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Acura RL

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Comments

  • boomsamaboomsama Posts: 362
    What are the pros and cons of diesel?
  • cericceric Posts: 1,092
    Mark, I don't think Honda make diesel engines, do they? I believe the Honda they sell with diesel engines in Europe are bought from other. The chance we see diesel RL is much slimmer than a Hybrid RL.

    In fact, I have been wondering why diesel engines can't rev as high to generate hp? Is it because they run w/o spark plugs? My impression with diesel vehicles stays at my dad's diesel truck. Outdated, I know.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Diesels make boatloads of torque. Mercedes new E320 CDI makes something like 370lb.ft, more than the E500 does. HP is roughly 200. Im pretty sure that its faster than the gasoline E320, but not as fast as the E500. Diesel's problem in the US is largely its image. Americans have a perception of diesel cars as being dirty, smelly, and unreliable. (From '70s era european cars). While our European friends have seen diesels get modernized to the point where they are just as refined as gasoline, most companies just assumed "Americans just want gas" and so nobody really bothered to try and sell diesels other than a few VW small cars and the E class. Untreated diesel has a lot of sulfur content, which leads to dirty emmisions that wont pass some US emissions laws. (The new E320 CDI is only legal in 45 of 50 states). We're supposed to get "clean diesel" in 2006, which reduces the sulfur content and should allow the E to be sold in all 50 states. The E makes 27 city / 37 highway, and if combined with a hybrid system, it could probably get Prius levels of fuel efficiency, which would be spectacular.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    A turbo charged Honda engine (other than their jetskis) is REALLY unlikely. Like BMW, Honda simply doesnt do forced induction.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    My remarks are in no way meant to imply that I thought or think that Honda or Acura will bring an oil burner, blown or not, to the US or anywhere for that matter.

    In the US, the worm will soon be turning for oil burners. Why?

    Clean diesel fuel is coming soon. A 200HP E class with some 370foot pounds of torque would be both plenty fast (130mph no problem) and plenty plenty quick. Moreover, it would last longer and get better economy -- and with the afforementioned clean fuel, would actually be able, utlimately, to be considered an LEV.

    Honda may elect to go hybrid -- some are even considering hybrid with the internal combustion component of the marriage to be diesel.

    I do not claim, or at this point, believe, that Honda is one of these companies -- but stranger things have happened.

    And, who knows about turbo or other forced induction thought processes -- they are a potent way to increase volumetric efficiency and CAN reduce weight. Again, I have no notion that this will show up anytime soon in any Honda product.

    Diesels in the US suffer ONLY one true problem (or with the advent of clean fuel will only have one hurdle left to clear -- Image!).

    This, too, will change. As they say, money talks! Diesel is economical AND the high performance alternative, so far, if you want both economy and performance in the same package.

    Whoda thunk it?!?
  • shotgunshotgun Posts: 184
    Goto: http://www.vtec.net/news/news-item?news_item_id=234399 for information on Honda's impressive achievements in diesel technology and performance.

    -------------------------------------------

    Honda Diesel Sets New World Records
     
     Date: May 07, 2004 18:07
     Submitted by: Jeff
     Source: Honda UK PR
     Credibility Rating: N/A

    Honda’s new Accord 2.2 i-CTDi Sport has this week set no fewer than 19 world speed records and achieved 3.07 litres / 100 km (92 imperial mpg, ~76.6 US mpg) fuel economy to boot. British racing driver Robin Liddell and freelance journalist Iain Robertson were part of the European record-setting team.

    Amongst the speed records set, which were all achieved in Production Car Class B (2000 – 2500 cc), were 133.04 mph (1 mile flying start), 84.25 mph (1 mile standing start) and an average speed of 130.38 mph over a 24-hour endurance period. These records were all set at Papenburg high-speed oval test track in north-west Germany on 1 and 2 May, and are all subject to FIA ratification.

    Two production cars, randomly selected by FIA officials, were used to undertake the speed records, and apart from the fitting of roll-cages, racing harnesses and radio equipment for track-to-pits communication, no other modifications were made to the cars.

    Following the speed record attempts, the same two cars were then driven 419 miles from Papenburg test track to Wiesbaden, near Frankfurt in order to complete the fuel economy run. The route comprised of a mixture of motorway and non-motorway driving, during which one of the Accords achieved a staggering 92 imperial mpg (US mpg=~76.6) average.

