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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • jimbresjimbres Posts: 2,025
    But there are a few German cars where reliability is a non-issue (i.e. BMW3 and BMW5 series).

    I have an '01 330i that's been trouble-free. But I stacked the odds in my favor by ordering it with a stick (what a hardship!) & without nav.

    Will a loaded GS not be costly to maintain in the future? I am willing to wager that if I owned a very reliable GS in the next 10 years(my definition of long term) then it most likely will cost BIG $$$$ for the few times a new gadget will have to be replaced. In fact it may cost so much that it may not be worthwhile in keeping a Lexus GS for a long time.

    Repair costs are only part of the story & possibly not the most significant part. My wife has a '99 Lexus ES that's about to celebrate its 7th birthday, which means that it's been out of warranty for almost 3 years. During that time, we've shelled out a total of $500 in repair costs.

    Chances are fair to good that we'll replace her car during the next year. But suppose we don't. She's comfortable with it & hasn't yet found anything that in her eyes is appreciably better than what she has now. Suppose that New Year's Day of 2007 rolls around & we still have it. Let's also suppose that our good luck doesn't hold out & we have to pony up, say, $3,500 to keep this car on the road. Does this mean that we were wrong to hold onto it?

    Not at all. If we go out tomorrow & buy a new $35K ES, we'll give up at least $6K in depreciation by the beginning of 2007. Our '99, by contrast, has already taken its biggest depreciation hit & won't shed much more than $1K in value over the next 12 months. (The 1st 4 years of a car's life are the worst as far as depreciation is concerned.) So even if I have to pay my mechanic $3.5K during the next year to keep our ES running (& that's not likely), I'm still over a thousand dollars ahead of the game.

    Most folks pay too much attention to repair costs & too little to the corrosive effects of new car depreciation. The bankruptcy courts are filled with people who buy new cars every 3 or 4 years just to stay under warranty.
  • kyfdx@Edmundskyfdx@Edmunds Posts: 25,898
    "At the BMW store yesterday.
    . . .for the free car wash for the '05 X3. Free Starbucks and fresh choc chip cookies in the showroom are always a draw."


    I have to start getting out of bed earlier on Saturdays.... ;)

    Moderator - Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • Walk in another person's shoes... Well, here in Cincinnati like many other American cities, traffic congestion grows with each passing day. We are certainly not at So.Cal or Dallas traffic levels, but "damn, this traffic jam, takes 15 minutes to go 3 blocks," even in lil ol' Cincinnati.

    Since these are opinions, I do not see how the congestion makes the choice of transmissions for you. If I have to "park" on I-75 South, I push the shift to neutral, release the clutch and turn up the sat radio while cursing my misfortune. In my automatic, if we are truly stopped or just creeping along I employ similar techniques based on the traffic du jour.

    I guess I would have to lean toward agreeing with the Big Money Wasted comment -- yet, remember I sit in my Audi A6 with transmission envy and wonder why even bother with the BMW (at the price) if you are voluntarily buying an automatic.

    On the subject of the M35X vs the 5X if they are both equipped with the automatic. The 530xi with the automatic will come with a 6spd, the M35X will have a 5 speed. The Inifiniti has more urge than the BMW so, to a certain extent, the extra gear is not missed as much in the M35X.

    When faced with ONLY automatic transmissions (in an Audi 3.2 and the Infiniti M35X), I chose the Infiniti with Journey, Tech, rear spoiler and in Silver with Bourbon leather because (at the moment of decision) the Infiniti was "very German" in its feel (and a little less so when sitting behind the wheel -- speaking of the less subdued [but certainly not offensive] interior) and hundreds of dollars per month less on a lease (and thousands less on a purchase or finance.) Only -- and this is the key reason I changed my mind -- when the price of the Audi was "adjusted" to level the money playing field did I go back to Audi.

    Had the BMW 5X w/6spd manual been available, it would have been my first choice unless it only offered a "take it or leave it" price some hundreds of dollars more per month.

    Our experience with Audi and BMW finance is that BMW for whatever reason(s) subvents their leases heavily (at least at the time, more heavily than either Audi or Infiniti.) Today, the Infiniti, BMW and Audi all seem to have lease programs for 24 to 36 months with payments sometimes under $500 per month.

