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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Good question, I'm not sure. I suspect bdr127 is correct. Last year all the major oil companies cried about how their profits would be so badly damaged by the storms in the gulf, but then come year end they posted record profits. Its all a bunch of bs when you really think about it. Gas goes up in summer because people aren't using as much gas in their homes and vice versa is what I say.

    M
  • cmybimmergocmybimmergo Posts: 265
    It makes me crazy when the gas companies plead poverty and then post profits so large they could be reduced many times and no one would notice the loss (from a practical standpoint).

    But I think prices go up in the summer because everyone drives more (the family vacation and all that...)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    But I think prices go up in the summer because everyone drives more (the family vacation and all that...)

    Yes and they know you've got to have gas even a Prius has to fill up at some point. Talk about being over a barrel, litterally.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Unfortunately, the picture painted in this months C&D energy article is (as usual) pretty negative.

    "We could be self-sufficient now. All it would take would be a willingness to pay nearly a buck extra a gallon for ethanol made from corn. But paying more for each mile we drive-without some other benefit, would just make us poorer. And let's be clear, there is no benefit. The most optimistic assessment I've seen of ethanol was a study by the University of California, Berkeley, Published in January of this year. "Putting ethanol instead of gasoline in your tank...is probably no worse for the environment than burning gasoline" said the authors."

    The article goes on to say that it takes 1.5 gallons of ethanol to equal the amount of energy in 1 gallon of gas (which is still better than natural gas, LPG, and even hydrogen), that gasoline\ethanol mixtures, such as E85, have smog problems, and that it cant be shipped in pipelines, raising costs higher.

    "Which brings us to Mr. Bush's ethanol from "wood chips, stalks, or switch grass". These are biomass sources, a category that includes everything from forest thinings to municipal garbage. Unlike corn, which is a food, these cellulosic materials have little use and are therefore cheap. Here's the gotcha: Turning them into ethanol costs more than making it from corn."

    The article ultimately says that the best current alternatives to gasoline are corn based ethanol, or vegetable oil based biodiesel, but I think the U.S. is quite a long way off from either being a viable mainstream option, so it's going to be same old, same old for awhile.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,071
    The "lunch or watercooler" topic du jour around the office has yours truly touting the virtues of diesel (including, of course bio-diesel) and the importance of the "trickle down" effect from so-called Luxury items to the more "accessible" items.

    On the other side of the debate are my challengers that tell me "what I am saying is impossible, because a US vehicle that is gasoline is NOT bettered by nearly 40% (in MPG's) by the available diesel counterpart."

    Whew!

    First and foremost, in this debate (tempting to call it an argument) both the points of view can be said to be correct. Why?

    Let's look at this from the point of view of the one engine/car combinations that I have spent some time researching -- I am led to believe, but have not checked each and every MFGR's web site to confirm, that the following in spirit, at least, translates to "most" European car offerings -- the Audi 3.0L turbo diesel vs the Audi 3.2L normally aspirated gasoline engine.

    Both engines displace roughly same "volume" -- 3.0 vs 3.1+ L. Both engines when used in identical current MY A6 chassis Audis with identical 6speed automatic transmissions accelerate (according to MFGR's specs) from 0 to 100kph (62MPH) about the same (7.1 seconds for the gasoline version and 7.0 seconds for the diesel version). Without using any "hail Mary" tactics to achieve the maximum possible MPG's, the diesel A6 achieves over 39% more MPG's. Subject to change, one would imagine, diesel here in Cincinnati is generally ten to twenty-five cents cheaper per gallon than Premium Gasoline (which is required by the Audi A6 3.2 model.)

    Note: "home made" bio diesel in late 2005 could be "brewed by Everyman" at an out the spigot price of $.70 per gallon. Even if the costs have doubled to "brew your own," the economics seriously favor "home made" bio-diesel but even with Premium/Diesel price equality, diesel wins by virtue of the 39%+ greater distance per gallon that it offers.

