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Luxury Performance Sedans



  • tamparltamparl Posts: 42
    We share similar desires in the car attributes and I had cross shopped the Lexus GS AWD, BMW 530xi and the Infinity M35 AWD. All are fine vehicles. The driving dynamics of the BMW are still tops, but I worry about long term maintenance costs, and I hated the I drive. The Infinity was roomy and the flavor was sporty, but the styling and rougher edges of sporty feel did not appeal to me. The Lexus certainly has the brand cache and commendable service centers, but I could not justify the cost when comparably equipped to my selection.

    I selected the Acura RL. It is an amazing value and selling 8-9K below sticker. Many do not like the subtle style and many dismiss it for not having a V8 or 6 speed tranny option. It is not as large as the Infinity but wider and larger trunk (still smallish) than the Lexus. It seemed on par with the BMW dimensions, but again, the BMW driving dynamics are it's signature.

    But the Acura NAVI was exceptional and the content a tremendous value. Content any of these models (AWD, V6 Auto) similarly and the Acura is thousands lower in sticker and certainly a bargain in negotiated price. It comes only in 3 trim levels, and the Tech Package is the most common.

    Acura's brand may not have the luxury cache of the others, but the Honda reliability, value content, Japanese assembly, amazing SHAWD system, Ultra Low Emmisions and high safety ratings made it a very smart choice (if not the most passionate).

    The RL is a sleeper, and sales are low, but I have no regrets on my choice and I see this as not only a long term ownership experience, but somewhat exclusive as so few are on the road. The RL typifies Honda's conservative, well engineered approach. It may not be the best of any one thing, but the total package is very well balanced and the harmony this car exudes may not grab attention, but it sure grows on you and is very easy to live with.

    You may want to give the Acura RL consideration. A Tech Package RL @ 42K out the door may be worth your consideration in the AWD segment.
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    Although the interior of the bmw lacks a certain refinement, over the years I think you would enjoy it and also the hordes of people who enjoy it`s drive are not just fooling themselves, it does drive nicely...I further think you could get the long term warranty, and then find a mechanic on your own...This way you will have something you are proud of til the day you move on...Tony
  • carnaughtcarnaught Posts: 1,566
    The RL is a sleeper, and sales are low....

    ...for a reason.
  • I agree that the RL is an underrated vehicle. The reliability is otherworldly. It is probably going to get a pretty major refresh for 09. Most predictions are for more room, particularly in the back seat, and a more powerful engine. The current model was also tops in side impact protection along with the S80, while the 535 --unfortunately--ranked dead last. It will be interesting to see what BMW does about that car's poor performance on the side impact test.
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 5,767
    Yep, if I was in the market right now I would definitely have the RL at the top of my list. I have a 2002 RL and it is just still to good to part with. 80,000 miles and just getting broken in good.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I am hoping to buy and keep my next car for as many miles as I can - over 200k or more if possible. I am not a high mileage driver (12k a year at most)

    Honestly, I think what you are suggesting is prescription for disaster. The average 1990 200K mile BMW 5 may still start when you turn the key, but today's 5 is about a million times more complex than its 17 year old counterpart. Nobody is going to give you an extended warranty for that long.

    Reliability for the Acura RL has improved from the lousy '05 and '06 years, but all of those electronics are still going to have problems eventually. On top of that, the RL is really a mediocre car. I can't think of a single thing it does better than any other car in the segment. 17 years with one would amount to torture. Sure its cheap, but the TL is cheaper - and better. You mentioned fuel economy as a sticking point, the RL's FE is no better than the Infiniti's.

    Reliability for the AWD GS350 is so bad that it lost its recommended rating from CR, thanks to multiple below average scores. Hell has frozen over, a new Lexus has scored far worse in CR than both BMW and Audi. The GS is the worst new Lexus in the company's history, this is a serious black spot on their record.

    If I had to be stuck with one of the current crop of LPS, my choice would be an '08 M45x. It's great fun to drive, and has best in class reliability. My suggestion though, is to buy a slightly used CPO car. Get the BMW if you like it. Drive it until the CPO warranty runs out, and then get rid of it. Is the buying experience so horrible that you want to be stuck with a 200K car that constantly needs repairs costing far more than its even worth?
  • tamparl - thanks for the info. to be honest I haven't looked at Acura yet. I will check out the RL. For the last 3 years I have been driving a Camry XLE V6 which is extremely reliable and is the most boring car I can imagine. It has taken the fun out of driving. That is why I am looking for something more entertaining to drive now. Is the RL fun to drive?
  • Thanks Tony, I will look into the long term warranty. Normally I don't believe in them but in this case it might be worth it.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,244
    If you want warranty coverage, and you don't do it yourself, stick with costs more but you do not have to worry about selling or costly repairs out of warranty.

