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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,590
    I never believe what the salesman tell me, I have a feeling the GM ordered but no takers, here in Phoenix, 328's don't sell unless it has an auto. The dealer had 57 328s and 4 had sticks, one (mine) had the M package, the others were basic 328s with the value package and that is it. Priced at 35K
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Dude, you're a spammer, and a bad one at that. Take a hike!
  • I've recently driven each of the cars that are considered in this category and I can't yet make a decision. Since this is my first foray into luxury I really didn't want to find myself regretting my choice in cars. I set out to look at the TSX, IS250, 328i, A4, & G37. After reading some things I added the C300 to the list, which you'll hear about. I am looking for people's input into my decision as I'm still unsure and I'd like to hear how you've liked the brand you chose and its cost to own. I'm scared about ending up with an endless pit of cash to maintain a car. And I'd rather not "feel the road" which sounds redundant owning a small car but if I can feel every bump then I may as well buy another corolla and deal with the potholes in Jersey.

    I was most hopeful going in about the IS from Lexus but found the car to be an exact duplicate of my current corolla from 2005. I hit my head on the roof while driving (I'm only 6ft tall) and i'm a big guy but the cabin felt cramped. Every time I talked to the salesman he acted like I was making a mistake not buying a bigger car. Do no salesman just listen to what you're saying about preference? That car is now off the list and will remain there.

    I drove the G37 and thought it was a very nice car. It felt "classy" inside and, I guess sterile is the word that comes to mind. I actually liked it and liked that it was a bit bigger in the backseat than most in this group. I hate the idea that driving a small car means you can't drive more than 2 adults around. It was about $35 fully loaded with the backup camera and nav and awd, which is cheaper than the competitors. I didn't like the salesman (and his pushiness) but that won't totally sway my decision. I think it drove ok although not as well as the Audi, BMW or the MB. Additionally my mechanic loves these cars and says they are the most reliable. I'm a bit unsure still though because I don't want Nissan parts in my luxury car. Its still on the list. If I can't justify the extra $5k or so then I'll end up in G37 if I had to guess.
  • I next drove the TSX. I thought the TSX felt like an Accord. I'm not sure if there is a significant difference in the parts between them but it didn't feel very "luxury". I liked that most of everything was included as it didn't feel like you were getting ripped off for everything. I liked that it had a back=up camera (the only real option) with the nav system. And I definitely liked that the car cost less than its competitors. I just don't think I'm going to be able to get off of the lack of feel. Unless it becomes a numbers play in which case this will definitely be in the discussion as it is significantly less expensive.

    I drove the A4 next and really liked the experience. I take some confidence in the fact that they have been doing AWD longer than anyone else. I also like they seem to think about what you'd like to be able to see which you're driving without having to jump through hoops. I thought their Nav was more intuitive than the others I saw. The ride was also smooth and fluid but I didn't really get to open it up due to the traffic and the flooding around me. I am probably going to retry the test drive at another dealership to get a different experience. My concerns were that I have no idea whether you can negotiate a price on these (it was listed as $42ish for the model I'd want), the back seat looked really small and I was surprised at how wide the car was. For the "small" car of the group they seem to be wide. I don't want to end up driving my wife's Altima (which looks puffy) instead of a small luxury car....I definitely would put them at the top of my choice so far though, unfortunately if it was that clear cut I wouldn't be asking for input from you fine folks.
  • I drove the 328i next which was always at the top of my list. I figure it can't be on the top of this segment every year for no reason right? I'll start by saying I wasn't happy that it gets worse gas mileage than the others I'd tried up to this point. What I mean by that is to get the same gas mileage i have to avoid the AWD which is supposed to make the BMW great. I figured that they would try to make that equal. I also was a little taken aback by the pompousness of the salespeople who I dealt with. They were basically like, the other people's cars could never do this, and they proceeded to drive around a racetrack they had built to show the car's handling. I'm pretty sure that the A4 and MB (just to start) could do that type of driving if I wanted it to...I mean they're both cut from a similar cloth. Otherwise I did like the car. I thought the navigation system looked like it wasn't made to be in the car. It did feel much more like a sports car than the others I had driven. Since I drove it on a "test track" I will be going to a different dealer so that I can drive it on a road with potholes and other bumps to see how it feels. The car has significantly more options and colors than the others in this category which I appreciate because i don't want a white/red/grey/black car. I want a nice color blue and unfortunately the other dealers have never seemed to want to make more than standard dark blue. Its kind of ridiculous. Also assuming that all else is equal I do think the "extended warranty" offered by BMW is huge. I would love to not have to pay $50+ for every oil change. Even if i am paying that a bit upfront...

