When an automaker creates a sports car as immediately classic as the now legendary 240Z, it’s often all downhill from there. It’s like the band that has a top-10 hit on their first album, and never…

Nissan’s latest concept is the Z car we want

2020 Nissan Z Proto Concept
The new Nissan Z Proto concept combines design cues from past and present into an all-new form.

When an automaker creates a sports car as immediately classic as the now legendary 240Z, it’s often all downhill from there. It’s like the band that has a top-10 hit on their first album, and never achieves the same level of musical genius again. Could the next Z be the one that finally outdoes the original?

Sometimes we forget that Nissan (then Datsun in North America) had already experienced relative success with another great sports car before the 240Z arrived in 1969. In fact, the 1965–1970 1600 roadster (and predecessors), named Fairlady in Japan and raced in SRL 2000 form by actor Paul Newman at the very beginning of his motorsport career, was the 240Z’s (Fairlady Z’s) predecessor despite looking nothing like it. Where the 1600 roadster looked and performed similarly to British and Italian sports cars of the era such as the MGB, Triumph TR4/TR5, Alfa Romeo Duetto/Spider and Fiat Spider, the 240Z left every other entry-level competitor in the visual and literal dust, and became an instant hit because of it.

1969 Nissan (Datsun) 240Z
The now legendary Nissan (Datsun) 240Z was introduced to the world in 1969.

The Zs that followed gained displacement to overcome pollution equipment and therefore weren’t quite as appealing, while the 280ZX added luxury and weight, a scenario that continued to play out with the 300ZX, although the second-generation 300ZX was absolutely gorgeous and extremely powerful for the era, and is therefore considered by many as the best Z since the 240. This said the 350Z was lauded for styling and performance when it arrived, while the 370Z added more luxury and weight, and has kind of worn out its welcome after 12 years on the market. This brings us to the here and now, with hopes that the yellow beast before us all is a thinly disguised seventh-gen Z.

2020 Nissan Z Proto Concept
Long overhangs have caused a 5-inch increase in the Z Proto’s length.

The Z Proto, as it’s called, appears more than just a concept. The name Proto is short for prototype after all, which outside of sports car racing circles means a near production ready concept designed to test the waters before a full introduction. Nissan has a history of near-production concepts, which bodes well for this car becoming the new 400Z, as netizen pundits are calling it.

Nissan has been teasing the next-gen Z for quite a while, first with a teaser video showing the car in silhouette a few months ago. This caused quite the stir, with many expecting a production-ready car to appear, but alas we only have a concept, albeit a nicely fleshed out one at that. The Z Proto looks like it could easily be a production model, from its graceful lines that pay greater respect to the original than any Z since the ‘70s, to its fully formed interior that continues forward with many of the key design elements that have always been part of Nissan’s much-loved super coupe.

2020 Nissan Z Proto Concept
The rear design incorporates styling from the 300ZX, as well as a roofline that pays tribute to the original.

From the front, the Z Proto immediately reminds of the early 240, 260 and 280 Z cars, particularly the blocky, rectangular grille that seems to pay tribute to a popular mod of the era which saw owners removing the thin chromed front bumper (this practice became even more popular amongst 280Z owners due to its larger safety regulated front bumper), but also shares similar sizing to the current 370Z’s frontal opening. Just the same, this has been the new Proto Z’s most criticized design element, with some thinking it’s just too big and square.

2020 Nissan Z Proto Concept
The Z Proto’s creased and domed hood pulls some cues from the first-gen Z.

The Proto’s elegantly formed hood plays off early Zs too, but with a much wider domed centre section that begins farther rearward after a more pronounced crease down the middle. The ovoid headlights are entirely new, however, sharing some circular symmetry with the first Z, particularly the daytime running lights that are supposed to represent the circular reflection of the transparent headlamp fairings used on Japanese-domestic-market (JDM) models (and aftermarket upgraded North American cars). Their flush glass-covered sealed beam look is more in-line with the fourth-generation Z32, mind you, which incidentally housed the Z’s first Xenon HIDs as part of its 1998 makeover, but the new concept uses LED technology.

2020 Nissan Z Proto Concept
Some classic design details separate the Proto from all Z cars after the first generation.

The Z Proto’s roofline, rear quarters and hatch, on the other hand, pull cues from a variety of eras, albeit mostly from the ‘70s due to moving most of its visual weight to the rear, which sees nicely upswept quarter windows as well as pillars with integrated “Z” logos, paying direct homage to first-generation models. This said, the rear lighting elements and back panel garner more influence from both the refreshed 1987-1989 Z31 and all Z32 300ZX models thanks to their large, horizontal taillight treatments, while the entire car is a major departure from both 350Z and 370Z models, necessary to provide a fresh approach to such an outdated model.

2020 Nissan Z Proto Concept
This full fleshed out interior combines classic Z styling cues with modern electronics and refinement.

For those wanting a return to what arguably made the original 240Z a great car to drive, its superb power to weight ratio, the Z Proto’s five-inch longer body won’t be good news unless Nissan constructs it from lightweight metals and composites. Doing so, of course, would drive the price up substantially, which means we’re only likely to see the same types of high-strength steels and alloys used in the platform-sharing Infiniti Q60’s body structure, with any exotic materials allocated to the much pricier GT-R.

The new Z Proto measures 4,381 mm (172.5 in) long, 1,849 mm (72.8 in) wide, incidentally, which is exactly the same width as the Q60, plus it’s 1,310 mm (51.6 in) tall. We can expect a production version to use at least as much aluminum for its body panels as the current 370Z, which gets a lightweight hood, door skins and hatch. Aluminum suspension components will make the grade too, the current Z already using an aluminum-alloy front subframe, engine cradle, and forged aluminum control arms (upper and lower in the rear), steering knuckle, radius rod, and wheel carrier assembly.

