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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,708
    edited May 2010
    If you have a 20 degree driveway, you need 4 wheel drive.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7dVFY5CxT0&feature=related
    The problem is that the systems try to out-think the situation and react too slowly. So they get stuck and actually in some cases literally stop turning ANY of the wheels despite the throttle being on full. 6:15 is the part to watch - a dirt hill climb.

    What appears to happen with most of them is that the system transfers enough power to the rear wheels to merely keep the vehicle's place stable on the hill and does the climbing with the fronts alone. This works to a point.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xJusLJQbv8
    Ouch.

    Trust me - almost all of the drive systems that transfer power back and forth fail like this and are only good for getting unstuck from a flat snowy driveway or the side of a road. Note - Subaru and a few others are full-time AWD and do work. Part-time is rubbish, so don't bother wasting your money.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXOPcwMnC6c&feature=related
    4wd. Just pay the extra money if you really need snow performance.

    Snow tires are much more critical, though:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P03wqClnq-0&feature=related
    A nice video I found showing how AWD isn't going to save you while snow tires likely will. There are 6 in the series - it's very informative, if a bit repetitive.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXuhfwY74b8
    A bit more funny :)
  • slance66slance66 Posts: 21
    Here's my experience so far:

    2000 Volvo v70 XC: usually climbed the driveway with few problems
    2001 FWD S60: had major problems, even with just light snow. However, I when put Nokian WR all season/snow tires on, and it climbed as well as the XC did.
    07 Lexus RX350: Climbs pretty well, similar to the Volvo.
    07 Subaru Tribeca: Climbs ok, but slides more than the Lexus or Volvo XC, and is much worse going down. Why? 255-55-18 tires act like snow saucers. Stupid choice by Subaru.

    So I'm reluctant to move away from AWD, and the modern electronic systems do work better, in my experience, than the YouTube videos show, especially when good AS tires are used. In fact, the superior Subaru system proves less important than the tires in most respects.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,911
    the superior Subaru system proves less important than the tires in most respects

    That's really the key point. If someone NEEDS awd/4wd, then they also need to be concerned about what tires are on there. It is the most important part of the car.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '08 Town&Country

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I made it through 3 blizzards this year

    I think "made" is the operative word. I used to live near Buffalo and owned a car without ABS or AWD. I "made" it through horrible winters. My RWD did have snows.

    My Subie with good all-seasons, ABS and AWD, is a much better driver than my old RWD.

    I also "made" it through several winters in my BMW with just all-seasons.

    A number of houses in my development have 20 degree inclines. I have pictures during the winter where cars were parked at the bottom of the driveway. For those houses the trucks and AWD models were the ones that made it up the driveway.

    Until I move to San Diego (or Phoenix), AWD will stay on every vehicle in the family.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    We had a nasty, nasty winter. My Subie with all seasons did just fine. The only reason I couldn't drive it out of the garage is the the snow on the ground was above the front grill, I wasn't even going to attempt it.

    In my opinion, unless you are in a climate where the majority of winter you deal with huge snowfalls and unplowed roads almost any AWD system will be fine. If I had to deal with huge snowfalls and unplowed roads on a regular basis, I would get a big truck with AWD and outfit it with snow tires.
  • slance66slance66 Posts: 21
    Well the search continues. I drove a 2008 Lexus IS250 AWD. Not fast, but not a dog either. Cockpit was nice, if slightly tight. I was very happy with the balance between handling and ride on out broken pavement. It's just quite small in back, and never inexpensive. Wondering if I can suffer FWD again with an ES, which would be bigger and faster...without the handling.

    Next stop, a 2007 328xi. Interior had many loose pieces and was a grade, no two grades below the Lexus. Hell the interior in my Tribeca was a grade better. Ergonomics however, were perfect...armrest exactly where it is needed (Subie's is 6 inches too low). Seat was fine. More room in back than the IS. Now the drive...there wasn't one. Battery was dead and couldn't be jumped. Yes, BMW is off to a glorious start. Don't even ask about cupholders. This same place has a 525xi and a MB E350 4matic. I'll give those a go instead.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I had a BMW, and over the years I've driven almost every model extensively except the M variations and Alpina. They drive like they are on rails. (As an aside I didn't have any issues with my BMW)

    I was just in an 2010 ES and I have to say the interior is nicer than a CAMRY but was just so so to my tastes, a little classy not really luxurious, but defintely upscale. Yes, it has all of the bells and whistles and drove very nice, buy you pay for the Lexus(BMW) experience. As an aside I'm a fan of BMW interiors, they have exactly what it takes to drive the car and nothing else, I even like idrive.

