There’s not much new in the 2017 Nissan 370Z, and it has largely been that way since Nissan introduced it way back in, uh, wow, 2009.
Sure, an equivalently priced Mustang or Camaro is arguably more modern with better technology, but you’ll never find one of those models in this series. Why? Because, in your author’s humble opinion, buying either of those cars with the base engine is as pointless as an ashtray on a motorcycle.
The Z, though? That’s a different story.
For decades BMW worked tirelessly to cultivate a reputation for building performance machines that could hit above their weight classes. Although the 2002 is a well-regarded classic, and the homologation special M1 is a bonafide supercar of its era, it wasn’t until the debut of the E30 M3 in 1986 that BMW’s high-performance road cars really started to find favor with the general public.
In recent years, BMW has sought to recapture some of that E30 magic with cars like the M235i and the 1M before it. While both of those models have their virtues, they fall short of the mark largely by way of an unidentifiable, intangible element. After a stint behind the wheel of the M2, I discovered that “fun” is that elusive character trait, because this car has it in spades.
The automotive press expends much effort (present company included) telling OEMs what they should and should not do. Automakers may not always take action, much less seem to care, but they value your opinion. Otherwise they wouldn’t have given me a car for a week in hopes of influencing your next buying decision.
I’m thankful they did. The 2016 Ford Mustang contains a long list of items the fourth estate has been asking for: contemporary design, competitive interior, independent rear-suspension, and a roaring V8. And this from a nameplate that’s been near death multiple times, almost been forced to go front-wheel drive, and was inches away from shedding cylinders in favor of forced induction.
Thankfully, none of those doomsday scenarios came to pass. This is now the pony journalists have been asking for in Mustang reviews from the last decade.
The greatest Oldsmobile song of all time is Public Enemy’s 1987 masterpiece, “ You’re Gonna Get Yours” (from all the many great Oldsmobile songs out there), but just what kind of Olds 98 was it that Chuck D used to get all those suckers to the side? I say it was the 1977-1984 tenth-generation 98, and here’s an example of a luxurious ’79 Regency Coupe, complete with landau roof and plenty of fake wood trim inside.
Guess what, enthusiasts? The automakers are lying to you. See that red tire? It may as well be a giant red X written across your hopes and dreams of a small, nimble, rear-wheel drive coupe.
The Opel GT Concept is just that — a concept. And it isn’t the first time GM has pulled this trick this year. Actually, if you look back over the past few years of General Motors rear-wheel drive, two-door concepts, only the Camaro and Cadillacs have come to fruition.
Who has two thumbs and loves the ’79 Eldorado? This guy. I’ve spent more time writing about it than I’ve spent writing about Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Maseratis … combined. What made the ’79 Eldorado great? Everything. It was styled with a crispness and strength of purpose never again seen on a Cadillac. It had a solid drivetrain as standard, although the optional engines and the later HT4100 tended to misbehave. The packaging was superb inside and out: trim yet spacious, small enough to be hassle-free in a parking lot but big enough to be recognizably Cadillac.
Most importantly, it was the last great coupe from a company that had a reputation for building brilliant luxury two-doors. (The CTS-V Coupe had pace but possessed neither space nor grace.) As a statement of personal wealth, taste, and maturity, no automobile truly satisfies like a full-sized luxury coo-pay. The man behind the wheel of an S-Class sedan or Cadillac XTS always risks being mistaken for a chauffeur, while the driver of a luxury SUV always risks being correctly identified as an imbecile. No, in order to convey the correct image to everyone from valets to unattached society ladies, it’s critical to drive a coupe.
Which leads me to this BMW 640i Convertible, rented by me this past weekend for the purpose of escaping Winter Catastrophe Jonas and relaxing in central Florida … but why am I talking about Eldorados in a review of what is intended to be a German sports coupe? And am I likely to quote Marcus Aurelius after the jump, seemingly to no purpose? You probably know the answer to both of these questions, dear reader.
If you’ve never been to a press day at a major auto show but always dreamed of being there for all the big releases and parties and executive speeches, I’m afraid I must burst your bubble: The shows just aren’t all that awesome. This year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit was no exception.
It’s true that there was some fun to be had, but it was mostly the same sort of fun that one has at a high school reunion. I had a blast karting with the Jalopnik crew the Saturday before the show, and I definitely enjoyed hanging out with my friends Matt Farah and Sam Smith late on Sunday. But the show itself was a giant MEH.
Four years after Lexus unveiled its LF-LC at the 2012 North American International Auto Show, the automaker announced Monday that it would put into production largely the same car and call it the LC 500.
