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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Renault tries to take over Jaguar. Ford says no!

    Why buy Jag when Renault-Nissan has not even begun introducing Infinitis to Europe? IMO the performance/handling attributes of Infinitis are far more suitable for European tastes than Lexuses.

    link title
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Simply for the big name and what it represents. What does Infiniti, or Acura, mean to Europeans? Nothing. Lexus barely has its toes in the water in Europe. Infiniti and Acura havent even taken their shoes off.
  • bartalk3bartalk3 Posts: 692
    Many years ago I owned a Renault Dauphine. It had about 35hp and could barely get up hills in any gear. It was the little engine that couldn't, but while trying, the rubber hose to the carbureter would pop out, spraying fuel all over the engine compartment. It should have come with fire extinguisher standard.
  • jimbresjimbres Posts: 2,025
    While driving at night in a rural area over 20 years ago, I crested a hill & encountered a Renault Le Car, parked by the side of the road & burning brightly. The owner was standing nearby.

    I asked him if he needed any help. "No thanks", he said. "I'm OK & I rescued my favorite tapes. Everything's fine."

    He seemed oddly happy.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    It should have come with fire extinguisher standard.

    a Renault Le Car, parked by the side of the road & burning brightly. The owner was standing nearby.
    I asked him if he needed any help. "No thanks", he said. "I'm OK & I rescued my favorite tapes. Everything's fine."


    That explains everything.
    Now I know why there were so many burning cars in the subrubs of Paris ;)
  • vchiuvchiu Posts: 565
    I put a link sometime ago for an UK test report of the French Citroen C6 on another thread:
    http://212.227.48.10/downloads/testberichte/en1118397377autocar_05_2005.pdf

    But it did not attract any good comment.

    The problem with this car is that it is quite heavy and its 200 HP V6 is pretty strained. The Euromix mileage are comparable to that of a BMW 750i, so it is not a fuel saving car.
    It sells for about 60K USD in Europe so it would not be a success in the US

    I like the look, but this car is priced too expensive and lacks a 250+ HP engine.
  • vchiuvchiu Posts: 565
    Seems a fair alternative to the M5

    Is it sold on the US market?

    http://212.227.48.10/downloads/testberichte/en1105370122AUTOCAR_0804.pdf

    "if you're contemplating buying a super-saloon next year, it's imperative you try a B5"
    This seems to be an understatement
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    The problem with this car is that it is quite heavy and its 200 HP V6 is pretty strained. The Euromix mileage are comparable to that of a BMW 750i, so it is not a fuel saving car.
    It sells for about 60K USD in Europe so it would not be a success in the US


    The Citroen C6 would be a disaster in North America. Overpirced underpowered gas-consuming cars have no place here.

    I will clarify my prior statement about liking French cars:

    I like French styling and and the same time hate their engineering!

    The BMW Alpina B5 in North America? Maybe it will be a hit, but personally I would rather own a BMW 550i with a stick than a auto B5.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hmmm, interesting car...

    A couple of thoughts:
    1) No manual transmission... Damn shame that.
    2) No LSD, maybe an option later. Geez, I found myself wishing for an LSD unit on my lowly 530i SP. How could Alpina miss that one?

    Those two reservations aside, nice car.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • Very few of us who participate here, I’d wager, actually spend any significant track time behind the wheel of our very own $50,000 cars. It is probably also reasonable to assume that we rarely spend any time driving anyone’s car “at the track.”

    My wife and I have been members of the “quattro club” and have been to gatherings (in the US) but never driven any car on a closed track at one of these events. We have, at our own expense, been through Audi’s driver's school in Seefeld, Austria four times and at these events we drove Audi's then current A4 manual transmission quattro's equipped with the most powerful engine du jour and a sport suspension on a closed course.

    Twice we have been to all day Porsche Driving Experience events as “secret” guests of our Audi dealer. Last year we also participated in a Car & Driver event where we evaluated a pair of Cadillac’s against a BMW and a Lexus also on a closed course.

