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I've been struggling with what to get, a BMW 325xi (lease) or Mazda 6s (Purchase). I test drove both and here were my impressions:

The BMW is, without a doubt, a higher quality build. But then, for almost 15K more than the 6, this was to be expected. Both cars handled extremely well but in very different ways. The Beemer was refined, sophisticated, forgiving in turns, and actually made you feel like you were fairly invincible. The dealer didn't come with me so I punished the car with hairpin turns at 40mph and was surprised to see it took it without missing a beat. Apparently (I found out after the fact that this is indeed true) the beemer has over and under steer correction on the fly so it's practically impossible to lose control of this vehicle. Shifting was like moving a stirring spoon though freshly melted butter; nothing could feel more perfect in that regard. The clutch was predictable and comfortable, and the car pulled adequately through all gears, although I wasn't wowed by the acceleration. The sound system - nice.

The Mazda 6, I had to test drive with the dealer in the car, but it made only a small impact on the test I put it through (Couldn't do anything blatantly illegal). The dealer was a big guy, probably tipping the scales at 280, and he seemed like a war-weathered type that wouldn't be impressed by anything. It was my personal mission to make him grab for the oh-sh1t handles, and although he made a valiant effort by resisting for quite a while, a 50mph turn around a bent overpass made him reach for it like a small child yearning for its mothers apron. To his credit though, he never said a word.

But anyhow, the Mazda handled extremely well. It felt nimble and agile, and although not as refined as the mature beemer, it was also much, MUCH more fun to drive. Seeing as how I'm a spry 25yr old, I decided to purchase the S. I only have a few complaints from the test drive. One was the notchiness of the shifter, which I hope will eventually get smoother (those who have had a 5sp for a while - your input?). Secondly, the engaging point of the clutch was weird, but this I assume I will get used to fairly quickly. And lastly, the power just wasn't what I was expecting. My first testdrive had the A/C and traction control on. I went back with my fiancé and made sure both were turned off but I still felt as though it should have more pull, especially in the first two gears. I'm hoping that the elimination of a 280lb body from the backseat and a 100lb hottie from the front seat will open up some of the performance I'm craving. Do I have any non-warranty affecting options in getting more zoom zoom from this Mazda? Has anyone tested the effectiveness of a cold air intake?

Anyhow, the moral of the story is: BMW is a beautiful, silky smooth car. Mazda6? It's a hot, agile, driver's car with more spunk and personality. Zoom zoom baby. Zoom zoom.

;)
 

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Reading Topic: Mazda 6 vs. BMW 325xi

I found when I first bought my car I was shifting too far/hard, becasue I was not used to such a short throw (323 owner); which made it feel notchier than it was. Now that I'm used to it it definitely is quite a bit nicer.

I don't feel that the mazda shifter has a silky smooth feel but it definitely is smooth, sporty and confident feeling.

I have to say I think you made a smart choice!
 

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Reading Topic: Mazda 6 vs. BMW 325xi

Yet another victory for the japanese car ready to take on the german nazi-car mob :D
 

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Reading Topic: Mazda

Not quite BB. The BMW is a bit high priced, but there are details that make it better.
BMW in line 6 engines are just amazing, powerful and smooth.

The 6 is amazing for the price range but it lacks certain aspects, but big deal, it costs thousands less.

As far as the power question, I felt the same way in my last test drive. I had driven 1 V6 manual a couple months back before wanting to buy. I got to drive a V6 5 spd., again, last week. It did not feel as powerful as the automatic V6 and 5 spd. I had driven a few months back. I don't know why. I like the shifter in the 6. I like socket feel of when the gear is engaged. Some people call that "notchy" I call it nice. If you want "notchy" you should have driven Mits Eclipses/Galants from the AWD turbo days. I had one. That shifter would go into gear but you had to shove it into it's slot and the worst notchy feeling was taking it out of gear before going to the next. The feeling of the lever releasing the previous gear is where the nothcy feeling came from as that trans didn't quite want to let go of the previous gear thus feeling like it would "notch" from one to the next gear. The 6 doesn't have that, but has that nice going into the next gear "click".

BMW manuals feel soft, some call that smooth, I call it soft. Many shifts are positive and you know you just made the shift but there is a tactile loss in BMW manuals as sometimes they don't "tell" you that it's in gear. The Acura RSX is an amazing manual and it communicates with a megaphone how well it works. But, even that trans has been criticized by some as being "notchy", I think it's the precise just snicked into the slot feel that some call "notchy" rather than the inaccurate hung up feel of previous Mits manuals that truely were "notchy" as they wouldn't want to let go of a gear.

Also, you drove the Xi which is AWD, that will give you better cornering than the RWD version.
AWD has better grip around corners in general, but the more complex driveline does soak up
some of the power. Try the RWD 325. It's amazing how powerful 190-some HP can really feel in a BMW.

