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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "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."

    I think German horses are still bigger. On the IS350, it appears that Lexus advertises the best time anyone ever achieved, downhill, downwind as the "official" perfromance figure. BMW usually conservatively underestimates their performance figures. From Motor Trends separate test of the two cars, the BMW (4.9) is significantly quicker than the Lexus (5.5)

    I've never driven the LS and S430 back to back, but I did drive the 545i and GS430 back to back a couple of years age and, in spite of similar power ratings, there was no comparison whatsoever. I subsequently saw 0-60 times by the various car magazines that put the BMW 0.5 to 1.0 second ahead of the Lexus. Even the lower horsepower rated E430 felt quicker than the Lexus, but I don't remember any road test results.

    Certainly, all of these cars are "quick enough" for the luxury performance sedan segment. But I do appreciate a corporate philosophy that is conservative in it's advertising and overdelivers in substance. The 911S I have is rated by Porsche at "only" 4.7 seconds 0-60. On paper, that's not that much quicker than an IS350, if you belive Lexus figures. But all of the road tests of the 911S come in at 3.9 to 4.3, which is pretty close to supercar territory.

    As an owner of two Acura's, I will give Lexus credit for at least not having to downward revise it's entire fleet for overstating horsepower the way Honda/Acura had to. But if I see a manufacturer's performance figures, I still give the Germans - especially BMW and Porsche - the highest credibility rating.
  • I had a 2003 allroad 2.7T w/6sd manual.

    The engine, dare I say it?, like all Audi engines was flawless in every way. We also had over the past few years three Audi TT's also turbos. The 225HP version, our last 2, were wonderful and also (from an engine standpoint) were flawless.

    I have been to several Audi gtg's in Europe with American Audi owners and many of them had A4's with the 2.7T engine and they loved it.

    This engine gets to full torque at 1800 RPM and I would characterize it as having "virtually zero" lag (2003 vintage, remember.)

    Now, at speeds above 100, the depth, so to speak, of the Audi normally aspirated V8 did shine in terms of its remaining pull.

    But, now, with a 255HP non turbo V6, I "feel" nearly the same pull as I did with my three Audi 4.2L V8 equipped cars (2 A6's and 1 A8.)

    Audis have always been breathtakingly expensive to possess out of warranty. You must've gotten a lemon.

    My wife and I have had 28 Audis. Yet, in full disclosure, NEVER one beyond 50K miles. Yet, this is not because we had reliability concerns, we just loved the cars so much we wanted new ones about every other year starting in 1977.

    They were not perfect.

    My 2005 A6 3.2 seems darn near so, though.

    Sorry for your issues.

    I would buy an Audi turbo without hesitation.

    Ditto BMW.

    Now talk about LAG, Volvo's 5 cylinder 300HP turbo motor is a sleeper until you get the turbos spooled up, then it is a rocket.

    Overall, I would not discount a turbo -- indeed a turbo diesel from Audi (for one) would be ideal: powerful and pragmatic -- not to mention frugal.

    Of course, no matter what, I would want the warranty to 100K miles that comes with the "cpo'ing" one may have done to one's own car at something less than 50K miles.
  • "Of course, no matter what, I would want the warranty to 100K miles that comes with the "cpo'ing" one may have done to one's own car at something less than 50K miles."

    Would you consider a third-party warranty, such as Warranty Direct as an alternative to having your leased car CPO'd?

    What's involved in getting an Audi or BMW CPO'd out to 100K?

    Has anyone done either recently?
  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,011
    A national newspaper is looking to interview consumers who have recently purchased a luxury car for the first time and about why you decided to purchase a luxury car. Please send an e-mail to ctalati@edmunds.com no later than Friday, November 10, 2006 by 2:00 PM PST/5:00 EST containing your daytime contact information.

    Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email, karen@edmunds.com, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

  • Unbeatable in terms of quality and reliability: the Audi A2 was the winner of the TÜV Auto-Report 2004. According to the experts at Germany's Technical Inspection Authority TÜV, no other vehicle up to three years old gave cause for fewer complaints.

    Audi captured first place in the "Service" category of the 2006 "Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) StudySM" in China. This study, which is conducted annually, has now been published by J.D. Power Asia Pacific. By taking 834 of a possible 1,000 points, Audi shot to the top of the rankings, recording a new record points total in the process. Furthermore, Audi is the only company which has featured in the top three in each of the last five years.
  • selooseloo Posts: 606
    As we do in LPS pricing, we need to leverage our collective bargaining power and post details concerning all extended warranties for LPSs, so we negotiate and purchase with confidence.

