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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Well, I'm astonished at that point at this weird version of "journalism". With the "strangely unmoved," they've crossed over into psychology-land and not fact-land (and they've acknowledged finding themselves confused there), but they are going to try to recover a sense of being on solid (objective, fact-based) ground by using "performance" and "prestige" as if they were simply quantifiable "things" a car has in clearly measurable proportions which they, as experts, have measured and are now reporting their scientific findings to us.

    I'm not sure what it is you're trying to say here. It takes more than a smooth engine and good fuel economy to make a truly great car, the kind of car you always glance back at as you walk away from it, and itch to get back behind the wheel. They've said the A6 is good, not great. Clarkson said the same thing about the Continental GT, saying that it lacks the "X-factor" that makes a good car into a great one. What is X-factor? It's not some number you can put down on a sheet and compare it to another car's X-factor. You've either got "it", or you dont.
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    What I was trying to say is that their "it" and your "it" are subjective entities in their collective editorial consciousness and in your own. They appear to me to try to write on both sides of the subjective-objective fence simultaneously -- in a way I find to be unconvincing. If they find their own experience of being "unmoved" to be "strange," so do I.
  • aflcaflc Posts: 8
    It looks like Audi is doing pretty well in terms of quality and satisfaction lately.

    http://uk.biz.yahoo.com/11072006/244/audi-revving-new-gains.html

    The perception of the Audi brand in the US is definitely different than the rest of the world. Here in the US there seems to be a bias that Audi is only second best compared to the other two German car makers, but that does not seem to be the case in Germany where drivers have picked it #1.
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    Actually the best reply to this assessment of Audi;s lack of greatness comes from the editors of the very same Automobile Magazine, in their 3-day comparison test of luxury sport sedans (incluidng BMW 5-series and Mercedes E-series), where they concluded:

    "We are surprised [again, they find themselves having an odd reaction to their own experience of the Audi] that our three days of driving have brought us to see the Audi A6 4.2 Quattro as the right car to drive. We've grown accustomed to thinking of any Audi as a nearly-there kind of car, but the A6 delivers such extraordinary satisfaction in every aspect of driving that we find it irresistible. Gillies says, "It is both beautiful and bang up-to-date, proving that being at the cutting edge doesn't mean missing the mark. It feels bored at 80 mph and doesn't break a sweat at 100 mph." Johnson notes, "It isn't a superstar in any single category, but it possesses such a high level of excellence in all areas that it deserves the gold medal." Sherman says simply, "I would happily live with it."
    The Audi A6 delivers a premium experience, and it marks you as a driver who appreciates both great design and great driving. Of course, such artistic excellence needs to be matched by practical excellence in such things as quality, durability, and even residual value, and that's the aspect of the Audi equation that remains unproven. For now, though, the A6 is unquestionably a great car, and we think it provides a solid foundation on which to build a great car company. As our experience in Palm Springs reminds us, there's no reason to settle for less than the best."

    If the A6 was an unquestionably great car then, what changed? The 8 trips to the service dept. Their one car having those glitches appears to have led them to disregard their own assessment of the A6 line as "great" and "the best", because for them the failure of that one unit to show (build) quality and durability ruined the experience of it as "a great," in fact, "the best" driving luxury sport sedan.

    They're human too. If you're the one who ends up with the lemon, it might start not to matter that -- in a comparison against Mercedes and BMW -- you experienced it a the ultimate driving machine. But, I'm claiming, as journalists, they ought to have referenced and questioned their "strange" (to them) being "unmoved" by the total ownership experience with the A6 and they should have considered the possibility that it's electrical glitches had soured them on it -- rather than make an about-face and saying: gee, you know what, for reasons we cannot put our finger on we now don't really like driving it. In fact, upon further driving of it, we slightly changed our opinion to: "Until the A6 becomes a true driver's car, it is destined to remain a nice car for people who want to buy into the sport sedan club without actually knowing what a sport sedan can be." Apparently, that includes them.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,101
    "JULY 10, 2006

    BUSINESSWEEK: AUTOS
    By Gail Edmondson

    Audi: Revving to New Gains
    Toyota is seeking to remake the European car map. But Audi's recent success shows a commitment to change that is paying off against rivals

    Audi boss Martin Winterkorn loves to push the accelerator up to 180 mph in Audi's high-performance models whenever the German autobahn is empty. But along with building fast, eye-catching, premium cars that rival those of BMW and Mercedes-Benz, he is determined to match Toyota's (TM) famous quality and reliability.

    So the latest J.D. Power & Associates customer satisfaction survey for Germany is a coup for the 58-year-old CEO. Audi was one of the biggest gainers in 2006, tying with BMW and rated No. 7, the highest-ranking non-Japanese brand in the survey, which was led for the fifth year running by Toyota.

