Drove 6 Luxury cars at Sandown today.
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  1. #1
    1000+ Posts Warwick's Avatar
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    Default Drove 6 Luxury cars at Sandown today.

    Drove the MB S350, BMW 735i& 745i, Ls430, and the Jaguar XJ 4.2. The Holden Grange was thrown in for good measure. This was fun, and was for product training. It's bizarre chucking $250000 into a corner and not caring.
    The 745 was actually the Li, long wheelbase, with dynamic drive (sorta like Citroen's Activa roll control). The Jag is a 4WD.
    How would you guess their track abilities? See if your thoughts line up with my experience. As a track car, this is how I rated them in terms of enjoyment. They were all Automatics, sadly.

    1. Hands down, the Jag. It would turn into corners and the steering weighted up nicely. Changed direction well. Good to drive.
    2. The 745 Li. Huge and heavy, but smooth and what a lovely tranny and engine. Sportier than you might think.
    3. The Holden. Looks like crap, and feels cheap and nasty inside. Big tyres, and well sorted suspension and a great, raucous motor.
    4. The Benz understeered and wouldn't turn in. The fact it had the highest profile tyres was a large contributor. 16" , whilst the BMW had 20" wheels, the Holden had 19".
    5. The Lexus. Best tranny of the bunch(but not 6 speed like the BMW), and a silky engine. Corners are not its natural habitat. Big pig when it came to changing direction.

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    Build quality and ambiance.

    The BMW and Benz were clearly the best. Lexus was made with precision. The Jag gave hints of getting sloppy in the body, though it never did much wrong(wind whistles/creaks). The Holden was clearly last.

    Equipment and fancy stuff.

    From first to last.
    The BMW.
    Owning the Benz would be painless.
    The Jag is a contrived mix of new stuff and wood and old looking things. A bit cynical, I thought. But drives well.
    The Lexus was quiet. If you wanna drive at 60 kph from Brighton to St. Kilda road every day in quiet: terrific. Buy one. Can't think of any reason besides that. Few redeeming qualities.
    The Holden was kinda horrible, and a bit like Rain Man: briliant and stupid at the same time. If you took $100000 to Crown Casino at least you would have a chance at getting your money back, but you wouldn't if you bought one of these.

    Misc. observations. The Jag was the only car to get brake fade. The Holden was the only car to get smashed. The drivers were generally not good, but the traction control in the Holden didn't seem as good as in the Europeans. Maybe it was just all the torque that tripped the guy up.
    Dynamic stability control was annoying trying to get the cars out of the first fourth and last corners... or was it the traction control. I dunno, but the bloody things just wouldnt get up and go. The cars all fared well in 37 degrees with the aircon on, and being thrashed all day long.
    I had a good day.
    Last edited by Warwick2; 19th November 2003 at 11:56 PM.

  2. #2
    Sense Pug307's Avatar
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    Thanks for the interesting report Warwick.

    The Grange is a little out of place amongst the cars you have listed there, in more ways than one

    Did anyone compare lap times around the track? It'd be interesting seeing what the big luxo barges are capable of. To be honest, I don't think Lexus will be too concerned if its super barge isn't the most dynamic animal, as long as it's quiet and rides well its customers will be happy.

    Can't remember the last time I saw a super barge hooning around. You get the odd person here and there though!

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  3. #3
    1000+ Posts Warwick's Avatar
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    Justin we weren't timed. It wasn't that flat out. But if I dropped back behind the other guys on the straights, it was ok to have some fun in the curly bits.
    You know the funny thing Justin, 250 kw sounds a lot, but I said to the guy with me, foot to the boards in the BMW on the back straight, "doesn't feel like 350 bhp does it" as I counted the ducks in the lake, well not really, but it felt leisurely. The Holden handled better than it should have. You could smell the race bred handling in it. Belligerent would best sum up its handling ability.

  4. #4
    nJm
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    Justin, a british car magazine (can't remember which one) put the Maybach 62 on the Nurburgrign and proceded to whip the arse of a slightly disguised Bently coupe (whatever that new one it called).
    Nick
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    "All of its cars from the 1.1 litre 205 through the ugly duckling 309 to the 2.2 litre 505 GTi had a rightness and a righteousness about them that turned every humdrum drive into a journey. Someone, I once wrote, in the bowels of Peugeot understands handling and how a chassis should feel." - Jeremy Clarkson

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    s16
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    Quote Originally Posted by nJm
    Justin, a british car magazine (can't remember which one) put the Maybach 62 on the Nurburgrign and proceded to whip the arse of a slightly disguised Bently coupe (whatever that new one it called).
    That was Evo magazine Nick, from the UK.

    Oh Warrick it sounded like this was some part of your job, if it is, where do i send my resume.
    Scott

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  6. #6
    who? when? huh? GTI124's Avatar
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    Warwick, is that the new aluminium XJ? It's been getting rave reviews for it's handling. Thanks for the comments, it's really interesting.

  7. #7
    1000+ Posts Warwick's Avatar
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    Dunno if it was Aluminium, as I neglected to scrape it on the wall. It is a brand new car though, so maybe it is. It was so good through the wiggles. Even at 3/4 pace the Lexus was terrible at changing direction. This was the revelation of the day for me. That and the dynamic drive option on the BMW. I used to drive an Activa, so I know how good this sort of concept works. An Activa will be a hell of a used car buy in a couple of years.
    My job is selling cars, Scott. This sort of track day thing is a small apology for working Saturdays. Doesn't make up for it.

  8. #8
    UFO
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warwick2
    The Holden handled better than it should have. You could smell the race bred handling in it. Belligerent would best sum up its handling ability.
    Funny, just like most of the people who drive them!

    Ever noticed that Crummydore drivers are the real sh#theads on the roads these days? Always smack bang on your bumper while you are already nudging over the limit in the right lane AND you are making good progress at an overtake? Diving left to an exit at the last second? Driving with their frikkin fog lights on all the time?

    Glad you had a fun day Warwick
    Craig K
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  9. #9
    who? when? huh? GTI124's Avatar
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    If it's the current one and it's nimble, it's the aluminium one. It only weighs 1600kgs or something ridiculous! That's very light for such a large car with a heap of kit in it.

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