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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,278
    edited December 2011
    . . ."bologna sandwich budget with caviar taste, I have no money, no clue, but I really want that stuff" people.

    Their number is legion.

    A number of years ago we lived next door to a couple who "liked nice things." They, in fact, had many more nice things than we did (or do to this day for that matter), but the next few years demonstrated that having them paid for, such that they could be kept, was a whole 'nother thing.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Leasing a car is like renting an apartment. Neither is bad and both have their place. Buying on credit is a personal decision.

    But one has to be responsible whether it is a house, car, work of art, etc. And I don't think people spend money irresponsibly to keep up with the jones'. People just spend money irresponsibly. Just look at the foreclosures.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,505
    edited December 2011
    You're right, there can be many motivations. "Keeping up" is just one of possibilities. A lot of it may not be linked to particular Jones's, but rather to media image of a successful person. When you looked at lifestyles of characters from many shows and compare with real-life earnings power of their jobs, there is often a large disconnect. However, many people would take that as a validation for their acquisitions. And of course commercials.

    Finishing on lease - it's not the lease itself that is a giveaway, it's the terms. If somebody leases at 0 down for mileage they are actually driving then that's a choice, when they put 4 grand down, 10K miles/year and their commute is 15 miles each way, you know that having car on the driveway was more important that actually driving it. Don't get me wrong - it's their money (or in some cases - it's their not having the money) and their choice to make. But if they wanted to borrow 10 bucks from me, I would automatically assume the likely actual choice here is losing 10 bucks or losing their graces.

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,160
    edited December 2011
    with the new 328 coming out soon - and sporting a 4cyl engine, that outperforms the current 6, does this change the way we look at this ELLPS foruM?

    I know audi droped the 6 for the A4 last year, another name which is debateable in this forum has a v6 but 95% of its cars leave with 4cyl- could be interesting to see if nissan goes with a 4 at some point, same with toyota..
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    edited December 2011
    "with the new 328 coming out soon - and sporting a 4cyl engine, that outperforms the current v6, does this change the way we look at this ELLPS foruM?"

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the 3-Series has never been endowed with a V6; yes, no?

    The above said, as I understand it, the new F30 M3 will feature a blown V6 for motivation.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,505
    BMW doesn't use V6, it uses I6 (six in line).

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Thankfully we're not here to discuss people's motivations, just to discuss the cars. :)
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "BMW doesn't use V6, it uses I6 (six in line)."

    My point exactly. Unfortunately it seems this is about to change as BMW will start using blown V6 engines for the next generation of M3s.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,088
    edited December 2011
    A friend of mine frequently uses the phrase: "There's no replacement for displacement." He is appalled at the number of cars that may offer more than 6 cylinders but rarely sell (or stock) anything other than "blown" I4's, I6's or V6's (both naturally aspirated and forced induction.)

    I tell him that there IS a replacement for displacement and that it is "volumetric efficiency."

    The 211HP 258 pound feet I4 in my 2009 A4 was both quick and fast -- with a 6spd automatic; in the new A4's the engine's rating remains but the car is even quicker, faster and more efficient due to an 8spd automatic.

    In favor of the V8 S4, Audi switched to a super-charged V6; in the S8 Audi has elected to drop 2 cylinders (from 10 to 8) and produce an engine that is both more efficient and more powerful -- considering its size the S8 is a sipper, not a guzzler.

    Only one Acura engine is boosted (the I4 in the RDX), and as far as I know there are no Infiniti engines that are either super or turbo charged.

    The V6 in my 2012 Acura is, frankly, pretty much a basic (but buttery smooth) fuel injected V6 of the modern era. I was wondering what would happen if Acura (Honda) would change to FSI (fuel stratified injection) and super or turbo charge it? Seems to me that with very little effort the engine used today if brought to the current state of the blown art, would put out at least 20% more HP and 10% more torque all the while showing perhaps another +2 MPG's. Then, if they would upgrade the fine 6 speed auto to a current gen 8 speed, any Acura so blessed would go from its current potency (which is very good and is, at this time, Acura's most powerful engine [the 3.7, i.e.]) to high output potency -- in the engine department -- coupled with always being near or at the operating sweet spot due to the increase in the number of gears.

