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Infiniti G35 Coupe

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  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    "The Prelude nailed the sport coupe market. Only problem was that it was not expensive enough to draw on the BMW-wannabes that are looking at the G35 now..."

    I think there's more involved than price here. It didn't have the power to weight necessary to make it really fun, the ponies and twist were pretty high on the tach IIRC, and the power went to the wrong end of the car. Aside from some nimble handling and as a technology platform (its real mission), it wasn't a standout. The last years saw it gain a whole lot of weight and get pretty remarkably ugly too, IMO.

    I doubt there's any FWD car that's ever going to hook a serious Bimmer pilot. Why would they bother? Maybe an AWD Audi, though...
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    "I'm talking about the luxosport sport coupe/sedan market as a whole."

    Then you're not talking about a WRX, 350Z, Evo, RX-8, RSX, or Celica. Those are all classified as different styles - removed from entry-level luxury-sports. Must are econoboxes, one a legit sports car and a few are hatchbacks, with one random sedan thrown into the mix.

    The people who cross-shop an Evo/WRX to a G/325/IS300/A4 are not looking for luxury - they want performance - just like the guys who think a Firebird/Camaro/mustang is the bomb...they're not the target market of the econobox scooters (RSX, GTI, Celica) or the entry-level luxs. You're missing a key part of the equation...LUXURY/performance sedan/coupe. Luxury. The cars mentioned above (RSX, Celica, Mazda, Nissan) are not luxury cars. They'll never be confused with entry level lux. Nobody sits in a Scooby and says, "Dang, this here's a real fancy-smancy au-to-moile." Furthermore, the marketers/manufacturers aren't positioning them as such.

    It's not about playing horsepower games. A WRX makes more power than a 325, but that's okay because they're in different classes. One is a luxury performance sedan and the other an econobox rally car.

    And the Prelude failed to woo possible bimmer buyers for several reasons: zero luxury (the car didn't even have leather!), an inline 4, a Honda emblem, FWD. It was NEVER marketed to take on a Bimmer...its comp was the Cougar, Integra, Eclipse, Avenger. Apples to oranges, my friend.

    BMW "wannabes" see BMW level performance and refinement in a luxury sedan when they look at the G35 and to a lesser extent the IS300.
  • verozahlverozahl Posts: 574
    Dangit, sphinx99? Where are you?
    ... he made the Prelude vs. 3-Series case quite nicely on another board. Don't remember which one.

    The G35 has one major flaw I can think of. The rump.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    There is no case! You're trying to convince people that a FWD Honda coupe with a peaky inline 4 and no luxury features somehow compares to the industry leader of the entry-level luxury performance sedan/coupe segment.

    Why not try to convince people that a Collie is the same kinda dog as a Great Dane?
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    You won't find me arguing verozahl because I don't see the RSX-S being cross-shopped against the G35 coupe very much either. The RSX-S frankly belongs in a comparison with a 350Z instead, insofar as both present dynamite performance value at their price points, along with (presumably in the case of the 350Z) sharp steering, sharp handling, and extremely high precision driving on road or track. I don't think of the RSX-S as any more than the best $23-24k sports coupe on the market, FWD or RWD, German or Japanese or American. Most professional journalists agree. Likewise the 350Z stands a very good chance of being the best $27-32k sports car on the market, again FWD or RWD, German or Japanese or American. RSX-Ss are all over the autocrossing tracks of America. I bet 350Zs will be joining them. How many G35 coupes are going to be at SCCA solos? Probably not many. These are very different cars; the RSX-S manual-transmission-only configuration alone knocks it out of the luxury performance coupe market.

    The G35 Coupe is a luxury coupe, pure and simple. It has a big engine but so does a Lincoln MKVIII. I expect the G35 to be a lot like a Prelude actually, verozahl - heavy, steady and vault-like. That's what a luxury coupe should be. If the G35 turns out to be a stiff precise rocket, in other words a 350Z with the Infiniti logo and a $4k price hike, then it'll enjoy the typical Infiniti fate as a nice vehicle overshadowed by its Nissan counterpart. I hope they don't go that route.

