I also have mixed feelings about this car. I'm less enthralled with the exterior - the Altima front end does nothing for me - but it strikes a nice profile. The big pluses for me are the gorgeous interior, the excellent Bose stereo, and the 270 horses.
I don't know how this car measures with a stopwatch, but it FEELS plenty fast. The engine with the 6-speed stick is a great combination, but it's a crime to have to pay more than two grand for the pleasure. The car does well from a stoplight and even better at highway speeds where there is ample power for merging and passing effortlessly.
The ride didn't bother me at all. IT was firm, but I didn't find it punishing.
The interior is nicely styled and the finishes are 99% gorgeous. The strange, not-quite faux brushed metal compartment in the center tower is the one sore spot. The rest of this interior absolutely blows away anything coming from Toyota. The door panels and trim, the top of the dash, all very nice to the eye and to the touch.
The stereo and climate controls are attractive and very clear and easy to use. I do think the volume control on the wheel should switch spots with the skip/back control.
The red leather seats better on the eyes than the back. They are not supportive enough, especially in the lumbar area. This alone would keep me from buying the car - it's that bothersome to me.
I'd also agree that at the $30,000 mark, there are nicer cars for the same money, and comparable ones for much less.
Matt Tierney, Art Director