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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Well, this is kind of to be expected since it is the new Accord, after all.

    Yes, there is no TSX in Japan. It's sold as the Accord over there. They ship the same car over here and slap an Acura badge on it and add a lot of markup.

    What we get as the "Accord" over here is actually an in-between model that they've never sold in the U.S. before. It's called the Inspire in Japan.

    It's also why the TSX simply doesn't belong in this discussion, as well. It's kind of like how Cadillac tried to push the Catera as a luxury car years ago when it really was a compact commuter box with some bling and badges added.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,669
    Agree with everything you've said. I think we can create an entire thread to this one discussion "What is an Entry Level Performance Sedan".

    For those of us that like to argue in circles...

    We could easily argue why Kia and VW should be 'ahead' of many of these.

    Of course this always touches on raw emotions...your car is not good enough...it's a chick car...which borders on 'mother' comments :)
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,661
    I actually drove a loaded V6 Accord back to back with the "same car over here with an Acura badge on it."

    Their price tags were remarkably similar. I know underneath my TSX sits on the Accord platform and is sold in Europe as an Accord.

    Besides the V6 Accord's extra "punch," I prefered everything about the TSX. The suspension tuning is sportier on the TSX. My TSX has thicker anti-roll bars. The seats are comfortable and very thickly bolstered. It drives like a 4 door version of my 2001 Honda Prelude Type SH. For a FWD platform, they did a damn good job. Is it a 3 series? No? Did I like it better than the A4 2.0T w/ Quattro I drove? Yes. Does it belong in this discussion? Absolutely.

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH, 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L 4WD

  • I love Acuras/Hondas but the TSX is not Entry Level Luxury, it sits between everyday family sedan (accords, camrys) and the entry level luxury (TL, A4 3series)- not quite there yet.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,006
    You could say the same thing about the 3 series. Leather is optional on the 3 as well as many things that are standard on the TSX. Acura is a luxury brand. TSX is the entry level car at Acura. What part of "entry level" is so hard to understand. The TSX fits the definition perfectly. The G25 is the entry level at Infinti and the A4 at Audi. HP is about the same as as well and without turbocharging. The Skyline is a family sedan in Japan but the same car here is a luxury sport sedan, G37. I don't think anyone argues that the G series is not an entry level luxury sedan.
  • Price-wise the 328 you bought and the c350 are comparable. If you can't drive a 2011 off the lot for under $40k right now you need to go to another dealer. But yeah, some MB dealers don't deal much. They just don't need to. But the engine while nice wasn't what sold me. It's for my wife so it is not much about the engine.

    We like everything else. I sort of understand the Bimmer, it's kind of glued to the ground but it just felt heavier where the MB felt spry, light on it's feet, but very direct-able and responsive. The Bimmer didn't fell any faster and I drove it fast on traffic circles, etc.

    The BMW interior was just not good at all. The dash alone took it right off our list. What are they thinking with respect to competition? So dated. I will give the A4 this - its interior was better than the BMW's but the driving feel and interior did not flow.

    I recall the Audi's interiors easily being industry leading from the early 90s until the early 2000s. Don't know what happened but the interior now reminds me of mid-90s VW which was pretty nice but Audi's are not what they used to be. There's no art to them.

    BTW, the sport package on the MB includes a lowered suspension and a stiffer suspension. Not much else except as you note styling. But the styling is youthful. Nearly all the sell are the sport version. The salesman said they don't even order the C in the luxury version. Same with the E-class.


    Glad to hear your happy with your Bimmer. They're are many BMWs in my neighborhood, lot of men and women have them. Only a couple of MBs. I think the crowd in their 30s like the image BMW portrays. Certainly more younger that MB. Styling is good on many models. No problem with that. I like German car handling and design intent. I say buy whatever turns your crank!
  • Sounds like you and your wife are more impressed with bells and whistles than the driving experience. Nothing wrong with that, but the new Kia Optima blows the luxury class away with cabin toys.

    BMWs appeal to a sportier driving populace that cares less about handbag hooks than they do about performance on a twisty road.
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    Agreed, cars like the TSX, G25, etc all belong in this discussion because they are entry level luxury sedans. They have four doors, and come from luxury divisions and hence why the auto industry classifies them as such. Just because someone else doesn't think so does not make it so. Let them keep telling themselves that.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,669
    I suppose that makes some sense.

    It's a grey area with me.

    When I see "Entry level Luxury Performance Sedan" I don't automatically think of the lowest model that a manufacturer offers.

