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Volvo S40, Volvo V50, Sedan
#976 of 1117 Stability Control System, ctd
May 18, 2004 (9:17 pm)
Mercedes has a neat little disclaimer about their safety technology. It runs something along the lines of: ...while no system can re-write the laws of physics....
I rather doubt that a stability control system on a rear wheel drive car can do a better job of fighting a spin than a similar system (such as DSTC on the Volvo) in conjunction with the Haldex AWD system that will be available around the end of 2004 for the S40.
I would even favorably compare the Haldex AWD in the S40 with the AWD in the BMW xi models - the Haldex AWD is integrated with the DSTC computer, such a circumstance is not present in the E46.
#977 of 1117 S40 and E46
May 18, 2004 (9:51 pm)
Having previously owned a '99 328i, and now having just leased an '04.5 S40, I would agree with both statements. The S40 is not a match for the E46's steering and ride, but I do believe it is a "credible contender".
I had been seriously checking out another BMW, this time an '04 325i. But for me, cost played a significant role in my decision. This time, I wasn't willing to pay a few thousand extra for a small improvement in steering feel and ride comfort. I also wasn't willing to buy a "stripped" BMW to try to get its cost down. (Leatherette in this Arizona heat?!!) Don't forget the little things, such as insurance costs, and the short BMW performance tire life when equipped with the sport package. ($600+ for tires every 17K-20K miles.) There is also the BMW "image" factor, as some people out here seem to truly detest BMW drivers!
No doubt, the S40 grew on me. I liked its steering, ride, and handling characteristics more than the TSX, A4 1.8T FWD, or any other FWD car I have driven. And this was without the sports suspension, as I wanted a strong balance of overall ride quality. I also truly appreciate the S40's exterior lines, especially in the black or dark gray colors.
I believe Volvo is offering some lease incentives. Thanks to some excellent number crunching by my salesman at Powell Volvo, I am looking at a total monthly payment well below $300. No, it's not a 2.5T, but the 2.4i with the leather, moonroof, power seat, and the other Premium Package extras. As fast as the 2.5T can scoot, I wanted to avoid even the slightest hint of turbo lag, after having grown disappointed with the non-linear acceleration of our former A4 1.8T. And, more importantly, I was attempting to keep my costs low. For my commute, the 2.4i is just fine. Engine noise is a bit loud during quick accelerations, but it seems relatively quiet enough at highway speeds.
May 19, 2004 (5:30 am)
The MT isn't out yet. I believe they will show up sometime late summer, when the '05s arrive.
#979 of 1117 Re: S40 and E46 [cotmc #977]
May 19, 2004 (10:15 am)
Totally agree w/ you. The new S40 is an uncannily lovable car, despite having worse steering/handling/ride compromise than the std 325i.
The S40's residual value seems worse than the 325i, though. So last month, a 6-cyl $30k 325i auto was advertised at $2528 drive off $299/mo for 36 mo 10k/yr.
"As fast as the 2.5T can scoot, I wanted to avoid even the slightest hint of turbo lag, after having grown disappointed with the non-linear acceleration of our former A4 1.8T.'
We leased a Passat 1.8 turbo auto since Feb. Oh boy, forget this engine! Std lumbar for both front seats are highly praised, though.
Have you driven the T5's 2.5 turbo? It's whole lot more pleasant than that!
May 19, 2004 (10:58 am)
Keep in mind that what someone is used to colors their perception of something new. Frankly, most people don't have experience with owning (probably even driving) a BMW, so they aren't making that comparison. Coming out of an (ugh) Exploder, or Taurus, Camry, or some other such appliance, the Volvo is probably going to look/drive damned good. Also, some of the limitations you point out only show up under certain conditions that not everyone will experience.
As always, people should drive anything they are interested in, and decide what they like (or more accurately, which compromises they are willing to make, since there is no "perfect" car).
#981 of 1117 Re: S40 and E46 [creakid1 #979]
May 19, 2004 (7:10 pm)
Points well taken! By the way, it's a shame the Passat no longer offers the 6cyl engine in the GLS trim. Even if you move all the way up in price to the GLX V6, isn't it the old 190hp VR6 engine?
