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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    What's the name of your dealership, if I might ask?

    I am planning on stopping into mine later this week on our X5d to order the trailer hitch and spare tire kit (blew it, should have checked that box). We only have 1,400 miles on the vehicle, but I will be asking to speak to the service manager just to make sure we don't get hit with any of the BS you just went through.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,757
    I lose all trust to my "advisor" and have to work on my own what actually is worth doing and at what price.

    Mike Miller at Roundel (the BMW Car Club magazine) puts out a good comprehensive schedule of what maintenance is needed on various BMWs, it's free to BMWCCA members. You can also get similar ones at "Bavarian Otto's" blog on the Bavauto.com website.

    I have found that if you stick to these schedules you will get many trouble free miles from your car. They are a little more comprehensive than the maintenance BMWNA gives you but not as extensive as the extras your dealer is pushing at you. There's no way you need a P/S flush at 15K, you can go 100K without problems and that
    induction system cleaning is pure BS.

    If I were you I'd find another dealer for warranty work and a good Indie shop for everything else.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,550
    edited October 2012
    The name is Reeves. The sad thing about the whole thing is, their sales staff and creating a really good environment, trully friendly and no-nonsense, even if very aggressive on pricing, makes you feel comfortable.

    I'm generally not opposed to somebody setting whatever their price can be - it's free market and it is their choice to do so, as it is mine to use them or not (basically market sets those limits). I'm also cognizant that my car is one of cheapest they have out there, so the perspective is different - somebody with $100K 7-series may not care if alignment is $100 or $200, but they may care more about "concierge" type of service that you get in such a place. Those "free" perks can be quite costly. I don't need them, I'd rather keep my money, but again - they cater to people who do care and such a treatment costs money. Fine with me.

    I can't be angry at Ritz for their hotel room prices being out of what I'm willing to pay, so I'm not angry at Reeves for $200 alignment price. It's too high IMHO, so thanks, but no thanks. It's the other two "recommendations" that really bother me, because they are trully bogus in my opinion.

    I don't think you need to worry about anything at 1400 miles. This is not the case of somebody putting the car on the lift and then telling you your (fill the blank) is broken and has to be fix for X. This was planned maintenance visit used as an opportunity for an upsell, because they think that whatever BMW pays them is not enough. They invented a bogus need for some preventative stuff that don't really need, but nobody can disprove such need. I'm already used to that - every time you have an AC service as maintenance, the guy without a fault will "recommend" duct cleaning, coil cleaning and other equally "preventative" stuff, not to mention a UV lamp to kill bacteria with a bargain price of over two grand, or electrostatic filter for another two.

    All I need is to say no and they go away.

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

  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,550
    Indie shop is in my plans. Warranty work so far seems to be taken care of OK, but I'm always open for options.

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

  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,316
    I wonder how many poor saps would they scare into doing this.

    The vast majority.

    Enthusiasts, who have a clue how cars work and what's actually required, are no longer the target market for BMW (or any of the others, for that matter).
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,316
    edited October 2012
    The more I read about the steering & driving dynamics from enthusiasts like you, the more it looks like my next car isn't going to be a new BMW.

    Enthusiasts, who have a clue how cars work and what's actually required, are no longer the target market for BMW (or any of the others, for that matter).

    Isn't it interesting how the same answer works more than once?
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    So I went into Tesla today for my test drive of the Model S and to try to decide if I should convert my $5,000 deposit into a binding configuration. They can deliver the car in 90 days from whenever I hit the "confirmed" button.

    My quick take is that Tesla has a great vehicle for greenies, geeks and semi-enthusiasts that can will get excited by the 240 volt plug, 17" touchscreen, or holding the steering wheel in both hands on a vigorous test drive....

    ....but, once you come to a stop and look around the interior of the car, you realize pretty quickly that you aren't sitting in a Panamera, CLS, A7, 5-series. I don't want my first impression to be too harsh, and intend to go back with my wife when she can do a test drive in the next week or two. But I think Tesla might have more of a packaging problem with the interior than their sexy photographs and YouTube videos suggest. The seats were Toyota Camry quality and the empty area below the dash and between the driver and passenger seat (where the gear shift and center console would normally be) looked awful and detracted from the sense that you were sitting in a high tech, high quality cockpit. Neither the car I test drove nor the other one in the showroom had the panorama sunroof. Too bad, because the headliner looked like it was poorly fitted and finished. Which was also the case with the leather on the showroom model's seats. Overall, other than the 17" screen and dash, I was underwhelmed by the interior design, fit and finish.