    So I'd say No to the TSX, IS250, G25, etc...the TL would be the representative for Acura's 'entry level', the IS350 would represent Lexus, G37 etc...

    I don't recall...is there a price cap? Otherwise would the Panamera be the 'entry level'...
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,642
    No the car was on the lot, reason why I got the deal was, people who get 328's want an Auto, this car had been sitting on the lot for a while. Infact you can't order 2011's only 2012s.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,642
    There is more to the free maintenance then what you are writing! It also comes with a bumperto bumper warranty too. So everything is covered except gas, tires and insurnace :D My 2005 BMW 330i with the ZPH package was used hard and the clutch was replaced without a problem from BMW, as well as brakes. Its nice to be able to drive in, and drive out with a loaner BMW and have your car worked on for nothing. BMW has done it right, its keeps the cars uptodate on its services so the value of the car keep says high.

    Next year we are ordering a 535i and doing the European Delivery so we can enjoy the car in the motherland.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,642
    Well according to auto industry the TSX is an entry level luxury car. The TL is not an extry level car, period. If the Lexus IS an entry level car? Look at the price of the IS250 and TSX, very similar...
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,642
    BMw has made Leather standard for the 2011 MY, go to their web site and build a 3 series. BMW took away the standard moonroof but added leather, its part of the "value" package that is standard.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,006
    Good catch. I haven't stayed on top of the absolute latest BMW info since I'm not all that interested in them so I won't be digitally building one. That's the way it was for years and I just hadn't read anything about the change. I stand corrected on that.
  • Do you think leather is better than leatherette? I would say yes, but recently reconsidered. Leather, especially not top-of-the-line premium leather degrades after four or five years (depending on conditions of course). Leatherette can be cleaned with 409.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,661
    Good for you that you found that car on the lot. Did they say what haPpened? Stick ordered by mistake or did someone order & never take delivery?

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH, 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L 4WD

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,661
    Leather is softer & breathes. Leatherette is extremely durable.

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH, 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L 4WD

  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,161
    its been a while since my last post- i have a 07g35x and i love it but have always wanted an awd sedan with a stick shift (g awd is auto only) and at the time when i bot it (in 2007) i could not justify buying the BMW 335xi for a cool 12grand more. The G had more HP, great styling and great driver set up with the nav and premium packages... well lets fast forward - my G has only 28000 miles on it and I still have the craving to drive stick again.. problem being is buying a CPO 335 (2009 or newer) with 6 speed sedan with AWD and the sport package.. PROBLEMS: Cant find them, when you do they have more miles then my current car (even 2010s), and most of all pricing the 2009 are going for 36k or more.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,642
    Well this tells you that people who own the BMW you are looking for drives them, is that a bad thing, NO. You can't compare apples and oranges here. You will have to be happy with what ever car you get, if you aren't happy with a BMW of your liking with more miles then your current car, then stop looking for a used car. Get a new one or just wait it out and see if you found one with less miles.

    The CPO BMW is an excellent deal 6yr or 100K with free maintence can't beat it.

    If Infiniti really wanted to go after BMW they would copy BMW play book, which is offer your entry level G with a sport package and 6 spd manuel...
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,642
    When it comes to resale value leather is the way to go, durability leatherette is the way to go. I like leather even living here in Phoenix.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,642
    I never believe what the salesman tell me, I have a feeling the GM ordered but no takers, here in Phoenix, 328's don't sell unless it has an auto. The dealer had 57 328s and 4 had sticks, one (mine) had the M package, the others were basic 328s with the value package and that is it. Priced at 35K
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Dude, you're a spammer, and a bad one at that. Take a hike!
  • I've recently driven each of the cars that are considered in this category and I can't yet make a decision. Since this is my first foray into luxury I really didn't want to find myself regretting my choice in cars. I set out to look at the TSX, IS250, 328i, A4, & G37. After reading some things I added the C300 to the list, which you'll hear about. I am looking for people's input into my decision as I'm still unsure and I'd like to hear how you've liked the brand you chose and its cost to own. I'm scared about ending up with an endless pit of cash to maintain a car. And I'd rather not "feel the road" which sounds redundant owning a small car but if I can feel every bump then I may as well buy another corolla and deal with the potholes in Jersey.