    With the reach of the Internet, it is likely that some folks who participate or simply read anonymously our ramblings have also participated in some fashion in some event(s); but, I would be quite surprised to learn that many folks actually buy one of these Premium Sports Sedans and “run it at the limit” on a track or other closed course in a supervised and sanctioned event – even rarely.

    Where I am taking this is in a direction that many of you long time participants will know me well for: 2WD has, or is, as of 2005, entering a new phase, “The Beginning of the End.”

    Now, I do not think the end will come quickly; and, in fact, I don’t think the end will literally be complete and total anytime soon, if ever. What I suspect will happen is that 2WD will become a “novelty” or an attribute of “economy” vehicles.

    I am sure to “arouse the hackles” of folks here for saying this, I know – but save for “pure” sports cars and el cheapo cars (the first round of Chinese cars, spring to mind), 2WD’s best days are behind it. Broadly, I think this applies to its use for performance, safety, fun and yes, pragmatism. 2WD is – with the possible exception of “on the track or closed course” – not the highest performance, safest, most fun or even terribly practical, beyond its cost factor. There are numerous public domain arguments demonstrating AWD’s “winning ways,” i.e.

    Here in the US, I would imagine that a BMW sedan (no offense to X3 & X5 owners) that can be equipped with X-drive, a proper Sport Package and more than 6 cylinders will be “the bellwether” of AWD’s preeminence over 2WD – even though as a long time Audi aficionado and maven it somewhat galls me to suggest this.

    Yet – when BMW joins Audi and Mercedes in offering a sedan with 8 (or more) cylinders and AWD – 2WD will, shortly thereafter, become the "sold" or "special" order LPS car and ultimately AWD will be the je ne sais quoi for inclusion in, first, the Premium Class, followed shortly by the near-Premium Class and so on downstream.

    Moreover, these remarks should not be perceived as being limited to German cars only. Indeed, the constant Asian incrementalism we have seen since that first Lexus came to US shores will continue unabated, and then some – it would seem to me – meaning the Japanese (and ultimately Korean and perhaps even Chinese) LPS manufacturers will simply accelerate their adoption of AWD until it becomes virtually ubiquitous.

    Despite my enthusiasm and certainty with regard to AWD’s future in the LPS class – going so far as to perhaps ultimately help define the Premium Class, I do not actually predict the literal demise of FWD and RWD as drive trains, simply their relegation to special applications, making a contribution to low cost production vehicles and perhaps even an association with nostalgia for “a certain era.”

    Now to those of you who do delight (as do I) in these yin and yang discussions and who will counter with “2WD (usually RWD) is superior for performance and fun,” I do understand and partially agree with the sentiment. But most of that agreement would be past tense, i.e., historical agreement rather than as a current (and apparently future) event.

    Yet, I will concede there have been and probably always will be exceptions to rules or absolutes pertaining to just about everything. I so stipulate I am not suggesting there is no wiggle room; nor, am I suggesting these exceptions are or will be anomalies, folk lore and/or the improbable (Pope Joan, the only woman Pope in history, is not how I would classify the examples that will doubtless be introduced to weaken my argument.) In fact, I assume the arguments will be cogent and thoughtful.

    Earlier I suggested there are, “in the public domain,” arguments supporting the notion that AWD isn’t a second class citizen even when it is employed on the track or other controlled access circumstances, including races. Indeed, despite BMW’s reputation it has on many occasions seen the posteriors of its AWD competitors.

    Subaru, not always a name that leaps to the top of the list when one discusses racing, too, has found itself often leading its 2WD rivals “eating its rubber,” as it “burned some dust,” with thanks to Chevy Chase.

    Time after time, when companies are not prevented from entering AWD vehicles or not required to hobble their cars in any way, the AWD vehicles dominate. In the not too distant past, 95% of touring car titles were won by AWD vehicles. Often the top two spots were Audi and BMW.

