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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,427
    I have no problem woth changing tech as long as the old one still works at least for a while. Three years is too short, something like six may be acceptable, especially at prices charged by both Apple and BMW. I do not accept premise that perfectly functioning $200 product should be tossed out so quickly for sake of new tech that does the same thing, like playing same music files at same quality. BTW, my Nano has up to date OS, which means it is the new 328 interface not accepting it.

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

  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 6,892
    edited November 2013
    I'm not so sure it's obsolescence, per se. But, I do think that the electronics aren't fully developed in cars to accept what has been a dizzying expansion of chips, PCBs, computers and software used to operate cars.

    Amazing to me that the (using another acronym) ECU to precisely measure the exact amount of fuel required in each cylinder to maximize power and economy is amazing in and of itself. Overall, the car companies have that one nailed.

    Another case in point, it's pretty amazing that most cars with the capability to tell the driver when his oil needs to be changed, based on sensors monitoring operating temp, mode of driving, etc, is equally amazing.

    Where they fall down, is they don't put as much effort into understanding how the stereo is supposed to work with an iPod (probably the single most ubiquitous media device currently on the planet). Or, in Audi's case, how they can't even get CDs to play correctly. This, a technology that's been around for at least 30 years (and will probably be dead before the end of the decade).

    It's not just Audi I'm picking on. I've heard wide spread reports of this from people who own GM cars, the issues with Ford's Sync, etc. Even my BMW E92 had stereo and NAV issues (minor in comparison to the Audi MMI), and that platform had been around for awhile.

    My personal opinion, if you're going to be nonchalant about the electronics and features of your cars, don't put them in the car to begin with. They again, they appear to be "behind the time" if they don't have those features. So, they prefer to half-assed measures just so they can list a "feature" in marketing brochures.

    One thing I have to do, is to tip my hat to the Japanese lux manufacturers. There's not one Acura, Lexus or Infiniti that I've been in that the tech hasn't worked the way it's supposed to. They put the effort and time in to make it work.

    Speaking of which, just got off the phone with the Audi dealer. They still don't know what's wrong, but do have the MMI apart (assuming the dash is apart, as is the console since the MMI controller resides there). I inquired about the trans/Quattro binding issue. They haven't even begun that trouble shooting process. They did say the Audi "rep" is due to come in to look at my car. But, that's not until mid next week.

    So, I'm still tooling around in their A6 2.0. While this is a nice car. It's not an Sx Audi vehicle. We had a dusting of snow this a.m. It did just fine. But, it's a big car. As good as the 4 cyl turbo is, (and it's really good), it's still hauling around a heavy car, and you feel it.
  • sweendogysweendogy Posts: 1,052
    That is the question? After a great run in the G- yes it's been 7 model years and 38k miles - my G finally gave me some trouble- the drivetrain belt (alternator belt?) shredded on the highway a few miles from work- was able to limp the car into the lot and had it towed to dealer for the 200bux repair. Made me think time for an upgrade? But then again it was only 200 bux to fix, but could this be the beginning of other more major issues to happen...I've never owned a car out of warrantee before- made me worry. Checked out the new q in the dealership, nice looking rig but the consumer reports article still rates the g higher. Plus they are not cheap and few deals around this far. 2 other options a cpo 335x (pre new body) or a cpo Audi s4. Both have great warranties - both great performers - but hearing the recent take on s4 issues has me worried, along with costs of course. Could wait a year and do the s3, sure is a looker - prob tops out around 50k - has enuf hp to an low end grunt- but can I wait- love hearing the experience thou from the masses.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,048
    edited November 2013
    Although I wasn't as active a participant here (and elsewhere) whilst I had my 2012 Acura TL SH-AWD Advance, I was a frequent reader of the postings and musings of those who participated those "lonely" 28 months.

    I would not hesitate to recommend an Acura such as the one I had -- I would, however, try to put things into perspective for someone shopping for one of these ELLPS vehicles. The Acura was ______________ (fill in the blank with some mostly positive comments) and it remains an attractive car considering its price and (at the time) considering the fact that it is/was heavily discounted (13% off sticker in my case). I will still remember it as Acura's S4 (despite the fact that few would ever cross-shop the two cars).

    If you're looking to enter into ELLPS land "on the cheap" I would say you can't do better than go for one of the current TL SH-AWD versions (the FWD version, however, does not qualify). However, in response to comments about Acura's "tech/electronics" working (apparently compared to Audi's MMI+), well I know it is a "nit" but the voice response software (at least in mine) would not function according to the owner's manual. I called Acura and took my car to the dealer (who had an Acura tech super user as a sales rep) -- both sources say the voice activation did have "bugs" in it. Moreover, when I asked Acura if there would be a fix, they said "no updates are in the pipeline at this time."

