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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans



  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited August 2012
    Fedlawman - what's your basis for saying Audi is #1 and Infiniti is #2 in this segment?

    Audi makes some very nice cars, but for all of the accolades the A6 gets, I don't think of it as an enthusiasts choice. No manual transmission, very heavy, an AWD system that is FWD biased, etc. It performs quite well, in spite of all of that, but I still can't think of it as a true drivers car. And in the performance line of the S4, S5, S6 cars, I would still never put them in the enthusiast's league of the M3 or M5. More like AMG-lite.

    If you are saying that Audi is #1 because they are the closest to "all things for all people", I'd probably agree. But they don't get my own blood boiling to dump my Acura TL and buy one tomorrow.

    On another matter, I think BMW needs to steal some Porsche engineers and put their vehicles on a big diet. The 550i weighs damn near the same as a Porsche Cayenne SUV. Which, by the way, dropped 400 lbs in its redesign and the new 911 and Boxster have also lost a few pounds in the Porsche spa. Not sure why BMW, "the ultimate driving machine" has been so slow to use more aluminum and charge its engineers to do more with less (weight).
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 2,487
    Man, you TL guys got me misting up here...

    Other than being a bit poor in the snow, my '05 TL was just one of my favorite cars ever. Great over-all package and, IIRC, not a penny invested in ~ 85,000 miles other than routine maintenance/wear and a ton of Zaino!!! Every time I see the current-gen TL and "The Beak," I shed another tear (no offense to the current owners, still a fine car and beauty is in the eye...).

    Why, oh why, did I trade the TL? Oh, yeah. Mid-life crisis... ;)

    '13 Jaguar XF, '11 BMW 535xi, '02 Lexus RX300

  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,049
    edited August 2012
    The Audi A6 quattro on day one was not FWD biased. It was a 50% 50% set up with a non-reactionary TorSen system. Torque was able to be shifted instantly F or R -ward based on circumstances. The non-reactionary system was unique (probably still is since most of the market doesn't use TorSen) since it was said to "act in real time." All other systems "react" which means there is a slight delay in the transfer of power to the end where it will do the most good.

    For years the Audi A6 quattro has been REAR WHEEL biased, but still uses a non-reactionary system.

    The TT, on the other hand, did not start out with the TorSen system, rather it started out with the Haldex system (not that there is anything wrong with that), but it is FWD biased and it is a reactionary system, meaning there is some lag whilst the thing figures out there is a need for power at the opposite end and then shifts power appropriately.

    The A6, since that is where we started, also can be equipped with a system that is called the sport differential, but you can call it a Torque Vectoring system and you'd be right. Acura's system is SH-AWD but it is, currently, implemented in its cars with SEVERE FWD bias (95%), and it, too, is reactionary. Those of you who have the 6-speed auto 305HP V6 TL SH-AWD can attest to the lag time in these reactionary systems by simply putting the transmission in drive and flooring the accelerator. For an instant (which seems like a second) the steering wheel twitches in your grip while the reaction time passes and the FWD power is shifted aft.

    Try an Audi S4 or even an A4 -- both, like the A6, with Rear Biased AWD -- floor them -- there is zero torque steer, since the thing is 60% RWD biased and doesn't have to react, since TorSen differentials "bind in real time."

    The new Audi A6 chassis, while still NOSE HEAVY, are much better with respect to weight distribution than they have ever been and somehow Audi has -- perhaps only for a brief 15 minutes of fame, so to speak -- managed to jump to the top of the heap insofar as performance is concerned.

    And, despite its high price tag, the new S6 is a price performer when compared to both BMW and Mercedes models that can keep up with it. Yep, Audis have cranked up their prices -- but, if there is such a thing as bang for the buck in the over $60,000 crowd, today that accolade would be earned only by Audi.

    I still remember my buddy who purchased a new 530 (RWD only) with a Premium Pack option, period. This was, admittedly 2002. My Audi A6 was a quattro with the sport package, premium wheels, nav and everything you could get on an A6, including premium paint -- oh yea, and it came with a 4.2L V8. My Audi was about $2K less. To even approximate the content (but not the engine) would have put the 530's msrp into orbit.

