Just Car Blog
|2012 Volvo C70 T5 Polestar Review & Test Drive||
‘CLIMBING UP THE LADDER OF PERFORMANCE AND LUXURY’
The 2012 C70 T5 Polestar Inscription hardtop convertible model pushes the brand to higher levels of performance and luxury at the touch of a button. Besides a long list of standard safety systems, this top-of-the-line Inscription model leaves nothing behind when competing against other European, American and Asian performance hardtop convertibles.
The C70 T5 Polestar Inscription model offers the ultimate in sporting reflexes, luxury and weather-tight security of a turbocharged coupe coupled with the wide-open exhilaration and fresh-air freedom of a convertible. The new Inscription model that I tested is the ultimate expression of Volvo’s hardtop convertible lineup. This limited production model, only 2,000 units, sets it apart from the standard C70 by increasing horsepower to 250 at 5,500 rpm and 273 lb.ft. of torque at 1,500-3,000 rpm. Provided by Polestar, a Swedish racing and performance products company that has partnered with Volvo Cars. The 2.5 liter 5-cylinder, DOHC, continuous variable valve timing with variable intake, alloy engine features Polestar tuning that optimizes engine output in a variety of ways. More air and fuel are funneled into the combustion chambers and spark timing is advanced, creating the 23 hp and 37 lb.ft. of toque bump up. Seamless power is routed to the front wheels through a smooth shifting 5-speed Geartronic automatic transmission with sequential shifting. This Volvo reaches 60mph from a standstill in just 7.4 seconds.
Outside, the C70 Inscription includes a number of head-turning design features. A unique gloss-black grille slots beautifully between active dual Xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights. Chrome surrounds the headlights and grille, giving the car a truly distinctive face. Stunning 18X8 inch black ‘Midir’ wheels incorporate polished rims and spokes. These unique wheels are wrapped with 235/40VR18 inch high-performance all-season radial tires for a smooth, quiet ride with excellent grip. The silhouette features steeply racked windshield pillars and deep side extensions to lower the center of gravity. The wide dual exhaust pipes warn drivers that they are behind a high-performance machine.
Beautiful Scandinavian design has been a hallmark of the C70’s interior since it was launched in 2006. The C70 Inscription follows this tradition while adding a host of luxurious appointments. Driver and passengers will immediately notice the gorgeous Sovereign Hide upholstery. Volvo’s legendary seats are now more comfortable than ever. The dashboard is covered in leather and features contrasting stitching. Unique Inscription floor mats, handbrake lever, sport steering wheel with aluminum inserts, aluminum sport foot pedals, leather covered center armrest with accent stitching and Inscription embroidered front headrests further distinguish the C70 Inscription from the C70. My test C70 also came with the Premier and Premier Plus options that included keyless drive, rear park assist, Homelink, compass, heated front seats, humidity sensor, rain sensing wipers, and an interior air quality system. All C70 Volvo’s come standard with a High Performance Audio System featuring 4X40-watt amplifier with 8-speakers, in-dash single CD with WMA & MP3 capability, HD radio and USB and AUX inputs, illuminated steering wheel controls, SIRIUS satellite radio, power windows/door locks, a one-touch power retractable hardtop that takes just 25 seconds to raise or lower, aluminum inlays and an ultra-slim center control panel, driver & front passenger 8-way power seats with 3-person memory, seatback pockets, leather-wrapped/tilt/telescoping steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, trip computer, cruise control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth hands free telephone interface, heated/power remote outside mirrors, covered storage in all four seats, rear center pass-thru, dual cupholders up front and in the rear, dual map lights, dual lighted vanity mirrors and thick cut-pile carpeting. This loaded Volvo C70 can compete with any other hardtop convertible and the base price is just $40,450.00 and $47,775.00 including destination charges, for the totally loaded model that I tested.
That is a long list of standard equipment but under the skin the C70 also shines. The fully independent suspension features sport-tuned MacPherson struts, coil springs over gas-charged shocks, and a 23mm stabilizer up front, with a multi-link setup in the rear featuring sport-tuned coil springs, gas-charged shocks and a 22mm stabilizer bar. In the engine bay is a hidden strut bar that enhances rigidity for excellent handling. I noticed very little understeer or oversteer during my seven-day test drive plus no ‘cowl-shake’ when traveling over poorly paved roads.
