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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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Comments

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Re - CTS video:
    My point was that the CTS can easily give BMW competition right now, and the 2008 model, if it's even 2/3 as fast as the V, it'll easily be as good as the base 5 series. This isn't you grandfather's Cadillac anymore.

    Yeah - for loads less. Don't forget GM offers their credit card program/deal dollars and financing deals form time to time. So that $33-35K base CTS can be had for closer to what a $28-30K 3 series would run you.(0% or even 2.9% financing is huge - it can knock off the equivalent of 4-5K off the sales price)
  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    louiswei writes: For BMW, one gets the legendary BMW performance. For MB, one gets umm... a tri-star emblem on the hood?

    Aw c'mon, haven't you looked at the 2008 C-series? The tri-star is on the grille!
  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    circlew wrote:

    Couldn't agree with you more. If you decided to go for the CTS, than it would have been a good choice for you.

    Now that you have the c280, are you still happy with your choice? How would you rate it against the others now that you have longer experience with the car?

    Regards,
    OW


    Absolutely; smooth ride, good acceleration, behaves great in all-weather conditions. Got me through the snow easily when others were spinning out. Turns on a dime; and fits nicely in my garage and in parallel parking. I hope the reliability issues of the early 2000s are a thing of the past
  • dpalmer2dpalmer2 Posts: 11
    Do you feel that any car with a luxury manufacturer's badge is a luxury car regardless of content? That seems a little odd because luxury brands seem to revel in the fact that they offer so much cutting edge technology and uneccesary luxury features. What good is a luxury car that has no more features than a Honda Civic? IMHO it should take more than a badge to have a luxury ride. Maybe thats just me though. Regular cars have so many features these days that I dont think there is much reason to pay premium dollars for a stripped luxury sedan.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pre-disposed to hating American cars the moment I get in one. Or just see them. My viewpoint obviously will influence my perception of the car. Can't be helped - I'm human and prone to emotional decisions about cars. You get into a GM vehicle and if you're blindfolded you can feel it. Ditto Mopar and Ford. End up with all of them traveling for work. They're consistent, I'll give them that much.

    West Coast. My parents are from the midwest and their cars choices always reflected that; we were the only family in the neighborhood with exclusively American cars.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    With the Cadillac, you don't PAY premium dollars. :)
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,401
    Thanks,dfc3. Now we have something to work with. You seem to have taken a gamble with MB despite your perception of the quality issues. Very interesting but as long as it serves your expectations, excellent choice.

    I still have the low reliability perception since my neighbor's 2004 S430 had leaking oil line. Fixed now but lingering doubts persist. Beautiful car nonetheless.

    Regards,
    OW
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    I'm getting sick of all this CTS, M-B, BMW bashing. All this talk about the CTS and M-B C-Class is really splitting hairs. I think some people on the boards (myself included) are sometimes guilty of exaggerating their feelings a little for the sake of making a point. The point may be valid, but IMO, the gulf that separates these cars is not the chasm that some would have you believe.

    Sure the CTS isn't as tight or nimble as the BMW, but it is still a fine entry-lux sport sedan. If you like the looks and the feel, and get a screaming deal at purchase, it can be a fine choice. The C-Class is another bird altogether. The M-B (with sport suspension) is right up there with the BMW in ride/handling dynamics, it has a bank vault rigid body structure, and it has a quiet, refined demeanor. Quality has been a problem, and some interior plastics are cheap, but perhaps the new C-Class addresses these issues.

    The Lexus IS didn't live up to the pre-release claims of building a better 3-series - so what? Although, when driven side-by-side with the Bimmer, the Lexus lacks steering feel and handling response, taken on it's own merits, it's still a very competent sport sedan with the bonus of high quality materials and outstanding expected reliability.

    The challenge manufacturers have in this most competetive segment is choosing who they want their buyer to be, and then making a car for them. Infiniti is a fine example. The previous generation G35 was a great handling, snorting stomping, fun-to-drive sport sedan. Unfortunately, Infiniti listened to the complaints about NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) and cheap interior quality, and they "fixed" those issues - at the expense of responsive handling and tight dynamics. IMO, Infiniti has turned the G35 into a Buick and ruined it.

    Yeah, we have a tendency here to describe molehills as though they are mountains. Those of us with track experience (more of us here than you think) can feel and appreciate the undeniable edge that BMW's possess over their very fine competition, and we're not willing to sacrifice even a drop of performance in return for electro-luminescent instruments or perforated leather seats. Others here are looking for a different blend of luxury and sport and probably can't tell or don't care about the subtle differences in driving dynamics of any of the cars on this list.

