Last post on May 09, 2013 at 9:32 AM
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
#15054 of 16087 Re: Reliability and Durability etc. [markcincinnati]
Oct 10, 2012 (1:04 am)
To me, it's not an addiction. Those cars are better in comprehensive view. I drive and own German built cars only, and I thought it would be snobbish to rule out other cars. It's not. It's preference, just like some people like to hear the revving and roaring of their cars, and some prefer the quietness in their sports cars. I'm not particularly fond of MB, and I swore not to consider buying another MB when I sold my last one. It's been over a decade. I'm still driving a MB and admiring the engineering and handling, but I'm not serious about buying MB. My BMW was a reliable car but the style looked old quickly. I haven't bought a BMW for decades. I moved on to other European cars since MB for their curves. I've to say my cars are all very reliable and I adored them all. What's wrong with MB is that they went cheap on material! I haven't seen anything chipped in any other old or older cars except in the 8 years old SL500. Unforgivable!! These cars are all 1-owner well maintained cars, so it's not maintenance issue. It's MB quality control. I had driven a Camry V4 as a loaner from a non-MB dealer when my car was way out of warranty, and I thought that Camry was very nice. It would be for city driving, but don't take it out of town. Toyota cars have issues like other brands, but the repair costs of a Toyota car is not as high as most German cars. A visit to a European dealership for repair or whatnot can easily set you back $2K + change and that could happen a number of times in a month for the same problem. But it's not the same to the dealers of course.
With German cars, durability is not an issue, however, if you can't stand the little annoyances of electronic problems, then you may find reliability to be. Since I'm looking for a sensible car and trying very hard to exclude German cars and other European cars, except VW, Volvo, etc., I test drove a lot of cars that I thought was worthy. Infiniti is cool. Acura SH-AWD are cool. Subaru Flat 4 needs a booster, base Accord 2013 vibrates uncomfortably on city streets, xB is nice, ... So, what's the bottom line? If you're looking for performance of certain type and are used to driving high-end European cars, the best is to stay with the cars you know.
#15055 of 16087 Re: Reliability and Durability etc. [plekto]
Oct 10, 2012 (4:17 am)
I don't know if we live in perpendicular universes, but you are describing a GM with which I am completely unfamiliar. My brother in law - a good hard working union contractor - is professionally prohibited from owning anything other than an American car. He has been through the entire line up of GM "premium" products and after a couple of Iron Cities would admit envy to be able to buy anything German just once before he punches out that final time card and goes to the Union hall in the sky. His experience with Cadillac Escalades has been particularly painful and frustrating.
His Corvette was also a conundrum of "the best of things, the worst of things". Horsepower out the wazu, but the interior was almost unbelievable. The steering wheel looked like it came out of a Malibu. The seats were beyond atrocious with minimal lateral support. Road and Track recently commented that after complaining about the Corvette seats for decades, they decided to improve them themselves by replacing them with milk crates. How the Corvette can be GM's showpiece and have an interior that look like it was put together by a committee of blind fools is beyond me. When I had my 911 and invited my brother in law for a ride, he refused to get out. The union card was dangerously close to being shredded.
GM does make some cheap cars so if you like them and they keep you out of the poorhouse, good for you. My strategy has been to buy quality and keep my cars for 8-10+ years. I have no regrets.
#15056 of 16087 seats Re: Reliability and Durability etc. [habitat1]
Oct 10, 2012 (4:28 am)
I drove a 2007 Corvette Coupe 3LT for over 30,000 miles in 2 years – VERY high mileage for a ‘Vette – and I had no big issues with the seats. Before ordering, I drove both a 1LT and a 3LT ( what I ordered ) back to back on the same morning. I found the ‘Sport Seats’ ( included in 2LT & 3LT ) both more supportive & more comfortable – as well as more widely adjustable.
For the performance delivered, I believe that the Corvette offers excellent value.
Just my opinion.
Current German car = BMW also provides me with excellent value . . .
#15057 of 16087 Re: Reliability and Durability etc. [habitat1]
Oct 10, 2012 (5:07 am)
I have a MB as well as a Chevy Trailblazer and a Toyota Sienna. I like the Chevy the best. My wife drives the MB. Don't care for the Sienna. Last time I was at the Toyota dealership I looked at their cars - the interiors are atrocious. Talk about plastic cheapness! Glad I got my '05 before they shaved every penny.
The MB is nice, a real performance vehicle (C350) everything cool about it. I could go on and extol its virtues.
Personally I like my Chevy TB best. Seats comfortable, interior okay, vehicle is tough, it just feels right. If I were buying a new car right now I'd be in the market for one of the US big three (if we can still include Chrysler in that designation).
#15058 of 16087 Re: Reliability and Durability etc. [markcincinnati]
Oct 10, 2012 (6:06 am)
Mark....good summation. I loved reading Bob Lutz's book about his days with GM. It was quote eye opening and gave a very clear view why GM had the poor reputation that they've endured over the last few decades (can't believe I just said decades, but there it is).
They never really set out to build better cars. They set out to just build ones that they coule drive out cost...in engineering, materials, build, etc. The result is what we see today. They keep claiming they're getting better. But, it's hard to see where that is the case. And, it won't be until they change their culture.
Since the ATS was brought up here, look at what the trade rags say about Cadillac's "CUE" system. Yes....Cadillac can say they have "tech" like the other manufacturers. But, it's so poorly implemented that it's rendered practically unusable.
This attitude vs the Japanese or German manufacturers is what denigrates U.S. car companies the most (although, most Ford vehicles I've been in for rentals seem quite competitive).
