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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • I'll throw in my $0.02 here, realizing that that's all it is...

    You're likely to get much more bang for your buck by going used on any of the 3 vehicles at the top of your list. I'd look for off-lease / CPO vehicles. In my experience, leased vehicles are often more well-looked after if for no other reason than the person leasing fears extra charges at lease turn-in. I bought a G35 several years ago off-lease and it had taken a pretty significant depreciation hit.... I've beat the tar out of it mileage-wise and mechanically it's still perfect. YMMV.

    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • I'm going to look into the CPO options, though I like the idea of leasing - new car, no trade-in hassle, and frequency of change being attractive.
  • You seem to have a pretty good idea of your wants & needs, and that's great. I'm sure you'll end up with what's right for you. The only aspect of leasing vs. buying CPO for *me* is that I can get a used G-series with a shorter (than 5 year) term loan and the payment on that is about the same as a lease payment (assuming there are up-front costs associated with the lease), and after 3 yrs or so, I own the vehicle and can use the trade-in value on a new vehicle. Something to thing about and research, but in the end you should just do what you can afford and what makes you happiest!

    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,706
    I could have sworn that I also pointed that out before as well. :P Why lease when you can own it for the same money a year or two older? Everyone that I know who has done this instead has had a lot less stress and worries as well, because there's no issues with mileage, wear, or other idiocy that they make you go through with a typical lease. And the interest rates are often quite a bit better on a car loan versus a lease when you crunch the numbers.

    The cars you are looking at are fine, really - I happen to like the CTS. But that's literally the ONLY GM or Ford car that I can stand - I'm certainly no fan and would buy a Mercedes or similar in a heartbeat over anything else they make. I've owned a (used) S Class in the past and the Domestics have a LONG way to reach that level. For the first three months I'd constantly be amazed just getitng into it and playing with the options. - there was a literal chasm between my previous Buick and the Mercedes. It died - sad story there. Then I got a 4x4 ;)

    Two other cars to look at would be the E class and the Lexus GS350. These depreciate quickly and are two excellent "hidden gems" in the CPO world. A 2007 GS 350 should run you about 25K and a 2009 E class (built on the new more reliable C class platform, but stretched) should be about 30K.

    Optimally, 4 years old is the sweet spot between age and pricing, but the E class came out in 2009. The 2008 and earlier models were a disaster to keep running by comparison.

    IIRC, Mercedes also has new car financing (1.9%) and leases on CPO models from time to time.(yes, lease a CPO used car - C class payments on a E class) Lexus might have changed to this as well in reaction - You'd have to check for specifics.

    edit - they DO have 1.9% for 48 months on CPO C class models right now - it's going to be hard to beat that price-wise. The new/better body style started in 2008. IMO, the rear seats in the new C class are roomier than in the G37. The panoramic sunroof is incredible as well.
  • well, you do get the full warranty in force for (usually) the duration of ownership if you lease. I can understand why that would be attractive. And, if you consider trading in to be a hassle that is just not worth the effort, there's another reason.

    I wouldn't lease, but I can understand why some people do.

    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • igozoomzoomigozoomzoom Waleska, GeorgiaPosts: 790
    "I'm going to look into the CPO options, though I like the idea of leasing - new car, no trade-in hassle, and frequency of change being attractive."

    BMW Financial Services and Infiniti Financial Services both offer leases on CPO vehicles, just like new ones. BMW limits the lease term to no more than 48 months on vehicles that aren't current model year, but that's the only major difference that I am aware of. The lease payments should also be quite a bit lower than new without the hit of first year depreciation!

    BMW CPO warranty extends the New Car Full Vehicle 4-year/50k warranty to 6-years/100k miles. Infiniti also extends the warranty to 6yrs/100k.

    If you decide to check out Infiniti CPO offerings, I still find the previous-generation (2006-2010) M35/M45 very appealing....especially the M35 Sport model! =)
  • edwardsfedwardsf Posts: 187
    edited November 2010
    I just finished a lease and much prefer my current option of owning a CPO. Kirstie is right; there is some pressure in having a leased car as you are afraid every ding or tear will be costly. Also, I never felt it was my car ('because it wasn't,' someone will say ; - ).

