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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • I drove the 06 manual G35. While i prefer the ergonomics of that car, the 07 is a better car in most other ways - better materials, smoother engine, better chassis, way less nvh, attractive exterior. Unfortunately, like the e9x BMWS, the 07 G35 feels a little too buttoned-down and less enthusiastic.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,474
    it does not have as much midrange usuable torque

    that just tells me you weren't driving a T5.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,474
    Last I looked Volvo or Mazda don't make luxury vehicles

    i agree with you about mazda ... but volvo?? If volvo doesn't make luxury cars, then neither does acura, infiniti, or saab. I'd easily put all of those in the same class as volvo. And I'm not saying your wrong. Maybe none of these are luxury cars ... but then we'd have to change the subject of this discussion.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "i agree with you about mazda ... but volvo??"

    Maybe you are right. But, I don't think of Volvo as a luxury car maker, in not the same way as Infiniti or Acura. Infiniti has a high end model, Acura has a high-end model. What is Volvos' high-end model, the S60? It's the same MSRP as a 3 series. And Saab? Even though Saab is on the list as an entry level vehicle, I don't think of them as being manufacturers of luxury automobiles.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 29,371
    I still see Volvo as a luxury nameplate.. The S80 stickers up into the high '40s and the XC90 goes as high as $57K.. They are definitely in the same league as Acura.. Some nice cars and some warmed over Hondas (Fords).

    MODERATOR
    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Volvo IS like Lexus and Infinity. They just dropped their budget-line back in the early 90s and never looked back.(ie - the 700 and 240 series).

    The 850 Turbo was one of the top three luxury sports sedans of the 90s - easily competing with the 3 series of the time.

    The S60 has more rounded sheetmetal, but it's still the same 850 at heart. A bit softer and more luxurious, but still very much a step up from a Camry, Honda, Buick, Misubishi, and so on. Plus, it handles superbly. Very "European" feel when you're driving it. Oh, and it's safe as a tank. The last of the Swedish designs as well. In a few years, Ford will have gutted it and it'll be a re-badged Mercury. But for now, it's a good alternative to the overpriced stuff from Japan.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "the XC90 goes as high as $57K"

    The highest MSRP vehicle in Volvo's space is not even sedan? This is a differentiator between Volvo and the others and the reason I don't view Volvo as a serious luxury manufacturer. In other words, at least in my view, you are one or you are not. Leather seats do not a luxury manufacturer make.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    They are nose heavy and handle as such. No balance to them.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Volvo's early history is pretty easy to research, so I'll leave that out. What made them famous, though, was how they copied Mercedes' technology during the 60s, 70s and 80s - and reproduced it for 2/3 of the cost.

    Mercedes came up with nearly every safety invention that Volvo got its reputation for first - just who could afford a $12-15K sedan in 1967? Volvo cost a lot less and offered the same safety(and preformance) This is why I have always considered them to be a luxury maker at heart. They are(or were) the European version of Buick to Mercedes' Cadillac.

    Other than the 240 and 700 series(plus some ill-fated budget cars in Europe like the 300 series), their cars have always been aimed at providing a working-man's luxury alternative, exactly like Lexus started off as. Why buy Mercedes and BMW when Lexus offered 75-80% for half the price?

    See, I see four segements in the market.
    1:True budget. Aveo and Yaris and the like - you get a box that gets you areound.
    2:Average car - about 60-70% of the market.
    3:Budget luxury. Lexus, Infinity, Volvo, and so on.
    4:True luxury. Mercedes, Bentley, Austin Martin, BMW, Lotus, Saleen, and all the rest. Stuff us working class people usually can't afford.

    Now, there is some overlap between #3 and #4, like the Mercedes C class and the top-end Lexus models, but when someone posts here about wanting "luxury" and sets a low price-limit, it's clear that they are like 99% of us. They are really talking about category #3. And Volvo and Saab belong there.(the 9-2 aside - nobody wants a Saabaru)
  • ggesqggesq Posts: 701
    "Plus, it handles superbly"

    Compared to what? The Camry, Honda (Accord) Buick, Mitsubishi and so on? If so- that's about it. It doesn't compare to some of the other vehicles in this segment. It doesn't even get an invitation to a performance shoot out.

