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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    I have the opportunity to get an '04 E500 "demo" car. It has over 8K miles on it. Sticker is $60,925. Only options I see are sunroof and sound system. The car has never been titled (still has the MSRP sticker on the window). The FULL warranty will kick in once purchased. Being that it's an '04, the free maintenance will come with it. Navigation and satellite radio are mandatory for me and this car doesn't have either one. The dealer says they can add both.

    The salesman claims I can get it for probably the upper $40K range. I told them to be prepared to "throw in" the nav and satellite radio (meaning for free) if they really want me to buy it.

    What would LPS buyers do? WWLPSBD! :P
  • We may have pushed this topic as it relates to LPS cars about to its limits, here.

    I think I can address one broad and one more narrow reason for the racing car questions.

    Broadly (and this is an assumption, I have not vetted it by digging into information that details all of the particulars), the cars you wondered about (in a racing situation) are constrained by the "rules of the game."

    In the more specific case of Nascar, I would assume (assume, not fact checked) that if there are no rules prohibiting the number of driven wheels, that there are rules stating the car at least has to be a derivative of a car that someone could actually buy. Indeed, it is my understanding that despite tons of decals, wild paint, etc, that Ford's try to be recognized as Ford's and Chevrolet's ditto -- the cars that are "raced" (and they win) on Sunday can be sold on Monday, i.e.

    Let's assume that there are no regulation prohibiting number of driven wheels -- it would seem to me that there may be rules/regs that the base street car has at least some resemblence (both in look and some DNA in what is unseen, that is) between what is on the track and street; and, if the Dodge or Ford or Chevy, etc are not AWD street cars they are not likely to be raced with AWD (again even if NASCAR permitted this.)

    The "winning ways" of AWD where there were no rules against it, then there were rules, then the rules were relaxed (rinse lather repeat) present a telling story.

    In other racing, however, AWD has proven to be so compelling that companies cried foul and labled AWD (quattro initially) as "The Unfair Advantage":

    In an effort to allow AWD but simultaneously in an attempt to make it NOT the so-called "unfair advantage" rules were changed that required the AWD car's to add what was essentially ballast (extra weight for the sake of extra weight.)

    In some instances, virtually NO MATTER WHAT was done in this regard, AWD remained in the win, show, place category, more often than not "win."

    The reasons for this are almost (read the word "not quite") like the argument for AWB (all-wheel-brakes) and fully independant suspensions and so on.

    Unconstrained by drive train "rules" pertaining to the number of driven wheels, there is about 25 years worth of "racing news" you can "google" or "dogpile" that demonstrates AWD vehicles almost total dominance.

    Pike's Peak, too, is another area where AWD proved its point. Subaru can be also pointed to as another success story for AWD's prowess on the road and track.

    In an effort, an on going effort, to determine at least some data points, I have asked our local Infiniti dealer to quantify the M's sales. I don't know if he didn't want to share any numbers or percentages with me, but yesterday (approaching year two of the new M's) the dealer told me that the "majority" of M's sold are M35X's and that the "X" model remains his highest inventoried version.

    Unlike the BMW dealer who actually said "40%" of the 5's since July '05 are AWD, I have no other numbers.

    It would be a bit of a fib to also add that 100% of the Acura RL's and Audi A6's were sold w/AWD since they ONLY are offered w/AWD(or were in 2005 and in Audi's case remain the de facto standard in 2006 despite the Front Track A6 coming to the US.)

    Not that mfg's don't pull some boneheaded plays, but the observations, anecdotes and statistics do underscore if nothing else the popularity of AWD. The racing lore of the past decade or two only strengthens the performance case (which was almost unknown to some heretofore -- pre 2005 for instance.)

    A fruit used to be thought of one way, then "It's not just for breakfast anymore" became the tag line -- now it it something like "AWD, it's not just for winter anymore."

    BMW does a nice job of playing up the safety aspects of AWD and SH-AWD from Acura is being shown as a handling innovation not just a "get me over the river and through the woods" kind of technology.

    I assume there are places this can be discussed at length and I know there are places where information abounds pertaining to the primacy of AWD for control, performance, safety and fun.

    Hope this whets your appitite -- perhaps makes you curious and if the final outcome is your conversion (or not) that will be hunky dory too!

