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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans



  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    edited May 2012
    The reason they break down if they are not revved hard is due to a design flaw in the engines. Well, it's not a design flaw, so much as that they were designed with European oils in mind that have proper levels of additives. As well as being run at higher speeds and rpms.

    When the EPA forced oil companies to drop their levels of Zinc DialkylDithiophosphate (usually just referred to as "Zinc") to 1200ppm, they started to show increased wear. With the move to 800ppm, it's only a matter of time before the engine eats itself if you run it like a typical yuppie. Why? The engines are designed with tight internal clearances that require high pressures to force oil into and out of the parts, especially the lower output bearings.

    You just have to learn to be happy running it at 4-5KRPM all the time. Yes, that means running around town in 2nd gear and making some noise. :P
    The problem with the engines in detail (ignore the hyperbole and marketing and focus on the pictures and technical parts). Low RPMs=early death. Since the design requires higher rpms/pressure to lubricate, but oil simply starts to fail at those higher pressures that result (6000+rpm), your only fail-safe is high zinc levels. If the oil doesn't have it, well... Your engine blows its bearings at 40-50K miles.

    Note - this affects motorcycles, rotary engines, and smaller engines like the S2000 that rev past 6K rpm routinely. Normal SAE approved oils won't cut it. Thankfully Valvoline and a few others make higher level conventional oils. Most are marketed as "high mileage" oils. This is a nice trick, btw - always use the high mileage oil even in a new engine - as well as good conventional oil instead of synthetic if the engine does any sort of higher RPMs.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    edited May 2012
    Very good post plekto! There has been a lot of talk about reduced ZDDP levels over the years on the internet, but not so much around here. Quite an oversight IMO given the sticker price of a typical ELLPS.

    It wasn't just the EPA. Auto manufacturers and consumers who demand longer service intervals and longer emission system warranties are also to blame.

    As you mentioned, choosing "high mileage oil" is a good decision, but doesn't guarantee higher levels of ZDDP. Lots of owners have switched to motorcycle oil, racing oil, and even diesel engine oil as more and more "recommended" oils have changed in formulation.

    Anyone buying an ELLPS who intends to keep it past the warranty period is well advised to research their oil and not assume that Mobil 1 or the other "top of the line" synthetics offer adequate protection.

    My last oil change was Shell Helix Ultra. Brad Penn "Green" is another recommended oil. Mobil 1 has a few too (15W-50 and Racing/V-Twin, for example):
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    heh, I like your style :)

    Porsche talk...there is a higher speed yield that I go through everyday. Usually if I'm lucky there isn't traffic and I can take it at a higher speed.

    Today I got spanked by a Porsche Cayman. My IS 350 is sporty...but not a sports car. I was behind and he just cruised through the curve flat and fast.

    By comparison (at that speed) I felt like I was going to tip over :)
    He (assuming it was a he...self preservation of ego) was gone before I could regain my composure.

    Sad thing...last year a prev-gen M3 sedan showed me it's tail lights through the same yield :surprise:
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    The issue is two-fold on the oil.

    One is that some engines require higher internal pressures and rpms to adequately lubricate the engine as well as properly seat the rings during break-in. That is, not all engines are like your old Buick with its 3.8. Some just don't respond well to being lugged all the time.

    The second is that oils fail at certain pressures and temperatures. You can see where this is going. If the levels of ZDDP are too low, the oil cooks itself and there's nothing to fall back on. (high revs will cook the oil anyways, that's normal) For a higher revving engine that sees 4K+rpm on a regular basis, you need at least a thousand PPM. For something that is in the 5-6K+ range, like a rotary or small engine, even 1200ppm won't really cut it. Most racing oils are at 1500-1600. They will kill your cat in 5 years. So be it - a cat is much cheaper than an engine rebuild.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    My 2004 TSX visited its 7000 RPM redline on a frequent basis when I owned it. I didn't know anything about oil back then and simply used regular Mobil 1.

