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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • joe131joe131 Posts: 972
    2nd 1/4, 2006

    Scores on perceived quality this quarter suggest a split into three groups within the industry:

    Top Quality
    Lexus
    Toyota
    BMW
    Buick
    Cadillac
    Honda
    Hyundai

    Middle of the Pack
    Lincoln-Mercury
    GMC
    Pontiac
    Chrysler/Plymouth
    Mercedes-Benz
    Saturn
    Nissan

    Everyone Else
    Jeep
    Chevrolet
    Mazda
    Dodge
    Ford
    Kia
    Volkswagen
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    The A3 is a nice little car, to be sure, but four things stick out in my mind.

    1: It's essentially as reliable as a VW. Expect electrical nightmares. The Mini wins here, hands-down. That list right above this post of quality - VW/Audi is way way down the list - near the very bottom.

    2:Audi can't seem to make a reliable transmission, either. The Mini is ahead a bit for the automatic, but the manual is words better.(don't know if she likes stick or not)

    3:Depreciation is a killer on it. The Mini has virtually none - maybe $1000 a year. This is huge for me, personally, and why it's on my top 5 list.

    4:The A3 has no real flair. It's very nice, but it's just not "fun" like the Mini is, IMO.

    But if she's happy... wht are you going to do?

    Though if she can wait...
    Check out the Volvo 3 series. It looks to be a better version of the A3 IMO. Maybe not as sporty, but definately safer and more reliable. The 220HP T5 looks to be an absolute screamer.

    The BMW 1 series also is coming soon and it's well... it's a BMW. Expect amazing handling.

    My gut says to buy the Mini and sell it in a year or two when the 1 Series comes out for a couple of thousand dollars less than your paid for it. That's cheaper than a lease on a Kia.
  • It's essentially as reliable as a VW. Expect electrical nightmares.

    We've both owned VWs and as i've owned BMWs too, I know that neither company makes good or reliable cars. Both my BMWs have exhibited electrical problems. Really, really poorly made cars, IMHO.

    2:Audi can't seem to make a reliable transmission, either. The Mini is ahead a bit for the automatic, but the manual is words better.(don't know if she likes stick or not)

    Audi/VW DSG is leagues beyond the 6 speed automatic in the Mini and all BMWs.

    :Depreciation is a killer on it. The Mini has virtually none - maybe $1000 a year. This is huge for me, personally, and why it's on my top 5 list.

    We plan to hold for 5-7 years and thus resale is of zero importance. Additionally, my check of used A3s within 200 miles only revealed 9 cars. The car isn't exactly getting tossed aside by owners. Vortex forums seems to reveal mostly happy A3 owners.

    4:The A3 has no real flair. It's very nice, but it's just not "fun" like the Mini is, IMO.

    Mini looks aggressive but to each his own. For a family but also people who want small and powerful, the Mini can't cut it. The A3 offers exactly what she wanted - power, luxury, small size, good interior space.

    But if she's happy... wht are you going to do?

    Make sure she's happy. That's my number 1 goal and the reason I would have said sure to the Mini if she wanted it. I didn't find it practical but having grown up with a mom who always owned sports cars, I know it's possible to get by with any car.

    Check out the Volvo 3 series. It looks to be a better version of the A3 IMO.

    Ehh. Just sold a Volvo S80 - worst car either of us have ever been near. I would sooner own a GM than a Volvo.

    The BMW 1 series also is coming soon and it's well... it's a BMW. Expect amazing handling.

    I've been around tons of 1 series cars (in europe and also we see them at our malls constantly - Mexico is around the corner) and they have a cramped, tiny, poorly conceived interior.

    My gut says to buy the Mini and sell it in a year or two when the 1 Series comes out for a couple of thousand dollars less than your paid for it. That's cheaper than a lease on a Kia.

    AFAIK, BMW will not release the 1 series 5 door hatch here. The coupe and convertible will be here in 08, supposedly: probably called a 2.

    Trust me, we're not keen on Audi but for what she wants the options are limited. She liked it the most and for that reason, I will accept her decision.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    Also during this time, the Unions built up the jobs to stratospheric levels of costs in the quest to "protect" these jobs. House of cards.

    I guess perhaps yo don't understand that the UAW is a [non-permissible content removed] cat union compared to the Germany/Japanese unions. BMW cooks it's employees breakfast free of charge in Germany and serve beer at the work stations. They also do this at Delphi Germany. Japanese union workers get nap breaks along with other perks like company paid schools for the employees children. These are to name just a few perks of being a union worker in Japan/Germany

    Do a little research you just might be surprised. ;)

    Now back to cars.

