Nissan updates the Altima, the EU moves forward with banning new combustion-powered cars, a French company drops a stunning Porsche 928. All this and more on today’s issue of The Morning Dump.
Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.
Nissan Refreshes The Altima
Big Altima Energy just got bigger. Yes, TikTok’s favorite midsize sedan gets an update inside and out for 2023. Powertrains remain completely unchanged, with 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine driving either the front or all four wheels, or a two-liter variable-detonation – err, variable compression turbocharged four-cylinder engine spinning the front tires. Yes, variable compression, the whole crankshaft is on a pivot. It’s about as insane as it sounds. Anyway, let’s take a look at the styling and creature comforts coming to the 2023 Nissan Altima.
I won’t lie, the current Altima has a little bit of early-installment weirdness going on. The headlights kept little wings on their edges, while the grille departs from the Sentra compact sedan and Versa subcompact sedan with a raised top edge that looks just a touch out of place. Thankfully, the styling team’s gone back in and refined some things for 2023. Since new tooling to stamp new fenders is expensive, the little headlight wings remain. However, the new headlight design looks much less fussy, with blacked-out internal elements. The grille and front bumper have been revised too, with flatter surfacing on the bumper above the grille, a flat upper edge for the grille, a new mesh pattern similar to that on the Kicks subcompact crossover, and larger faux corner grilles with enhanced flares at the bottom of the bumper. Toss in the latest Nissan badge and a little red SR grille badge on SR models, and presto – a sleeker-looking Altima for sure.
Around the side, top-spec models get a really handsome set of mesh-like wheels, while the rear end gets the subtle update of an all-black diffuser-style element rather than the body-color insert seen on current cars. Overall, I’d say job well done.
On the inside, an available 12.3-inch touchscreen is absolutely huge and sports a significantly different user interface than on other current Nissan products. Category selection moves to the left margin, large tiles feature color backgrounds, hard buttons only exist for dimming, seeking, and camera toggling, plus an actual physical volume knob. It looks pretty similar to one display option on the Ariya electric crossover, which means there’s a chance Nissan’s new infotainment arrives in the Altima before it arrives in the Ariya.
What can I say? Altimas are pretty fast. As for equipment, LED headlights are now standard across all trims, the interior trim gets a bit more plush, wireless CarPlay hops aboard as an option, but that’s about it for real changes. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Expect the 2023 Nissan Altima to hit showrooms across America this fall, with pricing expected to be released closer to its on-sale date.
White House Mulls Charging Station Standards
You know, this whole concept of a proper national charging network planned along major highways sounds absolutely awesome. Judging by experiences with privately-owned Level 3 DC fast chargers, reliability and service can be spotty, and charging stations can be located in some seriously sketchy locations. Nobody really wants to be standing around an empty, poorly-lit industrial estate at midnight trying to get some juice, so consistently decent charging locations sound absolutely stellar.
However, the cost of installing charging stations means that they should be done right the first time. No little 50 kW chargers here. Indeed, according to Automotive News, the Federal Highway Administration has proposed some rules for the planning and installation of public EV fast chargers.
The rules are quite simple, even if they’re complex to implement – build charging stations every 50 miles, no more than one mile away from the highway, with key implementations along Interstate highways and alternative fuel highways. Minimum electric vehicle service equipment requirements proposed are each station having four 150 kW fast chargers that can support four vehicles at once. Of course, ADA compliance would also be required, and pricing, availability, and location must be available for drivers in real-time, but those should be fairly easy targets to achieve. What isn’t so easy to achieve is uptime – these charging stations must work at least 97 percent of the time.
While it would most definitely be nice to see a 350 kW standard for the sake of futureproofing, 150 kW isn’t exactly nothing. Oh, and requiring industry-standard CCS connectors is a great move for the bulk of EV buyers. Honestly, it’ll be interesting to see where these proposed rules go. Hopefully some of them make it through and create an easier charging situation for EV drivers.
