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Volvo S40, Volvo V50, Sedan
#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).
#575 of 1117 The made-in-Japan Mazda3 is a decent value
Mar 28, 2004 (1:12 am)
Hopefully the '05 model will allow the N.A. cars to be equipped w/ DSC. & the Bose stereo is on its way. Then just add hundreds of dollars of sound insulation on this reliable car & put on the S40 or Gabriel shocks to calm down the rebound...
The '06 cars are coming just over a year away. There's the German-made new Passat blown up from the new Golf/Jetta V w/ Focus-type rear suspension. Like the transversely-mounted-engine Passat back in the early '90's, it'll be super roomy again.
Mar 28, 2004 (1:27 am)
Well, all I can say is I was waiting for almost a year for the new S40 to come out and I am both disappointed and upset. The theme should be changed from "All New" to "All Cheap" as far as I'm concerned. How can you make a car with a center console like that ? What were they thinking ?
I drive a 1988 325 coupe with 240K miles and was holding off as long as I can. I was hoping to get a new car this spring.
Is there anything else coming out soon that is newly designed ?
Mar 28, 2004 (1:39 am)
Ok, you probably DON'T want to hear about the new Hyundai SUV, so that leaves the 2005 Subaru Legacy/Outback, due to be relased around June, I believe. Or you can get the Mazda3 (Keep that DSC away from me...I have my own DSC, and it's called a "steering wheel") which doesn't need a Bose stereo, really. Nothing else comes to mind, though I might see something at the auto show in a couple of weeks (NY City one).
Mar 28, 2004 (4:24 am)
"The theme should be changed from "All New" to "All Cheap" as far as I'm concerned. How can you make a car with a center console like that ? What were they thinking ?"
That center console location is genius! You can just rest your palm or wrist on the shifter & type anything you want on those shapely buttons w/o looking! Except that the buttons do not retract when switched on like the typical A/C button on a base Japanese car.