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Thread: The State of The Car

  1. #751
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matra et Alpine View Post
    Just wait for electric hub motor RWD. Already the European student car guys are producing cars beating the best of the petrol
    In what respect are they "beating" them?
    "A string is approximately nine long."
    Egg Nogg 02-04-2005, 05:07 AM

  2. #752
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    Many of you already know my situation. I drive an Alfa Romeo Giulietta 2.0 JTDm TCT and a close family member drives a Mercedes-Benz A220 CDI 7G-DTC.

    Those two cars are essentially the same. They are both 5 door hatchbacks, front wheel drive, both have a dual clutch gearbox and both have four cylinder turbo diesel engines producing around 170bhp and 350Nm.

    Now I've always thought that some premium cars were all badge a no substance (Audi anyone?) but having had the chance to sample properly (that is more than a 15 minute test drive) both cars mentioned above (one premium, the other not so much) I have to say, there are differences.

    The Mercedes is faster (feel, not timed) uses less fuel (on average around 0,5-1l/100km in similar conditions), has a much better gearbox (faster, smoother and with vastly better electronic programming), has better brakes, is much quieter and has a better interior. Sure it is not perfect, the Alfa rides and handles better (but I suspect that is largely due to the preposterously stiff suspension and that there isn't any catastrophic design fault in the chassis), but in the end the Mercedes is just a better product than the Alfa.

    Having said that, the A-Class did cost 14 grand more than the Giulietta, and even if you fit similar equipment levels the difference would still be around 10 grand probably. Is the Mercedes 14 grand more car than the Alfa? Well, I'm afraid I think I do not have an answer for this one, as it depends on how much you value the improved quality of the Mercedes compared to the Alfa and also your economic possibilities amongst other things.

    So, in conclusion, premium cars are actually better than normal cars; it all depends on whether we are prepared to assume the premium they command over normal cars.
    Last edited by Ferrer; 02-06-2015 at 08:34 AM.
    Lack of charisma can be fatal.
    Visca Catalunya!

  3. #753
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    Become an options trader and problems like this disappear!

  4. #754
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ferrer View Post

    So, in conclusion, premium cars are actually better than normal cars; it all depends on whether we are prepared to assume the premium they command over normal cars.
    Interesting question and I think it comes down to a few things. One is that if you have never experienced the best then the best is the best of what you have experienced… er yeah. Or another way, you don’t know what you’re missing.
    Plenty of people deride the “build quality” of Aussie cars. Panel gaps is used to be a great one. I could never understand how a panel gap 3 mm greater than one on a car costing 3 times the price would manifest itself in driving pleasure. I know there is a sense of occasion with true luxury items but there is also perceived quality vs practical quality.
    I’m not one who want too much in the way of electronic intrusion so the latest rash of “driver aids” leaves me cold. I have enough of a dilemma deciding whether to turn cruise control on and take away the connection with the throttle so I don’t want it to keep me in my lane or brake automatically or park for me.
    “Better” is pretty subjective anyway. You have listed things both of your cars do “better” than each other. My Landcruiser is “better” off road than my Monaro but my Monaro is obviously better on the road. In the end as I have endlessly whined on about we have cars here that suit my proposes and I couldn’t justify spending three times the money on something just becauseit is European and “better built”. Not unless what I have has glaring shortfalls that can only be addressed by spending that cash.
    Or course as Kitdy states given unlimited funds the goal posts change.
    "A string is approximately nine long."
    Egg Nogg 02-04-2005, 05:07 AM

  5. #755
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    Quote Originally Posted by crisis View Post
    Or course as Kitdy states given unlimited funds the goal posts change.
    If you are extremely rich you can sample both ends of the market too, right?!

    If I had massive scratch I'd still want a Mustang GT.

  6. #756
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    Of course if you earn a lot of money you do not need to make those distinctions; simply buy whatever you fancy; from a Dacia Sandero to a Rolls-Royce Phantom (or both).

    However as earnings decrease this price difference becomes more and more important. Now I'm not for a moment going to suggest that the Alfa Romeo is a bad car (it isn't) it is just that the parts and engineering used in the Mercedes are better.

    As crisis says you can enjoy cars even if some parts aren't top notch (panel gaps, infotainment, ultimate fuel consumption and so on and so forth) and I'm sure a car like a Fiesta ST is a lot more fun than say a Mercedes-Benz S-Class but in the real world you are not always in your favourite road, deserted, enjoying the drive.

    In those moments, a nice interior, a frugal engine, good gearbox and all that is associated with premium cars is nice to have. For me the "surprise" was two fold: first premiums cars are more than just a nice badge on the bonnet (renewed appreciation for Audi? Oh god...) and second that marginal increases in quality have associated exponential increases in price.
    Lack of charisma can be fatal.
    Visca Catalunya!

  7. #757
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    Quote Originally Posted by crisis View Post
    I’m probably not the one to comment but as far a sound quality goes I find cassettes pretty much unlistenable. New head units that play CDs and from USBs and IPods are pretty cheap nowadays even in Australia. I wouldn’t bother messing around with cassettes.
    Cassettes have a certain nostalgia to them (for those of us who are old enough to remember even using them); kind of like how CD's are becoming these days. I still get my music in physical copy... but I'm strange like that. If I really wanted to be committed to the idea, I would install a cassette player in my car just because it's oldschool.