2020 Nissan Z Proto Concept
The fully digital gauge cluster modernizes the entire cabin.

Within that just-noted engine cradle will be Nissan’s impressive twin-turbo 3.0-litre VR30DDTT engine, an advanced power unit that delivers superb performance and much better fuel economy than the 3.7-litre V6 currently in use. It comes in two states of tune in the Q60, including 300 and 400 horsepower variants, with most pundits expecting a 400Z nameplate to accompany the most potent version. This said it would be an unusual move to limit the upcoming Z to just the top-line engine, as a 300Z’s lower price point would allow for many more sales, while a potential 300ZX could denote available all-wheel drive, currently standard in Canada in the Q60, while provide an ideal marketing connection to the aforementioned historical Z models. A six-speed manual is shown in the concept, nothing new here, while it’s possible the new Z will debut more forward gears for the automatic, which currently houses seven.

2020 Nissan Z Proto Concept
The usual trio of dash-top dials is included, albeit with a new turbo boost gauge.

As has mostly been the case through the decades, the new Z Proto’s interior is heavily influenced by first-gen Z cars, albeit with modern-day refinement and technology that far surpass today’s model. A key giveaway includes the sport steering wheel with its classic circular centre pad endowed with a “Z” logo instead of Nissan’s usual crest, but fans will appreciate the trio of driver-canted ancillary gauges atop the centre dash even more. Along with the usual oil pressure and voltmeter dials, the Z Proto replaces the current model’s digital clock with a boost gauge, a nod to the twin-turbo V6 housed just ahead.

2020 Nissan Z Proto Concept
A large state-of-the-art infotainment touchscreen will be included in any new Z.

The digital gauge cluster and large high-definition infotainment touchscreen are the most notable improvements over all predecessors, the former necessary for respect in this segment, and allowing for much more driver usability due to the ability to incorporate sophisticated performance readouts, while the latter should come equipped with all the usual modern amenities including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, a big, clear backup camera with the possible option of a 360-degree overhead bird’s-eye view, and more.

The three rotating dials used for the heating and ventilation system strangely don’t appear to provide dual-zone capability, but it is automatic so this version is at least up to par with the current car.

2020 Nissan Z Proto Concept
The Z Proto’s 6-speed manual and single-zone automatic climate control are nothing new.

Speaking of the current car, the Z Proto’s side-window defog vents on the outside corners of the dash, and its uniquely shaped door handles with integrated air vents, appear directly pulled from today’s Z, a strange choice if the brand wants to wholly differentiate the upcoming model from the one it replaces.

The seats look fabulous, but such can be said for the current model’s top-tier Recaros too, all of which help to make the new Z Proto appear like a production model in waiting. Then again Nissan is calling it a “development study vehicle,” so we shouldn’t get our hopes up too high, even though the 2001 Z Concept ended up looking a lot like the 2003 350Z. Reports claim the production vehicle has been signed off and development is well under way, but so far we haven’t been given a launch timeline. Considering today’s Z is now the oldest generation of any model sold in Canada, they may want to get a move on.

On that note, the 2020 Nissan 370Z is available with up to $1,000 in additional incentives. Find out about this and other info at CarCostCanada, where you can learn about manufacturer rebates, leasing and financing deals, and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands. See how the CarCostCanada system works, and remember to download the free CarCostCanada app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.

Also, make sure to check out our full photo gallery above and the three available Z Proto videos below:

Unleash the #PowerOfZ (2:18):

Hear the Z Proto roar (0:33):

Get ready for the Nissan Z Proto (0:29):

Just in case you missed it, racing legend Jeff Zwart, already with 16 Pikes Peak hill climbs to his credit, blasted up the steep 20 km road course in a 700 horsepower, rear-wheel drive 935 remake worth…

Pikes Peak legend Jeff Zwart achieves 09:43.92-minute time in rare Porsche 935

Jeff Zwart in a Porsche 935 tribute at the 2020 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
Driving legend Jeff Zwart piloted this ultra-rare Porsche 935 reissue up the 20-km Pikes Peak hillclimb in just 09:43.92 minutes.

Just in case you missed it, racing legend Jeff Zwart, already with 16 Pikes Peak hill climbs to his credit, blasted up the steep 20 km road course in a 700 horsepower, rear-wheel drive 935 remake worth some $780,000 USD when introduced in 2018 (which equals $1,032,696 CAD at the time of writing).

Despite achieving a time of 09:43.92 minutes for fifth overall and second in the car’s Time Attack 1 class, the latter specifically for track and race cars based on production models, Zwart admitted taking it a bit easier than he might have otherwise driven due to the 935 in question being someone else’s car and not having driven the course for five years. He nevertheless praised the 935 for ease of use.

Jeff Zwart in a Porsche 935 tribute at the 2020 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
Zwart claimed the 935 is “… the most comfortable race car I’ve ever driven,” attested to in the video below.

“It’s the most comfortable race car I’ve ever driven,” commented Zwart. “The combination of the turbo, the bodywork and the motorsport chassis is wonderful.”

The 935, which weighs in at just 1,380 kilos (3,042 lbs), is one of just 77 produced since introduced during the historic “Rennsport Reunion” motorsport event at California’s Laguna Seca Raceway on September 27, 2018. It’s a race-prepared single-seater that rides on Porsche’s 991-generation 911 GT2 RS platform (that sold for a lofty $334,000 on its own in 2018), but gets completely unique 935-like bodywork from front to rear, the latter featuring an elongated tail section (like the original) designed specifically to increase downforce.

Jeff Zwart in a Porsche 935 tribute at the 2020 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
The unique white, grey and red “Pegasus” livery is attributed to main sponsor Mobil 1.

This specific 935 reissue is owned by Porsche collector Bob Ingram, and ran in support of his son Cam’s Porsche restoration shop. It was painted in a white, grey and red livery with a stylized Pegasus on each rear fender due to Mobil 1 sponsorship.

The fastest time belonged to Clint Vahsholt who drove a Formula Ford in the Open Wheel category, with a time of 09:35.490, while the quickest Porsche was a GT2 RS Clubsport driven by David Donn, who, also in the Time Attack 1 class, managed a time of just 9:36.559.