You guide the C70 through its paces utilizing Volvo’s power-assisted rack & pinion steering system that gives you an excellent feel for the road with razor sharp response to your inputs.
The braking power and control are also excellent with power-assisted steel disc brakes all-around. Up front are 12.6 inch vented discs clamped with dual piston calipers, while 11 inch solid discs are clamped with single-piston calipers in the rear. Standard braking features include ABS, EBD and Electronic Brake Assistance. Also working in conjunction with these systems is the Dynamic Stability Traction Control system to keep you on track. Volvo claims that this 3,837 lb. car can stop from 60 mph to 0 in just 123 ft. They also claim a top speed of 149 mph.
Known throughout the industry for its leadership in safety systems, the new C70 model that I tested came standard with four-3-point safety belts with pretensioners technology and force limiters, unibody high strength steel passenger safety cage, rollover protection (ROPS), extra high-strength steel, hydro-formed A-pillars, inflatable curtain side impact head protection, driver and front passenger side impact protection dual chamber side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger dual stage airbags, Volvo Whiplash protection system in driver and front passenger seats with 4-padded head restraints, LATCH system for child seats, safe approach & home safe perimeter lighting system, security system with separate battery for siren, anti-theft system immobilizer, tire pressure monitor and automatic hazard warning system.
The new 2012 Volvo C70 T5 Polestar Inscription has it all to satisfy and consumer looking to drive a true performance coupe with an automatic retractable top, the latest luxury and convenience features including Volvo’s legendary safety systems that are unmatched in the segment.
Copyright: 2012 Harvey Schwartz
- Price: Base C70 T5 $40,450.00 As-Tested C70 T5 $47,775.00 including destination charges
- Engine: 2.5 liter Turbocharged 5-cylinder DOHC 250 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm / 273 lb.ft. torque @ 1,500-3,000 rpm
- Wheelbase: 103.9in.
- Total length: 181.7in.
- Total width: 72.3in.
- Total height: 55.1in.
- Track: f/r-61/61.4in.
- Fuel tank: 15.9 gallons
- Towing: 2,000 lbs.
- Headroom: f/r-38.2/36.4in.
- Legroom: f/r-42.3/33.9in.
- Turning circle: 38.7 ft.
- 0-60 mph: 7.4 seconds
- EPA mileage: 18mpg/city, 28mpg/highway
|2011 Infiniti G37S Limited Edition Hardtop Convertible Review & Test Drive||
The 2011 Infiniti G37S convertible features seductive coupe-like styling, high-performance driving, a three-piece folding hardtop and a new limited edition package.
Though only in its third year of production, the seductively styled open-air Infiniti G convertible adds a new level of excitement in 2011 with the addition of the new G37S convertible ‘limited-edition’ version, featuring an array of exclusive features ranging from special exterior enhancements to a Monaco Red leather-appointed interior with red tone Maple accents. Other enhancements for 2011 include a revised front fascia design with the foglamps moved from inside the headlight to the lower fascia area; revised 19in. alloy wheels and two new exterior colors-Lapis Blue and Malbec Black, the color of my incredible G37S ride.
Looking and driving the new 2011 G37S limited-edition hardtop convertible truly rejuvenated my spirits with its seductive styling and exciting performance as only a handful of vehicles have in the past-plus the three-piece power retractable hardtop is designed to look as good with the top up as down.
The G convertible maintains a coupe-like silhouette with the top up through the use of a special three-piece ‘clamshell’ retractable hardtop, which allows for both a stylish shorter rear overhang and a low trunk lid. Compared to the G coupe, the G convertible utilizes unique body panels from the A-pillar back, along with a 1.1 inch wider overall width, wider rear track and modified rear suspension. Along with stunning G coupe-like proportions, the G convertible offers signature Infiniti styling cues such as flowing front fender curves, a wave-style aluminum hood, L-shaped HID bi-functional xenon headlights with integrated foglamps. The limited-edition model adds a unique front fascia with a ‘Midnight Black’ grille and uniquely formed and deeper side sills. In the rear, the taillights are unique to the G convertible, incorporating an inner ‘circle of light’ for added style. The chrome rear trunk finisher incorporates both an integrated high-mount stoplight and the small camera for the standard RearView Monitor System.
