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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • I know - it was just a frame of reference for styling and how Audi used to be the leader and now seems stale and now Benz is the most progressive.

    No doubt, I had a loaner 2.0t and yes its worlds apart and 335i was galaxies apart. No S4 experience but I would guess it is a notch above 335 and the AMG will be the quickest if not most fun.

    I saw the CLA in the showroom and the interior is clearly not the same as E class and probably on par in size with the 1.8t. Which is why I am reconsidering the S4 if for the same price I gain some comfyness and giving up some points in style. I am hoping as the S3 releases, Audi will be tweaking the S4 and maybe giving incentives.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,282
    For me I still can't get over how the C-class cars, (and I'm guessing the CLA) don't have body colored roof seams (or even better, no roof seam rails at all (ala VW/Audi).

    BMW at least paints the plastic roof seam/rail trim. The remodel of the C-class interior recently was a pretty good job, thank goodness, the previous generation got outclassed by some economy cars.

    I did like the way the rear drive sport C250 and C300 I test drove handled, but felt they were overpriced for what you got.
  • The interior of the S4 with two options -- upgraded seats and the "pinstripe suit" dash trim is drop dead gorgeous.

    Drive an S4 with the DSG transmission; put the transmission into "S" and be treated to mind reading awe inspiring performance -- without the torque vectoring rear (sport) diff even.

    Feel -- or perhaps better said "sense" -- the car downshift as you slow, smoother than anyone could shift a stick and without any pause. There aren't enough o's in smoooth to describe this, it must be, begs to be driven. A deep well of torque awaits your command with zero lag -- whoosh, it is like upgrading your iPhone 5 to the new operating system and watching your email client make the jump to light speed.

    Here is my regret -- the difference between the 2.0T and the 3.0T "A" and "S" 4 is a chasm a giant, deep and wide chasm. The A4 needs to be offered with the 3.0T engine as it is offered in the Q5 3.0T. Also, for some price, the DSG transmission ought to be offered on the 2.0T, the milder 3.0T and the wilder 3.0T (as it is already there).

    Were Audi to offer the 8-speed tip and the 7-speed DSG across the board (of three engines), I would look forward to win after win after win for these sport ,sedans: the A4, the AS4 and the S4. Nice as the new IS 350 F Sport is, I would expect the AS4 and with absolute certainly the S4 to be seeing the IS's LED's in its rearview mirror.

    And, for the money -- in this league -- the S4 and the 335 would be competitive (with each other, at least). Of course the IS and even the ATS can certainly be considered the value leaders; yet, the Q50/S is already so highly subvented (and it is likely to remain thus until its issues are behind it) that even with its faults is an attractive alternative for those who want an upscale high content premium car.

    A friend of mine used to say Audi's are for the left-brainers and BMW's are for the right-brainers -- meaning that "programmers" drove Audis and the Vice-president of Sales drove BMWs. I think now the Q50 has become the "programmers" [geek squad] car and, well, these days "everyone wants to be Audi."

    Treat yourself -- take a nice long test drive in a 2014 S4 with the DSG transmission -- you may be worthy. Me? I'm still not worthy -- but I'm working on it.

    DILYL
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 6,893
    335i vs S4. Have owned both. S4 wins.

    I've test driven Benzs in the past. Almost pulled the trigger on a c350 4 matic coupe that the (then) GF wanted. I agree. For that money, you can get an S5.

    I also looked at a C300 before I bought the 335i. Once again, I could never see the MB being able to match, let alone exceed, the drive of the BMW for the same money.

    CLA is a lesser version of all those cars, even in AMG guise.

    Personally, I'd test drive the S4. As others have said, that's what will hook you. I'd also look at the IS350, for no other reason than all the positive press it has received, just to see if it fits what you're looking for.
  • The CLA has been the cause of a decent amount of journalistic drool for months and months and months. The tarted up version has caused some who write about cars and get paid for doing so to be unabashedly aroused, in fact.

    Check out the comments about the upcoming A3 -- I don't have them right in front of me, but the gist is something like "the new A3 is everything we all wanted the CLA to be -- and there is an S3 version coming shortly after the A3 quattro hits showrooms next year."

    Can't believe I'm saying this: IMHO, BMW -- a brand that I love AND think is breathtakingly expensive -- looks like a bargain compared to any Mercedes I can think of. Would love to see an S4 reviewed side by side with a comparably PRICED Mercedes.

    The S4 would be high contented compared to the Merc and the S4 would make the worthy opposition sweat.

    Me? Again, I am looking for content and performance and bang for the buck. Hate to say it, but the IS 350 F-Sport makes a compelling case (when compared to even the god-like S4).

    You know, all the criticism about Infiniti and Lexus bringing out new cars with "old" engines does have merit. But, even so, the IS 350 seems to win the pros over in spite of its "old" engine. I get sweaty palms just imagining what would happen if Lexus told its engineers to make the requisite changes to the 350's powerplant to allow it to accept either a super or turbo charger. :surprise:

    "Happy motoring and back to the freeway which is already in progress." Firesign Theatre
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,282
    If your 6'2" or taller the IS350 may still be a tad "small" for your tastes.

