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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,458
    just watched the latest episode of Motorweek (On Velocity! And i remember when it was on PBS).

    anyway, the did a ELLPS comparo (along with cars.com). only criteria, a 46K sticker cap.

    tested the BMW 328, C250, Audi A4, Caddy ATS, Acura TL (SH-AWD) and Volvo S60 (T5 AWD).

    anyway, they only gave the top 3 finishers (but listed 0-60 for each) and did a quick recap (full details are supposed to be online).

    No big surprise, but the 328 finished 1st (and had lowest 0-60). Possibly surprising, the Volvo finished a strong 2nd. Did very well overall, including better than expected on the track, and quick too. The Acura finished 3rd.

    The S60 is a really nice, and well rounded car, that often gets overlooked. Not the most athletic maybe, but does surprisingly well in spirited driving. And has great seats!

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (daughter stole that one), and 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again)

  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,238
    edited April 2013
    stickguy...saw that.

    Even more surprising, the much ballyhooed and brand new Caddy ATS, Mercedes C class and the Audi A4 didn't even crack into the top 3.
  • A 328 is quicker to 60 than the sh-awd?
    It must be a rwd stick.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,238
    billy...can't remember the 0-60 times, nor the configurations. I'd be hard pressed to believe that a 4 cyl (albeit turbo) would outperform the OHC 6 in the TL, with SH-AWD.

    I've driven both.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,816
    edited April 2013
    Here are the numbers:

    http://www.cars.com/crp/buyingGuides/images/46k_WhatYouGet.pdf

    We're talking 4/10th of a second between the BMW and the TL. The Volvo was less than 2/10th behind the BMW and that's with AWD.

    I think in that comparison, there's no bad choice. I found it interesting that the family subjective scores had the 1, 2, 3 as:

    Volvo 125 pts
    ATS 123 pts
    BMW 114 pts.

    Now that excludes the pure performance numbers. In the real world 0-60 and 1/4 mile times aren't the stuff that most buyers consider - and the $7K one would save with the Volvo....
  • I watched Motor Week tested the TL at 5.5 to 60 and now they are sayin 7 plus- those guys are not trustworthy.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,238
    Billy....my sister just bought a TL SH AWD Advance. 5.5 secs sounds about right on the 0-60. Motor Week is off in their estimate. Don't know why...maybe a misprint? Or, they were testing the TL on a wet/oily track? And the rest were tested on a dry track?

    In either event, that TL test is way off.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,458
    they tested them all at the same time/place. Even showed clips of the runs. I don't think they do it like say car and driver (more like CR?). But for whatever reason, the TL was not that fast.

    and as other have noted, even at that # the TL is way faster than anyone really "needs" or is likely to ever use.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (daughter stole that one), and 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again)

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    One thing I note is that a lot of the cars mentioned are smaller euro-sedans. And while this is fine, if you want a large car, you're looking at a Big Lexus, Acura, Cadillac, Mercedes, Volvo, Audi, or BMW. Others do make similar cars, but they tend to be overpriced or far more sport than luxury.

    A quick run - down:
    Acura. Pretty much the TL. It's basically a Japanese Buick Park Avenue. That's not a bad thing, as the Park Avenue was a fine car with nice seats, acceptable features, and a very nice and soft ride. That it cost GM almost 35K to make each one was a whole other story.

    Lexus. Pretty much the ES here, since it is based on the Camry platform. It's a clone of the TL, pretty much, aside from styling. Both are excellent highway cruisers and will last a very long time. There also is the Avalon, which is a nice choice a well.

    Volvo is a bit more interesting. They have always driven markedly better than their American or Japanese counterparts. A little bit of sport to go with the luxury. The S80 is a great vehicle and I'd honestly rather be driving one instead of yet another faceless jellybean (ie - Acura or Lexus).

    On to Mercedes. Their E class is a bit smaller than you'd probably like. It's also as it has always been, a mediocre in-between car. The Problem is also that unless you're looking at CPO, you're going to be out of your price-range. That said, a 2 or 3 year old S class might be worth contemplating if you like Mercedes. Something that just came off of an executive lease.

    Of the models to be looking at, the S350 Bluetec is the one to consider. It gets 21/31 mpg (better than the hybrid S class, even), and while it isn't a tire-smoking monster like the S550 is, it's not slow, either. Would I personally buy a used S over a brand new Lexus? In a heartbeat.
    *note - wait until this fall of course, as depreciation will help you out. Currently, CPO 2012 S350s run around $75K. Expect that to be $60K this fall. A bit over your budget, but it's a stunning option that nobody would fault you for choosing.

    BMW? It's pretty much the 5 series. You simply can't go wrong with one.

    Audi is the A6. It's pretty much trying to be a 5 series clone. I'd call this the same as the Japanese rivalry between Lexus and Acura.

