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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    What Audi does is offer FWD/AWD on all its cars. I think A6's in USA are all AWD, but can be FWD in other countries. Acura might consider doing the same thing.

    Making FWD optional might save 200lbs or so and improve acceleration a bit, depending on the available grip. It also will make torque steer and massive understeer a big problem. I don't think the positives outweigh the negatives.
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    From the dialogue with the Honda engineers, it's obvious that they are working on bigger engines, including a V8. They were very guarded, but there is a 3.7 litre V6 in the new MDX that will probably see service in other Acuras. I personally believe the next RL will have a V8.

    Like Lexusguy said, going FWD presents its compromises. On the positive side, in addition to less weight, it also allows you to lower your transaction costs. And maybe offer a little more interior spacing. But torque steer is a potential deal killer with LPS cars unless managed with limited slip and electronic controls. But the more you inject the latter controls, the less steering feel and positive road handling.

    Bottom line, there is no good alternative to RWD, other than perhaps AWD.

    .
  • Well we have the 2007 A6's and 5's -- and here they come with 255 horsepower. I believe making these two Germans the weaklings on the beach where everyone else can just kick sand in their faces.

    But wait -- BMW has a 300HP 3 liter 6 and it sure makes that 5 series sweeeeet. Oh wait, it is available only in a 3 series sedan and coupe.

    And what's up with Audi?

    You got your 4 your 6 and your 8 and even your Veee-ten (and in the A6 in the US anyway only the "top o' the line" 255 6 and on up is imported.) The "3.2" FSI engine would certainly benefit from a mild bi-turbo blowing ever so gently, wouldn't it?

    Man, that engine would easily crank out 300 horses and pry-bar bending torque meanwhile sipping fuel.

    Look what has been done with the 2.0TFSI -- what is it now, 265HP, up from 200. Hmmm, now let's see, hey -- thats more than a 30% improvement. If the same were done to the Audi V6, carry the 3, hmmmm, dang! 331 HP. They'd have to do what BMW has reportedly done to their "335", and that is tone down the power to 300 to not provide too much competition for the V8.

    Now, having said this and wondering if the issue with the Acura, which even with the "restating" of the HP is able to better 255HP -- what is all this brouhaha about?

    I drove the new 335 BMW -- holy mule muffins batman, it was like, er, driving an Audi S4 stick (and there was an extra $7,000 and change in the glove box.)

    Ping pong?

    Audi goes turbo, BMW eschews it. Audi eschews it -- at least in the V6 and POW, BMW adopts it like it is the magic ability to pump power out of thin air?

    Meanwhile the Japanese keep upping their power routinely.

    In 2004 the A6 2.7T was what 265HP or was it 280 or was that figure the torque from about 2 rpm to redline or some impossibly broad band?

    In 2005 for about 5 grand more, the new A6 was emasculated down to 255 HP and 240 something pound feet over a much narrower range (but with a 6 speed.) 2006 ditto. 2007 ditto.

    The 2005 BMW 530 was killed in the bragging rights dept with 225 but it was the 240 HP Lexus that couldn't get no respect.

    There is a horsepower war on -- and yes, the German 8's 10's and 12's are awesome. But most of the cars actually sold here are the 6's, by far.

    The Germans are on a light, lively and lean kick?

    Next thing you know the new Audi A6 will come out with 250HP while everything from Nissan will START at 275 or higher.

    OK, Mercedes has a bit more juice and 7 speeds to choose from -- but even there, until you go to the outrageous zone money wise, the power remains relatively tame.

    Now I do love my 255HP A6, but the occasional visit to the M35 for a test drive does make me wonder why for 3+ thousand dollars more (speaking of the A6) the Audi can't come up with a 6 cylinder engine with, hmm, 295 HP and quit dinkin' or as my friend says about his kid "piddle dinkin'" around?

    :confuse:
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Now I do love my 255HP A6, but the occasional visit to the M35 for a test drive does make me wonder why for 3+ thousand dollars more (speaking of the A6) the Audi can't come up with a 6 cylinder engine with, hmm, 295 HP and quit dinkin' or as my friend says about his kid "piddle dinkin'" around?

    None of this is really new. The Germans have always had big eights and small sixes, and fours that without forced induction would have horse-and-buggy levels of power. Japan has always had smaller eights than the Germans (expect for Audi), and bigger, more powerful sixes, and big naturally aspirated fours that have similar power to Germany's blown fours.

