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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Independent of sales BMW 5 and 3 series remains benchmark vehicles.

    Perhaps, but you must admit that having the G and IS nipping at the 3's heels only benefits the 3 series buyer. Would there even be a 335i if not for the G35 and IS350 having 306hp and being able to smoke the 330i in a drag race?
  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    Competition is good, and drives the threshold of what is considered good, necessary, and desireable. It is up to the user to decide if he needs state of the art, and some of the advances that come available. SUrvival of the fittest usually makes thing better in the end for all levels of the food chain.
  • Why such a large drop off in sales across the board, with few exceptions? Guesses: one, bursting of the housing market bubble, making buyers feel much less extravagant! Two, uncertainty about gas prices.

    We just might be seeing the end of the performance/horsepower wars between AMG/BMW M and Infiniti/Lexus.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    We just might be seeing the end of the performance/horsepower wars between AMG/BMW M and Infiniti/Lexus.

    I don't think thats true. I don't see anyone trying to outgun Bugatti, but there's still an expectation that a new generation car has more horsepower than the last. I don't see that changing.
  • It probably should end, but I don't think it will. I think most for buyers at this end of the scale the cost of gasoline is not a consideration. Although I must admit I'm surprised at the number of complaints about the M45's gas mileage. One would think people able to pay $50K and up for a car wouldn't care whether they got 16 mpg or 21 mpg.
  • I for one care about mileage to some degree. There are killer deals out there on BMW 7's but I for one wouldn't take the risk on a 3 year lease not knowing what was going to happen to gas prices.

    I am happy to report that my '07 MB E350 Sport has - even though I am still in break in - beat the mileage of my V6 Honda Accord. The 7 speed auto is amazing and probably the reason for the great mileage (20.7 mpg in 85% city stop and go).
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Two, uncertainty about gas prices.

    We just might be seeing the end of the performance/horsepower wars between AMG/BMW M and Infiniti/Lexus.


    Oh really? Well in that case tell that to performance car loving Europeans who spend about double in gas prices than what we spend today in North America.

    Buying a luxury and performance car is not a rational and economic decision. As gas prices keep going up the prestige and status of being able to afford a gas guzzling performance car also goes up. In fact I claim the opposite: As gas prices go up there will be even more priviledged and wealthy people seeking to buy gas guzzling AMGs and BMW Ms.
    If gas prices go down then demand for AMGs and BMW Ms will begin to sputter.

    The above may not sound rational, but that's the whole point of luxury (being able to afford scarcities that the majority cannot afford).

    Is it mere coincidence that the recent increase in fuel prices is also accompanied with exponential growth for BMW Ms, Audi RSs/S and MB AMGs? I dont think so. In fact BMW, Audi and MB are plannig to expand their offerings of such cars and many Japanese competitiors will be introducing new vehicles with humungous displacement.

    In the case of high performance cars all I can say is thank God for high fuel prices.
  • I do have a fondness for the German cars we talk about here. It is somewhat confusing that they do seem to follow (in some respects) rather than lead in the HP (and more importantly but hardly ever mentioned torque) contest (I almost said "war.")

    The M comes out with 280HP whilst BMW has the 225HP -- and while Audi does have a 265HP V6 bi-turbo (which was at that moment on its way bye-bye to be replaced with a 255HP engine with almost 40 "torques" less and at a higher RPM to boot) well the M was leading.

    A misstep from Lexus with a 240HP G was all that left the two NEW Germans both with very nice but somewhat "nearly" ample power of 255HP from being tied for the lowest power along with the STS V6.

    For a brief moment in time 255HP could have been interpreted to be the new paradigm of power. Nah!

    The Japanese keep upping the ante. Now here come the 2007 Audi and BMW offerings -- ta da 255HP. What is up with that?

    BMW coulda put the 300HP turbo in the 5 series and Audi coulda blown on the 3.2 and breezed to 300HP in a heartbeat, too -- yet the Japanese LPS cars, all of 'em, get the power, the Germans follow again.

    One would think, if you read the magazines, that power sells. The numbers don't quite seem to support this.

    While hardly a dog, the 530xi automatic seems "this close" to sluggish -- even "feeling" less willing than the Audi 3.2, which is saying something.

    The M and G, however seem quite full of urge (even the M with its 5 speed transmission feels so much stronger than any "comparable" Audi or BMW -- yet, the BMW, at least -- sells like hotcakes.)

    So what is next?

    Will the 6 cylinder versions of all these fine LPS cars have to be close to, at or slightly above 300HP just to stay in the game? And, if so, when can we expect the engines from Audi and BMW that we know they can produce with half their engineering staff on vacation, to finally make it to the LPS cars.

    Audi has just boosted the 2.0T to 220HP -- and the thing isn't even sweating. Not long ago all you could get out of the 3.0L in a 530 was 225HP. The outgoing 1.8T Audi motor was also 225HP.

    Are they just taunting and teasing us?

    Meanwhile both Infiniti and Lexus (especially) seem very willing to move up the efficiency and power ladder oh, about every other year.

    What's next -- follow the leader, one can only assume.

    I'm about 1/2 way through the A6 3.2 lease -- love the car, even starting to "almost" love an automatic transmission.

    But the new 2007 A6 3.2 without the technology package on the showroom floor is $54K. I'd like at least 295HP please, for this kind of money.

    Makes you wonder if Cadillac will sneak in another 45HP on the base STS and really make me wonder how the Germans will get away with being seemingly underpowered. :confuse:
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The Japanese keep upping the ante. Now here come the 2007 Audi and BMW offerings -- ta da 255HP. What is up with that?

    BMW coulda put the 300HP turbo in the 5 series and Audi coulda blown on the 3.2 and breezed to 300HP in a heartbeat, too -- yet the Japanese LPS cars, all of 'em, get the power, the Germans follow again.


