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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans



  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,590
    Yes, Dino the prices you have are right and the last 5 generation of the ES was built from the Camry Chassis. This current generation is built of the Toyota Avalon. So, which one got the better deal, the Avalon or the ES?
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,476
    edited April 2013
    Dino, give me examples of these tangible differences?

    Audi and Lexus get superior interior, both in design and in fit/finish. From leather quality, to stitches, to seat profile, to dashboard and liner plastics/inlays. There are options or configurations simply not available in common brand siblings:
    - rear wheel drive sedans (Infiniti, Lexus);
    - manual transmissions on big engines (Infiniti, previous generations of Audi);
    - actual build quality (chassis stiffness, number of welds, stricter quality control procedures, etc.);
    - suspension settings, both standard and sports versions of the brands;
    - "same" engines are often tuned up to produce better power/torque (not all, of course, not always enough to actually notice);
    - there is usually at least one generation of lag in availability of certain convenience, performance or safety equipment, whether standard, or optional (e.g. HID adaptive lights, keyelss sensor entry/start and more) for those who desire them, of course.

    I do not know if the price difference is fully justified to cover it, but it is ridiculous to say they are "the same cars". Similar would be a proper operative word. It is fair to say that 20 years ago those cars were much closer to each other than today - or so it seemed to me.

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

  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,476
    Can't tell, never looked at them. I suspect Avalon is better per pound or cubic foot, but ES is likely nicer and probably will have some unique touches. Not sure, if that's enough and what is the real price difference for "equivalent" configurations.

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

  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,737
    The only car that I ever liked of the Lexus line was the original SC300/400, which by the way was a Toyota in Japan called the Soarer. So for the most part, Lexus had and in some ways still uses tart up Toyota's and sell them for huge profits.

    Of course everybody does the same thing. It's a market segmentation ploy, no more, no less. GM with it's rebadges, and now its divisions, has done it worse than most. What is different division cars in one country (TSX) is in a single division in another (Euro Accord).

    It's more or less because often engines or quality of interior is changed, even if mostly the same vehicle. And of course higher-end dealers often give more perks and services. Warranties may vary. Etc.

    Only the buyer can decide if it is worth it to them.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,325
    The Azera is comparable to an ES. and quite roomy. Though of course, without the prestige badge!

    And without the track record of reliability that Lexus has proven year in and year out.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,325
    I can vouch that the GTI and A3 are indeed, vastly different cars, despite being similar. No one that has driven an A3 for an extended period of time would say the upgrades are not worth it vs. the GTI.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,325
    Which started off as a tart up Camry

    You say the ES is a tarted up Camry.

    I say the Camry is an ES dressed in rags.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,325
    Dino, give me examples of these tangible differences? Other than the fact that the decorations of the dealerships are different.

    Well, for one, if you look in CR you'll see way more red dots than black dots for Audi, and about the opposite for VW. For two, VW dealerships have a bad reputation, not so for Audi dealerships, and furthermore, back in 2006 Audi was still giving free maintenance for 50K miles.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,101
    I remember a point in time that buying a Lexus....any Lexus...meant MSRP only. When the IS first came out, I was mildly interested in one. Aside from them being relatively underpowered, they handled decently. And, they certainly had the interior "eye candy" appeal.

    I recall walking into the showroom to eyeball a particularly pretty dark grey metallic one that was sitting there. Salesperson approached, asked if I liked it. I told him I didn't know much about them. I remember him clearly...."let's go familiarize you with it."

    He pulled it out of the showroom and off we went. Again, it wasn't very fast (especially given that it was supposed to be a sports sedan), but it showed quality and smoothness I had never experienced before.

    I had the inevitable question...."so, on this particular model, is there a price in mind you'd like to throw out there?"

    He pointed to the sticker.

    I countered..."so, if I said I was interested right now for....say....&1,000 off MSRP, you wouldn't take it?"


    "$500 off?"


    $100 off?


    Contrast that to a year or so ago. I found an IS 350 (next gen from the one I had test driven years ago) that I was very mildly interested in. Went for a test drive again (same dealer, different sales person). Some of the same impressions I had originally...high quality, very smooth. But, this one had some "oooomph" under the hood.

    Still, it really wasn't my cup of tea.

    Big difference, the sales person threw out a number without me even asking that was almost $2K off MSRP.

    Gotta admit, Lexus makes some very high quality cars. They seem to just miss the mark compared to others I might be in the market for at any given time.
  • jeffm5jeffm5 Posts: 107
    Don't you get a better warranty with a Lexus? Also the dealer here provides a loaner anytime the car is in for repairs. You don't get that with an Avalon.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,476
    I initially thought BMW will bring 320d. It is actually bringing 328d, which I suspect will have higher/similar torque to 328i, nominally lower power (as all diesels do due to lower revs). They announce 45 mpg highway. Say it's true. Let's also assume it will be priced between 328i and 335i, so starting MSRP in low-mid 40s ($43K-$45K) sprinting to $50K with just leather and couple of conveniences. Price difference about 3-5 grand with 328 and about 10+ with 320i (which is also stripped vs. 328i, not just engine). Taking them at face value we get 45 mpg highway vs 33 mpg (AT), good difference. I would caution excuberrance, as I have seen in the past other manufacturers promising outlandish values on their diesels in preanouncements to end up as much as 10 mpg lower after EPA tests (that was the case with new VW diesel). So let's assume 15 thousand miles per year, five years of ownership, 75K miles. Lets assume MSRP of $45K (328i) vs $48K (328d), i.e. we have some options, all miles are highway (for simplicity) - we get:
    1. 328i: 2272 gallons of premium at say $3.75/gal (number vary) = $8522 for five years.
    2. 328d: 1705 gallons of diesel at say $3.90/gal (number vary) = $6647 for five years

    Amount saved: $1874. Anticipated new car price difference: $3-$5K. The only other variable is depreciation. Say we get 5% better depreciation of 328d, say 55% vs. 60% of depreciation $26.4K vs. $27K.