    Bottom line - none of these cars are pure sports cars. They are too heavy and possess too many compromises for the sake of refinement, luxury, styling, room, and price. The car you buy should be the car that possesses the balance of these traits that most appeals to you and fits your lifestyle.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,343
    You sort of made my point. You can get tons of "features" and options on a Honda Civic (including a moonroof and all), but that doesn't make the Civic a luxury car.

    You can get a Hyundai with so-called luxury amenities these days. To me, a luxury car isn't the nameplate, but is more about the driving experience. The sophisticated and refined suspensions and drivetrains, the interior comfort, ergonomics, and material quality. You can get leather in a Mazda, but it doesn't even come close to the quality of the leather in an Audi. Honda's leather also falls a league behind Audi's. A lot of cars have leather wrapped steering wheels now, but they don't compare to the feel I enjoy on the Audi leather wrapped steering wheel.

    Should they include a few more items as STANDARD equipment? Probably they should. Xenon lights would be nice as standard. I can actually live without leather seats though....
    I could use a 6 CD changer... that would be nice, my Honda had that. But no matter how much content you put into an economy car, it'll still never be luxury. Case in point: VW is regarded as having very nice interiors. The GTI or GLI Jetta do have a "nice" interior, but compared to the A3, falls about one league behind. A3 is luxury, GTI/GLI are nice (for an economy car).
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,401
    With the Cadillac, you don't PAY premium dollars


    But you get sub-premium experience...every time, one way or the other. (experienced two Caddys...NOT PREMIUM).

    Regards,
    OW
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Most of the cheap stuff is actually leather powder/goo that's sprayed and texured onto a substrate or is a thin veneer on a backing. Ford is famous for this junk - you can see it when it starts to crack and split. There's what looks like cloth behind the leather? Some white crap holding it together(or not in this case)

    The Audi and luxury makes - well, SOME of them use real full-grain leather. Real cows, the same as you see in a leather jacket - and lasts 20 years or more like one, too.

    I tihnk this is the biggest dissapointment for me with the new C class. It's quite obviously manufactured leather. Me - I'd get cloth seats and then pay the dealer $1200 to put in real leather. The dealership near me(I'm in Pasadena, CA) told me that for $1200, they'd re-do the mb tex/cloth crud with the Napa leather they use in the S class. They even had a car that they did it to - a 4 cylinder C class. And dear lord it felt like the car was suddenly a mini Bentley. The same almost cry to sit in it feeling a Porsche 911 has. ;)

    Yeah - say no to pleather.

    P.S. the CTS with the 3.6 certainly does give you performance. You just drove the wrong Cadillacs is all. :P
  • thegidgethegidge Posts: 4
    I understand to each his own when purchasing a car, but how can you overlook the tried and true reliability of Acura. No car holds up better, and the 2007 TL with Nav is an unbelievable automobile.

    You couldn't sell me an American car cheap enough to make it worth my while (Mercedes for that matter as well).
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    Do you feel that any car with a luxury manufacturer's badge is a luxury car regardless of content?

    What do you consider content? To me laser cruise is just a toy. A smooth engine and great suspension make the car.

    That seems a little odd because luxury brands seem to revel in the fact that they offer so much cutting edge technology and uneccesary luxury features.

    Some do. BMW allows you to buy the car for what it once was: a performance sedan. Many of us lament that we can't delete other features - moonroofs for one. We want the chassis, not a sunshade.

    What good is a luxury car that has no more features than a Honda Civic?

    Drive a Civic at 19k and a 33k 328i. Or a 31k G35. There's a quantum leap in handling and on-road prowess, comfort, refinement.

    This past weekend I drove a Mazdaspeed3. The car's insanely fun. The power's giggle inducing, the reflexes sharp and the car's light and enjoyable. At 26k loaded with every option it's a decent price. Lose the top end junk and at 22-23k before negotiating, it's a steal.

    But you notice the little things. The dash, the seats, the sound insulation = all feel a little cheap. I was driving an economy car that had been tarted up to street/track performance levels. Underneath it's still an econo car and felt it. The chassis felt maxed out and car was too boy racer for me with the snappy shifter, loud exhaust and always ready to rumble engine.

    IMHO it should take more than a badge to have a luxury ride.

    Agreed. When I'm slicing through a 30 mph corner at 70 and the e90's bolted down, I know the engineering behind the car is on a different level from anything else I've driven recently.

    Maybe thats just me though. Regular cars have so many features these days that I dont think there is much reason to pay premium dollars for a stripped luxury sedan.

