Thursday, May 23, 2013
About the only way this Pontiac G8 could be a more perfect Holden Commodore SV6 is if it were converted to right-hand drive. All exterior and interior touches appear to be there, even the Holden logo on the steering wheel. The SV6 is the high-output 3.6 liter V6 version in its home market, probably comparable to the V6 G8 that was sold here. It certainly made me look twice.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
So, you're a family man (or woman) looking for a used performance car are you? Does it require five seats to fit all the household members, and does it have ample cargo capacity? If you answered yes to all of the following questions, I have the perfect vehicle for you.
Mercedes brought over its AMG E-class wagon in limited numbers starting with the E55 wagon in 2006, and as per Car and Driver, the wagon was quicker than the sedan to 60, to 100, and through the 1320 than the sedan. The wagon is also much rarer than its sedan counterpart, because unlike the sedan, the wagon was special-order only.
Like most of AMG's stable (and Mercedes too for that matter), the wagon wasn't cheap. In 2007, this example listed for a shade over $96,000 including the designo package which explains the one-off color combination. Jade green is a very special color, as it wasn't available through a retailer; you had to order it.
While the E55 AMG made do with 469 horses and 516 foot-pounds from a supercharged 5.4L V8, the E63 touted an offramp bending 507 of the damn things. Torque was down to "only" 465 foot-pounds, but acceleration wasn't hampered a bit. In fact, the numbers improved. 0-60 now came in 4.4 seconds versus 4.7 seconds, and with the right tires, that number could be brought down to a mind-bending 3.9. For a station wagon.
When these cars were new, as I state before, they were astronomically priced. Used examples are hard to come by, and when they do come up for sale, its best not to wait. For the price of a new mid-size fully-loaded SUV, you could own this. Granted, the AMG-series isn't for sissies, and most car guys will know what it is--and likely either want to race you, or stay right alongside you to hear the rumble of AMG's hand-built 6.2 V8.
With gas mileage comparable to said mid-size SUV, the fuel-efficiency argument goes right out the window; with five seats, the person capacity argument is tossed, too. So, which is it? That boring SUV, or a bonafide enthusiast wagon?
At $44,900, this example is nicely specced, and has all the options, records, both keys, and it includes a window sticker. While I'm sure that this lovely wagon must be a hoot to drive, I'd reckon it'd be an amazing collectible in a few years.
Here it is
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Okay, so the new Nissan Altima is a pretty competent car; nicely styled, a bit overpowered (torque steer in the six cylinder) and its fairly fuel efficient. But, like all cars, the Altima didn't start out being a nice car for the money. Hell, it didnt even start out as being a nice car--period.
In the 1990s, the Nissan Stanza was getting old hat, and needed a replacement--badly. Fresh off a large bevy of funds leftover from deciding to let a few products linger a bit too tong (Pathfinder, and Hardbody specifically), Nissan had the cash to develop a small-to-midsize car for the American market and for other countries too. They weren't dumb with the idea. The execution, though, left a bit to be desired.
Saddled with a decent 150 horse four-cylinder, the Altima was intended to be the middleman's (or middlewoman's) budget "luxury" car-- but there was one problem. Despite having a gutsy engine, the transmission wasn't quite up to the task. At the time, and I remember reading this in Motor Trend, the car was fine once it got going, but getting it going from a dead stop was a hassle; slow upshift, and slow downshifts from the four-speed automatic meant the vehicle clunked abruptly, letting the driver know exactly when the vehicle's transmission was shifting. Word has it that the five-speed manual is (was?) indefinitely better.
From the outside, the Altima looked like a generic, nondescript car, and I suppose it was; Nissan wasn't quite a household name yet in all fifty states, so the Altima had to be marketed to sell--it was not a sporty car, nor was it a luxury car, and no, it wasn't an economy car either. By today's definition, the Altima would count. 30 miles a gallon, and a relatively cheap entry price--oh, and a stickshift.
Inside, it seemed Nissan was confused. Base models had--well--base interiors with cloth surfaces and plastics that were harder than the faces of Dillards' manikins, but as the buyer moved up the Altima scale, the furnishings got nicer. Top-spec models were actually awarded with leather seating surfaces and *gasp* a dollop of wood gracing the passenger side of the dashboard.
Why is this car a shitbox, exactly? It wasn't really a bad car--far from it to be honest; it was just a car born in the wrong era, and a car not quite aimed at any particular market sector. The followups to the original are a) much better cars and priced accordingly and ) actually takeover quite a bit of the midsize sedan marketplace.
So is the Altima a big hit for Nissan? Yes; much like the Sonata has been for Hyundai.