We’ll always have a simmering adoration for the original M3 that brightened our world back in 1985. That M3 had nearly ideal proportions and still looks so tempting to the eye. It remains a blast to drive, too. That is, whenever BMW lets us take out one of its perfectly maintained museum pieces and tells us to have at it.
We’ve always wanted to be in love with the great big Mercedes CL proper 2+3 luxo-coupe, but it always ended up just sort of sitting there in the shadows of everything else going on around it in Stuttgart. It became such a wee niche that even the car’s project leader Hans Multhaupt was in favor of renaming it the S-class coupe. Frankly? We were always in favor of it, too. Still are
We drove the prototype for the A7 around Beverly Hills with serious police escort back in December 2009. First very superficial impression of the production version is that it is very pleasantly close to the striking prototype. Second one is that the A7 looks great when the rear wing is not deployed and looks silly in back whenever it is. This happens automatically every time we take it over 80 mph.
Well, here we go again, leaping into another car company’s grand attempt to expand the niche into which we’ve niched it. Okay, Mini has definitely also niched itself, but we humans do have a habit of insisting companies can’t change much or we’ll get really angry and whatnot.
Saab’s new Dutch owner Victor Muller is an adamant, outspoken kind of car guy. Exemplifying this sometimes impulsiveness, while we were talking with him near the airport he handed us the key fob to his pre-production 2011 Saab 9-5, and said we could have a spin in it so long as he was our constant passenger.
Two generations ago—the A208 CLK-Class convertible of 1996 to 2002—this was a masculine-looking car. Today’s recently discontinued generation A209 CLK convertible was more leaning toward the feminine side with nearly 65 percent of purchases having been made by the fairer sex worldwide.
Out here on the flight-connection expressway, we’re right now in Stuttgart just before the Geneva auto show. We’re at this stop first and foremost to see Mercedes-Benz’s new direct-injected and twin-turbo engine called M157 that will fully replace the current M156/M159 (the latter in the SLS) within two years’ time. It’s still a big-cylindered V-8, but it’s now an all-aluminum AMG-specific version from scratch of the former Benz 5.5-liter motor that AMG had been using for a long time in previous-gen models (and still uses in the SLK etc).
Proof that the new mid-engine V-6 Lotus can do it all in good hands.