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Luxury Performance Sedans

jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
With the upcoming new Acura RL, Audi A6, Infiniti M, Lexus GS, as well as mainstays MB E and BMW 5, this segment seems poised to heat up. We could use this board to talk about these and other cars in this segment.

*Moderator: I could only add this discussion to the M45, RL, and 5 Series boards. If you could add it to the MB E, Audi A6, and Lexus GS boards, that would be great.
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Comments

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Categories added. :)
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    The new M45 concept is one sweet looking car!!
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Just like the upper segment, the middle segment is indeed poised to heat up. Upcoming info and my opinion of each player in the segment.

    Audi A6 - Not the styling knockout I had hoped for. Interior seems to be cluttered and not on the same level with the A8 design wise. New direct injection 3.2L V6 is nice, but the 4.2L V8 version seems to have lost the fender flares that make the current car so good looking. I'll have to wait until Oct to see the car in person to see if the new Audi Auto Union inspired grille really works on the smaller A6 body. I do like it on the A8L 6.0. Not sure if it will meet Audi's sales targets here. Future engines are rumored to include a version of the Lamborghini Gallardo's V10 and of course a S6/RS6 is inevitable. Reliability improvements needed.

    BMW 5-Series - It has been said many time and many ways...the styling of this car is either a love/hate thing. Surprise(!) I happen to like it. What I don't like is the interior; they went backwards (imo). The traditional cockpit feel and design has given way to a furniture or club room look. Me no like. Of particular note is how the door grab handles line up with the dash when the doors are closed, a very clumsy design detail. The car seems to still be the dynamic leader, but the design details kept it from being a Car and Driver 10Best for 2004, a big deal imo as they loved the previous car. A pair of new inline sixes are due for 2005-06' I suspect as 184 and 225hp won't cut it in this segment after all these new more powerful competitors arrive this fall. The 545i already has what is considered the best V8 in the luxury car segment so no changes needed there.

    Mercedes-Benz E-Class - the sales leader in this country and just about every other country around the world. Why? Variety. New diesel model (E320 CDI) for 2005. Eventually the E320 will become the E350 sporting the new 268hp V6 from the new SLK350. A new 4.6L 340-355hp V8 is also due to replace the 302hp E500 model sometime in 2005, probably as a 2006 model. This is the least controversial of the three German cars in this segment and I think this is an advantage, there is nothing unusual to explain or get used to here, just timeless classic styling inside and out. Reliability improvements needed! My personal favorite of this class in case you didn't know.

    Acura RL - the current model is about as dead as car can be in this segment. Anyway at least on paper the new car seems to have all the 6-cylinder cars in this segment covered: 300hp and a new type of awd system, sounds juicy. Just going by the pics released today, the car looks like a giant Accord, even more so than the new TL. As per all the Japanese cars reliability is the strong point design is the weak point. Can't wait to see the first road test! No V8 or rwd from Acura so forget it folks.

    Lexus GS - not even close to the LF-S concept shown right before its release. Typical Lexus quality and features are strong points. The styling however is nothing more than previous GS warmed over and made even more ungainly. Really interested in getting the details on the new V6 in the GS300. It is not based on any other Toyota V6 design and it only displaces 3.0 liters which tells me it will be closer to a Honda Vtec V6 in revving/power delivery characteristics, not your typical Camry/ES V6. I suspect before long the V8 GS430 will get a new more powerful V8 too. I still don't think this car will ever catch the E-Class or 5-Series.

    Infiniti M35/45 - a hot new entry, as the current car is in the 99Cents bin with the current RL, despite class-leading V8 power. The new car is a total about face in looks inside and especially out. If it doesn't fall victim to Infiniti's patchy marketing and is priced right this car should bring some upper-middle buyers into the Infiniti showroom. Being based on the FM platform expect BMW 5-Series level or better handling.

    Jaguar S-Type - a car that has aged a lot considering it was just introduced for 2000. The 2003 facelift was a revelation and for 2005 there is nothing really "new" except for a few cosmetic changes. The next S-Type is still a few years off it seems. A stylish car that doesn't seem to be that competitive with this segment.

    I can't wait to see a comparo with all these cars!

    M
  • buddhabmanbuddhabman Posts: 252
    These are the rides for the new VP's or Directors or junior partners, etc. Whatever. ;-)

    Thanks to Merc1 for the nice overview I just added one model the Cadillac STS and my impressions.

    Audi A6 - The new face/grille is interesting. It will probably look better in person. IMHO the interior style leader bar none. Sheding some Lb's,upgraded power and suspension will help.
    Wagons are nice but the MB E-500 sedan and wagon are something else. RS6 should be kept nad RS8 needs to come down in price. Hope reliability improves.

    BMW 5-Series - No BMW hate here. Nice cars but you pay dearly. The 530i power specs seem low in comparison to others in segment, but thats what the 545i is for. The increase in size for the wagons is welcome.

