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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    "But, when it comes down to it, the BMW is what gets me excited. And that should count for a lot."

    Based on my recent experience, it should be the deciding variable in the equation. In the weeks and months after you've brought the car home, the memory of the one about which you were most excited will not easily fade. I'd say your excitement is making the decision for you. And you can likely lease the BMW for as good (if not better terms) than with the M35, if you're leasing; or, if you're buying, and if you're hesitating because the BMW costs more, check things on the BMW leasing and prices paid forums. People there can often point you toward possibilties you might not have known.
  • breldbreld Posts: 1,342
    A month or so ago, I went to the Infiniti dealer to take another look at the M35x. I take a walk around it, checking out all the angles, and the style and other features start to grow on me. Now, on their used car lot, they happen to have a recent model 530i, and when I see that, it's just an instant gut feel - it just seems to click with me. If it would've been an xi model, I would've been tempted to start talking numbers right away.

    So, yeah, to your point, I look back on that visceral feeling I had that day and often think, perhaps it should be as simple as that. What gets your blood pumping? Particularly when you get to the choices in this class, where, to be cliche, there probably are no real "losers."

    And regarding the pricing difference between the M and 5, I'm more than happy to go with a lightly used, perhaps certified, 530xi. And that's half the reason I'm waiting several months - not too many of those out there yet.

    2011 BMW 535xi - 2015 GTI - 2008 A3 - 2009 Ody

  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    So, yeah, to your point, I look back on that visceral feeling I had that day and often think, perhaps it should be as simple as that. What gets your blood pumping? Particularly when you get to the choices in this class, where, to be cliche, there probably are no real "losers."

    I agree that there are no bad cars among those being discussed on this forum. There are aesthetic differences, which matter to different degrees to each of us. It might be "shallow" on my part, but it actually enhances my sense of enjoyment of my car if, when I see the same model go by on the street or highway, I think "boy, that is a great looking car." I'm surprised, after the fact, that I took one home about which I really didn't feel that way. If I had bought it instead of leased it, the lack of excitement about how it looks when I am walking toward it, how it feels when I'm sitting in, and the subtle differences in my experience of the drive train and chassis charactersitics would all be leading me to see what I could get by selling it and just moving on.
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    "the way a lot of people talk (or post) about cars leads me to believe that the joy of driving, or finding new places, or trying a treasured remote road with a new vehicle, is absent."

    I like this post. I have a friend whose finances have allowed him to (simultaneously) own several highly desirable cars (Porsche, BMW M5, and MB). He routinely goes for a two day drive out of town and into the backroads. It's akin to a spiritual activity for him. Acquiring a new car clearly is done with future versions of these drives in mind.

    I've noticed that, when I've had a car with which I was "in love" I do what you're saying is too absent in these exchanges -- take it out "on dates" or "away for the weekend" and, if I'm talking about where I've been, I'll include some description of the car as a contributor to, along with my wife and I, the pleasures of the event.

    One of the clues I had to my (absurd, regrettable, pathetic, etc) having drifted into taking home a car I don't love in that way, is that any mention of the car is limited to voicing one side or another of my ambivalence about it.
  • dzubadzuba Posts: 159
    Have not visited here lately and can't believe one of the first threads I read is from Shipo - wow. We spoke about three years ago when I bought my 02 CPO - LOL.

    Anyways, I now have 75K on my 02 and am contemplating getting rid of it before:

    1. It gets to 100K miles and the value really drops
    2. I have to deal with a new transmission at about 100K miles. Never had a problem with the car yet, and I am a novice here with this question - but how long do these transmissions last considering they are well taken care of.
    3. Does CPO cover a new tranny should it go before 100K miles?

    Thanks
  • curtisbcurtisb Posts: 1
    Japanese vehicles are "good cars".

    European vehicles are "driving machines"!

    I prefer to enjoy and yes, dare I say LOVE driving my 328ci anyday of the week over my Nissan Maxima, which is still a "good car".

    I am currently looking at and comparing vehicles in the bracket of BMW's 540i (2003 model year) and thus far have yet to find something even remotely enjoyable or as valued as the BMW. Nothing really even comes close.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Japanese vehicles are "good cars".

    European vehicles are "driving machines"!


    Again, over generalizing. The Japanese and Europeans can both make driving machines, they just have different ideas as to what a driving machine is. Of course a Nissan Maxima (which used to have a beam axle in back for "extra rear seat room") is no match for a 328ci.