    But leasing a CPO is an interesting idea - no depreciation and you get frequency of change

    BTW, I think the BMW CPO is not quite as good as you have it described. When the new car warranty ends the CPO begins. It is consecutive, not cumulative. So, if you have 50k and 2years when you buy a CPO car, the new car warranty ended at 50k. So you only get 2 years or 40k miles of CPO - whatever is less.

    I think you pay $50 when you take it in for CPO repairs. Also, the CPO also excludes a few items that are covered in the new car. Still, for $22,000 off the MRSP of a car with no model changes, I will take it.
  • r34r34 Posts: 178
    edited November 2010
    There is no deductible for the CPO program of Saab (the dealers were more generous to define an issue as warranty work too) but there is a $50 deductible (per service visit) for Audi, BMW, and Infiniti.

    Several of my friends got G35 and FX34/45 with no extended warranty or CPO, they seem to be doing fine.

    CPO is a way to go for European cars. The repair could be expensive.
    I had 3 Saabs. They had good engines but got minor issues. The 9-5 Aero was the best and I still missed it. I wanted to try something different.

    I tried the G35x but was not impressed. I was looking at Infiniti EX/FX and BMW 530xi but ended up with a 335xi (love the twin turbo and I didn't need backseats).

    I traded one Saab for a V6 A4 and another Saab for a 335xi (I need AWD for my daily commute to Milwaukee from Chicago).Except the 1st Saab, I bought them all as used (CPO).

    No big issues with them. The A4 seems to be better. VW is still unreliable but Audi seems to be ok now (mine has zero problem). I test drove the Passat. Audi and VW are different!

    I like the interior and the image of of Audi (good for road trip) but I like the power and handling of the Bimmer. If the new S4 is really as good as the 335i, I will definitely get the S4.

    If backseats is a MUST, I would pick 535i.
  • ..while technically possible, isn't practical in most cases... Usually, the brand-new model will lease out at a lower price..

    New BMW leases include free maintenance... You can really lock in your costs... Tires, gas, insurance... that's it for three years..

    If you think that isn't valuable, call your local Infiniti or Lexus dealer and tell the you are bringing in your G or IS for the 30K service and ask for a quote... :surprise:

    Moderator - Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    Yeah, but add up the extra amount per month on the lease and what you had to put down on that BMW, similarly equipped of course, to that G or IS and see if it adds up to a lot more, at the end of the 3 or 4 year lease, to what is going to be quoted by the Infiniti or Lexus dealer for the 30K service

    Your indirectly paying for that "FREE" maintenance by the Bimmer's higher price premium and lease.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,092
    CPO cars are a great way to "save" money in this ultra competitive Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedan segment. You still have to do some digging & not just take the dealer's word for it as all CPOs are not created equal. Some dealers look at the car with a more finely tuned microscope than others. Check into the service records. Is it a local car serviced by the selling dealership or was it bought at a company auction? One poster on the X3 board (from AZ I think) test drove a CPO X3 that he felt wasn' up to snuff. Something about the back window regualtors being faulty, he ended up buying the X3 in CA I think. You still are buying a used car.

    From a "deal" standpoint, leasing a CPO car doesn't make sense. For the simple reason that no 2 CPO cars are alike. The dealer can set their own lease rates & money factors. It isn't like leasing new where there is a November program and the lease rate on every 2011 335i w/ X drive sedan is 0.XXXX or residual is XX%. There are just way too many variables that the dealer controls that you as a consumer don't have access to. Even the asking prices are arbitrary. You could negotiate a fantastic deal of $5K off, and then they jack up the lease rate and say the bank set a low residual.

