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Latest post 02-29-2012 3:17 AM by elephant. 22 replies.
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  • 02-08-2012 12:42 AM

    • John
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    Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    Hello Everybody

    As a car buff, but one who currently doesn't own a car, I had a conversation recently with an old friend who is an engineer, and a very pragmatic and somewhat opinionated one at that.

    His point was that the modern car is CAD/CAN designed and manufactured using mainly robotised production methods, and consequently perceptions between brands on the grounds of either quality or ability are just that - perceptions.

    Sounds a little like the world of Hifi with mainstream v's specialist 'high end' products then.

    Taking this argument further, he commented that one should buy the car, not the brand, and that a Toyota or Nissan for example, will be every bit as good as a BMW or Mercedes for example in quality and ability.

    I'm not sure whether to agree or not.

    As to getting you from A to B reliably and safely, which is the main reason most folks buy a car, then yes, but as to the manner of the going?

    I drove his Nissan Primera, his wifes new Ford Fiesta, and also a new Suzuki Swift whilst away overseas, and have had the loan of a 12 year old, W210 E200 Kompressor Mercedes for a few days since my return, and in terms of its comfort (seating, ride, smoothness, quietness (road, engine and wind noise), and ergonomics/feature set, there is no comparison - the Mercedes simply walks it in my humble opinion.

    And that's just it - it's an opinion and a perception.  I wonder if it was possible to set up a blind ABX between the Mercedes and the other cars mentioned, whether I'd really be able to tell the difference.

    So what do you think?

    Were my engineering friends comments on the mark, or is there a difference between brands that can be quantifiably proven, and not just as regards opinions and perceptions?

    And if so, what are those differences likely to be, and how might they  be achieved?

    Please discuss.

    Kind regards

    John... cool

    No-one ever regretted buying quality.

  • 02-08-2012 12:54 AM In reply to

    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    I judge cars by the sound systems

    seriously !

    in all other ways they are just a device to move you safely from A to B

    which is why we bought a Volvo utility 10 years ago

    but then I also think watches are only for keeping track of time and don't understand them as fashion accessories Laughing

    and I am not a fountain pen collector either -- sorry Laughing Laughing

    however I do like hiring Mercs for comfort and power, and we did enjoy a convertabile 

    so I guess they can have fun elements to them

    First B&O (1976) was a Beogram 1500 ... latest (2011) change has been to couple the BL11 with the BL6Ks *sounds superb*

  • 02-08-2012 4:34 AM In reply to

    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    Personally, I think the difference between cars is huge... Only BMW and Porsche for me. Although I have to admit I love Maserati's, older Alfa Romeo's and Lancia's and old Mercs, especially the W 113 as well. Don't like new Mercs at all.

    The main reason why I don't like Mercs for instance is that compared to a BMW a BMW feels alive and a Merc does provide transport but you feel you are left out of the action. That's fine if you want to get from A to B, but I much rather enjoy the time I spent in a car.

    Not sure if you can quantify this. Sure you can say if the steering of a car is slow or fast, comparing how many turns it takes from lock to lock for instance. But how do you explain the feeling you get through the steering wheel? How do you compare the numbness of a Merc to the lovely feel you get behind the wheel of a Porsche 911, or a BMW M3? Can't tell, but I also can't imagine anyone not feeling the difference.

     

    Beoworld's twenty-eighth ninth prize winner and fifty-first second prize winner. Best £30 I've ever spent!

  • 02-09-2012 4:50 AM In reply to

    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    To me there is always a huge difference in cars. I dont know what it is but somehow cars to me seem to have characters. Italian cars are distinctly Italian, German distinctly German etc. My Fathers 3 Lancia Gamma Coupes, were all exactly the same, staggeringly beautiful, fabulous to drive and totally unreliable!

    I suppose its just the DNA of the people that design and build them that gets into there structure. Also different countries need different things from there cars. A Vauxhall Carlton or whatever they are now is a totally different beast to the Aussie Holden because we have twisty country lanes and the Aussies have huge distances to cover. What people in want and indeed need from a car is not the same everywhere.

    My daily car is now a 1965 Volvo Amazon and Ilet me tell you that at the moment Im very happy that it was designed to cope with swedish winters!

  • 02-20-2012 2:17 PM In reply to

    • Medogsfat
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    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    There are massive differences in cars from one manufacturer to the next.

    I currently drive a BMW 3 series & cannot wait for the day it blows up & I can go back to driving Audi's. Anyone who has tried to drive a 3 series BMW with 255 wide rear tyres in the snow will know exactly what I mean.