EU Votes Yes On Outright Combustion Car Ban
Start building a casket – new combustion-powered cars will officially be dead in Europe come 2035. On Wednesday, European Parliament formally voted on an EV mandate, and the results were surprisingly close. According to Politico, 339 lawmakers voted in favor of the ban, 249 voted against, and 24 abstained from voting. Lawmakers now just need to work out specific wording of the final legal text and sign off on it.
Honestly, it’s a bit disappointing considering the alternative proposal seemed quite sufficient indeed. A proposal to cut tailpipe emissions by 90 percent by 2035 would have allowed for just a handful of specialty combustion-powered vehicles to keep the dream alive, but it seems that the majority of lawmakers weren’t having any of that. So, 13 years remain for Europeans to buy all the new dino-burning driver’s cars they can before the light is extinguished. That really isn’t a long time when you think about it. Best of luck.
Porsche’s 928 Gets The Restomod Treatment
Right, now that I’ve got some of the sensible stuff out of the way, it’s time to delve into dream cars. The Porsche 928 has always been a bit of an underappreciated gem. While it could never replace the 911 as a sports car, it’s a sleek, comfy, devilishly delightful grand tourer that feels far more modern than its 1978 launch would indicate. But what if someone made a truly modernized 928 that blends the best of Porsche past and present? Well, a small French company called Nardone Automotive has done just that.
Looking at Nardone Automotive’s 928, there’s a great deal of re-working on the outside. The puffed-up fender flares aren’t just there for visual effect, they hide massive tires and the fact that this 928’s body is made of carbon fiber. In fact, the bumpers and lamps are the areas that see the most substantial changes. The front bumper adopts a lower grille with shades of 993 Turbo, just significantly squared-off, bumper light air ducts recalling those on the 964 3.8 RS, and multiple vents near the leading edge of the hood that feel like a blend of 924 GTS and 997 GT3.
Out back, the tail lamps get replaced with a massive full-length blade of light, similar to that on the current Porsche 911. Fabulous.
It’s on the inside though, that things really heat up. As the exterior of this updated 928 is a very ‘70s shade of brown, the inside had to match, right? Indeed, there’s brown leather, suede, and carpet on just about every surface. The dashboard get simplified with a touch of carbon fiber accenting, a big splash of silver, and a tiny little infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay support. Sequestered behind interior panels is a modern hi-fi system, a must-do upgrade for grand touring. It just looks perfect, no gaudiness here.
Moving on to the gauge cluster, the dot-matrix treatment is lovely, but the tachometer really is a matter of taste. I like it quite a lot as it reminds me of some late-’70s watch designs, but I bet some people won’t be so keen. Regardless, the shove underneath this thing seems tremendous. Power comes from a tuned-up naturally-aspirated V8 making around 400 horsepower, while a six-speed manual transaxle and a limited-slip rear differential send all that power to the tires. Chuck in bigger brakes, re-worked suspension geometry, and electronically-controlled dampers, and this seems like a GT truly fit for modern driving.
Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but don’t expect this updated 928 to be cheap. It’ll also be a bit of a wait until the first cars are delivered – Nardone Automotive is targeting 2024.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on this edition of The Morning Dump. Let’s say that in 13 years, with new gas-powered cars well and truly dead in Europe, you suddenly find yourself with the time and money to restomod a car from the early 2000s. What car would you pick, and how would you update it? Honestly, I feel like an X308 Jaguar XJR with the thumping great five-liter supercharged V8 from an F-Type SVR, a Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual gearbox, properly top-notch Öhlins suspension and AP Racing brakes, and an interior fully-wrapped in semi-aniline leather would be absolutely mega. Killer looks, killer powertrain, brilliant suspension and stopping. A proper Jag turned up to 11. How about you? What restomod from the unremembered aughts would float your boat?
Lead photo credit: Nissan