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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,206
    This topic is getting boring. All we ever seem to talk about is Acuras, what's up with that? The real ELLPCs don't get much discussion.

    This board was deader than Elvis for months, if not years, until a couple of people made it their own personal playground. A few worthy posts slip in from time to time (like yours), so I continue to follow it. I found the F30 review interesting, but since I don't own one or have any plans to buy or drive one, didn't respond.
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,523
    Forums have a way of changing over time, and with the crop of new cars coming into the ELLPS maybe the that are talked about here should be expanded. This board has a wide range of likes and dislikes and a very wide idea on what a ELLPS is, what I don't like are the personal attacks and how people continue to beat a dead horse and can't move forward. But humans do come in all shapes, sizes and personalities.

    When it comes to driving the new F30 cars, the 328i w/ the 8 spd auto is a good combo. Was at the BMW dealer on Friday, my niece wanted to buy a used 328i, and a local dealer had a cream puff, 2009 329i, Jet Black, Oyster Leather (great combo, no wear marks on the seats) Premium, Sport and Cold Weather package, Xenon head lights, power rear shade, Sat radio, Comfort Access, iPod/USB port. 46K miles, CPO and the dealer was asking $25,777. We couldn't get the numbers to work, and left, but I figured the dealer would call her, and they did, so on Sat we went back, she was about to get the car for $24,100 + tax and fee's.

    I drove a 2012 X3, i28, have to say was impressed, much larger then the last X3 I drove (2009) and the turbo 4 and 8 spd auto is a good combo, the transmission always seemed to be in the right gear when driving around town and one would be hard pressed to know it was a turbo...

    The X1 is a joke, about the same size as a CRV and Rogue for 39K, I assumed the X1 has the same 8 spd auto as the X3 and 328's have but they do not, they have a 6 spd... wonder why, cost ??

    While the finance department was getting my nieces paperwork together, I was talking with the sales manager and asked him how many BMW's does the dealership order with the M sport package? (this was a different dealer than where I bought my 328 from) and the number was surprising.... He told me 1 in 800. The people who are buying BMW today aren't really the sport people and they are looking for the luxury of the car not the sportiness of the car. I was basically told, if I wanted a 3 or 5 series with the M sport package, I would have to order the car, since he wouldn't order one for the dealership. In fact over the last 5 years the amount of BMW with the sport package has decreased, people don't like the sport seats.... Basically BMW is going soft because the market demands it.... Pretty sad....

    So my niece is very happy with her new BMW, she got a great car and it still has some of the factory 4yr/50K Maintenance warranty left and she got the 6yr 100K mile warranty... Knowing my niece she will drive it pretty close to the 100K mark in that amount of time.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited September 2012
    There seems to be a theme here that more gears is better. I disagree. Ranking the transmission options in a 335i, I'd put it at:

    #1: 6-speed manual
    #2: 7-speed dual clutch automatic ("auto-manual")
    #3: 8-speed Steptronic (torque converter "slush box")

    Even the suggestion that an 8-speed Steptronic is better than a 6-speed is a little questionable. I recall when BMW responded to Lexus introduction of 8-speed autos with the counter that BMW engine torque bands were wide enough that they didn't want to add more gears to have the car fishing for the right one at a particular speed. Is the current 8-speed Steptronic a response to the EPA in trying to eek an extra mpg out of the engine? Just like the not so popular start stop feature. The 6-speed auto in our X5d has no trouble producing 30 mpg on the highway and accelerating like a (big) V8 from 50 to 80. I can see where the lower torque 3.5i might benefit with 2 extra gears, but the X5d doesn't need them.

    What's next, a 10-speed auto that has to shift 9 times to get you to a highway cruise? Or worse, a CVT transmission with an "infinite" number of equivalent gear ratios? At least when Porsche made their EPA concession, it was by adding a 7th gear to their manual that was a pure overdrive. They left the first 6 ratios untouched. The engine redlines in 6th gear at 188 mph (top speed) and the ratios are perfectly matched to get every ounce of performance out of the engine. That's what's important. And should be to BMW. Not playing a who's got more game with Lexus.
  • sweendogysweendogy Posts: 1,052
    Agree- could a cvt head into the g and M? Or will he engine change to MB in the next refresh- something has to break
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,897
    The X1 gets an 8 speed auto on the turbo four and a 6 speed auto on the i35 6 cyl model.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 6,892
    edited September 2012
    Be happy to talk about BMW 335i and Audi S4 if you want..... :shades:
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,476
    The ‘Best Choice’ for me [ YMMV ] is #2 - the 7-speed DCT in the BMW 335iS I currently drive.

    I have driven several BMW 6-speed Steptronics and one new 8-speed Step [ in a 2012 535i ] and except in very slow & stop traffic [ 0 – 20 mph ] this transmission is a paragon of quick & precise gearchanges [ up & down ] with very well managed driveline shock.

    - Ray
    No manual trans. for me anymore . . .
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    this transmission is a paragon of quick & precise gearchanges [ up & down ] with very well managed driveline shock.

    Fortunately, I can still say the same thing about my right hand and left foot. But that's a debate for another forum. ;)
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,523
    I'm sure it has to do with the EPA more than anything else, but the benefits of the 8 spd steptronic are three fold. One it helps with the EPA figure and two it keeps the engine in the torque band and three more people buy BMW with Auto's then manuals. With that being said, the 8 spd works will with the turbo 4, I haven't driven the turbo 6 with the 8 spd, but I would assume it would be a nice fit too.

    In regards to the 7 spd manual in the 911, I'm sure BMW will be moving to this soon to get their manual cars into line with the EPA too.

