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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all -- I've been following the boards for some time now and finally decided to register. I'm looking to get a QV sometime in the fall/winter of this year once the model year rolls over to the 2018's.

My car for the past 5 years has been a 2012 Subaru WRX STi. It's been a great car with bulletproof reliability and is easily the most capable car I've owned in inclement weather (North Texas spring and fall thunderstorms making for plenty of treacherous travel). It's a car that rewards you when you drive it aggressively and efficiently without having an overly stiff ride. The interior is...*cheap* but that classic Subaru boxer rumble and turbo whine make you forget the interior plastics pretty quick.

My car history has always skewed towards compact sporty cars starting with my first car, a white E30 1990 325i sedan with 130k+ miles that cost way, way more to maintain than it was worth by then. My next couple of cars were MINI's: first a 2002 MINI Cooper S in which I learned to drive manual and which led to countless gas station and red light convo's about what it was like to drive and what kind of engine it had, as they had just come onto the market. Having fallen in love with the MINI brand my next car was an R53 2006 John Cooper Works GP, serial number 1599 of 2000 worldwide. The GP had no rear seats, had 214hp and the most ridiculously silly combination of supercharger whine and popcorn exhaust that begged you to floor it and listen to the overrun over and over again. As fun as the GP was, however, it was a beating to drive daily due to the JCW suspension so I traded it in 18 months later for a more grown-up 2008 BMW 135i. The 135i was twin-turbo FAST with a torque curve as flat as a New Mexico mesa, RWD and that characterstically velvety smooth BMW inline 6 sound.

By that time I had roped my wife into cars and she was driving a 2007 Mercedes SLK55 AMG that I'd wrestled the keys out of her hand every chance I could. The way the hand-built AMG N/A V8 built speed and the angry hornets' nest exhaust was addictive. We took it on a trip from TX to WI for a friend's wedding and its was incredible fun to go WOT on the open roads of the Midwest.

The 135i and SLK55 were sold as my wife went out on a limb and started her own business but once things stabilized I began looking for cars and was down to the Golf R and the STi. The Golf R was like the MINIs and BMWs -- solid in the most Teutonic way...but it was honestly so capable that it was a bit...boring. So in came the STi with all of its spunk and character (both positive and negative) and here we are.

I look forward to seeing where the Alfa brand goes upon its reintroduction to the US market. I get a similar feeling of thrill as I did when MINI came back onto the scene in the early 2000's.
 

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Welcome :)

I was really expecting you to say you will be getting an Alfa Romeo 4C. Would be the next logical step from your Cooper Works. 26,000 miles on my 4C and loving it.




Oh, yeah, we have a Ti on order. Seems almost ordinary after talking about flat fours, Cooper Works and 4Cs.
 

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Good to have another new member. You have definitely had some fun cars. I have never driven an STI but the WRX I had was a blast but as you said the Subaru's seem happiest being kept on boost on a twisty 2 lane. Did have a bad experience with a non turbo Impreza bought new and ran without problems for 57k miles then a number of small but very expensive to fix things went wrong several months in a row.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Welcome :)

I was really expecting you to say you will be getting an Alfa Romeo 4C. Would be the next logical step from your Cooper Works. 26,000 miles on my 4C and loving it.




Oh, yeah, we have a Ti on order. Seems almost ordinary after talking about flat fours, Cooper Works and 4Cs.
I got to test drive the Giulia Ti as the dealer I visited didn't have a QV to drive and even though it was the shortest test drive of my life I could tell right away that the Giulia platform is special, not ordinary at all!

The 4C would be fun to drive on weekends and the open road no doubt, but I just couldn't see myself employing a car with no power steering and a super harsh suspension as a daily driver not to mention I'd be terrified every day getting in and out of my driveway that dips and bends.

