units nationwide last month, which…

Nissan Group achieves best Canadian monthly sales ever in June

2018 Nissan Rogue
The Rogue found 4,342 new owners in June. (Photo: Nissan)

When Q2 of 2018 came to a close, Nissan Group certainly had reason to celebrate thanks to its Canadian division achieving its best June ever. Sales increased to 16,330 units nationwide last month, which represents a 2.0-percent year-over-year increase as well as an all-time monthly sales record. 

Breaking that total down by brand, the automaker’s namesake Nissan division sold 14,932 units, providing a 0.9-percent increase, which left the Infiniti luxury brand with 1,398 new model sales, this being a 16.3-percent improvement over June of 2017. 

2018 Nissan Qashqai
The Qashqai achieved a new all-time record of 2,150 sales in June. (Photo: Nissan)

The top-selling Nissan model remains the ever-popular Rogue compact crossover SUV, which found 4,342 new owners in June, whereas the smaller Qashqai crossover achieved a new all-time record of 2,150 sales during the same 30 days, helping it continue forward as the second best-selling model in Nissan’s Canadian lineup. 

Also impressive, the all-new, all-electric Leaf EV set a June sales record as well, with 492 units down the road. Additionally, Nissan has found 2,408 new Leaf buyers during the 2018 calendar year-to-date, building on one of the Japanese brand’s most significant success stories. 

2018 Nissan LEAF
2018 all-new Nissan LEAF EV sold 492 units last month. (Photo: Nissan)

A newcomer to the Nissan family got off to a good start in June as well, with the 2018 Kicks subcompact crossover SUV selling a total of 609 units during its first full month, while at the other end of the size spectrum the Titan full-size pickup truck recorded its best June ever at 684 units, a gain of 61.3 percent when compared to June of 2017. 

2018 Nissan Kicks
The new Kicks subcompact SUV sold 609 units during June, its first full month of availability. (Photo: Nissan)

Continuing on the XXL theme, the Armada full-size SUV had a solid month of sales too, achieving its best June ever thanks to 156 deliveries, which represents an increase of 16.4 percent from the same month last year. 

In other positive June news, the 370Z and GT-R sports cars grew their sales by 14.3 and 20.0 percent respectively, while the NV200 and NV commercial vans experienced 13.0 and 13.6 percent growth. 

All in all, cars have seen stronger year-over-year growth since the beginning of 2018, with year-to-date Nissan car sales having increased by 16.3 percent, and YTD SUV and truck deliveries decreasing by 5.9 percent.

How do you make the new Civic Si even better than it already is? The Si is legendary and this new 10th-generation the most exciting version yet, but despite already offering superb stock sport compact…

HFP package adds more style and sport to Honda’s Civic Si line

2018 Honda Civic Si HFP
A new Civic Si HFP trim upgrade adds sporty new styling details, new wheels, a sport suspension and interior mods. (Photo: Honda)

How do you make the new Civic Si even better than it already is? The Si is legendary and this new 10th-generation the most exciting version yet, but despite already offering superb stock sport compact performance, Honda has decided there’s room for improvement. 

Enter the new Civic Si HFP. Yes, Civic Nation will already be well aware of the Honda Factory Performance moniker, because the Japanese automaker offered “HFP” branded aerodynamic body kits, performance-tuned suspension components, and larger, lighter alloy wheels for the eighth- and ninth-generation Civics, and likewise for the subcompact Fit hatchback. 

2018 Honda Civic Si HFP
The HFP upgrade can be added to both Si Coupe and Sedan body styles. (Photo: Honda)

With respect to the current 10th-generation Civic, a recent Honda Canada press release says the Honda Factory Performance package adds a bevy of “aesthetic and dynamic enhancements.” The former includes a new bright red front lip spoiler for “a subtle, yet fierce look,” which is “complemented by side skirts designed to improve downforce.” 

The new Si HFP also gets unique 19-inch HFP matte black alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot 4S maximum-performance category rubber, these an inch larger than those on the standard Si and specified for both daily use and racetrack capability. Lastly, red and black Civic Si HFP badging gets added to the sides and rear of the car, warning regular Civic Si owners to back off. 