    I'm guessing most ELLPS owners here don't plan on keeping their cars more than 4 or 5 years, so it's the CPO and used buyers that should be wary.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 10,163
    I drove the current generation Lexus IS at a Lexus driving event. Their big selling point was that their IS had a 306 hp V6 engine which was more than any other car in the class. They showed their IS350 shredding the pants off of a "lowly" 255 hp 330i. Little did they know BMW's N54 powered 335i was soon to be released.

    Anyway, they only offered a 6 speed stick with the sluggish IS250. They only offered AWD with the IS250, which made the car even more sluggish. I've literally only seen 4 IS350s since 2006. Every IS "round these here parts" is an IS250 AWD.

    There's a dude named louisweis (& our own ivan_99) here on edmunds that has an IS350 with all kinds of F Sport goodies. He tracks the car & really loves it!

    I think it is eating away @ Lexus that they couldn't build a better competitor. I'm sure they got their hands on an F30 328i so they could TRY and tune their next IS to drive like it.

    Ivan_99 - would you buy another IS350?

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium

  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    Ivan_99 - would you buy another IS350?

    I wouldn't buy the one currently being offered because it is virtually the same as mine; a 2006. Mine was a CPO (which is now expired). It's in surprisingly good condition but its about time to replace it. Not certain what the new one will be like; I haven't been impressed with any of the new Lexus styling whatsoever.

    Down here in central TX I see many...many IS's; I obviously didn't get it for its exclusivity :)

    I had a brief stint with a Q45 before this so it was much more sporty in comparison.

    There were just a few things about the IS that kept bothering me. Normal shifting was very lethargic (think Corolla stuck in sand) and sport-mode was very un-Lexus like harsh and abrupt. Handling, such as a large sweeping yield I mentioned above, made it lean and plow to the outside. Short quick transitions feel fine and responsive.

    If I had to give my IS a grade it would be an 'ok'...a 75%

    I may not go for another ELLPS.

    I'm torn in what I want. Part of me wants to go 'all out sport' and get a used 911, but currently I do not get many opportunities to explore any driving excitement. I use my car to commute...and that is it. I sit in traffic for the most part inching along. I 'live' for the odd (clear) yield or on ramp, but in the evening and weekend my car just sits. A new Ford Focus would probably be just as rewarding.

    I use our other vehicle (mini-van) more often because we have young kids in sports. So when I take my boys to football I need the room for all their gear and room to sit. Sometimes they'll leave their cleats the back of the IS it doesn't work well.

    Plus...I've had knee problems lately so getting in and out of the IS (even sitting) is not very enjoyable. I need something with a more upright position. I probably need to spend time sitting in each vehicle as there are so many variation in body style, seat style, etc.

    I'm leaning towards an SUV...or simple commuter vehicle.
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,283
    Ivan I agree with fed lawman the is350 is a nice car that can be helped on performance with a couple of f sport mods- I like the way it looked in 06 and still in 12. In fact the old IS300 is still a great looking car_ other Japanese don't age as well.
    Good luck on the suv search
  • jwilliams2jwilliams2 Posts: 910
    Nope, it's their forum and I'm sure they had a reason. I guess you could ask for a refund of your membership dues. And I'm pretty sure they are based in the USA. :shades:
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 4,204
    The navigation. I was just in town and tried to do a search for AutoZone or similar car retail store. No avail - and I know there are at least 3 or four within a few miles. Tried several ways, from retail stores to keying the words - nothing. Something like a car parts store is a basic item on any navigation GPS.

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.
    it's = it is, its = possessive for "it", they're = they are, their = possessive for they, here = not there, hear = receive and interpret sound waves

  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,283
    Thanks new guy, was looking for a reason- but liked your witty comments - bravo.
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,283
    Sorry to hear that - my wifes cr-v when looking for the homedepot gives us one in texas, 2000 miles away. I've learnd to use the iPhone for address and plug it in manually - I think most of the car nav systems are dated by the time they are installed -
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 10,163
    That's funny. Same thing in my wife's Pilot & my (former) TSX, search for Costco & it sends you to the Corporate HQ in Seattle.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium

  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,283
    You are right it's the corporate hq in Seattle - good show. I would say the Honda nav which is a 2011 does not compare to the 5 year old nav in my Infiniti which. I've yet to update
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 10,163
    Grow fonder. Last week my Dad tells me the AC in his Tahoe (2011 w/ 5700 miles). No problem, since he just bought the truck in March. He doesn't like the dealer near his house, so we make an appointment at the dealer near my house where he bought the car. I drop the car off on Tuesday & pickup a loaner. The easiest thing for us to do is just switch cars.

