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      12-11-2013, 07:34 AM   #375
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Originally Posted by conradb View Post
I never hear the end of it from the g/f about the ride in the M3. I take a turn a bit hard and I just get angry sass. BMW needs to come out with a fun g/f option.
That sux too! I usually only get this when I drive her car like I drive my M3. She has learned by now when we're in one of my cars; just to hang on as we're going sideways or pulling some g's. She actually smiles which makes me smile.
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      12-11-2013, 07:38 AM   #376
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I dunno my gf loves riding in the m3 (definite keeper).. Her only gripe is when I put it's needs before hers like when the M needed test pipes and a tune.
I'm more in this boat with my wife. Depending on how serious ya'll are; you had your priorities in the correct order.
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      12-11-2013, 09:53 AM   #377
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Since you brought up the KIA vs BMW and someone else pointed out the difference is shrinking fast due to globalization and same materials being used more or less everywhere give or take a bit.

I recently sold my 2005 E60 BMW 545i spt. pkg after 5 year of ownership it was bought to replace our previous E39 525i.

To replace it I looked at lots of options and went for KIA Optima Hybrid. For the price it is hell of a car that offers lots of features. The car is larger and more roomy, the gas mileage is fantastic, offers plenty of features standard, and drinks regular gas, the maintenance is dirt cheap compared to the BMW. The car is averaging 36.6 mpg mostly all city driving. The interior design is nice and the plastic used is not cheap hard variety. The car looks great and drives nicer then what I expected. It is no performance sedan but then again the new BMW cars do not feel like how they used to either. The overly soft core nature and god awful EPS setups combined with overweight cars is not my cup of tea. The new 5 series almost is as large as my E65 7 series. I think BMW is turning its focus more from sports to luxury and that is not what attracted me to the BMW's in first place.

As a owner of two past 5 series that lasted me last 10 years the F10 did not excite me one bit. If I am going to buy a comfortable appliance then I will save some money while doing it. Thus, a fully loaded Kia Optima Hybrid instead of new BMW F10.

Now as I look towards buying a sporty car. It seems like once again BMW has less to offer and one can get a better offering from say GM with C7 stingray.

On that note based on looks, interior design, and Ford taking care of the engineering flaws that effected Mustangs handling. The new mustang holds a lot more promise and if you look at improvement they improved core areas. In context they made a bigger leap then say a said BMW 4 series did over BMW 3 series coupe. Maybe the next generation 3/4 will make a bigger leap lets hope.
All this sounds right to me, except that we're making a lot of assumptions about a car none of us has ever seen.

I remember all the excitement generated around the current Explorer before it came out. Now that it's out, it's a really nice SUV, no doubt, and a leap beyond the one it replaced - but still a Ford in terms of fit and finish and refinement. This is not an indictment against Ford; who I think does a very good job at the price point they target. It's just me pointing out that there are some engineering differences between price points. Not so much between Ford and BMW; between price points.

Interesting review of the Optima. That is an excellent car by all reports, and Kia is not buried beneath labor agreements that both the Americans and Germans have. At least not yet. So they do deliver a lot of car for the money. Glad yours is working well for you.

EDIT: One last thing, about the F10. Like you, I also moved from a 2005 545 sport package to my 535xi. I will tell you that I was broken hearted for the first two months because of the difference in the driving experience between the two cars. As I have become more familiar with the F10, I find myself appreciating it more for what it is than I do comparing it to the E60. Most of what you said about the comparison is spot on, and I will not buy another 5 series unless they change the recipe. But it is a stunningly nice car, and for the preponderance of BMW target customers who aren't as picky as we are about chassis dynamics, it must be exactly what they want. I guess the sales numbers say that, anyway.
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      12-11-2013, 05:57 PM   #378
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I don't know about the kia vs BMW debate. My wife and I just recently bought her e60 535i. We were replacing an 04 Nissan Maxima that could be described as beautiful junk. Anyway, we looked at the Top of the line Kia Optima and Sorento. They were nice enough; and she liked them, but they weren't in the same league as the BMW in terms of comfort and performance. She loved the e60; so that is what came home. Plus the newer Kia cost more than the e60. Of course, these are just my opinions. I know I've said this at least once before. I think that looking at two cars subjectively with the prospect of buying each while having no real experience with either is a huge factor vs owning a particular vehicle for years and then changing. Living with something day in and day out; people get the itch, need, desire (whatever for change). We'd never owned any of the said cars before. Therefore, we didn't go in with any negatives or things that had been bugging us of either car to compare to the other. I think this makes a difference.