    The project, whose aim was to demonstrate the performance and economy of the Accord i-CTDi, was a joint production between Honda, the FIA and Italian-based JAS Motorsport, who managed fuelling and pit-stops.

    Honda UK’s driver in the speed record attempt, Robin Liddell, who has previously raced at Le Mans 24-hours, as well as the American Le Mans Series and the BRDC British GT championship, commented: "The car’s performance is very impressive, demonstrated by the records we’ve achieved. Honda has made real steps forward in styling, ergonomics and interior design with the new Accord Diesel and now has a package that can take on the best cars in its class."

    A complete list of speed records, all subject to FIA ratification, is as follows:

    1 mile
     Flying start
     133.035 mph
      
     1000 metres
     Flying start
     133.115 mph
     
    1/8-mile
     Standing start
     42.865 mph
      
     500 metres
     Standing start
     58.672 mph
     
    ¼-mile " 54.198 mph
      
    1000 metres " 73.277 mph
     
    1 mile " 84.250 mph
      
    10 kilometres " 118.487 mph
     
    10 miles " 123.138 mph
      
    100 kilometres " 130.435 mph
     
    100 miles " 131.036 mph
      
    500 kilometres " 130.381 mph
     
    500 miles " 131.032 mph
      
    1000 kilometres " 130.629 mph
     
    1000 miles " 130.786 mph
      
    1 hour Standing start 131.257 mph
     
    6 hours " 130.490 mph
     
    12 hours " 130.378 mph
     
    24 hours " 130.379 mph
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    There is another attribute that stands out in modern diesels. In the past, gasoline engines had advantage in terms of power production for a given displacement, but thanks to the development of common-rail turbo diesel technology, the peak power numbers are close to gasoline engines (and at lower rpm) with more torque (at an even lower rpm).

    2.2-liter I-4 (gasoline): 145 HP @ 5500 rpm / 147 lb.-ft @ 4700 rpm (1994-97 Accord EX)
    2.2-liter I-4 (diesel): 140 HP @ 4000 rpm / 250 lb.-ft @ 2000 rpm (2003+ European Accord)

    But, even with use of aluminum block (a rarity in diesel engines), which makes the Honda diesel one of the lightest in its class, it is still about 100 lb. heavier than a comparable displacement gasoline engine. And although this diesel is considered one of the most refined in its class compared to BMW, Mercedes and VW diesels (from reviews in European magazines), the tag line “for a diesel” still goes with it. So, while diesels are getting impressive output, they continue to have some (diminishing) weaknesses.

    Now, Honda has come up with its own version of direct ignition gasoline engine, which is supposed to improve mileage considerably (capable of going as lean as 64:1). I believe it is being offered in one of the Japanese market vehicles using Honda K-series DOHC I-VTEC, and without VCM at the moment.

    So, development continues on both fronts (diesel and gasoline). As far as RL is concerned, I hope it gets some “hybrid treatment” instead of diesel for the American market.
  • cericceric Posts: 1,092
    Hi, legendman: Thanks. I stand corrected. I remember reading the news in vtec.net, but didn't pay attention to the fact that it was a diesel engine.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    A hybrid RL seems like a much more likely option. Lexus isnt doing diesel any time soon, and if they want to compete with a hybrid GS350, gasoline\electric seems the most likely route.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    If Honda builds another diesel, it'll one for the European market. I expect they will soon build their own >2.0 for the Civic line overseas. That same 2.2 engine described above will soon be going into the CR-V.

    However, building one for the RL would be kinda dicey. I think that would be a lot of work for a small number of cars. Compare that with the need for more diesels in Europe and I think Europe will win.

    On turbos... Honda is not exactly anti-turbo. During development, they considered a turbo for the S2000. It was rejected as a result of concerns over turbo-lag. But as technology advances, turbo-lag is being reduced. The HSC concept mule was powered by a variable vane turbo of their own design. Never say never when it comes to these Honda guys. They use whatever tool gets the job done.