2018 Honda Civic Si HFP
Rallye Red is only available with the Si HFP Coupe, whereas White Orchid Pearl and Crystal Black Pearl can be had with both body styles. (Photo: Honda)

Why? No doubt those sportier wheels and tires make enough of improvement on their own, but nevertheless, behind their matte black goodness and below all that sharp looking bodywork is an upgraded HFP sport suspension with modified active dampers that not only improves ultimate performance on road and track, but also enhances the Si HFP’s ride quality over its conventionally sprung sibling. 

The Honda Factory Performance package also benefits the interior by adding a new leather-wrapped shifter with red stitching, as well as an eye-catching set of red and black HFP branded floor mats. 

2018 Honda Civic Si HFP
The Civic Sedan Si is already a serious sport sedan, but the new HFP trim makes it even better on the street and track. (Photo: Honda)

The rest of the Civic Si HFP is stock Si, which means the interior is wholly more impressive than any previous Si, with two of the most comfortable and supportive sport seats in the class, plus refinement levels amongst the compact segment’s most impressive, not to mention some of its best digital interfaces. 

While Honda refers to the Civic Si HFP upgrades as a “Honda Factory Performance package” in its press release, it’s more accurately an entirely new trim level, as it’s delivered complete from the factory and shown on the brand’s retail website “Build” configuration tool. What’s more, this track-ready model is exclusive to Canada. 

2018 Honda Civic Si HFP
Specially designed lightweight 19-inch HFP alloys look good in their matte black finish. (Photo: Honda)

Like the regular Si, the new Si HFP is available in both Sedan and Coupe body styles, while behind its glossy black grille is the same turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine as in the standard Si, which is once again good for 205 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque, while one of the industry’s best six-speed manual transmissions continues to take care of shifting duties and a limited slip differential makes sure all that power gets down to the road. 

Civic Si HFP pricing starts at $34,390 for the Sedan and $34,790 for the Coupe, adding $5,700 on top of regular Si suggested prices, with colour choices being White Orchid Pearl and Crystal Black Pearl for the four-door and White Orchid Pearl, Crystal Black Pearl and Rallye Red for the two-door.

Ask those in the know to name the best of the best in the super-luxury SUV market segment, and the Bentley Bentayga will quickly rise to the top of the list.  When it arrived on the scene in 2016, nothing…

Bentley obliterates Pikes Peak Production SUV record with mostly stock Bentayga

2018 Bentley Pikes Peak Bentayga
A mostly stock Bentley Bentayga, pictured here crossing the 4,300-metre high Pikes Peak finish line, broke the Production SUV record with a time of just 10:49.9. (Photo: Bentley)

Ask those in the know to name the best of the best in the super-luxury SUV market segment, and the Bentley Bentayga will quickly rise to the top of the list. 

When it arrived on the scene in 2016, nothing could match it for premium accoutrements or performance, the former because it’s a Bentley, and the latter thanks to a 600 horsepower twin-turbocharged W12 engine featuring 663 lb-ft of torque, a quick-shifting eight-speed ZF-sourced automatic transmission with paddle-shifters, and performance-tuned full-time all-wheel drive, allowing it to catapult from zero to 100km/h in just 4.0 seconds flat, before topping out at a stratospheric 301 km/h (187 mph). 

Renowned drift champion, Global Rallycross racer, and U.S. rally driver Rhys Millen never attempted to achieve top-speed in his most recent Bentayga outing, but he nevertheless managed to smash the Production SUV record at the famed Pikes Peak hill climb. 

2018 Bentley Pikes Peak Bentayga
The Pikes Peak course scales 1,440 metres of paved mountainside roadway, with more than 156 turns on grades averaging 7.2 percent. (Photo: Bentley)

Millen completed the 19.99-km (12.42-mile) course in just 10:49.9, chopping nearly two minutes off the previous record by averaging 107 km/h (66.5 mph). 

“What an incredible machine,” said Millen immediately after his run. “To take a luxury SUV with minimal modifications and be able to drive up this course in under 11 minutes is a huge testament to the performance and level of engineering in the Bentayga. I had a great run – the car was planted all the way up and gave me the confidence I needed to push hard. I’m delighted to take the SUV record for Bentley and for everyone that’s been involved in this project.” 

2018 Bentley Pikes Peak Bentayga
Rhys Millen after breaking the Production SUV record in a Bentley Bentayga at the 2018 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. (Photo: James Lipman, Bentley)

The Pikes Peak track, in Colorado, USA, scales 1,440 metres (4,720 feet) of paved mountainside roadway (prior to August 2011 gravel sections were also included), from its starting point at Mile 7 on Pikes Peak Highway, to the finish line at 4,300 metres (14,110 feet). The course includes more than 156 turns on grades averaging 7.2 percent, and has hosted sanctioned racing events since 1916. 

