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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
    Apparently, effreytink must be chust zo! :P
  • wale_bate1wale_bate1 Posts: 1,986
    Finally!

    Than' ya. Than' ya vurra mush.
    ;)
  • A recurring theme when discussing luxury brands seems to be the relative importance of "the badge" when making a car buying decision.

    Those loyal to a brand rush to it's defense when a post suggests that sales may by influenced by the brand's name and perceived quality in the market place. I would offer that such a suggestion does not imply that the product is not good, but that the brand derives benefits from it's history and marketing efforts. That seems reasonable.

    The brand reputation also offers protection of market share even if the product is no longer up to the previous standards...for a while anyway.

    It appears that most of us have a preconceived notion of how the marketplace views the brands that are the subject of this thread. It's also apparent that we don't all agree on how the marketplace views these brands. I thought it might be interesting if each of us would test these notions out with a very simple survey. It might prove to be very enlightening to all of us.

    While not scientific, simply ask those to whom you talk, to name a luxury brand of automobile. Not the most reliable, the best value, best driving experience, etc. Simply ask them to name a brand. If you wish, ask them for a second and third brand too. It might be interesting to track the numbers by those who claim to be car enthusiasts and those who do not.

    If you wanted to carry it a step further, go back and ask if the person would consider buying a car from the company they named, price no object.

    If the host would allow, I would enjoy seeing the results of a current survey such as this posted here.
  • 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.

    Uh, I expect ANY salesman to sell me his car. :confuse: Its kind of pathetic to expect me to buy his car simply BECAUSE the competition sucks. :blush: I want to hear why his car is better than the others NOT why the others are worse than his car. :surprise: As soon as any sales rep starts to trash the competition I am out of there.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    When I was looking at the M45, the dealer asked me what other car((s) I was interested in. When I told him the 5 series-he said nothing, but had a disappointed expression on his face. Like "lost another loan to Ditech!"
    He did not trash BMW.
    Sounds like the dealer for you. ;)
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,288
    Thanks for a helpful post, and do keep us informed as your car gathers miles.
  • My 2006 Lexus GS300 AWD has about 8,300 miles on it at this point, since purchase in June. One issue: The glove compartment door sticks. Dealer will have no trouble fixing it, but I've had no time to get to the dealer. They didn't have the part in stock at my 5,000-mile check-up.

    Mileage has been dreamy: often 27-29 mpg. Yes, it's mostly highway, but nevertheless I am very impressed.

    I like the car even more every time I drive it. Smooth, quiet, tight, confident. It's my first LPS, but I doubt it will be my last. There aren't a lot of Lexus enthusiasts who are vocal on this board; it seems to have a real Audi/BMW slant. However, when I compare the GS with its rivals, in my mind the GS has so many elegant appointments and features that just work well together and are understated but pleasing.

    I wish the owner manual was written better, but everything has been so intuitive that I have only referred to it once or twice for technical issues (like tire inflation guidelines).
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Sorry, I know I'm a little late, but I really have to argue with the idea that because the G35 has generally been a success (Infiniti's first, only took them 14 years), they are as much of an established brand as BMW. To the average consumer, Infiniti did not exist before 2003. I bet that a majority of consumers still have no idea who they are. There's also no way they have close to the number of dealers that BMW does. I have to travel 1.5hrs to get to the nearest Infiniti dealer. There's a BMW store within 20 minutes, and I can get to Lexus, Jag, and M-B in 40. For the LPS class, they didnt exist before a few months ago. How long has the 5 series been around? Thats hardly what I'd call comparable. Even though the RL wasnt really a LPS in its previous generation, it still has been around since the Legend days, and people did buy them. Nobody bought the failed first gen M45. For Infiniti to come from nowhere and beat BMW in sales, the 5 series would have to have a lot more problems than controversial styling and iDrive. The wheels would have to fall off, and the engines would have to explode.

    The M needs several generations on the market, and Infiniti needs a heck of a lot more prestige (a Q45 that isnt a flop would help matters a lot) before they can be considered on equal footing with BMW. Right now they are basically fighting with both hands tied behind their back.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Its not just the GS, there's basically nothing about the STS, RL, S-type, or E either. The Audi, BMW, and Infiniti have the most "P" of the LPS class, so therefore they are the most interesting to talk about.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Even that great Lexus apologist, Consumer Reports, recently reported on the disappointing handling of the 2006 GS.
    Just before the GS was released, the word of mouth coming out of Lexus was that the new GS was being aimed squarely at the 5 series.
    One such executive foolishly proclaimed it as a "5 killer."

