Last post on May 25, 2013 at 4:58 PM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G37, Acura TL, Lexus IS 350, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Cadillac CTS, Volvo S60, Audi A4, Acura TSX, Car Comparisons, Sedan
Jan 03, 2012 (8:24 am)
Maybe it is just the congestion caused by all the high-school and college students home for the break, but here in our somewhat small city, Cincinnati, it is approaching impossible to be able to actually DRIVE (meaning the car is moving at a speed higher than 20MPH) unless one seeks a rural route.
Now, me, I go to and from work 5 days per week, travel the 200 mi RT between Cincinnati and Columbus once per week and sleep late the other day. I do not (and really don't plan to) "track" my car (never have).
So I go through German and now Japanese "luxury performance sedans" one after another -- ordering upsized wheels/tires, sport packages, sport seats, sport suspensions, whatever has sport in it. I used to fight the good fight and order cars specifically so that I could get manual shifters. I chipped my turbo cars, changed out the air filters and BPV's to squeeze out any additional power I could (from the turbo's of course).
A quick dash to 35MPH, before I had to abruptly mash the brake pedal or rear end the guy parked on the highway in front of me! That's what.
I read the reviews of the new BMW 328 (with the turbo 4), and I really got excited (for about 9 minutes) when I saw the acceleration figures -- but then I thought, "I probably can't even use that much power on the entrance ramp to I-71S" (I'd rear end someone.)
Nevertheless I continue to want more -- I want my cars to be ever quicker (they're already fast, even the puny ones can go 130MPH, which is where many of the Germans place the "limiter") even though it is hard to imagine regularly (or frequently) being able to enjoy the ever quickening acceleration from the Americans, Europeans and the Japanese.
I want ever larger and sticky-er tires, firmly sprung and electronically controlled suspensions, the whole enchilada -- and for what, the one time I can carve that corner (without fear of hitting a deer in the headlights -- literally Bambi.)
I have become irrational about the performance -- I want more more more, whereas traffic and circumstances of urbania and even sub-urbania allow less less less -- of the cars I drive. Perhaps that is why my fondest memory (and my all-time favorite car) is of a 1995 Audi S6. At least, way back then, I could actually slip the car into first gear and rapidly release the clutch and floor the accelerator without rear-ending the guy in front of me being my first and foremost thought.
Now I am driving a car that is as fast as any on this board and faster than many. Moreover, the thing is capable of holding its own in quickness too. Good luck in being able to actually enjoy the performance.
Yet, with 31 months to go on the lease, I am wondering -- what will be quicker, sticky-er and have more technology next time?
I'm thinkin' the evolution of the new BMW 3 (in the next 30 months) or the G from Infiniti (and possibly another Acura) or maybe back to my old love, Audi will provide more more more. By then, however, I'd imagine that an occasional sprint to 55 or 60 will seem "freakin' awesome!"
Drive it like you live (or rather, as you would like to live).
#12891 of 16088 Re: Frustrating [markcincinnati]
Jan 03, 2012 (9:35 am)
Mark, great post (as usual). We're all in the same boat, but we're enthusiasts so we want the potential, even if we can't use it.
We live for the occasional empty decreasing radius onramp (and we know where all of them are located within 12 miles of home), and we want to have the torque to squirt through a gap in traffic when we're stuck behind a LLC. Like owning a jetski or an airplane - we can't use it all the time, but when we do, it's a blast.
But your reasoning is sound. That's why I would even entertain the option of owning a Passat or Subaru - ELLPS power and cockpit, but without the brand cache and chassis prowess that I can't use.
BTW, my company car is a Chevy Malibu, so M-F, onramps and the occasional bare stretch of road don't have anything to offer me but temptation. When I'm on my commute and happen to see someone in a 993 or worse, an E30, it just makes me wish I was in my personal car...which I do drive to work occasionally just for the fun of it.
#12892 of 16088 Re: A little OT [fedlawman]
Jan 03, 2012 (9:44 am)
I believe we are the same age or close. I was very lucky to get a great job out of college.
So far I have owned all but one of my dream cars, and I have started the hunt for it, a Acrua NSX.
Willow Springs was my home track for both cars and motorcycles, having road raced many bikes at both Willow and Laguna Seca however Willow is home, both the streets and track.
Yes I have attended a few HPDE's, last one was at Firebird (which BTW isn't my fave track) but its a blast to be able to get the 330 sideways without worrying about the local police.