    The annual J.D. Power report, released July 5, shows Audi made big gains in vehicle quality and customer service, and scored high in vehicle appeal (J.D. Power is a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (MHP), which also owns BusinessWeek.com). Audi's quality ranking alone jumped 21 points in Germany from 2005, while the industry as a whole improved by only 6 points. "In most areas Audi now goes head-to-head with BMW," says David Sargent, head of operations for J.D. Power in London, noting Audi's quality parameter in 2006 was three points higher than BMW's on a scale of 1,000.

    "HAS HAD TO OVERACHIEVE." These figures are based solely on the opinions of current car owners. But when Germans--the most demanding drivers in the world--are asked to vote on which brand they like the most regardless of what they drive now, Audi fares even better.

    In the 2006 reader survey by German magazine Auto Motor & Sport, Audi swept the rankings, overtaking both BMW and Mercedes for best car in the compact (A3), executive sedan (A6), and luxury sedan (A8) categories. "Audi has had to overachieve," to win its place in the premium market says Karl Ludvigsen, president of Euromotor Consultants in North Hampton, U.K.

    It's not just in Germany where Audi is on the upswing. In J.D. Power's 2006 French survey, BMW and Audi scored higher than they did among German owners, ranking No. 2 and No. 5 respectively, with Honda (HMC) taking first place. The annual survey measures cars on quality and reliability, vehicle appeal, service satisfaction, and ownership costs.

    POSITIVE NOISE. BMW's Mini was the most-improved European brand in the J.D. Power 2006 German ranking, also scoring gains in quality, reliability, and service satisfaction.

    All this positive buzz is helping Audi notch big revenue gains. In the first half of this year, Audi's sales climbed 9.8%, to 463,500 units, compared with 8% for BMW. Winterkorn aims to reach sales of 880,000 this year and double sales to 1.4 million by 2015. But Audi still has to step on the gas to catch its German rivals. The $34 billion Bavarian auto maker sold 829,000 cars worldwide last year, compared with 1.1 million for both BMW and Mercedes.

    In the U.S., where Audi is bent on clawing market share from luxury competitors, first-half sales rose 7.3%, helped by the introduction of the new A3 sportback, the A6 sedan, and the Q7 SUV. Strong global demand for the huge Q7, which was designed for the U.S. market, has prompted Audi to raise its worldwide Q7 sales forecast by 10,000 cars to 70,000, and to expand production."


    Read on McDuff, read on.

    Full Story: Klik Here
  • reality2reality2 Posts: 303
    Thas it why American surveys lack credibility. It is more that tier 1 Audi's volume in the US in not as large as MB, BMW, or Lexus so there is this visibility factor in the surveys that is missing compared to the others. Sampling is an issue. Still, Audi ranked higher than BMW or MB in the recent JD Powers survey in the US.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    If I took those surveys seriously I would neither buy a Audi, MB or BMW. I would buy a Lexus instead.

    I dont take these surveys seriously at all and that is why I have owned problem-free BMWs for almost a decade with no major unpredictable repairs. Also I keep my cars beyond the warranty period and so far I have not exposed myself to any major financial risks in terms of repair costs.

    If my experience is a statistical anomaly then I really dont care. I will continue having confidence about BMW reliabilty as long as my own cars dont disappoint me.
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    really all CR and JD do is give an idea what is happening with other people as the people share with them what they share....I --in the past-- have not really found the questions asked to have the substance needed to convey a like or dislike, so i have just answered the best of my ability....The thing that did it for me with CR was there opinion of fifferent `Bread`...I asked myself the question `How does anyone pass judgement on another persons taste` from that point on I have greatly discounted their publication...A person has to make their own effort and use their own judgement and not take the easy way out...Tony
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    My experience too is a statistical anomaly, having 3 trouble-free BMW's since 1993.
    I'm glad there are 2 of us. That should be it. ;)
    One lunatic on another thread actually called me a liar-that it couldn't possibly be true!

    Those damn surveys and the auto mags. have little to do with reality.
    If you believe what you read: the 5 series is terribly ugly, iDrive is incredibly difficult and this vehicle has serious reliability issues. So this vehicle's sales should be dramatically shrinking.
    Reality: the 5 series is the overwhelming leader in the LPS segment with sales annihilating the A6, GS and E Class.

    I'll take reality every time! :blush:
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    We are two rarebirds indeed.

    According to JD or CR we are both statistically classified as an endangered species doomed to the path of extinction. ;)
  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    My numerous unscheduled stops to the dealer kept me from replacing my 98 A6 with a new one. Seals, radiator, water pump, suspension pieces worn out, and other things at less than 50K miles just ruined the long-term perspective of trying another one. Along with that, the sunroof just took up too much headroom. Yes, I know it is possible to buy one without, but when I looked, there were all of 3 in the entire country plus, most of the goodies can't be had without one. Obviously, my single experience with one car does not indicate a trend, but CR did indicate it was less reliable than others.