Speaking of cars with no power steering...apples to oranges...but my brother (and fellow petrolhead) has an '88 Suzuki Alto Works RSR that he not long ago imported from Japan to serve as a fun project/tinkering car. The day we went to check out the Alfa dealership I got to drive the Suzuki around around North Texas suburbia...no power steering, no ABS...just a 67 hp 500c 3 cylinder turbo revving out past 10k rpm, right-hand drive, a 5 speed manual with silly long throws and AWD...it was equally the most ridiculous and most terrifying driving experience I've had in quite some time. What can I say, cars and fun come in all sorts of packages!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Good to have another new member. You have definitely had some fun cars. I have never driven an STI but the WRX I had was a blast but as you said the Subaru's seem happiest being kept on boost on a twisty 2 lane. Did have a bad experience with a non turbo Impreza bought new and ran without problems for 57k miles then a number of small but very expensive to fix things went wrong several months in a row.
They are definitely at their best on boost. Some of the most fun I've had has been in the rain. They have an uncanny amount of grip and even when they give way a bit they are fun to slip and swing around.

The STi and the dealer I purchased it from impressed the wife enough that she's driving a Forester XT and she loves it.
 

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I got to test drive the Giulia Ti as the dealer I visited didn't have a QV to drive and even though it was the shortest test drive of my life I could tell right away that the Giulia platform is special, not ordinary at all!

The 4C would be fun to drive on weekends and the open road no doubt, but I just couldn't see myself employing a car with no power steering and a super harsh suspension as a daily driver not to mention I'd be terrified every day getting in and out of my driveway that dips and bends.

Speaking of cars with no power steering...apples to oranges...but my brother (and fellow petrolhead) has an '88 Suzuki Alto Works RSR that he not long ago imported from Japan to serve as a fun project/tinkering car. The day we went to check out the Alfa dealership I got to drive the Suzuki around around North Texas suburbia...no power steering, no ABS...just a 67 hp 500c 3 cylinder turbo revving out past 10k rpm, right-hand drive, a 5 speed manual with silly long throws and AWD...it was equally the most ridiculous and most terrifying driving experience I've had in quite some time. What can I say, cars and fun come in all sorts of packages!
You got caught up in the negative reviews about the 4C. They are not even close to the truth.

I have a 4C that I drive daily. In 28 months I've put on 26,000 miles. My wife and I drove her 4,000 miles in three weeks from Los Angeles to Seattle and back. Took all the back roads north through the mountains and the coast route south. Perfect car and perfect roads. Interstates are always boring, no matter what car I'm driving.

There is only 1000 pounds on the front axle, so no need for power assist steering. She weighs less than 2,500 pounds with a true 40/60 split. With 260 pounds of torque and 240 HP, that's more than enough to push a small and light car around nicely.

Why she has power brakes is beyond me. She certainly doesn't need them.

The suspension is firm, yes. I can feel the small stuff that other cars absorb. She glides over the bad stuff that other cars fall into. Suspension is always a difficult compromise. Soften it up for gentle city driving and it sucks on race day or spirited canyon driving. Stiffen up the suspension for spirited driving and then it's can be bit much for daily use. Adjust the spring rates and damping for serious track use and it's no longer usable around town. Possibly even to stiff for canyon carving.

Alfa has found a nice compromise here. I have their "Racing Suspension" which is just about right for daily use, canyon runs and mild track use. (yes, I tracked her once) As a daily driver, I wouldn't want her any stiffer or any softer. If I were to seriously track my 4C, I'd have to stiffen her up. But, I do have a dedicated track car, so that's nothing I need to be concerned with.

She's what I call a street legal race car. My wife said it best once when asked about the noise, vibration and stiffness. "That's part of the experience."
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
So after months of debating whether or not to either see what 2017s were in stock from a dealer outside my area, order a 2018(?), or wait for a 2018 Giulia Quad to be in stock sometime next year (?) I went out this past weekend and bought a 2017 Merc AMG C63 S sedan. I couldn't be happier. The car is both a docile tourer and an out-and-out fire-breathing beast. I really wanted to give the Quad a chance but there are just too many red flags for me to commit that much money to at this time.

