Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Objectively Subjective -- In the September issues, both Car and Driver and Road & Track pulled together big comparison tests of high-dollar convertible sports/sporty cars. Makes sense. See how the new Cadillac XLR stacks up agains the rest of the world. No suprise that they gathered the same cars (except, surprisingly, Car and Driver neglected the Maserati Spyder without comment). What's really surprising are the rankings.

Car and Driver (not online yet):
  1. Mercedes SL500

  2. Porsche Carrera 4 Cabriolet

  3. Cadillac XLR

  4. Lexus SC 430

  5. Jaguar XK8
Road & Track:
  1. Porsche 911 Carerra Cabriolet

  2. Cadillac XLR

  3. Jaguar XK8

  4. Mercedes SL500

  5. Lexus SC 430 and Maserati Spyder GT (tied)
What's really interesting is that the obviousness of the test creates an apples-to-apples comparison of the two rating regimes, right after Car and Driver changed their methodology.

The Car and Driver comparo is the first using its new ranking system, a system that actually tallies the scores from "the objective and subjective categories to produce an overall point total that will determine the finishing order" instead of the old system in which "final scores are determined independently of the individual ratings." Downshift wonders if they have the weighting quite right.

In any case, there's clearly a meaningful difference in what matters to the two magazines.
No kidding -- You're going to have to trust us on this one, but Downshift has been planning a post on the new VW Touareg, about how cool it is (despite its being a truck-based ute, and one of particularly weighty weight), and how the family Downshift might just have to get an Airstream International CCD to justify buying a Touareg. (Yes, Downshift knows that the Airstream figures in the Touareg ad campaign. We thought of the Airstream independently.)

Here's the zippy closing line we had planned: Now that they've shown the world what they can do in the luxury-ute category, we'd love to see what the VW product wizards can do in a cute-ute aimed at the Jetta crowd. Call it the New Thing.

Turns out, Downshift and VW share the same wavelength. They are going to build a "rugged-looking Golf-based off-roader." (The article is about a Boxster-fighter, more on that in another post, but scroll down to the seventh paragraph for a tease about the coming ute.)

Downshift's still first out of the gates with the "New Thing" crack.