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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,601
    I saw an article last week...maybe just a blurb about the recent uptick in the U.S. auto industry, so can't remember the source. But, it went on to state that the new Lexus ES350, with supposedly more sporting pretensions, is suffering a significant sales decline, with the new model.

    Not trying to do a call out but that blurb doesn't make sense as ES sales are up almost 80% year over year:

    http://lexusenthusiast.com/2013/08/01/lexus-july-2013-sales-report/
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,601
    I don't disagree that leather should be in a $40K car, but in an entry level luxury performance sedan, it's fine IMHO.

    The real issue is that $40K is now BMW entry level....
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,897
    What does any of this have to do with ELPS besides the fact that it's just TMI to begin with?
  • mrminsky1mrminsky1 Posts: 23
    edited August 2013
    Leather SHOULD BE STANDARD at this price point.....otherwise it "ain't" luxury. I drove the new 328i when looking at my new TL, and I was not impressed to say the least. At least not for $46K......I also drove a LOADED 2011 328i CPO with 16K miles and I walked away thinking , "wow for $31K (asking) , I can purchased the better 328i. Darn, that is a lot of depreciation for a two year old car"

    I honestly believe these 320i are being marketed to those people who want to be seeing in a BMW. $40 Grand is a lot of money for what you get. I think the new Mercedes is priced even better. Not to mention my TL or my old G37. I can't imagine these 320i are selling well and I wonder how the new 328i are selling when compared to old ones
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,432
    Benz has the same problems, or even worse. Their leather is even more expensive and even fewer C-class cars have it. The MB-Tex, or whatever it is called is a nice fake leather, so dealers order majority of those C250 and even C300, or C350 with those seats. At least in case of 328 and 335, majority get premium package, which has leather. Kind of sad. I'm hoping that when the novelty wears off, which should be soon enough, in couple of years they'll start adding leather as one of those "no cost options", or at some lower price, call it "value package", or similar. Something like that seems to be going on already in other areas, most cars get "build credit", which I'm not sure what it means, but smells to me like a simple cash rebate.

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

  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,701
    At least in case of 328 and 335, majority get premium package, which has leather. Kind of sad. I'm hoping that when the novelty wears off, which should be soon enough, in couple of years they'll start adding leather as one of those "no cost options", or at some lower price, call it "value package", or similar.

    I doubt it. This is BMW's business model. They lure you in with (relatively) reasonable base prices, but EVERYTHING is an additional cost option. One of the reasons I bought an A4 years ago rather than the BMW of the time was that the Audi had a lot of things standard. on the BMW: leather - extra cost; certain paints - extra cost; even a folding rear seat - extra cost.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,432
    edited August 2013
    Well, it actually happened to a degree in the second half of E9x series. They had number of accommodations, like no-cost automatic (it was $1000, IIRC when it started) and at the very end leather became complimentary no-cost option (part of value package). This was last year or two, though, I think if I remember it correctly. BTW, folding rear seat became standard on 328 and 335 (woohoo!). It is still $500 option on 320.

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

  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,601
    I honestly believe these 320i are being marketed to those people who want to be seeing in a BMW.

    You don't have to believe that's the case because it is the case. I'd guess that more than 90% of BMW sales are to those who care mostly about the badge. The roundel could be placed onto a Corolla and they could sell them for $35K.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,432
    edited August 2013
    The roundel could be placed onto a Corolla and they could sell them for $35K.

    I don't think that's fair, but it is not as unfair, as I would like it to be.

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

  • The New Mercedes I was thinking of is the CLA which will be front wheel drive vehicle and priced at about $34K nicely equipped . I do not have anything against BMW other that their pricing model which is is absolutely ridiculous. many of their models are indeed fun driving machines. However, I would only buy one as a CPO with the idea of driving it for a few years or a killer lease, Anyone who pays $35K and up for a 320i will be taking a bath later on. If I am looking at a premium brand, will take a TL , A G37, or a Lexus any day depending on on the kind of ride desire. Every time I have walk into a BMW to look at any of their SUV or Cars , I always walked away thinking how little you get for the money.

    Even the new MAZDA 6 probably drives better than the 320i for $15K less.......
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,432
    I don't think CLA is in direct competition with 3-series. Doesn't mean people wouldn't cross shop them, of course, but those cars are quite apart, in size, price, target demographics. For price sensitive badge buyers, CLA will probably win. For all I know, it may actually be a nice car. BMW doesn't really have anything like CLA at the moment. Going FWD by Benz is a sign of new times. They get to build something cheaper and better fuel economy, all at once. Unimaginable just 10 years ago, but with new nanny state, both here and in Old Continent. Who knows, we may see FWD diesel S-class in a few years (wink).

