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Ultimate AWD Sports Sedans

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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Hee hee hee, pretty funny. The Subaru is just about the cheapest one on that list and took the others to school. Only the Mazda costs less nowadays.

    I love track tests like that. All AWD models, pretty closely matched, too. Results can often surprise you.

    Oh, and the funny thing is the Subaru Legacy GT spec.B got some important upgrades for 2007 - a Torsen rear differential and the 6-speed manual from the STI, both which would arguably make it quicker around that track.

    -juice
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,664
    Here is my "end of the day" nomination: Lancer EVO and Audi RS4...very close in comparo tests, way different price.

    Really it's about spartan vs. luxury here.

    I'll take the Audi but the Evo is a damn nice machine!

    Regards,
    OW
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,664
    Power is transmitted via a five-speed manual gearbox to a standard all-wheel-drive system that has a 50/50 front/rear torque split. The transfer case uses a bevel gear differential and viscous coupling to feed torque to an open-type front and a plate-type limited-slip rear differential.

    The Lancer Evolution might look like a tuner sedan, but as soon as you get behind the wheel, it's apparent that it's the work of engineers with four rally world titles to their credit. The relationship among pedals, steering wheel, seat, and shifter is just right. The clutch is smooth and fluid, and the shifter has short throws and a sweet, easy action. The Evolution is easy to place, and outward visibility is excellent.

    Actually, pretty much everything about the driving experience is excellent. Around the twisting Pattaya track in Thailand, it was a serious device. Mitsubishi claims that the 0-to-60-mph time is just under 5.0 seconds, the standing quarter-mile takes just 13.8 seconds, and the top speed is around 155 mph—numbers we can easily believe. In achieving that performance, though, the engine isn't the usual turbocharged light switch, revealing instead a linear power delivery on par with a much larger-capacity engine. From 3000 rpm, throttle response is scintillatingly sharp, and the engine rapidly zings past 7000 rpm. It doesn't sound particularly memorable from the inside, but the turbo's whistling and chirruping are suitably sporty.

    Full rear view of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
    The single most impressive feature on the car is how idiot-proof it is, how easy it is to drive really fast. You don't need to have been to a racing school or to have learned to tame high-speed oversteer to go really, really fast in an Evolution. Cornering grip is outstanding—Mitsubishi claims lateral grip of 0.97 to 0.99 g—and the handling balance depends on your driving style. Go for the slow in, fast out approach, and you will have a little initial understeer followed by reassuring neutrality as you get on the gas. Gutsy drivers can throw it in way too hot and rotate the tail with either a dab of the brake pedal or a huge throttle lift before launching out of the corner as they put the power down. (We don't recommend this approach for the street . . . ) The all-wheel-drive system is pretty seamless, even in very tight turns where the initial understeer disappears as you squeeze on the power.

    The brakes are fabulous; the ABS is perfectly tuned for track use, with no discernible wheel lock. The Evo even rides well, with impressive damping over Pattaya's evil curbs, although it is stiffly sprung. The car's only weakness is the steering, which is very accurate and direct but lacking in ultimate, Porsche-type feel. At highway speeds, the Evo is refined and doesn't suffer the low-speed torpor that afflicts the WRX.

    If you want to go obscenely fast cross-country with minimal effort and still have a car that is practical family transport, the Evolution is the real deal. Until the WRX STi goes on sale, there's nothing for less than $45,000 that will cover ground as fast on secondary roads. If you want a car that shouts about you and your status in life, the Evolution isn't for you; but if you want a car for speed, then it is. The amazing thing is that it's a Mitsubishi—and even more amazing, it's based on the Lancer, a car that hardly sets our hearts aflutter. It's probably about time the Japanese automaker had an image car, because its current vibe is dowdy and dull. The Evolution should help to change that.
  • esfesf Posts: 1,020
    Thanks, dhanley. I'd be very excited if it came out within two years. Knowing BMW, it will.

    However, there are four new models in the mix that will shake the exec. coupe segment up. BMW has always been virtually alone here. G35 coupe wasn't nice enough, CLK was too nice, A4 only came in convertible.

    New models, in order of introduction:

    2008 A5. This is a very significant car for Audi, as it's the first on their new modular platform system. We've heard the hype- no nose-heaviness, seven-speed DSG, rear-biased quattro, no more VW-based Audis... I'm excited to see if this all comes true.

