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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,673
    Dude, the 3 series has grown in size granted, but the current 3 series is a far better car then the E30 series ever thought it could be. Its faster, handles better, stops better and it far better in ride.

    I love hearing people talk about how great the 60s muscles were, they were pigs, they were slow and they couldn't stop to save lives.

    2011 Mustang GT V8 makes more HP then a 69 Mustang Boss 302, faster then a Boss 302, and gets better fuel mileage then the 69 Boss 302.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    "the current 3 series is a far better car then the E30 series ever thought it could be. Its faster, handles better, stops better and it far better in ride."

    It's also soul-crushingly boring compared to the E30.

    The E30 is a driver's car. The current 3 is a grocery getter.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    edited September 2011
    The new cars are "better" in some ways, but they are simply not as good on mountain roads and zipping in and out of traffic. They weigh too much and their wheelbase is too long. They are simply not anything like the original sport sedans which BMW and Volvo made in the early 70s that created the whole segment.

    It has gotten so bad that BMW was essentially forced to make the 1 series to remain competitive. The 1 series is at least pretty close to the E36, which is barely passable. A bit heavy, but workable with some weight reduction tricks and some aftermarket tweaks. I put the specs for the older E30, though, because it's really the benchmark for this class. Which every manufacturer seems to have simply ignored in the race to have more and more power. (same as the "Big 3" did in the 70s with Muscle cars).

    Heavier than a Buick. That's just sad and as long as BMW keeps making cars that are heavier than rental-fodder Buicks, well, my comments about them being muscle cars stands.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,306
    edited September 2011
    the question, regarding Buicks, has to do with what happens when one has an "incident" on the autobahn at 135 mph. The Germans are pretty good at analyzing the mess after wrecks of this sort, and making appropriate adjustments.

    The U.S. regs address a whole different series of things, mostly having to do with fools who don't follow directions (side-impact, anyone?, or how about air bags to protect morons who won't use seat belts?), while the Germans assume people who drive know what they're doing. They just do it at high speed.

    When the two are combined, Porky the Pig results.

    What fun! Is it any wonder that most of the people who write articles and participate in the BMW club magazine (Roundel) drive older cars?
  • All this old car new car stuff is getting boring- move on and get use to the new stuff or keeping driving in the nineties.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,673
    My conclusion of you is you haven't driven the cars in which you bash. I think you like to hear yourself ramble on about things you have no first hand knowledge.

    As someone who had some of the "true muscle" of the 60s and 70s and currently drive a muscle car of today. I will never buy the older cars again, the cars today are much better put together (again I have first hand knowledge on this subject) they are faster, stop better and handle better.

    So until you have first hand knowledge of the subject you talk about its all rambling from someone who has no idea what they are talking about.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,676
    wow...

    the most disturbing part is 20 years has gone by since 1991...
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    That idea only stands in your head, no one else's or the auto industry. If you using weight as a big determining factor there is more than just that to classify a muscle car vs a sports sedan. They are sport sedans, every car magazine with a review about them call and classify them as such.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,101
    edited September 2011
    I wonder why you test drove the Acura TSX but not the Acura TL. I am no expert in this field, but it seems to me the TL probably compares "better" to an Audi A4, BMW 3, Cadillac CTS and Infiniti G (etc, etc). After having owned 29 Audis, I sent emails to dealers requesting quotes on an Acura TL "advance" AWD, an Audi A4 Prestige with sport package, an Infiniti (also with several packages including Sport AWD), and a Volvo S60 T6 with several packages to make it comparable to the Audi/Acura Prestige/Advance packages. I was planning to make my decision based on the best deal I could get on any one of these.

    Although I did look at a TSX, it seemed a step down from the others I mentioned at the beginning of this post -- not a bad car, but more in line with an Audi A3 or perhaps an Infiniti G25 or a more basic version of some other car lines aspirational cars.

    A point is that, to me, all of the cars in this class were contenders and I drove all of them (excluding the MB, why I can't recall). Three of the cars stood out as high performers (four, actually, but I'll get to that in a moment): the Acura TL SH-AWD Advance, the Audi A4 Prestige with Sport package and 8-spd Tiptronic and the Volvo S60 T6 with several packages to increase its lux content levels to that of the Audi and the Acura. The fourth car that didn't make it to the finals was the G37X S -- a car I wanted to want, since I am so impressed with my wife's 2011 FX35/Premium (to say nothing of the $1,000 loyalty bonus).