    Coverage, costs, experience with company, etc...
  • Today there is no need to go outside of Audi for the extended warranty/service plan.

    I guess that means my answer is no.
  • I don't have any data to back this statement up, but I don't think my 2000 A6 2.7T was a lemon. It would be fascinating to collect stories from owners that have put on the 100,000 miles that I did and compare the Audi driving experience.

    Appears from discourse with mechanics and dealers that the non-maintenance items that were replaced/repaired on this Audi were about an "average" situation for the miles logged.

    In fact, I was informed by those in the know that at about 125,000 miles, these cars have major catastrophic breakdowns and significant electrical problems.

    This all reinforces what you have been writing for the past several years, that Audis are breathtakingly expensive to repair and driving one without a warranty/lease is a no-no.

    I'm not picking on Audi, this just happens to be my experience the last 6+ years. Would say that all LPS are "breathtakingly expensive" to repair and who knows about their longetivity after 125,000 miles?

    I have heard from Lexus drivers that the cars are indeed good and trouble free, but that the Lexus maintenance program is a "ripoff." Heard complaints that adhering to the schedule has you coming into the Lexus dealer every 5,000 miles for a minimum of $500+. Somebody has to pay for that new showroom /waiting room with wide screen Tv, wireless internet, free snack bar, conference room, and probably even a suite to take a nap while your Lexus is being serviced!
  • If we have had some skepticism about how well CR and JDP predict reliability in a meaningful way (much less predict overall ownership and driving satisfaction), we are on even thinner ice when it comes to cars in the 75K to 125K chapters of their lives.

    Mostly it's anecdotal.

    On one website (British Warranty Direct) they draw on their experience paying for beyond-manufacturers-warranty repairs, and provide the 100 most reliable cars of the last decade. Here are the first 50 in order: 1 Honda Accord 2 Subaru Forester 3 Mazda MX-5 4 Mitsubishi Carisma 5 Toyota Yaris 6 Honda Civic 7 Nissan Almera 8 Honda CR-V 9 Toyota RAV4 10 Nissan Micra 11 Lexus IS 200 12 Mazda 626 13 Jaguar X-Type 14 Toyota Landcruiser 15 Volvo S/V40 16 MINI (BMW) 17 Suzuki Vitara 18 Mazda 323 19 Toyota Carina E 20 Saab 9-5 21 Lexus LS400 22 Ford Ka 23 Rover 45 24 Hyundai Lantra 25 Mercedes SLK 26 Citroen Xsara 27 Ford Cougar 28 Subaru Impreza 29 Skoda Octavia 30 Audi A4 31 Nissan Primera 32 Toyota Avensis 33 Volvo 850 34 Vauxhall Corsa 35 Seat Toledo 36 Volkswagen Golf 37 Daewoo Lanos 38 Fiat Brava 39 Hyundai Coupe 40 Mitsubishi Shogun 41 Rover 25 42 Mercedes CLK 43 Fiat Marea 44 Ford Focus 45 Peugeot 106 46 MG MG TF 47 BMW Z3 48 Hyundai Accent 49 Volkswagen Polo 50 Fiat Punto.

    Occasionally, there are comments, like this one from David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' auto test center: "Detroit's automakers are closing the gap with top Japanese automakers when it comes to quality and reliability in the early years of ownership...But as the cars age, the difference tends to grow so that the long-term durability is basically not as good" for the U.S. brands, he said at an Automotive Press Association luncheon. "By eight years, there are likely to be twice as many problems with the domestics."

    But CR doesn't give data to support that comment. In its detailed report, Consumer Reports drew up its list of reliable 2006 models based on the vehicles' track record over the past three years. For new or refreshed models, such as the Chevrolet Cobalt and Infiniti M35/M45, it based its conclusions on samplings from a much shorter period.