    The last car I drove, which I may drive again, is the C300. I didn't have this on my list at all as I had heard terrible things about MB over the last few years in regards to reliability and design. I wanted to try the car however as most who I know who've tried it mentioned that it was much better at "hiding" the bumps in the road which is a big deal in North jersey. As I mentioned in my first post if I wanted to feel every bump in the road I would just buy another Toyota. In the smaller car segment you feel everything in most cars (which I hate) even though I will only drive a small car. I thought the car was very nice. As nice as the Audi in my experience and I thought there was a very "expensive" feel to the drive. I didn't significantly notice the "cloud" feeling while driving but i think that had to do with expectations versus results. They are adding a blue color in 12 that I want to see because that may put this ahead. Again though the cost may be prohibitive....we'll see.

    I'd really love anyone's input into what decisions you made and why on these models. I will probably be making a decision over the next month or so.
  • 22332233 Posts: 65
    I've driven all the cars you are considering except the MB. All are nice cars but I would rate them G37 and BMW 328 (a tie for first) and then the A4.

    The Infinitis seem to be the most reliable. All 3 handle well. I don't like the BMWs interior since it seems dated. The Audi and G have a cleaner looking interior. I don't care for the run flat tires on the BMW but some like them. The deals are better on the Infinitis now unless you currently own a BMW or Audi and qualify for a loyalty incentive. Love the size and exteriors of all 3.

    I own 2 G35s now and the back seats do not fold down which is a negative. The BMW does not fold down unless you pay for a $400 option for the folding seat.

    That is why I am probably buying an Infiniti EX 35 AWD. The EX is actually 5 inches shorter than a G37 so some describe it as a combination of a crossover and a coupe. It has the reliablity, performance, handling, good looks, and the ability to haul a bit, albeit a small amount but way more than the G37. The ability to fold down the seats in the EX is huge with me.

    Some reviewers felt that the EX had a smoother ride than the G37.

    There is also a $2,000 incentive on the EX so it may be the least expensive of the bunch.

    When you test drive the right car you will hopefully know it as I did. The EX just felt the best although it may not be considered a sedan by some but an argument can be made that it is.

    Actually my favorite handling car was the BMW 328xi sport wagon (E91) but the interior was very unattractive and really dated. This clearly is not a sedan though but I liked the storage, utility, smallish size and again handling.

    Good luck with your search.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,496
    I do think it would be worth your time
    to test drive a CTS.
    Reading between the lines in addition to
    what you've written here, the CTS may
    be more to your liking.
    Just my 0.2 gallons worth of advice...
    - Ray
    Picking up a new 3 series on Friday...
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,733
    Your take on the TSX is interesting as the same vehicle is sold in Japan with an "Accord" badge on it. It's an evolutionary design if anything and not a real new model. We get the top trim model Accord sent over here and they slap some Acura badges on it. Hence why it's not really satisfying as a real luxury sport sedan.

    The IS has the same problem in that it shows its Corolla DNA all too well.

    The G37 as well can't hide the fact that it's a pimped-out 370Z.

    I'd also recommend taking a serious look at the CTS. It's one of two vehicles that GM makes that are world-class. The rest? Yes, it's typical bean-counting GM idiocy and blandness. I'd not recommend anything else they build. (the other vehicle is sold in Australia, unfortunately).

    Pros:
    Cost to repair is less than the European models. About the same as the imports, which have crept up in price without most people noticing.

    Ride is designed with U.S. drivers and roads in mind.(note - avoid the performance model as the tires are lower profile than necessary) It's a bit stiff as expected, but handles long road trips without any faults.

    The interior is very nice. Who knew GM could actually make an interior that didn't suck? The NAV system is actually very good. Comparing the NAV system in the Mercedes to the CTS is like comparing a TV dinner to real food. The CTS? It just works.

    Headroom and overall space is good. One thing about it that's great is that it's actually the same wheelbase size as a E class or 5 series, but the sheet metal is artfully done in such a way that it hides its size and looks a bit smaller.

    And as a bonus, it doesn't look like everyone else's jellybean. Honestly, you can't tell a G37 from a Hyundai from a Mazda from two blocks away.
  • I thought about the CTS as well but it gets bad reviews on a couple of items: "Poor rear visibility; awkward driving position." Two items that are must haves for me and I would think most people. I doubt I'll ever sacrifice rear-visibility for style, GM gets similar dings on the Camaro.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,099
    ray....good point about the CTS. The one I drove (coupe) probably had the nicest interior this side of a Maserati. Cadillac did an excellent job. Didn't care much for the seats, but in and out, the coupe is a stunning looking vehicle. If I hadn't had a previously poor experience with a Cadillac (STS) I might have considered one more seriously.

