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Luxury Performance Sedans



  • msu79gt82msu79gt82 Posts: 541
    But, for most of us all, looks do count for something. ... Reliability matters a LOT to me.

    Couldn't agree more :shades: Due to the reliability issue I was never even interested in Audi, BMW, or MB. I did however get to attend a Lexus Taste of Luxury Event as well as a BMW VIP Grand Opening Event. After driving the MB and the BMW their Performance did not even come close to overcoming their dreadful appearance and pitiful reliability records. :sick:

    I have had very favorable ownership experiences with Acura, Infiniti, and Toyota so the RL, M, and GS has been the primary focus of my current search. :shades:
  • janssenjanssen Posts: 74
    All very, very good points. In particular, what you said about setting the bar low for dealer satisfaction.

    My personal dissatisfaction is probably worsened by the multiple contacts I have had with corporate BMW (at least in this country). In business, the complaining customer is your best friend. I would think you would like to know when something has occurred in your business, so as to address it before it happens on a regular business. Not so with BMW, at least in my experience.

    This might be true with other manufacturers. I have not had the pleasure of dealing with others on this level.

    You made me laugh with the idea of convincing your wife. So I guess the salesperson knew that, and was saving you the cost of marriage counseling...;)

    I think what is worst for me about my whole experience with BMW was the following: After working for a very long time to be modestly successful, I bought my first nice new luxury car. A special experience, I thought. That was taken from me (right after my money was) by a bunch of careless, arrogant, snobby interactions, all the way up the ladder. And to top it off, the car is great. I didn't even get upset with fifteen visits to the dealer in two years-I mean I didn't blame the car. These are complex machines, after all.

    But being blown off about things like brakes and air bags is inexcusable. And BMW NA knew about it, did nothing. Made excuses.

    So I may have set the bar too high, expecting to have one of those special luxuries of life that I had worked so hard for. This did not have to be so, but BMW made that choice.

    But I really hope that others who buy these cars get that experience. It should be special, and the obvious pride some here have for their cars says that it CAN happen. Enjoy! I am hopeful that I will find the same fun and pride of ownership.

  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    You have been undecided for quite a while now. What's your current favorite?
  • hihomikehihomike Posts: 111
    Sorry if you took my comments about MB "bashing" when in reality I used to love MB. I had a 1985 300E, 1987 420 SEL, 1989 300D, and a 1991 300E. All were excellent vehicles, almost problem free.

    What I was referring to was what my friend, who is the GM at a MB dealership on the west coast of Florida commented on. He told me he has been taking back more and more cars on lemon law complaints.

    As for the ML series, I was not referring to that line, but the sedans. My brother leased a new 05 600 SEL, and had to take it back after 3 months of having it in the shop more than in his garage. My dad had a 2005 E320, and had to activate his lemon law rights after MB could not correct problems with his navigation system and his engine's refusal to stop stalling on hot days.

    Reliability has been an issue with MB, as with BMW, and many non Japanese models, however what keeps people buying them? Style, status, maybe. In my case, it's handling and comfort. We all have our reasons which are different. Resale value, for me, has also been a big issue - and BMW's hold their value almost as well as the luxury Japanese makes.

    Again, my apologies for sounding like I was "bashing MB". Quite the contrary, I wish their build quality would improve so I could again consider MB as a vehicle of choice for me.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    You are correct in your comments based on the way my post was written. What I meant to say is: these journalists have a very tough job. I for one do not buy cars the way they rate them. I could care less about cup holders. So putting a specific vehicle on the bottom of the list because of lousy cup holders doesn't relate to the way I think.

    Specific measurements back up by specific observations to the specific measurements work best for me and I can relate to them, but then come to my own conclusions. When it comes to car shopping I take the road less traveled. The mags and statistics purveyors have zero influence on my purchase decisions. I make very heavy use of first hand experiences with cars and dealers. That strategy has served me very well in general.
  • janssenjanssen Posts: 74
    Ah, an independent thinker!

    Good post. I agree with part of what you say, but I will admit I read some of the press first. Mostly, I use it to see what weaknesses or strengths others find, to allow me to ask myself intelligent questions. Then I can decide if the reports are even true, then whether they are important to me at all. Better cupholders or better road-holding? Easy to prioritize that one!