    When the Germans had 2.8L 200ish hp engines the Japanese had 3.0L 220ish hp engines. When Germany went to 3.0L and 220hp, Japan went to 3.5L and 260hp, then 280hp, and now 300hp. These boosts came within a few years, and the Germans just havent caught up yet. I'm sure that when the A6 and 5 series offer 300hp from six cylinder engines, the Japanese will be using 3.8s with 350hp.
  • SALES OF LUXURY CAR BRANDS IN U.S. (in order of total sales) through October

    Lexus Sales in US

    2005 = 242,060
    2006 = 258,480

    Change = +6.8%
    --------------------------------------

    BMW

    BMW brand sales were up 2.2 percent year-to-date, to 220,885 vehicles compared to 216,063 vehicles sold in the same period in 2005.

    -----------------------------------------

    Acura

    2005 = 177,107
    2006 = 164,967

    Change = down - 6.9%
    -------------------------

    Mercedes

    2005 = 174,593
    2006 = 197,599

    Change = +13%
    -------------------------

    Infiniti

    2005 = 113,182
    2006 = 97,652

    Change = down -13.7%
    -----------------------------------------------

    Audi Sales in US

    2005 = 66,315
    2006 = 69,010

    Change = +4.1%
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I remember reading an article several years ago claiming that the 300K sales mark was "dangerous" for a luxury brand to cross and that Lexus would lose all of their exclusivity if they kept growing. Doesn't seem to be the case.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    That e word usually trips my circuit breakers. I don't see many cars being exclusive to begin with, especially most models from Lexus, BMW and Mercedes. I fail to see how selling 300K cars is dangerous and also how Lexus was ever exclusive.
  • drtraveldrtravel Posts: 395
    Do you have Caddy's sales figure for September?
  • Saab, Cadillac, Hummer, Buick and GMC all saw retail sales increases in September. Saab led the pack with retail sales up 45 percent, driven by 9-3 and 9-7X. Cadillac sales were up 22 percent retail, with strong showings by DTS, STS, SRX and the entire Escalade lineup.

    Cadillac Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles posted 3,818 sales in September, up 31 percent from last September.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Saab led the pack with retail sales up 45 percent, driven by 9-3 and 9-7X.

    People are actually buying the 9-7X? I'm surprised at that. Its something like a year away from death, and its based on a last generation Trailblazer. GM's own GMT900 trucks are much better.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    GM's entire breakout is in the link I posted. They really give you some good info there. Numbers of units sold vs. how many sold and so on for every GM make and model.

    M
  • Let's just say they were the same price, which one would you buy and why?
  • No kidding about your comment "and fours that w/o forced induction would have horse and buggy levels of power."

    I just sold my tired 2000 A6 w/100,000 miles and bought a Mazda CX-7. 244 HP / 258 lb. ft. single turbo 4 banger, almost the same specs as my old 6-cylinder twin-turbo Audi!Amazing low end power, not necessary to push this thing hard to get going,almost no turbo lag due in part to the DISI--(direct injection spark ignition) 6 speed tip-tronic style transmission and currently about 17 mpg in town on premium fuel.About 2200 rpm at 60 mph in 6th gear. Not bad specs for a 4,000 lb all wheel drive SUV.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Amazing low end power, not necessary to push this thing hard to get going,almost no turbo lag due in part to the DISI--(direct injection spark ignition)

    Mazda's turbo 2.3 is the best engine they have. I think the RX-8 would be better with that engine than with its wankel rotary. It wouldn't guzzle oil like the like the rotary engine does, and the turbo four also has the advantage of about 100ft.lbs more torque.
  • IIRC, the main hicups with A6 2.7T (and allroad) were

    1. reliability
    2. emission.

    If BMW's turbo holds up well, the competition may indeed give another look to the turbos.
  • rockyleerockylee Posts: 14,011
    One thing I will say is brightness, these aren't your fathers turbos ;) I think reliability will be just fine. :)

    Rocky

    P.S. nice to see ya on the boards. ;)
  • While the contents of many recent posts are interesting, it's unlcear to me what relevance they have to a comparative discussion of LPS cars.

    On the other hand, if a question about why German brands are not wringing 300hp out of their engines has switched us over to a discussion of where can we find the most horsepower and low-end torque for the buck, then we appear to be on track ... and, then, let's not leave out the Dodge Charger SRT8: zero to 60 in 4.9 seconds; 425hp; and 0.87g on the skidpad.