Now that we've had the e60 for a little while; the only thing I can really think of is the damn cup holder placement in that car. Oh well, at least they fixed that on the F10
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      12-11-2013, 06:28 PM   #379
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Everyone keeps talking about how the gap in quality between European cars and American cars have closed a lot. In reality it hasn't. American auto makers have just gotten better at fooling you/us. How many people claiming quality of American automobiles have actually taken both manufactured cars interior apart? Aesthetically, the American cars have made leaps and bounds for sure. The actual real quality of how the parts are assembled hasn't changed at all! The same pos clips and fasteners are behind all the leather and suede on American cars. My analogy is: you can wrap a turd with leather....it's still a turd. It's just wrapped in leather now.

Don't get me wrong; please. I love Ford Mustang, and Corvettes too. I'm a true car enthusiast and I really want a C6 Z06 as my next hot rod for just me to have fun with. I miss my 04 Cobra and Camaro SS. I'm also a realist though. Trust me; current American cars are not engineered or assembled to the same level as their European competitors. To further stress my point; have you ever taken the panels and dash out of an American made car (any manufacturer). The clips hold on for dear life (where you think its going to break for sure) and then when they finally let go there is a loud pop. A lot of times the clips to break forcing you to go to autozone or wherever to get a replacement. Then a lot of times the panels don't always go back exactly as they came off. Conversely, the European cars named above come apart more methodically but there is no loud popping and crunching. It is smooth and the cars go back together completely as they came apart. Mercedes is perfect, BMW is extremely close to Merc. Porsche is really awesome too. This is how I base my thoughts on whether a car is truly as quality as another. I'm not trying to talk smack at all. Simply put; there is a lot more to a car that makes it quality than what can be seen from the seat.
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      12-11-2013, 10:34 PM   #380
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Drove a E60 545i fully loaded spt.pkg and all and by no means I am suggesting that a Kia Optima Hybrid is better then a E60 BMW 545i. Just saying that when it was time to upgrade my E39 525i we went and drove the E60 545i it was more refined but still had that BMW DNA. Fast forward to the time when it was time to replace an E60 545i the new F10 just left me disappointed in terms of driving dynamics as I drove 535i and 550i M-sport. Too much luxury not enough sport.

As for the E60 and Optima no comparison the E60 is dynamically a far superior car. Even F10 is far superior car then Optima. However, F10 lacks excitement that made 5 series of previous generations more fun to drive. Our choice was to replace E60 545i with another BMW and nothing in the lineup really excited us except for a 3 series coupe and we already have it. All the newer generation cars were unexciting. Thus, if the car company that offers the best balance of sports and luxury is even lacking in sports now. Then go for a car that is more practical. The choices are either emotional or sense-able, you go emotional when you love something and if there is nothing you love then go sense-able.

Basically what I am saying is If I am limited to driving a nice expensive bedazzled temperamental appliance. Then I'll pass on the luxury bedazzlement and just buy a cheaper, reliable and easy to maintain appliance over the expensive bedazzled temperamental appliance.

Bottom line is I have never been into ultimate luxury aspects of cars, for me sports takes priority. This is coming from a guy who had a BMW 7 series for 5 years and came back down to a 3 series because BMW driving experience was more pure at the lower level in my opinion and price was not the ultimate reason.