    Regular cars are still built for people who want numb appliances. They're not interested in throttle oversteer. They want seat heaters. I want smooth transitions in corners; they want navigation systems and bluetooth. I want to feel utterly secure at 95 on a snowy day in Switzerland; they want a 6 speed automatic that never bothers them.

    In the case of buying say a MB or BMW, you're buying what went in to the car underneath the sheetmetal/plastic. Have you looked at the slalom numbers of the 335i sedan Edmunds just tested? The car nearly put up 70 mph.

    http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/Followup/articleId=119739/pageId=119- - 930

    Flipside, look at the Accord V6 and Camry V6 from a 2006 test:
    http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/Comparos/articleId=109710/pageId=693- - 05

    The test price on that Camry was 31k. For that kind of money I can get into a 328i with sport package, comfort access, and xenons through european delivery. Now tell me, will most notice the car's ability to pull almost 10 mph more through the slalom? Maybe not. But to an enthusiast, that's the reason to buy the car.
  • chavis10chavis10 Posts: 166
    Point was, the car was/is praised by the press. I was illustrating how people use the word "great" to describe cars when they can really amount to junk. Did you not say it was a great car? It's junk in my opinion and it's build in Hiroshima, Japan unlike some popular Honda/Toyotas. I have the 4/50k warranty. Bluedotguy hates American cars based on whatever experience he has had but if I say I hate Japenese cars based on my one bad experience with my 3, would I be wrong? A lot of "import" cars are built right in here in the USA so how could a car built in Japan be junk? hmmm.....
  • dpalmer2dpalmer2 Posts: 11
    So you find the Cobalt and the new CTS to be similar? Interesting. I would suspect less savvy people would be hard pressed to know the two interiors came from the same company. I respect the honesty you are displaying here. I find it quite interesting that one could hate car brands so much. You seem to have serious grudge againt anything american as regards to cars. So I assume based on your comments that you see no difference between GM cars (or even Cadillacs specifically) in 1987 and 2007.

    Cant say that I agree but its a free country.

    Dave
  • chavis10chavis10 Posts: 166
    A3's chassis and structure are based on a $15k economy car (as as was the old TT). I don't see how that's luxurious. My point to you all is that if I'm gonna pay the premium for a near lux car, it'd better have something to make it more special than a loaded Altima besides intangible things as "nice chassis and solid frame." We as consumers can't measure the stiffness of a frame or gauge how durable a CV joint will be. What I can do is get in a compact car that cost $33k and realize it doesn't have leather, heated seats, HIDs, etc and wonder what I'm paying for. I don't think average people who aren't obsessed with brand image can make rational sense of such a purchase. Just my opinion. My aunt's S430 doesn't have any options, but hey, it's a Benz so it must be a "nice" car. $72k+ with no HIDs and 16" wheels.
  • chavis10chavis10 Posts: 166
    That example works if you're an accountant trying to save your company money. However, if you're a consumer who likes cars and plans to spend time in it and enjoy it, gimme some features. Sitting in traffic, as many of us do, I don't see how knowing that your car has grade A suspension tuning eases the pain of the commute better than a CD changer to pass the time or heated seats on a cold morning. Perhaps it's just me....

    Why do Europeans charge for metallic paint anyway? Can someone please explain? Another question for my information, does anyone brag about a non sport packaged BMW's handling?
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,401
    I tend to agree with fedlawman. All the cars in this forum are capable cars. I think perceptions change based on experience. The quality/reliability thing is starting to tighten up between brands and is expected to be there.

    Perhaps we should all vote for the candidates by individual preference. My choices based on everything I know now would be:

    BMW
    Infinity
    Audi
    Lexus
    Acura
    Cadillac


    Regards,
    OW

  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    what I've shopped and what I would actually pay money for today, I'd have to say:

    Audi
    Infinity


    The others have nothing currently I want.
  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    I agree with your post, fedlawman. I chimed in because I think a lot of these cars are very similar. I posted the little differences that got me to buy the C-series rather than the CTS or 3-series (didn't try a G35). In my mind, they are little differences - and people rate their importance differently.

    I am a little surprised that people are saying the C-class is the most inferior, and not in the same class, etc. For me, it was (is) the best car of the group.

    Its possible I'll be speaking a different tune 2 years from now, but in the first 11 mos of ownership, I've had zero problems and only good things.
  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    So, Circlew, you wouldn't even consider MB to be even under consideration?
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    "if you're a consumer who likes cars and plans to spend time in it and enjoy it, gimme some features."

    I agree AND disagree with you.

    I agree that if all you do is sit in rush hour traffic 2 hours every day, you don't need a 3-series, CTS, TL or any other sporty sedan. A 4 cylinder Camry is just as refined and comfortable, and has the leather seats, Sat-Nav, and laser-guided cruise control you crave.

