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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • Somehow I seem to have gotten, inadvertently, in the dubious position of "defending" the Buick.

    Call it a misstep -- a generalization too broad. A reflection of several mostly positive Lucerne reviews over the past couple of months. And, some time spent with a colleague shopping for a new sheen -- from GM we had it narrowed to the Lucerne and the Cadillac CTS. The Cadillac was OVER $40K and the Buick (with the V8 and virtually every option box ticked off) was under $36K.

    She, my colleague, went with the CTS and for chassis feel alone probably feels she won, not to mention many of the things you pointed out.

    For MY money in that price range in that pre-LPS class or whatever it is called these days, a Chrysler 300C (in my case, of course with AWD) would get my bucks.

    She likes the "Buick and Cadillac" feel (sofa on wheels?) but has in just over two weeks come to like the hint of Euro handling the CTS brings to the table. The spunky 255HP engine, RWD probably and the 5 speed transmission (and a very nice sound system) probably cinched the deal.

    Car was 36 months, 18,000 miles, no upfront money, GM made the first mo payment (loyalty bonus) and the total mo pay is $515 for a ~$41+K CTS.

    We looked, too, at the Infiniti M35X with Journey and Technology Packages, but the mo pay for that with the mileage noted was a high $600 per month number.

    Much as she liked the M, the CTS was, in terms of nimbleness, "close enough for jazz" and over $150 per month less plus the free first month's payment.

    I hearby cease defending the Lucerne. :shades:

    Uncle.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,666
    FWD cars back then were generally short-wheelbase hatchbacks that had a much higher percentage of weight over the front wheels... As FWD cars have gotten larger and tires have become more performance oriented, the advantage has decreased..

    I had an '82 Accord hatchback that could go anywhere.. Of course I was coming from a '77 Cobra II with RWD and a V-8 upfront, so anything would have been an improvement..

    MODERATOR
    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • You crack me up.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I could have guessed that you would appreciate an engine like that. When I read the article I knew I should link it immediately!

    I am suspicious (and hopeful) that it might make its way beyond the introductory models, after a while. That would give you more of a selection, if it actually happened perhaps in the following model year.

    After all, you are very content with your 5 at the moment. Maybe a little patience would pay off. Just a thought.
    TagMan
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    if you want a V8 powered AWD (LPS) sedan? There is, of course, the 300C AWD.

    Why aren't the other "luxury" marques in the V8 AWD game? Wonder how many of the 300C AWD sales are conquest sales? :confuse:
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    I guess I am a contrarian.

    A steptronic x drive BMW 3 series would not even be ranked among my top 100 list. Maybe number 106 after a RWD Lincoln(just kidding).

    A manual RWD BMW 3 series is right now number one on my list. Even in snow-blown Toronto I have no requirements for AWD. Snow tires combined with driving carefully during blizzards and icy conditions has never prevented me from going from point A to B. At least not yet.

    The only AWD vehicle I would ever consider buying is an Audi but that is only because a RWD Audi does not exist.
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    "Of course, I may be dreaming."

    I'm sure you are. As long as drivers want performance, there will be RWD.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I'll admit, I dont have any experience driving a recent RWD BMW in the snow. However, I have plenty of experience with my LS. With stability, traction, and a set of Blizzaks on the wheels, its passable.. but only in light snow conditions. Anything remotely approaching heavy snow on the roads, I take the RX and the LS stays at home. For me, an AWD LS would be wonderful.

    You guys have a different experience than I do. For me, the daytime temperature this week is in the mid 60's. Two weeks ago it was in the 70's . . . very nice . . . no snow , of course. To get to the snow out here requires a drive of about 3 hours to the mountains (Sierras). At that point you find yourself in snow heaven, with many ski resorts, etc. The trick is to get up early and drive the 3 hours right before breakfast, then eat, and ski or snowboard all day. When I make the drive, I always drive an AWD SUV, so I have basically no typical daily winter driving experience with a sedan. I'll just have to trust all of you and your recommendations. So, if I understand this, it makes sense that an AWD sedan is the best choice?
    TagMan
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    You guys have a different experience than I do. For me, the daytime temperature this week is in the mid 60's
    To get to the snow out here requires a drive of about 3 hours to the mountains
    (

    Wow you actually have to drive 3 hours to see snow during winter. What a wonderful escape. In my case it takes about four hours to drive south from snow-blown Toronto to snow-blown Bufallo(2 hour drive + 2 hours waiting to cross the border)
  • The written word usually sounds harsher and more biting than the spoken word. The reason for this is that the reader cannot see the smile on your face or hear you actually laughing as you write. On top of this I tend to be rather blunt whether speaking or writing.

    If my style has offended anyone I sincerely apologize and I will try to watch what I say (type) in the future. I am kind of new at this type of correspondence and I will admit that improvement on my part is needed. Thanks for your patience.

    I'll say it for you. Hearing grandaddy apologize......PRICELESS!!
  • jimbresjimbres Posts: 2,025
    The "rise of the machines" from an automotive perspective is underway -- and that rise is a rapid shift to AWD starting, in many cases, with the LPS machines.

    Wouldn't you agree that the "shift to AWD" owes at least as much to the low cost of today's AWD systems as it does to whatever intrinsic goodness this drivetrain configuration has?

    In 1988, BMW introduced an AWD variant of the E-30 3-series: the 325ix (not xi). As I recall, the ix cost fully $5K more than a base 325i, which amounted to a 20% premium. Perhaps because of this, the ix's sales were underwhelming & BMW did not bother to develop an AWD version of the E-36.

    Flash forward to 2001, when BMW introduces the xi versions of the E-46. Now, the additional cost has been reduced to $1750, which, for a 330, represents a premium of only 5%. To no one's surprise, the xi's are best sellers from day one.