    The cheaper way is to buy and sell in 3-4 years but considering the resales value, it's more or less risky depending on, well, the dependability and desirability at the time of resale.

    Look at what is selling now in your target vehicle class. IMHO, the choices at the top of this category are the Merc E, BMW 5, and the M's from Infinity. These should return at the upper end of value after you decide to sell because of the higher demand and dependability. This could change but it should be a good guide unless you wait 17 years to resell!

  • " but all of those electronics are still going to have problems eventually. On top of that, the RL is really a mediocre car. I can't think of a single thing it does better than any other car in the segment. 17 years with one would amount to torture"

    I wouldn't bet against Acura reliability, for electronics or anything else. I have a 16 year old Legend which in its entire lifetime the check engine light came on once...only once....(and promptly reset itself after I restarted the car). The car is still a joy to drive.

    I also can't think of a single thing it does better than any other car in the segment. It is just very good at everything it does, making it a great car to drive and own.
  • lexusguy... it is pretty sad that it seems there isn't a car that is worth keeping long term in this price range. I know the M and G Infiniti's get good reviews, but I don't care for the interior dashboard styling, the gas mileage is really bad, and the 0-60 times are not as good as they should be (not that I will be racing). Since I am sure that gas prices will continue to rise over the next few years that will be a big factor.

    As far as the buying experience being so horrible, it really depends on the dealer/salesperson. I just don't enjoy the experience like I used to. Researching, test driving, and then trying to get the best price is very time consuming and can be quite frustrating.

    I have waited 3+ years to buy a new LPS and and am not all that thrilled with the choices. I did find the Lexus GS350 to be disappointing and have read the CR review, which is grim considering the Lexus reputation. You might be right about Hell freezing over. The GS350 was going to be my fall back car if I couldn't find something more fun to drive. I don't know how soon Lexus can fix the problems the GS has. It is a shame that my 2002 GS got rear ended a few years ago (17k damage and it was never the same) or I would still be driving it and not going through this right now.
  • OW, you make a good point.

    I am not big on leasing since I can't write it off at all. I know that a car isn't a very good investment. At this point the idea of buying a nice/fun car, paying it off, and not having car payments for awhile is very appealing to me. If I need to sell it in 3-4 years then I am back where I started. The problem is that there is no perfect car, most people are partial to the brand they are driving, and everyone has different taste in vehicles, which can make it difficult to find useful reviews. The luck of the draw enters into it also. It is possible to get a car that will run forever or a lemon no matter what car you choose. Some brands and models improve the odds of getting a "good" one more than others...
  • Although this class is a bit above my budget, I’ll pipe in.

    The RL is decent enough but not all that fun to drive.
    The Infinitis gas mileage is not great or even good through the entire lineup.
    I have dropped Lexus, I was checking out the ES, and the reliability is very disappointing and they haven’t found fixes for the various problems despite their attempts.
    After all of this, the E Class 320 Blue Tec. Very good gas mileage (diesel), very good power for passing, not too noisy, nice riding, maybe even a little sporty very comfortable front and rear seats. Reliability seems to be getting better. Pricey though.

    I am reading this forum to find a suitable CPO, and then try to convince my wife that it would be a good idea.
    I too, am looking for a vehicle that would be good for the long run, 8 to 10 years of ownership.
  • justbass - thanks for piping in! I was looking into the BlueTec but read this on the MB web site: The 2008 E320 BLUETEC does not meet the emissions requirements of California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, or Vermont and is not available in these states. wife and I live in Taxachusetts :cry:

    I am getting the feeling that cars are being built as disposables these days. I don't know what happened to Lexus's reliability other than they realized they make a lot more money servicing them than selling them.
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 5,767
    The GS that got the bad review was the AWD GS350. If you can live with the GS RWD, it was rated pretty good and way above average. Must be problems with the all wheel drive.

    Also the GS hybrid was rated as the most reliable car of all in this group! Go figure!

    The RL was also rated very high in reliability.

    Dealerships can vary widely by city but my experience has been that Lexus is tops with Acura not far behind. Infinity I would have to rate poor.