Jeff Zwart in a Porsche 935 tribute at the 2020 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
The 935 arguably looks even better in its exposed carbon fibre bodywork.

Colorado’s Pikes Peak road course is officially 19.99 kilometres (12.42 miles) long and includes 156 turns, climbs an elevation of 1,440 metres (4,720 ft) that average 7.2-percent grades. It starts at Mile 7 on Pikes Peak Highway and ends at an elevation of 4,302 metres (14,115 ft). Multiple classes of vehicles compete yearly in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, making it a must-see event for motorsport fans.

To learn more about 911s that we mere mortals can potentially buy (935s like the one Jeff Zwart used to scale Pikes Peak now fetch upwards of $1.5m USD on the used market), check out CarCostCanada’s 2021 Porsche 911 Canada Prices page and 2020 Porsche 911 Canada Prices page, where you’ll find important information about factory leasing and financing rates from zero-percent, as well as all the latest rebate info and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands. Remember to download the free CarCostCanada app too, so you can have all their money-saving info with you when you need it most.

Now, be sure to check out the video of Jeff Zwart piloting the 935 at this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb below:

Jeff Zwart | Full Run Onboard + Driver Interview | 2020 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (11:00):

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Porsche

To many sports fans, esports aren’t actually counted as sport. Certainly, esports require high levels of stamina and skill, not to mention finite concentration, coordination and a modicum of intelligence…

Porsche Esports Sprint Challenge Canada winner Brandon Hawkin gets day on track

Porsche Esports Sprint Challenge Canada winner Brandon Hawkin gets day on track
The Porsche Esports Sprint Challenge Canada series featured digital versions of the brand’s race-prepped 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport.

To many sports fans, esports aren’t actually counted as sport. Certainly, esports require high levels of stamina and skill, not to mention finite concentration, coordination and a modicum of intelligence to reach the top echelons of a given game, which are all attributes of top-tier athletes, but as anyone who’s driven a car on a track knows, merely mastering a simulator doesn’t make for a competitive racer in the real world.

This said, every modern-day Formula One driver spends countless hours at the controls of their teams’ high-end simulators, virtually tackling every track on the calendar in order to hone their race craft and likewise prepare their team for what they may be facing ahead of an F1 weekend. The same can be said for most any professional car racing series, which makes esports particularly relevant in the motorsport community. In fact, F1 drivers and other series competitors have gone head-to-head in the digital arena, especially this year before cars took to the track, putting the e-drivers that took part in Porsche’s new Esports Sprint Challenge in rarified company.

Porsche Esports Sprint Challenge Canada winner Brandon Hawkin gets day on track
Contestant Brandon Hawkin won every race and therefore becomes the series’ undisputed winner, earning a real life opportunity to drive on a race course with the Porsche Track Experience program.

Porsche doesn’t compete in F1, or for that matter in sports prototype racing series at tracks like Le Mans anymore, its 919 hybrid having taken the overall win at that renowned 24-hour event three years in a row from 2015 through 2017. Porsche also holds title to the winningest brand at the famed circuit, while special race prepped versions of its road cars are fielded by many teams in other FIA sports car categories and additional series, plus the performance brand is now heavily invested in Formula E, the FIA-sanctioned all-electric racing series. Now we can add esports to Porsche’s motorsport activities, thanks to the Porsche Esports Sprint Challenge Canada one-make virtual race series.

The Esports Sprint Challenge Canada series was launched in May, 2020, together with renowned online games company iRacing.com. iRacing, which is best known for its “Grand Prix Legends” and NASCAR 2003” games, created a game that pitted virtual 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport cars against each other on popular race tracks, the final at the famed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

Porsche Esports Sprint Challenge Canada winner Brandon Hawkin gets day on track
The 29 other contestants took away participation prices from Porsche and credits from iRacing.com.

While 30 contestants took part, the series was dominated by Brandon Hawkin from Lindsay, Ontario, who won every race.

“The series was organized very professionally and it was a pleasure to race with everyone – what a fantastic experience,” commented Hawkin. “It will be extremely memorable based on how competitive the series was with lots of track battles.”

William Levesque ended up second in the Esports Sprint Challenge Canada championship, with Giovanni Romano taking a respectable third place. Along with the pride of winning and the series trophy, Hawkin will join Porsche Canada at an actual race track for the Porsche Experience program, an opportunity of a lifetime for any sports car enthusiast.

Porsche Esports Sprint Challenge Canada winner Brandon Hawkin gets day on track
“Driving a Porsche on track is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child,” said series champion Brandon Hawkin.

“Driving a Porsche on track is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child,” added Hawkin. “I’m so excited and thankful that I’ll now get that chance and join the Porsche Track Experience program!”

Porsche provided alternative prizes for the 29 contestants that trailed Hawkin, while iRacing provided credits to take part in online games.

“It was incredible to see the group of talented sim racers we have across Canada push each other in the virtual racing world,” stated Marc Ouayoun, President and CEO, Porsche Cars Canada, Ltd. “Congratulations to all the competitors, especially to Brandon Hawkin, as he will have the chance to bring his skill sets to life at Porsche Track Experience in the very near future.”

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Porsche

Just when we thought 2020 couldn’t get any stranger, BMW created a twitterstorm of its own with the online launch of its most iconic performance model. The Munich, Germany-based automaker took the wraps…

BMW reveals dramatic new M3 and M4 with optional AWD

2021 BMW M3 and M4
The new 2021 BMW M3 and M4, shown here in top-tier Competition trim, offer up a radical new design and strong performance gains.

Just when we thought 2020 couldn’t get any stranger, BMW created a twitterstorm of its own with the online launch of its most iconic performance model. The Munich, Germany-based automaker took the wraps off an entirely new 2021 M3 sport sedan and M4 coupe on Tuesday, September 22, with the resultant global buzz near palpable.

