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Old 02-25-2000, 12:31 AM   #1
SC2fast
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Default Sports Sedan?!

I do like the new LS but I disagree with the newest marketing of these cars. According to the commercials, the LS is a 'sports sedan'! Sorry, but NO WAY...at least not until a manual transmission, a tighter suspension, and AT LEAST 30 more hp are added. Leave the sports sedan niche to those who deserve it, aka Maxima.

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Old 02-25-2000, 12:56 PM   #2
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I'd like to see them add a few horsepower to the V-6, though they certainly can't go any lower in terms of fuel economy until they put in a larger fuel tank. I also agree that they should make a manual transmission available.

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Old 02-26-2000, 06:48 PM   #3
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I agree that they should offer a 5 Speed, but you have wussy Americans to blame for that...Saturn's research indicates only 6% of V6 models would have been 5 Speed, due to low demand, so they didn't consider it a cost effective package (not to mention that the current manual tranny used in the four cylinders was tried out with the V6 in Saturn tune, and the torque tore it up ::grin:.

As for the "more horsepower" pleas, I appreciate the way Saturn tunes an engine, which doesn't emphasize sexy looking "peak" numbers, but emphasizes good low-end torque and a wide power band instead. As for the looks-good-on-paper Nissan Maxima, boasting 40hp more than the LS2, the automatic transmission versions aren't any faster than the LS2 (I think they might even have been a few ticks SLOWER, but forget where I read the figures). Why? Because they tuned their engine for PEAK horsepower numbers that look good in ad copy, instead of for good REAL WORLD performance.

While we're on the Maxima subject, how do they dare to call THAT a "Sport Sedan" when it has a BEAM AXLE rear suspension?!!!! Can you say K-CAR TECHNOLOGY?!!!

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Old 02-27-2000, 03:23 AM   #4
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The automatic transmission Maximas are slower than the LS2. They run 0-60 in 7.8 secs as tested by Car and Driver and MotorTrend, while the LS2 runs 7.4 secs as tested by MotorWeek. The 5-speed Maxima runs 0-60 in 6.7 seconds...I would expect a 5-speed LS2 to run a similar time. IMO, horsepower is not king. Horsepower means something on the AutoBahn, but to most of us here in the United States, horsepower all goes to marketing. What really matters here is torque. Although the Maxima does have an very big lead in horsepower, it holds a tiny lead in torque, but the LS2 is a lighter car. So even though the Maxima will win the top speed tests, the LS2 will win in street racing. Don't get me wrong...the 3.0L V6 in the Maxima is a SUPERB engine...overall, it is a better engine than the 3.0L V6 found in the LS2. However, we have to recognize how these engines are tuned, and for the U.S. market, the LS2 is better-tuned to suit our style of driving. Horsepower means nothing here...it all goes to marketing. Unfortunately, most people don't understand the relationship between horsepower and torque. Torque is a PRODUCT of horsepower. I can go further into detail, but that's not the point of this thread. Point being, the LS2 holds its own very well considered the market segment despite its horsepower deficit to the competition. It's just killing the marketing department, that's all.

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P.S. -- the retro-tech solid beam rear axle on the Maxima is, surprisingly, a very good suspension. Nissan employs solid beam rear axles on all but its super cars, AKA Skyline, 300ZX (discontinued in U.S., sold as the Fairlady Z in Japan). Nissan has done an exceptional job of engineering the rear suspension to handle just as well as many rear independent strut/shock multi-link rear suspensions, and in some cases, the solid beam rear axle on the Maxima is actually better than the full-independent setup of some of the competitors. And I would not call the suspension on the LS2 soft...rather, I would call is Euro-stiff. The ride isn't as compliant as the Camry (too soft, leans through turns like a barge), but the trade-off in ride comfort is made up for in handling. The LS2 corners very flat and stability is rock solid. On a test drive, I accelerated the LS2 on a 270-degree freeway onramp.