    I was most hopeful going in about the IS from Lexus but found the car to be an exact duplicate of my current corolla from 2005. I hit my head on the roof while driving (I'm only 6ft tall) and i'm a big guy but the cabin felt cramped. Every time I talked to the salesman he acted like I was making a mistake not buying a bigger car. Do no salesman just listen to what you're saying about preference? That car is now off the list and will remain there.

    I drove the G37 and thought it was a very nice car. It felt "classy" inside and, I guess sterile is the word that comes to mind. I actually liked it and liked that it was a bit bigger in the backseat than most in this group. I hate the idea that driving a small car means you can't drive more than 2 adults around. It was about $35 fully loaded with the backup camera and nav and awd, which is cheaper than the competitors. I didn't like the salesman (and his pushiness) but that won't totally sway my decision. I think it drove ok although not as well as the Audi, BMW or the MB. Additionally my mechanic loves these cars and says they are the most reliable. I'm a bit unsure still though because I don't want Nissan parts in my luxury car. Its still on the list. If I can't justify the extra $5k or so then I'll end up in G37 if I had to guess.
  • I next drove the TSX. I thought the TSX felt like an Accord. I'm not sure if there is a significant difference in the parts between them but it didn't feel very "luxury". I liked that most of everything was included as it didn't feel like you were getting ripped off for everything. I liked that it had a back=up camera (the only real option) with the nav system. And I definitely liked that the car cost less than its competitors. I just don't think I'm going to be able to get off of the lack of feel. Unless it becomes a numbers play in which case this will definitely be in the discussion as it is significantly less expensive.

    I drove the A4 next and really liked the experience. I take some confidence in the fact that they have been doing AWD longer than anyone else. I also like they seem to think about what you'd like to be able to see which you're driving without having to jump through hoops. I thought their Nav was more intuitive than the others I saw. The ride was also smooth and fluid but I didn't really get to open it up due to the traffic and the flooding around me. I am probably going to retry the test drive at another dealership to get a different experience. My concerns were that I have no idea whether you can negotiate a price on these (it was listed as $42ish for the model I'd want), the back seat looked really small and I was surprised at how wide the car was. For the "small" car of the group they seem to be wide. I don't want to end up driving my wife's Altima (which looks puffy) instead of a small luxury car....I definitely would put them at the top of my choice so far though, unfortunately if it was that clear cut I wouldn't be asking for input from you fine folks.
  • I drove the 328i next which was always at the top of my list. I figure it can't be on the top of this segment every year for no reason right? I'll start by saying I wasn't happy that it gets worse gas mileage than the others I'd tried up to this point. What I mean by that is to get the same gas mileage i have to avoid the AWD which is supposed to make the BMW great. I figured that they would try to make that equal. I also was a little taken aback by the pompousness of the salespeople who I dealt with. They were basically like, the other people's cars could never do this, and they proceeded to drive around a racetrack they had built to show the car's handling. I'm pretty sure that the A4 and MB (just to start) could do that type of driving if I wanted it to...I mean they're both cut from a similar cloth. Otherwise I did like the car. I thought the navigation system looked like it wasn't made to be in the car. It did feel much more like a sports car than the others I had driven. Since I drove it on a "test track" I will be going to a different dealer so that I can drive it on a road with potholes and other bumps to see how it feels. The car has significantly more options and colors than the others in this category which I appreciate because i don't want a white/red/grey/black car. I want a nice color blue and unfortunately the other dealers have never seemed to want to make more than standard dark blue. Its kind of ridiculous. Also assuming that all else is equal I do think the "extended warranty" offered by BMW is huge. I would love to not have to pay $50+ for every oil change. Even if i am paying that a bit upfront...

    The last car I drove, which I may drive again, is the C300. I didn't have this on my list at all as I had heard terrible things about MB over the last few years in regards to reliability and design. I wanted to try the car however as most who I know who've tried it mentioned that it was much better at "hiding" the bumps in the road which is a big deal in North jersey. As I mentioned in my first post if I wanted to feel every bump in the road I would just buy another Toyota. In the smaller car segment you feel everything in most cars (which I hate) even though I will only drive a small car. I thought the car was very nice. As nice as the Audi in my experience and I thought there was a very "expensive" feel to the drive. I didn't significantly notice the "cloud" feeling while driving but i think that had to do with expectations versus results. They are adding a blue color in 12 that I want to see because that may put this ahead. Again though the cost may be prohibitive....we'll see.

    I'd really love anyone's input into what decisions you made and why on these models. I will probably be making a decision over the next month or so.
  • 22332233 Posts: 65
    I've driven all the cars you are considering except the MB. All are nice cars but I would rate them G37 and BMW 328 (a tie for first) and then the A4.