    Think if Infiniti, currently without any forced induction engine offerings, were to begin offering their engines with a super or turbo charger (and also keeping their 7 speed autos) -- makes my head spin.

    The Germans (and even the CTS-V) would have something more to worry about, with all these G's, M's, TL's and RL's armed for bear.

    Will Acura or Infiniti ever up their engine game to this level, or will they take down-tuned engines and alter their breathing and computer maps to get them slightly better than they are now with a touch more grunt in the 0-60 dept? BTW, Infiniti already has a V8, so its creds don't need much engineering brain-power to at least be able to claim "we have V8's" even as they are bested by their very own 6's and 4's.

    I used to assume the car mfgrs read the engthusiasts magazines and the postings here on Edmunds and elsewhere. But, apparentely they don't. If they did and if they were swayed by what is said in both places, well you think they would pay attention and respond (even if only a little bit) to some of the legitmate critiques made by the authors.

    Audi and BMW are unlikely to loose credibility from a "sporting intentioned" family perspective. If someone want's to be certain their car hails from a lineage that includes "winners" and a widely accepted high performance heritage, look no further.

    Acura, perhaps standing all alone, may be shooed from the ELLPS (a.k.a. Premium) board and "chat room" based on its historic but currently all but gone lack of focus. Yet the perception that Acura is a bit fuzzy in the perception of premium department remains for them. The ZDX certainly didn't help and allowing the RL to, more or less, atrophy away hasn't helped either. Of all of these car brands, Acura is in the most peril of losing its way.

    Infiniti and Lexus are mostly safe bets to perservere as players in the ELLPS and LPS field, from what I can tell (although Lexus seems much more the luxury choice than the performance choice, but they are doing a yeoman's job to make this perception go away somewhat.)

    Mercedes, too, a safe bet if what you really want is a bonafide member of the LPS club.

    Volvo is, for the most part, doing what I think Acrua should do -- and that is building a performance image to go hand-in-hand with their safety image. They are about in the same position as Acura, the primary difference is Volvo seems to be really trying to put on a performance face these days.

    Finally the iconic American brand, Cadillac, has demonstrated, these past 3 - 5 years, a penchant for creating an image that may not quite be able to stand toe-to-toe with BMW or Mercedes, for example, but they do keep sneaking up on it with ever more interesting designs and power plants -- including volumetrically enhanced (super-charged) models like the CTS-V.

    We are in a time of inflection -- 2013 model cars are right around the corner and they continue to excite and delight (with the possible exception of Acura).

    So here I sit a guy with a history of 29 Audi's, 3 BMW's, 3 VW's and 1 Acura -- wondering why in the hell I got the Acura. But, truth be told, the Acura is not a boring drive, quite the contrary in fact; however, it is somewhat boring to look at and, that more than anything, may be the crux of the matter.

    :confuse:
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,505
    edited December 2011
    New fuel efficiency standards pushed German manufacturers into new areas of smaller blown engines. It's probably both US and Euro driven. I don't think BMW is going I4 turbo because they want to. They do it because they have to.

    It makes me wonder if lack of such moves on part of Lexus, Infiniti and Acura is because they are considered parts of their parent companies' fleets. If this is the case, it would give them distinct advantage, as lux customer doesn't care about fuel efficiency to same extent as non-luxury. It's not completely non-issue, but it is not a big one.

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,655
    My thoughts on my 2010 TSX sort of echo some of your feelings toward your TL SH-AWD. The engine/transmission combination is very smooth. They feel perfectly matched together. I don't oogle over the styling of my TSX like say a 335i w/ M Sport Package, but its design is handsome & far from boring.

    Could my TSX use more power via DI, FSI, Turbo, or Supercharging? Yes, but then how much torque could the front wheels handle? Would Acura's SH-AWD add too much as far as weight (& price) to its current entry level price tag without stealing sales from the base FWD TL?