    Now seems to be a time of competition for your "attention" from these companies -- assuming the prices and content were virtually the same and assuming you HAD to have an automatic, you couldn't go wrong with any of these three cars IMHO. The reality however, is that the Infiniti based on content and MSRP/Street Price is once again the bargain of the three if the BMW name/badge isn't too overpowering for you.

    The fact that the BMW can be had with both stick and AWD differentiates it and (IMO) makes it better.

    Wait a year or at most two and the Audi and BMW will probably offer DSG and SMG transmissions (respectively) and who knows, Infiniti will probably increase the number of gears by one or two. At that time, with the DSG/SMG transmissions available (I presume) there will be fewer reasons to even consider a manual.

    Who knows, perhaps someone will figure out the perfect CVT transmission (and make it able to work with a V8) which will offer perhaps the holy grail, improved performance, smoothness AND fuel economy.

    We're approaching a time where we CAN have our cake and eat it too (sort of) -- but, in the mean time, the BMW with a stick shift offers Luxury, Fun and Performance that the other guys -- today -- can't touch.

    I can't imagine paying a premium for a BMW that has been hobbled (even if it is only a little bit) with an automatic.

    But as the TLA goes this is only IMO. :shades:
  • sergeymsergeym Posts: 262
    IMO, M35 Sport with Journey and Navi is the car to buy. The 6-cyl engine is not strong enough to move M35x with much authority. I drove M35x last spring and though the car was able to keep up with the traffic the power was not there in more demanding situations. Compared to my 2002 BMW 540 M35x required careful planning to safely merge with highway traffic. M35x is very heavy when compared to 530 and even heavier than 8-cyl 5-ers.
  • sergeymsergeym Posts: 262
    I strongly disagree. In a real life driving manuals are pathetically slow compared to automatics. Drivers of manuals tranny cars do not realize that the moment they start their clutch-brake-shift process they become a road abstraction. I almost ran into a black CTS-V on Christmas night. The guy would accelerate swiftly in first gear with me following him closely (just wanted to see if 545 auto could keep up with the Caddy) but around 25 mph his car completely lost the momentum and I had to brake hard to avoid hitting him from behind. The same happened again when he shifted to the 3-rd gear. On a two-lane road I would lose him the moment he pressed the clutch and would never see him again. Manuals are stronger when in gear but it is like running on a road with streetlights. Fast-slow-stop, fast-slow-stop. I’d rather take a highway.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    am I giving up with the steptronic in my 545?
    0-60 in 5.9 seconds. Yeah, how can I even live?

    I will race any of you to the post office on January 8th at 9 AM EST.
    Bet I get my 0.02 cent stamps first (especially if you live in CA).
  • According to BMW's web site 530xi:

    255HP and 220LbFt - transmission doesn't change this

    Auto trans version weighs 31 pounds more than manual

    Final drive: manual - 3.23; auto - 3.73

    Acceleration to 60mph: manual - 6.6; auto - 6.9

    Fuel economy +1 for auto city, +1 for manual highway.

    These statistics demonstrate the differences in measurable performance between the two versions. They may indicate subjective performance differences -- but I would suggest that this would be so based on your personal preferences. You may be willing to give up some accelerative performance for the convenience of the auto. The differences may be immaterial to one person and huge to another.

    When I read the reviews of these cars a .5 second difference is usually given huge weight (I may or may not say the difference is "huge" personally, but it is very noticeable -- and certainly .3 seconds is able to be felt.)

    Then of course if you have enough HP and Torque you may simply have the motivation to overcome some of the loss that goes with the automatic.

    A small minority of us here, apparently, have transmission envy and an even smaller percentage of those find it a little to a lot difficult to understand why, given a choice, one would go auto. I come close to that line, but I also say live and let live. Perhaps if I had had the choice this would be a non-issue.

    But the fact that someone here wrote BMW without a manual means Big Money Wasted, means that some folks are even more adamant about the transmissions.

    Those folks who are offered a choice of manual vs automatics can do what they want -- what I want is the companies to offer choice.

    And, I understand the reason they don't, too: more folks will buy a BMW with the auto even given the choice, so "why bother?" Acura, Audi, Infiniti, Lexus and Mercedes don't even bother at all anymore. It would seem that the cost of bringing what appears to be a virtual orphan to the market will soon sway BMW, too, to "cancel the manual offerings due to lack of interest."