    Can't say anything on newer ones, or even others from that year. The lack of sufficient headroom was the clincher. I just refuse to drive laying down, and then it would be either stretching forward for the steering wheel, or jamming my knees when lifting to hit the brake.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Apparently thousands of folks are thumbing their collective noses at JD and the auto mags and are making the Bangle 5 series one of the greatest success stories in automotive history.

    Uhh...wonder what happened to the auto media's darling, the Infiniti M?
  • reality2reality2 Posts: 303
    I have the same experience. I have had nine Audis and they were all trouble-free. My current three are without question the best, absolutely no problems or drama. This is what I go by and not what someone thinks they can tell me is correct since I am the one actually experiencing the ownership. So much for surveys.
  • calhoncalhon Posts: 87
    According to JD or CR we are both statistically classified as an endangered species doomed to the path of extinction.

    Well, neither the JD Power nor CR reliability data says that. On the contrary, the data says few problems is the normal experience with almost all recent models.

    However, both organizations make a mountain out of a mole hill in order to generate revenue. CR is particularly misleading, because they generally provide only relative ratings, describe below average as synonymous with poor or bad, and use loaded symbols, etc.

    The seemingly simple way the results are presented plays to the emotions and innumeracy of readers, who think they understand, when in fact they have jumped to completely wrong conclusions.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I don't know if I'd call a 7K unit lead over the E-Class "overwhelming" or "annihilating".

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Uhh...wonder what happened to the auto media's darling, the Infiniti M?

    All things considered, the M is doing very well. Keep in mind that all of NNA is hugely down in the last few months, and thats going to hurt M sales, no matter how good it is. They never expected the M to be selling at the 5\E level. If it did, it would represent 60%+ of Infiniti's total sales.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Good, because I'm thinking about the possibility of a Q7 somewhere down the road. Best looking SUV out there, IMO.
  • jlbljlbl Posts: 1,333
    Very interesting point that that you made on using American or Imperial units. I am sorry of my delay in answering that, but here it is how my calculations were made:

    1 gallon = 3.78533 liters

    1 mile = 1,6093472 kilometers

    1 libra = 2.2046223399 kilograms

    Are they US or British? I am not sure

    Regards,

    Jose
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    "They never expected the M to be selling at the 5/E level."

    I don't know about that. When the car's motto is "built to out-perform", I would like to believe there is a double-meaning: in driving characteristics and in sales.

    There is no doubt in my mind, the Infiniti M was built specifically as Japan's answer to the BMW 5 series.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    Infiniti's clearly stated sales goal before launch 24,000 annual sales for the M. They exceeded that the first year, and they're on pace to exceed that this year.

    It's not realistic to expect the M to outsell the 5. Like it or not, the name "BMW" helps to sell the 5. The M has to sell solely based on the merits of the car itself. It gets no help from the name "Infiniti". Also, this is Infiniti's first foray into this segment. BMW has established customers who've been buying the 5 series for decades.

    Not saying which car is better or worse, but there are many factors that come into play when it comes to sales other than the merits of that particular model.

    Toyota could build the world's best full-sized pickup ever, but it still would get outsold by the F series pickup 5 to 1. Brand/model loyalty is a powerful thing.
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    I agree that coverage of BMW in the auto mags is often silly. The often-quoted Car and Driver (May, 2005) "sports-luxury" comparison awarded the Infiniti M45 first place, but almost entirely on the basis of rapid acceleration, rather than styling or an anti-iDrive bias. The M45 was put up against the BMW 530i (which meant putting a 335 horse-power Infiniti M model in a drag-strip race against the 225 hp version of the 5-series). Also emphasized was the M's large rear seating space.

    Similarly, while Motor Trend's comparison test rated two Japanese cars (Acura and Infiniti) ahead of BMW (third place), there was no Bangle-bashing: "The fifth-generation BMW 5 Series, with its flame-cut flanks and take-no-prisoners suspension, hit the ground running in the 2004 model year. Here's a thoroughbred, the product of decades of setting the benchmark all other automaker's sport sedans aspire to. Just look at the stance, the way the body sits on the chassis, ready to pounce on any opportunity to show its stuff on a challenging stretch of road. The smoothness and flexibility of BMW inline-sixes are legendary, and the 225 horses of the 2979cc engine seem more spirited than their numbers might otherwise suggest. And BMW is one of the only automakers courageous enough to offer a six-speed manual gearbox in a $50,000 sedan."

    Also, if a potential buyer was to consult Consumer Reports to compare BMW 5-series, Audi A6, and Mercedes E-class, they would only find the BMW recommended, with the Mercedes and Audi dismissed as unreliable.