    The Infinitis seem to be the most reliable. All 3 handle well. I don't like the BMWs interior since it seems dated. The Audi and G have a cleaner looking interior. I don't care for the run flat tires on the BMW but some like them. The deals are better on the Infinitis now unless you currently own a BMW or Audi and qualify for a loyalty incentive. Love the size and exteriors of all 3.

    I own 2 G35s now and the back seats do not fold down which is a negative. The BMW does not fold down unless you pay for a $400 option for the folding seat.

    That is why I am probably buying an Infiniti EX 35 AWD. The EX is actually 5 inches shorter than a G37 so some describe it as a combination of a crossover and a coupe. It has the reliablity, performance, handling, good looks, and the ability to haul a bit, albeit a small amount but way more than the G37. The ability to fold down the seats in the EX is huge with me.

    Some reviewers felt that the EX had a smoother ride than the G37.

    There is also a $2,000 incentive on the EX so it may be the least expensive of the bunch.

    When you test drive the right car you will hopefully know it as I did. The EX just felt the best although it may not be considered a sedan by some but an argument can be made that it is.

    Actually my favorite handling car was the BMW 328xi sport wagon (E91) but the interior was very unattractive and really dated. This clearly is not a sedan though but I liked the storage, utility, smallish size and again handling.

    Good luck with your search.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,530
    I do think it would be worth your time
    to test drive a CTS.
    Reading between the lines in addition to
    what you've written here, the CTS may
    be more to your liking.
    Just my 0.2 gallons worth of advice...
    - Ray
    Picking up a new 3 series on Friday...
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Your take on the TSX is interesting as the same vehicle is sold in Japan with an "Accord" badge on it. It's an evolutionary design if anything and not a real new model. We get the top trim model Accord sent over here and they slap some Acura badges on it. Hence why it's not really satisfying as a real luxury sport sedan.

    The IS has the same problem in that it shows its Corolla DNA all too well.

    The G37 as well can't hide the fact that it's a pimped-out 370Z.

    I'd also recommend taking a serious look at the CTS. It's one of two vehicles that GM makes that are world-class. The rest? Yes, it's typical bean-counting GM idiocy and blandness. I'd not recommend anything else they build. (the other vehicle is sold in Australia, unfortunately).

    Pros:
    Cost to repair is less than the European models. About the same as the imports, which have crept up in price without most people noticing.

    Ride is designed with U.S. drivers and roads in mind.(note - avoid the performance model as the tires are lower profile than necessary) It's a bit stiff as expected, but handles long road trips without any faults.

    The interior is very nice. Who knew GM could actually make an interior that didn't suck? The NAV system is actually very good. Comparing the NAV system in the Mercedes to the CTS is like comparing a TV dinner to real food. The CTS? It just works.

    Headroom and overall space is good. One thing about it that's great is that it's actually the same wheelbase size as a E class or 5 series, but the sheet metal is artfully done in such a way that it hides its size and looks a bit smaller.

    And as a bonus, it doesn't look like everyone else's jellybean. Honestly, you can't tell a G37 from a Hyundai from a Mazda from two blocks away.
  • I thought about the CTS as well but it gets bad reviews on a couple of items: "Poor rear visibility; awkward driving position." Two items that are must haves for me and I would think most people. I doubt I'll ever sacrifice rear-visibility for style, GM gets similar dings on the Camaro.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,259
    ray....good point about the CTS. The one I drove (coupe) probably had the nicest interior this side of a Maserati. Cadillac did an excellent job. Didn't care much for the seats, but in and out, the coupe is a stunning looking vehicle. If I hadn't had a previously poor experience with a Cadillac (STS) I might have considered one more seriously.

    That CTS drives well, too.

    Having been through this test several months ago, I'm probably going to go against the grain. I drove both a C300 and a C350. Really, nothing special on either.....especially for the price. I'd much prefer an A4, or an Acura TL SH AWD, or a BMW over the Benz. E class wasn't bad. But, dang......$60K for a little more sheet metal? No thanks! The C class was overpriced enough, the E class even more. They aren't bad cars.....just nothing I'd consider.

    If you want driver's cars, probably stick to the BMW, Audi, Acura, even the Infiniti.

    All the above cars are built well with great materials.

    However, if I were serious about a Benz, I'd probably look at the CTS, as it more closely resembles driving a Benz, but with a lot more style.
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