Last post on Dec 06, 2013 at 7:58 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
Aug 16, 2013 (6:22 am)
Although I had previously seen the "Car & Driver" set up of the three mirrors that adorn modern autos, I did a double check last night after work as I made myself and the car ready for my 20 mile commute home (up I71 North from downtown Cincinnati). The set up of the mirrors and the driver's posture and seat position are very important to reducing (but as I came to find out, NOT eliminating) the blind spot. My 2012 Acura TL SH-AWD advance comes with BSW. I assume it is a radar like system, rather than a camera system.
Sitting up straight, hands at 9 and 3, not slouching, etc, I began the drive up I71. I was in the center of 3 lanes. In my three mirrors, I could -- so I thought -- see cars coming up on the right, center and left and I could see the perfect transition of the image from one mirror to the next.
It is indeed critical that the outside mirrors do NOT show you a view of the side of your car -- the key is to set them exactly at the point where you just lose sight of the side of your car.
OK, so I am thinking, "with my mirrors, seat and posture all perfect, I probably don't need BSW." The thing is, I look around and more than 50% of the drivers clearly appear to be slouching and/or talking on the phone, fiddling with the phone's key pad or, with a cool day like yesterday, driving with their windows down and their left elbow hanging out.
So I think I am in the safe zone blind spot wise. Less than one mile up the freeway, my left BSW comes on and stays on. I am looking in all three mirrors and I see nothing. The thing is, there was a car one lane to the left hanging at a geo synchronous position just out of the view range of the left outside mirror. I know this because after the light stayed on for more than 5 seconds, I took my foot off of the accelerator and almost immediately the car "hanging" out on my left rear became visible. Without the light, had I attempted to change lanes (to the left), I assume I would have either heard a horn honk or, worst case, been clipped (or perhaps I would better describe it as I would have been the clipper and the guy in my blind spot the clippee.)
Nothing anyone could have said to me, back in 2008 would have made me spend money to buy BSW -- it just came along with all of the other things I wanted on the Prestige trim level. But it is a great technology.
Perhaps there is something that someone here could say to persuade the doubters to make certain they at least gave BSW a chance to prove its merits. I have no idea, however, what those words would be.
Suffice it to say that it is very possible to greatly reduce the value of this technology by properly setting your mirrors, steering wheel and seat position. However, I can only assume that it is the MINORITY of folks who actually do this.
Therefore, however, notwithstanding: this technology is (relatively) cheap (except when Infiniti makes customers spend $3,200 to get BSW in a package that contains a bunch of technology that seems overpriced and perhaps not ready for prime time insofar as most drivers are concerned) and it works -- typically better than we humans are able to do every time.
I can remember when I got a car -- in 1985 -- with ABS, I also remember 13 years ago getting a car with ESP. ABS and ESP were, for over a decade, available as options, primarily on expensive German cars. Now most cars come with ABS and many come with some form of vehicle stability software (ESP). Way back when (mid 1980's) these technologies came on Audis, they actually had a button on the dash to turn them off -- and I can remember reading letters to the editor in car magazines decrying these electronic nannies. Now, however, we recognize that the computer can pump the brakes 18 times a second -- but that we mere mortals are lucky to get two pumps in a second. We also appreciate the "miracle" of ESP in its ability to apply the brakes to one or several wheels at a time to reduce or eliminate spinouts and other out of control automotive behaviors.
The list of technologies that I rejected, in multiple letter acronym form, would fill up the page -- now I expect them and appreciate how they keep me out of many dangerous and/or expensive situations, situations that seem to grow in frequency as our highways become ever more crowded and our drivers ever more unprepared to drive defensively.
In any case, I'll sign off of this topic and hope that you will seriously consider testing or taking a trial term with blind spot warning technology.
I predict BSW will be made "standard" equipment in the not too distant future -- assuming it can be turned off, perhaps that is the best possible outcome for folks like me as well as the doubters among us.
Drive it like you live.
