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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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Comments

  • 14871487 Posts: 2,407
    so in summation the 3 series is flawless and every other car in the class is seriously compromised and totally unworthy of consideration. Got it.

    "3 v. CTS. CTS is a joke, next. "

    According to whom? It would be nice to provide some context for a statement like that. While personal opinions are everyone's right we would like to know the basis for calling any vehicle a "joke". Once it has been stated that one is totally biased in favor of one particular vehicle without regards to facts about performance, price, handling, styling, quality, etc. it becomes hard to take that person's evaluations of other cars seriously. Why bother to comment on cars other than the 3 if one has no interest in acknowledging the merits of those cars? I dont like the camry but there arent any legit reasons I could tell someone to stay away from the car. Its a great car for getting from A to be in comfort but it's not for me. I cant with a straight face say its a joke or insult those who chose to drive it.
  • 14871487 Posts: 2,407
    I wouldnt go so far as to say I am frustrated at all. I'm not surprised by the reaction here at all, I'm just surprised that so many have been consumed by the BMW marketing machine. The 3 is a very popular car and those kinds of cars generally do have a strong following. its the same thing with any upbiquitous model like the Accord, Camry, RX, etc. Fans of top sellers often believe that sales are the ultimate proof of a car's excellence when it's convenient. You wont hear any import fans saying the Impala is a great car because it sold nearly 300k units last year, but they will be quick to use sales as a way to prove excellence when talking Camry, Accord or Altima. If we are to go by the "most sales equals best car" than the 3 is undoubtedly king.

    I dont know that I have "attacked" the 3 at all, in fact that is kind of funny. The 3 series doesnt have many flaws to talk about but the problem is that it's excellence does not make it's competitors nulll and void. Point is most of the cars being discussed here are excellent and some people seem incapable of accepting that. The 3 may be great but its competition is very good. Some here have contended that not only is the 3 best in class, but its peers are totally unacceptable for the savvy sports sedan shopper. I dont buy that for a second. The people at GM, Audi, Infiniti, Lexus, etc. are not stupid and they know what it takes to make a sporty sedan, even if BMW has been at it longer. I suppose it is blasphemous around here to suggest we are close to parity in this segment but someone had to make the statement. If we want to go back to the status quo BMW praise fest I'll give up and join the chorus.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    If I did the 15 categories I stated above, the CTS ends up dead last.

    335i = 32
    G35 = 45
    A4 = 49
    TL = 50
    IS350 = 60
    CTS = 82

    I didn't include styling in my criteria as that holds zero sway over my decision. I didn't give any bonus points either. Straight up, my rankings are just my opinion on every element.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    "so in summation the 3 series is flawless and every other car in the class is seriously compromised and totally unworthy of consideration. Got it"

    And you wonder why you get such strong responses here? Why do you have to be like that?

    NOBODY here has ever said the 3-series is flawless. The only thing I've seen repeatedly is the opinion that it is the best "performance sedan" in this class, with the G35 coming in a close 2nd place.

    We've said repeatedly that if "ultimate performance" isn't your priority, then the G35 or TL is probably a better choice.

    My problem with your statements has been (and continues to be) that you refuse to admit that the BMW's performance advantage, however great or slight you think it is, doesn't count for a hill of beans. We're talking in a "performance car" forum, and the best performing car on the list isn't worth consideration because only badge snobs and poseurs drive them? And you know this because you've looked at people driving BMW's and you can just tell they're not enthusiasts.

    A number of us here are passionate about performance, and if we didn't need a back seat and trunk on a regular basis, we'd probably be driving a Cayman or Z4 Coupe - I know I would. For many of the people shopping for an ELLPS, they are looking for a car that is the CLOSEST THING to a sports car that has four doors and some luxury thrown in.

    These are the people that don't want the FWD handling of the TL or the hanging revs/awkward clutch engagement of the G35. I had high hopes when all the buzz first came out about the Lexus IS350. I imagined a sport sedan with the reflexes of a 3-series with the reliability of a Lexus. Well guess what? Lexus pulled the trigger but they missed the bullseye. Same for Infiniti - it's close, but dynamically, it's still a notch below the BMW.

    If infiniti or Lexus would build a better BMW, I'd buy one. Until then, BMW is still the only game in town for an enthusiast.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    Point is most of the cars being discussed here are excellent and some people seem incapable of accepting that.