    -- screaming voice in the wilderness, indeed. :confuse:
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    Keep in mind the guy was probably granny-shifting. If he were actually trying to leave you behind in his CTS-V, you wouldn't have had a chance of keeping up.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    The big disparity in manual vs auto transmission sales is nothing new.

    I think BMW’s offering manual in most of its cars is an integral part of its branding as the “ultimate driving machine”.You can’t offer an ultimate driving machine with just automatic transmissions. Somehow it just defies logic.

    I believe the link that the manual transmission has to sport is essential for BMW regardless of the overwhelming amount of people who choose automatic. Merely knowing that BMW is bonded to sport characteristics and manuals is even influential to buyers of its automatics.

    Furthermore, I don’t see sequential gearboxes totally replacing the MT. After all, the motorboat did not replace the sailboat. The true manual offers a similar kind of connection to the elements. I submit BMW's decision to offer MT again on the M5 next year.

    There are two carmakers that will always offer MTs and they’re both German—BMW and Porsche. When these bastions fall, you’ll know it’s over for the three-pedal arrangement. I don’t think it will happen anytime soon if ever.

    German car lovers, rejoice.
  • "..... I do not see how the congestion makes the choice of transmissions for you. If I have to "park" on I-75 South, I push the shift to neutral, release the clutch and turn up the sat radio while cursing my misfortune......"

    The congested traffic conditions I have to drive in has EVERYTHING to do with my choice of transmissions. Also, with an auto tranny, there's NO NEED TO CURSE!

    Years ago, I drove nothing but cars with stick. But the fun part started decreasing as traffic congestion kept increasing. Also, have replaced my fair share of clutches and slave cylinders and lived with a myriad of clutch-related problems..... slipping, chattering, et cetera.

    Most surprising to me is that you feel so strongly about manual transmissions, yet you drive an Audi A6 with AUTOMATIC. If you REALLY feel that way, why would you consider ANY car that did not offer a manual transmission?

    Martin
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    The percentage of buyers demanding sticks are decreasing but the models offering manual trannies seem to be increasing.

    Acura TL, MB C350, Lexus IS(300 and 250), Infiniti G have all begun solely as automatics but now they are also offered with a stick.

    It appears that LPS vehicles that emphasize the "P initial" will continue offering manuals.

    The most surprising exceptions are the new Lexus IS350 and the Audi A4 3.2 which do not have sticks. Shame, shame, shame.

    Manual is not only a German obsession. Just try imagining a Subaru WRX sti or a Honda S2000 without a stick?
  • sergeymsergeym Posts: 262
    That's exactly my point. He was granny-shifting, but who does not? Auto tranny drivers routinely put pedal to the metal. Manual tranny drivers try to shift smoothly, need to worry about clutch life, miss shifts and so on and so on. Too much to worry about not enough time to go fast. BTW Cadillac claimed 4.6 0-60 mph for CTS-V. Most magazines got 5.0-5.5 sec and they tried very hard and many times to achieve those numbers. No sane CTS-V owner would push his/her car as hard as mags do. So an average CTS-V owner can only dream of low-5th. 545 auto on the other hand when tested by the same magazines showed 5.2-5.5 0-60 mph. So I knew I will not be embarrassed by CTS-V.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Still, as SMGs continue to improve, and costs decrease, I could see SMGs being offered in more and more of these cars. BMW did not originally plan for there to be an M5 with a MT at all, and there still will not be one in Europe. A Honda S2000 with a SMG could be fun.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    There is no denying your 545i is one very fast car and the performance differential with a stick can be considered insignificant. It all boils down to preferences. For a few folks having a stick in a sporty car is a deal maker while for most folks it is a deal breaker.

    As Lexusguy pointed out new trannies like SMG/DSG may make a stick redundant for even more people than now. In my case it makes no difference since I would still pick a manual 6 speed Audi over a DSG Audi.
  • At the time I got my A6, I was driving a 2003 allroad with the 6spd. I shopped for a "like sized" car that had AWD -- at the time, the new BMW 5's w/6spd were not on the market.

    AWD was a deal breaker.

    I am very pleased that BMW has continued to offer the 6spd in the 5 series. I am, however out of the market for at least 2 years.

    My evaluation of my current automatic is that it is the best one I have ever had -- but still not as good (subjectively considering, fun, performance, control, etc.) as the manuals I have had and that my wife has in her 2005 BMW X3 3.0.