    The G didn't make it because it seemed so much smaller than the rest. I later figured out why -- it is less than 70" wide, and it just seems cramped from behind the wheel. The TL, for instance is 74" wide and has a 63.8" track compared to the G's 60.2" track.

    I made my decision, after 29 Audis in a row, based on price per month. I was ready to take (and I wanted) an Audi A4 first, the TL second and the Volvo third. I test drove the heck out of the cars (and I currently have a 2009 Audi A4 Prestige Sport) and determined that the Audi remained my fave (but, just barely, as the other two were very close.) Yet, both the Acura and the Volvo were so much more powerful and actually seemed larger than the Audi, which was a plus since I often have my in-laws in the back seat.

    When all was said and done, the Audi came in nearly $200 per month higher for 6 months longer than the Acura and the Volvo was about the same as the Audi but for 36 months to the Audi's 42.

    I took the lowest cost alternative -- and since it came in with the Advance package it is, MSRP wise, about the same as the Audi, but has a 305HP engine, although it lacks the Audis 8 speed transmission.

    Having tested and previously having owned an Audi S4, I came away thinking the Acura TL SH-AWD (what a mouthful) was "somewhat closer" to an S4 than it is to an A4, and for $11,500 less with similar content.

    Sorry for the long story, but I think you should have at least tested the TL, it is a completely different car than the TSX, and seems like it would be less likely to be cross shopped with an A4 or G37, etc. The TL, on the other hand at $47,000 with "the works" is about the same price and class as the A4 and G37 (and the CTS for that matter.)

    In any case, in the entry level sport luxury class or whatever this is, most of these cars are winners. :surprise:
  • carnaughtcarnaught Posts: 1,600
    edited September 2011
    Something else that needs to be considered with the TL are its controversial looks which most do not like and the fact that, at least with my, and many others experience, they develop numerous squeaks and rattles and the interior seats show wear prematurely. Maybe this latest TL iteration is improved with regard to those issues, however.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    "the most disturbing part is 20 years has gone by since 1991"

    The E36 came out in 1991. The beginning of the end... :cry:
  • The TL I was referring to is the 2012 which underwent a nose ectomy, a butt ectomy the addition of a bunch of sound deadening and a delightful 6 speed auto. It is, now, better looking -- not an Audi mind you -- but better looking without the BEAK.

    I am, at this point, unable to comment on squeaks and rattles and premature seat wear. Are your comments based on personal experience? A couple of people at my office have Acuras and their primary comment about the cars is "they are incredibly durable." Also, at this point, the retained value of the TL is among the highest of any vehicle -- hence its terrific lease programs. I got mine which listed for $47+K with one accessory, back up sensors, for $499 per month for 36 months plus tax.

    If money were no object, I would get an Audi S4 Prestige with the Sport Diff (torque vectoring). Since money is an object, well, I went with the Acura which seemed like a very high value.

    I'll let you know if things start rattling and wear out prematurely.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,900
    Mark - thanks for the in depth, detailed write up. Congrats on your new TL! Enjoy it for the next 3 years until you get your next Audi.

    Fedlawman - If it wasn't for the E36, I might have never fallen in love with BMWs. The 1st BMW I ever drove was a close friend's 1995 E36 325is with 5-Speed Stick, Sport Package, & he told me he was able to get it lowered further from the factory (individual?). It made me feel like Superman behind the wheel.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium

  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    edited September 2011
    Ah, first love! I understand. My first BMW drive was my uncle's E30 325i. Plastic seats and 5-speed stick. Love at first drive.

    I very much like certain things about the E36 too. I love the VANOS I-6 - it is so smooth and sweet sounding. And the comfort and amenities are a big step up from the E30.

    And for the record, I think the TL is highly underrated on this forum. It may not be the best at anything, but it does so many things so very well.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Yes, the E36 is somewhat acceptable as well, since with some tweaking, it can be pushed back to 3000lbs. Add some more modern rubber and a few tweaks like beefier calipers and so on and it's pretty nice.

    What we have now is symptomatic of the bloat-until-it-assumes-the-previous-one-size-larger-model's-place progression that seems to infect all of the makers now. This is also identical to what was happening in the 70s. Bigger and bigger and oh my word that's a huge car all of a sudden...

    The 1 series is kind of like a E26 V 2.0 in its weight and size. It's what I would consider a sports sedan, if a bit on the heavy side.

    But what we have now as the current crop of cars are really big bloated grocery hauling machines that just are called "sporty" because they are the smallest whales in the pod and happen to have shiny rims and big wheels attached.

    That said, the TSX simply doesn't belong as it's just a plain vanilla "Accord" to the rest of the world. Over here, they slap Acura badges on it and raise the price. It's front wheel drive, has a plain vanilla 4 cylinder engine, and the handling is, well, standard family car. It's a NICE car, but it's not proper luxury OR proper sports.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,676
    And for the record, I think the TL is highly underrated on this forum. It may not be the best at anything, but it does so many things so very well.

    Agreed...i liked the 'old' BEAK (think I'm the only one :) )...it had flare.

    Plus I got the SH-AWD to over-steer...so it could be persuaded to have fun too.
  • Mark- a man after my own heart, congrats on your excellent choice in value, style and performance.
    I have the 2009 with the beak and butt, 25 months later and 13k miles-zero squeekes, zero seat wear and all compliments.
    My salesman keeps sending me emails in regards to a swap for the 2012-NO THANKS, the 2012 IMHO is too soft-appearance wise.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,037
    Has anyone noticed that people are actually bigger now than they were twenty years ago? Look at high school football teams. My god they are huge. I think carmakers have responded to some degree. Granted many people are heavier than they should be but the actual frames of each subsequent generation is larger than the previous. Add in all the safety crash protection in the frames, larger brakes, airbags, sunroofs, power everything and it makes for more size and weight in cars.

    Some may not hear it but weight isn't the only thing that matters in a cars drivablilty.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,306
    edited September 2011
    Since money is an object, well, I went with the Acura which seemed like a very high value.

    Welcome aboard! I've been driving a TSX for 3.5 years and enjoy it quite a lot, except for the pair of wheels doing the propulsion. Mine is a pre-beak edition with a manual transmission; don't much care for the styling after the '08s. The original concept was to drive this 3-4 years, then trade it for the diesel TSX, but mostly due to CA pollution regs, it didn't come to pass.

    You came close to getting that M35 (or was it 45?) a few years ago; I'm stunned that you actually pulled the trigger this time. Hope you're pleased with it. I lack the "Princess & the Pea" sensitivity to many things that those who populate this board (or who did before it went dead) possess, but haven't noticed any issues with rattles or wear on the leather.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,673
    Not too sure of I follow your logic on the G37, just because it was smaller doesn't mean its not a sport sedan. I would think the G37 has more interior space then the A4. I looked at the A4 (mid level) I like it but thought the G37 was bigger.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,676
    Look at high school football teams

    even younger...as my trim 90 lbs 8 year old leaves bodies in his wake...just an opening for dad to brag :)
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,343
    because almost every car these days can be had with leather and NAV, and so you have to look further and be a bit more discerning in what exactly "luxury" means aside from leather and a high price tag.

    Not all leathers and NAV systems were created equal. You can have grade A leather, grade b, grade C, grade D, grade F.

    The way it is put together, installed, and assmebled can vary in quality as well as the material itself.

    I thought the Infiniti's I looked at in 2009 were very nice inside.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,673
    The TL is a great car to commute in, but if you are looking for a car with soul, the Acrua line (except for the NSX) is a company to avoid. The TL really doesn't have much competition since its front wheel drive it isn't taken are seriously as a sport sedan as the BMW. Audi's handle well in quattro form but not so well in FWD version.
  • He did not say the G was not a Sports Sedan- he simply said the interior was too small for his liking. I felt the same way too when I test drove it, the size and the intrusive engine noise made me gave keys back to the salesman in a twinkle of the eye.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    And then you test drove the C class or a BMW. ;)

    Huge difference. Quiet, refined, and what you want in terms of proper luxury.

    The main reason Acura, Infiniti, and Lexus all come off as trying too hard and a bit plain vanilla is because in Japan, they don't really exist. There is Honda. Period. There is Nissan. End of choices. Toyota just recently stsrted selling Lexus over there, but for almost two decades, it was simply another model of Toyota.