    Free Scheduled maintenance is a crucial sticking point that makes BMW stand out. Yes were are all smart enough that it is built into the car and it isn't technically free. But however they do it, it makes sense. Now many of us use indie mechanics once the warranty period is up, but to prove BMWs practice is valid, you have to assume that people are taking their cars to the dealer for service.

    BMWs 1st service comes at around 15K miles. Gets you an oil change.

    Now my wife has a 2010 Acura TSX. I had the oil & filter changed at 4500 miles (Synthetic), even though the service advisor begged me to wait until the light goes one (10,000 miles). I think it was a little over $100 with a tire rotation.

    Service #2 which is technically the 1st service is what I did at 4500 miles $100+.I did at 10,000 miles.

    Service #3 I did at 20,000 miles and I specifically instructed them to only do synthetic oil,filter, & tire roatation.

    Many of Acura's "services" they offer are nothing more than visual checks of belts, hoses,lights... along with the oil change & tire rotation probably cost a few hundred dollars.

    BMW's 2nd service is an Inspection I service which is a major service at around 30K miles.

    Sometime after the 2nd service you are going to need brakes and rotors on your 3 series. At least the fronts. My parents had to have this done on my Mom's '08 328xi also right after the odometer said 50K and it was $700.

    They also recently had an Inspection II done (out of warranty) and the car needed rear brakes - $900.

    No it it almost isn't fair to compare the TSX to the rest of these because it is by far the least expensive car in the segment.

    But take your run of the mill car that's sitting on the luxury dealer's lot which in CT/NY/NJ means AWD, Automatic, Premium Pkg, Cold Weather Pkg, NAV and the sticker prices(328i w/ X Drive, C300 SPort 4 Matic, IS250 AWD, CTS4, A4 2.0T Premium, G37X) can't be that far off, so you definitely have to factor in free maintenance into the equasion. The MSRPs on ALL these cars are north of $40,000.

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

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,092
    CPO cars are definitely worth mentioning in this discussion. There are a lot of these Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans that are leased for whatever the reason. There is a school of thought out there that these cars (especially European makes, totally unfounded BTW) "turn into pumpkins" once the twarranty runs out. The fact is that all of these cars are exceptionally well built and are priced accordingly between $40<000 & $50,000. My experience with the '01 Prelude (130K miles) leads me to believe that these (and most modern) cars will run well past 50K miles with no major problems as long as you maintain them.

    I've only bought new since my 16th birthday, but I'd strongly consider a used 3 or G as my next ride. Payments on a high $20K car are a lot easier to swallow than on a $40- $50K car.

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

  • sweendogysweendogy Posts: 1,050
    i agree with car guy--i bot a new G 3.5 years ago now and for close to 40k -- lot of money over 3 years -- 2 weeks ago for my wife we got a 2007 cr-v -(dont laugh) but the 2010s were over 30k fully loaded - her 2007 saved me 12k from new is certified by honda and has only 19k miles on it.. we were also able to pick and choose the one we wanted (just like new) and as a second car it was a no brainer.
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    edited November 2010
    I tend to agree with you about CPO, especially with the Germans, since they don't retain their resale value as well as the Japanese, by getting CPO with them, your not taking the brunt of the depreciation like the original owner has.

    Only disadvantage to CPO is that most, not all, but most of the CPO's I see on the luxury lots you have no idea how the previous owner took care of it (what kind of oil did they use, tires rotated properly, cleaned interior regularly, etc). I've found most do nothing to keep up the leather and vinyl interiors and they look like utter crap at only the 2 or 3 year mark when they are back on the lot as CPO and then you have a pain in the butt time trying to undo the neglect the first owner did. The stealers did little as possible to really clean up the car for used sales again, especially on the interior.

    But from a value proportion, money, and just to be in a luxury name, I can definitely see the attraction to CPO!
  • sweendogysweendogy Posts: 1,050
    edited November 2010
    smarty i would of guessed the germans (certainly bmw) would keep values-- i mean they lease more bmws then other cars in the group (my guess is the TL is prob second on the lease vs buy list) and the main reason is resale value-- prob part of the reason why bmw offered free oilchanges and other things to get people to lease a car that costs over 45k..plus bmw could sell a 3 year old 3 series for over 30k.