    But if you lexi300 are happy with it, that's really all that matters.

    Everyone here can find negative reviews about their own particular favorite of LPS.

    Enjoy yours! :)
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    I just saw the new S Class on the road for the first time yesterday, and I gotta say that I find it to be really ugly. Obviously just my opinion, but the front end looks like a Caddie to me, and the rear looks like, umm, I don't even have a name for it. Doesn't even look remotely like a MB to me. But I guess people said that about the Bangle designs too. IMHO the 7 is much better looking.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    As much as we all like to pick on CR, they really do care about more than just reliability. Many of the cars they rank highest in terms of safety, performance and handling are not "recommended" cars.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I find the rears of the new ML and R classes to be rather ugly as well. I think the R is just an ugly car as a whole. The ML at least isnt too bad from the front.. better than the old one anyway. I really didnt like the looks of the original 745i, but the 750i isnt too bad looking. Its at least interesting, which is not something I'd say about the A8. The A8 is not necessarily unattractive, its just the usual "Audi, size L".
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    The Audi A8...it's like a boat :shades: "Audi, size XXL"
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Well, I was counting just A4, A6, and A8 as Audi size S, M, and L. Audi has smaller cars than the A4, but they dont have that single basic shape that the 4, 6, and 8 have.
  • drtraveldrtravel Posts: 395
    Everyone here can find negative reviews about their own particular favorite of LPS.

    What might interest people here are any negative comments or suggested improvements you have about BMW and not it's competitors. Concentrate on your area of expertise, i.e. your BMW.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I don't believe I have to ask you what folks here might be interested in.

    I've studied and driven the M35, M45, GS300 and GS430 in addition to BMW.
    So I plan on many more posts about the M and GS since I know quite a lot about them.
    The fact that the E60 is the ultimate driving machine in its class is not my fault, pal!
    Please don't take your petty frustrations out on me.
    Drive and buy an E60 for yourself. Should be the cure

    I am so thankful this holiday week for the exquisite E60 545 that Chris Bangle designed for me.

    PS: Can you dispute anything in my post about the GS?
  • jo2jo2 Posts: 41
    Dear Drtavel,

    After reading your review of the two cars - I am eager to hear what you have to report after having the car for a while now. I read your post, and from the sound of your analysis I am convinced that we think very similar.

    Do you ever get tired of the loud engine? Do you ever pull up next to a 530i and wish you had chosen the BMW? I know this sounds about as egotistical as it can be but "how are you treated when you valet your car at nice restaurant compared to BMW?"

    I am making a decision this week and after driving both only once, I am struggling still. I am going to drive both one more time, but time is running out since I have to turn over my lease in 2 weeks.

    Jo2
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    "Do you ever pull up to a 530i and wish you had chosen the BMW?"
    Goes directly to the heart of the matter.
    An excellent question! :)

    By the way, I am treated regally when I pull up to the Palm steakhouse in my 545.
    Need I say more? ;)
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    By the way, I am treated regally when I pull up to the Palm steakhouse in my 545.

    Pardon my ignorance, but is Palm Steakhouse the Candian version of Ponderosa?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I think you are misreading drtravel's intent. He's just echoing some things said here earlier about how the posts that genuinely critique - not just praise - the poster's own vehicle are often the most valuable and most informed.

    I don't think he meant any offense.
  • drtraveldrtravel Posts: 395
    Picked up my M35 on April 15 - got one of the first ones off the boat. Have driven it for 9K miles and have averaged about 19 MPG city/highway driving although sometimes SoCal Freeways feel like city driving.

    Within the first week of ownership I noticed a squeaking sound from the head liner and a pinging sound from the exhaust system during cool down. Fortunately I was accustomed to doing "battle" with the service guys from my BMW and M-B ownership days so I readily went down to my dealership. They called in the Infiniti Engineers who were eager to hear about any problems with the car. They came up with a fix and two TSBs. They said it was a flaw which only affected a small number of vehicles (lucky me) but all Ms produced after the TSB were tweaked, so none had these problems anymore. Not sure if I should classify this incident as a reliability problem or a design bug. All brand new designs have some issues. I was treated quite well by all parties involved including follow ups by many. Have had no other problems with the car.