    :shades:
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,438
    interesting.

    how many miles on this E500?

    Certainly a sweet car.

    Edmunds says a Certified Pre-owned with 20k miles should run you around $44k. But, trade-in is less than $37k. Since Edmunds is typically high, off the top of my head, I would guess this is a $39k car retail. You MAY prefer one that has not been titled, like you are looking at, but how much is that really worth? In my opinion, nothing. The next owner you try to sell it to won't care if you bought it pre-owned or demo, that's for sure, and it won't change the value of the car.

    oh, and as far as adding Nav, I'd double-check that the salesman isn't blowing smoke. I have yet to hear of a vehicle where adding factory nav after the fact was a feasible option. Its just tied into too many systems. There may be exceptions out there, I don't know. Maybe all Benzes are prewired for the factory nav.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    Thanks, qbrozen. The car has a bit over 8K miles. The fact that it has never been titled is, sadly, of little consolation to me. It was a demo and has over 8K miles. That's still USED in my book. :cry: Plus it's about to be 3 model years old with a new model right around the corner.

    I'm sure nav can be added. I added factory nav to my 300M Special. It was no big deal at all. It was a plug-n-play swap. Just needed to install the GPS antenna under a dash panel which, literally, was a snap. No tools required for that part. Actually the only tool required for the entire install was a Phillips head screwdriver. Now, when I added factory satellite radio, I had to drill a hole in my roof! Talk about nerve racking!

    Anyway, it sounds like a good deal, but it's missing a lot of features that I would like to have, i.e. Keyless Go, ventilated seats, nav, satellite radio, HID headlights, etc. Now that I think about it, the only requirements that it meets is that it is V8 and RWD (and a luxury car). :( I'm just wondering if I'd be crazy to pass on the chance to have a "new" E500 for $40Ks. :confuse:

    More opinions are certainly welcome, guys.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,438
    he did say high-40s, right?
    So I'd say that's at least $5-$7k too high compared to a certified pre-owned.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    Actually, he only said "the 40s." I'm assuming he meant the high 40s. And everybody knows what happens when you assume. ;)
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The relationship of the Ford Taurus (now Fusion) Nascar to the one in showrooms goes as far as the painted on headlights and grill, thats it. These are carbureted, V8 powered RWD race cars. The win on Sunday, sell on Monday thing really doesnt apply at all. It certainly isnt like the racing versions of Porsche 911s and BMW M3s, or the rally versions of Subies and Mitsus, where you really can buy something pretty close to the race car in the showroom. Does anyone even care at this point which manufacturer wins a Nascar race?

    I really dont think that AWD would particularly benefit Nascar's brand of parking lot "racing". In any type of rally racing though, show up with AWD, or go home.

    What would be very interesting to see, is Audi build a car like the Lotus Exige, but with Quattro in it, just to really show what their AWD system can do.
  • I hate to interupt the AWD/Bond discussions, but I have a question. I am looking at the M35 and RL. Anyone have a source or comment on the quality/reliability of Acura v. Infiniti? I'm not interested in a Euro sedan and I already have a Lexus.

    Len
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,438
    ah, ok.
    well, let me know how you make out.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    Honestly, I would say that the "dealer demo" tag is probably a lie. Dealers always call used cars with very low miles on them dealer demos. I traded in a 330xi with 13K on it, and I'd be willing to bet they sold it as a dealer demo. Although, maybe the sticker on the window means it really is a demo car. Can you look up the car on carfax.com? For some reason they feel that this makes a used car less "used" sounding. Bottom line is, whether it was driven by an individual, several individuals on test drives or a salesman at the dealership for those 8K miles, it's still just used as you said. It is probably even worse if it's a dealer demo actually because if it belonged to an individual it would probably be more likely to be in better shape than a car that many people have driven. Anyway, still sounds like a good deal for a used car regardless of how they label it. The fact that the warranty still has all of it's original time on it is great. If they throw in SAT and NAV it would be really good.
  • I don't know anything about quality comparison between Acura and Infiniti. However, I sat in an M35 this week at the Washington Auto Show. I thought the positioning of all the controls, AC, etc., was the worst I'd ever seen in a car. They were up on the dash and almost horizontal. They were hard to see or read. Just my immediate reaction. I would have thought part of it might have been my RL bias, but a coworker was with me and he disliked it even more than I did.

