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Luxury Performance Sedans

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Comments

  • bjbird2bjbird2 Posts: 647
    The September 05' issue of Consumer Reports ranks luxury sedans as follows;
    1. Infiniti M35
    2. Acura TL
    3. Toyota Avalon
    4. MB E320
    5. BMW530
    6. Audi A6
    7. Luxus ES330
    8. Cadillac STS
    9. Acura RL
    10. Jaguar S-Type
    11. Lexus GS300
    12. Volvo S80
    13. Saab 9-5

    I know CR is not an enthusiast's magazine, but as someone pointed out on this forum, they are probably a lot more objective, not influenced by ad revenue, etc, than a lot of the enthusiast publications.
    Interesting that of the 6 sedans they tested this month, the Avalon is the fastest, and gets the best mileage. They did say that the Avalon is not a sports sedan, that it lacks agility with the soft suspension.
    I know that some of these cars are not part of this forum, but it's interesting to see how the test placed all of them in the rankings.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    How many of those E's are wagons?? I see more E wagons than E sedans around where I live. E wagon competes more with the RX and FX than with GS and M.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    BMW may not be too nervous yet, but perhaps Lexus should be. Lexus is the one delivering hype, while Infiniti delivers results. The fight between GS and M and IS350 and the next G should be very interesting to watch. I think the big question for Infiniti is what the heck can be done with the Q45? The LS is the car Lexus has down to a science. It will be much harder to challenge than the GS, which has been a failure most of its life.
  • carnaughtcarnaught Posts: 1,577
    I own both ('04 TL and "06 M35 Sport) and all I can say is, you get what you pay for. The TL is a good looking and feature laden car, but feels hollow and mine, at least (with the other three Acuras I've owned) has developed many rattles, buzzes and vibrations. Others with the car report they have the same problem and many say they don't. The M35, on the other hand, has remained rock solid in feel and reliability thus far, now on my 5th month of ownership. It is true, IMHO, you do get what you pay for, but both are reasonable values in today's market.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Whatever you drive doesn't upset me at all. Why should it? I know that BMW is the "Ultimate Driving Machine." Infiniti has come a long way but they are not there yet. Even Road & Track places the 545i ahead of the M45 Sport for "serious driving."
    I'm glad that Infiniti is making strides because due to the competition, BMW will also improve to become the "Ultimate Galaxy Driving Machine."
  • docnukemdocnukem Posts: 485
    BMW will also improve to become the "Ultimate Galaxy Driving Machine."

    Well, sure, anything can corner like it's on rails around a black hole.

    But how will it perform on the 1/4 parsec?
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Very good! I'm glad someone around here has a sense of humor!
  • lexi300lexi300 Posts: 36
    Yeah. It's a chick car.

    But I do love it.
  • lexi300lexi300 Posts: 36
    ""What I understand is that the poster bought the car based solely on its styling. "t had me at hello," she says, and mentions only the colors of the interior and exterior. Her purchase had nothing to do with anything else. That's what I understand.""

    No, the lines had me too. I like the new L-finesse styling. A lot a lot. They lost the extra little taillight thingies on the backside. The car is closer to the road -- like it's stuck to it. The bump strip on the side is way low. The headlights are assertive. This car is going someplace. And the inside is by far and away the best interior I've seen. I love the NON-I-DRIVE touchscreen, the sculpted seats, the greyish-brownish accent around the dash, the clear white speedometer, all that.

    Many years ago, before I went through my SUV phase (with a 4Runner), I used to drive a 1990 Celica with a stick. This car reminds me of a very refined, but alluring version of that car. All the best traits, but with leather and class.

    Oh, and I should add, I did check out the engine. I know it's not as powerful as several of the other cars in its class, but it accelerates plenty quickly for me. When I test drove it, I took it out on the highway and around town and gunned it. The salesman was pinned in his seat. I did some emergency stops and some imaginary swerves around cones, and it handled like a dream for me.

    I also was really sold on the fact that this is the first sedan from Lexus that is AWD. I live in an area that gets snow, and didn't want to move from on-demand 4WD to RWD.

    I'm getting great mileage (about 28), and very happy. All these things mattered to me.

    But the style helped quite a bit.
  • warthogwarthog Posts: 216
    Nice afterthought. Enjoy your car.
  • 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.
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