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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • Well, I, for one, have been convinced that the Chrysler 300 belongs on this board. We'll see over time whether anyone besides Mark includes it in discussions. The argument that the dinky cars in the product line disqualifies it is not convincing; otherwise the Volvo S40/V50/C30 would disqualify Volvo, and that doesn't make sense. It seems that a combined set of price, luxury, options, and performance criteria implicitly qualifies a particular model for inclusion. I'm convinced that several versions of the 300C fit. So I add my voice to the request that our "host" add it to the list at the top of the page.
  • I believe that within the next five model years, all vehicles will have to be AWD in order to stay competitive in the LPS class. When I bought my Audi A6 2.7T in 2000, there were few nameplates, (if any), that could match Audi's engineering prowess ,(twin turbo,AWD, etc) and incorporate all this state of the art technology into a luxurious, sporting sedan.

    In 2000, I was driving one of the most "complicated" (from a repair point of view) and sophisticated LPS priced under $50,000.

    Today,I could not not make that claim about the Audi.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,199
    The argument that the dinky cars in the product line disqualifies it is not convincing; otherwise the Volvo S40/V50/C30 would disqualify Volvo, and that doesn't make sense.

    You're right, it doesn't make sense because it's not the same comparison. A C30 will still be a luxury car, much like the TSX (or RSX, RIP) is still a luxury car, they are just entry-level luxo-cars. You cannot, by any means, even think that a PT Cruiser is a luxury car. If Volvo offers up a $14k tin can, then there would be an argument to be made.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    What if, and this is a BIG "what if", Chrysler released the Firepower and the ME-4-12? Would it still be denied entry into the pack? The Firepower is as luxurious as anything out there and the ME-4-12 is almost THE supercar (it smashes Mercedes' own SLR, BMW has nothing to challenge it, the Carrera GT is no challenge for it, and it makes the Enzo look like an also-ran when it comes to performance). What then? Mercedes has the C-class and is/was considering the A-class. Why couldn't Chrysler still be burdened with the Sebring and PT Cruiser and still be included? Jaguar has the X-type, BMW's bringing the 1-series, etc. (Speaking of the 1-series, won't it make the 3-series and M-coupe superfluous, especially considering it will be priced about the same, if not a splash more?)

    I'm not championing adding Chrysler to the mix, I'm just saying it's not fair to exclude it simply because it has a couple of cheapy-cheapies in the model lineup. The way it stands now, it's not allowed simply because it doesn't have the uppity snob appeal.
  • acuratacurat Posts: 49
    Acura borderline? Hardly.

    I recently chose the RL over competing vehicles from Infiniti and Lexus because it is an elegant, beautifully-crafted, technologically advanced and superbly-performing car at a compelling price point. I did not consider Mercedes or Jaguar because of quality problems. I did not consider BMW because I personally find their products ugly and vastly overpriced. Having money does not obligate me to spend it unwisely.

    More generally, the relative sales of various LPS have more to do with marketing than intrinsic merit IMHO. I have been amazed for years at Toyota's success in convincing a gullible public that Lexus equals luxury. A gilded Camry is a gilded Camry...

    ...and yes, a gilded Accord is a gilded Accord. But at least everything comes standard. Now, let the flaming begin!

    :P
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,199
    That's fine. We each have our opinion.

    I'm not saying anything bad about the RL. I think its a fine vehicle. The problem with being in this crowd is that its the best Acura has to offer against its competitors who offer much bigger, powerful, and expensive sedans. And, no, I'm not saying the RL needs to compete with those, but maybe Acura does. In other words, I think they should consider adding a car to their lineup ABOVE the RL. I want to point out, again, that I'm talking in terms of manufacturers here, not individual cars.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,199
    What then? Mercedes has the C-class and is/was considering the A-class. Why couldn't Chrysler still be burdened with the Sebring and PT Cruiser and still be included? Jaguar has the X-type, BMW's bringing the 1-series, etc.

    Just as in my example of the volvo, we're comparing cars of totally different calibers. The 300 does not compare to a 7-series anymore than a PT Cruiser compares to an X-type.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    But the Imperial would.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,199
    Possibly. And that's why I mentioned it before. Although I said they'd have to add the Imperial AND drop the PT, IMHO. I had previously said to drop the T&C, as well, but I might be persuaded out of that one if they did the rest.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • Someone had better tell the TV Test-drive guy on the SpeedChannel that he can't compare the 300C to a 7 series BMW or an A8 -- in a 30 minute program he said words to the effect that the only way to describe the 300C by comparison, is to compare it with "similar" offerings from Audi and BMW, namely the A8 and 7 series.