    Chris.

    The use of metaphors should be avoided like the plague. They're like a red rag to a bull to me.

  • 02-20-2012 3:29 PM In reply to

    • 9 LEE
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    • Joined on 02-14-2007
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    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    I think you're confusing reliablity, which is the question - with quality.

    Only my two shiny pennies worth. 

    Below was my last car.  High on quality (it was like driving a gentlemans club on four wheels) but poor on reliability..  Every time i started it, there was a cacophony of warning bleeps, bells and whistles telling me to get it straight to my nearest Bentley dealer.  I never expected that. Sad

    Back in the early 1990's when i was broke I drove a 6 year old Nissan Sunny 1.5 Diesel. Ex driving school with 174,000 miles on the clock (i paid £700 for it) - and i drove that car 1,000 miles a week until it got to 235,000 miles. It never once skipped a beat. After i sold it, I saw it around my home town for another 3-4 years and peeked at the mileage through the window one day. It had done 280,000 miles and still obviously drove.

    That said it was noisy and uncomfortable - which is quality, not reliability!  I think i rest my case.. Huh?

    Lee


    BeoWorld - Everything Bang & Olufsen

  • 02-20-2012 5:46 PM In reply to

    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    You lot should try driving some BMC/BL products if you want to talk about reliability! Some of the tales of design incompetence are legendary, like my old TR6 with a high-pressure fuel injection pump based on a windscreen wiper motor, or the Rover SD1 spray shop extractor fans that blew rather than sucked, or the appalling build quality of anything built in the Speke factory. I honestly could go on and on and on!

    President, Beomaster 8000 Appreciation Society

  • 02-21-2012 2:59 AM In reply to

    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    9 LEE:
    That said it was noisy and uncomfortable - which is quality, not reliability!

    Dear Lee :-)

    I am reminded of that old joke about the watch that does not work versus the watch that looses a minute a day ...

    Which is more accurate ? 

    The one that does not work Laughing

    So, which is better, your old clunker that got you from A to B in discomfort, 

    Or, the wonderful beautiful machine ... which stalls in the driveway and where you sit all day in elegant comfort ?

    Clearly 'tis better to sit in comfort ........ than to arrive Laughing 

    First B&O (1976) was a Beogram 1500 ... latest (2011) change has been to couple the BL11 with the BL6Ks *sounds superb*

  • 02-21-2012 5:40 AM In reply to

    • 9 LEE
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-14-2007
    • Moderator - UK
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    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    I'd rather have reliability i think.  It's all well and good having a fancy car, but if it doesn't work properly..

    I see the OP's question in that as most cars are built by robots and the parts are all designed and made so much better these days, then technically they are all as reliable as each other.

    If anyone ever asks me about a 'first car' which will be cheap to run, i always say 'buy a low spec german or japanese car'

    Low spec as there's less to go wrong - German or Japanese because they seem to have reliability nailed better than anyone else.

     

    BeoWorld - Everything Bang & Olufsen

  • 02-21-2012 6:05 AM In reply to

    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    9 LEE:
    I'd rather have reliability i think.  It's all well and good having a fancy car, but if it doesn't work properly...

    From Boswell's Life of Johnson ...

    There was a pretty large circle this evening. Dr. Johnson was in very good humour, lively, and ready to talk upon all subjects. Mr. Fergusson, the self-taught philosopher, told him of a new invented machine which went without horses: a man who sat in it turned a handle, which worked a spring that drove it forward. “Then, Sir, (said Johnson,) what is gained is, the man has his choice whether he will move himself alone, or himself and the machine too.”

    First B&O (1976) was a Beogram 1500 ... latest (2011) change has been to couple the BL11 with the BL6Ks *sounds superb*

  • 02-21-2012 11:59 AM In reply to

    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    Medogsfat:

    There are massive differences in cars from one manufacturer to the next.

    I currently drive a BMW 3 series & cannot wait for the day it blows up & I can go back to driving Audi's. Anyone who has tried to drive a 3 series BMW with 255 wide rear tyres in the snow will know exactly what I mean.

    Chris.

    You should fit proper winter tyres. All my cars had rear wheel drive and never had any problems in winter conditions with winter tyres. Trading the fine handling for the numbness of an Audi... Think again, if you're a keen driver. 

    Beoworld's twenty-eighth ninth prize winner and fifty-first second prize winner. Best £30 I've ever spent!

