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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • bfeng7bfeng7 Posts: 47
    Tony,
    I've owned BMW's since 1982. The old ones were simpler, but generally more reliable cars.

    When I say reliable, I'm NOT talking about how fast brake rotors wear out. I'm talking about parts that fail sooner than they do on almost any other brand. Examples: radiator necks that breakoff at 50kmiles, ABS system controllers that fail catastrophically at 60km (BMW said this is about the expected lifetime), AC condensor fans that fail at 55kmiles. Wheel speed sensors that fail (all 4) at 60kmiles, MAF's that fail twice before 40k miles, etc.

    There's a large BMW club in the USA, and they can provide you with plenty of feedback on the poor reliability of modern BMW's. Now, in all fairness, my sisters E46 has been great (I've been talking about the 5 series).

    John
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    What am I missing?

    "There's a large BMW club in the USA, and they can provide you with plenty of feedback on the poor reliability of modern BMW's. Now, in all fairness, my sisters E46 has been great (I've been talking about the 5 series)."

    There was a lot of commonality between the parts on my E46 and my E39, and both were extremely reliable. I'm having a difficult time understanding how the 5er is less reliable simply by virutue of the fact that it is a "5" instead of a "3".

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    I did not buy another Audi after my 1998 A6 quatro for several reasons, reliability was one of them. I had a bunch of repairs one wouldn't expect on a car that didn't have many miles on it: differential leak, fuel senders (2x), water pump (only 40K), leaking gaskets, radiator, tie rod ends, suspension pieces, and a few other things more costly than I care to remember. I only had 60K or so miles on it when I sold it. I did like the car, and was almost willing to give them the benefit of the original disappointment, but I just do not fit in the new one. I had probably one of only a handful of the 1998 model (special ordered) without a sunroof. That added a WHOPPING 2.85" in headroom to the car in that model in that year. Yes, I know you can get a new one that way, but you CANNOT buy it with most of the nice-to-have stuff. So, from my sample of one, my experience did not lead me to believe the car was reliable. I looked elsewhere - bought an M35x. Some stuff I like better, some I do not. Too early to tell overall. Time will tell. I got a ride to the airport in a MB M500 (?), and with the driver's seat all the way down, my hair was rubbing on the ceiling, and that was with the seat reclined more than I like, too. That thing is significan't higher - there should be abundant seat to ceiling height. Don't the car manufacturers realize people are getting both taller (not much you can do about that) and (unfortunately) fatter? Oh well, maybe next time. BTW, my first new car way back when was a Citroen ID19. It had the most comfortable driving position of any car I've ever owned - the gas and brake pedals were a simple ankle swivel apart - no need to lift the leg. I could also wear a smokey-the-bear hat (scoutmaster if you wanted to know) and still have plenty of headroom. Oh well...maybe my next car will truly fit.
  • i own a 1988 Volvo 780 w/ 285,000 miles - very very reliable so far. Admittedly i only put 60K of the miles on it. It has the "bad" PRV V6.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I have had 3 BMW's since 1993. No problems.
    I have had the 545 V8 for a year and the car has behaved flawlessly.
    My own anecdotal experience indicates that either CR is full of crap, or I have been blessed with incredible luck.
  • jshattnerjshattner Posts: 32
    Much as I love my M45, I'd agree it's tier 3 in your list of "badge effect" brands. But Caddy is not even close to the same "brand" league as Lexus. Maybe one day, long, long ago, it was Tier 1 on this continent, probably all by itself with a run from Lincoln. Now it'd be in tier 4 on your list, even if it is fighing it's way back.
  • bfeng7bfeng7 Posts: 47
    Reply to 2 posts:

    "What am I missing." It bugs me too.
    The 3 series seems to be more reliable than the 5 and I can't tell you why. The radiator failure on the e39's is so prolific, one nearby dealer joked with me that they're surprised when they see an original radiator on any 5 series with more than 60k miles on it. When my ABS controller gave it up, the parts guys said, "yup, those go all the time so we always keep a good stock of them." And so forth ...

    Howard, I'm happy for you. Just because BMW's are statistically less reliable than Fords and Kia's ... It does not mean you won't get a run of perfect BMW's. Can I chip in the next time you guy a lottery ticket.