    Japan's "ultimate driving machines" are more akin to a Porsche GT3 RS than anything BMW makes. They dont waste any weight on wood and leather. Generally, they also have never been sold in the US.

    Japan's highest performance cars that are currently in production are the Lancer Evo MR FQ400, and the WRX STi Spec. C WR. 0-60 takes place in about 4 seconds, and only the fastest Porsches would be able to catch them on a track. The M3 or M5 wouldn't have a chance.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I understand where you're coming from here, but those cars aren't always available here and they aren't luxury cars they're pretty much boy-racers (compared to a Porsche or BMW) which is why most folks don't think of them with they generalize about Japanese cars. A M3 or M5 are far more sophisticated and Japan doesn't have anything in the luxury ranks to tackle a AMG/M/RS type vehicle form MB/BMW/Audi. That and the fact the Europeans make for more driving machines across a much broader market only enhance the perception the above poster has, IMO.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I understand where you're coming from here, but those cars aren't always available here and they aren't luxury cars they're pretty much boy-racers (compared to a Porsche or BMW) which is why most folks don't think of them with they generalize about Japanese cars. A M3 or M5 are far more sophisticated and Japan doesn't have anything in the luxury ranks to tackle a AMG/M/RS type vehicle form MB/BMW/Audi.

    True, just making a point that Japan can make world-beating UHP cars if they want to. At the same time, recent efforts from Mazda and Nissan like the MS6 and Infiniti M show that they can do Euro style, "mature" performance cars as well. I'd very much like to see Infiniti adopt an AMG style performance arm. Surely if Cadillac can do it, they can.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well you know don't have to sell me on Infiniti, they're my favorite of the big 3 Japanese luxury brands by far.

    I think what you said earlier about where the car originate from and the priorities that shape them on their homeland have a great deal to do with who make what. Brilliant point.

    Nissan and Mazda while credible, don't really apply here though.

    Cadillac doing a performance arm is really something, but as of late they seem to be taking one loss after another. They have the power, but not the refinement or polish to make any real waves in the AMG/M/RS world it seems.

    M
  • reality2reality2 Posts: 303
    Thanks for the synposis. I agree with you regarding this remarkable experience. I participated in the 2005 Seefeld Audi Driving Experience and it was everything and more as you described. Next: Barcelona or Finland Audi Driving Experiences with the Barcelona with RS4s.
  • breldbreld Posts: 1,342
    So, after all this talk of European vs. Japanese, my own experiences comparing the M35 vs. 530, and in particular, the emotional side of the car decision, I may just have found my car today.

    I browse Autotrader daily, getting a feel for the market for 530xi's, on a national basis. Figure I'd do something early next year, when there's more of a used market for them. There's been several interesting listings, but always out-of-state, which isn't unthinkable by any means, but it was enough to keep me at bay.

    Well, today a listing pops up at a local dealership - 2006 530xiT, 6,500 miles, CPO, and here's the kicker - manual trannie.

    Now, I've been a pretty die-hard stick shift guy, but over the last several months, as I started looking at this LPS class, I found myself accepting, and more recently, even embracing, the idea of getting an automatic. Part of it was indeed liking the idea of perhaps a more "relaxed" driving experience for the daily commute, and part of it was simply out of necessity - other than the BMW, there is no choice in this class. And considering I resolved myself to the used market for a 530 (for price reasons), I figured chances of finding a manual were pretty slim anyhow.

    Then I saw this listing, and it definitely gets my juices flowing. I'm the responsible father dropping off my two boys at daycare in the family truckster, and then continue on my way to work in my 6-speed manual sports wagon! :)

    Well, I'll probably take a look at it tomorrow. I could see myself going ahead with it if the numbers work out, but I could just as easily see myself holding off until next year. I kind of enjoy the process - weighing the pros and cons of the different choices, doing the research, the "hunt" for that gem in the used market. Kinda crazy, huh?

    2011 BMW 535xi - 2015 GTI - 2008 A3 - 2009 Ody

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Cadillac doing a performance arm is really something, but as of late they seem to be taking one loss after another. They have the power, but not the refinement or polish to make any real waves in the AMG/M/RS world it seems.

    Very true. The XLR-V came in dead last in C&D, and this line "A good choice if you must be seen in a domestic vehicle." was the clincher. For $100K, they have to do better than "not bad...for Detroit". Still, at least they're trying.

    Japan has a very long history of not even bothering to send their hot cars to the states, partly because of things like emissions, but I think mostly due to them being timid about whether or not they'll sell any here. Once in a blue moon Honda will send a "Type R" our way, but 9 times out of 10 they are only for the Europe and Japan markets, and we get some sort of watered down version instead.

