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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • pasgenerpasgener Posts: 33
    "Teenagers finding themselves"?? Not so sure about that. Infiniti has become "sporting luxury with value" (G35, G35c, new M35/45, FX35/45). Acura has been "Honda plus" for a number of years.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,049
    Acura, it has been written, wanted to produce -- in the Legend -- the Japanese Audi. Budget (or high value) Sport-Luxury (and if you were Audi, plus quattro). Until the new RL, based significantly on a long test drive of a new TL, I assumed Acrua's rival (from Europe) remained Audi. When the RL came out, I thought, naah Acura is off on another road. But then the new A6 came out and I thought again.

    Acura seems to be targeting (for conquest) Audi; while Audi, in Germany at least, has targeted BMW for conquest.

    Having spent a reasonable amount of time "in and around" both the RL and the GS (at the auto show here in late Feb) and having driven the Audi A4 & A6, both Mercedes and BMW's small and midsized cars and Infiniti's secret weapons the G35x and the M35x, here is my take on the current rivalry German to Japanese. If it is not a rivalry, then at least the following equivocation is meant to suggest where these brands must feel their foreign competition stacks up.

    Acura = Audi
    Infiniti = BMW, then Audi
    Lexus = Mercedes

    Broadening this to include same country rivalry:

    Audi = Acura, BMW, Infiniti
    BMW = Audi, Infiniti
    Mercedes = Phaeton (possibly other VW's over time), Lexus, BMW (7 series).

    I certainly do not mean to suggest I think these are "=" [equal] cars, I used the equal sign to denote what I have read about the marketing and engineering (in that order) approach.

    Audi certainly must concern itself with Mercedes, especially the A8 and the S class (and now more than ever that so many Mercedes can be had with 4Matic).

    Acura must look at Lexus as a competitor for market share, too. However, based on reading too many car magazines for too many years, it does seem that Lexus, for example, has attempted to be the Japanese Mercedes and that Infiniti is becoming the Japanese BMW.

    Of course, were I an exec @ Audi of America corp headquarters and I picked up my copy of today's Wall Street Journal with the slick plastic wrap proclaiming "Introducing the All-Wheel-Drive Lexus GS," I might feel I was being "attacked on all fronts" by Acura, Infiniti, Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, Jaguar, Volvo and even VW.

    My BMW and Mercedes owning friends and colleagues, kid me without mercy, saying that Audis are VW's who know somebody, Acuras are Honda's that know somebody, Infiniti's are Nissans that. . .and that Lexus are simply Toyota's that . . . well you get the idea.

    If Audis lease programs stay in the "incomprehensible zone," I would think the Infiniti would be a no-brainer. Hopefully Audi gets its head out of its nose and doesn't allow me to walk away.
  • mg808mg808 Posts: 22
    Very nice write up.

    Its funny how the Japanese stigma of Toyota, Honda & Nissan is very hard to shake off.

    Lexus has tried and done the best job. The others still show a design lineage from their parent companies.

    Pureists (if there are any), will always say mention the parent companies, instead of Lexus/Acura/Infiniti.

    In the end, its what you want to drive.

    Its also interesting how the Japanese car companies target their german rivals and one-up them in design, relability and price.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    How come the "lesser" Avalon has the remote engine starter, but the luxury GS and upcoming IS don't have this feature/option?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I would argue that Infiniti is still working on that. There's nothing sporting about the Q45. Once their entire line is focused on sport first like BMW's is, then yeah, sure. But while there are still remaining stragglers from the "old" Infiniti days, not quite.