To merely call them “bold” or “dramatic” would be understating the truth bomb they represent, as the unconventional new designs are at the very least polarizing. Stylistically, the all-new M3 (G80) and M4 (G82) seem to be reaching far back into BMW’s history, pulling frontal design cues from the mid-‘60s 2000 C and 2000 CS sport coupes that rode on the back of the brand’s then New Class architecture, which also included the 1500 and 1600 sedans with similar, albeit smaller grilles. While beautiful from their hood lines and front fenders rearward, plus in fact introducing the beloved Hofmeister kink to the rear quarter windows and eventually resulting in the now iconic and highly collectable E9 range of coupes produced from ‘68 to ‘75, the 3.0 CSi being most notable and the CSL most sought after, earlier examples suffered from a deep, rounded bucktooth-like kidney grille that was never as palatable to the majority of collectors as coupe models that followed or came before.

2021 BMW M3 Competition
The M3 appears easier on the eyes in this subdued dark green colour, but the bright yellow-green really grabs the eyeballs.

That latter point in mind, the brand’s head of design, Domagoj Dukec (and company), may have been looking further back to BMW’s 309, 319, 320, 321, 328 and 329 models of the mid-to-late ‘30s and early ‘40s, whose tall radiators come closer to matching the size of the new M offerings. Either way, their choices for historical inspiration may cause some would-be M car buyers to take pause.

After all, previous fifth- and first-generation M3/M4 (F80/F82/F83) and original E30-based M3 aside (the former more aggressively penned than its predecessors and the latter whose coke-bottle hips made it stand out from its slab-sided 318i donor), M3s have always been subtle in their approach to styling, preferring moderate visual cues only enthusiasts would notice over the types of radical lower body cladding, ducts and wings found on pumped up versions of some rivals. Not so anymore.

2021 BMW M3 Competition
Will the new M cars’ inventive front fascia grow on would-be buyers? BMW no doubt believes so.

This said, we do love our beavers in Canada, so the new M3 and M4’s aggressive overbite could become very popular north of the 49th. Along with the largest twin kidney grille design ever offered on a modern-day BMW product (it might even be larger than the aforementioned ‘30s-era models), the two new performance cars provide similarly sleek lines to their predecessors from headlamps to taillights, plus key M design elements elsewhere, such as the front fender engine vents, double-post side mirror housings, carbon fibre roof tops, and aggressive rear diffusers.

If it looks fast it better be fast, right? Fortunately, BMW fans have considerably more straight-line performance to celebrate with these sixth- and second-generation M cars, the respective base, or rather “core” M3 and M4 capable of rocketing from standstill to 100 km/h in just 4.2 seconds before attaining a top speed of 250 km/h, or 290 km/h when the M Driver’s Package is chosen. Even more importantly the core models can blast from 80 to 120 km/h in a mere 4.1 seconds when their standard six-speed manual transmissions are placed in fourth gear.

2021 BMW M3 Competition
Rear styling should be easily accepted by all, and this is the vantage point most people will be looking at anyway.

If that’s not enough, buck up for one of the even more potent M3 and M4 Competition models to see that zero to 100 km/h time drop by 0.3 seconds to a sub-four 3.9-second sprint, while an unfathomable 1.5 seconds gets axed off the two quicker cars’ 80 to 120 km/h passing maneuverability, the feat accomplished in a surprising 2.6 seconds according to BMWblog.com.

All of this speed comes via two versions of a new 3.0-litre TwinPower Turbo S58 inline six-cylinder powerplant, both receiving mono-scroll turbochargers featuring quick-reacting electronically-controlled wastegates as well as highly efficient air-to-water intercooling. Like the outgoing S55 twin-turbo I-6, these are built upon BMW’s well-proven B58 engine architecture introduced in 2015. The base engine used in M3 and M4 core models makes 48 horsepower more than their previous generation for a total of 473 horsepower at 6,250 rpm, while faster Competition versions put out an additional 59 ponies for a total of 503 horsepower, also at 6,250 rpm (redline is 7,200 rpm, which is lofty unless you’re stepping out of a 2007 to 2013 E90/E92/E93 M3 whose glorious V8 spun up to a stratospheric 8,400 rpm).

2021 BMW M3 Competition
A longer wheelbase and wider track enhance style and performance.

No doubt, the two M models’ four 100-millimetre tailpipes will be exhilarating to the ears, but BMW has included electrically controlled flaps via an M Sound button in order to reduce sound levels when wanting more comfort than speed, while choosing SPORT or SPORT+ modes results in the opposite effect.

Allowing the engine to rev freely, wire-arc sprayed cylinder liners reduce friction and weight, while a lightweight forged crankshaft lowers rotating mass, both of which are set into a rigid closed-deck engine block. In the inline-six engine’s cylinder head incorporates a 3D-printed core that provides improved coolant flow-through as well as reduced weight.

2021 BMW M3 Competition
What do you think of the M4’s massive twin-kidney grille? Cool or meh?

Torque in core models is the same as with the last iteration at 406 lb-ft between 2,650 and 6,130 rpm (which is a bit higher than the previous model’s minimum max torque range of 1,850 to 5,500 rpm), incidentally, but Competition cars get an increase of 73 lb-ft for a new max of 479 between 2,750 and 5,500 rpm, hence the impressive performance mentioned a moment ago.

As usual the aforementioned six-speed manual gearbox comes standard, complete with a rev-matching Gear Shift Assistant to make any driver seem as if they’re blipping the throttle like a pro while downshifting, but the move up to Competition trim necessitates the brand’s eight-speed M Steptronic automated transmission with Drivelogic. Drivelogic consists of a trio of driving modes including “ROAD”, “SPORT” and “TRACK”, the latter available after also choosing the cars’ M Drive Professional setting. The M Steptronic transmission can be shifted via paddles, of course, while a true manual mode won’t allow any automatic upshifts at all.