    All that said, if the RL gets an alternative power plant, I expect it will be a hybrid. The biggest hurdle for hybrids is their expense. When we're talking about the market north of 50K, buyers tend to me a little less cheap. ;-)
  • steveaccordsteveaccord Posts: 108
    I am glad to see this post. I was pretty excited myself to read it along with the various engine awards Honda received once more this year!
    In addition, I wanted to share my perception for the feasibility of diesel powertrains. Recent advancements in diesel engines have been ignited by the creation of a multinational effort to design more advanced engines. My knowledge is that all major automobile companies have participated to these efforts and have led to the development of "common rail" diesel engines. There have been already a few generations of diesel engines based on the "common rail" specification and basically that is the spec used in all diesel-powered european cars for the last 5-7 years.
    I bring this up because I believe that both BMW and HONDA are partners in the consortium overseing the "common rail" development. So I guess both can easily attain production of diesel-powered production models (as the Honda post clearly suggests).

    Steve
    :-)
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Do you know if Honda has the technology to compete with Toyota when it comes to hybrids though? For its high performance cars, Toyota is talking about 150+hp electric motors. Im not sure if Honda can match that.
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 676
    one thing interesting... in public perception, everybody mentions the prius when they talk about hybrids, but factually more than 50% registred hybrids in 2003 were civic hybrids from publicly available data.

    i dont know, why 150+ HP electric motors are such a big deal, toyota or not... the non-automotive world has some amazing array of high output ac & dc motors with some really fancy materials. given that so far all electric motors in hybrids have been DC powered, i'm not too concerned about either torque or HP. DC motors inherently pump lots of torque and fairly good amounts of HP starting at very low RPMs, that's just the way it is. As long as the manufacturer has the will and mechanism to balance the weight aspect or justify the weight aspect, the HP is a non-issue. I dont think toyota or honda really have done anything special about the motors themselves, its the application which is of interest and both seem to be in the same boat.

    ksso
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Honda has showcased several hybrids with powerful electric motors. Here are the major Honda Hybrid Prototypes/Concepts showcased over last three years…

    2001 Honda Dual Note / 2002 Acura DNX (400 HP/AWD)
    3.5 liter DOHC I-VTEC V6: 300 HP
    Three Electric Motors (two front “in-wheel” mounted, and one mounted beside the “mid-mounted” gasoline engine): 100 HP

    2002 Acura RDX (250 HP/AWD)
    2.4 liter DOHC I-VTEC I-4: 190 HP
    Two front “in-wheel” mounted electric motors: 60 HP

    2003 European Honda Accord Hybrid (350 HP/AWD)
    2.0 liter DOHC I-VTEC I-4: 200 HP
    Two rear “in-wheel” mounted electric motors: 150 HP

    While Honda hasn’t offered a production hybrid with more than 15 HP (Civic Hybrid), it certainly has showcased several prototypes with more powerful electric motors (combinations) than are seen in Civic Hybrid and Insight. The Accord Hybrid is expected to have a 30 HP electric motor.

    For a car like RL, even 30 HP would do the magic because the top end is good already, and where the electric motor will really help will be the low end.

    BTW, while Honda’s current hybrids use “ultra-thin brushless” DC motors, Honda also makes it very own 80 HP AC motor, developed originally for Honda EV-Plus (electric vehicle) and currently used in FCX (fuel cell vehicle).
  • shotgunshotgun Posts: 184
    Please join in! Things I'd like to see, and not necessarily in this order:

    1. 3.5L DOHC engine

    2. 300 ft-lb torque

    3. 19-20" wheel/tire option

    4. 0-60 in 5.5 seconds

    5. Top speed 156 MPH (simply to exceed the volunteer governor-limited 155 MPH top end imposed by some European manufacturers)

    6. Skidpad performance of 1.0

    7. Maintenance data display that shows number of hours on the engine - extra nice would be percent of time spent in various rpm ranges (does this make sense?)

