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Air conditioning


I live in Phoenix where my car spends much of the summer in the temperature range of an active volcano. I’m considering buying either a 2011 BMW 535i or a 2011 Infiniti M37 and want to get the one that will cool me off the quickest when I get in. Which A/C will put out the coldest air and cool the car most effectively?

I had the pleasure one time to visit with a wealthy sheik in Kuwait (before the war). He had a Ferrari, Corvette, Range Rover, Jaguar Vandenplas, and a buch of Suburbans with dual A/Cs, as well as a fleet of Chevrolet Caprices for business.

What did he take out to the desert? A 4WD Suburban with the dual A/C and heavy duty everything.

The Suburban won hands done with its polar blast of cold air from the 2 units. The Caprices were next. He condsdered the Jaguar a “lady’s car” to be used only around town. The Range Rover was too unreliable to risk going out into the desert.

A few years ago were were on a holiday in Thailand. The Bankok tourist bureau has little white minibusses, Toyota and Mercedes. The A/C in the Mercedes models was DISMAL, while the Toyota units were great.

Not having driven either of the cars you mention, I don’t put much faith in the A/C of European cars. I would also avoid “automatic climate control” units; they don’t allow YOU to control the cooling and are usually too hot or too cold.

In summary, American cars have great A/C by world standards; the Japanese are next and the rest a distant third.

My BMW 328i sedan’s A/C is OK – good enough for Denver’s hot, but dry summers. I’m not an American car fan, but we sure know how to make the best car A/C here in the good old US of A. You may want to check out a Cadillac CTS or Chrysler 300C.


A GM employed AC instructor at the school they used to operate in Glendale AZ once told me that a Suburban (it was 1997) had the same AC capacity that was typically found in a 3 bedroom home. One thing I have noticed with AC systems of today, the refridgerant capacity sure is way down, perhaps half of what it was 10 years ago, I don’t know the analysis that is going on here.

I just drove up from Sonora in a Crown Vic…I never had to change to settings from “Normal cool” and low fan. Max Cool and Medium fan would freeze your knuckles to the steering wheel. The cold air is blowing out before you clear the parking lot…Taxi fleets can’t tolerate marginal air conditioning…

Only a local test drive at 100* will tell. Most people don’t realize that recently auto airconditioning systems are “localized”, and those designated to be sold in AZ are better than those for “normal” temperatures. Cars there with CCOT (orifice tube) systems should be using the VOV designed for 105*+ temps. If you don’t know what that is, tell your AC specialist. It is a $ 25 part that makes your AC 5-20* colder at low speeds and idle. Can be retrofit to all older CCOT type cars. Other systems with poor cooling should look into refrigerants such as ES12a, which are legal in only 32 states or R406a which is legal in all 48. Both of which are much colder than R134a, which is being phased out by 2013 model year worldwide (EU for 2011)and that is the reason the price just doubled. AC Tech for a gazillion years.