    At the time I thought "pull the other one."

    Perhaps at the time he hadn't driven the STS.

    For a variety of reasons, "I think" the 300 is a "near-LPS" car personally.

    But the heck of it is, if you stuck a gun to my head and said "quick fast, rattle of "n" number of LPS traits," I do think the 300 would qualify.

    My confusion of course is that these two are at odds: "it isn't really a member vs, the traits I would list."

    The main reason a car might not qualify would be what "the dealer body is slimy?" Well the Lexus and Infiniti dealer in our city's northern auto-mall are full of the exact same "lot lizards" and "what'll it take to get you to buy today" kind of folks as the Chryco dealer that has been on the corner since the 60's."

    So that is that.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    In the end, my categorization may not meet the criteria for anybody else.

    A Kia Optima maybe a LPS for one person, and a piece of junk for somebody else. Yet another may find the BMW 550i a piece of junk and think the Dodge Magnum is the ultimate LPS. It is all relative.

    If somebody thinks a car falls into a category for them, then it does. Plain and simple.

    Perception is reality - for the one doing the perceiving.

    -Paul
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    ... Yet another may find the BMW 550i a piece of junk and think the Dodge Magnum is the ultimate LPS. ...

    Nobody's going to think that. :P
  • Virtually all of the LPS class do offfer an AWD version or multiple versions. It seems that further AWD "encroachment" is a fait accompli.

    In five years, it may well be that the two-wheel drive versions (in this class and the "near-class,") although still offered, will be the "odd man out."

    If you asked me, and I know you didn't, the "next" requirement for entry and retention may well be, Torque Vectoring Technology.

    "Torque Vectoring technology enables moment-by-moment redistribution of drive-torque in response to driver demand, vehicle speed and road conditions. In doing so, it enables the vehicle to follow the driver's intended path, ultimately leading to a potentially safer, more enjoyable driving experience."

    Now THAT's Luxury Performance!
  • Well that may be true, generally and I also would agree that perception is reality.

    But, with this, "A Kia Optima maybe a LPS for one person, and a piece of junk for somebody else. Yet another may find the BMW 550i a piece of junk and think the Dodge Magnum is the ultimate LPS. It is all relative," extravagant exaggeration (hype), eh? :blush:

    Maybe there is an official edmunds glossary of what traits are required for entry into and retention in the LPS club.

    "A rose by any other name, kind of thing?"

    No one would think an Optima is a "rose" even if you called it American Beauty. And a BMW 5 is in no danger of any loss of membership -- at least at this time.

    These are easy.

    Comedy is hard, er, defining LPS is [for me] hard.

    Wait, is it like "porn?" You know it when you see it, but you can't define it? Ahh, that's it, LPS cars are like fine pornography.

    Naaaaaaa. No way.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,199
    LOL!!

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • In your opinion, reliability issues notwithstanding, as the driver of 20+ German vehicles, have the Japanese originating brands in 2006 leveled the playing field as far as driver feel for the road, or,are now equal or better than the so-called German engineering superior road machines?
  • IMHO:

    I would gladly take an Infiniti M and, I assume, have no regrets. The Infiniti is luxurious and, despite a 5 speed tranny, performs pretty much in the same league as either the Audi or the BMW -- the suspension is sharp and is happy to "carve up the road."

    I would assume this [statement] would include an E class Mercedes, too. But my wheel time with any E class Mercedes is pretty limited (I did rent one in Germany for a day (in 2002) and drive it on the autobahn between Munich and Garmisch at triple digit, high triple digit, speeds.)

    Lexus -- to me has completely cracked the luxury code and remains (to me) too isolating of an experience to qualify for anything but honorable mention in the performance sweepstakes. Yet on what seems to be the "vague but true" definition of LPS, the Lexus (G's at least) are full-fledged LPS members.

    I'd take one if someone gave it to me, I'd probably even buy one for a substantial negative premium over the Infiniti and I do think most of the Germans would easily "run away" from the comparable Lexus and hardly break a sweat. Check out the current Lexus run at the A8, BMW 7, etc. in either C&D or R&T magazine, for far better prose that I can concoct on this comparo.

    Acura, weeeeellllllllll, Acura just "can't get no respect," for its flagship these days (as evidenced by huge off MSRP sale prices, plunging sales figures and a general tone of disrespect.) Of the recent entrants into the LPS ranks, I suspect if any one falls, the RL will be among the first.