    I'm happy with my TSX.

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

  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,088
    edited December 2011
    The TL should only be sold in AWD trim, IMHO. According to my Ohio dealers, most of the TL's sold are Tech SH-AWD's anyway. I think Acura should do what Audi does in the US -- sell AWD cars (99% anyway) period.

    Content and price them with options and packages that make sense, but don't push massive amounts of technology in one package. In other words, offer a basic version of the cars (but ONLY in AWD trim.)

    SH-AWD is damn near magic, it totally transforms the basic FWD car into a really believable ELLPS car. My dealers claim they sell mostly MDX's anyway, so Acura already seems to have at least the possibility of being all AWD all the time like Audi.

    With the FWD models clouding the message, it seems Acura's sometimes are more like VW's than Audis, yet Acura has essentially stated it wants to be in the Premium class and that it wants to model itself on Audi.

    I assume this makes sense since VW begat Audi and Honda begat Acura. Audi morphed (in the us) to the "quattro" company and claims to be the reigning champeen of AWD cars (with the most history, don't you know?) Audi has essentially eschewed FWD cars (in North America) in favor of AWD cars in order to be taken seriously as a contender in the Premium class -- where only RWD and AWD are taken seriously, it's in all the papers.

    Acura keeps hanging on to its Honda roots where it's good AND where it's not so good, premium perception-wise. Audi, morphed from FWD to FWD and/or AWD to AWD, period. They entered and won contests and races and Wards awards and other awards, but these awards and the spoils of winning were all accomplished with their AWD versions. Although I guess you could buy an FWD A4 or A6, I don't know where you go to actually find one in the flesh for sale at a dealer.

    And Audi did wonder "how much power can one put throught the front wheels" -- its answer was "not enough, so we need to put MORE power through the front AND rear wheels." And they are where they are now by taking the risk of virtually dropping FWD from the NA market.

    And what happened next? BMW brought out the 325 (in 1988 (?) as I recall, since I had one) with AWD; then Mercedes started offering AWD here and there. Acura, Infiniti, Lexus, Volvo, VW, Cadillac, Buick and, and, and, the list goes on to cover every LPS and LPS wannabe brand and product.

    As to the price impact -- I think it would be pretty easy to keep the price of an all SH-AWD fleet at about the current FWD models + $1,500; for the safety and performance this would offer, to say nothing of an image enhancement similar to that which Audi enjoyed, it is probably not a show stopper for the company.

    And, most of us shopping in this class will probably not reject a new Acura that is exclusively offered with SH-AWD. For most, it ought to be a no-brainer.

    I have nothing against FWD, btw, I just think it would be very helpful to Acura if it has the goal of remaining a serious premium class brand, to completely ditch any and all FWD offerings from its lineup.

    :surprise:
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    edited December 2011
    Funny thing, for my current needs, wants and desires, the "perfect" car for me right-now-today would be an Audi A3 RWD (sacrilege I know, but I want it none-the-less) with a hotted up 2.0T and a 6-Speed manual. Of course no such a critter will ever exist, but one can dream can't one. :blush:
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,505
    I think Acura should do what Audi does in the US -- sell AWD cars (99% anyway) period.

    That's not entirely accurate. A3s and A4s are sold here mostly in FWD (Tampa). I asked a salesguy about it once. He surprised me. To Audi without AWD is like nonalcoholic beer or worse.

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,160
    edited December 2011
    While I agree Acura should "advance" I feel they do not need to completely change to awd. They did very well in the 90 and 2000s with a front wheel drive setup. The biggest mistake is they lost its passion and have made the car more Buick then BMW. The dropped the low cost integra that got the youth in the door. They made the tsx bloated and its best car the TL (legend) is ugly and bloated. They also killed the nsx which was a reason to go into the dealership in the first place. Fwd setup not great for performance but it was these thigs that killed the brand and it's sales numbers. - Sh-awd or whatever it's called is pretty good setup but it's not the answer to get people in the door- they have more cara in th lineup then they did 10 years ago and sell half the number of cars.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,754
    While I agree Acura should "advance" I feel they do not need to completely change to awd. They did very well in the 90 and 2000s with a front wheel drive setup. The biggest mistake is they lost its passion and have made the car more Buick then BMW. The dropped the low cost integra that got the youth in the door. They made the tsx bloated and its best car the TL (legend) is ugly and bloated. They also killed the nsx which was a reason to go into the dealership in the first place. Fwd setup not great for performance but it was these thigs that killed the brand and it's sales numbers. - Sh-awd or whatever it's called is pretty good setup but it's not the answer to get people in the door- they have more cara in th lineup then they did 10 years ago and sell half the number of cars.

