New car - or 'Tell me what cars you have bought lately (that are interesting)'


Cabins are quieter than they have ever been for the brand. But yeah the infotainment systems are from 2014, and haven’t changed much. They desperately need apple and android features. I have owned a few different Mazda’s over the past 15 years, so I have kept up pretty well with the models and changes they receive.

Infotainment received a POOR rating.


It has to be tough though for car makers to keep up with electronics progress. It isn’t as simple as tossing in the latest consumer gizmo, given all the integration and reliability stuff car electronics has to support. Still, it’s such an important part of today’s market.


That’s exactly why they should embrace Android Auto and the Apple equivalent.


Nearly all manufacturers are, though some are a bit haphazard about it. I have never used Android Auto, except to set it up and see if it works. I have no music on my phone, don’t use nav much as I drive mostly local, and with an extremely restrictive data plan, never stream anything. For folks like me, the native capabilities of the infotainment system are more important, but yeah, smartphone integration is clearly the future.

Still, you have to have good screens, speakers, amplification, etc. in the car.


I haven’t used it either. But I have seen infotainment systems in Camrys and other cars that look obsolete a year after they come out. And doing updates to these systems that are supposed to last 10 years just isn’t practical. With Android Auto you offload that responsibility to app makers. The apps keep getting updated, and the infotainment system just has to do a decent display and audio, and it can look fairly modern for years to come.

My two cars are just behind that era. No infotainment system in my car or the one my wife drives. No multi-function display. And honestly, that looks better than the systems I’ve seen in Accords and Camrys from a couple of years ago.


Sweet baby back ribs, does that Tesla screen look big.

17 freaking inches!


I have a friend with a Tesla Model S and yeah, that center console screen is freaking amazing.

On the Mazda, I have the 2014 infotainment system, which is even worse than the current one. But it’s really just a Bluetooth speaker for me (dash mounted phone and everything done with Waze, Overcase, and Spotify).


The ideal thing might be to simply contract with Apple and Google and build in the apps, with updates, though like some makers I’m sure they’d end up charging you a yearly fee of course.

The Tesla screen IIRC doubles as the actual vehicle dashboard display, doesn’t it? Not something I am fond of; I prefer my info front and center, not off to the side. But I guess you don’t have to look at much when riding in a Tesla or whatnot. Pretty it is, but man, I’m just totally unmoved by electric cars so far. I guess what I’d like is a car that looked and felt just like an ICE car, but was actually electric. Musk is pretty committed to making cars that obliterate most of our ideas about what a car is, and while I can understand the car as service/car as cellphone as a great way to sell big-ticket items to the hipster/yuppie/techie mavens, it doesn’t do it for me at all.


I listen to the free version of Spotify on my desktop most evenings when I’m trying to soothe my son. He loves Mozart. After every few minutes, I have to listen to some ads. An ad that’s been making the rounds lately is Volvo, and in the ad they say that just like everyone used to buy music, but it’s now a thing of the past, people will talk about how they used to buy cars back in the old days.

It’s an intriguing ad, because I’d never heard of car subscriptions before. Volvo is the first one rolling it out nationwide, but there’s quite a few services giving it a go in various corners of the United States.

As an alternative to buying and leasing, I have to admit, if the price is low enough, it could be a cool idea. I do love the idea of subscribing to a Porshe for a month for $2000 or so, and doing a road trip across the U.S. to visit all the national parks. Unfortunately, Porshe’s subscription service is one of the few that offers unlimited miles. Most of the others have pretty strict mileage limits.

Edit: Alternative link that better explains the services.


Yeah, I’ve seen the subscription things. So far they are pretty costly; it might be fine for someone who can afford a 911 anyhow, but until they are about the same as a regular car payment I doubt they will catch on.

FWIW, I am not adverse to different methods of acquiring cars. I just don’t have much personal interest in a car that is designed and built to be an appliance rather than a machine you actually operate.


a record number of people 90 days or more behind on their auto loan payment (6.3 million).


Eight-year loans? Oy vey. With tech moving so fast, that seems like a recipe for disappointment at the very least. Seems like a lease would be much better deal, if you’re going to commit that long with payments. Three years and then renew is better than making payments on a nearly decade-old car.