    I like the newer DCT a lot, very quick shifting up and down, and no lag when shifted
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,523
    Sweeny the issue Infiniti has, it is trying to one up BMW, and to do that it is doing it with more HP, and this comes at a cost. Infiniti for some reason just can not get the FM platform to handle as well as the 3 series, it has all the right box's checked to be a better car... Infiniti will have to do something to get in line with the EPA...

    I have a question some of you experts, does Infiniti fall under Nissan when it comes to the EPA? I would suspect if it does, then Infiniti will not worry about the MPG of the G or M for a while.
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,523
    Interesting I swear the window sticker said the 4 cyl had the 6 spd. Either way just too small, and I was told that the X1 might take over for the 3 series wagon, I hope not...
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,523
    I highly doubt you can shift your 911 faster then a DCT.

    In regards to your X5d, the torque band if so flat that having a 8 spd auto would be very beneficial in aiding more MPG without sacrificing performance.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Should have clarified that in my "rankings":

    #1 6-speed manual
    #2 7-speed DCT (M series, $2,900 option)
    #3 7-speed DCT (non-M, $450 option)
    #4 8-speed automatic

    Let's not confuse high end DCTs in the M3 or Porsche's PDK in the 911 with the DCT used by BMW in the standard 3/5 series. Very different in terms of design, performance - and cost. $2,900 for the BMW, $4,000 for the PDK, $10,000 for Ferrari. You aren't going to get that level of engineering or construction by checking a $450 box with BMW or VW.

    As for my manual shifting speed vs. a DCT. That's not the issue. I'll give up a tenth or two in the 0-60 (one shift) drag race in order to get the direct control and the engagement factor of driving the car. I understand that's a personal choice. I'm no Bubba Watson, but I still play golf from the tips of a 7,100 yard course because I want the full effect. I know I could score a few strokes better from the white tee box, but it wouldn't be as satisfying. It makes me laugh that some of my playing partners will spend $500 on a driver and then moan like babies when I suggest we play the black tees rather than the blues or whites.

    Regarding the X5d, the flat torque curve is precisely why you don't need as many gears. Every gear change results in energy loss. Small, but a loss nonetheless. By the time you get to highway speeds, the final gear ratio is all that matters, not how many shifts it took to get there. Around town, an extra gear or two might help, but a 5,300 pound curb weight is still the overriding factor.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,476
    OK - my choice is now #3.
    All other comments still apply.
    - Ray
    Happy with the performance - and the cost....
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,523
    I hear what you are saying as before I was the one who would never get a car that didn't have an auto, but not too sure if it age and or wisdom or both, but give me a good DCT over a manual...

    So in theory a CVT would be the best transmission since it does not have to shift so no energy is lost. Even though we know that Nissan is working overtime to perfect it, they have come a long way with the new Generation Altima and Infiniti JX, but to see a CVT in a true performance car, Nissan has it's work cut out for themselves.
  • sweendogysweendogy Posts: 1,052
    I agree Infiniti is doing it with HP- but it's also doing it with price- real dollars that can pay for a boatload of gas and oil changes.
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,523
    Value only goes so far, lets take my partners Genesis, for 2012, the V8 came fully loaded, no options, and it listed at $46K, priced paid was $39K (plus tax and fee's). It is bigger than a E Class and 5 Series, but smaller than 7 series and S Class. Now how many people who bought a E class or 5 series crossed shopped the Genesis, maybe not many, but they should have, but because people wanted a E class or 5 series that is what they bought regardless of price, even though the Genesis was a better value..

    There is a point in which value can only take you so far, and I think Infiniti is getting to that point with the G and M...
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited September 2012
    Infiniti will be cross shopped by some BMW and Mercedes shoppers because although it may have some shortcomings, it is still generally considered a luxury brand. Infiniti may need to be value priced because of the shortcomings, but not necessarily because of a downscale image.

    Hyundai is not considered a luxury brand and must be very aggressive in its pricing to convince even a few E class buyers that a Genesis, coming from the makers of an Elantra, is worth a look. Add to that, quite a few of the current E class/5 series demographic are old enough to remember early Excels that were complete pieces of crap. A friend who bought one in the 1990's literally had the paint start peeling off the car inside of 3 years.

    Hyundai has improved considerably from those early days, but it is still very challenging to have your bread and butter cars selling for $15,000 to $19,000 and expect to get a lot of BMW/Mercedes/Audi cross shoppers into a showroom with a $40,000 Genesis or even more of a stretch $60,000 Equus. Even the Mercedes dealer down the road has a separate area of the showroom for AMG cars so that someone shopping for a $100,000 CLS63 doesn't have to rub elbows with someone shopping for a nice little $35,000 C250.

    Besides image, there is another value factor that is a little hard to quantify at this point. The price of a BMW/Mercedes can partly be rationalized by the belief from many decades of history that in 8-10 years it will still be a good, solid luxury car. Maybe not with the latest gadgets and do-dads, but certainly not ready for the junkyard. Hyundai has a few decades to go before they will have any kind of similar legacy. In fact, most 8-10 year old Hyundias are a direct contradiction to what they are now trying to position themselves at.
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,523
    I agree with everything you stated, I don't think my post said other wise, however, infiniti can only be based as a value buy for a short time. I'm sure the next Gen G, will help improve the short comings that the car has, but at a price, and we will see the price of the car go up.
  • robbiegrobbieg Posts: 323
    I don't see why Infiniti can only be a value buy for a short time. I would think that they could and will continue to produce cars that are close to a BMW and at a decent discount.

    I think this is Cadillac's problem that they aren't willing to accept the fact they are a "value" luxury car. I personally think a Cadillac is on the same level as Infiniti and less than Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Lexus, and above Acura. Lincoln is a lost cause as far as I am concerned.

    Another point, why does Infiniti and Cadillac put logos on some of their seats?
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