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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,035
    How many drivers, really, have never made that mistake?

    I consider myself an excellent driver (don't we all!!). Just this week on long highway drive, I started to change lanes and lo and behold, there was someone in my blind spot on the passenger side. I got the typical Masshole horn blow and swerved back into my lane.

    Did I check my blind spot? No I didn't and most people don't.

    I've driven a car with BLIS and it's a great item to provide an assist for all of us excellent drivers.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,048
    edited August 2013
    "I would see the light come on, see nothing in any of my mirrors and "just for the heck of it" I would look over my shoulder, and damn if there wasn't someone in my blind spot."

    I've never had a vehicle that had a blind spot if my mirrors were adjusted correctly. Just google adjusting mirrors and you'll find advice. Keeping my head almost absolutely straight ahead I can glance in my side mirrors and see both adjacent lanes if I'm driving in the middle lane of a three lane. The rear view is for for that....rear view. When a car leaves my vision in my rear view mirror the front grill of the vehicle appears in my side mirror. When I actually am going to change lanes I lean and turn my head and look in my side mirror and make sure I am missing nothing but I never have to turn my head and look over my shoulder. Never had a close call when I checked....only those very infrequent times when I might have been a little agitated and started to make a quick lane change did I even come close to a problem. Been driving over 40 years and never had an accident involving changing lanes and not seeing someone. This was taught in driver's training I took during high school and I probably really got used to adjusting my mirrors correctly driving a truck and having to use just the side mirrors to back up with.

    If you are driving looking straight ahead and glance to your side mirrors and can see any part of your vehicle, then your mirrors isn't adjusted right. You don't want to see your vehicle....you want to see the lane next to you.

    P.S. Is it just my browser or did the ability to BOLD, Italicize, etc disappear???
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,189
    "You must be outstanding then."

    Yes

    "While I've never had BSW in one of my cars, I can see how it would be useful."

    I said the same thing in my post.

    Drive fast, take chances
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,685
    "While I've never had BSW in one of my cars, I can see how it would be useful."

    Traveling all over the US and being in cities that I'm not familiar with, trying to navigate freeways, toll roads and highways, listening to the GPS at times can be daunting to say the least. I like the BSW feature, I just had two 2014 Chevy Impala's ( In Chitown and San Fran) with this feature, and I liked it. I arrived in Chicago during rush hour traffic (thanks to ATC delay) and it was a nightmare.

    When people are traveling the same route everyday to work or the store or in laws house, one really doesn't need the BSW, but when you unfamiliar cities BSW is very helpful.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,685
    "P.S. Is it just my browser or did the ability to BOLD, Italicize, etc disappear???"

    Nope they are gone from mine too, I hadn't seen them in a few days. At first I thought it was my iPad, but they don't show up on my laptop either. I wonder if its an upgrade....
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,774
    Nope they are gone from mine too, I hadn't seen them in a few days. At first I thought it was my iPad, but they don't show up on my laptop either. I wonder if its an upgrade....

    Last time this happened I think it took weeks for it to get fixed....Edmund's IT is not too fast...
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,913
    They got lost in a recent maintenance outage. Hope they'll return soon - sorry.

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  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,685
    edited September 2012
    Sounds like USAirways IT department...
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 797
    When I bought my 2012 Mazda CX-9 last year, the only trim level I considered was the top-level Grand Touring. The 20" wheels and chrome door handles totally change the look compared to the lesser models (and their 18" wheels are hideous and look cheap). It also had Mazda's BSM (Blind Spot Monitoring) system standard, but the very concept seemed ridiculous to me. I expected to deactivate it and never give it another thought.

    I've always believed that blind spots could be eliminated with properly adjusted mirrors, which was true based on all the cars I've owned in the past. But the CX-9 is a much larger vehicle that it looks, being classified as a Full-Size or Large Crossover/CUV. Even now, it simply doesn't look that big to me and it feels more like a sporty mid-size sedan behind the wheel than any other SUV I've ever driven.

    Even with my mirrors perfectly adjusted (which so few drivers ever learn to do), there is a blind spot on both sides at the rear corners! I'm not sure exactly how other systems work, but on the Mazda there are cameras mounted under the rear bumper at both corners. When a vehicle enters the space that a camera is monitoring, a yellow warning light (little picture of one car driving into the side of another with a big X over it) appears on the side mirror on that side of the car. If the turn signal is activated indicating a lane change and a vehicle is in the 'blind spot', the audio system mutes and a series of warning beeps alerts the driver.

    It actually works very well, although I still think a quick half-turn of the head to use my peripheral vision to make sure the lane is clear is important! Mazda has expanded the functionality of the system in some 2014 models to include Rear Cross Traffic Alert. RCTA uses the same cameras as BSM to scan for vehicles moving toward you as you back out of a parking space.

