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The ultimate ski car (NOT SUV) - Page 8

post #211 of 235

If I had to choose, the ultimate ski car for me would be the BMW 535xi wagon with a stick.  Those are mega-$$$, and damn hard to find (I am actually not quite sure that you can get that). Overall, the situations with ski-worthy cars that are not a giant full-size SUV that drives like a bucket full of slush is pretty dismal.  

 

We have just been though these issues and ended up with a well-used but low-mileage 6sp BMW X5, (which cost us a lot less than a new Subaru).  Awesome car, pretty huge, but still drives like a sports sedan.  The repair bills have not hit yet, so we are still in the honeymoon period.    

 

Snow tires are good in the snow, but suck everywhere else.  if I lived in Tahoe, I would put the snow tires, but for us it is All-Seasons.  

post #212 of 235

Alexzn,

I just traded in my 535xi wagon Had it for 39 months on lease. Fun to drive. Problematic as hell. BMW had a LOT of problems with the twin scroll turbo configurations. In 3 years, my turbos were overhauled twice and the fuel pumps were also replaced twice. It was common for that engine and they've since gone to a different turbo configuration which is supposedly more reliable. That car also had funky battery drain issues, which is also appears to be common per the user forums. Mine was an auto, not manual.

 

I just took possession of a 535 GT x-drive which is the wagon's near equal as a ski/bike hauler Loving it so far. If the turbos go wonky, I'll be looking to a different manufacturer next time. The x5/x6 are great too, but I didn't want the bulk and handling of an SUV

post #213 of 235

Your 535xi would have had the N54 engine which uses direct injection @ 200 bar and has frequent high pressure fuel pump (HPFP) failure. Turbo failure on N54 is uncommon though.

 

Your new 535 GT has the same fuel pump but has the single twin-scroll turbo (N55 engine). The fuel pump is the same and can still fail, but it happens less for whatever reason. BMW recalled the pumps but replaced them with remanufactured pumps that still fail, just less often.

 

Dealerships are so good at replacing the pumps now that when it happened to my friend's 135i they were able to replace it in the time they usually take to do an oil change.

 

I wouldn't let it stop me from buying a car with the N54 or N55 engines though because they are awesome. They extended the warranty on the pump for most models to 10 years 120k miles also.

post #214 of 235

Thanks for the clarification.

 

My turbos went twice. The first time, they repaired it. Took 3 weeks - not because of the dealer, but because BMW dragged their heels and kept telling the dealership to make small, incremental repairs. I felt like they were using me as a guinea pig.

 

The second time they went I raised a fuss and they replaced both turbos entirely within 48 hrs.

 

Agreed that the fuel pump changes were quick. But when one is heading up Vail pass at 80mph,  and the "Check Engine" light goes off and the car goes into limp mode limiting speed and acceleration, the aggravation level of the owner rises quickly.

 

I truly loved the wagon, despite all the problems - and it had more issues than I listed above. Maybe mine was a "lemon" - who knows... I'm sure the do-it-yourselfers won't be intimidated but I'm auto mechanic-naive and am too busy professionally to keep running to my dealer for repairs.

 

Thus far, I'm digging the Gran Tourismo. the newer turbo configuration seems to have a bit more low -end torque, although it may be my imagination.


Edited by The Squeaky Wheel - 12/15/10 at 6:19pm
post #215 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Squeaky Wheel View Post

Alexzn,

I just traded in my 535xi wagon Had it for 39 months on lease. Fun to drive. Problematic as hell. BMW had a LOT of problems with the twin scroll turbo configurations. In 3 years, my turbos were overhauled twice and the fuel pumps were also replaced twice. It was common for that engine and they've since gone to a different turbo configuration which is supposedly more reliable. That car also had funky battery drain issues, which is also appears to be common per the user forums. Mine was an auto, not manual.

 

I just took possession of a 535 GT x-drive which is the wagon's near equal as a ski/bike hauler Loving it so far. If the turbos go wonky, I'll be looking to a different manufacturer next time. The x5/x6 are great too, but I didn't want the bulk and handling of an SUV

This is what I don't get.  You pay a premium for a good car, and you get CRAP.  It would be like buying an Acteryx Jacket and having to keep returning it to fix leaky seams, broken zippers and malfunctioning snaps.    I could justify some repairs if the price of the car was much lower, I could even see buying a cheaper car that I knw would need repairs down the road if the savings outweighed the price of repairs and inconvenience,  but when you ask a high price you should deliver a quality product.nonono2.gif
 

post #216 of 235

Well, while under warranty the repairs are free and you get a free loaner. Other than the fuel pump there is nothing outside of the normal realm of issues for a car. A lot of other manufacturers have problems with their direct injection systems too.

