The GT-R, then, with its 545 hp and $116,710 price, would seem a bargain. A Track Pack adds brake cooling ducts, retuned shocks, higher spring rates, and a rear seat delete, on top of the forged wheels borrowed from the Black Edition. New for the R8 this year is a twin-clutch transmission and a V10 Plus model. The latter hones the car with ceramic rotors, a smaller fuel tank, fixed rate shocks, manual seats, and carbon-fiber trim pieces. That's a total weight savings of 130 pounds. Oh, and it makes 25 hp more.
As mentioned, the Impala can be had with a robust V-6 (the base engines are a 196-hp 2.5-liter I-4 and a 182-hp 2.4 I-4 with eAssist), just as our 2LZ was equipped. Displacing 3.6 liters, the direct-injected 24-valve engine puts out 305 horsepower and 264 pound-feet of torque, giving it more grunt than the Taurus' 3.5-liter and 300S' 3.6. Mated to a six-speed automatic, the General's 3.6 scoots the Impala from 0 to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds and through the quarter mile in 14.8 seconds at 96.2 mph. For context, our long-term 300S needed 6.4 and 14.9 at 97.1, and the last Avalon we ran required 6.3 and 14.7 at 97.4. So, the Impala is quick and can hang with the competition
Why It Matters: In a lineup fraught with frugal four-cylinders paired with CVTs, the Z is as much an outlier as the GT-R. But Nissan needs the Z to tend the fire, reminding the world of the Datsun days when affordable performance was more of a corporate priority than cross-dressing crossovers. Godzilla may be the halo car, but it now costs six figures.
Platform: The Z will share a chassis with the Infiniti Q50. This new iteration of Nissan's entry-luxury sedan rides on an updated version of the venerable FM platform that underpins the current Z. Nissan will do what it can to keep the weight down, deploying more aluminum along with other pound-paring measures.