#12893 of 16088 Re: A little OT [flightnurse]
Jan 03, 2012 (9:59 am)
Very cool Flightnurse. It's great that you have owned the cars you wanted to own (and bikes too!). I love the NSX - looks and performance still hold up. I see one on the road every now and then. Another car I love seeing but is pretty rare now is the 300ZX twin turbo. Not an NSX, but someone in my neighborhood has a cherry one and my heart skips a beat whenever I see it.
I went through a bike phase (Honda Hurricane 600) when I was in the Army. Then when I lived in L.A., my friends and I used to ride Mulholland and go to the Rock Store. I was a pretty good rider at 8/10ths, but I never got good enough or brave enough to go faster. I got hit by a car in 1990, sold the bike for parts, and never rode again.
#12894 of 16088 Re: fedlawman [sweendogy]
Jan 03, 2012 (10:54 am)
Sorry I was late to the party, but my special order experiences mirror those of NYC and Shipo.
Often, it's actually cheaper for a dealer to sell the same car special order .vs. from stock, as the dealership has no $$$ directly tied up in the special order vehicle, as he may have in one on the floor.
IMO, I have always done better negotiating for a special order than a floor model. Obviously, the dealer understands you are more educated about the potential vehicle, and that you are less willing to settle for something less than what you want.
The big drawback, of course, is the waiting period, and the uncertainty of the trade in value at the time of actual delivery.
Jan 03, 2012 (1:06 pm)
Ordering a car is "always" less money than buying one in inventory.
#1 Dealer has a buyer and will not have any cost of borrowing or at most a very small cost of borrowing -- meaning the discount can be larger ("can be" doesn't always mean "will be," but hopefully you get the point.)
#2 Many of the LPS and ELLPS cars are "on allocation" -- as it was explained to me, "the more cars I sell, the more cars I can get." So, your order will potentially increase the total number of cars the dealer will be able to get, especially if the brand is from Europe, more specifically Germany.
Dealers love ordered cars -- I would bet, overall, that dealers would love to have only demo's in stock and have 50 or 60 cars on order every month.
As far as I know, this is the way it is done in Germany (mostly). You research your car, you go to the dealer who has a demo -- if you like it you order it.
No instant gratification, but the buyer gets EXACTLY what he/she wants, not "close enough for jazz" as we do in the US.
I wanted a pearl white TL (check).
I wanted it with the Umber leather (apparently not possible this year and not even possible as a custom order like the Germans allow -- for $2,500 over the normal cost).
I accepted Pearl White with a Black Leather interior. I wanted the Advance package, too (check).
Actually come to think of it, the inability to order a car the way you want it, is a strike against Acura.
Oh hell . . .
As Meat Loaf says, "two out of three ain't bad."
Happy Freaking New Year!
Jan 03, 2012 (1:18 pm)
Excellent posts guys.
How fast can we really go on our public roads? How much power do we really need? We're car enthusiasts & that's what we want.
I live in Connecticut & Commute to The Bronx 6 days a week. The roads I drive on have mostly 50 mph (in NYC) & 55 mph (Westchester & CT). There's even a 3 lane (each way) parkway I take sometimes with a 45 mph speed limit! 2 of my cars (Prelude & TSX) have 200 horsepower 4 cylinder engines. Guess what? I seriously have trouble keeping the speedos under 80. If I slide my TSX shifter down a notch and use the paddle shifters, it hits 100 mph in 4th gear.
I've got my Prelude Type SH as my super fun to drive, lightweight, exit/entrance ramp attacking, awesome handling, stick shift car that I drive to work once a week now.
The TSX is my daily driver. As much as I love driving my Prelude, the thickly bolstered, heated leather seats, automatic climate control, & bluetooth, & even the (gasp) automatic transmission are fantastic. My wife does drive it on the weekends if she goes out for the afternoon on her own without the kids. She prefers driving the TSX solo as opposed to her 2011 Pilot which she chauffers the kids around in all week. It is nice to have 2 automatic transmission cars.
I do admit to having an option "prejudice" when it comes to the different cars in this class.
No way would I even consider a G25X, only a Sport/Nav/Premium G37X.
With a BMW, the only way I could even think of affording a 335Xi is if it is a CPO car. Then I'd have to really think, is it really worth it to get this CPO 335xi over a brand new optioned as I want 328xi? With the upcoming
320i w/ X drive 328i 2.0L Turbo 4, the 260 lb ft of torque & sub 6 second 0-60 mph time will do it for me.