 

It sucks when the problems happen to you but despite the sometimes sub-par reliability, most Audi or BMW owners would still deal with some issues than drive something else. I'd drive a Porsche 911 that broke every month over a Camry.

 

I will say I had really good luck with my Z4M when I had it. The only thing that ever went wrong with it was a broken cupholder, and I beat the hell out of that car. I know Germans don't care for cupholders but come on, lets try a little harder when designing the pop-out and cinch ones.


Edited by chris719 - 12/15/10 at 6:18pm
post #217 of 235

One of the Infiniti models comes with all wheel drive. It's a model that comes 2 and 4 door.can't remember the designation. that would be the end of repairs and problems, and infiniti puts all the extras in every model, a well equipped car. Sib, not a stick however, I think. A friend bought a C class (granted not their best) Mercedes and had so many electrical problems he returned it and  bought the infiniti. so stoked with the change. 

post #218 of 235

The G37x is an AWD sedan that I think is still available in a stick. I don't know a damn thing about the crossovers though. I had an 05 G35 coupe and I liked it but the build quality of the interior sucked as far as rattles and gaps. I hear they have improved on that a lot with the G37.

post #219 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

I will say, if my Jetta TDI had 4Motion, it would be damn perfect. I will still take a front wheel drive with 4 snows over a all wheel drive with all seasons. 



For the amount of driving (30K+ per year) I do and the snow we get here an AWD TDI Jetta Wagon would absolutely be the cat's meow.  I would even settle for a Tiguan in that configuration.  And while I am dreaming a Ford F150 Raptor wouldn't be bad either. cool.gif

post #220 of 235

I've driven a BMW 535xiT with a stick shift a little bit.  Sadly the guy who owned it traded for an X3 for extremely valid "wife health" reasons.  It is an awesome car, and would probably tie on my ultimate ski car list with the Audi S4 Avant 4.2.  Sadly, both are ridiculously expensive, even used.  As far as issues with the turbo fuel pumps, I heard a whisper rumor from a B-Car service tech that they are finally making a "real" change to the high pressure fuel pumps, but they stubbed their toes so bad on this issue, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a formal "we screwed up" announcement.  In fact, I doubt they'll even change the part number.

 

Sadly, it is getting a lot harder every year to choose a vehicle if you insist on a stick shift, and I expect it to get even worse in the future.

 

post #221 of 235

One thing to consider is AWD vs "full-time" AWD. Many of the above mentioned vehicles are essentially FWD cars with an electronically activated clutch when the front wheels start to slip. AWD purists (Subaru and Audi owners) would argue that anything less than full-time AWD is not really AWD. I personally own own of each type (Audi A4 and Volvo XC90) and have owned several Subarus. I don't get too bent out of shape about the difference, and in fact in a bigger vehicle like the XC90, I like the idea of not driving all 4 wheels when it isn't needed to save a bit on gas mileage. Besides most clutches like the Haldex 2 in the Volvo transfer power in less than 1s and the Haldex 3 in the new Land Rovers is even faster apparently.

 

post #222 of 235

My ultimate (affordable) would be an Audi A3 with a V6 and Quattro. Else the VW R. 270 HP, all wheeel drive.

 

I don't really feel the need for stick, even tho I have driven one for the past 30 years.

vwr20_woodward_10_1_gallery_image_large.jpg


Edited by Dexter - 12/17/10 at 6:46am
post #223 of 235

A friend has an R32, which I forgot about.  Great snow car when fitted with snow tires, and just a really fun, fairly practical, fairly inexpensive car in general.  A little low for pushing unplowed snow, but we get so much snow on Mt. Hood that our roads are typically pretty well plowed.  Seldom more than an inch or two of fresh.  Plenty of ice, though.

 

Not sure what a good used R32 goes for, and there are not that many around, but I would put it on the list of great choices.

post #224 of 235

That R32 was a cool car its just a shame they don't make it anymore.

post #225 of 235
Thread Starter 

Give me a WRX 5dr over the R32, just for the space in the back. 

 

post #226 of 235

My trusty '01 Audi S4 kept me safe on my way to work this morning - just as it does every day on my 105 mi round trip commute. But today was special. Got about 5" of snow over night. On one of the back roads it turned to 5" of white grease. It was so slick that cars were falling off the road where it pitched sideways (think double fall line). I lost it one once when I made the mistake of taking my foot off the gas. Ass end immediately swung around and I too was headed for the woods. Put it in first (love the stick) and blipped the accellerator. All wheel drive with Hakkipellita R's instantly brought me back on course - at 5mph. The SUV in front of me was doing this slow death dance, swinging at acute angles all the way down the road. The S4 has been a brilliant car for me - all 218,000 miles. I have replaced ball joints (Maine roads) and brakes and other expendables. But original clutch, turbos, tranny, motor and everything else. Only issue is clearance. While I have regularly "plowed" my road (going uphill with a foot or more underneath - major "face shots") the Audi magic evaporates when the snow gets so deep that tires start to lose contact with ground. Great integrated ski bag by the way.