    2008 G35 Coupe? This could come out before the A5, but I don't think so. Promises to be nicer.

    2009 Mercedes CLK. This will probably be around the same price as it is now, but the others have caught up (almost), so it's not too expensive any more. Hopefully it will give Mercedes a more powerful standard V-6 to stay with the competition and close the gap on the overpriced (but hugely fast) CLK550.

    ???? Lexus IS Coupe. All I hear are rumors. Maybe it'll actually come out.

    As this is an AWD forum, I think the most significant to us will be the A5. And I honestly do think that the new A4/A5 will be the first all-out 3 Series fighter ever. G35 wasn't refined enough, IS wasn't sporty enough, C-Class just wasn't enough, but the A4 always got "close". I have a feeling the new one, on the new platform and with promised new engines (like a new V-8 in the S5 that is supposed to debut on the 2010 A8), will be the first in a crowd of pretenders.

    '06 Audi A3 2.0T DSG • '05 Audi S4 Cabriolet • '04 Lexus RX330
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,664
    Good stuff, esf...I will test drive the 335xi and the A5 when they arrive.

    I like it!
  • that they still offer a stick on the new MLP cars. Do you think it will be here in 07, as an 08?
  • voxboyvoxboy Posts: 30
    Can anyone enlighten me on this? Consumer Reports gives the Volvo S60 FWD an above-average reliability rating, while it gives the AWD model a below-average reliability rating. Logic dictates that this gap in customer satisfaction is 100% AWD-related. But is that truly the case? What sort of problems should I expect and how severe and/or frequent are the issues that arise? I need to understand if the AWD S60 is going to be a reliability headache.
  • First I'd heard of anything like this. For what it's worth, my '04 R just turned 23K and has developed no AWD-related issues whatsoever. Of course, on the R it's standard and therefore an integral part of a pretty sophisticated performance-tuned suspension system, so I suppose it's always possible that there could be problems that arise from the bolt-on nature of AWD on the "regular" S60? Under-engineered, perhaps? Will be interested to see if anyone in this group has any experience with this.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    In general I think you can count on a Volvo to be very durable, i.e. last a long time, but I think it might need more repairs than average along the way.

    For some reason friends of mine that have had them gave them up because of little things that kept adding up, often electrical things.

    -juice
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Well, i just placed an order on a 335i. I'll be euro-delivering it. Thanks for all the ideas, guys!
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 27,975
    may i ask the details? Options? pricing? timeframe?

    and, to keep it somewhat on topic, why did you decide on a RWD car?

    '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 52-car history and counting!

  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,664
    The 335xi could be the answer to this forum...
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Pretty basic ( for a 335i ) since most of the options i want are included ( sunroof, xenons, logic 7 sterio. ). So i just got metallic paint ( montego blue) and cold weather. I'm paying $900 over euro invoice, or $35340.

    I went with RWD because i think you need snow tires in any case, and i feel that RWD+snows is perfectly adequate, as i'm not climbing icy mountians. IMO DSC keeps you safe, not AWD.

    And, yes, the 335xi may qualify for this topic.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,664
    Shipo and other agree with you on the ultimate sports sedan setup with RWD/SP but I beg to differ. AWD on the 3 series is quite a potent handling package and the more I test the limits and learn how to manage the setup, I feel the weight difference but disagree with view that it inhibits control. I actually think the fun factor still exists in this configuration. I would like to know more about the suspension tuning differences.

    I would like to ask the hosts if they can add any light to possibility of a track test of the '06-'07 AWD vs. RWD 3series.

    I see some comparos with the Carrera 4 vs. 4s and others where awd actually outperforms the rwd model.

    Regards,
    OW
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    I don't doubt that the fun factor exists in the AWD 3-er setup, and also that on a tight track AWD might beat RWD because of the ability to get on full power sooner out of a turn. My choice was based on the idea that the RWD setup will be a bit sharper, lighter, and get better MPG, and i've never had a problem getting around with snows. If i had a house on a hill in snow country, i might well choose otherwise. But it's pretty flat and plowed around here.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I see some comparos with the Carrera 4 vs. 4s and others where awd actually outperforms the rwd model.

    It’s hard to compare the Porsches with the 3-series because of the striking difference in weight balance. The 911s are tough to handle in turns as you approach the limits because of its extreme rear weight bias and the AWD mitigates this by putting weight up front. AWD will perform better in corners because of its ability to add pull through them but there is still the weight tradeoff. That extra 242 pounds in the 328i vs 328xi is a lot. The difference in the C2S vs C4S is only 121 pounds and the Porsches weigh considerably less to begin with. But remember, the thing that makes the 911 AWD so desirable to some is the “improved” weight balance and tempering of the oversteer. This is not the case with the BMWs which go from virtually neutral to front bias.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,664
    design,

    you make excellent points as does shipo and habitat. I really want to test the c4s which is possibly ultimate awd at the end of the day. In March I will be all over the 335xi to see the next iteration in turbo dress.