#16427 of 16984 Re: BSM, Volvo dealers are no fun and techno overkill! [jeffm5]
Aug 16, 2013 (7:33 am)
S60 would love to hear more about your experience with the car- don't see too many of them
#16428 of 16984 Re: BSM, Volvo dealers are no fun and techno overkill! [sweendogy]
Aug 16, 2013 (3:57 pm)
I posted my impressions of my S60 about a year ago. (BTW, this is the FWD S60 T5.) It's number 14708 on this thread and was posted 8/14/12. The only thing I can add to that is when accelerating hard from a dead stop there is slight "turbo lag". Acceleration from say 55 to 80 is immediate and effortless. The only nagging problem I have is that sometimes the seat memory won't hold the position it has been set for. I had a minor interior trim issue that the dealer took care of. I'm getting better gas mileage now than I was when I wrote the review. I still very much enjoy driving this car, which now is just shy of 12,000 miles.
This is my first vehicle in this class, so I have no idea how it compares to say an ATS or 3 series, outside of it being more affordable. I love the looks of the ATS, but to equip it the way I wanted was not in the budget.
Anyhow, if someone is in the market for this class of car, I'd recommend that they take one out for a spin. I'd be interested in hearing from someone who crossed shopped the S60 to find out their impressions.
Hey, I just noticed that just after my original post, you thanked me for the info. You're welcome. You asked why not another Avalon. My wife and I were anxiously awaiting the 2013 Avy, but when we saw that front grill, our hearts sank. It's a great looking car inside and out, except for that, in our opinion. I think I was ready for a change anyhow, having owned 1 Camry and 2 Avalons, all very trouble free, but not very exciting cars.
Aug 17, 2013 (6:05 pm)
I test drove a new 320i today. Plain Jane with auto tranny, engine idle-stop, and leather or vinyl - I couldn't tell.
Anyways, I was surprised by it's pep - torquier than I expected. Engine was smooth (not straight-six smooth, but Honda I-4 smooth, yes) and turbo lag was very minimal. It isn't a fast car, but it felt quick. Confident power for merging onto freeways and passing at speed. Handling was very nice too - smooth and refined and I didn't really sense any vagueness in the steering (very tight and responsive, but road feel is non-existent). It felt more nimble than other recent 3ers I've driven. Cornering was surprising flat and tenacious at 8/10ths.
Overall I think it's without a doubt the nicest Buick I've ever driven. Not outstanding, but very competant. If someone gifted it to me, I'd keep it.
#16430 of 16984 Re: BMW 320i [fedlawman]
Aug 18, 2013 (5:01 am)
fed.....thanks. You're the first person I've heard from who has driven a 320i. Matter of fact, I haven't seen one on the road yet. Saw a couple at the BMW drive event, but no one was test driving them.
#16431 of 16984 Re: BMW 320i [graphicguy]
Aug 18, 2013 (12:04 pm)
I actually had one last year as a rental when I was in Toronto for two weeks. I always reserve a 'Premium' class vehicle since I travel for 2-3 days per week at least 36 weeks each year. I'm a Commerical Insurance Premium Auditor and the audit expense is billed to the client as part of the contract. Part of my contract with the Audit Firm I work for is that I only stay in at Hilton properties (Hampton or Hilton Garden Inn if possible), I fly busines class and whether I'm driving from home to the client of flying somewhere and renting a car, I can rent anthing I choose as long as it is within $25/day of what I would get for mileage reimbursement in my own car. In reality, I get the Premium cars for a lot less than what I'm allowed!
Anyway, I spent two weeks in Toronto last March and my Premium-class rental car was a 2013 BMW 320i. I've had a 328i here in the U.S. a few times also and, to be honest, the Candian 320i and U.S. 328i look, feel and drive identical 95% of the time. The only time I perceived any difference was under full-throttle accelration, particularly in passing/merging situations more so than from a stop.
