The Car Thread

Okay, so I caved. But since the car-heads here tend to threadjack elsewhere to talk about cars, it's probably a good idea to have a car thread.

Back to the Audi discussion started here...
I like Audis a lot, but a guy in my income bracket is never going to be able to afford to buy a car in that class when it's new. And since, despite their other obvious merits, most Audis today don't have the same expectation of long-term reliability and cost of ownership as most BMWs, I simply can't buy one. The '99 M3 was a good choice for me as it's a very solidly reliable car.

Meanwhile, if you put an Audi designer into the M3, he'd probably get sick. Most of the switches, the gauge cluster, the center console (which includes a rectangular block of black steel containing an ash tray and cup holders), etc., look very 1985. The on-board computer and diagnostic system looks like something that would have been found on the Army weapon systems my dad worked on in the early 80s, which means it looks like 1970s tech. It's a similar design aesthetic to what you find in jet fighter cockpits. Not really what Audi is aiming for in their cars. Nor is it what BMW aims for anymore in their newer cars, as they've gone over to the chrome and wood grain school of interiors. Similarly on the exterior, there's a lot of plasto-rubbery trim that's very functional and attractive in an aggressive, simple, direct kind of way, but is also very 1985.

But then, the car is a good 750 pounds lighter than a comparably equipped new S4, and about 600 pounds lighter than a comparable new M3. While both of those cars will probably outperform my old M, they do so by applying more energy to all their work. Bigger, heavier, more complex, more powerful engines burning more fuel. Bigger, heavier brakes which cost more to maintain. Wider, grippier, more expensive tires, etc. Performance coupes have gotten so big and heavy lately, it's really strange. How these manufacturers can say they're building performance cars that weigh two tons, and do it with a straight face, mystifies me.

Anyway, as I said, if I made more money, all of these perspectives might change.
Original Post
We have a 2001 S4 Avant. I have to say I don't like the current design with the big mouth grill. Makes me think Chrysler 300M everytime I see it.
We've left the S4 stock to keep the warrenty, but that is now up. Maybe time for some tuning to extract more horsies.
quote:
Maybe time for some tuning to extract more horsies.


I imagine that since the horsepower figures for that car are pretty conservative for a twin turbo 2.7l engine, it's probably pretty easy to crank up the output. That's a cool car; I've always liked wagons that can move.
i think he's already covered that, lith. (tweezers or something?)

i've said it before, but i'm always glad to be able to say it again: i have a 1976 holden hx kingswood, bench seat in the front, 3.3L engine. straight six. no air con or power steering, but she does have a fan that makes a very hard working noise. she is very heavy and was recently run into by a lady with a new car: lady wound up with $5K damage, the old girl lost the outer part of her right indicator. ha-ha!

edit: fp - snap!
quote:
Originally posted by lithos:
Y'know, no offence, Splitcoil, but the way you rabbit on 'bout your new wheels and considering the amount of guitars you collect, I can't help but wonder about the size, or lack thereof, of what you're compensatin' for.....

The number of guitars is about to decline, to help pay down the car. Don't worry, I'm only selling acoustics. Nothing you'd miss.

Glad to have once again anticipated the reaction of the WGB peanut gallery. Big Grin
quote:
Originally posted by Splitcoil:
Most of the switches, the gauge cluster, the center console (which includes a rectangular block of black steel containing an ash tray and cup holders), etc., look very 1985. The on-board computer and diagnostic system looks like something that would have been found on the Army weapon systems my dad worked on in the early 80s, which means it looks like 1970s tech.




Amazing how fast we realign our ideas about 'new', isn't it?
quote:
Amazing how fast we realign our ideas about 'new', isn't it?


Oh yes. The armrest is the same. Otherwise, it's got nothing in common with the interior of my '99.

Plus, it appears to be missing a pedal. How do you drive it if it doesn't have a clutch? Surely no one would buy an M3 with an automatic... Smile
"Not the Kingswood!!", misty!

