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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yes the new G's interior is mightly improved. The M's interior doesn't do anything for me though, its the big ATM like buttons I think.

    M
  • Sales (US):

    "AUBURN HILLS, MI – Audi of America, Inc. set sales records during December 2006 and for the calendar year 2006, eclipsing the previous annual sales high set three years ago. Audi sold 11,897 vehicles in December, bringing the brand’s annual total sales to 90,116.

    Audi’s December 2006 record sales were 34.6% ahead of year-ago sales. The calendar year sales represented an 8.5% increase over 2005."


    Followed by:

    "Audi A6 Is Number One in Germany - Sport and dynamics paired with high-quality functionality: that is the secret to success of the AUDI A6. This combination makes the Audi Germany’s best-selling vehicle for the first ten months of 2006 in its segment. Both with the new registrations in the over-all passenger car market in Germany the AUDI A6 has a nose in front of the competition as well as in fleet business in the executive-class category. 52,299 AUDI A6s were registered in the first ten months of 2006 in Germany."


    Audi USA (and Audi generally) probably wishes for BMW and Mercedes (USA) numbers, but overall, I would assume Audi (here and there) execs are celebrating. Don't cry for me Argentina, er, or something like that.

    Torque Vectoring:

    I am ONLY a couple of paragraphs more (apparently) into reading about TVT than some other folks, so that makes my observation worth about $.02. But, the first MULE using the TVT is an Audi (the technology will be able to be purchased and installed in other mfgr's products, this is NOT solely an Audi thing, i.e.) The company's web site and all the press kit info I can find does not lead one to the conclusion that this is NOT a full time AWD system.

    My interpretation is that it seems somewhat like the reverse of ESP in that ESP works mainly by braking one or more wheels and/or cutting power in an attempt to control yaw or rate of yaw. The TVT seems to be to be able to take quattro (et al) at least one or two steps better (again, kind of like what ESP did -- it took ABS a step or three better.) This means "active, anticipatory, instantaneous torque distribution" -- power is distributed to the wheels based on the driver's intentions as telegraphed and detected via hardware and software, etc. If I said any more at this point it would go from some speculation to a "lot" of speculation. The company's web site, written by an engineer apparently, does not, to me, suggest anything less than full AWD would be the consequence of Audi's adoption of TVT.

    Engines:

    The 3.6L is already putting out 280HP, my guess is that will be the smallest rating of this engine we will ever see in a (US bound, at least) Audi so equipped. I dunno about anything for sure for sure actually being turbo'd, I would just like to have the chance to buy a 3.2T FSI someday. Who knows?

    Yep, 4" is the engine set back I have read about, too.

    A better balanced Audi? That would seem to me to be very able to threaten the Munich guys, just a tad. :surprise:
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    I'd say the new G's interior is actually better than the M's.
  • I agree. The M's -- at the time when it was NEW -- used to be so much nicer than the G's (which was really kinda cheapo looking), now, not so much.

    And the beat goes on.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    'd say the new G's interior is actually better than the M's.

    You may be right about that. The M has almost all of its secondary controls on the top panel, which isn't really ideal. The G has just the NAV buttons on the little panel below the NAV screen, with the audio and climate controls where they should be. The new VW-ish gauges are also much better than the old orange ones. I think the G and 3 series currently have the best in class interiors, while the M's is somewhere in the middle.
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 2,652
    I'll respectfully disagree re: G vs TL interiors. One of the reasons I chose the '05 TL (non-nav. Yes, it is just slightly less graceful sans the nav-screen. Plain, but functional) over the '05 G was the interior. I found the TL to be of higher quality materials and more ergonomically and stylistically pleasing. I do wish the TL had a couple of the Gs interior features, notably the adjustable steering wheel/instrument pod and moreso the driver's seat ingress/egress feature (my Chrysler 300M had that!). The Gs seat may have been a bit better padded, too, but not enough to sway me. I'm not a fan of the TL "plood," hence my interior choice included the faux carbon fiber (with real aluminum).

    Exterior too. I find the TL to be a very handsome, agressive design. Especially for a Honda!!!

    New G, big improvement. If the '08 CTS is anything like the '07 SRX, big improvement (I love nicely styled analog clocks!). And yes, Audi and Lexus interiors can be things of beauty. But I don't think the TL interior is wildly outclassed by any of 'em. Especially the BMW 3. Quality materials but a bit of a depressing presentation.