    That CTS drives well, too.

    Having been through this test several months ago, I'm probably going to go against the grain. I drove both a C300 and a C350. Really, nothing special on either.....especially for the price. I'd much prefer an A4, or an Acura TL SH AWD, or a BMW over the Benz. E class wasn't bad. But, dang......$60K for a little more sheet metal? No thanks! The C class was overpriced enough, the E class even more. They aren't bad cars.....just nothing I'd consider.

    If you want driver's cars, probably stick to the BMW, Audi, Acura, even the Infiniti.

    All the above cars are built well with great materials.

    However, if I were serious about a Benz, I'd probably look at the CTS, as it more closely resembles driving a Benz, but with a lot more style.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,496
    "Poor rear visibility; awkward driving position."

    If those are your 2 primary concerns, i would
    very strongly urge you to try for yourself -
    as these both can be highly subjective -
    and will often depend on your size, weight & build.
    I rented a CTS a few years ago, and did not
    find big issues with either of these aspects.
    - Ray
    YMMV
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,590
    Dude not too sure what you been smoking, but you have some info.

    First the TSX is a European Accord, not one from Japan.

    The IS and Corrolla have NOTHING in common, first the IS is rear wheel drive and has a V6, the Corrolle is FWD.

    The First Gen IS is known in Japan as the Altezza.
    The 2nd Gen is not sold in Japan

    The G37 and 370Z are not the same car. They share some of the FM platform but that is about it, the 370Z wheelbase is about a foot shorter then the G37s.

    The CTS is a great looking car but is not screwed together very well. The Resale value of the CTS is horrible, about 45% after 3 years. The IS, G37 and the TSX are between 51 to 55% after 3 years, BMW has the highest resale value.

    Regarding service, BMW has 4 yr or 50K miles bumper to bumper maintence as service on thier cars. My 2005 330i needed a new clutch, fully covered under BMWs warrenty, can't do that at Mr.GoodWrench..

    the CTS is not the same size as the E class or 5 Series, the CTS is inline with the 3 series. Regarding the Nav system in the MB, which model are you talking about?

    Before coming on to a public forum and giving false into and trying to be a expert, get your facts correct...
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,496
    edited September 2011
    Specifications Comparison
    Cadillac CTS vs. BMW 3-Series
    Model Year 2011 2011
    Model CTS 3-Series
    Body 4dr Sedan 4dr Sedan
    Wheelbase 113.4 108.7
    Length 191.6 178.2
    Width 72.5 71.5
    = = =
    Specifications Comparison
    Cadillac CTS vs. BMW 5-Series
    Model Year 2011 2011
    Model CTS 5-Series
    Body 4dr Sedan 4dr Sedan
    Wheelbase 113.4 116.9
    Length 191.6 193.1
    Width 72.5 73.2
  • "First the TSX is a European Accord, not one from Japan."

    I went to Jamaica on vacation and saw the TSX badged as an Accord, does that make it a Jamaican Accord? :)
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,325
    The CTS is a great looking car but is not screwed together very well.

    That's putting it lightly. Even the Edmunds long term CTS tester became a rattle trap galore with parts falling apart in its first year. I've found that to be typical with domestic vehicles.

    It drove OK, I much preferred the Acuras, Infinitis, Audi's, and BMW's.
  • 22332233 Posts: 65
    How does BMW's 4 year, 50k mile maintenance warranty deal with such repairs as brake pads and rotors? Has anyone had them replace things like that during this period?

    Brake pads and rotors often require service prior to 4 years. Does BMW typically pay for repairs such as this under this program. Or are their services usually limited to oil changes and/or major repairs?

    How difficult is it to obtain what they might consider discretionary repairs such as brakes?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,650
    Pads and rotors are included, if needed.

    The rear brakes on our first 3-series went at 30K miles.. no charge..

    MODERATOR
    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Commuting in and out of New York (before moving up here to New Hamster) my BMW went through both front and rear pads and rotors in a little over 30,000 miles; both were replaced under the warranty.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,398
    Brake pads & rotors are included. The only thing not covered are tires.

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

  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,590
    My 2005 BMW 330i has the ZHP package and I beat it hard on track days, this is the reason for clutch replacement, and yes, front brakes too. My BMW dealer did not blink and eye when I brought it in for service. I still have the car, and bought the extended 2 yr, 50K warranty.
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