    I am a very alert and focused driver. Instead of focusing on the car in front of me, I am always scanning further ahead so I can be ready to brake, maneuver or accelerate instantly if I need to. Even when I have no need to change lanes, I love the fact that I always know if a vehicle is flanking me on either side. For example, you're driving on a 3-lane expressway and suddenly a delivery truck drops a refrigerator right into yoru lane and you have barely a second to react. Knowing which side of your car was clear for your to swerve into that lane could be life-saving information!

    While I find BSM to be useful, some of the latest 'safety' features available are over-the-top and seem like addded complexity just so they can add more acronyms to the car's features! The new 2014 Mazda6 has a Forward Obstruction Warning System that "detects obstructions ahead and warns you of a possible collision." My car already has this- it's called a windshield, you look through it and if you see something in your path, you press the brake and/or steer around it.

    There's also Mazda's Radar Cruise Control that monitors the distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you and adjusts speed up to a driver-set limit or down to maintain a safe following distance. Um, if I'm using cruise control then I'm on an interstae with two or more lanes. If a car ahead of me slows down, I don't want to slow down with them, I will go around them!

    My mom was shopping for a new car earlier this year and the Acura TSX, Nissan Maxima and Volvo S60 were on her short list. We went to the Volvo dealer near my house and started walking the lot so she could see some different inteiror colors, available wheel designs and other features that can be difficult to decipher by looking at a brochure.

    I have a rather dark sense of humor at times and I consider sarcasm (or smart@ss as my nana called it) my second language. My mom has a great sense of humor but she's a lot nicer than me (most of the time) and never rude or sarcastic, but every now and then she'll fire back a retort to a comment I make that surprises the heck out of me (and proves that I've been a bad influence on my own mom, which makes me very proud)! =)

    While we were walking around checking out the S60 models they had in stock, we were greeted by a saleman who barely looked old enough to drive a car, much less sell them. He was obviously very green and instead of screwing with the kid's head, I actually decided to be nice. He started going over the cars features and one of the first topics was-

    Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake and Pedestrian Detection

    The Full Auto Brake with Pedestrian Detection was the world's first and he went into great detail. He explained that it was active at speeds up to approximately 25mph and, if it detected a pedestrian ahead, it would alert the driver if there was enough time to apply the brakes, or it would automatically cut the throttle and apply full braking force automatically if necessary!

    I couldn't resist and asked, "But what if i WANT to hit someone in the road ahead?"

    Before he could speak, my mom replied instantly- "Well you'd just need to be going over 25mph. Under 25mph you'd barely maim them, at best..."

    **I have never been more proud of my Mom in all of my 39 years!

    The poor salesman (sales-boy, sales-child?) had a look on his face that I can't convey in words...he excused himself less than a minute later and the Sales Manager came back in his place and we never saw the kid again.....And I was ready to start asking about trunk space and how many cubic feet of space does an average human body occupy...

    Once we realized that the Sales Manager was completely devoid of any sort of perosnality, we were bored and decided to move on to another Volvo dealer for the test drive. We both behaved very well right up to the end...when I decided to test the Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake by driving at constant 20mph directly toward the wall of the service department. It worked...but apparently the salesman with us felt that I should have warned him before I did it!? Did I need to tell him before I turned on the stereo, or clicked on the turn signal??? If I'm going to buy a car (or my mom), of course I'm going to test out every feature it has....duh!

    There are only three Volvo dealers in Metro Atlanta and we decided not to visit the third one sinice we probably won't be welcomed with open arms at the other two! =)

    She ended up falling in love with a CPO 2010 Infiniti M35 Sport with 21k miles on it. My step-dad insisted on going with us to buy it so he could act as a buffer between us...we were on our best behavior...I almost died of boredom. But the car rocks!
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,343
    Excellent drivers check their blind spot, every time, no exceptions.

    Of course, if you don't check your blind spot, and the system didn't warn you (essentially it fails), how do you prove it, who do you blame, and do they take the liability of payments for damage?

    I seriously doubt it, I'd look every time even with the blinking side mirror. If it proved itself faultless after 5 years and millions of lane changes, perhaps I'd ease up on it.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,343
    Lexus IS 350 report.

    I drove the regular RWD IS350 and the F-Sport IS 350 (RWD too).

    Some Background:
    Several years ago I drove an IS 350 and it had a tremendous engine, it felt very fast and had it all over the TL-S even though the numbers were close, the speed wasn't, Lexus won easy. That is why I gave the new IS350 some consideration.

    While a very nice, comfortable, quiet sports sedan, it just feels devoid of soul, with no personality other than being modern and techie.

    I am feeling nearly 100% positive the 8-speed automatic must be programmed to allow only 70% engine power during the first 1,000 miles (for proper break-in) even during full throttle acceleration, because I felt the car was slow and sluggish, and not giving me the 305 HP I wanted to feel. I am spoiled by a dual clutch auto, but dang it, I wanted to like the car, but I just didn't.