    I have (remembering that I have had three different MMI cars since 2005) had my "MMI OS" -- what I would call "windows for the car" updated once on the 2005 and once on the 2009 -- and nothing so far on the 2014. I never had and still have never had any issues with my MMI+ equipped Audis. And, everything works.

    On my Acura, for example, the car can have the voice activation system set to a REALLY annoying configuration where the voice system essentially mimics everything you say after you say it and before it does it. It can be turned off (same thing on my wife's 2011 Infiniti FX) -- when the voice prompt system is turned to "minimalist" mode, it is pretty easy to live with since it doesn't delay and doesn't parrot back your commands as if you might not really have meant what you asked of it. But, when in minimalist mode, functions (voice commands) that the manual says work . . .won't.

    The Acura has no clock that is easy to locate at a glance. However, it has a feature that allows you to simply ask, out loud, "what time is it?" And, the voice system recites the correct time. I thought it was a fairly neat little command that I often used when I was alone in the car and, well, er -- SPEEDING. I could, without hunting on my wrist or the dash panel simply say "what time is it?" The system would comply and tell me the time of day.

    However, this feature was "disabled" (and Acura said it should work regardless of the setting of the voice system to "annoying" mode) unless the voice response system was set to "long mode" (annoying mode).

    Another annoying feature was the phone number input (by voice) which would inevitably put a zero in front of the number I was dialing -- or sometimes it would put a "#" sign and announce the character as "POUND."

    Overall, the Acura system worked fairly well -- but there were more quirks in it than in any of my 3 Audis or my wife's tech package FX. Over the course of 28 months, I rarely used the voice command capability because it was either a little frustrating or annoying to use. MMI, by comparison is almost like "natural language" (almost).

    The Infiniti system, too, rarely gets it wrong and doesn't require any time at all to learn to use.

    The point, belabored for sure, is that I (a voice of one) found the Acura system "more trouble than it was worth" and also a system that wasn't nearly as intuitive as my wife's BMW (2008) or her 2011 Infiniti or any Audi I've had with the voice feature.

    To each his/her own to be sure -- but I'm all for updating the tech systems on these cars ASAP and with as much frequency as it takes to get the bugs out. :surprise:

    DILYL
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,048
    edited November 2013
    I'm so far beyond biased, it makes everything I say possibly specious -- but I remain, after all, "Often wrong, but NEVER uncertain" -- but here goes:

    Audi -- if you hold much stock in CR has moved up the "reliability" ratings with each passing year, arriving recently as the #4 ranked vehicle with respect to reliability. I would say that CR is good at the collecting of a good sized sample which makes them a very good resource for objective data (such as reliability and one would think durability, too.)

    Generally speaking, "everyone wants to be Audi" -- or so says at least one or two "Car & Driver" type magazines when they wax poetic about auto brands in recent months.

    Remarkably too, Audi's cars keep coming in close to the top or at the top of the heap in comparison tests. Most recently the A6 3.0T schooled its most worthy competition and even beat the new CTS (and the CTS's target was the BMW 5, which, in this case it did beat -- but so did the Mercedes in the test.)

    Since everything does go in cycles, I would say, even with my considerable bias, "this can't last." Now is the time to make a move and get the Audi before it begins what -- eventually -- will be "slippage." Moreover, if you want something that has been modified and modified and slightly refreshed (last year) meaning it is perhaps the "best one ever," I would think you would be hard pressed to build a better mousetrap than a 2014 A4 OR S4. Now, I may eat my words, but my '14 S4 is an absolute joy to drive. It is damn near a "masterpiece."

    How I hope that the S4 may be tested (as was the BMW 3) against everyone's favorite newcomer -- the Lexus IS 350 F-Sport (my first choice in this class when I thought the S4 would be out of reach financially.)

    In any case, the new Q50 seems to have missed the mark if you believe at least 3 auto enthusiast magazines and CR, so your choices are somewhat limited unless you want to re up for a new (last MY) G37X/Sport.

    Now may be the time "to Audi."

    But, like I said, I'm biased -- often wrong, just NOT uncertain.

    DILYL
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,101
    Sorry to here about your recent trouble with the G. Glad to hear you were able to make it off the highway to safety & get the car towed to the dealer OK. All things considered, $200 isn't that bad of a repair bill at all.

    I think you should take a look at a (pre new body) 335xi. Coming from the G, you'll LOVE the power. Let us know how it goes!

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

  • Test drive a 2014 Audi S4 S-Tronic. Then, let us all know your reaction.
  • As far as technology advancement is concerned, I still don't understand why my $2100 NAV option on my 2013 BMW 328 doesn't speak out the name of the streets (text-to-speech) while my 5 years old $200 Garmin has been doing it for 5 years.