Last month, I had to visit a client located about 75 miles west of Los Angelese in the middle of godforsaken nowhere! When I got to Southern California, I prefer to flying to Orange County and drive another 20-30 miles than deal with LAX! I coudn't get a flight into Orange this time, but if I was willing to deal with a plane change in Phoenix that added almost two hours to my trip time, I could fly into Bob Hope instead of LAX. I decided it was worth it because flying into Bob Hope is like flying into Key West, it's so small and everything is so easy and fast.
I was pleasantly surprised that, for the very first time, I had a rental BMW that wasnít White! This one was a gorgeous deep blue that I later found out is called Imperial Blue Metallic. The reason the rentals are usually White is because any color other than Alpine White or Jet Black is Metallic and costs $550 extra. I was hoping that the $550 paint option might mean it was a heavily optioned model for once.
When I was handed the key fob, I realized that it didnít appear to have the Comfort Access keyless entry, so that dashed any hopes of it having the Premium Package. I opened the door and the Venetian Beige SensaTec (Leatherette) was a pleasant change from the usual Black faux-leather. After I loaded the trunk and got in the driverís seat, I started reaching to adjust my seat only find the power seat controls had been movedÖ..and then I finally realized that the seats were 6-way manually adjustable, just like my 2006 Mazda3Ö.and manual driverís seat didnít have adjustable lumbar support! I had never. Even my 8yr old Mazda has lumbar support!
I have been spoiled by most other rental cars and by my 2012 Mazda CX-9 because I hadnít dealt with manually adjusting a seat trying to find the best position in years! No one else ever drives the old Mazda3, so the manual seat never moves.
Iíll give BMW a little credit for seat design and comfort, because even without the lumbar adjustment or any power adjustments, it was still a comfy driverís seat. Thankfully it wasnít a COLD driverís seat because it also lacked heated front seats, which the previous 3-seriees Iíve driven includedÖ.
I found the Window Sticker folded up in the glovebox after I got to my hotel that night. This was the most strangely optioned vehicle Iíve ran across in years. I knew something was different about the interior but couldnít put my finger on it. Then I saw on the Window Sticker that the Dark Burl Walnut Wood trim on the dash was $500 and it replaced the target. I assumed it that the Dark Walnut was part of the Venetian Beige interior color, but that wasnít the case.
The car had a Power Moonroof which I assumed had become standard on the 3-series until I that Window Sticker. The car still had one oddball feature for me to discover...
Even though it didnít have the Cold Weather Pkg (Heated seats, alarm system) or the Premium Package (dual power seats, moonroof, Comfort Access key) ; it had the $900 Lighting Package with the Xenon headlight and Adaptive Light Control!
Hereís a recap=
$32,550 Ė Base MSPR
550 Ė Imperial Blue Metallic paint
1050 Ė Moonroof
500 Ė Dark Burl Walnut wood trim
900 Ė Lighting Package (Xenon light and Adaptive Light Control
925 Ė Destination Change
$36,475 was the Grand TotalÖ.
I love the color combination with the deep Imperial Blue outside and Venetian Beige interior; the Silver Matte trim that looks good with the Black interior is also standard with the Beige, but I the darker wood trim looks so much better. So the overall appearance and coordination of exterior color with interior color and interior trim was very appealing.
The lack of Power Front Seats is unacceptable on a car that sticker over $36k! Dual power front seats with driverís seat memory are optional for $995 and would be much more useful than the Xenon headlights.
The BMW 320i reminds me of another car that I often rented back in 2011-2012- the Infiniti G25. The G25 was identical to the G37 Sedan in appearance and standard features. The only difference was the G25 has a 2.5L 218hp V6 in place of the G37ís 3.7L 328hp V6. The G25 smaller, less powerful engine had the unexpected benefit of being smoother and quieter than the G37ís big V6. The G25 was also a pleasure to drive, handled very well and even with 110hp less than G37, it never felt underpowered or like it was missing anything. At least until you got behind the wheel of the G37 and learned what the phrase Ďstupid-fastí means! After driving the G37, the G25 wasnít quite as appealing.
