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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • Like the car parking itself? ;-)
  • jimbresjimbres Posts: 2,025
    The tech leader at this point is Audi. There is no car currently in production that can match the technology packed into the A8.

    And that makes me nervous, because high-end electronics aren't a traditional strong suit of German industry, the way machinery & chemicals are.

    I still wouldn't consider buying any German car with factory NAV. Then again, there's no reason to take the chance, when I can pick up an after market unit that's as good (if not better) for a fraction of the cost.
  • bastukbastuk Posts: 3
    I've been driving a '01 Accord EX-V6 for the past 8 years - it's been a great car - the only things I have done are the std maintenance items - brakes, tires, etc. I am starting to shop for "newer" used car with less miles as I have 151K miles on it. I am looking at moving up into a more luxury class - looking at Audi A4/A6, BMW 3 or 5 class or Acura TL. Today, I had a chance to drive all of these and in addition a MB. The dealer had a 04 Mercedes E320 and it was awesome to drive and seemed priced ok ($17K).

    As I have been doing research tonight, I continue to find the biggest complaints against the German cars being reliability and the high cost of repairs. Honestly, after reading the articles and reviews, I am reconsidering "moving up" and thinking about buying a newer Accord or just moving into the Acura class.

    A couple of questions -
    + Are the repair costs significantly higher with a German car vs Japanese? I have no baseline on my Accord since I have not had to do any repairs.
    + Is the reliability that much worse for the German cars?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Are the repair costs significantly higher with a German car vs Japanese? I have no baseline on my Accord since I have not had to do any repairs.

    I don't think the cost of parts and labor are really all that much if any higher at a BMW or Mercedes dealer than they are at Acura or Lexus. The chance is quite a bit higher though that you will be seeing the service department more often, especially on German cars that are 6 years old or more. If you are planning on getting another 150K miles out of your new car, it would be wise to budget at least $2000 for maintenance and possible repairs, and $3-4K if you want to be on the safe side.

    You also have to be absolutely meticulous choosing your car. A fully documented and 100% spotless service history is a must. If the dealer can't provide that, walk away. If that's not something you can manage, you should probably stay away from ze Germans. Certified Pre-Owned programs are definitely a good idea, though you'll need to look for a car newer than '04 to get much benefit, and will need to spend more than $17K.

    If you want to keep things around $17K, you might want to consider the previous generation Lexus GS430 if you can manage to locate one. Unlike the Honda/Acura products all of the interior trim materials are real, the engine has plenty of power and torque, and that car was incredibly well built and incredibly reliable. It's not as good to drive as an A6 2.7T or 540i Sport, but 150K miles should be absolutely no sweat for it. The handling can be much improved with new springs and sway bars.

    The interior can't match the flowing style of the previous generation E or A6, but with tan leather at least I think it's much more luxurious than a previous gen Accord, and a lot more classic and less chintzy looking than the previous TL. An '03 or '04 example with low miles should go for around $15K or so.

    Another option is an '05 or '06 Infiniti G35, which go for around $18K. The interior wasn't great, but they are almost as good to drive as a 3 series sport, and are very reliable cars, just watch out for ones with brake wear issues.

    If you can go a bit above $20K, the '07 Infiniti G35 and '06 M35 are great choices.
  • vinrunvinrun Posts: 11
    I had a 2004 Mercedes C 320 4 matic for over 6 years. No problems for the first 5 years or so. Then my fuel pump went = $800. Something with the starter= $400. Something with the turning or grease wells, I forget what they were going to charge. The rims on the car were discolored or something. I had just over 60,000 miles on the car. I traded it in. It was very expensive to keep up after 5 years. Be careful buying a 2004 Mercedes.
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 6,028
    Very good advice from LG on the GS. If you can find one with relatively low miles you might also look at the Lexus LS 430 of the same generation. Simply great cars with a very elegant and simple interior of top notch materials. Not really a sport sedan, more on the luxury side, but they can be had for under 20 thousand and they are practically bullet proof.

    If you are thinking of something newer, I find the Hyundai Genesis to be an extremely interesting vehicle. Good luck.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,613
    You've already read pretty much everything with the above posts.

    Yes, an Acura will probably prove just as reliable ... but, frankly, just as boring, too.

    Lexus GS was a good suggestion. Yeah, still boring, but at least RWD and pretty powerful. And definitely luxo.

    Infiniti is also a good suggestion.

    Avoid Audi.

    Personally, I think bimmer is fine. Granted, I don't have alot of experience with newer ones, but my '87 with 120k miles is holding up great and repairs have been very inexpensive.