    So, I don't think the best way to characterize the BMW 5-series sales success is that it is being snapped up by savvy contrarian buyers who are thumbing their noses at CR and at critics of Bangle. BMW simply has the (well-earned) best place in the collective consciousness of buyers with $50,000+ to spend on a car. Mercedes and Audi have been trashed by CR and Mercedes' CEO has had to show up at auto shows promising to improve reliability. And except for Lexus, most buyers in the category targeted by this forum just don't think "Japanese car" when they look for a car with which they identify.
  • killerbunnykillerbunny Posts: 141
    I have the same experience. I have had nine Audis and they were all trouble-free. My current three are without question the best, absolutely no problems or drama. This is what I go by and not what someone thinks they can tell me is correct since I am the one actually experiencing the ownership. So much for surveys.

    When you travel by air (such as Boeing 777), the chance that it's going to crash is about 1 in 1 billion (not exact number, but on that order).

    Another imagined plane, with a rate of 1 in 1 million, is considered extremely unsafe statistically, even though it is still unlikely to happen to you.

    We all make our choices. I would personally choose that extra order of peace of mind, since it doesn't even cost more.
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    "I have had nine Audis and they were all trouble-free. My current three are without question the best, absolutely no problems or drama. This is what I go by and not what someone thinks they can tell me is correct since I am the one actually experiencing the ownership. So much for surveys."

    I think you're correct, but not in the way your wording implies.

    You obviously love driving Audis and, having had no trouble with any of your previous Audis, you're strongly, perhaps immutably, inclined to buy more. That all makes sense.

    Your ownership experiences, however, would not be a reason for someone else to ignore survey data. The reason to ignore surveys would be that the methods of collecting, analyzing, reporting, or drawing inferences from the data are flawed. And many good arguments have been made on this forum to strongly suggest that CR and JDP reports are flawed, especially in that they suggest to readers that they will regret buying most German cars (since, collectively, German car owners have reported an average of 1.5 problems per vehicle, while Japanese car buyers have only reported 1.2 problems per vehicle -- I made up that approximation -- but it's not far off and I think you'll get what I mean).

    To me, the most persuasive part of your message is not "trust me and not surveys when I tell you your Audi will be trouble-free," but rather "hey, if you love what you see and feel when you test-drive an Audi, get it, and don't be dissuaded by surveys for which you cannot get access to the data and so are pretty limited to what the editors and researchers (of CR and JDP reports) tell you that you should think."

    On the other hand, as an earlier response (using airplane crash analogy) to your posting suggests, if there was unambiguous data available about car reliability and it showed conclusively that German cars broke down by the side of the road an average of twice a month, while no Japanese car had ever been reported to breakdown, then that would be something to consider.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Personally I would choose to fly with a Boeing 777 over a Soviet AH-10.

    As I arrive safely and unscratched at the airport I would choose to drive off with either a BMW or Audi versus any other car. :P
  • killerbunnykillerbunny Posts: 141
    Personally I would choose to fly with a Boeing 777 over a Soviet AH-10.

    As I arrive safely at the airport I would choose to drive off from the airport with either a BMW or Audi versus any other car.


    Not even a Porsche? :surprise:
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Ok, ok maybe a Porsche! And if push comes to shove I will accept driving a Ferrari even with its higher mortality rate (a mortality rate that is even higher than a Soviet AH10) :)
  • upuautupuaut Posts: 14
    US gallons are 3.78 litres, British imperial gallons are 4.54 litres. Miles and pounds are the same in USA and British systems. Are you saying you were using US gallons when you said you got 50 MPG in a diesel 5 series? That doesn't sound possible, that is what a Smart car gets.
  • upuautupuaut Posts: 14
    I totally agree that it is not realistic for the M to outsell the 5. Could Infiniti even make that many? Does their factory have the capacity? I think they would have to ramp up production slowly. Then there is the badge issue. Imagine what the sales would be like if BM had made the car we know as the M, and Infiniti had made the car we know as the 5. What chance would Infiniti have to outsell the BMW "5"? I say zero, because that car would have the little blue propeller on it.
  • upuautupuaut Posts: 14
    In a way it does make sense to compare the M45 and the 530, they are about the same $. Here in Canada (These are all CDN funds, from Infiniti and BMW websites)the M45 MSRP is $66k, the 530 $67.8k. The M35 is $56.4k, would be similar acceleration as the 530, but then the reveiwer would give it points for being $11k less.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Thats exactly what C&D spelled out in their comparo. It wasn't "V8 LPS comparison", it was $55K LPS comparison, and thats all you can get from BMW for $55K. Its not Infiniti's fault that they can offer the M45 for $55K. One could ask whether considering MSRP is relevant in a class of car where almost all sales are leases, but those were the rules.
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