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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • I guess that would be an issue, and a nice service from your dealer. Lucky for me my Acura/Porsche/Jag/MB dealer are under one roof, with the Lexus dealer in the next lot (they are the same dealership) - and across the street from them is the Infiniti/VW dealer. My area BMW dealer is about 4 miles from my house - I guess I'm lucky as it is easy for test drive/comparisons.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Yeah Id say thats lucky. Jag, Lexus, and Mercedes are all 45 minutes away, and then another 10 minutes apart from each other. Acura is 15 minutes from them. To even get to an Infiniti dealership I either have to go into Harrisburg or Philadelphia.
  • ckelly14ckelly14 Posts: 105
    Posted this on the Lexus GS discussion today. I guess I'm still looking forward to my M35 drive tomorrow.

     

    "Drove the GS 300 today. My impressions:

      

    Exterior: "In the flesh" this car looks alot different from the photos posted on the web site. Much crisper and sportier. I am not seeing much of the Maxima that I did in the initial photos. However, the car looks small and perhaps less substantial than the 2005. Exterior looks are completely subjective so I'll stop there.

      

    Interior: Excellent fit and finish, however my demo had a dark wood that looked like black plastic- almost impossible to tell there was wood grain there. It took no time to adjust the seat to a very comfortable driving position. Much more of a "cockpit" feel than the Acura RL or the Cadillac STS, which I think is good. However, some might feel it was cramped. Headroom was marginal. The DVD/info screen seemed blurry with low resolution.

      

    Driving: In summary, one of the best highway cruisers I have ever driven. Quiet, comfortable and plenty of acceleration. Not quite as "Lexus-quiet" as I would have imagined- some road noise does intrude. Steering was right-on at highway speed. However, you won't be seeking out winding, narrow back roads with this car. The brake is mushy, underpowered with a long throw. I found this out, as the car is so quiet, when I came apon traffic going 60 when I thought I was going 25. The steering is overly assisted and light under 60 mph. Suspension is somewhat isolating, with mild, but noticible, body roll. In general, I was not confident driving this car around a corner.

      

    In summary, the new GS seems sportier in all aspects, exterior look, interior fit and acceleration, EXCEPT for the steering and suspension. Steering and suspension aren't that important, are they?

      

    All kidding aside, this is a nice piece of machinery. However, after driving a Toyota Avalon today , I don't know if I would spend the additonal 15K on the GS. Honestly, if you lean toward a luxury vs. a sporty ride, the Avalon was very, very impressive. Obviously, most people (including my wife), wouldn't get past the image factor (Grampa!), but I was pleasantly surprised."
  • liyliy Posts: 47
    The Toyota Avalon doesn't have all wheel drive; so, if important to you, you must go with the Lexus GS-300! (Its important to me!!)

     

    LIY
  • ckelly14ckelly14 Posts: 105
    Good point! The AWD is only a $2000 option on the GS so I may have to look again. However, with the "base" AWD version starting at about 49K (does not include ML or Nav), I just feel you're not getting the driving dynamics of other cars in it's price class. I wasn't 100% serious about the Avalon, as it is a FWD car, but if a comfortable, luxurious highway cruiser with plenty of pick-up ( and Toyota quality) is important, I would take a look at it. Obviously, there's a world of difference in the dealership experience and the prestige level.

     

    I have been waiting for a while for the new GS to come out. I had a ES300 in 1997 and a Toyota Camry prior to that which were incredible vehicles in terms of comfort and reliability. I want to go back! I have a Audi A4 that has been fun, but with 78K on it, I cross my fingers everyday! However, this little A4 is so fun to drive I'm looking for a something that has both. At this point I'm going to keep looking...

