Notes From All Over

FERRARI’S ACCLAIMED ENGINEER and designer, Mauro Forghieri, has moved across town to work on a normally aspirated 3.5-liter Formula I engine for Lamborghini. With Chrysler’s acquisition of Lamborghini and plans to market a $70,000 mid-mounted V-8 in the US by 1990, look for Forghieri to extend his mastery beyond racing.

Texas state troopers have added nearly 150 Mustang LXs to their fleet of pursuit cars.

The new Honda Prelude Si 4WS features four-wheel steering. Not only have the Honda folks surprised the racing fraternity by dominating Formula 1 engines this year, but the Prelude’s new steering technology is amazing. Parking is made significantly easier if your rear wheels do more than just follow the front wheels, and U-turns become u-turns.

Volkswagen is now offering Wolfsburg Limited Edition packages for the Jetta, the Vanagon GL, and the Cabriolet; these added features include special suspension and a close-ratio gearbox, a deck-lid spoiler, and lots of goodies.

BMW M6

Sure, you wondered if the folks who had priced the BMW M6 had lost their minds. . .asking $58,250 for a ten-year-old design. Trust us, they’re perfectly sane. This car is hot. BMW has a adapted its Grand Prix racing engine for its two-door, six-cylinder car, and they have given us a luxurious monster! You can reach ninety-five mph before shifting to fourth gear. And the ride is as smooth as the leather seats.

The 1988 Corvette will employ computer-controlled shock absorbers developed by Bilstein; there is some debate as to the variety of V-8 engine that will power the Vette, but it seems certain that a Lotus monster engine will be introduced in the next year or two.

Automobile Magazine reports that the highly touted Volvo 480ES can be expected to make an appearance in early 1989. Models will include a subcompact “aeroback” sedan, powered by a Renault-designed four-cylinder engine.

Mazda’s new 626 is actually called the MX-6 and it succeeds in separating this sporty coupe from its sibling sedans. If you can get it with a turbo you’ll have the fastest conservative car on the block.

Saab 900

Both the Saab 900 Turbo and 9000 are continuing to sell well in this market. The 900 has a cabriolet that is second only to the BMW 325 convertible in fabulous looks, and the 9000 is sufficiently rare that its owners can still feel like one of a select few. The new Subaru XT GL-10 4WD Turbo is a $16,000 attempt to be a poor-man’s Audi Quattro-as well as a mouthful when you’re trying to explain to your neighbor what you’re driving these days. Though a bit clumsy, it is an intriguing new car.

Rumor has it that Ford and Bertone, the Italian coachbuilder, are working on a sports-car project. Ford is already collaborating with Nissan to build a minivan.

Bentley Eight

Do you want a million dollars worth of respect? Spend $99,500 and buy one of the 150 Bentley Eights that will be sold in America this year.

Each year the Jaguar gets better. . .and the new XJ6 is no exception. It smells good, looks good, sounds good, and has a waiting list for new car buyers. Even the pre-owned Jags are tough to find.

“Porsche’s new 911 is unquestionably the finest Porsche ever built,” said Car and Driver magazine editors in 1965. The new 911, officially known is the 911 Turbo Cabriolet Slant Nose, is even better. It is fabulous. It costs more than $100,000.. .and might be worth every penny. This year. Car and Driver says the new Porsche 911 will “suck the headlights out of almost anything else on the road.”

The new Maserati Biturbo Spyder costs nearly $40,000. It looks and feels like the Nissan Pulsar, and probably isn’t worth as much. If you want a Maser, buy one, but don’t bother with the Biturbo Spyder.

Hyundai Excel

It may surprise some of us that America’s top-selling import for the month of May was Hyundai’s Excel.

They say that the Sterling looks like a Jaguar on the inside and a! Honda on the outside. We don’t know who “they” are, but they’re not far from being right. The Sterling feels like a luxury European road car when you sit in it; the car is styled like a Honda and sports a 2.5-liter Honda V-6 engine.

Mercedes-Benz 420 SEL

Are we the only ones who get confused by the Mercedes Benz model designations? First, a brief explanation: S stands for Super (as in bigger than whatever isn’t an S), E is for fuel injection (actually Einspritzung), and L is for long wheelbase. C is for coupe. The number (as in 420 SEL) has something to do with the engine displacement, but since we’re so confused now we’ll move on to the 420 SEL, which is wonderful. It costs $56,000 and has that classic Mercedes workmanship-plenty of room in the back seat, a smooth, quiet engine, and an excellent reputation for reliability and safety.

And then we heard about the car dealer who offered a free Yugo with every full-size car purchased. One buyer asked if he could have a free lawn mower instead.

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