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Luxury Performance Sedans

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Comments

  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    By "rubberband sized," I meant the sidewall thickness, not the width of the tire.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "They could increase the handling and decrease the road noise by simply changing their choice of OEM tires. What other improvements will they come up with?"

    One thing that would help is an extra cog (or two) in the transmission. Some here have complained that the M "cruises" at a rather high rpm compared to some of its competitors. A tall 6th or 7th gear designed specifically for highway speed with the lowest possible rpm would help the M's noise problems, as well as deliver better highway fuel economy.
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    I test drove both. In my opinion the 530 won.

    The M35 is a nice car, but the dash has more buttons than a computer slot machine. In my opinion, it was very distracting.

    Also check the maintenance schedule for the M35. Some of the Japanese LPS required service every 4000 miles.

    Just my thoughts.
  • drtraveldrtravel Posts: 395
    One thing that would help is an extra cog (or two) in the transmission. Some here have complained that the M "cruises" at a rather high rpm compared to some of its competitors. A tall 6th or 7th gear designed specifically for highway speed with the lowest possible rpm would help the M's noise problems, as well as deliver better highway fuel economy.

    Agree with you 100%....other improvements for the M have been suggested in other forums as well. Considering that they started from scratch, the Infiniti engineers did a hell of a job out of the gate. Will be interesting to see how this segment evolves. The point is that EVERY LPS could use improvements. I'll refrain from making suggestion for other LPS cars. Their owners should share their recomendations....after they praise their car as being the best ever of course.

    LOL again....twice in a day...man I need to get a life.
  • drtraveldrtravel Posts: 395
    Ha! You nailed it! Good one!

    The over/under was 60 minutes...I took the over and lost! (sarcasm intended).
  • drtraveldrtravel Posts: 395
    I love when magazines compare the 8's when a majority of buyers (readers?) will eventually choose the 6 (that's an actual fact!). Didn't C & D use cost as a factor when choosing combatants?
  • mexibecmexibec Posts: 114
    According to CR 2006 Buyer's Guide, the following models have below-average reliability (I limited the list to the '04 models, since 05 are not listed):

    BMW 3 Series
    BMW 5 Series
    BMW 7 Series
    BMW X5
    MB C-Class V6
    MB CLK
    MB E-Class
    MB M-Class

    Doesn't that covers the vast majority (90+%) of '04 BMW & MB on the street?

    Note that of all the Audi, only the S4 V6 has better-than-average. Some Audi & MB models are not rated (insufficient data) ot not listed.

    By browsing the other models, BMW & MB perfectly blend with Buick, Chevrolet, Ford and VW in terms of reliability ('04 models): predominantly below average.

    Conclusion: boy am I happy with my M45 instead of these other prestigious clunky cars...
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I agree, I have been very impressed with the job Nissan did with the M. Some claim that its a 2nd gen version, which really isnt true. The first M45 which came and went with almost no one noticing was based on an entirely different car, basically just a stopgap until this M was ready for prime time. Even bothering at all with the '03 car was probably a mistake, but thats all in the past now.

    The G is supposed to get a total redesign for '07, and if its anything like the M, the 3 series should watch its back. I'm sure unlike the IS350, the Infiniti will have 1. a 6-speed manual, and 2. an off switch for the stability control. I'm also pretty sure they are going to push the VQ even farther in order to take the power crown back from Lexus. I think the rumor is something like 3.7L.
  • I own an M45 non sport. I'm very happy with the car. The car has been flawless and has met and exceeded my expectation. I chose the non-sport because I also drive a BMW M3 with the 19's and that car can beat me and my aging back sometimes and I wanted a slightly more comfortable ride.

    My final choices came down to the BMW 545 AND M45. I felt the performance, handling, overall drivability were pretty evenly matched. For enthusiasts, the BMW is unquestionably the benchmark for this class but I think the M is every bit the equal in that arena. I know it's not easy to overcome prejudice over your pet brand but if you were objective, the two cars are pretty close, IMO. I think other factors, such as tire pressure, tire sizes, sport/non-sport packages will have far more effect in differentiating the feel of the cars than the cars themselves. I think Infiniti really hit the mark with the M.

