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Luxury Performance Sedans

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Comments

  • janssenjanssen Posts: 74
    Heavy? Beat the BMW in several road test slaloms, and when it lost it just barely lost. So the BMW must be heavy.

    Artificial steering? Have you read all the complaints about BMW's active steering? My 2003 is better than the 2005.

    Why would you place quotes around "wood"? Your condescension towards real rosewood strikes me as a bit ignorant. I made guitars. The only thing not good about this trim is that it is not a great substitute for the fake grey crap in the 5 series. Get a little more educated before you diss, please.

    Yes, BMW will not be standing still. They will be insulting their customers, watching their reliability CONTINUE to decline (as well as their market share), and they will be backpedaling from iDrive, active steering, and Bangle.

    You, my friend, obviously are never going to like anything about a non-BMW. That is your problem. Nice car, but not perfect. Go brag about your iDrive.
  • janssenjanssen Posts: 74
    Rich-

    You are correct on several points! First, the old M sales are hardly a benchmark to use for comparison. Second, I am sure BMW is happy with increasing sales numbers overall.

    However, I would venture to say that the changes in market share for both BMW and Mercedes signify that the other manufacturers here (with the exception of Audi) are making significant inroads into BMW/Mercedes' previously dominated market segment. Of course, it is hard to be the innovator, and easier to copy someone else's products, but both of these companies pride themselves on being on the leading edge. I am not so sure that is the case right now, partly because Infiniti has set its sights on both the 3 series and 5 series style, form and function, and because the BMW/Mercedes brands are suffering some setbacks:

    1. Reliability has been a big Mercedes problem. This time around I didn't even look at Mercedes. In addition, they are no longer providing the maintenance for 4 years/50k miles. A big long-term problem, IMO. BMW reliability has suffered to a lesser degree.

    2. I don't think I would be the first to comment on BMW's attitude towards customers. Of course, this might change by dealer, but I know several people who have dealt with SF Bay area dealers, and are very unhappy either before or after the sale. Since sales have always been good here, I guess the dealers don't HAVE to be decent people. But wouldn't they WANT to be?

    My personal experience? After the first 7 or 8 times bringing my car in (first six months of owning it), I stopped getting those 'every time' calls from the CSI people (the follow-up people who keep an eye on service). Since bad ratings affect the dealership's revenue, I am pretty suspicious that they changed my phone number, or otherwise altered records so that the next 8 times I couldn't be contacted.

    3. Items like iDrive, Active Steering and Styling have gotten mixed reviews. Certainly the people at the top make better targets than the middle of the pack, but BMW does not seem so responsive to me, knowing they have a stable clientele who will always return.

    Honestly, I like the concept of iDrive! One button to control many items without moving your hand trying to find all sorts of controls. Especially given the increasing complexity of cars. Great idea! But the execution leaves me cold.

    The styling? I didn't like it much at first. It has grown on me to an extent, and I think it IS aimed at a younger crowd. My GF likes it more than my new car. But she actually says it looks " ugly and mean". But she likes it. Go figure! Maybe that is why she likes me.....

    And I respect companies who try to push the envelope. Better than sitting on your laurels, especially in a field where new innovations are frequent.

    But back to the ownership experience...I really just can't stand the dealership experience anymore. I tried out a new 545, and the frickin' salesperson wouldn't even let me take it off the highway! What the heck were they thinking??? I was parked in their lot with my 2003 5 series, obviously a BMW customer, and I guess he assumed I had nowhere else to go.

    I think this attitude will do more to harm BMW than any specific product. And when a BMW owner (there are a few on this board) shows the same attitude, it makes me wonder. Is one buying into elitism? Is one a better person because of a BMW?

    Overall, BMW and Merc should worry a bit about other manufacturers establishing a brand and taking some of the market. It means they are losing sales to other brands.

    Alright, too long. But thanks for the comments!
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I admit it is a curse. When you drive the "Ultimate Driving Machine" since 1993, you get totally spoiled. I want to like other cars. I have tried. I drove the M35, M45, GS300 and GS430. While each had a few good points, I still feel that BMW balance and driveability are the best. I do agree that if BMW's reliability keeps slipping and/or I have quite a few problems with my 545i, then even I would switch to an Infiniti or a Lexus. I may like BMW, but I am not on their payroll.
    I got my limits too! And I have a very short fuse for poor quality control!
    Amazing how dealers are different. Mine let me take a 330i, 545i and X5 for test drives all by myself for as long as I wanted. I am a long term customer there. Each time I came into the dealership for my next test drive, he tossed the car's keys at me. I guess he knew I was a "sure thing."
  • janssenjanssen Posts: 74
    That motto is marketing. I know you are smart enough to know it is just branding.