    I read you and others think the domestics don't build exciting fun to drive cars. :surprise: Since 1980-Present The Chrysler 300 SRT-8, Dodge Stealth, Dodge Viper, Charger SRT-8, Jeep Cherokee SRT-8, Dodge Ram SRT-10, Cadillac CTS, Cadillac CTS-V, GTO, G8, Trailblazer SS, SSR, GMC Syclone, GMC Typhoon, Trans-Am, Camaro, Buick Grand National, Mustang, Shelby Mustangs, Shelby Series 1, Ford GT, Lincoln LS, Cadillac STS, STS-V, Corvette, Pontiac Bonneville SSEi/GXP, Grand Prix GTP/GTX/GXP, G6 GTP/GXP, RWD Impala SS, Saab 9-3/9-5 just to name some off the top of my head....and many more to follow based on what I've read i.e. like a 09' RWD Impala with 400+ hp and the return of the Camaro, a CTS coupe/convertible called the CTC along with a possible
    CTC-V. The 400-450 hp Buick Velite is another possible for 09' ;)

    Please excuse me for being off-topic.

    So the new 08' CTS isn't a good enough ELLPS car to be added to the future shopping list ???? This doesn't surprise me based on this forum but the rest of the world I believe will love this great american car. It is indeed the first real fine ELLPS car from a domestic. ;)

    Rocky
  • So the new 08' CTS isn't a good enough ELLPS car to be added to the future shopping list ????

    Not in my household.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Most of those American cars list have the hp, but that's about where it ends. Sloppy handling, inferior interiors and one-trick ponies. One or two of the one-trick ponies can be fun to drive.

    The boat like STS-V may be fun to floor at stoplights but that is where the "fun" ends.
  • jimbresjimbres Posts: 2,025
    Please confine the discussion to cars that are in the showroom today. I've been hanging around Edmunds for years -- long enough to learn that when you start comparing cars that are for sale today with cars that are months away from production, the discussion gets real dumb, real fast.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,380
    I agree...the history of the US companies speaks for itself and the reason that market share is slipping consistently.

    Check how many US cars are in this forum. I see plenty of them on the road. I am just one voice who does not like the style, knows the level of performance to expect and calculates that at the end of the day, would never plan to own one, even though price is lower given the options being equal to the rest of the candidates.

    As the bar for performance/luxury combination expectations is raised, which manufacturers are doing the best job meeting and raising that bar?

    Let's put it this way...the CTS-V was a nice try but as usual, there were quality/performance issues. We would hope the new iteration eliminates these issues. We will see.

    What is the value of an '04 CTS-V vs. an '04 M3?? I believe price was in a 5% range for comparison purposes as new. If I were in the market and know what I know now, M3 for me. Came story for the ELLPS CTS.

    Regards,
    OW
  • So my feeling is, the quality debate is moot, since sales have spoken.

    If that's the case, then why aren't we all driving Toyota Camrys and Ford F-series pick-ups, since quality is "moot" compared to overall sales? :confuse:

    Right...

    Sales mean nothing to a semi-intelligent consumer looking for their next car. What does (not necessarily in this order) is quality, fun-to-drive, features, price, resale, gas mileage, etc... IMO, I couldn't care any less about the "sales leader" in any segment if it's not fun-to-drive, and doesn't offer the features I want, at a competitive price.

    You may be surprised, but there are potential ELLPS buyers out there that just might care about quality. Maybe just a little, but they're out there. To them, BMW could sell a billion cars a year, but they still won't touch them if they're at the bottom of quality and reliability lists. I'd rather be driving my car everyday, instead of back and forth to the dealer once or twice a week, and being stuck with a rental the rest of the time.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "If that's the case, then why aren't we all driving Toyota Camrys and Ford F-series pick-ups, since quality is "moot" compared to overall sales? :confuse:

    Right...

    Sales mean nothing to a semi-intelligent consumer looking for their next car."

    I'm not talking about the universe of cars, I'm talking about ELLPS. By definition the cars in here have a baseline of quality features. BMW is -2 on the list, yet it leads this segment in sales. What does that say to you? It says to me, in this segment, people value what the 3 series offers. I'm surprised about the relative ranking of Lexus.

    "I'd rather be driving my car everyday, instead of back and forth to the dealer once or twice a week, and being stuck with a rental the rest of the time."

    I agree, but is that vague sarcastic opinion referring to ELLPS cars made by American companies?
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    The consumer is picky. And fickle. All they need is an excuse to jump ship and most of the time they will if it's a significnt amount less expensive.

    Take GM's small cars. They essentially stopped selling them because Hyundai was slaughtering them. Why buy a Grand Am, for instance, when Hyundai makes a simmilar car for a lot less money?

    Wel, Cadillac is now the "Hyundai" of Luxury cars. And it's going to be fun to watch all of the midsize luxury cars scramble to deal with GM's silly low price. They've overcharged for so long that they are stuck. They can't exactly say "oh - so sorry - we gouged you for a decade and we're dropping the price on a 5 series to 35K." ;)

    Should be very fun to watch. :)
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    segment are less relevant to some. Infiniti already produces 300hp for $32K. Didn't quite knock top sales producer from its' perch.

