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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,306
    Yeah, me too. You helped expand the definition of buyers remorse, writ large, but all's well that ends well.

    Your saga should give us all pause when we choose a new vehicle with which we expect to spend the next few/several years.
  • Style indeed is an important factor in choosing a car at this level. Let's also not forget prestige. Then there is the indescribable feeling that you get from the car. Have you ever actually looked forward to a traffic jam as it gives you more time in your car?

    And I'm sorry - it may in fact be the "best" car indeed but the M, and especially its rear end, needs a restyling. There is that style thing again.
  • After having received something like 10 nasty and irrelevant personal attacks, I want to congratulate you for being one of the few to actually reply on topic. :)

    No question prestige is a factor for most all LPS buyers. I admit that it matters to me as well, and I'd gladly pay more for prestige value alone. If there's any trade off on the M, IMO, that would be it. (Although it's not so strong a factor for me that I'd sacrifice my other desires.) I do note that the car gets a lot of respect and props wherever I go. (Far more than my last Lexus, and more than my CLK)

    As for style, there's not much to debate here. Personally I love the M's look, but I also love the look of the A-6, and the 5-series. Also, while I'm not too crazy about the E-series, I'd say the CLS beats them all style wise. The CLS-600 was the last car I was considering when I went to the M. That CLS is a great looking car.

    Pete
  • Here is the rest of what they said in the newest C&D comparo:

    1. Infiniti M45 Sport
    Highs: Playful spirit, sports-car steering, excellent chassis, lots of room, best buy of the bunch.
    Lows: Cheesy aluma-look dashboard trim, lane-departure warning system.
    Verdict: Even without the price advantage, a top-notch, no-excuses player in the luxo-sports-sedan game.

    2. BMW 550i Sport
    Highs: Unerring dynamics, seductively smooth power, superb comfort seats.
    Lows: Exasperating iDrive, skimpy small-object stowage, clutch-your-heart price.
    Verdict: A flawless driving machine diminished by pricey options and an infernal device.

    3. Mercedes-Benz E550 Sport
    Highs: Megawatt muscle, understated good looks, seven-speed automatic.
    Lows: Flaccid handling responses, noisy HVAC system, seven-speed automatic manual mode.
    Verdict: A superb cross-country ride, but hold the decreasing radii.

    4. Lexus GS450h
    Highs: Uptown interior, user friendly secondary controls, delivers on performance-hybrid promise.
    Lows: Numb steering, endless cycling of CVT, asthmatic power-train sounds.
    Verdict: Engineering that's easy to appreciate in a car that's hard to love.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    I wonder if magazine editor will ever shut up about iDrive and MMI and similar gadgets? Perhaps when the oldies die, younger ones who are more used to MMI and iDrive and computers in general will change the tune...

    I have used both MMI and iDrive and the only problem I have with them is that one scrolls down by going clockwise, the other counterclockwise...

    -Paul
  • My style remarks almost completely forgot Prestige -- that is a good point.

    And, I wonder, too, if prestige is a big draw and you are NOT particularly impressed with the car's style, if you grow to like the looks of the car after acquisition?

    The BMW 5's to this day look like Pontiacs to me. Now, since that may mean I find them gorgeous, or I may find them not so gorgeous, I just wonder were I to have gone with the cat eyed 5 look, if I would have found its look would grow on me.

    I liked the A6 (my current car) from the side "instantly."

    I am OK with the rear and went from trout mouth to, "I like it" regarding the front end.

    I had originally deposited money on an M35X and I do like the rear end of that car to this day. I am not anti the front end, it is just it looks pretty much like the G35, so much so, I often need to do a double take.

    The Prestige buyer, I am assuming, would never buy either the A6 or the M -- rather they would limit themselves, ?, perhaps to the other two Germans.

    My father-in-law, of course, still thinks the Cadillac is "the world standard."

    I have no axe to grind with the STS, and in fact have found it to be very qualified to run with this pack, at least when equipped with the bits that make it handle to its potential.