    The trouble with complaints about German cars made five or six years ago is that the Germans, in particular, have been immersed in a very committed effort to catch up with Japanese consistency in quality/reliability/dependability, so it might be 2008 or 2009 before we see how well their efforts match the type of measurements (however much any of us might be skeptical of those measurements) made by CR and JDP, which Audi and Mercedes have made it clear they are intent on doing because they want to sell in the U.S. and they have learned that here, especially, CR and JDP wield significant influence, not in getting people to buy what they recommend but in getting people to not buy what they don't recommend -- true enough to worry Mercedes and Audi, even if each of us knows of a few friends who fell in love with and bought a car that CR said will blow up at 25K.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I'm not picking on Audi, this just happens to be my experience the last 6+ years. Would say that all LPS are "breathtakingly expensive" to repair and who knows about their longetivity after 125,000 miles?

    I have heard from Lexus drivers that the cars are indeed good and trouble free, but that the Lexus maintenance program is a "ripoff." Heard complaints that adhering to the schedule has you coming into the Lexus dealer every 5,000 miles for a minimum of $500+.


    German luxury performance sedans, perhaps. Any Acura, Infiniti, or Lexus with regular oil changes should be able to do 125K miles in its sleep. Legends, Q45s, and LS400s with well over 200K on them are certainly not uncommon.

    As for Lexus service prices, we have bought ours rather than leased them, so really we can do whatever we want with them. I'm not entirely sure what happens to the warranty if you choose to have your Lexus serviced outside of the dealer, but the chances of a Lexus needing major work while the warranty is still in effect are so slim that it may be worth it to some to give up the warranty for cheap service.

    We've been doing the 5K mile services until the warranty has run out "just in case", and then have been sending our cars in every 7500 miles or so. The convenience of pick up\drop off is worth it to us, otherwise we'd probably use the local shops. That said, I don't think Lexus' prices are really outside the norm for luxury brands that don't cover scheduled maintainance. I know for a fact that Volvo service departments charge outrageous prices. Infiniti and Acura are probably similar to Lexus.
  • I work with people who have Acura's, BMW's and several other brands.

    I would say that BMW's are breathtakingly expensive to repair out of warranty.

    Some friends have a Lexus -- it is "largely" bullet proof.

    However, the owner tells me little wear and tear items are also breathtakingly expensive and keep going out.

    The phrase "overall the Lexus is very reliable, but it tends to nickel and dime you" leaps to mind.

    Had dinner with our friends last week and they do love their Lexus -- but as soon as the warranty was over the tire pressure monitors go out. Somehow, someway, the system itself needs some parts, the wheel sending device and of course the labor to dismount and remount and WHAM the better part of $1,000 is shot.

    I mentioned my friend with a 56,000 mile old BMW and its $900 for the FRONT rotors and brake replacement since BMW requires 100% replacement of everything and this was just for the fronts.

    The list of breathtakingly expensive stuff just goes on and on.

    Conversely, another friend and co worker has a 2000 Chevy pick up truck -- the big one with 4WD, leather and power everything.

    He has had the mufflers go out twice and the tires go out twice and the "power window regulators" go out twice.

    The thing, by comparison, "takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'" -- he has well over 100K miles on the truck and it actually looks good, rides good and sucks gas, but that is nothing new.

    I know all the "we're not worthy, we're not worthy" evidence pertaining to Lexus and perhaps Infiniti.

    The cost of "CPOing" is generally $1,000 to $1,500 -- it just seems like money well spent.

    Moreover, if you are use your car about 16,666 miles per year for three years and factor in all the potential, possible and probable "normal" repair costs, precipitous depreciation (especially of LPS cars) and thrown in sub-venting from the leasing arms of a lot of these imports, well, it is clear they were never intended to be purchased in the first place (they were intended to be leased, loved and left at 50K miles or sooner, i.e.)

    I grow weary sometimes -- especially as I age and time goes by so quickly -- since I have, at this moment, found a car I would like to keep (my 2005 A6 3.2) until the wheels turn square.

    But, the truth of the matter is, my lease payment is $640 and change every month. My sec dep was waived, and my wakin' out costs including the first mo pay were less than $1,000 and Audi financial forgave my last three payments on my 2003 allroad (which were about $750) -- so much as I want to keep my "flawless and fun to drive" 2005 A6 3.2, it will probably be cheaper to walk away at about month 33 or 34 and walk into another new (German or Japanese) LPS car.

    And the hell of it is, I really like this car probably better than almost any other car I've had.

    But, as I have said, I am almost certain I would be saying the same thing had I moved forward with the Infiniti that I "came this close" to leasing.