    As for the various comments about people not cross-shopping FWD vs RWD, 4 vs 6, etc., when looking for a performance car, that's a load of baloney of course. People who are looking for an exceptionally well handling, quick, sturdy and durable, surgically precise and responsive car are going to be attracted to everything from a FWD peaky inline-4 Integra Type R to a RWD torquey V8 BMW 540i. There is this term called "driver's car" that spans drivetrain and powerplant boundaries, and those of us who seek out true driver's cars will find ourselves attracted to a very broad range of configurations. I find myself attracted to how silky an engine is, how supportive the seats are, how little deadzone there is in the wheel, how linear the pedals are. To me, those are the elements of a performance-oriented driver's car. FWD vs RWD? I4 vs V6? Sure, I have my preferences, but frankly FWD vs RWD falls close to the bottom of the list of considerations. Having a WD40 shifter and formula one steering are much, much more important to me.

    As for bluedotcomguy.com's remarks on Prelude, Prelude failed because it was never marketed to take on *any* car. It had most of the feel and performance of BMWs without any of the marketing or feature content. It had most of the handling of an ITR or Celica without any of the track reputation. In reality, BMWs remind me a lot of the Prelude (heft, precision, smooth acceleration, utterly predictable) which is why I think someone cross-shopping a 325Ci versus a Prelude SH would have had a tough time choosing after drives in both. I sure did. But, sadly, most people after Preludes consider BMWs to be portly grocery sedans, and most people after BMWs consider Preludes to be econo lowered 4-bangers. The vehicles were pretty similar and BMW's own use of Prelude in its competitive comparisons was enough evidence of that. But for the unwashed masses, marketing determines cross-shopping viability, not the cars themselves.

    And bringing all this back to the G35 coupe, judging by the 350Z's "we're bigger than Windows 95" PR launch I have a feeling that the G35 will end up being relegated to obscurity as an unloved cousin to the famous Z. That's too bad, it looks like an awesome luxury coupe.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    The G35 coupe will be the only legit entry-level RWD lux coupe option after the BMW 330i. If one wants a 2 door RWD car with luxury touches and performance for a 30-40k price there will be only two choices (instead of the single one we have now). I look forward to it and can't wait to try one on.

    BTW, I drove the Prelude a few times when car shopping. It was quick and handled nicely but the interior was not up to the level of refinement I expect from a car. Like the WRX, the Prelude lost me every time I sat in it. It felt too pedestrian and not Germanic enough. Same can be said to a point about the G35 Sedan...it's interior is its biggest drawback. Oh well, hopefully the coupe will feel a touch more upscale or at least have that BMW/MB/Audi-like feel of austere, purposeful, yet quality (this doesn't include the MB ML or C series - yuck!).
  • verozahlverozahl Posts: 574
    Excellent lecture... taking notes. Much much better than the lectures I pay for here at the university.

    The 5th-gen Prelude interior is the definition of refinement. Everything you need and nothing you don't in order to drive. Ergonomic and straightforward controls.

    My dream coupe is not far from this: a Nissan with G35 interior and 350Z exterior.
  • wishnhigh1wishnhigh1 Posts: 363
    In november that might be true, but you also might want to consider that the A4 convertible is not far behind...which is basically a coupe, with the added benefit of a folding roof:)
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    I'm a little uncomfortable with Audi A4 cab. I've seen it in person a few times and it looks far too much like the old 90.

    Love Audi interiors though and I dig the A4 sedan. Too bad also that the A4 cab is either FWD or that hideous quattro-power-sapping-junk. Sorry. Driven too many Audis with AWD and I've not liked that experience once. The car feels dead and heavy. Haven't tried an S4 though...that might change my tune. :)
  • ligartligart Posts: 109
    > If the G35 turns out to be a stiff precise rocket, in other words a 350Z with the Infiniti logo and a $4k price hike, then it'll enjoy the typical Infiniti fate as a nice vehicle overshadowed by its Nissan counterpart

    The Z and G35 coupe differ GREATLY in the fact that the G will be able to carry 4 people (if only for a limited time, natch) and has a trunk. That in and of itself differentiates it enough to be a different car appealing to different people.
  • sp01sp01 Posts: 81
    Both nice, but Z for me please.
  • ligartligart Posts: 109
    I can only have one car so I need a little more utility :-( :-)
  • Since the coupe has the same wheelbase and is only 4" shorter overall, will it have pretty much the same amount of interior space as the sedan? I would think that the front and rear seating area would be very similar between the coupe and sedan.
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    I'd think the interior will be the same but the trunk may suffer. The added width might help. Probably not though as that will in all likelihood go to the fender flaring.
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    I would think adjustments might be necessary to account for the differing rooflines? Rear seat area would likely be affected somehow, though the front could certainly be the same.
  • bpraxisbpraxis Posts: 292
    Hello everyone and I hope that you are having a great weeekend.

