1997 Black Enterprise Auto Guide

The latest in cars and auto trends for the new model year

moon-roof and a limited slip differential. You could equal most of the luxury items with a Padhfinder LE and save $2,776, but you still wouldn’t get the more sophisticated 4WD system. This can be left in four-wheel drive during changing weather conditions, or put into rear drive for fuel savings. There is also a low range for extreme conditions.

The interior is beautifully well done and, if you weren’t sitting up so high, you’d think you were in a luxury sedan. There is plenty of room for five well-coddled adults. The 168-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 struggles a bit to move more than two tons of truck around, but the suspension keeps the ride pleasant. And the leather-lined interior is quiet enough to take good advantage of the superb audio system.

A new Regal is on the market as a 1997-1/2- model. This is a new platform shared with Pontiac’s new Grand Prix, which went on sale last fall. While the Pontiac is available in two or four doors, the Regal comes only as a sedan.

Like the Pontiac, the Regal is offered with a choice of two drivetrains. The base engine is a rather robust 3.8-liter V6 that pumps out 195 horsepower. Yet it still manages 19 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, efficient numbers for a midsize sedan.

If that’s not enough, however, the GS model adds a supercharger to this powerplant, pumping the horsepower up to 240, enough for dramatic thrust. Thus far, the Regal remains untested, but should share all the vigor and sample interior of the Grand Prix. At a starting price of $21,095, Buick wants $2,516 more for its version; add the supercharger and the price begins at $23,495.
In typical Buick fashion, expect things to be less sporty than the Pontiac. The Grand Prix already has a comfortable ride and the Regal should take that a step further by softening things up some more.

BMW Z3 2.8
BMW’s Z3 is one of the most stunning cars introduced in the 1990s. It has serious character and aggressive styling that lets you know it’s a real sports car. But when it first arrived last year, it was more of a gelding than a stallion, with its quite modest four-cylinder engine. In the stop-light races, it was all too frequently defeated by economy sedans.

For 1997, BMW is backing up the promise of the Z3’s styling with more muscle under the hood. A 2.8-liter inline six-cylinder engine will move the horsepower quotient from 138 to a more substantial 189. To help get the extra power to the ground, you also get a Prices also increase substantially. While a four-cylinder model begins at $29,570, adding the six-cylinder will bring tires. the bring the tab up to $36,470. This also includes leather upholstery, a $ 1,150 option on the base car.

In essence, the Z3 is a fun, two-passenger spotts car. The manual top goes up and down easily and there are a few creature comforts. But this is about driving fun and the extra power simply amplifies

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