    The test drive itself was much better. Car has good acceleration from a standstill, even the "base" model I drove. It was even more impressive going from 40 to 70 on the highway. I am sure the performance model is a hoot to drive. Handling felt very good but I didn't get a chance to really test it fully to be able to call it great.

    I need to go back again and stew on this before hitting that configure button.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 8,024
    Yes it is. As of today, the 2 ELLPS manufacturers who do not equip their vehicles with electric power steering?

    Dino - funny you commented on our cars' cupholders. I have no problem with the cupholders in the E90. Holds my cup with no problems. When I don't make, there's always room for a DD medium or large w/ no issues.

    cdnpinhead - I plan on doing some DIY oil changes inbetween the freebies BMW gives me just in case I decide I want to buy my car out at lease end. I know it's most likely pointless & a waste of money, but I want to do it to get some experience.

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

  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,550
    edited October 2012
    My main problem with their cupholder was my favorite thermal mug didn't fit (has too wide bottom :cry: , but yes, large DD cup fits just fine. Panera's mug seems to kick and spill liquid violently when I pull out of their lot, so I learned to hold it in my hand for that. But what's more important, try open both holders and watch your passenger to kick them with their knee, possibly break them with one hit. They're just too close to those knees to comfort, IMHO. Looking how they're build (intricate structure of plastic pieces and springs), I can only imagine how much a replacement would cost, if broken.

    So, yes I found one thing in F30 I really like more than in my E91 - it is CUPHOLDER. :sick:)

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

  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,548
    edited October 2012
    dino.....Really sorry to hear about your dealership's service. That really irritates me to no end. I know of one BMW dealership that had somewhat dicey practices. It's probably the more popular of the two BMW dealerships in the area.

    They would load up a case of techron in my trunk (with an inflated charge tacked onto my oil change bill for the privilege). They said it was "recommended" to put in a bottle of techron in the gas tank with every fili up. It is? Recommended by whom?

    My current BMW dealer (the one who's least preferred in the area) have been at the pinnacle of customer service for me. My BMW service has been free, as they state.

    Although, I can see my RFTs are going to need replacing by next Spring, maybe sooner. I do think the next set of shoes are going to be conventional (non-RFTs). While I tend to be more cautious with tires, I'm going to swap these out at 20K miles. I could probably get 25K-30K miles out of them, though.

    I think a lot of it depends on the service manager regarding their practices. What's really a shame, many people think they absolutely need to have their power steering flushed, or that they have to have injectors cleaned every 10K miles.

    Personally, I've never had a clogged injector, nor have I ever had so much "gunk" in my power steering fluid reservoir that I needed it to be flushed. Today's fuels are required by law to contain detergents that keeps injectors clean.

    habitat....cool write up on the Tesla. I hope they thrive. I think what they're trying to do is viable. And, I think they're one of many "alternative fuel" car companies who, while not toppling GM, will carve a nice niche for itself. I can see Tesla being a company who becomes more of a licensing firm (licensing their intellectual property to other car companies) instead of a car manufacturer.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,550
    There is always post-service survey. Many of them are useless, with questions formulated in such a way that they make it clear they DON'T want to know what you really think. Will see what BMW sends me. If there is any open question that allows me write an opinion, I'll let them know what I think about those "recommendations". They probably won't care, anyway, but I like to give people a chance to make things better, if they are at all interested.

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

  • We've had three BMW's and our dealer, The BMW Store, never suggested we spend anything with the dealership for the first 50K miles. We were even given new rotors at over 45K miles -- all with a smile.

    We would go in on Saturday's for the free hand car wash -- and would ask for the 6 point inspection (also free) which basically got us fluids topped off, air in the tires and a measurement of the remaining brake life and tire life. If we even made a peep about the wipers, well, new wiper blades, no fee, no questions asked.

    Although I had similar experiences at Audi, when I asked, they didn't seem quite as anxious to volunteer the free services or wiper blades, etc. But if you asked, they gave without any indication that they were anything less than happy to do so.

    One last thing, our BMW dealer requires every employee in the service department to wear WHITE lab coats -- and you would think you were driving into a surgical theater when you went to the service dept.