  • 02-21-2012 12:23 PM In reply to

    • 9 LEE
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-14-2007
    • Moderator - UK
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    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    I was gobsmacked to find the Bentley was amazingly good in the snow.  "550BHP through the rear wheels and it doesn't wheelspin in the snow.. how do they do that?!" i asked the Bentley technician.

    "Err..  it's four wheel drive" was the reply (as he inwardly thought 'idiot'..)

    I freely admit to doing no research whatsoever before i bought that car. Geeked

    Lee

    BeoWorld - Everything Bang & Olufsen

  • 02-21-2012 2:37 PM In reply to

    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    As someone else said ...

     

    elephant:

    Daniel:
    Having a monologue here (as elephant probably gone to sleep down under).

    (correct) Laughing

    re-reading my last post before going to bed I can see I was tired as it is rather obscure ...

    elephant:
    From Boswell's Life of Johnson ...

    ... but it took me a long time to appreciate what Dr Johnson had been saying: man has a choice to walk or use a vehicle, and in choosing the vehicle there are consequences ... which after some 300 years we perhaps have a better understanding of the impact of such decisions

    I wonder what the good doctor would have made of the choice between an orchestra or a B&O stereo ... 

    “Then, Sir, (said Johnson,) what is gained is, the man has his choice whether he will listen alone, or enjoy himself in the company of his friends.”

    First B&O (1976) was a Beogram 1500 ... latest (2011) change has been to couple the BL11 with the BL6Ks *sounds superb*

  • 02-21-2012 5:01 PM In reply to

    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    9 LEE:

    Below was my last car.  High on quality (it was like driving a gentlemans club on four wheels) but poor on reliability..  Every time i started it, there was a cacophony of warning bleeps, bells and whistles telling me to get it straight to my nearest Bentley dealer.  I never expected that. Sad

     

    Lee,

    All due respect to you having had yourself a Bentley Continental GT. Very nice car of course.....although having said that...... the Continental GT is not really considered a 'proper' hand built Bentley.

    Get yourself one of these...

     

    The above is a proper hand-built 1999 Bentley (Azure) on sale at £58,500 - new they cost £200k+ and were made in very small numbers. In comparison, a Continental GT is in the 'Bentley Play' range of 'affordable' models.

    Even better still, would be to be chauffeur-driven to/from your Lifestyle premises each day in something like this.....

    2005 Rolls~Royce Phantom @ £119,950

    Big Smile

    Michael

    BV5, BV Avant, MX4000, MX1500

    BS 7000, BS 5500

    Penta III, Penta II, BL 4000, RL 60.2,  RL 35, CX-100 Alu

    BL 7000, MCP6500, MCP5500,  BL 5000,  Beo4 (x2), BL 1000 (x2)

  • 02-21-2012 6:16 PM In reply to

    • 9 LEE
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 02-14-2007
    • Moderator - UK
    • Posts 5,223
    • Founder

    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    Yes, i had a trumped-up VW which all the plonkers drive.. i know.. i know...  Stick out tongue

    As for the cars above, i can safely say 'i cannot afford them' - so that decision has been taken away from me.  However, one day.. the Phantom will be mine..  I'm sure a 2005 model will be affordable in 2032.

    Smile

    BeoWorld - Everything Bang & Olufsen

  • 02-21-2012 8:57 PM In reply to

    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    9 LEE:

    Yes, i had a trumped-up VW which all the plonkers drive.. i know.. i know...  Stick out tongue

    As for the cars above, i can safely say 'i cannot afford them' - so that decision has been taken away from me.  However, one day.. the Phantom will be mine..  I'm sure a 2005 model will be affordable in 2032.

    Smile

     

    Hahaha yes precisely - I have the same thoughts exactly Yes -  thumbs up

    Laughing

    Michael

    BV5, BV Avant, MX4000, MX1500

    BS 7000, BS 5500

    Penta III, Penta II, BL 4000, RL 60.2,  RL 35, CX-100 Alu

    BL 7000, MCP6500, MCP5500,  BL 5000,  Beo4 (x2), BL 1000 (x2)

  • 02-22-2012 5:28 AM In reply to

    • Medogsfat
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    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    beocool:

    Medogsfat:

    There are massive differences in cars from one manufacturer to the next.

    I currently drive a BMW 3 series & cannot wait for the day it blows up & I can go back to driving Audi's. Anyone who has tried to drive a 3 series BMW with 255 wide rear tyres in the snow will know exactly what I mean.

    Chris.

    You should fit proper winter tyres. All my cars had rear wheel drive and never had any problems in winter conditions with winter tyres. Trading the fine handling for the numbness of an Audi... Think again, if you're a keen driver. 