    Excellent post on Acrua, sween. Agree 100%. And I drive an '05 TL. A much better looking car IMHO than the current one. Acura has really lost its way, as has Honda.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,655
    I think that's an excellent idea. Definitely a great way to differentiate Acura from its Honda roots. Buyers here in the northeast & new England will buy anything and everything AWD.

    Give my TSX a turbo, SH AWD, & excellent brakes (the oem brakes are pathetic) & I'd give it another look.

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

  • If my message somehow went too far, I apologize -- I do not believe that moving to an all AWD line-up (or 99%, as in the case of Audi -- and in the case of Audi it is 100% of their advertising) will alone re-position Acura in the minds of the intended customers.

    As I mentioned in my earlier post, the crux of the issue is not how these cars drive (if the 2012 TL Advance SH-AWD is any indicator), they are not a boring drive, not an incompetent drive, nor lacking in performance. The thing is the cars are pretty much not very attractive -- even if they do get bonus points for trying to look different.

    They have the driving thing in pretty good shape as far as I'm concerned -- they need to modernize the engines and look at the content that is offered by every car brand/product they wish to emulate and be guided accordingly.

    They need to consider making themselves perceived solely as an AWD company and they need an across the board styling transplant or upgrade asap.

    Probably more than any other step they could take, styling is the one that will bear the most fruit. For, no matter how much they up their game in the performance or content arena, people need something to draw them to the showroom and something to feel good about after they buy.

    My '12 TL is "better" in so many ways than my '09 A4 -- which was the first year for the change to the B8 platform for Audi. I would not expect this to remain thus -- a refreshed A4, most likely, will again be more attractive (in all the above ways) than the current TL (from a design perspective mainly.)

    You don't have to agree with the magazines, but the current A6, which looks very much like a larger B8, A4, is winning friends, awards wise. No Acura is on any list I can find. BMW, too, remains a repeat top choice amongst those who award wins for being great.

    Acura simply needs a style-ectomy, soon.

    :sick:
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,160
    Style I agree - I also think they need to go cheaper to find youth buyers. We have heard from owners that the TSX is a great value - but it's still 30k an bulk of the buyers are older people- make a 25k coupe with a power 4 that gets youth in the door. All in you can't pick a car under the Acura nameplate that says look at me - "I'm rediculously good looking" - and that's a major problem.

    Love the traction this is finally getting - its time to release the TsX from this Elpps chat once and all as a lesson to Acura you can't stand around for 10 years and do nothing in an evolving car biz. (sorry for typos, iPhone)
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,655
    Sween - I agree with you & Mark that the Acura lineup definitely needs a makeover. You are right that none of the models scream "I gotta have it."

    Like I said, my TSX is handsome (IMHO) but its styling doesn't compare to BMW, Audi, MB.

    Practicality, Luxury, & Technology are driving people into Acura showrooms rather than style & performance.

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

  • Isn't the upcoming RSX supposed to come in at a lower price point? Of course then there's the issue that the TSX is supposedly a cancelled product and that the TL will shrink in size.

    But if you can at least suggest that you can offer a lower entry point, price-wise, you may find you attract more and younger customers. Truth be told the TL is actually much bigger feeling than my outgoing A4, which did, technically, have a longer wheel-base, but the TL is wider.

    Again, we seem to be in violent agreement, Acura needs an overall styling cue that is spread across all cars and, first and foremost, is attractive.

