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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • You're forgetting that the Infiniti M35 comes with standard voice recognition which with the touch of one finger on the steering wheel allows you to simply speak the temperature and HVAC changes you'd like to make.The dash controls are more for the passenger to play with. Voice recognition also changes radio stations,cellular phone system, 6 disc in-dash cd changer, Navigation(even as you drive)and DVD audio/video if so equipped.
  • You're forgetting that the Infiniti M35 comes with standard voice recognition which with the touch of one finger on the steering wheel allows you to simply speak the temperature and HVAC changes you'd like to make.

    So does the RL, but the controls are still within easy reach and easy to see. Voice recognition will never replace the actual control buttons for many people and, thus, they should never be hard for the driver to reach.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Happy 300 pages, LPS crew. We're also very close to post number 6000
  • drtraveldrtravel Posts: 395
    Suppose that for the average LPS 5 out of every 100 will have some quality issue. The more reliable Brand A will only have 2 out of 100 while the less reliable Brand B will have 10 out of 100. So if you happen to own Brand B there's a 90% chance that you will have a car with no problems - so in all likelihood owners of Brand B will have no problems and not understand why their car is labeled with low quality status even though when compared to other LPS's it is the truth. In fact if you owned two Brand B cars there's still a 81% chance that you will not have problems with either - meaning a majority of buyers will be happy.

    Now a Brand A owner is not expecting any problems (after all look at it's quality ratings) but no car company is perfect so you happen to buy one of the bad two. Given your quality expectations, you are not happy and feel obligated to vent your frustration (as many times as possible!) on various internet forums making it appear that Brand A is actually less reliable than it is. And naturally every Brand B owner will quickly use your post to "prove" that Brand B actually has higher quality than Brand A when it really doesn't. Funny how over time the number of people complaining about their poor quality Brand B cars diminish - maybe they are more accepting of problems that Brand A owners??

    Of course the many quality "experts" on this board often dismiss the quality ratings derived and published by the nationally known firms. Never mind that these firms employ the best statistical analysis and mathematical minds in deriving their quality predictions. Us forum members know better. After all whose reputation carries more weight - forum experts or these (how do they say in business?) companies?
  • drtraveldrtravel Posts: 395
    One must approach forum posters with a grain of salt. Many have brand-biases and other hidden agendas (just kidding?!). Just lurk for awhile and they should become abundantly clear. If you check out the brand-specific forums on other web sites (sorry Edmunds) it's..... well even worse.

    I appreciate posters who criticize and make suggestions about the brand they own while also praising the competing brands. How much valuable information can really be derived from those who always praise their brand and criticize the competition? Also appreciated are those who help others solve problems and provide useful factual information, i.e. money factors, production schedules, etc.

    And let's not forget that we forums members really are not representative of the majority of LPS owners. A good question to ask - why is the poster even posting in this forum? I post because..... oops, sorry I have to go prepare dinner.
  • liferulesliferules Posts: 531
    Yeah, I had read about that several months ago, where they were apparently shipping some of the RL's with low fluid levels and the dealerships weren't checking levels before delivery... not what I would consider a flaw with the RL or a reliability issue...
  • Wow, only 15 posts to go to get to 6000 and now the whole concept of forums is questioned :cry: ;)
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 2,602
    I don't think the forums themselves are being questioned. Rather it is the age-old adage (paraphrase?), "Don't believe everything you read..."

    Unless, of course, it's in the Enquirer or Star!

    '13 Jaguar XF, '11 BMW 535xi, '02 Lexus RX300

  • The “volumes spoken” are probably more from a certain perspective than from anything else.

    The 321 vs. 69 posters in “Problems & Solutions” (P&S) may be due to the number of cars sold in a given period, or time available in the market. Acura’s LPS (example, “in the spirit” of numbers) may have sold 18,000 cars in 2005, Mercedes LPS perhaps sold 50,000, BMW’s even more. I would not be shocked to learn that in raw numbers there were more posters in P&S for the cars that outsold other cars by 300%.

    Moreover, with the Infiniti M cars, we have a model that at least 80% of the time has been called “pick of the LPS litter” – only once, in Automobile Magazine, did the M not reign supreme (the Audi A6 was awarded the king of the hill by AM.)

    From the “Car Guys” in the Cincinnati Enquirer, to the New York Times to USA Today, the Infiniti M was the car to fawn over. At least one article proclaimed the M’s were about to make Audi, BMW and Mercedes (to name a few) irrelevant. Even though the gushing seemed almost too much to soon, well, there it was over and over and over.

    “The Japanese BMW the Infiniti M is,” Master Yoda proclaimed.