 

My wife drives an '08 BMW 530xi - AWD wagon. We have Michelin Ice 2's on that. It too is a monster in the snow. Very safe and predictable. Originally sold for around $58k. I got it with 25k mi for $32k, the price of a well-outfitted WRX, I suspect ( if not I am sure someone will point out my error). Had to replace a radiator (bizarre) and do some other work that is not cheap. But the quality, sense of security, ride comfort, and HEATED SEATS have made this a great car for us.

David

post #227 of 235


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HRPufnStf View Post

A friend has an R32, which I forgot about.  Great snow car when fitted with snow tires, and just a really fun, fairly practical, fairly inexpensive car in general.  A little low for pushing unplowed snow, but we get so much snow on Mt. Hood that our roads are typically pretty well plowed.  Seldom more than an inch or two of fresh.  Plenty of ice, though.

 

Not sure what a good used R32 goes for, and there are not that many around, but I would put it on the list of great choices.


Somewhat inexpensive, tho it runs $400 to service the tranny every 40K. And there are always r32s on the market. They can generally be had for a good price.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by cstreu1026 View Post

That R32 was a cool car its just a shame they don't make it anymore.


R32 was a great car, tho not much faster than the 2.0 FSI GTI. In the snow it is quite decent. I just prefer the minor changes to the MK6 body. Otherwise I'd dump the GTI and go with one, as opposed to waiting for the R, which will be here in a year.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

Give me a WRX 5dr over the R32, just for the space in the back. 

 


With the seats down, there is a slight, tho in my opinion, negligible difference. And as a daily driver, the GTI/R32 beats the WRX. Interior finishing is so much nicer/quieter, plus the GTI is smoother overall. WRX is noticeably faster, but it haz a plasticky interior, plus if you are tall it just plain sucks in the headroom department.

 

Don't get me wrong: the WRX is an awesome car, and I love/respect it. But as a daily driver, the R32 is a bit nicer. IMHO.

post #228 of 235

Friends R32 was just stuck in our (flat) driveway in about 1" of snow. Which just goes to prove all-season tires + AWD is not the answer. Sweet car though.

post #229 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post

Friends R32 was just stuck in our (flat) driveway in about 1" of snow. Which just goes to prove all-season tires + AWD is not the answer. Sweet car though.



Driver error? :-)

post #230 of 235

I doubt it, some all season tires are close to summers. Plus, R32 uses an earlier version of the Haldex AWD system which isn't as good for some things as the Torsen system on some of the Audis.

post #231 of 235
Quote:


 Quote:

Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

Give me a WRX 5dr over the R32, just for the space in the back. 

 


With the seats down, there is a slight, tho in my opinion, negligible difference. And as a daily driver, the GTI/R32 beats the WRX. Interior finishing is so much nicer/quieter, plus the GTI is smoother overall. WRX is noticeably faster, but it haz a plasticky interior, plus if you are tall it just plain sucks in the headroom department.

 

Don't get me wrong: the WRX is an awesome car, and I love/respect it. But as a daily driver, the R32 is a bit nicer. IMHO.



65hp over the GTI, all wheel drive and if you put the seat in the lowest position, over 6 inches of headroom over my head (6'). I personally like the mechanical feel and sounds over the isolated feel of the GTI that I came from. The interior doesn't bother me in the least, rather have the $$ going towards performance. And I'm averaging 25mpg to boot!

post #232 of 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris719 View Post


Slim pickings if you want an AWD manual transmission wagon... 



 



The VW Passat used to have a manual option but I'm not sure the AWD option allowed you to keep the stick.






I drive an 06 Volvo V70R. As other have mentioned, it did come with a 6 speed MT, is AWD and can really haul a$$ if you need to pass 8 cars on a two lane road driving 400 miles to Mammoth from San Diego. Sadly, I drive mine so much it already has 85k miles on it. Knock on wood, it has been a very dependable car, so with no other cars out there to really replace it, I have decided I will just bite the bullet and drive it another 5 years. Maybe I will get lucky and only have to spend $1k a year to keep her running on average, as to this point she has been really cheap to drive.
post #233 of 235


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossi Smash View Post



Quote:


 Quote:

Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

Give me a WRX 5dr over the R32, just for the space in the back. 

