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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    As a proud lessee of a 2005 BMW 545i, I see that Edmunds got it right:

    "New engine, new name, the 545i becomes the 550i, but the car's personality remains the same. A drive in the 550i is an experience of quality, satisfaction and exclusivity."

    Yup! Pretty much what I have found driving my 545i over the last 13 wonderful months.

    Thank you BMW!

    What puzzles me is why anybody out there would choose any LPS other than a BMW?

    Another one of life's unsolved mysteries, I reckon. :confuse:
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Um, maybe because not everyone has your exact set of priorities, needs, wishes, beliefs and such? :)

    Anyway, for those who would like to read it here's the link the article you quote: Follow-Up Test: 2006 BMW 550i.
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    Ford's and GM's market cap is explained by their battered stock price. They are not #12 and #15 in relative size, vs. Honda's #2. GM is the 3rd largest corporation in the world, and Ford is #4, based on revenues. They dwarf Honda in terms of revenues and units (although they may not be making money on those units).

    Honda is the #1 manufacturer of motorcycles in the world, and sells a variety of power products and engines. In 2005, they sold 10.5 million motorcycles, 5.3 million power products, and 3.2 million cars/trucks. They recently announced production of small airplanes and aircraft motors. They more resemble GE than they do GM.

    In terms of luxury performance cars, I would still maintain that they are a relatively small player, and significantly smaller than Toyota/Lexus and the Big 3. If the LS were to fail, it would be a disaster for Toyota. If the RL fails, Honda can twitch a little, but eventually move on without losing too much sleep (assuming Honda execs don't read the opinions on this LPS board). (Joke)

    But agree with Lexusguy that such "smallness" is driven by conservatism, independence, and product range beyond automobiles.

    Honda announced that in 2008, they will be expanding the Acura brand into Japan.
  • I can think of a number of reasons. But that certainly doesn't mean your choice is any less appropriate for YOU!

    I am delighted to hear that you are delighted, in fact!
  • dhamiltondhamilton Posts: 873
    I have read and heard is that Honda/Acura is a small but very profitable company. I hope they can get some platform/driving dynamic things worked out. I really doubt it's a budget problem. I think it's more of an entrenched mentality that says if it ain't broke [financially speaking] then don't fix it.
    Anyway, welcome any new posters. [or maybe just new to me]

    Viva la RL[He says to himself in his tiny little head :blush:]
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Thank you for such a delightful post! :)
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Mystery solved! :)
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    It really goes to show just how focused and efficient HMC is. Market cap is a function of (expected) profitability . . . Honda is making a lot of profit on relatively small revenue by being efficient in managing a few models and platforms. It is expanding (e.g. MDX, CR-V, Odyssey are all new categories created in the last decade, as far as Honda is concerned), but give it more time, IMHO, it will have products farther removed from its core competence, which is solid midsized and small FWD sedan/coupe. IMHO, Honda is doing it right, there's no point being in a segment in any big way unless you can hold #1 or #2 position . . . a page perhaps borrowed from Jack Welch's playbook. It's far better than VW's strategy of being everywhere but good at nothing.
  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    Because I don't fit...is that a good enough reason? I fit in the M-series, and bought one. If the car makers wanted to broaden their market, some people that drive trucks buy them for the room, they'd consider selling their their cars without the sunroof and give people that extra 3" or so of headroom. The last AUdi I had, you could order at least some of the nice to have items without one, but no longer, and that is true for most companies.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Well, I'm 6'2" 200 lbs. I fit just fine in my 545.
  • mbbrooksmbbrooks Posts: 16
    Trolling nes't pas? Okay, I'll bite.