    After you give both cars a fair shake and you still feel the BMW is the better driver, good for you. The choice should be simple, all things being equal. As others have said, the i-drive is not that big of a deal. Most of the bad press is from the magazine testers and they really don't count much as they only spend a few hours or at most few days with the car. My impression of i-drive is that once you've lived with it for a little bit, it's no big deal.

    But if you feel the cars are pretty close in terms of performance, than other things like exterior styling and interior appointments become the deciding issues. For me, it was not even close. The Infiniti's interior was head and shoulders above the BMW. It just felt fresh and right to me. Despite some negative press about the BMW's styling, I like the Chris Bangle styling. Although the BMW's 5 may be a bit over-styled, I like the overall effect and prefer it to the Infiniti's. I find the M45 long and narrow and doesn't have the BMW's presence. However, the M's rear room is pretty generous and for me that was a factor as well. For me the interior of the car is much more important than the exterior. Frankly, it's hard to be moved by almost any three box design that most sedans are subjected to.

    Good luck with your decision and let us know what you decide.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Yes. C&D did use cost as the main factor and I guess in that sense you could say BMW got what they deserved but to put that powerful V-8 against a weak 6...
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Despite my feelings that the 545 is the better driver, I was also influenced by the mediocre gas mileage of the M45.
    I would rather get 20mpg than 16.
    That comes to about $1500 more out of my pocket over a 3 year lease if I got the M45.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    The CR 2006 buying guide is already ancient history.
    In the December 2005 issue, CR upgraded the 5 series 6 cylinder sedans to average or better.
    So cross that one off your "clunker" list.
    We can now put the 5 series back on the "Prestigious and Wonderful" list.
  • Good to see the activity here -- this thread must be one of edmunds most popular.

    That must mean that LPS cars sell more than the rest, eh?

    Maybe some folks (maybe that includes me, too) actually do look at the CR ratings and use them to make decisions.

    I doubt it. Indeed, it would seem that being on the CR "below average" list is an indication of what will be popular.

    It must be clear or at least pretty clear that we buy our cars like we pick our friends and spouses -- we do not get objective data, or we get very little or even if we get a lot we ignore most of it.

    We buy these LPS cars (and probably most of the other cars edmunds allows us to talk about) based on entirely subjective (emotion emotion emotion) reasons.

    The M's are clearly (?) the best cars no matter how you approach things. BMW's are clearly so resting on reputation.

    Hogwash.

    These cars (and of course I know since I've driven most of them) are fraternal siblings -- or at least they have all made great efforts to be more alike than different.

    Yet the big CR "losers" or so it would seem (the BMW and Mercedes) are forever at the top of the sales list, month after month.

    I do so love reading the above 18 posts (and generally, almost all the posts) but reading them only convinces me that we live in some pretty great times to be shopping for an LPS car. Lots of choices, not too much difference between them -- but oh the emotions these objects of desire evoke.

    By the way since the Audi A6 was proclaimed the world car of the year or whatever, it really, seriously is the gen-u-wine best. No, really, I have proof. :surprise:
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    The fact that CR moved the 5 series(6) back up to "average/better than average" is highly significant.
    Should help boost sales even more.
    No matter what we think of CR and its auto rating methods, it is influential to a lot of folks shopping out there.

    The 2 best forums on Edmunds in MNSHO are the LPS and High End Luxury Marques.
    While I can only dream about many of the vehicles discussed in the latter, I always enjoy the stimulating and many times brilliant posts that I find there. That thread can be renamed "Mercedes Against The Rest Of The World." :)
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    While I was testing out the new 550i Sport, I told the salesman that I am juggling between it and the M45 Sport. Needless to say, he immediately went into the ridiculous jargon of it just being a glorified Nissan, etc. He even went so far as to say that Infiniti isn't a luxury car brand.

    I forced myself to let the comments go so as not to become irritated. I just looked at it as a bit of human nature (and BMW brainwash..., er, training). It's common for man to try to downplay and/or insult something that poses a genuine threat. I was thinking to myself, "Yeah. Whatever helps you sleep at night, dude."

