Steve44

1st European spec press reviews in

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Really! Even if I still think GS was better, ES 300h is a wonderful car excepts for journalists.

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From the AutoExpress review

Quote

It’s not the F Sport’s suspension that’s the biggest reason for the ES failing to live up to the 5 Series though, but the hybrid powertrain. Anything other than a gentle touch on the throttle sends the revs soaring, a blare of engine noise and little gain in speed; the engine simply can’t match its diesel rivals’ huge slug of torque when it comes to brisk overtaking. That diesel versus hybrid comparison may seem unfair but even a plug-in hybrid Volvo S90T8 or BMW 530e seem more keen under heavy load.

 

But drive with the mindset that the Lexus isn’t a thrilling, BMW-baiting mid-sized exec, and its more subtle qualities shine through. For outright refinement and long distance cruising, the ES embarrasses the Mercedes E-Class and Jaguar XF, shows up a Volvo S90 and even ruffles the Audi A6 – it’s deeply impressive.

 So they compare the performance and drive train to a diesel equivalent and 2 other hybrid models/brands which are significantly more expensive, a different architecture and completely different performance envelopes, then mark down the ES because it is different. I don't get it. 

I'd love to know who are these people who buy BMW 5 series for the driving dynamics and back road thrills.  Most I see are driven up and down motorways or filled with children. Surely outright refinement and long distance cruising is what these kind of vehicles should excel at.  

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Aye, sadly predictable from the VW in-house magazines. 

Funny isn't, that evo - a magazine you'd think would emphasise performance even more - actually gives a fairer review. More grown-up journalists, perhaps?

I consider myself a 'keen driver' but I don't feel the need to be flicking between understeer and oversteer at every roundabout, or flooring the throttle on every straight. I imagine there are a lot like me, especially here... 😁

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Review on Honest John as well today, although not by the hatted-one himself.

"...rubber-band..."? Check!

Annoying how the paid for links at the bottom of all five pages of that contain this:

 

strap.jpg

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I’d pay serious money for a modern car that’s actually really comfortable. My GSF is a wonderful machine, but if a modern car could wallow a bit in the corners, ride potholes as if they weren’t there and, in a traditional ‘big-Citroen’ way, totally isolate you from the road, I’m sure they’d sell really well.

I’m not getting the current obsession for ultra low profile tyres, rock hard suspension and sporting pretentiousness. I eagerly look forward to a test drive in an ES! 

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1 hour ago, mrfunex said:

I’d pay serious money for a modern car that’s actually really comfortable. My GSF is a wonderful machine, but if a modern car could wallow a bit in the corners, ride potholes as if they weren’t there and, in a traditional ‘big-Citroen’ way, totally isolate you from the road, I’m sure they’d sell really well.

I’m not getting the current obsession for ultra low profile tyres, rock hard suspension and sporting pretentiousness. I eagerly look forward to a test drive in an ES! 

It's a strange fixation isn't it? If I want a sporty car, I'll get a sporty car. If I want a conformable car, I'll buy, oh wait... I can't any more!

Not sure if this fetish came first from the journalists or from the company-car-user-chooser. Either way, they seem to feed on themselves and perpetuate the cycle.

I think when people play office car park Top Trumps, 'wallow' isn't on the card. 

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I've just started a new job. Expecting to be in the office 3 days a week, and its a 190 mile round trip. I don't care about sportiness. I am increasingly too saggy for sports seats to be comfortable. I think rubber band tyres on arch-filling wheels look silly. Its amazing how many manufacturers not only think that I must have sport seats and silly wheels but don't allow them to be optioned out...

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The above is why we bought a Volvo previously. I wanted a certain level of performance, which in BMW world would have been a 530d - however, finding an F10 530d Touring in SE rather than M-Sport spec was nigh on impossible - those few that there were were poverty-spec. We wanted a high-spec car with the oomph but without the hard ride and the V70 SE Lux D5 (+ Polestar = +20bhp) was basically the answer. 