Heh, yeah, I think we'll be getting something a bit newer than that but still an example of Big Aussie Iron - a Falcon or Commodore7 or 8 years old. We can reclaim this thread on behalf of the mighty bogan-mobiles from the effete European yup-vagens. Wink
quote:
Originally posted by heavyboots:
Heh heh, silly Sentinel!

Thinking SplitCoil would buy a car with a flappy-paddle gearbox! Wink


Every car show I watch these days seems to have nothing but flappy paddle gearchangers. I hate them. That is, I hate them now. in five years I'll probably think they're fab.

As for the interior, that's a 2004 M3.

It doesn't look anywhere near as nice as the 1999...
Little piece of advice, at this point in time, stay away from new'isch German cars.

Most of them have ... serious reliability issues. So far, I haven't heard too many bad things about modern Beemers (BMW's) and Porsche appears to be on an all time high.

But Mercedes and VW/Audi are really rubish these days.
quote:
Originally posted by AC:
It also makes me snicker into my fist at the dorkiness of the guy leaning against the car.


Dear God. That man really needs a good spanking, doesn't he?

Martin, the 3.0CS is a thing of great beauty, isn't it! I've seen a chap here in a mint-condition 3.0CSL, which is even better (complete with the Batmobile rear wing and front fender splitters). Glorious.
quote:
Originally posted by Newromancer:
But Mercedes and VW/Audi are really rubish these days.
I don't know anything about Mercedes, but I do have a pair of late-1990's VWs, and I have found that if you don't drive them the 1200-1500 miles per year that U.S. Americans seem to feel is their patriotic duty, they hold up quite nicely. Our Jetta is a bottom-of-the-barrel four-door we bought new at the end of its model year (1998), and we have had no major problems with it in just over 80,000 miles. And we generally beat it up, waiting too long between oil changes, putting off maintenance, and so forth. A lot of the cheap plastic trimmings have broken, and two of the rubber trim strips on the doors have disappeared (spontaneous de-lam in traffic, I suppose), but it runs like a top despite our treatment. The Passat (turbo wagon) we bought used last Summer. It's a 1999, and when it was new it was probably about the priciest thing VW offered to the U.S. market. When we drove it home, I was fascinated by how much it seemed like a brand new car. So my experience with (recent) VWs is that they're anything but rubbish. Newer model years, I don't know about.

My $0.02.

(Jesus Joyriding Christ, did I just spend a hundred-odd words defending a pair of fucking automobiles? I better see a doctor.)
quote:
Originally posted by Shadoth:
I think the early 2000s is the breaking point. I hate to admit this, but my wife's bmw x3 is a piece of shit. She's on her third radio in a year, and there are a number of other issues that I just don't want to get into. Last new bimmer we buy.


Auto makers are not know for the quality of their radios after all they are auto makers not radio makers. Get an after market deck.
quote:
Originally posted by Shadoth:
I think the early 2000s is the breaking point.


I think I'd agree with that. Our 2nd car is a 1997 Mercedes C180. It's built like an underground bunker.

It may have a dull 4-cylinder engine and the laziest auto transmission devised by humankind, but it's military-grade hardware. The thing will outlive me by a good margin.
quote:
Originally posted by Sentinel Earth 1:
There's a gallery right here that makes you shake your head at the lumpiness of the newer M3s.

WTF? Did the Texan put a lift kit on that car or something? It seems considerably higher than mine, and I'm pretty sure I have stock suspension. I might be wrong, though. Prior owner doesn't seem like the type to have lowered it, but I'll check with him. Mine's Estorilblau (blue) with the spoiler. Otherwise, same car.

Brief conversation I had at Auto Zone with a 20-year-old, pimply-faced kid.

"Hey, what kind of BMW is that?"

"It's an M3."

"What year?"

"It's a '99."

"Cool. ..." Long, nodding pause. I correctly anticipate his next question, which is:

"You gonna do anything to it, or you gonna just leave it stock?"

"I think I'll leave it stock. I like it how it is."

"Yeah. That's cool." More nodding and thinking, then he says, "but have you seen those really cool deep dish wheels they've got for it?"

Pause.

"Son," I said, "it's a car. Not a pizza."

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