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Are 'new car' and 'quality' antonyms?

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John Hubertz:
No, But McCoy would drive a 116....  Dr Grumpy and his Car.

Please, oh pleeeeeaaaaaaassseee, don't tell me that w116s are .... illogical. ???

I think the only thing that could be worse than that would be if I found out that w116s aren't as cool as Spock's "babe-magnet" sunglasses.

I think that would be more than I could take. :'(

Michaeld generally does not like to respond to a last post from Michaeld, but here I shall make an exception.

No, I'm not writing this post to tell you all where you can get your own set of "Spock sunglasses."

Somewhere on this thread I posted an article from Consumer Reports on the new "bottom-feeder" status of the European cars versus the Japanese.  I thought I'd balance that by giving another perspective.

Edmunds reviewed the new BMW against the new Lexus.  Good news, European car enthusiast: the BMW won.  Here is the link:*  And here is the text:

Road Test: Comparison Test
 2006 BMW 330i vs. 2006 Lexus IS 350 Comparison Test

By Editors
Date posted: 01-23-2006

Like Don King with his hair afire promoting an upcoming title bout (then again, his hair's always afire…), our chief editor could barely contain his excitement. "We need to get the new Lexus IS 350 and put it up against the BMW 330i!"

Fresh from its defense as sport sedan champion against the Audi A4, the 2006 BMW 330i now finds itself in the ring against the 2006 Lexus IS 350. A formidable athlete, the Lexus came in rippling with muscle and packing 306 horsepower. The Lexus has also been crowing that it's "the fastest vehicle in its class." Pretty brazen, considering the Muhammad Ali of sport sedans, the BMW 330i is the perennial holder of the belt in this class.

Sizing up the fighters
To keep the fight fair, the 330i in this test was an automatic, as the IS 350 isn't available with a manual gearbox. Looking at the window stickers of these compact luxury sport sedans had a few staffers needing smelling salts. Basing in the mid-$30Ks, both cars were fitted with around $10 grand in options, bringing the bottom lines to $45,508 for the Lexus and $47,390 for the Bimmer.

A few folks commented on how that's midsize sport/luxury sedan money. Yes, you can get a base Lexus GS 300 or BMW 525i for that kind of dough, but remember that our testers had just about everything you could get — navigation systems, "premium" packages with their fancier interior trim and even things like active steering (BMW) and a backup camera (Lexus).

In this corner…
…wearing Matador Red and weighing in at 3,527 pounds, the challenger, the Lexus IS 350. And in the opposite corner, in Titanium Silver and weighing 3,450, the defending compact sport sedan, the BMW 330i.

Instead of a boxing ring, these rear-wheel-drive pugilists slugged it out on the mean streets of Southern California. They tackled everything including bobbing and weaving with crazy L.A. drivers, transporting clothes to Goodwill, taking the kiddies to school and embarking on day trips up the coast. They also strutted their stuff at the test track and through the winding canyon roads in Malibu.

The judges' "score cards" took into account everything from raw performance to seat comfort to how easy (or tough) it was to work the climate controls. Other factors came into play as well, such as how the car responded and felt when driven the way a sport sedan was meant to be driven.

A 15-rounder
When the final bell rang, it was a tough one for the judges. The power, luxury and better value proposition put the Lexus ahead at times, while the 330i had a couple of "daily driver" advantages, such as more rear-seat legroom and greater cargo capacity by virtue of its split-folding rear seat.

It was close, but the 3 Series always managed to sway decisions back into its favor whenever a wavering "judge" got behind the wheel. And when we reminded ourselves that the true mission of a sport sedan is to provide enjoyment derived from driving, not quoting performance numbers to your buddies or convincing whomever which is the better deal, it always came back to the BMW. 


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