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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • Yes, my X-TYPE also has a seatbelt warning light in the dash. Most all cars do. In addition, it chimes at you when you do not have your seatbelt on, and it has sensors in the seats that measure how much the occupant of the seat weighs and more sensors determine how far the occupants are from the dash and steering wheel so that it can calculate how much force to use when firing airbags in the event of a collision. A small amber light in the corner of the wood veneer on the passenger's side lights up and displays whether the occupant there weighs enough for the airbag to be automatically turned on or off, and the seats automatically also turn off the airbags if a baby or childseat is detected.


    The warning system in the Mercedes C-Class in that test was a different light from the ones we have in our cars here. Notice that the C-Class had scored a 4-star rating in the test just as all of the other cars in that class did, but because of the addition of another light that said "put on your seatbelt", the car's score was later changed to a 5 to promote more lights that say "put on your seatbelt" to be used in other cars. I'm not saying that the C does not deserve a high rating in crash tests, but its additional star over the other cars in its class is simply because it has an additional light that tells passengers to wear their seatbelts on top of the light on the dash that says to wear your seatbelt. It is not necessarily safer than the other cars because of that light, and so I do not believe that it should have gotten an entire extra star for a light.


    You are also wrong about the 3.0 Jaguar engine "pushing" into the cabin in a crash before the 2.5 and 2.0 because they are the same engine blocks but the 3.0 has been drilled-out more to be larger. Also, the engines do not enter the cabins at any time in a crash because the X-TYPE is designed to "drop" its engine when it is in a severe frontal crash. Most modern cars do this. X-TYPE's engines are also mounted horizonatally, so they are not taking up a terrible amount of longitudal space in the engine bay, thus the chances of them penetrating the passenger cabin is slim in comparison to longitudally oriented engines. Again, however, the X-TYPE drops its engine when it has a severe frontal crash, so it never enters the passenger compartment no matter what engine size is used. The argument that a 2.0 FWD X-TYPE would be safer than an AWD larger displacement version is null and void, because the engine does not enter the cabin at any time during any impact.


    You really should read the bottom chart of the EuroNCAP page for the X-TYPE:


    http://euroncap.com/details.php3?id=car_117_2002


    It specifically states that the car is: "Jaguar X-Type 2.0 LHD. Only the FWD X-TYPE is built with the 2.0-litre engine, which again is the same engine block as the 2.5 and 3.0, but not drilled-out as much. All other X-TYPEs are built in AWD configuration. The AWD driveshaft of the AWD X-TYPEs aid in collisions v. the FWD version that is sold alongside them in Europe against 318 and C180.


    Mercedes-Benz decided to changed to a V6 from an I6 because they lowered the bonnet of the E-Class between those configurations and could not fit the I-6 under the lowered bonnet, as well as because it may have cost less to produce and it could be used in more vahicles as it had better packaging. That is also the reason for the discontinuation of the E300 diesel, as the diesel engine could not fit under the lowered bonnet that was used when the V6 was introduced (that and because the E300 did not sell well here). The E-Class should have been designed to drop its engine in a crash as well. I've not heard of a modern car being designed so that its engine penetrates the passenger compartment in a collision.

  • linardlinard Posts: 59
    While the C-Class did gain an extra star because NCAP changed it's guidelines earlier this year on performance in crashes and safety features provided, the C class did earn it's full 5 stars as it's a very well designed car collision-wise, when I can find the article in which NCAP justified giving the C class an extra star b/c of it's overall performance, I'll paste the link. As the pre 2003 E Class also includes this seatbelt light, your logic would conclude that it too, should receive 5 stars from it's previous 4 when it doesn't.