    When AWD adds no more to the cost of a car than a stereo upgrade or factory-installed nav, it will soon become the default layout. Dealers order more for their inventory & buyers soon find it easier to say "yes" to AWD than "no".

    My fear is that at some point, manufacturers will decide to drop RWD for all but the high-performance versions of their LPS offerings. RWD will be available only to the well-heeled enthusiast who can afford an M5 or an E55, while the merely affluent masses will make do with AWD.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "My fear is that at some point, manufacturers will decide to drop RWD for all but the high-performance versions of their LPS offerings. RWD will be available only to the well-heeled enthusiast who can afford an M5 or an E55, while the merely affluent masses will make do with AWD."

    Would "making do with AWD" really be so bad? I suspect that probably around 80-85% of the US auto buying public are not car enthusiasts, and thus wouldnt miss RWD one bit. For us 15-20%, how often would we really get to use what RWD can do that AWD cant? Also, with proper balance, even AWD cars can go into tail-out power oversteer. The 911 Turbo and Ghallardo are both AWD, and I dont think owners are complaining.

    I think the perfect AWD system is what ATTESA (and I think X-drive does this too) where they can shift fully 100% of torque to the rear wheels, and power the fronts when needed. If you take away the nose-heavy front end plow typically associated with traditional AWD, then whats the prob?
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    "If you take away the nose-heavy front end plow typically associated with traditional AWD, then whats the prob?"

    Weight. AWD system will add 200-250lbs to the car. Also the suspension on AWD cars tend to be ~1 in higher than RWD with factory sport suspension.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The G35x adds just 180lbs to the standard G, which is no more than the average passenger. 0-60 is probably around .2 of a second slower, and the AWD option is $1800, when comparing base MSRPs. Considering that the G35x adds the ability to drive in winter, I think its a fair trade. Is your average driver really going to notice a 1in. difference, even if they would've gotten the RWD sport version?
  • jimbresjimbres Posts: 2,025
    Would "making do with AWD" really be so bad?

    No, it wouldn't be the end of the world. Somehow I'd find the inner strength to soldier on.

    But I do subscribe to the notion that AWD adds weight & complexity, thereby diminishing the "tossability" of an otherwise well-balanced sedan. If one doesn't need AWD, why should one put up with that? I have a 4WD SUV that gets me to & from work (actually to & from the train station - my real workday ride is a Long Island Rail Road M7) & that I use for weekend driving when the weather is bad. Thus, I don't need an AWD car - LPS or otherwise. I have all of the bad-weather mobility I need, & I don't believe that AWD enhances one's driving experience during the warmer months of the year.

    When I bought my weekend car - an '01 BMW 330i with sports package & stick - I test drove the 330xi. It's a fine car, but it felt heavier & was noticeably less nimble. (Back then, the xi's sport package was largely cosmetic & did not include hig-performance tires or firmer suspension. That may still be true.) I'd give up some agility if I needed AWD, but I don't, so why should I?
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    "Considering that the G35x adds the ability to drive in winter, I think its a fair trade. Is your average driver really going to notice a 1in. difference, even if they would've gotten the RWD sport version?"

    If driven back to back, people should notice a difference between AWD & RWD version of the car. Especially a performance sedan.

    A RWD car isn't helpless during winter if you put snow tires on. If the snow is heavy enough, even the AWD version won't have the ground clearance to move.

    How many bad weather days are there in a year? Let's assume 60 days (high for most of US). That means during those 60 days, AWD will have a performance edge over RWD. That leaves rest of the year (305 days) where RWD will have a performance edge (more fun) over AWD.

    I'll take swapping to snow tires and carrying some chain vs. AWD.
  • mnrep2mnrep2 Posts: 200
    This exact discussion went on last fall in the Entry-Level Luxury Performance version of this forum :D Look for postings in the 4th quarter of 2005. I come down firmly in the awd camp, and specifically chose the g35x over the BMW or Audi. The fact that ATTESA awd can be 100% RWD was just one of the reasons. The X drive in 2005 was never able to be 100% rwd. Driving the car this winter has proven to me that I made a great choice. The car is really quick, has the awd powering the fronts as well as the rears when I need it, and drives like a rwd sports sedan when I don't :P
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    Could you tell the difference between G35 & G35x when you test drove?

    How many snow days did you have this past year?

    Grats on choosing to carry ~200 lbs of ballast all the time for those snow days.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    "The Acura RL's price point is in foreign territory for us," Mike McGrath, chairman of the Acura dealer council, said at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention here. "Maybe Acura doesn't have the brand image" to sell a vehicle at that price.

    link title

    I disagree with the above statement. An expensive RWD V8 Acura could compete any day with the cars from Lexus or Infiniti.

    So now there will be a new de-contented Acura RL that will sell for about 40k! I guess this proves that the Accord platform has its limits in the luxury area.
  • mnrep2mnrep2 Posts: 200
    Grats on choosing to carry ~200 lbs of ballast all the time for those snow days.

    Well thank you ;) I already knew that I wanted awd so I didn't need to test drive the 330i, the rwd g35 or the a4, although I have ridden or driven the Audi and the 330. On the roads that I drive I loved the small compromise that the g 35x offered vs the rwd version.

    In 12,000 miles both my wife and I are thrilled with the performance and handling of this car. It is great fun pulling away from rwd or fwd cars at slippery intersections. It is also nice to drive right up our steep driveway without having to get running starts.

    More food for thought: Snow tires don't handle very well compared to summer/all season tires on roads that aren't snow or ice covered. For 6 months of the year my Goodyear RSA all season grand touring tires provide better cornering grip than snow tires :)
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