Many years ago, I owned a Nissan Primera. In my folly, I went to the German side and in turn, traded in for a BMW 320, and then onto a VW Passat. Admittedly these were high mileage second hand cars, and during the time I had them, I enjoyed them, but ultimately they let me down...boohoo! The BMW, had a lovely sounding engine, and was built like a brick outhouse, but only after having it a short while I found out about its achilles heels. From my experience, and what I read on the internet, it seemed the model ('93) had a badly designed clutch, causing clutch judder which was a nightmare when the engine got hot in stop-start traffic, and the engine block was made of an inferior alloy (NIKASIL), leading to head gasket problems! Bye bye BMW! From there I went for a Passat ('98) which also has the German build quality in spades. To be brief here, I again found the achilles heel! Just my luck... VW abd Audi have much the same parts, and the weakness I found here and mentioned on the net, is the front suspension bushes! These little rubber chappies number twelve on each corner and help with bumpy road issues. Little did I know however, that if one of these bouncy fellows gives up the ghost, the standard practice is to replace the whole control arm setup! This boils down to hundreds of pounds to fix! When it first happened, I found a local garage that tracked down the individual bush that needed changing for £100. All well and good until another bush started to go a few weeks later! Farewell VW! To complete the circle, I have now gotten my grubby mitts on a 1999 Primera Sport+ Automatic CVT Hypertronic (M6). First prize for long winded car names there I think! If you read reviews of this car, you will see that it still handles with the best of them, and has the reliability to boot! Outside I quite like it with the sport kit added and the bulgy fron bonnet/grill area. Inside its more typically Japanese and not as good as the German dashbo
ards, although they have tried! This specific model benefits from uprated suspension (pretty darn stiff!), xenon headlights, front and side airbags for the safety conscious, trip computer, 6 CD changer to name but a few things. Check parkers for the full list. It drives as I remember the old one used to - sure footedly, with an ugly looking (not covered with shiny bits of plastic) but eager engine. As for the CVT gearbox, this is the first I have driven, and I was impressed with the smoothness! Instead of normal gearchanges, the CVT uses two spindle shaped shafts with a belt in between, effectively giving an infinite variety of ratios and improved fuel consumption as you will no longer finder yourself hunting for the correct gear. Not once in a 160 mile round trip did I see the engine go over 3000 revs! Acceleration is the price to pay though, as it takes 12 seconds to 60mph. To counteract this however, the M6 moniker means it has a manul tiptronic style shift that will please those who may feel the need for some more performance. Again from what I read, the main problems to look for are electric window motors, and heater resistors conking out...almost DIY problems! So far so good, and fingers crossed for the future! UPDATE! - Gave it the first test on the M3 yesterday, and it passed with flying colours! Cruises at 90mph, using only 3000 revs (about 30mpg). Responsive steering and firm suspension means you have to concentrate a little more on high speed drifting. London driving is worse sadly, mainly due to the auto box, giving around 22mpg. But thems the breaks I guess!