Under the bonnet, UK buyers will be offered a 2.4-litre four-cylinder diesel engine producing 178bhp and 430Nm of torque, sending power to a selectable all-wheel-drive system via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Features such as hill descent control, trailer assist and hill start assist will be standard equipment in the UK.
Oversteer affects the rear wheels, and there are two types of oversteer to contend with. The first happens under braking, where the car's weight transfers towards the front of the car, causing the rear end to become light and lose grip. If you are steering, then the momentum can then bring the back end of the car around like a pendulum. In this instance, you need to steer into the skid, so if the car swings out to the left, you need to steer to the left.
But there is more to a good supermini than standing out in a crowd. It needs to remain practical enough for family life and decent to drive. Admittedly, the Micra lacks the overall polish that makes the latest Seat Ibiza and Ford Fiesta both stand out performers. But the little Nissan goes about its business quietly and with minimal fuss, with only fidgety ride at low speeds providing a real grumbling point. Although I suspect sticking with 16in wheels rather the optional 17s fitted to our car would cure that issue.
But are these updates enough to keep what is, in effect, an eight-year-old car competitive in an increasingly competitive market?
With the £5,995 Huntsman Accessory Pack added on, the D-Max Utah Double Cab manual comes in at £36,115 while the automatic version will cost £37,315.
Right there was the sort of chest-puffing bragging rights Mr Company Car Man loved. But his fleet manager was decidedly chuffed, too: its fuel economy of 51.4mpg at a constant 56mph was pretty parsimonious for the time.
Burns said that with the potential for high-volume production (and long-term support), lining up Tier 1 suppliers for the USPS project hasn’t been an issue. So it was a natural next step to develop a commercial-van version at the same time. Panasonic (Tesla) Batteries, BMW Range Extender The N-Gen and Workhorse’s W-15 pickup will share quite a lot, including their composite body construction. Burns told Car and Driver that they’ll use the same batteries: Panasonic 18650-format cells, a “commodity” format that is roughly AA size and essentially the same as is used in the Tesla Model S and Model X, among other vehicles. But what’s different is the range extender. While the production version of the W-15 will use a 1.5-liter three-cylinder BMW range extender, the N-Gen is going to use the 647-cc two-cylinder Kymco-built engine from the BMW i3, Burns said. That’s because, while the van would only be aimed at commercial use, with well-defined driving loops and the range extender strictly as an emergency crutch, the pickup is being designed with a wider operating range—including sustaining its peak power after the battery is depleted.
Other features include a high-mounted tow bar that can tow 3,500kg, aluminium under guards and rear differential protector, 18-inch black alloy wheels and Pirelli all-terrain tyres.
The project is still on track despite the advanced age of the 9-3 and the underlying tech, and the country's five major suppliers and tech giants have just signed on to produce the still-unnamed national car. Anadolu Group, Kıraca Holding, BMC, Turkcell and Zorlu Holding, some of which are already involved in car production for other brands as suppliers, will form the industrial backing for the project, Hurriyet Daily News reports.
But McLaren sounds none too keen on him doing the whole WEC schedule. McLaren racing director Eric Boullier told the BBC: "He has said he is keen to do some races outside. There is a case-by-case discussion. His main and first focus is F1, so that has to be the priority. We do everything we can to give him a competitive car and if he has this he will not race anything else.