    Superb leather, drive, ride, handled pretty good, well put together, but it just didn't feel like a $45K car. 100% made in Japan; that was impressive.

    There just wasn't all that much difference between regular comfort mode, and sport mode, nor from sport mode, to sport + (only in F-sport trim). I felt the '11 S4 had much more noticeable difference between comfort and dynamic (more legit and mechanical; less electronic feeling).

    A Lexus dealer quoted me sticker MSRP on one; is it 2002 again? What's the point of online quotes if you just reiterate the sticker price?

    While seemingly significantly sportier than previous Lexus attempts, it still comes off as a softer quieter car.

    ATS test drive: Some of the same feelings, though the 3.6 is much more refined and has more punch than the 2.0T. The interior doesn't do it for me in the ATS though. There are a few interior parts and pieces that you can tell belong on a 10K car, not a 50K car (moon/sun roof cover is one). The 2.0T felt like 200 HP since that's what my Audi had stock with its 2.0T. Maybe Audi underrates, Cadillac overrates, and there you go. The ATS was a good handler though, but didn't feel fun. The 3.6 was more fun, and sounded better under hard acceleration. Changing from TOUR to Sport mode didn't do much.

    The ATS chassis and suspension was upset and unbalanced by minor imperfections in the roadway. A 1" deep 1' diamter circle in the asphalt would be run over in my Audi and ignored, but in the ATS, it felt like the back end came out and I wasn't going fast, nor accelerating hard at the time. Happened with both ATS' trying both engines.
  • jeffm5jeffm5 Posts: 111
    Interesting discussion about safety nannies. I bought a Volvo S60 last year with the tech package. The only one I find annoying is the lane departure warning, so I have it turned off.

    I think each driver is responsible for the safe operation of his or her own car. Technology can fail. I like blind spot warning, but I still visually check the blind spot before changing lanes. On the other hand, I'm not perfect. The eyes and reflexes aren't what they used to be. So, if technology can give me a "heads-up", I'll take it.

    Love the S60, BTW.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,530
    Andres...thanks for the update. You and I seem to have the same perceptions.

    While I haven't driven the '14 IS 350, and I doubt it's on my radar anytime in the foreseeable future, it's good to hear initial impressions.

    I did test drive an ATS. The 2.0L is coarse, to say the least, and certainly not remotely as smooth as the Audi 2.0 turbo. The 3.6L is smoother, but I'm not so certain it performs any better than the 6 cyl. Like you, I found some of the interior materials to be "Chevy Cruze" looking.

    It did handle well, but also as you point out, the suspension crashes a lot over the slightest road imperfections to achieve most of its handling abilities (that, and some impressive weight trimming).

    Again, to me it didn't feel like a mid $40K car.

    Markincincinnati, I was wondering how the 2.0L in something as big as the A6 would work. So, you're saying it isn't sluggish?

    I like the Q5. And, a Q5 with the S/C 3.0L would be the first vehicle I'd be looking at IF (BIG IF) I were ever in the market for an SUV.

    BTW, the S4 is over in Beechmont (already tried Montgomery twice) for the 3rd attempt to fix the Quattro "binding" issues, and iPod issue resolved. They put me in another A6 3.0 for the weekend. Man...is it nice, fast and handles well for a big car. That said, it's also much "softer" all the way around coming from the S4.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,106
    edited August 2013
    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.
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,189
    S60 would love to hear more about your experience with the car- don't see too many of them
  • jeffm5jeffm5 Posts: 111
    edited August 2013
    Sween,
    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.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    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.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,530
    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.
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 797
    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 wasn’t 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 didn’t 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 driver’s seat, I started reaching to adjust my seat only find the power seat controls had been moved…..and then I finally realized that the seats were 6-way manually adjustable, just like my 2006 Mazda3….and manual driver’s seat didn’t 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 hadn’t 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.

    I’ll 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 driver’s seat. Thankfully it wasn’t a COLD driver’s seat because it also lacked heated front seats, which the previous 3-seriees I’ve driven included….

    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 I’ve ran across in years. I knew something was different about the interior but couldn’t 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 wasn’t 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 didn’t 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!

    Here’s a recap=

    $32,550 – Base MSPR
    550 – Imperial Blue Metallic paint
    1050 – Moonroof
    500 – Dark Burl Walnut wood trim
    900 – Lighting Package (Xenon light and Adaptive Light Control
    925 – Destination Change

    $36,475 was the Grand Total….

    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 driver’s 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 G37’s 3.7L 328hp V6. The G25 smaller, less powerful engine had the unexpected benefit of being smoother and quieter than the G37’s 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 ‘stupid-fast’ means! After driving the G37, the G25 wasn’t 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!
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,548
    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.