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

  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,601
    No, the CLA isn't in direct competition with the 3 series. The new 1 series FWD will be the competition along with the A3.
  • michaellmichaell Posts: 4,300
    Even the new MAZDA 6 probably drives better than the 320i for $15K less.......

    A loaded Mazda 6 will exceed $30K easily but will probably have far more tech on it than the 320i.

    But, the 185HP of the 6 is more than the 180HP of the 320i. And, better mileage as well.
  • THE CLA will be direct competition in the sense that it will be crossed shopped by the consumer. The consumers buying these cars do not care about the "performance" of the car other than being able to get "the badge" . They do not care and will probably not know the the differences between FWD and RWD. My mother in law drives a C250 and she has no clue whether her car is a FWD or RWD. She only cares about the fact that it is a Mercedes and she was able to get one for $35K. My wife has no clue that my old G37 was a RWD vs my curent FWD car.... She knows that I used to own an A6 and BMW530i and to her, my old G37 and current Acura are no longer in the same category. It does not matter both of these Germans cars were the most unreliable cars I ever owned. Fun to drive , Yes. Fun to own, NO. My mother in law, my wife, and my 27 year niece are the kind of consumers they are looking for.

    The so call "enthusiast" will never consider one of these vehicles. As I gotten older, I have come to appreciate a good luxury brand as well, but I have become more practical as well. I appreciate a good car , but I am not longer driving the cars they way I used when I was in my twenties and thirties. I am now 48, and pushing the car to its limits or driving the car in two wheels is no longer at the top of my list.....I will stick with Acura, Infiniti, and Lexus offers. Lots of content, history of reliability, decent driven dynamics, and excellent value for what you can get

    I am intrigue to see what Mercedes can do with the CLA. I can not wait to drive one. I really want to see what a FWD entry German car will drive like.....
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,524
    The entry point for BMW 3 series is $33K for a base 320i. In Phoenix, the dealers have many 320's new, at $34K What is sad really is, BMW is trying to be like the other car companies who are trying to be like BMW. We all know that BMW only imports the top level cars, why do we need leatherette, isn't cloth seats good enough? BMW success at balancing luxury with sport is the problem. People NOW expect leather, Nav, moonroofs, and all the elec gadgets in "ELSP" cars. I wish BMW would drop the "L" in the ELSP and make their 320i a Entry Level Sport Sedan, drop the Premium package and add a true M sport package, with the E90 steering feel, have it with a manual or Auto. Forget Nav too. But we all know BMW wont do it and people in their forum know that BMW wont do it. It seems people aren't willing to except the fact that the BMW that we all knew isn't the BMW of today.

    What I find interesting is, people are comparing their BMW's that they built to a 328i that the dealer ordered as a loaner, can't compare apples and oranges.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,432
    There are German FWD cars on the market already, such as VW, Audi. I understand what you mean about cross shopping, I even pointed that nobody can stop people from considering different products as similar. I really meant to say 328 or 335 are not likely be in CLA competition, but you're right, 320 will probably be. It might in fact kill 320, depending on how it drives and how it is equipped. There will also be AWD version, as well, which makes it directly comparable to 320xi.
    I understand your point on FWD vs. RWD vs. AWD oblvion in so-called average buyer, non-enthusiast. It is true we sometimes read too many magazines and koolaid websites then we project that as actual mindset.

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

  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,432
    edited August 2013
    Did you mean accept? I did that comparison you mentioned, but just for the stuff that's common, such as engine, steering, console look, switches, etc. Those don't change. I'm not complaining about the fact they ordered leatherette, I am just noting that BMW does sell $40K+ car with such standard (yes, even 335 still has leather optional).

    Your wish on no frills true performance car may be something interesting, but I bet it wouldn't sell, not at prices they want to charge. My biggetst beef with the so called average buyer is that they look at 3 series or some other sports sedan and complain it's too small in the back seat, or suspension is too hard, or steering too heavy, to which the company responds by turning it into a Buick. If I wanted soft, roomy, superquiet family sedan, I'd buy Lexus or Buick.

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

  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 6,897
    edited August 2013
    robr2...you're probably right. Call out is necessary here given it was actually a source that I read in passing, and not one that I recall. Could have mis-read, or it could have been an "anti-Lexus" post with little cred.

    I probably skimmed it (which I'm known to do to skip over what is really unnteresting to me) and didn't catch the entire meaning of it.