    Just a point, the x-drive and electronic nannys are not intrusive together in this package on the north side of rational driving. The combination really works well, IMO. Wet traction defies logic!

    Regards,
    OW
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 27,975
    wow. $35k. That's great. Congrats.

    I agree about the options. When I priced one, I believe the only option I found I would really like was the cold weather and smartkey thing. Although metallic paint would probably be on there, too.

    '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 52-car history and counting!

  • joe131joe131 Posts: 996
    I'd like to start a discusssion on manual transmission cars that can hit about100 MPH in the 1/4 mile. I looked at the website but can't figure out how to start a new one.
    I'm thinking BMW 335i, Mustang GT, Acura TL type S, Infinity G35 and the like with a maximum sticker price of around $50,000. What others are available with manual transmissions (the kind with the clutch pedal on the floor, remember)?
    In the market for one, preferably new '06 or '07. AWD is not a requirement.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I see you figured it out. :)

    Here's a link for the rest of you to join in: Cars? Stick shift and 100 MPH in the 1/4 mile.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,664
    Does anyone have an opinion on the ultimate Audi?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    We took an S4 cabrio from DC to Philly, and while extremely nice, nothing about it screamed "ultimate".

    RS4 without question.

    -juice
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,664
    Thanks juice. The rags say the RS4 is really over the top for this segment since it is probably better than the current/previous M's and price is skyscraper high.

    Regards,
    OW
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,664
    Here's a great example of some of the discusions on AWD and RWD in some of the best sedans around. Enjoy!

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/122116/2007_audi_rs4/

    Regards,
    OW
  • esfesf Posts: 1,020
    Hey, don't offend.

    The S4 is a perfectly "ultimate" machine!

    ;)

    '06 Audi A3 2.0T DSG • '05 Audi S4 Cabriolet • '04 Lexus RX330
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Don't get me wrong, I've offer one of my kidneys for one of 'em. ;)

    -juice
  • Ultimate Audi?? No contest: R8 :)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's not a sedan, though. ;)

    Beautiful car, however. Just the halo Audi needs.

    -juice
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,664
    I believe Audi coming out with a RS6 also. 525-550HP. But there is the weight issue. RS4is heavy also.

    When the 335Xi comes out, this will be BMW's closest shot at this category.

    The Lancer EVO is also a good candidate but I believe the RS4 edges it in a few of the performance categories and the difference in accommodations are worlds apart.

    Regards,
    OW
  • alltorquealltorque Posts: 535
    Sorry, but Audi did not invent 4WD or AWD. It was around long before Audi - lots of AWD stuff in WWII and before.............Willy's Jeep springs to mind as a prime example but lots of trucks ran similar systems, incl Land Rover just after WWII. Indeed, Stirling Moss won a Gold Cup race meeting in a 4WD car in 1961, Jensen introduced the FF, ( Ferguson Formula - that's Harry Ferguson as in Massey Ferguson), luxury car in 1966 and the first Range Rover appeared in 1970; but that was just a Landie in a smart suit.

    Audi revolutionised the world of Rallying with their Quattro system and, therefore, are often - and incorrectly - attributed with the invention of 4WD. Well may be the best technical system; I cannot judge but is almost certainly best known car system.

    Just me being an anorak. :)
  • alltorquealltorque Posts: 535
    Hey folks, just reading thro' some earlier posts made me want to cry. Here in UK the price for a base Audi A4 Cabrio 1.8T is GBP25995 - that's around USD46k - without any options and not much discount available either. The Audi S6 with the 5.2 Litre V10 starts at GBP56600 or circa USD101k and forget any discount. And, of course we're at least 3000 miles closer to the factory than you guys/gals. Don't even get me onto the almost-USD7 per US Gallon cost of fuel over here, which makes running an S6 a game only for the seriously rich. I'm using USD for $ and GBP for £ 'cos I'm not sure how the system will interpret the symbols.

    No, don't send sympathy - send money. :)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    They may have been the first to mass market an AWD car, though. I never thought of them as a 4WD pioneer.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,664
    AT, I hear ya! I can't believe the price difference. Is it including all taxes or is that list price? Why so different?

    Heck, buy a 335xi (if you want AWD) in the US under ED and ship it back and you will save USDThousands!