    And, lastly, we have the underdog, Cadillac. Now, don't count them out immediately. They hit a home run with the CTS and it's only real fault is that the size was wrong. It simply can't fit more than four adults comfortably. Which it does as well as anything from Europe, I might add. And it handles great as well. It also has a much better GPS system than anything Mercedes or BMW has. The Mercedes GPS is sometimes so bad that you'd really be better off with your cell phone in a holder.

    So GM fixed that with an extended wheelbase version, the XTS. Of note as well is the magnetic ride suspension, which is usually only found in exotic cars. The thing drives and rides as well as a S class. But it's not $100K. Not even close. It's my personal favorite of the list because it's so inexpensive, especially if you can find a CPO/lease return one. (these usually have 3 or 5K miles on them and are essentially new, except that someone else ate the initial depreciation, taxes, and registration. Their credit woes are your gain.

    http://www.tracymotors.com/VehicleDetails/certified-2013-Cadillac-XTS-3.6L_V6_FW- D-Plymouth-MA/1954964653
    A typical example.

    Note - this is a smart thing to do with any new car, actually.
  • bwiabwia Boston Posts: 1,230
    edited April 2013
    "And while this is fine, if you want a large car,"

    You could throw the Acura RLX in the mix too. Not as large as the big Euro cats, but it is a mid-size sedan with the same 102 cu. ft. as the Buick LaCrosse and only one cu. ft larger than the Camry.

    The RLX's base price is around $48K but add the usual luxury features expected in a car of such luxury pretensions and that sticker climbs to $60K in a hurry. Reasonably equipped you probably could drive one home for $55K. But who would want to anyway? The RLX's styling is pitiful and downright dowdy. Not even a name change back to the Legend will move this metal.

    Oops, I take that back in February Acura sold 16 and March 336. If my math is right, that is a 2000% increase...but who is counting.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,238
    stick....I get what you're saying.

    I've driven quite a few of the recent versions of the TL. The 1.5 sec 0-60 time delta between the TL SH AWD and my S4 (according to Motor Week) is significant. And, not one that I've ever experienced. I can believe a .5 sec delta (with the S4 being faster). I can't believe the 1.5 sec delta Motor Week reported, however.

    Something's not right with this Motor Week report...especially given their previous tests results on the TL.
  • carnaughtcarnaught Posts: 1,589
    edited April 2013
    "Lexus. Pretty much the ES here, since it is based on the Camry platform."

    Nah ah, now based on the Avalon's

    re: Cadillac XTS: "The thing drives and rides as well as a S class."

    Highly disagree with that statement.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,669
    edited April 2013
    Acura. Pretty much the TL. It's basically a Japanese Buick Park Avenue
    I've never driven a TL and thought it was a Park Avenue...the early ones felt like fancy Accords (with much less headroom), but the current generation is a distinctive product; especially the SHAWD.

    Lexus. Pretty much the ES here, since it is based on the Camry platform
    Based on the Avalon

    On to Mercedes. Their E class is a bit smaller than you'd probably like
    Haven't driven the latest...they never felt small to me. Even when they were :)

    Audi is the A6. It's pretty much trying to be a 5 series clone
    I don't see that at all. If anything I see the A6 as surpassing the 5 series in all aspects; styling/drying dynamics/price...

    And, lastly, we have the underdog, Cadillac. Now, don't count them out immediately.
    I haven't driven the latest, but the previous was very impressive. I decided against it, but it was still a nice ride. The new one looks to have substantial improvements.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,238
    IVAN...agree with your assessments.

    Took another ride in an ATS (this time in my neighbor's new Caddy). It's a 2.0 turbo. If GM could do something to make that engine a lot smoother, and not so corse, they'd go a long way to getting more people to pony up for the car.
  • jeffm5jeffm5 Posts: 110
    I drove my brother-in-laws new E class last week. It seemed plenty big to me. I even sat in the back for a short time. Of course, the ride was quiet & smooth with plenty of power. But, the "leather" seats felt plastic like and, most surprisingly, the steering felt on the over assisted side. Which made me wonder, can the steering type be selected by the driver? Maybe it was selected to the most assisted position.
  • "A quick run - down:
    Acura. Pretty much the TL. It's basically a Japanese Buick Park Avenue. That's not a bad thing, as the Park Avenue was a fine car with nice seats, acceptable features, and a very nice and soft ride. That it cost GM almost 35K to make each one was a whole other story.

    Please let readers know that you refering to the base car and not the SH-AWD.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Well, sport suspension and tires, plus a massively heavy AWD system that 90% of people will never benefit from are a whole other animal. The base model is, styling aside, a big, well built FWD car that drives a lot like a Park Avenue Ultra did. The better GM cars didn't have a problem with handling if you got the touring or sport package.