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Originally Posted by Justin* View Post
I don't know about the kia vs BMW debate. My wife and I just recently bought her e60 535i. We were replacing an 04 Nissan Maxima that could be described as beautiful junk. Anyway, we looked at the Top of the line Kia Optima and Sorento. They were nice enough; and she liked them, but they weren't in the same league as the BMW in terms of comfort and performance. She loved the e60; so that is what came home. Plus the newer Kia cost more than the e60. Of course, these are just my opinions. I know I've said this at least once before. I think that looking at two cars subjectively with the prospect of buying each while having no real experience with either is a huge factor vs owning a particular vehicle for years and then changing. Living with something day in and day out; people get the itch, need, desire (whatever for change). We'd never owned any of the said cars before. Therefore, we didn't go in with any negatives or things that had been bugging us of either car to compare to the other. I think this makes a difference.

Now that we've had the e60 for a little while; the only thing I can really think of is the damn cup holder placement in that car. Oh well, at least they fixed that on the F10
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      12-11-2013, 10:53 PM   #381
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Originally Posted by Kayani_1 View Post
Drove a E60 545i fully loaded spt.pkg and all and by no means I am suggesting that a Kia Optima Hybrid is better then a E60 BMW 545i. Just saying that when it was time to upgrade my E39 525i we went and drove the E60 545i it was more refined but still had that BMW DNA. Fast forward to the time when it was time to replace an E60 545i the new F10 just left me disappointed in terms of driving dynamics as I drove 535i and 550i M-sport. Too much luxury not enough sport.

As for the E60 and Optima no comparison the E60 is dynamically a far superior car. Even F10 is far superior car then Optima. However, F10 lacks excitement that made 5 series of previous generations more fun to drive. Our choice was to replace E60 545i with another BMW and nothing in the lineup really excited us except for a 3 series coupe and we already have it. All the newer generation cars were unexciting. Thus, if the car company that offers the best balance of sports and luxury is even lacking in sports now. Then go for a car that is more practical. The choices are either emotional or sense-able, you go emotional when you love something and if there is nothing you love then go sense-able.

Basically what I am saying is If I am limited to driving a nice expensive bedazzled temperamental appliance. Then I'll pass on the luxury bedazzlement and just buy a cheaper, reliable and easy to maintain appliance over the expensive bedazzled temperamental appliance.

Bottom line is I have never been into ultimate luxury aspects of cars, for me sports takes priority. This is coming from a guy who had a BMW 7 series for 5 years and came back down to a 3 series because BMW driving experience was more pure at the lower level in my opinion and price was not the ultimate reason.
I get you 100% now. I've read the same thing about the F10. I haven't driven one because I'm certainly just wasting the salesman's time at this point. I like the older cars for sure. For me that is what I like to buy. I only buy the newer lower mileage cars for my wife.
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      12-11-2013, 11:32 PM   #382
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A low mileage E60 535i is an excellent car for family. It has driving dynamics, looks, room, luxury and prestige. The maintenance is a bit expensive a good independent mechanic would do wonders here to cut down some cost. Also, very easy to upgrade power. Just get a Cobb tune plug and play system and with a click of a button you are looking at 50-60 extra hp.

Enjoy your E60 in best of health it is indeed a fine car.


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I get you 100% now. I've read the same thing about the F10. I haven't driven one because I'm certainly just wasting the salesman's time at this point. I like the older cars for sure. For me that is what I like to buy. I only buy the newer lower mileage cars for my wife.
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      12-12-2013, 07:25 PM   #383
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Originally Posted by Kayani_1 View Post
A low mileage E60 535i is an excellent car for family. It has driving dynamics, looks, room, luxury and prestige. The maintenance is a bit expensive a good independent mechanic would do wonders here to cut down some cost. Also, very easy to upgrade power. Just get a Cobb tune plug and play system and with a click of a button you are looking at 50-60 extra hp.