The automatic top opening/closing sequences takes approximately 30 seconds from start to finish. The open/close toggle switch is located on the center console, just behind the transmission shifter lever.
The design of the G37S limited-edition convertible takes into consideration the typical challenges to fully enjoying open air driving, such as added interior noise and turbulence, added heating and cooling system demand and even the fact that the seating surfaces can get hot in the sun or cool at night.
The G37S limited-edition convertible’s interior design combines sophistication, craftsmanship and thoughtfulness with unique, systems created to enhance the open-air driving experience. The driver-oriented cockpit features an Infiniti signature instrument panel design with Infiniti electroluminescent instrumentation with a while illuminated color scheme, integrated multi-function information driver computer and signature Infiniti clock.
The double hand-stitched leather-covered, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel is designed for maximum comfort and usability and feels great in your hands and features audio and cruise control buttons. Solid magnesium paddle shifters are located on the steering column for fast gear changes using the 7-speed automatic transmission.
Custom Maple Accents trim is located across the dashboard, doors and around the center console for an elegant look. Comfortable and supportive custom Monaco Red heated/cooled/8-way power adjustable bucket seats up front are exclusive with the limited-edition model. The cockpit also includes high-grip aluminum foot pedals and foot rest giving it a sportier look. A power walk-in device with position memory provides easy access to the 2nd row seats (the front seats move forward automatically at the touch of a button to allow passengers into the rear seats.
The limited-edition’s long list of comfort and convenient features include Infiniti’s Intelligent Key with push button start/stop, an adaptive dual zone climate control system air conditioning system that adjusts to provide optimal comfort with the top up or down, a rearview monitor, cruise-control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated/power remote sideview mirrors, power express up/down windows, power door locks, auto on/off headlights, rear window defroster, memory system for the driver’s seat, steering wheel and outside mirrors, driver’s seat steering wheel and outside mirror synchronization, dual lighted vanity mirrors, dual map lights, center console with dual cupholders/storage bin with padded armrest, door storage slots, lighted glovebox, front/rear carpeted floor mats, rain-sensing wipers, Infiniti hard-drive navigation system with touch-screen, DVD video playback, 3-D building graphics and Birdview Lane Guidance, speed limit advisory, streaming audio, Bluetooth, XM NavTraffic/XM NavWeather, Zagat Survey, and Infiniti voice recognition.
The limited-edition G37S hardtop convertible also comes with an outstanding audio system-a 13-speaker Infiniti Bose Open Air Sound System with AudioPilot 2.0 technology that automatically optimizes EQ settings for open/closed top positions. The system’s special Bose Front seat Personal Speakers, mounted in the front seat head restraints, enable superior front audio quality regardless of the top position. A 2.0 GB Music Box (800MB for music storage) is also included.
On the mechanical side the limited-edition G37S is also outstanding. Like the G coupe and G sedan, the G37S limited-edition convertible’s outstanding dynamic performance credentials start with a combination of its advanced FM platform and award-winning V6 engine. The 3.7 liter V6 all-aluminum, DOHC engine with VVEL (variable valve event and lift), is rated at 325hp and 267lb.ft. of torque. The VVEL system combines hydraulic-controlled variable valve timing and electronically controlled variable lift on the intake side, helping to improve not only performance and response but also emissions and fuel economy.
The engine is mated to an electronically controlled 7-speed automatic rear-wheel drive transmission with manual mode, downshift rev matching, Drive Sport mode, Adaptive Shift Control and solid magnesium paddle shifters to quickly change gears, up or down.
The car’s excellent responsive handling and ride performance is provided by its unique and advanced FM (front mid-ship) platform design, which optimizes front/rear weight balance and creates a stable foundation for the 4-wheel independent suspension. The front suspension is a double-wishbone design with a single pivot lower wishbone, a long upper link, dual-flow path gas-charged shocks, coil springs and a stabilizer bar. The multi-link rear suspension design separates the dual flow path gas-charged shocks and springs and there is also a stabilizer bar. This unique suspension design helps to minimize alignment changes and reduce suspension friction for nimble handling unlike other hardtop convertibles and a smooth ride.
