Our "own" car reviews

narf

Sgt. Maj. Buzzkill
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Neither can I. Most current cars above including Golf class can't, I think. But no one cares.

In NRW they are changing to 2.1m width restriction on the left lane in Autobahn construction zones where possible.

FTFY, and I've noticed that... however, the construction site on my regular commute home on the western Holtenau NOK bridge is still 2m - and really is quite narrow. Good thing I'm not working there these days :dunno:
 

leviathan

Snores like a puppy
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Not just in NRW. ADAC has pushed for this change country-wide, and at least in Hessen I have only seen 2.1m wide yellow lanes for a better part of a year now.
 

GerFix

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Oct 13, 2007
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Sydney, Australia
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Jaguar XKR, BMW E92 M3, MG TF, Riv 4000
BMW M6 (F12) '13

How much power is really necessary? I don't know, but apparently power does sell cars.

It is the current crown jewel of the Motorsport department. A genuine ///M product that should stir my soul even when I open the taps a tiny bit. No matter how high limits, I'd like it to feel alive in semi-legal speeds. Now it is an truly astonishing car, but it has too much technology over soul. I can't ignore it's ability, but I can't love it's soul either.

Nice review, and pretty much how I felt about it. I went to Abu Dhabi last year for a BMW M Performance thing (it was basically an M6 launch for potential customers) and drove the car on public roads and the racing circuit. It was exciting to go there and a lot of fun, but the M6 left me feeling flat. It was a comfy cruiser, but not the precision driving tool I was expecting/hoping. It never gave me the confidence to push it (even on the circuit). A big mistake (made by the organisers) was to also have some M5s and M3s available to drive on the circuit as well. The M5 ($50,000 cheaper than the M6) was the equal around the track, whilst the M3 ran rings around it. The M6 did not corner well .. lots of tire squeal and if you had any hint of sideways inertia at the exit (when you got on the power) you would end up spinning. The guy I was paired with managed to come off the circuit backwards and the group that followed us had a major crash. The car is too heavy to be anything other than a grand tourer and that isn't what an ///M car should be.

In answer to your question. I think 500 bhp is about as much as a rear wheel drive car can handle, and 600 Nm is the limit for torque (maybe even that is too much). The M6 develops peak torque at just 1500 rpm. I think it is this that ruins the driving feel/experience .. the throttle becomes more of switch than a control. Too often, when I was starting the car from a stop, the rear felt light and that discouraged me from exploring it any further. It felt more like a car you hang on to, not one you control.





 

Lastsoul

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Yeah, I'd love to test the E92 M3. Much more characterful engine in a way lighter body sounds is much more what an M-car should be. You're absolutely right about the throttle being more like a switch, it was really hard to keep the rear tires just around the point where they lose traction.

And it's always nice to hear similar opinions about the car :)
 

GerFix

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Jaguar XKR, BMW E92 M3, MG TF, Riv 4000
The E92 is a classic. BMW's M-division resort to turbo chargers means that ///M will loose it's appeal (they will become like AMG cars ... stupid power, no finesse). I have no interest in trading my E92 in on the upcoming M4. I have said it here before, and will reiterate it again. Turbo chargers are uncouth (and cheap ... in the worst possible way). They ruin torque curves. They ruin exhaust note. They ruin responsiveness. Whilst they are fine for diesels (and I'm glad the engines on my boat have turbo chargers, as turning force is very beneficial there), they are not a desirable feature on an expensive petroleum fuelled automobile.

Here is a bit of byte-age I took from my phone of my experience in Abu Dhabi (same driver in both the M6 and M3 .. also same idiot commentry :)):


I am getting old now. After my experience of the M6, I have purchased a Jag XKR. It sounds better, looks better, and rides better than the M6 (for almost half of the price).
 

Labcoatguy

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#Jaguar #XKR, #Saab #9-3, #Toyota #MR2 #Spyder
Less lag on superchargers. Turbos are a different kind of fun, but obviously not for everyone.
 