    Where was I? Oh, yea -- A6 quattros have never been fwd biased, and for several years now they have been rwd biased, but with non-reactionary awd (which, admittedly, makes them a bit heavier than the other ELLPS and LPS offerings from Asia, Europe and the US.)

  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,701
    edited August 2012
    Other than being a bit poor in the snow, my '05 TL was just one of my favorite cars ever. Great over-all package and, IIRC, not a penny invested in ~ 85,000 miles other than routine maintenance/wear and a ton of Zaino!!! Every time I see the current-gen TL and "The Beak," I shed another tear (no offense to the current owners, still a fine car and beauty is in the eye...).

    Yup, 126K here in my '05 TL and no problems of any significance. While I sometimes wish for other cars, I know that if I ditched the TL I'd miss it. I learned that after ditching my '98 A4.

    When I see newer TLs on the road, I have no desire whatsoever for a newer one. When i see my own model on the road, I still think it's one of the sharper looking cars out there. Acura really screwed up with the redesign.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    I am referring strictly to the ELLPS segment - the Audi A4. The A6, M cars, etc. are not ELLPS's.

    An A4 Quattro with 6-speed manual starts at $35K. It's a better car than the 328i. It's also the sexiest looking car in this segment (inside and out) with the best combination of performance, elegance, and refinement.

    IMO of course... :)
  • kushmdxkushmdx Posts: 4
    Was that 34900 price with the 1000 loyalty money or before that.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,107
    You must have me mistaken for someone who doesn't have 27 years & 11 months until his mortgage is paid off, doesn't have to redo his kitchen (because the 1985 Formica cabinets are literally falling apart), figure out how he's going to send 3 kids (6, 3 1/2, & 8 months)... Lol!

    Sorry if my post was misleading. I test drove the car at one of BMWUSA's drive for team USA last year. I drove the 650i convertible on a hot summer day. I know it's a grand tourer & not a true sports car, but c'mon. It's a sport package equipped BMW, not an MB SL550.

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

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited August 2012
    I respect your opinion, but not sure I would agree with it.

    The A4, as with the TL, requires that you go with AWD to avoid their standard FWD setup. That's OK if you are comparing to a 328ix, but if the "P" in ELLPS is important, I still prefer the driving feel and dynamics of a 50/50 balanced RWD sedan. And, if you really want AWD and can get by the exterior looks of the TL, it appears to offer significantly better performance than the A4 Quattro.

    Personally, I don't find Audi's exterior design on the A4 to be that much better than the TL. The A5 is seriously great looking, the A7 very good, but the A4/A6 still look slab sided and plain/boxy in my opinion. When I think "sexy", the A5 qualifies, but the A4 needs a lot of work. Even the C-class sedans beat the A4 for exterior looks, IMO.

    Disclosure: I haven't driven a new A4 Quattro 6-speed manual. I am basing performance comparison on what is published and my limited experience with an automatic as a loaner. But giving up nearly 100hp to the TL and Acura's AWD system (perhaps) being more advanced from a handling perspective, leads me to believe that the A4 would not do well in a track test between the two. And maybe not against a 328i RWD. is an "O", so I do respect your "IMO".
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    OK, I guess a 911 will have to stand in line behind granite countertops, 529 accounts and a few other priorities. But hang in there, enjoy your kids (they grow up too fast) and let me tempt you again in 2040.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    edited August 2012
    I agree the TL has the better powertrain, but a 6MT costs $44K, and for that much money, there are better choices IMO (S4?).

    And the interior and exterior styling of the Audi is far better (again IMO). Better control layout and material quality in the Audi, and the Audi just goes down the road better (quieter cabin with classic German suspension tuning). It's the only $35k car here that makes you feel like you spent $45k when you're driving it.