Responsive steering is provided by a vehicle-speed-sensing rack & pinion system, with a sport-tuned steering gear. The car quickly goes where you want it to go with just a little pull on the wheel, just like a racecar even though this is a much heavier luxury performance hardtop convertible.
Strong brakes help slow the car down from speed. Up front are 14 inch vented discs clamped with aluminum four-piston calipers, and 13.8 inch vented discs clamped with two-piston calipers, all embossed with Infiniti lettering. Standard ABS, EBD, BA, Vehicle Dynamic Control and Traction Control all work together to keep you in control of your forward direction on slick or slippery pavement.
The new limited-edition G37S hardtop convertible rides on unique 19X8.5 front and 19X9 inch lightweight cast aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with sticky Bridgestone 225/45R19 front and 245/40R19 inch low-profile, high-performance tires in the rear for excellent grip and a smooth ride.
All four occupants are kept safe. An advanced airbag system with dual-stage supplemental front airbags with seatbelt and occupant classification sensors is standard, along with door-mounted curtain side-impact airbags; front-seat mounted side-impact airbags and front seat active head restraints. The rear seat includes fixed head restraints with Pop-up Roll Bars. The car also features reinforced front side members, front pillars and body sills.
For the discerning, enthusiast driver who wants the sun and wind in your face plus the four-season weather-proof ability of a hardtop convertible, including the latest and best luxury and personal convenience technologies, the new 2011 Limited-Edition Infiniti G37S is the car for you.
- Price: Base G37 Hardtop Convertible $45,750 / As-Tested G37S Limited Edition Hardtop Convertible $58,125.00 including destination
- Engine: 3.7-liter DOHC 32-Valve V6 325 horsepower @ 7000 rpm / 267 ft-lbs. torque @ 5200 rpm
- Wheelbase: 112.2in.
- Total length: 184in.
- Total width: 72.9in.
- Total height: 55.1in.
- Track: f/r-60.8/62.6in.
- Headroom: f/r-39.4/34.5in.
- Legroom: f/r-43.9/27.2in.
- Fuel tank: 20-gallons
- Turning circle: 36.1-ft.
- Curb weight: 4,078lbs.
- EPA mileage: 17mpg/city, 25mpg/highway
|2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring Hardtop Convertible Review & Test Drive||
For more than 20 years, the MX-5 Miata has offered sports car enthusiasts a pure, simple, fun-focused roadster at an attainable price. Sticking to that simple formula has made the MX-5 the most popular two-seat convertible sports car in the world with more than 850,000 sold.
Substantially refreshed in 2009, the 2010 MX-5 receives minor updates such as a chrome strip on the door handles, and chrome bezels in the headlight clusters. The easy-to-lower-and-raise soft-top of the original Miata, and the 2010 model continues to set the industry standard. Unlike competitors’ models, the top can be lowered or raised with one hand, from inside the car, and requires no bulky or complicated snaps or external latches. The Z-fold design uses a simple, central latch handle that requires only a simple wrist movement to stow.
Introduced in 2007, the Power Retractable Hard Top model remains available in two trim levels-Touring or Grand Touring. This addition to the MX-5 lineup builds on the soft-top two-seaters’ zest for life by enhancing year-round comfort and security. Rather than consuming interior or trunk space, the folded roof descends into the same storage well behind the seats where the soft top would have stowed. Opening and closing cycles last only about 12-seconds, making this the fastest power-operated retractable hard top on the market. It work silently and helps with the vehicles ability to give you that sun in your face and wind in your hair exciting driving experience.