    As for the Audi, yes, I personally think that the A6 is better than the 5, but if I said that at first, I'd have had fifty BMW fanboys spamming me with hate-mail. But it's small, really if you're coming from a normal family sedan. Any of these will feel and drive superbly.

    The differences between the Avalon and the Camry are kind of like the XTS and the CTS. They share enough DNA to be hard to guess what comes from what. Either way, the ES is a good big car that is great for long drives. My only gripe is that Honda and Toyota overprice their cars by about 10-20%. And they never have meaningful incentives, either. That I can actually get a better deal at the end of a year on a Mercedes is telling.

    Oh, I'd like to add one more car, just for fun. The Lincoln MKS. It's basically the new version of the Towncar, and it is a long, long overdue update at that. Of note is how it will fit five large male adults with winter coats on inside it in comfort. Like the GM, you get a lot of car for your money compared to the Japanese and European brands.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,816
    The differences between the Avalon and the Camry are kind of like the XTS and the CTS. They share enough DNA to be hard to guess what comes from what.

    You realize that the CTS and XTS have little in common other than styling?
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,238
    pletko...I see where you're coming from. Those old Buick Park Aves with the handling package and supercharged V6 motors were pretty good cars. Base TL, while still a better handling car and a better performing car...I could see a comparison made.

    Now, TL SH AWD is really a different animal. I don't know that anyone drives any car to its true capabilities. That said, when I had my TL SH AWD, I know the handling benefits could be felt every day....around corners, better steering feel, confidence on twisting roads. None of that touches it's prowess in wet/snowy weather (which was excellent).

    I agree with you on the A6 vs the BMW 5 series. For the money, I'd choose the A6 (3.0) all day, every day. It's better car to drive. And, the tech that comes with that level of car is better than the 5. The A6 handles better, rides better, too. Plus, it will come in a few thousand under the 5 series equipped like for like.

    Can't comment on the big Caddy. The only ones I've had any seat time in are the CTS and the ATS....neither of which would be on my short list if I were plunking down my own money. Strong rumors around that the ATS is falling short of GM's sales expectations and they're throwing trunk money at it.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,637
    How about the Engine and Transmission, I'm sure there are some software differences but I'm sure there are more common connections between the two cars then you think
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,330
    ATS....neither of which would be on my short list if I were plunking down my own money. Strong rumors around that the ATS is falling short of GM's sales expectations and they're throwing trunk money at it.

    that's the problem with American cars, they are always overpriced 10-30%. Someone said earlier Honda and Toyota overprice their cars 10-20%; that statement is crazy and nuts. If that is true, then let me revise my American car statement to overpriced 20-50%.

    BMW also overprices things about 10-20%.

    The horrific resale value of American metal is proof that the cars are overpriced to begin with, and then you can add the fact they always issue huge rebates.
  • larrys8larrys8 Posts: 31
    So a bit of a different topic, but given the discussion of many types of cars. This may sound like a strange question, but living in the northeast, I much prefer AWD over RWD. Has anyone ever heard if Infiniti will build a AWD G convertible? Id much prefer a hard top over a soft top. The Volve C-70 doesn't do much for me and I dont want the soft top of the A5 for year round driving.

    I am on my second G sedan and couldnt be happier, but in a couple of years I wont have to worry about having a car seat in the back and would love to go back to a two door. I can't imagine driving a soft top year round. Any thoughts, rumors, etc. of what Infiniti may do would be great. Or suggest other cars.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,238
    Larry...no 'vert AWD Infinitis. Matter of fact, only convertible 4WD I can think of would be in the Jeep showroom.
  • I thought Lexus (SC) and BMW made hard tops convertible?
  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 791
    There's always the (freakish) Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet! Who wouldn't want a 4-door midsize CUV converted into 2-door mutant convertible sorta thing??? And they only cost about $45k with the Nav package..

    They've been on the market for several years and already sold tens, maybe even dozens of them!!! =)
  • dan12dan12 Posts: 114
    BMW makes a hard top convertible with 4 seats (328i & 335i) but they're not AWD. I don't know of any AWD convertibles other than the Audi A5. Those A5's are very, very nice looking despite my bias towards BMW. I don't know how the soft top would work out in the winter though.
  • dan12dan12 Posts: 114
    "There's always the (freakish) Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet! "

    Funny. Going down the requirements checklist it seems to have it all. CUV, AWD, convertible, 4 doors, gas mileage.... isn't that the dream car? Err, I guess not.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 28,657
    You can get an Audi vert in Quattro now, I think..

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  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,238
    edited May 2013
    You guys are right....Audi A5 Quattro convertible. Would be great. How could I forget it? :surprise:
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,577
    4WD Convertible? The Jeep gets my vote (& maybe the vote that counts).

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

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