GM can't hit the BMW or Audi in handling without making the ride harsh. Same can be said for Infiniti. Acura seems to do a decent job, once you understand you're going to suffer some torque steer with FWD bias.
Audi and BMW spend money to use better materials for their suspensions. It shows when you drive one. Even the Cadillac CTS I drove (again as a rental), as good is it purported to be, couldn't match the solidity of my BMW's doors when they shut. And, this was a Cadillac with less than 3K miles on it.
Hell......BMW actually has a dept that studies and chooses the most pleasant bells/buzzes to use when a door is ajar. Think GM would spend money for that?
I haven't driven a Lincoln in a long time, so I don't know how they compare. The last Chrysler 300 I drove (previous gen) wasn't all that impressive...especially from a build and material quality perspective.
How long with my BMW last? Or, my GF's S4? I really don't know. The BMW is only coming up on its 2 year birthday. It's as solid now, and probably performs better than the day it came off the dealer's lot. The S4 seems to be in the same category.
Only time will tell.
As Mark says, as good as the TL SH AWD is, she wasn't the marrying type.
#15060 of 16087 Re: Reliability and Durability etc. [graphicguy]
Oct 10, 2012 (7:40 am)
Let me add to your comments another perspective which I gained from my recent trip to Spartanburg and tour of the BMW X3/X5/X6 factory.
American workers can build great vehicles. They do it there every day in Spartanburg. From what I could see, they are hard working, passionate, proud, and happy as heck to have a decent paying job with good benefits. But BMW is not hamstrung in South Carolina like GM is in Detroit or Flint with the UAW fighting them tooth and nail every step of the way.
The unions are not fully to blame for the demise of GM, Ford And Chrysler. But they have a big share of responsibility in the "culture" of mediocrity as you put it. And the counterproductive work rules that constantly create a management vs. labor battle are not doing any of us potential customers a damn bit of good.
I wasn't allowed to bring a camera into the BMW factory. But if I could have, I could post 50 pictures of a factory floor clean enough to eat off of, robots doing the jobs that made engineering sense to turn over to precise machinery, assembly line workers busting their humps to do the jobs that required human dexterity, visual inspection and care. And the best pictures would have been of several of those workers looking up and giving me the thumbs up as we passed by their stations. I recieved at least a half dozen "thank you's" for having bought a X5d. Made me proud to have "bought American".
#15061 of 16087 Re: Reliability and Durability etc. [habitat1]
Oct 10, 2012 (8:54 am)
habitat....for a couple of years, when I first graduated college, I worked for GM (Fisher Body Plant outside of Cincinnati). I was doing coding for some very rudimentary robotics machines. I was salary. But, some of the same people I went to college with, left their "degreed jobs" to work for GM as an hourly employee at this same plant because they out earned me by as much as 40% (overtime).
Because of wildcat strikes, work slowdowns, unreliability of those rudimentary "robots" I was coding for, I made the leap to hourly work, too.
You're dead on in describing the ever present friction between the UAW and Management. I saw it from both sides, since I had worked both sides of that aisle. I saw foreman verbally abuse hourly workers (to the point of being as abusive as I've seen two humans could possibly be). In turn, I saw hourly workers sabotage machinery and ruin body parts (which were eventually shipped to an assembly plant) to retaliate.
This was in the '80s. And, that plant eventually closed down. I know there was a lot of bitterness at that particular plant. Don't know if that exists today, or not. It certainly wasn't conducive to quality car building. And, GM wasn't all that concerned about quality. They were quite focused on quantity, though. Again, something that shows in their products.
By contrast, I have toured Honda's plant in Marysville, OH, and the Subaru plant in IN. As you describe Spartanburg, these plants were clearly as clean as a pin. And, there is a spirit of cooperation, not distrust, disinterest, and uncooperativeness.
I firmly believe that's why Toyota's, Hondas, Audis and as you point out, BMW enjoys the reputation for engineering superiority, build and material quality they do. They design better products, they make better products, because they plan to. And they make certain anyone who works for/with them do, too.
I heard someone make apoint on one of the radio auto shows a while back that the reason German cars are expensive to keep is because there aren't enough mechanics around who are willing enough to understand how the cars are built and engineered. So, the dealerships get to charge whatever they want.
#15062 of 16087 Re: My '06 Audi A3 [andres3]
Oct 10, 2012 (9:34 am)
Since Audi stepped up to pay #1, 3, 4, & 5 under warranty (or goodwill extended warranty), I have no issues at all. I'd consider this stellar performance, reliability, and durability.
I think part of the disagreement on reliability is due to perspective. I had a car for 13 years that I ended up giving to kars for kids. I loved that car which was one of the reasons I kept it so long. I always considered it a reliable car because, after all, I was never stranded nor did it ever need to be towed. However, after donating it I went through the maint folder I kept on it and soon realized something surprizing, that car had a lot of repairs and I put a lot of time and money into it because of those repairs. It would have made your list seem short in comparison.
That said, based on my experience over the last ten years, you list looks very less than "stellar" from my perspective. I just traded a 2002 Infiniti with 98k in that only needed two actual repairs during it's lifetime with me. A power antenna(which I didn't fix and traded in like that) and and an inexpensive exhaust pipe repair a couple of years ago. So, you call your experience with your Audi stellar and I would not agree. To me that's a lot of repairs including some things that should last the life of the car without a problem.
My whole point is not to put down any brand but to explain that our love for our vehicles can sometimes make us blind to the obvious compared to someone else looking at the same picture.
#15063 of 16087 Re: Reliability and Durability etc. [graphicguy]
Oct 10, 2012 (11:23 am)
I loved reading Bob Lutz's book about his days with GM
Bob Lutz was the problem at GM. He billed himself as being the performance guy, but wasn't.