The heart of the MX-5 remains a highly-responsive MZR-series 2.0 liter 4-cylinder engine making 167hp at 7,000rpm and 140lb.ft.of torque at 5,000rpm for driving exhilaration throughout the rev range. The all-aluminum MZR is light and compact, and mounted front mid-ship for ideal handling balance. It features chain-driven DOHC, a lightweight flywheel, variable intake valve timing, electronically controlled port fuel injection, a forged steel crankcase, forged steel connection rods with floating pins, revised pistons with strong wrist pins, stiffer valve springs an engine oil cooler, and coil-on-plug ignition. It quickly and smoothly revs to its 7,200rpm redline and reacts to your commands with lightning-quick reflexes, and offers progressive power delivery.
This potent engine is mated to a standard close-ratio five-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed manual, that I tested, with gear ratios close-stacked to enhance the joy of driving. A Sport A/T automatic transmission dimensions to the MX-5’s personality. Six ratios are provides to improve acceleration, driving refinement and freeway comfort. Paddles mounted behind the steering wheel command upshifts while buttons positioned on the spokes are used for downshift. Coordinating engine torque with the shift sequence results in smooth, seamless, and fast gear changes. The Sport A/T-equipped car is a joy to drive, with gear ratios perfectly matched to the engine’s horsepower and torque output. While the automatic is fun and easy, I really enjoyed the close-ratio 6-speed manual with its ability to quickly grab each gear, up or down, for real ‘hands-on’ driving excitement when attacking steep, curving roads.
The ability to successfully tackle steep curving roads is the race-car bred, sport-tuned, fully independent suspension that is so well balanced, quick, and nimble, reacting to your inputs from the sporty, tilting, 3-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The monocoque unibody has a backbone frame construction with front and rear suspension subframes that increase stiffness for less noise, vibration and hardness with hardly any cowl shake when traveling over poorly paved roads.
The unique front suspension features double-wishbones with forged aluminum control arms, coil springs, Bilstein monotube shocks, in the sport package, and a thick stabilizer bar. The rear multi-link setup features tubular control arms with aluminum knuckles, Bilstein monotube shocks, in the sport package, coil springs and a stabilizer bar. With the addition of a strut tower brace up front, the car’s reaction to your inputs using the standard power-assisted hydraulic rack & pining steering system is lightning fast. Just like a race car, the car moves left or right at the slightest touch of the wheel, enhancing that sports car feel that all enthusiasts covert.
Quickly slowing the car down from speed are 4-wheel, power-assisted steel disc brakes. Up front are 11.4in. vented discs clamped with single-piston calipers while the rear features 11in. solid discs clamped with single-piston calipers in aluminum housing. Enhancing your control and braking power are standard ABS and Electronic Brake Force Distribution, EBD).
The standard MX-5 rides on 16.5in. aluminum wheels and 16in. all-season radial tires while the Grand Touring model that I tested rides on 17.6.5in. aluminum alloy wheels wrapped with high-performance Bridgestone 205/45R17in. Potenza tires for excellent grip and traction. Also adding to traction is the standard limited slip differential and thicker rear stabilizer bar in the Grand Touring package that I tested.
Whether it’s driven on a sunny day or thrust through the corners on a race track, the MX-5 legendary performance will put a smile on your face. It power is ample, its nimbleness is astounding and its looks timeless, yet fresh and new.
Form follows function beautifully with the MX-5’s fun and modern exterior design that retains the iconic feel of the earlier generation XM-5 Miatas while simultaneously moving it into the future. The body is shaped to make the cockpit the widest portion of the car, delivering a roomier, safe design that still expresses the compact look of a lightweight sports car. Side surfacing is rounded, yet taut-like the skin over a muscled body. Head and tail lamps are mounted inboard to reinforce the sense of compactness that is so central to the car’s design philosophy. Joining this modern shape are tail lamps and rearview mirrors that harkens back to the elliptical shape of the first-generation MX-5 Miata and a silhouette that could be mistaken for nothing else.
The front of the MX-5 features an aggressive face with a five-point grille and highly-sculpted triangular front fog lamp bezels. The design is functional as well. The bulge below the front fog lamps, the wide air deflectors ahead of the front tires, the lower side sills, the rounded lower corners of the rear bumper and even the taillights all contribute to a low coefficient of drag. Dual round exhaust tips let drivers behind know that the new MX-5 is powerful yet well mannered.