    Other than the style, however, I would take an Acura RL for "performance, value and content" reasons over the G's from Lexus (I like their [Lexus] looks, by far, over the Acura and even over the Infiniti -- I just don't think their design goals and my expectations of the feel behind the wheel are in synch; but, what do I know?, they [Lexus] sell some 300,000+ in the US -- yet they, like the other Japanese cars find global sales somewhat elusive compared to their Deutsch competition.)

    Infiniti, as the direct answer to your question seems to "recognize and closely resemble the German DNA." I would assume Infiniti may even have some German DNA or at least a damn good clone of it in the next iteration of the M's. The G35, too, (this time) is very desirable compared to the Audi A4 and desirable even compared to the BMW. The BMW 335i however proves that Infiniti isn't really all THAT menacing to BMW, however.

    All things are never equal, but, "if all things were equal," I would consider an Infiniti M35X as a strong and compelling argument against both the 530xi and A6 3.2.

    In my case, I opted for the M35X when the A6 3.2 was nearly $200 per month more on a short term lease. When Audi "turned their head and coughed," I went to the A6 3.2 with comparable equipment levels largely because of the history I had had with Audi, the dealer, the salesperson and I liked the Audi interior much better than ANY of the others (although Lexus is sneakin' up on Audi, in that regard anyway.)

    Who knows what I'll do next time. If Infiniti brings out a cleaner, more "useful" V6 and a 6 or 7 speed DSG type transmission, and glosses up the wood on the dash, well -- hell, I'll certainly consider them, again, a very strong and compelling choice -- of the highest merit.

    The newer A6, perhaps, by that time too will merit consideration as well as a BMW 535 (AWD version) if the wonderful turbo 6 is ported to the 5 series (and why wouldn't it be?) BMW is noted for being very expensive to buy and almost impossible to beat on a 36 month lease deal (can you say "sub-vented?" I thought you could.)

    All that being said, I peat and repeat, these cars (the ones we rail on about here, mostly) are much more alike (and getting moreso all the time) than different. They are separated more and more by their styling than by their luxury content or performance proclivities (and yes that even includes the Lexus G's, they are just at the other end of the same continuum.) Even the Cadillac STS with the Northstar, AWD and the Performance Package (Magnaride, et al) is a delightful to drive sheen.

    Perhaps my bias is showing but I still give the Germans a bit of an edge, and they ARE moving forward. I do think, however, that the Japanese too are moving forward and perhaps just a smidge faster.

    One would conclude that at some point, if nothing changes, that the Japanese will overtake the Germans.

    I am not ready to take that bet -- not yet anyway. :surprise:
  • What part does dealer service play in this equation? As these LPS, (and every car) become increasingly harder to repair in and out of warranty, superlative dealer service, to me, would seem to be the leading edge about a repeat sale or lease of a particular marque.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    What if, and this is a BIG "what if", Chrysler released the Firepower and the ME-4-12? Would it still be denied entry into the pack?

    Yes. Into this pack, anyway. Chevy has the Vette, Dodge has the Viper. Even with cars that can cost $60K and over 90K, they are not luxury brands. I don't know about the Firepower, but the ME-4-12 is never going to happen.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    My wife and I spent the last two weeks looking at the MDX, RX350, FX45, X3 and X5, A6 and Q7, and the ML350.

    We found that the MDX has a surprisingly rough ride, rougher than any of the Germans. I didn't notice the "vague" steering issue that one of the mags had mentioned, but we just weren't that impressed with it. It handles very well, but even with that new 3.7L V6, its still feels sluggish off the line, and the center stack in person isn't much better than the RL's. Still looks cheap and has too many tiny buttons.

    The FX was fun, but Infiniti wasn't willing to cut a deal on pricing, and the dealer is just too far from us for it to be practical. If they did pick up\drop off like Lexus it may have been a contender. Oh well.

    The RX350 is much more refined than our 300, but its still just too boring to drive.

    We liked the A6, but my wife decided she wasn't willing to give up the high driving position, so that was out. The Q7 is just enormous, waaaay too big for us. We'll probably take a look at the Q5 next time around.

    The ML like the MDX wasn't that impressive. I never liked the original, and the new one hasn't changed my feelings on it. It just doesn't seem to be worth the money.

    The X5 is superb. Best interior in its class, and the handling is brilliant. Unfortunately its just more than we wanted to spend, which leaves the X3. The '07 is vastly improved over the original. The ride quality is much better, the interior is a huge improvement, and that old 3 series steering wheel is finally gone. My wife loved it, so that sealed the deal. We got ours in blue with gray leather, with the premium and cold weather packages, and sat NAV. Only one Lexus left.. uh oh.
  • Here in Cincinnapolis, the BMW store is the 10th largest in the US and the largest in Ohio. The owner of the store is a service fanatic and the dealership is THE best example of what service should be, could be and that all others should aspire to be. We're not worthy.