    This level of service and professionalism is impressive. Neither the Cadillac nor the Lexus dealers even come close. Audi also bested the Cadillac and Lexus dealers, but not the BMW store.

    Of course our BMW store is owned by the former service manager -- which probably means his motto, sales through service is more than a phrase.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,550
    They took care of all the damaged parts, including the undercarriage bumper for the lift. I paid nothing at the end. How can I slam them now :cry: ?

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

  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,550
    edited October 2012
    At the end - the experience was shockingly disapointing. There was so much anticipation and the mountain gave birth to a mouse, as we say it in my old country.

    The steering did not get any better over time. I must admit, the car moved in prescribed directions, so it's not like there was no response. But there was no feedback - basically no feeling. Am I at the limit, can I go faster? Nothing.

    The 2.0l turbo engine is fast and torquey, transmission is brisk and great. If there is any automatic I can have, that's the one. These are admittedly strongest points of the new F30, especially with gas mileage almost 20% higher than my car in same conditions - impressive. But... I take my E91 3.0l NA with manual back and no thanks to a new car any time soon. Hard to explain. I may change my mind over time, but not today.

    Interior dials are really cheaper in feel and over time felt cheaper and cheaper. To describe the difference is between feeling a soft bump (E91) and hard ratchet (F30). The plastic on those also feels cheaper. I also just noticed that the sunroof liner was not motorized, as opposed to my wagon, but to be fair, I don't remember is E90 sedan had sunroof liner motorized or not. The wagon has a long panoramic sunroof, so the liner has to be moved with its own motor, as it is too far for the driver to reach when he wants to close it from the back. The non-Nav screen has 4:3 aspect ratio, the long panoramic ratio on my E91 Nav is so much better. From pictures it looks their optional nav screen is still panoramic, so you get a different screen than standard version.

    The screen had a gremlin - today in the morning I got "No signal" message and my ipod started playing at fast forward mode (radio played just fine) - really weird.

    I am absolutely NOT buying a new one and if, God forbid, I needed a new car, the shopping of other brands would definitely be on. Most likely into lower priced territory. There is no point of spending this much money if the product doesn't really deliver.

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

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 8,024
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the only 2 manufacturers that now offer good old rack & pinion in this ELLPS class steering are Infiniti & Mercedes-Benz.

    Mercedes-Benz seems to be pretty serious about improving the "Sport" in their Sport Sedan. The 2013 C-Class has a new DI 3.5L V6 (248 hp/251 lb-ft torque) in their C300 4Matic.

    They now have AGILITY CONTROL suspension that: "automatically adjusts the individual shock absorbers based on the road surface and the driver's current driving style. Valving inside each shock absorber automatically firms up during stronger body motions for sharper handling feedback and stability, and reduces the damping rates during gentler motions for a smoother, more composed ride."

    The 4Matic AWD system retains a 45:55 front/rear torque split. It is a RWD based AWD chassis.

    MB says 0 - 60 mph in 6.0 seconds w/ 7 speed automatic. The C-Class is handsomely styled with nice interior materials. This generation C is definitely not just a "cheap Mercedes."

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

  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,548
    Mark...I've never had an issue with either The BMW Store or Jake Sweeney BMW. But, it was The BMW Store who loaded a case of Techron in the trunk, stating it was a good idea to add a bottle every fill-up. An overzealous tech writer? Probably.

    Jake has always bent over backwards for me....in both sales and service.

    I consider us lucky to have two good dealers in the city.

    At one time or another, I've interfaced with probably every luxury dealer in the city, for one reason or another.

    The only one who was really quite bad was Thompson McConnell Cadillac. And, that was in regards to my late Mother's car (in which they made it a habit of fleecing her, and trying to fleece me).
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited October 2012
    I would agree with you that Mercedes is improving the "sport" factor, but that's somewhat of a relative improvement. Even with their improvements, and in spite of BMW's steering and Audi's weight, I would still put Mercedes solidly in third place ranking those brands on overall enthusiastic driving dynamics. I am basing this on three categories of comparison, most of which I've driven over the past 12 months:

    C350 vs. A4/S4 vs. 335i
    E350/550 vs. A6/S6 vs. 535i/550i
    SLK vs. TTS vs. Z4 (although none of these are within a mile of a Boxster S)