    Cadillac STS - The just announced base engine is too small 3.6L V6 - 255hp/252trq. I am sure the Northsar V8 either 275hp or 325hp DTS will be nice. Hope the handling is in line with the CTS, reports are that it will be a good handler. Nice sized just above E-Class and 5 series. If build quality is =/> the recent Deville than it should be nice. Before you dog BQ I have a 99 Deville that has never spent one day in the shop except for oil changes, bet you coudln't say that for the other luxury makes.

    Mercedes-Benz E-Class - Nice styling on the new E-Class. Like Merc1 says every concievable model, plus the AMG models. The E-500 is awesome, the wagon, the AMG wow. Junior Exec about to get the boards big nod type car. Overall super nice, but need a liitle more sport in the models outside the AMG's.

    Acura RL - Upgrade is needed and welcome. Honda can put together a winner whenever it decides to. I am sure the RL with the new new V6 300hp engine & AWD system and other Hi-Tech gear will be sweet. Like merc1 says "the car looks like a giant Accord, even more so than the new TL. As per all the Japanese cars reliability is the strong point design is the weak point. Can't wait to see the first road test! No V8 or rwd from Acura so forget it folks."

    Lexus GS - Nice but not my style. If the driving dynamics are tuned to the sporty side these could be super nice cars. I don't mind the looks but it is the numbing driver experience that fails it for me.

    Infiniti M35/45 - The New York Autoshow concept looks hot. If upgraded interior & handling mathes already top notch engine, then wow. The threat of the AWD GT-R added to the lineup will be something. Infiniti needs to market this car as the Grand tourer as capable as the German makes.

    Jaguar S-Type - IMHO a great looking car, particularly with sport package of lowered stance and larger wheels. The S-Type R is sweet, the perfect grand tourer for me. I flat like the Jaguar aesthetic though. Needs an upgrade to more sport tuned handling (Broken record) and I think this car could be tops. It's generally priced right though.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    Never thought I'd say this, but from pictures, I like the design of the M interior over those of the 2006 GS, 2005 RL, 2005 A6, 5 series, and E-class. They finally got the interior right this time.

    The quality of the interior seems promising as well, although we'd have to see the production car in person.
  • pen101pen101 Posts: 238
    On my list for a replacement for my 2002 530i next year are the above cars as well as the Cad CTS-V and the BMW E90 (3-series). The competition is strong!

    So far, I guess my favorites in the $40K range is the E90, at $50K is the CTS-V and at $60K the 545i.

    It is too bad that the upcoming M45 and GS do not come with a manual. Otherwise I'd be more interested in them.
  • golfgti47golfgti47 Posts: 13
    dude, its no question really, go for the caddy. When was the last time you saw a 3-serries with a 400-hp v-8? Besides, bmw's are very nice, despite their horrible pricing for their vehicles. Besides, i think the cadillac looks better over the 3-serries. The CTS-V is unique, unlike every bmw 3-series you see on every street you turn on.
  • manybmwsmanybmws Posts: 347
    I have had 2 90's Acura Legends and then two 5-series in the last 5 years. Depending on the handling dynamics of the new RL, it might be competition for the 5-series. Especially if pricing starts in the mid 40s.
  • 280hp280hp Posts: 36
    i dont think the Audi A6 should be in this category. It may be luxurious, but its also too much of a gutless boat.

    The A4 S4 i think, is a good M3 equivalent...
  • mariner7mariner7 Posts: 509
    I agree that Infiniti seemed to give the interior a lot of thought and tried to come up with something new. Whereas every else of the new batch (A6/GS/RL/STS) seems to be satisfied with rehashed stuff.
  • andy71andy71 Posts: 96
    Why is Acura trying to look retro? The 05 RL looks exactly like the 1998-2002 Accords. Lack of V8 is disappointing. People want the low rpm torque in luxury cars more than the high rpm horsepower. 300 Hp is certainly enough but that Hp should have been backed up by 340 ft-lb of torque at no higher than 4000rpm.
  • Even though I own a 2003 Audi A6, my pick for the performance sedan among the cars listed is the Mercedes E320 CDI. Why? Simple.

    The exterior is beautiful and classic looking. The interior is not simple or overdone like the ones I've seen. The diesel engine will last longer as well as get great gas mileage. I'm sure it will run with the others fine.

    I was hoping that the new A6 would keep me with Audi, but too many things I saw I did not like.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I've ridden in an E320CDI taxi in Paris, I was stunned at how fast it accelerated from about 20mph to 100mph, in a similar league to my 530i 5-Speed. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • mariner7mariner7 Posts: 509
    I agree with andy. New RL shows its Accord/Honda DNA all over the exterior, and it's the previous Accord, not current one or TSX/TL.
  • pg48477pg48477 Posts: 309
    Honda and Acura are the same company and I dont think there is anything wrong with that, after all honda makes grate vehicles. You can say the same for Nissan and Infiniti, Toyota and Lexus, Cadillac and Opel.
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    nice summary of impressions.