GerFix

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Jaguar XKR, BMW E92 M3, MG TF, Riv 4000
Completely understand that. So forced induction (superchargers) isn't a problem, just turbo's?

Yes. As Labcoatguy says, less lag with a supercharger, and also they tend to be more linear (as they are driven from the crank). Don't get me wrong, I'm not dissing turbos as a technology. They are getting more sophisticated every year and are certainly the way to go for maximizing the output and efficiency of an engine. I just don't think an expensive (performance) car is quite the right place for them.

I'd better get this post done now before I get drunk (as I was last night when I posted the previous rant). The problem I had with the M6 was the massive torque it produced from the outset. It was like "bang", no warning, no time to compose yourself. The supercharger in the XKR results in similar peak torque, but it is more gradual (and doesn't peak until 2500 rpm cf: 1500 rpm in the M6 .... around the city, the rpm on the XKR is usually between 1200 and 2800), giving you some warning that the back end is likely to step out (and therefore some time to take corrective action). All the same, the power and torque of the XKR is about the limit that is comfortable (for me, at least) to drive.

While I'm here, I might as well do a quick general review:

The thing looks fantastic and has a certain cache because there aren't many of them on the roads here. Whilst I may be having a mid-life crisis, I honestly didn't buy the thing to attract women ..... but it does! First day of ownership a woman (in another car) wanted to discuss the thing at the traffic lights and offered her 8 year old son as a partial trade :lol:. I declined.

The build quality is surprisingly good (given the general reputation of non-German built vehicles). There are no rattles or squeaks. The finish (of both the interior and exterior) is excellent, and it came with a full 5 year factory warranty. Most of the luxury appointments are standard: key-less entry and start, auto wipers and lights, heated and ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, ambient interior lighting and full interior leather with wood trim (mine is piano black). The chassis feel very stiff. The car always feels like it is all going in the same direction.

The steering has been criticized in some reviews, but there is enough transmission of road conditions for me and it has the desirable quality of a small bit of initial under-steer followed by a limited amount of late over-steer. The more you drive it the more confidence it gives you that it will go where you direct it. It does not, however, "weight up" quite as much as I would like as the speed increases (even in dynamic mode).

The ride is excellent. Even on the bumpy, pot-holed, streets (renovated donkey tracks) of Sydney. What is felt through the wheel, is not felt through your buttocks.

The stereo is very good (Bowers & Wilkins) and manages my USB stick (and different audio formats) with ease. It also came with a dedicated iPod connector (rather than having to buy one from the spare parts department). The touch screen interface is though, rather dated and annoying (at times). Every time you want to switch from sat-nav to the stereo you have to go back through the "home" button, fiddle and then go back through the "home" button again to get to where you started from. It could really do with some dedicated buttons for instant access to the various elements (of the car) that it controls.

The rear seats are a joke. My 6 year old nephew managed 10 minutes in it the other day ... and I wouldn't be surprised if that is a world record (we had to stop and put him on aunty's lap to avoid an undesirable emetic episode). They are for luggage only.

The sound the thing makes though is intoxicating. Mine has the performance active exhaust (activated through "dynamic mode") and it not only screams when accelerating, but also pops and crackles on the over-run. Very entertaining. It gives it character and also makes it almost feel like it is talking to you ... I like that.

Overall .... really happy with the car .. and I still can't believe how BMW can justify the price premium (for the M6 .. and even the M5). They may be technically better (and more modern) cars, but they fall short on some key attributes compared to the Jag. I can't believe I have ignored this car for so long.

Oh. One thing I forgot to mention was that, the car has a deployable bonnet (hood for NA). Years ago (on Top Gear), Clarkson had Ian Callum and another designer (from Volvo) on the show and he asked them to design "the new E-type Jag". When Ian Callum was discussing his design he mentioned issues of pedestrian safety and how these could be accommodated with a low bonnet line by incorporating a deployable bonnet. They did that with the XK. If you hit a pedestrian, a couple of air-bag canisters go off and push the bonnet forward to separate the pedestrian from the engine block (as per EU design requirements).
 