2021 BMW M3 Competition
No doubt these pipes sound amazing!

As has always been the case, the M3 and M4 come standard with rear-wheel drive, but for the first time ever new Competition models will also be available with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system. The rear-wheel biased AWD design transfers torque to the rear wheels under normal conditions, but the system’s Active M Differential will apportion some of that power to the front tires when wheel slip occurs, thus allowing optimal traction while maintaining BMW’s acclaimed RWD feel.

2021 BMW M3 Competition
Better in white with classic M decals and plenty of M Performance parts?

This said, the previously noted sport mode will send more power to the rear wheels more often in order to liven up the driving experience, even allowing for some rear-wheel drift or oversteer, while those who really know what they’re doing can turn off traction control to enjoy full rear-wheel drive. All can be controlled via the two M cars’ M Traction Control system, which provides 10 different settings from almost total intervention to completely unchecked.

If the new cars look longer, lower and leaner than their immediately outgoing predecessors, take note they receive a 45-millimetre longer wheelbase and a slightly wider track, while the standard carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) roof panel helps to lower their centre of gravity and achieve 50/50 front to rear weight distribution.

2021 BMW M3 Competition
Black might be the optimal shade for those wanting a more discreet look.

Like the transmission, the M3 and M4’s chassis receives three preset settings for optimizing road conditions via an electronically-controlled Adaptive M suspension that includes Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus settings. Along with a progressively stiffer setup, BMW’s M Servotronic steering system improves its sharpness for better response, aided by 275/40ZR18 front and 285/35 ZR19 rear performance tires on Core and rear-wheel drive Competition trims, and 275/35ZR19 front and 285/30ZR20 rear rubber on the xDrive Competition model.

2021 BMW M3 Competition
The new M3’s cabin looks impressive.

Of course, braking performance has been improved to match the cars’ engine and suspension upgrades, with six-piston fixed-caliper binders clamping down on 380 mm discs up front, and single-piston floating calipers with 370 mm disks in the rear. Alternatively, M Carbon ceramic brakes with larger 400 mm front and 380 mm rear discs can be had for optimal stopping power. These reduce fade, improve thermal stability and take a lot longer to wear out, not to mention come with gold-painted calipers instead of the usual stock blue, or optional black or red. Either way, an electric “integrated braking” actuator helps improve braking response.

2021 BMW M3 Competition
The M4’s controls look ready for the track.

The just noted M Carbon ceramic brakes can reportedly be had as part of an M Race Track Package as well, which also includes light-alloy wheels and lightweight M Carbon front seats. Also mentioned before, the M Drive Professional upgrade, standard with Competition models and optional with Core models, incorporates an M Drift Analyzer that records oversteer and opposite lock incidents, including timed duration, line and drift angle. A driver’s personal results are rated from one star to five, with the latter number meaning you need to keep trying.

The new 2021 M3 and M4 will arrive in Canada this coming spring at $84,300 for the sedan and $85,100 for the coupe, with pricing and details for the upcoming M4 Cabriolet arriving sometime in between. A move up to Competition trim appears to be a surprisingly good deal at just $4,000, and for that reason will likely be the most popular choice.

2021 BMW M4 Competition
Have you ever seen a better OEM sport seat?

As for how BMW’s faithful will accept the M3 and M4’s new design direction, it’s a mixed bag. All out praise is rare, but some potential buyers seem to love the new models’ eye-catching styling. Either way, there’s much to be said about standing out from the crowd, and BMW certainly achieves this with their new frontal designs.

Those wanting the performance of a new M3 or M4 yet preferring a subtler look should take note of the sport sedan version wearing all-black (including extra carbon fibre) in a number of images provided for the simultaneous introduction of the two cars’ M Performance Parts catalogue. A red and black M3 is shown too, as well as a white and traditionally M-striped M4 with many of the catalogue’s new OEM parts shown, the massive rear wing and triangular cluster of diffuser-mounted exhaust ports enough to make a Honda Civic R owner blush from inadequacy.

2021 BMW M3 Competition
The M3 and M4’s gigantic grille feeds air into this fabulous inline-6.

If the new M3 and M4 are too radical for your personal tastes, be sure to check out CarCostCanada that is showing up to $2,000 in additional manufacturer incentives on 2020 models. The 2020 Ms are still incredibly quick and plenty attractive, plus CarCostCanada also provides manufacturer rebate info and dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands. Learn more about CarCostCanada’s many ways to save money on a new vehicle, and remember to download the free CarCostCanada app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.

BMW Today – Episode 25: World premiere BMW M3 & M4 (13:15):

Story credit: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: BMW

It’s official, a new Guinness World Record for fastest slalom time has been set by 16-year old Chloe Chambers who managed to slice through 50 evenly placed cones in just 47.45 seconds. Chambers, with…

Talented teenager smashes Guinness world slalom record in Porsche 718 Spyder

Chloe Chambers driving Porsche 718 Spyder for Guinness World Record in slalom
Talented 16-year old kart racer Chloe Chambers just set a Guinness World slalom Record while driving a new 2020 Porsche 718 Spyder.

It’s official, a new Guinness World Record for fastest slalom time has been set by 16-year old Chloe Chambers who managed to slice through 50 evenly placed cones in just 47.45 seconds.

Chambers, with five years of kart racing under her belt, joined up with Porsche to achieve the feat, and did so at the wheel of a 2020 Porsche 718 Spyder, smashing the previous record of 48.11 seconds set in 2018 by Jia Qiang, who was driving a Chevrolet Camaro.

“It looks easy, but it’s really not – to weave between 50 cones as fast as possible, trying to beat a record time and knowing I couldn’t touch a single one for the run to count – I definitely felt the pressure,” said Chambers. “Everything came together on my final run; the car worked beautifully and I found the grip I needed. Thank you to my family and to Porsche for supporting and believing in me.”

Chloe Chambers driving Porsche 718 Spyder for Guinness World Record in slalom
Chambers looking confident at the wheel of Porsche’s 414-hp 718 Spyder.