    IMO the photos of the G35 Coupe look terrific, sophisticated, refined, sporty, flowing, and more expensive that the espected MSRP of $29,500. Although the yen is strengthing quickly against the dollar and could impact prices for any cars built in Japan.

    Based on the photos the G35 Coupe has presence that is comprable to the Lexus SC430 which starts at $62,000. It is much more attractive to my eye than the nondescript Acura CL which is a fine car but styled by accountants on valuim. It does not have the three pointed star of the Mercedes but the styling again based on the photos would hold its own against the new 500SL which starts at $87,000. Yes styling sells and I am very much interested in buying this car.

    The standard equipment in this car represents an incredible value for the money and Infiniti scores well in quality according to JD Powers. Infiniti always scores ahead of the German brands based on the JD quality surveys.

    Where the G35 sedan really lets us down as mentioned by a previous poster is the interior which is worthy of a Nissan. You have to do better here Infiniti.

    For those who are interested in buying the new 350Z be aware that the latest quality surveys for Nissan are declining in quality scores. Why would anyone want the Nissan experience and a much shorter warranty than the Infiniti? Ok maybe you need to go around a skidpad 1 second faster, LOL.

    Thankyou for reading my rant and what a great time to be an auto enthusiast.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,272
    The G35 sure hit a Home Run in the July issue of Road & Track. Did you see that article? Rated #1 sport sedan out of 11 cars!

    Now it is true that in part the #1 slot had to go to the car because of its price, otherwise the BMW 330 would have won on overall performance, say the editors, but still fair is fair and price is certainly part of a car's appeal and popularity.

    It's hard to beat the BMW on engine and on the precision of handling, but gee, from the test, the G35 wasn't much off the mark as far as the average driver is concerned. We are getting so close in the testing with some of these cars that the arguments are starting to sound like people talking about the difference in high end stereos-- you know the type "Did you hear THAT....right THERE" "No, I didn't hear it, I don't think. Play it again".

    The car seems like a steal for the price.

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  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    It's interesting to see Infiniti and Acura fixing to engage in a bona fide slugfest. High value, strong-performance vehicles. The fact that you can get the G35 sedan and TL-S sedan for so little (relatively speaking) is extraordinary. I'm wondering what impact Infiniti's resurgence will have on (a) the top tier sport-luxury marques aka BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, and (b) Acura.
  • verozahlverozahl Posts: 574
    Well, Nissan-Infiniti's comeback has been explicitly stated as a challenge to Honda-Acura, who unseated them as Japan's #2. Acura has more dealers than Infiniti, but we'll see what happens if the G35 coupe sells as good as I think it will.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,272
    Infiniti's big problem against the marques you mentioned is that it has virtually no name recognition and little prestige, and the dealerships are few and far between. There isn't even one in all of Marin County as of 2001. They went out of business here.

    Compared to the Lexus and Acura upscale efforts of Toyota and Honda, the Nissan Corp hasn't done very well seems to me. Lexus beat 'em up from the get-go in 1990 and that's the way it's been ever since.

    German brands are another thing entirely. BMW invented sport sedan and shows no signs of being dethroned. Sales are screaming and the press is drooling. The juggernaut rolls on.

    Mercedes isn't even a car anymore, it is a total legend like Babe Ruth and is just about critic-proof no matter what they do. Rolls Royce and Harley Davidson are but two examples of Sacred Names that coasted for ages on reputation alone, with a mediocre product dragging behind them. The Mercedes name is Golden, like it or not, deserved or not, fair or not. Myth overtakes Reality perhaps. And more than that, the car is still awesome.

    Infiniti is a ripple in the pond right now but you know, if they KEEP producing spectacular cars like the G35, for years and years to come, they will be noticed and it will have an effect on competition. The press on the G35 has been just great.

    But not just one model one time, is going to scare anybody. Reputations are built over decades I think. Look how long Audi's comback took, a solid 15 years of effort. Now their cars are respected and beautiful and they won Lemans, too. It takes a lot!

    Some of the best models ever produced by dead car companies came at the very end of their corporate lives, so a model's excellence may not mean anything good per se.

    Look how aggressive Lexus is, in media and in product development. This is what Nissan needs to do and they aren't even close yet.