    On my JD Power survey I gave the car an "average" rating for Road Noise. I attribute this to the notoriously noisy Goodyears. Someone at Infiniti Corporate read my survey and gave me call to set up a meeting with several engineers to discuss this. I took them for a test drive and then they added some "strategically placed" insulation to see if that helped. Not really - changing the tires is what I suggested. I did drop big hints but they didn't offer any new tires. They did however give me a $250 gift card for my time. My dealer also comped my 7.5K service so I guess I'm getting free maintenance? I'm very impressed with the company's dedication to this car - they actually care about what the customer wants. I have a feeling that future generations will be much improved.

    After the fix for the initial problems the car has been solid. There are a few minor design annoyances (i.e. no automatic self-locking doors, I wish I could permanently turn off the self-dimming rear view mirror) but these are trivial and no more than found on any other car. The road noise issue is tire related. Wind and engine noise are like my old BMW and M-B although my Lexus was extremely quiet. It's only noticeable on concrete road with grooves. I've grown accustomed to it plus I enjoy listening to my high quality stereo loud!

    So how does my first 7 months of ownership compare to that of my other LPS? My Lexus had no problems and although I have grown to appreciate the Ms interior even more I still thought the Lexus interior was the finest. Outstanding customer service. My BMW had more problems and for my actual driving I still rate both cars equal in their road manners. Average customer service. My M-B had alot more problems (it was also the first year of a new design) although their customer service was excellent. Now remember these are my actual experiences....yours will probably vary.

    Whenever I pull up next to a 5-series I never think that I should have chosen the BMW. Of course I have owned one before and I can see how for someone who has never owned a BMW before they might have a different take on the situation - don't get me started on that badge thing. What a valet thinks about my car is irrelevant to me. I expect to get treated well regardless of what type of car I drive.

    The owner of my dealership says Infiniti is ecstatic about their sales thus far. Corporate is expecting the car to increase in sales every year - just like the G did for it's first three years. How many luxury buyers even think about Infiniti?
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    jo2 specifically referred to the M's loud engine, not tire noise.
    I drove the M35 and M45 twice each and each time upon acceleration, the engine made a very loud noise. Like a race car.
    I, for one, would not be able to get used to that and I passed on the car(s).
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Whoever said VW luxury died with the Phaeton.

    Coming soon to a dealership near you, a VW coupe that will compete with the Benz CLS500!

    I am not kidding.

    http://www.autoweek.com/news.cms?newsId=103630
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    Apparently VW didn't learn their lesson....
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    I dont think VW will any lessons until they get rid of source of all their problems:

    VW Chairman Piech

    I am willing to wager that this coupe endeavor is one of his new self-destructive pet projects.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Pardon my bad anglish on the last post.

    Key complaint about the current VW Passat is that it is a bit pricey to the competition.

    So what does VW do? They will introduce a far more expensive Passat as a coupe version. :confuse:
  • sdiver68sdiver68 Posts: 119
    Hpowers,

    You are not the target market for the M. Generation X does not mind, even prefers, to hear the engine every now and again. It is a hallmark of Nissan's sport cars, NISMO, and now Infiniti to design a little bark in the exhaust note of their performance cars.
  • sdiver68sdiver68 Posts: 119
    Believe it or don't, a Bangle 5 series pulled into the parking lot at Target yesterday, a father and son got out and oogled my M45 Sport, then drove away. My neighbor with his '04 530i constantly bemoans his 225 HP when we compare car notes and almost acts embarrased when we pull out of the neighborhood together.

    I guess the question should be asked both ways....
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Well BMW listened and now the 2006 530i is a much more competitive vehicle.

    I also look when I see an M. Problem is I don't see too many.
    My E60 is also a rarity. Nobody around here seems to drive one.

    You are right. I am not the target person the Infiniti M is designed for.
    But I really do love powerful cars.
    When I enter the highway in my 545 and step on the gas to merge, the effect is quite intoxicating...
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