Last post on May 01, 2013 at 3:12 PM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Lexus GS 430, Acura RL, BMW 5 Series, Volvo S80, Audi A6, Infiniti M35, Infiniti M45, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Cadillac STS, Sedan
#8575 of 10338 Reliability as a general issue of discussion
Oct 14, 2006 (7:57 am)
A frustrating personal experience with a car or SUV, such as the BMW X5 mentioned a recent post, would definitely weigh heavily on my mind in going out to buy a replacement.
Figuring out how that bad experience and/or CR's assessment of the X5 should, if at all, influence anyone else is a different issue.
I don't believe that we have the kind of reliability statistics (from either CR or JDP) that is very helpful. Use of statistics is tricky, even in very scientific forums, but as reported by CR and JDP none of us could figure out what the probability is that an M will be more reliable than, say, a BMW 530i. By choosing an M over a 530 will I be decreasing my chances of unscheduled service by 2%, 10%, 50%. No way to know from CR. And, all JDP lets us know is that, the most reliable model averages 1 or 2 unscheduled service stops in three year and the least reliable averages 3 or 4.
Similarly, anecdotal information is easily balanced by other anecdotal data. I have lunch every few weeks with a man who has owned a BMW 328i for seven years and bought an X5 about three years ago -- a 2003, I think. He was concerned that the X5 is produced at the Spartanburg plant in South Carolina and he went with the 3.0i that is powered by the 225-horsepower 3.0-liter inline six because he associates BMW with that famous inline-6 cylinder and he thinks that might have increased the probability of his trouble-free experience, since, according to what he's read in CR, for some reason, owners of the X5 Inline-6 report fewer problems than owners of the X5 V-8 . He says both of his BMWs are enjoyable and have been what he considers to be trouble-free. The X5 has had two unscheduled service days in three years. When I emailed him the "nightmare" X5 anecdote, he wrote back saying that he's going to replace his X5 with a new one, sooner rather than later if the upcoming design change "instantly infatuates" him.
To show how anecdotal reports work in completely chaotic ways, the irony is that this man is about to give his son the 328i and he's shopping for an LPS. He's been skimming Edmunds forums and formed a completely skewed and subjective negative impression of the M, which he summed up: "more complaints about gas mileage than for any other LPS I'm considering" and "four or five people who didn't complain about defects (he found lots of those complaints on MB forum boards, he says), but actually said that, driving it everyday, they had to come to very much dislike the way the car drove" (I had come across those myself, when I was using Edmunds to research my own car purchase and also found that specific odd type of complaint written only about the M), and "only LPS that some auto mag reviews (including Edmunds comparison test, second opinions section) said is noisy" (which he finds completely incompatible with the entire LPS concept). I encouraged him to test-drive the M and I don't really know how influenced he is by such anecdotal data anyway.
#8576 of 10338 Re: Reliability as a general issue of discussion [domenickamarc]
Oct 14, 2006 (10:33 am)
Sometimes the best data going into buying a car is data like the mpg issues, or the noise, from real life owners (even if its only a few) rather than a bunch of stats about powertrains and electricals. I've driven Ms on three occasions, and really enjoyed driving the car every time. It does have some faults though (as does every car) that I might not like as an actual owner, though. My suggestion would be to take a very long test drive, and try to do every type of driving on as many different roads as possible.
#8577 of 10338 Re: S6 - the temporary king of the LPS class? [sfcharlie]
Oct 14, 2006 (5:09 pm)
Well, thank you for asking.
I'm driving a Lincoln LS with a manual. The main reason I own this car is that it came with a manual (the first one for Lincoln in 50 years, BTW). It was part of a brief wet dream that Ford/Lincoln had back in the late '90's having to do with competing with European brands on their own turf (this was before Ford bought Volvo & Jaguar). Anyway, the concept sputtered to its ignominious end earlier this year when the last LS came off the assembly line at the Wixom plant. They "updated" the car in '03 with lots improvements, one of which was to eliminate the manual.
I'm well beyond bitter. I bought into the original concept of a BMW competitor from the U.S., and ended up with a car that you have to review the depreciation numbers to fully appreciate. Depreciation aside, I wanted to get in on the ground floor with a vehicle that would improve year-over-year for decades. This same corporation pumped out another enthusiast car a few years earlier (Merkur), but I wasn't dialed in then. Fool me once. . .
(All) That said, it's a fine car. I'm presently in central Texas enjoying the hill country (where I went to high school), and it's been a delight. The LS turned 100K miles just before I left, and blasting across Texas at 85 (80 is legal -- God bless Texas) on I-10 was pure pleasure. I spent the day today puttering around backroads near San Marcos & many of them were curvy & uncrowded. Wonderful.
I've only driven a few vehicles farther than this one -- my Kenworth truck accumulated over 200K miles in a bit over two years, so it wins for rate of accumulation. The high-mileage champ was my '73 240-Z that I drove off the showroom floor in Edmonton with 3 miles on it. Eleven plus years later it was no match for a Chevy Suburban -- 224K miles. I loved that car.
After the 240, I bought a used Datsun 510 (with 163K miles on it). Put a junkyard engine in it & drove it an additional 106K miles over the next seven years. I modified it quite a bit -- went around corners really well. Sold it to another enthusiast who loaded it on a trailer. It went to a good home. I was pleased.
But, before any of this I drove a used MGB a little over 104K miles in a bit over 3.5 years. This was where I acquired my jones for tight steering & a transmission linkage with no rubber. This car & I went to 44 states & 6 provinces. I could change a generator (this was before alternators) bushing in under half an hour. I could pull an engine in under two hours. Lots of maintenance, but much joy as well.