The 718 Spyder is powered by a special naturally-aspirated 414 horsepower 4.0-litre “boxer” six-cylinder engine that comes complete with a lofty 8,000-rpm capability (and 7,600-rpm redline), while it’s exclusively mated up to a six-speed manual transmission. Like the 718 Boxster roadster and 718 Cayman coupe, the 718 Spyder mounts its motor just ahead of the rear wheels for an optimal mid-engine layout, making it particularly adept at high-speed handling.

The 718 Spyder, which shares mechanicals with the 718 Cayman GT4, also incorporates a “track-bred” Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system including adaptive dampers, helper springs at the rear axle, plus a 30-mm (1.18-inch) ride height reduction when compared to the standard 718 Boxster or 718 Cayman.

Chloe Chambers driving Porsche 718 Spyder for Guinness World Record in slalom
Chambers signed this Guinness World Records hat with a record-setting slalom time of 47.45 seconds.

“We couldn’t be more proud that Chloe set the record,” said Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America. “From the whole Porsche family, we send our heartfelt congratulations – we’re pleased to have been able to support Chloe with her ambitious record attempt and share her relief that it was successful.”

Porsche is now offering the 2020 718 Spyder, 2020 718 Boxster and 2020 718 Cayman (including the GT4) with factory leasing and financing rates from zero percent according to CarCostCanada. Make sure to visit CarCostCanada to learn more, and remember that a CarCostCanada membership will also provide any available rebate information, plus dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands on your next purchase. You can now download the free CarCostCanada app from the Apple Store or Google Store, which provides all this critical information exactly when you need it.

 

Story credit: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Porsche

What’s the world’s best sport-luxury sedan? Many would point to Porsche’s Panamera on performance alone, despite not technically being a sedan due to its practical rear hatch and sloping rear deck…

Porsche updates 2021 Panamera with greater performance and sportier look

2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S Sport Turismo
The new 2021 Panamera Turbo S looks fabulous in its more practical Sport Turismo body style.

What’s the world’s best sport-luxury sedan? Many would point to Porsche’s Panamera on performance alone, despite not technically being a sedan due to its practical rear hatch and sloping rear deck lid to match. There’s even a more useful wagon-like Sport Turismo version that’s responsible for many of the Panamera’s sales since being introduced for the 2018 model year, so therefore the car more appropriately fits within the alternative four-door coupe category. Still, no matter how you look at it, the Panamera is one impressive sport-luxury offering.

As it is, the Panamera will cruise into 2021 with some modest styling updates and yet bolder drivetrain enhancements, particularly at the top of the range where the new Panamera Turbo S replaces the Turbo, with power moving up from 550 horsepower to 620, a 70-horsepower bump in just one, single refresh. This results in a sprint from standstill to 100 km/h of just 3.1 seconds when Sport Plus mode is selected, all before attaining a top track speed of 315 km/h.

2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S Sport Turismo
Porsche was smart to offer three body styles for its Panamera, the Sport Turismo really upping the style ante.

Of note, last year’s most potent Panamera was the electrified Turbo S E-Hybrid, good for 677 net horsepower, albeit a zero to 100km/h run of “just” 3.4 seconds, 0.2 seconds quicker than the outgoing Panamera Turbo, but 0.3 seconds off the new Turbo S. That hyper-quick hybrid is at least temporarily gone for 2021, but don’t fear hybrid fans as it’ll be back soon with even more power.

According to plenty of interweb reports, Thomas Friemuth, who heads the Panamera line at Porsche, has confirmed the electric portion of the car’s drive system will produce some 134 horsepower, which means the new Turbo S E-Hybrid, when mated to the new 620-horsepower twin-turbo V8, should put out somewhere in the neighbourhood of 750 horsepower. If you think this lofty number sounds insane, consider for a moment that a key Panamera rival, Mercedes-AMG’s fabulous GT 4-Door Coupe, is expected to hit the tarmac soon with more than 800 horsepower.

2021 Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid
The new Panamera 4S E-Hybrid adds considerable power over the previous 4 E-Hybrid, and is a significant step up over the base Panamera.

Those satisfied with mere blistering pace rather than ultimate scorching speed, yet still wanting hybrid economy, can opt for the all-new 4S E-Hybrid that comes fitted with 552 net horsepower that propels the big luxury car from zero to 100 km/h in just 3.7 seconds ahead of topping out at 298 km/h. The entry-level 4 E-Hybrid, which only made 462 net horsepower and needed 4.6 seconds to arrive at the 100 km/h mark, is no longer available for 2021.

Benefiting both new 4S E-Hybrid and Turbo S E-Hybrid trims is 30-percent more EV range than their predecessors, all thanks to an upgraded 17.9 kWh battery, an improvement of 3.8 kWh. The hybrid models’ control systems and chassis components have been modified too, with next-generation steering control as well as new tires, enhancing comfort and performance.

2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S Sport Turismo
New frontal design elements beef up the Panamera’s look.

This said, the hybrid isn’t the only 2021 Panamera to receive steering and suspension improvements. In fact, the new Turbo S gets a custom tuned three-chamber air suspension, while the top-tier model’s Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system and roll stabilization system, the latter called Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport (PDCC Sport), have also been modified to perform at more extreme levels. Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) was updated to improve at-the-limit handling as well, all resulting in the best performing Panamera yet, and one of the best performing passenger cars available period.

Proving that point, the automaker took its new Panamera Turbo S to the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife race course in Germany on July 24, 2020, resulting in Porsche works driver Lars Kern setting a new “executive cars” class record of 7:29.81 minutes over the 20.832-kilometre track. We can hardly wait to see how the new Turbo S E-Hybrid will fare.

2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S Sport Turismo
The updated horizontal light strip gets new contours around the outer taillights.

Those wanting most of the Panamera Turbo S’ performance for a more approachable price point can opt for the Panamera GTS, which continues into 2021 with the same 473 horsepower 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and identical zero to 100 km/h rating of 3.9 seconds. This engine added 20 horsepower over its predecessor when introduced, helped along by a special standard sports exhaust that utilizes asymmetrically positioned rear silencers for an especially exhilarating exhaust note.

