Spannerhead Dot

A Turn For the Better

July 16, 2011 by Matt

After all my tirades and philippics this week, this Saturday being sort of gray, drippy and reflective like it is, I thought it might be worthwhile, for a change, to survey the automotive landscape and dwell on some unequivocally good developments.

Ford Mustang 2011

The Ford Mustang. Good golly, they got this one right. As has been observed, it’s the best looking car Ford has made in years. They’ve upgraded the interior materials, given it a wonderful pair of engines in the V6 and V8, tamed the live rear axle to the point where the car is a bona fide racetrack hero, and really honed the car’s details, like the particularly-tasty sequential rear turn signals. Even if the car isn’t single-handedly saving Ford’s bacon the way the minivan did for Chrysler in the ’80s, I’m convinced Ford is hugely benefiting, tangibly in terms of sales, and intangibly in terms of the halo effect, from the Mustang. No one can deny that the essential goodness of the car has given the automaker a massive boost in these economic doldrums.

Audi A5 2012

Audi’s new design direction. Oh yes. Ever since their B7 A4 led the automaker’s model range, somewhat awkwardly, to adopt a deep-grille fascia, I’d hoped it was a “transitional model” and that the company’s stylists would eventually smooth out and integrate that feature a little better. The B8 A4/S4 showed the first glimpse of that hope fulfilled, and with the upcoming arrival of the revised A5 and S5, the deep grille has fully matured, blending effortlessly into the cars lines, owing primarily to the addition of a small angle in its upper corners. Audi has come from behind in the ’90s to become the German Jaguar, leaping from one aesthetic peak to the next with their trend-setting, perfectly-penned interior and exterior design.

Cadillac CTS-V Wagon

The Cadillac CTS-V Wagon. After a too-long series of Euro-style luxury car flops, as much as I have a bone to pick with The General’s overall operations, it’s still somewhat gratifying to see one of their divisions get a car so absolutely right. All the goodies they shunned for years are there at last: 6-speed manual, RWD, excellent handling and a wagon body, topped with a generous helping of good ol’ American pushrod V8 power. It’s been a long, circuitous route, and we enthusiasts have been mystified for years by Cadillac’s dogged refusal to adopt the formula (manual, RWD, handling) that would have finally put them in the game vis-a-vis their foreign competition, but it’s nice to see them finally coming around, and how. Now watch GM ax their most promising car in years, just like they have so many times before. CTS-V wagon, mark my words: Your days are numbered.

Filed under: Audi, Cadillac, Car Industry, Ford

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