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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • At the time I did the Infiniti, then the Audi, there was no 530xi on the market. But as part of my due diligence, I, too had priced a BMW both "at parity" with respect to options and at the same price point as the Audi.

    Here is what I found:

    At MSRP, the BMW was more expensive by many thousands of dollars when the BMW was optioned as close as possible to Audi's A6 with virtually every option.

    The lease payment, however, was somewhat less than the Audi.

    At MSRP parity, the BMW was about $200 per month less than the Audi (again NOT for a car that I wanted, since I did want the AWD version that had the 255HP engine but was not for sale when I pulled the trigger for the Audi, after unhooking the Infiniti.)

    The point is, Audi AT THAT MOMENT, did come down in lease price to the point that it was just under the Infiniti M35X's price on a similar deal on a similarly equipped car.

    My wife had, at that time, been into her new BMW just a couple of months and the dealer service at our local BMW store was outstanding. I didn't want, THEN, a 330xi -- now, hmmm a 335xi could turn my head -- but we'll see.

    The Spartenburg experience (where we took our two day driving school in Sept '06) is delightful, educational and in our case just plain fun.

    Now that BMW has caught up (in many ways) to Audi -- in the areas that are important to me -- once again, I will shop when my time is near.

    I plan also to look at what Cadillac has to offer -- say it ain't so! :surprise:
  • fonefixerfonefixer Posts: 247
    Maybe someone needs to send Audi Corporate a letter about the reliability tactics of their vehicles as well. I have owned Audis for 8 service intensive years and as Mark has written in these forums many, many times ; never leave your garage without a bumper to bumper warranty. He is exactly right.They are okay to lease, terrible to own. Who knows, maybe the whole LPS market is going this way. Does anyone actually purchase an LPS vehicle these days?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 29,849
    PCD delivery? Sounds like fun!!

    MODERATOR
    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I plan also to look at what Cadillac has to offer -- say it ain't so!

    AWD will be available on the 300hp version of the CTS. As for the V version, probably not.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Does anyone actually purchase an LPS vehicle these days?

    A Lexus GS is safe to buy I'm sure. Lexus makes no real effort to get you to lease, so I don't see why buying would be a problem, especially since Lexus cars tend to not change very much during their life cycles. The Infiniti M is probably a safe bet as well. The Acura RL on the other hand hasn't done any better than the A6 or 5 series in terms of reliability.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    As far as reliability goes, does Audi have reliability problems in Europe too?

    Audi puts their MMI controller right next to the cup holders. You may say, so? Spill a $1.00 coke on the center console and see what happens to MMI over time. From the modules I have seen, it doesn't take much moisture/syrup/junk to get in there to foul things up. Perhaps finding ways to modify or seal their electronics from the elements, including user-induced soakings, would alleviate problems.

    -Paul
  • fonefixerfonefixer Posts: 247
    Do you think the auto industry will ever reach the point where most cars will be able to travel 100,000 miles on minimal maintenance?
  • pearlpearl Posts: 336
    Most cars already are at 100K with "minimal maintenance". Other than fluids, filters, and "wear out" items such as brake pads, wipers, etc, there isn't much to do. It wasn't that many years ago that changing oil every few K was required, tune-ups at least every 30K (and I remember when they were every 12K!), etc. Today, most cars go 100K on the same set of spark plugs. There are no points/condensor, etc to replace; oil changes are figured by the car's computer and many cars go over 10K between them, etc, etc, etc. While I am sure that things will continue to improve, you have to say that the auto industry has taken much of the routine maintenance out of car ownership.
  • upuautupuaut Posts: 14
    However, my experience with a 2002 Passat is that the rear brakes wear out at about twice the rate of the front. It's a mystery.

    Hey Warthog, if you live in the snowbelt or some other area with a lot of sand/grit/dirt on the road that is the cause. The front tires kick up the dirt, it coats the rear discs and causes fast wear on the rear pads. this is the one advantage of rear drums (other than being cheaper to make) they are a closed design, keeping dirt out.
  • upuautupuaut Posts: 14
    I'm not buying your logic. wether the front of a car is raised slightly, or lowered slightly, or the same done to the back of the car the weight sitting on each tire will not change very much, so your comment about a BMW squatting down and applying weight to the rear is not correct. I don't doubt this trait is a good one, but I would say it is to keep proper suspension geometry, not weight transfer. And wether a car has 50/50 weight distribution, or 54/46 or 48/52 wouldn't make much difference either. Why would a car having 54% of its weight over the front wheels do 85% of it's braking with the front wheels, and one with 50% of its weight over the front wheels do 50% of it's braking with the front wheels? i would agree that it would be a bit better, maybe down to 80%. Due to inertia the front wheels, under hard braking, will be able to slow the car down a certain amount before skidding happens (or ABS kicks in) the back wheels will not be able to slow the car nearly as much as the fronts before skidding. Think about riding a bicycle on a wet road. Even if the have 50/50 weight distribution on each tire when you apply the back brakes you will hardly slow at all before the tire starts to skid. then release and go up to speed again and do the same with the front brakes. They will slow you down a lot more before skidding. that is the basic physics I am saying BMW nor any other car can overcome. Well maybe the 911 with the engine weight hanging behind the back wheels.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,290
    You're talking about static free-body diagram stuff.