    "But for now, it's a good alternative to the overpriced stuff from Japan."

    I don't share your opinion about the [non-permissible content removed] models currently being overpriced. There are huge discounts on Infiniti and Acura products and can pick up 06 models of the G and TL in the very low 30's.

    As long as your happy with your purchase that's all that matters because it is YOUR money and you should spend it on what makes sense for you. BUT, IMHO it's a little humorous when you make generalizations about the performance aspect of the Volvo as well as the Japanese counterparts being overpriced.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    I agree that Volvo is not a "luxury brand" compared to Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, etc. in that their top level car, the S80, doesn't compare to the Lexus LS, M-B S-Class,or BMW 7-series. No, I'd put the S80 closer to the Audi A6, and Acura RL kind of cars.

    I have to disagree that Volvo is not a "luxury brand" in the general sense. I'd say they are a "near-luxury" brand, most similar to Saab and Acura in market segment.

    Volvo's are well built, safe, and luxurious cars, but they don't come close to mid and top level Lexus or Mercedes cars.

    Actually, I think Volvo's are basically European Buicks. They are soft, comfortable touring cars with high-quality materials and luxury touches, but they are FWD and don't have any sporting aspirations at all (except for the "R" cars). Driving experience wise, I'd say they are very similar to the Honda Accord (crisp but not sporty handling with light overboosted steering and little road feel).

    I love my Volvo for what it is - a smooth, quiet, comfortable touring car with European flair and luxury appointments. But I don't pretend for a second that it is "fun to drive" or "sporty." It's not - it's a really nice Buick.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    You posted very eloquently what I was attempting to say.
  • I agree that Volvo is not a true luxury car but neither is Lexus. Use the same measure for all the cars.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Actually not. Lexus is coming out with some very high-end models.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    I actually prefer the Lexus LS to the Mercedes S-Class. I know it's personal, but I find the Lexus appointments to be softer and warmer, which is nice. The Mercedes is fantastic, but tends to be more on the hard, Teutonic side of luxury.

    Time has also shown that the LS is a very, very stout car. Look at how many early 90's LS400's you still see on the road. Most of them look as good as the day they drove off the showroom floor.

    I know if I was looking for a luxurious used car, I'd buy a 95 LS400 before a 95 S420 in a heartbeat.
  • WARNING - off-topic tangent in response to another post.

    "4:True luxury. Mercedes, Bentley, Austin Martin, BMW, Lotus, Saleen, and all the rest. Stuff us working class people usually can't afford."

    Bentley and Aston don't belong next to a BMW, Mercedes, or Saleen. Lotus doesn't even belong in the luxury group at all. (they are now a pure sports car - very little going on in the way of luxury - just go to youtube and do a search for "Top Gear Lotus" to see what I am talking about)

    I would add a 5th segment in there - Ultra Luxury
    Bentley
    ASTON Martin
    Ferrari (only the 612 Scaglietti, the rest are pure sports)
    Bugatti
    Rolls Royce

    etc

    Having driven the top three in the list above (I haven't driven a 612, but I have sat in one), I can tell you from experience.

    Go sit in an Aston Martin DB9 or Bentley Continental GT (both cars I have driven on a track), then come back and tell me that BMW, Mercedes, or even Lotus can touch it for luxury.

    Don't get me wrong, I have nothing but respect for german engineering, but they have a skewed idea of luxury. IMHO, they seem to think shiny and modern is luxury. IMHO, Luxury is about comfort, technology, and environment all coming together in harmony.

    Few car manufacturers outside of Bentley or Aston get it.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,382
    I know this is off topic but the ultra luxury you have experienced should be the benchmark for the entry segment.

    Considering this, MB, BMW, Acura, Lexus, Infinity, Caddy, Lincoln all are basically Entry Level except for the top end models of MB, BMW and new to the segment Lexus, IMHO. All the rest do not compete for the Ultra segment, really.

    But the entry level is where there is fierce competition and it's fun to see the evolution.

