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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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Comments

  • 03accordman03accordman Posts: 671
    "Also, most people buy the 3 not because its the best ELLPS out there but it's because they couldn't afford the 5."

    I test drove both the 5 as well as the 3, budget was a non issue; to me, the 5 does not hold a candle to the 3 as a drivers car, so I went with the 3. But that's just me.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "BTW, I find the leather on most cars costing $30k or more to be pretty nice. I dont think BMW has exclusive rights to quality leather by any means. I think GM vehicles (esp Buicks, Saabs and Cadillacs) have very supple leather."

    Buicks and Cadillacs were exactly what I was thinking of with my BarcaLounger comment. The stitching details look like they were done by poor machines, blind immigrants or both. Can't speak for Saab, as I haven't been in one for quite awhile.

    Humor yourself - go look at the leather and stitching on the sport seats and door trim of a 911. Or even the leather Recaro seats in a $32k Honda S2000. That's the way it's supposed to look, IMO. And BMW's leatherette comes a heck of a lot closer to that than any "supple" leather that ever went through a GM factory. In fairness, I only rate my Acura TL as "good", certainly not excellent. But GM's supple (i.e. mushy) leather looks like it belongs on a retirement community sofa. And this isn't a cheap shot - I've been given enough Buicks and Caddys by Hertz and Avis over the years to have experienced GM leather quality - or rather lack thereof - first hand.

    Clearly, we have different standards when it comes to measuring quality. If you find GM acceptable, great.
  • hausshauss Posts: 169
    When you mention the A4's driving feel are you referring to the Quattro version? Because I see a lot of those on the road here in Atlanta and most of them are the FWD 2.0t version. I've driven that car and it does not handle as well as a TL in my opinion.
  • joe131joe131 Posts: 972
    I don't get it.
    Maybe not in your post, but in some past ones it seems you guys are lamenting the fact that the BMW 3 is too common, but then also you think it is the overall best of the ELLPS for one or more reasons.
    Seems to me that the two would naturally coincide. If they are so good, lots of people should be buying them.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    Quattro always.

    IMO a FWD Audi is something akin to track shoes without spikes...
  • hausshauss Posts: 169
    I disagree with you 03accordman. My feeling is that the majority of 3 series buyers do not buy it for it's driving feel. I know several people that own them and I know for a fact that they got the car because they like the prestige and recognition of the brand; they like the the appearance of the car; and it's in their price range. And there's nothing wrong with that. Off the top of my head just one of my ten friends that owns one got it for the performance and he's got an M3 (the rest have 325i models). Also my term "buying a badge" is the phrase he uses all the time to describe those buyers I'm referring to.

    Now, I'll admit that my little informal survey is hardly gospel. It's not statistically sound. But neither is your assumption that they get the car for it's (supposedly) superior chassis and suspension. And you cannot suggest that because most of the people on this forum agree with you that makes your viewpoint correct. Going that route would bias the data toward a more specific population of 3 series buyer.

    And to joe131, I don't find the 3 series to be common nor the best of the ELLPS class. I think it's a good car. What I'll disagree with is everyone that thinks it's all that and a bag of chips. It's got a list of shortcomings just as long as every other car on here. If it were truly the "ultimate driving machine" the other auto makers would be struggling for any kind of market share in this segment. They are not. Last year BMW sold 88k 3 series sedans, Lexus sold 80k ES350s, Acura sold 70k TLs, Lexus sold 55K ISs... That's a lot of cars being bought by people not choosing BMW.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    because they like the prestige and recognition of the brand; they like the the appearance of the car; and it's in their price range.

    1. Where is there recognition or prestige associated with BMW?!
    2. Lots of people here seem willing to buy on looks.
    3. Many, many people buy in a price range - and if it's pricey than others, how does that reflect poorly on the buyer?

    And to joe131, I don't find the 3 series to be common nor
    It is. I see about 20 on the drive in daily and just my floor of the parking garage has at least 5 e90s.

    the best of the ELLPS class.

    By far.

    Lexus sold 80k ES350s, Acura sold 70k TLs, Lexus sold 55K ISs... That's a lot of cars being bought by people not choosing BMW.