    Then a lot of road testing, reading forums like this and asking questions, and prioritizing what is most important to me after my research is done.

    I think that last step, as you described well, is the most important. Until the day there is a perfect car, a car with everything for everybody, the step you described would be the best way to find the perfect car for you.
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    I actually wasn't specifically responding to you; just the general disdane many on this board seem to have for MB. As with anything else, our own experiences tend to dictate how we feel about things. My wife had tons of trouble with her first ML, the second was better, and I've read that MB put a lot of money into addressing quality concerns specifically regarding the plants in the US where the ML's are built. Anyway, why do people continue to buy MB and BMW (and Audi for that matter)? Just the back-and-forth discussion here answers that question. For lots of reasons. I take issue with people assuming that we buy them for status alone. While there are some people that know nothing about cars that I'm sure buy them for that I would say that most here do not, and no one I know that's smart enough to make enough cabbage to afford these cars goes into buying them thinking about the way others will perceive them. They just honestly like how the cars drive and they like the creature comforts they provide. The fact is, if you really have "status" you don't need a car to confirm it. A truly confident person doesn't need to be boastful. It's the people that are insecure that have to prove it to themselves that are boastful and would buy cars to help them deal with their insecurities. As I said before though, what came first, the chicken or the egg? Do people buy MB and BMW because they feel like they have more status with them or do other people that don't have the cars "give" them that status that they may desire? Speaking for myself, when I pull up next to a nice car I would say, "Hot car" to myself and leave it at that. I don't know the person driving the car at all so who am I to judge them one way or the other? I honestly don't even think about the driver or why they may have bought the car.
  • For Pete's sake, let's not bring facts into this discussion. What fun would that be?
  • msu79gt82msu79gt82 Posts: 541
    You have been undecided for quite a while now. What's your current favorite?

    I really want to like the RL, I've had a great relationship with my dealer and very positive experieces with the MDX (and my old TL-S was OK as well). Overall I'm happy with the exterior and liked the interior at first. However the longer I sit in the interior the more it gnaws on me :confuse: Also the RL has a few "missing" features that are important to me, most notably a rear-view camera. Also due to quality issues with the '05 I have pretty much decided against an '05. I may wait until the '06 RL is out however.

    I first began searching "seriously" in March (obviously not in a hurry) and had almost made up my mind for the RL, but I felt it was overpriced (it did not posses that "best-bang-for-the-buck" feel that the MDX and TL-S had). Funny how research and test drives can change one's opinion. Discovered the M35 in late March and was not all that impressed at first. However unlike the RL the M has continued to grow on me. If I were to buy now it would be the M35.

    I bought a loaded '04 FX35 last September and was unwilling to take the trade-in beating I was getting back in March. The RL was over-priced then and Infiniti wasn't budging much either. Since then the trade-gap between my FX and the LPS is getting more acceptable. By the way there is nothing wrong with my FX; I would rather be in an LPS :shades:
  • janssenjanssen Posts: 74
    Here in the SF Bay area there are SO many BMW's and Mercedes. I felt like I wanted to join that exclusive club...

    Right on about status.

    One other thing-given the decades-long development and advancement of the BMW chassis (the one I am familiar with) to achieve the best possible mix of handling and ride, how many people really try to push these cars, to get that thrill of driving through corners, of accelerating out of one turn, braking into the next, and then ripping through it with the throttle...woohoo!

    But I think most like the look, and the name, and the accomplishment of being part of that club. That is what allows some of these dealers and/or companies to coast a bit, or be less than responsive to customers. No specific brands. It could happen to any company that gets successful and fat.

