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The A6 may not attend the competition of Germany's upper midsize cars. What a shame!? No! It will shortly be renewed and so it wouldn't come as a surprise that it isn't quite competitive anymore. That's why the press refrained from utilising the aged A6 to depict the others' current superiority. Which is, admittedly, a significant one. More difficult is defining who is best. To check this out we analysed the test results of Germany's three most important auto magazines. AutoBild, Europe's biggest motoring mag says the cars are on a par. The BMW 530i is a bit more dynamic whereas the Mercedes E 320 absorbs potholes a tad better than the Five. Though this one has the more flexible engine and too reaches shorter stop distances, the Merc compensates the E60's only marginal advantages on other fields. In the end, both are coequal but the Benz wins despite of this equality because of its price, curiously. The editors mention that the base price of the BMW is lower than that of the Mercedes but, usual features cost exorbitant extra charges which make the Mercedes the more reasonable car in the end. This criticism we remarkably have already heard concerning the all new Seven shortly before! The second one, Auto Motor Und Sport [ams],
compared the popular 6 cylinder diesel models E320 and 530d and also according to the ams-score-system the comparison of the vehicles' abilities ended in a tie.Thanks to the categories costs and environmental protection, the BMW is victorious over the E-class. The subjective impression of the editors is a bit different. They say the Bimmer is a clinical car, the Benz is more comfortable and the most suitable vehicle to go longer distances. Deutschland's No3, the east German 'Auto Straßenverkehr', tested the cars fitted with the same diesel engines as those in the ams test and also states that both are on an equal level. In this comparison, the BMW is finally the winner because it provides - quite Bimmer-like - even with a self combustion engine, more driving pleasure than the Benz, also thanks to its expensive Active Steering. Altogether the final results of the comparison new 5-series vs. E-class are more a matter of taste than ones that originate from any objective flaws. BMW didn't manage to beat Mercedes but has created a great Five though. Now, the question if Audi will find the more perfect compromises to set standards with the A6 - which wouldn't be the first time - keeps the matter full of suspense and, you guess, we'll let you know. <

Test: AutoBild, auto motor und sport and Auto Straßenverkehr
Issues: 27, 16 and 14/03
Link: n o n e

Lightweight versions come into vogue. Besides Ferrari and Porsche, also BMW offers a weight reduced model to please those who want a car that offers less convenience for the benefit of more driving pleasure. The Munich based carmaker demands an extra charge of 30,500 euro for a car that satisfies this need. Auto Motor Und Sport now has tested if the M3 CSL named Bimmer is worth it. First remark of the report is that it's hardly possible to fathom the car's driving abilities in public traffic. Nevertheless, the test rates show that it has a benefiting performance for that! Reaching 100 km/h in 4.9, and the double speed in 13.1 sec will doubtlessly release
the CSL's driver from observing traffic on the Autobahn to find a gap that's big enough to enter it. Furthermore 'ams' addes that temperatures were extremely high as they determined the values so that the slim line M3 would run even faster under colder conditions. A sensational short stop distance of less than 33.0 meters from 100km/h with warm tires confirms it must have been a very hot day! The 'ams' editors arrived at the conclusion that the CSL is a real GT3 rival and we hope to be able to report on a test of those two cars soon - at best complemented by Ferrari's lightweight Modena named 360 Challenge Stradale.<

Test: auto motor uns sport
Issue: 14/03

When an SL crosses your field of vision in Germany it mostly rolls on nice aftermarket rims. Many of them are lowered and some bear spoilers. The German magazine AutoBild Test & Tuning now has tested two tuned SL made by less legendary firms. The candidates come from Switzerland and Germany, and are called FAB and A.R.T. respectively. The Swiss made one is optically refined according to German examples whereas the German one sticks out because of its unusual interior. The standard wood or carbon surfaces are replaced by covers of a flashy-coloured camouflage pattern. Ok, the company calls A.R.T. and no one has to take this exceptional trim. More interesting is the vehicle's performance. After all A.R.T. promises to blow up the V8 engine from originally 309 to 400hp. Thanks to this, the SL should run in 4.9 sec to 100km/h.
Sadly the stopwatch indicated one second more as the car reached this speed. Bad, bad and thrice bad! The standard 309hp SL needs even more, says 6.6 sec but, not keeping its promise is undecent. This SL is a disappointment and so the interest turns to the one by FAB, after all 'Swiss made' is a label that suggests best craftsmanship and trustworthiness. But also the 550hp strong V8 Kompressor motor doesn't achieve to accelerate its housing according to its manufacturer's claims. Instead of reaching the 100km/h mark in 4.4 sec, it needs 5.2 sec. In other words: 0.8 sec more than stated. After that test, the established Merc tuners will surly fear the underdogs a little less. But attention: this was neither the last attack nor the last test. Also not at this place.<