The GS replaces the V70 and the GS is a distinctly better car in many ways, but it is firmer. It's a more comfortable suspension than my Honda accord (which although a great primary ride had basically no secondary ride at all - in other words it was beautifully controlled over crests and into big compressions, but "jiggled" like mad on surface imperfections), but the Volvo was significantly softer. The Volvo was far from being without fault - drastically underdamped (same shock absorber p/n as the ford mondeo, despite the front end carrying significantly more weight - kerb weight about 360kg higher - and having the springs to match) giving it a tendency to bottom out and then top-out. 

A couple of years ago I was on a business trip in Georgia when the owner of an associated company (one of our authorised repairers, in fact) insisted on taking me (and a couple of other guys) out for dinner. This turned out to mean a speedboat trip across Lake Lanier, but that's another story. The point of this anecdote is that he picked me up in his LS460 and drove... spiritedly.... along some fairly twisty back roads between Suwanee and Lake Lanier. It was the first time I'd been in an LS since 1999 (mk3 and mk4 400s), and I marvelled at the combination of smooth ride and controlled damping. 

My father had a 1996 BMW E38 740iL 4.4, and that shared that same combination of smooth ride and performance that BMWs now totally lack - I mean, it was on 16" wheels which you'd NEVER see any car in that sort of class riding on now. 

It is for this reason that I continue to hold Volvo in fairly high regard - yes, they have the R-design models, but the top-spec volvo models (Inscription) don't have stiffened suspension. They're not tuning their cars to be yet another BMW wannabe driver's car (as audi, mercedes and jaguar all slavishly follow BMW to do so) - they've recognised that Volvo buyers are buying Volvo because they don't want a BMW. I suspect, from looking at the underlying platform engineering (in other words, I've not driven one yet) that the newer SPA platform Volvos are distinctly more sophisticated than our P3 (ford EUCD) V70 was. 

The very long-winded point I'm trying to make is that I agree completely with Zotto and Steve44 - People spec M-sport BMWs with the Stelvio Pass in their mind, not a wet wednesday evening on the M62. The ES is probably a fine car in the real world, but motoring journos are a strange lot. So are company car buyers. 

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I could not agree more! I recently changed from my IS300H to a Volvo V60T5. That car is just brilliant. It feels like it is designed for every day drivers. It is an unassuming car that does not look like it can go warp speed, has no ultra low profile tyres does not have paddle shifters ( but has a heated steeringwheel, get the idea?). Some years ago on TopGear there was a topic on how the nurburgring is killing driveability of most cars. What i found in the Volvo is comfort, safety and compared to the IS300 an infotainmentsystem from 2019.

Try a SPA car and compare it to your current V70. I have driven both and with respect, the V70 will feel like a previous generation. 

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Absolutely, I think the SPA cars are a league or few ahead of the P3 cars. 

However, there's something else at play in my mind - modern cars have more torque than cars used to have - our Volvo had significantly more torque than my dad's V8 BMW, and trying to put all that torque to the front wheels doesn't work well. The V70 was terrible for torque steer.

This is going to become even more significant with EVs, as the instantaneous torque, always available, will prove troublesome. In fact, many reviews of the Hyundai Kona EV already highlight this as an issue. Going forward, serious EV designs will be RWD (note that VW's MEB platform, the electric replacement for MQB, is RWD by default with an option for AWD) because the real reason for FWD in ICE cars was packaging - EVs are more efficiently packaged in RWD form, so VW's humble Neo hatchback will be RWD.

It was difficult for me to buy another ICE car in the GS450h, and in my mind it is the last ICE car I will ever buy, so the only volvo currently on my radar is the Polestar 2, as a replacement for the Leaf. But if it's FWD then no...

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As we're talking Volvo as a comparator, I have just come back in having visited both Lexus and Volvo dealers. Sat in both an S90 and a V60 - they are both very nice, well thought out cars. Volvo may be having a tough time of it at the moment going off the 21% discount I am being offered on a new S90...! Don't think either of them stand up to just how plush the ES is though.

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the S90 is an old school sedan and the slow seller of the current Volvo range. The 4 door sedan market is shrinking rapidly as almost nobody wants them anymore. The laws of supply and demand will give low low prices in that case. At a Volvo dealer you can now get a S90 cheaper than an XC40.  Seems the world has gone crazy...  

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