When the time comes, I'd have to check out the C350 as well. Who knows, BMW may have botched the electric power steering (it is LIFELESS in my TSX)? Maybe MBs 7 speed auto transmission & 3.5 L V6 would be a better fit for my daily commute. I might be able to pick one up at a screaming bargain executive demo car too. MBUSA's headquarters (as well as BMWUSA's) are about 15 minutes from where my parents live & the dealership near them might pick up an MB Executive Demo car that's RWD instead of the run-of-the mill C300 4Matics that every dealership stocks. Maybe if I LOVE the Mercedes that much, I could live with a RWD car in CT. I'd be willing to live with MB Text instead of the full leather.
There's been a lot of talk about the "high end harshness" of the G37's engine. Fact of the matter is, ask most people & they are very happpy with their G37 Sedan.
It is really fantastic to have the perspective on here not only from the casual enthusiast, but also from guys who track their cars & have been to driving schools too.
#12897 of 16088 Re: fedlawman [markcincinnati]
Jan 03, 2012 (2:27 pm)
It is funny, because the dealers would make you believe they're doing you such a favor by ordering a car the way you want it. Germans aren't so bad, but they always start their negotiations from "if it's an order, it'll be at sticker", like it was a rule or something. Even though, as you mentioned, an ordered car is lower cost to them, they want actually a larger profit on it. Classic reverse psychology: you came it, you want it just like it, you must be very motivated, so I'm charging you for that desire - if you walk away, no harm done to my bottom line, yet, as long as there are enough people to come and get something else. On the other hand, the one on my lot is sitting there, if you walk away, I'm still having a car to sell, so I better price it to sell now.
It's all instant gratification. When I ordered my 328i SportsWagon for ED followed by Performance Center delivery (yes, you can combine the two), many people at work could not understand why I would wait for a car for four month, just to get it right. Isn't that easier to go there and just get a red one off the lot? They're asking. Well, yes, but to me a deal on something you don't really want is not a deal at all.
#12898 of 16088 Re: mark & fedlawman [nyccarguy]
Jan 03, 2012 (2:36 pm)
I have been to three Audi (in Seefeld Austria) driving schools and one BMW driving school (here in the US in South Carolina). Both schools teach you how to brake, steer and generally gain a pretty high level of control over your car at speeds faster than you are probably able to imagine yourself going "comfortably."
I drive my 305HP TL so slowly on Interstate 71S on the way to downtown Cincinnati, I rarely have any chance to exercise my abilities.
We had our first slick road conditions here yesterday -- the local news interviewed our State Highway Patrolman du jour about how to drive defensively (which is, after all, what they teach in the Audi and BMW driving schools even if they never use that term). The first 25 seconds of the response from the highway patrol was to describe what to do if your vehicle is NOT equipped with ABS (or stability control) -- just as he started to explain the differences in braking with ABS vs non-ABS, the interview was cut short.
As I watched this interview unfold, I grew angry since the response from the cop was to NOT press hard on the brakes without ABS and I knew he was about to say something like, "unless you have ABS . . . (wherein he was cut off) in which case you should apply your brakes with maximum pressure on the brake pedal."
If anyone was about 75% paying attention, I would think they would press on their ABS equipped car's brake pedal until the tell-tale vibration started and then quickly reduce pressure on the pedal. Of course this is just the opposite of what should take place to ensure the shortest, straightest stop (with steering capability, to boot)!
What is the % of ABS equipped cars? I've had it in all my cars since 2000 for pity's sake -- 11+ years.
Why not talk about getting out and cranking the engine with the hand crank?
Oh crap, I'm way off topic.
Hmmm, let's see -- OK, I've got it.
All ELLPS and LPS (and most other cars on the market today) have BOTH ABS and Electronic Stability Control, we should be taught how to use them for optimum effect!
Whew, hopefully I saved it. Sorry for going off track. I panicked.
#12899 of 16088 Re: mark & fedlawman [markcincinnati]
Jan 03, 2012 (4:35 pm)
I live less than 10 miles from the BMW Performance Center and have been on their track many times.
I agree with your comments about confusing the drivers about braking practices.
Its one of the 1st things you're taught by the Performance Center trainers when you pick up your new BMW car there, and I would guess well over 75% start out the day not knowing the proper procedure for braking in wet/icy conditions.
BTW, I never tire of spinning out on the skid-pad at the Performance Center track....