    Anyway, this gas mileage talk is interesting. I'd be curious to know what 5-series owners (mainly the V8s) are getting in real world figures. The EPA sticker is one thing, but what you actually get is often much different. From what I've read, the Infiniti M is getting what the sticker says for the most part. It seems the 35 is the one that's having a problem staying on the wagon in terms of fuel consumption.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    From their position, how would you expect them to act? They are they entrenched player, and Infiniti is the uppity new guy. More importantly, the M is the first car to go eye-to-eye with the BMW and not blink. They arent used to that. Even BMW's rivals in Germany shy away from taking on the 5 directly, but not Infiniti. Even the people that think the 5 is superior to the M will have to admit that the M is closer to the 5 than any other car in the segment, regardless of price.

    I'm sure Messerschmitt and Focke-Wolfe probably had similar feelings about the Spitfire and Hurricane. How'd that work out? :)
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    When I was comparing the M vs the 5 series about 6 months ago, when asked at 2 different Infiniti dealerships what else I was considering, when I mentioned the 5 series all I got was a speechless look of resignation from the 2 salespeople.

    Unfortunately, the BMW arrogance springs from the fact that at this time they can afford to be.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    I'm sure Messerschmitt and Focke-Wolfe probably had similar feelings about the Spitfire and Hurricane. How'd that work out?

    That is not at all a suitable analogy! Let us focus on WW1 instead of WW2!

    The German Fokker D.VII is for many the best fighter aircraft of the First World War.

    During 1918 the airplane was then fitted with the new 185-horsepower B.M.W engine. . This B.M.W.-powered model, known as the D.VIIF, was most popular among German pilots, but could only be supplied in small numbers.


    Better Analogy:

    The Infinit Ms are like the RAF S.E5 and Spad fighters!

    While BMW 5s are like the BMW powered planes mentioned above!
  • Informal survey both in person and emails. Sample population about 33.

    Not one person checked CR before buying.

    Not one person even knew what the reputation of their beloved car was (other than their own perception.) My office manager thinks Saturns are the best in their segment and she even knows things about Saturns that I wouldn't have thought she would be into.

    One, no two, of the folks purchased used vehicles and they were very clear that they chose their brand because the Ford is better than the Chevy or vice versa.

    The guys with the LPS cars were, unlike us here on edmunds, almost oblivious to anything else, but the best brand (the one they chose.) "I got the BMW because it is a BMW, need I say more?" kind of thing.

    When I brought up the subject of CR, most folks had heard of it but couldn't remember the last time they ever used it for research or as a "significant" reason to buy.

    I have, personally, found that the emotions expressed here in these formums (here on edmunds and elsewhere to be fair) to be far more compelling than anything objective (or subjective in the Car Magazines that I do so love to read) I can think of.

    I was swayed to the M's in significant part due to the folks here. I tested BMW's because I had to think there was something more than lemming-like behavior going on with THAT brand (I was right, it was not just lemming-like behavior.)

    So, my completely bogus and unscientific survey of 33 folks turned up less than zero influence from or by CR.

    Maybe CR's ratings do drive some auto sales -- it is just you couldn't prove this by me.

    I'll still bet that regardless of what CR says you'll buy with your heart not your head.

    And I say this as a left-brained type (a systems, analysis, computer programming type, tech-weenie.)
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    CR reports 20 mpg for the 2004 530i auto, and 18 mpg for the 2003 745i. So the 550i is probably about 18-19 mpg.

    CR reports that the M35x (17/24) gets 18 mpg. So I'd expect the M45 (17/23) to get 17-18 mpg.

    In any case, the real world mileage difference between the 550i and the M45 is probably more like 1 mpg.

    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/fuel-economy-1005/cu-vs-government-tests/- - - vehicle-results-models-a-to-c.htm
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    Was it you that described how you felt about the rear end of the M45. The first time I saw this car was in Automobile magazine July 2004, an article about the new 2005 RL, the 2005 Cadillac STS, and the 2006 Infiniti M45. From that point on in those great pictures I thought the Infiniti design was way ugly. You always like to give a new design time to acclimate to the eye so I held off making any comments about it. Now that the M's have been on the road for a half year you see them occasionally. Came up behind one at a light recently and its something that I'm sorry to say hasn't changed. To me it's still an overwhelmingly gaudy taillight display!
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    CR has 6 million subscribers. New auto sales are usually around 16 million a month, so if every single CR subscriber made a decision based on CR reports, the best possible case for CR influence on car buying is 38%. Only about 1\6 of CR subscribers actually respond to the reliability survey however, and so if only those people care enough to use CR in their buying decisions, CR's influence on total sales drops to just 6%. Even if 500K people buy the "new cars" issue without being subscribers and use it to buy a car, CR still is under 10%.