    8. Nav system that could display dvd movies (Disabled if car was moving)

    9. Connection conduit to the NAV display system for radar detection devices

    10. Passenger seatback that completely folds back (180 degrees)

    11. Compartments to conceal goodies (especially one for a KelTec .380mm P3-AT)

    12. Audio system capable of playing MP3 files. That way I can listen to custom music and audio books.

    13. Power rear seats - simply for the "cool" quotient
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    These are a few of my favorite things:

    1. Wide, comfortable driver seat that will not pinch or squeeze a 200 lb. man

    2. Lose the metal in the center column and replace it with wood

    3. Lose the 3 small, round dash gauges and provide instead a one piece luminscent display like in Mercedes S class

    4. Lose the BMW 7 series trunk hump and offer clean lines

    5. Redesign the front end and make it less bug-eyed

    6. Vibrating massaging driver seat

    7. Leather wrapped steering wheel - no WOOD wheels!

    8. HVAC controls completely independent of the navi system screen

    9. Radio that will play cassettes too. I have tons of 'em!

    10. Fuel efficiency/fuel saving technology

    11. Good exterior color choices -- similar to BMW metallic offerings.

    12. Fold down rear seat(s) with trunk access

    13. An excellent braking system equivalent to BMW or better.

    14. Superlative ABS system equivalant or better than BMW's

    15. On-Star or equivalent

    16. One year complimentary XM satellite service

    17. Robust anti-theft system
  • cericceric Posts: 1,092
    Things I like to see available or standard:

    1. engine: DOHC 3.5L 300hp/270ft-lb
    2. chassis: able to pull at least 0.92g
    3. manual transmission - 6 speed
    4. hybrid - adding at least 100hp
    5. excellent brake (good point legendman!) Acura isn't really famous for excellent brakes.
    6. 18" wheels, at least 235mm wide tires.
    7. Reliability!!! Otherwise, I could have stayed with my '98 540iA

    See, my list is short considering all the known standard/available features.

    shotgun, I haven't seen a 3.5L engine naturally aspirated can put out 300ft-lb of torque. Has anyone? Nissan VQ can put out 270ft-lb. By projection, BMW M3 3.2L(255ft-lb) can put out 278ft-lb if increased to 3.5L. I hope to be wrong, though.
  • shotgunshotgun Posts: 184
    Ceric, I haven't heard, read about or seen a naturally aspirated 3.5L put out 300 ft-lb either...its simply "wishful" thinking on my behalf. It would be a major engineering feat if Honda/Acura could pull that off. Can you imagine the field day the automotive press would have if Acura came out with a 300HP & 300 ft-lb torque engine and the impact that would have on the performance capability of the RL. On its way to "smokin" most V8's in acceleration and top-end, Honda would lay to rest, for once an all, the criticism showered on it for not offering a V8 - it would become an instant cult "classic". I'm not, by any stretch of the imagination, an automotive technophile, however I do believe there are some engines out there whose ft-lb capacity equals or exceed their HP rating...And finally, you know, "300HP & 300 ft-lbs" simply has a very nice "ring" to it...
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 676
    cassettes???
  • hjcanterhjcanter Posts: 31
    I would like on the new RL:

    1. Most of what the other posts said

    2. Heated AND cooled seats

    3. Enough head room for a 6'3" guy who wears baseball caps

    4. Enough of a price difference from a 2005 a6 4.2 to get my 300+ hp

    I believe the RL will come in at about $49k and the a6 at $55-57k.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    . . .the new Automobile magazine. The new RL is ON THE COVER. Of course of the 6 (with an honorable mention of an 05 -- AWD available -- Lexus) cars discussed within: 3 German Challengers + the Lexus and the 3 Germans -- Audi A6, BMW 5 and Mercedes E, the conclusion one reaches is that of the three Challengers, the Acura is least well equipped to Challenge (but a nod is given to reliability -- apparently damning with faint praise).

    And, of the three Germans, the 5 series is said to be "just a car" unless it is equipped with AS and ARS (which are NOT free).

    The conclusion is that the Audi is the most compelling car -- apparently the "one" to beat in 2005.

    My read, "read," not necessarily agreement, is that of the 7 cars that were given ink, the Acura is presented as the least likely to succeed since Acura "didn't give the buying public what they [oh so obviously] want."

    Furthermore, the Acura is said to have a "less bountiful" electronic cornucopia and is, ultimately, not what the pundits wanted.

    We be pundits?

    Frankly, the Acura still seems like the Japanese Audi -- of this, at least, Automobile magazine and I are in agreement.