Powered by a 5-liter V-8 lifted from the RC-F and GS-F, the LC 500 will be the brand’s largest two-door coupe and mostly complete the turnaround by the automaker they started around four years ago.
Seriously, the LC 500 is by the same people who make the ES 350.
The next-generation Nissan Z (which may or may not be: 1. A crossover; 2. Real; 3. Inspired by a bicycle; 4. FWD; 5. All of the above) may be less expensive than the current car, Nissan design chief Mamori Aoki told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.
A lower price would appeal to a younger generation who can’t afford the Z’s current $30,000 price tag, Aoki said. Well, yeah.
Interestingly, the report notes that a less-expensive Z could make room for a more powerful Nissan sports car that isn’t called a GT-R. Aoki told the newspaper that the GT-R would remain a flagship performance car that wouldn’t compromise speed for something as silly as price. Wonderful.
If there is one constant in the automotive world, it is that every redesigned vehicle gets bigger, more powerful, heavier and more complex. Bucking that trend is Mazda’s latest MX-5, one of the smallest and lightest cars sold in the United States.
Since the launch of the Miata in 1989, Mazda’s tiny roadster has been a beacon of light to those who prefer a “pure” driving experience. The MX-5’s core mission of being an affordable, lightweight, two-seat convertible has hardly changed. More impressive: The 2016 MX-5 is about the same size as the original Miata, and the new roadster is only 182 pounds heavier despite producing 50-percent more power and being 30-percent more fuel efficient. The price tag has also been kept in check. The 2016 model still costs about the same as a mid-sized sedan.
Making the MX-5 even more special is that it stands alone in America. Sure, Alfa is now selling their sexy and expensive 4C here, BMW still has a Z4 roadster, and Scion and Subaru are selling their two-door coupé — but none of these are like the MX-5 and that’s a good thing for Mazda.
I’m not a “tuner” kinda guy. There, I said it. It’s a load off my mind. It’s not that I don’t like extra power, or a different suspension tune, I just prefer parts made by the company that made my car and I like the car to look “stock.”
A case in point was my 2006 Volvo V70R. I kept the factory exhaust tips but jammed in a racing cat, different muffler and I fiddled with the suspension. I didn’t lower the V70R — I raised it. [Say what?] My V70R is a tale for a different time, but I mention it because when I got an email invitation from Shelby, I almost deleted it. Fortunately, my cousin, a rabid collector of classic Shelbys [s]swore he’d saw my nuts off[/s] convinced me to fly to Vegas to check out Shelby’s latest wares.
No good deed goes unpunished.
When Chevrolet announced its fifth-generation Camaro in 2008 after a long hiatus, many hailed (including yours truly) its avant-garde style and sleeker sheet metal. A starring role and skyrocketing sales couldn’t dim its usual criticism shortly thereafter. Fully four years into that model, good feelings waned; its overweight chassis and zest for precious, expensive gasoline overshadowed most of its good attributes.
Even our sixth-generation tester — which we picked up in Bozeman, Montana on a dreary November morning in between snowstorms and set under overcast skies — didn’t entirely impress.
The lipstick red V-8 clad SS — shod with snow rubber and little else to handle an unforgiving Western Montana winter climate — seemed overmatched with the task of climbing Lookout Pass and into Eastern Washington and beyond. A rear-wheel drive sports car could find friendlier confines than the Montana plains and mountains in winter’s first offensive.
Coupé-like styling is one of the biggest buzzwords at new car launch parties. Although this is more of a modern phenomenon, the root of the seemingly contradictory four-door coupé is older than you might think.
In 1962, Rover dropped the rear roofline on its P5 sedan and dared to call it a four-door coupé. In 2004, Mercedes picked up on this idea with the CLS-class Coupe. It was only a matter of time before Audi and BMW joined the party with the A7 and 6-Series Gran Coupé.
Now, many of you may say we already have a name for the four-door coupé. It’s a sedan. I agree with you. Audi isn’t entirely convinced by the “coupé” designation either, and they only dare mention it twice in the 62-page brochure. This means the S7 is a $12,000 styling exercise atop a tasty and more practical S6.
To quote the immortal Denny Green, the 2016 Honda Civic Coupe is who we thought they were. The two-door compact broke cover Tuesday before the Los Angeles Auto Show and confirmed our suspicions for the eagerly anticipated coupe.
The Civic Coupe will be powered by a pair of four cylinder engines, a 158 horsepower 2-liter and 178-horsepower 1.5-liter turbo four.
OK, I’ll bite on your request for more queries. Here’s a couple:
Keep up the good work!