Enjoy your E60 in best of health it is indeed a fine car.
You're 100% correct again. But, you already knew that too. The maint. is a bit expensive. We do have a good indy we use. I also do most maint myself. I just by the parts from my friend at Bimmer Performance Center. He'll even help diagnose and walk me through any issues I have. This is one of the main reasons I went with BMW.
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      12-13-2013, 09:52 PM   #384
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I gotta say I'm really impressed with most people in this thread. I expected more badge-fanboys that would just say 'eeew a ford my bmw is the best' it's nice to see its the minority here.

Hopefully this is the car that makes BMW wake up. I just spent the past few months knowing nothing about the Mustang but drooling over the M235I, everyone begging for LSD, 330hp and such, then BAM I'm barely considering the new 2 series now. I do love the nicer BMW interiors but I'm more interested in the cool exterior and most importantly the 420+hp NA v8 in the Mustang. The new look and ditching the truck axle really changes everything. I can still keep an E39 around for some BMW goodness.
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      12-15-2013, 10:52 PM   #385
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Originally Posted by DarthBimmer View Post
At the end of the day..........
........the M3 is overpriced.
You get what you pay for.
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      12-15-2013, 11:16 PM   #386
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You get what you pay for.
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      12-18-2013, 01:01 PM   #387
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You guys ever drive a high powered stang? It very difficult to keep the power on the ground, very dangerous which is fun, but its not an easy car to toss around which can take away from the fun factor as you will second guess corners and punching the car at will. On the other hand the M3 can be driven by a grandma.

A skilled driver in a Mustang and a novice in an M3 will be equal. But a novice in an M3 and a Novice in a Mustang, the Mustang will get torched. The Stang is getting better and better but they are in totally different demographics, no sense comparing them really. We have a Roush and a bunch of BMWs in my family and i have to say the Roush can be scary at times lol.
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      12-18-2013, 07:48 PM   #388
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Originally Posted by StatenEye 535i View Post
You guys ever drive a high powered stang? It very difficult to keep the power on the ground, very dangerous which is fun, but its not an easy car to toss around which can take away from the fun factor as you will second guess corners and punching the car at will. On the other hand the M3 can be driven by a grandma.

A skilled driver in a Mustang and a novice in an M3 will be equal. But a novice in an M3 and a Novice in a Mustang, the Mustang will get torched. The Stang is getting better and better but they are in totally different demographics, no sense comparing them really. We have a Roush and a bunch of BMWs in my family and i have to say the Roush can be scary at times lol.
I'm not really sure I agree with your statements if the correct mods are being done to the Mustang; i.e. suspension too I mean. However, speaking stock to stock...I completely agree with you. The M3 is much more confidence inspiring chassis without a doubt. I have a 2004 Cobra with a livernois "5.0"stroker motor, stage II crower cams, full three inch exhaust, Liquid cooled Kenne bell 2.8 with behemoth inlet. The car is stupid fast at 20psi on 93 octane. On e85 it is just plane nuts. At that power level it sucks as a road car. However, if it is dialed down to under 600whp; it does really well with the maximum motorsports road race suspension setup it has. Oh, and I have to run 315 sized drag radials at all times.

At the end of the day; if I could only have one...it would be my M3. I can't truly explain why.

Back to the new mustang though. It doesn't make the power that your roush or my Cobra makes which is a major game changer. Plus the new car with a well designed IRS (not the junk ford passed off in my car as IRS) would be great. I think a 430 rwhp (tune, axle back exhaust, cai) 2015 Mustang GT with the upgraded suspension, brakes and tires would be a little track monster.
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      12-18-2013, 08:06 PM   #389
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StatenEye 535i View Post
You guys ever drive a high powered stang? It very difficult to keep the power on the ground, very dangerous which is fun, but its not an easy car to toss around which can take away from the fun factor as you will second guess corners and punching the car at will. On the other hand the M3 can be driven by a grandma.