    All new cars are a bad investment. A good late model CPO from Lexus would be better. Maybe the LS? You save a ton on depreciation, get virtually a new car warranty and they still treat you like a king. :)

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460

  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    Rumor has it that 50-state legal diesels may be available in a year or so.
  • carnaughtcarnaught Posts: 1,566
    Dealerships can vary widely by city but my experience has been that Lexus is tops with Acura not far behind. Infinity I would have to rate poor.

    Out of curiosity, do you have any personal experience with Infiniti (not Infinity)?
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 5,767
    Sorry about the spelling, my bad. I have never owned an Infiniti but I like them and I am sure they are great cars. I have owned a couple of Maximas and I liked them a lot.

    As far as dealers, yes, I have visited the Infiniti store here a few times while shopping and I always seem to get someone who knows very little about the cars, etc. or someone who just insists that you buy the car NOW and puts on the hard sell.

    Remember that this is just my experience and things like this are very subjective.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460

  • tamparltamparl Posts: 42

    The RL is a very flexible vehicle. You can drive it smoothly for most driving and you can toss it in the twisties with the SHAWD. The grip is amazing, never a tire squeal. The car has a smoothness and relaxed feeling that many who desire performance do not appreciate. I would call the RL a sporty touring lux-tech sedan. It is stable, safe, solid, wonderfully built, and confident when I want to get on it.

    Only you can make your decision. The RL has grown on me in the last year that I am more excited driving it now than I was when I traded my 05TL for it. The TL was edgey, but not refined and US assembly was not on par with the RL. I wanted a more sophisticated, refined ride.

    If you require the best of any one thing, the RL may not suit your needs as it is simply great at many things. And yes, it is a low seller, and underappreciated, but you should get what you want. I, personally have no less enjoyment of this car because it does not meet the standards of others or the masses (most of who paid much more for a not much more scoot.

    I only chimed in to offer my opinion as we shared similar attributes for a new car (from your original post).

    Many here do not appreciate the RL, which is fine (the didn't write the check), but don't decide for what others want, get what you want. There are enough sour grapes around here to open a vineyard.

    Whatever you get, I hope it pleases you.
  • You can "buy" reliability, if you can afford to wait for a car that is one MY old, is CPO'd and is also, relatively young mileage-wise.

    If it is a BMW, you can even "buy" the required maintenance from BMW that will extend the 50,000 maintenace. You will have yourself a vehicle that will be somewhat lower in initial cost and will have ALL costs for perhaps 100,000 be -- to you, out of pocket, that is -- $0. This "bought and paid for" insurance does not increase the reliability nor decrease the desirability of such a car.

    This approach simply mitigates your monetary expenses.

    Our BMW and Audi experience would tend to trak with your expectations: these cars (and I am certain not ONLY these cars) are breathtakingly expensive to maintain and repair outside of the mfgr's programs.

    But, with all due respect to the reputation of some of the other cars (those, perhaps from Japan), they too are expensive to maintain and repair -- despite some anecdotal evidence. CR currently has downgraded the Lexus G's, in fact. Even the Audi A6 retains a "recommended" status, as if that means much (CR is great at picking dishwashers however.)

    The point is, the LPS class of cars discussed and disected daily here are probably more alike than they are different. Each brings personality traits to the party -- and you have to decide which ones suit you best.

    The Lexus, TO ME, is the one I would pay the least amount for -- for it is too serene in the performance department. The Infiniti is the Japanese BMW and the Acura is the Japanese Audi (sorta, and only sorta since it is, fundamentally a FWD car, the FWD bias is so strong, whereas the Audi, even at present is a 50-50 biased ride.)

    The Cadillac, with that new V6 DI is, presently, heavily discounted and already comes with a 100,000 powertrain warranty -- and the Acura, as noted, has received very favorable reviews despite lackluster sales (it looks like a plump Accord to many of us.)

    Perhaps the Cadillac is worth a harder look, for value alone -- and it can be equipped with both technology/performance bits and AWD.

    Perhaps, despite its Accord leanings, the Acura RL also is worthy of your consideration for the value prop alone.

    If money were not in one's way, it is hard to resist the 535x. But for performance, luxury and fun an A6 4.2 SLine if one can be found, would be a great ride -- and about 15 minutes per year can also be a great value.

    Bang for the buck -- ???? Well, again the new CTS 3.6DI AWD with the FE2 suspension and the lux package is "almost a BMW 5 series" -- at least if you evaluate cars largely by their wheelbase and width.
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