    Reasons why I got a MB E350 instead of a BMW 530i:

    Caveat: I would have leased a 530i if the damn dealer had not been such an [non-permissible content removed]. I like 5's but the ridiculous offer made me by the dealer gave me time to look around at lots of other cars. I never would have thought of the Benz but thank god the Beemer dealer was an [non-permissible content removed]. I digress:

    1. There is no iDrive and everything can be directly controlled without menus. - And I'm a computer guy.

    2. In my opinion the materials used in the MB are of higher quality.

    3. The E with its seven speed tranny feels faster to me and is actually slightly faster.

    4. The E sport suspension is not as harsh as the 5 sport suspension and you don't have run flat tires.

    5. The E series has been given a face lift for 2007 and in my opinion looks better than the 5.

    6. The 5 series will be replaced in the next year while the revised E will be with us for almost two years.

    7. The E series sport package which is a no additional cost package. It brings brings great looking ten spoke 18" wheels with 245 and 285 tires, a sport suspension that sits lower, ventilated and drilled discs, finished brake calipers, blue tinted glass, body side ground effects, perforated leather sport seats, "black" wood trim, and some external trim changes. It really transforms the car - I'm not sure if I hadn't seen it that I would have gotten the Benz.

    8. There are a lot more 5's around here thanks to the 525 which is a great deal but which makes 5's common.

    9. If you get the premium packages with the MB you get everything you could possible want including upgraded stereo, nav, satellite radio, electric sunshade and my favorite, keyless entry which is alone a $1000 option on a BMW. Any you don't have to pay $1,800 for the BMW "premium" package which doesn't bring anything to the table the base E350 does not have. The only options available outside the packages are the panoramic roof, parktronic and distronic cruise control. Did I mention that the six disc CD changer was standard. I have as available audio Sat radio (which has been a very pleasant surprise), regular radio, CD, CD changer and my iPod (extra cost of course) available.

    10. You get a full set of side airbags that you should have in the BMW but you cannot get without having to order the car.

    11. With everything, the list on the MB was less than the 5 even though it was much better equipped.

    12. The intangible - There is a serenity and comfort driving the Benz. I felt more frantic driving the 5. I can actually stay in one lane most of the time. I have other vehicles should I feel the need to be more frantic.

    13. Insurance through State Farm Mutual is less.
    expensive - I'm told because MB has a better safety record.

    Downsides: BMW has the full maintenance program. MB has gone to a fixed price menu of services, and gives you the first service for free, but you can't beat the BMW plan that even includes brake pads.

    I can't talk to the car - it has zero voice commands. Actually it is an option. On the other hand it has a dial pad readily available along with all other controls. While both cars can talk to a Treo through bluetooth, neither will recognize your address book.

    The BMW sport seats are some of my all time favorite seats.

    BMW's seem to have a better reputation for reliability and this seems to be the main wild card.

    Aren't you glad you asked? IMHO either is far away and above the Japanese competition and this is from a guy coming from a Japanese car.

    Keep the rubber side down.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I have the comfort seats in my 545, which IMO are better than the sport seats-more adjustments and wonderful side-bolstering. As good as it gets.

    The E Class is very fine too, and you will get no argument from me that the European LPS vehicles are superior to their Japanese counterparts, although the Infiniti M is a fine effort in the LPS class.

    You think the 530i is "frantic." Imagine yourself in a 545.
    When you floor it, it has got to have the most intoxicating sound outside of a Porsche.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    530i is probably more "frantic" than 545i due to much lower torque and the need to rev. The field of V6's are moving to 3.5 liter (or turbo in the case of BMW) for that very reason.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I have read and heard is that Honda/Acura is a small but very profitable company. I hope they can get some platform/driving dynamic things worked out. I really doubt it's a budget problem. I think it's more of an entrenched mentality that says if it ain't broke [financially speaking] then don't fix it.

    To me, small but profitable sounds like Porsche. Honda has more than enough resources to make a V8, a dedicated RL\TL platform, etc. It sounds like this will start happening in the next decade or so which should help Acura become a more than a 3rd tier player.
  • This post, single-handedly, ought to make almost any LPS shopper who has not yet made a decision on one of these fine cars we go on about, at least consider an MB.

