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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • Consider the STS from Cadillac -- both the V6 and V8 can now be had with AWD.

    They are often heavily discounted (5 figures) and the leases even at your kind of mileage are also subvented.

    Of course with low low low interest rates (below market), a finance approach can be attractive, too.
  • I recently tested RL, A6 3.2 and 530xi. Problem with RL is that it is really not worth its original MSRP of $49K or so. For $50K one may have very nicely equipped Audi A6 with features not available in RL. Here is my list of issues in RL (as $50K car - it is fine as $40K car).

    1. Engine. Although it claims 300hp, you drive torque, not horsepower. And RL torque is not that high and peaks at 5000rpm. This means car does not feel quick unless you really step on it.
    2. 5 speed transmission. Everyon ein 50K+ segment offers 6sp or more.
    3. Only 8 way driver seat. Even *basic* BMW seat adjusts 10 ways and contour seats do it 20 ways.
    4. Only 4-way adjustment for passenger seat. Is this a joke?
    5. Acura says, everything is included. But is not not! RL simply does not have options every luxury car has. Where are rain sensing wipers? Heated rear seats? Parking sensors or rear camera? Night vision? High-grade leather? iPod integration? Heated steering wheel? Headlight washers? Multi stage front heated seats? Ventilated seats?

    It feels like Acura decided to cut costs all over the place. It does not make me feel good spending 50K.

    Audi is better is that sense, although in places I see too much sharing between Volkswagen and Audi. Even look is getting closer. Luxury car should not be reminding about lower end segment of the same company.

    However, I like Audi interior, features and performance. I would take Audi if it did not have that light servotronic steering. I have test-driven A6 three times and still hate that variable assist. I am read-blooded male so I don't need that steering that thinks I am a newborn baby or 70 yo little lady.

    As much as I hate spending 10K extra, and not being a fan of Chris Bangle, I will probably buy 530xi.

    I never considered Infiniti or Lexus as I don't M look or Lexus isolation. I do like look of Infiniti FX though (and we do own one).
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I agree with you on the RL. Its actually not even 300hp anymore, its down to 290 after the change to the new SAE spec. The Lexus 3.5L just stomps all over it, smoother, more fuel efficient, more power, more torque. Acura needs to start turbocharging across their entire line if they don't want to come in last place in every acceleration test.
  • Any reason you're not looking at the new Volvo S80? I'm comparing the S80 V8 AWD against the Audi A6 V6 and V8 and the Infiniti M V6 and V8. On paper the Volvo compares very well against both. Inside, it feels as good and has a comparable if slightly different set of special features. I'm driving the V8 tomorrow (drove the V6 last week) and will make a decision then, but it's worth a look, especially now that they're appearing in dealer showrooms.
  • S80 is an interesting car with excellent features, like Blind Spot Information System. It is also well priced and nicely equipped cost less than, say, A6 4.2 Quattro. However, I am not looking for V8 car and AWD is only available with V8. V8 with AWD will yield probably 15-16 MPG at best (it is Ford engine, as far as I know). 530xi does 21-22 in real world. It is a personal choice, and while I am not Prius fanatic, I don't think V8 is really that necessary for daily driving either. S80 is not a sports car anyway.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    V8 with AWD will yield probably 15-16 MPG at best (it is Ford engine, as far as I know). 530xi does 21-22 in real world.

    Actually, the V8 in the Volvo is built by Yamaha. Ford only has two V8s that they build in-house, and they are both truck engines. The Lincoln LS engine was derived from Jaguar's AJ-V8. The S80 V8 is rated 17\25, which is similar to some of the less efficient V6s in the class, like the RL and M.
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 5,775
    The RL actually sells for around $41K. It is a pretty good car at that price. IMO. I agree with you on some of the short comings but the RL has a great steering feel and drives pretty good. If you haven't actually driven one you should.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460

  • Totally agree - it is excellent offering at $41K. I did test drive it.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Totally agree - it is excellent offering at $41K. I did test drive it.

    I'm not sure thats true. I'd rather have an '06 Infiniti M for the same money.
  • jmc07jmc07 Posts: 1
    Bought a Black on Black 2007 M35X in late September. I am extremely pleased with the car. Everything works. It is very comfortable. It roars. It certainly is not a laid back lux. I have a hard time not hitting it every time I am in it.

    I give it an enthusiatic thumbs up.
  • I have had an RL for about 9 months, and I love the car more each day. Dealer has been outstanding and I have not had a single regret...I think we got a remarkable car that we would have clearly chosen over the usual competition even if it had not been a good $6,000 less. I don't know if snow driving is a consideration, but the SH-AWD is wonderful. I just recently had my first chance to drive the RL on snow, and it was simply terrific. (Note I do have snows on it - and they are expensive as only Pirelli makes a snow in the RL's unusual tire size, but given the bargain we got on the car I splurged!) Only downside I have seen with the RL is that it is strictly a 4 person car and trunk size is not great. But the technology has been flawless, we enjoy the style and the class of the interior, and I find the drive to be tight, fun, and powerful.
  • Thanks very much to all who have provided advise and insight. This past weekend I tested the Volvo S80 (AWD), Lexus GS350 (AWD), Caddy STS V8 (AWD), and the Mercedes ML320. The SUV was not really where I was looking, but the AWD combined with their new diesel had me interested. I still plan on checking out the Audi A6, Acura RL and the Infinity M class before making my choice.