    Mercedes, they make luxury cars and that's it aside from a few military vehicles and their commercial truck line. It's not a standard vehicle that's been tweaked and had a lot of bling added. It's the real deal. BMW is the same. And Audi, though they are a lot like VW in some ways, has always been its own company and own engineering. A lot like say, Cadillac - there has been some overlap from time to time with the lower end models, but it's always been its own company/line.

    Acura does nothing for me. In fact, Volvo makes better cars these days. (very nice, in fact, and off of most people's radar here) Infiniti has their highest-end large car, which is good, and proper luxury, but it's also huge and basically like a big Lexus in how it drives. And, lastly, Lexus. Very nice, but still so devoid of soul and personality that it screams "safe vanilla choice".
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    edited September 2011
    "That said, the TSX simply doesn't belong as it's just a plain vanilla "Accord" to the rest of the world. Over here, they slap Acura badges on it and raise the price. It's front wheel drive, has a plain vanilla 4 cylinder engine, and the handling is, well, standard family car. It's a NICE car, but it's not proper luxury OR proper sports."

    The American Accord is creamy vanilla. The Accord of the "rest of the world" (our TSX) is far from it. Your comments make it obvious that you have never actually driven a TSX 6MT at speed.

    Around town during a test drive, yes, it might resemble a smaller tighter Accord at first glance, but on a racetrack, there is no comparison. Take it from someone who knows first hand, the TSX is a responsive, dynamic, fun-to-drive sport sedan. Period.
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    You do realize that vehicles from the 5-Series below and E-Class below are not even considered luxury over in Europe? I suppose not. Hate to break it to you, Caddy has never been it own company/line. It has and always will be a luxury division/line of a larger company, just like Acura, Lexus, Infiniti, and Audi are. I do agree with your comments about Lexus though being a "safe vanilla choice". Mercedes Benz is another "safe vanilla choice" and neither Lexus nor MB has ever done anything to knock my socks off. They both are devoid of soul and fun.

    But Infiniti is no way a safe vanilla choice by any stretch of the imagination. That just goes to show you really need to test drive the vehicles you put down. It is quite sad that you limit yourself to the overpriced, poorer reliability of BMW and MB as your only options as true luxury vehicles.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,900
    I agree with you 100% fedlawman. Even though my 2010 TSX is equipped with an automatic, it is the best automatic I've ever driven. It holds shifts in M(anual) mode until I (the driver) flicks the paddle on the right for it to upshift. Even in S(port) mode, as long as my foot is planted, the revs will keep climbing to the redline before the transmission upshifts.

    I've heard the TSX with a 6-speed stick is an absolute blast to drive. We've already got one car in our fleet that my wife cannot drive (my 2001 Honda Prelude Type SH). When we bought the Acura, it was supposed to be her car (replacing our dearly loved 2007 BMW X3). Since we found out child #3 is on her way, we bought my wife a Pilot & I inherited the TSX.

    Is my TSX perfect? No. Like our resident 1st generation TSX owner says "the wrong wheels are driving the car.". I don't like the electric power steering.

    Those who say it is "just a rebadged Accord" need to drive the 2 cars back to back.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,900
    Back in 2009 I drove an Accord EX-L w/ NAV & a TSX w/ Tech Pkg. Both had almost identical sticker prices. While the Accord's V6 had "more punch," the TSX's I4 was much smoother. The suspension is tuned much more taut in the TSX. The TSX has stiffer anti-roll bars.

    It is definitely a car you have to drive to appreciate.

    I'm not saying the TL isn't more of a driver's car with it's 305 hp V6 & SH AWD. It's price of admission is significantly higher than the TSX. It also didn't meet the gas mileage requirements of the cash 4 clunkers program.

    For the record, I dig "the beak."

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium

  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,185
    edited September 2011
    "Infiniti has their highest-end large car, which is good, and proper luxury, but it's also huge and basically like a big Lexus in how it drives."

    dude you've never driven a M37, M50 or the M37 hybrid with that statement- Or maybe you've never driven the big lexus-- which i guess your talking about the LS. Totally different cars- you should try them.

    "The main reason Acura, Infiniti, and Lexus all come off as trying too hard and a bit plain vanilla is because in Japan, they don't really exist." trying to hard?? what are you saying here?? hello- all 3 of these brands have been around for 20 years.. they have sold millions of cars and have huge amounts of brand cred across the world.
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