    Seriously, the average reliability is so good these days it doesn't take much to put a vehicle below average on a reliability survey. It's not that hard to get "lucky" and own a very reliable BMW, it's just that statistically you're much better off with other brands.

    John
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    Audi doesn't seem as interested in exciting U.S. consumers about their product as does BMW or Infiniti. As a potential buyer, I had to generate the excitement from test-driving. As Mark said, Infiniti hasn't yet gotten as good as they might get at blending overall feel of excellence (they depend too much on "flash" appeal), overall feel of road and engine through the steering wheel and gas pedal (but the manu-matic transmission is, to me, a wonder among the rest), and smooth-power (too much sound effect and raw power). But, at the moment, the front-to-rear balance and the rear-wheel-favoring four-wheel-drive system seems closer to what I was looking for. I can't say I've gotten Audi out of my system and might make another comparison test-drive of V8 Audi A6 vs M35x tomorrow.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I agree with your last paragraph.
    Average reliability is so high "it doesn't take much to put a vehicle below average on a reliability survey."

    I have been driving a long time and have never seen a MB or BMW stuck on the side of the road.
    Maybe, statistically, I am looking at the wrong roads.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,582
    “my first new car way back when was a Citroen ID19. It had the most comfortable driving position of any car I've ever owned”

    I am still amazed that no car I have driven since 1991 has provided the level of front seat adjustability that was included in my 1991 Pontiac Grand Prix STE (3.4L V6, 5-speed Getrag manual trans.). 3 distinct levels of back \ lumbar support firmness – each infinitely adjustable – for both the driver and front seat passenger. As well as side bolster adjustment for the driver. And even seperate individually adjustable left & right front thigh support adjustments!

    Particularly for long-ish drives, this made for a very adaptable & comfortable driving environment. And all this (15 years ago) on a reasonably priced, mid-sized GM sedan. (Reasonably priced, meaning approx. $20K MSRP at the time.)

    Front seats that cool as well as heat are very nice, but where can I buy something like this now? Odd. I’d pay extra for it!

    Does anyone even offer something like the lovely black corduroy (genuine) Recaros in the 1978 Audi Fox I drove for a while? In this class Sedan, I am surprised that there is not such a choice. But then option choice & (un)availability seems to range from odd to bizarre, from my standpoint.

    - Ray
    Likely an ‘anomaly’ in many respects . .
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,582
    “the A8 (with the brake rotor thing)”

    Mark –

    I recall reading posts during ‘the brake rotor thing’.
    The amount of time spent in dealer visits alone stood out to me – since I just do not have the flexibility in my work schedule to deal with such repeated car related repair issues.

    Would you mind posting a brief synopsis?

    And I recall distinctly thinking at the time:
    “If this sort of thing happened to me, it would absolutely be the last Audi I ever drove.”

    Or at least the last one I even looked at seriously – for a long while.

    Although my recollection is that the dealer certainly did ‘work with you’ on this issue, the fact that a quick and final ‘fix’ was not available from Audi in a timely manner certainly would have soured me on the brand.

