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Luxury Performance Sedans



  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    IMO, Honda threw so much at this RL that there's really no meaningful room left to go with it. I predict it will be left to fester for 5-7 years like the last one. As far as increasing power, they're already stretching that 3.5 V6 pretty thin as it is as far as natural aspiration goes. They could turbocharge it, but that will add at least a few thousand to the price, thereby making it even less competitive in its market. Or they could, as you already said, go hybrid with it; there again adding at least a few thousand to the price and still making it less competitive in its market.

    As near as I can tell, the only real fans and purchasers of this RL are the diehard Honda fans. I think anyone who objectively cross-shops the RL with its competition will, 90% of the time, find the competition to simply be better. This is not to say the RL doesn't have a lot to offer, because it does. I cross-shopped it and the two, and only two, things that turned me away were its uninspiring looks and its diminutive back seat. At the time, I was shopping it against the E500 and the new A6 4.2. The RL's numbers say it has a bigger interior, but the actual layout tells a totally different story. I'm not sure how they did their measurements, but in reality, the whole does NOT equal the sum of its parts.

    Anyway, now that the new Infinity M is out, that's the car for me. It has the size, power, performance, and amenities that I want in a "luxury" car.

    I will say, though, that cross-shopping the RL against the new GS300 AWD would be a good way to go. They both have a lot to offer, but they're both tiny on the inside and have very little room for cargo. A perfect matchup!
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "IMO, Honda threw so much at this RL that there's really no meaningful room left to go with it. I predict it will be left to fester for 5-7 years like the last one"

    Actually, the previous RL has been with us since '96. Acura tweaked the styling and made some minor changes in '99, but it was just a refresh. I agree with you about the RL losing to its competition. The M is just too good for Acura to keep up.
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    You may be right that the majority of RL buyers are previous or current Honda/Acura customers. Our household certainly qualifies, since my daily driver is an Accord 6-spd coupe, and I've also owned several other Hondas. My wife is 80% driver of our RL, and her prior car was an Audi A4 3.0.

    I would also bet that Infiniti is winning more conquest buyers from other brands, and a fair number of M-buyers are probably upgrading from another Infiniti or Nissan.

    Styling is subjective, but I prefer the interior/exterior styling of the RL over that of the M35/45. To me, the RL looks like a TSX/Accord on steroids, and the M looks like a Maxima/Altima on steroids. I don't care for the tail lights or "boy racer" tailpipes on the M, and with the 19" wheels, the M screams "look at me." I guess I am more of a "Q-ship" driver. The blue/white lighting in the interior of the RL is also more attractive (to me) than the yellow/red combo in the M. I'm generally not a big fan of Nissan's heavy use of yellow instruments. Agree that the RL is far more conservative in appearance, and neither car is ugly or controversial, that's for sure. And clearly, the M is the better driver of the two, which is where it counts for me.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,069
    . . .my initial impressions of our 400 mile old BMW X3 are over on that forum. After a few days with this little dude, I can ALMOST see it as an honorable mention for inclusion as an LPS vehicle.

    I did say almost.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Heh. If only BMW had some sort of sedan version of the X3 :)
  • scoop4scoop4 Posts: 40
    I'm someone who almost bought an RL but decided on a M35x. I could have gone either way. Both cars are great but the M had:

    1) 4 yr / 60,000 warranty
    2} rear camera display on nav when backing up car
    3) 6 way power seats for the passenger (my wife couldn't believe that the RL passenger seat wouldn't go up and down like our BMW did)
    4) ventelated seats that can be cooled as well as heated ( great when you buy a black interior)
    5) variable all wheel drive (rear wheel car most of the time)

    Having said that I though the RL had a great ride and was bluetooth compatible with my Palm Treo 650 PDA phone which the M isn't at this time.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    ". . .my initial impressions of our 400 mile old BMW X3 are over on that forum. After a few days with this little dude, I can ALMOST see it as an honorable mention for inclusion as an LPS vehicle.

    I did say almost."

    Almost nothing. It handles better than many sedans. Enjoy.
  • imani_techimani_tech Posts: 3
    The Infiniti M is an excellent car, but Acura does not need to keep up. The RL is not far from its sales goals overall. Remember that we're doing an "apple-to-oranges" comparison here. We are comparing the Infiniti M product line that consists of 5 separate models (M35, M35 Sport, M35x, M45, M45 Sport) to the Acura RL which has 1 model in the product line. A more realistic comparison would be between the RL and the M35x.

    The M35x is great car and I came close to buying it. I especially liked the cooling seats and the passenger seat that is more adjustable than the RL's seat. The problem (for me) is that the M35x adds the weight of AWD without any additional power. Also, I didn't see any advantage of the M's AWD sending torque mostly to the rear wheels by default. In addition, I really like the NavTraffic system on the RL. It's great for surviving traffic in DC! Finally, the RL cost me less than the M35x would have cost for similar features, so I went Acura. To each his own, though. There isn't a bad car in this bunch.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    They need to advertise more. It seems GS and M have a blitz going.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,069
    An issue (not mine, exactly) is that the RL is a FWD biased AWD car. To play in this game (right or wrong) you need to be at least symmetrical (think Subaru and the current crop of quattros) AWD "posers" like Acura and Volvo are being dissed.

    Frankly I am not convinced this is all that big of a deal as a practical matter.

    But after all these years for Audi to announce it is determined to shift to RWD AWD bias should tell the engineers and marketing types at Acura they may have underestimated what the market currently expects.