    It's not really that Japan is leading and Germany is following. Yes Infiniti and Lexus's 3.5Ls are incredibly powerful, but so is M-B's. For 3.0L or 3.1L of displacement, 255hp is nothing to sneeze at.

    German V6s have often been smaller (and thus less powerful) than their Japanese counterparts. In the previous decade when Japan had 3.0Ls, Germany was using 2.8s, and doing just fine. With V8s, its the opposite. Japanese V8s are small comapred to their German counterparts (with the exception of Audi's 4.2), and make less power.
  • Why is the GS350 being completely ignored here? With the new engine, its power now puts it in the same league as the others here. Why is it being snubbed? Handling? Headroom? Too quiet? Trunk room? Awkward pull-down controls on left? Cushy ride?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Why is the GS350 being completely ignored here? With the new engine, its power now puts it in the same league as the others here. Why is it being snubbed? Handling? Headroom? Too quiet? Trunk room? Awkward pull-down controls on left? Cushy ride?

    I think that about covers it, yeah.
  • What do these numbers mean? Beats me - I'll let others spin them.

    Did anyone try to spin these numbers yet? LOL

    One thing that is driving sales is the potential buyer's income level. When the economy is softening those with higher incomes are less affected than the majority of us. I don't have any hard facts to back this up, however I believe those who primarily shop for BMWs and MBs are probably a little more affluent than your average buyer who seriously considers a Japanese LPS. (I think most of us can agree that many who buy the German LPS giants really didn't consider the alternatives). Part of the prestige involved is how much you can afford to pay for a vehicle plus that everyone else knows it. You're making a lifestyle choice here. To say that sales figures indicate which auto is the "best" really misses the boat IMHO. Probably has more to do with individual insecurities....

    Because of the changing economic landscape, many experts are telling merchandisers to concentrate on luxury goods rather than those that appeal to the middle class because these buyers will not be tightening their purse strings as much. You already are seeing this play out in the LPS market as more price sensitive consumers are holding off on their purchases while those who are not that price sensitive continue to buy primarily German LPS brands. In the future soft economy which will suffer the most - HELM or entry level luxury sales?

    In Southern California the real estate bubble is already beginning to deflate a little. It will be interesting to see how auto sales will be impacted when is starts to pop. Of course I have heard those famous words "this time it's different" concern the Real Estate bubble. So maybe it will not pop - yeah right...
  • The GS has a history of selling well during year one then tapering off big time. To counteract that phenomenon Lexus decided to introduce the GS300 first and then drum up year two+ sales with the GS350. This might actually backfire as many informed buyers knew the GS350 was coming in less than two years. This is the engine the car should have been introduced with. For those looking for performance, why buy an underpowered LPS? I'm not sure that most GS buyers are valuing performance that much so the larger engine probably won't drum up that many sales... we'll just have to see how it plays out.
  • pearlpearl Posts: 336
    it is also interesting to note that some early drivers of the new GS350, who either own or have driven the GS300, claim that the former does not "feel" much faster at all, even though Lexus claims more than a second faster to 60. While there may be some initial demand, I think that "deals" will be available on the 350 much sooner than some think.
  • I'm still shopping, but for me the GS350 AWD seems like a nice compromise. It does lack a bit of "German-ness" in terms of road feel, but you get Lexus reliability, Excellent NAV system without MMI/I-drive, AWD, 304 HP, reasonable gas milage compared to the V8s, with price coming in cheaper than MB, Audi, and BMW.

    As the wise MarkC has said many times, these cars are all excellent--much of the debate is a matter of taste, or perhaps more accurately, which small things are most important to you.
  • I have to agree with Dewey. Those who are buying Luxury vehicles that get poor gas mileage do not really care about MPG. As a matter of fact, I for one do not care even though I am by far rich, just am a poor middle class. I simply invest in oil/energy securities. So if the energy market goes up like gas prices, I am making money. Think of it this way, if the price of gas goes up and I fill up at the pump, I am actually getting a rebate. Gas prices go up, I make money.

    JMHO
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    For those looking for performance, why buy an underpowered LPS? I'm not sure that most GS buyers are valuing performance that much so the larger engine probably won't drum up that many sales...

    The GS300 has been a slow car since day one 1993, so I think you're right, GS buyers aren't that interested in engine performance. I think its more about getting the GS another blurb in the automags than anything else.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I'm still shopping, but for me the GS350 AWD seems like a nice compromise. It does lack a bit of "German-ness" in terms of road feel, but you get Lexus reliability, Excellent NAV system without MMI/I-drive, AWD, 304 HP, reasonable gas milage compared to the V8s, with price coming in cheaper than MB, Audi, and BMW.

    If I were going to buy a GS, that would be the one. The 300 AWD was kind of sluggish, so the new engine will be a nice benefit there. It's also more fuel efficient than the equivalent M35x or RL.
  • You really don't even have to be rich to keep mpg the reason not to get an automobile you like (particularly if you can afford a $50,000 one). The difference between 16 mpg and 21 mpg over the course of 15,000 miles driven in one year is 223 gallons. So that's roughly $700 a year. As Ralph Cramden would say, "a mere bag of shells"!
  • Speaking as someone who "almost" replaced a long long lineup of German cars with an Infiniti, perhaps it is time to seriously consider the Japanese cars.

    Frankly, I did think Infiniti made a good run at "German-ness" and although I have driven Lexi's over the years, I had not given the current gen a serious look-see.

    The reason (before the 2005 Infiniti M35X near miss)? I thought the Lexus cars were MORE money than the Germans, rather than "coming in cheaper than MB,Audi and BMW."

    My Lexus owning friends always seem to be getting very little discount on their Japanese LPS's -- perhaps the Acura RL would be a present-day exception.
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