The Truth About Cars » Sport Sedan The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 20:36:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Sport Sedan The Acura ILX Is The Modern Day Infiniti G20 Mon, 06 May 2013 16:02:30 +0000 ilxg20

A few weeks ago, I posted an article entitled “Cars That Look Good But Aren’t.” I thought this was a particularly brilliant piece of writing, primarily because virtually every word was spelled correctly. After finishing it, I patted myself on the back and said “Good job, Doug.” Then I got in my Nissan Cube and shielded my face from passersby.

But it wasn’t long before the hate mail started coming in.

The first hate mail came from my mother, as per usual, who wrote: “Does this mean you still don’t have a real job? Also, why are you making fun of the Infiniti G20?” Mom wasn’t alone in her criticism. Minutes later, responses started pouring in from the Best and Brightest, who – once known for their love of the Panther platform – have apparently felt the effects of rising gas prices and decided to instead stand behind the similarly outdated Infiniti G20.


The first responses were fairly mild: “I get the point you’re making on the G20, but let’s keep in mind the SR20DE engine from the SE-R … I would perhaps agree if you’re only talking about the second-generation G20,” wrote Sammy B. I defended myself, only to be dismissed by what I assume must be every single G20 owner in history. This is a sampling of some of G20 love from commenters:

- “Count me among those who disagree that the P10 G20 should be on this list. I worked for the local Infiniti dealership from 1991-93 when these were new. I loved everything about them.” -davew833

- “It was the best handling 4-door back then and the engine and shifter are super sweet. Plus has a ton of room inside for its small size.” -walker42

- “I’d have to disagree on the G20. For it’s time the G20 was at the top of its class in handling and performance.” -Scoutdude

And that’s just the commenters. Things soon got worse. Not long after the post went up, I started getting threatening Facebook messages. A user named “Infiniti G20” invited me to connect on LinkedIn with a message that said only: “Soon.” And for six nights in a row, I answered my ringing cell phone around 3am only to hear the revving of an underpowered four-cylinder on the other end.

OK, some of that didn’t happen. But I was surprised at the Infiniti G20’s support network, which was roughly the same size as the coalition that defended Kuwait in the Gulf War. This got me thinking: if you people like the G20 so much, why don’t you buy the current model?

Today’s G20

I am talking, of course, about the Acura ILX, which is the first-generation Infiniti G20, only 20 years later. I know what you’re thinking: How dare DeMuro desecrate the memory of the holy Infiniti G20 by comparing it with some crappy Acura! But I’ve actually prepared some intelligent thoughts on the topic, which is rare, so please bear with me.

Let’s start with platform. The Infiniti G20 was based on the Nissan Sentra of its day, which was generally agreed to be a fairly modest compact car with a reasonably well-respected performance version. Guess what? The ILX is based on the Honda Civic, which is also a fairly modest compact car with a well-respected performance version.


How about engines? The G20 used a 140-horsepower four-cylinder borrowed from the Sentra SE-R, which is the aforementioned well-respected performance version. That meant it reached 60 in around nine seconds, or – in the minds of TTAC commenters replying to the “Cars That Look Good But Aren’t” post – slightly quicker than an Ariel Atom.

Well, it turns out the ILX also borrows its four-cylinder from the well-respected performance version, which – in this case – is the Honda Civic Si. Yes, there’s a base-level ILX with a 150-horsepower 2.0-liter engine from the standard Civic. But there’s also an ILX with the very same 201-horsepower four-cylinder as the Civic Si. You can probably see where I’m going with this.

Of course, it’s also important to compare pricing. Back in 1991, the G20 started at $17,500, which – adjusted for inflation – comes to $29,055, according to a rather dodgy inflation calculator I discovered using Google. And how does the ILX compare? It’s so spot-on that you have to wonder if Acura found the very same inflation calculator: the ILX with the Civic Si engine starts at exactly $29,200.

Clearly, I have conclusively proven that Acura successfully replicated the vaunted G20 in its ILX. But here’s the problem: no one is buying the ILX. Of course, that isn’t strictly true. My neighbor has an MDX, and whenever it goes in for service, she gets an ILX as a service loaner. Technically, that means it’s “sold.”

But actual humans aren’t lining up out the door to buy the ILX, despite its brilliant G20 heritage. So, G20 defenders, explain it: why is this? Really: I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Just as long as they’re in the form of a TTAC comment, and not a 3am wake-up call.

Doug DeMuro operates He’s owned an E63 AMG wagon, road-tripped across the US in a Lotus without air conditioning, and posted a six-minute lap time on the Circuit de Monaco in a rented Ford Fiesta. One year after becoming Porsche Cars North America’s youngest manager, he quit to become a writer. His parents are very disappointed.