    The fact that car engines are not designed to go into the passenger compartment is obvious, what isn't as obvious is while the X-Type is designed to, as you describe, drop it's engine and driveline components, they will always "push" into the compartment as evidenced by the Insurance Institute's listing of the crash details in which the X-Type exhibited moderate footwell intrusion, between 8 to 12 cm. The best rated C Class, on the other hand, had intrusion measures of 2 to 3 cm. Engineers are constantly trying to limit this phenomenon. While I don't doubt the driveshaft aids in crash test scores, I wasn't trying to prove one way or another, I was speculating on a possible alternative.

    And while I may be wrong on the engine block of the 2.0 being different from the 2.5 and the 3.0, I am certain that the E class' hood and front fender structures were lowered as a result of the new engine's newfound underhood space, and not due to the new engines being introduced b/c of the lowered hoodline. This is evidenced by the 99 E320 having the V6 with the prefacelifted hoodline. The discontinuation of the E300 in the U.Ss WAS caused by the low demand for that particular car AND b/c of the structural change. However, that never meant that Mercedes dropped diesels from it's complete linup, in fact, Europe still has the option of a few remarkable diesel E class engines which Mercedes could have introduced here along with the redesigned 2000 E Class.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Speaking of Mercedes and safety. I think this wrecked S430 says it all:


    http://germancarfans.zeroforum.com/zerothread?id=1698


    M

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Note how the cabin is completely in tact. Amazing.

    M
  • I have seen 3 Mercedes cars in accidents where the cars were totalled, two of which were rollover accidents.

    One of the rollover accidents was an S430, and it had a mild cabin protrusion, but nothing serious. The cabin was in perfect shape basically. The other was I believe a 600SEL. This one was extremely important because even though this car had pillarless windows, the roof of the car did not cave in at all, even though the car came to a rest upside down. The guy was still in the car at the time, and he was hanging upside down, with no visual bruises, and a few minor cuts from broken glass.

    The third accident was an E320 which was involved in a head on collision with a Camaro, who was racing another Camaro on a 2 lane road. I didnt see the drivers, but I saw the car as it was being towed away, and again, no cabin protrusion at all. The car was completely destroyed up to the point where the footwell started.

    Im generally dont praise late model Mercedes', but I will always say glamorous things about them when it comes to safety. In my opinion, they are a few steps above volvo. They also have some of the strongest roof structures short of a 3" thick roll bar.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    I'll say it up front, I don't think Edmunds does a consistent job on sedan reviews. I understand the whole "they're in BMW's payroll" thing as well as the "but we're not" thing. This month's letters to the editors & Edmunds' responses make good points on both sides.

    Unfortunately, Edmunds does a fabulous job of putting numbers to their words that later can be dug up and compared. I'm specifically looking at the entry level luxury sedan comparos - 2001 where a TL-S edged out a 330i, then 2002 where a 330i wiped the floor with the competition. The idea (and some will agree while others disagree) is that the scores tended to deliberately put BMW above the Acura.

    Is this happening? Well, I decided to look at the numbers behind the comparisons to find out. Given identical cars, whereas the two were eventually matched on performance in 2001, now there is a 20 point spread between them in 2002. What, Acura got slower or BMW got faster? Given identical front seat comfort in 2001, now for 2002 BMW front seat comfort is tops while Acura's is bottom. Did the seats actually change, or did the editors of the 2002 review have smaller rumps?

    Not that only Acura gets the shaft either. In 2001 BMW got a higher "feature content" rating than the TL-S. In 2002, a 330i with MORE features than the 2001 model only tied the feature content rating than a TL-S with the same features. This in spite of the fact that features the 330i lacked in 2001 (dual zone climate control, indash CD changer) were simply left off the Top 10 features list in 2002, leaving BMW as a vehicle that offers every Top 10 feature as either standard or optional.

    Basically, I like the prose of the articles and take away many good things from reading them. When I look at the rankings, though, they seem to be statistically invalid; if, twelve months later, your opinions on identical seats can change that much, then how can you rank these cars based on 1% differences in the final rankings?

