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Reviewing the reviewers...
Having been a reviewer myself in a past life (expensive audio equipment not
cars), I know all too well the many pitfalls one must step carefully
over-and-around before reaching any meaningful conclusions about a product
and its performance relative to its competitors. This is especially true
when your opinions are sold and not given away freely, as they are here.
(What's that saying about the value of free advice?)
With cars, though, I think the task is immeasurably easier because there's
no reference standard to live up to: Whereas an audio product's only goal is
to either amplify the signal fed to it or to transform it from one from one
form of energy to another (mechanical/electrical or electrical/mechanical),
the goal of a car is infinitely harder to fathom ... at least for street
cars, anyway. I mean, exactly how IS an A8 or 740i or XJR or whatever
supposed to perform? At these price levels, you're definitely selling more
than just transportation and I have a hunch you're selling more than just
on-the-road performance, too.
In my case, the ONLY reason I buy a particular car is because I *like* it!
I don't worry too much whether it's "the best in its class" because I'm the
only one who can make that determination, at least so far as it matters
relative to the unique set of tastes-and-preferences that I call my own.
Not surprisingly, I've yet to drive a car that completely satisfies me as
delivered by its manufacturer and this is the main reason why I buy my cars
used ... why pay for shiny new parts that will only be replaced shortly
anyway and a warranty that will be soon void as the result of my tinkering?
Magazines' comparison tests are intended for the average motorist and by
definition, that most definitely isn't a group that includes us ... the mere
fact that we enjoy sitting in front of our computers and enjoy discussing
cars is proof enough of that! While we are indeed influence-leaders, we can
also be fickle and I'm not sure it makes financial sense for Audi (or any
car company) to tailor their products to us ... much better to aim a bit
lower, go for market share and let us tinkers continue to tinker. BMW
learned this lesson with their 318ti and no doubt Audi was taking notes...
/ | _| o | \ _| o Jeffrey Goggin
/__| | | / | | __ | | | | / | | firstname.lastname@example.org
/ | |_| \_| | |_/ |_| \_| | http://www.mindspring.com/~audidudi/