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In Mod Heaven
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know many of you aren't fans of C&D but:

The October 2002 Issue of Car & Driver has an article titled "Waiting for a Bimmer Beater".

Here are the results:

6. Volkswagen Passat W-8 MOTION

Highs: Sumptuous cockpit,, gorgeous assembly, tracks like a locomotive.
Lows: Molasses-slow transmission, hard-to-read gauges, stratospheric price.
Verdict: Too much technology and heft packed into a model known for economy and practicality.

5. Mercedes-Benz C320

Highs: Quick-thinking transmission, supple ride, sports-car brakes.
Lows: Delinquent body motions, mushy throttle response, a window sticker from hell.
Verdict: Bix lux, big bucks, few yucks.

4. Infiniti G35

Highs: Horses aplenty, royal back seat, friendly price, intelligent face.
Lows: Slightly harsh ride, frustrating switchgear, grabby brakes.
Verdict: As fast as we like but not as smooth as we like.

3. Acura TL Type-S

Highs: Velvety but potent V-6, billetlike structure, smiley-ace price.
Lows: Styling by Sears, early understeer, dour cabin.
Verdict: Honda engineering = peace of mind.

2. Audi A4 3.0 CVT

Highs: Fabulous fit and finish, solid as a navy pier, steering worth plagiarizing.
Lows: Lacks rebound control and interior space.
Verdict: A treasure trove of technology that doesn't call attention to technology.

1. BMW 330i

Highs: World's best throttle tip-in, communicative steering, ready for the racetrack.
Lows: Cramped back seat, fussy climate controls, perennial overdog.
Verdict: No matter what you ask, the BMW 330i listens.

C&D gave BMW 10 out of 10 in 5 catagories: Engine, Brakes, Transmission, Handling and Fun to Drive. It won by 4 points and received 94 out of 100 total points.

A little of what they said about the 330i:

"Wrote Aaron Robinson, The 330i wins because it doesn't understeer like the Audi, doesn't oversteer like the Infiniti, doesn't float like the Benz, and isn't overpriced like the VW. Now there's a rare utterance, a BMW that isn't as pricey as a VW. Three counties in Hell just iced up"

Unfortunately, they do not have the October issue up on their site.

If anyone wants me to write what they said about a particular car, let me know.
 

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Car Junkie
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Car & Driver is usually blasted in at least one reader letter per issue for being biased towards BMWs. In fact, I can only think of one test where the Bimmer lost - back in late '99, the M3 came in second to the S4. C&D makes no apologies, though, for choosing the best in every test. Hell, the 3-series has been on their 10Best list every year that I remember.

Be that as it may, I tend to agree with the results of this comparo. I would order the cars that I've driven/experienced on that list in the same order.
 

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Thanks for taking the time to write the summary of the review. Someone else mentioned it was out, but they were "too tired" to write anything.

This is awesome, especially for those of us who will have to wait 2 more weeks until the magazine hits the stands. I appreciate your time.

From the Infiniti, the Audi and the BMW, were they all automatic transmissions? Do you know what options were on the bimmer and did they make any specific comments about them?

Wish you could scan the bimmer write-up and post it, because I know it would be a lot to type, and hey, we can all buy a copy in 2 weeks.


Thank you again, it was a lot of work to type it all.
 

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2001 M3:Stick, what else?
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I like C&D's "bottom lines"--- it cuts through all the verbosity. They seem right on the money for this group of vehicles.

For me, a 4 point spread between the A4 & 330i isn't that much and that difference is certainly worth it for the superior looks and 6-speed offered by the A4.

A4's suspension may not quite be up to the 330i's... but nothing that a set of coil overs won't cure.
 

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haha i WAS too tired. hey, i posted about it first. i DID edit my original post to include more detailed info. i DID post subsequent posts with a little more info. but hey, whatever, why am i defending myself? (= good for ACK for posting the highs and lows of each car...

rbright said:
Thanks for taking the time to write the summary of the review. Someone else mentioned it was out, but they were "too tired" to write anything.

This is awesome, especially for those of us who will have to wait 2 more weeks until the magazine hits the stands. I appreciate your time.

