There are few better places to live year-round than San Diego, while most of the east coast is trying to defrost in January, San Diegans are enjoying 70+ degree weather and the beach. The only way to get there is in style. And that doesn’t mean the bus or the trolley, but a sports car that screams ‘San Diego’.
Here are three models that you should look at that will let you enjoy both the car and the city around you.
First up, the Mazda MX-5 (Miata in the United States). The MX-5 is perfect for the beach, it’s a coupé, so that makes it sporty, if you have the cabriolet, drop the top and soak in the San Diego sunshine. The MX-5 however, should only be used as a beach cruiser and not for any other extraneous activity (i.e. racing) because the 2.0L, inline-4 is rated at an average 167 bhp and pops out an anemic 140 ft-lb. of torque. And while it will hit 122 mph, the 0-60 time isn’t too impressive, 7.9 seconds. However, as a beach cruiser, nothing beats it. The redesigned MX-5 that debuted at the 2008 Paris Auto Show, features flared wheel arches for that added sense of aggression — even if it won’t actually pose a threat on the quarter-mile. The interior has also been redesigned, featuring a track-inspired dial layout, a short-shift 6-speed and an overall larger cabin. All this on 17-inch rims on low-profile tires. And for about $25,300, not bad.
So, we’ve covered the beach, how about the nightlife? Well, for that, reach for the Lexus IS 350. The updated IS features Toyota’s 3.5L Dual VVT-i V6. This produces 306 bhp and 300 ft-lb. of torque. It will top out at 170 mph and do the quarter-mile in 10.2 seconds. But like the MX-5, this is more about looks than performance and coming from Lexus, the IS 350 does not disappoint. The interior includes the standard luxury amenities: wood trim and leather, but also has LED accent lighting, radar cruise control (DRCC), push-button start and a Mark Levinson sound system. Put this on 17-inch rims and low-profile tires and it is definitely a car for the nightlife. Priced at just south of $40,000 starting ($42,410 as tested) the IS 350 is a bit pricey but well worth it.
Now, enough about looks. For a performance car for America’s Finest City, look no further than the the Mercedes-Benz SL550. Starting at $102,600 it is the priciest of the three but it is the perfect blend of sport and luxury. Powered by a 5.4L V8 producing 383 bhp and 390 ft-lb. of torque, it will do 0-60 in 5.2 seconds or go from 60 to 0 in, “Oh my gos…,” or in layman’s terms 4.7 seconds. And top out at an electronically-limited 155 mph. It includes the standard amenities typical of Mercedes, wood and leather trim, Harmon Kardon stereo system, 7-speed tiptronic transmission, dual monitors in the headrests and most importantly a Mercedes badge.
So there it is, three models for America’s Finest City or really any place that desires sport and/or luxury in a car.