It depends on where you live. German's design for the autobahn, and while it is not the unlimited speed highway system it used to be the cars are designed to handle the autobahn speeds. It is subtle, but a system designed to handle those speeds is going have more design requirements and refinements than a system designed to meet US speed limits. So if you live in Germany a KIA at 120 MPH is going to have a driving dynamic that is unsettled and on the edge. A Porsche, Audi, MB, or BMW at 120 MPH will feel normal and could go faster with less drama.
This goes farther than just chassis and powertrain. A windshield wiper system designed for 120 plus MPH, has different requirements than a 70 MPH wiper system. This does not seem significant unless you are driving into a stiff headwind when it is raining. Than the US spec system is going to struggle, while the Autobahn system will be better designed to handle the additional aerodynamic issues presented by the relative wind speed.
Well, to be fair American and Japanese car manufacturers do test and "tune" some of their models at Nürburgring. It's just they used to pay much less attention to driving characteristics of their cars BUT amusingly this trend has almost reversed in latest years. BMW continues to make their new cars larger, heavier and more "numb" (their electric and hydraulic power steering in all of latest models is horribly tuned, same goes for mechanical suspension which became too "spongy"), going as far as using a pre-recorded MP3 soundtrack of "engine sound" in their new M5 model (its built on the F10 chassis which has huge amount of sound insulation and was designed to isolate the driver from outside environment as much as possible)
Whereas Cadillac's ATS was recently praised by magazines such as "Car & Driver" for its significantly improved driving dynamics (steering/suspension/braking), same goes for some of recent Lexus models.
Edit: Here's the latest comparison of BMW's attempt at becoming a "Cadillac" and Cadillac's attempt at becoming a BMW:http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons ... ats-page-2
"Less than two miles into his first handling loop in the ATS, senior editor Tony Quiroga announced, “Yeah, this car is way better.
” He raved about the composure and responsiveness of the Cadillac, which was equipped with the FE3 Performance package that brings adjustable magnetorheological dampers, 18-inch summer tires, and a limited-slip differential to the party. The ATS is an easy car to drive fast
, even on lumpy 1.3-lane roads in West Virginia, the land of decreasing radii. A safe touch of understeer gives way to near-perfect balance and incredible poise up to the 0.90-g limit. Wheel motions are admirably well controlled and damped, and it seems nothing can upset the ATS’s line. You can drive this car the same way on a rough patchwork road as you’d drive the BMW on a smooth one.
Should you overestimate the length of a straight, a firm and responsive braking system brings things to a halt in just 160 feet from 70 mph, 12 feet shorter than the BMW’s mushier pedal can manage
. It’s just too bad that Cadillac couldn’t come up with a chassis like this before electric power steering exterminated road feel. While the ATS’s wheel proffers heavy weighting and linear buildup, we’d be lying if we said feel wasn’t muffled. At least there’s some; the BMW’s steering is even more artificial.
This is coming from a car magazine which was always considered a "pro-BMW" and kept the BMW's 3-series in their "10Best" car list for 20 straight years.
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