    "Clean Diesel" (European diesel, NOW and North American diesel LATER this year) adds another characteristic to the mix: "30-60 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions,"according to the Washington, DC-based Diesel Technology Forum.

    The rush to buy (or at least demand) such vehicles here in the US would seem to be a foregone conclusion. And, I am not limiting this to those who would want an Audi product -- I am thinking much more broadly than simply one German manufacturer. The narrowness of the example and stats cited is to attempt to allow us (around the water cooler) to get our arms around the discussion and to be able to draw some conclusions, etc.

    The VP of Sales of my company has a new Ford F150 4door pickup truck with a HUGE thirsty V8 engine and literally every possible "luxury" option Ford offers on such vehicles. The darn thing is very posh -- and it does NOT require the afterthought "for a truck." It is very posh, period. Riding in it is comfortable and quiet. At highway speeds it is quite the Roadmaster. Beats me how it would handle the twisties (presumably my A6 would leave it in the distance), but it is a very impressive "car."

    "So," I say, "you complain about nearly $100 fill ups, yet why didn't you get a diesel version of the thing?" The short answer contains two data points: the Ford F150 diesel is VERY noisy (both inside and out) and somewhat smelly (minor) but it is essentially not significantly more economical to fuel and drive. Unlike the Audi example, above, there is not really an apples-to-apples comparison that is available since there is really no equivalent offering in the diesel format.

    Diesel cars from Ford or GM -- name three that you would have that meet the A6 to A6 comparison. I'll wait.

    And wait.

    Yet, there are Mercedes E class gas and E class diesel vehicles that are mostly equivalent automobiles (equivalent displacement and performance that is similar, i.e.) And, in the case of the Merc, you can buy one on this side of the Atlantic. Hmm, one would imagine that it would NOT require an engineering miracle to put a Mercedes turbo-diesel in a Chrysler 300 that would be able to sit beside the gasoline 300 in terms of cubic displacement (if not volumetric displacement.)

    We keep dinkin' around with gas-electic hybrids yet we have some decent engineering and street cred in the diesel realm that we are "frittering away."

    And, now, today, on "The Today Show" the prospect of gasoline over $4.00 per gallon looms ever more realistic in our near-term. How does an $80 per tank fill up sound 4.3 times per month (on average?) Fritter, fritter, fritter.

    Here in Ohio (and in Michigan) we are lagging the rest of the country's economic recovery and boom times as we sit in the midst of beleaguered giant auto companies breathing ever more heavily under the pressure to discount their vehicles due in part to the fact that the cost [of ownership; to operate, i.e] of a GM or Ford car has shot up due in no small measure to the price to fill up the tank.

    Here is a blow-your-mind event that happened earlier today: the VP of sales I mentioned earlier is looking for a new SUV. His wife wants one with third row seats. While she was waiting at the Ford dealer for the oil change on his F150, the sales manager gave her the keys to a $56,000 Ford "E" (Explorer, Expedition, Excursion, Excalibur or whatever they call the big ones with the third row seating) -- loaded to the gills with captains chairs hot and cold running DVD screens, navigation and power articulated bun warmers. She drives the thing. She comes back from the drive and says "thanks." "Ma'am, you can have this for $42,000."

    $14,000 off as the starting offer!

    She calls her husband on the way home from the dealer to relate this experience. By the time she reaches her house some 30 minutes later, there is a voice mail offering the vehicle for $39,000 if she buys in April and uses FoMoCo Credit for the purchase or lease.

    She has decided to wait to test the Audi Q7 and discuss the Q7 (and some others, some American made) diesel offering. And this from two folks who are already Ford customers who have had zero issues (other than that sucking sound at the gas station) with their F150.

    I'm waiting for the call that says, "we'll give YOU $39,000 to take it off our hands, just so long as you buy the gasoline from us."

    Part 2 follows. :shades:
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,071
    Part two of the water cooler debate has to do with the "trickle down" phenomenon.