    Ferraris drive better, have better styling, are more distinctive, sound and feel better, and are certainly faster .They hold their resale value much better. So we should probably both agree that the BMW motto is cute, but not entirely accurate.

    And can you say without hesitation that you would rather drive to the limit with a BMW than a Porsche GT2, or Carrera 4S? That would be a tough choice for many people.

    Of course, there are not many people who would sacrifice that much for the 'ultimate' driving experience of these $200K to $500K cars.

    So perhaps we could weigh all the pros and cons, since no car is perfect.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "Ferraris drive better, have better styling, are more distinctive, sound and feel better, and are certainly faster "

    And they are in the shop every other day and cost 10 times what a 545 cost.

    "And can you say without hesitation that you would rather drive to the limit with a BMW than a Porsche GT2, or Carrera 4S?"

    You are comparing cars in two different financial and market segments. If you have $60K to spend and a family to haul around, my choice is the 545. If you have 200K to spend, sure a GT2 is a nice touch, as you probably have a family hauler already in the garage.

    "Heavy? Beat the BMW in several road test slaloms, and when it lost it just barely lost. So the BMW must be heavy. Artificial steering? Have you read all the complaints about BMW's active steering? My 2003 is better than the 2005."

    Slalom means nothing. The G35 beat out the new 2006, just barely in a number of performance measures according to a recent magazine comparo. Yet the BMW beat the G35 on the track. HP means nothing and slalom means nothing in terms of how the car really handles. I haven't driven the E60 with active steering so I can't comment, but what I've read and talked to people about, everybody who drives it who is not a journalist, get's used to it. More than gets used to it, wonders how one ever did without it.

    I'm not an end-all, be-all BMW supporter, but the sales figures don't lie. They are doing something right. Regardless of their standing by CR and the rags, the public is buying. The old expression, you can fool some of the people...etc. BMW/Mercedes can't be fooling everybody at the same time, there has to be a reason people are buying them over the "so-called" top rated vehicles.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Well, unfortunately this thread is limited to the cars listed at the very top-cars in the 50-60k range that fit the criteria for luxury performance sedans.
    Yes, I would certainly choose a Porsche Carrera or 911 if money was no object. But alas....
    Like I said, I'm not on BMW's payroll. They had better get their reliability house in order because I will not stand for quality control headaches from a 60k vehicle as much as I like the driveability of their vehicles.
  • msu79gt82msu79gt82 Posts: 541
    I know older folks who have owned nothing but a Cadillac for years. Folks on this forum claim to own nothing but Audi's or BMW's (e.g.) for years. Great, good for you and each to his own. But to me all such "branders" have such a loyalty bias as to be virtually useless to the undecieded. Those of us who are undecided do not want to read another BMW commercial, we want real world opinions. I value the opinions of those who have owned a Cadillac, then a Lexus, then a MB, etc. (BTW the chosen cars are to make a point only). I usually ignore the written BMW and Audi commercial advertisements. :blush:
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    the sales figures don't lie. They are doing something right. Regardless of their standing by CR and the rags, the public is buying. The old expression, you can fool some of the people...etc. BMW/Mercedes can't be fooling everybody at the same time, there has to be a reason people are buying them over the "so-called" top rated vehicles.

    IMHO, you're fooling yourself if you think that image and prestige have nothing to do with MB and BMW unit sales vs Infiniti.
  • msu79gt82msu79gt82 Posts: 541
    IMHO, you're fooling yourself if you think that image and prestige have nothing to do with MB and BMW unit sales vs Infiniti.

    I think image and prestige are a major factor in MB and BMW sales. It must be; their reliablity is horrible and their interior styling is hideous :sick: I had the privilege of attending a BMW Grand Opening Event a few weeks ago. I for one like the new Bangle exteriors but the interiors are disgusting! One could not pay me to own one of these vehicles - but that is just my opinion and I am not into status symbols. But that is how status symbols work, as long as others can see you driving down the street with the "correct" badge, exterior appearance and name are all that matter. :blush:
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "IMHO, you're fooling yourself if you think that image and prestige have nothing to do with MB and BMW unit sales vs Infiniti."