    I curse if forced to sit in traffic with an auto, too. I still see no reason for the transmission to be chosen due to traffic congestion. Were congestion of that sort -- frequent and regular gridlock, perhaps -- I would hope there would be public transportation.

    I am happy you can have what you want. I don't want anyone to not get the transmission in the car they want. What used to be the key differentiation for me was first and foremost AWD (which Audi has had for over two decades), followed by a manual transmission offering (also which Audi had even through the C5 A6's.)

    Now after these decades, "all" the LPS cars come with or offer AWD, and only BMW offers AWD + Manual transmissions. The conclusion (not based in reality of course) that I have come to is that these LPS cars have much more alike than different. Further, it would seem to me that the distribution of purchases (again not based on reality) would be overwhelmingly manual in the BMW and of course auto in everything else.

    Couple this completely non-fact based opinion with the statement that in less than 6 months, my local BMW dealer is selling 40% of the 5's as AWD and you would think there would be an even stronger migration of folks (like me) who want both AWD and manual to BMW -- apparently, it just isn't working out that way though.

    My only other choice, at the time, included a BMW X3 and ordering an Audi A4 3.2 (which was not yet offered with the stick shift.)

    Wanting a car of the size of the LPS crowd, my choices, sadly were limited -- I took what I perceived was the best compromise du jour.

    Either the SMG or DSG, however, will probably suffice -- so, I await, "next time."

    It is good to see a sub subject (transmissions) is stirring up the conversations. If nothing else, that is a good thing. :shades:
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I have had to creep in frequent and regular congestion for thirty to forty-five minutes on a daily basis - it made me forego my beloved manual transmissions, also. I think if you had to do it, you'd understand. We're not talking about being stopped - yes, you can deal with that by shifting to neutral and waiting to go again. We're talking about creeping where you are constantly shifting to second, either from first or third - not only does it wear out a clutch, it wears out your left leg - and your patience. :)

    Oh and no, there is no public transportation that will get me from where I am to where I was going. :mad:
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    ... There are two carmakers that will always offer MTs and they’re both German—BMW and Porsche. ...

    I don't know about BMW since they're really pushing that SMG. You can even get the SMG for FREE on the 550i. Porsche, on the other hand, probably will always offer a true manual, considering their decision to use one instead of the cliche paddle shifters on their best car ever, the Carrera GT.
  • My first 10 or 12 cars were stick shift. My first "sporty" car was a '57 Triumph TR3. When
    I had to start a 2 hour-30 mile--stop and go--commute from Orange Co. to downtown Los Angeles in 1963, it became one huge headache and got rid of it. My '72 Mazda RX-2 was a real ugly little 4 door, but it could get second gear rubber and embarassed a couple Porsche 911 T's in the "Stop Light Grand Prix".(wouldn't stick with an "S" though and red faced Porsche upped the hp/torque on the "T" in '73--dang). Those were the "good old" days? My current "toy car" is a '91 Mazda RX-7 convertible. It is fun to "troll" for babes with my little little Yorkie--sadly she gets all the attention--but the point I'm getting to is that it has automatic. Around town in heavy traffic a manual is a pain for most of us in my opinion. On the open road I would still enjoy one I think.(Lucky for you younger folk I don't plan to drive that way again although I did enjoy the power of my '94 Cad CST when passing on a 2 lane highway or merging onto the freeway). Even when"speed shifting"--tough on cars--broke an axle once and stripped the ring and pinion gears another time and blew more than one clutch--an automatic is only a little slower and less costly in the long run if you are aggressive as I once was. And if you really blow a shift, repairing a manual costs more than replacing an auto as I discovered.
  • . . .too old to rock 'n' roll (shift for myself, apparently) and too young to die (willing to accept either the DSG or SMG, however.)

    Brings to mind that phrase from Robert Frost, "nothing gold can stay." But in my case perhaps it should be "death be not proud."

    Or while I'm being literary, maybe, "Death of an Automatic Transmission. . . ." or something like that.

    This "clinging to the manual transmission" is itself an inability to see reality.

    I'm doomed. :shades:
  • dhamiltondhamilton Posts: 873
    I'm with you. I have had sticks all my life, my last 2 cars and current truck have auto tranny and I am going nuts.
    For me it's the engagement factor. It's the difference between the driving experience, and the driving spectator. My S4 will have a 6 speed manual. I live in Houston one of the most heavily congested areas of the US. I'm sure I'm one of the few,The proud, the tired left footed... :P
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