From the Infiniti, the Audi and the BMW, were they all automatic transmissions? Do you know what options were on the bimmer and did they make any specific comments about them?

Wish you could scan the bimmer write-up and post it, because I know it would be a lot to type, and hey, we can all buy a copy in 2 weeks.

Thank you again, it was a lot of work to type it all.
 

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rbright said:


From the Infiniti, the Audi and the BMW, were they all automatic transmissions? Do you know what options were on the bimmer and did they make any specific comments about them?

man, did you even READ any of my posts. i said a bunch of times it was an AUTO TRANNY comparo.... but whatever
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
rbright said:
From the Infiniti, the Audi and the BMW, were they all automatic transmissions? Do you know what options were on the bimmer and did they make any specific comments about them?

Wish you could scan the bimmer write-up and post it, because I know it would be a lot to type, and hey, we can all buy a copy in 2 weeks.

Thank you again, it was a lot of work to type it all.
No problem, I thought people here would want to know what C&D is saying about our car. :D

They were all auto's. The bimmer had CWP, PP, Xenons and non-sport. I can't believe they tested a non-sport and it still kicked all of the competitions butts! :lmao:

No other car scored a 10 in any catagory. :yikes:

They specifically said the following about the 330i:

"The 330i is the lightest car in this group and always feels like it. Its steering is as sharp, quick-witted, communicative, and linear as the A4's. Pick a two-inch-square oil stain near an apex and you can nail the sucker lap after lap. Body roll is almost imperceptible, yet the ride-even on the now-standard 17-inch rubber-seems uncorrupted. Best of all, throttle tip-in, whether from step-off or at the midpoint of a decreasing-radius 60-mph sweeper, is always immediate yet subtle. . .

The 330i isn't perfect, of course. Its climate controls are fussy. Its manumatic sometimes changes gears on its own if it suspects you're not paying attention. And three adults in the back seat will experience the sort of body contact familiar only to defensive linemen and Caligula.

So, this is the last time we'll invite a 3-series BMW to a comparo. It's like Lance Armstrong on a bike, for God's sake. No respect for the underdogs. Hear that, BMW? You're BANNED! Out! History! At least until the next comparo coalesces. That ought to be about next Wednesday"


Again, good stuff.

I might be able to take some digital pics and post them tonight. I'll try this if enough people want to see the article.
 

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A sudden sense of liberty
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Of course, IMHO its a crime to buy any of these cars with an automatic. That said, if I had to buy one with an auto, I probably would have ranked them similarly, although I would put the G35 much higher, probably tied for 2nd. The TL does absolutely nothing for me; I'd rather buy a 240 hp Accord and save a few grand, but if I really wanted a driving appliance, I'd probably just get a Civic and call it done. The G35 is a bit raw and unrefined, but has big sports car flavor with its slick chassis and lots of engine. For me, that's enough, but it does contradict the cruising/luxury message sent by the automatic transmission. As they say, the E46 just does everything well. It is the best luxury/sport compromise currently available.
 

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2001 M3:Stick, what else?
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Ack said:

I can't believe they tested a non-sport and it still kicked all of the competitions butts! :lmao:
The "non-sport" is a bit of a mis-nomer as it still has the sport suspension.
 
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I read the entire comparo and have a different take than most. Upon reading the actually write-ups on each of the cars, the G35 is the one I would most be interesting in based solely on the content of the comparo.

The guys at C&D must be getting old. They downgraded the G35 for it's "harsh ride" and tendency toward oversteer.

Well, IMO, compared to the luxo-ride of the 330i and it's pronounced tendency toward understeer, that sounds pretty damn appealing. To be able to hang the tail out and, at the same time, actually feel the road. How novel.

I could not care less about looks or ergonomics (within reason, of course). And the G35 is a lot cheaper.

If I were in the market for a car today (and refused to buy used), I'd have to get in line for a G35 w/manual tranny.
 

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TD said:
I read the entire comparo and have a different take than most. Upon reading the actually write-ups on each of the cars, the G35 is the one I would most be interesting in based solely on the content of the comparo.

The guys at C&D must be getting old. They downgraded the G35 for it's "harsh ride" and tendency toward oversteer.