Lastly, or more accurately, the first rung on this model’s hierarchal ladder is the most basic Panamera, which is the only trim offering rear-wheel drive, all others incorporating Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive as standard. Both the base Panamera and the Panamera 4 include a 325-horsepower twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 capable of very a spirited 5.6-second zero to 100 km/h sprint with RWD, and an even better 5.3-second run off the line with all-wheel drive.

2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S Sport Turismo
Porsche updated the 2021 Panamera’s infotainment system with new features.

That base Panamera starts at just $99,300 plus freight and fees for 2021, which is unchanged despite its improvements, while a Panamera 4 can be had for $104,600. The rear-wheel drive Panamera only comes with the regular wheelbase and coupe-like liftback, but the base powertrain will all-wheel drive can be had in three body styles, starting with the regular wheelbase liftback before moving up to the longer wheelbase $112,200 Executive and finally the more wagon-like $111,700 Sport Turismo.

The 4S E-Hybrid is next on the financial pecking order at $128,500, or $141,400 for the Executive version and $133,100 for the Sport Turismo, while the 2021 GTS remains priced at $147,400 for 2021, and increases to $154,400 when its cargo compartment is expanded to Sport Turismo dimensions.

Finally, the Turbo S starts at $202,400 for the regular wheelbase model, $214,300 for the Executive, and $207,000 for the Sport Turismo.

2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S Sport Turismo
New advanced safety and convenience features help modernize the Panamera driving experience.

Of course, there’s more to any Panamera than mere performance, which means it was important for Porsche to keep the car looking fresh and up-to-date. Therefore, all 2021 Panameras will now come standard with the previously optional SportDesign front fascia design, which includes the brand’s new single-bar front lighting module, augmented air intakes, and bigger, more assertively styled corner vents.

The new Turbo S gets some exclusive frontal styling with even larger lower fascia corner vents that adds to its aggressiveness, while some unique exterior paint options help to set this model apart.

Three new 20- and 21-inch alloy wheel sets can personalize any Panamera model further, while the new car’s long, body-wide horizontal taillight gets new contours for 2021, while the lenses have been darkened on the GTS model.

2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S Sport Turismo
We love the updated Porsche Design clock face.

The Panamera’s interior remains mostly the same entering 2021, which is no bad thing. Just the same, improvements include new functions and services for the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment system, such as enhanced Voice Pilot online voice control, Risk Radar for real-time road sign and hazard info, wireless Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity, and more.

Also enhanced, the 2021 Panamera can be had with Lane Keeping Assist featuring road sign recognition, as well as with the Porsche InnoDrive suite of advanced safety and convenience systems, which includes Lane Change Assist, LED matrix headlights including PDLS Plus, Night Vision Assist, Park Assist with Surround View, adaptive cruise control, and a head-up display unit that projects key info on the windshield ahead of the driver.

The 2021 Panamera is ready to order from your local Porsche retailer now, with deliveries starting in Q1 of 2021. After you make that call, make sure to check out our complete photo gallery above, and then be sure to enjoy the three videos below (which include the new 2021 Panamera Turbo S on the Nürburgring Nordschleife race track), plus remember to go to CarCostCanada’s 2020 Porsche Panamera Canada Prices page where you can learn more about the automaker’s zero-percent financing offer on all 2020 models, plus access info about manufacturer rebates when offered, and always available dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands. Find out how the CarCostCanada system can save you money, and remember to download the free CarCostCanada app from the Apple Store or Google PlayStore so you can have access to all this important info whenever you need it.

New Panamera achieves lap record on the Nürburgring Nordschleife (3:09):

The new Panamera – digital world premiere (11:33):

The new Panamera: Highlights (2:13):

Story credit: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Porsche

Nissan is giving its best-selling Rogue compact crossover SUV a complete redesign for 2021, and thus far it’s received very favourable reviews. We covered all the key details in an earlier story, but…

Nissan Canada prices new 2021 Rogue from $28,498

2021 Nissan Rogue
The new 2021 Nissan Rogue starts at $28,498.

Nissan is giving its best-selling Rogue compact crossover SUV a complete redesign for 2021, and thus far it’s received very favourable reviews. We covered all the key details in an earlier story, but now Nissan has released pricing, standard features, trim specifics, and options information, so here’s what you need to know in order to compare it to upcoming 2021 versions of the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5 and other key rivals.

As is often the case with a redesign, many features that were previously optional with the 2020 Rogue are now standard for 2021, such as LED headlights that replace the old halogen lamps, 17-inch alloy wheels instead of identically-sized steel wheels with covers, a new heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel rim joining heatable front seats that were already standard, new standard steering wheel paddle-shifters for the continuously variable transmission (CVT) that’s once again the only transmission on offer, proximity-sensing Intelligent Key access, a six-way adjustable driver’s seat that now gets standard powered lumbar support, and much more for a new base price that’s a reasonable $1,000 higher than the outgoing 2020 model, at $28,498 plus freight and fees.

2021 Nissan Rogue
Bolder styling and many more standard features make the 2021 Rogue a more enticing buy.

A redesigned set of LED taillights continues Nissan’s focus on safety, with some of the advanced driver assistive systems carried forward on all trims including Intelligent Emergency Braking, Intelligent Blind Spot Warning, and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, plus a host of new ones that were previously optional as part of the Nissan Safety Shield 360 suite of technologies, such as Pedestrian Detection being added to the Intelligent Emergency Braking system, Lane Departure Warning included as part of the side alert system, High Beam Assist making nighttime travel easier, and Rear Intelligent Emergency Braking improving safety when backing up.

2021 Nissan Rogue
Top-level Platinum trim promises a much more luxurious compact SUV experience.

The new Rogue also keeps last year’s standard Rear Door Alert system that upon arriving at a destination informs the driver if something or someone was placed in the rear seating area prior to leaving, while a new Intelligent Driver Alertness system also gets added to the base model. Lastly, the new Rogue includes 10 standard airbags.