    Regards,
    OW
  • in terms of looks, I think the G35 looks the best in the entry-level luxury performance category. however, I'm not so sure as to how revolutionary this sedan actually is... a lot of parts I see I can find on the previous generation of the G35.

    http://www.carphotosite.com/image.php?image=modelpages/Infiniti/2007.Infiniti.G3- 5.Sedan/1024/2007.Infiniti.G35.Sedan_015.jpg

    and that navigation screen has got to be the best thing I've ever seen.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    I'm with you pal and view Volvo as a entry-lux brand for the most part. The S80, is about the only vehicle that can get into the $60K range as I've priced a few of them up with the options I'd want. I guess we need a sound criteria/guidline to go by of what is, and what isn't a luxury car. :)

    Rocky
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    The guildeline seems to be the manufacturer builds luxury cars, ultra-luxury and exotics are excluded. The high-end sedan S80 does not compete with high-end offerings from BMW, Mercedes and Lexus although, you could argue it competes with the RL and the M45. Having said that you can compare the options of the S80 with the RL and M45. For 300 hp it's a lot more expensive than then 335, which is not a luxury vehicle. If the S80 is included in the group, it is the most expensive vehicle here and the top of the line for Volvo, while these other cars are the bottom of the line for the other manufacturers.

    I don't think anyone will seriously compare the S80 against the 550, at least in terms of performance. Maybe the S80 compares against the new 2008 600hp CTSV?
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "Volvos and Saabs used to famous for being enviormentally friendly companies. Such a green reputation has gone down the toilet with V8 Volvo and Saab SUVs."

    Being environmentally friendly involves both manufacturing process and type of vehicle. BMW for one, is involved with both.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Sorry KDShaprio,

    I deleted that post.

    My initial point was that Volvo and Saab have both lost their reputations as environmentally friendly companies to Honda and Toyota.

    Volvo and Saab have lost their reputations of producing the safest premium priced cars to Audi.

    And in terms of performance/handling as far as I can recall both these Swedish marques never stood out as the best.

    If Volvo and Saab want to stand out in the marketplace they at least have to be the best in something.

    I still can recall my fond memories of driving a 82 Volvo GLT sedan. It also most likely saved the life of my parents and myself when we were in a nasty highway accident almost a quarter of a century ago.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    I remember a few rides in a friend's Volvo 240 Turbo and it was plenty fast. :)

    Look - the S60 isn't a top-end puxury car, but we are talking entry-level here. Compared to anything else under $30K, it offers a good, well-balanced package. Yes, compared to a Buick, it's "sporty" - but then again, at $25-6K(depending on the engine choice)for a 2006, it comes in way WAY under the price of a C class or 3 series or anything Lexus makes.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    "If Volvo and Saab want to stand out in the marketplace they at least have to be the best in something."

    Saab's are "born from jets." That's gotta count for something...

    "Compared to anything else under $30K, it offers a good, well-balanced package."

    MSRP on a Volvo S60 is over $30,000. MSRP on a Honda Accord V6 is $25,000. The Volvo has a 40 HP deficit, requires premium fuel, has a less sophisticated suspension (McPherson struts), 16" wheels (vs Accord 17's), and lacks Stability Control (optional on Volvo, standard on Accord). The Honda also has the advantage of better predicted reliability and better resale.

    What exactly does the Volvo S60 offer that makes it more attractive than the Accord?

    Edit: Yes, I know about incentives on 2006 Volvo models. S60 invoice is $28,800 minus $5000 dealer cash equals $23,800. 2006 Accord LX-V6 invoice is $22,600 minus $750 dealer cash equals $21,850 - still $2000 cheaper than the Volvo.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,382
    Volvo does not concentrate on the "Sport" nature in its cars save the turbos. Most of the models are underpowered.

    But for safety, they are Number 1. That's has been their focus. As competition rises in the Safety field, Volvo looses some of their market edge and where performance sedans are concerned, the brand does not breed the emotion and excitement in it's offerings, IMO.

    Saab NEVER appealed to me so I would not even have an opinion.

    Regards,
    OW
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    Well I look at the new S80, this way. It does compete with not only the M45, RL, but it also competes with the Cadillac STS, Audi 6/8, and maybe a Lexus LS ? The S80, definitely is a luxury car IMHO. :)

    Rocky
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Compared to anything else under $30K, it offers a good, well-balanced package.

    Exactly...but why are you comparing it to anything UNDER $30K? How many of the cars listed above come under $30K?

