AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Ask AutoGuide No. 36
Unlike past installments of Ask AutoGuide we’re taking a moment to help one of our own this week. Don’t like it? Well then, how about you send us some car-buying questions then? How’s that sound? In any event road-test editor Mike Schlee could use a new ride. He’s the proud owner of a first-generation Mazda Miata that’s sitting just shy of 200,000 miles.
Fast for Less Cash
While it may seem that automakers are focusing more on fuel efficiency than performance these days, cars are actually getting faster and (in some cases) cheaper. If you’re in the market for a performance car under $50,000, you might be surprised just how fast they can get.
Taking a look at 0-60 mph acceleration times*, we have compiled a list of the Top 10 fastest vehicles available on today’s market for under $50,000 including destination.
Our regular Ask AutoGuide feature is all about helping distressed shoppers find the perfect vehicle, be it a cavernous crossover, a sensible sedan or something else entirely. Patrons send us a list of what they need and we get to work separating gold nuggets from gravel to generate a list of recommendations. But this week things are a little different. James forwarded us a message asking for guidance choosing between two different vehicles. Making things easy for us he’s done all the hard work, now all we have to do is share our opinion.
You Know You Want One
Your grip on the steering wheel tightens. Your eyes fixate on the yellow line. Your brain screams about the trees just beyond the shoulder. Wait for it… wait for it… ok, NOW! You pounce on the clutch as your right foot stabs the accelerator. A wrist-flick completes the downshift. Feather the brake, turn into the corner and scrub off some speed; the radius decreases slightly. You nail the apex, tires howling like a bloodhound on the trail. You roll back on the throttle for a speedy exit and dive into the next corner.
Top 10 Affordable Rear-Wheel-Drive Cars
Lawmakers in Washington D.C. and California are armed with a legislative battleaxe and they’re bringing it to bear against the automotive industry. Fuel-economy regulations are hitting like a war hammer, disrupting the market and crushing carmakers. In a mad dash to meet upcoming CAFE standards manufacturers are dramatically shifting their product offerings. Downsized vehicles, hybrid drivetrains and diesel engines are some of the tools in their defensive arsenals.
One unfortunate victim of this efficiency stampede is rear-wheel drive. Slowly but surely over the last 30 years automakers have made the switch to front-drive, a layout that’s more economical in a number of ways. But not everyone is content driving a Nissan Sentra, or getting by in a minivan. For enthusiasts that care about performance rear-wheel drive is king, but it’s a monarch that’s under siege. Keeping the dream alive, here’s a list of the Top 10 (reasonably) affordable RWD cars on the market today. Act fast before they’re gone in a puff of tire smoke.
Top 10 Track Specials Under $60,000
Driving is a mundane task for some people, but for others it’s a sport, and there’s no better proving ground than a track.
Automakers see that opportunity as well, and love to offer up cars that are designed specifically with track use in mind. Take a look at the latest offering from Subaru and Scion, the BRZ/FR-S twins. Both cars were designed with a priority on light-weight, and achieves an impressive weight balance. In true sporting fashion, it’s rear-wheel drive and can be had with a slick-shifting six-speed manual, or quick automatic with race-inspired paddle-shifters.
The FR-S isn’t the only car out there with racing in its veins. Here’s a list of factory-customized machines designed for time at the track.
What’s in a name? Out in Japan, the name ‘Fairlady’ goes a long way back in a storied sports car history; it belonged to the Datsun Fairlady which eventually became the Z models of today.
10. Subaru WRX STI: 305-hp $34,095
One of the most wonderful sensations come when you command a whole handful of power just with the flexing of your right foot. Horsepower is an intoxicating element when it comes to driving, but that doesn’t mean that it’s saved for the most expensive vehicles out there.
The same 3.7L DOHC V6 making 337 hp sits under the hood, or 350 hp out of the NISMO tuned version. A new euro-tuned suspension is the only performance-minded change to the updated Z car — the rest is cosmetic. The company actually revealed it yesterday, but this is the first time we’ve had a chance to get up close and personal.
Brand enthusiasts will appreciate the LED accents on the car’s lights and the brake calipers which match the paint job. The car also gets new 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels on the Sport package models and 18-inch alloy wheels for the coupe. Those thinking of buying the car when it becomes available can look forward to two new exterior colors as well: magma red and midnight blue.
GALLERY: 2013 Nissan 370z
See video of the updated 370Z below:
The updates for the 370Z will be almost strictly paint and plastic, with new Euro-tuned shock absorbers being the only new feature that will add to the performance of the car. For looks, the car will sport a refreshed front fascia, 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels on the Sport package models and 18-inch alloy wheels for the coupe, brake calipers finished in red paint and two new exterior colors, magma red and midnight blue.
On the inside, the 370Z will get a new dark finish fuel gauge trim, and if you opt for the NISMO tuned 370Z, you will get a Bose sound system complete with sub-woofer and two additional speakers.
The engines offered in the 370Z are unchanged from 2012. For the 370Z coupe and coupe touring you have a 3.7L DOHC V6 capable of making 337 hp and for the NISMO 370Z you get the same 3.7L DOHC V6 paired with an H-configured exhaust system design and an optimized Engine Computer Module which as a package puts out 350 hp.
The 2012 model of the 370Z started at $32,690, but prices for the 2013 will not be announced until closer to the June release date.
Check out the video after the jump to see exactly how the 370Z will look inside and out.
GALLERY: 2013 Nissan 370Z
In a bit of surprising news, Japanese automaker Nissan has confirmed that it will be unveiling two vehicles at the upcoming 2012 Chicago Auto Show, one of which is its a refresh to their popular sports car, the 370Z.
The 2013 Nissan 370Z will reportedly be getting some changes, which comes as a surprise since there have been no rumors of such an update. The current model 370Z convertible and coupe last saw changes in the 2009 model year, so it is about time for a refresh.
The other vehicle Nissan will be unveiling is part of the NV commercial vehicle line. There’s a strong possibility that it will be the NV200, which is currently sold in 40 other countries and Nissan had already spoken about plans to bring it to the US market. Earlier this year, Nissan had debuted the e-NV200 Concept at the Detroit Auto Show.
Look for coverage from the Chicago Auto Show on February 8th and see the complete Chicago Auto Show preview here.
[Source: Chicago Tribune]
The team of racers assembled from the Nissan Playstation GT Academy earned themselves a remarkable honor at the Dubai 24 Hour race this weekend, finishing third in their class and 26th overall. All four drivers, Lucas Ordoñez, Jordan Tresson, Bryan Heitkotter and Jann Mardenborough, are GT Academy grads, having started out behind the wheel of virtual race cars to win the opportunity to attend the GT Academy racing program.
The team qualified the #100 car fourth in their class and despite some mechanical issues the four drivers endured all 24 hours of the race without any damage to the Nissan 370Z while earning a podium finish.
This is truly an unprecedented achievement in the world of motorsports. As we all know, it’s tough enough to earn a podium finish as a professional racer with a complete team backing you up. So to take four virtual gamers from Gran Turismo, train them – with Heikotter and Mardenborough having less than a year to go from gamer to racer – and to finish third in the class, the GT Academy should be extremely proud.
Who said video games are a waste of time?