    Or many people buying with an agenda for cheaper (TL), softer (ES), borderline performance without a sacrifice in luxury (IS). The 3 series doesn't appeal to many buyers for the simple fact it's more expensive than the competition, they find the seats hard, they find the ride hard. I hear that my seats are hard and I blink - mostly because they feel too soft to me. Rough ride to me = a civic with cut springs, my 330i ZSP is just soft, not rough. Obviously, many of us buy for different reasons.
  • hausshauss Posts: 169
    I felt like I was reading page 6 of the New York Post. You took my comments out of context all over the place.

    3. Many, many people buy in a price range - and if it's pricey than others, how does that reflect poorly on the buyer?

    I believe I said after that statement that "there's nothing wrong with that"...

    the best of the ELLPS class

    My comment was that is was not, IMO, the best of the ELLPS class.

    Or many people buying with an agenda

    Isn't that what every buyer does? My point still stands that more ELLPS are not BMWs than are. It doesn't have the majority of the market share in the segment thus it isn't without flaws to the ELLPS buyer.
  • nkeennkeen Posts: 316
    I liked the Connolly leather on older Jags, Astons, Rollers, Bristols etc. This stuff looked like it came from an animal -- creased and increasingly supple with age, like good shoes -- but I suppose that would never do in today's market. The stuff on the TL, or BMWs for that matter -- not sure what kind of animal produced that. Looks more like the automotive equivalent of particle board.
  • 14871487 Posts: 2,407
    I think the price has something to do with whether or not people have a problem with leather coming standard. At $30k this might be acceptable, but not at $35k and up. I think they all should have leather standard but as I said its not standard so they can ship 90% of the car with optional leather and make the car more expensive.
  • 14871487 Posts: 2,407
    I think we have reached the point where a car with 18" wheels can ride comfortably and not suffer damage when riding over less than perfect roads. Everyone BUT Honda is doing it so I fail to understand why Honda/Acura refuse to put appropriate sized rims on their vehicles. Even the Rav4 has 18" wheels. 18s are the new 17s when you think about it. I think most can agree cars look sportier with more alumimum under the fenders. I cant think of many cars that look better with less wheel and more tire. If that was the acase cars from the 70s would looks sporty with their 215/65s 15s or whatever they had.
  • 14871487 Posts: 2,407
    have you sat in the leather lined model of any car that isnt a 3 series? I cant think of any luxury models that have blatantly cheap leather. Lexus, Cadillac, Audi, etc. all use nice leather. Sure leather on cheaper cars isnt quite the same, but cars in the price range of the 3 have very soft leather.
  • 14871487 Posts: 2,407
    as I said, the badge is whats critical to most buyers. In day to day driving teh 3 feels no different from similar driving. At the track it might feel different. I've driven several 3 series models over the years and steering is heavier than some competitors but at normal speeds there is nothing mind blowing about the experience. I drove the Catera sport model many years ago and honestly its overall feel was very similar (especially at the helm) to a 5 series of that era. Since most people use their BMWs to commute I would have to say most BMW owners would be just as satisfied in another brand of car. Autobahn honed handling and braking isnt of much use in exurban traffic.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Sure leather on cheaper cars isnt quite the same, but cars in the price range of the 3 have very soft leather."

    Ummm, no. IIRC, the IS350 and the CTS were the only ELLPS cars that I've been in where the leather could be considered "soft". Every Infiniti, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and BMW that I've been in with a leather interior has what I'll charcterize as "firm" leather and firm seats underneath that leather making for an extremely good place to park your fanny for the duration of any given drive.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,401
    Very interesting. I am going the distance until late '08. Thanks for the feedback and glad your fiance is happy.

    Now let's see what makes YOU happy! I know whatever you do you will get a good deal but hope it's what your heart desires.

    This board has some of the best feedback I've ever experienced and I learn something new each day.