The BMW is more money and in a lease you get a better deal because it has the better residual.
The BMW can get more in resale than the 6 will, and it will be more by percentage as well as 3 series BMW's don't depreciate as quickly as many other cars.

To me, the 6 is very good comparison to the BWM as they have similar intent and the 6 manages to give a lot of what the 3 series offers. The BMW, however, is the benchmark and for a reason.
It's a damn fine example of how a sedan can feel like a sports car. The 6 has less of that.
But, you have to decide if the BMW has more of "that" feeling to justify it's cost.

As far as snobs, I think that's silly. If someone buys a car because it makes them feel they are a better human being, then they are idiots. But, if they buy a car because it offers them a better car experience, then go for it. Sure, there are a LOT of BMW buyers that buy because of the name. But, there are many owners who truely appreciate why some think that BMW is the ultimate driving machine. You can't blame BMW engineers for feeling they have built the "ultimate" driving machince The way their automobiles operate is truly stunning.
Too bad there is a stigma, but I don't buy my cars to appeal to others or appease others. I buy them to satisfy my need for real driving experience. But, that's why, to me, Mazda simply outdid themselves with the 6. It's an excellent driving automobile and it just happens to not cost too much.

Good luck with your choice. Either one will make an excellent driver.

Tome
 

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Reading Topic: Mazda 6 vs. BMW 325xi

I test drove a 330Ci two years ago and I was unimpressed by the power. For the price tag and the engine, I expected a little more. I'd have to agree with Tome that the shifter felt soft. I also test drove the S2000, and as much as I despise making good horsepower and torque near the heart-stopping 8900 rpm redline, that car felt much better short 2 cylinders and a liter. Especially the 6-speed tranny honda uses in that thing. In any event, I'm coming from a Supra that had the notchiest of all shifters. It was a bitch to shift when it was real cold at start up. Fortunately, the pin-you-back-in-your-seat power available at the slightest modulation of the pedal was more than enough to prevent the need for quick shifting in all situations but starting from a dead stop.

To each their own, and everyone will find something in the middle that works best for them. You don't want to spend 5-10 seconds working the shifter into gear every time you shift, but you don't want your girlfriend/wife knocking you out of gear and sending the engine to redline when she reaches across to change radio stations. Am I right?

BTW, why the need for A/C up there in Buffalo? 30-40F too warm for you? :D
 

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Reading Topic: Mazda 6 vs. BMW 325xi

Its a matter of how much money you feel comfortable spending. For 99% the BMW is just too much for that little extra performance.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Replying to Topic 'Mazda 6 vs. BMW 325xi'

QUOTE
Originally posted by kyler13

BTW, why the need for A/C up there in Buffalo?  30-40F too warm for you?  :D[/b]
Didn't you read about the 280lb salesman? Weight aside, my driving made him sweat a bit. ;)

The Beemer did feel very sporty for a sedan, but it was unmistakeable - this was a sedan. Driving it and the 6 back-to-back laid to rest my indecisiveness regarding which car to get. The 6 is a restless teenager with endless amounts of energy while the BMW is a refined, older athlete with great poise and stamina.

What can I say? I'd rather ride the restless teenager.

Go ahead and take that comment as you will. :D
 

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Replying to Topic 'Mazda 6 vs. BMW 325xi'

QUOTE
Originally posted by M-006

I like socket feel of when the gear is engaged.  Some people call that "notchy" I call it nice.  [/b]
A little notchiness gives good feel.

QUOTE
Also, you drove the Xi which is AWD, that will give you better cornering than the RWD version.
AWD has better grip around corners in general,[/b]
Nope. AWD helps with accelleration only. It does nothing to benefit handling. If the bimmer has oversteer and understeer "correction" as stated, then I'd wonder if it's not some sort of stability control system.
 

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Reading Topic: Mazda 6 vs. BMW 325xi

AWD a lot for handling as well as accelertion. Why would you even make such a statement?
Audi has already proven the advantage that AWD has in racing which requires a lot of "handling".
I wouldn't say that the AWD system used by BMW is the best, but in general a properly designed AWD up against a properly designed RWD has the cornering and acceleratin advantage.

Of course it's a stability system. BMW uses it extensively as do many of the higher cost automobiles.

There is an article in Grassroots Motorsports that covers FWD, RWD, and AWD. They take some fine examples of each with the Acura RSX-S, BMW 3 series, and Subaru WRX.
The Subaru won and the conclusion was that AWD has quite an advantage IF you know how to drive it.

Perhaps you are confusing handling and "feel"? AWD does have a different feel to how it goes about it's business. Most people are familiar with FWD and RWD and not so much with AWD.
Trust me, AWD has quite an advantage in acceleration and handling. When you can apply the power you produce into forward motion that helps handling and accelerating.

I'd like to read your thoughts on your comment "It does nothing to benefit handling". Please explain this "nothing".

Tome
 

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Reading Topic: Mazda 6 vs. BMW 325xi

Remove the acceleration, and AWD's benefits are removed. Strict handling does not benefit from AWD.

