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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans



  • mbartombarto Posts: 24
    Thanks Riez! Let me know when you do. I'm sure you'll get a chance before I will since I won't return until December. I am curious of how it compares to the BMW's. YOU can speak from experience, so I'll value your opinion.

    It does make a difference being married. (LOL! see the latest discussions on the Infiniti G35 vs BMW 330i board). First, I'm fortunate to have a wife that can drive a manual. Not that she prefers that, her first choice is an automatic. But she appreciates the hard work and sacrifice I'm doing out here, and knows that this car is for me first, family second. Of course, it helps my cause when I let her buy a new dining room set last month, and new living room drapes this month. Bribes do help! Whatever I finally decide, I'm sure she'll be happy.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    mbarto... As regards the "bribes" issue, you've figured out one of life's great truism: You get what you want so I can get what I want."
  • cybersolcybersol Posts: 91
    So if someone were looking to purchase a new performance luxury sedan today, what cars would they HAVE to take a look at and test drive? Lets say they only had time to look at five?

    What five would they have to look into?
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Since it has to have a manual transmission and should be RWD (AWD/4WD adds too much weight and complexity) and has to be fun to drive hard...

    1. BMW 3 Series manual
    2. Lexus IS300 manual
    3. Cadillac CTS manual
    4. Lincoln LS6 manual

    If you want affordable and can go FWD, then add Nissan Maxima 6-speed with LSD and maybe Altima 3.5SE 5-speed.

    Try to get car with LSD. Inline 6s are magnificently smooth engines.

    Possible future car: Infiniti G35 sedan when it finally gets the 6-speed manual.
  • coolguyky7coolguyky7 Posts: 932
    The TL should be up for redesign in a few years so a TL would be outdated in the not so far future. And besides, it seems like everyone who drives an Acura drives the TL. I LOVE the ES300. Some say it looks bloated; I don't think it does. At the 3/4 angle, it looks impressive. The interior is as nice as a car can get. If I had the money, I would buy an ES300 in a heartbeat. I never did like the past ones' boring styling...especially since the last two generations were nearly twins. Go with the ES. Besides, Lexus' quality is ahead of Acura's.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    The new ES is a very smart looking car. Notwithstanding any engine issues though, I think there are direct price competitors like the I35 that offer better overall value on paper. Now I haven't driven either new model, I did drive the older ES300 and it did it's job very well. They are both great cars. Lexus for legendary reliability and resale value, Infiniti for up-to-date features.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257 left off the Infiniti G35 and it's bland, boring brother the I35 (the ES300's competition).

    29k gets someone a 4 door 260 HP performance entry level luxury sedan with all sorts of goodies.
  • jagboyxkrjagboyxkr Posts: 53
    Sorry, I thought that I had already taken up too much space, and I also was getting tired of typing. When I check out an Infiniti G35, maybe I'll post something on it.

    I always thought the I35's looked all right, even if they aren't the most exciting cars ever built.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    Go drive one. They're a blast and for the money they're a steal. If someone wants entry level performance luxury at a great price, the G's really tough to beat.

    Save for BMW, it sort of stands head and shoulders over most of its competition.
  • I can't make a decision. I was set on the MB C240 but then I read some postings from people who got lemons. Now I am starting to think that the Audi 3.0 CVT front wheel drive is what I shoud get. Any advice? Low manintenance is what I am looking for.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well I'm a Benz fan first and foremost, but the A4 3.0 CVT just offers more for the money. The A4 has a better interior, the top A4 engine (compared to the C240, which is the base C) and it's styling is at least as good as the Benz if not better. Both makes pay for scheduled maint during the warranty period. Neither car will be "low maintanence" after the warranty runs out, especially the Audi with it's fairly different transmission. If you're priced these cars and they've come out equal go for the Audi it's the better value here.

  • popovspopovs Posts: 3
    I think both are excellent(sp?) cars, however neither one is a low maintenance automobile. That is to say neither brand is known for low maintenance. What they do offer is luxury and performance in an aesthetically pleasing package and, some would argue, a superior ownership experience.

    As someone has said before, every manifacturer makes lemons - some more than others - but the internet is not the best place to find information about that. Most people are just venting and are not representative of the owner community.

    Although I can not speak as to the driving merits of the cars, I suspect that they are similar since I've heard (read) good things about both the A4 CVT and the C240. Something to keep in mind is that anytime a new product is offered by the industry, it usually takes a couple of years for the company to work out all the bugs in the technology.

    Both cars are relative newcommers to the market. The facts that they are made by distinguished companies and use proven powerplants does not speak conclusively as to how reliable the cars will be as a whole.

    Since you are already looking for alternatives to the MB because of reliability concerns, it may be worth your time to look at other alternatives than the Audi. As someone has suggested in the Help me Choose! forum, try looking to Lexus for the answer. They seem to make reliable cars that are also cheap to keep running. Of course now we get into the issue of European vs Asian luxury ...
  • popovspopovs Posts: 3
    It has come to my attention that as of late MB has taken a hit in its reputation. People have been quick to point at the recent survey results - both European and Domestic - that say Mercedes is no longer reliable. These surveys show that statistically speaking MB has as much as doubled the amount of repairs that they do under warranty. I won't deny these findings, but I will try and justify them.