     

    It really isn't worth the price of fitting winter tyres in the UK for a week of snow per year. To be honest I'd rather crash the BMW & write it off - I really dislike it that much!

    being a keen driver doesn't enter the equation for me, a car is a tool to get me from A to B & nothing more which my previous Audis's did in far better comfort & reliably than my BMW.

     

    The use of metaphors should be avoided like the plague. They're like a red rag to a bull to me.

  • 02-22-2012 5:34 AM In reply to

    • Chris
    • Top 500 Contributor
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    • Joined on 05-09-2010
    • Last of the Summer Wine Country, Yorkshire, UK
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    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    Currently driving a Mini One Diesel - 65mpg+ on the motorway. Only had a few minor niggles including having a new engine fitted at 70,000. Currently done 160,000miles now and still running strong (where's the block of wood gone!). 

    I guess we don't buy cars for 100% reliability or we would be driving around in a Kia or something with 7 year warranty or whatever they are giving away these days! I'm thinking of changing the car for something a little different, maybe a Z4 or TT or something but it's the 3am wake up calls in the middle of January to work that puts me off. 

    Also running winter tyres on the MINI - superb and remarkably good - anyone with BMW/ rear wheel drive should go for it without even thinking or at the very least stick some of these in the boot http://www.autosockdirect.co.uk/?gclid=CKfdvJSxsa4CFcYNfAodW3-LPg

    Beosound 8, Beotalk 1100, Beocom 4, A8 Headphones, Form 2 Headphones, Apple iPhone 4S, iPod Classic, iPad 1, Sky+ HD, Sony Playstation 3, Jacob Jensen T10, Lutron Rania IR Dual Dimmer/ Accesory dimmer, B+O A9 Keyring (SOLD), Beolit 600 (SOLD), Apple Airport Express, Beo5

  • 02-23-2012 11:06 AM In reply to

    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    Medogsfat:

    beocool:

    Medogsfat:

    There are massive differences in cars from one manufacturer to the next.

    I currently drive a BMW 3 series & cannot wait for the day it blows up & I can go back to driving Audi's. Anyone who has tried to drive a 3 series BMW with 255 wide rear tyres in the snow will know exactly what I mean.

    Chris.

    You should fit proper winter tyres. All my cars had rear wheel drive and never had any problems in winter conditions with winter tyres. Trading the fine handling for the numbness of an Audi... Think again, if you're a keen driver. 

     

     

    It really isn't worth the price of fitting winter tyres in the UK for a week of snow per year. To be honest I'd rather crash the BMW & write it off - I really dislike it that much!

    being a keen driver doesn't enter the equation for me, a car is a tool to get me from A to B & nothing more which my previous Audis's did in far better comfort & reliably than my BMW.

     

    Winter tyres show better results on wet roads when it's below +7 degrees centigrade. Especially the braking distance is a lot better, and when it comes to breaking it doesn't matter if your car is front, rear or four wheeldrive. Can't imagine anyone driving without them in late autumn or winter.

    If you're after reliability get I would suggest to get yourself a Toyota. Not sure what the situation in England is but VW and Audi dealers are so bad over here in Holland that alone is reason enough not to buy one of those... And don't get me started on reliability issues on VW or Audi products...

    Beoworld's twenty-eighth ninth prize winner and fifty-first second prize winner. Best £30 I've ever spent!

  • 02-26-2012 8:12 AM In reply to

    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    9 LEE:
    Below was my last car.  High on quality (it was like driving a gentlemans club on four wheels) but poor on reliability..  Every time i started it, there was a cacophony of warning bleeps, bells and whistles telling me to get it straight to my nearest Bentley dealer.  I never expected that. Sad 

    I always amuse myself thinking how a Bentley GT, fine motor car that it is, would take corners at real speed. A bit like the Professional footballers who buy them I suppose. (you never know until 90 minutes later)Stick out tongueStick out tongue

    I have never had any great feeling out of BMW's, Audis, Merc's, Porkers have the engine sound of a nanny-goat p1551ng in a tin. That said, once one commits to spending above X-amount on a car, the principle use of the car (getting reliably and safely from A to B) becomes superflous and transforms into a pleasure device who's purpose (and incremental value) is in the eye of the beholder (or owner).

    I still maintain that there are few legal pleasures left in this world whereby one can drive an Aston Martin with a V12 engine, manual gear-box, two seats for you and a fine fair young lady (without any rear-seat distractors) along the fine green English Countryside to a country hotel and fine dinery of your choice.