    I'd say you're pretty liberal with the term excellent then. I would at best on a scale of 1 to 10 rate a 335i with ZSP and 6 speed a 7. More likely a 6 with RFTs. But I'm a very hard marker and the BMW 335i has several deficiencies I can't overlook: weight, size, interior size, RFTs, mileage, power, transmission, body roll, reliability, cost, resale.

    The 3 may be great but its competition is very good. Some here have contended that not only is the 3 best in class, but its peers are totally unacceptable for the savvy sports sedan shopper.

    I'd rank most of them 4s and 5s.

    I suppose it is blasphemous around here to suggest we are close to parity in this segment but someone had to make the statement. If we want to go back to the status quo BMW praise fest I'll give up and join the chorus.

    I don't see parity. But then again ask me about 5 restaurants and I can rattle off exactly what I like and don't like at each one. I see clear lines pretty instantly when it comes to critiquing anything involving my money, my stomach or my time.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    If infiniti or Lexus would build a better BMW, I'd buy one. Until then, BMW is still the only game in town for an enthusiast.

    Amen. I recall being crestfallen when I first read the IS350 would come only with an automatic. Of course, then I drove it, saw Lexus' pricing and their inane "ordering" scheme. G35 is still the second best choice but I sure wish Infinit would make it a tougher choice.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    The internet is starting to buzz about the April issue of Car and Driver Magazine's shootout between the G35 and 328i.

    According to C&D:

    "The G35 scores points for comfort, capable moves, and thrust in surplus, but BMW still builds the best tools for driving."

    About the G35 - "...ubiquitious VQ series 3.5-liter V-6...generates stocky midrange torque and, when kept below 4500 rpm keeps the many [Nissan and Infiniti users of the engine] scooting with authority...[but] things go less tickety-boot at high rpms, with vibrations up the shifter and through the floor betraying the rapid percussions of big-bore pistons."

    In summary, CD said, the G35 Sport has "all the ingredients except refinement."

    About the 328i - "BMW’s 3.0-liter silk-weaver...simply can’t be detected through the stick, steering wheel, or pedals...the steering operates with light effort but delivers copious road data...longer drag-strip times [but] who cares when rips to redline are such exquisite pleasure?"

    Bottom line, said Car and Driver, the 3 Series is "worth the extra expense over the Infiniti."
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,468
    You've definitely got it all wrong when it comes to the 3 series fans (myself included) being blinded by the Ultimate Marketing Machine (BMW). We're very open to new things (with the exception of the CTS, I don't care how good it is GM suckered me into giving me their money once...NEVER AGAIN). We were excited when the new IS350 was on its way with 306 hp and RWD (personally I think the 1st gen IS300 is a better driving car). We all wanted to like the 1st Generation G35 and we wanted to like the 2nd generation G as well. The cars just fall short of some people's high expectations.

    Many BMW fans and owners have openly criticized the E90 3 series for being overweight, too big, not as driver oriented, and even more disconnected than the previous body style. But we just like to drive home the point that even though it isn't as good as the good old days, we still like it the best in today's ELLPS segment.

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

  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    I am sorry...

    But wanting every other ELLPS, that's including IS350, G35, CTS and TL to be like the 3-series does not qualify as "open minded" to me. Me personally I think what makes today's ELLPS market so interesting is because every car has its owner personality instead of being another 3er with a different badge.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,468
    That is one way to think of it. But you have got to be kidding yourself if you think that the likes of Lexus, Infiniti, Cadillac, and Audi didn't build their respective cars for the sole purpose of competing (sales and performance) with the 3 series.

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

  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Yes and no. They are trying to compete with the 3-series in the ELLPS market but they are not trying to "make another 3-series". I don't know about Infiniti but that's definitely not the case for Acura, Audi, Cadillac and Lexus.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Different companies slice and dice the market a little differently. For example, BMW markets 335i Sport Package to the ELLPS segment with more sporty inclinations, and 328i Premium Package to the ELLPS segment with more luxury inclinations; MB is dividing C into C350 Sport vs. C280 Luxury; Lexus approaches the market with IS and ES (I know what the detractors would say, but with 270+ hp, performance certainly is a design factor even if handling is far from the top priority). We really don't want to bring in too much of their platform mates that are not sedans in here, lest we end up talking about a myriad vehicles with very different characterisitcs.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    It used to be a sport coupe thing (Triumph, 911, Celica/Supra, 240SX/300ZX, Mitsu 3000, Integra, Miata etc.) BMW accomplished a remarkable thing in the 70's and 80's by making a four door sedan to do that, and the market place rewarded it handsomely. Nowadays quite a few competitors are catching on to this; e.g. G35, TL, IS, etc.. The difference between the current G35, TL and IS vs. 3 series in that regard is probably less than the difference between difference between various generations of 3 series. Among BMW's, the biggest jump was made from E30 to E36, when the rear suspension was radically modified to make rear tracking better. Most mfrs in this segment use multi-link rear suspensions nowadays.
  • jmessjmess Posts: 677
    The 3 has a big flaw, no limited slip differential. It should be a standard part of the sport package as it is in the G and IS.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Well, the difference in handling among the most sporty models from the different manufacturers are getting smaller nowadays . . . getting to a point where the difference between different manufacturers is smaller than the diffrence between different model variants from the same manufacturer or the difference between different generations of vehicles from the same manufacturer. That makes the real life cost in a rapid replacement fleet schedule all the more relevant. The slightly older cars are becoming really non-competitive; just look at the comment people throw at TL, A4 and CTS nowadays. They are about 3-4 years out of date.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    We've said repeatedly that if "ultimate performance" isn't your priority, then the G35 or TL is probably a better choice.