    YMMV and does... :)

    '13 Jaguar XF, '11 BMW 535xi, '02 Lexus RX300

  • dhamiltondhamilton Posts: 873
    I suck at posting links, sorry. It says that the A5 will be introduced at the Geneva show. The suspension/setup will have selections for understeer, or oversteer. I guess done electronically, via a switch?

    Anyway, cool car. Can't wait to read about. Anyone else excited, Mark?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Especially the BMW 3. Quality materials but a bit of a depressing presentation.

    I only like the 3 series in tan leather with the natural wood finish. I'm not a fan of the black\black\black combo of many recent BMWs, its like a cave.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I'd say the new G's interior is actually better than the M's.

    It definitely is from a styling standpoint, I haven't been in the new G to see if the materials are. They got rid of the big ATM buttons for one thing.

    M
  • I may be wrong, but I think the praise for the G interior is for the new, refreshed for '07 iteration.

    I would agree, the '05 G wasn't exactly in the near LPS league. And, were it not for the torque steer (my wife and I had tested a fully optioned manual transmission version of the Acura -- on a rainy day) well the Acura probably would have been a contender, even without AWD.

    The thing had torque steer second only to an old Saab Aero we tested -- the steering wheel simply made "suggestions" to the front end. Sometimes it took the suggestion, on a rain slicked road, not so much.
  • "That Audi number is somewhat of a letdown, such a car should sell much better than that."

    Comparos, such as that in Car and Driver this month, might, gradually shift place of A6 in minds of LPS buyers. MB E63 AMG and Audi S6 rated well ahead of M5. S6 summed up as "a fast and sexy sweetheart priced to near irresistibility." Main negative: underpowered. Mark, can you put some pressure on Audi to get us further up the ladder in the HP/torque race?
  • dhamiltondhamilton Posts: 873
    thanks Mark.

    Also, I started a thread on future Audi platforms if interested.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    True, but magazine comparos only carry so much weight. There are probably hundreds of thousands of car buyers that don't have a clue about C&D comparos or any other magazines for that matter. Audi's biggest problem is their image and marketing, because the cars are excellent by most measurements. Audi just needs more exposure, to get on more luxury car buyers shopping lists. We can debate the how all day long, but that is what they need.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The thing had torque steer second only to an old Saab Aero we tested -- the steering wheel simply made "suggestions" to the front end. Sometimes it took the suggestion, on a rain slicked road, not so much.

    The idea of the Type-S 6MT is just that much scarier. Somebody should do a comparison between that and the 9-3 Viggen to see who wins the award for worst torque steer ever. The TL's other big problem is its turning circle, 40ft in standard guise. I'm sure the Type-S is much worse. My wife's RX300 was about the same, that's the one thing she always hated about the car.
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 2,652
    I agree that the TLs turning radius is a (minor) annoyance, it is large! As is torque steer, which by all reports is much, much less noticeable in the slushbox TL vs. the stick. I believe that every review mentions that fact. But, as a FWD driver all my life, it doesn't really bother me. I am just aware of it, so if it's time to light 'em up, well, I hold on! I've driven/owned Saabs, all naturally aspirated 4s, so torque steer really was never an issue there...!

    Yes, the new G interior appears to be a big step up in my limited experience with it. But I still think the TL interior can play in the same ballpark as any of its peers. Except, of course, for the CTS. That is just in a league of its own, interior style/material-wise! :P

    My next car, maybe it's time to let go and go RWD: BMW 3 Convertible or rumored Lexus IS Convertible???

    '13 Jaguar XF, '11 BMW 535xi, '02 Lexus RX300

  • Until very recently, Audi, [non-permissible content removed] for tat, was bringing cars to market with BMW numbers under the hood, at least.

    The BMW 530 was making do with 225HP while the A6 was offering 255HP -- this disparity went beyond 7 months as I recall.

    The Lexus GS was really low and late to the HP race and despite a 300HP (rated) V6, the Acura RL couldn't get no respect in the grunt dept either.

    Audi, across the line, has played in the same HP league as its rivals most of the time. Indeed, for a long time an Audi 4.2L A6 was the same price as a i6 Bimmer 5 series.

    And, the Audi S6 in the comparo's is HOW many thousands OVER $10,000 less than the BMW and Merc?