    - Ray
    Thinking brakes that work reliably ought to be a really high priority . .
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    I've been test-driving and researching the M35x and the Audi A6. I ended up favoring the M35. As a last check I reread CR's Auto Annual and the M35's "Problems" forum. That forum leaves a much more troubling impression of M car than CR did: moonroof rattles, a bad speaker in the seat (which would require tearing the leather seat apart to fix), headlight beams that point too low, loose driver seats. Then I noticed that CR's survey was done in spring 2005 when the M35/M45 was only selling for a few months, so CR's conlusion that "first year" reliability was outstanding appears to mean "first 90 days" reliability was excellent. On the other hand, there is no similar Audi A6 "Problems" forum on Edmunds (maybe, if there was one and I read it end to end, as i did with the one for the M35, it would produce the same concern in me), but CR's problem areas (for 2005 A6) are serious ones: engine (similar complaint from a couple of reviewers) and power equipment. Have those of you who compared the M35 with other LPS concluded it's likely to be as nearly perfectly reliable as CR leads one to believe (as do other sites, sich as Intellichoice)?
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    Mark … great rant. My problem, not having owned a luxury car before my 2004 BMW 325i, is that I only have test-drive personal experience to share here. I loved driving the Audi A6 V6 S-Line better than any other car I tested and the open, clean interior appeals to my aesthetic a bit more than the hugging-luxuriousness of the M35. I want to want the Audi, and with the V8 for 2007 coming in with FSI and predicted 10% improved mpg, I would expect to be delighted with that. However, my experiences are based on 7 to 10 mile 1/2 hour samplings of these cars. So, I turn to CR and other reports of longer tests to get some sense of dealership and service department quality. Your rant did lead me to read CR Annual more carefully and realize, at last minute (having thought I might go ahead and order 2007 M35x today), that CR’s survey of M35/M45 took place in spring of 2005, shortly after M car went on sale, so it’s really a 90 day reliability survey which concludes that “first year” reliability was excellent and 95% of owners had no problems and 92% said they’d buy one again. While repeating on forums like this what CR has said is, I agree, not as unique a use of the forum as sharing personal experience, it’s hard to know how to minimize likelihood of becoming engaged to service dept manager when buying one or another new car. For your amusement, I will draw your attention to the fact that, with all BMW’s (especially the 3-series) accolades as best of the best, there is not one BMW model on the list of cars for which owners reported they would definitely buy or lease the same car again, while the Audi A6 and the Audi S4 are listed, as is the Infiniti M35.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Much as I love my M45, I'd agree it's tier 3 in your list of "badge effect" brands. But Caddy is not even close to the same "brand" league as Lexus. Maybe one day, long, long ago, it was Tier 1 on this continent, probably all by itself with a run from Lincoln. Now it'd be in tier 4 on your list, even if it is fighing it's way back.

    I'm not sure about that. The Cadillac badge still resonates with some of the more traditionalist buyers, the people that buy DTS's. That group is definitely shrinking, rather than growing though, so they are definitely going to have to rely much more on the merit of their products in the future.

    Tier 4 is Lincoln, Volvo, Saab, and I guess Mercury and Buick, the pseudo-luxury tier. Cadillac doesn't belong in there. Tier 3 perhaps, but not 4.
  • zidecarzidecar Posts: 49
    .....a much more troubling impression of M car than CR did: moonroof rattles, a bad speaker in the seat (which would require tearing the leather seat apart to fix), headlight beams that point too low, loose driver seats.......
    Have those of you who compared the M35 with other LPS concluded it's likely to be as nearly perfectly reliable as CR leads one to believe


    My M35x had the low headlight problem and headliner rattle. The low headlight problem I solved myself by adjusting the headlights based on information from this forum. The headliner problem was cleared up by the dealer. Those have been the only problems I have had in just over 8K miles of driving the M and a time period going on 10 months. Of the many cars I have owned over the past 35+ years, the M35x has the record for the fewest times back to the dealer for problems. It is significantly better than any of the Toyotas, Lexi or BMWs that I have previously owned.

    So far, it is tracking closely with what CR has stated in their review. I would like to think I could repeat this statement again in 12 and 24 months. ;)

    If you ask the question again next Jun and the one after that, I will give you the answer.... :)
  • clpurnellclpurnell Posts: 1,087
    What are you currently driving?
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,111
    The A8 was not plagued with brake rotor issues that would merit much discussion.

    Two A6 4.2's (a 2000 and a 2001) however, went through 9 (NINE) sets of rotors during my ownership experience with them.

    The dealer and AUDI worked with me -- I was never without transportation and I can and will admit to levels of ebbing and flowing frustration over this situation.

    During this period of time, I had the chance to drive cars from several manufacturers and the "shudder" (indicating warped rotors, or so I thought) was "rampant" during those years.

    I did keep the faith, so to speak, possibly (probably) longer than other folks might have given similar experiences.

    My A8 did have some issues, but the brakes don't stick out as major problem ares. In fact nothing was a major problem, but I did have to have the power steering column replaced (twice), the booties that are full of a smelly liquid on each wheel also had to be replaced as they leaked and did cause lots of odor as the liquid was burned off during braking.

    I dunno, maybe this latter problem caused some brake issues. Nothing compares to the 9 sets of rotors on the A6's. The 1999 A6 had fine brakes, the allroad, ditto, my wife's 3 TT's and 3 A4's were fine, too.

    My 2005 C6 A6 has great brakes -- great pedal feel, never any shudder or wobble.

    Overall, brakes in the newer cars are fantastic.

    I may or may not have shared my BMW 325ix (1988) experiences. New rotors and pads at 30,000 miles -- "routine" or so we were told.