    Considering Audi’s cars could be heavier due to their AWD drive trains; and, despite Audis – almost from the beginning of time – nose heaviness, it is a tribute to the primacy of AWD that they won season after season, sometimes as often as 19 of 20 events.

    Pointing to the win, show and place records of AWD vehicles over the past 10+ years (and even further back and of course getting in the way back machine and going to Pike’s Peak) will, I can almost be certain, proselytize few if any “non-believers.” Yet, the erosion of RWD both in racing and retail continues. Meanwhile AWD, I would argue, quietly is becoming the de facto attribute to be seriously considered a player in the Luxury, Premium, Performance and "Practical" class cars.

    “Porsche uses AWD on some Carrera models to enhance performance and traction. And, Subaru has won several world rally championships with all wheel drive.”

    - part two, with feeling, follows :shades:
  • Trickle Down?

    If Ford Motor Company wants to rapidly reverse its fortunes, it could do much worse than offer AWD as an option across its entire line. It should not interpret the post-Katrina slow down of SUV sales wrongly – as it appears to be doing somewhat. The attribute that made SUV’s attractive was only minimally their off-road capabilities. Instead, as the LPS manufacturers have learned, the customer wants AWD first for its “go anytime” (with respect to the weather) ccapabilities but then for the performance, safety and fun factors – perhaps you will agree (perhaps not) AWD is becoming the price of entry into the LPS segment.

    It’s about damn time!

    :shades:
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "Considering Audi’s cars could be heavier due to their AWD drive trains; and, despite Audis – almost from the beginning of time – nose heaviness, it is a tribute to the primacy of AWD that they won season after season, sometimes as often as 19 of 20 events."

    If Audi wants to elimate that problem once and for all, they simply have to stop making FWD cars. As long as they continue to adapt FWD architecture for Quattro, the cars will be nose heavy. Not as bad as cars like the 61\39 Acura TL, but not great. They need to design their new platforms for AWD from the ground up, and then they can achieve the ideal weight balance.
  • Yet when a majority (of one -- me) questioned why, they went ahead and spent money, resources, engineering prowess, "co-oping", whatever to bring a 40/60 biased TorSen system to market. Probably NOT a total waste but again a majority (of one) wonders why RWD biasing of the quattro system would be nearly as relevant as improving the F/R weight balance.

    The fact that they (Audi quattros) were kicking butt and taking names, often BMW's names, with the engine ahead of the front axle, simply makes me wonder how far along they would be if they had worked years ago on balance.

    But then I read yet another "best ever year" article about Audi's 2005 (IN GERMANY no less), and I must conclude they are making huge strides, great progress as this best ever is the 10th in a row.

    Possibly the "desirability" of balance resides in OUR little group here on edmund's.

    When you're able to outdo your own best again and again and get lots of positive press -- some at the expense of your German rivals, well perhaps you feel you must be doing something right.

    Imagine what a 49 51 or 51 49 Audi quattro would do, performance wise. It, on the surface anyway, would appear to be able to crush the competition (from a performance perspective, at least.)

    My belief that AWD will soon be the price of entry, remains, regardless.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,312
    the matter is that the way most vehicles are driven most of the time most of the year by most people, one-wheel drive would work. Pick the corner of your choice.

    Some of us fit into the smaller percentages, which is why the market supports LPS (or wanna-be LPS) vehicles. Few are driven anywhere near their capabilities, ever, for which I suppose we should all be thankful.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I agree, I think that within maybe a decade, cars $30K and above will all be AWD, or at least have optional AWD. There really isnt a good reason for most luxury cars to be RWD, especially full-size, softly sprung cars like the LS and Q45.
  • warthogwarthog Posts: 216
    And what good reason is there for any sedan to be AWD in a warm climate? There's no benefit apparent to me, with the disadvantage of extra weight and potential for repairs.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Here is a new BMW 5 series feature that will be available this March:

    BMW Night Vision Becomes Available in the U.S.

