Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.
From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.
In this edition of Ask Nathan:
- Audi S4 vs. BMW 435i?
- Camaro, Challenger, Mustang backseat!
- Why so much bias against American quality?
- What is the Nissan Rogue Select?
The first question comes from a viewer who’s looking at a BMW 435i vs an Audi S4.
To Whom it May Concern,
For the last couple of months, I have been avid fan of your youtube channel and some of the written views. I keep looking at the BMW and Audi reviews you all have done. In May I will be graduating from college, and have also been to trade in my current 2006 Land Rover LR3 for something sportier and honestly more fun to drive. I have carefully looked at my budget and decided I can afford to spend no more than 60K. At this point I have narrowed my top choices to a 2015 Audi S4 or a 2015 BMW 435i Coupe or Gran Coupe. What do you all think? I’m looking at the right cars?
I want a luxury sedan thats fun to drive everyday and on the track. i have considered cars like the M3, but the MSRP base price isn’t even close to what i could do. So please The Fast Lane people I some advice.
A: Thanks for the viewership and question! Roman and I are split on this one. He favors the BMW while I like the Audi S4.
His point is that the BMW 435i is all-new with great lines and a very sporty character. I agree with him; however, I feel the Audi S4 is one of the best driving vehicles its class and it should be slightly more affordable. Roman also states that the Audi S4 is an old design – which is true too; but, I still like the design.
By the way, we have yet to drive it, but the Mercedes-Benz CLA45 AMG starts at $48,500.
Best of luck and let us know what you choose!
This next question comes from a fan who wants to know about back seat space in the Mustang, Camaro and Challenger.
Q: This is kind of an offbeat question, but a good Ask Nathan question none-the-less: I have my own personal style preferences between the Chevy Camaro, Dodge Challenger, and Ford Mustang so I don’t think this answer would sway my decision; but style aside, I was wondering how you rated these vehicles in a backseat space department.
I know backseats aren’t the selling point of the coupe segment, but for us family minded folks, are there any coupes out there that you have been surprised with backseat space/roominess?
I’d appreciate it if you would rank the above mentioned vehicles and perhaps throw in a few other coupes you’ve been surprisingly impressed with. Thanks!
P.S. You should make a top 5/10 video! “Big guy, small backseat” – or something like that….
A: Awesome question with a simple answer: the Dodge Challenger has the largest, most accommodating rear seats, by far. As a matter of fact: the Dodge Challenger has three seatbelts back there and the seats fold 60/40 giving the owner real utility. Unfortunately, all of that extra space comes at a price. The Dodge Challenger is much heavier than the equivalent competitor.
Still, for family-types like me, having a real backseat is a plus.
The new Mustang feels slightly more spacious than the current Camaro – but that could change based on the upcoming Camaro. Most coupes are pretty tight in the back; however, there are exceptions. The Scion tC is remarkably roomy in the back seat. It surprises me every time I drive one. The BMW 435 has good rear seat space and the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class Coupe is downright spacious.
As for back seat room for big-folk like me? That’s a great idea! We do something similar from time to time, but it wouldn’t hurt to focus a bit more on rear seat comfort.
This email comes from a fan who sees a bias against American-engineered/built vehicles.
Q: Just a comment and a question.
I was , at one point one of those people who was drawn into the hype about German vehicles and consequently bought a Mercedes C Class which was on a quasi regular basis in the garage…two years later I purchased an Audi A4 which in less than 2 years was in the garage at least 8-10 times. A friend of mine had bought a GMC Terrain and was entirely satisfied so I followed suit and have never regretted the decision!
It is more comfortable than the Germans and in the snow ( I live in Quebec)…well,it is easily as good as the Quattro. To top it off I have the 2.4 and don’t see much of a difference in acceleration. The question…do you have an opinion why people continue to automatically negatively critique North American products when companies like gmc are winning quality, safety and customer satisfaction awards? ( PS. I have had ZERO problems with my GMC…over 60,000 km) thanks
A: Great comment and question!
I completely agree with you regarding the perceived bias. It’s blatant and that bias is endemic among many journalistic outlets. It goes both ways; lauding something that exudes automotive royalty (like German brands) while ignoring the American brands that are better than initially perceived. It’s easy to dismiss the accomplishments of something sturdy verses something beautiful.
I’m guilty of that type of bias during the early days of my automotive career. It’s hard to knock German engineering excellence verses longevity. Even when the data clearly shows that brands like GMC and Buick are building vehicles for (much) less that are solid, reliable and capable – that information is mitigated in the light of German bravado.
It’s unfortunate that TFLcar does not have the resources to do long-term automotive longevity and value. I have a feeling that our scoring system would contradict others in many ways. Fortunately, many consumers are being educated via the multitude of owner’s boards and blogs out there.
Thanks for the great email!
This last question is about the Nissan Rogue Select.
Q: Hey I’m a huge Fan of your reviews and especially of the real world MPG testing. I was just wondering why anybody would buy a Nissan Rogue Select and why Nissan even sells the Nissan Rogue Select.
FROM S.H GMAIL.
Thanks for being a fan! The Nissan Rogue Select is (basically) the old Nissan Rogue. It’s still around as sales for this small, simple crossover remain relevant to Nissan. It helps the bottom line and gives Nissan entry-level crossover. It’s cheap too, with prices starting at $21,150.
Roman and I like the newest Nissan Rogue as it’s a smart bet for families and a very competitive vehicle in its class. The Nissan Rogue Select is not competitive with other vehicles in its class and it’s somewhat under-equipped.
Stick with the newer Nissan Rogue, it’s a lot better – in nearly every measurable way.
Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out this video where we pit the Chevy Trax, Nissan Juke and MINI Countryman against the Fiat 500X!
Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. His words, good humor and videos are enjoyed worldwide.