    Not if cost is a consideration; 3 series is less expensive over 2yrs, 3yrs and 6yrs.

    Also, if one wants Euro chic bling, 3 series is hard to beat. Although not much of a factor for me nowadays, I'm sure it's high on many 3 series customers' mind. 3 series are very common in congested cities like NYC and Boston . . . not exactly places for passionate sporty driving. Nor is the standard equipment RFT nowadays. Some critics use towing hitch as a litmus test on whether the driver really needs an SUV; IMHO, RFT is a much more valid litmus test on whether the driver really is passionate about sporty driving, as in proof negative.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    hmm, I thought undetectable engine vibration and light steering were faults in sporty cars . . . when someone else (we know who) was doing it.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    1: The CTS is marketed as a 5 series competitor according to Cadillac. So putting it against a 3 is as fair as, say, putting a 3 up aginst an Elise. Afterall, two different companies' entry-level models, right? Roughly the same price, right?
    (sic for the impared)

    2:The best sports sedan for the dollar, though, is the RX-8. Luxury it isn't though. But it is without a doubt the most fun you can have for $25K out the door. To get a better ride, you need to spend $35K for a base 3 series. Yes, it has 4 doors - that two open backwards and it is styled to look like a coupe doesn't fool me. I count 4 hinges and 4 door handles.

    But zero luxury. If they made a luxury version with a supercharger for $35K... Whole other story(300hp, RWD, 3000lbs, loads of luxury.. definite competitor potential).

    P.S. There is an aftermarket supercharger for it(turbo won't work at all with it due to its design, which isn't liek the older RX-7) that does boost it to 300HP or so. Would be so nice to get it with that from the factory, though.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    I can see the 3-series being less expensive than a car with lesser resale (or residual factor) like a Hyundai, Audi, or Cadillac. However, the Acura's (TL and TSX) have similar, if not slightly superior resale and resual values.

    Although not necessarily "Euro chic," the Acura's are likely to be more reliable over the long term too.
  • ggesqggesq Posts: 701
    "The slightly older cars are becoming really non-competitive; just look at the comment people throw at TL, A4 and CTS nowadays. They are about 3-4 years out of date."

    And for some reason, the TL is still one of the best selling vehicles in this segment.

    Keep in mind, for MY 2006, the IS 250/350 and the e90 was introduced. Wasn't that long ago. BMW recognized the need for more hp and torque and within a year of the intro of the 330i, the 335i comes out. The new G was just introduced a few months ago. Soon, a new CTS, A4 and TL will be out (2008). I would hardly call those cars 3-4 years out of date.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Where do you get that? The TT is a sub-3000 lbs coupe:

    Really, what an odd thing for you to say. And for my money, only the Cayman is sexier but it's also 15k+ more expensive.


    Odd? The link you provided is for a FRONT WHEEL DRIVE, 4-CYLINDER Coupe version of the TT. And it still weighs 100 lbs more than the Cayman, in spite of having nothing in common with a real sports car. The Cayman only costs $15k more? You could give me a FWD 2.0 TT and I wouldn't pay to insure it. Scroll down on your link - the 3.2 Quatro coupe version weighs in at 3,262 lbs, 400 lbs more than the Cayman, 300 lbs more than the Cayman S. And the convertible weighs in at a mere 500+ lbs more than the Boxster.

    Didn't mention the convertible as the S2000, TT convertible, Boxster are anything but stunning looking. They're all pretty darn ugly in my opinion.

