DRIVE! 2010 • Gay adoption

Cross-cultural automaking combines American and foreign sensibilities for these mixed-parentage rides

CASEY WILLIAMS  | Auto Reviewer

PUSH BUTTON MIRACLE | GM almost nixed Saab, but when Spyker took over, they gave it a miraculous rebirth with this 9-5. The makers replaced the key insert with a push-button starter making the rest of the car all uphill.

My partner and I are planning to adopt a baby. For sure, there will be teething pains. As our lives go through Heavens and Hells, so too will those automakers that adopted domestic cast-offs. Time will tell if their adoptions are mired in poo or are truly gay.

These are the babies with the highest IQs. Gay parents adopting children from different cultures can cause moments of discomfort and domestic unrest. However, if these brands are loved and nurtured by their parents, happy world-changing children are ahead.

Saab 9-5

Saab aficionados, who are still puling GM’s parenting the past two decades, should love its latest 9-5 offspring. Over the years, the Swedish automaker has seemed more like a foster child than a truly loved son, but it is now in the crib of Dutch supercar builder Spyker. The multi-ethnic Swede has more than a little German DNA.

Designers cut a wide swath through IKEA and built a custom nursery for the new 9-5. Scandinavian luxury centers on plush leather seats, Saab’s traditional wrap-around cockpit, green instrument lighting, and a push button start button where God intended a key in the center console. A heads-up display continues the “Born from Jets” theme with Harman/Kardon audio and rear seat entertainment providing a respite from carriage duty.

Sharing genes with the German-engineered Buick Lacrosse and Regal, but looking suavely Saab, the sedan will rival the Audi A6 and Lincoln MKS. At birth, the car will scream with a 300-HP 2.8-liter turbo V6 and AWD. A 220-HP four-cylinder pops later. Very intelligent, DriveSense adjusts the suspension and throttle settings to give drivers very different dynamics on a whim. There’s still a lot of GM in there, but it’s all great stuff.
New parents Spyker and potential customers should rejoice at this big bundle of joy. Given how close GM came to liquidating Saab, it is truly a miracle baby. A more premium Saab eats $47,565 at once.

Volvo S60
OVERTHINKER | The Volvo S60 can adjust driving mode into comfort, sport or advanced suspensions while also detecting pedestrians with a full auto brake.

Volvo S60

Volvo was adopted in 1999 by Ford Motor Company and re-gifted to China’s Geely earlier this year. Geely had been preparing its nursery for Volvo for years, hoping upon hope that Ford would condone the adoption.

It would be hard to imagine Geely getting a better kid than the new S60 sedan. Its curvy rump, roof and fenders are beautiful with a family resemblance in the strong shoulders. Interior design is based on the S80 sedan, including a thin center controls stack, plush seats, and sporty steering wheel. Woodgrain blends with brushed aluminum and light colors. Bluetooth connectivity and voice control for audio and phone keep the middle child hip.

Being a Volvo, the S60’s pants are loaded with creamy tech. Power comes from a 300-HP 3.0-liter six cylinder engine with optional AWD. When equipped with the Four-C Active Chassis system, drivers can adjust the suspension through “comfort,” “sport” or “advanced” modes.

Safety, a Volvo hallmark, is enhanced by a pedestrian detection system with full auto brake that identifies people and stops the car from up to 22 mph. Adaptive cruise control, City Safe collision warning with full auto brake, distance alert and lane departure warning systems exploit the car’s radar system. Fees cost $37,700 plus toys.

Jaguar XJ75
OLDER IS BETTER | India’s Tata picked up where Ford left off with Jaguar. Commemorating its 75th anniversary, the Jaguar XJ75 has upgrade written all over it with voice activated controls and LCD virtual instruments.

Jaguar XJ (75th)

Whether you think beauty, or the ugliest bug since Capone busted the womb, the Jaguar XJ will not be ignored. Most design and engineering was completed under Ford custody, but that will not stop India’s Tata, which adopted Jaguar and Land Rover during 2008, from raising the new Jags into proper millennial gentlemen.

The XJ flaunts a flowing body with blacked-out C-pillars and optional panoramic roof that echoes the little brother XF. Bodies are constructed almost entirely of aluminum around a sumptuous cabin that is futuristic while outfitted with the finest leathers, carpets, and mirror-cut wood. An available 510-HP supercharged V8 toddles over a constantly-adapting suspension. Voice-activated controls, lights that illuminate with the wave of a hand, LCD “virtual instruments” and 1200-watt Bowers & Wilkins audio beguile passengers. $72,500 is but a start.

To commemorate Jaguar’s 75th anniversary, the company showed the XJ75 Platinum Concept. White paint, 22-in. wheels, diamond stitch suede seat inserts and softgrain leather are divine. A bespoke clock designed by Bremont Watch Company and 1,200-watt Bowers & Wilkins surround audio cuddle passengers.

This article appeared in Dallas Voice’s DRIVE! Supplement November 5, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens