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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,084
    edited September 2011
    Thanks for the congrats -- here is the Buying Story.

    I found a website called CARWOO.COM -- which, for a one time fee, allows you to locate and price a car without revealing your identity. Unlike competing web sites that do essentially the same thing, CARWOO takes money ONLY from the buyer, not from the seller (unless, of course they are lying.) I paid $148 which allowed me to send queries to EVERY Audi, Acura, Infiniti and Volovo dealer in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. I limited my selection to the dealers under 200 miles away from Cincinnati.

    CarWoo allows you to configure the car exactly as you want it and you get a text box to explain any flexibility you may have or anything you will not consider.

    You then press a button and wait about 24 hours for the CarWoo email machine to start sending you links to your CarWoo account with offers from dealers.

    To make a long story a bit shorter, Volvo responded quickly and would not budge off of a $1,000 off MSRP discount. Bzzz! Thanks for playing, maybe next time.

    Infiniti was pretty aggressive and two dealers offered me prices that almost had me saying yes.

    Audi dealers responded, oddly, (all of them) saying they had no inventory and that any A4 would have to be ordered. One of them finally gave me a price but it was for 42 months, not 36 or 39 and it began with a $7 (for a sub $48,000 A4 for pity's sake).

    Acura, locally, came in AT BEST, with a 6.5% discount off MSRP (Columbia). A Columbus Ohio dealer -- Lindsay Acura -- came in at 13% off MSRP for a 2012 Acura TL SH-AWD Advance with backup sensors (which are about a $715 accessory.) Here's the funny thing, they sourced the car from Columbia -- I have the window sticker! Whatsupwiththat?!?

    The car was $499 per month + tax.

    I had driven ALL of the cars (not a Lexus or MB of any kind) multiple multiple times and really liked the A4 (what's not to like I still have my 2009 for another 30 days?), the M37X and the TL SH-AWD (Advance model). Likewise I thought the Volvo S60 T6 was GREAT FUN! I also had a chance to drive a Premium+ Audi S4 (without the sport diff -- aka no torque vectoring.) Now THAT car was the most fun of all (but in Premium+ mode had much less "content" than the other cars I had tested, plus is was mo' money, big time.)

    Truth be told in what was nearly a back to back to back experience, I drove the Audi, the Cadillac and the Acura over the exact same route for about the exact same time, speeds, tunes on the sound system, etc, etc, in one day's worth of test drives.

    I am hoping not to receive a bunch of "ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND" posts, but I will venture to say this -- the Acura TL SH-AWD Advance is very close in performance and overall "character" to an Audi S4 -- and although very nice and perhaps "dressier," the Cadillac CTS/4 3.6 with the 19" wheel performance option was the least inspiring of the bunch.

    Now the Acura TL SH-AWD Advance is no Audi S4, I am not saying it is, the S4 would be the winner, but contented to match the Acura was just shy of $12,000 more and I could not muster the one that I drove (which was not contented thusly) into and out of corners THAT much quicker than I could the Acura (which may have had an advantage over the Audi at the time since the Acura had torque vectoring and the the Audi did not. Moreover, the Audi did seem more prone to wallowing through corners as if it had more understeer than the Acura, which, even though it was slower seemed perhaps better balanced than the Audi.

    So, I says to myself, the Acura (as equipped to my tastes) was just under $48,000 (including shipping, but excluding tax), and my price was about $8,000 off of that -- thank you CarWoo.Com.

    No one else even came close.

    Remember I was pricing an A4 2.0T Prestige 8-spd Tip w/sport package and wood which came in pretty close MSRP wise to the Acura. The Cadillac had attractive offers but other than its glizt left me thinking it was not focussed on performance as much as the other guys. And, the Cadillac had one thing missing that, for me, was a deal breaker -- a $53,000 CTS does not have grab handles for the front seat passenger or driver. All the other guys do -- and I consider them essential, basic, standard, normal and required. How much do grab handles cost anyway -- in a $53,000 car, maybe $50? What were they thinking? And, moreover, Cadillac in the 4-door CTS does not even offer a blind spot warning system -- which came standard on both the Audi and the Acura at the trim levels I spec'd.

    So, thus far, I am missing the Audi new car smell, I miss automatic windshield wipers and bi-xenons (but I rarely can turn on my high beams, so that is not that big of a deal) -- and, oddly enough, I miss the Audi needle sweep when I start the Acura up.

    Then, I get on the highway and press my foot down, arousing a 305HP 274 pound feet of torque super smooth engine, watch the power shift from the front to the rear wheels and, zip, I'm at 80MPH in a distance that seems not much longer than my driveway.

    Loving the cooled seats and the best sound system I have ever heard in any car (including the B&O in Audi which had been my previous fave.)

    Having said all of this -- I probably still would have gone with the Audi 2.0T Prestige Sport if it had come in at a price to match the Acura.

    Money talks, as the saying goes. . . :surprise:
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,591
    Yes the RX8 is light, Balanced,RWD, & Nimble. Like shipo says, at costs. The engine's torque peaks at a very lofty RPM and my Dad's 2010 Chevy Tahoe gets better gas mileage.

    Before you quote me EPA sticker numbers, find out what the real world MPG is on an RX8.

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

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,591
    Great deal & a great write up on a fantastic car.

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

  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,238
    Mark...cool! As NYC said, great write-up.

    I'm familiar with both Columbia and Hidy. Funny that Hidy was trying to sell a car that was on Columbia's lot.

    Interesting about CARWOO, also. Personally, I don't care if dealers know my identity. But, I can see where if you didn't want to be bothered with having them contact you where it might be useful.

    Anyway, that TL is a very nice ride. You'll like it during the time you have it parked in your driveway.

    Funny about Audis. When I was looking several months ago, S4s were on my shopping list. The Cincinnati dealer told me they had such limited stock of everything because the factory wasn't shipping them as many cars. That included their volume model the A4. They had one S4, but it wasn't even close to what I was looking for, and it was a demo.

    The Audi store in Dayton had one, but it was a 2K mi trade-in (wonder how much of a bath that owner took) who wanted the (then new) A7 instead.

    Beechmont had the best selection with 4 S4s at the time. But, like you, I couldn't see where the price delta was worth it to pay that much more over the similar TL SH AWD.

    BMW is offering to do a factory performance retrofit on my 335i, which would up both the HP and the torque by about 7%. Understand, I believe that BMW is stretching the truth about how much HP and torque the 335i motor is putting out in factory trim (it's a lot more). The kicker, I can do the facotry performance upgrade at my dealership, complete with normal BMW warranty for $600.

    I'm debating if I'll want it. My car's already as fast as greased lightening, how much more could I want? But, we're talking 20 extra ponies here.
  • It turned out to be Lindsay Acura, Columbus, OH.

    klik or go here:

    http://www.dealerrater.com/directory/Ohio/Acura/
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 28,743
    $600 for 20 horsepower?

    That's a cheap upgrade....

    MODERATOR
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  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,238
    Mark....sorry about that. Seems I've talked to, or visited every Acura and BMW dealer within a 100 mile radius of Cincinnati in the last couple of years. They start to run together.

    I'm familiar with Lindsay, too. While, I've not visited the store, I had dealt with one of the sales people there, who wasn't very good. I was looking for a particular color combo. He said he had it. When I asked him for the VIN#, he strung me along, wanting me to come to the store to "talk about the car". I wanted to make sure they had the color combo before making a 90 minute drive. I told him all it would take for me to drive up to visit him was the VIN so I could confirm he had what I wanted. He couldn't/wouldn't He wouldn't assure me of that.

    Again, congrats on the car. It's a very nice one that you're going to enjoy a lot.

    kyfdx.....here's the blurb on Edmunds (which my dealer confirms they can do).....

    http://www.insideline.com/bmw/1-series/bmw-offers-performance-power-kit-for-135i- -and-335i.html

    I know the previous 135/335 had the twin turbo (N54), and the new ones have the twin scroll turbo (N55). I've driven both. The N54 had a bit of turbo lag (not much). But, BMW overboosts it at higher RPM (which is why the 335is is rated with more HP and torque than the N55. However, I think both motors are under rated and put out more HP and torque than BMW says they do.

    That said, I'm trying to decide if I want the extra HP/torque. That would essentially make my 335i coupe with the same engine performance as the 335is, which is mighty good.

    But, mine is really good to begin with. I'm debating but probably will do it when I can schedule some time at the dealership to get it done. Who doesn't like more HP and torque? :shades:

    How's your new Z4, BTW? Did you ever post pics?
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    edited September 2011
    Maybe I'm confusing threads, but if I recall correctly, the discussion about how heavy cars have gotten included a reference to RWD Sedans. While I'm personally biased toward RWD vehicles, I don't use my bias to exclude other drive layouts from the ELLPS segment.

    I didn't exclude FWD or AWD cars, it's just that BMW's earlier models set the standard for the class, which led to the best example, the E30. (also Volvo did make a 240 turbo which was nearly identical at the time). That both were RWD was just because that's how they liked to make cars.

    But as far as weight, 3500+ lbs isn't sporty. Not when you add in fuel, fluids, a battery, and normal stuff like a spare tire, which aren't part of the "dry weight" listed. That adds another 200-300 lbs or so, conservatively. Then add in a typical driver, and you can be at or near 4000lbs rolling down the road. Physics dictate that you cannot get a 2 ton anything to turn on a dime and actually be nimble.

    Now, compared by decades of sofa on wheels, yes, they could be described as "sporty." But they're a far, far cry from their original roots.

    Oh, I thought of another possible small sport sedan to add to the under 3000lbs list - the Mini Cooper S. In fact, this is a perfect example, because on paper the turning radius is actually worse than a 128i. (vs 35.1 vs 36.2 ft) But drive one and it's a huge difference in how they actually move and handle.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TF4YWKWjLIk
    Here is the 128i vs the Cooper. Of note is the huge difference in slalom speeds. Weight is a huge problem that even better tires and RWD can't completely mitigate.

    In something like a TSX, well, the slalom speed for a TSX is 64.6 mph (both Edmunds, same exact testing methods) The original E36 M3? Edmunds managed to get one to go 75mph through their slalom. Just a whole other planet compared to today's cars.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    "Edmunds managed to get one to go 75mph through their slalom."

    Link?
  • sweendogysweendogy Posts: 1,147
    edited September 2011
    congrats on the TL- as a pedestrian i'm happy that acura cleaned up the look a bit for 2012. Living in new england I see very few (08?)09-11 versions then one would expect.. Audi, BMW, Infinitis along with TSX's are way more common-- my guess it has to do with looks along with the TSX being a good cheaper option.

    does anyone know when acura will do a revamp of the current lineup?

    I will check out your advertisement for car woo, thanks.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 28,743
    How's your new Z4, BTW? Did you ever post pics?


    Nope... no pics...

    The car is fine, the wife doesn't like it, and I have a friend who is going to take over the lease, next Sunday.

    I'll have had the car for one month, total... lol

    MODERATOR
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  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    But it was designed by women (for women?).

    What doesn't she like about it? What are you going to replace it with?
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,238
    kyfdx.....well....give the girl what she wants, then.

    I know you hunted high and low for that car, even driving out east to get it.

    That's a shame. I have a friend (female) who has a Z3.....an '03. She loves it.....says it's the best car she's ever owned.

    I think you now take the crown as having the shortest ownership experience of anyone I know.

    You just beat the now 2nd shortest ownership experience I became aware of (my best friend and his Corvette) by 3 months.

    So, what's next on the agenda?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 28,743
    The "designed for women" thing? You should drive one... I think you'd be impressed..

    Anyway, I got it to replace her X3, which comes off lease in October... Turns out, she didn't really want a Z4, she wanted another SUV.. Somehow, that fact just slipped right on by me... :surprise:

    Anyway, she loves the new X3, but it's an easy $250/mo. more than her current lease, which puts it way over budget... In fact, just about all compact SUVs have lousy lease deals. So, that, coupled with her now working from home (a lot less miles driven) is leading us to possibly purchase a vehicle...

    Top candidates are:

    Volvo XC60
    Audi Q5
    VW Tiguan

    But, we just acquired an E30, so she can drive my son's Legend, after her lease is up.... for a month or so... if we haven't found a replacement by the end of October.. so, I'm not pressed for time...

    regards,
    kyfdx

    MODERATOR
    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    edited September 2011
    If she's anything like my wife, once she got a taste of sitting up high, she won't go easily back to sedans/coupes.

    My wife loves our Volvo V70, but she still talks about how she misses the Buick Rendezvous we had. Our next car will probably be one of the ones on your list too - with the possible addition of the Land Rover LR4.

    Although...she carpooled to work the other day and the driver had a new Subaru Outback. When she got home from work, I heard all about how nice it was. Out of curiosity, I test drove one last week and was very impressed.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,669
    But as far as weight, 3500+ lbs isn't sporty. Not when you add in fuel, fluids, a battery, and normal stuff like a spare tire, which aren't part of the "dry weight" listed. That adds another 200-300 lbs or so, conservatively.

    I've never seen "dry weight" listed (unless it's a motorcycle)...I've only seen curb weight which includes all the fluids topped up.

    Where have you seen "dry weight" listed?
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,637
    Your obsession with the E30 has gone over board.

    The RX-8 is a better handler then a E30 could be. I would rather have my 328i then your E30. Market dictates what gets sold and people want luxury inside their cars.
  • Where the weight of these cars is concerned, "We have met the enemy and he is us. . . ."

    How 'bout this, "What once were vices are now virtues. . . ."

    The people who don't want more lux and more tech and more HP and more driven wheels (at least as an option) are virtually statistically insignificant. I, for one, became insignificant in 2003, which is the last time I could, relatively easily, order a full-size Audi with a manual transmission. I still had to order it and wait 120 days, but at least I got one.

    Now, I am in the class of folks who "Can't always get what I want, but sometimes can get what I need" [sic]. I find myself, however, wanting more of these nasty weight gaining lux and tech things, so much so that they have become NEEDS.

    I don't mind, too much, us continuing to talk about how porky these things have become . . . but it is becoming like talking about the weather. Lament all you will, neither you nor I will be able to change the trend toward more content that, using current materials, will raise the weight of these Entry Level LPS cars (and all of the others, too.)

    Respectfully asked, can we move off of the "lighter cars perform better and get better mileage, etc etc" topic?

    :shades:
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,526
    [ BMW Euro Delivery ]
    Executive summary:

    Friday, 16 Sept. – Picked up at the Munich airport and chauffeured to the Welt. Took delivery of the new BMW. Drove out of the city - south and east, then west into Austria. Stayed overnight in Krimml.

    Saturday, 17 Sept. – Hiked around Krimml Falls and then crossed the Gerlos Pass \ Alpine Road and headed toward Innsbruck. Turned south and stayed the night in Verona, Italy.

    Sunday, 18 Sept. – Drove south to a B&B located in a tiny village [ Pitelli ] near La Spezia.

    Monday & Tuesday, 19 & 20 Sept. – Toured Cinque Terre villages.

    Wednesday, 21 Sept. – Toured a couple of other local tiny villages, right on the La Spezia area coast = S. Terenzo and Lerici.

    Thursday, 22 Sept. – Drove north to Switzerland. Stayed overnight in San Bernardino.

    Friday, 23 Sept. – Drove north then east to Memmingen, Germany. Toured the old city in the afternoon.

    Saturday, 24 Sept. – Briefly toured other areas close to the hotel in the morning and enjoyed the local farmers’ market. Drove to Munich Airport & flew back to the US.

    Overall comments: This was a terrific experience for my daughter and me. We were very fortunate, weather-wise. We had some rain overnight the first night, but it cleared by mid-morning. It rained cats & dogs & buckets during the latter part of the drive to the La Spezia area, and was quite windy much of the overnight – but it cleared by morning, and that resulted in more surf than one would expect on the Mediterranean coast, while we toured the Cinque Terre villages. The scenery and the weather those days and driving while in Austria and Switzerland were almost literally breathtaking.

    Oh, and the BMW 335iS Coupe [ Le Mans Blue, Gray, DCT ] ran flawlessly the whole time – just over 1,000 miles. Counting the days now until [re-]delivery.

    I plan to post details in the CCBA forum about several of the days, with links to photographs on photobucket – but that may take another few days.

    Cheers,
    - Ray
    Happy BMW driver . . .
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,526
    Congratulations on the new car -
    and best of luck!
    - Ray
    Did not drive one of those - for several reasons...
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,084
    edited September 2011
    Tell us about the delivery routine. How were you treated, etc. Involve us.

    BTW -- congratulations!
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Some models list weight (almost certainly dry weight) and some "curb weight". You also have to add in supplies and so on (chains, battery cables, maps, etc). Some cars don't include the spare tire in the weight as well, as it's optional.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,526
    I will - but likely not until sometime this weekend.
    - Ray
    Busy, tired & jet-lagged...
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,238
    Mark....fact is, regardless of more weight (these cars don't weigh near what the ones I've seen from the '60s-'70s weigh), your TL will outperform any TL that came before it. Same goes for most models.

    Ray...congrats on the new car. Would also love to hear about the delivery.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,084
    edited September 2011
    I am pretty well convinced that my 2012 TL will outperform my 2009 A4 2.0T, too. The Audi, which has Audi Drive Select, can be put into "dynamic" mode and that makes the steering more responsive and the dampers more firm and the transmission shift at higher speeds. It has 19" wheels with Ultra High Performance Yoko S.Advan (?) all-season tires (35% aspect ratio).

    It has rear wheel drive biased quattro and last but not least has 211HP and 258 lb ft of torque with the power going through a 6 speed automatic "tiptronic" transmission.

    It, the Audi that is, is and has been great fun to drive and it is confidence inspiring to the max.

    The TL isn't quite as hunkered down feeling, but it is wider and has about a 1" shorter wheelbase. It is nose heavier than the Audi (but not a whole lot), rides on similar tires (but not Ultra High Performance) of 40% aspect ratio is front biased AWD, but also includes torque vectoring. It feels a bit softer than the A4, it is quieter and feels a bit larger -- but it has 305HP and 274 lb feet of torque, and when properly applied when cornering, the damn thing seems to be able to magically go from a nose heavy understeering blob, to an oversteering (slightly) taught, tight curve carver.

    The Audi probably can cut the corners about at the same speeds, or maybe higher than the Acura, even without torque vectoring -- but when coming out of the curve the 305HP allows the Acura to always show the Audi its tail lights.

    My Audi, all in, was $49K (MSRP) The Acura, just south of $48K -- at these prices power rules. And, overall the Acura is a very nice place to spend some time either behind the wheel or as a passenger enjoying the ventilated seats (that the Audi lacks).

    Said it before, irrational as it might be, if the Audi were the same lease price per month as the Acura (that is about $200 less), I would have gone with another Audi -- just for that special something that only a German car seems to offer.

    Irrational.

    Couldn't see the price per month delta though and that seems rational. I am overall quite pleased with the Acura and if they continue to improve and move forward AND keep their value prop, well, I could become a TRUE BELIEVER.

    You know, though, any of these cars are pretty damn nice.

    :surprise:
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,238
    You know, though, any of these cars are pretty damn nice.

    That....we absolutely agree upon!

    Your TL, my 3, the Audis....all of them do amazing things, as they should, at the price points they sell at.

    They do so dynamically, comfortably.....

    I know I averaged about 21 MPG on my TL SH AWD. I'm averaging about 24 MPG on my 335i (which amazes me even more). I don't baby my cars, either.

    These cars have come far.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,591
    graphicguy & markincincinati - I think the 2 major things you'll both notice that are different between your current & former TL SH AWD & current BMW & Audi are:

    Steering. Having never driven a TL SH AWD, just my 2010 TSX, I can tell you the electric power steering stinks. Road feel is non-existant at low speeds. At higher speeds it is really nice and tight though.

    Brakes. There is a reason that my TSX is less expensive than pretty much every other car in this segment. Acura honda had to cut corners somewhere. The brakes on my TSX are terrible. Nothing at all like BMW's RIGHT NOW brakes with their incredible pedal firmness & physics defying stopping ability.

    Obviously power is different too. Mark's Acura is definitely faster than his former A4, while graphicguy's 335 has the ability to outrun pretty much 90% of the normal cars on the road

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

  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,752
    I had a 1998 A4 (6 cyl) and have an '05 TL. Differences between the two:

    - TL has more electronic goodies (but 7 year newer car)
    - TL poorer handler, wallows in turns
    - TL's climate control much quieter
    - Audi interior clearly nicer
    - Audi control feel and driving feel clearly better
    - Audi inspired much more passion
    - Audi extremely expensive to maintain, the few things that broke were a LOT
    - Acura has been outstandingly reliable and cheap to maintain
  • sweendogysweendogy Posts: 1,147
    Breaks are not the only thing that makes the acura tsx less expensive. 4 vtek which is in every other honda product prob being the biggest saver of money for the acura car, lets not forget the accord platform. Its not really a sports sedan but more of a sporty sedan, as 90% of them are sold with automatics. (same thing with the TL, nice rig for sure but not a true sports sedan- even in sh-awd form) Closest to the germans is Infiniti by far-- rear wheel drive, good breaks, sports packages, manual transmissions (which are sadly going away) . Cars from the far east are closer then they have ever been but its going to be interesting to see what car companies do in the upcoming years as they need to keep up with MPG mandates - I know BMW will be bringing a 4cy to the states soon, Acura can use the turbo 4 it already produces, infiniti will team with MB for its next line of engines, should be interesting.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,591
    I might be mistaken, but off the top of my head the only other Honda Product that uses the exact same motor (2.4L - 201 hp - 176 lb/ft torque) is the Civic Si.

    I'll agree with you that under extreme circumstances, my TSX shows it's Accord Platform roots. We have some seriously twisty back roads here in southwestern Connecticut. There's one particular road where the sign shows "S" curves for 1 mile with a 15 mph suggested speed limit. My TSX shows the flaws in it's chassis.

    Like many here have said, price aside, I'd choose a BMW.

    Every single car in this segment shines in it's own way. A 3 series equipped like my TSX (or even a TL) costs significantly more, has a smaller back seat, & a smaller trunk.

    The 3 series is sharper, handles better, drives much better overall.

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

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