Keeping it non-technical - let's say you have an AWD car. Enter a turn, and remove the acceleration factor. Foot off. No AWD benefit.

Keeping it simple.
 

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Replying to Topic 'Mazda 6 vs. BMW 325xi'

QUOTE
Originally posted by M-006

Perhaps you are confusing handling and "feel"?  [/b]
No, I think you are confusing handling and acceleration.

QUOTE
Trust me, AWD has quite an advantage in acceleration and handling.  When you can apply the power you produce into forward motion that helps handling and accelerating.[/b]
And there it is. Apply power. That's acceleration. Foward motion. That's acceleration.
 

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Replying to Topic 'M

QUOTE
Originally posted by applejax


            Remove the acceleration, and AWD's benefits are removed.  Strict handling does not benefit from AWD.

Keeping it non-technical - let's say you have an AWD car.  Enter a turn, and remove the acceleration factor.  Foot off.  No AWD benefit.  

Keeping it simple.[/b]
If you enter a turn and then let off the gas, you ain't driving it right.
 

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Replying to Topic 'Mazda 6 vs. BMW 325xi'

QUOTE
Originally posted by kyler13


            QUOTE
Originally posted by applejax


            Remove the acceleration, and AWD's benefits are removed.  Strict handling does not benefit from AWD.

Keeping it non-technical - let's say you have an AWD car.  Enter a turn, and remove the acceleration factor.  Foot off.  No AWD benefit.  

Keeping it simple.[/b]
If you enter a turn and then let off the gas, you ain't driving it right.

[/b][/quote]

Agreed. But that doesn't change my point.
 

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Reading Topic: Mazda

"Remove the acceleration, and AWD's benefits are removed. Strict handling does not benefit from AWD."

What does that mean?

"Keeping it non-technical - let's say you have an AWD car. Enter a turn, and remove the acceleration factor. Foot off. No AWD benefit."

Again, I don't understand your point.

You can try and keep it simple, but the forces at work are a bit more complex.

I think since you've gone down this route about what handling is or is not, would you please state what you believe "handling" is?

Tome
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Reading Topic: Mazda 6 vs. BMW 325xi

Eh? AWD doesn't affect handling? That's a new one to me. And to every car manufacturer in the world. Entering a turn and letting your foot off the gas ... I suppose then AWD would be less of a factor. But that's like saying "Drive off a cliff and then use your brakes, you'll find they're not effective." Sure, I guess that's true. But what kind of a point does an action you would never do make for your case?

I think this might be the time to backstep a bit and admit you don't know much about AWD. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Replying to Topic 'Mazda 6 vs. BMW 325xi'

QUOTE
Originally posted by M-006


            "Remove the acceleration, and AWD's benefits are removed. Strict handling does not benefit from AWD."

What does that mean?

"Keeping it non-technical - let's say you have an AWD car. Enter a turn, and remove the acceleration factor. Foot off. No AWD benefit."

Again, I don't understand your point.

You can try and keep it simple, but the forces at work are a bit more complex.

I think since you've gone down this route about what handling is or is not, would you please state what you believe "handling" is?  

Tome[/b]
Beat me to it. Surfing the web on a cellphone (14kbps) is torture sometimes. Especially when you're used to a cable modem. :D
 

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Reading Topic: Reading Topic: Mazda 6 vs. BMW 325xi

To keep it in simplest sense, handling is lateral grip. Lateral grip is independent of accelleration.

One car may do 0-60 in 5 seconds (perhaps aided by AWD); and another may do 0-60 in 8 seconds. There is nothing stating that one car will handle better than another.

You may accellerate through a turn, and AWD may help that. But AWD or no AWD, your handling threshold will not change. AWD will help your grip in accelleration, not in the side to side lateral movement associated with how well a car handles.
 

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Reading Topic: Reading Topic: Mazda 6 vs. BMW 325xi

I just thought of a better example.

Let's say you enter a turn beyond your threshold. Your car starts to slide sideways, or your rear starts to kick out. AWD can turn your wheels foward all it wants. It is still attempting to recapture your accelleration, not your handling.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Reading Topic: Reading Topic: Mazda 6 vs. BMW 325xi

Let me give you an example that might lead you to another conclusion. What does ABS do? It turns your wheel to achieve optimal road-to-tire friction, allowing for much better stopping power. Can you stop faster in a car that has ABS turned off? No, if the car's braking system is anywhere near current technology, you can't.

So why does slowly turning a wheel in the direction of where you don't want to go give you better "forward grip"? A physics book explaining the dynamics of friction will give you that answer.

And it may give you insight into why an AWD car can take a turn at much faster speeds than an identically equipped RWD or FWD car. Because AWD does indeed, give you better "lateral grip" as you phrased it.

Visit 3si.org or a Subaru forum and ask whether AWD is at all beneficial in handling.

Trust me. Trust the laws of physics.
 
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