FWIW, the lacking dealership, uh, "experience" was a huge influence on my decision. Buying an $85k+ auto should IMO carry with it a certain level of professionalism in everything from the sales to financing to the service department and the closest dealer didn't give me any confidence that they are at all prepared to properly service these cars, let alone provide any sort of informed or even exuberant salesmanship.

This particular dealer is basically operating out of a glorified shed that sells Fiats, used FCA cars (Jeeps), and random other preowned luxury/sports cars (they have a used i8!) while also happening to have some Giulias and one Quad. Depending on the day and social media post/Autotrader ad, the one Quad they have 'in stock' is either being offered at MSRP, is the owner's personal car, or is $90k+. They won't let you get in it without running your credit.

The sales guy who I was supposed to meet with to look at the Quad got tied up with other customers the day I went in. To be fair it was a Saturday morning but a) I had to go in on Saturday because the dealer is an hour from my house (more on that later) and b) I had told him I'd be in that day ahead of time. After my brother (a fellow car nut and owner of a C7 Stingray) and I stood in the showroom for half an hour without anyone else even approaching us, I ended up with a different salesman who knew next to nothing about the car and then wanted me to drop a deposit on one when we were done with the most laughable test drive I've ever taken in a Giulia TI. The test drive was literally 5 minutes, most of those filled with silence and me trying to start conversation.

In short, they are either way overwhelmed and/or way understaffed but I didn't feel any confidence in my experience going forward, particularly given this model and this brand's newness to the US market and it's inevitable growing pains. Again, this is an $85K car and I'm supposed to trust these guys with performing a good repair if/when something breaks? I've received much, much, much better service at my Subaru dealer for the past 5 years and that car cost half as much as the Quad.

The closest comparison I have is the 2002 MINI Cooper S I bought back when MINI was just introduced. The sales staff at the time was EXUBERANT about the car (I'm talking Apple store level exuberance when they first started booming a few years ago with the intro of the iPhone). They knew the car inside and out. They were excited during the test drives. They were colocated with their BMW bretheren next door while providing a uniquely different experience. And then when I bought the car and it had problems they always had another MINI as a loaner and their techs were top-notch. When it turned out I had gotten a dud engine and it blew a rod at less than 25k miles they worked hand-in-hand with MINI USA to make sure everything got repaired and I was taken care of for the month+ I was without my car.

YMMV obviously, and given a different dealer that I wouldn't have to drive an hour to for service, I may very well have looked past this dealer experience and taken a leap of faith anyways. Those of you who have great dealers are very fortunate. How Alfa Romeo doesn't have a single dealer within the city limits of car-insane Dallas proper is mind-boggling but it may say something about the brand's management (just my opinion) that none of the big players in this market (Park Place, Ewing, etc) have lept at the chance to open a dealer.

I'll keep following the forums as I'm really interested to see if Alfa sinks or swims. IMO they created a car that in driving dynamics alone is well beyond what anyone could've imagined for their reintroduction effort, but they have a lot of hurdles to overcome. The Stelvio looks very promising and I hope they are able to sell well and keep the brand financially solvent enough to buy them some time and work out these growing pains.
 

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It's these kinds of experiences that will make or break Alfa Romeo. I really hope that FCA and AR Italy read thread this and others like it, and choose to make some changes.

As to why there isn't a dealer closer, each dealer is independently owned and has to buy-in to become an Alfa Romeo dealer. AR has some criteria governing who and how dealers are issued. I don't claim to know what these rules are, but I have seen a partial list a few years back. It's kind of strict actually. Some of the early dealers who bought-in about three years ago went out of business waiting on AR to get it together.

Hopefully, in three years when you done with your new Merc, the Giulia and it's dealer will have the bugs worked out and have more build options.
 

