1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue (188)


Intrigue. Among other definitions it means a clandestine love affair. Exactly what I had with this Oldsmobile Intrigue while testing it in the beautiful state of Colorado. Living in California we miss the spontaneous weather changes so common to Colorado so I thoroughly love my brief sojourns in Denver. The days can change from dry to fluffy

flakes of snow to create a veil of white. For testing cars, it gives a whole new meaning to the need for “Traction Control”. But I have to tell you; I love to drive under adverse conditions because it is just plain fun. I won’t soon forget the exhilarating feeling of spinning out in a BMW 318i on the snow-covered roads on the way to Winter Park, CO. To me that’s a natural high in addition to being at 8,000 feet on the edge. Crazy… perhaps.

I suspect I didn’t push the envelope as much with this Olds because it doesn’t have the mystique of BMW and the perception that they handle better. And the trouble with cars that are noted for having great handling characteristics is that you tend to push the limits to see if it’s true. Partner and friend Price Cobb is an international race driver. We often talk about the cars we drive and write about in our similar columns. Price admits that outside of racing he sees very little need for the suspension you pay for on more expensive cars like Mercedes and BMW. He says, “Sure, it is noticeable in racing where there is a need for the best that engineering can deliver. There is no speed limit other than what the car can handle, but for average highway driving conditions the tires are much more important”.

As for this Intrigue, it’s an Oldsmobile and I’m always impressed by the great value Olds has delivered over the years. Dad always owned an Olds and because he thought they were great cars, I thought they were great cars. Another affinity he had for Olds was they were born about the same time. Right at the turn of the century guys like Ransom Olds were having a somewhat clandestine love affair with the automotive revolution. Sounds a bit like Bill Gates, et al, and the computer revolution today. Anyway, while Henry Ford was perfecting his Model T, William C. Durant combined the Buick, Oldsmobile, and Oakland companies and, later, Cadillac, to form GM. The firm started by Louis Chevrolet was added ten years later in 1918. Olds is rooted in a rich history of racing, and they still are. Today, all cars on the IRL circuit (Indy racing) run either Nissan or Aurora (Olds) engines. Of course they aren’t quite the same as what you get in your production Oldsmobile. The racing version puts out roughly 700 horsepower.

Good News:

The Intrigue is priced very competitively. (Olds did the same thing when they introduced the Aurora and the price went up each model year after. I believe that will happen with this new Intrigue because it is a great deal right now).

Bad News:

Like the Aurora, if you don’t buy now you can count on price increases the next time you look at it.

The Competition:

I believe the Intrigue is at the top of the competitive heap which includes Buick Regal $21 – $23K, Chevrolet Lumina $17- 20K, Dodge Intrepid $20- 22 K, Ford Taurus $18 – 29 K, Nissan Maxima $21 – $27 K, Pontiac Grand Prix $19- 21K, Toyota Camry $17 – $25K and Volkswagen Passat $21 – 26K.

Standard Equipment:

3.8 liter V6 engine, 4 speed automatic trans, dual air bags, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, traction control, rear window defogger, cornering lamps, power windows and door locks, anti theft system, child security, reclining buckets with driver 6-way power settings, AM/FM stereo with Cassette, climate control, cruise control, power outside mirrors and Leather wrapped tilt steering wheel.

Gas Stats:

EPA numbers are 19 City and 30 Highway MPG.


MSRP is $ 22,100 and with leather, (Autobahn Package) including H rated tires and heavy duty brakes, upgraded stereo with CD etc., steering wheel touch controls for radio and cruise control the total is an unbelievable $24,200.

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