Monthly Archives: May 2014

2008 Infiniti FX35 Review

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In the 1990s to early 2000s, Nissan’s luxury division, Infiniti, garnered a reputation as a stodgy automaker with its lineup consisting of rebadged Nissans. But this perception changed with the arrival of the 2003 G35. The G35 was actually a competitive rival to the BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes-Benz C Class, and the public noticed as Infiniti set new sale records. The brand’s turnaround prompted a more competitive lineup. Replacing the QX4 (a rebadged Nissan Pathfinder), the FX debuted in 2003. This was before SUVs tried to be less like SUVs and more like cars. The FX was actually based off the Nissan 350z’s platform making it an SUV based off a sports car. Along with the Mercedes-Benz ML, BMW X5, Lexus RX, the Infiniti FX was one of the first luxury crossovers (a car based SUV that combines the height of an SUV with the driving performance of a sedan). In 2006, the FX received new exterior and interior tweaks. Continue reading

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1969 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Review

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Despite the Beetle’s reputation as a lovable and hippie car, many individuals refuse to like the original Beetle, mainly because it was conceived by Hitler. As a solution to Germany’s unemployment crisis, Hitler came up with the idea to build the autobahns (special roads) for motor vehicles. He got to work on producing the “people’s car” that the average person would be able to afford. Ferdinand Porsche was tasked for the design and engineering of such a car. Hitler said the Beetle must have a top speed of 62 miles per hour, achieve more than 40 mpg, be able to transport a family (two adults and three children), and its engine must be air-cooled. It was then Porsche decided the Beetle should be rear wheel drive and rear engined. In 1938, production for the Beetle commenced. However, it was not until after 1945 that the Beetle really took off. During this time period, the Beetle was known as the Type 1, and “The Volkswagen”. Continue reading

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1992 Acura NSX Review

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Even though the Honda NSX (Acura is Honda’s luxury division, and the NSX was sold as an Acura in North America) debuted in 1990, Honda actually started development in 1984, and the NSX was codenamed the HP-X (Honda Pininfarina Xperimental). Honda gave its engineers a task: create a mid-engined supercar that rivals Ferraris and Lamborghinis while providing the comfort and refinement expected of a Honda. Pininfarina, a famous automotive design firm recognized for the design of many Ferraris and Lamborghinis, was tasked to come up with the design for the HP-X. The name changed from HP-X to NSX (New Sportscar eXperimental). Throughout development, Honda enlisted legendary Formula One driver Ayrton Sienna as the test driver for the NSX. Sienna drove the NSX on Honda’s Suzuka Circuit in Japan, and relayed feedback to Honda’s engineers regarding the handling. The NSX was also the first production car to feature an all aluminum body which aided acceleration and handling. Sadly, the NSX ceased production in 2005, but it is regarded as one of the most famous supercars of all time. Continue reading

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1994 BMW 325i Convertible Review

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Even though BMW is currently one of the world’s most profitable brands, that was not always the case. In 1959, BMW faced financial difficulties, and stockholders convened to decide whether to keep the company running or to go into liquidation. BMW was in such bad shape that rival Mercedes-Benz was considering buying out BMW just to wipe its competitor out. The stockholders agreed to keep carrying on. The success of economy cars in Europe convinced BMW to focus on small cars. BMW was formerly an aircraft engine manufacturer, and it used its engine expertise in developing the cars. The result of this was the BMW Isetta, which helped BMW get back on its feet. BMW wanted to move upmarket as to challenge Mercedes-Benz with the BMW 3 series. The third generation 3 series (E36) builds on the traits of the previous two 3’s with more power and comfort. Continue reading

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2005 Volkswagen Passat GLS Review

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In contrast to the success Volkswagen garnered in the Roaring Sixties, by the time the 1970s approached, Volkswagen was in trouble. The Beetle’s appeal was waning as it became outdated and competitors’ vehicles were leaving it in the dust. Introduced in 1973, the original Passat was a version of the Audi 80/Fox sedan (VW owns Audi), but the thing is that it was actually called the Dasher in North America despite being named the Passat everywhere else. It received positive reception for its practicality and responsive handling but did not sell that well. The Passat was redesigned in 1981-1982. Again, even though everywhere else it was known as the Passat, Volkswagen sold the Passat as Quantum in North America. Finally, the third generation brought the Passat name to North America in 1990. As the years passed, it slowly grew in size and fame. By the time the fifth generation appeared in 1998, the Passat was regarded as an excellent family sedan. With this generation, the Passat moved upmarket with a focus on luxury and comfort. It is actually based off the first generation Audi A4. For 2001, the Passat received a refresh.

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