Saab has always attracted a slightly eclectic and literate fan base. The official stamp of brand quirkiness, the late Kurt Vonnegut, was the owner and manager of “Saab Cape Cod”. Saab has come a long way from the oil-gas mix, two-stroke, two-door sedans Vonnegut blames for robbing him of a Nobel Prize for Literature in, “Have I Got a Car For You”. Luckily for us, we’re not in a temporally twisted parallel universe where Vonnegut sold the equivalent of a 2008 9-3 Sport Sedan 2.0T, otherwise his excellent non-Nobel literature may never have been penned.
For the record, Mitsubishi Lancer is not the screen name of a d-grade Japanese porn star – though it could be. The previous Lancer was a lubberly and uninspired sedan whose chief attractor was “well equipped for the price”. For 2008 the Mitsu has been to the gym, buffed up, and come back with A-list looks and retained the equipment to boot. Now the Lancer is drawing admiring glances from boy racers, but the question is whether this make over is only skin deep?
Looking rugged enough to grace a Mountain Equipment Co-op catalogue, the redesigned for 2008 Volvo XC70 hails from Sweden, a land that knows about a fate few Canadians escape – winter driving. A number of lukewarm reviews for this all-wheel drive station wagon have been written in sunny California, but what happens when the XC70 is held to a more Nordic standard of performance?
I’m coming out… as an automotive writer who names his cars. Not all of them, just the special ones. Solid, handsome, well put together, sensible, athletic, and with a hint of Germanic menace, if the 2007 BMW 335xi has a screen name likely it would be “Günther”. And, for the record, he’s kind of hot.
For the past week I’ve been humming Paul McCartney’s Live and Let Die, the Propeller Heads’ version of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and the Avengers theme. My iPod has even been afflicted with a playlist called iSpy. For this I blame BMW Canada for loaning me the 2007 Mini Cooper S, which I’ve concluded is the near perfect car for a gay super-spy.
I’m clocking across the face of L.A. in rush hour traffic on a fools errand. A late flight, then later still picking up the Dodge Avenger SXT has the voice on the other end of the phone saying there’s no way I’ll get from LAX to appointment on the far side of Brea by closing.
Here’s a switch, at one of Vancouver’s most premium French restaurants, Le Gavroche, Kevin and I are arguing over who gets to drive rather than who gets to drink. Somehow I suffer through a $140.00 bottle of wine, but it’s a sacrifice. Sitting out front is a truly premium gentleman’s expresses, the 2007 Audi S8, a car that forces such hard choices.