Evaluated on its own merits rather than comparing it to other 3-Series models, it is a surprisingly fun car to drive and feels 100% BMW. But after driving the 328i, comparisons are inevitable and the small price difference may not seem like such a deal???
After driving the 320i and even the 328i in the past, the car I rent most often remains my favorite among entry-level luxury sedans- the Volvo S60 T5!
#16432 of 16984 Re: BMW 320i [igozoomzoom]
Aug 18, 2013 (12:54 pm)
All BMWs are optioned way requested by the sales managers or customers, within model allotments, of course. My guess for the reason of the oddball combination is that the dealer had some rigid price target in mind and grabbed options that fit that without really thinking if they made sense. Perhaps that was also a reason the car landed in the rental lot, as they couldn't sell it retail.
#16433 of 16984 Re: BMW 320i [graphicguy]
Aug 18, 2013 (8:59 pm)
I haven't seen one on the road yet either. The white one I drove (with manual seat that I thought was just fine) was at the BMW Drive Event I participated in. The event was poorly run so I only had time for the one drive, but the free BMW travel mug was a nice bit of swag.
I still haven't driven the 328i so I have no basis to compare, but based on my drive, I think most people will be perfectly happy with the power of the 320i. It felt lively to me, and was the most BMW-like BMW I have driven in a long time - meaning, it had a fun, playful, lively, zippiness about it, with ideal ride/handling compliance and enough power to be fun without being scary (like my friend's 2010 M5 I drove a couple weeks ago!).
#16434 of 16984 Re: BMW 320i [dino001]
Aug 18, 2013 (9:07 pm)
Back in November 2005, I was shopping for new 2005 or 2006 Mazda 3 s 5-door. It was introduced in 2004 and still a very hot seller when I started looking at them. I wanted it in Gray or Silver, 5-speed manual, Power Moonroof AND without Black Leather interior. In 2004 and 2005, Mazda didnít use trim levels (Sport, Touring, Grand Touring} so there was just a 2005 Mazda s 5-door with five major option packages- ABS/SAB (ABS & side airbags), Moonroof/6CD (self-explanatory), Xenon/TPMS (Xenon HID headlights & Tire Pressure Monitoring), Leather Package (Black was the only choice) and Navigation Package.
All of the packages except Navigation were available in any combination with no pre-requirements that one could only be selected if another specific one was also selected. The exception was that Navigation required the ABS/SAB and Moonroof/6CD Package.
Initially, I was surprised to find any new 2005 models left in 11/2005 and, the few that were still available were discounted heavily considering that getting $1000 of sticker on a 2006 was considered a steal! But then I realized that most of them had very odd option combinations. I found a 2005 s 5-door in Titanium Gray with Black/Red cloth interior, 5-MT, Moonroof/6CD (exactly what I wanted so far) and it also had the Xenon/TPMS Package which was fine since it was discounted almost $3k off MSRP. I finally realized the problem- it didnít have the ABS/SAB Package! No ABS was a deal-breaker at any price!
Mazda also introduced a special edition a few months into the 2005 model year called the Ďsp23í. It was based on the s 4-door or 5-door and it added a new Bose audio system, Leather interior, heated front seats for the first time, Rain-sensing wipers and several other upscale features. It was only available in one color called Carbon Grey but it could have Black or Saddle Leather interior. I found a sp23 5-door, 5-MT with the Saddle interior advertised for $1500 off MSRP which was a great deal since most of these went for full sticker. The only options available were a Power Moonroof and a Safety/Security Package that included the ABS/SAB & Xenon/TPMS Packages from the regular s 5-door plus an alarm system and it was $1600. I seriously thought I had found the perfect one, especially with the gorgeous Saddle Leather (the only reason I didnít want leather was because Black was the only choice until the sp23 and the Saddle option was only one this special 2005 model. My best friend and I drove six hours from Atlatna to Mobile, AL planning to buy it and bring it back home with me! When I got there, I realized that it didnít have the Safety/Security Package, so it didnít have ABS, Side Airbags, Xenon headlights or Tire Pressure Monitor!!! It had Bose, Moonroof, Heated (Saddle) Leather, Rain-sensing freakiní wipers BUT not Anti-lock BrakesÖ.I almost cried until I realized how stupid it was that Mazda allowed the car to be configured in such a wayÖ.