    Very well put!
  • From the takes all kinds notebook:

    To a man and woman (in the BMW sales department) at our local BMW dealership, there is a disdain for the "uncomfort" seats.

    The salesrep gives me the keys to a 530xi and says "this was a special order, and the guy changed his mind -- the only reason we still have it is those damned comfort seats. No one can get them to fit -- despite umpteen different positions the thing can be moved into."

    Now, when I drove the car, I guess I was swayed, becuase I thought the seat cushion was "off" under my thighs.

    Takes all kinds.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    That's strange. Many people, myself included, find the comfort seats to be among the most comfortable around.

    But, because of the incredibly large amount of interacting setting possibilities, one has to have the patience and the time to find the combination of settings that is just right.
    Believe me, there is a correct combination for everybody.
    One can't expect to find this combination in the dealer's showroom.

    I particularly like the thigh extender and the great side bolstering which is as fine as that included with the best sport seats.

    I spent an hour or so with the driver's seat. But, once you find the right combo, you input it into the seat memory button and the key and that's that.

    Sort of the same with the iDrive-you spend some time inputting your personal settings and then forget about it.
    The only fly in the ointment is if I have to take the car in for servicing and they turn the car "off."
    I imagine I would have to start the process all over again from scratch.

    That is why before I go to bed, I not only say a prayer for my family and friends, but also, that my BMW will never need anything more than a simple oil change and no "diagnostician." ;)
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    Toyota May Delay New Models To Address Rising Quality Issues

    NEW YORK (The Wall Street Journal)--Toyota Motor Corp., jarred by a surge of recalls and quality problems, is considering tapping the brakes on its ambitious growth plans, delaying introductions of some new models by as much as half a year, people familiar with the matter say.

    Toyota has been accelerating its growth world-wide and moving to overtake General Motors Corp. as the world's No. 1 auto maker. In May, the company said capital expenditures in the current fiscal year would reach a record of roughly $14 billion. But the fast-paced expansion has come with a cost: an increasing number of quality problems in North America, Japan and elsewhere that threaten to dent its quality image.

    It will be interesting to see if these quality issues impact current Lexus offerings, given the more complex nature of the LPS models.

    Another interesting development relates to JD Power's recent release of vehicle dependability ratings after 3 years' ownership. Ironically, many of the top rated vehicles are either no longer sold (Echo, MR2, Celica, Century, Sable, Park Avenue, DeVille, T-Bird) or are under quality scrutiny at present (Tundra, undergoing its 2nd recall in 2 yrs).

    Goes to show that ratings like Power and CR have its shortcomings also.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    It's not JD Power's fault that vehicle quality tends to improve late in the production cycle. There was an old joke about GM being in the business of discontinuing products just when they finally have fixed all the problems :-)
  • dhamiltondhamilton Posts: 873
    about small,profitable with regards to Honda/Acura, However, when you compare them to their direct competition, Nissan/Infiniti, Toyota/Lexus, Audi/Volkswagen they are smaller. Porsche doesn't fit in to the conversation.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    However, when you compare them to their direct competition, Nissan/Infiniti, Toyota/Lexus, Audi/Volkswagen

    They are smaller than TMC and VWAG, but not Nissan. Honda\Acura outsells Nissan\Infiniti. They are smaller than Nissan\RenaultAG, however.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    It appears Lexus is going to make the GS430 pointless next to the GS350 and GS450h as they have announced that the 07' GS V8 model is still the GS430. The GS460 must be an early 2008 release early next year?

    http://www.leftlanenews.com/2006/08/25/lexus-announces-2007-pricing-package-chan- - ges/

    M
  • felke001felke001 Posts: 33
    Shopping the usual suspects, (530i, M35, A6, GS) current driving an A4 but need something bigger.

    Despite coming from Audi (which has been trouble free), i found the Lexus GS much more appealing that seems generally true from most LPS posters on this board. Great Lexus interior, lack of dreaded i-drive/MMI type interface, ML stereo sounded amazing to me, likely to be more reliable (on average) than the A6 or 530.