    My take:

    RL - Classic, understated Honda styling, best v6 engine out there. If the SH-AWD lives up to the marketing, this should be a hit. I'm not so crazy about the interior, looks a little busy and crowded to me, location of the nav screen is too high IMO.

    M45 - looks great interior and exterior. I just wish Nissan would smooth out their VQ engine. It's too loud and throaty for my tastes, although I understand some people like that. I think Infiniti has another hit on its hands like G35 and FX.

    BMW 525 and 530 - I agree with Merc's assessments 100%. BMW needs to beef up its inline 6's with the Vanos technology from its v8. BMW has gotten on too long with the same i6 just increasing displacement ever 5 years or so by .2L. I really dislike the new 5 interior as well. The exterior is actually growing on me, but I only like the new 5 in dark colors, it looks bloated to me in lighter colors.

    E class - the standard and just keeps ageing gracefully like fine wine.

    GS300 - I liked the concept car look better but the actual car itself looks OK, nothing too exciting. Hopefully the v6 on this will be more powerful and it'll have better driving dynamics. If not, I'd put this car last in class. A car in this class has to have more than just reliability going for it. There's gotta be some sex appeal or fun factor.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    We're on the same exact page reguarding the E-Class and 5-Series. I agree the 5-Series is only right in certain colors (which is my excuse for liking the car), but more importantly it needs the big wheels and tires. I keep seeing silver 525/530s with those little wheels...yuck.

    The RL and M45 I'll have to see in person.

    M
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I drive a 2002 530i, and its engine is fully VANOS, as was my 1999 328i (the first year for fully VANOS engines). What the I6 engines are lacking are the new ValveTronic valve trains that no longer require a throttle body with a conventional butterfly. With the ValveTronic, throttling is achieved by varying the rise and duration of valve openings. By using the valve train as the only means of throttling the engine, I have seen estimates that engine efficiency can jump by as much as 30%, although in practice, I've never seen anything anywhere near that number.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • i have an 2001 A6 2.7T and really like it, and my wife has a 2001 Volvo S80, and i like it. Is the 2004 model any different from the 2001 one? Also, which enigine do you think is faster and more fun? i think that the A6 is a slightly nicer car, although with some options (and standard stuff on the premier) the S80 can be equally as nice. So simply, which would you reccomend? thanks.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The S80 is a nice car, but its not something I would recommend that anyone buy new. The front end got a slight face lift for '04, and there are some new gagues, but otherwise its the same car. The reason I wouldnt recommend a new one is that the value of the S80 tanks immediately after it is driven off the lot. Of course.. the A6 is exactly the same way. I wonder if A6 4.2 buyers kick themselves when they find out their 2 year old $50K car is worth $30K.

    That said, the S80 is infinitely more reliable than the A6, which is one of the worst cars mechancally Audi has ever made, and they make a lot of bad cars.
  • spaldingspalding Posts: 1
    S80 depreciation can be bad the first year, but w. $5000 manuf. to dealer incentive in April, L.A. dealers are offering $10k off of a new T-6, bringing price down to about $38,000. Very attractive at that price, given that a 2-3 year old BMW 530 costs about the same or more. Any opinions on the S80 at that price?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Why was your own name your subject? Anyway, even at $38,000, I just dont think the S80 is that strong of a value. The interior is kind of bland, and its not all that much fun to drive. For a FWD car, the new Acura TL is more reliable, has a much nicer interior, and the engine has more power than even the T6. All for maybe $34,000, and it will retain its value, especially considering how high demand is for the TL at this point. Another option would be like an '02 Lexus GS430, which would be around $38K. It has MUCH more power than the T6, and is much nicer and more fun to drive as well.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    Motortrend (June):

    "From Here to Infiniti

    Nissan's luxury division is developing a coupe and convertible off the upcoming 2005 M45 sedan. The new M45 is based on the Nissan Fuga concept unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show last fall. The Fuga is, in turrn based on the Nissan FM (G35) architecture, but it's longer and bigger than the Skyline (G35). Indications are that the Infiniti flagship coupe and convertible both will be four-seat cars and won't be ready before the 2006 model year."

    I guess they're not going to waste any time going after the 6 series and CLK. Wonder if they'll make a G35 convertible as well. Bet that car will look sweet.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I assume that this mystery Infinti is our Skyline GT-R. The timeframe would make sense, as that car is supposed to hit in the '07 model year, and its logical that it would be built off of the FM-L V8 RWD platform. I really hope that they get it right, it would be nice to have another sports car to compete against Corvette at the $50,000 range.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    I'm not sure about that. Apparently, the GTR has been pushed back until MY 2008. Plus, the GTR will be a high-performance machine to go against the likes of the NSX. This M based coupe/convertible sounds more like a luxo-cruiser to compete with the BMW 6 and the MB CLK.

    Guess we'll just have to wait and see.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I dunno, I think the FM-L could be adapted to sports car duty. The 350Z and the Alitma share the same platform, but they are hardly similar cars. I'm just not sure that Infiniti would want three coupes in their lineup.
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