    By comparison, in Car and Driver's road test, with 244 horsepower at 5000 rpm, the CX-7 AWD Sport hauled its 3920 pounds to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds and on through the quarter-mile in 16.1 seconds at 87 mph -- 0.84g on the skidpad. And they averaged only 14 mpg during testing, well below the EPA’s findings of 18/24 mpg which, in turn, is lower even than, just for an example, a 4000+ lb Audi A6's EPA figures.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    On the other hand, if a question about why German brands are not wringing 300hp out of their engines has switched us over to a discussion of where can we find the most horsepower and low-end torque for the buck, then we appear to be on track ... and, then, let's not leave out the Dodge Charger SRT8: zero to 60 in 4.9 seconds; 425hp; and 0.87g on the skidpad.

    I'm not sure what your point is here. Talking about the power of BMW's 530i and Audi's A6 3.2 v the competition is very much on topic. I don't think "horses-per-dollar" was ever part of the discussion. All luxury performance sedans will score poorly by that matrix...they're luxury cars. You're paying for luxury after all, not just a big lump of iron with a lot of power.

    The best engines in the compact ute class are currently in the RAV4 V6 and X3 3.0i. The turbo fours in the competition are slower...and thirstier. The one exception is the WRX engine in the Forester XT, which is fast enough to chase X5 and Caynne V8s. I still don't get how Subaru was able to pull that off with 224hp.
  • I'm not sure what your point is here. Talking about the power of BMW's 530i and Audi's A6 3.2 v the competition is very much on topic. I don't think "horses-per-dollar" was ever part of the discussion. All luxury performance sedans will score poorly by that matrix...they're luxury cars. You're paying for luxury after all, not just a big lump of iron with a lot of power.

    Ironically, your last two sentences (in the excerpt I quoted) makes the point I was trying to make, but you said it more clearly.

    Perhaps a misreading, but while I certainly agree that talking about the power of BMW's 530i and Audi's A6 3.2 v the competition is very much on topic, I did read the comparison of a 2000 A6 w/100,000 miles versus a Mazda CX-7 as veering off in the direction of "hp/$$" as a way to the address that topic. I didn't get any other point from simply noting that there are cheaper cars which offer more horsepower and torque than the typical German LPS, but maybe there is one.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I did read the comparison of a 2000 A6 w/100,000 miles versus a Mazda CX-7 as veering off in the direction of "hp/$$" as a way to the address that topic. I didn't get any other point from simply noting that their are cheaper cars which offer more horsepower and torque than the typical German LPS, but maybe there is one.

    I read it as just a comparison of Japanese and German engine power, and not necessarily LPS vs. mainstream CUV. When I was talking about German vs Japanese engines a few posts back, I was including VW's 1.8T and 2.8, and 3.0s from Nissan, Honda, and Toyota, not just the LPS cars. I don't think the intention was to say that the CX-7 was a better "value" than the Audi, but I could be wrong.
  • Nothing at all...the German horses will always be bigger than Japanese horses, hence the need for Acura, Infiniti, & Lex to have something to go after the Germans with since reliability really wasn't working...

    For the power the Germans(BMW & MB) offered, they were always faster than their Japanese competitors, Audi had and still is has weight issues...They've come a long way, I still can't believe the 2.0t has more power than the old 2.8 v6..

    I recall when the TL type-S coupe and 4dr arrived, they were supposed to "bring it" to the 3er....even with more power than the 3 then, it still didn't cut it.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I recall when the TL type-S coupe and 4dr arrived, they were supposed to "bring it" to the 3er....even with more power than the 3 then, it still didn't cut it.

    Hardly. The TL and CL Type S cars had very sloppy handling, lousy brakes, bad interiors, and transmissions that liked to fail. Even the Volvo C70 coupe, which was based on the 850 sedan from around 1993, handled better than the CL Type-S. BMW had no threat from Japan until the G35 arrived in '03. The IS300, if it had been done correctly, could've been one.

    I'm not sure that the "German horses are bigger" argument still holds up anymore. The 335i and IS350 are just about equal in 0-60 runs, and horsepower is basically the same. The LS430 is VERY fast for its 278hp, certainly faster than the 275hp S430.
  • Lexusguy,

    OK...I understand what you're drawing attention to: German versus Japanese engines.