    At the same time, purchase an ISO Tanker of fuel in NJ and send back to GB to save even more! (an ISO tanker holds 24,000 liters!).

    Regards,
    OW
  • alltorquealltorque Posts: 535
    Those prices are on-the-road incl of all taxes and maybe, if you're lucky, a full tank of fuel.

    Ah, buying a car in USA and shipping is a fine idea, except that the UK auithorities then sting you for Import Duty as it's from outside the EU. Not sure what the rate is, (but it's probably +17.5% VAT as well), but I believe the value used for calculation of Import Duty etc is the UK Customs' valuation. This may, or may not, be the same as the USA Invoice value.............their decision, I think but I'm happy to be corrected. No win.

    As for fuel import for personal use - forget it. When we pay £1 per litre at the pump, approx 72% of that is Duty & Tax. Guess what they'd hit you with at port of entry ? Want to run your diesel on recycled cooking oil ? No problem - provided youe pay the full Duty & Tax same as proper diesel. Do it and son't declare it ? Huge fine if caught.

    In the U.K. the motorist is Public Enemy No. 1

    Sorry, heading for a rant, again. Nearly time to SKYPE my friend in TX and calm down. At least SKYPE is still free. :)
  • krzysskrzyss Posts: 849
    Germans built 4WD vehicles during WWII too. Willis was not the only 4WD vehicle in the military use.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auto_Union
    http://www.hlj.com/product/TAM32403
    http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~lloyd/4/History/

    from last link:
    1902: Spyker featured a 6-cylinder engine and four wheel drive!

    Krzys
  • alltorquealltorque Posts: 535
    krzyss, Absolutely agree. 4WD/AWD has been around a long time. Merely mentioned the Jeep as it's the one most most, (younger), folk have heard of/seen but there were, indeed, many more.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    "They may have been the first to mass market an AWD car, though. I never thought of them as a 4WD pioneer."

    Hmmm, call me nuts but didn't AMC offer a jacked up "Hi-Rider" version of their butt ugly Eagle sedan with AWD back in the late 1970s? :confuse:

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 163,583
    I think that car was all Jeep CJ-5, underneath.. :surprise:

    So, if you don't mind part-time 4WD with a transfer case, I guess you could call it an AWD sedan.. ;)

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    AMC came in the late 80s, but Subaru had a GL wagon with full locking 4WD and a raised suspension way, way back in 1973. They came first by half a decade.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 27,975
    Eagle was 1980, actually.

    '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 52-car history and counting!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    7 years later, wow. Subaru by a long shot. :shades:
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 27,975
    How liberal in the description are we talking? ;)

    Willys had a 4wd "station wagon" back in 1947.
    They aren't particularly tall, but taller than a subie or eagle, so maybe just a very early SUV.

    '07 ML63, '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 52-car history and counting!

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That's still a truck.

    Subaru was first to do it on a car platform. Then AMC.

    Audi was first to employ full-time AWD, I believe.
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    When did the RT4WD Civic wag-o-van thing start showing up? It was mid-80s I believe, like '86 maybe? Toyota had a 4wd Corolla wagon (but I can't remember if that was pre-86) and Camry, and the Dodge Colt Vista (and other Mitsubihis) could be 4wd, as could the Tempo. I have an old Motor Trend that did a small 4wd wagons comparison test (and I think a type 85 Audi 4000Q and 5000TQ might have been in that issue too).

    By the 90s, with cars like the Diamond Stars, AWD was pretty well integrated.
  • waygrabowwaygrabow Posts: 214
    If the Subaru Legacy is considered an Ultimate AWD sports sedan, then I can't understand why the Mazdaspeed6 would not also qualify for this category. The two are closely matched.
  • 2001 Audi B5 S4 FTW!!!!!! and i will defend it till the day i die!!! you get speed and luxary and your BOOSTIN baby!!
  • jajjaj Posts: 55
    Has anyone come across any articles putting AWD sedans head to head using the BMW 3 with current engines? I recall seeing a Road and Track comparo in which they were not very complimentary about the Bimmer but that was with the '06 configurations. Any references or thoughts would be appreciated.

    -JAJ
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,664
    I could not find any with 2007+ BMW xdrive comparo.

    Regards,
    OW
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    All you had to do is ask! ;)

    Any others? Anyone?
  • I would have to say overall I think that the S60 R is the clear winner in this category. It is the best value, high on power,and it is comfortable as well. You could also get an upgrade to boost it to the power of the S4 and cure the suspension problem for less than the price of a similarly equipped S4.
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