Review coming soon!
For the longest time I could remember, the third generation Infiniti M has always been my favorite luxury sedan. Funny thing is, I have never actually driven one. Its sporty looks and the fact that it was based off the same platform as the Nissan Z sports car gave it performance credibility. This generation was a Consumer Reports Top Pick, and it was well received by the press. The strange thing is that the M wasn’t always a luxury sedan. Rather, it was a two door in either a coupe or convertible configuration. In 1989, Nissan introduced its luxury division, Infiniti, to take on the Germans. As one of the first two models to be produced by Infiniti, the 1989 M30 Coupe and Convertible were a rebadged Nissan Leopard. Alas, it lasted only three years in production. According to Wikipedia, it is rumored that less than 12,000 M30s have been sold, making it the rarest Infiniti ever made. It was not until 2002 that the M was revived as a rebadged Nissan Gloria, this time as a luxury sedan. My friend Madison’s father had a silver M45 when I was little, and I remember being fascinated with it. The second generation M was long and narrow, and this gave it a futuristic appearance. The fact that it was powered by a 340 horsepower V8 which was a a lot back then added to its appeal. Sadly, due to its high price and unremarkable handling, it trailed the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Sales were so low that this generation only lasted for two years. This time, Infiniti wasn’t taking any chances. In 2006, it debuted an all new and redesigned M, again another rebadged Nissan sold as the Nissan Fuga in Japan. This time, the Infiniti M was based off the “FM” (front-midship which basically means the engine is pushed behind the front axle for better weight distribution) platform that underpinned the Nissan Z sports car as well as the sporty Infiniti FX SUV and G sedan. In addition to having a chassis derived from a sports car, the M also was powered by Nissan’s well-received “VQ-series” engines. I was both nervous and excited to review this car to see if it really did live up to my expectations. Continue reading
Hey guys, remember that 2002 Toyota Camry LE that I reviewed? Well that was one of my first reviews on this blog, so you probably don’t remember. This car was a member of our family, having been bought brand new in 2002. I remember the car shopping experience. We had just gotten tired of our 1993 Saturn SL, and we were looking to upgrade. That Saturn had around 130 thousand miles when we were looking for a new car in the January of 2002. My dad, a Honda man, inevitably turned to the 2002 Honda Accord as the Saturn’s replacement. But the Accord was in its last year, and the Camry had just launched. My parents wanted to go upmarket, so they looked at the Acura TL, and the Volvo S70. I remember the exact cars that we test drove back in 2002. The Acura TL was silver, and it was a sunny afternoon, and I remember how luxurious it felt (Remember, our Saturn had manual windows and cloth seats!). I was sitting in the backseat, amazed by the center armrest because it had an opening that led to the inside of the trunk! As for the Volvo S70, my parents wanted to look at it because it was supposed to be one of the safest cars you could buy, and where we lived, Volvos were very popular, especially in wagon form. It was dark outside and snowing, and the Volvo salesman led us to this beautiful white S70. It was parked on the lot at a corner by itself, and the streetlights shined on the car. It just looked beautiful under the streetlight, and it had a spoiler and a tan interior. My parents liked the car very much, but they didn’t like that reliability was an issue. However, my parents felt these cars were too pricey, so we looked at the Toyota Camry which was just redesigned. Strangely I don’t remember much about the Toyota buying experience. I don’t remember how we even got the car. All I know is that we looked at the Camry, and my parents loved it. They felt that the Camry offered much more value than the Acura or the Volvo ever did. And then one day, it was in our garage, and the Saturn was parked outside. This being the new car, the Toyota was the cooler car. (At the time we also had a 1995 Honda Odyssey LX). I named the Camry Betty. Because when I think of a girl named Betty, I imagined that she is a vanilla type of woman. Nice and dependable, but not very adventurous, which describes the Camry perfectly. Continue reading
People say that summertime is the best time to drive a convertible, and they would be right. I don’t usually like convertibles, but driving with the top down on a mountain road certainly sounds appealing, which brings me to the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E550 Convertible. The E-Class’s ancestry heralds back to the 1953 “Ponton” sedan, but it was not until the fifth generation that a convertible body style was added to the E-Class’s lineup. The next generation did not have a coupe or convertible body style, and the CLK model was introduced as a replacement. Funny thing that even though it was styled to resemble the E-Class, it was actually based off the C-Class. I had the opportunity to review a 2008 CLK350 Convertible, and while it was a nice car, it wasn’t anything special. The CLK was discontinued in 2009, right when the E-Class was redesigned. Now in its eighth generation, the E-Class’s lineup brought back the coupe and convertible body style.
Contrary to what most people think, the Z3 was not the first Z to start off the Z series (Z3 and Z4). That title goes to the Z1. During 1989-1991, BMW built the Z1. The Z1 featured many innovative touches such as doors that slide down in their sills and a removable plastic body. This car could be driven with all of the body panels completely removed. They were never sold in North America, and the Z1 was discontinued after just two years and with 8,000 models produced. After noticing the success of the Mazda Miata roadster, BMW decided it wanted a piece of the action. Introduced in 1996, the Z3 made its debut in the James Bond film, Golden Eye, which BMW used to promote the car. The BMW Z3 emphasized its mix of modern BMW mechanicals with retro styling cues from the BMW 507 (a classic BMW roadster). It gained new interior and exterior revisions in 2000.
In 1948, the F-Series pickup debuted with a variety of cab, chassis, and powertrain configurations. Catering to the industrial population, the F-Series was successful. It was not until 1957 that it underwent a complete redesign. In contrast to the previous F-Series’ circular appearance, the 1957 generation sported a square and modern look. As the years went by, the F-Series gradually changed its focus from the industrial population to the general population. By 1975, the F-Series broke into the F150, F250, F350 versions. In 1980, it underwent its first complete redesign since 1965 with an all new chassis and body. This eighth generation of F-series is now considered the last classic Ford truck.