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  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    German brands have been successful in the past for the same reason that most successful marques enjoy success when they do - they offered things that you couldn't get anywhere else, and if the price was a little high, such was the price to pay for the best. Certainly, the same dynamic doesn't quite exist today, which is why Lexus now outsells Mercedes in the United States - the nearby Mercedes dealership here in Novi, MI is routinely empty; they had a SLK32 sitting outdoors for about six weeks. Not too golden, Mercedes only has brand cachet and technological gizmos going for it lately, having lost its "golden" name when it comes to luxury, quality, and other factors. Simply put, you can no longer say that the "best" is the exclusive domain of the Germans, when a Lexus is likely more luxurious and better built than its equivalent Mercedes, and an Infiniti or Acura is likely faster than its equivalent BMW. In order to charge the premiums, you have to make sure your product is fundamentally superior on *all* levels. Any other strategy simply equates to living on borrowed time.

    BMW has done much better simply because the press, as you said, still drools over what is still simply the better overall product in nearly every regard. I too would take a 330 over a TL (based on experience with both) and I suspect that I'd choose it over a G35 too. BUT - the margin of difference between them is not nearly as great as it was six or seven years ago, and I am sure even you have noticed that. There's a reason the TL-S dethroned the 330 here on edmunds, and now the G35 dethrones the 330 elsewhere. Is it because of price? Oh, definitely. But, take a look at the scores and you'll notice that price isn't enough to overcome huge deficiencies in other areas; the Mazda Millenia costs the same or less than a TL or a G35 but you're not seeing it upset a BMW, are you? Of course not. Why? Because even outside of price, the Acura and Infiniti are in shooting distance of the gold standard, and price is just the little nudge that's pushing them ahead.

    In short, the gap is closing considerably, and it does look like the two less-successful luxury nameplates (Acura and Infiniti) are making a serious run at BMW. And given that Honda and Nissan are pretty sporting companies, that should bode well for those of us who can't afford the BMW, as well as for the BMW loyalists who (hopefully) will see BMW crank up the heat in response and produce even more attractive offerings in response.

    As for Mercedes, they just don't make my heart beat anymore. Went to that Novi dealership and spent about 90 minutes there while she was test driving the ML and talking options with the salesguy. The CL coupe was the only car that impressed me. I did test drive a lightly used SLK320 they had there while I was waiting. The top was nice but the interior rattled, some of the switches were loose, the engine didn't have $51,000 of oomph, some of the rubber molding on the lower side skirts seemed to be peeling of, and while the chassis seemed like it'd last forever, I wasn't sure if any of the things bolted or glued to it would last more than five years. Afterwards I remarked to the salesguy that it had a much sharper and more precise steering feeling than I had expected (feeling bad that I hadn't said anything complimentary thus far) and he replied, "yes, that S2000 is a nice little Honda but it's just not a Mercedes" to which all I could think was, "thank goodness for that."

    At the behest of posters here like shifty and merc1 I keep looking for some charm in MB and I keep finding myself wanting when it comes to any of their sub-$60k vehicles. They're not as well built, they're not as luxurious, not as sporty, not as fun to drive, not as affordable to own... and unless you're paying $60k they're not particularly more advanced than the competition either. The only things they seem to have going for them are nice styling, nice paint jobs, doors that close with a nice thud, and the same three-pointed star that a CL500 or a SL500 gets. All that being said, would anywhere here choose a C-class sedan over an Infiniti G35? I am having a hard time coming up with reasons why they would.
  • verozahlverozahl Posts: 574
    Ditto. Sphinx's right. My hometown has the newest Mercedes dealer in the Detroit area - right next to the Cadillac dealer, in fact. When Rochester Hills gets a Benz dealer, something's wrong with Benz (i.e. trying to increase volume too much). Benzes should be exclusive... I shouldn't be able to walk over from KFC or the Chevrolet-Toyota-Volkswagen dealer to get one.
    Of course, Benz's North American HQ is right next door in Auburn Hills. That explains Audi's new dealership here, too... VW-Audi keeps growing here in America, right?

    Benz has a 'Thing' I don't get. Hondas and Bimmers are definitely sport, and combining the two yields something close to Acura, so I'll take that if BMW goes crazy with strange styling and strange ergonmics and I-Drive in all their models. Nissan's comeback as a sporty maker is very interesting, and they are putting serious power into Infiniti for (arguably) the first time. I really like what Nissan is doing, and I'm definitely keeping an eye on them.