Test: AutoBild Test & Tuning
Issue: 06/03

Ruf is the German term for call, but also for reputation and, indeed - image and name recognition of this company is surprisingly high outside Germany. Though there are many other high-profile Porsche tuners here, amongst which Ruf is just one besides many others. In international view it is the most renowned one of all, by far. Curiously even though the name Ruf also stands for understatement. Not in terms of look, but power specifications are traditionally understated. Also in the case of the Ruf R Turbo. The German magazine Auto Zeitung said its engine performs over 600hp, Ruf officially claims it has 550hp. The acceleration rates confirm Ruf's modesty. The R Turbo reaches 100km/h in 3.7sec, not later than a 660hp Ferrari Enzo. After 10.8 sec the adrenalised Nine Eleven [ not Nine One One - sorry New Yorkers but that's how the Germans pronnounce this number ] passes the 200km/h mark. In matters of braking, the Ruf sets standards. 35.6 meters to stop from 100km/h is the shortest distance ever determined by the Auto Zeitung, as they said.
Regarding chassis the editors were positively surprised as well. The R Turbo corners extremely fast, as expected, but provides very convenient driving manners at the same time, softer than the standard GT3. The only thing the testers found fault with was the noise level inside the car. They depicted it as annoying. Sports car lovers will endure it joyfully, we think though the Auto Zeitung was of a contrary opinion in this case. The next unpleasantness refers to the vehicle's price. Ruf demands 218,000 euros for the R Turbo. Not that it would be too much - quite the opposite! Driving an Enzo presupposes you're able to transfer 645,000 euros to Italy. But even the Ruf's low price is unfortunately a number not everyone can afford to pay in and, the bargain price tag also won't please those who come too late. Only 20 of that 351km/h running sports cars will leave the Ruf workshop in Pfaffenhausen - per annum.<

Test: Auto Zeitung
Issue: 12/03

In our comparison of auto mags' luxury car tests, the Audi A8 clearly came out as winner. Recently in two of those magazines the brand new Jag had to show how the British deluxe-cat comes to grip with the Teutonic high-end saloons. Doubtlessly nothing easy, even though the XJ8 is an all new car. The editors of Auto Motor Und Sport, Germany as well as their colleagues of CAR, UK, say that the engineers of the British Ford division have done their job very well, apart from a few shortcomings. Ams says the Jag's steering response isn't all too perfect and some details seem inadequate for a car of this class such as the door handles made from chromium-coated plastic. CAR mentions that the torsional rigidity of the Jag's aluminium aerospace construction isn't on the high level of the Audi's bodywork. Most positive particularities refer to the suspension and the car's built quality in general.
The cat's well-mannered road behaviour and the power of the surprisingly fuel efficient V8 engine impressed the editors from both nations much. But, in the end the Jaguar doesn't defeat, neither in the UK nor in Germany, the car that currently has subscribed this class' victories: the Audi A8. And even though the XJ8 is only on fourth position out of four contenders in ams, the editors admit that it is by far the best Jag ever and add that only a few, nearly insignificant, flaws have bungled a better conclusion of the British car. These tests' bottom line is that no one will feel remorse for deciding to get involved with the British car[nivore]. Unless she/he really expects cool German perfection which would be some more than overdone in view of the XJ's gorgeous traditional appeal. <

Test:auto motor und sport and CAR
Issue: 12/03 and 490 respectively
Link: n o n e

It didn't come as a surprise. The first reports on the new 5-series were not written without referring to the debatable Seven. BMW's high-end saloon not only set standards regarding technological achievements but also in matters of imperfect novelties. This time the German mags attest that BMW has made things better by improving all those controversial gadgets. The relocation of the gear shift lever and the seat adjustment controls back to the place where they're usually situated was positively noted, as the simplification of the iDrive and its additional escape button too. In terms of driving manners the new upper medium sedan from Munich lives up to its origin's promise.
Besides the body's light weight construction, also the innovative Active Front Steering makes the Five impressively agile and outstanding dynamic, remarkably though it has no air springs. The differences in the magazine's statements were really trivial, the outcome, indeed, unanimous. The new 5-series is a real BMW in style and character but its creators have avoided that the former criticisms will be repeated and the rest of the car is also good enough to keep up with other contenders of this sort, not to say to defeat them. Next tests will show! <

Test:auto motor und sport and AutoBild
Issue:10/03 and 20/03 respectively

Who wants to scale peak of the high-end segment cannot renounce a 12 cylinder engine. That's why also VW's Phaeton is equipped with one, although it performs 420hp only. BMW offers 25hp more whereas Mercedes yokes full 500 horses. This sets the standard and accelerates the big Benz to 100km/h in 4.8 sec, the BMW needs one second more. The VW requires 6.1 sec for this sprint and loses in this discipline as well as at the braking test which are the main causes for the Phaeton's 3rd place in the end.
But, its 37.4 meters to stop from 100km/h is acceptable, the 35.7 meters of the S 600 show that there is something better available which is surpassed by the 760Li that even tops that super sports car's rate by requiring 40cm less. Sensational! Nevertheless it doesn't help the BMW to win the test. The performance of the S-class is much too superior, as the report shows. Volkswagen's luxury liner is surprisingly close to the Seven by score, despite its clear deficiencies concerning performance and braking. It finally points out how perfect the Phaeton is on other fields. <

Issue: 19/03
Link: n o n e

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