For 2006, ABS was made standard across the board and the Sport, Touring and Grand Touring trim levels were introduced. The Touring added front door-mounted side-impact & front and rear curtain airbags standard. The s Sport 5-door didnít offer any options other than the 5AT. To get the Moonroof/6CD option, I had to go with the Touring (which I would anyway for the side airbags) and Leather was optional on the Touring (still Black and still not heated) but anyone who wanted leather went with the top-level Grand Touring which included most of the sp23 features (Bose, heated leather,Xenon). It made locating a car with the features you wanted a lot easier. But nothing is ever really easy for me! When I finally figured out that I wanted a 2006 Madza3 s 5-door Touring, Titanium Gray with Black/Red checkered cloth, 5-speed manual with the Moonroof/6CE Package, there were just two exact matches within a 300-mile radius of Atlanta. One was in metro Atlanta and the other was in Knoxville, TN. I went to the Atlanta dealership on a Wednesday the week before Christmas 2005, relieved that I would finally have my car. Instead I had the single worst experience of my life (not worst car buying or dealership experience, not the worst experience as a consume- it literally the worst day of my entire 31 years and still holds that distinction now that Iím 39)! I wonít even start talking about it because I start shaking from rage as I even think about it. But I was so angry that I smoked all four tires in my momís Grand Cherokee as I backed out of my parking space and it didnít faze me a bit when I almost clipped the Sales Manager in the parking lot AND I backed out with my the gas to the floor and didnít manage to stop going in reverse before I backed thru one of the huge plate glass windows of their showroom. That did stop me from going in reverse, and I just put in Drive like nothing had happened and left jet black drag marks all the way across the parking lot to the main roadÖ.THAT was my response to the three hours I spent there and how I was treatedÖ.they didnít even call the police after I crashed thru the showroom in Reverse- My parents werenít the least bit upset or angry at me over the $8k in damage I caused to their $45k 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland after I told them what I had been thru! I started the video recording on my cell phone shortly intp the ordeal just to record the audio, which it did. By the end of the following week, after contacting Mazda N.A. and telling sharing the audio recording, the Internet Sales Manger, New Car Sales Manager, General Manager and Finance Manager at the dealer were all Terminated for Cause per a Written Directive from Mazda N.A and the owner of the dealership was given a harsh and formal reprimand. He no longer owns that or any other dealership!
I need to quit rambling and go take a Valium after that, but at least I won! I went the following week to Knoxville, TN and the Southeast Regional VP at Mazda N.A. arranged fort the me to be in-and-out in les than 30 minutes, loan docs and all! I got was greeted by the GM and Sales Manager in the parking lot (I had called to let them know I when I was about 10 minutes out) and 25 minutes later I was doing a quick walk around to make sure the car was absolutely flawless. The VP from Mazda had arranged for a $2500 VIP Customer Rebate (as it was shown on the paperwork) and it also had almost Satellite Radio and about $500 in other accessories thrown in for free!
I didnít ask or expect the freebies or the big discount, but when I replaced my í07 Explorer last November, I chose a Mazda (CX-9 Grand Touring) and I drove just over 400 miles round-trip to buy it from the dealer in Knoxville! My next Mazda will come from there as wellÖ.
#16435 of 16984 Re: BMW 320i [fedlawman]
Aug 19, 2013 (4:11 am)
Good write up on the 320i. Thx. Still too rich for my blood. Priced up a 320xi on the BMWUSA website with leatherette, metallic paint, Bi-Xenons, backup camera, & hot seats. MSRP was north of $39K.