Old Volvos are cool. Volvos in recent years, not so much. A recent web-based media push has the Gentleman Motorist wondering—is Volvo cool again?
“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” J. Robert Oppenheimer summoned these words from the Bhagavad Gita to describe the detonation of the first atomic bomb. These words also come to mind when pondering the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG. 518 bhp from a naturally aspirated 6.2 liter V8 gets you from 0 to 60 in 4.3 seconds with a top speed approaching 200 mph. But why stop there? Just as Little Boy gave way to Fat Man, the E63 AMG has been “upgraded” to the E63 AMG S 4MATIC, which sacrifices displacement and rear-wheel drive in favor of 5.5 liter Bi-Turbo V8 pushing out 577 bhp to all four wheels. Oh, and it also shaves another 0.7 seconds off of the 0-60 run. At bottom, both iterations yield megatons of fun. But at what price? Roughly $100,000.00. Fuel economy? Really?!?! About 15 city and 23 highway miles per baby seal in both iterations. So these atomic-powered rocket sleds are brutally fast and powerful, but they are also luxurious with engines built by hand (and autographed) by the master craftsmen at AMG. In truth, the E63 will not actually destroy worlds. But it will destroy your children’s college tuition fund. So perhaps a better metaphor for the E63 is not an A-bomb, but Francisco Goya’s masterpiece, Saturn Devouring His Son—a work of art coaxed from a hopelessly black darkness to haunt the dreams (or nightmares) of gentleman motorists and their children everywhere.
 It also got a facelift. But like so many other nip/tuck operations, one wonders if it was an actual improvement.
 One is welcome to do their best Slim Pickens impersonation when mashing the accelerator pedal into the floorboard.
 Which is the German acronym for “Ach meine Gott!” One wonders if Germans also use this in text messages.
Photo(s) from Wikipedia.
Perhaps Not: Suzuki Sidekick
Our next nominee is the Suzuki Sidekick. Like the movie with the same name, these Sidekicks beg the question, “Why?” Well because “I really truly want an extremely small, underpowered, convertible, Japanese sport utility vehicle in which I can do nothing,” said no one ever. The Sidekick initially came with an engine featuring a displacement of 1 whole liters and eventually offered an 80 bhp engine and four-wheel drive. Easy, tiger. For the sake of argument, let us assume that statistics do not matter and that the Sidekick’s utility is of no import. Even then, no gentleman motorist would drive one. Why? Because look at it. One cannot be taken seriously in this automobile. Suzuki attempted to make something cute and feminine into something rugged and masculine. Put another way, you could dress Kate Upton in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s costume from Predator, but would she would get to the choppa? This type of bad casting leads to nothing but impotency and sexual confusion. And that is sort of how one feels about the Sidekick.
 Or is that the other way around? I guess that’s the point. Perhaps Suzuki's design team would have benefited from the expertise of David Bowie or Annie Lennox. One assumes the resulting Sidekick would have been far more entertaining.
 This sensation has been well explained by Garth Algar in the film "Wayne's World." “Garth Algar: Did you ever find Bugs Bunny attractive when he put on a dress and played a girl bunny? Wayne Campbell: No. [cracks up laughing] No. Garth Algar: Neither did I. I was just asking.”
Photo(s) from Wikipedia.
The Gentleman Motorist is delighted share with you this blog’s first reader question as part of a new series, “Formal Inquiry.”
A gentleman motorist from Texas writes:
Today in Houston I spied this rig on a wine and cheese run to H-E-B. Proving the driver of this certain accoutrement is a gentlemen, he totally stopped his machine to permit me first access to the parking lot and waved me along in front of him in great spirits ... notice his hand poised for just such events. I was impressed not only by his friendly actions, but also his obvious dedication to the environment ... notice the recycled truck bed, obviously salvaged from another time and place and mated to his Dodge go-unit. What does the Gentlemen Motorist say about the impracticality of a mere car to get around the ranch for the necessity of hauling hay and mending fences? Is this Dodge within the limits of the Gentlemen Motorist when the Range Rover Land Rover simply can not shed its top? Thank you for your advice. My regards ...
Check out the brand new Land Rover Range Rover. Are you surprised, dear readers? Probably not. After all, it is the pinnacle of gentleman motoring. And, to reach that summit, a gentleman needs a vehicle that can transport him in great comfort over any surface on the planet. That is what the “Range” does best. A gentleman could be a man of the people, or he could simply ride over them on a cushion of air. The Range is recommended for that latter and not the former, as one will most certainly draw the envy and ire of fellow motorists. No doubt their assumptions are loaded, but that’s okay because nothing is more loaded than the Range. And when money is no object, no option is too silly. Indeed, one could just spring for the Land Rover Range Rover Long Wheelbase Autobiography Black Edition, which is the Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis of automobile appellations. But playing with the options on Land Rover’s configurator site is just too much fun. So the Gentleman Motorist recommends that you read the following list of Range accoutrements in Homer Simpson’s monotone, drooling voice.
“I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.” – Oscar Wilde