The car cornered on rails like a BMW. I was amazed. The LS2 is by no means an M5 or E55, but it is one of the best performers in the family sedan crowd. If Saturn can engineer a stickshift for the V6 and keep the throws short, the LS2 will run in dead heat with the 5-speed Maxima, and it will blow the doors off the Accord/Camry V6.

I hope they don't use the manual transmission on the Saab V6's though...those are rubbery....they feel like shifting through sludge.

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Old 03-03-2000, 06:40 PM   #5
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Yeah, I've read that the Maxima's BEAM AXLE is well tuned and a good suspension, but at the end of the day, it's a well tuned BEAM AXLE, which is inferior to a well tuned INDEPENDANT SUSPENSION. The introduction of the beam axle was a cost-cutting measure on Nissan's part, and as well engineered as the cheap substitute may be, it's still a cheap substitute - sort of like them trading rear disc brakes for "really good" rear drum brakes - sorry, but it just doesn't wash. As you said, Nissan's "supercars" use INDEPENDANT suspensions, and THAT speaks for itself.

Oh, and did I mention that the last two generations of the Maxima are BUTT UGLY? So many criticize the L-Series styling for being plain (a kind summary of their adjectives), yet at least the L-Series cars look aggressive in their own understated way. The Maximas of the last two generations look, well, kind of DROOPY at both ends, and the latest edition looks so high off the ground that it seems to be some kind of wannabe sport utility sedan! Who comes up with these styling quirks, and what kind of drugs are they taking?

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Old 03-03-2000, 07:06 PM   #6
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"yet at least the L-Series cars look aggressive in their own understated way."

Yes, I agree! The LS, like many of the upscale import sedans, has a conservative and refined appearance, but also an aggressive stance. I really appreciate that, and I'm glad that Saturn didn't go overboard with styling and make the car look like a Pontiac Bonneville or something! (No offense to Pontiac owners, but I don't go for the extra bulges and bubbles and plastic trim all over the place.) My main complaints with the L Series have to do with a lack of safety equipment and the short cruising range. Other than that, I think they did a great job with the car and just need to ensure high quality and get the word out through advertising. I think the price is reasonable, and the car is very well equipped.

I also agree with your comments about the Maxima styling. Yuck!

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Old 03-04-2000, 10:58 AM   #7
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Ok, i see that everyone has felt that i trashed the LS. Let me clear it up: The LS is a fine car, but for $20k, i would much rather purchase something else.

But don't quote automatic transmission numbers...a 'true sports sedan' would have a manual transmission. I believe Saturn Corp.'s ad was a little misleading concerning the capabilities of the LS.

But one thing i have noticed as a difference between the L and the S series is that the L interiors have a look and feel of better quality and finish. The armrest is actually comfortable and made of materials that don't feel like they will break soon.

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Old 03-05-2000, 02:50 AM   #8
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::shrugs:: That's all we've got to quote (automatic transmission numbers)...I might point out that the vast majority of Nissan Maximas sold in the US are also automatic transmission models, so the comparison of slushbox vs. slushbox is a fair one.

As for the impressive looking manual transmission numbers from Car & Driver, etc., they pretty much abuse the cars they test to get those numbers, and it is therefore likely to be faster than what actually occurs on the street. It is certainly easier to replicate automatic transmission results in the "real world" than it is to replicate manual transmission results for that reason. If you compare Consumer reports acceleration times with C&D and the like, you will see that they are a lot more conservative, because, as they put it "we don't abuse the equipment". Happily, their results are generally closer to C&D, etc. for Saturns than for others - why? - I think because it isn't necessary to beat on a Saturn to get good performance out of it - the torque heavy Saturn engines provide good get up and go WITHOUT flogging them till they scream for mercy, like you need to to get any power out of many/most of Saturn's competitors' cars. I remember particularly (since it was part of my car purchase research) one such comparison between the C&D vs. CR results for two cars - the Saturn SC ('92) and the Nissan NX 2000 ('92). C&D squeezed a 6.8 (!) 0-60 out of the Nissan, and 7.9, I believe, for the SC. CR got 8.6 for the NX 2000, 8.4 for the Saturn. Notice the difference? 1.5 seconds (!) for the Nissan, yet only 0.5 seconds for the Saturn. It was the same old story...the Nissan boasted 140hp vs. the Saturn's 124hp, yet without dropping the clutch, smoking the tires, etc., that difference quickly evaporates into what it is - good advertising copy!