    Audi still came in first and second in two auto mags comparos both times bettering in the rankings the BMW.

    Audi seems to be waiting to offer us an RS6 again, but one can only speculate that when it does it will offer wrath of god kind of HP and torque, once again upping the ante.

    Why wait?

    I dunno.

    The RS4 seems to be well respected and reviewed yet, to me, it is hard to justify its price.

    The S6, by comparison, seems like a bargain.

    My current burning concern is there is no counter-punch to the "35" BMW engine.

    The V10 S6 is the new winna and champeen from my point of view especially at its price point.
  • dhamiltondhamilton Posts: 873
    I agree that Audi's biggest problem is exposure.

    I just sent an email to AOA railing them for their ridiculous ED program. It's not even close to BMW's in price, or content yet BMW is their biggest competitor.

    I think they shoot themselves in the foot often times by not being competitive with leasing, and such.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yeah I've always believed that if more people knew about and test drove an Audi they'd buy.

    M
  • I test drove A6 three times against BMW 530xi and picked BMW every time although it will cost me almost $12K more. Audi single mode "old lady" Servotronic steering kills the entire otherwise great car. See, if I don't want driver's car, there is always reliable, luxurios Lexus GS350 AWD. If I didn't buy Lexus, then there was a reason to that. Audi offers Lexus-like steering (and somewhat handling) and yet claims it competes with BMW. Yeah, right. On the other hand, if Audi wants to be "German Lexus", then make the car as reliable as Japanese. If you can't, then offer something exclusive so people will tolerate lower reliability and higher price.
  • I read the line "single mode 'old lady' Servotronic steering kills the entire otherwise great car" with keen interest.

    You see, in 2005, after months of test driving cars from Europe, Japan and the US, we came to find that both BMW and Audi had some vehicles we could really enjoy. The BMW sub-venting machine was offering a $47K vehicle for $581 per month for 36 months 45K miles with no upfront money essentially. Audi for a less than $45K vehicle was about $100 more, same deal.

    We liked the BMW just fine and, well, the $100 was enough motivation.

    A series of back to back test drives in BMW's without Servotronic led us to configure and order a new BMW EXACTLY as we wanted it. We did not, however, order the car with Servotronic.

    A friend of ours who worked as an intern at the local BMW dealership told us we should have ordered the car with Servotronic which would "transform" the car from good to great. A further google of Servotronic, BMW+Servotronic, etc, led us to specific reviews of Servotronic equipped vehicles and specific reviews of the car we had ordered with Servotronic.

    For example, "The optional Servotronic steering is flat-out wonderful. It's speed-sensitive, adding more assist at low speeds, and invisibly altering the steering ratio, so the car turns more with less steering input. Parallel-parking is a breeze, as are quick, mid-block U-turns. As speed increases, assistance diminishes and the ratio slows, making for good on-center feel and sure lane changes. Perhaps most telling about the Servotronic steering is its transparency; unless a driver moves directly from the [Servotronic equipped BMW] to another vehicle without the feature and suddenly has to crank in more steering at slow speeds, it'll likely not be noticed at all."

    At the time, I had a 2003 Audi allroad that was coming off lease. One of the things the Audi lacked was road speed sensitive steering boost. Indeed, it seemed, in the Audi, that the steering boost was ENGINE speed sensitive. I guess the theory is that when the car is in the first two or three gears (mine was a 6 speed manual) the RPM's are higher hence the boost would be higher at lower speeds.

    Sort of true. But the thing is, as the Audi went faster and faster (road speed), the RPM's even with the 6 speed also climbed above 2,000 and the effect was [apparently] the steering boost remained. This, then, might account for an "old lady" personality in any car so equipped.

    I cannot verify that this 2003 Audi called this Servotronic. Indeed, Servotronic is typically capitalized because it is a technology that Audi, BMW and other manufacturers purchase and implement on their vehicles.

    My experience with our new BMW as of May, 2005 was that "Servotronic" was a major improvement in road feel at speed and a welcome assist at low, slow or no speed. We were able to alter our ordered car to ADD Servotronic steering since our order was less than a week old.

    When I then ordered a new Audi A6 3.2, I noted the brochure specified that Servotronic (capitalized and trade marked) steering came standard in US bound versions of this, the latest and newest generation of Audi A6's.