    Worse, it looks like BMW realized the driver's need to know exactly when to turn so engineers have thought of placing a bar on the monitor that gets shortened as you approach the turn 800ft-600ft-200ft. I tried and bitterly found out that it's pretty dangerous to glue my eyes to the monitor to follow the bar but if not, I'd miss the turn once in a while. Is that some kind of German thought process in display here?
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 6,892
    Thanks, FN. Having driven an A6, albeit one with the 4 cyl turbo, for 3 weeks, I can't disagree with any of the C&D assessments. In fairness, I haven't driven the new CTS, nor the new E350. I drove a 535i during the BMW drive event. And, I agree that it feels like a ponderous brick on the road (except, I too like the 3.0 Turbo motor, but more in a 3 series than the bigger, heavier 5).

    I wish my issues with the S4 weren't so confounding. And, that Audi's efforts to fix it weren't so feeble. I might consider another Audi. As it stands, I'm going to battle with them.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,599
    ...I saw at least 3 of them yesterday. In fact, I believe I saw more of them than 3's but I may be immune to noticing the latter since there are so many of them.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,048
    edited November 2013
    Finally, finally, the SQ5 which we technically ordered before the S4 is in and ready to drive home.

    We went ahead and took one "on the boat" so we ended up with an SQ5 Prestige with Magma Red leather and Panther Black paint ($1,075 option: OUCH!).

    These two S cars are the quickest vehicles I have ever driven -- save for a Corvette I rented for a day for a friend's birthday. Now that I have 2,000 miles on the S4 it seems to be coming into that "first wind" that every Audi seems to get fully at about 5,000 miles and again around 10,000 miles.

    My wife asked me to floor the S4 on an entrance ramp here on the I-275 loop that surrounds Cincinnati -- before I knew it, and before I even ran out of ramp, I was at 90mph. I had to slow down to merge for pity's sake.

    Somehow the tuning of the SQ5's 8-speed Tiptronic seems to resemble the S-Tronic in the S4 pretty closely. The SQ5 shifts more often (duh!) and at full throttle makes those same fart sounds at shift points just like the S4.

    Combining military grade power with luxury is no mean feat -- but Audi has done it again with the SQ5. We even test drove a Cayenne (which costs more) and it didn't have the power and urge of the SQ5. It seems to get this much power in a Cayenne you have to resign yourself to a 6 figure purchase. We got my wife's SQ5 at 6% off sticker plus $1,000 loyalty bonus.

    The S cars will look pretty cool sitting in the garage, too: hers is black and mine is white.

    We went ahead and got the 20" Audi OE inch wheels (it came with 21"'s which you can't get all season UHP tires in the correct size) and we had the dealer take off the stock summer only tires and replaced them with new Continental Extreme Performance DWS UHP A/S's.

    Driving it home for good, tonight at 6PM. Can't wait.

    Good bye 2011 Infiniti FX35 (which btw has been a very good car, but one that my wife says, "ain't got no soul.") :surprise:

    DILYL
  • carnaughtcarnaught Posts: 1,569
    edited November 2013
    Mark, all I can say is: niiiiiice.....!!

    Hope you guys enjoy many safe miles.
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,523
    So I guess Audi hasn't fixed your issues with your car.

    In regards to the CTS, I was in Ft Lauderdale and San Diego this week and at National Car Rental I spoke to the manager of both locations and was told they are expecting the new 2014 CTS by Jan.. So once I get one I'll post what I think. I had a 2014 ATS Performance in San Diego. Even though the ATS "handles" better then the 3 series, I liked the overall "package" that the 3 series offers. The ATS is too small for my liking, this was the issue I had with my 328i. I believe the F30 is the right size, I can carry 4 adults without them being cramped in the rear seats.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,282
    Working on 300 miles thus far. Taking it easy so far, but the car is simply in one word to summarize "impeccable."
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,048
    edited November 2013
    Andres3 -- wait until you get over 1,000 miles on the OD; at that mileage the power improves and the fuel consumption drops. I did notice a slight decrease in the oil level (on the MMI screen), but the indicator still says "OK."

    If this is your first Audi, you will be getting 2 new ones in the future. Your "second" new Audi will come to your garage (at no extra charge) at 5,000 miles (or so) and then you will find yet another new Audi at 10,000 miles. Now, I say this never having had an Audi supercharged engine, but every other Audi I've ever had (4, 5, 6 or 8 cylinder, naturally aspirated or forced induction) repeated the "rebirth" at the noted mileage. Never had the same experience with the various Acura, Infiniti or BMW's we have had over the years.