    Perhaps my loyalty has been bought (or was) because throughout all the crap that happened, I never was without transportation and there was no oop cost.

    Perhaps, today, I would not be as tolerant.

    My issues, in perspective and hindsight, were never so bad as to make me leave the brand.

    OTOH, I never had had experience with Lexus or Honda or fill in the blank cars to compare to.

    My previous experience had been with Chrysler products and they were always in need of repair or maintenance and did not offer the joy of driving that the Germans provided in abundance.

    I tolerated the issues because the driving experience had, in my mind, no peer. I took the bad, so to speak, to enjoy the exceptional.

    To repeat: that was THEN, this is NOW.

    My tolerance is probably lower these days -- but, hell, as I age, I am also shorter! :surprise:
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,582
    Briefly (since this does not fit the LPS criteria) . . .
    2005 Pontiac Grand Prix GXP.
    Very quick.
    Amazingly smooth powertrain.
    ( But FWD - though very well managed, IMHO. )
    Torque & more torque.
    Lovely heterodyne beat of a small block V8 exhaust. ( yum )
    Well screwed (welded, glued, bolted) together - at 15,000 miles.
    Surprisingly supple ride - with Bilstein dampers.
    Not perfect, and not equipped to the Luxury level generally seen on an Audi
    But an absolute, screaming bargain at 'Employee Pricing for Everyone' plus a $2K rebate - 1 year ago.
    Some additional details are in my year review - posted here on that board.
    Something interesting & entertaining to drive while I watch these 'Interesting Times' in the automotive realm unfold . . .
    - Ray
    Waiting for exactly the right LPS, at exactly the right price – for me . .
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    I would not take c.r too seriously...I have found them to be behind the trend line....All information is of value to an extent, but to base a final decision on something that does not excite you---you will regret...As hpower has said ` maybe I`m looking on the wrong road`...Well I can say` I am on the same road as he`...Tony
  • drtraveldrtravel Posts: 395
    .....a much more troubling impression of M car than CR did: moonroof rattles, a bad speaker in the seat (which would require tearing the leather seat apart to fix), headlight beams that point too low, loose driver seats.......

    Note that the moonroof rattle was a design flaw found in the early builds of the M. I immediately noticed the problem and took my new M back to the dealer. Not only did the service manager and dealership owner bend over backwards to help me but Infiniti sent over some engineers from Japan to look at my car. They gave me a $300 gift card for my troubles, fixed my car, immediately issued a TSB (photos of my car!) plus ordered a fix at the factory so no cars after the first few months would have the same problem. Do you honestly think any other manufacturer would have done anywhere near the same? Infiniti wants this car to be the best and have shown a willingness to listen to the customer. Keep in mind it's a brand new design with almost no brand loyalty.

    I've driven 18K miles in the past 14 months with no other issues. My local Infiniti dealer also comped my 7.5K service. I did have to pay the $255 bill for the 15K service. By the way I'm averaging 18.95 mph for a 50/50 mix driving.

    I too have previously owned a BMW, Lexus and MB. Based soley on my ownership experience (and chatting with other owners and managers in the respective service departments), I would still rate the Lexus as best but Infiniti is close. I have to own the Infiniti for a few more years to see how things play out. BMW was below average - I would still buy another however no way would I own it pass the warranty period - so leasing is the way to go - plus they sub vent their leases. (Note Infiniti is doing the same with their leases... where did they get the idea?). The MB proved to be a real POS. I will never own one of their cars again! For that kind of money I was expecting a whole lot more.

    Keep in mind none of these cars as a whole are bad. Probably 90+% of BMW owners have no problems (including everyone on this forum) so I can see how many would have no problems with three or four cars. But then again if you compare it to 98+% of Lexus owners with no problems - well then you can see how some would rate the Lexus as more reliable. Of course if you're one of the unlucky 10%, well life sucks. I'm happy for all the car owners on this forum who have no problems. I don't wish for any car owner to suffer. Believe me, I've met some of those 10% and they weren't happy campers.
  • drtraveldrtravel Posts: 395
    Based on surveys received from car owners evaluating their first 90 days of ownership.