    My impression is that BMW charges extra (not much in the case of our 2005 BMW) for Servotronic and that many of the dealer's agents (like our intern friend) know that it is a transforming (in a positive sense) technology that they, for their own personal BMW's, would not forego.

    "OLD LADY?" heck, I don't know if there is "BMW Servotronic" and "Volvo Servotronic" and "Audi Servotronic," or not, but I do know that our two 2005 MY German cars both have Servotronic and that a back to back drive with a BMW that has it vs one that does not is eye opening. Drive the Audi A6 with it and a BMW without it and the BMW feels "less nimble."

    Now, does this rise to the characterization of "old lady"? I guess this may be in the hands and arms of the individual, but I would urge anyone buying one of these cars to check off the Servotronic option (if such is on an option list), NOT avoid it.

    With only these experiences and the reviews of some folks who write about cars for a living as my guide, I return to the question, is there such a thing as "servotronic" and "Servotronic" steering and that one implementation (Audi's apparently) is "old lady" like and others' not so much? :confuse:
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Some auto reviewers, like Clarkson, have complained that regular Audis lack road feel. I dont remember seeing comments about Audi steering being too light and over-boosted. The steering didn't feel that way to me in the Audis I've driven. I certainly wouldn't call them the "German Lexus". The Phaeton is the closest thing there is to that.
  • dhamiltondhamilton Posts: 873
    The little seat time I've had in the A8/A6, led me to the conclusion that the steering felt a little "over boosted" for my taste. However, the overall traits of the car, more than make up for this IMO.

    I've thought that in the Q7 as well. Now the X5 [07] has wonderful steering, but is to "enthusiastic" [nervous] IMO to make it a worthy, long road trip vehicle.

    I think Mercedes gets bashed a lot for heavy steering, with no feel, but that's what makes them great touring cars. No need for constant corrections.

    All of these are a better alternative to Lexus which is like eating a fine meal, on a paper plate. [with an excellent waiter]
  • I have a '03 A6 2.7T coming off lease shortly and fully intended to get another Audi. I'm not, partially because the lease cost is up almost 200 per month and primarily because I can get competitive AWD cars for less money. The 530Xi was app.$50 a month less due to higher residuals. I thought the Audi steering at low speeds was too light and didn't have the road feel of my '03. I didn't have the opportunity to test it at higher speeds. The engine didn't feel as quick as my twin turbo that reached max torque at 1800RPM. The M35X was quick , better technology, better handling, far less money to lease($120 per month less than the Audi) but didn't have the refinement and "planted feeling" of the Quattro. The GS 350 is fast with numb steering, small but very quiet and refined feeling. Frankly, other than the technology, I liked driving my current Audi better than any of them. Leaning towards the M! Cost, handling, steering, tech. I don't mention looks because that is individual preference.
  • My situation almost exactly when I plunked down a deposit to order an M35X.

    Lower lease payments, MORE technology (don't know about "better," though) and "close enough" to German feel for jazz (at $200 per month less, hell yes!)

    Then Audi, for an almost $3K more expensive model came in UNDER the Infiniti price on the lease -- and "all I had to do" was threaten to buy the Infiniti, which I sort of already had done. The phone rang, the dealer said "what will it take and some $200 in monthly payment melted away as if by magic.

    That was then, this may be different.

    But, I came off a 2003 allroad with a mo pay of about $790 (including tax) and went to a $53,286 A6 for about $640 including tax. The Infiniti was $677 same deal.

    The Audi, the German cars generally, have a feel, a taughtness and with Audis expertise in AWD an "edge" that no Infiniti (at this point), no matter how high up the food chain doesn't quite match.

    Yet, to be clear, the Infiniti was close to that BMW/Audi feel, so close that for the price diff the Infiniti went from being #2 to #1 and ONLY when Audi dropped the price per mo did my former #1, return to #1.

    My Audi A6 3.2 with all options save sport suspension :cry: is the best Audi I have ever had in almost every way. My most loved and fun Audi, however, remains my 1995 S6 -- but from a technology, quality and fit and finish standpoint, the C6 A6 is lightyears ahead of the '95. There was just something about that RUSH of power from the 5 cylinder 20v turbo, that causes me to mist up.