    A friend has the IS250 and I've ridden in the car many times and I agree with your assessment.

    I'm not one to get a pre-owned/used vehicle. I know there are people on this board who go to sites to get in my opinion unrealistic pricing on certain vehicles. I know of nobody who has ever gotten a car from one of these sites, so it's not something I would ever try.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,911
    edited June 2010
    Until I move to San Diego (or Phoenix), AWD will stay on every vehicle in the family.

    The weight and fuel penalty for EVERY car year round for just a few days when its needed? Well, to each his own.

    Next winter, I'll be trying out FWD with snows (my luxury performance V70... to stay on topic ;) ). We'll see how that goes. Considering my S70 with good all seasons was one of the best winter cars I ever had, I have no doubt I'll be just fine.

    And, yes, I'll be hoping to "make" it through. Not sure what else I could ask for. Winning a winter rallycross? Summitting the highest peak in NJ in record time? Nah. Making it through is all I want. Just like I did with my Subaru, G35X, XC90, Pilot, Pacifica, and probably a couple of other AWD/4wd vehicles I'm forgetting.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '08 Town&Country

  • mz6greyghostmz6greyghost Posts: 1,230
    The weight and fuel penalty for EVERY car year round for just a few days when its needed? Well, to each his own.

    Quoted for agreement.

    As someone that's lived in Upstate NY (Syracuse), I've dealt with all kinds of weather, including snow that falls from 4-6 inches PER HOUR. I've also driven all kinds of vehicles, from subcompact cars to pick-ups and full-size vans. No matter which wheels are driven, winter tires are BY FAR the best choice. I've had better control in 4 inches of snow with a 2WD pick-up with winter tires than an AWD compact with all-seasons.

    Don't forget the weight penalty (and worse fuel economy) that AWD adds compared to a similar FWD/RWD vehicle, the better chances of driveline/mechanical issues/failure, and the tighter tolerances in terms of tires (which adds to more out-of-pocket $$$$$).

    AWD is by no means a necessity in the snow belt, as long as you know how to drive in the snow, and use a set of proper winter tires that also help to STOP and STEER, not just accelerate.

    And, yes, I'll be hoping to "make" it through. Not sure what else I could ask for. Winning a winter rallycross? Summitting the highest peak in NJ in record time?

    Yeah, those "rally" drivers are usually the SUVs and/or Subaru drivers that fly by me in a snowstorm, only for me to pass them when they're buried in a ditch and need a wrecker to pull them out.

    OT: Did anyone notice how the 2008 G35 is still shown on the right when it's now two (almost three) years old and superseded?
  • xeyexeye Posts: 162
    I had a 2007 BMW 335xi with ContiProContact tires in some nasty Boston winters. Not once did I ever get stuck even when the town plowed snow right up against the parked car. The car drove like a dream, never an issue either summer or winter for almost 30,000 miles on the OEM tires.

    I now have a 2011 335i xDrive with new ContiProContacts and have every expectation of no issues. The BMW interior is exactly what I want, the exterior looks better than any other compact 4-dr sedan, I have 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of stump-pulling power.

    I'll meet you at the bottom of the hill, and I'll call you and tell you how luxurious the ride up the peak was, and I'll call you a tow truck if you need one.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    edited June 2010
    I can see it now...

    Your driving to work during a blizzard in your $50,000 335xi wearing steel wheels and Nokians. You're a fearless mountain goat!

    So there you are, sitting at an intersection casually sipping your non-fat latte when you catch movement in your peripheral vision. You turn your head just in time to see a Cadillac Escalade with 24" all-season tires careening towards you sideways. You make eye contact with the other driver just as...BAM!