 


With the seats down, there is a slight, tho in my opinion, negligible difference. And as a daily driver, the GTI/R32 beats the WRX. Interior finishing is so much nicer/quieter, plus the GTI is smoother overall. WRX is noticeably faster, but it haz a plasticky interior, plus if you are tall it just plain sucks in the headroom department.

 

Don't get me wrong: the WRX is an awesome car, and I love/respect it. But as a daily driver, the R32 is a bit nicer. IMHO.



65hp over the GTI, all wheel drive and if you put the seat in the lowest position, over 6 inches of headroom over my head (6'). I personally like the mechanical feel and sounds over the isolated feel of the GTI that I came from. The interior doesn't bother me in the least, rather have the $$ going towards performance. And I'm averaging 25mpg to boot!

Yeah, I think the extra HP and AWD make the WRX a no brainer over the GTI--not sure when the comparison is with the R32. Apples and oranges, really. I sort of tossed the GTI into that post, when I should have restricted my comments to the R. I think the R32 will be a little more refined and well mannered--which may or may not be a selling point.  WRX will still be faster, of course, as the V6 in the R32 is a bit lazy. The WRX  has a better driveline as well, in my opinion anyway. And I love the newest model of the WRX-STi, while the previous model suffers a bit  from the boy racer look (IMHO). The newest version is just beautiful.

 

With my current MkV GTI I have a good 5" of headroom with the seat in the lowest position, and I'm 6"3". The MkV is light years ahead of the previous model, in terms of fit and finish as well as reliability. I manage 30mpg when headed up to Tahoe, and even better mpg when headed back.

 

I'll probably have to pick up a Golf R when it hits the states in a year or so--the fact that it will come with a 6 speed (and not DSG) makes it oh so compelling.
 


Edited by Dexter - 12/19/10 at 12:05am
post #234 of 235


For the record, I've never owned any car that had more than two wheels driving it, and most have only been able to spin one wheel at a time.  However I've gotten to drive a fair number of different systems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeroGravity View Post

One thing to consider is AWD vs "full-time" AWD. Many of the above mentioned vehicles are essentially FWD cars with an electronically activated clutch when the front wheels start to slip. AWD purists (Subaru and Audi owners) would argue that anything less than full-time AWD is not really AWD. I personally own own of each type (Audi A4 and Volvo XC90) and have owned several Subarus. I don't get too bent out of shape about the difference, and in fact in a bigger vehicle like the XC90, I like the idea of not driving all 4 wheels when it isn't needed to save a bit on gas mileage. Besides most clutches like the Haldex 2 in the Volvo transfer power in less than 1s and the Haldex 3 in the new Land Rovers is even faster apparently.

 

full time AWD, 4x4, Four wheel drive, part time 4x4, full time 4x4.  Too many terms with too many meanings to too many different people.

 

Part time 4x4 where you have to engage it is like full time all wheel drive when it's engaged.  Most AWD are self-engaging part time systems.

Let's ignore the labels and describe the systems, and I will tell you what I guess is the purist find wrong with the self-engaging type systems.

 

Full time 4x4 AWD whatever you want to call it has a differential connecting both sets of wheels to the engine at all times.  It could be an open differential allowing wheels to turn at different speeds at all times, or a lockable differential that you could lock by flipping a switch so that front and rear wheels are forced to rotate at the same rate.  This (open differential connecting all wheels to the engine at all times) is the easiest one to drive fast in tricky conditions, because there are no surprises. 

 

A front wheel drive system that automatically engages rear wheels when the front wheels start to slip.  Well you can adapt to it, but it wouldn't be my first choice.  The problem with this is that say you are taking a corner as fast as you dare (and you dare a lot), you are right on the edge of traction, not because you are a klutz and you have your foot on the floorboards, but because you are going quite fast for the corner and you are feeling your way around or maybe you just didn't realize how sharp/icy it was or made some other driver error and entered the turn too hot.  The system detects a loss of traction at the front and switches power to the rear, enter additional torque to the rear wheels, front end lift and understeer into ditch. Or you detect the system induced under steer and remove your foot from the gas, enter trailing throttle oversteer into ditch.  If you lucky, you get to go a few rounds with the system and make it around the corner.  However this system works pretty well if you just have way too little throttle control and that gets you in trouble.

 

Then there is the limited slip differential that everybody who has had a 4x4 stuck in the back 40 with one wheel spinning at the front and the other wheel spinning at the back thinks is a very good idea.  It's problem is that the back end will tend to break traction and sqiurm around when climbing very icy hills which can be disconserting when there are cars on either side of you.  With out it you might be spinning a wheel, but the other wheel keeps you straight.

 

Audi used to have a very good driver controlled system.  That was eons ago, I have no clue what they have now.


 

post #235 of 235
Thread Starter 

"Rocker"..the misunderstood AWD of the ski community. duck.gif

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