    Regards,
    OW
  • 14871487 Posts: 2,407
    "The stitching details look like they were done by poor machines, blind immigrants or both. Can't speak for Saab, as I haven't been in one for quite awhile. "

    What models are you referring too? Cadillac has great leather that feels and smells as good as anything else out there. They also have optional leathers on the DTS/STS that are even higher in quality. You cant be talking about the STS, DTS, CTS, SRX or Escalade so I dont know what models you are referring to. Cheap leather is smooth leather that has no graining and is overly smooth. You will find this on sub $30k cars like Accord and Camry. You wont find it on Cadillacs.

    the stitching on almost any car today is top notch, even the Mercury Milan has nice stitching. I doubt cadillac has lower quality control standards than Mercury. Its important that we talk about current products on the streets now. Perhaps cadillac had poor leather and sticthing in the 70s but this is 2007.

    The cobalt has recaro seats so I guess those seats are OK.

    "I've been given enough Buicks and Caddys by Hertz and Avis over the years to have experienced GM leather quality - or rather lack thereof - first hand. "

    And there is the problem. Most rental cars dont even have leather and even if they do I think its much better to check out the full range of cadillac products at a dealership or autoshow. I dont think rental car experience from a decade ago is necessarily relevant today. BTW, I've always thought that padding in the seat determines the firmness of the seat, not the leather covering. EVen if certain caddy models had soft seats that would be due to the shape and padding of the seat. Modern cadillacs have firm seating just like their competitors. If you know of one that doesnt please tell me know. When I thin of soft seating in a modern car I think of the Avalon or maybe the Lucerne.
  • 14871487 Posts: 2,407
    I've never read of any complaints about lack of comfort in the CTS or IS. Their seats seem just as Euro-firm as any BMW or MB. When I said the leather was soft, I meant that it was glove like and supple. I didnt say the seats were soft. Soft seats are kind of a thing of the past. Some seats have less lateral bolstering than others, but most bucket seats today have firm padding, much more so than 20 years ago.

    Volvo makes good seats and has nice leather as well. There are few things that the 3 series has exclusive claims to, but nice seats arent one of them.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "Since most people use their BMWs to commute I would have to say most BMW owners would be just as satisfied in another brand of car."

    I agree. And by your logic most Infiniti, Acura, Lexus, Saab, Cadillac buyers would be happy with another car also. Like a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry.

    I'm happy people buy the badge. People buy for the badge for Infiniti, Lexus, Acura, Cadillac. But they buy the badge for different reasons for different manufacturers.

    By your posts I submit you are out of touch with the reasons people (not your 10 friends) buy a BMW.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    The important point in your post is "I think". In reality this is not the way German manfacturers sell their cars.

    Let me point out the 3 series leads the segment in sales for the smallest manufacturer. That is no mean feat. Obviously many people think differently than you, but you certainly are entitled to your opinion.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "When I said the leather was soft, I meant that it was glove like and supple. I didnt say the seats were soft."

    I know exactly what you said. What I'm saying is that the leather in the majority of the ELLPS cars that I've driven isn't anywhere near glove like leather. Said another way, if you put on a pair of gloves made from BMW seat leather, you probably won't be able to bend your fingers very far.

    Thinking about this further, and then thinking about the questionable content of a number of your other posts, I find myself questioning whether you've ever even been inside of a BMW or similar car. Come on, come clean with us. Are you realy fifteen years old and about to get your driving permit?

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • 14871487 Posts: 2,407
    The issue is people are clinging to outdating notions of what various brands stand for. Right now I would say only Lincoln and Lexus represent what we think of as "traditional" american luxury. Lexus of course offers the IS and GS but generally speaking Lexus isnt willing to trade any quietness or ride quality for sportiness. Infiniti, Cadillac and MB to various extents make vehicles designed to deliver what used to be the exclusive realm of BMW models.

    I totally disagree that people who buy a G35, M35, CTS, STS, etc. dont care about handling as much as BMW owners. The people who buy these cars (in some cases) do care about handling and performance but they feel that there are superior choices to the 3 series or 5 series. 15 years ago BMW has little company in the RWD performance market but that has changed. Now there are numerous quality choices for those who want a RWD or AWD performance car. I'm pretty sure the owners of the 3 series' competitors would be offended if told that the "only" reason they arent driving a 3 series is because their driving skills are too dull to understand the 3 series is the only choice for those who like performance.
  • 14871487 Posts: 2,407
    I wish I was young again but alas I am nearing 30.