    The Volvo was a blast to drive and was very comfortable, the Lexus not as powerful, but just beautiful inside and out, the Caddy turned me off (rude salesperson, thumping noise on the front left, not thrilled with the styling either). The Merc was impressive...their new diesel was quiet and really jumped when you asked it to. Considering the mileage I'm faced with (35-40K per year) I'm leaning toward the diesel as I think it'll have a longer life span.

    I'll be back with final decision by next week (for anyone who cares), and thank you all again for your time and thoughts.

    Happy New Year
  • You must have driven the S80 8 cylinder, right? The 303hp lexus is quick. Was the Volvo technology on a par with the Lexus? I don't like the idea that the Volvo AWD is based on front wheel drive and has FWD emphasis. Haven't driven it and I am interested in your comments after you drive the M. I've ruled out the RL. Right now I'm between the GS and the M35X.

    Jerry
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Considering the mileage I'm faced with (35-40K per year) I'm leaning toward the diesel as I think it'll have a longer life span.

    Considering its a 'Bama Mercedes, you're probably going to run into electrical problems and other issues LONG before any engine problems show up. If you like the ML, drive the X5. It's just a better car in every way. The FX35 is also worth looking at. Nissan VQs last forever.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    You must have driven the S80 8 cylinder, right? The 303hp lexus is quick. Was the Volvo technology on a par with the Lexus? I don't like the idea that the Volvo AWD is based on front wheel drive and has FWD emphasis.

    Perhaps the S80's torque advantage makes it "feel" stronger off the line, but the GS350 is the faster car, at least to 60mph. With most AWD cars, you really can't tell where the torque is in normal driving conditions. The Volvo's system despite being almost entirely FWD still eliminates any torque steer, which is a big problem with their T5 FWD cars.

    The only AWD cars in the class that are willing to oversteer like a RWD car are the M35x and the 530xi, although I haven't driven a GS AWD with VDIM turned off. Even then, it wouldn't be as fun or have the control of the M or 5.
  • I'm sure you're right that it's the S80's torque. The V8 AWD really pulls in low rpms, and strangely enough, that's where I usually need it since I don't do track days. You're right about the lack of torque steer. In a 20 minute drive I felt none. Also, for me, the lack of RWD oversteer is just fine. After driving AWD and 4WD vehicles for 25 years, I really prefer the precision of going where I'm pointing without any "funny business," and it seems that the Volvo delivers that. (My X5 does that extremely well for an SUV.)
  • I read with keen interest the C&D comparison of the three middle cars from Audi, BMW & Mercedes. The Mercedes won with a one point greater score than the Audi. The BMW brought up the rear.

    As I read the article, I thought, "well for the money, the Audi almost could be called a bargain, if a car costing over $70,000 could ever be called that."

    Then Motor Trend tests the same three cars and I was nearly certain the Audi would, this time, be a "close third place." I would still think, so I predicted, the Audi would be the "economy" car version of the German super-sedan (third place or no.)

    What's this? Motor Trend, despite its conclusion that the Audi is the "least quick" of the three, declares the Audi the winner ahead of the BMW and the Mercedes.

    Then, I read the text closely and I see a word that I find difficult to associate with almost ANY Audi (especially when there is a BMW in the mix) -- the word: "Balance."

    The S6 has ~60% of its weight on the front end, the engine is ahead of the front wheels, it is a bit heavier, underpowered and AWD (although it IS Rear Biased AWD this time) -- how in the wide wide world of sports could the word balance(d) be part of the text used to describe this car?

    You read it, thus far I can find no link to the article; but, nevertheless, there it is "balance" in English for all the world to see.

    Next up, Consumer's Report on frequency of repair and mean time between disk drive crashes, etc.

    Now, when I think balance, I do indeed think of a capability to "oversteer," more like a proper RWD car. Yet, with my hand and arm vertical, I CAN attest that at the Audi driving schools with 50 50 quattro cars (which is to say nose heavy and not exactly RWD biased), we get them going essentially in oval shaped turns, steered almost entirely with the throttle (a la RWD oversteering.)

    What is this world coming to?

    Now, in a perfect world (if ever one could be,) wouldn't there be some reason for grave concern on the other German's part, if Audi were to move its engine back (say just a few inches) and re-bias all TorSen diffs to 40/60 F/R?

    Then, just for spite, if they decided to put two tiny turbos on their I4, V6, V8, V10 and V12 engines, and call them "R"S "whatevers." . . .I wonder what something like THAT would perform like?

    Oh wait, they've decided to do all that -- and more (think Torque Vectoring Technology) in upcoming models.

    The point of all this, besides some revelation of incredulity on my part (upon seeing both C7D and MT praise the new S6 so highly), was to remark that my personal experience (which, thus far has been with 50 50 F/R torque "splitted" quattros) with Audis is they will oversteer, wag their tails and powerslide around corners.