    My father's first brand new car was a 1963 Chrysler Newport. It had three options: Torque-flyte 3-speed Automatic transmission, power steering and power brakes. It had an AM Radio, and manual everything -- it did not have air conditioning even. The Chrysler Imperial's on the lot right next to the Newports had "full power" even the cozy wings were power articulated as was the tuning and station selection on the AM - only radio.

    My second Audi, a [new] 1979 Fox GTI, had (hold on to your seats) power brakes, AM/FM mono and "factory A/C" -- that's it. It was the most expensive car I had ever had [that I purchased] to date. My Company car was a 1978 Audi 5000 with "power pack" and a sunroof (crank operated, of course.)

    Upstream cars had power steering, brakes, windows, locks, sunroof, mirrors and air conditioning (and on and on) standard or "they were only sold that way." The neighbor with the similarly sized Cadillac (similar to the Newport) had power "everything" compared with our measly brakes and steering assists.

    Today, probably for as long as many folks here can remember, even many of the "econo-boxes" come with or are only sold with "full power" and often even the entry level versions are equipped with CD players, anti-lock brakes and even climate control.

    Everything: convenience, economy, luxury, performance and safety "features" starts at the "high line" cars and trickles down (more and more rapidly than ever, these days) to the more affordable offerings from the company.

    Diesel, one could reasonably conclude will become one of the "it" features or technologies, oh, NEXT TUESDAY, at the current rate of fuel cost escalation.

    Several European manufacturers are poised to export these "clean and [more] powerful" versions of their successful LPS cars and then almost immediately follow suit with their more downstream models. As mentioned, it would seem that Daimler-Chrysler engineers and marketing types would be busily figuring out what it will take to adapt and adopt clean, efficient and powerful (and VERY durable) diesel engines -- already proven engines -- into the entire line from Neon to Charger to the new 300D (which, ironically [and perhaps quite fortuitous from a marketing standpoint] will be able to stand for the next generation after "C" and also the first generation of Diesel motivated Chrysler cars.)

    Poor GM with the $67,000 Hulks called Escalade V8's with their huge weight and gas sucking ways.

    Moreover, Audi [at Sebring] has just proven the possible, if not probable, viability of a Chrysler 300 Turbo - Diesel SRT-8.

    The water cooler talk ended with nothing but confusion and, from one staff member, hope that the American MFGR's (specifically Ford and GM) bring similar offerings first to their "rank and file" LPS cars and then quickly trickle down this technology to the "bread and butter" non-LPS vehicles.

    Now, where did I put that URL for the "brew your own bio-diesel" kit? Just a sample of some info -- just a sample, can be found here:

    Kliky-kliky

    Prediction: In May, 2006 gasoline will TOP $3.30 per gallon (for regular) and those of us Premium drinkers will be "regularly" looking at $3.50+ per gallon or, in my case I just translate that to a $70.00 fill up.

    The sky's the limit!

    Drive it like you live. :surprise:
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Those diesels in the Silverados, F-150s, etc, are built for one thing, torque. I doubt NVAH (and smell) are even a moderate consideration when it comes to designing these engines. They're supposed to be work horses, not "luxury trucks" (still an oxymoron if you ask me, no matter how "posh" the F-150 and its Lincoln clone become).

    What needs to happen for diesels to go anywhere in this country is somebody besides Volkswagen has to pick up the torch and offer a diesel for the average joe (and advertise). The Jetta TDI is great, but I cant remember seeing a VW commercial actually featuring it. There were plenty of "grown up, sort of" ads, but I dont remember seeing "diesel's grown up as well" in any of them.

    America's car companies are Honda and Toyota, but they're of course a bit busy with hybrids. A diesel Mazda3 or Sentra would be a smart move, but I doubt its going to happen any time soon.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    So, Bimmer aficionados, any word on whether the 530i will become the 535i (300 hp) and the 525i will become the 528i (230 hp) for the 2007 MY?
  • low_ball_88low_ball_88 Posts: 163
    I believe there are no changes b/w the 06 and the 07 other than 4 year/50k mile "on-star" and a more cleaner burning engine.

    also, got a quote before tax and license for a 07 530 with the following options

    Premium package
    Navigation
    Rear sunshade
    Automatic

    $50,788

    How is this deal?
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,071
    Did they discontinue the availability of the manual?!?!?!?!