    Upon further reflection, however, the sidebar article pertaining to the Lexus GS430 with its 6speed auto and optional AWD (one is led to believe in either the uprated [245HP] V6 or V8) makes it almost as compelling as the author's favorite, the new Cadillac STS. I don't recall Joe Lorio, the author, from previous writings, so I can neither add nor subtract to his analysis by virtue of his reputation or possible agenda.

    He seems to be "telling it like he sees it."

    The good news, then, would be, if true, the new RL may, sooner, rather than later, be forced to be discounted somewhat more steeply than perhaps "management" would like.

    The new A6, on the other hand, has smitten just about every journalist who is given any ink -- period.

    Hope the price estimated on the new A6 3.2L is as "friendly" as some of these folks think it will be.
  • shotgunshotgun Posts: 184
    The Automobile magazine article does not bode well for Acura. However, I deem it very presumptuous and unprofessional of the authors to give the new RL such short shrift, not having touched or driven the car...As on past occasions, the editors of Automobile magazine, may find themselves in the unenviable position of doing some serious "backstrokin"...
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I stopped reading Automobile awhile ago. Of the four major auto enthusiast magazines in the US, Id rank them as 4th.
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 676
    prophecies of the end of the world every 2nd or 3rd week.

    as i've been saying for a while, there was a time in history when auto reviewers and writers were enthusiasts who really knew the cars down to the last nut and bolt... we have come a long way in the last 100 years, but most of today's automobile writers world overs are nothing more than a silly bunch of wannabe's who really have no credibility whatso ever... they are as bad as the extreme left wing or the extreme right wing. They niether have enough technical background nor are they people with any special gifts and nor are they anything like retired race drivers who know a thing or two or three of driving and we all know they arent born with einstien's brains. I find it ridiculous that given acura's super secrecy prior to launch, somebody actually went out and compared a unknown ghost of a car to others.... great, tells a lot of the einstien brain.

    ksso
  • shotgunshotgun Posts: 184
    Hear, hear ksoman...very nicely articulated - I couldn't agree with you more!
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    I put them as #3 of the big 4:

    1. Car and Driver
    2. Road and Track
    3. Automobile
    4. Motor Trend

    But, then again, I often switch 2 and 3 and I also read Car and European Car, too.

    What little ink C&D has spent on the new RL has been mainly summaries of press releases. They seem to be willing to wait until they get their hands on the car rather than speculate -- which is what Automobile did on the Japanese and American cars they discussed.

    The Germans had all been driven.

    Interesting comment about the Bimmer being just another car without certain expensive options, tho.

    And, although I do know what cornucopia means, I read -- admittedly on Acura's web site -- the features coming with the new Acura, and there are plenty of them. I'm not too sure, then, what it means to be "less bountiful."

    I certainly could see "different choices" of gizmos as an accurate comment -- but the one that seems to get everyone excited is "lane change warning." Sometimes automatic cruise control seems to excite the journalists too. My use of cruise control where such a technology would seem most valuable, does NOT seem to be in concert with the spirit of the system. For, what I understand is that the cruise control maintains "assured clear distance" and can apply up to 20% of full brake force in an effort to keep the distance between your car and the one in front at a predetermined (dynamically) distance. This means when someone pulls in front of you on a crowded freeway on your way home that the ACC will automatically apply the brakes and open up a hole between your front bumber and the other car's rear bumper.

    Here in Cincinnati, during rush hour, I can see no time when even attempting to set my cruise control would be a sagacious course of action. So, if this feature costs more than a couple bucks, I'll pass -- conversely, I love park distance control, especially in the rear.

    Headlights that track the steering wheel's arc -- that's a good one too. Smart key -- I'll take it, but not for more than couple of bucks unless someone explains its main reason for being other than "coolness."

    On*star and telematics -- I'm there, sign me up, take my money, please.

    DVD audio -- WOW WOW -- but but, there is so little software, but apparently you can play DTS CD's and at least they can be ordered from AMAZON and there is a decent selection (well OK not decent, but adequate).

    Where was I, oh yea -- cornucopia?

    While we're drooling over new cars, there was a short mention of a Chrysler 300C SRT-8 in July Motor Trend -- 425HP and all the SRT-8 high sport, high zoot stuff -- early 2005 intro. Wanna bet it will be less than $45K (if you could bring yourself to enter a Chrylser dealership, is another matter, however.)