    I believe that an ELLPS is supposed to be for the person that wants comfort, quality, safety, and luxury for their M-F carpool, but also enjoys attacking Mulholland Drive or attending an occasional HPDE on the weekend. There is no better car on the road for doing both very well than an ELLPS.

    Now, the difference between the BMW 3-series and the Cadillac CTS is relatively small. If you never drive above 8/10ths of your cars (or your own) capabilities, you'll never notice the difference - just pick the one that has the looks/driving feel you like. OTOH, if you do decide to raise the fun up a couple of notches, you will quickly separate the wheat from the chaff.

    The overboosted, lightweight steering of the CTS (or IS350 for that matter) makes the car feel very nimble and responsive at 8/10ths. At 9/10ths, the lack of feedback and light touch require extra concentration and minute steering corrections from the driver - now the car is beginning to feel "twitchy" and unstable. At 10/10ths, it can be downright scary (in reality, thanks to the traction nannies, it'll just push and decelerate).

    For 90% of drivers who are shopping this segment, I say, just stay below 8/10ths and enjoy your Lexus, Cadillac, Acura, etc.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    BMW
    Infiniti
    Audi/VW

    Would jump to Mazda or Subaru before any of the following:
    Acura
    MB
    Lexus
    Lincoln
    Saab
    Caddy
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "Intellichoice figures in my previous post were for 2007 cars, not 2004. They are best estimations of what an average owner can reasonably expect, not numbers based on your own personal cars and your one person experience."

    The figures I quoted were ACTUAL KBB trade-in values for comparably equiped 2004 models TODAY. They weren't my personal figures. And they weren't some hypothetical estimate of future resale values.

    "In the case of CTS/TLS the target prices were CTS $31,302 and TLS-S $36,504."

    Again, I think you're way the heck off on an apples to apples comparison. The MSRP of a CTS is $41,000+/- for a car with most - but not all - of the features found in a base TL w/ Nav. The base TL MSRP is $36,000+/-. Why don't you compare a TL-S to a CTS-V? If you are telling me that a CTS with an MSRP of $41k could be purchased for $10k off at $31.3, well then that's almost a good deal. A bast TL with a MSRP could be purchased for about $2k more than that, but would still be worth $5k more in 3 years.

    Slice, dice, and fry the figures any way you want. In the real world, GM has horrible resale and Cadillac brings up the rear. Any Japanese or German premium car will have considerably higher resale as a percentage of it's purchase price. These aren't my figures and can be easily verifiable by looking at current resale values.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    What are you talking about - the order cars that you would like to drive off a cliff? ;)

    I seem to recall that in spite of owning what I consider to be an excellent car - BMW 330i - you have little nice to say about the direction BMW has gone with respect to size and style? And several times claimed that BMWs were poorly built cars - giving your lenghty list of problems as evidence. Now you have elevated Audi and VW to an upper tier with BMW. Egads! Have you given in completely to self torture? :surprise:

    We are generally in the same camp in this forum, but as much as I wish my TL 6-speed were RWD, the only car I would definitely put ahead of it if I were to be ELLPS shopping today is the 335i. I might give the G35 sport a try, but Infiniti still seems to employ the committee approach to design and styling. The ELLPS Audis are way too fat and VW, Mazda and Subaru are, at best, decent economy cars, not ELLPS. I don't know how to drive a slushbox, so Lexus is out.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,343
    Are very important. Economy car's do not have any BMW or Audi-like suspension tuning.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    I seem to recall that in spite of owning what I consider to be an excellent car - BMW 330i - you have little nice to say about the direction BMW has gone with respect to size and style? And several times claimed that BMWs were poorly built cars - giving your lenghty list of problems as evidence. Now you have elevated Audi and VW to an upper tier with BMW. Egads! Have you given in completely to self torture?

    My excuse: they're more fun to drive than the other cars listed in this segment.

    ...but as much as I wish my TL 6-speed were RWD

    We took out a TL Type-S about 3 weeks ago. The car was...large for our tastes. Very big, very heavy and it felt that way.

    The ELLPS Audis are way too fat

    A3 is about 3250 lbs - far leaner than anything in ELLPS arena right now.

    and VW, Mazda and Subaru are, at best, decent economy cars, not ELLPS.

    I was making a point that I'd altogether abandon ELLPS before getting any of the other cars in this segment.
  • dfc3dfc3 Posts: 87
    Which is a reason why I took the MB C280 over non-German options.
  • joe131joe131 Posts: 972
    Or, if you only drive at 5/10ths, you can buy a used Hyundai like mine and be happily bored.
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