    That probably suits Mercedes OK. I don't think they are trying to compete with BMW and Audi for the serious driving enthusiast in these segments, as evidenced by no manual transmissions, a chassis emphasis on comfort rather than handling and slush box automatics vs. DSG's. But, to their credit, they are closing the gap a bit and making the choice of Mercedes for luxury not as much of a tradeoff. Unfortunately BMW appears to be inadvertently helping them to close this gap from the other (wrong) direction.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,548
    edited October 2012
    nyc.....the GF was all hot and bothered by the Benz C350 4Matic coupe when she was looking, before deciding on the S4. We test drove a totally loaded one.....black with tan interior (just like my 335i).

    It felt like a slug. Now, this was a 2012. I think the tech, build quality and materials were anything that wasn't met or exceeded by the BMW or the Audi. Maybe the 2013 is significantly upgraded. But, for $55K (which is the MB's sticker price), I felt it was waaaayyyyy overpriced.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,550
    edited October 2012
    A friend of mine has a three years old C300 with manual transmission (previous generation). It actually feels sportier than I had expected - very much so. I remember I also drove both automatic E90 328 and same C300 generation back-to-back last year. The impressions were "wow, that Benz is really sporty". To be fair, I think it was "sports" C300 and non-sport package 328, so a bit unfair to the bimmer. But my though was Benz had nothing to be ashamed of - at all. Can't tell about the new C250 - suspect it does not hold the candle to the F30 328 in terms of power, but after this undewhelming steering experience with F30 I don't know anything anymore. :cry:

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

  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,697
    edited October 2012
    Dino sorry to hear about the dealership, I never had that problem, I would drop the car off and then received keys for the loaner (all in about 20 minutes.) Return loaner, receive my keys and off I went (all in about 20 minutes.) Not once was I ever "up sold" on anything, or "recommended" anything (since it is covered by the free maintenance if it needed to be done.) I would write the GM of the dealer as well as BMW about this experience, this dealer isn't living up to the true experience.

    In regards to your driving experience of the F30, like you, I like the drive-train the quick shifts of the 8 spd transmission keep the turbo 4 in the powerband all the time, the car "feels" much quicker over the E91. Also drive then E91 and F30 back to back you can "feel" the difference in the steering right away, the E90 is weighted and has a direct feel to it, the F30 does not, very "easy" and you are right very Buick like. BTW, the sport seats in any 3 series are the better seats for comfort , well next to the comfort seat of the 5, 6, 7 series and x5 and x6 comfort seats.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,550
    F10 is a 5-series. E90 and F30 are 3-series. But I get your point - probably there is not much of a difference between current 328 and 528 steering, anyway.

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

  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,697
    Sorry about that I edit my postings, this is what happens when you are multi tasking (not really paying much attention.)
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,550
    The questions had write-in sections, so I filled it with some spicy comments regarding these service recommendations. Had to really hold myself from saying it too harshly. I was still trying to tell them warranty work was great, but those recommendations were about revenue generation, not real concern. Not sure, if I want anybody call me back or not. Generally don't like these kinds of confrontations.

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

  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,697
    Dino, first off congrats on writing and submitting the survey, management can not make an informed decision without feedback from it's customers. It someone calls you back from the dealership, embrace it, it does not have to be confrontation at all, but a time to educate managements on your experience.

    My partner had an issue on his first service from the Nissan dealership. He responded to the survey, the GM of the dealership called Rick personally and they both spoke, at the end, the GM was grateful of Ricks honesty, the GM upgraded Rick to the Platinum elite level in their (the dealerships) service reward. This gave Rick two free services a year (basic) and 20% off all other services.

    Good luck.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,111
    edited October 2012
    Beginning on page 62 of the Dec '12 issue of ROAD & TRACK and continuing through page 65, Honda has spent however much it takes to buy a 4-page, full color advertising spread dedicated to the "theme" and title "The Name of The Game." There is a boat load of text describing in the best copy writing money can buy, probably, the technologically advanced 2013 Honda Accord. From LED headlights to a feature-laden interior to the description of how the '13 Accord is both smaller on the outside and bigger on the inside.

    Of course the patient reader is told about the achievement of the "neat trick" of being more maneuverable, more powerful and more economical. The damn thing is safer, too -- it says so right in the ad copy.