    So for those of you keeping score; on the hottest day of the year so far (mid 90's & brutally humid), I go to work in my 328xi. I leave work in a Black/Black Tahoe with no AC & am given a 2010 or so Malibu (with working AC). My Dad gets to take my BMW home. He definitely got the better end of this bargain.

    Long story short, the dealer fixes the AC (leaking line seals) & I drive the Tahoe to work the next day. I get my BMW back after being without it for 2 days. It is just a pleasure to drive, even if I'm creeping along in bumper to bumper traffic.

    Ivan_99 - I don't know what your budget is, but since you are confident with CPO cars have you considered a used Cayenne? Besides my Mom's 2011, I have a customer with an '05 V6 Cayenne. The 1st problem he had with the car (front differential needed replacing) just happened @ 150K miles. The car hardly looks its age or mileage. They do eat tires & brakes though.

    Whatever you end up with, keep us informed.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium

  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,014
    Ivan my main problem with the IS is it's tight seating space, even up front. I can see if you are having physical limitation getting in and out would be a problem, if you are not comfortable driving the car it is not worth driving it. The Focus looks to be a fun car, even when it's not moving and with the Ford bring over the Focus ST this would be an interesting car to have.

    BTW, you wouldn't be in Austin would you?
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,014
    NYC the Cayenne needs a new front Differential!!!! That wont be cheap.... is it worth fixing since the value of the cayenne is about 7K (or so) I know we aren't suppose to talk about Porsche's, however, I have been curious about the Cayenne and how they are holding up, I guess 150K is a good amount of driving with no problems until now.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    have you considered a used Cayenne

    I have, the minor redesign from 08-10 seems to be going for a reasonable price.

    e.g. Certified 08 for 33k, 08 with 18k mi for $35k...09 & 10 certified up to 45kish. It's hard to nail down a good price for a used many options.

    Problem with "used" is I like the new models :) which is one of the reasons I went with the IS. I knew they'd have a long model cycle and I wouldn't be stuck with a payment for the 'old' one.
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,283
    Don't worry flight, I think it's been established its fine to talk about it. On the Porsche truck - i drove a 2009 gts- wicked fast tight in the turns but not a real Porsche - its a truck. I also thought the interior setup for an 80k car seemed low rent. My buddy has had 3 since they can out - first turbo- the the gts I speak of - now has another turbo- he loves them
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    The IS is a little tight (6'3" 250 ish...). I have to lean the seat back a bit and sometimes my head hits the driver hand-grab.

    I usually find the German cars are more generous with head room; I drove a new "man" beetle with plenty headroom...same with the older Golf/Rabbit.

    The ST did get my attention. It reminds me of the Audi (VW) 2.0T in its various forms; good torque slight burble/grumble when you open it up.

    Yup, Austin, one of the options I wish I had was the cooled seats (I recall the CTS having great ones). Nothing worse than having your forehead frozen (not enough head room for the air to circulate) and your back sweaty in the TX heat (Friday parking lot temp...109).

    I generally prefer smaller cars. My first car as a teenager was an old (13 year old) 924 (tough to maintain a Porsche on a dishwasher salary :) ).

    It may be the years setting in...but I recently drove a new Explorer and room :)
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 21,133
    you sound like a perfect candidate for a compact/sporty CUV. The new RDX (acura) is very nice. Maybe an Infiniti EX? still compact and sporty, but sits higher and has some cargo flexibility. Not a huge cargo area, but enough for the kids gear. And it drives nice.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 10,163
    The front differential was a big ticket replacement. Cost him $3K. 1st gen Cayennes are very heavy vehicles, so they do eat through tires & brakes. There's also a rubber seal (or bushing maybe) attached to the drive shaft that goes bad & when it does, warrants the drive shaft replacement ($1200).