    A few thoughts (very subjective):

    German "premium" brands don't specifically build for U.S. the way Infiniti, Lexus, and Acura do. In U.S. auto media comparison tests, there is much weight given to which car accelerates fastest in any similarly priced group. Japanese manufacturers, I believe, build to win those contests in the U.S. press -- and it works, here.

    Internationally, on a scale of 1 to 10, BMW and Mercedes sell 10. Audi sells 8. It's then a long drop to Volvo and Lexus, which would (on a graph) be around 4. In the 2 to 3 range would be Cadillac, Acura, Lincoln, and Infiniti. For example, worldwide BMW sales rose by about 120,000 vehicles to 1,328,000 in 2005. Mercedes also was over one million. Audi's figure was 829,109.

    Internationally, and (to Mercedes, BMW, and Audi, perhaps almost as important) at home in Germany, the German big-3 outsell foreign competitors in the LPS category, unlike the U.S. and Japan. They build the smooth, refined engines and drivetrains that keep their premium image alive and separated (in buyers' minds) from Japanese brands. So far, it works for them.

    Whatever they're doing, it works on me. Viscerally, in response to the post about BMW 530xi versus Infiniti M35x, I don't experience the two cars as being in the same category. I think the G35 and M35 hit a mark (which I subjectively categorize as luxurious muscle cars) but don't (yet) enter what I'd call the Premium LPS realm, where "smooth and refined" meets "powerful and engaging". I found the G35 and M35 to be wicked fast and fun, but somewhat noisy, with rears that don't take bumps well, and engines that over-depend on low-geared transmissions to suck great amounts of gas in order to push cars to victory in 0 to 60 tests, while German brands put enormous effort into slowly evolving more power (with each engine generation) through sophisticated technology (such as Audi's FSI) that combines more power with better gas mileage and keeps the whole experience like "warp-speed" acceleration on the old Star Trek series, rather than a roller-coaster ride.

    As I said, all very subjective ... but then that's what we're sharing with each other, our subjective and visceral takes on these wonderful cars.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Internationally, and (to Mercedes, BMW, and Audi, perhaps almost as important) at home in Germany, the German big-3 outsell foreign competitors in the LPS category, unlike the U.S. and Japan.

    I'm not sure what the LPS sales are in Japan, but here in the states BMW and Mercedes still have the lead by a largin margin in the LPS catgory, and they outsell Audi 3 or 4-to-1.

    The M35's version of the VQ35 is last generation, so it only has VVT on the intake side. Still, its a very highly regarded engine, being on the Wards list 12 years running. The problem is there is only so much they can do with just 5-speeds. They are down one gear to just about everyone else (two gears to the E class), except the RL which is in the same boat and also has poor fuel economy.

    I'm having a tough time finding the M35's ratios, as Infiniti annoyingly doesn't list them on their site. I think 5th gear is somewhere around 0.83:1, compared to 0.69:1 for the automatic 530xi in 6th. There's just no way the Infiniti can compete when it comes to highway fuel economy.
  • Not sure if I made clear that by "unlike the U.S. and Japan" I meant that in the U.S. and Japan, LPS buyers don't buy cars made in their own country. They buy MB and BMW. In Germany, by contrast, all three home-grown premium brands are the best-selling LPS cars.

    As for Audi, they are coming along ... The brand set a new record for vehicle sales in 2005 for the tenth year in succession: 829,109 vehicles were delivered to customers worldwide, an increase of 6.4 percent (2004: 779,441).
    The largest individual export market is the USA with 83,066 units (77,917, up 6.6 percent), but that's still just 10% of Audi's volume. Audi sold 247,125 vehicles in Germany, 12,033 (5.1 percent) more than in 2004.

    In Great Britain Audi sold 81,374 (up 4.5 percent) and China with 58,878 (up 9.6 percent).

    The above-average growth of Audi in Western Europe led to the brand achieving a record market share of 4.2 percent in 2005.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Not sure if I made clear that by "unlike the U.S. and Japan" I meant that in the U.S. and Japan, LPS buyers don't buy cars made in their own country. They buy MB and BMW. In Germany, by contrast, all three home-grown premium brands are the best-selling LPS cars.

    Ok, I gotcha now. Yes, that seems to be unique to the Europeans in that they are very loyal to their own brands. Ford and GM's Opel\Vauxhall brands have somewhat of a presence, but Chrysler, GM U.S. brands like Cadillac, and the Japanese are basically footnotes in Europe.
  • I only wanted to make the point that that Mazda has come out with an SUV type, similar in weight and engine specs to the A6, only they did it with a 4 cylinder.The Cx-7 could hardly be called a better "value" than the Audi, they are completely different cars. The gas consumption appears to be almost the same, given my Audi experience the last 6 years and the Mazda front and rear vented disc brakes seem superior.