    I sometimes wonder if it would be possible to make cars like software, that is, allow a new release of "parts" of the car, the electronics, the instrumentation etc, to allow one to continuously evolve the car over a much longer period.

    For the life of me, I just can't see how keeping this Audi (or any LPS car for that matter) can be made to work what with the lease payment options regularly and routinely subvented as they are.

    One more thing, there are still some very nice 2006 A6 Slines sitting around with "-$7,500" off sticker signs on them which, when coupled with the aforementioned lease programs makes buying one incomprehensible (to me at least.)

    So, perhaps I will "get the itch" again in 15 months -- I don't seem to have much choice since Cincinnati isn't noted for its vast subway or street car system.

    "I can't drive 55" :surprise:
  • Your remark about the $900 front brakes on a 56,000 mile BMW, is, rather simply, "breathtaking"! I just changed out the original front brake pads on my 86,000 mile TOY camry, and while I did do the job myself, the parts cost was $42.00. The rotors were fine and should last until the next pad replacement. Auto repair truly is one of the last frontiers in this country, except that the frontier has a starting line , but no ending point.

    I think I'm more irritated by the general inconvenience of all the Audi repairs over the last 6+years ,i.e., sometimes taking 2 to 3 weeks for completion. I bought the extended service plan on my replacement Mazda Cx-7 for $1350.00 which covers the second 3 years/50,000 miles. Hoping the plan will need minimum usage and that I'll only be a visitor to the Mazda dealer for routine services.

    Understanding that you are satisfied with the A6,buying this type of car at the end of the lease, even adding the extended warranty, probably doesn't make a lot of economic sense.To add insult to injury, many Audi potential owners do not realize all the extra expenses that "pop up" between 36 and 100,000 miles that aren't included in the service plan that wouldn't normally occur in the first 3 years of average leased driving.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Your remark about the $900 front brakes on a 56,000 mile BMW, is, rather simply, "breathtaking"! I just changed out the original front brake pads on my 86,000 mile TOY camry, and while I did do the job myself, the parts cost was $42.00."

    Hmmm, well I did all for wheels on my 328i, rotors, pads and sensors included for less than $250. Apparently Camrys aren't alone in the low cost brake job world. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    It`s too bad WE have to wait fifteen months, as I, for one ,really enjoy your multi page report on your new car..Your joy really comes through in your writing..Tony
  • We've been talking about Audi and Mazda as if it's a matter of fact that the average Mazda has had significantly fewer problems than the average Audi.

    In the 2006 JD Powers Vehicle Dependability Study, both Mazda and Audi were listed as having been well below average. The average Lexus, Buick, and Cadillac were reported to have had about 1.5 problems during the first three years, while the average Mazda had about 2.5 and the average Audi had 2.8.

    Disclaimer: I love Mazdas and we own one and it's a kick to drive -- one of the best buys among small cars in terms of fun for the buck. My favorite Japanese brand. I wouldn't at all mind owning a CX-7 and would actually prefer it to a Q7, but because it's sportier, not because I assume it will need fewer repairs.

    Nonetheless, there is no statistical evidence to suggest that a disgruntled 2000 Audi owner will spend less time at the service department with 2007 Mazda than with a 2007 Audi. Emotionally, however, switching brands when you've owned a lemon seems like good therapy to me.
  • My 2002 530i SP 5sp still has over 50% of the pads remaining. My brake job cost is $0 plus two brake fluid replacements.
  • many Audi potential owners do not realize all the extra expenses that "pop up" between 36 and 100,000 miles that aren't included in the service plan that wouldn't normally occur in the first 3 years of average leased driving."

    We have to update the prediction of "the weeping and the gnashing of teeth" for potential Audi owners to read: Many Audi potential owners do not realize all the extra expenses that "pop up" between 50 and 100,000 miles that aren't included in the service plan that wouldn't normally occur in the first 4 years of the new 4 year, 50K manufacturers warranty.
  • And from what I can tell, we need to add Acura, BMW, Cadillac and Lexus to the list.

    Having said that, my in-laws have a "flawless" 1997 Cadillac (the big one with front wheel drive.)

    It has perhaps 70,000 miles on it and yes it has had new tires and brake pads and maybe even rotors, but basically the car -- such as it is (i.e. a front wheel drive sofa on wheels) is in perfect condition.