A skilled driver in a Mustang and a novice in an M3 will be equal. But a novice in an M3 and a Novice in a Mustang, the Mustang will get torched. The Stang is getting better and better but they are in totally different demographics, no sense comparing them really. We have a Roush and a bunch of BMWs in my family and i have to say the Roush can be scary at times lol.
not sure I agree either. I mean this may have been true in the past, but until we drive the new model with the IRS, I dont know if we can make any true statements on how it handles and how it would compare at least to an e9x M3
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      12-19-2013, 11:53 AM   #390
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This week I have a Ford Fusion rental, very low mileage and unsullied by the hardships of its life as a rental car. Since we're comparing the upcoming M3/M4 with the upcoming Mustang, my impressions of the Fusion might be relevant.

In terms of design, the Fusion is gorgeous. This one is a sort of mineral grey with black interior. My current BMW is an F10. It's a better looking car than the Fusion, but not by much. The lines on this car make it look like a million bucks. It appears the Mustang will be similarly excellent this way.

The interior design is well done also. The flow of the dash is attractive, although there seem to be a lot of buttons. The seats look strangely minimalist, almost like the way I remember seats looking in 60s-era Mustangs. But they are surprisingly comfortable. I can't tell whether these are low-grade leather or high-grade vinyl. It might not matter.

This Fusion says "Ecoboost" on the back, but since it's a rental car I assume it's the base 1.6L four. It really isn't an issue - it sounds pretty throaty and it has enough power for most people. I've driven gutless cars (my 1987 Audi 4000 was powered by hamsters) and this is not a gutless car. People should set aside their predispositions about 4-cylinder engines because there are some good ones now.

The transmission is disappointing, and here might be where we get into true Mustang versus M4 territory. It responds slowly to input and the shifts themselves take too long. I found the transmission to be a real tell-tale that I was driving a Ford and not a BMW.

Despite an attractive design, the interior materials were of a substantially lower grade than we find even in entry-level BMWs. For example:
  • There is too much of that flat grey plastic. It's used as trim around the console controls and as accent elsewhere. It looks and feels cheap. Possibly, one could select an option package that would replace it with wood. But, base would probably be aluminum at a different price point. I expect similar execution in the upcoming Mustang.
  • There's a lot of hard plastic on the lower half of the door trim. The upper half is a spongy layer covered by thin vinyl. It did not feel upscale.
  • The headliner feels like it will deteriorate over a long ownership period, or that it would snag easily if you accidentally jammed a ski into it or something.
  • The shift lever is trimmed with chrome plastic, which is surprising as it's the only place in the car where this plastic appears.

The user interface for the Sync system (or MyTouch or whatever it's called) is, in a word, terrible. The screen is tiny - maybe 4" by 3" - the graphics are crude, and I had to push too many of those buttons I mentioned above to get anything done. The car seems to default the Sync input to "line in" each time I start it, and I have to navigate the menu to switch it to stream Bluetooth from my phone. Truly a poor interface, and here's betting we'll get the same one in the Mustang. Perhaps with a navigation option, the screen itself gets bigger, but the current basic version of iDrive is worlds beyond this system.

Elsewhere on the dash, the graphics seem less elegant than in a BMW. There are a few too many colors (although my F10 is getting close here too), the font choices aren't quite right, and the organization of the data on the dash isn't as good as any current BMW.

Although beautiful to behold, the car does feel a little hollow when I shut the door and when I drive over a train track.

In summary -

At its price point, the Fusion is an excellent car. If someone handed me the keys to one as a company car and told me to drive it free of charge for three years, that would be a happy day. I like it more than I liked the Sonata I had recently.

But it is a Ford, and Ford builds cars pointed at a different price point than BMW. The more time I spend in it, the more little places I can see, feel, and hear the difference. I don't think I would buy a Fusion with my own money, rather I might buy a CPO 3 series for similar cash.