    We only get the basic level of the Evo and WRX, and an even more basic Legacy Spec.B.

    It will be interesting to see what Nissan, Honda, and Toyota can do with their new supercars. We've got the Ford GT, Germany has the Carrera GT and the SLR, Italy has well, boatloads of supercars, but Japan's currently got nothing.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I kind of enjoy the process - weighing the pros and cons of the different choices, doing the research, the "hunt" for that gem in the used market. Kinda crazy, huh?

    Not a bit. I've been doing the very same thing with used Jag convertibles for years.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Very true. The XLR-V came in dead last in C&D, and this line "A good choice if you must be seen in a domestic vehicle." was the clincher. For $100K, they have to do better than "not bad...for Detroit". Still, at least they're trying.

    Yep, but oh wait it gets worse. The SL550 just beat the XLR-V in a head to head in the Sept issue of Motor Trend. What I find interesting is that the XLR-V's performance is only a few tenths of a second better here and there compared to the SL550. It doesn't stand a chance against the SL55 AMG. However I also give them credit for trying, there is nothing like the XLR from an American brand so I guess that has to count for something.

    Honda really should send us that really hot version of the Civic hatchback, I think it would sell on looks alone.

    What I'd most like to see is a 350Z killer from Toyota priced at the same level.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The Euro Civic does look a lot better than ours, but its an entirely different model, so there's unfortunately no chance of us getting it.

    A Z killer from Toyota would be nice, but supposedly the Supra is going to price like the GT-R, rather than the Z. A Mazdaspeed RX-8 would be a good alternative to the Z however, as would a new S2000, if Honda ever gets around to it.

    image
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    It seems to me that in press releases, in ads, and (to a lesser degree) in what emphasis auto mags put on each brand, you get a sense of what niche (in the collective consciousness of consumers) the company is most interested in capturing.

    Infiniti's ads are heavily weighted toward "design" and one press release says unambiguously: we want to be the design leader. I think you have to like "a lot of design" to love look and feel of M35/M45.

    BMW appears targeted at "best engines in the world" and car mags pick that up -- the only full length articles on a brand's new engines, that I can recall, were on the engines in the new 3-series, when that line hit the market.

    I googled "Audi A6 V6 S-Line" and the first hit, from the UK press, read: "Audi's A6 is a highly evolved motorcar and their 3.2-Litre V6 FSI is a highly advanced engine. They make a good pair. Audi make great play of the advanced technology that they manage to pack into their products and well they might. Take the A6 3.2-litre FSI we feature here with its Fuel Stratified Injection engine, adaptive air suspension, the option of front-wheel or quattro four-wheel drive and the choice of three different gearboxes. That's before we even get into the options list where wonders like in-car televisions, voice command systems and distance-sensing cruise control reside."
  • purplem46purplem46 Posts: 54
    A M3 or M5 are far more sophisticated and Japan doesn't have anything in the luxury ranks to tackle a AMG/M/RS type vehicle form MB/BMW/Audi.

    True enough, but in 2008 I think the Japanese are ready to play their trump card. Everything I've heard about the anticipated Skyline GTR (Nissan Badge), would seem to put them square in the M division/ AMG ranks.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    BMW appears targeted at "best engines in the world" and car mags pick that up -- the only full length articles on a brand's new engines, that I can recall, were on the engines in the new 3-series, when that line hit the market.

    I do remember full length articles on Audi's DSG, though. BMW may have the best engines, but their SMG is no match for Audi's.
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    I do remember full length articles on Audi's DSG, though. BMW may have the best engines, but their SMG is no match for Audi's."

    Exactly...German car reviews typically include discussions of the drivetrain and chassis, etc. Japanese car reviews more typically describe the pleasant (and sometimes exciting) experience, but, taking the M35 as example, looking over the reviews that got me excited about it, none go into any detail about new advances developed by Nissan in engine or transmission for this car. Nissan had a good engine/drivetrain (the V6 has been on Wards ten-best-engine list for years and the "rev-matching manu-matic" is good, for a 5-speed), but--my view now--a media-seducing vehicle was assembled by dropping an existing well-regarded (12-year-old engine) and an available transmission (geared to run like a 1960s muscle car and with about the same mpg) onto a modified 350Z->G35 chassis wrapped with a modified Maxima body, while all the left-over design and development money went into creating a swell living-room/command-post interior. A marketing marvel that seduced successfully; but it isn't BMW/Audi/MB 21st-century engineering.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,290
    Now, that’s what I’m talkin’ about! I very much enjoy hearing about this sort of stuff, but perhaps others don’t. If someone really carries on about a road they love, I’ll mark it in my atlas every time. It seems that I end up everywhere, sooner or later.

