I have driven BMWs for years and always liked them. Every three years, I leased a new one. Most recently, I had an X5. I got the impression, though, that that quality gap was closing between American and German cars, particularly with Ford.
So, I did something I haven't done in 25 years: I bought an American car, a Ford Edge:
So far, remarkably, I like it far more than the BMW, and it's $320 less a month. Similar size, but the drive is less truck-like. And the technology is terrific. You can talk to the car like on Star Trek. (No, you can't say, "Tea, Earl Gray," but you can give it all sorts of commands.) The GPS guides you around current traffic conditions, which is nifty, and my iPod is permanently plugged in, hidden away. I can change the ambient interior lighting colors which come on at night (my kids, who constantly play with the touch screen, love this feature and my daughter currently has left it pink).
No, the tech isn't perfect. It's balky sometimes, and often it's easier using a button than talking. But it will improve and the cool factor is there. And I've never had so many people ask me about a car I've owned in my life. I was in a meeting the other day with about 25 people when a straggler walked in and asked, "Whose Ford is that outside? That's a great looking car!"
Ford's ears must be burning. When was the last time people said things like that about their cars? They had great earnings this week, and deserved it. Oh, and they didn't take a dime of bailout money.