The interior design theme balances comfortable snugness below shoulder level with openness above, to give the impression of riding in open air. I am 6ft.3in. and found that to be true with plenty of legroom and 1in. of headroom available with the top up.
The T-shaped instrument panel is consistent with Mazda design-DNA while the center console accentuates the backbone of the car. Strong horizontal and vertical theme lines connote rigidity and sports car capability. The black center stack is as simple and functional as possible. The arched hood over the easy-to-see, aluminum bezel instrument cluster and four circular vents are part of the MX-5’s cabin identity. All buttons, dials and switches are easy to reach and fully illuminated for safe nighttime driving pleasure.
Wind in the hair is one thing, but nobody enjoys cockpit turbulence and buffeting, especially on long drives. Small corner windows block drafts between the windshield pillars and door mirrors into the cockpit. An aero board located between the seat back hoops is tall and perforated to slow down reverse-flow air that rushes into the cockpit.
The quick acceleration and nimble handling of the MX-5 is due to its light weight as weight slows acceleration, lengthens braking distances, dulls handling and cripples fuel economy. Weight saving measures in the MX-5 include the use of an aluminum hood and trunk lid while the unibody makes widespread use of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel, boosting body strength. The 2.0 liter engine has an exhaust manifold made of lightweight tubular steel instead of cast iron, and the intake manifold and cam cover are made from lightweight composite plastic. My top-of-the-line Grand Touring Premium Package MX-5 Miata weighs only 2,511lbs. yet is holds the road like a more heavier sports car.
Standard equipment not mentioned above includes dual power-remote door mirrors, automatic AC, power windows with one-touch down, power door locks, remote keyless entry, heated/leather trimmed sport bucket seats, leather shift knob, leather trimmed hand brake, auto dimming rearview mirror with Homelink, dual cupholders under a sliding door on the center console, silver seat back bar trim, steering wheel mounted cruise control and audio buttons, AM-FM/MP3/6-dics CD with Bose 7-speaker premium audio system, auxiliary audio input jack, trip computer, rear center console storage, glove box, lighted trunk, driver seat height adjustment, dual map lamps, thick pile-cut carpeting and Miata signature floor mats. My top-of-the-line Grand Touring with Premium Package MX-5 came with these options: sport-tuned suspension, Bilstein shocks, anti-theft alarm, Mazda Advanced keyless entry system, Bluetooth hands-free phone system, Xenon headlamps, disc brakes with Traction Control, Limited Slip Differential and SIRIUS satellite radio.
Standard safety features include 24-hour roadside assistance, tire pressure monitoring system, dual front airbags with passenger-side deactivation, side impact airbags and door beams, front/rear crumple zones, vehicle stability control, and 3-point safety belts with pretensioners/load limiters.
You can spend much more money on a more powerful, hardtop convertible roadster but you will not come close to the fun and excitement that the new 2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata hardtop convertible brings to the fore-an inexpensive, fun and easy-to-drive 2-seat roadster that is solidly planted on the freeway at high speeds and can tackle any curving roads that you my encounter.
Price: Base Sport – $22,960 Base Grand Touring Hardtop Convertible – $28,400 As-Tested – $30,550
Type: Compact Convertible
Where Built: Japan
EPA Class: Two Seaters
Length: 157.3 in.
Width: 67.7 in.
Height: 49.4 in.
Wheel Base: 91.7 in.
Ground Clearance: 4.6 in.
Curb Weight: 2593 lbs.
Gross Weight: 3122 lbs.
Front Head Room: 37 in.
Front Hip Room: 50.6 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 53.2 in.
Front Leg Room: 43.1 in.
Luggage Capacity: 5.3 cu. ft.
Maximum Cargo Capacity: 5 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 2
Engine Number of Cylinders: 4
Engine Size: 2 liters
Engine Type: Inline 4
Horsepower: 167 hp
Max Horsepower: 7000 rpm
Torque: 140 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 5000 rpm
Drive Type: RWD
Turning Circle: 30.8 ft.
0-60mph: 6.8 seconds
Fuel Tank Capacity: 12.7 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Manual: 21 mpg / 28 mpg / 24 mpg
Range in Miles:
Manual: 266.7 mi. / 355.6 mi. / 304.8 mi.