Once again, tech features like NissanConnect with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard in the 2021 Rogue, as does a backup camera and SiriusXM satellite radio, but the centre touchscreen that all these features get displayed on grows from 7.0 to 8.0 inches diagonally in the base model, with the upgrade adding another inch for a larger, more premium interface. Nissan adds another powered USB port to the standard mix too, the new total being two, while the new base model also gets Siri Eyes Free, Bluetooth wireless phone connectivity with streaming audio, a hands-free text messaging assistant, pushbutton ignition, and more.

2021 Nissan Rogue
The new Rogue Platinum gets a fully digital gauge cluster, a head-up display, and a 9.0-inch centre touchscreen.

Along with the aforementioned CVT, the 2021 Rogue pushes forward with the same 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine making an identical 170 horsepower and 175 lb-ft or torque, plus if the base model is enhanced with Nissan’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system, a $2,300 upgrade to $30,798, it also boasts a drive mode selector with Terrain, Snow, Normal, Eco and Sport modes. With the Eco mode engaged, Nissan is claiming the AWD version will achieve an estimated fuel economy rating of 9.6 L/100km in the city, 7.5 on the highway and 8.7 combined, while the base FWD model is rated at 9.1 L/100km city, 7.1 highway and 8.2 combined.

2021 Nissan Rogue
The new Rogue features both USB-A and USB-C charge points, while a wireless charging pad is optional.

Nissan is once again offering the Rogue in three trim lines, albeit mid-range SV trim can be had with an SV Premium Package. Before delving into options, however, for $31,998 with FWD or $34,298 with AWD, the regular Rogue SV builds on S trim with 18-inch alloy wheels, body-coloured door handles, roof rails, remote engine start, proximity-sensing keyless entry added to the rear doors, UV-reducing solar glass, an Intelligent AroundView Monitor, Intelligent Cruise Control, Intelligent Blind Spot intervention, Intelligent Lane Intervention, ProPilot Assist semi-self-driving technology, an eight-way powered driver seat, two additional stereo speakers for a total of six, a powered panoramic glass sunroof, two rear USB ports, a Wi-Fi Hotspot, and a security system. If you want more you can opt for the just-noted SV Premium Package that, while only available with the AWD model, adds Prima-Tex leatherette-appointed seats, rear door sunshades, heatable rear outboard seats, and a powered rear liftgate.

2021 Nissan Rogue
The mid-range Rogue SV can be upgraded to include side window sunshades.

Most of the above items come standard in the $39,998 Rogue Platinum, except the 18-inch rims are upgraded to 19s, the dual-zone automatic climate control is expanded to a tri-zone system, the powered driver’s seat features memory, the leatherette upholstery has been swapped out for particularly rich looking quilted semi- aniline leather, the powered liftgate now includes motion activation, the centre touchscreen grows to 9.0 inches and includes Nissan’s “Door-to-Door” navigation system, ProPilot Assist includes Navi-link, and the audio system comes from Bose and gains four more speakers for a total of 10.

The Rogue Platinum also includes LED fog lamps, front parking sensors, an auto-dimming centre mirror, tilt-reversing side mirrors, an advanced 12.3-inch “Digital Dashboard” gauge cluster, a 10.8-inch head-up display, Traffic Sign Recognition, a wireless charging pad, a four-way powered passenger seat, a remote folding rear seat, interior ambient lighting, a driver seat-mounted front-centre supplemental airbag, and a redesigned Divide-n-Hide system in the cargo compartment.

2021 Nissan Rogue
The new Rogue Platinum gets an updated Hide-n-Divide cargo system.

For more detail about the 2021 Nissan Rogue, check out our comprehensive “Nissan redesigns its popular Rogue compact SUV for 2021” news story. Alternatively, by going to CarCostCanada’s 2020 Nissan Rogue Canada Prices page you can find out how to receive up to $5,000 in additional incentives on a new 2020 Rogue, which is already $1,000 more affordable than the 2021. Learn how a CarCostCanada membership can save you thousands on your next purchase, and make sure to download the free CarCostCanada mobile app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store, so you can have all the most important car buying information at your fingertips when you need it most.

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Nissan

Sports cars are unreliable, right? Not so, if it’s a Porsche. The German brand has ranked highly in independent dependability studies for years, once again placing near the top amongst premium brands…

Porsche number one overall in 2020 J.D. Power APEAL study

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera
The 911 Carrera is amongst the most reliable Porsche’s, and certainly one of the most dependable sports cars available today.

Sports cars are unreliable, right? Not so, if it’s a Porsche. The German brand has ranked highly in independent dependability studies for years, once again placing near the top amongst premium brands in the most recent 2020 J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, so it only makes sense that the brand does well in customer satisfaction studies too.

For its second consecutive year, Porsche has achieved the top spot in J.D. Power and Associate’s 2020 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, which surveys customers on their ownership experience, including how their vehicles drive.

“I am gratified at how excited our customers are with their new dream cars,” stated Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, Inc. “Porsche believes in continuous improvement and winning the top spot again just encourages us to find new ways to delight our drivers.”

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera
Porsche is the most “APEALing” brand on the market.

The 2020 APEAL Study judges the “emotional attachment and level of excitement” with U.S. owners that purchased a new car, truck or SUV at least 90 days before. Covering 37 attributes, the study questions owners about the “sense of comfort and luxury” when stepping inside, the “power they feel when they step on the gas,” and more, states a Porsche North America press release.

The APEAL index score is measured on a 1,000-point scale, and Porsche earned 881 points for this year’s highest average of all brands. By comparison, most premium brands averaged 861 points, and it wasn’t as if J.D. Power’s participant sampling was low, thanks to more than 87,000 purchasers and lessees of 2020 model-year vehicles taking part. The study, now in its 25th year, queried respondents from February through May of 2020.

 

Story credits: Trevor Hofmann

Photo credits: Porsche