    Who am I kidding, with the possible exception of the Lexus, I probably would be pleased and proud to have any of these LPS cars, they just keep getting closer and closer to each other. The Lexus, for whatever reason, can't seem to "get no respect" in terms of its "handling," in that it seems to be called cushy and numb, but neither term seems to be intended to suggest they are meant to be a compliment.

    Oh wait, how 'bout this: Lexus: Comfortably Numb, with Pink Floyd underneath.
  • Relating to the MMI and iDrive, are two of the things I really enjoy about the M:

    1) The great majority of every day controls can be accessed instantly and intuitively from the dashboard, with physical buttons arranged in a very logical layout, and with a very silky feel. (In contrast, the buttons on my CLK, and in the S500 I had, have a really unpleasant feel to them. Many every day items in most LPS's are deeply hidden in the menuing system) Some of you may not like the look of those buttons, and others may agree with me that the whole dash, with its buttons and curved wood (or textured aluminum), looks great.

    2) For the less frequently used settings, steering wheel controls allow you navigate and choose from all of the M's menus, while keeping your hands on the wheel. Where they belong, IMO.

    Pete
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Lexus, for whatever reason, can't seem to "get no respect" in terms of its "handling," in that it seems to be called cushy and numb, but neither terms seems to be intended to suggest they are meant to be a compliment.

    What's aggrivating about the way Lexus designs products is that every Lexus has to be "a Lexus" and to the company that seems to mean limited feel, too easy steering, and overly cushy suspensions that get upset when pushed hard. Thats fine in the ES and LS. That doesn't mean every Lexus has to be that way. The Altezza\IS300 proves that Toyota does know how to make a properly sporty car with great steering feel if they really want to. The IS350 was their chance to go toe-to-toe with the 3 series, but they backed down and played it Lexus safe.
  • "For the less frequently used settings, steering wheel controls allow you navigate and choose from all of the M's menus, while keeping your hands on the wheel. Where they belong, IMO."

    Pete,

    Your opinions don't seem humble at all. ;) I think that's what has allowed your comments to catalyze such energetic responses and discussions. It's an ingredient of the whole experience I assume many of us come looking for on these forums.
  • Your opinions don't seem humble at all. I think that's what has allowed your comments to catalyze such energetic responses and discussions. It's an ingredient of the whole experience I assume many of us come looking for on these forums.

    I humbly apologize for what seems to be a lack of humility. It's really not my intention to antagonize.

    Are you saying that humility is an ingredient people are looking for on these forums or that energetic discussions are that ingredient?

    BTW, I did not count you among those making what I referred to as nasty irrelevant attacks.

    Pete
  • "I humbly apologize for what seems to be a lack of humility."

    LOL

    "Are you saying that humility is an ingredient people are looking for on these forums or that energetic discussions are that ingredient?"

    Energetic discussions.

    "BTW, I did not count you among those making what I referred to as nasty irrelevant attacks."

    I hadn't intended to be attacking and I didn't think you took my remarks as attacks.

    Domenick
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Group hug time. ;-)
  • Energetic discussions.

    Well good then. And thank you.

    :)

    (And shipo: Well, OK. But only if you insist.)

    Pete
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    I agree, having readily accessible buttons for common functions is nice, and Audi/BMW have made strides in doing that. Audi's climate control can be handled via the dials/buttons on the dash. BMW's can control stereo functions on the steering wheel and some buttons around the CD player on the dash.

    Everybody seems to forget though that pretty much any screen in BMW's iDrive is accessible via Voice Command. Press a button on the wheel to activate it, enter command, and there ya go.

    I will also admit that Japanese LPS's like Infiniti, Acura, etc have a much better way of doing it, but I still like the functionality all stored in one spot. Perhaps a mix of iDrive/MMI functionality with Infiniti/Acura user friendliness would be good.

