29 June 2006
VQ very much
I'd seen some pieces like this, and they'd always tripped the Hyperbole Alert: yeah, gearheads rave about engines, but that's what they're supposed to do. So I might not have noticed something along these lines:
How else to describe the VQ but pre-eminent? The inherent excellence of this design absolutely stunned us and many of Nissan's competitors when launched for the '95 model year, and the same basic engine today still stands out from a growing cadre of sophisticated V-6 engines.
The VQ's uncanny refinement and lack of vibration always seemed practically supernatural; its unrivaled noise, vibration and harshness characteristics are a large contributor to the VQ V-6's insouciant, exuberant power delivery.
I'd owned one V-6 prior to this year. It wore a blue oval, and was a nice little torque monster when it wasn't chewing on its head gaskets. Still, this was 1980s technology, and I'd had no experience with any contemporary bent six.
This afternoon I'm climbing onto one of this state's infamously-short onramps. Having mostly gotten out of the Sandy-era habit of flooring it and hanging on, I was doing a sedate fifty-five or so as the merge area began, when a truck (no trailer) which had been sandbagging it in the slow lane decided it was going too slow after all.
Two things I knew:
"What would Sandy do?" flashed into my head, and I gave the loud pedal a shove, though not quite enough of one to hit the floorboards. The expected noise burst didn't. I checked the left-side mirror for the truck which wasn't there anymore.
And then it appeared behind me. Way behind me. Gauge check: revs, 5400 or so; speed, 85 mph. Elapsed time: seemingly hardly any.
I eased back on the pedal and slid into the left lane: 80, 75, 70, back to some semblance of normal; it was as though nothing had happened.
Sandy, bless her little four-cylinder heart, would have been winded but happy: "Let's do it again later." Gwendolyn didn't even break into a sweat: "You need anything else while I'm up?"
If you're any good, and I was fairly decent at it, you can do some wondrous things with an underpowered car: it's simply a matter of knowing its limitations and being willing to work right up to the edge of them. While I've about figured Gwendolyn's chassis limits she is a front-driver, after all, and there's no button on the dash to suspend the laws of physics I suspect all that insouciance and exuberance comes at speeds inadvisable at rush hour.
There is, of course, plenty of time to get acquainted, but for now, I think we're going to get along just fine. A little serenity is good for the soul.