    Those of you who own M35s, do you get used to the positioning or is it actually as bad as it appeared to me?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    So far, the M35 has done much better than the RL in terms of IQ. The RL isnt bad, but the '05s have had electrical teething problems (and I've heard some scattered reports of more serious SH-AWD based mechanical issues).

    In contrast, the M35 scores aces across the board. It has CR's highest rating for predicted reliability (RL scores just average in that area) and is their top overall rated luxury sedan. In terms of interior space and comfort, power, and handling, it trouces the RL. As for the controls on the dash, I'll leave that one up to you.
  • Thanks for the info. I don't remember much about the layout of the dash on the M35. I just remember that I left with a feeling of too much orange. But, I only looked at the car on the floor because it started raining and neither the salesman nor I wanted to wander through the lot.

    I do like the blue in the RL instruments better than the M's orange, but my first conern in initial and LT quality.

    Len
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    It would be nice if Infiniti offered adjustable gauge colors like the Mustang. Their use of orange is definitely not my favorite.
  • I have been reading the M35 Owners/Problems forum. There are some irrate people over there! Given their problems, the RL problems, and the bad feelings toward MB and BMW, I'm at a loss which way to go.

    I think I should be interviewing the service managers at the Infiniti and Acura dealers instead of the salesmen.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "...and the bad feelings toward MB and BMW, I'm at a loss which way to go."

    Whose bad feelings? Yours or somebody else's?

    If nothing else, your local dealership (and the cars that they sell) should be evaluated in the very least.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • "...and the bad feelings toward MB and BMW, I'm at a loss which way to go."

    Bad feelings by ex-owners. I have never owned either. My Lexus is my first venture in the $30K+ land.

    I wonder if there is a company (Acura or Infiniti) or independent site that rates dealerships and service departments.

    I will definitely lease the next car. At least 36 months and I'm out. Or, I can buy if the car is OK.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Bad feelings by ex-owners."

    Hmmm, I think that if you were to spend some time in the 5-Series and 3-Series discussions you'd hear a much different tune. I've had two different BMWs (a 328i and a 530i, picked up in Munich no less) and for both I had nothing but exemplary service from the three different dealerships that I worked with (two selling dealers as well as a new dealer after I moved to another state). In the seven years that I had the cars, I was only required to visit the dealership once beyond the normal scheduled maintenance, and that trip was for a software upgrade.

    The sad truth of the matter is that many folks love to talk trash about German cars in general and BMWs in particular, however, the vast majority of the folks that I know and/or communicate with are very happy with their decision to drive a BMW.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • Warthog. AWD would lose to much power in the racing styles you listed. Due to the fact HP ratings are lower at the rear wheels then at the crank shaft because you lose power to friction ect. With AWD you would lose more. But these styles are on perfect surfaces. Since most of us drive on all kinds of roads (I camp and go off road alot, why I bought an outback) AWD is better handling because you may lose traction on one corner or end of the vehicle and AWD will compensate. AWD has its place, depending where you drive. I really don't need in SoCal except a few times a year I go to the mountains.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I noticed all the irate postings by owners of the Infiniti M on their thread and said, 'what's up with that?' only to be shot down.

    There was one poster right here who vented quite a bit about his M lemon.
    See post # 5946.

    I wouldn't give too much credence to current CR reliability ratings of the M as they are always several years behind reality using their statisticaly flawed formula, and there could be possible overlap in their ratings.
    I wouldn't be surprised if future CR reliability ratings begin reflecting the negative anecdotal reports I have been reading concerning the M.

    Personally I would stay away from the M even though it is a fun car to drive.

    I found the Lexus GS300 satisfying to drive and reliability has been fine.

    At last count, there have been 321 posters on the Infiniti M "Problems & Solutions" thread vs. only 69 for the Lexus GS "Problems & Solutions" thread.
    Speaks volumes.
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    The funny thing about online message boards and forums is that they specifically attract those people that have had problems. They are hardly representative of all owners. They simply provide their own personal anecdotal "evidence" of problems with their cars.

    Unfortunately, there aren't enough happy people that actually post their feelings online. Most of those people are quite content to just drive and drive and not spend their time online looking for places to complain.