    The bloggers have often been even more passionate about their new BMW beaters, if that is even possible.

    Juxtaposed with the persistent praise for the new M’s were articles suggesting (in glowing terms) that the new GS Lexus was a suitable substitute for or complement to Lunesta.

    To be sure the Lexus was proclaimed practically perfect in every way. It was obliquely called a competent performer and directly lauded for legendary reliability; but, the writer’s style did little to disguise “the opening of the writer’s mouth wide as an involuntary reaction to fatigue or boredom.”

    So what we might have here, speaking volumes, is the possibility that M buyers are either a little less, the same as or a little more passionate about their drives as are even rabid BMW aficionados. We might have, too, that GS buyers, while not exactly dispassionate about their chosen mode of transport are, er, the “strong and silent types?”

    Reading the posts from us "civilians" and reading the editorial content from the folks actually paid to write, it seems to me that BMW 5 and Infiniti M customers are more likely to be vociferous than those who chose the Lexus GS.

    We may have a confluence (or a coincidence) of factors that speaks volumes – volumes that support not the unreliability (or the causes of “many” – 320 vs. 69, e.g., P&S posts here on edumnds) of one over the other, but perhaps the passion and popularity of one vs. the other. Or perhaps those folks who expected the M to be the illegitimate child of BMW's 5 and Lexus' GS are more critical or more defensive that their pride and joys aren’t perfect.

    I took a long test drive yesterday of an M35X with a friend who is in the market. She had, the day before, tested the GS300 AWD and remarked, “This M is so responsive, so sporty – the GS300 is much more like what I am used to, a 2003 Cadillac DeVille.”

    I was born in 1951, she in 1945 – I am willing to bet she will get another Cadillac since she can get it for less than the GS300 and based on her “butt” they’re about the same.

    While I argued long and loud that the GS300 was also a performance luxury sedan, she said, “If I want a cushy sofa-like car with lots of amenities, both the GS and the Caddy will do the same job (and Caddy is a lot less money), if I want a performance oriented, peppy little car, I’d go with the Infiniti M.”

    Interesting that her perception of the M was that it was a “peppy little car” while the GS seemed closer to what she was used to, a big cushy FWD Cadillac.

    Speaks volumes? Not to me.

    :confuse:
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Regardless, the issues experienced by owners are very real. ATTESA-ETS has been around long enough for all the bugs and kinks to have been worked out.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    And yet, I wouldn't let that scare ME away from the M35.

    I have had 3 BMW's since 1993 and was told by family to "Stay away. You'll be sorry!" and have had a rather placid relationship with the service department-oil changes and cookies.

    I would have taken the chance with the Infiniti, but the 545 drove better, and at 2.4% interest, became an offer I couldn't refuse.

    In addition, when you are a returning customer, you are treated a bit better, I found.
  • Nor I. Indeed I had put a deposit on an M35X when, like you, the deal and the loyalty treatment from Audi became the offer I couldn't refuse.

    Both our 2005 X3 and A6 have been "perfect."

    Of course the X3 needs wiper blades again.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Except for an annoying rattling sound coming from the vibration of the unoccupied front passenger seat, which believe it or not comes and goes, I have had no problems with my 545 since leasing it on August 1st, 2005.
    I drove it this morning. No rattle. The car has a mind of its own.

    Just don't ask me to change a radio station! ;)
  • I was reminded that even though I "don't mind" and mostly like MMI, that some things can be done easier.

    I was so reminded on my Friday test drive of a new Infiniti M35X with Journey and Technology packages -- the salesperson (who did NOT ride with us) was trying to show us how to use the voice commands and he yelled "TUNE 90.0 FM" over and over and over and the thing wouldn't obey (later I spoke in a normal loudness tone and everything worked fine) -- so he simply reached over to the tuning knob and cranked the radio to 90.0 MHz. Easy as cake, simple as pie.

    The MMI is mostly acceptable -- but the Infiniti seems to incorportate both the slick and the sublime.

    iDrive, so they say, is "the worst of the German lot" -- worse than Command and MMI? -- c'mon.

    You know, I heard about his device that they call, well, it is called a mouse and you just move it over a little pad and the cursor kinda just goes where your mouse goes.

    I doubt it will catch on, though.

    Touch screens and/or voice commands that WORK (and the Infiniti works fine if you don't yell at it) are THE WAY TO GO.

    I get all these JD Powers surveys about my car in terms of reliability and so forth, NEVER do I get surveys asking how I might suggest content changes or improvements to the car itself.

    Dear Audi,

    Buy an Acura RL and an Infiniti M and a BMW with iDrive.