    The Audi store (of the two in Cincinnati) that I frequent, too, is a great example of what good customer service can be -- but they don't compare with the BMW store (and there are two of these in our city too.)

    I have no idea if the "legendary" Lexus service is delivered here in our town. I have every reason to believe that it is. The Infiniti store, likewise, from a service perspective seem to be of 'at least' Audi store like quality. It's just that the BMW store bends over backwards to keep its customers not only impressed, but delighted.

    One of the Toyota dealers is so "pushy" from a sales perspective that I cannot even imagine anyone ever buying from them (their approach is "you either buy or you leave never to come back" -- literally.)

    I have read the horror stories about rude, arrogant and even incompetent BMW, Cadillac, Audi, Jaguar, etc etc etc dealerships. My and my wife's experience with the German dealerships has been darn near flawless and when speaking of the Bimmer dealer, peerless.

    This, to repeat, is NOT to suggest the high zoot Japanese brands are not up to par. It is to say that in "our fair city" (which IS, after all, German "vas you ever in Zinzinnati?") the German auto dealers in this class have pretty much nailed the "way it ought to be."

    So the dealer experience does play a part in this equation, for me a pretty significant part. I have no clue what a first time buyer or even a second time buyer may think since they all talk a good game.

    Now, however, therefore, notwithstanding, with 15,000 mile service intervals and pretty much rock solid cars (based on our experience) with great no and/or low charge maintenance plans (for the time being), it is pretty hard to figure out if the dealer is "all yak and no shack" until you have fully vetted the dealer experience -- which may mean, what?, two visits after 18 months for routine service or new wiper blades or a free car wash from time to time.

    Perhaps if I knew how they behaved OUT OF WARRANTY, I would feel differently -- but you know me, "no car in this class should be kept out of warranty for they all are breathtakingly expensive in THAT condition."

    I also know folks who for general principles have never had the same brand of car two times in a row 'cause they like to play the field. :shades:

    If you believe the book, Blown to Bits, "car dealers are sitting ducks." :sick:
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Only one Lexus left.. uh oh

    Congratulations!

    Keep that up and you may end up changing your forum name to Jaguarguy or BMWguy (although I suspect that you do prefer the former than the later name) ;)
  • warthogwarthog Posts: 216
    "We liked the A6, but my wife decided she wasn't willing to give up the high driving position, so that was out."

    What is it with the "high driving position?" If it weren't for all the other "high driving position" vehicles on the road, there would be no need for it. Except, of course, for the ego need.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    What is it with the "high driving position?" If it weren't for all the other "high driving position" vehicles on the road, there would be no need for it. Except, of course, for the ego need.

    She likes the view of the road. My wife is vertically challenged (5'4") and so she doesn't like a car thats low to the ground, especially if the cowl is high. It seems to me that women like the SUV driving position more than men. I think its a feeling of security, more than ego.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Keep that up and you may end up changing your forum name to Jaguarguy or BMWguy (although I suspect that you do prefer the former than the later name)

    I think there's already a couple of "BMWguys" around here :)
  • kgarykgary Posts: 180
    Some people have Napoleon complexes.
  • acuratacurat Posts: 49
    RE: monster pickup and SUV drivers: my theory is that they're compensating for something. ;)

    Can you say "global warming"??

    I feel guilty enough about 20-25 mpg in a LPS, imagine getting 10-15 in a glorified farm vehicle. :lemon:
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Well, at least the X3 isnt a monster SUV. It weighs no more than the typical LPS, and mpg is very reasonable.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    I feel guilty enough about 20-25 mpg in a LPS,

    Please dont feel guilty. Thanks to global warming we are experiencing a miraculously balmy December here in Toronto

    And I have you to thank for that! Please keep up your gas consumption. And I hope you are driving a non-Blutec diesel(My wife and I are very proud owners of a nitrogen spewing 83 MB300D)

    My sincerest appreciations,

    Dewey
  • We drove the 2007 X3 with every option EXCEPT nav and this time we drove the 6speed auto.

    The power and performance with the sport package and the 19" wheels and tires were, er, "inspirational."

    The new interior was way nicer than my wife's 2005 and the car was quieter and fantastically powerful up a test hill we have coined "BMW hill."

    I could take the auto trans in this little dude without hesitation -- must be the power of the uprated engine.

    Woo Woo! :shades:
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