     

     

     

     


  • 02-28-2012 11:32 PM In reply to

    • John
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    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    Mr10Percent:
    That said, once one commits to spending above X-amount on a car, the principle use of the car (getting reliably and safely from A to B) becomes superflous and transforms into a pleasure device who's purpose (and incremental value) is in the eye of the beholder (or owner).

    Some very interesting posts here and thank you.

    The above in a way encapsulates what I was attempting to describe, contrast and question.

    The pragmatic approach of the engineer, in that because cars are CAD/CAN designed & manufactured, produced by robots and have to satisfy similar safety standards etc, the ulimate (parts) quality, and hence also reliability of a car should be broadly the same, regardless of brand.

    Contrasted with the approach of the car enthusiast, and brand 'perceptions' that say that a Mercedes for example is a much 'better' car than say a Toyota.

    Beyond personal opinion, is there any way to qualify 'better' in this instance?

    Not that I can tell. 

    Certainly a Mercedes will give you more comfort than the Toyota; a BMW more sportiness yet again, and so on and so forth, but as to the sheer quality of parts such as say gearboxes, engines, differentials, and body shell components, whether there is really somthing better on offer from the more expensive brands, I really don't know as there is so little objective information to be found on such matters.  

    Cars sell on acceleration times, fuel consumption, style, safety features, and features generally etc, along with notions of exclusivity and prestige with certain brands, but at a fundamental engineering level, it seems very difficult to discern any meaningful differences as regards basic engineering/component quality between them.  As an example, a 'common garden' Ford Falcon here, uses the  same ZF auto as found in a 5 series BMW as well as other 'prestige' brands.   Early 190 Mercedes sourced their springs from BHP steel in Australia.....

    I used to own Naim Audio, on the basis of it's superior design and sound quality over alleged 'lessor' mainstream products; at the end of the day, it was outdone by ES Sony - a sound that was closer to the original  tenets of HiFi - that of the closest approach to the original sound, - and with an interior/exterior build quality, and parts list that exceeded the 'quality' of the Naim.  I see a loose parallel here between 'prestige' motor vehicles and so called 'high end' audio... perceptions...can be exceedingly deceptive in lieu of facts.

    My thinking at this stage, is that prestige brands of automobiles, like so called 'high end' HiFi, are in fact just so called luxury goods, where one is paying more for certain qualities seen as being desirable over and above the basics - performance, comfort, style etc, and that at the end of the day, my pragmatic engineering friend may be more or less on the money with his views.

    Not that there is anything wrong with having luxury goods! - I would much rather drive a Mercedes than his Nissan, and I'd rather own B&O than ES Sony - but as to the actual verifiable quality being any better, I am in serious doubt at this stage.

    Looking forward to being proven incorrect in this present thought/assumption though!

    Best Regards

    John... Cool

     

     

    No-one ever regretted buying quality.

  • 02-29-2012 2:17 AM In reply to

    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    Hi, 

      I wish to add my bit here. I am qualified to give an opinion on this, Lee said exactly what I would say "either German or Japanese" 

     

    Japanese cars are built to the finest tolerations in the motor industry, this means a more reliable engine and also mean more economical.  The Germans aren't far behind they use thicker gauge metals so they generally weigh more than there japanese counterparts, Mercedes up to the late 80's made some of the best cars you could buy. They tried to cut costs and went to far and have never recovered, this may have something to do with Damler chrystler partnership!  

     

    Italian cars are some of the most stunning cars out there, but they just seem to be unreliable and prone to wear. 

     

    So what are the worst, American & british cars!  Land rover are terrible in terms of assembly, they have a sick bay in the plant to rectify any defects and it is teeming with cars with issues!  The older rolls royce and Bentley's are a complete one off so another panel from another bentley most possibly will not fit another bentley. They have a stringent gapping process but due to the tolerence levels a door on one car could be 3-4mm shorter than another!  VW has raised these levels and brought them in line with modern standards, the same for rolls with bmw!

  • 02-29-2012 3:17 AM In reply to

    Re: Cars: Fact or Fiction?

    I have been reading "Borkmann's Point" (a Swedish murder mystery) and I was amused by a section today where the DCI is driving an old Opel because he chose to upgrade its stereo system rather than spend the money buying a new car ....

    The car was a means of transport. The music was a luxury. No doubt about which ought to be given priority.

    Yes -  thumbs up

    First B&O (1976) was a Beogram 1500 ... latest (2011) change has been to couple the BL11 with the BL6Ks *sounds superb*

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