    You may or may not like the look of an Audi, but the entire line from the lowest cost A3 to the big buck A8L or R8 all have cues that they are Audi's.

    BMW, ditto.

    Acura is trying with their beak front end, but it obviously wasn't working for them, considering the plastic surgery the TL just underwent.

    C'mon let's make some good looking cars -- at all price points!
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,669
    C'mon let's make some good looking cars -- at all price points!

    ...any KIA (Rio starting at 13k).

    To me it seemed like the Acura beak was trying to imitate the Cadillac shield...but it ended up looking to thick and plasticky...
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,655
    I don't know how much lower the price of an entry level Acura can go. I think the average new car price is $30K. The $30K price point is the new $20K price point of 15 years ago.

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

  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,505
    edited December 2011
    They should have never ditched RSX. That would have been a great $25K+ entry with $28K-30K Type S. Small overlap with top of Civic with extra zip (make base engine 10 hp stronger) and equipment.

    Honda must be experiencing some big internal struggles that we don't know about. Just look at latest Civic and Accord. The "sportyish" DNA is all but gone, virtually no trace.

    I recently a rented Accord (yes, I was surpirised myself - Hertz had Accord in their rental fleet). Mechanicals were adequate, but the car did not impress me at all. Really cheap interior, barge look, even some ergonomics were not so great (always strong suit of Japanese cars). Long story short, if I were in market for family midsize sedan, Accord may not even make the short list.

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,160
    edited December 2011
    Mark- I have no details on the new Rsx- which as am ex integra gs-r owner I had no interest in- car was not that excitingly all- the integra had the ns-x to look up to plus my gs-r was close to the type r that was very rare and wanted by anyone under 28 years old.

    NYCcarguy- the death of the Rsx and the no entry point at mid 20ks is a problem- the 4 door current TSx is boring - no other term to use- its a nice safe play but 95% are auto an 97% come with the 4 that is taxed in its current form.

    They have alot of holes, no supercar, no coupe, no convert, Zdx, a turbo 4 that gets terrible Mpgs, ugly Tl, tsx thats bloated, Zdx and the fact that it's current line does not have one car people have to own (see sonata). Yes I mentioned the Zdx 2 times- it seats 4, weights more then the mdx, ugly and has the sr engine as then mdx- also its overpriced .

    Acura is the new Buick. Buick is the new startup. Acura has 2 choices given recent sales numbers - die or redue. Acura has a choice to make - let's hope they choose wisely.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,754
    They have alot of holes, no supercar, no coupe, no convert, Zdx, a turbo 4 that gets terrible Mpgs, ugly Tl, tsx thats bloated, Zdx and the fact that it's current line does not have one car people have to own (see sonata). Yes I mentioned the Zdx 2 times- it seats 4, weights more then the mdx, ugly and has the sr engine as then mdx- also its overpriced .

    Interesting points. When I bought my TL in '04, the TL was among the best looking sedans out there, they had the tight, nimble, and pretty good looking TSX, they had the RSX, they had the original better looking MDX. Then they bloated and uglied up the whole line, and dropped the RSX. A bunch of steps backwards. No wonder they are slipping in sales. Honda has really lost its way.
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,160
    Yep - I think both last generation tl and tsx were good cars- they looked the part - didnt dare challenge, because Acura was smart and didn't include them in the conversation with real lux sports cars. They both were very well prices to the lower end and again both looked great.

    I feel when the last Acura name died (integra) I think the brand was slowly doing soon there after
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,655
    Your ideal vehicle sweendoggy?

    The result is a BRZ that came in under its target weight at 2,690 pounds according to Subaru. That's about 100 pounds less than a Honda Civic Si, and it feels like it, too.

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

  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,160
    Never saw that thing before- 24-25k coupe hat has some go- that's what the next rsx or integra should be - nice post.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,006
    edited December 2011
    Scion will market the same thing in US and Toyota will market the same in Japan. All three have 200hp and not a lot of torque until screaming. Subaru did engine...Toyota most of the rest. Not entry level luxury but entry level sports.
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