    Across the street from Ann Arbor Acura/Nissan/Mitsubishi/Hyundai is AutoStrasse Benz/BMW. BMW is always looking a little understocked to me, but that's the same like Howard Cooper on State Street (Honda/Volkswagen/Audi/Porsche). BMW does a lot of sales here. Benz, behind the BMW dealership (AutoStrasse is one German megaluxdealer, eh?), is always overstocked. Hard to maneuver my car through there... almost as bad as the perpetually overstocked Saturn dealer next door.

    On the other side, there's a Lexus dealer. Lots of Certified used models for sale, but the new inventory looks low, like BMW. I see plenty of Bimmers and Lexi around town, and Acuras and Audis, which make me plenty excited to see. Benz has a ton of cars on the lot and fewer on the road, which means they are trying to become mass-market and people aren't buying that business plan.
  • verozahlverozahl Posts: 574
    Meanwhile, there are only two Infiniti dealers in Detroit area (Fred Lavery and Suburban) that I know of, and they're gonna have problems while getting enough G35 coupes in stock, I think.

    Sphinx, give up. The three-pointed star isn't worth diddlysquat if I can walk over from Chevrolet or Cadillac dealer on Main Street in Rochester or walk over from the Saturn dealer here and haggle for one. (I would haggle - they always look overstocked to me.) Benz's reliability goes down as they try to take on Lexus and BMW... and Acura, Infiniti, and Audi all have compelling product.

    Benz's styling was great a decade ago. The current model lineup just looks cheap to me in a way that a Benz shouldn't. The new styling is nice, but it's not Benz-like, i.e. extravagant. It screams "mass-market me!"

    Guys, I know I'm strange, but I'd rather have a deluxe Honda than a cheapened Benz. The C230 coupe is moving down into my price range... that's not good. Plus, the RSX so soundly beats it in value, it's not funny.

    The Benz I like is a model I think Benz should focus on the most... the S-class. The S-class so beats the Lexus LS (oversized yawnmobile), and BMW's new Bangleized 7-Series is a nightmare. Good thing I'm not in the market anytime soon (or ever, no matter what the financial situation is) for a big lux sedan. The 7-Series, the Lexus LS, the Infiniti Q45... ugh. Are these models 'competing' with each other?

    G35 coupe at least matches BMW 3-Series now in terms of looks and feature list. If the 3-Series gets Bangleized, then the G35 will trounce the 3-Series.
  • blacktalonblacktalon Posts: 203
    What impresses me about Nissan is that Ghosn said his goal was to produce the most powerful car in every single class that they competed in -- and with the Altima, Maxima, G35 Sedan, G35 Coupe, and 350Z they actually seem to be following through on this promise.

    This is particularly impressive given that a few years ago, following the death of the 300ZX, no one in the U.S. would have put the words "Nissan" and "performance" together in the same sentence. Sure, the Silvia and the Skyline GT-R are great cars, but very few people in the U.S. have even seen one...

    Now, though, I can see Nissan developing a reputation as a performance-oriented brand, and this may only take years rather than decades.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    Same. It won't take me decades for Nissan to transform itself into a bonafide performance plate. As I've said before I'll still hold my breath until the 350Z shows up; if it and the G35 coupe are as sharp as Nissan says they will be, then I could see Nissan simply stealing the BMW Thing from right underneath BMW's nose unless BMW turns up the heat.

    On a slightly more somber note, knowing that we're at the very beginning of a horsepower war has me uncertain about what the right decisions and the right cars are now. I think we're about to see the "sporty" car make a jump from 200hp to 300hp and in the process soundly demolish today's "sports" cars. Acura opened the door with the Type S's and now Infiniti (and the Altima) have trumped them with more displacement and torque. You know BMW won't take kindly to two manual transmission sport sedan/coupes outrunning their own non-Motorsports best, so they'll respond accordingly. A 240hp Accord will leave Ford and Toyota trying to transplant tuned truck/SUV 6-bangers into their sedans to match or beat the Altima/Accord... which means a 260hp IS300 18 to 24 months from now, if not sooner. By then we'll have an all new Mustang GT with bigger back seats and hp/torque numbers that exceed the now-one-year-old G35 coupe, which will have Acura looking long and hard at bumping the displacement of their 3.2L to 3.5L to push into the 280hp range. Then, one of the domestics throws a small displacement V8 into a coupe, driving someone to throw their hands up in the air and sell a loaded and well-crafted 300hp entry level luxury coupe/sedan for $31k.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,272
    Market share in the automobile field isn't won in one round because your opponent always fights back. This is why it will take a decade for anyone to touch BMW unless BMW lays down. One year of good cars is not going to crown Infiniti a champion, c'mon!

