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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,432
    edited October 2013
    I agree, but there is another side of this. It is much easier to get a warranty honored in the US than in Europe, not just with cars, anything manufactured. The manufacturers find many inventive ways to walk away from their obligations with impunity over there. I found there is also much more goodwill here as well (major repairs after warranty with manufacturer's cost participation). One can say the goodwill is "prepaid" in those short intervals.

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

  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,049
    edited October 2013
    It seems that Audi, BMW and soon Volvo (among other Euro brands) are quickly becoming car companies that motivate virtually all of their cars with some form of a forced induction engine. Turbo charging seems to be the go-to forced induction technology. Audi and Mercedes use superchargers in some applications -- but the majority of the Euro brands (and also starting to show up in non-Euro brands, to be sure) are not naturally aspirated any more.

    It is my understanding -- and I certainly could be misinformed -- that forced induction engines need to have their oil changed more frequently than non forced induction engines. The reason, I believe, is heat and dirt -- and in the case of turbos, the very high speeds at which the impellers spin.

    It is indeed impressive that these engines, when equipped with large oil tanks and with ever improving oil filtration, can go often a MINIMUM of 10K miles between changes. I do think, however, that there is still no harm in changing the oil by 15K miles, no matter what the on-board computer says. My wife's 2008 X3 engine computer wouldn't let on that it wanted an oil change until 18K miles had passed. At that time, that just seemed crazy to me -- but I was OK with 15K miles.

    Another thing these Premium (ELLPS) cars seem to require (disobey at your own peril) is a "top-tier gasoline" meaning that the gasoline has cleaning additives 5X more than is "required" and so forth. When my sales rep gave me the keys to my 2014 S4 he actually said "use a top-tier" gasoline (your fuel injectors will thank you.) Of course, I always try to use this type of fuel.

    DILYL
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,611
    I believe one might see a shorter oil change interval on turbo engines. I wonder how the oil sensor gizmo on the current BMW turbos schedules it?

    If one throttles a turbo engine regularly, then I could see the need for more frequent oil changes. But in normal everyday driving, the turbo isn't put under much stress, generates less heat and thus doesn't break down the oil.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,211
    edited October 2013
    is ingrained in a truck owner's (doesn't apply to company drivers) daily routine: let it warm up before going full-throttle and, much more importantly, let it and the cooling (oil & water) systems stabilize before shutting the engine down. I let the EGT drop to300 degrees or lower before I shut down (and it often took 2 - 5 minutes) -- prevents coking, among other things. It's not often that a mechanical engineer ends up being a truck driver, but when it happens things can be learned.

    It'll be very interesting to see how car turbos respond, long-term, to the hands-off, ignorant operation & maintenance practices of the American public. These are the people who can't be troubled to use directional signals, so they're likely to come off an uphill run on the freeway, park and turn the car off immediately. It'll be a hide-and-watch moment.

    That said, oil change intervals for a turbo engine certainly need to be shorter than for NA engines. Whether the manufacturers agree remains to be seen.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 6,928
    cdn...it will indeed be interesting to see what the recommended fluid change intervals will be with turbos and super chargers in more and more engines...especially the brands with longer warranties.

    Mark....I've been using Costco gas for over 12 years. It's usually less expensive, and always offers great performance.
    http://www.costco.com/gasoline.html
  • alltorquealltorque Posts: 535
    Sorry, cannot agree with your statement re warranty in Europe. Can't talk about engines as I don't know anyone who's ever had a failure. However when my '06 Volvo S60, (see above), was annual-serviced 2 weeks ago the Volvo dealer updated the engine management software FOC and checked to see if there were any reported extra safety checks flagged by Volvo, (there weren't). Standard, no hassle servicing.
    Not sure where your info comes from but it's not in line with reality.
  • alltorquealltorque Posts: 535
    Read my above post ref Volvo S60 turbodiesel oil changes. Whilst (relatively) small turbo engines may be fairly new to USA, at least in volume terms, they have been around in Europe and Japan for quite some time; particularly the diesel variety. Oil change intervals of 18,000 to 20,000 miles are not at all unusual from the major manufacturers and these engines seem to go on forever. Of course, abused turbos, (i.e. not allowing a cooling-down period. After a period of high revs a gentle amble around urban roads of 2 - 3 miles will suffice or a 2 min+ idle), will fail sooner than is considered normal.

    To take advantage of their tax laws, Japanese manufacturers have used 660 - 695cc turbo gasoline engines, (yes, 0.7 litre), that are real screamers and some have made it to Europe in more mainstream cars.

    Here in Europe, VW Group have been selling the VW Polo GTi and Skoda Fabia vRS small hatchbacks that have their 1.4 TSI engine which is both turbo- and super-charged to give 170bhp and 250Nm, mated to a 7-spd DSG 'box. Fun little devices. Despite being reasonably highly rated, these engines have official oil change intervals of 1 year or 15,000 miles.........same as the overall service schedule. You have to use the correct spec oil, though. But let's be fair, lube oil is the cheapest component in the car; and one of the most important. To be fair, there were reported software problems with some of the early engines which could cause misfires and potential piston damage but AFAIK that is no longer an issue.