Well, IMO, compared to the luxo-ride of the 330i and it's pronounced tendency toward understeer, that sounds pretty damn appealing. To be able to hang the tail out and, at the same time, actually feel the road. How novel.

I could not care less about looks or ergonomics (within reason, of course). And the G35 is a lot cheaper.

If I were in the market for a car today (and refused to buy used), I'd have to get in line for a G35 w/manual tranny.
I agree with you. That was my initial reaction from reading the above (I don't have the article yet). The G35 "minuses" seemed like pluses in my books. I also LIKE the G35's look over several of the cars including the E46 (without sport skirting).
 

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Thanks again, Ack, you are awesome for including more of the write-up...exactly what we want to see.

Eugene, sorry if you feel offended. You get the blue ribbon for alerting us first about the article, but it is great the Ack took so much time to not only tease up with the alert of the comparo, but to also take the time to transcribe much of it for us.

You are both awesome, and great guys (or gals?) and I appreciate both of you for taking the time to keep us all up to date.
 

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In addition to my M3, my wife drives a Civic. She actually decided on it after looking at Accords and CL/TLs. And, after looking them over myself, I would've made the same decision for her. What a great driving appliance. :D

As for the G35 (like we need another G35 debate, coming on the heels of the E36 vs. E46 debate), I admit to being intrigued. However, "harsh ride" does not necessarily translate to "road feel," much like "heavy steering" does not necessarily translate to "road feel" either. Several carmakers attempt to create a BMW-like driving experience by making the controls heavy and stiffening the suspension. Well, that doesn't always work - higher spring rates don't always mean that you will be more aware of the road surface, other than knowing about every bump as the car punches you in the kidneys.

As for oversteer, that's definitely worth investigating. I doubt Infiniti would release a mass market car like this with snap oversteer, so I'm assuming that it behaves like it should in corners - progressive tail slide. Of course, convincing a salesman to let me drive a car like that would be rather difficult.

:dunno: The numbers and magazine articles just can't tell the whole story. You gotta drive 'em to make a real judgement, but C&D has successfully narrowed the choice for some of us.
 

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Hmmm....

I dunno why you guys are favoring the G35 based on this review. Grabby brakes and a chassis that isn't smooth is very annoying. Also, saying that the oversteering Infiniti is more appealing than your understeering BMW. Take a look at the 330 in the test. I does NOT have SP. Meaning, non-staggered 215/45/17 all-seasons. Likely a more balanced car than the SP car. I want a car than doesn't oversteer unless I want it to :)

For those of you that wouldn't consider a non-SP car :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Since the G35 is always a hot topic of debate here, I thought it be good to stick in what C&D had to say about this car:

"In this group, the G35 delivers the best street start, the quickest sprint to 60, and is tied with the BMW for its quarter-mile velocity and ET. Combine that with the lowest base price, plus a 112.2-inch wheelbase-which enabled Nissan to pull the rear wheels out of the cabin for a back seat that is limolike in it commodiousness- and you've got a recipe that surely tilts at Bavarian windmills.

Unfortunately, it doesn't knock them over. First, the G35's brakes grab like a Veg-O-Matic salesman, taking an overly eager bite that snaps heads. Second, the ride is closer to the city limits of harsh than most 50-year-olds will gladly venture. And third, although we've adored the VQ-series V-6's for years, this one's beginning to sound a little raspy at so large a displacement. The G35's cabin is the noisiest in this group-at cruise, at coast, and at full throttle.

In the hills, the G35 was eager to crank up major velocity, but a few clots arose with the cream. If you're not judicious about applying throttle exiting a turn, for instance, you'll induce driveline snatch and a clunk that sounds like a loose U-joint. You can also induce something else: big, dirty oversteer. More oversteer than you'll recall since testing your brother's Mustang in the rain. It's not the simplest thing to catch, either, because the G35's steering-otherwise light, crisp, agreeable-is an iota oversensitive just off center, adding its own wobble at the critical instant you're attempting to restore navigation. Each editor sampled his own Rotational Moment, then reengaged the traction control and NEVER touched it again.

