Last week while driving to see Aaron, the ATTS in my Prelude suddenly cut out. The car lurched and clunked. I pulled over then drove the rest of the way with the ATTS off. I started looking into mechanics and read about it a bit and decided I should try rebooting. So I pulled the battery (and took the opportunity to clean the terminals) and restarted it. Boom, all fixed. OMG circuitry in cars is such a bad idea.
My dad got one of the first Acura Legends. Houston tends to get a lot of heavy rain and flood alot. One very wet day he drove to work and went through an intersection that was deeper in water than he thought. The water came up above wheel level, and suddenly the car turned off, no more power steering, no nothing. It turns out the car was running all control through a chip that was not very well weather-protected. (the dealership fixed it up for free and they wound up fixing this in later models). Still, WTF, ZOMG, and so on.
For the most part, the Prelude is delightfully immediate. There's extremely little smarts in it, you feel directly connected to the hardware, which is good IMO. The ATTS controller chip is the one exception. The idea of the "iDrive" in new BMW's is so repellant to me. I don't want fucking menus and screens in my car. I want hard switches and buttons and knobs and levers. There are two crucial aspects of car UI that retarded people seem to miss :
1. I should be able to access all toggles with my eyes closed. Not that my eyes actually will be closed, but they will be on the road and I don't want to take my eyes off for even a split second.
2. I should be able to instantly tell the status of any toggle and change it directly. I should also be able to see them and change them when the car is off.
Anyway, I'm thinking about buying a new car. Partly cuz mine is getting old, partly cuz hey I'm a rich software developer I need a fancy car, right? Also if I spend my money it can't get lost in the market or inflation.
Ryan sent me a nice list :
-- 4WD sporty Subaru WRX: starts at $25,000 265 HP (the WRX is maybe the ideal fun car + camping capable) (I'm not a fan of the STI for daily driving, it's just too harsh) (and commuting on the 520 in an STI would be seriously suicide-inducing) (oh and the new hatchback model sucks, I'd get a 2006 or so) Mitsibishi Lancer Evo: starts at $33,685 291 HP -- Not good for camping but still AWD and zippy Audi S5: starts at $51,400 354 HP (very sweet, kinda pricey) Bmw 335i Xdrive: starts at $42,300 300HP (most reasonable AWD BMW option) Infinity G37x Coupe AWD: starts at $38,700 330 HP (G37 = luxury version of the 370) -- Not good for camping----------- Not 4WD Nissan 370Z: starts at $30,000 332 HP Bmw 125i Coupe: starts at $35,850 300 HP (small two door with a big engine)I guess I should go do some test drives. That sounds like fun, but man it's time consuming and you have to talk to car salesman which is the fucking worst. I really like the style of the Audi S5, but A) that's a fuck-load of money to spend on a car, and B) Audi's have really bad repair records (though BMWs and Mitshubishis don't have great histories either) (in fact the S4/S5 is one of the top ten least reliable cars). (supposedly they have improved a lot in the last two years though)
Amusingly, the Nissan/Infinity cars that are actually made in Japan get good ratings, but the ones made in America get very bad ratings. Good Game America. We fucking suck.
I think all my criteria pretty much point straight at the WRX, it's just not exciting to me, it has no sex appeal. All my friends have already had wreckses for years, I can't show it off, and it won't impress my girlfriend.