    As to your last comment, if I see a discordant appearance, like a 25-year old driving a 750 il (last weekend), I do think something about that person. Usually something like jealousy/rich parents/trust get the picture!
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I saw an RL on the highway Monday. Looked nice. I do believe you can get a good deal on this particular vehicle.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Maybe this forum should be called the Performance Luxury Sedans instead of Luxury Performance Sedans. :)

    BTW I do appreciate the quality of your posts on this board as I do a number of others.
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    Ah see, but that's the point. You may be dead-wrong to judge that 25 year old. For instance, for my honeymoon this winter I went on a cruise to Tahiti and my wife and I hung around with a 21 year old guy and his new wife. He started his own personal training company and now has 20 people working for him. I'm sure he could easily afford a 750il, and he can because he earned the money through hard work and smarts. So if you looked at him in that car and assumed he was a spoiled rich kid, you'd be wrong. That's why I try to stay away from generalizations and prejudices. I realize they are human nature, but more often than not they make the person that judges look foolish rather than the person they judge. And it's no more justifiable to judge people with money driving nice cars than it is for them to judge people riding the bus.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    That's why you have a GS430 and a 545i both out there.
  • janssenjanssen Posts: 74
    Right. Reflects on the judge more than the subject. I was actually making fun of myself...

    Geez...maybe I should be jealous of you instead, hanging out in Tahiti with a new wife...Did you work for that??? ;)

    Cheers, and congrats!
  • Here is the only reason, beyond entertainment, I can find to consult with the Car Magazines -- and even this reason may be invalid since I really can't prove it.

    Having had ONLY Audis, BMW's and VW's (and one AMC Eagle) over the past 30 years, I can tell you they morph (I am speaking only of the German cars, BTW) over time. The first morph is around 5,000 miles, a second morph again happens around 10,000 miles. My gut (and my butt) tells me that further morphing happens later on as well, but I'd be hard pressed to be so clear in my recognition of it.

    The German cars my wife and I have had (and several company cars that also were German) seem to "get more powerful" and they even appear to handle better about the time 6 months or 5,000 miles (whichever comes first) have passed.

    Also "characteristics" that are difficult to pinpoint, let alone articulate, often don't come to the surface, so to speak, until some time has passed (and some miles.)

    When people who drive cars for a living and write about them test cars, they often have some super "spider sense" that let's them get down to a particular characteristic that I completely overlook even on multiple test drives.

    I hate to admit I lack this fine tuned ear, eye and butt -- but I often find that some trait that I missed completely on the test drive that is described by the hot shot writer du jour at Car and Driver eventually does come to the surface.

    Sometimes the editor will write about a trait in a way that spins it as undesirable, sometimes the same trait in another magazine is lauded. The point is, they noticed it -- when I read about it, I do find that I am able to focus on finding that trait and determining if it is -- in my subjective bizzaro world -- a positive or a negative trait.

    I have read here on edmunds that folks can't feel the torque steer of the otherwise lovely car -- the Acura TL. Now this one was easy -- but, before I took the TL out for a nice long drive, I read the reports in at least two popular automobile editorial/test type magazines (probably Car and Driver and Automobile, for example.)

    Now in this case, I felt the torque steer as I attempted to pull out of the parking lot of the dealer (BTW, I tested the stick shift version which probably exacerbated the torque steer over the auto version.) It was raining that day and it was even more blatant as the car would spin its inside tire for a moment before the trac control took over -- much as I liked the TL, it was impossible to see getting one with torque steer that bad. The car magazines had reported this and they were dead on.

    OK, so it is a bad example, because this "characteristic" was so in your face, even I could "pick it out" first try. Yet, there are many far more subtle (and they can morph into annoying or satisfying) traits (and yes most of them are subjective in the way they are presented, but they are based on something that can be objectively described -- then interpreted by the editor's whim du jour.)

    Here, too, the comments are almost entirely subjective (OK, prices, HP, monthly payments and 0-60 times are FACTS) -- but most of us are capable of discriminating -- between the facts and the spin that each and every one of us puts on those facts.

    I think the BMW 7 and even the 5 are not exactly attractive; yet I really like the 3. The Lexus and Infiniti seem derivative of something, sometimes it looks good (the new GS is pretty much OK, the Infiniti hasn't quite grown on me -- and one more, the Acura looks like an accord that swallowed something big that hasn't yet been digested [like the snake with the pig in its belly], but these are entirely subjective.)

    I care not to argue the styling of the BMW, Audi or even the art and science of Cadillac. I'd rather find out what makes you happy.

    Little nit: the Infiniti M did not have automatic door locks. I didn't find this out until after I ordered it. I didn't like that, but it was hardly enough to make me cancel my order. But I learned about that "fact" here and I would have had to own the thing to find that out under normal (pre blog) circumstances.

