KING test drives 2009’s most anticipated rides
2009 Chevy Corvette ZR1
STREET DATE: TBA
MPG (City/Hwy): 16/26
Bucking the highways of America is as much of a personal pleasure for us as dating a top model (Selita Ebanks, preferably). And Chevy’s answer to those Euro pocket rockets doesn’t disappoint, laced with a 6.2-liter, LS9, supercharged V8 engine that cranks out a ridiculous 638 horsepower and a short-throw six-speed manual transmission for faster shifting. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention amenities such as Xenon headlamps, ebony-colored leather bucket seats and double-wishbone suspension. But ardent speed demons will only coo over the ZR1’s 198 mph top speed.
Mack Dancy of Dancy Automotive says: “[It’s the] fastest production car ever produced by General Motors, but give me a classic ’67 Corvette convertible instead.”
2009 Infiniti G37 Convertible
STREET DATE: Early 2009
MPG (City/Hwy): 22/28
Aspiring car designers take note of what a convertible should embody. As the first-ever G Convertible, Infiniti impacts like a vet with its unique style (automatic three-piece folding hardtop to keep its coupelike roof line) and power (how is the G’s 328 horsepower generated from its V6 engine for starters?). Not to mention the seven-speed automatic transmission that gives the convertible the kind of dynamic performance needed when you’re going faster than that Bolt dude on ’roids.
Will Castro of Unique Whips says: “This is the perfect car for moving around the city. I don’t know how your date’s hair is going to look with the wind blowing from the 328 horsepower under the hood, but the leather interior might help you get under her hood.”
2009 BMW 750Li
STREET DATE: Spring 2009
MPG (City/Hwy): 15/23
Maybe BMW is trying to score cool points with the wayward youth with deep pockets, because the German automaker has made everything in their 7 Series “new generation.” Already rocking a “new-gen” 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 engine that cranks out 400 horses, the 750Li packs lavishness from its iDrive (GPS, navigation, etc.) to its six-speed automatic transmission. Even the luxury sedan’s safety features aren’t safe from BMW’s new-gen makeover, featuring a brand-new suspension system that promotes better handling. And the rearview and side-view cameras will seem like a gift from God for the lame-ass parking challenged.
Dancy: “[It’s] one of the most anticipated vehicles of ’09. Definitely a long time coming.”
2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG
STREET DATE: Now
STICKER: Starting at $57,175
MPG (City/Hwy): 12/19
Thanks to AMG’s body styling—which also includes 18-inch alloy wheels, a high-performance brake system and sport suspension—the beefed-up C63 AMG looks like a pill-popping freak in comparison to its no-frills predecessor. Add to that the C63’s 451-horsepower, powerful 6.3 AMG engine that pushes up to 7,000 rpm, its AMG Speedshift Plus seven-speed automatic and a breakneck 4.3-second zero-to-60 speed acceleration, and you have yourself a whip that’s more Superman than any other Clark Kent–like model in the Benz’s vaunted C-Class family.
Castro: “These never go out of style.”
2009 Nissan Maxima
STREET DATE: Now
MPG (City/Hwy): 19/26
Packing a Floyd Mayweather–type punch for 2K9, Nissan’s flagship model rocks a VQ35 V6 engine and an upgraded Xtronic CVT transmission for a smoother ride. And with a racecar-inspired look, the new-look Max—entering its seventh generation—will make you forget the six previous generations with paddle shifters and a “super cockpit” interior to give drivers that sporty feel inside while they’re putting the Maxima’s 290 horsepower to good use. Other features that’ll have the girlies swooning include a nine-speaker Bose system, touchscreen color monitor and 9.3GB music hard drive.
Dancy: “Is it me or does it seem like Nissan changes the Maxima design every two years? Great engine, but I would like to see a sportier look.”
2009 Cadillac CTS-V
STREET DATE: Winter 2008
MPG (City/Hwy): 18/26
The term “muscle car” and Cadillac don’t fit in the same sentence. But with the release of the CTS-V, Cadillac is staking its own claim to the genre, creating a vehicle that pushes 556 horsepower, has a 6.2 supercharged V8 under its glossy hood and goes from zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds. Even the blog-surfing music buffs will enjoy the 40GB internal hard drive and MP3 and iPod connectivity that comes equipped.
Dancy: “Great car and affordable, but it makes me feel like I’m in a new Sopranos episode.”–Sean A. Malcolm