    Also completely bogus and unscientific, but slightly less so than your findings :)
  • drtraveldrtravel Posts: 395
    Another factor is how long you want to drive the car. I felt comfortable buying the Lexus for the long-term but didn't with the BMW so I would only consider leasing it. Fortunately BMW is well aware of this and offers subsidized interest rates to rent their cars plus their "free" (yeah right) maintenance. Lexus doesn't see the need to do the same, so their interest rates are not great.

    I was somewhere in-between with the M. I was unsure about buying for the long-term and their interest rates were between BMW and Lexus. I decided to lease for 42 months and let Infiniti take all the resale risks.

    By the way, residual values are based on MSRP. Because Lexus has such a wide spread between MSRP and invoice they can offer much larger discounts. If you took the lease purchase option price and then calculated the residual value based on the actual selling price you would find that the 5-series, M and GS all have about the same value. This is pretty close to being an actual fact - it's easy enough to generate your own numbers to verify. Companies have a vested interested in perpetuating their strong resale values myth.
  • drtraveldrtravel Posts: 395
    When I was comparing the M vs the 5 series about 6 months ago, when asked at 2 different Infiniti dealerships what else I was considering, when I mentioned the 5 series all I got was a speechless look of resignation from the 2 salespeople.

    Unfortunately, the BMW arrogance springs from the fact that at this time they can afford to be.


    Hmm....I thought I had the opposite experience when doing the same shopping. Maybe I just couldn't recognize their speechless look of resignation? Interesting fact though.
  • docnukemdocnukem Posts: 485
    when I mentioned the 5 series all I got was a speechless look of resignation from the 2 salespeople

    Are you sure you aren't confusing resignation with sympathy? ;)

    There is a difference (big) between arrogance and confidence. It sounds like that particular BMW salesman was more defensive than anything else.

    Here in Grand Rapids, I found more arrogance at the Lexus dealer than the BMW dealer when shopping the M against the GS and 5 (sorry, Merc, I didn't step into the MB dealership)
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I do believe CR appeals primarily, but certainly not exclusively, to extremely conservative folks who mainly "want to get their money's worth."
    I have no way of really knowing, but I think that there are probably more Honda/Toyota owners reading CR than Audi or BMW owners.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Heh, heh!
    No it was that "lost another loan to Ditech" type look.
    After I left the Infiniti dealerships, once the door closed behind me they probably put on that exasperated look ala James Finlayson in those priceless L & H films, and let out a resounding DOH!!! :sick:
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Real world: I've never had less than 19 mpg over 4.5 months of "leasedomship" of my 545 and that was about 70% city, 30% highway.
    I have had a high of 23 mpg which was about 80% highway, 20% city.
    On the highway exclusively my mpg has been as high as 27.

    15 fillups. Average comes out to 20.4 mpg.

    I call those statistics an absolutely virtuoso performance for a V-8 and really shows the incredible genius of the engineers at BMW.

    Let's face it, the V-6 Infiniti M35 doesn't even approach those kind of numbers!*

    Upon further research and reflection:

    *Correction to the above: the Infiniti M35 and the 545 are approximately equivalent in mpg.
  • docnukemdocnukem Posts: 485
    Actually, the V6 M does approach (but not quite reach) those numbers. I have the AWD and get about 17 to your 19 in predominantly city. When cruising on the highway, the instantaneous readout at 80 (with cruise and on a flat stretch) is right at 25. Now, is the instantaneous readout as accurate as the computer-calculated average? Probably not, but it is close. With the higher revs in only five gears and 4000# of car (we won't get into the passenger), that's okay with me. I'd like more, but am not willing to give up the AWD (there is snow falling as I type).
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Yup. I actually looked up the stats. on the M35.
    It seems the M35 and 545 are just about equivalent in mpg.
    I will change it in my post above.

    Here's another nice mess I've gotten myself into.
    DOH!!
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