    Peace, out.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Yeah MotorTrend is pretty crap too. They seem to be pretty blatantly biased in favor of domestic cars.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    I get copies of R&T, C&D and MT. I forget which one of them wrote about it, but it sounds like Acura allowed the press to drive an SH-AWD prototype on a snow-covered track. They only had one sentence describing the drive, but it was favorable. So, somebody has driven it. They've just had a very limited test drive.
  • steveaccordsteveaccord Posts: 108
    Not only I fully agree that to writer about something not tested yet is 'disinformative' at best but regrettably just had to observe how bad things are getting out there. If you do not believe me just check Forbes and their lifestyle section where they pretend to summirize the only 8 2004 models having full safety rating. What a piece of junk! I had to write them by asking by what criteria theay could include the Audi A4 (IIHS rating) without mentioning Accord or even Camry that have exactly the same IIHS ratings!

    Going back to our beloved RL thread would this be the time some automotive press should start seeing early production test vehicles?
    I think it was posted earlier on on this topic. I really hope we will finally get some hard data on this vehicle. My take remains that probably the best offerings will be a bit later on in the cycle with hybrid, VCM or some other exciting engineering (beside the ACE architecture that is already a given).
  • shotgunshotgun Posts: 184
    I believe it was the British "Auto Express" magazine crew that got to drive it. Goto: http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/?previews/previews_story.php?id=4591- 7
    for the article...
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    >cassettes???<

    Yeah, they replaced my 8- track tapes!

    Seriously, though, books on tape have long been a pleasant adjunct to a long distance drive. I guess it'll now be books on CD.
  • shotgunshotgun Posts: 184
    ... My take remains that probably the best offerings will be a bit later on in the cycle with hybrid, VCM or some other exciting engineering (beside the ACE architecture that is already a given)...

     Darn it I agree with you steveaccord but I JUST DON'T WANT TO WAIT for the later offerings I want my RL NOW!!! (smile)
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    >I've been reading A6 pretests and tests and impressions for months now -- mum's the word on the RL.<

    I saw an A6 L today in a parking lot. Nice looking car with a very luxurious and elegantly styled interior. Nice wood too.

    Some of you guys have opined on Audi's. What's your take on Audi's in general and specifically about this new model? If memory serves, Consumer Reports annual owner questionairre dings the Audi's for poor reliability and being expensive to maintain. What's your take? Are they reliable? Expensive to own?

    My last German car was a VW Scirroco. What a POS. It spent more time in the shop then in my driveway. It first broke down as I was attempting to drive off the dealer's lot on day one.

    Just to stay on topic, how does the RL compare to the A6L, including price?
  • steveaccordsteveaccord Posts: 108
    By the way I am going to see the F1 race June 20 at Indy. If any of you is around may be we can set up a randevouz there at the speedway!
    Have a nice weekend all of you!
  • steveaccordsteveaccord Posts: 108
    Thank you for the link. The comments sem to validate all our expectations on the SH-AWD. I hope to be seeing more of this type of articles!
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    Personally, I lend no credence to anything that Consumer's Reports says about cars.

    Washing machines, now that's another matter.

    I, thus far, have acquired cars based on behind the wheel experiences -- and, since, THUS FAR, I have never kept my 27 German cars beyond warranty, it has not been an issue.

    I am CONSIDERING a non-German car, however -- the new RL -- not without some nod being given to its legendary (no pun intended) reliablility.

    But if it drives poorly, no amount of reliability will trump that characteristic.

    I lend more credence to Automobile magazine than I do to CR, but, hey, that is just me.

    Audis cost of ownership for the first 50,000 miles is $0.00, BTW.
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    >Personally, I lend no credence to anything that Consumer's Reports says about cars.<

    Mark, bear in mind that their reports of reliability and operating expenses are a direct result of the annual questionnaire responses provided by their subscribers, as relates to the various cars those subscribers own.

    If a car gets a black circle for reliability or repair frequency it's because the readers (actual car owners) have said as much. Conversely, Acura, Lexus, Honda and Toyota consistently get the highest and best reports. So, if we are to believe that Acura is deserving of the the highest marks for superlative reliablilty, then we can't earnestly dismiss the bad marks ascribed to other less reliable cars, which include Mercedes and other German cars.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Thanks for the link, Shotgun, but, no, that wasn't the article. It's in the July Car & Driver on page 36.