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D-Fence

Mrs. IceBone
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Is this the actual Beetle you drove or just an example photo?

That was ours, yeah :) liked colour!


FORD SMAX 2.0 Diesel Titanium Powershift 2013

Another rental, this time I got a Ford SMAX when I booked a Focus for a trip to the beach.

Example pic:





The good:

+ I think it looks really good for a van!
+ It handles just like a roadcar, took backroads with cornering and jump....crests perfectly fine with 5 people in it
+ Engine is good enough to propel it reasonably well in this country
+ lots of room and storage
+ good visibility
+ good offroad capability *G* (hey we wanted to park close to the beach and that path LOOKED...never mind)

The Bad
- Powershift Automatic. SO. SLOW.. Sport Mode is a joke, just revs the diesel into oblivion, kickdowns still take time.
- Audio system. No USB, no Bluetooth streaming, no proper phonebook browsing, making calls crashed my phone
- Driver seat not height adjustable (spec?)
- Trunk cover to wide to store in trunk in case you want to use 7 seat option, means, either leave it at home or don't use additional seats spontanously (<-- most silly thing)
- Handbrake is a ridiculous oversized thing that made my friend wedge 3 fingers in.

 
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NooDle

Ik ben niet alleen lekker met kaas!
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Played pool car roulette today, had the choice between the good (BMW X3 2.0d), the bad (Citroen C3 1.4hdi) and the ugly (Renault Laguna 1.5 dci)...
I'll drive it for some more and post about it here, while you get to guess which one it was...
 

Adunaphel

KLAUWD
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About a week ago, after three months with the C3, I got a call from Avis ?we?re going to retire the C3 form our fleet, so we?d like to arrange a handover.? A little while before that, a colleague of mine who works at the same client, and drives an Avis rental too had gotten a fresh 208 as replacement for his rental Corsa. So I wasn?t exactly surprised when I walked up to a young woman in a suit next to a black five door Peugeot 208.
The appearance of the 208 is a well-known to me, they sell like hot cakes over here, so I run into quite a few of them on my daily commute. I really like how they got rid of the gaping maw, although its replacement looks a bit derpy at first, but it?s grown on me in the year I?ve seen them on the road. At the rear, there?s funky light clusters, a big fat bumper, and a nice chrome touch below the rear window. All in all, I quite like its appearance.



Getting in, I was greeted by a ridiculously small steering wheel, and a fairly wide binnacle, with the dials separated by a large TFT screen. Instead of looking though the wheel at the dials, you?re supposed to look over it. Finding a nice position took a bit of trial and error, mostly because the wheel is so much smaller than I?m used to, making it constantly feel like it?s sitting too low. Finally I found a nice position, and then the strange layout starts to make sense. The wheel is nicely proportioned, and grips easily, while the dials, being fairly high and far away from you, require less eye movement and refocusing than a more traditional layout. To the right is a huge touch-screen that is used for radio, hands-free calling, some computer readouts, picture slideshows, and the optional navigation, which is fitted to this particular example. Below this are the controls for the climate control system, and further down is a small storage compartment with the 12V connector, an AUX in and two USB connectors, so you can plug in a stick with your photos for the slideshow without needing to unplug your music.
Rear legroom is quite acceptable, with the front seat set to my dimensions, I could still comfortably sit in the rear, with still room for my knees behind the front seat. Behind this is a boot that's about what you'd expect from a car in this class.








The touchscreen?s UI has a carrousel like design, and you?re supposed to swipe from one page to the next, which isn?t an easy feat, considering the touchscreen is of the resistive kind, meaning you need to press down hard while swiping. The touchscreen is quite nice in use, with large buttons and a high contrast user interface that is easily readable, even in bright sunlight. Since I can only use this car for commutes, testing the navigation isn?t really possible. The map data is fairly recent, being a year older than the car.