Me, I prefer the car that gives me better REAL WORLD performance to those that can only provide what they advertise if they are abused. My bet is that when I find myself next to one of those new Maximas, a) it will probably be an automatic, or b) it will more than likely either be driven conservatively (as opposed to abusively) or incompetently, and in either case, won't be out-doing my Saturn!

P.S. In earlier post, I meant INDEPENDENT suspensions (note to Charlie - spell check feature might come in handy for those of us typing too fast, not paying attention, or guessing when we don't remember and that dictionary is not within reach...)

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Old 03-08-2000, 07:12 PM   #9
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That is an interesting observation about CR and C&D tests. I agree that real car mags abuse the cars a bit, but of course, they're there to squeeze the MAXIMUM performance out the car...if they hafta thrash the car, then that's what they'll do. Car and Driver's senior editor Don Shroeder (who has unfortunately died in an accident during a test) abused the cars in acceleration runs, but nonetheless, he records the fastest lap/drag times. CR is there for the real world.

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Old 03-08-2000, 11:57 PM   #10
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I certainly am not criticizing the "real car mags", as you put it, for abusing the crap out of the cars they test - that's what they're there for, right? If I worked for a car magazine and got cars to beat on just for the fun of it, I'd knock myself out doing it too! However, I do find it very interesting that the difference between the results they get and the results the conservative Consumer Reports gets are generally smaller for Saturns than for Saturn's competitors, and I really think that reflects the better real world performance of an engine tuned the Saturn way as opposed to an engine tuned the Honda/Nissan/Toyota way.

I'd also bet that if they fed the Saturns they test the same steady diet of premium fuel the competitors' cars REQUIRE, that the saturn's performance would be even better!

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Old 03-21-2000, 09:05 PM   #11
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Saturnmeister I agree with you on the "Maxima" rear axle, and torque vs. horsepower.
Has anyone noticed that the rear end of the Maxima looks a lot like the new Neon?
Nissan can't be too happy about that! I laugh every time I see one.

Another variable in comparing cars is VALUE. A Lexus LS400 is a nicer car than a Camry, but it isn't TWICE as good, yet it costs twice as much. (Stupid Americans don't even know that Lexus is a made up car make only for them. They are all Toyotas in Japan.) Independant authorities like IntelliChoice consistantly name all the Saturns as best in value, lowest cost of ownership, etc.

All cars have improved a lot over the past 15-20 years (fuel injection, etc.) and once you hit the $20,000 range, small improvements in quality come at much bigger increments of price. Part of this is that the Mercedes/Cadillac/Lexus is the first model to have stability control, for example, and they are also lower volume sellers. It would be great to hit the lottery and get one of these $50K+ wonderful cars, but I think ALL the Saturns are much better values. And probably even if I won the lottery (I guess I have to buy a ticket?) my VALUES would probably say buy an LW2 and give the other $30K to the homeless shelter.

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Old 03-21-2000, 09:57 PM   #12
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I don't believe I have seen any of this advertising of the Saturn LS2 as a "Sports sedan", but I do recall it being described as a "Performance sedan", ---Thus an appropriate description.

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Old 03-23-2000, 05:15 PM   #13
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And speaking of Nissan styling, what is it with the rear-end style of the Altima????

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Old 04-07-2000, 03:50 PM   #14
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Cityhawk,

My best guess is they were smoking a controlled substance when they designed it? LOL

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Old 04-07-2000, 07:11 PM   #15
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scbluegirl,

I think that's also what Toyota engineers were doing when they designed the new MR-Spyder. They turned the previous MR2 Turbo into a wussy "beachmobile". Low on power, and looks more like a toy than a true performance car.

They were definately high on crack.

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