Day 2 started off with a social media press conference held by your’s truly, Nissan. Kicking off on Facebook, Nissan’s “Project 370Z” was created to engage the Z enthusiast audience in the creation of their very own, 370 track car. Facebook fans will have the opportunity to voice opinions and vote for various parts to be installed on this car. The final completed project will debut May 17th at Z Days. Pick your parts online at https://www.facebook.com/nissanperformance.
While the conference was going on, a lonely blue godzilla needed some attention. I drove the GTR a few months ago and had one heck of a wild ride. Its insanely fast, nimble, and comfy. The door handles are always a bit funky, but the interior cockpit feels like you’re strapped into a F14 tomcat. Put this sub 3-second 0-60mph car on your “must drive” list people. It will blow your mind.
Before leaving Nissan, I checked out the awesome little Juke and the bizarre niche Murano Crosscrabriolet. Sadly, the Lamborghini-killing Juke-R was not welcomed to this year’s Chicago Auto Show. Staying on the theme of Japanese cars, Mitsubishi was next on my checklist. A paint palette of the all-electric iMiEV, took over the majority of their exhibit space. Looking at the iMiEV still makes me wonder just how this small car passed the US safety standards. Must be a good use of durable strong steel and other metals. My beef with Mitsubishi’s first production electric car, is that it just looks awfully cheap. The interior is boring, the exterior appearance despite it looking futuristic could make me fall asleep, and the wheels are anything but spectacular. But I have a lot of respect for this 112mpgE car, and to Mitsubishi for bringing their own EV to the U.S. market.
Something much more exciting, better looking, and way faster was the 2012 Mitsubishi Lancer EVO they had sitting on the floor. Beyond its massive spoiler and sharp front end, lay an interior with the comfiest seats I’ve sat in all day: big black RECAROS. “Ahhh” I thought in my head as I just soaked up their confident sturdy grasp. I was surprised to see this car because I had thought they were discontinuing it for 2012? The interior was still cheap but the manual transmission had a nice throw to it for all five….wait there aren’t six gears in this car? Hmm. Either way I love the boyracer Evo.
I wandered over to Suzuki next, and found myself in shock over the nearly 6-foot tall four-stroke outboard boat engine they had on display. 300 horsepower. Yes, 300 horsepower on water. An off-road capable Equator pickup truck had some giant tent on top, reminding me of a vehicle you’d see in Jurassic Park: The Lost World. Stay out of the tall grass folks. Suzuki had a fleet of Kizashis on their display floor. The interior is quality and feels comfortable, outside it has an impressive stance, and it sounds excited when you step on that right pedal. All this is awesome, because to me the Kizashi has been one of the most-fun cars to drive, and I think the most-underrated automobile on the market. Give me an AWD version with leather, and paddle shifters, and call it a day. Perfect.
After sitting on a GSXR (I miss my motorcycle), two concept cars from Kia were on the left sitting under the bright light. Camera on, I snapped a few dozen pictures of the sexy Kia GT concept and the Soul-ish, Trackster concept. Never would I imagine Kia to design such a phenomenal bad-ass looking sports sedan like the GT. Grand carbon fiber rims, full-length taillamp, and side mirrors that look like props from Star Trek. Towards the front, there were two large air-inlets making the four-door concept look hungry for air and an exotic tourer’s rear end. The GT was stunning. Please build it Kia….please? The Trackster concept made the current model Soul look more outdated than Volvo’s XC90 (that Swede is going on ten years now). My favorite part of the Trackster concept? The sharp HRE wheels with big Brembo brakes. I don’t think there will be any dancing hamsters rocking out in this car anytime soon. I’m ok with that though.
I’ve got less than two hours to get back on the floor and report on a basket full of automakers. What car am I going to drool over first? Yep, the new McLaren MP4-12C. Its orange too! Check back on Hooniverse for more CAS 2012 coverage later today!
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