    Perhaps you are correct that only the M35X and 530XI are the "only" LPS cars (here on edmunds) willing to oversteer. Perhaps my experience and some of these kind of reviews are the exceptions -- but I must confess to a bit of a grin developing upon reading the reviews of the über Audi A6.

    Finally, having tested the M35X EXTENSIVELY before plunking down my deposit (even though I later cancelled and went with the A6), I am hereby proclaiming the M35X, Audi A6 q and the 530XI as "willing" driving partners, far more alike than different.

    And, glad to know the Volvo despite being FWD biased has apparently tamed torque steer.

    Which leads me again to declare, these guys all produce very fine, very similar LPS cars that even with disparate AWD systems and philosophies will, as a group, acquit themselves well against virtually all contenders.

    :surprise:
  • dhamiltondhamilton Posts: 873
    I thought at one time you where saying something about Audi re-engineering quattro. I know that it's getting rear drive biased across the line. But I thought you where saying something different was in the works. Did I make this up?

    Also, what do you know about the new A4?

    Sorry for the off-topic post.
  • quattro is the name Audi gives to its AWD systems.

    All quattros are not the same, all AWD Audis, thus far, are quattros however.

    Most quattros use one of two flavors of TorSen (torque sensing) mechanical diffs: the majority of TorSen quattros have a 50 50 F/R torque split.

    Several quattros (more and more are in the pipeline) use a TorSen diff with a 40 60 F/R torque split. A few Audis use Haldex systems (these Audis have transverse mounted engines) and they are, as I understand it, FWD biased (I believe as much as 90 10, but I am willing, ready and able to stand corrected on that torque split.) Regardless, these Haldex system equipped Audis still receive a quattro badge.

    Audi AG's board, apparently, has vetoed a "suggestion" for Audi to offer a pure RWD car. Perhaps more to the person, Dr. Piech, still one of great influence and power within the corporation, has quashed such an idea.

    However, what is in the pipeline is:

    o all audi AWD diffs will be 40/60 F/R torque split [TorSen quattros] in the next few years (possible exclusion/exception for the Haldex equipped cars until or unless this too can be changed.)

    o better balanced weight distribution (probably not 50 50 with the current north south engine layout, but more than incrementally better than 60 40 F/R weight distribution)

    o adoption of a new technology: "Cross-Axle Torque Vectoring(TM)."

    I look at this technology as the opposite of ESP, in that ESP essentially is about applying brakes and reducing engine power, not literally redistributing engine power.

    Here is what little I can find about what might be another Audi innovation:

    "Torque Vectoring technology enables moment-by-moment redistribution of drive-torque in response to driver demand, vehicle speed and road conditions. In doing so, it enables the vehicle to follow the driver's intended path, ultimately leading to a potentially safer, more enjoyable driving experience. . . .

    System actuation is flexible depending on vehicle architecture, compatible with hydraulic, electro-hydraulic and electro-mechanical control strategies. The Torque Vectoring technology in the demonstration system is capable of delivering a cross-axle torque bias of 1,400 nanometers and differential wheel speed delta of 20 percent. Response time targets for the demonstrator vehicle have been set at a maximum of 50 milliseconds from request to start of torque activation and 100 milliseconds to achieve 90 percent full torque demand."


    For more information, visit Ricky Ricardo

    Couple all of this stuff with diesel technology innovations and implementations and throw in a 7 speed DSG transmission and some other neat features in the pipeline and, well, competition is very good for the LPS customer set (like many of us here on this forum.)

    :blush:

    P.S. Who knows about the new A4, I have seen the spy photos, write ups and conjecture on the Web and in print. Ditto the Q5 addition to the Audi SUV lineup (or is that crossover?)

    The new A4 and A5 seem to be coming to market with their engines pushed back a few inches, improving F/R weight balance, also will offer rear biased TorSen quattro diffs in the AWD models. Rumor mill does not mention any new engines (other than those we already know about.) I find this latter data point confusing now that BMW has a 3.0L turbo engine with 6 in-line cylinders pumping out an "easy" 300HP with better miles per gallon than the previous normally asipirated 225HP 3.0 engine and this new blown engine has bags of torque, darn near weapons grade if it is only asked to power a car as heavy as a 3 series.

    BMW, coming soon a 535 model. You would think Audi with only a 3.2 (maybe a 3.6) a 4.2 and then a V10 (in the A6 at least) would consider something hotter than the current 3.2 and smaller than the current 4.2 to keep up with their Munich competition.

    The new A4 moves the bar in lux and performance up a notch or two. At some point, of course, the A6 sized cars will have to move up a notch or three unless we will accept the smaller siblings as members of the LPS club (the 3 series, A4, C class, G class, etc?)

    Lots of speculation on this engine thing, thus far, BMW seems to be in a league of its own. I mean it, if you do nothing else in the near future, you must drive a BMW with the "35" engine in it. Wow! :surprise:
  • dhamiltondhamilton Posts: 873
    One of the things I was saying on the S4 board is that the 335 renders the S4 pointless. like performance, for a lot less.
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