On to driving, the car is propelled along by the same 1.2l three cylinder engine as in the C3, mated to the same gearbox. As in the C3, it?s quite a nice combo, the engine with its 82PS has little effort getting the 950kg 208 up to motorway speeds and beyond. 0-100 takes a little over 12 seconds, and the top speed is supposed to be 175 kph, which is still faster than the average car on the Dutch roads, even when I don?t count the gazillions of lorries crowding up the slow lanes. The suspension is clearly ?sportier? than the C3?s, speedbumps and other irregularities are clearly felt by the occupants of the car, but it?s far from uncomfortable. The upshot of this firmer suspension is that the steering and handling are noticeably sharper than the C3?s, which wasn?t bad to begin with. The 208 loves to attack corners at speed, and responds willingly, only understeering when you are clearly overstepping its boundaries. The small and narrow steering wheel makes controlling the car easy and precise, and together with the sharp steering allows you to very precisely position the car.

All in all, this is easily the best small Peugeot since they retired the 205. In fact, I like this car so much that I expect to pay a visit to a Peugeot dealer soon to see if we can work out a nice deal on one, since the Merc is getting a bit large and expensive, especially in insurance and taxes, now that we don't really drive that much anymore as a couple years ago.
 
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PelicanHazard

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Nice write-up. The 208 is high on my 'If only they were available in the US' list, and definitely something I am interested in renting for myself when I visit Europe.
 

NooDle

Ik ben niet alleen lekker met kaas!
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Played pool car roulette today, had the choice between the good (BMW X3 2.0d), the bad (Citroen C3 1.4hdi) and the ugly (Renault Laguna 1.5 dci)...
I'll drive it for some more and post about it here, while you get to guess which one it was...

I got the Laguna!


(not this one but pretty much identical down to the colour)

Turns out it had more than one issue wrong with it (power steering only worked when turning right, not left, aircon gives me hot air instead of cold) so I switched to the C3 after 2 days(but atleast now I got one with a funky colour). I did get a good impression of what its like though.. no pics so I snagged a few off the webz.

The interior is a pretty nice place to be especially with the leather. I didn't like the seats though, with them being electric you could move it up and down but it would automatically tilt the seat to the rear if you went down... never found the sweet spot....

This was a TomTom edition with GPS, bluetooth and aux in - weirdly not the usual 3,5 mm plug but one of those oldskool "red and white" ones ... fortunately I still had one of those so connecting was easy...





There are a few ergonomical problems : as this is a TomTom edition it feels like they just screwed in a Tomtom and then decided it needed bespoke controls...so the ones down by the gearlever are for the Satnav, but the Satnav ONLY. The ones on the dash do the stereo and the stereo ONLY. You also have a small screen inbetween the dials and even that has seperate buttons on the indicator stalks to access and use...



This all combined means that the system was a mess, completely the opposite of what you'd expect. As the person who used the car before me had everything set to French, I needed to delve through 3 seperate menus using 3 seperate controls just to change the language back...

Driving to take my mind off the stupidly designed system didn't help,because even before the steering and aircon broke, I noticed that this was a car that was too soft (understeery) in the bends and too hard over the potholes...Engine was not terrible but being a small diesel not that fabulous either. The usual big lump of torque WAY down (whooshing turbo from 1k rpm), but beyond 2.5k there was no point in revving any more. This car was clearly designed with economy in mind since it had a lot of gears (6) and all of them were very short...won't set your world on fire...

The boot itself was decent but a very weird flat shape, meaning you can only transport long or wide things but nothing very high...

In conclusion : now I know why everyone looking for this type of car (and doesn't have the want or money for an A4/3er/C class) has either a Mondeo or a Passat... because those are much much better in pretty much every way without costing more...
 
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D-Fence

Mrs. IceBone
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John Pooper Works
I had a rental again!

GUESS WHAT.



OK, Adu covered the basics, so I will now focus on my car.