    I can't say my Audi ownership has been pleasant during my 100,000 mile "test-drive". Without the extended service plan, the repair expenses for this car would have approached $10,000 during the last 3 years.

    Joining the local Audi club was also critical because I was alerted to an able independent Audi mechanic who made the franchised Audi dealer's non service plan covered charges look downright ridiculous.

    My now extensive experience with the Audi brand has me convinced that these types of cars are solely lease material, you give them back after 3 years or so and move on to the next car.

    An Audi driver should not have to work as hard as I did to keep this car running. I was very fortunate to have been able to sell the car privately for a fair price just after the service plan expired, before the next repair issue landed in my lap!
  • I only wanted to make the point that that Mazda has come out with an SUV type, similar in weight and engine specs to the A6, only they did it with a 4 cylinder.

    Thanks for that clarification. And apologies for my first post. It was unnecessarily harsh or confronting or something like that.

    Did the twin-turbo 6-cylinder A6, before it got old and tired, have more or less turbo-lag than the new 4-cylinder CX-7?

    Reliability? No question, the Americans and Germans have had to play catch-up. A whole expectation-set about cars has developed over the last twenty years, centered around Japanese cars and nurtured by CR and JDP: as consumers, we've come to expect a much better repair-experience than European and American brands have given us.

    But, I would say, European and American car manufacturers are catching up, while Japanese cars may have gotten about as reliable as they can get, or, in some cases, as with Toyota recently, face a danger of slipping as, ironically, their success leads to fast increases in the number of new models (shorter time making sure everything's perfect) and just plain old fast increases in production. For example, Mercury, Buick and Cadillac came in ahead of Toyota in JDP's 2006 vehicle dependability survey and Toyota has had one of its largest recalls in its history. Meanwhile, to take MB as an example, this week's Business Week has a feature article which claims that "a focus on quality and cost has the luxury carmaker humming again." We'll see, of course, but while three years ago, I would have agreed that, with the possible exception of newer BMWs, if you wanted to keep a car for 100K mile or more, you'd better buy Japanese, now I'm not so convinced that the same cannot be said about the newer Audi, MB, Porsche, and BMW models -- especially since so many of us seem to be getting the extended warranties with whatever car we buy.
  • No apology needed. You were making a point, and so was I. The Audi, even when new, had more lag than the Mazda, especially from a dead stop. The Mazda has virtually no turbo lag from takeoff, and maybe just a bit at about 55 mph, when "stepping on it" until at about 60 mph, it really takes off.

    Since the Mazda is a new model, there is no data about reliability. I just hope that it has to be better than the Audi, which never went more than 4 0r 5 thousand miles between repairs, in warranty or out.
    This is a list of repairs performed on this car in the last 6 years:
    1.) driver's window motor
    2.) passenger window motor
    3.) climate control module
    4.) heater blower motor
    5.) front lower tie rods
    6.) front brake rotors---5 times
    7.) air conditioning vacuum assembly
    8.) secondary electric fan
    9.) turn signal module
    10.) air bag control module
    11.) valve cover gaskets
    12.) cam chain gasket
    13.) water pump
    14.) timing belt
    15>) tensioner rollers
    15.) air pump

    I didn't realize when buying this car that the twin turbo Audi was, and probably still is one of the most sophisticated and complex cars on the road and getting anything fixed would be quite the chore in many ways.

    Do you think that the new ones are more reliable?
  • Do you think that the new ones are more reliable?"

    Well, yeah, that's what I'm speculating will turn out to be the case.

    Your experience was horrendous. If I had that experience with any brand-product, from refrigerator to car, I don't know that I could ever bring myself to buy another product from that manufacturer.

    But, what I'm reading, in many publications, is that the German carmakers have gotten the message, especially over the past five years: here in the U.S. we will drop you like a hot potato if we form the impression that you're peddling high-class lemons. And they quickly (frantically) have mobilized in response, essentially copying from the Japanese what the Japanese originally learned from an American theorist (about insuring consistent quality production). So, even if you just look at the progression of red (good) and black (bad) dots in CR's reports on Audi, the red dots have displaced the black ones (but not eliminated them yet) going from 2000 through 2005.
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