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New or Used: Commuter Ying, Sporty Yang Fri, 09 Dec 2011 18:05:00 +0000


Mark V. writes:

I was wrong, I thought I could drive a 370z touring on a daily basis to work, a 75m round trip on the highway mostly, but I can’t.  Its to loud and its becoming unpleasant to drive.  I don’t want to get a beater for a 2nd car because spending almost 2 hours a day in it would be a major quality of life loss and probably not any more pleasant then my 370z.

I need a commuting yin to my 370′s sporty yang, but I don’t think I can afford the expensive of a 2nd car, technically 3rd if you count the wife’s car.

So I think I’m going to be forced to compromise and get a sports sedan.   Which leads to the question, Should I compromise and if so which sports sedan will hold up to my ~18,000m a year commute, make sitting in the car for 2 hours passable, sporty enough to not make me nervous while hooning, and will cost me around 75k to own and operate for the first 5 years?

Sajeev answers:

I have no clue what is sporty enough for you.  Owning a German sedan sounds great, and kinda like yesterday’s installment of New or Used,who knows how much of a money pit it will be after the warranty runs out. And that’s assuming you can buy a new one, and not give in to the temptation of a heavily depreciated 7-er, 5-er, Audi A6 or A8. Your mileage will probably require an extended warranty too. Maybe a Lexus IS will work.  Maybe a used Infiniti M or G. (M’s depreciate like mad and seem like decent machines) Maybe a Caddy CTS.

I have no idea. Or maybe you should get a Mercury Marauder. Yeah, actually that will work just fine for me. But seriously, start test driving before you get snow’d in!

Steve answers:

The number of the cars that will fit these requirements numbers well into the double figures.

Audi A4. BMW 3-Series. Lexus IS350. Infiniti G37. Anyone here can throw in a long list of good potential fits.

Since your budget is a bit more generous than many, I would consider upsizing a bit. My brother just got the new Audi A6 (really) and considers it to be the ultimate elixir for his PITA Long Island commute. Then there are the BMW 5-Series and Mercedes E-Class which have pretty much dominated the mid-level luxury market for eons on end.

You have a lot of options out there. So just take your time. Drive a few… and enjoy your next car.

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.
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Review: 2011 BMW 335is Mon, 30 Aug 2010 18:47:53 +0000

BMW loves America, and to prove it, BMW is sending us a North American exclusive sports coupé and convertible. No, it is not some fabulous concept car turned production, its last year’s 335i cranked up a notch with some M3 parts and an exhaust system that’s too loud to be sold in the EU tossed in for good measure. Does that make the 335is the perfect 3 series? BMW tossed us the keys to one for a week to find out.

Before we talk about the 335is, we need to talk about the refreshed 2011 3 series first. Since the 3 series has remained largely unchanged since 2007, BMW decided a mid-cycle refresh was in order. For 2011, all 3 series coupés and convertibles get a new nose, new headlamps with new LED “angel eyes,” some new tail lamps, rear bumper tweaks and some rocker panels. As a result of the rhinoplasty, the 2011 model gains an inch and a half over the previous model making it the longest 3 series ever (3.5” longer than the sedan). Inside the changes are essentially limited to the instruction of the latest generation of iDrive and some new paddle shifters on models with that option.

The biggest change BMW has made for 2011 is under the hood, and here is where 335is owners will have some explaining to do on autocross days: The 2011 335i has traded in its twin-turbo setup for a new twin-scroll single turbo setup ala Volvo’s T6 engine. The twin-scroll design uses two exhaust gas inlets on the turbine side of the turbocharger, one each for of three cylinders. BMW says that this increases turbo response and improves efficiency. The new “N55” engine in the 335i delivers the same power output as the former “N54”engine in 2007-2010 335i models, but does so with greater efficiency and a slightly better torque curve. The N55 also brings BMW’s Valvetronic system to the party offering not just variable valve timing, but variable valve lift.

Now here’s where things get a bit complicated: the 335i uses the new N55 engine, the 335is uses a lightly reworked version of the N54 (twin-turbo) engine producing 320HP and 332lb-ft (with an overboost function boosting the torque to 370ft-lbs for 7 seconds) vs the 335i’s 300HP/300lb-ft. Big deal you say? Two words: aftermarket tuning. I am told by an aftermarket chip company that the N54 has a far greater mod potential than the new N55 engine. There are a number of companies out there than will take an N54 engine up to 400+ HP and 400+ lb-ft of torque. For those wanting M3 performance on a “budget” the 335is is now the new foundation.