The record-setting Bentayga featured Bentley’s top-line W12 engine (a 542 horsepower V8 with 569 foot-pounds of torque is also available), plus an adaptive air suspension, active electric 48-volt anti-roll control, and carbon ceramic brakes, all of which are available on the stock Bentayga, and each contributing to the SUV’s shockingly fast record pace. 

2018 Bentley Pikes Peak Bentayga
Rhys Millen showing the look of total concentration that’s needed to take on one of the world’s most renowned hill climbs in the world’s most prestigious SUV. (Photo: Bentley)

“This record proves the outstanding dynamic ability of the Bentayga – demonstrating again how Bentley Motors is the only automotive company in the world that can combine pinnacle luxury and breath-taking performance,” said Chris Craft, Bentley’s Member of the Board for Sales and Marketing. “Congratulations to all at Bentley Motorsport and to Rhys Millen and his team.” 

2018 Bentley Pikes Peak Bentayga
Congratulations at the top, the Production SUV record crushed by nearly two minutes. (Photo: Bentley)

Due to Pikes Peak International Hill Climb rules compliance, Bentley modified the standard production Bentayga with front racing seats featuring four-point harnesses, while the rear seats were removed to make way for a roll cage. A fire suppression system was also installed, while Bentley Motorsport chose a set of Pirelli DOT-marked performance tires for extra grip, plus a production-specification Akrapovic sports exhaust system. Other than these small changes, the Bentayga that conquered Pikes Peak was standard from the factory, including its stunning Radium Satin paintwork, all-black chrome exterior accenting, and carbon fibre body kit that came as part of its Bentley Black Specification. 

Knowing that its ardent racing enthusiast clientele would want to own a commemorative example of this record-breaking Bentayga, Bentley has created a Limited Edition model handcrafted by its in-house Mulliner bespoke and coachbuilding division. The Pikes Peak Bentayga is now available as “an homage to the achievements of the Bentayga W12 on the mountain,” said Bentley in a press release. 

2018 Bentley Pikes Peak Bentayga
The special paint job given to the one-off Bentayga used for the hill climb event. (Photo: James Lipman, Bentley)

Of course, the same Radium Satin paint is available, but Beluga black can also be had as an alternative for those wanting a darker, more menacing look. Additionally, an eye-catching set of totally unique 22-inch alloys feature two-tone Beluga coated spokes with Radium painted pockets, while Bentley’s Black Specification is once again part of the package, with all components normally finished in chrome done out in gloss black, plus the splitter, side skirts, diffuser and rear spoiler made from visible carbon fibre weave. The exterior is capped off by a tastefully penned Pikes Peak nomenclature below a subtle mountain outline on the front fenders. 

2018 Bentley Pikes Peak Bentayga
Bentley’s Mulliner Division has created a Limited Edition Pikes Peak Bentayga featuring the same stunning Radium Satin paintwork as the record-setting model. (Photo: Bentley)

Inside, the Pikes Peak Bentayga features a Mulliner Design Colour Split that combines Beluga black leather with Key Lime accents, while the seat and door inserts are covered in grippy suede-like Alcantara for a rich look and feel. The headliner is made from a “technical Eliade cloth,” says Bentley, while a lime green outline of the Pikes Peak track, along with elevation increments and the specific example’s number plaque, gets applied to the carbon fibre dash inlay ahead of the front passenger. Lastly, Mulliner adds a set of numbered Pikes Peak treadplates to the doorsills, reminding the special SUV’s owner of the celebratory event each time they cross the threshold. 

2018 Bentley Pikes Peak Bentayga
Beluga black leather with Key Lime accents make the Special Edition really stand out. (Photo: Bentley)

Just like the Pikes Peak Bentayga that took to the track, the production version includes Bentley’s 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 under the hood, while the adaptive air suspension and 48-volt electric active anti-roll control system, a world’s first that gets named Bentley Dynamic Ride, comes as part of the package too. Finally, Mulliner adds a Bentayga Sports Exhaust system and a Touring Specification pack, making this special edition almost as formidable as the record-winning race-spec version. 

To find out more about the Pikes Peak Bentayga, or a more readily available Bentayga SUV, contact your local Bentley retailer.