    I'm 6'3" and I'm not sure I'd fit in one even with the seat all the way down if I had a helmet on.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,600
    I'm 6'3" and I'm not sure I'd fit in one even with the seat all the way down if I had a helmet on.

    Luckily, most of us don't need to judge a vehicle based on helmet space.

    :)
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 6,893
    You guys are making me want to take an IS350 for a test drive. Might as well take a gander at the GS350 while I'm at it.;)
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,523
    I saw the CLA in the showroom and the interior is clearly not the same as E class and probably on .

    Which dealer since they are not due in the showrooms until Late Nov or early Dec?
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 6,893
    FN...it seems like they've had the CLA announced for a year. But, as you say, they aren't even in the showrooms, yet. By the time they hit, all that "pre"-delivery marketing will have been forgotten.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,106
    Saw an IS350 AWD F Sport & Q50 for the 1st time on Saturday night. I had to do a double take when I saw the Infiniti. Thought it was a Jaguar XF at 1st. Looks so much better in person than in print and on TV. Style wise, it definitely looks the part of a $50,000 Sport Sedan.

    The IS350 F Sport definitely makes a statement as well. It definitely will not be confused for a thin else on the road. I liked it!

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

  • Michaell@EdmundsMichaell@Edmunds ColoradoPosts: 1,143
    My local MB dealer had several CLA's on the lot Saturday when I stopped by. All were priced around $36-37K. Did not get a chance to sit in one as they were mobbed by customers.

    Since I'm new to the premium market I can't tell you if the CLA interior is the same as or worse than anything else in the lineup.

    michaell@edmunds.com

    Moderator, Prices Paid and Leasing Experiences

    2013 Hyundai Elantra GT / 2010 Mazda CX-7 GT / 2014 MINI Countryman S ALL4

  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 6,893
    Michaell...thanks for the update. I'm mildly interested in the CLA. But, from a sports sedan perspective, my antenna tell me it's going to fall short. I've never really been a fan of MB interiors, either.

    That said, there are those who love the styling of the CLA...especially given its 3/4 of a CLS type of view.

    NY....I'm trying hard to like the Q50. Granted, I haven't driven one, yet. But, I'm not even luke warm about the styling. Now, that they've softened it up (as all the trade rags state), I can't find a reason to visit an Infiniti showroom....maybe as a curiosity, but little more.

    All of that is personal preference, however. I'm sure Infiniti will be OK, as will Mercedes. As much as the CLA trails its competition in the performance dept, they'll sell every one they can get their hands on because it has a Mercedes logo on the front.
  • Michaell@EdmundsMichaell@Edmunds ColoradoPosts: 1,143
    gg - with your past experience with the 335i and S4, I suspect the only iteration of the CLA that will interest you is the CLA 45 - the AMG version with the 355HP 4-cylinder.

    What I've read about that car is that it's a real rocket, perhaps a competitor for the S4.

    But, isn't Audi refreshing the A3 to be a sedan only, and that a 300 HP S3 will be available down the road?

    michaell@edmunds.com

    Moderator, Prices Paid and Leasing Experiences

    2013 Hyundai Elantra GT / 2010 Mazda CX-7 GT / 2014 MINI Countryman S ALL4

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,106
    Graphicguy - I wonder if you might take a liking to the CLA 45 AMG...?

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

  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,523
    I have to scratch my head, I was in Montvale, NJ before heading on vacation and spoke to a factory rep who was driving a CLA, who told me they MB hasn't released them yet, so I went and checked the three MB in Phoenix, 1 has 12, 1 has stock photos of them and VIN# for them with prices and the other doesn't even list they have any on their web site. I like the interior and exterior of the car, but I don't think it will have the driving dynamic that we look for in a car. The back seats are very cramp....
  • Michaell@EdmundsMichaell@Edmunds ColoradoPosts: 1,143
    but I don't think it will have the driving dynamic that we look for in a car.

    I don't think most folks who buy / lease a CLA will know it's FWD.

    I suspect that what they will most care about is the $299/mo lease payment and the 3-pointed star on the hood.

    It is small, that's for sure. Is MB thinking of offering the B-class here in the states?

    michaell@edmunds.com

    Moderator, Prices Paid and Leasing Experiences

    2013 Hyundai Elantra GT / 2010 Mazda CX-7 GT / 2014 MINI Countryman S ALL4

  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,600
    Is MB thinking of offering the B-class here in the states?

    Only in EV mode. MB announced back in March it would be coming in early 2014.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 6,893
    Michaell....you may be right, and that I would like the AMG CLA. But, reading these types of reviews isn't making me want to venture over to the Mercedes showroom any time soon....

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/healey/2013/09/28/test-drive-merce- des-benz-cla/2879843/
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,652
    I think the CLA, not having driven it, will be competitive given it's price. It seemed the reviewers wanted E class refinement in a $30k vehicle.

    $30K allots a near 260 ft-lb torque, near 1200 rpm, and 7 speed dual clutch tranny; exceptional styling and 30 mpg average. The "stats" seem impressive but we'll see if this translates into a competitive overall package. This is the price of a loaded Mazda 3 and Focus...that $30k of course is a "base" MB. Fancy wheels and pretty lights dress it up even more.
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