    2. Lexus - 93 problems per 100 vehicles
    7. Cadillac - 117
    7. Infiniti - 117
    10. Acura - 120

    Industry Average - 124

    25. MB - 139
    27. BMW - 142

    Let the spinning begin.....
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    There's already a discussion about the merits (or total lack thereof) of the new IQS report in the HELM thread. The problem with the new study is that it focuses on design issues as well as defects, so BMW is being hurt because of iDrive, not necessarily because their cars are having problems.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,111
    So, in my case, since in the first 90 days I had TWO new pushbutton starter replacements, that would have counted as "2" -- and if 99 other customers had reported the same experience, the number would be "200."

    If the industry average is 124 per 100, which means, I presume, 1.24 problems on average per car for 90 days, I enjoyed problems worse than all of these cars.

    Funny, I guess, even though I can recall these issues, I would in casual conversation (with no intention of hiding anything) say that my 2005 A6 which will soon be 13 months old has been "virtually" flawless.

    My perception, my reality -- even though technically the problems I described (which did extend to 4 total pushbutton starter switches before it was apparently fixed permanently) really don't bother me very much at all -- when adjusted to be factually accurate means I have had a lousy 13 month run, despite the fact that my impression is otherwise.

    Ja? :confuse:
  • jshattnerjshattner Posts: 32
    I have a newer production M45 (4 months old, 5k miles) and today I discovered the roof rattle!! (However, it turned out to be my sunglasses in the roof holder :D )

    Seriously, so far the car has been flawless; the service knowledge less so. I'm coming from a series of MB's (E430 / E55 / E500) and before that Lexus. This car is consistently the most fun of the group, although the Lexus LS400's were completely trouble free and the dealer service was incredible. Hope Infiniti lives up to them in the former area and improves in the latter department.
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    From msg #7503: "The problem with the new study is that it focuses on design issues as well as defects, so BMW is being hurt because of iDrive, not necessarily because their cars are having problems."

    One website I googled upon broke down the results and BMW did not only suffer, in ranking, from design ("we don't like how iDrive works") complaints, but also defects and malfunctions:

    Brand-Defects-Malfunctions-Design Problems
    Infiniti-117-57-52
    Audi-130- 60-62
    BMw-142-52-82
    Mercedes-139-65-68
    Lexus-93-42-45
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Yes. I can attest to the different way one is treated at the Lexus vs BMW dealerships.
    BMW: Very impersonal. The "you want it or not?" mentality.
    Lexus: Salesman took his time with me, made me feel special.

    I leased a BMW, however, because of the great lease deal and free maintenance.

    I recommended my Lexus salesperson which resulted in a sale and he sent me $100 in gratitude.

    When I lease my next vehicle, it will be to the Lexus Dealership where I will be going first.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,111
    Here in Cincinnati, the experience at the BMW store is akin to the show Cheers when Norm walks in and "everybody knows your name."

    Ditto the Audi store.

    However, the experience at the Lexus dealer may, for all I know (which is not much on this aspect) be as good, worse or better.

    The BMW store does stand out as a major case study on "How to make customers feel special."

    Arrogance? Nope.

    Take it or leave it? Nope.

    Have a homemade cookie & some fresh brewed Starbucks? Yep.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    (not that anyone asked, but I get to say anyway! ;))

    that experiences at one, two, even several dealerships aren't the best way to decide anything about a brand. In all the years I've been hosting here, I can tell you that I have learned there is NO brand that doesn't have bad dealerships and NO brand that doesn't have good ones, at least of the brands that we mostly discuss.

    And the other thing is that you are buying a vehicle for some number of years - the experience with the dealership will be over and done with, however bad or good it was, relatively quickly in the scheme of things.

    FWIW ... :shades:
  • proeproe Posts: 157
    I have to agree with our host.

    And, that reminds me of car ownership. There are quite a few people who spend a lot of money to own a car that does not fit their social status, meaning someone who only makes $60,000 a year, buys or lease a M45.
    For those people, they will expect both the car to be trouble free and the dealership experience should be excellent because from their perspective, I have spent a fortune on this car.
    However, if that someone makes $200,000 or more a year, then that someone does not care much about both the car and the dealership since to that someone, it is well within his/her financial means. So, when you buy a car that is within your financial means, you are usually not bothered by the problems of the car and bad experience of the dealership.
    You will still have problems with your car and bad experience with dealership no matter who you are and what kind of car you own ;)

    Just my 2 cents...
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