I think we will find all of these conclusions manifest in the 2015 Mustang as well. It will be much improved and excellent for what it is, and will provide performance numbers that threaten the M3/M4. Ownership experience being about somewhat more than 0-60 numbers, the Mustang will appeal to many people, but many others will prefer the M3/M4, even at its dramatically higher price point.

I hope this has been helpful.
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      12-19-2013, 12:49 PM   #391
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WJGreer View Post
This week I have a Ford Fusion rental, very low mileage and unsullied by the hardships of its life as a rental car. Since we're comparing the upcoming M3/M4 with the upcoming Mustang, my impressions of the Fusion might be relevant.

In terms of design, the Fusion is gorgeous. This one is a sort of mineral grey with black interior. My current BMW is an F10. It's a better looking car than the Fusion, but not by much. The lines on this car make it look like a million bucks. It appears the Mustang will be similarly excellent this way.

The interior design is well done also. The flow of the dash is attractive, although there seem to be a lot of buttons. The seats look strangely minimalist, almost like the way I remember seats looking in 60s-era Mustangs. But they are surprisingly comfortable. I can't tell whether these are low-grade leather or high-grade vinyl. It might not matter.

This Fusion says "Ecoboost" on the back, but since it's a rental car I assume it's the base 1.6L four. It really isn't an issue - it sounds pretty throaty and it has enough power for most people. I've driven gutless cars (my 1987 Audi 4000 was powered by hamsters) and this is not a gutless car. People should set aside their predispositions about 4-cylinder engines because there are some good ones now.

The transmission is disappointing, and here might be where we get into true Mustang versus M4 territory. It responds slowly to input and the shifts themselves take too long. I found the transmission to be a real tell-tale that I was driving a Ford and not a BMW.

Despite an attractive design, the interior materials were of a substantially lower grade than we find even in entry-level BMWs. For example:
  • There is too much of that flat grey plastic. It's used as trim around the console controls and as accent elsewhere. It looks and feels cheap. Possibly, one could select an option package that would replace it with wood. But, base would probably be aluminum at a different price point. I expect similar execution in the upcoming Mustang.
  • There's a lot of hard plastic on the lower half of the door trim. The upper half is a spongy layer covered by thin vinyl. It did not feel upscale.
  • The headliner feels like it will deteriorate over a long ownership period, or that it would snag easily if you accidentally jammed a ski into it or something.
  • The shift lever is trimmed with chrome plastic, which is surprising as it's the only place in the car where this plastic appears.

The user interface for the Sync system (or MyTouch or whatever it's called) is, in a word, terrible. The screen is tiny - maybe 4" by 3" - the graphics are crude, and I had to push too many of those buttons I mentioned above to get anything done. The car seems to default the Sync input to "line in" each time I start it, and I have to navigate the menu to switch it to stream Bluetooth from my phone. Truly a poor interface, and here's betting we'll get the same one in the Mustang. Perhaps with a navigation option, the screen itself gets bigger, but the current basic version of iDrive is worlds beyond this system.

Elsewhere on the dash, the graphics seem less elegant than in a BMW. There are a few too many colors (although my F10 is getting close here too), the font choices aren't quite right, and the organization of the data on the dash isn't as good as any current BMW.

Although beautiful to behold, the car does feel a little hollow when I shut the door and when I drive over a train track.

In summary -

At its price point, the Fusion is an excellent car. If someone handed me the keys to one as a company car and told me to drive it free of charge for three years, that would be a happy day. I like it more than I liked the Sonata I had recently.

But it is a Ford, and Ford builds cars pointed at a different price point than BMW. The more time I spend in it, the more little places I can see, feel, and hear the difference. I don't think I would buy a Fusion with my own money, rather I might buy a CPO 3 series for similar cash.