    The only time I can recall a competitor laying down and playing dead was when the Japanese attacked the British motorcycle industry. The Brits did nothing to combat it, offering no new models, no new marketing, no new nuttin'.

    And still it took the Japanese about 5 years to bury them.

    I don't think Benz and BMW are going to lay down for any Japanese competitor, do any of you?. They haven't in the past and I don't see them operating from any weakness today. I think they are, if anything, even more formidable an opponent for the Japanese than they were ten years ago. The Germans usually beat the Japanese to the punch in most technology that really takes hold, time and time again. Okay, maybe not THIS version of I-Drive, but SOME version, you wait! LOL

    And this is GOOD. Such fierce competition gives the consumer more and more. The main reason I see for the German's continued success in the foreseeable future is that the Japanese cannot yet reproduce the total driving experience of a German car and cannot come up with the striking styling that defines the European car (including Jaguar) right now.

    But when the Japanese do duplicate the experience, or come up with something even more interesting, things will change, I can't argue with that.

    Also, if I may say, if you are under 30 you just aren't going to "get" what a Benz is all about, and I fully understand that since I don't "get" certain cars either. A Benz is a mature person's car, let's just get that out on the table, for better or worse, they are for the "silver set". I wouldn't expect a young person to like them very much. I'm not all that fond of them myself compared to others I'd rather own.

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  • blacktalonblacktalon Posts: 203
    Well, I'm 36, and I understand why people buy Mercs -- but they're not for me.

    I had a chance to test drive a 300HP CL-class at Comdex a couple years ago. Mercedes set up a test track next to the Vegas convention center and allowed all of the attendees to test drive any of their vehicles -- very cool idea.

    The CL was a very nice car, fast, smooth, precise steering, unflappable handling. And yet, in my opinion, my 200HP 5-speed Prelude is a lot more fun to drive. Despite the performance of the CL, you feel much more connected to the car and the road in the Prelude.

    Maybe if I were 50, I would prefer the comfort and luxury of the Mercedes. But maybe not...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,272
    Well if you were 50 and fairly prosperous, you probably wouldn't be driving a Prelude--that's more to the point I think. Maybe you'd opt for an AMG type of car or a Japanese luxo-coupe-cab like an SC430.

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  • blacktalonblacktalon Posts: 203
    Nah, if I could afford an AMG, I'd buy a 911 instead. Maybe I'll feel differently in 14 years, but I see a lot of 50+ types driving 911s around here...
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    "One year of good cars is not going to crown Infiniti a champion, c'mon!"

    Certainly not. However, Mercedes, BMW and Audi are not 15 years ahead of the competition either. At most a year or two ahead in some key areas, and now a year or two behind in some other key areas. I think what we're starting to see in Infiniti is the Acura Legend and the Lexus LS sedan - the cars that didn't need to explain themselves to their German competition. That Infiniti is going straight for Acura's throat (if they were going for BMW's, the G35 would cost $40k) suggests that the market has now matured beyond the who-can-compete-with-the-Germans stage it's been at for at least a decade or two, if not longer. I do agree that this is a good thing in the end, for us drivers. I know I for one would have jumped at a somewhat sharper and faster 330Ci, but it didn't quite have what I was looking for. However if the G35 coupe or the CL Type S inspires BMW to up the horsepower, tighten the steering a bit and add a couple of amenities while holding the line on price, the new sexy Acuras and Infinitis may indirectly result in my becoming a future BMW owner. Here's hoping NOBODY lays down and dies. (Other than Jaguar of course.)

    "But when the Japanese do duplicate the experience, or come up with something even more interesting, things will change, I can't argue with that."

    Well, I believe they have gone beyond duplicating the German experience, for what it's worth. I haven't driven anything German that gives me the thrill of a S2000... maybe a Porsche GT2, which I'll never drive. The NSX by all accounts does not need to explain itself to any German car. I can't say I've heard particularly bad remarks about the Supra, other than that it was expensive and had the wrong badge on it. We'll see what the 350Z is like, but I'm guessing that it and the RX-8 will be like nothing we currently have on the road today - from Europe or elsewhere.

    "Also, if I may say, if you are under 30 you just aren't going to "get" what a Benz is all about, and I fully understand that since I don't "get" certain cars either."

    I guess you may be right. Somehow Acuras and BMWs speak to me more clearly, and when I want softer rides and beautiful seats and sound, Lexus makes me drool. Mercedes leaves the same taste in my mouth when I see a Cadillac on the road.
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