    Why the Audi comes with heated front and rear seats but this is fairly rare on the other LPS also blows my mind. But why the Audi doesn't offer the power articulated steering column unless you buy the V8 is beyond me too.

    The practical performance of these cars, the features and options, too are trending closer and closer to each other (it is like ERP software packages, they all come with the kitchen sink anymore) -- it is the subtleties that make them special (either positive or negative) -- the car magazines often point these things out.

    As do "we" in the Internet community here on edmunds and "elsewhere."

    The ONLY problem I can find to share with y'all about the A6 (besides the tiptronic -- which I believe is a problem all these smart transmissions carry along as baggage) is with the Premium Sound System (which is fantastic).

    The Audi comes with surround sound and it has to be turned to "normal" "surround front" or "surround rear" -- and then the "surround level" has to be set and the Audio Pilot has to be engaged. Top it off there are equalizers (aka tone controls) that can be set.

    Well, about every two or five days (beats me) the system resets itself to"normal" which sounds good, but nowhere near as good as surround rear mode (to me.)

    So, each and every time I get in the car, I "reprogram" the audio system (just in case.) It is like the last generation 5 speed tiptronic which I basically reprogrammed everytime I started the car to attempt to minimize tip lag.

    The smarter these cars get the more there is to flub up (a technical term). I guess if this little radio flub up is all I ever have wrong, I should count myself lucky.

    This is the kind of stuff that makes sense to me at least to use this forum and the car magazines for -- and that is to in some small respects "vet" the process, rather than find out 6 months or 5,000 miles later.

    Now, having said all of this, I completely ignore CR, since they just don't provide me with any useful information.

    Your mileage may differ. :shades:
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    Worked for it everyday, and now I pay for it everyday as well! Just kidding! Kudos to you for being able to have a sense of humor about yourself. I know I crack myself up all the time!
  • hihomikehihomike Posts: 111
    I tend to agree with you, rich545. I don't buy cars for "status" at this point in my life. Perhaps I should turn States Evidence (come clean, that is) that when I was younger and less secure, status meant alot to me. When I was younger, I was immature. I'm old(er) now, and more mature, and thus don't look at possessions from a status mode perspective, but rather in terms of what I want because of "what I think", not what others think.

    I drive a new 06 530i because it meets MY NEEDS, not the needs of the world at large. I could care less what others think of what I drive, and more of what I want to drive.

    What appeals to me about a luxury performance vehicle may or may not appeal to others. That's why Audi, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Lexus, Infiniti, Acura, Aston Martin, Bentley/Rolls, Jaguar, etc., etc., etc., build cars. If everyone desired a BMW 5 series, all the manufacturers would tear one down and rebuild it with their own badges on the exterior. Now wouldn't that be boring??? If my needs, desires and tastes change in the next two years, I'll probably be driving one of the above competitors of BMW. If not, then I'll buy another Bimmer, maybe the M5, who knows. I drive what I desire NOW, and tomorrow I'll drive what I desire THEN. And none of it will have thing to do with STATUS!!!

    However, we all have to be flexible in our thinking, knowing that there are many out there who buy for status alone, while others do not.

    As for the ML series, I am not as familiar with that model as I am with the sedans. Mercedes is well aware of the problems they are having with their sedans as a result of an increase in lemon law claims against their vehicles. I just hope I live to see that day when all manufacturers can build an almost trouble free vehicle that drives, feels and performs as well as the BMW so I can get back to buying American again. Nothing would give me more self-satisfaction than being confident enough in American made vehicles so I can stop investing in foreign countries and start investing in American products again. Unfortunately, I'm 60 years old this month so I don't think I'll live to see that day.
  • hihomikehihomike Posts: 111
    "I really want to like the RL, I've had a great relationship with my dealer and very positive experieces with the MDX (and my old TL-S was OK as well). Overall I'm happy with the exterior and liked the interior at first."

    I got a chuckle after reading your opening few sentences on your post, msu79gt82.

    To tell you the truth, I really wanted to like my first wife, as I've had a great relationship with her, but..."
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