The G35 might have stolen the Acura's finishing position were it not for its frustrating ergonomics: seat controls mounted in the inboard seat-bottom bolster, a manumatic with overlong throws, a mirror adjuster beneath the steering wheel, and a goofy mix of black plastic toggles, flush pushbuttons, and metal rockers. You'll call out the bloodhounds to locate the volume control. Hey there it is, over on the dual-glove-box side. Of course.

All of which imbues the G356 with a quirky personality-agile yet raw, luxurious yet slightly unsorted. We began calling it the "Japanese Saab." Easy to drive fast. Real fast. Not so easy to drive smoothly.
 

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Jetfire said:
In addition to my M3, my wife drives a Civic. She actually decided on it after looking at Accords and CL/TLs. And, after looking them over myself, I would've made the same decision for her. What a great driving appliance. :D

As for the G35 (like we need another G35 debate, coming on the heels of the E36 vs. E46 debate), I admit to being intrigued. However, "harsh ride" does not necessarily translate to "road feel," much like "heavy steering" does not necessarily translate to "road feel" either. Several carmakers attempt to create a BMW-like driving experience by making the controls heavy and stiffening the suspension. Well, that doesn't always work - higher spring rates don't always mean that you will be more aware of the road surface, other than knowing about every bump as the car punches you in the kidneys.

As for oversteer, that's definitely worth investigating. I doubt Infiniti would release a mass market car like this with snap oversteer, so I'm assuming that it behaves like it should in corners - progressive tail slide. Of course, convincing a salesman to let me drive a car like that would be rather difficult.

:dunno: The numbers and magazine articles just can't tell the whole story. You gotta drive 'em to make a real judgement, but C&D has successfully narrowed the choice for some of us.
Go to Rosenthal Infiniti; the salesman I rode with used to have an E30, and had actually participated in a number of driving schools out at Summit Point. He encouraged me to drive the G35 rather agressively. I would not buy a demo from there.

I posted at the time that the G35 had a wonderfully well sorted chassis. It's the first non-BMW I've driven that had that BMWesque road fluency. I don't think that the ride was overly harsh, or harsh at all, really. It's a damn fine car whose only drawbacks are an ugly interior and seats that don't fold down.

I agree with TD--if I were buying a new car myself, the 6 speed G35 would be at the top of my list. It's only when I factor in the automatic (and the presumptive desire for more luxury and less sport) that I would rank the BMW higher.
 

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Ack,

That is quite distressing. The first that I have heard of it. I'm not buying a new car, but it would be a consideration. It is too big for me though. I don't think I would want a car bigger than the E46, and C&D is right. The ergonomics are terrible, even if the dash is kinda cool looking...
 

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JST said:


Go to Rosenthal Infiniti; the salesman I rode with used to have an E30, and had actually participated in a number of driving schools out at Summit Point. He encouraged me to drive the G35 rather agressively. I would not buy a demo from there.

I posted at the time that the G35 had a wonderfully well sorted chassis. It's the first non-BMW I've driven that had that BMWesque road fluency. I don't think that the ride was overly harsh, or harsh at all, really. It's a damn fine car whose only drawbacks are an ugly interior and seats that don't fold down.

I agree with TD--if I were buying a new car myself, the 6 speed G35 would be at the top of my list. It's only when I factor in the automatic (and the presumptive desire for more luxury and less sport) that I would rank the BMW higher.
Hmm, thanks for the info and mini-review. One of the nicest things about the G35 is the price. One could say this about any BMW competitor, though. I am eager to test drive a G35 sedan/coupe/350Z at some point, just to keep abreast of that platform's qualities and progress.

I find it interesting that the article mentions 50-year-olds. I've gotta go and read that article again - must've missed that the first time. The C&D staff is undoubtedly getting older, but that statement brings up the point that the Bimmer is probably more comfy in the driver's seat than the Infiniti. And like it or not, ergonomics are pretty important. It's more than just the initial learning curve of finding all the buttons and switches - if controls are poorly designed, you're going to get annoyed at them in time. Think iDrive.
 
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nate328Ci said:
Ack,

That is quite distressing. The first that I have heard of it. I'm not buying a new car, but it would be a consideration. It is too big for me though. I don't think I would want a car bigger than the E46, and C&D is right. The ergonomics are terrible, even if the dash is kinda cool looking...
What are you referring to, Nate?
 
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