    :cry:

    Or not?

    :)
  • I'd say that's a smokin' deal for a 2007. MSRP for that car is $53,645.
  • 2001gs4302001gs430 Posts: 767
    On paper... GS450h MSRP = $54900

    More info:
    link title
  • msu79gt82msu79gt82 Posts: 541
    Personally I hate SUV's, but if I had to buy one, the Cayenne and the Infiniti's would be my top choices as they have a little different style from the usual sun-blocking behemoths out there...

    Well the Cayenne and the FX are SUVs in "name" only :blush: No way these should be even considered an SUV; and rich545 called it a "truck" :confuse:

    By the way. I traded an FX for an M :shades:
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,226
    ummm... eh, never mind. I guess we shouldn't discuss why something is or is not a sport-utility vehicle on the LPS board.

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

  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    Realize this is off-topic for this forum, but wrong about the Cayenne being an SUV in name only. It's actually very capable off-road when equipped with the appropriate tires. It can also tow 7,700 lbs. which beats the majority of mid-sized SUV's out there. So let's see, good off-road capabilities, great on-road performance, flexible cargo space and large towing capacity; sounds like an SUV to me. How do you define SUV? I think you may unrealistically expect more UV from them than SUV. Let's move to the Cayenne forum though if you'd like to continue the discussion.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,071
    Well maybe there could be a forum called LPSUV or, for short, LUV.

    The Cayenne certainly is qualified for such a TLA, don't you think, "LUV"? :confuse:
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    April 2006 Sales – Midsize Luxury Sedans:

    E = 3,778
    5 = 3,699
    M = 2,417
    GS = 2,336
    STS =
    A6 = 1,555
    RL = 1,031
  • drtraveldrtravel Posts: 395
    STS sold 2,088 last month.

    Interesting that the Infiniti has outsold the Lexus for the past two months and YTD. The sales of the Infiniti G35 increased every year after it's introduction - could the same happen with the M? A new Q is due this fall. It's suppose to make the M appear like the G.

    Don't worry BMW fans. The 5-series has still outsold the E by 40% YTD. Will likey return to #1 next month.

    The STS - driven by rebates - time for Cadillac to step up.

    Mark's beloved Audi has now outsold Acura for each of the past 6 months and 10 of the last 14.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Why so interesting? The M is a much better car than the GS.
  • mariner7mariner7 Posts: 509
    A new Q is due this fall. It's suppose to make the M appear like the G.

    It's the new G that's coming this fall. We might never see another Q, just when Infiniti is getting its act together.

    This hurts Lexus even more: according to WSJ, the average transaction price for an M is higher than GS, even though GS has the higher MSRP. Meaning probably it's harder to make a deal on an M.
  • docnukemdocnukem Posts: 485
    I heard a new Q is coming in 2008...just a rumor, though. The spread between invoice and MSRP is quite a bit higher in the GS than the M, so the M has less wiggle room...not that Lexus wants to have deep discounts on a vehicle.
  • drtraveldrtravel Posts: 395
    Why so interesting? The M is a much better car than the GS.

    Brand loyalty plays a big part in the sales of any category of luxury goods. The quality of the product, while important, is not as important as perceived luxury and/or status to many buyers. Many luxury products have earned a solid reputation as the best when in reality, some may no longer live up to their reputation. The Lexus has a much higher brand value than Infiniti so the fact that Infiniti has taken it to them is significant, especially in such a short period of time.

    If Infiniti outsold the established category leaders in the USA, (BMW & MB) that would be quite an accomplishment. Not only would they have to provide a superior car (which some think they already have) but they would also have to overcome the strong brand loyalty that BMW & MB possess. This last item is no small feat.