    Is it MILES or is it time that is the enemy?

    And as a follow on, we seem to NOT have many STS participants herein -- are the buyers of such vehicles not into blogging with other LPS folks? Are the STS drivers lurking and laughing at us Euro and Japaense LPS folks with our "breathtakingly expensive" to maintain cars?

    I actually drove an STS at least two times, and I thought it was a member in good standing of the LPS crowd -- at least if optioned appropriately to put a bit more "P" into the equation. . . . :confuse:
  • "My 2002 530i SP 5sp still has over 50% of the pads remaining. My brake job cost is $0 plus two brake fluid replacements."

    That's also how it works with 2001-2006 Audi vehicles (all of which came with included-in-purchase-price replacement of normal-wera items such as wiper blade inserts, brake pads, clutch lining and light bulbs and also includes wheel alignment, wheel balance and headlight adjustments. Runs for 4 years or 50K and costs $500 on 2007s.
  • I purchased the Mazda Cx-7 having no idea about the frequency of repairs. I'm mostly covered for 6 yrs/100,000 miles, but as far as trips to the sevice bay, who knows?

    Even so-called "highly rated" vehicles like Toyota can have serious repair issues. I know a mechanic who bought a Toy Rav-4 3 years a go and after 6,000 miles, the engine seized up due to lack of oil pressure. Toyota refused to cover the repair claiming the oil changes weren't done through a Toyota dealer and the mechanic stopped making the payments, therefore the vehicle was repo'd!

    Despite my individual problems with the Audi brand, indifferent dealer service really pushed me to another model. Old fashioned customer service may be alive and well with many dealers, I just didn't get to that level through Audi.
  • "Despite my individual problems with the Audi brand, indifferent dealer service really pushed me to another model. Old fashioned customer service may be alive and well with many dealers, I just didn't get to that level through Audi."

    Very critical point you are making there. Both patients receiving medical care (bringing their bodies in to be fixed) and car-owners (having problems with their cars) are both consistently reported to place great weight on how the expert relates to them and responds to their concerns, separate and apart from how quickly/completely the desired end-result is reached.

    JD Powers assesses this dimension of owner-satisfaction separate from vehicle dependability (number ofd repairs required during first three years). In their 2006 survey of owner satisfaction with dealer service departments, here's how they ranked brands (based on a 1,000-point scale):

    Lexus - 912
    Buick - 911
    Cadillac - 909
    Jaguar - 908
    Lincoln - 906
    Mercury - 905
    Saturn - 904
    Pontiac - 903
    Audi - 890
    MINI - 890
    Volvo - 890
    Acura - 889
    Chevrolet - 887
    Infiniti - 887
    Porsche - 887
    BMW - 884
    Honda - 883
    HUMMER - 882
    Saab - 880
    GMC - 879
    IndustryAverage - 873
    Mercedes-Benz - 872
    Hyundai - 869
    Chrysler - 867
    Ford - 866
    Dodge - 862
    Toyota - 861
    Subaru - 858
    Jeep - 851
    Nissan - 849
    Mitsubishi - 848
    Kia - 843
    Mazda - 843
    LandRover - 840
    Suzuki - 823
    Volkswagen - 810
    Isuzu - 781

    Statistically, then, not only did your Audi require way more than the average number of repairs, but also you were treated much worse than the average Audi owner. That is a double-whammy shame and would, if I were you, produce the same effect in me -- never doing that again.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    In their 2006 survey of owner satisfaction with dealer service departments, here's how they ranked brands (based on a 1,000-point scale):

    Interesting, but not surprising how badly Toyota did. Their dealerships are awful.
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    IMO, it's miles, time, and perhaps more importantly, that nebulous thing called "pride of ownershp." In other words, how carefully the car is driven and owned. Note the top scores for service dept satisfaction...

    Lexus - 912
    Buick - 911
    Cadillac - 909
    Jaguar - 908
    Lincoln - 906
    Mercury - 905

    These rankings are partially based on the quality baked into the brands/vehicles themselves. The average owners of Lexus, Buick, Cadillac, Jaguar, Lincoln, and Mercury are also older, more mature, perhaps more conservative, and certainly more likely to visit their dealer based on the recommended service cycles.