    Another suggestion I'd like to make is Volvo. An S60 2.5T is a pretty nice ride and pretty reliable ... not to mention inexpensive used.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Another suggestion I'd like to make is Volvo. An S60 2.5T is a pretty nice ride and pretty reliable ... not to mention inexpensive used.

    That's another good one. The early S60s had teething problems and lifeless steering, but most of the problems were corrected by '04, which is also the year that Volvo changed the steering and added some decent weighting and feel. The '05's got a fairly significant interior upgrade, so that's probably where I would start.

    The 2.5T AWD is probably the best choice, as most S60s don't have stability control. The rare T5 has all of the extra power at the top of the rev range and isn't really any faster. Avoid the S60R. The automatic version had its torque hugely reduced because the transmission couldn't handle the strain, so its nowhere near as fast as the horsepower would suggest, and its nowhere near as fun as the "R" would imply. If fun is a high priority, the G35 will smoke it. The S60R's active suspension is also just asking for a huge repair bill.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,613
    UNLESS you go with an '06 S60R, which has a 6-speed auto and full power available from the getgo. It is very nearly as fast as its manual counterpart.

    Yeah, the adjustable suspension is just one more thing to break ... but man is it fun! ;)

    BUT, all in all, I have to vote for the 2.5T FWD. The haldex AWD presents a common and expensive problem in failure of the angle gear.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    UNLESS you go with an '06 S60R, which has a 6-speed auto and full power available from the getgo. It is very nearly as fast as its manual counterpart.

    Interesting, I didn't know that Volvo upgraded the automatic for '06. Apparently they also upgraded the AWD system so that it actually sends some power to the rear wheels some of the time, though its still no Quattro or even ATTESSA-ETS. With the unrestrained engine it's competitive with the old G35, M35, A6 2.7T and faster than an E320, but would still lose a drag race to the GS430 or a 540i.

    For whatever reason, Volvos are always slower than their horsepower and torque numbers would suggest. This continues right up to the current XC60 and S80.

    The nice thing about the S60R is that most of them were ordered with the Dolby PL-II stereo, which is as rare in the rest of the S60 range as a Siberian tiger. The standard 100 watt, single disc setup kind of stinks, and isn't really befitting a luxury car. The downside is a truly mammoth turning circle, some 41 feet if I remember correctly.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,613
    For whatever reason, Volvos are always slower than their horsepower and torque numbers would suggest. This continues right up to the current XC60 and S80.

    I know what you mean, and it is interesting, but it can vary dramatically. For example, with my '98 T5 auto, I once managed a 6.1s 0-60 (according to my OBD scanner/dyno ... and with liberal brake-torquing). While not an unheard of time on the enthusiast boards, it is faster than any published time. Turbo/auto combos seem very inconsistent in any case. That was a full sec off the time I would get with no brake-torquing.

    The manual Rs could dip down right around the mid 5s range, I believe. I would consider that about right given the weight and AWD. Again, though, I think published numbers were not so quick, IIRC.

    I'm not sure which stereo is in my '01. I know it is the middle model of the 3 offered, but not sure what that means. It is OK. Still one of the better stock systems I've ever had, but I'm not as impressed with it as the system in my '98 ... which doesn't make much sense to me. Maybe it is the effect of it being a wagon.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • Having almost any repair on a German (or European car, generally) will give new meaning to the words: "Breathtakingly expensive!" Of course, driving most German cars is addictive.

    29 Audis, 3 BMW's at last count (between my wife and me).

    I keep thinking, Infiniti is the Japanese BMW.

    Well, we all know what Watty Piper writes. . . .
  • Any European car is going to be very expensive to maintain. For instance, the normal three year maintenance on my 2010 E350 is almost $1,000 at today's prices.
    One thing you can do is check out the service for the first 100,000 miles and then call dealer to see what they will charge. Parts are probably going to cost much more down the road on European than on Japanese.
    Japanese cars are very much cheaper to maintain. But if you go to "luxury" brands, you will pay for the fancy showrooms, waiting rooms, special treatment and so forth. Acura probably costs lot less than Lexus.
    The Lexus GS is not well recommended by many, so you might want to research it throughly on several sites and drive it for a good long test.
    The LS430 is a a top rated car in luxury and reliability, but they do not come cheap. I know because I looked at several.
    Good luck.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,613
    Maybe I'm being dense, but can anyone tell me why their Euro Luxo car is more expensive to "maintain" than a Japanese car, for example?