    Munich. BMW Night Vision, the innovative driver assistance system, will be available from March 2006 in the 5 Series Sedan, 5 Series Sports Wagon as well as the 6 Series Coupe and Convertible.

    Infra-red technology incorporating a thermal imaging camera for extra safety in the dark. Driver support and active partner protection in one.
    BMW Night Vision provides a new dimension of optical perception when driving at night. A thermal imaging camera detects human beings, animals and objects in front of the car before they become visible to the human eye in the headlights. The image generated by the system is transmitted to the central Control Display within the car presenting objects detected with increasing brightness as a function of the heat detected by the camera – and therefore making human beings and animals particularly conspicuous.

    The thermal imaging camera covers a range of up to 300 meters or almost 1,000 feet ahead of the car. BMW Night Vision offers the customer particular benefits when driving over land, down narrow lanes, through gateways leading into courtyards, and into dark underground garages, significantly enhancing driving safety at night.

    BMW opts for Far Infra-Red technology (FIR). Thermal imaging camera for enhanced detection of human beings and animals.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Warm areas of the country still have rain, last time I checked. AWD has a huge advantage over RWD in any foul weather condition, not just snow.
  • You raise a not unreasonable point/question.

    And, not to simply answer a question with a question, I wonder out loud why there are so many 4WD/AWD vehicles sold in Dallas, Las Vegas, SoCal and apparently all over Atlanta and Miami and other areas as they say south of the Mason Dixon line?

    Some of the most HUGE and most lavish Audi and Porsche dealerships are in Dallas and Miami and many of the Porsches on the showroom floor at any one time are AWD variants (and I am not just including Cayennes.)

    Now, what I certainly lack are statistics that would suggest the number of Audis that are sold in these winterless zones and the number that are AWD (although this year all A6's were quattros and all S versions are quattros.)

    All Acura RL's are AWD, as are all Volvo S60 type R's, and the number of cars that ONLY come as AWD (Subaru, e.g.) seems to be, if anything, on a tear.

    What I can suggest is only personal, AWD, for me, is not of value first and foremost in/on rain, sleet, snow and ice covered highways -- although it IS very helpful under such circumstances. I believe evidence abounds that AWD is at least a significant minority "performance" attribute not just a traction on slick surfaces attribute any more.

    I have never had an issue relating to repairs that was AWD related -- and this after a couple dozen such cars.

    One of the folks I work with has an Olds Bravada as his beater -- it too has AWD and has never had any drive train issues.

    The danger for all of us is to project our personal experiences to the broader population of owners -- we may be representative or not of the larger population, that is.

    When I stated my BMW dealer -- who claims to sell the most in the state of Ohio (a letter from BMW says so!) therefore is the largest BMW dealer in the state -- is currently selling 40% of the 5 series cars he sell as AWD and that this is inventory constrained, well, it is better than "just my circle of friends, etc." but it still may not be an accurate reflection of BMW of America's experiences.

    With no desire to be argumentative, impolite or impudent, I would suggest that there may be a benefit to you if you had an AWD car -- and that it is simply a matter of experience with AWD LPS cars (for instance.)

    You well may remain unconvinced that "AWD isn't just for cold climates," and that would be fine with me.

    You may find your opinion is not immutable, on the other hand.

    I am happy to mount an effort to change your opinion, but don't want to start an argument.

    I am a true believer ("do ya think?") that AWD is the best for performance, safety and fun -- and I have recently found updated information about the minimal impact of AWD systems on economy in combined driving cycles and the advantage of AWD in a highway economy cycle (that is, where average speeds remain above 40mph, due to the reduction of the drag caused by unpowered wheels.)

    My belief that 2WD will be the "economy" choice within this or the next decade also is steadfast (as described in "The Price of Entry".)

    Signing off believing AWD will help define what is considered an LP car, sooner rather than later.

