Black Enterprise 1998 SPRING AUTO GUIDE

Our Picks For The Vehicles This Season

mph is about 5.2 seconds!

For your $42,200, you get a power top, leather-lined interior and particularly sporty suspension setup. The seats are a bit more flamboyant in styling, while designed to hold you in place better. Even the three-spoke steering wheel is special for the M Roadster.

This will be the Z3 you see burning rubber at will. Since you can’t get traction control on this model, it’s even more of a fair weather friend. But when the sun shines, what a pal! www.bmwusa.com

Mercedes E430
Within Mercedes-Benz, the E-Class is becoming almost a separate franchise. First, there was a basic six-cylinder sedan. Then a diesel model. This year, they’ve added a station wagon and an all-wheel-drive sedan and wagon. Now comes the new top of the line, the E430 with a 275-horsepower V-8.

Unique to Mercedes-Benz, this engine produces a constant amount of torque, 295 foot-pounds from 3,000 to 4,000 rpm. This makes the E430 not just fast, but a particularly easy car to drive. Add a five-speed automatic transmission that uses a computer to adopt to the driver’s style, and you end up with a drivetrain that can read your mind and get you where you want to go. Fast.

With prices starting at $51,195, this performance doesn’t come cheap. But it does include plenty of luxury. Still, you can spend thousands more on options such as an electronic stability program ($990), Xenon headlamps ($960), heated front seats ($595), power moon roof ($1,110) and others.

Somewhere between the taut handling of a BMW 5 Series and the plush ride of a Lexus, LS400, the E430 presents both power and classic comfort. www.mercedes.com

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