Wow, that’s crazy. 8 year loans? We were just discussing in the office, “what’s the next bubble?” Our speculation was student loans. But maybe it’s auto loans.


I’m guessing that because a car loan is secured by the actual car, there’s more incentive to take risks with loan approvals. And risky applicants are going to want to stretch the payments out far enough to make the monthly seem at least doable.


Soooo… For a variety of reasons, all of which make sense to me but, likely, to no one else, I’m thinking seriously of getting a new car in the spring (no way I’m getting a new car right before winter here). I really like my current ride (a Golf R), but I really, really want a two-door, sportier-looking, and, yes, more upscale car. I’ve never owned anything but economy cars or mainstream family sedans (two eighties-era muscle cars, a Stang and a Camaro, were sort of exceptions, but not exactly luxury cars either). I’ve also always, always wanted an Audi, BMW, or Mercedes. I have zero interest in Japanese cars simply because, as good as they are, the styling and general vibe don’t do it for me (and, um, there are no Lexus or Infiniti dealers here anyhow). The US makers have exactly, um, zero cars I want, given that AWD is mandatory; the car will be my only vehicle, a daily driver that will see at least five months of snow tire winter-style driving.

So I’m in a position where this can happen, and I’m wondering if anyone has experience with any of the models that are on my short list. Oh, I’m also sort of limited by of all things my garage, which is pretty small due to the kitchen being expanded by the last owners into the garage space. My current car is around 165" long; I can fit in up to maybe 185-ish (though at one point I had a Ford Fusion which supposedly was 192", but I have no idea how I did that). And it’s not the widest either, though I don’t think that’s an issue really. I could swap with my wife’s SUV in the other bay, but that would put her in a position of having to be very very precise each time she drives in, and that’s kind of unfair. So length is actually a factor.

So, relatively small (I love small cars in general), relatively short, German, two doors, AWD. Not…a long list. My short list is:

BMW 240i xDrive Small, fast, sexy, but interior is meh for the cost, no Android Auto, but it does get adaptive suspension.

BMW 440i xDrive Modest size, uber-sexy looks, nice color options, solid performance, same other issues as the 2-series, with the added annoyance that sure as shootin’ there will be a refreshed version based on the new 3-series…sometime in the next few years

Audi A5 Modest size, stellar interior, very good performance from a 4-banger, infotainment system very nice and would let me keep my SD-card based music and Android Auto; downsides are color choices for the interior are limited, no adaptive suspension option, same engine (EA888) that I have now, though the AWD system ins different

Audi S5 Amazing six, gorgeous interior with the colors I want, steep price considering I don’t really need mid-300 HP oomph, but does have the adaptive suspension option

Audi TT/TTS The base TT is a sweet, light, sports car with modest (220 HP) but very light weight and a beautiful cockpit; no adaptive suspension, color choices on the interior are limited, and would I be ok paying that much for what is essentially an AWD GTI with a sexy body? The TTS is a legitimate speedster, but it has nearly the exact same drivetrain as my current car (sans manual), yet costs a hell of a lot more. It is drop-dead sexy, and has the adaptive suspension at least.

I really am not considering a C-class because, while the interiors are quite nice, to get all the Mercedes-level stuff the price comes out uniformly more than the Audis, and the actual performance specs are not as good. The exception is the C43, but the cost gets stratospheric fast.

So, anyone with any first-hand experience with these cars? I drive maybe 8000 miles year and am looking for fun a sporty./luxury balance that is definitely more on the casual performance side. I like cars to be precise, tight, and responsive, as well as quick and nimble; I plan to test drive these in the spring, assuming our one dealer per brand (and the BMW and Mercedes dealer is one and the same) actually get in anything remotely like what I want. I am probably going to end up having them get one from somewhere nearby, in NH or MA or NY, most likely.

But input would be appreciated, from anyone with experience.


I’m going to leave that one as-is. I hope you guys work out your “bay” problem.

I’ve not owned Audi nor BMW. My advice is limited. I’ve narrowed BMW off my, “very close to purchase,” list, twice. The first time was a 3 series coupe, and the second time a 5 series sedan. The issue with the second time was essentially cost. I love the car and the styling, but I beg of you, consider an item in your purchase plans:
Total cost of ownership.