    "Working on concert with the stability control system (VSA), the AWD makes handling foolproof. With the stability control switched off, the AWD allows one to slide the car around easily and predictably with the throttle and steering wheel."

    That's about it for their subjective opinions (it's a very short vignette). They say they had a "special test drive of the upcoming Acura RL in the snow country of northern Japan". If the Brits pictures mean anything, they were driving the Accord mule. Of course, I could be reading way too much into C&D's phrasing.
  • cericceric Posts: 1,092
    Less and less I depend on auto mags as my automobile info source. I find myself depending more on news releases, and internet forums. The only things I find useful still are the performance numbers from their road tests, which are more fair than numbers announced by auto makers. (same day, same conditions, etc.)

    As for look of the cars, I have my own eyes and my own tastes. I couldn't care less about the opinions of the reviewers in that area.

    My ranking on the four auto mags are:
    C&D
    R&T
    MotorTrend
    Automobile

    I often find C&D's performance numbers to be the most optimistic/aggressive. Anyone agree?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The previous A6 has been one of the most problematic cars Audi has made, with a history of problematic cars. Recalls, recalls, and more recalls. Yes it is true that under warranty, chances are you wont have to pay for most of the repairs. I've heard from a few reports of owners that the SECOND time their front bumper on the A6 was ripped off from "trying to drive through a snow bank that my five year old could've kicked over" the dealer footed that person with the $2000 repair bill. Personally I have things to do during the day, as does my wife, and we dont really have the time to keep driving to and from the Audi service department, free or not. Jaguar is annoying enough. CR lists the outgoing A6 as a "risk" on its list of "repeat offenders" under the worst used cars section. Not exactly what I'd call praise. The 2003 A6 is also #6 on the PA\NJ list of highest lemon law cases. Friends who have bought Audi's (mostly A6s and 8s), havent bought another. They all went to BMW, M-B, or Lexus. Its too early to tell if the new A6 is going to be as bad as the old one. Audi's other cars havent achieved the level of notoriety of the A6 (though the A4 was also subject to multiple ignition coil recalls). That said, Europe in general has slipped to third place in reliabilty, even behind Detroit, with an average of 20% of European cars having major mechanical issues, vs. 18% for the US, and 10% for Japan. In case you cant tell, Im generally not a fan of Germany. My '93 500SEL was the last Benz Im going to buy.
  • shotgunshotgun Posts: 184
    Hmmmm...after having read your post I went to the MB forum and read nothing but horror stories on the 2003 and up 500 SL - and that is, supposedly, Mercedes premier automobile. Let's face it, the land of the rising sun has eclipsed Teutonic automotive engineering supremacy....

    Check out the typical complaint below:
    "...Thought I should chip in my 2 cents worth. I have had my lovely SL500 for ten months now. I love the car, but it has been so very unreliable I cannot stand it any more.

    The ownership experience is severely blighted by the regular appearance of faults, which always necessitate a visit back to a Mercedes service department. And the SL-specific parts are often not available immediately which means your car sits, un-drivable, in the repair shop waiting for a back order part.

    In the last 10 months of ownership, I have spent a month driving loan cars, whilst waiting for various parts and repairs. Now let me say quickly that Mercedes has paid for every repair under warrantee and every loan car under courtesy, but that does not take away the irritation of the continuous unreliability of this flagship car.

    This week?s fault is the seat-belt pre-tensioner (car unsafe to drive, we have been waiting 10 days for parts), but previous failures have included hydraulic suspension (car not drivable), exhaust system failure (car not legal to drive) and the electric seat adjustment getting stuck in the full-forward position (so that you cannot get into the seat!).