    I think of it more as an appreciation for older things... Kind of like my distaste of newer cars across the board.

  8. #758
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    A blast from the past; welcome back LTSmash!

    Concerning modern technology and car interiors, some features are amazing, and some are garbage. OEMs haven't really figured out a seamless infotainment system that I know of, between the all of them. However, hi-fi sound systems, bluetooth connectivity, rear-view cameras, and hands-free headset features are nice, not mentioning the drastic increase of the materials in current cars. Look at say, a Chevy or Benz of 15 years ago.

    Less intriguing is Twitter integration, 4-10 different driving aids, and not having classic three dial HVAC systems.

  9. #759
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    Quote Originally Posted by LTSmash View Post
    Cassettes have a certain nostalgia to them (for those of us who are old enough to remember even using them); kind of like how CD's are becoming these days. I still get my music in physical copy... but I'm strange like that. If I really wanted to be committed to the idea, I would install a cassette player in my car just because it's oldschool.

    I think of it more as an appreciation for older things... Kind of like my distaste of newer cars across the board.
    Don’t worry, I am plenty old enough to remember.
    Even in the day of the cassette I was one who bought the black plastic record, I believe referred to as vinyl now, and transferred them onto “high quality” TDK “chrome” cassettes via my Rega Planar turntable through to my Nakamichi cassette deck. My mates thought I was a nut but they sounded way better than original bought tapes.


    Nostalgia is fine but I will take better sound quality over rose colored glasses any day. WAV or similar files on an iPod through a good quality system is so far removed from what we used to listen to most people wouldn’t have had that quality in their home. Then again I am a knob when it comes to sound quality and plenty of people couldn’t care less. Which is a lot less expensive..
    "A string is approximately nine long."
    Egg Nogg 02-04-2005, 05:07 AM

  10. #760
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    Sound quality is vital; I just can't afford it yet. I look forward to nerding out over my setup.

    Don't you kinda like the crappy tinny sound of casettes now though?! It reminds me of riding around in the back seat of our Cutlass Ciera listening to The Police!

  11. #761
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    I thought that the music in cars came from the engine bay and exhaust.
    Lack of charisma can be fatal.
    Visca Catalunya!

  12. #762
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ferrer View Post
    I thought that the music in cars came from the engine bay and exhaust.
    Not in rush hour traffic.

  13. #763
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitdy View Post
    A blast from the past; welcome back LTSmash!

    Concerning modern technology and car interiors, some features are amazing, and some are garbage. OEMs haven't really figured out a seamless infotainment system that I know of, between the all of them. However, hi-fi sound systems, bluetooth connectivity, rear-view cameras, and hands-free headset features are nice, not mentioning the drastic increase of the materials in current cars. Look at say, a Chevy or Benz of 15 years ago.

    Less intriguing is Twitter integration, 4-10 different driving aids, and not having classic three dial HVAC systems.
    Thanks for the warm welcome back. Not sure how long I'll stick around before another hiatus.

    Agreed with all of the above. But out of all of that practical tech you mention, I only see it as necessary for your entry level and mid-range sedan types. A Ferrari (or insert bonkers sports/pseudo track-car) with hi-fi, bluetooth, rear view camera and hands-free is missing the point. Damn the "digital age" and damn it to hell for wreaking cars and everything else.

    (inserts irony as he presses "Submit Reply" on the world wide web)

    Quote Originally Posted by crisis View Post
    Even in the day of the cassette I was one who bought the black plastic record, I believe referred to as vinyl now, and transferred them onto “high quality” TDK “chrome” cassettes via my Rega Planar turntable through to my Nakamichi cassette deck. My mates thought I was a nut but they sounded way better than original bought tapes.
    Nice. We would have made great friends at the record shop.

  14. #764
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    I agree- I don't really listen to a lot of music. I think the current trend of putting touchscreens into cars is a major mistake. Buttons work because you can memorize the feeling of it and the general position of where it is on the dash. I don't necessarily need to look at it if I want to change it.

    Touchscreens need you to look at it, because you need to combine visual and tactile information to make it work. It's not rocket science.

    Add the fact that touch screens are being used more and more, along with internet connectivity, I'm not surprised if we see an uptick in distracted driving in the next few years.

    Unfortunately, that's what gets people to buy cars now.

    Edit- Oh, and if you don't give me a cassette deck, at least give me a double DIN dashboard! Let me rip out your shitty audio system and let me choose what the heck I want to install. That's also partly why I won't be buying any new car built in the last 5 or so years.

  15. #765
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    I've gone the combo, I'm driving my old 850R (literally the same one I used to own, it's mum's now) with one of those cassettes-with-a-cable so I can plug my ipod in. Pro tips:
    - Open it up and lubricate everything with a silicone based or other 'dry' lubricant to both make it quiet and stop the infernal auto-reverse mechanism ruining your phat beats (or nonsensical podcasts)
    - Get an adaptor from some sort of dealie to give a proper line-out from the 30 pin connector (like this). The official 30-pin to lightning adaptors have a built in DAC so will work with that doodad (I've tried it)

    Works pretty dang good! Better than some crappy FM transmitter anyway.
    Life's too short to drive bad cars.

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