    My experiences with LPS sedans tells me that I like whatever my wife likes. :) Her likes are not based so much on the P in LPS, but the L and the S. She picked her ride not on prestige, but because she liked the color combinations, the fact that it was not a common color, and that it rode like a dream for her. I wanted a V8 option, but was overruled and the price would have been higher than we could go at that time. I'm willing to admit that we got what she wanted, but keeping the spouse happy is part of a good marriage. Besides, most of the time, she has good taste (so I wonder why she picked me sometimes) and I can't complain. She indulges my Jeep hobby (most of the time) so it is a win-win.

    -Paul
  • Back in the days when smoking (in a car) was even done, a friend of mine -- a smoker -- would kid me and say "Mark gets a new car every time the ash tray gets full."

    Since I am not a smoker, I only related to this comment in a symbolic way. My friend, now not a smoker (and I never permitted him to smoke in my cars in any case), meant I replaced my cars pretty often and with great regularity. Indeed, I have never had a car beyond the original factory warranty, to this day. Remember, I am of the belief that repairing cars, especially European cars is "breathtakingly expensive," so much so that it is less costly to maintain a permanent car payment (on the rental basis of equal to or less than 39 months.)

    Please don't try to burst my bubble. :blush:

    Well, truth be told, one of the triggers of this replacement behavior -- in addition to the above remark -- is I "get the itch." I have, as pretty close friends, folks who own dealerships or who sell cars for a living and we share the passion for new, cool cars. These friends are often offering up drives of the flavor of the month (and well, it would be rude NOT to test drive the cars they offer, wouldn't it?) Hence, for years, my 1978 model would begat a 1980 and . . a 1995 would be followed by a 1997 then by a 1999 and a 2000 and a 2001 and so on.

    However, therefore, notwithstanding, something has changed (and the change has affected by wife, too.)

    My 2005 A6 was in for its 25,000 mile check up (oil change, really.) The Audi Advantage (at this point, anyway) and the Dealer's practice, thus far, is to give an A6 customer an A6 loaner. My 2005 A6 is a fully loaded (98% loaded) 3.2 version. My loaner was a 2006 "premium package, cold weather package" (or whatever they called the stuff I have in mine in 2006) 3.2 version with practically no miles on it (a couple thousand.) It was silver, it had black leather, it had 18" wheels but none of the technology package stuff I have come to love. It did have a radio, of course, but NOT sat radio.

    My day involved about 100 miles of mostly local greater Cincinnati driving and I was pleased to have a "brand new" A6 as a loaner rather than one of the many Enterprise Compacts that I have had over the years if I get to the dealer too late in the day to be able to use their pool of A3's, A4's and A6's (once I got an A8 and once an S4 -- albeit with an auto trans.)

    So, I am enjoying my day in my new (newer than mine) A6. But wait, a first -- an epiphany, no kidding, a real epiphany (as it relates to cars, at least) -- for me at least, I did not see any need to even ask my favorite salesperson if I could "early out" and "upgrade" to a new A6. This car did not feel more powerful, more nimble, quieter, more comfortable, more competent, "more" (or better) anything in any way.

    Typically once I get to about 20 - 30,000 miles, I am at least a little tired of my cars (even Audis, well, cut off my legs and call me shorty!) And, as if part of a subtle marketing tool, the "loaner" cars seem to spark this tiredness. The new(er) loaner cars usually have features, functions, performance -- SOMETHING -- that gets me thinking, "time to trade up."

    Now, something really untoward could happen, I suppose, to change my mind (perhaps the new B8 A4 with my "dream" engine -- a 3.2T FSI -- underhood), but just this week I ordered new Pirelli PZero Nero M+S tires (UHP All Seasons to replace the HP Grand Touring OEM's) for my A6 and I am truly looking forward to a transformed handling experience due to this upgrade.

    My wife of the phrase "I love my X3," too, has no itch (at least NOT to leave the X3 family, even if she is curious about the added grunt of the new X3's 3.0 260HP motivator), no "wandering -- or wondering -- eye" for a new ride.

