Click to Print

Cars to Splurge On

Treat yourself to something gorgeous, sexy and lots of fun.
December 1, 2005
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/81110

Have profits left over from this year's sales? Start the new year on a high note and treat yourself to a sporty car that's all fun, dazzle and bling. How about a no-excuse work of art that's as far from a serious business sedan as you can get? Three coupes that fit the bill: the Chrysler Crossfire, the Lexus SC430 and the Nissan 350Z. Designed with edge, these racy head-swivelers turn in punchy performances with panache.

Chrysler's Crossfire hatchback attracts attention everywhere it goes. Priced at $30,070, it's built in Germany by Mercedes-Benz. Roadster styling sets it apart, and the retro sloping rear evokes forward motion. A V-6 engine and 215 horsepower provide plenty of performance mated with a six-speed manual transmission. Traction/stability control, ABS, and a 7.6-cubic-foot trunk are all standard.

Another sporty option is the luxurious $63,575 Lexus SC430 with power-retractable hardtop. Its sleek silhouette boasts sculptured muscle-car bumpers and chrome accents. The V-8 engine pumps out 300 horsepower, with a five-speed automatic transmission. Inside and out, the emphasis is on first-class quality and attention to detail, seen in the water-repellant door glass, rear-window timed defogger, graphite-coated wipers, leather and real wood interior, and heated front seats. Standard are ABS, traction/stability control, prewiring and a navigation system. The back seat can hold any cargo that won't fit into the 8.8-cubic-foot trunk.

Nissan's $26,800 350Z hatchback coupe is a stunner. With a 300-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 under the hood, the six-speed manual transmission model is well-served by a speed-sensitive steering system for tight control at high speeds. The roofline provides an overall impression that the coupe is ready for the track, sweeping dramatically to the rear. Inside is a classic cockpit-like interior for two. A 6.8-cubic-foot trunk holds overnight bags. If you really must stay in touch with the office, the two power outlets can keep your gear charged.

Editor and consultant Jill Amadio has been reporting on the automotive industry for 26 years.