    The AWD TL is the best car Acura sells right now and I agree it's still a contender (I like it better than the G37). But I have to bump Acura down a notch from 6 years ago because as a whole, their lineup isn't very compelling.
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,524
    In regards to the 550i, yes it is heavy, however, the 550i still does 0-60 in 5 sec, pretty darn quick for a heavy sedan, and with M sport Package handles very well too. Much better then MB E550 (which one comes in all wheel drive.)
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,524
    Not in my book, three turbo's, talk about one hot engine compartment. I read that BMW was looking to bring over a V8 twin turbo oiler that made the same amount of power, which was faster and better MPH. Heck, I would be happy if they just dropped the X5 oiler in the 5 series and turned up the boost some.
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,524
    NYC, just because it has a sport package doesn't make it is a sport's car. Just as the MB SL doesn't live up to its name, SL means "superleicht" Super Light, however we all know that over the years that wasn't true for that model.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,107
    I know its a big, grand touring, coupe & that sport pkg doesn't equal sports car. I expected a hint of sharpness, but it was more isolated than I expected.

    True about the SL.

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

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    In my area, the "real world" price on a 2012 A4 and TL 6MT would be within a few dollars. An A4 with navigation and premium package is $41k, Invoice $38.2k. Add $2,500+/- to those numbers if you go with a Prestige package. The TL 6MT is can be bought for about $35-36k ($8-9k off MSRP) right now, from Pohanka Acura, with 3 in stock. So, if anything, a comparably equipped A4 Quattro might be a little more expensive than the TL. Prices may vary where you are at.

    Aesthetic preferences are very subjective, and I respect yours. If the A4 had more of the look of the A5, I'd be more excited. Not sure how they would do that - maybe reshape it into an A7-lite and flair the sides a bit. As for going down the road better, I'll hold off on that until if and when I get behind the wheel. The 2010+/- A4 automatic I had as a service loaner was certainly not as you describe in quietness and luxury feel, but that was a couple of years ago and it may have been beaten up a bit.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,107
    Thanks for the vote of confidence. Yeah, they do grow up insanely fast. Can't believe my oldest will be 6 & going into 1st grade in a few weeks.

    Features vs. MoJo

    Just curious as to how many of you would take the ELLPS with the smaller engine & more features vs. the car that would have you fighting to keep it below triple digits on public roads (if the costs were in the same ballpark) Daily driver of course?

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

  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    I respect your opinions as much as anyone here and I admit your points about the TL are valid. Street pricing vs. MSRP, while a legitimate point, always complicates the discussion so I tend to avoid bringing it up.

    And yes, the A4 styling pales in comparison to the A5, which is drop dead gorgeous, but it appears to me as the most fluid and least contrived of the segment. Of course, there's just so much you can do with a 4-door 3-box design without sacrificing interior space/comfort.

    I admit it's been a while since I've driven the TL, so maybe I need to refresh my memory? I remember it being a very nice car, but like all Honda's, a little less isolated in cabin noise vs. the competition.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited August 2012
    I am a BMW fan, as evidenced by our imminent pick up of an X5d in early September at the Performance Delivery Center in Spartanburg. And the 550i is a very nice car in many respects. But it could - and should - be better yet.

    The 550i 6MT weighs 4,350+ lbs, goes 0-60 in about 5.0 and gets 15/22 MPG. The CLS550 is 200 lbs lighter, goes 0-60 in 4.4 and is rated 17/25 MPG. The E55 AWD is another 115 lbs less than the CLS.

    When I was vaguely contemplating an M5 in 2002, it weighed 4,000 lbs and with a high revving 400hp/369 engine, was a few tenths quicker than the current 550i in spite of giving up 80 ft lbs of torque. Forget the handling comparison, the old M5 was much more precise, nimble and tossable than the current 550.

    In the ELLPS, we have seen pretty steady improvements in performance, at not a huge increase in price. I would expect BMW to have maintained it's dominance with the 550i, but in my opinion, has been slow to put it on a diet and keep it positioned as the clear enthusiast's choice over some of the LPS competition. At least they do still offer a 6-speed manual. And maybe the added 40 hp in the performance package for 2013 will help. But I'd like to see it tip the scales at 3,950. That's still a half ton more than my beloved 1995 Maxima and only 400 lbs less than a Cayenne SUV. Come on, BMW, start doing those push ups and get rid of the flab.
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,524
    when you say sharpness, explain. _I_ feel that the people might expect more out of the 6 series then what BMW was intending the 6 series to be. Now I can tell you the 1st Gen 6 series had more sporty feel then the current one. Haven't driven the 4 dr 6 series yet, which I'm thinking wont be all that sporty but still competent when pushed, more so then the MB SL.
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