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So after months of debating whether or not to either see what 2017s were in stock from a dealer outside my area, order a 2018(?), or wait for a 2018 Giulia Quad to be in stock sometime next year (?) I went out this past weekend and bought a 2017 Merc AMG C63 S sedan. I couldn't be happier. The car is both a docile tourer and an out-and-out fire-breathing beast. I really wanted to give the Quad a chance but there are just too many red flags for me to commit that much money to at this time.

FWIW, the lacking dealership, uh, "experience" was a huge influence on my decision. Buying an $85k+ auto should IMO carry with it a certain level of professionalism in everything from the sales to financing to the service department and the closest dealer didn't give me any confidence that they are at all prepared to properly service these cars, let alone provide any sort of informed or even exuberant salesmanship.

This particular dealer is basically operating out of a glorified shed that sells Fiats, used FCA cars (Jeeps), and random other preowned luxury/sports cars (they have a used i8!) while also happening to have some Giulias and one Quad. Depending on the day and social media post/Autotrader ad, the one Quad they have 'in stock' is either being offered at MSRP, is the owner's personal car, or is $90k+. They won't let you get in it without running your credit.

The sales guy who I was supposed to meet with to look at the Quad got tied up with other customers the day I went in. To be fair it was a Saturday morning but a) I had to go in on Saturday because the dealer is an hour from my house (more on that later) and b) I had told him I'd be in that day ahead of time. After my brother (a fellow car nut and owner of a C7 Stingray) and I stood in the showroom for half an hour without anyone else even approaching us, I ended up with a different salesman who knew next to nothing about the car and then wanted me to drop a deposit on one when we were done with the most laughable test drive I've ever taken in a Giulia TI. The test drive was literally 5 minutes, most of those filled with silence and me trying to start conversation.

In short, they are either way overwhelmed and/or way understaffed but I didn't feel any confidence in my experience going forward, particularly given this model and this brand's newness to the US market and it's inevitable growing pains. Again, this is an $85K car and I'm supposed to trust these guys with performing a good repair if/when something breaks? I've received much, much, much better service at my Subaru dealer for the past 5 years and that car cost half as much as the Quad.

The closest comparison I have is the 2002 MINI Cooper S I bought back when MINI was just introduced. The sales staff at the time was EXUBERANT about the car (I'm talking Apple store level exuberance when they first started booming a few years ago with the intro of the iPhone). They knew the car inside and out. They were excited during the test drives. They were colocated with their BMW bretheren next door while providing a uniquely different experience. And then when I bought the car and it had problems they always had another MINI as a loaner and their techs were top-notch. When it turned out I had gotten a dud engine and it blew a rod at less than 25k miles they worked hand-in-hand with MINI USA to make sure everything got repaired and I was taken care of for the month+ I was without my car.

YMMV obviously, and given a different dealer that I wouldn't have to drive an hour to for service, I may very well have looked past this dealer experience and taken a leap of faith anyways. Those of you who have great dealers are very fortunate. How Alfa Romeo doesn't have a single dealer within the city limits of car-insane Dallas proper is mind-boggling but it may say something about the brand's management (just my opinion) that none of the big players in this market (Park Place, Ewing, etc) have lept at the chance to open a dealer.

I'll keep following the forums as I'm really interested to see if Alfa sinks or swims. IMO they created a car that in driving dynamics alone is well beyond what anyone could've imagined for their reintroduction effort, but they have a lot of hurdles to overcome. The Stelvio looks very promising and I hope they are able to sell well and keep the brand financially solvent enough to buy them some time and work out these growing pains.
At the end of the day you go home with the car, not the salesman. Congratulations on your C63S, they are just incredible. It's such a shame dealers are hit or miss right now.

I drove my first Giulia at a Lamborghini/Maserati/Bentley/Rolls/Alfa Romeo dealer. They were beyond professional, and very easy going. But, they might be too soft when it comes to dealing with $40-50k budget clients rather than $200-500k budget clients.