    In conclusion, not including higher taxes and financing (loan, lease), assuming MSRP as benchmark, 328d comes up overall $2500-$3000 less expensive over 5 years. To me it's nothing, especially because:
    1. 328i will likely enjoy better discount at purchase than 328d
    2. If leased, 328i will likely enjoy better money factor than 328d; lower residual may offset that.
    3. People who keep their cars less than 5 years will see even smaller fuel savings.
    4. Diesel prices are even more volataile than gasoline. It is easy to imagine increase of the difference in price per gallon by another 10 or 15 cents.

    There are a lot of other factors that could make the calculus more attractive for the diesel, but there are many other factors that could offset that, too. This was intented to be a demonstration how I would make a calculation if I had all the data, including mixed mileage, trying to take emotion out and account for all variables, not just one that is visible (mpg). I completely understand the gas mileage focus. It is easy to let go and forget about the costs that are already "set", like car payments. They are planned and accounted in home budget, out of sight, out of mind. But the gas bill comes every week or so, varies, even though it is planned, it springs up all the time and every unplanned trip adds to the bill. So it is easy to think that if I save on gas, I will spend less money overall. But that may or may not be true. Without a cold meticulous calculation there is no way to tell. Yet people rush to "do something" in every time gas price jumps 30 cents.

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

  • Warranty= probably a year more.
    Loaners- you will be surprised what some toyota dealerships are offering these days in regards to perks.
    It's totally different from when I was in college and that's not too far back- the non luxury dealerships are getting more sophisticated.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,325
    Warranty= probably a year more.

    That can be huge as one expensive fix can run 4 figures easily and if something is going to break, most likely it'll be in that "extra" year.
  • sweendogysweendogy Posts: 1,108
    I have nothing to add to this besides my thanks- excellent post- interesting when someone runs the numbers- and comes up with a value creative post.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,419
    Well said & well thought out my friend - as always!

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

  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,240
    edited April 2013
    I initially thought BMW will bring 320d. It is actually bringing 328d. . .

    I've been anxiously awaiting the introduction of a BMW diesel that was more representative of what's on offer in the rest of the world. This is a start, but it only comes with an automatic transmission, according to the on-line Roundel piece I read a few days ago.

    All I want is a small diesel in a well-made car with a manual transmission.

    Or, as Charles Shultz put it, I could flap my arms and fly to the moon.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,663
    All I want is a small diesel in a well-made car with a manual transmission.

    A colleague recently purchased a Passat TDI manual and loves it...or a Mazda 6? Not in BMW league but I'd still classify as well-made.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,476
    edited April 2013
    Beware what you wish for. I love manual transmissions, all but one car I have had were MT, but IMHO if there is a case of AT, it is small diesel engine. MT is least suitable for small diesel engines. Short rev range of the engine turns the driving into constant shifting for shifting's sake. Unlike modern gasoline engine (which is very flexible in both low and high rev range), diesel engine makes it really miserable on driver to be in a wrong gear. It either shakes the car violently (too high gear for the revs) or drops the torque of the cliff making passing or merging really scary if you need to execute 2-second gear upshift in the middle of the maneuver. On to of that, in city driving you feel you end up shifing up and down on 5-10 mph speed differentials, so you don't those low vibrations from the engine compartment. How do I know all of that? I drove similarly sized and powered A4 and Peugeout 406, both with manual transmissions. Both of those were considered one of the best diesel engines of their generations.

    Multigear automatic (like 8-speed) is absolutely transmission of choice for a diesel. IMHO, of course.

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

  • alltorquealltorque Posts: 535
    I drove similarly sized and powered A4 and Peugeout 406, both with manual transmissions. Both of those were considered on of best diesel engines of their generations.

    Agree with all of that although small diesels can be OK with an MT. Torque comes in very low down so they'll happily pull you up a cliff in what your mind tells you is too high a gear. ATs are better though. I have a Volvo S60 D5 (185) Geartronic. Nice combination.

    I had 2x Peugeot 406's. Probably the best riding cars I've ever had. That was when Peugeot made great chassis/suspension set-ups. No more, it seems. :cry: That Pug diesel and the VW Group 1.9 TDi PD engines are the stuff of legend and probably did more to move Europe to small diesels than any other. The 130bhp 1.9 TDi PD in my old Skoda Fabia vRS was a brilliant combination in a light car, and the 6MT was just built for playing with the mountain of torque the engine produced. Happy days. :)
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,590
    Dino, the engine in the 328d is a 2 liter 180hp, 280 lbs, BMW was going to call it 320d, but changed it to 328d. The car will only come with the 8 spd auto, which will work very well with the engine. BMW has been VERY tight lipped about the MPG of the car, however, many have guessed that mid 40's is doable on the highway, and mid 30's in town. This engine will go in the Wagon as well as the X3. Road and Track has driven the car and they were impressed, it was a short drive, I'm sure a full report will be out soon.

    The only way to make up the price difference is to hold on to the car and drive the wheels off it. Currently diesel in phoenix is .40 cents less than premium. Do I expect it to stay like this, no, but the price fluxuates enough that it doesn't bother me. I have owned three diesel cars/trucks in my past 1986 MB SDL, and 1981 Chevy Suburban diesel and 1996 ram truck 2500 with the cummins diesel.. Both cars were driven well into the 200K miles range the truck 175K before it was sold.. The modern diesels have taken care of the short comings of those diesels.

    Diesel's are not for everybody, just like Lexus, BMW and Audi's are not for everybody.
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