    Don't shoot the messenger. I already suggested that I understand the market's message despite its value primarily "at the limit."

    I know this will raise the ire of the RWD folks and I do not have a strong argument to defend this apparent market thrust -- overall the RWD bias seems to preserve the ability to induce "tail out" (oversteer) behavior. FWD biased AWD seem determined to offer understeer.

    SH-AWD does mitigate this for all practical purposes.

    Yet, to be in this crowd anymore it seems that RWD biased or at the very least 50-50 balance drive is the price for respect.

    The RL is, by all accounts, worthy of inclusion in the LPS ranks -- yet as more and more of the big guns move to RWD biased AWD, those FWD biased AWD guys (like Acura and Volvo) need to "get with the perception is reality" crowd and announce the next gen will be RWD biased, SH-AWD.

    Oh yea, announcing a V8 would be a big help (to sales) too.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I'm not sure its as clean cut as that. Weight balance is just as important as where the majority of torque is being sent. I think even if you are pushing 60% or more of torque to the rear wheels under "normal" road conditions, if the car is front heavy, like the RL, the Volvos, and pretty much every AWD system derived from a FWD design, including Audi, understeer is inevitable. To get the RL to handle like the M35, they would need to get the weight balance to within at least 53\47 or so. If they did that, it wouldnt need SH-AWD's special abilities.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    A rather strange statement by MB about previously stated goals of beating Lexus..and I guess Subaru now in JD power ratings from C&D:

    "But, during a question-and-answer session following a speech at an industry conference in Spain, Eckhard Cordes, head of the Mercedes Car Group, said "We are carefully analyzing whether this is a reasonable goal or not, and then we will answer the question once we have finished our analysis."

    Cordes added that the survey is based "not only [on] hardware quality" but on "American tastes and how they want the cars....On the steering wheel, if you have four, five or six buttons, you get a lower rating....One has to analyze...whether it is worth being No. 1. We are still debating this or whether we are better off with No. 2 or No. 3."

    Mercedes has a hellish amount of work to do to even get 3rd place, let alone first.
  • bartalk3bartalk3 Posts: 692
    After the merger, the arrogant folks from Mercedes complained that Mercedes was making all the money and Chrysler was losing it. Now the shoe's on the other foot, with Chrysler and its various 300 models making money for the company and Mercedes, with its miserable repair record destroying sales, is losing it. (I still suspect that after the novelty of the 300 and all its gas guzzling variations wears off, Chrysler will revert to form.)
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,069

    Weight balance, too, is important.

    The BMW x cars are darn near the best balanced of the bunch -- and despite the other issues that may be currently plaguing BMW, it does have the holy grail, RWD AWD and excellent balance.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Mercedes makes the best luxury cars in the world. While people here have complained about Mercedes quality, I know people who have had great success with very high and medium end recent models.

    People keep coming back to Mercedes because they realize that fact.
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 590
    KD, now you are being paid by mercedes too?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Actually based on recent sales, less and less people keep coming back to Mercedes. I cant imagine why.
  • nebraskaguynebraskaguy Posts: 341
    >>Finally, there are many parts of the country where AWD is simply not necessary due to weather and driving conditions. Nearly all of the West Coast, the Southwest, much of the South, Florida, and parts of the lower half of mid-Atlantic, for starters. RWD and FWD offer far better alternatives to AWD.

    I totally disagree. Just because an area doesn't get snow, or much snow, doesn't mean AWD isn't necessary, or at least very useful. In the DC area there are two problems. 1. We often get heavy rains after long periods of dry weather - a problem shared by many of the areas you mentioned in your post. This tends to make roads very slick, which is what happened to me last summer - I lost it on a curve in the rain with my FWD RL. 2. We get 3-4 heavy wet snows each winter which many RWD cars simply can't handle, unless you want to use snow tires all winter for 3-4 snows.

    As a result, I'm sold on AWD and love my RL. I might go back to RWD if I moved to the sunbelt, but I wouldn't go back to FWD.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,069
    This has to be "just kidding" doesn't it?

    I certainly don't claim I know who makes the best lux car in the world, and I guess if the list was a "top 10" based at least on perception, that Mercedes would make that list. But I find it hard to believe that most folks (with experience or who are automitive "journalists") would put Mercedes in the top 3.

    I've been wrong before.

    Now if we're talking about a time long since passed, sure, I'll give you that. . . .
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,069
    AWD's winter prowess is a bonus to be sure. But AWD is for performance, practical day in day out performance.

    Well as they say "it never rains in Southern California" but even there, there are certainly times when the performance advantages (for mere mortals like us) of AWD have value.

    Now I know there are a lot of figures swirling about and my guess is someone who has some time and patience will get the data -- but I have been reading up on AWD systems and SOME of the systems that are written about currently claim a weight penalty (sometimes) as little as 150 pounds and they also claim an IMPROVEMENT in fuel economy at speeds above 40MPH virtually offsetting this weight penalty. Moreover, as the AWD technology moves forward with hybrid vehicles this penalty has some promise of even diminishing further.

    I'm not suggesting some inferiority with RWD -- and I am certain that it can be demonstrated that a perfect RWD car in a racing setting probably makes more sense than an AWD car. But please read the new Automobile magazine article on 25 years of quattro before you dismiss AWD as not being of any advantage in certain parts of the country.

    Just like orange juice (not just for breakfast anymore) AWD is not just for winter anymore.
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