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    edited August 2013
    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!).
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 797
    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 didn’t 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 didn’t 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 ‘sp23’. 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 didn’t 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 didn’t have the Safety/Security Package, so it didn’t have ABS, Side Airbags, Xenon headlights or Tire Pressure Monitor!!! It had Bose, Moonroof, Heated (Saddle) Leather, Rain-sensing freakin’ wipers BUT not Anti-lock Brakes….I almost cried until I realized how stupid it was that Mazda allowed the car to be configured in such a way….

    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 didn’t 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 I’m 39)! I won’t 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 mom’s Grand Cherokee as I backed out of my parking space and it didn’t 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 didn’t 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 road….THAT was my response to the three hours I spent there and how I was treated….they didn’t even call the police after I crashed thru the showroom in Reverse- My parents weren’t 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 didn’t ask or expect the freebies or the big discount, but when I replaced my ’07 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 well….
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,982
    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.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium

  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,548
    edited August 2013
    I agree. It basically costs close to previous generation 328 with nice six-cylinder, better handling, better interior.

    BTW, I just got a 328i loaner - my climate control unit lost power, perhaps it is just a fuse, but I was already at the dealer's lot, when I realized that as a possibility, so I just left it for them to figure it out. It's a first failure on the car, almost two years out of the gate. Will see what it is.

    It looks like the loaner got this leatherette thing (and moonroof, as well). First touch is OK, but I see it wears much faster (the car has mere 2000 miles and I already see some marks on the seats).

    I still hate the steering, but probably not as much, as the first time. Engine and tranny are fast, but oh so rough, especially at a start. Interior is definitely worse in feel. I got aluminum inlays and they seem look OK at first, but after a closer examination they are prone to scratches and gouges. The car DOES NOT feel like $40K+ inside. To add insult to injury, the USB port does not recognize my iPod nano (my car does). I just can't wait to get my car back and it looks I'm not getting a new 3-series any time soon.

    In fact, it looks more and more to me BMW went completely insane with pricing. I was so lucky to get my wagon when I did. Similar configuration (added AWD, cause no RWD on wagon and automatic) would be 5-6 grand more on the sticker. Adjusting for AWD, it is about 3-4 grand more - AND it seems they went cheap on interior, namely switches, buttons, etc. I concluded that BMW went completely insane with pricing AND they actually lowered quality of materials at the same time. It amounts into adjusted 20% price increase (money plus quality). All it buys is larger space and better fuel economy. Perhaps some people think it's a good trade off, I personally hate it and it really casts big doubt into what will be my next car. To get me into one of those new ones in some non-specific point in the future will take a discount no BMW dealer is likely to be will be willing to give me. Things happen, but I have to start compiling alternative list.

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,035
    It looks like the loaner got this leatherette thing (and moonroof, as well). First touch is OK, but I see it wears much faster (the car has mere 2000 miles and I already see some marks on the seats).

    Surprising. I have leatherette in my 2005 Passat and there isn't one wear mark. I have to say it has held up wonderfully.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,576
    For several reasons [ including those you state here ]
    a new BMW to replace my 3 is not even a remote a possibility.
    - Ray
    FWIW
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,982
    Ditto. Our 2007 X3 that we leased had leatherette & it looked as good the day we turned it in after 3 years & over 46K miles.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium

  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,530
    edited August 2013
    328 is the sweet spot for the 3 series, in my humble estimation. I don't like the harshness of the 4 cyl turbo, though. Power is good, as is the MPG, however.

    Which dealer did you participate in the "drive event"?

    I saw an article last week...maybe just a blurb about the recent uptick in the U.S. auto industry, so can't remember the source. But, it went on to state that the new Lexus ES350, with supposedly more sporting pretensions, is suffering a significant sales decline, with the new model.

    So, as BMW gets closer to the Lexus's coddled feeling, Lexus is moving closer to the previous BMW's sporting nature.

    All the cars in this class are going to end up at a crossroads, where the only differences will be minute, at most.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,548
    Perhaps then it was somebody dragging something trully abrasive through these seats and left a mark. Anyway, I don't really care for those in 40-50K car. If not leather than a premium fabric (like microfiber) would actually be better, IMHO - but I'm sure it wouldn't sell. Some (manye?) people buy those plastic leather immitations of leather for similar reason they would buy fake Rolex or Gucci, even if Timex or Casio would actually serve them better as time pieces.

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,677
    ok...I'm interested in the details :)

    Driving through a dealership window at full throttle makes you sound like a hot-head and a little un-balanced.

    The surprising thing is Mazda didn't push to file charges and threw some money at you...obviously they felt your actions were...reasonable/warranted?

    Is the Audio available (posted online)? Or did you sign away your right to share...
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