    The car is full of such amenities as Pandora radio, Bluetooth this and that, a rearview AND sideview cameras , sat-nav, a voice activated bidet, collision warning, lane departure warning, LaneWatch, a George Foreman fryer with GreaseBlock technology, and even an available 6-speed MANUAL shifter, and to motivate the thing, you can get a 278 horsepower V6 that actually reverses the greenhouse effect of SMOG (on a planetary basis) and (apparently) push-button start and hands-free ingress if you are so inclined.

    Don't forget adaptive cruise control -- Honda didn't overlook this tech either.

    I'm sure I've missed stuff, I mean, c'mon the ad is four pages in length and mostly uses a small font as if this is an article about the thing, not an ad.

    OK, so I read this and I see the picture of the interior which approaches handsome, not Audi handsome but a far cry from any Honda I've ever been turned-off by (including my '12 Acura TL, which, while quite functional is hardly grin inducing when you get behind the wheel.)

    Now, then, as to the title of my post -- I'm used to the Audi A8 getting the bells and whistles long before the A4 and usually before the A6 and way way way before Audi's "cousins" the VW clan. I'm at least aware that Cadillacs [used to] get features, functions and other high-end content (aka, "stuff you'd like to have in your Chevy or Pontiac or Buick, even) before the lesser aspirational models. I assume that the new ATS, CTS and XTS all have content that is, for the time being, exclusive to Caddy's -- wouldn't want a lowly Buick LaCrosse to have blind spot monitoring or adaptive cruise control or whatever gimcrack or gewgaw du jour marks a Premium Car's territory (these days).

    The top o' the line from any car maker or "family" of cars usually gets the new tech, new toys, new safety kit or partridge in a pear tree BEFORE those poor cousins downstream, er, down-market.

    So, this 2013 Accord gets content, tech, etc, etc, that certainly seems like prime beef from as recent as 2011 in many of the world's high buck, high zoot, high prestige makes. Hell, this Accord seems awfully close to being premium-car state-of-the-art insofar as content and even safety engineering (high strength steel, and "ACE II" a body structure engineered to evenly distribute full-frontal crash energy [or nudity] more effectively for instance). Now the engine choices are hardly revolutionary, but they do (claim) to now include direct injection powerplants, CVT transmissions with paddle-shifters (yawn) and "double-downshifting" conventional 6-speed autos with rev-matching.

    My point is, shouldn't all this content, kit, performance and safety rigging be introduced FIRST in the Acura line? Then after two-years, one at-least, and only then be trickled DOWN to the Honda's?

    What a world, what a world -- The Wicked Witch from the Wizard of OZ.

    Drive it like you live.

    DOH!

    Homer.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,583
    I drove one a month or so ago.
    V6 automatic.
    Dynamically satisfying, to me.
    - Ray
    Currently a BMW 3 driver....
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 15,683
    They needed to make an impact with the Accord more than they needed to give Acura a head start. But I assume a lot of this will arrive there shortly (and some already is on the new RDX, at least with tech),

    and for this piece: a 278 horsepower V6 that actually reverses the greenhouse effect of SMOG (on a planetary basis), not sure if you were being funny (as with the grill, a feature I actually liked!), but Volvo actually did this. They had a coating on the radiator that absorbed CO2 (or something bad) and converted it to water vapor or some such good thing. Not quite sure it was a net positive, but just might have been.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2007 Volvo S40 (daughters college car)

  • You mean you didn't find the bidet amusing?!? I must be slipping. :sick:
  • victor23victor23 Posts: 201
    Volvo actually did this. They had a coating on the radiator that absorbed CO2 (or something bad) and converted it to water vapor or some such good thing

    Just pandering to their traditional customer base. Like "organic" foods. Just wait until water vapor is bad too. Oh, wait, it is the most potent greenhouse driver...
  • victor23victor23 Posts: 201
    This is because Hyndai turned the business model upside down. The basis of the car business always was: add a gimmic, bundle with a load of unneeded cr... um... features, charge over the nose. Hyndai, in order to enter the market (although being far from a technical innovator), showed everybody that you can get a nonexpensive car with all most recent bells and whistles, even in pretty basic trims. Thanks for that! Hopefully, there is no way back. Although VW, for example, still requires you to upgrade to V6 AWD top-of-the-line at $42k just to get heated mirrors (which is a must in our climate).
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