    My introduction to autobahn driving was five years ago, in an A3 (1.9Tdi), and of course it was a lasting impression -- got my Jones for an Audi started. Sadly, the cars I like best over there aren’t even available over here -- diesel/manual, preferably both. Here, outside of the A3/A4 which at least still have manuals, the options are: neither.

    On another trip to Germany, I took the weekend (& an A4 1.9Tdi this time) & had my first Swiss adventure. Opted to drive over the San Bernardino pass (rather than through the tunnel) and learned that even with decades of Colorado experience, there’s nothing quite like an Alpine pass for narrow roads without guardrails (& tour coaches); same for Gotthard, then the Furka pass -- lifelong ambition finally realized, once again in an Audi.

    I used to do business in Ohio (Springfield, near Dayton) & had weekends free to discover WV, PA & KY backroads, so have a pretty clear idea of your “local” environment, and a fine one for fun cars it is. I don’t see how someone who lives in Kansas or Oklahoma or any of the other states where 90% of the roads are straight & the highest altitude is the NW corner (based strictly on tilt), can ever understand 3-D driving & the passion some of us have for it. Unless I’m severely pressed for time, I ALWAYS avoid the interstates.

    Your Inglostadt tale combines another good “where I enjoyed driving” (or learned to better) with a (partial) explanation of how you have come to have 2 dozen or so Audis in your household over the past decades. Given that you’ve been there several times, it’s certainly understandable how the Audi has become a lifestyle. The only cars I drive in winter weather are rentals, so AWD holds no attraction to me, given what it does to the car’s balance. It sounds like appropriate manipulation of tire pressure can compensate, but there’s still the extra weight & complexity.

    Munich -- well, in a perfect world, that’s where I’ll be taking delivery of a BMW 3-series diesel in a couple of years for my ED holiday with my wife. Time will tell. The text of your post has been saved, in case all the stars align properly.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Nissan had a good engine/drivetrain (the V6 has been on Wards ten-best-engine list for years and the "rev-matching manu-matic" is good, for a 5-speed), but--my view now--a media-seducing vehicle was assembled by dropping an existing well-regarded (12-year-old engine) and an available transmission (geared to run like a 1960s muscle car and with about the same mpg) onto a modified 350Z->G35 chassis wrapped with a modified Maxima body, while all the left-over design and development money went into creating a swell living-room/command-post interior. A marketing marvel that seduced successfully; but it isn't BMW/Audi/MB 21st-century engineering.

    Infiniti deserves more credit than that. They greatly increased platform stiffness and rigidity for the "FM-L" platform under the M compared to the G35. The Infiniti could use more forward gears, I will give you that. However, the rev-matching feature is something thats not offered on most of the competition. The Sport versions of the M have "rear active steer", while the AWD versions have a very sophisticated, race proven AWD system capable of sending 100% of the power to the rear wheels. Most of the competition can't do that, either.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,290
    . . .by dropping an existing well-regarded (12-year-old engine) and an available transmission (geared to run like a 1960s muscle car and with about the same mpg) onto a modified 350Z->G35 chassis wrapped with a modified Maxima body, while all the left-over design and development money went into creating a swell living-room/command-post interior. A marketing marvel that seduced successfully; but it isn't BMW/Audi/MB 21st-century engineering.

    Wow. I've never seen such a world-class, industrial-grade, water-cooled case of buyer's (or, more properly, lessor's) remorse played out so quickly. What a shame.

    I lost interest in the M when I learned that it didn't come with a manual. Of the handful (five) of new cars I've bought since '73, I was generally pleased with them all for at least the first few years, but the plethora of choices that are available these days certainly weren't a factor then, even as recently as 2000, when I was last in the market.

    Either way, I hope you can come to terms with your M, or come up with a way to unload it so you can indulge your passion for Audi.

    Good luck!
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    True enough, but in 2008 I think the Japanese are ready to play their trump card. Everything I've heard about the anticipated Skyline GTR (Nissan Badge), would seem to put them square in the M division/ AMG ranks.

    It might, but it will still be a "Nissan" and one car isn't going to trump the many AMG/M models or their hold on the luxury car buyers seeking performance. If anything the car should have been an Infiniti here in the U.S. if Nissan is serious about making Infiniti a true threat to BMW and their Motorsport division. A high-end Nissan is going to be percieved as a boy-racer to most, though a very competitive/impressive one.