     

    PS: The engine IS incredible. The saleman says it is the most fuel efficient non-hybrid Lexus to date. 23 City, 30 Highway certainly beats what I'm hearing from the Acura RL owners!
  • Saw the new GS yesterday in that olive green color looks mighty darn nice. Love the bright jewel like tail light lenses. The chrome trim band around the windows sure pops out. Looks nothing like the old GS.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    If you want AWD, better than Audi sport and handling, and almost Lexus levels of luxury and content, for a better price, I think you're going to like the M35x very, very much.
  • I drove the M45 for quite awhile yesterday. Overall impressive and powerful, but wasn't too impressed with some of the interior materials and some other componenets, like the door seals. Just rub your hand across them and they come right out of the tracks. And despite much better tires, it didn't corner as crisply as the RL. I thought the dash was very gimmicky. Almost made me appreciate the BMW 545 in terms of lack of stuff. Almost. In terms of real price optioned out, the 545 an M45 are within 10-15% of each other. I think the 545 will eat it alive in driving dynamics however.
  • ckelly14ckelly14 Posts: 105
    I drove the M35 yesterday. Certainly at the top of my list. I agree that the dash is incredibly busy, but I did like the feel of the car on the road and the driving comfort compared to the GS 300 and the Acura RL. The GS felt sporty (interior-wise, not driving-wise) but somewhat cramped, while the RL felt larger and "more open" (i.e. not cockpit-like)- Sorry, I'm no journalist in regard to my adjectives. I would likely buy the M35 with the journey package and satellite radio only, so the MSRP would be 43,600. This is certainly at the other end of the scale compared to the 545 and the M45.

    I need to drive the BMW (530) again to compare. I too agree that as much as we complain about the I-drive or the the MMI in the Audi, those interiors are looking better and better! Perhaps having some of those buttons underneath a flip-up cover a la the Lexus SC430?

    If I had to choose today (which I don't), my favorites would be:

    1. A6 3.2 (47K)
    2. M35 (43K)
    3. BMW 530 (48 K)
    4. Acura RL (49 K)
    5. GS 300 (47 K)

    The Audi is out for lack of a local dealership. If I had to buy, it may be the M35 but I'll keep looking.
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    With you being the owner of an RL, I can't believe you'd call the M's dash "very gimmicky." If that ain't the pot calling the kettle black...

    I drove the M45 a few days ago. It's very nice and felt really nimble and tight. I found the interior and its materials to be very good. As I posted on another forum, I can't imagine the new GS being better enough to justify its premium over the M. And just when I thought you couldn't put much more techno stuff in a car, the M has way more gee-whiz-golly gadgets than the RL. The one thing that I didn't like the most was that the instrument panel isn't tilted enough to provide a good view of all the buttons and stuff at a quick glance. I'm sure one could get used to it, but as we were testing it out, I had to stare at the panel for quite some time (relative to driving) just to find the "ON" button for the climate control; the other half was driving, of course. We LOVE the backup camera and its features! It has lines that move with the steering wheel to tell you how the front wheels are angled. The rear video display is sweet, too. It's almost like being on a plane because you can open it and set it to display the navigation for the rear passengers. We thought that was cool, too.

    There are certainly "prettier" cars out there, but I definitely wouldn't kick the M out of my garage if it was parked there (as long as it was mine). I mentioned to the other half that we should drive the M35 just to see how it feels, but she was adamant about NOT even bothering. She gets addicted to power. I was figuring that since I have my new Mustang GT, I don't have to have a V8 in the lux car, and it would save me six grand to boot. But that 345HP did feel good. You don't even have to floor it to get good pep. And it sure sounds sweet.

    Anyway, I'm rambling and my thoughts are running together. I'll finish by saying that it takes a little getting used to the "solar eclipse lighting," but you very quickly get used to it and soon don't really notice it. After you get accustomed to it, it is a nice warm glow. It can definitely be overpowering if you don't dim it!
  • rboyd4rboyd4 Posts: 23
    Looked at both the 2006 Infiniti M35 and the 2006 Lexus GS 300 in the last few days.

    I want a nice car with a lot of features but I also value performance more than the average luxury buyer. I am not a typical "luxury" car buyer- I don't give a hoot about prestige and styling is not at the top of my concerns. As matter of fact if a Toyota or Honda met my needs I would by them instead. I just want the best possible combination of features, reliability, performance, roominess, and value for $$$. Probably would be the ideal BMW buyer but I value reliability and value for $$ in addition to performance and features. This leads me to Japanese luxury/performance sedans.

    Exterior styling- GS probably looks a little better but they both look good. Given my preferences, I would call the styling even and let other issues determine which way to go.

