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Ok, after looking at, and driving many alternatives: BMW, Mercedes, Audi, etc, I signed the papers and paid the down payment on what will be our OSD 2012 S80 for my wife. (This car will join my 2012 S60 T5). Now we will have two Volvos!. We have come over from the "dark side" (Saab). Looking forward to the OSD experience, as all the reviews have been very positive.

It was interesting looking at, and driving the comparative cars (we used price as our comparative basis) All had "pluses and minuses". The new Mercedes C250 is very nice. The seats are typical Mercedes, aka hard and firm. The trunk was small (12.4 cu). The interior is very nice, but very small. The driving experience was very good. Lots of power. Decent gas mileage. High test gasoline though! The new BMW 328i was interesting. The interior looks like it was designed by a committee that could not get along. The navigation display looks like it was added to the dash after the dash was designed! Seats were good (not as good as Volvo though) Trunk size was ok, at 13 cu ft. Car is very quick and handles very well. Supposedly it gets 36 mpg on the highway, per the sticker. Amazing. (This and the Mercedes have the new GDI technology....Gasoline direct injection turbo charged four cylinder) This is a direction all the manufactures are headed...including Volvo. In any event, my wife got out of the BMW and stated she didn't care for it.????? I thought it was a very good driver, although a bit "twitchy", and that would would make long highway trips less comfortable.
The Audi.....CVT transmission. NO.

Bottom line in our "evaluatation" is that there is no perfect car! The Volvo S80 came closest for us based on our needs. (My wife uses the car for business, and we will be using the car for travel, hence the need for a reasonable size trunk..(Volvo S80 is 15 Cu ft)...And lets not forget the seats. Our experience with Saab showed us that a car can have a good comfortable seat, and the S80 seats are very comfortable, perhaps even better than our Saab seats had been. The engine could use a little better response, but it will be fine. The car uses regular gas, which is a plus...and the insurance cost is better on the S80 than any of the other cars mentioned here. The interior and exterior are good looking and not pretentious. (Like the big star on the front of the Mercedes)! And to top off our evaluation, the Volvo has the best OSD program, which we are looking forward to enjoying.

Too much coffee today!
 

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Congratulations!!!! OSD is a great experience. BTW, where in Florida are you? We are in East Central Florida.
 

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Nice........when will you be traveling??? Planning is a big part of the fun.............enjoy!!!
 

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I enjoyed reading of your shopping experiences amf. We had a very similar reaction to the same brands as we checked them out and test drove them over the past year and half.

We drove a low milage BMW 330 that had great exterior looks and it certainly handled well on our test drive. However it was not a serious contender because all current and recent BMWs lack a spare tire and use runflat tires. It was fun watching the used car salesmen search high and low for the spare tire that they were sure was hidden somewhere within the vehicle.

The Mercedes C350 and GLK we drove impressed my spouse as feeling massively safe and durable. Our parents had driven much older Benzes so there was a certain comfort level in that brand. However we were both uncomfortable with the blingyness, for lack of a better word, of owning one of these in our community. The cramped back seats and the really unimpressive fuel efficiency of the 2011 engines finally killed our interest in the small Benzes.

At a big auto show I sat in several Audis and their much touted interior design did not win me over. I had tried very hard to develop a taste for the current Audi exteriors prior to the show and couldn't do it. The older TT was the last Audi besides the R8 that I admired design-wise. By the time one builds a modest A4/S4 online with all the Volvo features the price also gets out of line.

At that same Auto show I sat in the current Saabs and noted how much the Saab dash design has remained the same over the past 20+ years. I never drove one but I have heard others rave about them. Too bad that company is being liquidated.

We also test drove the AWD Infiniti G37 and the Acura TL as they appeared to offer a similar class of vehicle. Both promised to be more reliable and possibly better built than the German brands. At one point I was convinced the TL (with modified beak grill) was the best choice. My spouse was not impressed with the looks, available color combinations or the nifty AWD capabilities however. Even though the TL is made in Ohio there is no such thing as a factory order and the dealer choices are very limited. The 2012 TL grill looks a lot better but it was already off our list.

We drove a Lexus IS250 and an ES 350 and they were just OK... no personality or charm. Besides Toyota was having massive public relations issues and recalls a year ago so they dropped off our list pretty early on.

Minicoopers...sat in one and decided it was too small and their charming interiors seem aimed for a different segment of car buyers.

Jaguars & Porsches.... $$$$$$$$$$, alas.

Came back to Volvo after reading about the 2011 AWD S60. Later I found out that Volvo was omitting the spare tire in the new S60s. That left the S40 (gone already) or the S80 which got an immediate stamp of approval from my spouse as soon as she sat in one. Add in the OSD order ability to customize it a bit and that ended our new car search. Late June delivery for us.
 

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Mid June, 2012....if all goes well! Will stay for two weeks.

Congrats. We are scheduled with a June 26th delivery date. We placed our order in January. If you are considering financing your vehicle; try PenFed. Current rates are 1.99% for 48 months. Anyone can join with a 15 dollar donation if you don't qualify otherwise.
 
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