    In other words, I hear you, I was there, I've been there and done that. If Audi will come down in price for you would you reconsider? :shades:
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Leaning towards the M! Cost, handling, steering, tech. I don't mention looks because that is individual preference.

    If you can, try and spend a few hours with the M on a highway. The M is a blast on curvy two-lanes, but its highway ride and noise levels are definitely not for everybody.
  • "Servotronic" is Audi name, "Active steering" is BMW, etc. Actually, almost all high end cars have variable assist. However, the difference is in software, i.e. how much assist is there at certain speed. BMW steering gets harder faster than A6. A6 gets good feel at highway speeds, but feels anemic at 25 - 40 mph. On the ather hand, variable assist in S6 is excellent and the only difference, I believe, is in software that defines how much assist you get at which speed.

    When you enter turn at a speed in A6 steering has one feel. Speed drops as you turn so when upon the exit you are returning wheel to the neutral position, steering has completely different feel. Quite odd feeling. I didn't feel that say, in Acura RL, which supposedly also has variable assist.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I've hated every experience I've had with Active Steering. Zero road feel, and the variable ratio kept throwing me off course. No thanks, regular BMW steering is just fine.
  • Servotronic is an Audi name? Servotronic is a purchased technology, Audi and BMW purchase it from ZF (and anyone else who wants BRAND NAME Servotronic or Servotronic II does too -- fur instance Cadillac.)

    OK, if this is wrong and if your assertion is the proper case, wouldn't you think BMW would avoid using that name or if they did, they would have to give credit where credit is due?

    E.g., ESP is a Bosch product (but it was, according to the Mercedes fine print, developed in "cooperation" with Mercedes.)

    So, one configures a new BMW X3 and right there pops up Servotronic (not Audi Servotronic) as an optional extra -- $250. Configure a new 3 series and for $1275 you can opt for Active Steering.

    Ask the BMW dealer (and I did just an hour ago) what the difference is, and the first quip is, "about $1000."

    But seriously?

    No, they are not identical, Active Steering does two things, Servotronic does one, Active Steering effectively incorporates Servotronic (not an Audi or BMW invention apparently.) Here is what you gets when you checks the option box for Active Steering: Servotronic which is ROAD SPEED sensitive boost, the lower the road speed the higher the boost and vice versa, with Active Steering you also get ratio variability. As the car changes road speed the speed at which the wheel turns changes. At one speed a 1/4 turn of the steering wheel yields "X" turn of the road wheels, at a different speed, it may take 1/2 a turn of the steering wheel to generate "X" turn of the road wheels, at yet another speed, it may only take 1/8 a turn to generate "X" turn of the road wheels.

    Servotronic, according to the BMW sales guy is a HUGE improvement over non Servotronic set ups since it decreases boost as the road speed increases (the opposite of previous generations of "power steering" which generally remained linear or simply changed in step with engine RPM.)

    Our BMW rep says Active Steering is an acquired taste and that Servotronic over a non-Servotronic set up feels "just right" (to him, obviously.)

    Reading test reports of BMW models that were offered with OPTIONAL Servotronic, one can glean a message, Servotronic is a "wonderful" set up. Test reports praising the Servotronic steering can be found for the X3, X5 and M5. Other reports, less complimentary, can be found, too -- refering here to Active Steering.

    Maybe both set ups are an acquired taste. The praise for the new S8's implementation and last year's M5 Servotronic implementation can be googled with ease.

    Yet, if you do not drive back to back to back the same model with and without and then again with, you would be hard pressed to notice the boost differences, since the boost declines slowly as road speed rises.

    The effect, once you become aware of what it feels like both ways, is better highway response without a rise in effort at low speed or when stopped.

    BMW is moving all their vehicles to Active Steering. The interesting thing is, at this point, is that the code to special order Servotronic is one lower than the Active Steering option, making one wonder if the current price of Active Steering isn't the aspect that is over-boosted.

    The US Audi A6 comes standard with Servotronic and the software that controls it seems to be quite like the software that controls the BMW implementation of Servotronic.

    The Party Line:

    Speed-proportional variable ratio steering from ZF

    "The best steering feel is always at your fingertips, regardless of the conditions. ZF Servotronic steering incorporates speed-sensitivity to provide agile steering for easier manoeuvrability at low speed and greater feedback and stability at higher speeds."

    The full report:

    PowerSteering.com and I swear I did not make this up!
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