    I guess my point is to take any online reviews (for anything: cars, games, TVs, shoes, etc) with a grain of salt. Realize that many of the people reviewing are often times only inspired to write because they had a negative experience.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Dont give up on a car because of a couple of angry owners on a car forum. 90 people gave the M35 an average score of 9.3 out of 10 in the consumer review section. Additionally, in JD power IQ scores, Acura was thoroughly beaten by Infiniti in both 2004 and 2005.

    The M35 scored just as well as the Lexus GS300 in CR's '05 scores. The '05 RL scores were not even close. The RL is rated "fair" in the electrical category, and "poor" in power equipment, meaning as much as 20% of '05 RL owners reported electrical problems in their surveys. The M and GS did perfectly across the board.

    If you are worried about European reliability, dont get an RL. Its scores were no better than those of the BMW 5 and Audi A6.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Question: Which is more reliable a Infiniti M or Acura RL?

    Answer: Inconclusive

    To make a reliability conclusion on two models that were just introduced in 05 seems a bit premature. A few years of future RL and M data will provide the answer you are seeking.

    I apologize if that is not the answer you seeked.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Based on the manufacturers' histories, I'd say both will be realiable vehicles. But if I had to make a gut reaction, I'd probably lean towards the Acura/Honda vs the Infiniti/Nissan.

    -Paul
  • warthogwarthog Posts: 216
    That's my point exactly. I questioned why AWD makes sense for sedans on normal roads (not an offroad Outback, such as your vehicle) except in winter climates. It's just too much weight, friction, complication and added cost for no benefit that's apparent to me, Markcincinnati's insistence notwithstanding. I realize mark alludes to a multitude of articles claiming a performance advantage, but I want someone to explain to me how that happens.

    Seems to me that as different as racing is from everyday driving, it's still more like everyday than offroading is.
  • liferulesliferules Posts: 531
    What is the movie's name with the AMC cars in it?

    Wayne's World, Cobra (Sly Stallone), and that Oscar contender, Good Burger (it was called the burgermobile)!
  • ct1211ct1211 Posts: 56
    For what it is worth. I was driving a 2004 325i and was giving that car to the wife with the intention of going into a new 530i. After driving the car and then by accident an Infiniti M35X I was shocked!! Then M35 had more room a much richer interior all the handling and much more power than the new 5 series. I have had my M35 since May 05 and I have had 0 problems. As for the problem forums I seriously question if some of those people even own the cars. But to each his own. I never thought I would ever drive anything but a BMW but I feel out of love with the new stark interior and lack of power of the 5er.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Both of Acura's most recent introductions, the TL in '04 and RL in '05, were plagued with initial problems. Infiniti hasnt run into those kinds of IQ problems. The only recent Infiniti with any kind of major issues is the QX56, which is basically a rebadge of the Armada. Nissan isnt the greatest when it comes to build quality, but Infiniti ranks up there with the best.

    If it were me choosing between the RL or an M35x, my gut would point me towards the Infiniti, no question about it. Nissan has been working with ATTESA-ETS for more than 10 years. The RL, on the other hand, is SH-AWD's first time at bat. Its an extremely complex system, and Ive heard some reports of car disabling mechanical issues related to it.
  • liferulesliferules Posts: 531
    I have personally never heard of these plagues of issues with Acura. Nor have I seen anything on the RL or TL boards which I have been following closely for the last one and a half years. Other than the rare person who gets a lemon, they are doing well. I have seen no well documented reports about any mechanical problems with SH-AWD, just rare individuals with problems, just like on the Infiniti board.

    Acura, IMO, is one of the more reliable brands, along with Lexus. It is Infiniti that has had a mixed past, with only the newer cars (the G and M) being reliable in the early reviews...IMO
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Actually, the Q, I, J, and G20 were all very reliable cars. Acura, on the other hand, had five years of TLs and CLs that had transmission failures. (99-03 5-speed automatic). Its a documented issue, Acura had to recall them all. Infiniti never had that problem.

    This thread http://www.acuraworld.com/forums/showthread.php?s=66fdad34afddb83090931a72378748- - - a1&t=49577

    Is specifically about SH-AWD lockups\failures. I havent heard anything about that kind of thing on G35\M35xs.
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