My SSEi is a race car.
How the **** can you call a car that runs low 15s or high 14s a race car when the suspension is almost as grandma'd out as you can get and oh yeah, its slow.
Point is....the ssei'* are REALLY nice cars for the money..You got really comfortable seats and a halfway decent drivetrain compared to other cars in the price range.
You can pick up a 2000+ ssei for around $7000-$8000 now days with lower miles. You cant do the same for a lexus or even a maxima, H*** $7000 does not buy you much of a bmw either.
Either way, it is still a bonneville, and bonnevilles will forever be considered "grandma cars" which they are, however some grandmas have good taste.
A beat on SSEi especially if its modded will experience a transmission failure sooner or later, however compared to similar priced cars that are beat on just as much, thats a really hard question to answer or even speculate on.
Your friend is ****ing ____________(insert name-calling phrase of choice). He needs to perhaps race a "real car" like a corvette or viper, something with over 400HP. then lets talk ****. If he throws in a cam/heads/bigger blower/rockers/headers/pcm/2.8" pulley then he can go around and say how fast it is, but until then we can only laugh.