    Imagine that Casio produced a luxury timepiece and priced it just below the comparable Rolex. Most would be stunned if Casio outsold Rolex. OK I know my example is far-fetched but the principles are the same.
  • drtraveldrtravel Posts: 395
    It's the new G that's coming this fall. We might never see another Q, just when Infiniti is getting its act together.

    According to the service manager at my local dealer (a reliable source???) Infiniti is sending over both a new G35 and Q45 in the next twelve months. They really need to hit a home run with the Q. Their "flagship sedan" has been killed by the competition ever since it's introduction in the early 90's. If you are a serious player in the luxury sedan market, you have to have a strong flagship - just look at the battle between the German automakers at that level.

    Will Ghosn complete the trifecta? Both the G and M have made Infiniti a player in their respective luxury levels. Can he pull one more out of the hat. If so, he just might replace Bangle!!
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Another interesting thing is that if you look on eBay, there are loads of barely used RLs and GS300s and 430s at huge discounts. In stark contrast to that, there are maybe 2 or 3 of the new Ms on eBay at any one time, and they dont have the same heavy discounts.

    I dont think Acura will be able to beat Audi in sales again, at least not until they come out with the lower-tech, low price version of the car. The only real success they had was when Infiniti and Lexus were non-competitors in 2005. The RL will never enjoy the class leading sales that the TL does.

    If the next Q was going to be a '07 model, wouldnt there be at least some info on the car by now? Wouldn't it have been at the NYAS along with the next G? I haven't seen anything on the new Q, no specs, no CG guesstimates, nothing. That doesnt sound like a car that is only a few months away.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Don't worry BMW fans. The 5-series has still outsold the E by 40% YTD. Will likey return to #1 next month.

    If you do it will be short lived. When that facelifted E lands in July it will be all over for the 5-Series for the year, I'm predicting. I have a harmless bet with Dewey about this, you want in..lol???

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I forget who coined the phrase but the "curse of the GS" seems to have started for Lexus already. I'm kinda surprised to see it dropping at a good rate already.

    M
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    If you do it will be short lived. When that facelifted E lands in July it will be all over for the 5-Series for the year, I'm predicting. I have a harmless bet with Dewey about this, you want in..lol??

    I'll take a piece of that action. :)

    I may be personalizing too much, but when I consider what my next sedan might be, the BMW 5-series is still the "driver's choice". A facelift of the E-class won't help win me over. A couple of AMG engineers taking a long enough break from their quest to produce a 1,000+ horsepower E77 to focus on a sportier chassis, better steering and, most of all, short throw 6-speed for an E500 model would do the trick. But I'm not turning red holding my breath.

    There appears to be a sea of choices for someone that wants a "nice" driving, powerful luxury sedan like an A6, M35/45, E350/500, RL, GS, Jaguar, etc. But if you are inclined to go for a 550i 6-speed like I would be, there are NO other choices. I'd take a 530i 6-speed sport long before I'd take anybody else's V8.

    So, what's the wager? ;)
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    My wife and I looked at the GS. Just something about it didn't feel right to us. It is a great car, but just not what she was wanting. We're seeing them everywhere, and she didn't want a car that everybody else had. Thank goodness she didn't go with the RX330 or 400h.

    -Paul
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I can't see anyone in his right mind paying a premium for a dog like the GS when so many better choices are out there.

    The GS has has very little interior room, limited head room, uncomfortable seats, very little trunk space, a ridiculously placed open-close panel containing necessary controls, fussy brakes, turn it with one pinky steering, cannot perform with its peers as demonstrated in comparo after comparo, and given all that, sells at a ridiculous premium.

    The name Lexus can take a vehicle just so far.
    It's about time Lexus humanely puts this vehicle to sleep.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    [QUOTE]
    I can't see anyone in his right mind paying a premium for a dog like the GS when so many better choices are out there.
    The GS has has very little interior room, uncomfortable seats, very little trunk space, a ridiculously placed open-close panel containing necessary controls, cannot perform with its peers and sells at a ridiculous premium.
    [/QUOTE]

    Perhaps that is what my wife didn't like about it. :)

    -Paul
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