Compared to the plebeian 335, the “s” gets you a more sculpted front and rear bumper with large cooling vents placed where foglights reside in the regular 335, and a blacked out front grille. Out back there is a sports exhaust system which BMW claims to be unique to the 335is, but forum fans indicate it is available as an aftermarket accessory from BMW. Under the hood the cooling system has gone supersized with a high output fan, upgraded oil cooler, an auxiliary radiator and widened openings in the front bumper.

All this is included because BMW assumes 335is buyers will track their car on weekends, so they need the extra grunt and the stay-cool-bits. Lest we forget the important part, the 335is carries a $7,000 larger price tag. (When adjusted for standard equipment, the premium is around $4,000) Anyone notice something missing? That’s right: no brake upgrades. This is the chink in the 335is’ armour. Basically BMW has created a car that goes faster and handles slightly better with the capacity to drive the car harder, but did nothing to improve the stoppers. Given the extra shove the 335is provides, this is a problem on windy mountain roads where I managed to get the brakes overheated without actually trying. I’m not sure I’d want to track this puppy without addressing the brakes in some manner.

Inside the 335is there are fewer differences from the 335i. The “s” brings the 7 speed DCT transmission from the M3 (with fewer modes however) vs the 6 speed slushbox, an M steering wheel and short shift 6 speed transmission with an M shift lever and some faux-snake skin aluminium dash trim. Other than that the interior is stock 3 series, which is not a bad place to be. The Dakota leather seats are very comfortable, the up-level Harmon Kardon sound system hits all the right notes, and although our tester was a pre-production model without cruise control of any sort, BMW’s web site claims all 335is models will have radar adaptive cruise control standard. Also standard on the 335is, like all 3 series models are just about the worst cup holders available on this continent. I seriously want to know who thought the flimsy pop-out cup holders that are both miles away from the driver, and cause ingress/egress problems for front passengers were a good idea? Gadget hounds will love the new 4th generation iDrive with the high resolution screen and 3D effect navigation maps, and they will probably rave over the automated seat-belt-hander-thing that pops out of the rear. Personally, a car that hands me my seatbelt kind of creeps me out.

On the road, the 335is behaves basically the same as the 335i with the M sport suspension, which makes sense since that’s what it is. Power delivery is effortless, grip is substantial and damping is firm. The 335is equipped with the BMW DCT truly shines; the shifts are not only crisp and practically perfect, but 0-60 times are greatly improved. BMW quotes the standard 335i as 0-60 in 5.3 (manual) and 5.5 (automatic) while the 335is clocks in at 5.1 (manual) which is only a slight improvement, but 5 seconds flat when equipped with the 7-speed dual clutch transmission. What makes this stat impressive is when you consider that this is 5 seconds flat repeatable every time, with perfect launches. After some practice runs I was able to eek a hair under 5.4 seconds (no rollout) to 60 with the 6-speed manual transmission. Apparently I should not quit my day job and race for a living. In my defence however, at these power levels the road surface is your greatest enemy, had the road surface been perfect I’m sure I would have hit 5.2.

On large oval tracks, owners will notice the “s” model gets you a top speed limited to 150 vs the standard 130 (335i models with the M sport package also have a 150MPH limiter), but it’s not the top speed that makes the 335is a great car at the end of the day: It’s the fact that BMW has made an able highway cruiser that handles and accelerates well enough for an occasional weekend at a BMW owners club event. Purists will deride the lack of upgraded brakes, which did bother me, until I came to the realisation that BMW is truly the new Mercedes. Chock full of electronic gizmos, widgets and nannies, well executed designs and high-quality interior parts; this is exactly what I would want Mercedes to make. Except Mercedes would have probably given me decent cup holders.

Readers who are following TTAC on Facebook were given the opportunity to ask reader questions of the 335is. If you would like to ask questions of car reviews in progress, or just follow TTAC, checkout our facebook page. FB fans, here are your answers. Tony J: With our G-Tech accelerometer based performance meter, I recorded a skidpad of .88-.89Gs on an approximately 300ft skidpad (open parking lot). I have seen reviews as high as .93, so road surface of course plays a huge role here. Patrick C: Yes, it actually will do a burnout, fairly easily I might add. Richard M: I drove the 335i to the community pool, but was denied entry.

BMW provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

IMG_0519 All photos courtesy Alex Dykes IMG_0522 IMG_0524 IMG_0521 IMG_0520 IMG_0514 IMG_0530 IMG_0527 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail IMG_0529 IMG_0531 IMG_0513 IMG_0516 IMG_0518 IMG_0523 IMG_0515 IMG_0528 IMG_0526

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