    I'm talking about dynamic response of the vehicle under hard braking. Unless you've experienced it, you may be at a disadvantage. Suspension systems do exist that direct some of the diving force inherent in braking to a the rear wheels so that they can carry more of the load under extreme braking than they would have otherwise.

    It's high-dollar stuff. It's part of why the Lincoln LS suspension system is no longer available (both the LS and the T-bird are dead), except in the Jaguar S cars and why BMW costs more.

    If 85% of the force is going to the front wheels in most cars, the rear brakes are just going along for the ride. The amount of force on each of the four wheels' contact patch is what matters. If it's all/mostly in the front, you're throwing away the potential benefit of having the rears help when slowing, with or without ABS.

    If you don't understand what I'm saying, that's fine. It doesn't mean it isn't true. The details of an anti-dive suspension system are well beyond the scope of one of these discussions, but if you're willing, I'm able. Second-year dynamics is a prerequisite & kinematics helpful, BTW.

    I ride a bicycle quite a lot. There couldn't be a simpler system. When the first anti-dive bicycle suspension is developed (it'll never be produced), I'll be among the first in line to have a look at it. There was a guy named Rube Goldburg (erg?) who drew cartoons of similar schemes.
  • warthogwarthog Posts: 216
    "Hey Warthog, if you live in the snowbelt or some other area with a lot of sand/grit/dirt on the road that is the cause."

    Nope--I live in the sunny south and drive exclusively on paved roads
  • reality2reality2 Posts: 303
    Last time I checked Audi was easily more reliable than BMW. Most recent surveys point that way.
  • You have captured and presented my opinions accurately. I do continue to purchase Audis (and time will tell if I will continue to do so -- BUT my hesitancy, recently, to NOT return to Audi has NOTHING to do with any sense of risk I feel about owning/leasing/driving/buying one of them.)

    I frankly, do not think I would want ANY one of these cars without a bumper to bumper warranty. I would not drive one of them without air in the tires, oil in the crankcase and insurance for property and casualty either.

    Audis, at least if the one I have is any bellwether, are very reliable and very high quality.

    Now, having said that, the unknown and a risk I am unwilling to take, is their durability (over time DOH!)

    Yet, ditto BMW, et al.

    My friend with the Lexus is always complaining about the $200 here, $200 there for "little things" that go wrong. Things that do not effect overall reliability, but things that at this price range "ought to last" (whatever that means.)

    This guy has had BMW's, Chevy products, Saab, VW, Lexus and Chryco products. He loves his Lexus, but to quote myself, "it is breathtakingly expense to possess outside of the factory warranty."

    Ditto Audi, BMW, Cadillac, etc etc etc.

    Your mileage may differ.

    I won't drive without insurance for the cost of doing so is (or could be) breathtakingly expensive.

    I have been in one "accident" of my own doing, a fender bender in 1967 when I was 16. I still pay the premiums however.

    Your bias (just like mine) may tempt you to say "naa baby naa, my fill in the blank REALLY is reliable AND durable."

    "When you wish upon a star. . ."

    :blush: Sorry my Jimminy Cricket singing voice isn't what it used to be.
  • tdb99tdb99 Posts: 5
    I am looking at ('08) BMW 535xi, Audi A6, or possibly Lexus GS350, each has its own pros and cons. Reliability is a fairly big consideration for me, and I have heard negative things about Audi reliability? I current have a 2002 BMW 330xi, and basically wanting a bigger vehicle. I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, so weather is an issue, however would consider an RWD with blizzaks (BMW 550 mb?). Really like the Audi interiors, but prefer exterior of 5 series. Just looking for opinions. Thx. :D
  • I think it depends if handling is important to you and if you want driver's car or a luxury transport. If former, then get the BMW or Infiniti M . If luxury and pampering is more important, then go get Lexus. You can't really have both - you are either connected to the road or not.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I am looking at ('08) BMW 535xi, Audi A6, or possibly Lexus GS350, each has its own pros and cons. Reliability is a fairly big consideration for me, and I have heard negative things about Audi reliability?

    Are you leasing or buying? If you are leasing, I wouldn't really worry about it. Chances are any of the LPS choices will be fine. If you are buying and plan to hold on to the car for 6+ years, I'd suggest the Lexus or Infiniti.
  • Buy or lease? Distance to dealership? How long do you plan to keep? Miles per year you drive?

    These cars at this point in time, all have much to recommend them. The Germans seem clustered at one end of the LPS spectrum. The Americans (well, Cadillac's STS) can be transformed from X to Y via the options checked off.

    The Japanese cluster, too. Infiniti seems very determined to be, er, "more German." Lexus is the champ at lux and has a great rep for durability.

    This group as a whole continues to get closer and closer and closer to each other, like a bunch of moths to an outdoor lightbulb.

    You can find favorable test reports about these cars from all over. Even the Acura, often with sand kicked in its face, has been positively reviewed and for many it is THE screamin' bargain of the bunch.

    Will you pay more for one versus the other?