    1st and foremost, MB has and is comming out with newer designs every year, updating the cars both inside and out. Anytime that a new product makes its debue it takes a couple of tries to get all the kinks worked out.

    Secondly, according to, Mercedes accounted for ~half of the profits by DCX last year. I think MB is being used as a cash cow to keep Jeep and Co affloat, thereby driving Mercedes to cost-cutting through corparate pressure. Lower quality parts equal lower overall car quality.

    These two should get things going ... Feel free to agree or disagree.
  • mvargo1mvargo1 Posts: 298
    There is not much to debate on this subject. If you want a reliable car you buy Japanese. If you want a drivers car you used to have to buy european. The Japanese just do quality better and more consistantly than anyone else. You also get a lot more car for your money with a Japanese vehicle. There was a time when the europeans built the best driving cars in the world. Sadly for them those days are passing. The Japanese keep building cars that are closer and closer to european driving dynamics (IS and GS series Lexus(Lexi?), and Q45 and G35 Infiniti's) While the europeans quality especially Daimler/Chrysler just is not keeping up.
  • wishnhigh1wishnhigh1 Posts: 363
    gave up nationality based generalizations a couple of years ago.
  • cybersolcybersol Posts: 91
    I'm interested more towards performance than luxury. Also value is an important component for me. Although I have the money to buy these cars, I also have other fun things and places to spend it. I'm looking to buy the car and keep it for around 7-10 years. Its very sunny with no snow here as well. I also want an automatic or CVT(gasp).

    So right now, the five I am going to look at more closely are as follows:

    1) BMW 330i
    2) Audi A4 3.0 CVT
    3) Infiniti G35
    4) Acura TL-S
    5) Nissan Altima 3.5 SE

    The BMW represents the top of the class, but it also has the highest price. The Altima represents the most performance oriented family car, which is a cheaper class of cars. The BMW and Altima will bracket the value equation. The other three all have the potential to compete for my dollars.

    Cars that are missing, IS300 too small, while the styling of the CTS, S60 T5, and 9-5 Aero are not for me. The ES300 and I35 don't have enough performance for me. Everything more expensive than a comparibly equipped 330i was also excluded.

    What do you guys think? Anything missing?

  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    cybersol... I can't fathom why you would want to go with slushbox, but that is your loss.

    Comparing FWD to RWD is like apples to oranges.

    Not sure what sort of real price range you are looking at. The 330i with options might push $40,000. You might really consider the much less expensive 325i. An Altima 3.5SE with few options might have a $25,000 MSRP.

    Read Motor Trend's review of I35. Their's had more than enough performance. 0-60 mph in 7.0 seconds, fastest in their comparison test. And it can be had with a Sport Package. But you might be better off with a loaded Maxima SE or GLE, saving thousands off the I35.

    You might also consider Volkwagen Passat. That can also be had with AWD. If you like AWD, the Jag X-type should be on your list.

    From the domestic corner, you might also consider a Lincoln LS 6 or 8. Or Chrysler 300M.

    Surprised your list excludes the Mercedes-Benz C-class.

    And if you can live with a FWD automatic, a loaded Camry or Accord V-6 or Avalon might be acceptable near the Altima's price range.
  • cybersolcybersol Posts: 91
    Sorry to disappoint with the slushbox, but if we were all the same life would be boring (and there would only be 1 car type).

    I would prefer RWD, but the best FWD's (torque sensitive steering) are getting close enough to bring the acceptable price premium for RWD down. Price range is 25-40K as you mention.

    Passat, 300M, 325i, are too slow for me. The C Classes are either too slow or more expensive than the BMW. I would choose the BMW over the X-type, as they are similarly priced and I live in sun country.

    The maxima (better value than the I35) is a good suggestion, and I am considering that equally with the Altima at the lower end.

    My wife loves Camry's, but I'm looking for excitement. slushbox or not.

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    The new Altima is great as my friends just bought one. However, dollar for dollar I think the Maxima is the over-all winner for a FWD car. If you can live without the amenities of the I35 the GLE with leather, sunroof, BOSE can't be beat. I've owned two Maximas. Me! I recently made the jump to the 330i, and it's been worth every penny. However the G35 owners are very passionate about their choices. For a couple of dollars more than the Maxima, hovering around the I35 I guess, the TL-S can't be beat either.

    I understand when it comes down to it, you pick what you think has the right combination of value, performance, luxury and the right type of car for you. For every person it is different. When I got the BMW I was cross-shopping SUVs, mini-vans, and FWD passenger cars to see what struck my fancy, and I was ready to get an Explorer.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    cybersol... Excitement and slushbox don't seem to be compatible. I can't get too excited about FWDers. Certainly not a slushbox FWDer.

    Not sure what you mean about "the best FWDers (torque sensitive steering)".

    Very powerful FWDers tend to suffer from severe torque steering. Use of equal length half-shafts and limited slip differential can help, but not completely eliminate. The laws of physics remain. When the drive wheels and steering wheels are one and the same, and you have a powerful motor, you'll get some torque steering.

    Do you have kids? Plan to in near future? If not, have you considered any coupes or convertibles? They can be a bit more exciting.
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