    M
  • bw45sportbw45sport Posts: 151
    Either way, I hope you can come to terms with your M, or come up with a way to unload it so you can indulge your passion for Audi.

    At least he thinks it has a nice glovebox and cupholders and is mildly pleasurable.

    As far as having a 12-year old engine design goes, I think it speaks volumes for the engine that it is still on the 10 best list 12 years later. Alas, while the car can perform as well or better than any of its peers, the owner can't tell everyone that my car has the newest engine technology. Good reason to slink away in shame.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    If anything the car should have been an Infiniti here in the U.S. if Nissan is serious about making Infiniti a true threat to BMW and their Motorsport division. A high-end Nissan is going to be percieved as a boy-racer to most, though a very competitive/impressive one.

    You're absolutely right on that one, deciding to put a Nissan badge on the car in the states could turn out to be a serious mistake. Infiniti dealers were fuming about it, because it could've been a proper flagship car for them, instead of the Q45 joke. I guess it depends on what kind of market they want to go after. If they want a piece of the Shelby Mustang\Corvette market, the Nissan badge is fine. There's a definite price cap on that market, however. Too much over $60K, and it just wont work.

    If they want a piece of the Porsche\M\AMG market though, a Nissan badge won't cut it.

    What I still think they should've done is use the GT-R to establish a tuning brand for Infiniti, just as the BMW M1 did for Motorsport. Infiniti GT-R "Z tune" to use a badge they've used in the past for the GT-R, and then a few years later, launch "Z tune" versions of the G, M, FX, etc.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,093
    Bringing this in as a Nissan. . . .

    Hmmm. . .

    Something makes me (word association) think Phaeton. . . .
  • jiaminjiamin Posts: 556
    "rear active steer". I clearly remember my 94 Altima has that feature, but on its window sticker it was called "super toe" or the like. I didn't feel anything different from cars without it. I am not a car expert, and don't change lanes suddenly. Probably that's why I couldn't tell if that's a practically useful thing.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    The GT-R will will be a success independent of a Infiniti logo.

    With the exception of the dismay of Infiniti dealers I dont see a problem.

    Sport does not need to be intertwined with luxury. There is nothing wrong with a Honda logo on the more modest S2000. And there is nothing wrong with a Nissan logo on the not so modest GT-R. Otherwise a Chevrolet Corvette would have been discontinued many decades ago and be re-born as a Cadillac Corvette.

    The GT-R's success will be determined by its superlative performance and not its logo.
    The Phaeton is another story altogether. A Luxurious Phaeton needs to be backed up with a luxury logo.
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    Alas, while the car can perform as well or better than any of its peers, the owner can't tell everyone that my car has the newest engine technology. Good reason to slink away in shame.

    OK ... I was off on a hyperbolic tear ... your sensitivity has grounded me again, though.

    My point was not that I feel deprived of the opportunity to carry schematics of the engine and show them to people on the Amtrak to MIT. My point was that, whether you resonante with this or not, there is pleasure in the feel of certain engine/tranny combos. Sinply getting a dragster response is not the one that lights my fire. Also, the 12-year-oldness manifests itself not in owner's inability to have letters printed on car that read "latest technology; eat your heart out", but manifests itself in very high rpms being required to get to the engine's torque (you're at 3000 rpm crusing at 75 on the highway) which, in turn, means you're buying the kick-butt acceleration with 17 mpg for 275 HP, rather than having it built-in through contemporary engineering. There are 350 HP V8s that only gulp 17 mpg. And it's not the money. It's the overall sense of what (I realize as I drive the car) the drivetrain is doing with the gas to create the impressive dragstrip times.

    None of this, as has been said many times here, has any implication for anyone else for whom that car provides exactly what they love in a driving experience.

    I realize it's unusual for an owner of a car to be a negative voice about the car on one of these forums, but it's just a variation on people who have only test-driven a certain car and write volumes about how its soul compares to the soul of some other machine.

    On the M35 versus BMW 5-series forum, another voice popped up yesterday saying the same thing, just not going-off the way I did yesterday: "I went from a 2002 540 to an 06 M35x, and while the M is a very nice car, it doesn't come close the driving pleasure of the BMW. I will admit that perhaps I should have looked at the M45 sport, but unfortunately I didn't. I also got significantly better mileage with the V8 BMW than the V6 Infiniti. Oh well, it's only a 2 yr lease." And, no, I didn't pay someone to post that.
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