Then, I went to a Fiat/Alfa Romeo (but basically just Fiat) dealer. My mom bought her Fiat there years ago, so I am familiar with them. They are relatively clueless on the Alfa, but are very happy to talk numbers with you and be aggressive on price. This is the only place where they actually tried to sell me a QV, even when it was obvious I couldn't afford it, and I will applaud them for that effort. It was below invoice, which was just incredible, and everybody I tell the story to is surprised. This dealer would be considered 'in the middle of nowhere'

After that, I went to a dealer 120 miles away that sold Fiats and Alfa Romeo, and had a lot of Alfas on the lot. They were more what you'd expect selling 40-50k cars, very similar to Audi salesmen but with more personality. Nice enough people. But, they couldn't keep the numbers straight (very fishy), and didn't want to negotiate beyond round one, which was pretty ridiculous.

Then, after that quite frankly shocking experience of being told not to come back, I went to an Alfa Romeo/Maserati dealer. These people are very professional, very knowledgeable, and are happy to talk numbers and negotiate, and better yet very pleasant to talk to. This is the dealer I bought my car at.

The pattern seems to me that with other premium brands in the same building, you have better odds of a better experience. But, I am beyond happy with the Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep dealer 5 miles from my house who does my inspection sticker, and removed dealer badging for me, at no cost. I think they would like to see me take the Alfa there for oil changes, but I haven't thought about that yet. If I have a bad experience at a dealer, I blame that individual, and definitely not the brand

I hope you don't take this as arrogance from me, I grew up as a big MINI fan and love AMGs, etc, but if somebody is easily swayed enough out of an Alfa, maybe it wasn't meant to be in the first place, and maybe you made the right decision going for the C63 -- all I know is that before I got the Alfa, I knew the Alfa would be my next car, and there was nothing that was going to change that :smile2:
 

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Hi from NJ was in TX a few years ago well probably more then that I had a friend station at FT Hood oh to go to the Bunny Club again, safe driving
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
At the end of the day you go home with the car, not the salesman. Congratulations on your C63S, they are just incredible. It's such a shame dealers are hit or miss right now.

I drove my first Giulia at a Lamborghini/Maserati/Bentley/Rolls/Alfa Romeo dealer. They were beyond professional, and very easy going. But, they might be too soft when it comes to dealing with $40-50k budget clients rather than $200-500k budget clients.

Then, I went to a Fiat/Alfa Romeo (but basically just Fiat) dealer. My mom bought her Fiat there years ago, so I am familiar with them. They are relatively clueless on the Alfa, but are very happy to talk numbers with you and be aggressive on price. This is the only place where they actually tried to sell me a QV, even when it was obvious I couldn't afford it, and I will applaud them for that effort. It was below invoice, which was just incredible, and everybody I tell the story to is surprised. This dealer would be considered 'in the middle of nowhere'

After that, I went to a dealer 120 miles away that sold Fiats and Alfa Romeo, and had a lot of Alfas on the lot. They were more what you'd expect selling 40-50k cars, very similar to Audi salesmen but with more personality. Nice enough people. But, they couldn't keep the numbers straight (very fishy), and didn't want to negotiate beyond round one, which was pretty ridiculous.

Then, after that quite frankly shocking experience of being told not to come back, I went to an Alfa Romeo/Maserati dealer. These people are very professional, very knowledgeable, and are happy to talk numbers and negotiate, and better yet very pleasant to talk to. This is the dealer I bought my car at.

The pattern seems to me that with other premium brands in the same building, you have better odds of a better experience. But, I am beyond happy with the Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep dealer 5 miles from my house who does my inspection sticker, and removed dealer badging for me, at no cost. I think they would like to see me take the Alfa there for oil changes, but I haven't thought about that yet. If I have a bad experience at a dealer, I blame that individual, and definitely not the brand

I hope you don't take this as arrogance from me, I grew up as a big MINI fan and love AMGs, etc, but if somebody is easily swayed enough out of an Alfa, maybe it wasn't meant to be in the first place, and maybe you made the right decision going for the C63 -- all I know is that before I got the Alfa, I knew the Alfa would be my next car, and there was nothing that was going to change that :smile2:

While it is true that one goes home with the car not the salesman the matter of maintenance, sooner or later, is inevitable. I wasn't at this point of the game willing to test the waters on an iffy post-sales experience at a dealer an hour from my house on a $90k purchase from a brand that has a history of iffy reliability and whose early returns upon its reintroduction to the market are at least a little troubling so far. If others are ok with that risk that's fine, and their prerogative. :) No hard feelings at all from your comment.

