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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,756
    Saw an IS350 AWD F Sport & Q50 for the 1st time on Saturday night. I had to do a double take when I saw the Infiniti. Thought it was a Jaguar XF at 1st. Looks so much better in person than in print and on TV. Style wise, it definitely looks the part of a $50,000 Sport Sedan.

    The IS350 F Sport definitely makes a statement as well. It definitely will not be confused for a thin else on the road. I liked it!

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

  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 6,332
    My local MB dealer had several CLA's on the lot Saturday when I stopped by. All were priced around $36-37K. Did not get a chance to sit in one as they were mobbed by customers.

    Since I'm new to the premium market I can't tell you if the CLA interior is the same as or worse than anything else in the lineup.

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  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,308
    Michaell...thanks for the update. I'm mildly interested in the CLA. But, from a sports sedan perspective, my antenna tell me it's going to fall short. I've never really been a fan of MB interiors, either.

    That said, there are those who love the styling of the CLA...especially given its 3/4 of a CLS type of view.

    NY....I'm trying hard to like the Q50. Granted, I haven't driven one, yet. But, I'm not even luke warm about the styling. Now, that they've softened it up (as all the trade rags state), I can't find a reason to visit an Infiniti showroom....maybe as a curiosity, but little more.

    All of that is personal preference, however. I'm sure Infiniti will be OK, as will Mercedes. As much as the CLA trails its competition in the performance dept, they'll sell every one they can get their hands on because it has a Mercedes logo on the front.
  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 6,332
    gg - with your past experience with the 335i and S4, I suspect the only iteration of the CLA that will interest you is the CLA 45 - the AMG version with the 355HP 4-cylinder.

    What I've read about that car is that it's a real rocket, perhaps a competitor for the S4.

    But, isn't Audi refreshing the A3 to be a sedan only, and that a 300 HP S3 will be available down the road?

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  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,756
    Graphicguy - I wonder if you might take a liking to the CLA 45 AMG...?

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

  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,648
    I have to scratch my head, I was in Montvale, NJ before heading on vacation and spoke to a factory rep who was driving a CLA, who told me they MB hasn't released them yet, so I went and checked the three MB in Phoenix, 1 has 12, 1 has stock photos of them and VIN# for them with prices and the other doesn't even list they have any on their web site. I like the interior and exterior of the car, but I don't think it will have the driving dynamic that we look for in a car. The back seats are very cramp....
  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 6,332
    but I don't think it will have the driving dynamic that we look for in a car.

    I don't think most folks who buy / lease a CLA will know it's FWD.

    I suspect that what they will most care about is the $299/mo lease payment and the 3-pointed star on the hood.

    It is small, that's for sure. Is MB thinking of offering the B-class here in the states?

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  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,900
    Is MB thinking of offering the B-class here in the states?

    Only in EV mode. MB announced back in March it would be coming in early 2014.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,308
    Michaell....you may be right, and that I would like the AMG CLA. But, reading these types of reviews isn't making me want to venture over to the Mercedes showroom any time soon....

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/healey/2013/09/28/test-drive-merce- des-benz-cla/2879843/
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,671
    I think the CLA, not having driven it, will be competitive given it's price. It seemed the reviewers wanted E class refinement in a $30k vehicle.

    $30K allots a near 260 ft-lb torque, near 1200 rpm, and 7 speed dual clutch tranny; exceptional styling and 30 mpg average. The "stats" seem impressive but we'll see if this translates into a competitive overall package. This is the price of a loaded Mazda 3 and Focus...that $30k of course is a "base" MB. Fancy wheels and pretty lights dress it up even more.
  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 6,332
    $30K allots a near 260 ft-lb torque, near 1200 rpm, and 7 speed dual clutch tranny; exceptional styling and 30 mpg average. The "stats" seem impressive but we'll see if this translates into a competitive overall package. This is the price of a loaded Mazda 3 and Focus...that $30k of course is a "base" MB. Fancy wheels and pretty lights dress it up even more.

    A loaded 2014 Mazda 3 has quite a bit of technology on it. Blind spot warning, lane departure warning, radar cruise control, bi-xenon headlights, etc.

    Not sure that you can order a CLA with the same options; if you could, I'm sure you'd quickly find yourself in the mid to high 30's for price.