    Play with the voice command systems, voice commands and joystick knobs. It should become evident which of these systems have the most features and which are the easier or easiest to use.

    Copy from the RL and M extensively. Use the BMW as an example of what NOT to do and "creatively swipe" the good stuff.

    Next.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    With IDrive, you make the settings once and then can forget about it.

    It CAN however, be annoying for people who travel a lot and must keep changing the radio station frequencies which can only be done through IDrive. Then the IDrive becomes cumbersome. All car manufacturers should leave their radios alone- just press the buttons!

    I'm kind of apprehensive about voice commands-will a cough or sneeze cause the car to do something unwarranted?
    What about singing in the car?
    How about if a passenger talks loudly?
    What if I my wife and I are arguing and as usual I admit defeat by saying "stop!"?
    I think I will wait for some solid anecdotal evidence before I try "voice command." ;)
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Go with satellite radio and radio station changing becomes a LOT easier. :)

    Most voice command systems require pressing a button on the steering wheel to activate it. It will then say it is in Voice mode and ready for commands. Sneezing, singing (even badly), passengers etc will not affect it if not in use.

    If you are in voice mode and something happens, it will either ask you to repeat it, or go somewhere you don't want it to. If you stay STOP, QUIT, END, etc, it will cancel voice activation. This is with firsthand experience.

    -Paul
  • docnukemdocnukem Posts: 485
    For the money involved with LPS and HELM cars, I find voice commands relatively primitive. In the M, there is no training mode (and I am simply projecting this to other makes). As everyone speaks a little (or a whole heckuva lot) differently, I am suprised that training is not incorporated into the system.

    There are plenty of voice-dictation systems out there. Given the limited number of commands necessary for controlling the accessories on a car, training would be far simpler than any of these dictation software packages.
    I am surprised that this is not a feature. When I say "Home"--whether it's "(ET) phone home" or "Destination home"--it has a tough time (frequently replacing "home" with "0" for dialing). There are a few other words it doesn't seem to do well with. A training mode would do away with these annoyances. (And while I know that many people have replaced "home" with "house", "phone house" just doesn't seem right thanks to Mr. Spielberg).

    I agree with Mark. A normal tone of voice works far better than shouting. These are sensitive beasts, after all.
  • The voice command does have some limitations. The Audi system does have a training mode, I assume they all did. And, you do not have to use the training mode, but I find it very handy especially for sat radio.

    I get free directory assistance with my in car phone.

    I press the talk button.

    I say "telephone."

    I say "dial number"

    She says "the number please"

    I say sneeze "411"

    She repeats "Hash four one one"

    Had I not sneezed it would simply be four one one repeated back to me and my response would be to say "dial."

    ======

    If I push the talk button and issue a command and a passenger in the car speaks 1/2 second after I give the command, there is a good chance that the the voice lady will say "Pardon?"

    Then I say "Play Van Morrison" "Track 4" and she obeys.

    If my passengers continue to speak, well the Audi voice lady usually just says "Cancel" and the voice activation is deactivated until I again press the voice button.

    The voice commands can be iffy, too, if you issue them with the windows down and some ambient sound leaks in.

    The systems today are remarkable in some senses in that you can literally just rattle off a 7 digit phone number or tune a radio station by tag or frequency. They also are cool in that my voice tags can be commanded by my wife and thus far, no issues.

    I say "Play W G U C" and the radio tunes to 90.0 MHz. Or I say "radio ninety point nine mega hairtz" (pronouced almost with a British accent, it seems to my midwestern ear) and the radio switches to 90.9 FM. My wife says "Play W G U C" and the voice system even though programmed by me responds the same for her voice as for mine.

    The Infiniti System has more commands, but the technology seems about as reliable which is to say 95+% of the time everything is recognized. Heck, I'd probably say 97.5% of the time no muss no fuss with the voice systems.

    I can't wait for 2008 when I bet they will be all that much better.

    My 2003 Audi with On*star had the system where you had to say each digit s-l-o-w-l-y and wait between digits for an echo from the Audi lady.

    Nowdays, just let 7 numbers at a time rip and the system works without pain.

    And I too have 25 stations programmed into my MMI voice system (which, oddly, is the limit for stations) and most of the time it is not an issue.

    I think the system should have 100 allowed though.

    Audi will, or ought to, catch up with the rest of the voice activated world soon.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    i don't know-life was so easy back in the old days when manuals were thin and you pushed buttons to change the radio station.

    When I drive 900 miles to Virginia this May, I'm not even going to bother with the hassle of adjusting the radio stations with IDrive. I'm bringing a ton of CD's with me.