I think we will find all of these conclusions manifest in the 2015 Mustang as well. It will be much improved and excellent for what it is, and will provide performance numbers that threaten the M3/M4. Ownership experience being about somewhat more than 0-60 numbers, the Mustang will appeal to many people, but many others will prefer the M3/M4, even at its dramatically higher price point.

I hope this has been helpful.
Thank you for that write up... i'm sure it took a lot of time to create and for people unfamiliar with Fords I'm sure it was very appreciated.

But with all due Respect.... this is a Ford Fusion that came out a year or so ago, designed at least 2 years ago. I dont know if its fair to judge the new Mustang which is geared specifically towards the european market, its clear they're trying to take it upscale a bit, and from a driving stand point I'm not sure the two cars will even share any components?

That all said, they could fail, it could be same lack of quality feel... but I just dont know if we know anything really since its an all new model with a new resolve. I certainly wouldn't judge it based on past mustangs. Though I can see SOME merit to your comparisons with the Fusion since they are both pretty new and aimed towards a global market.
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      12-19-2013, 01:28 PM   #392
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Originally Posted by starbai View Post
Thank you for that write up... i'm sure it took a lot of time to create and for people unfamiliar with Fords I'm sure it was very appreciated.

But with all due Respect.... this is a Ford Fusion that came out a year or so ago, designed at least 2 years ago. I dont know if its fair to judge the new Mustang which is geared specifically towards the european market, its clear they're trying to take it upscale a bit, and from a driving stand point I'm not sure the two cars will even share any components?

That all said, they could fail, it could be same lack of quality feel... but I just dont know if we know anything really since its an all new model with a new resolve. I certainly wouldn't judge it based on past mustangs. Though I can see SOME merit to your comparisons with the Fusion since they are both pretty new and aimed towards a global market.
I've got no expectation that the Mustang will fail. I'm sure they will sell every one they build for many years, and I do expect it to be an excellent car. The point I'm making in the comparison is that a strong engine and attractive visual design are only part of a car's appeal.

True, we don't know anything about the 2015 Mustang except that it will probably cost about as much as the current model, give or take. Therefore, I expect the same compromises will be made in the build. They might make no difference at all for many people.
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      12-20-2013, 09:34 AM   #393
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Originally Posted by WJGreer View Post
This week I have a Ford Fusion rental, very low mileage and unsullied by the hardships of its life as a rental car. Since we're comparing the upcoming M3/M4 with the upcoming Mustang, my impressions of the Fusion might be relevant.

In terms of design, the Fusion is gorgeous. This one is a sort of mineral grey with black interior. My current BMW is an F10. It's a better looking car than the Fusion, but not by much. The lines on this car make it look like a million bucks. It appears the Mustang will be similarly excellent this way.

The interior design is well done also. The flow of the dash is attractive, although there seem to be a lot of buttons. The seats look strangely minimalist, almost like the way I remember seats looking in 60s-era Mustangs. But they are surprisingly comfortable. I can't tell whether these are low-grade leather or high-grade vinyl. It might not matter.

This Fusion says "Ecoboost" on the back, but since it's a rental car I assume it's the base 1.6L four. It really isn't an issue - it sounds pretty throaty and it has enough power for most people. I've driven gutless cars (my 1987 Audi 4000 was powered by hamsters) and this is not a gutless car. People should set aside their predispositions about 4-cylinder engines because there are some good ones now.

The transmission is disappointing, and here might be where we get into true Mustang versus M4 territory. It responds slowly to input and the shifts themselves take too long. I found the transmission to be a real tell-tale that I was driving a Ford and not a BMW.