    In one of the comparos, it was stated that the margin for error was about 0.5%, and any two cars tallying numbers within .5% of each other would be considered tied. I suggest increasing that buffer to 10% in order to account for the startling differences you find between two cars after just one year.

    Until then, I'm going to stop reading into the numbers and ranking, and concentrate on the prose and photographs. We spend a great deal of effort arguing here about which sedan came in #1 and which one came in #2. If you look at the numbers used to actually rank these vehicles against each other, they fluctuate so wildly from one set of editors to another (you'd think that using a set of editors would even out the fluctuation) so as to make the ranking of these vehicles practically worthless.

    Front seat comfort
    2001: Acura 83, BMW 83
    2002: BMW 9.2, Acura 7.6

    Rear seat comfort
    2001: BMW 74 Acura 70
    2002: Acura 9.2 BMW 5.8

    Conclusion: either BMW and Acura received total redesigns in 2002 unbeknownst to all of us, or the editor butt-o-meter does not produce repeatable results.
  • I was noticing how the hood ornament was still standing. :-) Anyhow, all I can say is that Mercedes still rule in crashes.

    About seat comfort, my theory is seats are mass produce by suppliers and sometimes maybe precision of making the seats can run off track. Who knows. Probably the reason they were not as comfortable in Acura in 2002 as was in 2001. Don't know how to go about that one.

    J "CaddyLac"
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Did you mean the 600SEC Coupe? The reason I'm asking is because you said it had pillarless windows, the sedan (600SEL) has pillars.

    M
  • Yeah, I know it was pillarless. I all could conclude for sure was that it was a V12 and it was a pillarless coupe. That V12 looks huge from underneath the car.
  • linardlinard Posts: 59
    I can personally vouch for the excellent performance of Benzes in collisions, my mom had a gray market 1981 500 SL that was broadsided at a perfectly 90 degree angle to her car at 40 - 50 miles an hour. She walked away with no serious injuries, just some muscle tension and whiplash. The other car was totalled and although the side of the car was basically crushed in, the passenger compartment's space was maintained. In addition, the door would still open and close normally and she was able to, amazingly, drive it home. I remember how thick the doors on the "Dallas" era SL's were, amazing... Took 30,000 to fix it and even then, it was never the same. We also had a 1987 420 SEL that was rear ended by a Pontiac Bonneville at approx 25 mph and the Pontiac's front was pretty damaged to about the front wheels. Our Benz, on the other hand, suffered little more than scrapes along the length of the bumper, but no structural damage, the bumper wasn't even displaced at all. Just wanted to share with everyone that, after those things happen to you, brand loyalty takes on a whole new meaning...
  • Typical german engineering. I was in an 01 golf that a yahoo in a huge pickup broadsided at 40. No intrusion into the passenger compartment at all.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    "Just wanted to share with everyone that, after those things happen to you, brand loyalty takes on a whole new meaning..."

    Of course, it goes both ways. Many years ago in my first ever car, a 1988 Ford Taurus that I loved to death, I was rear-ended while sitting at a red light by an almost brand new Mercedes E-class. He had some bumper damage and the front hood was a bit bent. In contrast, my Taurus was destroyed--I was slammed into a Buick in front of me, and half the engine bay and almost all of the trunk were completely collapsed. To the dearly departed Taurus's credit, there wasn't any cabin intrusion, and I only bruised my shins, but the car was totaled while the Benz probably picked up a thousand dollars worth of body work. I'll never forget the Mercedes dude getting out of his car and bending over to keenly examine his slightly crunched bumper while I stared at my utterly destroyed car.

    On a more positive note, that was the last Ford I ever owned. Whew!