This month Volvo is advertising a base 2.4i lease with $2495 cap reduction, $595 acquisition fee $229/mo for 36 mo 10K/yr. Since I wanted the Premium Package, we went with a different lease deal through a local bank. But thanks to a Volvo cap reduction incentive as well as my salesman at Powell Volvo, my own lease is in the same "ballpark", or possibly even better, when considering the added ammenities. I totally suspect the S40 residual to be a little weaker than the 325i, but the Volvo lease incentive seems to definitely improve the lease pricing of the S40 versus this month's lease numbers on the 325i.
May 19, 2004 (7:35 pm)
"Even if you move all the way up in price to the GLX V6, isn't it the old 190hp VR6 engine?"
No, the Passat is really an Audi -- no VW engines.
This 2.8 is an Audi V6, not the VW 15-degree VR6 also labeled as V6 these days used in Jetta/Golf.
Even the 1.8 turbo is really an Audi engine w/ 5-valve per cylinder.
Since Audi now uses 3.0 instead of 2.8, CR pointed out that the Passat's 2.8 is the only engine w/o the coil recall that plagues everywhere in the VW/Audi family, & hence the car pretty much got the highest reliability rating of all European cars.
The FWD Passat is the only "Audi" left w/ the old rear suspension. Rest of the FWD Audi's are now adopting the multi-link suspension from the AWD models.
& of course, the upcoming new FWD Passat/Jetta/Golf/A3 got the Focus-type 4-link Control-blade rear suspension, just like the new S40.
#983 of 1117 Re: s40 sporty? ride? [benjamins #889]
May 19, 2004 (10:47 pm)
"In the recent R&T, although the s80 finished last, it did so in subjective handling courses, but it finished first in ride with a perfect score, ahead of the Mercedes E, BMW 5, Jaguar XJ, Audi A6, and others including the Caddy CTS, which finished first overall. In other comparison tests, lately, Volvo has done well in ride comfort, and finished tops quite a few times, even in British mags."
The S60 rode better than the 3-series sedan in that Brit's CAR comparison because the lowered sport suspension has just become std equipment on all European 3-series sedans.
CR bashed Volvo's ride again in the June '04 issue. First, it was the S60 not being able to match the C-class & non-sport 3-series. Ride wise, this time even the new 5-series &, more so, the S-Type are being ranked 2nd-best behind the E-class. While the S80 is way behind, especially at lower speeds.
Sounds like the new 5-series only excels in quietness this time. They said the old 5-series scored better than the new one despite more cramped interior. & the E-class is the only one in the group that got rated high in routine handling!
It's no big deal if you're only trying to find a better ride comfort than the 3-series coupe or sedan w/ sport suspension, 'cause the S40 T-5 w/o sport suspension can do it. The question is will Volvo's have hard time just to beat the much-lower-price Honda Accord's ride/handling/steering compromise? I suspect that Accord's somewhat firm ride has got deeper absorption, as C&D pointed out that even the firmer Mazda6 uses up the spring travel sooner than the Accord!
The only thing that feels good about the non-sport S40's ride/handling is the slow-motion calm movement that's fun to play around as long as you're not facing the really big ones only the Mercedes/BMW/Peugeot can swallow.
May 20, 2004 (5:32 am)
lots of people are buying the name (snob appeal) as opposed to make practical decisions. If they weren't, there would be a lot more Camry XLEs sold and a lot fewer Lexus ES330s (for one example).
#985 of 1117 I don't think chicks find me cool flaunting my "Volvo" badge around
May 20, 2004 (11:37 am)
Once I thought getting a Ford Focus will be enjoyable. Then one of my friends advised me, "If you can't afford a Mercedes, at least get an Avalon in order to find a wife." What does this suppose to mean?
I'm not the type of guy trying to impress my future mother in-law by being a boring dork -- "Gee, I may not be a skillful driver, but I have the Volvo as an guardian angel whenever I crash."
If I'm proud of the new S40, it's due to the car's bona fide inner strength. Perhaps this is gonna be the 1st Volvo that'll top CR's safety rating by outperforming other Volvo's in accidence avoidance maneuver. Most accidents can be attributed by the clumsiness of your car & driving skill.
How many times do I have to tell a student driver to "At least let go the gas AS SOON AS you see red traffic light or brake lights in front of you!" Nobody had to teach me this. Talk about fundamental mental instinct.