I would hardly say it was an easy sway, I waited for months for a dealership in the area to open, then waited months to test drive one and was never afforded the chance. I went to the Dallas Auto show earlier this year and was gutted that the only Giulia they had was a 2.0 Q4. I had been talking to my fellow car dork friends about getting the Giulia ever since before the Super Bowl ads and the ads only heightened my sense of anticipation. This in turn grew even more once the first reviews started coming out touting the car's dynamics and engine. Ultimately I was over the lack of a serious offering from Alfa here locally and the timing became such that I needed to make a move. After my awkward experience at the Alfa dealer no one ever followed up via any form of communication or offered to see where we wanted to go next in the purchasing process. Just radio silence.

The experience at the dealer I bought the Merc from was, in short, the polar opposite. I went from filling a form online to buying the car on the weekend and I never had to talk to the finance department (this particular dealer has cut that out of the buying process as they found in their customer satisfaction surveys that it is the part buyers hate the most). The salesperson knew the car inside and out and he was really excited about the car and its characteristics. He was very kind and patient as my wife and I went to lunch to mull our options over and came back to finish the deal after taking my Subaru to get appraised at the Subaru dealer down the street to see if they could beat their offer. No pressure, no BS, a respectful business transaction through and through. No "I need to run your credit before we let you touch this $90k car". No "Oh you came in a Subaru, do you even know what a X is?" (Or what's been worse, as we experienced at a VW dealer years ago -- "you kids come back when you can afford this car"). I drove the car in a torrential downpour and the salesperson never blinked. We got a tour of their service facility. A professional operation. Quite frankly, for a $90k car that should be the standard.

I wish everyone the best and I'll definitely be interested to see how Alfa does. I've attached some poorly lit iPhone pics of the AMG. If anyone's interested in what I think of it so far I'll be glad to elaborate further. :)
 

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Texas speeding fines are locally designated, but there are some statewide laws/rules.

1) A defensive driving course is allowed to be taken to clear a speeding ticket and keep it off your record, once a year. To do this, you must have been speeding less than 25 mph over and have no reckless operation charges associated with a ticket. Also, you cannot use this if you have a commercial license. His course also provides an insurance discount for three years.

2) A deferred adjudication option is authorized, also covering less than 25 over, in most jurisdictions. This is an agreement that if you do not violate again over a set period (normally 60-90 days), the ticket is dismissed. Judges may approve this option for violations over 24 over at their discression.

3) Fines in construction areas with workers present are doubled and will not be dismissed. School Zones have similar rules, but fines are even steeper. Fines can easily reach $350-500.


For fine examples, generally $100-200 for a normal speeding ticket, with similar fees for defensive driving and deferred adjudication. More than one speeding ticket every three years can increase insurance costs.

The last time I reviewed it, the Texas Driver Responsibility program worked as follows for speeding:

Speeding ticket, 2 points for three years
Speeding ticket with accident, 3 points for three years

6 points at yearly review time, fee of $100 to maintain your license for that year. Fee increases by $25 for each point over 6, with no cap. Example, 27 points is a $625 fee that year.
 

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Wow, those fines are pretty good by comparison versus Australia. Thanks for sharing.

Down here they confiscate cars, crush cars if caught 'hooning', and we have set demerit points, once gone you lose your licence for a few years. The demerits are multiples of yours and fines more expensive. Basically, big revenue raising here.
 
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