    Let me take, for instance, my volvo vs my mazda vs my nissan. All get 4k-mile oil changes. OK, in this instance, the volvo is a tad pricier because it uses 7 qts of oil vs the 5 in each of the other 2 vehicles. All have timing belts. All have brakes pads, struts, tires, etc, etc. All those things, for the most part, wear out at similar intervals and all cost the same across all vehicles. So what am I missing concerning this "more expensive maintenance"?

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • jayriderjayrider Posts: 3,411
    I have the exact same frame of mind re service costs. I always get a free inspection at every oil change. Covers all of the imortant stuff but doesn't include a computer scan. If you just get the oil changed at regular intervals and the car runs fine, I'm happy. Change the coolant and trans fluid as required and check the brakes at tire rotations. Will the MB fall apart without the deluxe inspection? I doubt it. The drivetrain is solid. I think it's a part of the premium car mystique that promotes expensive maintenance that people have come to expect. Now a breakdown could be pricey because parts are more but parts for new cars across the board are expensive. They don't fail as often so there is no mass production to bring down costs. Imo.
  • jensadjensad Posts: 388
    Before I purchased my then new 08 Acura RL, I drove a Lexus GS 600 (I think that was the label) and then I noted the cost of labor with each dealer.

    The Lexus rate per hour was $ 220, while the Acura rate was $ 110. And since I know very little today about working on cars, I took that rate per hour into consideration. I am one of the 50s generation and I used to work on Chev but not now.

    Good luck to all and stay safe.

    jensad
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The Lexus rate per hour was $ 220, while the Acura rate was $ 110.

    Wow! I'm not sure what dealer that was, but there are some real crooks running it. $220 an hour for a Lexus is just insane pricing. The highest I've ever seen at an Audi dealer is $160, and I pay a lot less than that.
  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    Having lived in Germany (a long time ago!), and seeing what the inspection covered to keep the car on the road and renew the license, you appreciate what the scheduled maintenance is trying to do - it is trying to forestall a catastrophic failure of some component when whizzing down the autobahn at over 100mph. Their safety inspection makes ours in the states look like a walk in the park - it is obsessively complete, and may call for replacements (and at least checks) on things that wouldn't be as big a deal here in the USA at our lower speeds. The goal of the inspection/service appointments is to try to ensure the car is still operating as new and replace things before they fail or degrade performance.
  • jensadjensad Posts: 388
    The Lexus dealer was on Concord Ca while the Acura dealer was just down the block. I was floored at the Lexuscharge per hour, and I never went back to look again at their cars. Plus the Acura dealer discounted quite a bit for the RL, and I have had no problems with it so far.

    Good luck to all and stay safe.

    jensad
  • ny thoughts about waiting for the new 2011 A6 vs 2010
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    ny thoughts about waiting for the new 2011 A6 vs 2010

    I would definitely suggest that you wait for the C7 car. While I'm sure the 3.0T engine will just carry over, the rest of the car is going to be significantly improved. The new platform means better weight distribution, and with Drive Select and the S4's rear diff, handling should be much better. Audi also really has to deliver on the interior if they want to keep up with the 5 and M.
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 6,028
    Hey, wait a minute. I thought the 2010 A6 was already perfect !! :)

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • I have a 2010 E350 and having had a V6 Camry, I can assure you the E is a lot more fun to drive.
    For the first time in 20 years, I had a stranger come up to me and tell me she thought my car is "the most beautiful car I have ever seen." Agree with her 100%.
    The 2010 E class is far better looking than the 535, exterior and interior and nicer too IMO. Of course, both of these are a matter of personal taste.
    In reality the E Class and BMW 5 series are different types of cars so it is really hard to compare them. Of course, the new 5 is supposed to be nicer and more comfortable than the current model.
  • I assume that M-B dealer will do a much more thorough inspection on my E350 than the Toyota dealer does when I get RAV's oil & filter changes there. $30.00 vs. $250.00
    Of course, a thorough inspection may also enable the dealer to sell more parts and services. Got a cheap oil change deal on my Ford pick-up at a Ford dealer and they came back with a list of recommended services for about $600. Didn't get any of them and that was two years ago.
    However, it is still very expensive compared to the non-prestige makes, but that is part of what you are paying for. Somebody has to pay for the free loaner cars, the very nice waiting areas, and all the kid glove treatment. Also, many of the prestige dealers only sell the one make, so they have no large volume of other cars to cushion their costs. That is one reason why Hyundai has not spun off the Genesis and Equus as a separate brand.
    BTW, S.C. no longer requires auto inspections to renew licenses-and you can tell by the number of cars with one or no brake lights or only one headlight.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    In reality the E Class and BMW 5 series are different types of cars so it is really hard to compare them. Of course, the new 5 is supposed to be nicer and more comfortable than the current model.