    I understand it's your opinion. I think you've fooled yourself into believing people see no intrinsic value in German cars other than to spend to money. Maybe it's true within your circle. Maybe it's also true that people buy Lexus products because they believe no one will notice they just spend a bundle of money on a rebadged Toyota that has ho-hum styling with interiors that drive me up a wall.

    To each their own, I'm glad we all have choices.
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    German cars are clearly inferior to Toyota's no doubt, and even more inferior to Lexus, Acura and Ifiniti. :P Why spend a fortune on car when it's always in the shop. :cry:
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Aw cmon. Enough with the generalizations. I was recently at Toyota and in the service bay was a new Avalon with leaky water and smell problems. Try telling that owner of a new $38K car it's a superior vehicle. :) You ought to spend a few hours in a Toyota or Lexus dealership listening to the service advisors, it might open your eyes. :cry:
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I think you've fooled yourself into believing people see no intrinsic value in German cars other than to spend to money.

    Au contraire, I do see German cars as different from Japanese (and Lexus in particular), and certainly recognize that some people prefer more sportiness, or different styling, from what Lexus offers. And that's all that matters to some people...prestige has nothing to do with their choices. But such people imho are in the minority. I think that status/image matters to at least some degree to most luxury buyers, including lps buyers. And to some, it is of primary concern.

    So I recognize that sportiness, styling, etc are real factors, and that prestige isn't everything.

    You, however, seem in denial that status and prestige have anything at all to do with the sales performance of BMW and MB vs say Infiniti.
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    You ought to talk to MB mechanics, my brother is one, they have horrible reliability problems and cost far more than any Japanese car, same with BMW although BMW is better, and these cars cost thousands more than Japanese cars.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    You're going to tell me a person buys a 745 for $70K buys it for the image, but a person buys a $70K Lexus, buys it for what. The image of course. But in this case, the subtext is: "I have a $70K car, but pleae don't notice".

    So if I'm in denial that status has nothing to do with MB/BMW sales, you've convinced yourself it has everything to do with it.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I'm not specifically talking about MB, although Toyota did just issue a recall for 345,000 vehicles or some such huge number. Yes, I agree the mags say MB has an issue, but BMW fares quite well.

    I would not say BMW has reliability problems, just as I would not say Toyota produces the perfect car.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    German cars are clearly inferior to Toyota's no doubt, and even more inferior to Lexus, Acura and Ifiniti. Why spend a fortune on car when it's always in the shop.

    You clearly left out a word here..."reliability". The German cars are inferior to the Japanese in that respect sure, but as the sales numbers prove not everyone cares about this as much as you do. There are other things about a car than what CR says about it. For CR to put an Avalon over all those other cars says volumes about what they look for in a vehicle.

    When Toyota and Lexus discovers the things that make these unreliable cars appeal to so many people then they'll have something, until then they aren't worth mentioning, especially Toyotas. They aren't luxury cars anyway and have nothing to do with this board.

    Infiniti on the other hand is very, very close to doing just that, something that eludes Lexus when it comes to feel/styling/sportiness. We'll see if the new IS changes that for them.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "Maybe it's also true that people buy Lexus products because they believe no one will notice they just spend a bundle of money on a rebadged Toyota that has ho-hum styling with interiors that drive me up a wall."

    While you are certainly entitled to your opinion of Lexus interior design, lets try not to drag up the old "rebadged Toyota" argument, ok? I know its an easy, cheap shot to take at Lexus, but it makes you lose a bit of credibility. Toyota has just as much of a right to make a car that costs $50K, or $70K, as M-B. Until very recently, they've been doing just that in Japan. Lexus exists because Toyota knows that the North American market is extremely badge concious, and that we wont buy cars that cost $40K or more from a company that also sells econo-compacts. (See: VW Phaeton). No NA market Toyota offers the 4.3L V8, and no NA market Toyota has access to the LS or GS platform, just as GM wont let Chevy use Cadillac's Sigma stuff. Sure, one can make the argument about the ES and RX, but one could make the very same argument about Maybach and the S class.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Sure, one can make the argument about the ES and RX, but one could make the very same argument about Maybach and the S class.