    In conclusion: Mercedes sedans are notable not only for their defense, but for their offense as well. If I were looking to take out Dodge Neon drivers, literally, I'd pick a S500 as my instrument of mayhem. If you're looking to drive while combing your hair, talking on the cell phone and changing radio stations at the same time, but do not want to sit in a Ford Expedition, then an E-class may be for you!
  • dzubadzuba Posts: 159
    Am I correct in hearing there have been some recent problems with the tranny's on these cars. Am comparing them between the 530, and GS 300!! Any idea on a manual?
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    dzuba - the word on the street is yes. But I also heard that the stock market is about to rocket away and buy some good dot com stocks.:)

    Trying to ferret out the truth as whatever the truth is very difficult. Although some people say yes, Consumer Reports highly recommends this auto.
  • About two percent of honda's five speed manumatic transmissions have failed, according to detriot news. Honda issued a recall for these transmissions:


    http://www.edmunds.com/news/regularnews/articles/75418/article.html.


    The recall doesn't affect most recent 2003 TLs so supposedly it has been fixed in production.

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    2 percent amounts to 1.2 million cars. They do sell a lot of cars.
  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    they may sell a lot, but i don't think they sell 51 million tl-s' a year... :)

    -Chris
  • The way I understand it is that they will send extended warranty to ALL owners who purchased the car model with questionable part (that's the 1.2 million). The 2% I believe is the approximate percentage of 1.2M cars reported to have problems (approximately 12,000 cars).
  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    i misinterpreted where the 1.2 million number came from... oops!

    -Chris
  • 24,000 cars not 12,000.
  • Ah, this reminds me of word problems in math class long ago...

    Yeah, the 2% was the estimated number of these autos with actual transmission failures. The 1.2 million is the number of autos that have the potential to be affected in the future and thus get an extended warranty. Also, the cars affected span up to 3 years of production.

    You guys want to try another word problem?
  • From everything I've read the percentage of affected trannys is 1.6%. So how many cars is that??
  • ... is about 19,200 cars
  • J D Power & [non-permissible content removed]. gives the TL it's highest rating for long term reliability as does Consumer Reports. Transmission problems don't seem to be showing up in their research. Is this problem overstated or is their research flawed?
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    It's definitely not overstated. There have been widespread reports and complaints about all of the affected vehicles for a long time, within the Honda/Acura community. It's nice to see the cars getting coverage finally. Although I know a lot of Honda Prelude owners who are upset that the recall/fix wasn't extended to '97-99 owners who (to my knowledge) were the first group of Sequential Sportshift owners to start having their transmissions die on them.
  • dzubadzuba Posts: 159
    I am in outside sales driving 30-35K miles per year. My major concerns in a car are Ride, comfort, luxury, and Reliability, then they are style, sportiness, etc..... - anyone out there driving a TL-S 30,000 miles a year, and if so - how has the car held up. My 98 Maxima GLE is flawless!!!
  • I think that Honda willingness to extend the tranny warranties demonstrates their commitment to customers. If they still have not fixed all the transmission problems, then I'm sure they will continue to try. I see your concerns, though because the extended warranties only covered 100K miles.

    As a Nissan Maxima owner, have you considered the Infiniti G35 Sedan from Nissan's luxury division? If so, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the relative merits of it and the Acura TL-S.
  • ruskiruski Posts: 1,566
    I don't think Honda issued any recalls for the tranny. At least none of the TL owners have heard of such.


    However the problem is real. I myself had a tranny failure at 6,100 miles. Right when I entered a busy highway from a full stop, pushed the gas pedal, the engine revved into the redline and the car barely moved forward. Add the view of a couple of semis in the rearview mirror to all the excitement.


    The dealer replaced the tranny. It only took a couple of weeks to order the new one. During that time I had pleasure of driving a rental Dodge Stratus.


    Some people have had multiple tranny failures.


    Check the Acura TL and Acura CL forums for more info:


    http://www.acura-tl.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=34


    http://www.acura-cl.com/forums

  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    ooo... that must have been exciting....

    what happened to your gtp?

    -Chris
  • ruskiruski Posts: 1,566
    GTP lease ended in December 2001. :(
    Wife got an RX300 instead.
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