At one point, I was thinking of replacing both my cars -- getting the 335i coupe and a different sedan to replace my 5-year-old geezer. (The M5.
) The TL Type-S was the front-runner for a while. I never did get to drive one. The salesman I talked to -- let's call him Mr. Attitude -- never called me back after I'd visited him.
Anyway, I started evaluating the Type-S. Very cool nav, some nice features, too, including the rear camera. Don't remember if it had rear sensor (park distance control) or not. Has Xenons, but fixed focus -- no auto-leveling, and I don't think it had anything like adaptive lighting.
But ... would you believe that the thing that finally turned me off was a rain sensor for the wipers?
About a year ago, several friends and I went on a trip. Two carloads of us coordinated to meet in the middle for dinner. It was a FOUL Friday night -- alternating between pouring and no rain, with everything in between. I got into my car (the M5), activated the rain sensor, turned on the stereo, and drove. Oh...and talked with the guy who was riding with me. Set the cruise at a reasonable speed (ahem) and a couple hours later met up with the other carload. My friend -- the driver -- gets out, and first thing he says is how aggravating the drive was. "Huh?" I asked. He said he was CONSTANTLY futzing with the wipers for the whole trip. "Umm...I just put mine on sensor and ignored it."
Cute story, right? Here's the clincher...
About a month ago, I'm driving home late at night. It's been raining heavily, but isn't raining right now. I am in the left lane on a high-speed road, cruising right along. I hit a MONSTROUS puddle...car hydroplanes; rear starts to come around. Hitting the puddle covers the windshield. All I can see is water. Between the traction control, the ABS, and me, I managed to get the car back under control and avoid the concrete barriers. By the time I finished sorting all that out, the rain sensor had fired the wipers, and I could also see that I needed to make a steering correction to stay off the concrete barrier. By this time, I've regained traction, and I steer back into the lane. Other than the adrenalin hit, all is well.
The kicker? This was in my $21k, three-year-old GTI. How come VW can put a rain sensor in a GTI, and Honda can't find the pennies to put one into a car engineered to a $40k price point? The rain sensor made a difference that night in keeping me and my car safe. The TL has the high-zoot stereo and the gee-whiz backup camera, but neither of those things make a difference when the car's on the hairy edge and I'm in a dangerous DRIVING situation.
That was about the time I decided to keep the M5.