    I would dissagree with you on your CPO diss- the CPO report includes past maintenance -(btw is this the same lot you talked about hyundai, in the TL chat?) and if a car is certified i would wonder why bmw/audi/ infiniti would sell a car that was not properly cared for..certainly with whats going on with toyota and if there is data to say the car was not up to certification-- you think they want bad press for including a car that has not infact passed the 150 pt inspection. Your talking about a 3 year old car that has less then 40k miles on it-- how bad is the leather?? does it have rips?? how they cared for it--come on -- if it has a rip the dealer fixes it. I have no idea where you are looking at CPO's (the same hyundai dealer ?)-- but you should look to see what reports on each car are avail before making such comments on "MOST" CPOS..

    Value yes -- lux name yes-- attraction yes.-- :shades:
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,011
    edited November 2010
    Only disadvantage to CPO is that most, not all, but most of the CPO's I see on the luxury lots you have no idea how the previous owner took care of it (what kind of oil did they use, tires rotated properly, cleaned interior regularly, etc). I've found most do nothing to keep up the leather and vinyl interiors and they look like utter crap at only the 2 or 3 year mark when they are back on the lot as CPO and then you have a pain in the butt time trying to undo the neglect the first owner did. The stealers did little as possible to really clean up the car for used sales again, especially on the interior.

    I couldn't agree more, my 2004 X3 CPO(purchased in 12/05) looks like crap- especially after six years and 103,000 miles:

    image

    image

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    edited November 2010
    you need to do more readings on resale values, the Japanese have always had a edge over that then the Germans; there is nothing wrong with that, heck the Germans retain value better than the American brand still so its all good whether you go Japanese or German in regards to resale value and depreciation. Check out ALG website for the residual value awards and you'll see Acura tops the list for the last 2 or 3 years I believe, several other sites list Acura as top for resale value followed closely by Lexus and Infiniti.

    I hate to break it to you but CPO does not include past maintenance; I've returned plenty of lease vehicles from different manufacturers over the years who did not even care to see my maintenance records so there is no possible way for them to know, when they act like that at lease return, how the car was maintained and I'm sorry, but I've seen plenty of 2, 3, and 4 year old CPO cars out on the stealers lots for sale with really bad interior care from the previous owners; some of the stealers do the bare minimum when they put the cars back out on the used car lot for sale, you want to know why "ALL THEY CARE ABOUT IS MAKING MONEY, THEY ARE A BUSINESS"

    I'm talking about some scratches, rips, severe wrinkles, discoloring, etc on the leather/vinyl; this is noticeable, at least to a car guy like me who takes excessive care of his vehicles, maybe not to the common folk but to me; some of the interiors look like the leather is 7, 8, or 9 years old when its really only 3 or 4. You can tell when looking at a vinyl or leather interior whether its been kept up or not.

    Your naive if you think that all the stealers really do all that they say they do in their marketing ploys for CPO. They just make sure things work in the car and that nothing is broken, and they give the car a wash and wax before putting it out on the lot.

    And if you read what I said carefully, which you rarely do, I said the CPO's I HAVE SEEN, most had interiors that were very worn and not kept up!
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    She's in nice shape! I can tell just by the pictures that you take care of her on a regular basis. The conditions I am talking about are nothing like that!

    Was that the condition you got her in or is that after years of your tender love and care? ;)
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,011
    edited November 2010
    Was that the condition you got her in or is that after years of your tender love and care?

    The picture was taken last summer, but it looked the same when we bought it; most of our friends thought it was a brand new truck.
    On BMW vehicles you can verify the dealer service/repair history if you have the last seven digits of the VIN; right now I'm looking at a 37K mile 2007 CPO 335i and I know where, when, and what services have been performed.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • tcasboytcasboy Posts: 214
    You should get that steering wheel fixed, it is awfully crooked. :P
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