    Couple of nit picky complaints about the GS- to pop the trunk you have to push a button to open up a hidden dashboard panel to reveal more buttons. Bottom line, it takes two separate button pushes to open the trunk. This is stupid. I open my trunk once every day or two for one reason or another and pushing two buttons to open the trunk would be a minor but aggravating annoyance.

    Rear seat leg room did not appear to be as good as the M (I'm 6'0"). Once I adjusted the driver's seat to where I would be happy I moved to the backseat- my knees touch in the GS but not the M. I have a family of 5 so the rear seat is of interest to me. Also, the rear head room- I found my head grazing the head liner in the back seat of the GS but not in the M (I also have noticed the headroom problem in the rear of the G35 as well). Why are they building cars where a 6'person cannot sit up straight in the backseat? I did not have this problem in my Mustang 25 years ago.

    Trunk opening, GS- too small kind of like the Nissan Maxima opening. It's great to have a roomy trunk but a pain if you are trying to fit anything bulky in the trunk like golf clubs. Why don't they make the trunk opening larger? My old G20 had a larger trunk opening than the new GS for crying out loud!

    Wood. The Lexus wood has such a thick coat of polyurethene on it that it looks almost like plastic. The M has more of a satin finish on the wood and the grain of the wood comes through. This is personal preference but I think the M wood looks a lot more natural. I guess if you like a shiny/slippery kind of wood look the GS is better. The M's wood looks kind of like the wood in the old Benzs from the late '60s or early '70s IMO. Also, I personally don't like the wood steering wheel in the Lexus I would rather have a leather wrapped wheel.

    These admittedly are very minor issues but considering the Infiniti is less expensive with a better warranty and has more of a performance focus probably enough to push me to the M and not the GS. Admittedly the GS has a nicer overall interior but I think the M is certainly good enough for me and I would rather save the $3 to $4 grand and pick up some performance.

    I also have a lot of confidence in the reliability of the new M. 60% of its components are from the G35 which has proven itself very well and it is made in Japan (getting rare). Is the GS made in Japan or is it now made in North America? Unlike some critics I have no problem with a manufacturer using well performing, proven components in a new vehicle. Kind of like Toyota using the Camry as the base for the Lexus ES.

    I am sure the GS will sell very well. If you value prestige, luxury and interior refinement over price and performance (as many do) the Lexus would be your car. The GS really competes with the Audi A6 and the E class Benz where, in my opinion, the M really competes with the BMW 5 series. I am sure there will be some car magazine with GS v M comparos soon. I would be surprised if the M did not win the handling/performance measures (I am talking about the RWD GS 300 vs. the M35 here). Hopefully the M sales will lag some so the deals will be better wi
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Lexusguy:

    Got anything against the GS ? You are the most ardent admirer of the M twins. What do you like about these cars so much ???

    Since looks are subjective, I think the M's styling is quite dull and bland; the GS trumps it marginally. Interior features and layout: No doubt, the win goes to the GS (much cleaner with no knobs to fiddle with as in the M). Tranny smoothness goes to the GS (6-speed better than 5-speed). Handling/performance goes slightly to the M (larger wheels help the M). Feature contents/pricing goes to the M (better pricing no doubt). I'll say the overall package: features, price, performance, luxury, ride, handling, etc... will show the winner, and that won't be until 1 year from now, at the very least.

    What is clear however, is that all professional reviews of these cars, to date, have been overwhelmingly positive. Maybe the GS will compete more with the E (not a bad idea), while the M goes hunting for the BMW.

    My sleeper MY2006 car will be the IS350 with a reported 315bhp 3.5L V6, mated to a 6-speed stick. If weight can be kept under 3300Ib, one can speculate a mid-to-low 5s 0-60. Of course we won't know until the Geneva auto show when the car is unveiled. Will be in dealer showrooms by August.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I have a few problems with the GS. The 300 is largely carry over technology. It gets none of 430's advanced new tech, where as most of the performance stuff available for M45 is also available on M35. On top of that, I just dont see a reason to buy a GS in 2006. Same reason I wouldnt buy a C or E320 right now. At least if you buy an E500, you can be confident that your V8 wont be replaced for another few years, probably not until the E gets a complete redesign.