    :shades:
  • moxiemoxie Posts: 33
    I'm afraid Bond wouldn't be seen dead :sick: in any of the sedans discussed on this particular board ! They're simply not his style or exotic enough for his taste! :)
  • In the Living Daylights, Bond's "getaway" car during the bit where he smuggles a presumed defecting spy from "Russia" to the west, is an Audi 200 quattro (this was, in 1987 when the movie was fresh, as I recall, the top of the Audi line, the forefather of the S6.)

    Later when Bond is "under cover" his car is an Audi Avant quattro.

    Of course one of the most memorable Bond machines ever was a BMW 750 (Tomorrow Never Dies?) that talked to Bond as he drove the car, sometimes crouched down in the back seat controlling the car with his improbable phone.

    In Golden Eye Bond drove what was, at the time, a pretty wimpy BMW Z4 (borrowed from his CIA buddy, correct?)

    Get in the Wayback Machine and recall when American Motors cars were featured and a particularly cool jump and twirl off of a bridge were featured -- I think that one was The Man with the Golden Gun.

    Bond drove a Z8, too, one that was buzz sawed in half lengthwise -- can't remember that movies title.

    So, yes he does not typically drive our LPS cars, but in at least a couple of instances he has driven their grandparents.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 31,168
    Isn't that a Z3 in Goldeneye?

    MODERATOR
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  • Picky picky picky -- I think you are correct, thanks!

    What is the movie's name with the AMC cars in it?

    I may have to google this if someone doesn't tell me.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 31,168
    Dag!!.. Yeah.. they have Matadors... shoot.. can't remember.. Roger Moore, though, right?

    MODERATOR
    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    In the Ian Fleming books, James drove a 1933 Bentley Mark IV convertible.

    As for the movies, without a doubt, no car is more memorable than the legendary Aston Martin DB5. Other notable Astons were some special racing editons such as the DB MKIII, and DBS. More recently there was a V8 Vantage Volante in The Living Daylights, and of course the V12 Vanquish in the most recent film.

    Bond movies also featured a few classic Mustangs, Lotus Espirt Turbos, plenty of Rolls Royces, a Citroën 2CV, the Audi 200 Quatrro and 100 Avant you mentioned, a Mercedes 250SE, and the only Toyota 2000GT convertible ever built.

    The AMC Hornet and Matador were both in The Man With the Golden Gun.

    In the John Gardner Bond novels, he drives rather pedestrian Saab 900 and 9000CD Turbos.
  • s54s54 Posts: 29
    Has anyone had any experience dealing with Infiniti Corporate or Consumer Affairs? If so, I would appreciate any comments on the following:

    Since purchasing my car in July I have had it in to the dealer seven times to fix things such as two broken seat belt adjusters, door panel replacement and DVD/Moonroof/back seat/dashboard rattles. Except for the dashboard, they have not fixed the other rattles in four tries.

    Perhaps I should have contacted Consumer Affairs sooner, but they are now involved and want to have a "technician" come and look at it.

    This is my fourth Infiniti, dating back to 1993, and we have had no issues so I am at a loss as to what to do. I have had the car into the shop for a total of 14 days and I just want out.

    Thanks in advance. If anyone has direct contact info for Infiniti execs pls advise, as they may want to hear about a soon-to-be-former loyal customer having to take a car in eight times for repair.

    Jim
  • himikohimiko Posts: 1
    The idle on my 1988 260 E Mercedes Benz bounces up and down (between 650 and 1500) for no apparent reason. My mechanic has been looking at the problem for 2 weeks and can't solve it. He has replaced an air flow valve and the main computer, but to no avail. Anyone familiar with this problem please help.
  • warthogwarthog Posts: 216
    Mark: Thanks for the response. However, I still don't understand how AWD is helpful other than in slick conditions (and that would NOT include mere rain, as wet acceleration traction is rarely an issue--the problem is braking and we all have all wheel braking). If AWD truly improves performance in general, why do FI/Indy/Nascar/etc. cars not have it?
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Bond drove a BMW Z8 in The World is Not Enough as he drove through the oil fields and as he visited his Russian 'friend' at the caviar plant.

    :)

    -Paul
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