    WE almost always do this: "I wish" I had configured the sport differential on my order; "I wish" 19" wheels with A/S UHP tires were offered as an option; "I wish" the tracking headlights were offered on the P+ S4 (like are on my wife's new Prestige SQ5); and I wish the A/S tires were not simply Grand Touring models, but UHP's like we put on the SQ5 (Continental DSW's). But, even without my wish list, this is (these two cars -- my S4 and her SQ5 are) the best Audis ever, AND my (and my wife's) most favorite cars -- ever.

    Every time I push the start button, put the car in dynamic mode (which actually the car "remembers" from the first time) and take off, I am impressed by the seemingly intuitive transmission and the sense of an almost unlimited well of horsepower and torque. Now that I have 2,000 miles on mine, I am unafraid to floor the accelerator, and find it to be an absolute rush every time I do.

    And, don't you just love the little fart sound the thing makes when it shifts?

    Lets us know YOUR driving impressions as you: Drive It Like You Live.

    ;)
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,523
    So I haven't been traveling so much for work, out of state (that is), but have been working in Tucson. On my trips down and back, I have been averaging 36 MPG, this is doing anywhere between 55-80. The traffic between these cities have gotten really back over the years. Before you could set the cruise at 80 and just go.

    So for thanksgiving, I went over to San Diego to see my dad, I-10 west, through Palm Spring, Riverside, and down the I-15 to San Diego. Weather was clear, temps in the mid to high 60s for most of the trip, no A/C needed. Average speed was 75, I averaged 38.5 MPG (car trip computer), however, when I filled up the car took 12 gallons at 460 miles (38.3 mpg), on the way home, temps in the upper 70's to low 80's A/C average speed 80, 37.5 mpg (cars trip computer), 465 miles used 12.5 gallons which is 37.2 mpg. So the car's trip computer is fairly accurate in the MPG.

    So a few thoughts on this car, I have 3800 miles on it (much higher then I thought I would have) but this is the nature of my work.

    1) The start/stop feature, it is unnerving when you first get in the car and it stops. You get the WTF just happened. Now having the car for 2 months, it is second nature, doesn't bother me at all.

    2) Power, the car is rated at "only" 180 hp, but in my daily driving and highway cruising, the power band and torque are set that one would be hard pressed to tell, my last rental was a 2014 Sonata, and while the standard engine make about 200hp, the 320i "felt faster" then the Sonata's. BTW, I just ordered the Stage 1 tuning kit for the 320, 30hp gain and 40 lbs of torque gain for $375. stage 2 is in beta test but from the prelim testing, on a 320i stage two add's another 20 hp and 30 lbs of torque for another $175. MPG is not to be affected at all with these upgrades under normal driving (well see about that.)

    3) Handling and ride of the new F30 I read people's comments about the steering feel of the new F30, granted it does have the weighted feel of the E90 or the current 1 series and X1, but in daily driving one is really hard pressed to know the lack of feedback. I'm sure on the track it is a completely different story. The ride of the non-sport F30 is typical German, well controlled without it being too harsh, now, my E90 with the M sport pack and run flat tires wasn't so bad if the road was smooth, but as we all know, not many cities have ultra smooth road, and that combo get's tiresome after a while. Do I wish for better supportive seats, YES, but over all, no real complaints. I was not tired at all on my trip to San Diego, my first stop is always just north palm spring which takes about 4 hours to get, no sore butt or fatigue at all.

    Has BMW last some of the edge that the 3 series had, yes, BMW was always more of a "sport" sedan, then a "luxury" sedan but the people with the money (buyers) want more luxury which is fine, but I think BMW can make both sides happy without really compromising too much, I just hope they find the happy medium.

    Some grips about what has become of the 3 series, when building a new 3 series, the only two interior color one can get with the sport pack is black or red. If you want other colors you have to get the M sport pack, Luxury model or standard. I wish the enhanced bluetooth and alarm was standard.

    With that being said, I like the 320i, it does want I want it to do, the price was reasonable and the resale value of the 320i seems to high on it, but time will tell.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 6,892
    Nice write up FN. Sounds like a very good car.

    I know when I had mine, I thought the power was way under rated (at least from what BMW claimed). Sounds like they did the same with the 320i. I had the performance pack installed on mine for an extra 20 HP. Well worth the money.

    Maybe the 320i is the spiritual successor to the 2002ti.
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,523
    Graphic, I think one of the factors I think people are missing is the fun factor of a car. I don't remember which magazine I was reading but one of them did a write up on the original 320 and the current 320.

    It has been well known that the HP that the BMW's rates their cars are underrated.
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,523
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