    If I lived someplace that had long winters and got a lot of snow, I wouldn't buy an AWD sport sedan and winter wheels and tires. I'd buy the RWD version and with the money I saved, I'd pick up a 10 year-old Jeep Cherokee or Nissan Xterra.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,024
    " I'd buy the RWD version and with the money I saved, I'd pick up a 10 year-old Jeep Cherokee or Nissan Xterra."

    Funny you should mention that; I have a 1999 Wrangler in my garage...

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • slance66slance66 Posts: 21
    The spare 4WD Jeep is a nice idea, unles you need garage space, and you live in MA, where insurance is brutal. I drive 7 miles round trip to work....have tow cars to accomplish that is just not a good idea. Can a RWD car with snows climb my driveway? Maybe, maybe not. I have every confidence that it would be fine on the roads...better than fine really. So I'm prepared to pay the penalty of AWD, or suffer a FWD like a Maxima or ES350. Alternatively, I can keep my Tribeca, which has very good steering, a decent interior, bulletproof reliability and no problems in the snow. It's starting to make the most sense.
  • xeyexeye Posts: 162
    Your driving to work during a blizzard in your $50,000 335xi wearing steel wheels and Nokians. You're a fearless mountain goat!

    So there you are, sitting at an intersection casually sipping your non-fat latte when you catch movement in your peripheral vision. You turn your head just in time to see a Cadillac Escalade with 24" all-season tires careening towards you sideways. You make eye contact with the other driver just as...BAM!


    1. I don't change out the wheels or tires in the winter. I didn't for 4 winters in the '07 335xi and never damaged them in the winter. I did manage to give both front wheels road-rash when trying to park too close to the side curb to avoid door dings. The ContiProContacts have never failed me.

    2. With Oyster leather in the '11 335i, I don't drink or eat anything inside the car. No one does under any conditions.

    3. The scenario you describe is a recurring fear with the lunatic drivers in the Boston area. I drive very defensively here.

    I would normally agree with you and go for a beater with AWD and great off-road tires for the winter, but like a recent post, a third vehicle is completely impractical for a number of reasons.

    I have a radar detector but what I really need is a Moron Detector for those idiots in SUVs who have no concept of how much momentum a 2.5 ton truck carries and how hard it is to slow it down under the best of conditions. Until someone invents such a device, I keep my distance and my eyes wide open.

    xeye
  • alltorquealltorque Posts: 535
    If I lived someplace that had long winters and got a lot of snow, I wouldn't buy an AWD sport sedan and winter wheels and tires. I'd buy the RWD version and with the money I saved, I'd pick up a 10 year-old Jeep Cherokee or Nissan Xterra.

    Now there speaks a practical fellow. Get the right tools for the job and keep life, (relatively), simple. Here in the UK, 4WD is more to do with style and supposed, (or wished-for), status. Very few ever venture off smooth tarmac and our winters are classed as "severe" with 4" of snow for a week. My trusty Volvo S60 with just FWD and all-seasons does just fine. If I think it won't - I don't go. However, an old diesel Land Rover might be fun - if you like teeth-shattering vibration and no heat. :)
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,024
    However, an old diesel Land Rover might be fun - if you like teeth-shattering vibration and no heat.

    The only 4X4 I'd rather have than my Wrangler is a Defender 90, but they cost 2-3 times more than my Jeep... :cry:

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,708
    Shoot, why not just go for it and get a Unimog? :P

    Now, that's teeth-shattering.(though being able to see over delivery vans and small buses is a huge plus)
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    The weight and fuel penalty for EVERY car year round for just a few days when its needed? Well, to each his own

    Correct. You mentioned NJ, I understand there were some huge snowstorms there last winter. No secret I have a Subie, and yes, yes, yes to your comment.
  • murphydogmurphydog Posts: 491
    xeye - your comment got me thinking - I don't know who is worse, the over confident winter driver in the big car / SUV OR the person who is so clueless they put one tire chain on the front wheel and one on the back wheel of their Accord cuz they don't know if it is FWD or RWD...sadly enough I saw that a few winters back here...
  • jspagna1jspagna1 Posts: 34
    Winter tires make a world of difference. I drive a 4Runner with AT tires and we also own a 2010 Acura TL SHAWD and a 2003 Maxima and I have dedicated snow tires for both vehicles and those cars are better in the snow than my 4Runner any day of the week.
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