    Styling is of course a matter of personal taste. I just don't like the blocky, '80s look that Mercedes is going with lately. I had a Mercedes in the '80s, and I don't need a new '80s Mercedes. I also don't like the column shift, or that Mercedes thinks the clock is as important as the rev counter.

    When the current 5 made its debut in '04, I didn't like the exterior or interior styling at all. Eventually I got used to the styling, and at this point I think the V8 model with the deeper front air dam isn't too bad, at least from the front. I still don't like the rest of it. When BMW refreshed the 5 a couple of years ago they made significant improvements to the interior, making it about equal with the current A6 IMO.

    The 2011 5 appears to be significantly improved in most areas. The styling is a bit anonymous, but its not off putting. The interior has the same look that started with the X5, and I think it's just better than the E-class in every way. The C7 A6 is still a question mark, but IMO the 2011 M and 2011 5 are the current interior leaders in the mid luxury segment.

    image

    Full size interior photo
  • abacomikeabacomike South FloridaPosts: 4,103
    I've owned 80's Mercedes Benz Vehicles, E and S class, and believe me, my new 2010 E350 with Prem 1 pkg. and sport wheels (AMG) is far superior to my previous Mercedes Benz Vehicles in looks as well as performance. I traded my 08 BMW 535i for the new Benz. I had so much trouble with my BMW, I was disgusted. BMW replaced my 08 with an identical vehicle three months after I bought it, and I had the same exact problems with the replacement vehicle.

    In terms of technology, the Benz is far superior in every way, from Navigation to voice activation, to the BMW. In terms of cost, the Benz is 4000 dollars less than a comparably equipped BMW 535i. My car listed for 54,850, while the 535i was over 60,000 dollars. I had to add rear sunshade, Logic 7 sound system, HD radio, Navigation, sport package, etc., all of which my Benz had.

    The major problems I had with the BMW were the turbos on both cars and "high battery drain" whenever it rained, and this was on both cars as well. BMW can keep their 5 series, I'll take the MB over any of them.

    2015 Mercedes Benz E400

  • Looks and performance are very personal.
    I too am now looking for a mid size car and I am leaning towards
    Infiniti M...will wait till 2011 debut to make decision.

    If I were to buy a "non sporty" model then I would have tough time in justifying buying E350 over Genesis.

    In any event there seems to be some contradiction in your posts in two boards. I thought you traded E-class for a newer E-class
    May be I misread in that case my apologies

    http://townhall-talk.edmunds.com/WebX/.eea6b46/580
  • abacomikeabacomike South FloridaPosts: 4,103
    No, you were correct. I had 2 2008 BMW's, one I bought, and one the manufacturer gave me as a replacement. I traded the last BMW in for 2009 MB E350 sport, then traded that for an 2010. So you were correct, I made an error.

    Believe it or not, I test drove the Genesis about 2 months ago. Although it was responsive, etc., I found it to be "tinny" compared with German Cars. I found the technology to be acceptable, however I strongly urge you to Test Drive an E350 with sport package and Premium 1 package. I think you'll find the ride sporty, yet confident, which I did not find in the Genesis. Also, with Mercedes Benz Dealers almost giving these away (I got mine for 5500 under sticker, or 2000 under invoice, you will find the Benz will hold its value longer. The only drawback on Mercedes is the cost of maintaining it. It costs 300 dollars once each year for oil change (they only recommend once a year or 10K miles), but the cost of brake replacement, etc., about 900 to 1000, which must be done once every 20,000 miles, from my experiences.

    Whatever you choose, good luck.

    2015 Mercedes Benz E400

  • abacomikeabacomike South FloridaPosts: 4,103
    One more thing, I was a sales manager at the largest Infiniti Dealership in the World for several years. I found the M35 (which will become athe M37) one of the best cars on the road for the money. The only reason I bought a Mercedes was due to the late introduction in April/May, and the fact that the new M will look like a stretched G37 sedan, not my taste. The M will cost you about the same as a new Mercedes E350. Like a said, take a good look at both cars.

    2015 Mercedes Benz E400

  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,563
    "The major problems I had with the BMW were the turbos on both cars and "high battery drain" whenever it rained, and this was on both cars as well. BMW can keep their 5 series, I'll take the MB over any of them. "

    ... and no HPFP failure[s] ?
    Interesting...
    - Ray
    Looking at BMWs with turbos...
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