    The AVERAGE owners of the bottom feeder brands are younger. Does being younger also correlate to being less responsible, less mature, and more risk taking? A lower level of "pride of ownership?" Is the car more of an appliance or commodity, with a lower intrinsic value to the owner? Could those behaviors also correspond to worse experiences at the dealership because the cars are being brought in for problems rather than routine maintenance?

    Perhaps.
  • I also believe the manufacturers at the bottom also reimburse less to the dealers.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The average owners of Lexus, Buick, Cadillac, Jaguar, Lincoln, and Mercury are also older, more mature, perhaps more conservative, and certainly more likely to visit their dealer based on the recommended service cycles.

    I don't think owners of the above cars are more mature or more likely to take better care of their cars than Mercedes or Land Rover owners.
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    Possibly Mercedes, but I doubt it as far as Land Rover is concerned. I question whether Land Rover appeals to relatively older drivers, or even enjoys strong loyalty or repeat customer purchase patterns, at least in the U.S. market. It's more of a trendy vehicle that appeals to uber-rich soccer moms, relatively younger nouveau riche, urban professionals, athletes, and "athlete wannabes."

    Watch the Land Rover owners come out of the woodwork to rebut these controversial comments!

    Another correlation can be drawn with insurance rates. Although higher in insurable value, average insurance costs for Lexus, Buick, Cadillac, Lincoln, and Mercury are historically lower on a percentage basis, compared to cars at the bottom of this ladder (whose insurable values are much, much less). This phenomenon can be attributed to two main factors---more conservative (ie: safer) driving behavior, and higher credit scores/characteristics, for those who drive those brands. Jaguar used to enjoy this status, when more of their sales were represented by XJ and other larger models or higher end coupes. With the advent of the down market S-Type and X-Type, insurance costs have risen due to the fact they have appealed to a younger and more diverse clientele whose driving behaviors are not necessarily as stellar on a historical basis.

    As the saying goes, "you are what you drive."

    Land Rover insurance costs are also much higher than average, and it's not because these vehicles are driven off road or in an African safari. Draw your own conclusions, but high theft rates would be a good place to start.
  • "The demographic snapshot of a Land Rover customer is an executive or entrepreneur with an income around $100,000 plus."

    The average Land Rover buyer is 43 years old. Sixty-six percent are male, 75 percent are married, and less than 40 percent of owners have children.
  • reality2reality2 Posts: 303
    You should check out the latest Consumer Reports "recommended" list for new cars. You will find Audi has the most most models recommended easily besting BMW, MB (none recommended at all), and Lexus. The A3, A4, A6, and S4 are all on the highly recommended list. You can see that in the link below.

    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/types/a-to-z-index.htm

    This is an important aspect for the future as the unreliablity argument does not hold. As for dealers, all the Audi dealers in my area are either stand alone, becoming stand alone, and are all going through major build-outs and rebuilds. So, let's move forward and let the old misconceptions die as that is all they are- misconceptions.
  • Many thanks for bringing that link to our attention. It suggests another point, that facile comparisons of "the Germans" or "the Japanese" just don't hold any more. As you note, Audi is very well represented among the "highly recommended" (good drivers, reliable, good crash tests), and not a single MB is even "recommended."
  • I had to go back to Oct 21 to read what I had written.

    It wasn't intended to be at all pessimistic about Audi. Mainly, in so far as I commented on Audi, it was to make the point that it hasn't always been to Audi's advantage to be part of the VW conglomerate, but that Audi was doing very well, worldwide, despite that handicap.

    Recently, the head of Audi was named as head of all VW, which, hopefully, will allow Audi to actually buy ad space to boast about how good it has become. The new sexy dealerships are also a good sign. This is a brabnd for which I have been rooting over the years, somewhat like the Red Sox fans before 2004. The brand has definitely begun to emerge from its underdog status to being seen in the way that kbb wrote about the new A6: "In the world of premium performance sedans, the Audi A6 is a thinking person's choice. Placed against such powerhouse names as the BMW 5 Series, Lexus GS and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the A6 stands proudly as an equal capable of delivering on every level...The real difference between the A6 and its rivals can be found inside the car. Envied for its warm, inviting interior, the A6 offers its occupants a world of fine leathers, high-quality wood detailing, pleasantly accommodating seats and an array of sophisticated conveniences that leave little for the driver to do except enjoy time behind the wheel."
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