    Caddy can't come back and say..."Uh-oh we realize the price of the car is less than the top guy, and doesn't handle as good as a Bimmer, but our cars have tuned Bose systems"
  • nkeennkeen Posts: 316
    The Caddy may or may not handle as well as a Bimmer, but it'll undoubtedly handle better than a Lexus. As far as quality goes, I have had next to no problems with many prosaic Chevy's over the years. My VW GTi as a joy to drive but trouble after trouble. If it weren't for the abysmal reliability I'd probably be in the new version now. My Acura TL was comfortable, but a rather fast unwieldy pig to drive. Perhaps I had a bad one, but GM builds a better balanced, more stable FWD platform than the TL's. So far I'm pleased with my E90 325i, quality and otherwise.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,658
    what were the differnces between the A3 & the GTI?

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • The A3's seats are softer, power deals with lumbar, the suspension's softer, the interior's quieter.

    The A3 is longer, wider, lower and has a longer wheelbase.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    I can't disagree much with your post. I guess I never looked at Cadillac being the Hyundai of the luxury market but in a way you make good sense. I however have looked at Acura, as the Hyundai of the market but unitl they update the TL and RL, again they really aren't a player but I'm sure in 09 I will like the new TL a lot. The 08' Accord does look very nice exterior wise which SHOULD mean the new TL, should look as good if not better. Hopefully it gets
    SH-AWD and more power.

    Rocky
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    I wasn't comparing the future cars with anything. I was just mentioning them. ;)

    Rocky
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    The STS-V carves corners pretty damn good also. Go look at the numbers. ;)

    Rocky
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    Caddy can't come back and say..."Uh-oh we realize the price of the car is less than the top guy, and doesn't handle as good as a Bimmer, but our cars have tuned Bose systems"

    The 08' Cadillac CTS, has more than just a tuned Bose 5.1 that plays digital surround sound something your Bimmer doesn't have. It also has a 40 gig hard drive that one can download music into and play music from. These are technology's that should be standard on ELLPS cars. I'm willing to bet Acura's next TL will have it. The Lexus, has the Mark Levinson=Good system. Acura TL has the Pansonic ELS=Good System. Infiniti G35 has the "Bose Studio on Wheels"=Good system. The BMW 335i has the Logic 7 which is a okay system but not nearly as good as Land Rover's new ProLogic II 7.1 system with Fiber Optic wires.

    I know you were trying to insult the 08' CTS, but it is widely expected to handle better than the last generation and has 45 more horses under the hood with a 6-Speed Manual Transmission. Sure it won't be a fast or probably won't handle as well as the BMW 335i but those marginal performance gains of the 335i only tell one story of the total picture. The 08' CTS will walk all over the BMW 5 series as plekto, has pointed out in features, price, and performance. The 08' CTS, also due to it's larger size will accomidate a family of 4 better than the IS350 or BMW 3 series. I think many ELLPS buyers shopping for a ELLPS will give the 08' CTS enough respect to add it to their list of cars. It is projected to sell in the neighborhood of 70,000 units. With a Coupe/Convertible and Wagon coming in a few year this car will easily sell over 100K units in just a few short years and have BMW 3 series type success which is currently the benchmark. However Cadillac, is prepared to challenge that benchmark and it doesn't need to be the best at just one thing to accomplish that goal. :P

    Rocky
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "The 08' Cadillac CTS, has more than just a tuned Bose 5.1 that plays digital surround sound something your Bimmer doesn't have. It also has a 40 gig hard drive that one can download music into and play music from. These are technology's that should be standard on ELLPS cars."

    On your cars, not on mine. That might be your benchmark standard for your next ELLPS, but not my benchmark standard.

    "I know you were trying to insult the 08' CTS, but it is widely expected to handle better than the last generation and has 45 more horses under the hood with a 6-Speed Manual Transmission."

    Ok, I'll believe you when you say it is widely expected to handle better than the next generation.

    "The 08' CTS, also due to it's larger size will accomidate a family of 4 better than the IS350 or BMW 3 series."

    To some bigger is better, to others bigger is a liability.

    "It is projected to sell in the neighborhood of 70,000 units. With a Coupe/Convertible and Wagon coming in a few year this car will easily sell over 100K units in just a few short years and have BMW 3 series type success which is currently the benchmark."

    Again I believe you when you say it is expected to have BMW success.

    "However Cadillac, is prepared to challenge that benchmark and it doesn't need to be the best at just one thing to accomplish that goal."