    I have been inside of the current 3, 5, 7 and X5. I have driven the last gen 3, 5 and X5. I've never driven a 7 series though. I am quite familiar with BMW products and as familiar as a non-owner can be in all likelihood.

    I'm lost as to your point regarding BMW leather and gloves, but it doesnt matter. The quality of BMW leather seems quite good to me, but the same could be said for any number of luxury cars. Again, I ask have you been inside any non BMW luxury car within the last 20 years? If not, try doing so at an autoshow because I think you'll be surprised. Which models in this price range are you criticizing for cheap leather? I am not clear on this yet.
  • 14871487 Posts: 2,407
    The 3 series has four body styles and three engines. This may contribute to its huge sales numbers. Its competitors have three body styles or less as well as fewer engines in most cases. It will be hard for any one model to match the sales of the 3.

    I would assume most people here dont like the Camry and yet it sells over 400k copies a year so I'm not sure what sales prove. If more sales equal better car the F150 is the best vehicle in America. I dont know if I subscribe to that view. If sales are king than Lexus, not BMW knows what customers want more than anyone else in the luxury market. I guess you can be successful without manual trannies and autobahn inspired handling. Not that I like Lexus, I'm more of a Cadillac/BMW person who likes Audis to some degree.
  • 14871487 Posts: 2,407
    "In reality this is not the way German manfacturers sell their cars. "

    Not clear on what you mean. You mean they dont really sell cars with leather in most cases? I would disagree with that.
  • 03accordman03accordman Posts: 671
    "have you sat in the leather lined model of any car that isnt a 3 series? I cant think of any luxury models that have blatantly cheap leather. Lexus, Cadillac, Audi, etc. all use nice leather. Sure leather on cheaper cars isnt quite the same, but cars in the price range of the 3 have very soft leather."

    I have sat in various cars with leather, including Hondas, Toyotas, Buicks, Cadillacs and Lexi etc., IMO, the leather BMW and Lexus use quite different to what hte others use, including the crap leather in the CTS.
  • 03accordman03accordman Posts: 671
    I disagree. I don't trackl; never have; in the first minute I can tell the difference of a 3er's driving feel compared to the competition. I use my car for commuting and let me tell you; I always look forward to my commute even though I don't have many curves/switchbacks. To me, nothing else compares.

    As I said, if you can't feel the difference, its not for you, but please don't generalize what other BMW drivers feel when they drive it. As for brand image, in NJ you will see a BMW every few minutes, so I really don't see how one could associate presitge with it, at least here.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I don't know why people in the general sense buy a G35, M35, CTS, STS, I only know why I bought my BMW. I submit you don't understand that somehow BMW vehicles and marketing converge to convey a message that people understand. The product fulfills it's intended mission and has a heritage that people know and understand. I do not believe you understand this. They are a successful company because they understand who wants to drive their cars and what these drivers want. I prefer not dwell on what notions people cling to, I dwell on the sales numbers and the financials.

    Frankly, whoever suggests people buy a BMW just to take the car to the limit each and every time is really off base. I would be very happy driving my $45K BMW at 10mph all day long.
  • 03accordman03accordman Posts: 671
    OK, then lets agree to diasgree; here in NJ, 3ers are a dime a dozen and I don't see any presitge associated with them.

    Ever since I have joining the E90 family, visiting other BMW sites and seeing the way people post about this car, its more like a cult where all people care about is the driving experience.

    Like yours, this is not a good example as far as stats go, but most people I know buy it for similar reason as mine, but again, its a small sample.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,401
    It will be hard for any one model to match the sales of the 3.


    Until the competition beats BMW 3, it is what it is.

    Regards,
    OW
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Every few months the idea resurfaces that people buy BMW for prestige, and buy an Infiniti, Acura, Cadillac etc, all luxury makers, for "normal" transportation.

    The idea is so ludicrous one has to laugh.
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