What I’m trying to say is you’re picking BMW (#1) and Audi (#3) on the most expensive cost to maintain car list. That does not mean they are bad vehicles, but rather as they age past warranty and free repair periods, service work and parts are very costly. Keep that in mind, along with how long you expect to own the car.

As for a fit for you, Audi is the premium VW brand, right? I would think that would be a quick choice once you drive one to confirm similarities.

I would counter one item here, some of the Japanese premium brands are very well rated cars. If you’re looking to spend this level of money on a vehicle, at least see if any brands are close enough to go test drive one of their vehicles. Consider it due diligence.


Yeah, I am quite aware of the cost of ownership thing. For me, though, the category of car I want simply does not exist outside of the Germans, with the exception of maybe one model of Infiniti and maybe one Lexus. The Japanese cars do nothing for me in terms of emotion or style; if I want a capable, comfortable car that doesn’t really move me, I’ll keep my Golf R. As I noted, I’d have to drive several hours to get to an Infiniti or Lexus dealership, and though I could get either serviced at the Nissan or Toyota dealers here, that’s a consideration.

Total cost of ownership is an issue, for sure. One thing about German cars is that you have to follow the maintenance requirements religiously, and you have to sort of figure out how they were intended to be driven and do that, rather than go all American on them and expect the car to do whatever you feel like. You can snag a Camaro and whip the hell out of it and it will probably be fine. Do that with a BMW and in all likelihood something bad will happen. The Germans tend to be very specific about things. I’m very good about following the manufacturer’s service instructions, and I put comparatively few miles on a car, so I’m relatively optimistic there. I’d also in all likelihood get a multi-year service plan (Audi sells theirs for like $900) which covers routine stuff beyond whatever you get when you buy it. As for long-term, yes, that’s a concern, but nothing in the class of car I want is cheap.

Mind you, I want to be very clear that this is a frivolous, unnecessary, indulgent, and very first-world thing I’m talking about. It’s a substitute for the Porsche I can’t have because I live in a frozen Yankee hell-hole (with a Cayman it’d be used for sure, thus keeping the price right in line with these cars). So it’s important that, if I am going to spend this sort of money, I get the emotional and visceral satisfaction I want. There is nothing practical about this, other than my innate dislike of either paying too much and my desire for things to actually, you know, work, which is one reason the Alfa-Romeo isn’t on the list. Depending on the car, I’d expect to keep this one up to eight or ten years, but I’d be putting enough into it that if it became a problem I could ditch it after three and still get a good bit back on the sale.


If you’re good with cost of ownership, I’ll continue to the fact that two of my good friends have late model X5’s and -RAVE- about them on a near constant basis. We don’t get enough inclement weather here for a review for your climate. Hopefully someone here has more info.

I think several of the BWM models got redesigns this year, that’s also a plus.


Sadly, the 2- and 4- series did not get major revisions this year, but on the plus side, they are mature designs with the teething troubles worked out. The new 3- series is getting a bit too big and looks too Accord-like for my tastes, though the interior is quite nice. The Audis are pretty much mid-cycle. Off course, like everything else, there’s always something new around the corner, bigger, better, fancier, so no matter when you buy you have the risk of next year’s model seeming to be better, etc.

The funny thing about all of this is that I have yet to actually drive any of these cars. I refuse to do test drives until I’m ready to buy, have the money lined up, etc. Could be I’ll find out that I don’t like any of 'em enough to spend the asking price, in which case I’ll save a lot of cash!

I’ve considered leasing (if it drives, flies, or floats, lease it, they say) but the numbers just don’t really work for me. I’ve leased in the past, twice, and it was a so-so experience. I would, though, consider a very low mileage, one year old or so used model, especially a high end one, assuming I could get an independent shop to check it out. Low-mileage used with remainder of factory warranty would save the depreciation hit and still have much of the latest tech, but finding the right fit is tricky, especially up here.


If I were you I would shoot for a lease turn in, so any 3 year-old vehicles on the dealer lot. Lease turn-ins are also usually still covered by warranty and the dealer should be able to let you know which cars those are.

I know that takes the fun out of it being newer, but it saves your wallet the bulk of the heavy depreciation. Check out what models you like with a search on Edmunds and, “True cost to own,” along with your zipcode.

Notice the depreciation year 1-3, but the increase in maintenance due to it then being outside of the, “freebie,” period.