    If the Acura came in $200 per month less on a lease than the "other" car, does that do it for you?

    Do you feel that you need the cache that ONLY comes with the BMW propeller?

    Based on words written by those who get paid to write them, I would guess the Infiniti M has had the most number of positive words written about it over the past 18 or so months -- if that matters to you.

    Based on where you live, you would probably enjoy AWD more than RWD. No worry, they all can be had with AWD.

    Decisions, decisions. :shades:
  • fonefixerfonefixer Posts: 247
    If Audi is more reliable than BMW, why does BMW have higher resale values on the used models?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    If Audi is more reliable than BMW, why does BMW have higher resale values on the used models?

    Resale value has almost nothing to do with reliability, it's all about the "desirability" of the car. BMWs are considered more desirable than Audis, so they hold their value better. It also takes awhile for used market prices to catch up with a brand's new found emphasis on quality. Jaguar is the perfect example. They are still battling their atrocious '80s quality when it comes to resale value, even though Jag is now scoring up with Lexus in initial quality. It will take time for the market to decide that Audis are getting pretty reliable, and that they are on equal footing with BMW.
  • upuautupuaut Posts: 14
    I'm talking about dynamic response of the vehicle under hard braking.It's high-dollar stuff. It's part of why the Lincoln LS suspension system is no longer available (both the LS and the T-bird are dead), except in the Jaguar S cars and why BMW costs more.

    Costing more didn't help the new 330 stop faster than the new G35, Not sure if it was Car and Driver or Motor trend I was reading a few weeks ago, but I know the G stopped a few feet sooner than the 330. maybe Infiniti should cost more.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Stopping distance has a lot more to do with the weight of the car and the quality of the brakes than the suspension. Honda is a good example, they almost always skimp on the brakes and then pay for it with really lousy stopping distances. Controlling dive under braking is where the suspension comes into play.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,550
    In the typical, critical first stop ( setting aside things like brake fade ) the most significant limiting factor for current brake systems is the tires.

    A source (there are others that say essentially the same thing):

    http://www.stoptech.com/whitepapers/brake_systems_and_upgrade_selections_122701.- htm

    “The brakes don't stop the vehicle - the tires do. The brakes slow the rotation of the wheels and tires. This means that braking distance measured on a single stop from a highway legal speed or higher is almost totally dependent upon the stopping ability of the tires in use”

    I wrote something like this on some forum a while back: “This means that the limiting factor in the typical published brake test is actually the tires ability to grip the surface. And the ability of the ABS to deal with the different (and changing) weight distribution between front and rear – and the rather violent weight transfer inherent in a simulated ‘panic’ stop.”

    I am well aware that there are other critical aspects of a braking system than the pure ability of the calipers to clamp the disks. All I am suggesting here is that:

    “My sense, after a lot or reading over the years, is that today, a (dry, clean, smooth pavement) brake test is largely a tire test.”

    “By that I mean that nearly any competent, current brake system is capable of overpowering / locking the wheels / tires.”

    There are a lot of other important considerations in many real world situations, and I do appreciate the engineering that went into the total brake / tire packages on my cars.

    - Ray
    Not a brake system engineer . .
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
  • drtraveldrtravel Posts: 395
    5-Series 3,330
    GS 1,551
    M 1,536
    RL 433 (not a missprint)

    Don't know E-Class or A6 figures yet
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    GS 1,551
    M 1,536
    RL 433 (not a missprint)


    Yikes, a very bad month for LPS all around. If the GS and M only managed 1500, I have to assume that the STS and A6 will be less than four digits.
  • I've narrowed down my choice to the Lexus GS 450h, Infiniti M45 Sport and Mercedes E550.

    The E550 seems the best pure performance, while the Lexus has the most luxury. The Infiniti is in between.

    Any thoughts on which one I should get if I plan to lease?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The E550 seems the best pure performance, while the Lexus has the most luxury. The Infiniti is in between.

    Any thoughts on which one I should get if I plan to lease?


    Have you considered the A6 4.2 S-line or 550i? Both are much more performance oriented cars than the E, and if you are leasing, BMW's deals are pretty hard to match.

    The M45 Sport and the A6 are what I consider to be the best cars in the segment. The GS450h is an utterly pointless car. Your $10,000 gets you two, perhaps three more mpg than the GS350. The HSD adds so much weight that it's only a few tenths quicker to 60, and the trunk space gets chopped almost in half, from a Corolla-like 12.7cu.ft to a less than a Porsche Boxster 7.5cu.ft. I'll take the Boxster. The 450h is a complete failure both as a car and as a business case for HSD. The 350 has all the major features for $10K less, and handles better.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    5-Series 3,330
    GS 1,551
    M 1,536
    RL 433 (not a missprint)


    E-Class 3,375

    Just adding the E-Class.

    M
  • Its amazing that BMW and MB sales are so high for such unreliable cars.
    But I guess it comes down to residual value.

    We shopped around and were offered a lower payment for the E Class and 5 Series than for the GS and M. We decided to pay a bit more for the M because of the reliability factor.

    Why does everyone think that BMW and MB sales continue their strong performances when their are so many problems associated with these cars?
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