    BOTH of the GS's engines are due to be scrapped in as little as a year, and in the case of GS300 especially, with a significantly more powerful engine that can actually compete with RL, M35, and E350. (The new 530i will still only have 220ft.lbs of torque, so I dont think it will compete in terms of 0-60 with the above cars).

    I like the styling of both the M and GS, so thats not really an issue for me. If I were going to buy a car in this class though, I would want sport to be priority number one, and the GS just doesnt have it. It seems more content in the A6, E, S-type league.
  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    Since you consistently prefer the M to the GS, you're just going to have to change your handle to Infinitiguy.

    Your reasoning about not buying the GS300 now, however, is persuasive. One argument for it, however, besides the sharper handling, the silken 6-speed transmission, and advanced safety equipment, is the much improved mileage of the new V6 over the previous I6 (and the M35, the RL, etc.).

    Of course, the new 3.5 V6 in the Avalon, which is probably the basis for the replacement engine in the GS300, equals the mileage in the GS V6. So next year's more powerful 3.5 GS engine will probably be just as fuel thrifty.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    And actually the E500 will get a new V8 for the 2007 model year, after the new S-Class debuts the new V8s. The E will also get a facelift for 2007, with a full redesign for like 2009/10.

    It has always seemed to me that Lexus simply doesn't put the effort into the GS like they do the LS, RX and even the ES when it comes to making the GS competitive in its market segment.

    Actually Mercedes and Lexus are sort of in the same boat regarding the Lex GS and Mercedes CLS, they both went on sale either this or last month, and they both are going to carry existing engines for a really loooong 2006 model year because come fall of 2006, they'll get the new stuff under the hood for the 2007 model year. So there really is just a year or so to buy either with their "old" engines. With engines I can tell you exactly what these luxury car companies plan to do when they launch a car at the start a calender year as a next year model. I'd imagine its cheaper to do it this way too, one really long model year of production with older engines, in both cases V8s. I am curious to see what Lexus will do with a brand new direct injection V6 after the GS350 arrives. Engine aren't cheap to develop.

    M
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Lexusguy:

    First let me state that this post is from me, OAC, just in case anyone may mistake my post for someone else using my handle. WHy do I have to state this because this will be my first post where I will actually say that an Infiniti was better than a Lexus.

    Today, Saturday 02/19/05, I went out to a Lex shop and an Infiniti shop to test drive BOTH the M and the GS. And I did....

    Conclusion: The M35 blows the GS300 completely out of the water !!! My kids were so excited about the M, I almost put a deposit for one. Yes, I was that close to giving up my LS400 for an Infiniti M35/45. Weird won't even start to describe it.

    OK, how about the test drive of these cars...

    First the GS300. I had a fully loaded (Nav/ML, everything) Metallic/black tester/demo from Lexus Carlsbad, with 52 miles on the odo. The car had optional ($2400, ouch !) 18" BBS wheels with the 245 size tire. Exterior style is far better in person than in pics, I can confirm that outright now. No resemblance to the Maxima whatsoever. As typical Lexus, interior is very tasteful and nicely laid out. Clean and crisp. Almost docile, I'll describe it. Nothing juts out at you, everything just seems to fit nicely. Of course, the fit and finish is Lexus-like as well.

    Out on the freeway, the car drove like a Lexus -silky smooth, the V6 was powerful enough, but not outstanding. Passing speed was adequate, merging with traffic was great. Braking was sharp and crisp. No dive or mush to the brakes whatsoever. On straightaways, it tracked pretty good. A tad of body roll around corners, but nothing too disconcerting. There was very little steering feed back, the suspension is soft imo, and not very sporty. Nothing that cannot be corrected with suspension upgrades. Engine was dead quiet, even at cruising speed and all audio OFF. Didn't care to test the sound system.

    Overall: I'd give Lexus a B+. This car will not touch the Bimmer, nor (imo) the E. Maybe the A6. It can be said to be a disappointment, for a Lexus-ophile like me. It is smallish, looks smallish, feels smallish as well. The trunk space shrunk, a big negative for me.