    If you are buying an SL500 as a sunny-day third car ? go ahead. But don?t buy one if you want something reliable to enjoy whenever the sun comes out - because, as likely as not, you'll be in a diesel C-class estate loan car when the sun actually comes out for a day..."
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    My Jags have had somewhat similar issues. Parts always have to come in from England, which means 10-14 day waits. Its a good thing the XKR is not my daily driver. My power seat motors also failed, but with the seats in the full rear position, so my wife couldnt drive the car when she wanted to go out for a day of fun in the sun. The supercharger failed at 20K, it has an airbag warning lamp that likes to come on when it feels like it, and it has stalled for no reason on several occasions. The SC430, on the other hand, set JD power IQ records as the lowest reported number of problems in the tests history, at 43.
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    Thanks Lexusguy,Shotgun and Ceric: You have convincingly reaffirmed my beliefs that many European cars generally, and German cars specifically, are a "look but don't own" breed. I was about to say that they were "lovely to look at but don't buy"", but after what Chris Bangle at BMW did to that once handsome line of cars, I can no longer say that either.

    As you all have said in your own way, who wants a car that stays in the shop longer than it sleeps in your home's driveway? And the coups de grace is the cost of ownership. Ever had a 30,000 mile sevice with Benz? 60,000? Better be prepared to call your loan officer before you head over to pick up your car at the garage. And whatever you do, don't even drive by the dealership; that alone could cost you a cool grand.

    I prefer to pay for the car just once. I don't want to have to pay to rebuild it.
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    C'mon Legendman, look at it this way.

    When you own an expensive German car, you're saying to the world, "Look, I can not only afford this German car, but I can afford to maintain it and I can afford a backup car to drive around when my expensive German car is in the shop."

    How, in the name of all that is holy, can you put a dollar value on snob appeal like that?
  • shotgunshotgun Posts: 184
    Hahahahahaha...Please forgive for saying this...but it seems you're also screaming out to the world - "Hey, look at me, I'm a fool!"

    Just kidding...but listen, I really do think you're saying - "Hey, look at me, I, like many others, have been led to believe that German automotive engineering is top-notch and performance is outstanding. I, like many others, placed trust in the Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, et al, brands because of their reputation, over the years, for excellence and reliability. But it seems that I, and many others, have been duped and became victims of their quest for profits. Unlike the Japanese, who maintain a steadfast philosophy of "lead with quality and the profits will follow", the Germans are merely resting on their laurels. To prove my point, just look at the most recent earnings numbers for Toyota, Honda and Nissan...
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Honda's earnings (for them) have been just ok. Nissan is on fire though. Close to 5 billion in net profit this year, and Infiniti is getting double digit sales gains quarter after quarter. Now that they have some real products coming out, the QX56, M45, Skyline GT-R! Infiniti should finally be able to establish itself as a force to be reckoned with. In typical Toyota fashion, they are raking in cash like Microsoft, and Scion appears to be a complete success, which can only help them dominate even more. On the other hand, most of the European brands sales and profits have fallen, and they are not commanding the kind of residual value that they used to. Also, the myth that no Japanese car can ever handle like a German seems to be going away as well. The M45, RL should be very interesting to see how they do against the E and 5 series in the automags.
  • nebraskaguynebraskaguy Posts: 341
    Another comment on the reliability of Mercedes. I read an interesting statistic several months ago. 60% of all visits last year to a Mercedes dealership were for repairs as opposed to general maintenance. For Buicks, it was 25%. Not that I plan to buy a Buick anytime soon, but it's an interesting comparison.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    My '96 LS did not go to the dealer for anything but scheduled maintanence until LONG after the warranty ran out. I cant say that for my own MBs or Jags.
  • cericceric Posts: 1,092
    Just the past couple weeks, I saw a fairly new model 4Runner, a prev-gen Camry and a previous gen Civic stranded on highway (among other GM, Ford, etc). I am sure they were not taking a break. Vehicles break down for one thing or the other. Japanese cars are not bullet-proof, either.

    The way I see it, Germans seem to have problem designing complex reliable electronic systems. This was discussed in a special article on automobile electronics reliability in EETimes.com. It basically says that Germans believe if you put good components together into a system, it would work perfectly (pure bottom up approach). However, Japanese design systems from system perspective (top-down, then bottom up). You may disagree with their points of views, but it explains German autos' major weakness, electrical/electronics!

    As my mechanic says, "You don't want to own German automobiles without proper warranty!", Better yet, in the old days, when you buy Jag, you need to buy two of them. You know why, don't you....
  • boomsamaboomsama Posts: 362
    Aren't we talking about the higher grade japanese brands? i.e. Lexus, Acura.
    I would suspect that they would be much better in reliability than your standard toyota or honda, since they would be having higher quality control.
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