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Volvo S40, Volvo V50, Sedan
#564 of 1117 The All New S40
Mar 27, 2004 (9:59 pm)
I currently own a 1988 BMW 325. I'm hoping to buy something else. The S60 is not sporty enough. I waited over 8 months for the 2004.5 S40. I have seen all the pictures on the web and finally sat in one today at a dealer.
I was extreemly disappointed in the interior. It looks really cheap and the center console is a joke. I felt like I was in a rental.
It was a good idea but looks like Volvo screwed this up. No way is this worth 27.1K for leather and moonroof. This is an over priced Ford Focus.
Mar 27, 2004 (11:05 pm)
Check out the Mazda3. Same platform, lower price, feels like much higher quality. Definitely qualifies for the term "sporty" though it wouldn't be considered a "near-luxury" marque like BMW and Volvo (Even though you can get it with Nav, and leather, and pretty much HAVE to get it with a sunroof).
You might be better off waiting for the 2-series though. But there was a recent article in AutoWeek about how it's going to be VERY difficult for the Euro brands to keep from raising their prices because of the strength of the Eurodollar.
#566 of 1117 Don't bother waiting for 2 series in US
Mar 27, 2004 (11:51 pm)
US export is either cancelled or will be delayed for a few years while BMW ponders marketable engines and body styles for the US.
The 1 and 2 series were originally expected in the US as soon as this fall.
Not anymore. It may be canceled for good.
#567 of 1117 The 2 will be here but only after the next 3
Mar 28, 2004 (12:01 am)
No spare tire, so you're forced to ride on those run flats that don't cushion bumps well.
Other than that, it's a perfect 2+2 w/ poor rear leg room.
If the production version can be tuned to ride comfortably, then I'll be interested in the notchback coupe w/ a wide rear glass width not found in the new S40.
#568 of 1117 Re: npaladin2000
Mar 28, 2004 (12:13 am)
I would like to stay away from German cars since they have bad reliability reports especially on the electrical side. I looked into the Mazda 6 a while ago and thought it was a good car for younger people. I would imagine the Mazda 3 is along the same lines.
If you look at the New S40 book, there isn't anyone in there over 27 years old. After looking at the car today, I can see why. I signed up for the drive event but now I don't feel like going.
Here are the other cars I have been looking at with short comments. Tell me what you think.
BMW 3 - Not reliable, everyone has one because of leasing deals. Arrogant dealers and service. Too expensive. Most of the car is made in Germany and the transmission is made in France. Not exactly my two favorite countries at the moment.
Audi A4 - Not reliable, 4 cylinder too slow and just as much or more expensive than 3 Series with 6 cylinder option.
Mercedes C240 - More expensive and more problems.
Acura TSX - Not bad but at $27K, too expensive for 4 cylinder. Dealers were not discounting when it first came out. I may revisit this one now.
Infinity G35 - Great performance and reliability, a little cheap on the inside and plain on the outside. Too much power for me .
VW Passat - Great reviews but not sporty enough.
VW Jetta - Nice looks both inside and out but terrible long term quality and made in Mexico.
Volvo S60 - Nice both inside and out. Ride is not sporty enough. Wide turning radius and headrest are too big which blocks your side vision. Not enough pickup with standard engine. I would only consider with the $4-5K factory discount.
Infinity IS 300 - Great performance and reliability. Terrible looking dash with the 3 big circles. Looks like a old fashioned washing machine dial. Center console has too many colors. Exterior is very boring.
Toyota - (the car company that pays off Jesse Jackson). Don't really have anything for what I am looking for but may look into the Solara Convertible.
Saab 9-3 - Not bad inside and out. Didn't have great reviews.
#569 of 1117 AUTOCAR 23 March 2004
Mar 28, 2004 (12:37 am)
gave high praise for this prototype 1-series except "The One was taut-riding and restless over the rough French roads we tried. Before production begins, the engineers plan to dial back the spring and damper rate to increase the suspension's give. They claim his can be accomplished without damaging the handling."
In the same issue, the new FWD S40 T-5 w/ 17"s was criticized badly including the lack of the 15% final polish in ride comfort found in the Jag & Beemer. Of course, the A4 rides even worse.
"Good grip but steering lacks feel when cornering; ride and body control suffer when pushing on"
"Push the T5 hard and it quickly becomes apparent that this sort of approach is not really enjoyed by either the car or driver. When you want the steering to tell you what's going on it goes all tongue-tied, denying you th sense of accuracy the best sports saloons offer. The system also lacks feedback once on lock. Body control that had seemed well judged at lower speeds starts to fade, allowing the car to lurch on its springs and pitch and yaw until progress becomes ragged."
"Below 2000rpm there's very little action and the boost arrives with such a polite surge it removes much of the excitement from driving the T5. Very soft throttle response makes meting out the power frustratingly inaccurate, too."
Well made, rapid, comfortable, individual
So-so handling, lazy engine, knobbly ride"
At this price, the turbocharged-2.5 S40 only has similar 0-60mph time as the normally-aspirated-2.5 325i! W/ no better rear seat room than this RWD rival, plus the cancellation of charcoal filter & manual passenger seat-height adjustment for N.A....
I might as well invest in a better-resale stripped $28k 325i & install a $2k factory cloth sport seat w/ 4-way lumbar.
Both the Volvo & Beemer offer bi-xenon. AUTOCAR did like the the S40's.
Mar 28, 2004 (12:44 am)
"I signed up for the drive event but now I don't feel like going."
It was deceiving. The cars on the track had sport suspension so they handled great but that's because there were no bumps available for testing. The T-5 on stage had no sport suspension, so when I compress the corners outside the car, it felt like it has a relaxing ride(amazing for a car that cornered like that on the track! But that's a different set up).
#571 of 1117 S60's are having about $6k discount in the ads.
Mar 28, 2004 (12:58 am)
The TSX's long springs have a surprising taut ride that doesn't pamper the passengers while the steering can't tell the driver about the tire grip.
The G35 is a little crude including the so-so steering precision even though it doesn't lack feel. The ride might be a tad shallow, while the off-throttle oversteer(w/ std suspension, per CR) & the RWD power tail slide are bare kept in check w/ the stability control switched on.
The upcoming redesigned Lexus IS maybe quite an attractive proposition. The drawing seems to look not too different from the present car w/ a nice rear glass width.
Mar 28, 2004 (1:01 am)
You could check out the Mazda6. Probably similar dynamics to the Acura TSX with a 4 cyl, but it's also available with a V6 (WITH a manual tranny, if that interests you). Honda also has the S2000, if you're looking for sports car action. The Mazda3 can be luxoed-out with leather and NAV and xenon low-beams. Doesn't sound like you've checked out Lexus yet, and then there's also Subaru's upcoming redesigned Legacys.
Sounds like all you're considering is luxury nameplates, mostly. In those cases, they're much less likely to haggle, and you pay for that nameplate (admittedly, you pay for some other things you can't get in other cars too, but that nameplate invites a premium).