    Yeah, that TT Coupe is a real head turner. Did they include the Audi version of the New Beetle's dash mounted vase in the redesign? Or did they just parts share that one directly?

    (From another post) I'd say you're pretty liberal with the term excellent then. I would at best on a scale of 1 to 10 rate a 335i with ZSP and 6 speed a 7. More likely a 6 with RFTs. But I'm a very hard marker and the BMW 335i has several deficiencies I can't overlook: weight, size, interior size, RFTs, mileage, power, transmission, body roll, reliability, cost, resale.

    Hard marker - ha! I'd say you're exceedingly liberal with the term "stunning". Based upon your criteria - similar to mine- I would rate the a grossly overpriced, fugly FWD 4-banger 3,000 lb coupe about a 2. But deduct 1 for false advertising as a sports car.

    Just so my previous point wasn't lost: Audi is the LAST manufacturer that deserves any credit for "weight saving measures". The TT is still a COW. And, IMO, the A4 will not get any closer to being a serious ELLPS by trimming a couple pounds when it needs to lose several hundred.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,369
    So prior to the e92, it was not #1? What was your pecking order before the 335i was introduced?

    My point was that until now, there were some that perceived the past 3 series were/are underpowered. That HP "perception" is now ultimately eliminated from any argument in the E92. *MY* pecking order was the same regardless.

    I can not comment pre-2006 (E90) since I do not have first hand experience but for me, it was #1 when I made my decision. In other words, 255 HP vs. 280 HP in the G for '06 did not do it for me considering all of the other factors considered.

    Regards,
    OW
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Yes and no, the a 3 series model does include LSD.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "not exactly places for passionate sporty driving"

    Wow talk about not being able to see the forest from the trees. Are you suggesting that everyone that drives in Manhattan traffic has to drive an Accent?
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,369
    How 'bout a "Smart" car? You can use Oreo Cookies for tires on that one.

    Regards,
    OW
  • There is a good reason why they are called "Smart" cars and not "Fun" cars ;)
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Are you suggesting that everyone that drives in Manhattan traffic has to drive an Accent?

    Not at all. Unlike some over-bearing nanny-wannabes, I don't think anyone should be told how to spend their own hard earned money, least of all by the government.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Then I don't get your point. You made a thinly veiled dig about people who drive BMWs in heavy traffic.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    Odd? The link you provided is for a FRONT WHEEL DRIVE, 4-CYLINDER Coupe version of the TT. And it still weighs 100 lbs more than the Cayman, in spite of having nothing in common with a real sports car. The Cayman only costs $15k more? You could give me a FWD 2.0 TT and I wouldn't pay to insure it.

    to each his own. I have less interest in the weight, complexity and poor implementation of an AWD system, so i wouldn't go near Audi's mediocre-to-lousy quattro.

    Hard marker - ha! I'd say you're exceedingly liberal with the term "stunning". Based upon your criteria - similar to mine- I would rate the a grossly overpriced, fugly FWD 4-banger 3,000 lb coupe about a 2. But deduct 1 for false advertising as a sports car.

    Subjective, totally. I think the 08 TT is a brilliant design; nothing in the ELLPS is even remotely attractive on a purely aesthetic level. I can't comment on performance as I haven't driven one. My ranking of a 335i is based on the all around car. As an overall car in the world it's a 6, borderline 7 (remove the RFTs to get that high).

    the A4 will not get any closer to being a serious ELLPS by trimming a couple pounds when it needs to lose several hundred.

    For my money, even an acient A4 is quite a bit beyond cars like the IS350 and CTS. I'd take an A4 frontrak 2.0T for 30k before I'd pick up an IS350 for the same price. Heck, the IS could be cheaper and it still wouldn't register as a choice.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    I agree with you that TL and TSX have similar, if not slightly superior real life resale. However, lease residuals offered by manufacturers are not determined by real life resale but by the manufacturers' eagerness to ush new cars and bend accounting books. Right now, for the month of March 2007, the 24/24 residual on 3 series sedan is 73%, that of the TL is only 68%, and TL Type-S is only 66%. The 5-7% difference there is huge because if you can get the car for 90% MSRP, the 3 series lease would only amortize 17% of MSRP over two years, whereas the TL would be amortizing 22%-24% of MSRP. TL MSRP would have to be 33% lower to make the amortization amount equal; fat chance of that :-)

    Like I said, the phenomenom of BMWFS giving out free fake money in the form of lease residual, fake but good for car payments on BMW's, is changing the cost equation dramaticly.
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