    I suspect that the $30K CLA will be a 'unicorn' - unobtainable at the dealer.

    And, I doubt that many people will cross shop a Mazda 3s GT with a CLA 250.

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,252
    Maybe not - Mercedes is chasing the sales crown hard.

    "Mercedes-Benz dealers, said Cannon, are "showing interest" in ordering and stocking examples of the CLA 250 "around the base price." He adds that because of the CLA250's comprehensive list of standard equipment — particularly advanced safety hardware — a base-priced model is no stripper and would be deemed by many buyers as fully meeting their expectations."

    Mercedes Dealers May Keep Lid on 2014 CLA250 Prices as Brand Pushes to Record Sales Year

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  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,900
    "Mercedes-Benz dealers, said Cannon, are "showing interest" in ordering and stocking examples of the CLA 250 "around the base price."

    Showing interest and actually having them are two different things.....
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,648
    I agree on many points you stated, that could be said for most expensive cars, it's about being seen and in what not the technology that is in the car or that was used to built the car.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,252
    I bet when push comes to shove, the $5,000 in options will be demanded by the consumer, especially the lease and payment buyers.

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  • skobolaskobola Posts: 207
    Is anyone bothered with MB CLA being a front wheel drive (FWD) car? My last FWD car was a 1986 Audi A4, and since then, I have been driving Bimmers exclusively, mainly because of the dynamics of the RWD, aside of Bimmers being the Ultimate Driving Machine(s). However, I like the looks of a CLA, as well as the price of it, which I consider to be quite competitive, especially when one gets into ELPS.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,510
    edited October 2013
    MB is not trying to sell CLA to anybody in this forum. Look at the Willliam Dafoe commercial and you know who their target audience is. Those people wouldn't know if the car is FWD, RWD, AWD, propelled by jet engine, or rotor in the back. BTW, not to know Mercedes, same applies to majority of 3-series buyers, or any other car/truck/brand. Probably 25% of population understands the difference and 5% actually cares.

    The rest knows the engine, because it makes the noise while driving, but transmission is already a word they heard, but have no clue what it does. Front- or rear wheel drive... Something to do with food drive we have every year for the poor? Or if their mind is dirty, then perhaps libido?

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

  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 6,332
    I agree on many points you stated, that could be said for most expensive cars,

    Here's the thing, as I see it .... the premium manufacturers are all bringing in 'entry level' models (CLA, 320i, A3) with an attractive base price. Said price is promoted heavily, but when Mr. or Mrs. Consumer goes into the dealership to find a car at that price point, they are severely disappointed.

    Some may choose to spend the extra $$$ to get the options they want; others may walk out frustrated.

    I suppose it's managed risk on the part of the manufacturers to capture the former at the risk of losing the latter.

    A dangerous game, me thinks.

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  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,017
    I think a lot more people spending $30-40k on a car know FWD from RWD than you think. They just don't care that much about it. It's not stupidity....it's priority. And knowing the mechanicals inside and out is just not a priority. My wife know virtually nothing about cars but she can tell you that our truck is RWD, our Acura is AWD and our Mazda is FWD.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,510
    Either way, they don't care.

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

  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,510
    Value buyers would be frustrated, badge buyers, like the kid in the CLA commercial, would take that three arm star and low payment, even with plastic interior.

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

  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,308
    I agree that MB is looking to "hook" the 30-ish person who might might be looking at a loaded Accord or Camry (which in my mind, would be the better buy all loaded up with a V6).

    Plus, I have to wonder what that 30-ish person, the one who's interested in going to Jiffy Lube for a $35 oil change, is going to think when they pull into MB's service bay and comes out with a $250 routine maintenance bill?

    Again, as most think, the looks alone will sell the car. As it gets a couple of years old, and the CLA owner's friends are all talking about how cheap their Accord is to drive and maintain, if Benz can keep them in the fold?

    Even a 320i will cost that 30-ish person nothing to maintain for 4 years.

    Maybe I'm being too harsh. But, these are the things that come immediately to mind with the CLA.
  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 6,332
    I don't think you're being too harsh, gg. These are all good points you make.

    I suspect that most folks don't think about the cost of ownership ... they only see the low lease payment and jump in.