After the 510, I went for a couple of Mazda Miatas, in honor of the "B". Fun, but no passion. After them, I went for a larger car (Eagle Vision), since I had a "management" job & needed something in which I could take people to lunch. It was great for the first 5 years or so, then went way South. I will never own another car with an automatic transmission, but this one gave me 98K miles, most of which were pleasant.
Our family has owned a couple of Chrysler minivans, the first one for 115K miles ('86 Voyager) & the second for 158K miles ('94 Caravan). Other than the transmission "issues" on the second one, they were more-or-less bulletproof.
As I've said before, for me the vehicle is the means to an end. The end is an excellent driving experience, preferably at 3 in the morning on a totally empty road with the Northern Lights showing, or as the sun comes up rolling down the Fraser Canyon, or as the sun sets across New Mexico on US 60 at 120 mph.
#8578 of 10338 Re: S6 - the temporary king of the LPS class? [cdnpinhead]
Oct 14, 2006 (6:34 pm)
Man you do some driving . Thanks for the story Tony
#8579 of 10338 Re: S6 - the temporary king of the LPS class? [cdnpinhead]
Oct 14, 2006 (6:52 pm)
I'm well beyond bitter. I bought into the original concept of a BMW competitor from the U.S., and ended up with a car that you have to review the depreciation numbers to fully appreciate. Depreciation aside, I wanted to get in on the ground floor with a vehicle that would improve year-over-year for decades.
Yeah, I hear you. Too bad we still have to wait decades for them to earn our trust.
…and blasting across Texas at 85 (80 is legal -- God bless Texas) on I-10 was pure pleasure.
On Earth as it is in Texas!
#8580 of 10338 2000 Lincoln LS [cdnpinhead]
Oct 14, 2006 (6:52 pm)
"I'm driving a Lincoln LS with a manual.
Oh, wow! The Lincoln that came out in 1999 as a 2000 year model and became Motor Trend's 2000 Car of the Year? That was a great American automobile moment! American car version of "Float like a butterfly. Sting like a bee." Relatively light for an LPS, at just under 3700 lb, good power with V6 or V8, and something like BMW's 50/50 front/rear weight balance. I saw a 2001 V8 in the spring, at an Infiniti dealership -- 74K miles, asking $16,000., if I'm recalling correctly. I had once driven a V6 (a used 2001 I talked my BMW dealer into letting me have as a loaner) with the German-made Getrag gearbox which was very smooth, and tight at the same time. Shifting gears was delightful, and although almost a year separated that drive from the test-drive of the V8 with a automatic recently, my impression is that the straight-line acceleration of the stick-shift V6 was as good as that of the V8 with an automatic transmission. That was a lot of car for a low $30K price tag, wasn't it? How bad could the depreciation have been? Or is the bitterness that you were ready to join them in a real American attempt to produce an LPS that driving enthusiasts could love (and, ironically, Lincoln is now considered a very reliable brand -- more reliable than Toyota) and they just wimped out and shut down the experiment (or too few other American drivers saw the opportunity)?
#8581 of 10338 BMW and Toyota/Lexus: Vision and Future
Oct 15, 2006 (7:31 pm)
Interesting feature story quoted from Business Week: "The flexibility of BMW's factories allows for a dizzying choice of variations on basic models. At Leipzig, for instance, parts ranging from dashboards and seats to axles and and front ends snake onto overhead conveyor belts to be lowered into the assembly line in precise sequence according to customers' orders. BMW buyers can select everything from engine type to the color of the gear-shift box to a seemingly limitless number of interior trims--and then change their mind and order a completely different configuration as little as five days before production begins…There are so many choices that line workers assemble exactly the same car only about once every nine months…That kind of individualization would swamp most automakers with budget-busting complexity. But BMW has emerged as a sort of anti-Toyota. One excels in mastering complexity and tailoring cars to customers' tastes. That's what differentiates BMW from Lexus and the rest of the premium pack. 'BMW drivers never change to other brands,' says Yoichi Tomihara, president of Deutschland, who concedes that Toyota lags behind BMW in the sort of customization that creates emotional appeal."
Nonetheless, new (as of Sept 1) CEO of BMW, Norbert Reithofer believes "the pack will be coming at him from the east." One BMW staffer who has worked with the new chief says he "never spoke about Mercedes. He was always looking over his shoulder at Toyota." Business Week concludes: "Over the next decade, BMW expects Toyota Motor Co.'s Lexus and Nissan Motor Co.'s Infiniti brands to set up plants in Europe and then hire German engineers to work on building cars with BMW-like handling. Within five years, predicts Reithofer, it could be 'Lexus that we will be most busy competing with'."
#8582 of 10338 Re: CR shapes the American dream [lexusguy]
Oct 15, 2006 (10:04 pm)
You know what, I've been reading Consumer Reports lately it is seems that only thing holding them back on recommending a Mercedes is reliability. They seem to like the E,R,SL,S and GL a lot, but of course can't recommend them. I knew they liked the S, but I had no idea about the rest. Very interesting. They really seem to like Mercedes a lot, but....
#8583 of 10338 Re: BMW and Toyota/Lexus: Vision and Future [domenickamarc]
Oct 15, 2006 (10:05 pm)
Interesting since Mercedes builds even more variants of their cars and has more models. I guess this is more about one plant's flexibility?
#8584 of 10338 Re: CR shapes the American dream [lexusguy]
Oct 15, 2006 (10:11 pm)
Yeah, I can see that. I think what CR is trying to say is that while we didnt necessarily like the car, owners say its reliable, so if you like it, by all means. Perhaps they should change the "recommended" tag to "reliable" or something like that. Something to further differentiate the reliability score from the overall score.
I agree. I guess having 2 lists of cars, one that they can recommend and one for cars that they like a lot but can't would defeat CR's purpose huh?