    I think competition is a great thing. I don't think BMW would have been prodded to produce as fine a car as the 335 without some competition.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    Kd,

    Well we both agree the 335i is a nice car. I've said it once and I'll say it again the 335i is a great performance ELLPS. The question is this ? "Is it the best one you can buy" ????? Maybe for some if your priority is strictly performance. I think the Luxury part of the title is the 2nd half of the car and that is the area where I think cars like the 08' Cadillac CTS and the Lexus IS 350 have enough advantage over the Bimmer to make it a interesting question as to what is really the best ? ;)

    Rocky
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    Rocky loves that caddy! :P
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,380
    Let's talk today. CTS is at the bottom of the list, IMO.

    Regards,
    OW
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I've test driven the CTS, but did not attempt to throw it around like a Bimmer. It's a nice enough vehicle. You take your pick of P and L and go with it.

    Statements like an ELLPS should have a 90 gig hard drive have me scratching my head. BMW only recently has started indulging in non-driver oriented tech toys, that was never their thing. I don't need a hard drive in my car, nor do I care to have one. But to some folks, the CTS revamp is a welcome thing and the new model may be miles better than the old, but saying Caddy will take over the world is a bit far-fetched.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    Is it really ? It sells as well if not better than the current TL :P

    Rocky
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    Do you think ? :P

    Rocky
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,989
    but saying Caddy will take over the world is a bit far-fetched.

    kd,

    I never said Caddy is taking over the world. Those are your assumptions while they might be correct I think we agree it's not likely YET :P

    I've test driven the CTS, but did not attempt to throw it around like a Bimmer. It's a nice enough vehicle. You take your pick of P and L and go with it.

    Well obviously the current model will not drive like a 335i but it was good enough when it was introduced that sales kept climbing year after year. ;)

    Statements like an ELLPS should have a 90 gig hard drive have me scratching my head.

    Well it's really only a 40 gig hard drive but the point is all BMW's competition is investing R&D in "Gadgetology" and BMW leaves me scratching my head to as why aren't they doing the same. Where's the Luxury part of the title. Is BMW turning into just a Performance Oriented Sedan ???? Hell a 08' $18,000 Lancer, has as much if not more creature comfort features. :confuse: I'd like to see BMW focus a lil' more attention to technology and get a real navigation system w/ voice recognition, ventilated seats, and a digital surround sound system for starters.

    I don't need a hard drive in my car, nor do I care to have one.

    Well true but that is why company's that do have these minor gadgets earn customers. They want more from their car than just performance. ;)

    But to some folks, the CTS revamp is a welcome thing and the new model may be miles better than the old

    Yep, and it will sell very well and give customers the perfect balance of luxury and performance. Who knows in a few years we might see a 335i like CTS model with a Twin Turbo pushing out 400-450 horspower out of the 3.6 "High Feature" V6 just a step below the 600 horsepower "CTS-V" ;)

    Rocky
  • Rocky,

    Regarding "BMW focus a lil' more attention to technology and get a ..... digital surround sound system for start"

    My 2006 330Xi has a digital surround sound system which I think is very high quality.

    FYI, Logic 7 is a proprietary surround processing capability from Lexicon, which is part of Harmon Sepciality Group. The strength of Logic 7 is taking various input formats, such as stereo, DD 5.1, etc. and generating distinct 7.1 output channels. I have owned two Lexicon PrePros in my HT and found Logic 7 a superb processing capability that does wonders for HT. I can hear the benefits of it in my 330Xi.

    Logic 7 is not a system, but a processing capability. Notwithstanding marketing spin, I think its more accurate to say my BMW has a Harmon Kardon surround sound audio system which uses Logic 7 processing.

    Thanks
    Bruce
  • kdshapiro

    " ... But to some folks, the CTS revamp is a welcome thing and the new model may be miles better than the old ... " - very objective statement.

    I own a BMW, and also think the 08 CTS shows a lot of promise. From the pictures I've seen, the 08 CTS is stunning, and the specs look good on paper.

    When the 08 CTS is actaully available, and comparisons can be made with production models, then I will be curious to see how it stacks up.

    As an aside, I made a post in the CTS thread comparing the size of the 08 CTS with the 530Xi. I think the BMW web site had a mistake on cargo capacity, but outside of that it was uncanny just how close in size the 08 CTS is to the 07 530Xi. The only significant difference was weight, where the 530Xi is some 400 pounds lighter than the AWD 08 CTS.

    Thanks
    Bruce
  • robbiegrobbieg Posts: 327
    By saying that Cadillac is the Hyundai of the luxury car market, one is essentially saying that Cadillac can not charge the same amount for it's cars as Lexus. Agreed. However, I think the Cadillac CTS sales will increase because the interior is much better in the 2008. Thus, a buyer might be willing to overlook the fact that it doesn't handle like a BMW because the interior is nice, assuming that the GM beancounters don't trash the interior. With the current CTS, one can't overlook the relatively poor handling because the interior is awful.

    A question, isn't the top CTS, the 3.6, engine available in the G6?
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