The good:

- I like the looks
- It handles like a GoKart (also thanks to tiny steering wheel), you can properly throw it around* *Under 30mph
- Lots of room inside (My 1,90m friend could sit in back)
- Fancy inside

[/url]


- High MPG, really frugal diesel, powerful in town, sluggish outside town. Averaged around 52MPG despite hooning it like a madman. Also, very high MPG at UK Highway speeds







The bad:

- That touchscreen system is a slow rubbish mess, sorry. I found no way to turn up Bluetooth volume, so my calls were too silent, you cant play or pause Bluetooth streaming, instead of buttons you have a scrollwheel to change songs on wheel, which takes forever. I also could not figure out how to reset trip counter, really, this shit needs to be intuitive

- Seating position. When I moved the seat in a position to properly use pedals, the first gear was VERY far away, I had to lean forward. I could not see the digital dash because the steering wheel was in way (something TG Mag complained about too!)


My view

- ESP automatically reactivates at 30mph (see above) and is HIGHLY invasive, no fun to be had.


The VERY BAD

The RHD conversion is POOR! Let me elaborate.


Passenger footwell or LHD driver footwell:





Driver footwell in UK




As you can see, it is narrower. There is NO room to put your foot left of the clutch (not with my feet, I tried, trust me, no way without clutching). My feet where actually rubbing against each other when clutch-braking. As well, I felt like the pedals were slightly offset to the right, which resulted in a really weird seating position for your hips. BAD, Peugeot, BAD!

 

Eye-Q

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None anymore...
That's due to the wheel arches being in the way on the right. On left-hand drive cars the wheel arch is kind of a natural footrest for the left foot while it serves no purpose on right-hand drive cars other than being in the way of the accelerator. If it hasn't been planned right at the beginning the footwell is too narrow to accomodate an additional footrest on the left of the pedals.

That's why driving on the right is superior to driving on the left. :p
 

Adunaphel

KLAUWD
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'18 Clio; '13 Cube Hyde
I also could not figure out how to reset trip counter

I filled up for the first time today, and had to reset my own trip counters. You just need to keep the button (or the touchscreen) pressed for a couple seconds, and it resets fine.


Would have solved it too, because the procedure is laid out in the user manual.
 

Polkky

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Eunos Roadster 1991, Renault Clio 2014
For the past five days I drove a 2013 VW Golf 1.2 TSI. To my knowledge it was the 85hp version.



In speeds under 50km/h it was an OK ride. In that speed range the engine still had enough juice to move the car and the light power steering didn?t bother that much. On the highway you had to be steering all the time as the car just wouldn?t settle down and the engine suffered from a great lack of torque.





First I thought what the f*ck was wrong with a traditional handbrake but then one evening while queuing at a drive through I realized that the combination of Auto Hold and Auto Start/Stop is quite handy. When you?re not paying for it, that is, wouldn?t like to have them in my own car. The HU has a touch screen, I wonder how that works in the middle of Northern winter with gloves on?







After all of this, I was very pleased to jump in my own car today. You can?t describe the feeling when man meets machine and this particular feeling was never present while driving the VW.
 

Perc

Very Odd Looking Vehicular Object
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Insignia CT 4x4 CDTI Biturbo
In speeds under 50km/h it was an OK ride. In that speed range the engine still had enough juice to move the car and the light power steering didn?t bother that much. On the highway you had to be steering all the time as the car just wouldn?t settle down and the engine suffered from a great lack of torque.

I've owned the "old" version of the TSI (albeit 1.4) since November and this sounds very unfamiliar to me. I've got a DSG and it spends most of the time around 1500rpm with no issues at all moving the octavia around. I've driven the "old" 1.2 too - it was about the same, only slightly less of everything of course.

Some weeks ago I was on the freeway with passengers, luggage and shit. I was in the process of slowly overtaking a bus with cruise control set to 120 when an angry Audi popped up in my rear view mirror so I figured I'd give it some throttle to move out of the way for him. Suddenly I found myself doing 160 without ever leaving 7th gear. I've driven cars before that were capable of this, but none of them had 1.4 liters of displacement.



I do recognize the "not settling down" part though. It's certainly not a kilometer mucher like my Volvos were. You'd think the new MQB based car would be better though.
 
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