    Personally I'd put the S60 in the same category as the Saab 9-3 and VW Passat. These cars are not truly entry-lux but a bit above the mid-size sedan class. They are truly in a class of their own.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    I can see that the new S80 compares to the M, RL, GS or maybe even the 5er and E-class. But Audi A8 and LS? You've gotta be kidding me...

    Rocky, have you seen the new A8 and LS? If you haven't please go take a look and come back and tell us that the S80 is in the same class.
  • Hi Plekto.
    Just went shopping this weekend. Went to a car mall (12 manufacturers side by side dealerships) I test drove every car on the list you said were the best entry level lux-perform. sedans for the money under $30K. Was not totally impressed with any model of BMW and Mercedes. I found they were extremely overpriced for what you got inside and out and I don't suggest to anyone on this forum to consider those makes unless you want to pay $5K to $10K more just to own the name. BMW and Mercedes ride was far less luxurious than I expected for the quality of car I was expecting to get at $30K (328xi, C230). You may be suprised at what I found...
    The top 5 best bang for your buck Lux-Perform sedans under $30K range of cars when comparing 4 major factors equally-Perfamance-ie.acceleration, speed, suspension, braking, solidness at high speeds.
    Luxury-was the interior comfortable,noisy?,pleasing to the eye,ergonomically designed, did it feel good.
    Options given at the price(no one gets a stipper sorry !)
    Price-the lower the price the better without sacrificing quality and included the salesmans attitude of willingness to deal and give good service after purchase.
    Here is what I found:
    #1 best choice- Lincoln MKZ-why, price was at $29K with several options thrown in, 3.5L V6 with 263 hp, beautiful car inside and out,utter ecstasy for the price, found the salesman willing to throw in extras and bargain,with speed and luxury that beats any entry level BMW or Mercedes in its price range. Sorry BMW and Mercedes !

    #2 best choice-2007 Ford Fusion-their top midsized sedan was surprisingly luxurious,fully loaded with beautiful leather (liked the stitching) and had every option imaginable, and has a 240 hp engine for the price $27K. Speed, acceleration and handling were very nice. The salesman was willing to go lower in price and bargained for service 6 year extended bumper to bumper warantee. My only complaint was that I did not like the way the grille looked.
    #3-Volvo S60 R-test drove a 2 year old-fully loaded-with orange colored luxurious leather-not many options inside but it handled nicely at higher speeds, the salesman was willing to bargain and my impression is Volvo is a good buy for the price-$29K bargaining price on a 2 y.o.

    #4-Infinity G35-1 y.o. with few options, beautiful car but found out people are rushing to trade in their G35's for other cars-so is this a car that looks good but does not meet up to the drivers expectations after several months of use ?? Found it hard to bargain the price down without sacrificing options $29K.

    #5-2007 Sebring Limited 3.5L-$29K fully loaded every option available, this car has 235hp,Westgate Chrysler in Indianapolis just got its first one this weekend, handled very well for the price, sporty and luxurious leather interior and nice touch screen navigation/satelite radio entertainment center. Really liked this car.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,474
    The guildeline seems to be the manufacturer builds luxury cars, ultra-luxury and exotics are excluded. The high-end sedan S80 does not compete with high-end offerings from BMW, Mercedes and Lexus although, you could argue it competes with the RL and the M45. Having said that you can compare the options of the S80 with the RL and M45. For 300 hp it's a lot more expensive than then 335, which is not a luxury vehicle. If the S80 is included in the group, it is the most expensive vehicle here and the top of the line for Volvo, while these other cars are the bottom of the line for the other manufacturers.

    I don't think anyone will seriously compare the S80 against the 550, at least in terms of performance. Maybe the S80 compares against the new 2008 600hp CTSV?


    I'm not sure I'm totally clear on this.

    Are you comparing the S80 to the 550 just because it has a V8? The 550 is FAR more expensive. Pricewise, the S80 compares closely to the RL.

    And, just as you say the S80 is the highest in the volvo lineup, so is the RL for Acura and M45 for Infiniti. So, again, if those manufacturers are in the entry-luxo class, than so must volvo be included. If we exclude one, then we must exclude all.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

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