    As tested, $52,600. A price that did not include a full-size spare :(

    Now to the M35. What a car ????? Compared to the GS, the M is a true sport-lux car. Addresses BOTH lux and sport very well. My tester also was a demo (not-for-sale) with 90miles on the odo, Diamond/graphite M35 loaded except for Premium option. Had DVD (elbow rest area), XM (with a DVD slot in the glove), and in-dash 6-CD that can play MP3 and stuff. Exterior styling didn't wow me, but I could live with it very comfortably. Interior is outstanding. The driver's seat is very comfy, like a cockpit more so than the GS. The perforated leather seats were very soft and nice. Lateral support was outstandingly better than the GS. Very well done by Infiniti. The sales guy wanted me to be wowed by the upgraded sound system. It was great, with a DVD movie sound track. I stepped outside, and with the speakers blaring, I could hear everything from outside. The car could do with better sound-proofing. I prefer the M interior over the GS. The GS is great but docile, whereas the M makes you feel you are in control of an airplane, ready for takeoff.... That's how I felt in the driver (err, cockpit) seat of the M....

    On the freeway is where this car excels. What a car ! The 3.5L 280hp motor is extermely good, little wonder it is a perrenial Top 10 on Ward's. Passing power was all there. Acceleration was exhilirating. I took an almost 45degree corner at 70mph with nary a body roll. Cornering was dead flat ! The sales guy wanted me to mash the car. And mash it I did, in corners, straightaway, uphill, downhill ..... One small negative: The car wandered a little to the right on the freeway. Nothing a good alignment cannot correct. This is one car everyone in its class should be really afraid of. It will kill the GS and the 530. The only limiting thing may be its pricing. Yes, I said its price. Why ? The sales guy told me that a fully loaded M45 (Journey, Sport and Premium packages) stickers at $62K. That is a lot of $$$$ for a mid-size Infiniti sedan....

    My two kids in the back seats could not be pried off the car. They loved this car to death ! I have never seen my kids fall in love with a car before until now. They begged me, cried, hugged me, pleaded with me, pulled me in all directions.... "Dad, PLEASE PLEASE buy this car.... Please... Dad." Both of them pleaded with me. "I'll give up my College savings to you so that you can buy this car", my 12-yr-old told me. I was so touched, I almost bought the car. Someone please tell me to wake up and NOT buy this car ! To say that I LOVE this car is an understatement. I take back ALL my criticisms of this car. It is a WINNER !!! Infiniti will sell these twins by the boatload. If I want one, there is one with my name tatooed on it - M35, Diamond/Graphite with Aluminium interior trim, and a Journey Package with the DVD/Nav. Sticker is $47,700. Delivery mid-March....

    Verdict: Well, do I need to tell you again ? Infiniti gets an A+, and a true winner !!!!
  • I currently have an 04 acura tl. The car is fine but I would like more luxury and perhaps more torque. I have driven rl, m and jag s series 4.2. The Jag in my opinion was the most beautiful car I have ever seen. I drove an 03 S type 4.2. Does anyone out there have experience with the 03 or newer S. I am afraid of the maintenance problems, although jag dealer is 3 miles from my house. 03s will be coming off lease soon and can be had at a very reasonable price. Tell me what you think of this car and if you have heard anything about improved reliability or not with the 03 make over.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Jag's reliability in the last few years has generally been fairly good. It wouldnt be a Jaguar if it didnt have a few dash warning lights that come on for no reason (air bag is the most common) but most of the electrical demons have been excorcized. If your going to get an S-type, buy a late model used S-type R. The regular versions of the car are largely underwhelming.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    my garage has an RX300 and an LS430 in it, but not an Infiniti, so I think the name still fits. However, I like the G and M a lot more than IS and GS. Lexus is absolutely brilliant in things like build, materials, fit and finish, and ease of use, and I definitely believe that the LS ranks at the top of the full size lux class (and C&D tends to agree. Its also been on automobile's best sedan over $40K list several times). Lexus and sport still just dont mix very well though, and sales of their attemps at sporty cars after only a few years on the market always dry up. It may end up happening for a third time, as the GS has even more competition than last time. It definitely wont be getting another Motortrend import of the year (as they dont have that award any more), and another 10 best cars is doubtful as well.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    Thanks for the review oac. You sure it's you? Only a few weeks ago, you were kinda poo-pooing the M.

    Let us know if you actually do decide to get the M.
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