    How so? They don't share a platform.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I was talking more about the identical switchgear, vents, etc that are shared between the two.
  • begbiebegbie Posts: 5
    You are dead on! When I first started looking in this segment, my first thought was the Bimmer 5 series. When I sat inside for the first time I was so disappointed, really bad interior and everything about it seemed overrated. After driving the Audi, Lexus & Infiniti....my gut said to go with the Infiniti DESPITE the fact the bimmer badge is the most "prestigious." I'm glad I did my M35 rocks and, living in L.A it seems 1 out of every 3 cars is a Bimmer 5 or 3 series (every assistant in my building has a leased base 325).
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Oh, got it. I think that and the unspectacular styling has been the reason why the Maybach hasn't gone over well. The Rolls is much more "bespoke" as they say.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I thought sales of the new BMW Rolls werent so hot either
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    In looking at the sales for this segment for this year vs last year I have to wonder where all these buyers are coming from? I mean the segment doubled for this month compared to last year as you said. That is what I can product igniting the market for sure.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I thought sales of the new BMW Rolls werent so hot either

    Well they aren't but they're better than the Maybach in the U.S. and most foreign markets. Both companies were on something to think they'd move 1000 units each at 300K+ prices.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Enjoy your M. I know the feeling about BMWs, they are all over my neighborhood as well. Thats one of the things I like about my XK, theres only 3 or 4 that I can remember seeing in town. One of them is a Silverstone that belongs to a Jag-crazy friend of mine.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    You're going to tell me a person buys a 745 for $70K buys it for the image, but a person buys a $70K Lexus, buys it for what. The image of course. But in this case, the subtext is: "I have a $70K car, but pleae don't notice".

    So if I'm in denial that status has nothing to do with MB/BMW sales, you've convinced yourself it has everything to do with it.


    Please show me where I suggested that status is the only reason that every MB/BMW owner has bought their car? I think I have stated repeatedly that imho status is one of the reasons for most buyers.

    Please show me where I suggested that Lexus owners don't care about status? Well I can speak from personal experience...status does matter to me, and that's one reason we bought an LX not a TLC, and one reason the LX probably won't be replaced by a Sienna.

    Whereas you have trouble admitting that status is a factor with at least some MB/BMW buyers.
  • Considering how high up the order the Avalon finished, I guess I must owe a beer -- now who gets it again???

    It does seem odd to compare the cars compared.

    Maybe now someone will undertake a test of the Cadillac STS AWD with the Chrysler 300C AWD. :shades:
  • Thankfully we haven't drummed lexi300 out of the forum here -- I was worried for a moment when we started down the path of noting the comments were all about style and less so about performance.

    Let's keep the group as broad as possible, espeically since this forum seems to be one of THE most active of all the forums.

    Anyway lexi300, of course your impressions are 100% correct -- they are your impressions, after all. I can only pick one little nit -- your comment about the interior leads me to believe you did not spend any time looking at the new A6 which also has a fabulous interior (and some will argue "best in class" interior.)

    I was very impressed with the Lexus, too (and I did NOT drive it, but I did spend time in one at the auto show -- it was beautiful.)

    When it came down to it, though, my choices were the M35X and the A6 3.2. Although I eventually came to get the A6, I had originally put my money down on the M35X -- another car with a terrific interior.

    Glad to read that you like the performance -- overall, most of the guys (not gender specific) who write about the Lexus give it positive points for everything but performance claiming that it is too isolating and bland.

    The exterior styling is a huge improvement -- boost the power about 10% and I would think Lexus would be able to fear less from the M.

    Keep participating. You are a breath of fresh air. :shades:
  • rrobrrob Posts: 51
    Very similar experience - I shopped and drove the BMW 5, Acura RL, Audi A6, Infiniti M35/45 and VW Passat (the dealer, I learned, stopped selling Phaetons). My, very subjective, impressions. Best interior: Audi; most practical: Acura; best driving: Infiniti M45.

    I went with the M45. I have noticed my friends certainly have checked out the car pretty thoroughly - quality of materials in the interior as much as anything else (well, of course, I only let them be passengers!) The Infiniti is doing well, so far, but does not have the immediate cachet of the German brands. So what? I like it and also like have a less common car.
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