    I find it interesting that only BMW covers maintenance for the first 4 years / 50K miles. If I were comparing at 320i against the CLA that would certainly factor into my decision.

    Or, will many customers go the way of nyc, who leased his BMW but is now considering a Honda as his next car?

    I'm trying to get the wife on board with a low-cost lease of a 3rd car we could share. She's got a Mazda CX-7 with almost 40K on the clock as her DD, and I've got an '06 ION with 96K that I'll keep as a winter car and part-time pizza delivery vehicle.

    I'd like to find a lease in the $300-350/mo range of something that gets better mileage than the CX-7 (20-21 in mixed use) and is fun to drive. The CLA and 320i both fit the bill, I think. I looked at the Lexus CT200h last weekend; it's pretty nice inside and 40MPG is outstanding, but not sure it would provide the 'fun' I'm looking for.

    The maintenance costs of the BMW over 3 years would be $0; not sure what they'd be for the CLA.

    Just thinking out loud; we'll see what happens next summer when the wife finishes her Masters in Education.

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  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,510
    Even a 320i will cost that 30-ish person nothing to maintain for 4 years.

    Except of course for tires ($1000+ for RFTs every 2 years), alignments ($120-$200 every year or so) and some other stuff pushy "service advisors" would try to sell. Well, that of course depends on the actual tire, there may be some cheaper ones and alignment is not mandatory, but probably well-advised. To my surprise, tire stores would not touch my 328 for alignment, so I have only a dealer or specialised indy garage. I'm glad I found one close to my workplace, their prices seem to be higher than "standard" brands, but much lower than my friendly dealer. When the paid maintenance period is over, I'll likely end up in their bay full time, not just for those alignments.

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

  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,900
    This vehicle - like the 320/325 - are offered to meet a price point. Notice that all the advertising on the CLA is targeted to the price. Heck, you can lease one for $349 a month with $3600 down.

    For $400 more down, you can lease a C250 at the same price.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,510
    If you want 320 without maintenance, make sure you don't get sports line. Its summer tires will go at 20-25K, other lines have all-seasons, which may last the whole lease, but they may go around 30K-35K, just before you turn it it. You may get away with skipping alignment for three years, I guess, especially if you don't need to change tires before the lease is up.

    Either way, it would be less than CLA, even if tires/alignment are needed.

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

  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    edited October 2013
    I dont think FWD will hurt sales.

    The CLA has everything it needs to be a huge success - it has a three pointed emblem on the hood, it looks really good, it has a three pointed emblem on the hood, its cheap to lease, and finally, it has a three pointed emblem on the hood.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,308
    Michaell.....$300-$350 lease? That should be right in the 320i wheelhouse.

    Can't understand why, but Audi leases are dismal compared to BMW or Mercedes leases.

    You can probably throw in an IS250 lease around that range.

    Until I get seat time in a CLA (which isn't in the foreseeable future), I really don't know how I'll view it. I only know that I was underwhelmed by the C350. I can't imagine I would miraculously like the CLA in light of those feelings. But, who knows? Maybe that AMG CLA will be right up my alley.

    Fed....I do agree with you....that 3 pointed star will sell a lot of CLAs....at least in the first year or so...until those maintenance $$$ start to kick in.

    I know looking at the maintenance schedule and costs looked pretty steep to me a couple of years ago when we were looking at the C350 coupe. And, those types of things rarely bother me.

    Then again, it's not like the Audi has been at the pinnacle of easy and cheap maintenance by any stretch of the imagination.

    Which gets us right back to the Acura....easy-peezy on reliability and maintenance.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,343
    And, I doubt that many people will cross shop a Mazda 3s GT with a CLA 250.
    ______________

    I cross-shopped the Mazda 3 with the A3 back in '06. It happens.

    Unicorns seem to be able to be "custom-ordered" at dealers, you just have to wait for it (at least with the European dealers).
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,343
    I agree, Mercedes and their Chrysler-like horrible reliability (at least while joined at the hip with them) scares me, even to this day.

    Also, I know a great and honest Audi mechanic who charges a reasonable rate, I know of no such Benz shops. $250 oil changes would scare me away. Maybe they made the CLA simple and oil changes will be under $100 at the dealers in the US?
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