    Of course, I cannot lay claim to knowing if this is true for you -- especially if "you" are one of the relatively early adopters of this new breed of LPS (such as the Infiniti M, Acura RL or even STS) -- but here is one A6 driver who has come to the conclusion that "they really screwed this one together exceptionally well."

    I have a supply of Calamine Lotion I apparently have no current need for -- I can let you have it -- CHEAP!
  • "Group hug time"

    Pat,

    Isn't there some rule about explicit sexual content on this forum?

    :)

    Charlie
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Oh dear, I do believe that I'm in trouble. :blush:

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    So, I am enjoying my day in my new (newer than mine) A6. But wait, a first -- an epiphany, no kidding, a real epiphany (as it relates to cars, at least) -- for me at least, I did not see any need to even ask my favorite salesperson if I could "early out" and "upgrade" to a new A6. This car did not feel more powerful, more nimble, quieter, more comfortable, more competent, "more" (or better) anything in any way.

    I love new cars as well, but with the way Japanese cars generally work (very light refresh after 3 years on the market, with a redesign after 6) there just isn't a need for me to upgrade often. I also think cars are at their best during the 20K-60K mile period. Magazine tests often show that cars get faster and handle better after they have broken in properly. If you're constantly getting new cars, you have to deal with the annoyance of babying the car for the first thousand miles, and then waiting for it to "settle in" for the next 10K miles.

    Also, while my itch for the latest and greatest cars is strong, my itch for the latest and greatest in electronics is several times stronger, and I tend to spend a lot more time at the audio dealer than the car dealer. I just ordered a new power conditioner, a PS Audio Power Plant that I can't wait to get in my system. PS says that the design was inspired by BMW, so this is very loosely car related :) Previous PS regenerators were power hogs, with 50% of the wall's AC going to waste as heat. They also couldn't deliver enough power to my amps, so I've been using Richard Gray units. This new one though is absolutely state of the art.
  • I know what you mean, I just made the leap to HD DVD and HD Tivo with DirecTV and the three LNB and the receiver with dual HD tuners. My first HD DVD just came today, "Serenity."

    Shhh, don't tell anyone, I could actually possibly, maybe, perhaps, actually see keeping this A6 beyond the lease.

    :confuse:

    Audi's C5 came to the US in 1998 and remained pretty much the same through the 2004 MY. The 2007's at my dealer -- most of them -- are not as well equipped (and most don't even have the Premium Leather) as mine.

    The SLine is still pretty sexy, but I am hoping the UHP new shoes will diminish my SLine lust somewhat to a medium amount. Upgrading the tires on my first A6 V8 had that effect back in 2000, at least and again on my 2003 allroad.

    Hope springs. . . .

    This just in, new S6 on the showroom floor -- TANG!
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I know what you mean, I just made the leap to HD DVD and HD Tivo with DirecTV and the three LNB and the receiver with dual HD tuners. My first HD DVD just came today, "Serenity."

    Are you using the Toshiba HD-XA1? How is it? I'm somewhat interested in HD-DVD (especially after seeing how lousy the Samsung BR player is) but the fact that it's basically a PC complete with a Pentium 4 processor really turns me off. Very bad for airborne and powerline EMI\RF distortion, which I've spent thousands to keep out of my systems wiring and transformers.

    To me, the big potential of both high def disc formats is the audio side, Dolby and DTS HD uncompressed audio. That should make concert HD discs absolutely spectacular. Unfortunately no current HD disc player or SSP can support the new formats, or the HDMI 1.3 interface required for it. Also, the players from both camps are currently using 5.25" PC bay drives for transports, not exactly audio grade.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    And that's unusual how?

    ;)
  • I have the Toshiba unit. I have one HD DVD and four or five on order from Amazon.

    I have read the reviews of both machines and I am hopeful for either dual survival or a quick end to the format war.

    The new, brand new, version 2 Toshiba is out next month, it may reduce some of your concerns.

    I share you enthusiasm re the potential sound benefits.

    I really believe most folks don't care now and probably won't care about the improvments that these new media and formats allow.

    Good is the enemy of great, just like in cars.