    Good "call out"!

    Interesting looking at the figures....the GS redesign looks to be tanking. Here I thought that was Lexus' most appealing offering (at least to me).
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 6,897
    mrminsky...couldn't agree with you're assessment any more.

    Any time I go to the EU, it always seems I get stuck with a "stripper diesel" from the rental agencies. Plus, you see a whole lot of diesels on the road. Granted, gasoline costs 2X-3X what it costs in the U.S. And, most cars there are teeny cars compared to here in the U.S. because most roads in the cities are little more than alleys (no, I do not have any sort of desire to drive a small car every day....let the Europeans do that).

    So, the desires of the U.S. market are quite different than those in Europe. Plus, at least up until now, the Germans have been able to get what they're charging for "premium" cars with lots of options.

    I've liked the BMWs I've owned. I like the Audi I now have. I will say, it's been a long time since I've had a car as troublesome as the Audi, though.

    The fact that BMW is really going in a direction where the price is going up, but the performance and the quality of the materials (i.e. letherette vs leather) is going down, makes me want to look elsewhere for my next vehicle in 18-24 months.

    I think the real value in the Lexus, Acura, etc, with their reliability, high quality, is becoming more apparent to me, as well as more appealing....expecially at their price points.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,049
    edited August 2013
    In July the one Cincinnati Infinti dealership had a "special preview" of the new Q50 -- they offered up finger foods, wine, soft drinks and a complimentary gift of Infiniti wine glasses and a Q50 key-ring that contained a USB drive with lots of free space to spare after the Q50 advert.

    The car in question -- which we could look at but not drive -- was a fully maxed out version; I'd expect it to have an MSRP of just south of $54K.

    The Infiniti "factory rep" was, naturally, on hand to welcome the "faithful" and to regale us with stories about the recent head-to-head comparison that Infiniti pulled together, pitting the Q50 against like-priced Audi A4's and BMW 3's. Now, if you have priced yourself at $53K, the competition in this group could be pretty formidable; or would it?

    Well, the content is where these vehicles part company quickly. If you backed off on the $3,200 Infiniti "technology" (high nanny content) package, you are able to see why Infiniti is confident that if you shopped these three vehicles on PRICE, that the Infiniti would out-content the two Germans. If you configured these cars similarly on features and options, the Infinti again edges out the German rivals since it would come in at a price advantage.

    Infiniti is selling value -- or so it seems -- wrapped up in a capable of keeping up with (and the Infiniti rep claimed, beating) the German offerings on the track. Any way you cut it where price and/or configuration was used to come up with "similar," the Infiniti wins.

    Naturally, Infiniti wants you to compare the Q50 to the A4 and 3-series based on price -- the Germans just seem to have bloated MSRPs when compared with the Q50.

    OK, now I've driven the Q50 AWD Premium, Sport. There is no way I'd kick this thing out of bed for eating crackers -- I'd probably bring the crackers, in fact. This car is seriously nice (albeit still a bit on the small side, inside -- considering its wheelbase).

    The compelling argument isn't that the Q50 elevates Infiniti to making the BMW be called "the German Infiniti," not yet anyway. The compelling argument is that despite my personal issues with the way the options have been grouped into bloated packages, the Q50 at $50K seems to offer so much more car (content, at least; performance can be argued, however) for the money. I understand why Infiniti wants to position comparisons to its rivals based on price.

    Of course, a new Q50 here in our market can be leased for $399 per month, which further underscores the value prop.

    Typically (or "often") I read car comparos where the cars are configured to be close in features and specifications -- but often without any price parity. Then, the comparos are made, the points tallied and a winner emerges. Sometimes there will be a nod to price when there is a second tallying up of the points under the heading of "price dependent."

    If you put an Audi A4 2.0T SLine together, it can easily zip right past $50K -- and we all know how easily that can be done with a 4-cylinder BMW 3 series, too. If the Q50S -- at a price point -- is test driven against the two Germans, at the same price point, I'll wager that today's most desirable customer -- the Millennials -- will go for the Q50 time and time again -- assuming they don't also try a new KIA Cadenza which is, as Car and Driver says: "The Cadenza is Kia's first legitimate offering in the near-luxury segment, and it's a good one."

    The Millennials will certainly "Like" the choices in front of them -- assuming they care about cars, which is not a foregone conclusion.

    Someone here said something nice about the new Mazda 6 -- the Germans better watch out, their Brand Equity may be in some peril.

    Drive it like you live.
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