    So, there is no reason that turbo- engines should be saddled with lower oil change intervals - the experience already exists over many years. Unless, of course, it's driven by dealer financial considerations.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,432
    edited October 2013
    I guess it may vary from region to region. Eastern Europe seems to be still "customer service challenged", at least Poland is. Basically any kind of warranty work used to be a torture there, authorized service stations are still not reliable source of quality work (it's a crap shoot), press is full of reports of denied warranties under most bizzarre pretences, or smallest customer infractions. It is getting better, bad publicity and social media are putting more and more pressure. I would not be surprised if Western Europe, having much longer and better established consumer rights and customer service, was much better.

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

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,916
    well, the S3 is going to be the competitor, right?
    The CLA is 300 lbs lighter. That's gotta count for something. Could be an interesting real-world comparison.

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

  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 39,059
    A reporter is interested in speaking with a car buyer who recently purchased a new sedan, but did not consider any of the German brands (such as Volkswagen) during the shopping process. If you can assist, please contact pr@edmunds.com by Wednesday, October 23 2013.
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,524
    Graphic, I have only driven the car about 200 miles, but so far...

    Power:
    Very adequate for daily driving, merging onto the freeway or driving around town the turbo engine has an effortless to it. Whether you get the 320 or 328 the cars have three modes for power-train, Sport, Normal/comfort and Eco.
    Sport the engine mapping is changed as well as shift points. Shifts at a higher RPM, the throttle has an aggressive feel to it. The transmission will rapidly fire off shift very much like Duel clutch auto does.
    Normal is really "comfort" the transmission shifts more smoothly and the engine mapping isn't as aggressive. So far this is where I leave it.
    Eco is just that, the throttle has a lazier feel to it and the transmission will get into higher gear quicker. Having the car in sport and accelerating from a stop light/sign the car "feel" quicker and the shifts are quicker than the advertise 180hp. Also there very little TURBO LAG in this car. Truly impressed with it. I did drive a 328i and was very impressed with it. Now granted, these are 4 cyl and are not as smooth as the 6 cyl, no, but overall one would be hard pressed to know there is a 6 cyl under the hood.

    Engine
    Not as smooth as the 6cyl, when the 4 cyl is cold it is rougher and courser, but once at operating temperature things smooth out a little.
    The Auto start/stop….
    It’s unnerving to come to a stop and the engine dies, however, when the A/C is running the engine will stop for roughly 20-30 seconds but will restart and stay running. When the engine is cold it will not stop, it must be at operating temp for this feature to run. I have decided to allow this feature to work, I want to see if it really bothers me. There are times when the engine restarts and it’s rougher than others. We all know this feature is to help with MPG, and once BMW gets their MPG up, this feature will go away. The 328d is start…

    Driving
    Now I only have about 200 miles of butt time in the car, so of course my impressions will change. Now I have had an E36 328i, E46 330i, E90 328i and now this F30 320i. They all drive the same but different. They all had/have that tectonic feel to them that only the Germans can do. All of the other BMWs have had the sport package, this is my first without it. I don’t have enough butt time to really make a true statement on the seats, currently I’m not 100% happy with them but I’m not 100% disappointed with them either. I can say that this is the quietest 3 series I have owned, there is no wind noise at the A pillars at all, when you close the doors, they close with that German tank “thunk”. The steering, I have read both in print and in this forum how people hate the elec steering and how “numb” it feels. There is a difference between my pervious 3 series and this current car, it is lighter which is nice when parking. Now can I say that the steer has no feedback, no, and I don’t think anyone can say that for certain until you take the car out on the track and drive to 6/10 of the cars potential. So far, the steering has not been an issue for me. I haven’t driven it on the track and I highly doubt I will, but one never knows.

    Base Car;
    So all BMWs now come with the latest iDrive (ver 4.2), and I like it. It is very easy to use, and it make it very easy to get around and make the necessary changed to the car settings. Yes, there is a learning curve to it but I like it. I wish my car had the BMW assist, which I will have it added to the car, this is one feature in which I wish it came standard in the 2013 MY, it does for the 2014 MY. The features of this base car is pretty impressive, it has all power everything, it even has power side mirror to retract in (I just wish they would retract automatically.) Auto temp, rain senor wipers, fog lights, and auto headlights. I can set the ventilation system to run the fans while I’m away from the car to help keep the car cool, it’s a nice feature here in the desert. All four windows are auto down. One annoying feature is, to get out, the car does not auto unlock the car is placed park or turning the car off, and to get out of the car, you must pull door handle twice, first to unlock the car and the second to open the door. I’m not understanding this feature…
    Wheels, standard is 17”, and mine came with Michelin run flat tires. I was surprised on not seeing Continental tires.