    I'm kind of old-fashioned-I refuse to pay a monthly fee for radio.
    But then again, I said the same thing when cable TV first came out and I've had it for years.

    Disclaimer: I have posted here many times in favor of IDrive.
    I love that I can and have used it to customize the car my way.
    The only real weakness is the tedious procedure for re-adjusting radio frequencies when one drives out of town.
    I hope BMW reconsiders and removes radio adjustment from IDrive and goes back to simple buttons.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I'm not a fan of satellite radio either. I might be more interested, but it seems every week the RIAA as attaching one more "cant do that! cant do that!" disclaimer to abilities I'd want to have on a music service that I'm paying for. FM is free, and I can record all I want. (Not that I actually do).

    As for television, I have a dish. Cable's picture quality is lousy, and their pricing is rediculous. Where's my ala carte, FCC?

    I think built in hdd music systems in future cars will be wonderful, especially if they include support for lossless formats such as flac, though I'd be happy enough to have my entire collection of 320kbps encoded mp3s at my fingertips every time I get in the car.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    When I get my first HDTV soon, I do believe I will switch to satellite.
    Everytime I fly on the only decent airline out there in the USA, JetBlue, I am amazed at how clear the Direct TV feed is on such a small screen. Intoxicating!

    No doubt about it-with the sorry state of commercial FM radio today, I have and will be continuing to bypass my E60's radio in favor of my extensive CD collection. I won't be paying for satellite radio anytime soon.
  • Sat radio is bound to kill AM and FM unless they do something.

    I am on my third HDTV since 1999 and it, too, just keeps improving. HBO and Discovery in HD are amazing.

    I am watching SURFACE as I type this from my HDTV Tivo in 1080i with full AC3 surround sound.

    The content from Sirius is wonderful, the fidelity, decent and with the BOSE system, the surround sound is addicting.

    I even listen to AM rebroadcasts in Sirius due to the sound quality.

    XM, too, I understand is an epiphany.

    Directv or cable isn't free either.

    There is room for all this content.

    No commercials are cool too.
  • XM, too, I understand is an epiphany.

    XM is wonderful. The main thing I like about it is I'm not limited to my CD collection (and I don't have to cart around a case of CDs) and I'm always discovering new artists I've never heard of.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I am usually the last kid on my block to buy into whatever the latest technological innovation is-in this case HDTV.
    Next issue of CR, which should be out in a few days, should have some new reviews of the latest sets.

    Speaking of commercials-so many on cable.
    Attempted to watch a movie on FX and gave up in disgust-7 minutes of commercials, 7 minutes of movie. To add insult to injury, the same commercials are shown over and over. Who devised this devilish form of torture? Is anyone running this station?

    The local news station here-a feature of Bright House Networks which brags that you can't get on satellite-is a joke. Whenever I tune in, all I get is commercials.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Actually, Home Theater just reviewed six rear-projection 1080p HDTV sets this month. I wouldnt bother with CR for electronics, they don't know much more than the average Best Buy salesman.

    The current leaders in digital rear-pros are Toshiba with DLP, and Sony with SXRD (they took 2nd and 1st place in the HT round up). HT mag gave a slight edge to the Sony, but the Toshibas come in around a grand cheaper. (Typical Sony inflated pricing).

    As for plasmas, Panasonic and Pioneer are still the best. Flat panel LCDs continue to get better and cheaper, but unless you desperately need a hang on the wall set that can double as a computer monitor, Plasma still looks better and costs less.

    The analog cut off date appears to have been pushed backwards again, probably until 2009, so there's still no rush just yet.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Ouch!
    So Home Theater magazine seems to be what I should be looking at.
    Yes, I know Panasonic has been getting raves for plasma and Sony XBR for LCD.

    Thanks for the info Lexusguy!
  • HD Tivo cures lots of the commercial issues. The best DLP's at the best prices are the latest and greatest non-1080p sets. Today there is no 1080p content -- if you go 1080p, however, there will, eventually be such content, but today you will pay more.

    Bigger is better, generally. Start at 60" -- if you've the space.

    ===== Back to the subject:

    Why do these LPS cars with their screens mid dash, truncate the info from Sat Radio? There is plenty of room left to display all the info apparently. Is this a manufacturer's call or the broadcaster's call?
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    I think it's a broadcast thing. Notice that RDS info on "free" radio scrolls, but satellite info is truncated. Why not scroll the satellite info?
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Have you considered Phatnoise?

    http://www.phatnoise.com/

    :)

    -Paul
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    It will scroll. Well, it does on my Alpine head unit in my Jeep.

    -Paul
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