    All of these cars, for instance, are good. Perhaps there is a great one in the bunch.

    I haven't found it.
  • Probably the most intertesting thing about the whole C&D comparo, was that they said the Infiniti felt lighter on its feet, more responsive, and more willing to play than the BMW. How many times has that ever been said against the 5-Series? Never that I can remember...

    image
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I really believe most folks don't care now and probably won't care about the improvments that these new media and formats allow.

    It definitely mirrors the bitter format war a few years ago between DVD-A and SACD. Both of those formats brought higher quality, along with much more stringent copy protection, and no increase in convenience (actually a big decrease, because of the analog output only restriction due to copy fears.) Firewire ultimately solved that issue, but by the time the players were out, no one cared anymore. The victory ultimately went to the mp3. People care much more about convenience than they do about quality. This time around, it may end up being "on demand" sat\cable\IPTV.

    I think Infiniti shows enormous potential. Their cars certainly aren't perfect yet, but I'm very eager to see what the 2012 M is like. I'd also very much like to see Infiniti start a tuner division. The G and M with suspension and brake upgrades could easily handle 400hp+.
  • I think Infiniti shows enormous potential. Their cars certainly aren't perfect yet, but I'm very eager to see what the 2012 M is like. I'd also very much like to see Infiniti start a tuner division. The G and M with suspension and brake upgrades could easily handle 400hp+.

    They do show great potential, it's funny because Road & Track just did a comparison test of the fastest SUV's in their November issue called, "Chariots with Fire."

    They included the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8, Porsche Cayenne Turbo, Chevrolet Trailblazer SS, Infiniti FX45, BMW X5 4.8is, and Range Rover Supercharged.

    The Jeep beat all of them in acceleration, but in the end they said:

    "To SUV or not to SUV gets even more complicated when vehicles like the Jeep, for example, lose utility along the way to achieving better on-road manners. Maybe Infiniti has had it right the whole time. For if we agree that most people never take their SUVs off road, a crossover SUV like the FX45 provides exactly what people are looking for: It looks big and tough like an SUV, but performs as well, or better than, many sport sedans."
  • "I agree, having readily accessible buttons for common functions is nice, and Audi/BMW have made strides in doing that. Audi's climate control can be handled via the dials/buttons on the dash. BMW's can control stereo functions on the steering wheel and some buttons around the CD player on the dash."

    I've had a slightly different experience. When I was test-driving cars, I definitely found it easier to use push-button controls. Owning an MMI car, I've discovered that I spend less time looking for the right control for something I want to do, because, with my audio system, for example, I've fairly quickly gotten to the point where I can change stations not only off steering wheel controls, using small screen right in front of me on the A6, but also I know the order of the 8 or so channels (mix of AM, FM, SAT) on the main audio station menu (just as I always have gotten to know the order of stations assigned to the five or six buttons) and can reach down and turn the wheel the right number of clicks to reach the one I want. In stop and go traffic in the morning, I do a lot less looking away from the car in front of me.
  • I have to agree. Initially, I was sceptical about the functionality of the i-drive. Before I purchased my 5er, I test drove the A6 and E350. Both nice vehicles but the E350 totally turned me off with the cramped front seat area as well as the gazillion number of buttons on the dash with the NAV screen way too low for viewing. That is when I realized the simplicity of the i-drive and how nice to have an uncluttered dash with all the functionality at the tip of your fingers or via voice command. Same thing for the A6. Once you have all the settings in place, there is really no need to channel surf on the i-drive. JMHO
  • I just speak "Play the Vault" and the Audi lady moves my Sirius station where I say.

    My A6 has 82 dials, buttons, gauges, etc -- voice command is not nice, it is necessary (in these cars.)

    The BMW system seems even better still.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    In my BMW iDrive experiences, I haven't been able to tell voice commands to play a particular channel yet. I'll try that phrasing and see what happens.

    -Paul
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The next FX should show up around '08. I expect it will be a fierce competitor to the X5 and Cayenne.
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