    Downsides with GS300--seemed a bit underpowered and I see the lack of German "connectedness" that many have commented on. Surprisingly, the latter didn't seem to bother me at all on test drive but not sure how I will feel about it long term. The new GS350 will be getting a significant HP boost (300HP) that will obviously improve the power issue, although still likely to be less sporty experience overall than the other options.

    Wanted to like the M but something about it didn't appeal to me, couldn't really put my finger on it. BMW drives great but I-drive and overall ho-hum interior a turn off.

    Driving the GS350 as soon as local dealer gets one in--driving the A6 again as well, out of love for Audi. Reading this forum has been a great help.
  • Around here the A6 is again the bargain of the bunch, second only to the STS in terms of lease payments as a percentage of MSRP (not too much of a stunning revelation, I would imagine.)

    Yet, both the A6 and the 530 seem, at this point, to be in need of yet another HP/torque boost. Time marches on.

    I would think a 7 speed transmission would not be a bad idea either, but I suspect Audi, at least will do the following in the not too distant future:

    o Offer the DSG, rear biased quattro, of course and 7 speeds

    o Increase the HP of the "base" (for the US) engine -- from the current 255 to perhaps 280

    o Rethink the "advantages" of turbo charging especially considering BMW's 335 coupe engine -- which will almost certainly make it to the 5 series.

    The Germans need to engage in the power wars in the cars that most LPS customers buy (not the V8's, i.e.)
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    It sounds like the GS350 is going to drive about the same as the 300. Now you'll be able to basically have the power of a GS430 but without being stuck with the electric steering and brakes, not a bad deal.

    The GS350 will get better mpg than the M35, and will be quieter on the highway. If you really like GS but want to improve the handling, its possible that some TRD upgrades may be available that won't void your warranty.
  • One of the significant knocks on the GS300/430 was the relatively small trunk space. If you wanted something bigger, you might not get it in the backside. OTOH I bring my vacation suitcases with me for my second visit and see whether, in practice the cu. ft. measurements are real. (If I can fit my 2 medium sized suitcases along with the regular junk, it's big enough.) Usually they are, sometimes not. If you check that out, please report back!
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    I also thought the back seat of the GS was even tighter than that of the RL. If you don't need to regularly transport more than 2 passengers, the GS may do the trick. It's been about a year since I drove and sat in one, but the rear headroom seemed very tight, also. But I am 6'4" with a 36 inseam so often the back seats feel confining.
  • mbbrooksmbbrooks Posts: 16
    Gee thanks. I should point out that I do own a BMW - a R1100RSL and a '96 Porsche 993 so I know frantic from several angles. The longer I have the Benz the more pleased I am with it.
  • I've been driving an Infinity M35X for about a year now. Everything about the car is great except the way it drives. The engine is loud, the shifts are rapid and pronounced, and the gas mileage is down right horrible. With that said, it still drives better than all the cars in it's class (bmw 530i, E350, A6). Fortunately, Infiniti Leasing offers an early termination. Infinity Leasing is the best leasing company I've ever interfaced with. They are as helpful a company I've ever worked with. I wished I liked driving the M35x as much as I liked infinity leasing.

    To get a drive that I can honesty say "I love", I moved up in class and tested the A6 4.2, E550, M45, and BMW 550i. In this class, the BMW 550i is the winner for me. I'd rank them 550i, E550, M45, and then A6.

    I picked up my new 2007 Titanium Silver 550i last night. Within the first 10 minutes I had a grin from ear to ear. I LOVE THIS CAR! It is silky smooth with tons of power. The sound system (Logic 7) rivals the Bose system in the M35x - which I thought was the best I've ever heard. iDrive is a little funky to get used to, but I think I've got it figured out. I like the location of the controller (think of it as a mouse).

    I've also read the discussions about the 550i comfort seats. I think the are terrific. It's one of the features that sold me on the car.
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