SEE THE FULL COMPARISON:
What comes after Z?, we wondered when Nissan let the stage go black in 1996 and officially bid farewell to the Z-car at an event at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Sales of the twin-turbo 300ZX had been declining as fast as applications for library cards, so Nissan simply stopped selling the car in the U.S. It made us wonder where the Z fit in Nissan's future.
The answer came in 2002, when the Nissan 350Z appeared, a serious sports car that seemed to measure itself against the Corvette in both speed and style. It brought people back to Nissan, but lots of the young enthusiasts didn't know what an icon the Z had been for the company since its inception in 1970.
With the 2009 Nissan 370Z, all that changes. As a Z should be, the 370Z is a statement of purpose, not just another car on the showroom floor. With this second-generation version of the revitalized Z, the car has moved on from affordable performance to something that brings new descriptions into play — not only like quick, fast, strong and powerful, but also gorgeous, luxurious, nimble, graceful, delicate and smooth.
This is a car so good that it makes you wonder what kind of car it is: a sports car, a sport coupe or a muscle-bound pony car? And that's where the 2008 BMW 135i comes in, a pocket-size BMW M3 with an affordable price tag to match.
Honda Civic Hybrid vs. Honda Fit Sport Comparo
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They're not fast, they don't corner hard and they're certainly not the most pulse-quickening cars we've ever tested at Inside Line. But if fuel-efficiency and utility are priority items in your next car purchase, then the 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid and 2009 Honda Fit Sport are unbelievable machines.
Combining economic operation and utility like few other cars sold today, either of these Hondas is a responsible choice for the buyer looking to save fuel, minimize emissions and haul the family. Each has its own unique qualities — important distinctions that can't be overlooked.
The question, then, is which is the better car? To figure it out, for two weeks we used the 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid and the 2009 Honda Fit as they're designed to be used. We drove them to work, loaded our families in them, packed our groceries in them and took them to the track to measure their performance. We argued the merits of the Civic's superb fuel economy vs. the Fit's exceptional utility.
In doing so, we designed this test to suit the priorities of a buyer looking for reasonably priced utilitarian transportation. Accordingly, fuel economy and price make up the majority of each car's total score at 25 percent each. Performance, feature content and our 29-point evaluation score make up 15 percent each, while editors' personal and recommended picks combine for the remaining 5 percent.
Can Jag Beat BMW? Jaguar XF vs BMW 550i @ the Track
MORE TRACK INFO @ INSIDELINE.COM:
Last May, the newly introduced Jaguar XF surprised us. It went head to head with the best midsize luxury sedans from Germany and came out on top. It was fast, comfortable and surprisingly competent through turns, but of course, that was the top-of-the-line supercharged model.
For 2010, the Jaguar XF gets a pair of all-new 5.0-liter V8s: one normally aspirated in the XF Premium, the other supercharged in the new XFR. We'll test an XFR soon, but today Inside Line is the first to take the new non-supercharged 5.0-liter-powered 2010 Jaguar XF Premium to the test track. Rated at 385 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque it's not quite as powerful as the former 4.2-liter supercharged V8, but it's close.
To see just how close, we brought back a 2009 BMW 550i to see how the new Jag stacks up when it's not getting help from a Supercharger. Given that the BMW is giving up 25 hp and 20 lb-ft of torque, we expected a close contest - and got one.
Badass 370Z: 2009 Nissan Nismo 370Z @ Willow Springs
FULL NISSAN 370Z @ INSIDELINE.COM:
It's called "The Fastest Road in the West" for a reason. Willow Springs International Raceway is known for its staggeringly high lap speeds, and it defines itself with one of the gnarliest, high-speed corner combinations anywhere in the world: a long decreasing-radius bend from Turn 8 to Turn 9. And so in an effort to preserve the world's population of auto scribes like us, Nissan has created a makeshift chicane to successfully emasculate these corners during our test of the 2009 Nissan Nismo 370Z. Smart move.
Fortunately there are ample opportunities elsewhere on this track to explore the car's increased performance over the standard 2009 Nissan 370Z. Namely Turn 6, which apexes at a blind crest and is followed on the downhill side by a huge midcorner bump that makes the standard Z-car wallow like a Buick LeSabre over a Wyoming frost heave. It's here that the Nismo Z sells itself.
In the Sport Z-car we're afraid. Afraid of physics. Afraid that the track will toss us — like a Buick — into the unforgiving desert. But after a few laps in the Nismo Z, we're confident. And we're faster. We keep our right foot planted all the way over the Turn 6 crest and across the bump, gaining enough speed that a few hundred yards down the track we ingloriously annihilate most of the orange cones that Nissan deployed to keep us alive. Nice.
All New 2009 Nissan 370Z Road Test
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Responsive, powerful V6; tenacious cornering grip; supple highway ride; good driving position.
ZR1 Smokes GT-R: Chevy Corvette ZR1 vs. Nissan GT-R
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Corvette Grand Sport Road Test: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWlK669ZVdY
SEE RHYS MILLEN TOP PIKES PEAK:
It's already hot at 11 a.m. as we pull our 2009 Nissan GT-R into the visitor's parking lot at GM's proving grounds in Arizona. The Japanese supercar looks like a spaceship next to the aging, 1960s-era brick buildings that front the massive desert test facility on the outskirts of Phoenix....
Mercedes C63 vs BMW M3 vs Audi RS5!
We compare the latest BMW M3 coupe with the new Audi RS5 coupe, and we bring in the Mercedes C63 AMG Break to deliver us some snacks...
High-res via http://www.abhd.nl/video/audi-rs5-vs-bmw-m3-vs-mercedes-c63/
*NEW* Nissan 370Z Touring Walkaround 0-60 in FAST
Check out the new 370Z from Benson Nissan in Spartanburg, South Carolina. We're the home of all things fast, including the New Nissan GT-R as well!
Check us out! Want one of these? Send me a message, we'll get you one however you like it!