    The customer's Cayenne is an '05 that he bought CPO in '06 with 9K miles. He's currently over the 150K mile mark.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium

  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,014
    Ivan like you I'm 6', 260ish and I don't fit in the IS at all. The original 924 the hybrid of Porsche and Audi parts...

    I was working in Austin last summer at one of St. Davids hospitals I really had a great time there, Austin was one city that my partner and I thought about moving to, but the drought really changed that for us. I do miss my weekly Franklin BBQ fix... When I stopped going to Austin I was really jonesing for it.. Very addictive BBQ.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,014
    Hey Stick my partner has a Nissan Rogue the biggest negative issue he has with it is review visibility, even if you turn your head when making lane changes there are some big blind spots. Again the EX is a very tight fit upfront and once the seat is push all the way back, there is no room behind the driver.

    Acura I think made a big mistake with the new RDX, taking the turbo away and using a V6 wasn't the way to fix it's issues.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,161
    edited June 2012
    Acura I think made a big mistake with the new RDX, taking the turbo away and using a V6 wasn't the way to fix it's issues.

    Acura is selling the living H out of the new RDX. I've been looking seriously at it to replace an Infiniti SUV and am impressed. The old RDX was built for guys that wanted a racy SUV. Not a lot of those out there despite what you read in this forum. The old RDX rides like a truck, has serious turbo lag, sucks gas like a pig and had a low rent interior and questionable styling. The new V6 runs smooth and gets class leading MPG, the interior is on par with the rest of the Acura line now. The only complaint I see is the styling is similar from the side to the CR-V but the front and rear are totally different and looks good IMO. People lament about the loss of SH-AWD but few people that wanted a more compact 5 psg. luxury CUV cared that much about it....they just wanted AWD for winter traction.

    Bottom line - a FEW enthusiusts, that [non-permissible content removed] more than actually bought them, will miss the old turbo and SH-AWD but a HUGE number of buyers love the new model. So Acura is loving it.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 21,133
    you nailed it on the head. It went from being a serious niche player, to a dominant one in the class. I have very little experience with the old model, but from everything I read my wife would not like it.

    sure, it got softer but it still handles well, and the engine is much better suited to it now. And for 99% of the buyers, the changes "fixed" the problems they saw (but some others like Flight considered its strengths).

    and it seems to have the sweet spot almost to itself. A step above the mainstream stuff (CRV, etc.) with a lot more power and luxo "stuff", but still way cheaper than a comparably equipped BMW/Audi.

    I have seen it called a mini-MDX for a lot less money, and that is probably a fair description.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,161
    I think it's main comp. is Lexus RX350 and when configured similarly the Lexus is about $5+k more and gets worse MPG. The Lexus has more storage room in back but not enough IMO to make a big difference. I've driven the RDX and love the compact turning circle, smooth engine and it has tons of legroom in the rear seat which suprized me. It handles the curves pretty well too. I like it but right now they are just selling them too fast to get a decent deal in the color/options one wants. I can wait a while.

    While at the dealer I also checked out the TL. Loved that too but after driving a SUV for so long it felt like I was dropping in and climbing out of a bathtub every time I got out and in. Seems to sit pretty low even with the seat adjusted up but that could very well just be my perception.
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,283
    "went from a niche player, to a dominate one." while I've never driven the new rdx - I would like to see sales numbers to support this claim. It seems Acura just dropped the 6 into an existing car so it didn't have to produce a gas chewer turbo 4- sure they cleaned up the interior but has this cAr really changed- love the non-Ellps banter on this Elpps chat-
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,161
    while I've never driven the new rdx

    Short answer...yes. If you haven't spent some time in it and the old one, it would be hard to comment. I said it's selling like crazy right now but it's premature to say it's "dominant". But all indications are they have a winner finally in this small CUV. Hey, I guess the ELLP(CUV) is as pertinent as the 2 dr. sports car that's been talked about. ;)
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