Despite an attractive design, the interior materials were of a substantially lower grade than we find even in entry-level BMWs. For example:
  • There is too much of that flat grey plastic. It's used as trim around the console controls and as accent elsewhere. It looks and feels cheap. Possibly, one could select an option package that would replace it with wood. But, base would probably be aluminum at a different price point. I expect similar execution in the upcoming Mustang.
  • There's a lot of hard plastic on the lower half of the door trim. The upper half is a spongy layer covered by thin vinyl. It did not feel upscale.
  • The headliner feels like it will deteriorate over a long ownership period, or that it would snag easily if you accidentally jammed a ski into it or something.
  • The shift lever is trimmed with chrome plastic, which is surprising as it's the only place in the car where this plastic appears.

The user interface for the Sync system (or MyTouch or whatever it's called) is, in a word, terrible. The screen is tiny - maybe 4" by 3" - the graphics are crude, and I had to push too many of those buttons I mentioned above to get anything done. The car seems to default the Sync input to "line in" each time I start it, and I have to navigate the menu to switch it to stream Bluetooth from my phone. Truly a poor interface, and here's betting we'll get the same one in the Mustang. Perhaps with a navigation option, the screen itself gets bigger, but the current basic version of iDrive is worlds beyond this system.

Elsewhere on the dash, the graphics seem less elegant than in a BMW. There are a few too many colors (although my F10 is getting close here too), the font choices aren't quite right, and the organization of the data on the dash isn't as good as any current BMW.

Although beautiful to behold, the car does feel a little hollow when I shut the door and when I drive over a train track.

In summary -

At its price point, the Fusion is an excellent car. If someone handed me the keys to one as a company car and told me to drive it free of charge for three years, that would be a happy day. I like it more than I liked the Sonata I had recently.

But it is a Ford, and Ford builds cars pointed at a different price point than BMW. The more time I spend in it, the more little places I can see, feel, and hear the difference. I don't think I would buy a Fusion with my own money, rather I might buy a CPO 3 series for similar cash.

I think we will find all of these conclusions manifest in the 2015 Mustang as well. It will be much improved and excellent for what it is, and will provide performance numbers that threaten the M3/M4. Ownership experience being about somewhat more than 0-60 numbers, the Mustang will appeal to many people, but many others will prefer the M3/M4, even at its dramatically higher price point.

I hope this has been helpful.
I agree with a lot of what you said but I wouldn't worry at all about the transmission feel if you are comparing the manuals. The 6 speed for the coyote motor was way better in feel then the m3 transmission. The shifts are very crisp & defined and it actually had a clutch pedal that didn't feel like you were stepping on a mushroom. The manual did have a couple problems upon release but they were not as widespread as some may think.
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      12-20-2013, 10:19 AM   #394
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So for an extra $40k you get an M4 that has slightly better interior plastics and almost certainly a horsepower and torque deficit. Sounds awesome.

Let's be frank, the reason people will pay that $40k is because the M3/M4 are styled better.

What someone said above about the difference in manual transmissions is dead-on. The Mustang had a MUCH better manual than the BMW. Crisp, clean, short shifts instead of BMW's truck-length shifts. Surely I'm not the only one who thinks BMW manuals have always been terrible- vague, long, and mushy.
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      12-20-2013, 10:22 AM   #395
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Quote:
Originally Posted by basscadet View Post

What someone said above about the difference in manual transmissions is dead-on. The Mustang had a MUCH better manual than the BMW. Crisp, clean, short shifts instead of BMW's truck-length shifts. Surely I'm not the only one who thinks BMW manuals have always been terrible- vague, long, and mushy.
I totally agree about the e9x manual. It sucks.

BUT, the manual in the e46 m3 was awesome and so was the one in the 1M. Considering that the new m3 is *supposed* to have a transmission based off the manual in the 1M, that could be a very good sign.
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      12-20-2013, 01:27 PM   #396
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Originally Posted by basscadet View Post
So for an extra $40k you get an M4 that has slightly better interior plastics and almost certainly a horsepower and torque deficit. Sounds awesome.
Exactly illustrated. The differences I outlined will be a deal-breaker to some and others will think they are meaningless. It's great that there are awesome cars at price points for both groups.
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