    The interior space is pretty big, I had 4 adults’ males in the car roughly my size 6’, 260lbs and everybody didn’t feel cramped. MPG for the car has been impressive, Rick tells me that the car is averaging currently 32 MPG. So a 550 miles range on the highway is very doable.

    On the forum Bimmerfest, there has been talk about the engine difference between the 320 and 328 and according from BMW there is no difference except for a higher boost level and different engine mapping in the 328i, there is a performance company that has two different set up for the 320i for more power, stage one is a true plug in which give the 320i an extra 40 hp. Total cost, $375. Stage two again is a plug in and gives an extra 80hp to 260hp, more than the 328i but less than the 335. Total cost is $600. Reliability hasn’t been an issue with the test cars, btw, all test cars for the company have the 8 spd auto.

    I bought this BMW as an experiment really to see if the “base” 3 series, has the same DNA as previous 3 series and if the price of admission is worth it. So my car is equipped how most would find on a BMW lots, with the Premium package. Now I can say that the Sport Package is really worth the price of admission, since it comes with the M sport suspension. From what I have read on Bimmerfest, the 320i Sport Package is really the M Sport Package minus the M sport aero kits, the Steering wheel has the M logo on it.
    So far I like the car, and yes it is bigger than the E90, but it is lighter than the E90. Of course many people on Bimmerfest and this forum do not like the F30, I read people saying that it has lost the “sport” in Sport Sedan. But to honest when the E90 came out many of the BMW purest were the saying the same thing, and in some way I was one of them. The E46 was and is today the best 3 series BMW built. But as we all know things change, and buyers change and the market change. I’m in the camp that I wish BMW would build a modern 3 series the ZHP package again.

    Now I welcome all questions and comments, however, if the comments are purely being disrespectfully then please keep them to yourself.

    FN
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,524
    With the new crop of cars coming to the US, Audi A3, MB CLA, will the A4, C class, 3 series be considered a ELPS?
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 6,928
    FN...thanks so much for that review. I enjoyed it.

    I think the iDrive has come a long way. I know the previous gen iDrive in my E92, was good...especially as you say, you get through the learning curve.

    I can't remember now, but there's a way to get your doors to open with only one pull of the handle. I just don't remember. Maybe ask in the Bimmerfest forum (one of the best car forums on the net).

    Again, thanks for the review.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,611
    When did CR hire automotive testers that use phrases like "The Lexus IS handling is short on finesse, with vague-feeling steering that doesn't telegraph much feedback" and "The Q50 isn't as much fun to drive as the G37. Handling is mundane, due in part to dull steering"???

    Or did someone slip something into the brownie mixes the stove testers use?

    :)
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,524
    Graphic, I like Bimmerfest and F30sport and I'm learning all about this new car. BTW, I was looking at a S5 and almost pulled a trigger on a S5, when I decided to do my experiment.

    I stopped by a Caddy dealer to look at the new 2014 CTS, I broke my jaw when i saw the prices!! A base CTS, 51K !! Mid level CTS 58K This car is suppose to go up against the 5 series and A6 and E class, will be interesting.. Your thoughts.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,611
    A base CTS, 51K !!

    Actually the base CTS is $45.1K. The 528 is $49.5K.
  • I read a comment above that seemed to me to be saying that I would exclude using Costco gas -- because it was not a top-tier product.

    Well, regarding Costco gasoline: the description that Costco provides (usually around the pump areas, but also available at the customer service desk) pertaining to the benefits of using Costco gas appear to describe a "top-tier" gasoline product. Costco's brochure says their gas products do indeed have 5X the cleaning agents required by the most stringent automotive requirements (I would assume, Audi, BMW, Mercedes and other Euro mfgrs.)

    I use Costco gas as much as possible, too, due both to its typical price point (advantage) and its apparently being a top-tier automotive fuel. Otherwise I use Shell gasoline (as if you care.)

    DILYL
  • My "favorite" car -- of all of them I have ever had -- used to be my 1995 Audi S6 (the first year the car was called an S6, previously it had been called an S4). This car had been my favorite from an emotional perspective, not that the '95 S6 was a performance slouch (it wasn't). I actually had cars (mostly Audis) that were, perhaps, 'better overall' -- but none that could capture and frame a certain period of my life.

    If that doesn't make sense, that I can differentiate between my favorite car and what I would consider my "best" car, then certainly this won't help either: My favorite Procol Harum album is Broken Barricades -- but I think the best one is A Salty Dog. Now it is all clear as mud, eh?

    My 2014 S4 is now, at this point in time, as I am typing this, both my favorite car of all time and it is the best car I have ever had (keep in mind it has but 500 miles on it.)

    More later, when I have some more miles on the thing. ;)

    DILYL
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