    Mark, Audi might have been the original focus for Acura's Legend, but unlike Lexus who stuck to their S class guns with the LS, Acura lost that focus long ago. The Legend became RL, a boring, bland, completely unsporting car that wasnt a particularly good value, whose target was ES shoppers, and I guess LS (or so Acura wished). The Vigor was bland nothing, and the TL that replaced it was bland nothing until about '99 or so. The rest of Acura's products we're "Honda plus" as it was put.
  • I think the "Parent company" argument could be made for more than just Japanese brands. The most notable of which is Audi (VW). Take a look at the new Passat. There is a striking resemblance to the A6. Also, you are beginning to find Mercedes parts in Chryslers. On more of a hypothetical note, I wouldn't buy a Maybach if I had the money, because it uses so many Mercedes parts. This kind of thing happens with all manufacturers, all more concerned with the bottom line than individuality.
  • untrueuntrue Posts: 18
    That is because most lexus,infiniti and Acura cars are actually sold in their native countries under their Toyota, Nissan and Honda badges.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    That's why the stigma has reversed.

    There's no stigma associated with buying Japanese any more and hasn't been for about 10 years, ever since their QA improvements left the stagnant U.S. companies and ever falling German companies falling behind.

    The stigma, is 'why in the world did you pay more money for something that works worse?'

    Or as my sister in Savannah says when I ask her why in the world she drives an Acura RL when her friends drive MB's and BMW's. She say 'I got the money honey, I just dont' got the time'. What she says in private company about her friends...well, that's private.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    That sort of thing may be happening with all car companies, but with two leading German brands BMW and Mercedes it happens a lot less than in Japanese cars. Everyone knows that a Maybach is just a giant Mercedes, the kind of car they always wanted to make anyway. BMWs are pure as pure can be, they share nothing with any other brands. Even the Mini is a fwd car unrelated to a BMW. The Phantom uses a 6.75L version of the BMW V12, but it isn't even close to a 7-Series in construction. Yes there are Mercedes parts a whole lot of engineering in Chrysler, but nothing in the reverse like Chrysler parts in a Mercedes.

    VW and Audi are a lot like Toyota in Lexus, from styling to engines and everything else they share a lot from their "regular" brands to the luxury one. Though other than the grille I don't think the new Passat looks anything like the A6, imo.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I was very surprised to see how much body sits behind the rear wheels on the new Passat. Its side profile seems almost buick-ish with such a big butt.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I'll have to look at the picks again, because I didn't see anything even close to a Buick about the Passat. VW/Audi does have a lot of front overhang on a lot of their cars and everyone knows why.

    M
  • liyliy Posts: 47
    I don't why (VW/Audi) has "a lot of front overhang on a lot of their cars..." Why?

    LIY
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,049
    We all have our opinions and perspectives on the cars we discuss here, but here is another voice from the new C&D (writing about the new GS):

    "All told, the GS300 AWD provides a driving experience that's exactly what we've come to expect from Lexus: creamy, competent and quiet, augemented by beautiful interior appointments and celestial sound. None of that adds up to passion, at least to us. But for most prospective buyers, that won't matter."

    Jay Leno too was attributed with saying something to the effect, ". . .Lexus makes perfect cars, perfectly boring cars."

    I have not driven the Lexus, but I sat in the three new Japanese rivals, the GS, M and RL. The Lexus certainly had the lux/posh routine down pat. It was beautiful on a scale of 1 to 10 at an 11.

    I am 53, the Lexus seems to appeal to someone much older than I, in the same way, I used to think Cadillacs and Buicks and Lincolns appealed to the post AARP set.

    If, forced to choose, today between these three contestants, I would go with the M. Yet, this may not be fair, since I have only driven the M -- who knows, driving either the GS or the RL might change my mind.

    Thankfully, I do not have to make the decision today.
  • bartalk3bartalk3 Posts: 692
    Mark, What were the acceleration and skidpad figures for the GS300 C&D tested? Thanks.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I drove the GS 430 and it will not appeal to the AARP set.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    It has to do with Audi's engine/transmission layout. In most of their cars the bulk of the engine's mass sits in front of the front axle which makes the front section sort of longish looking, on some models. Audi being a expert stylist can usually hide this, but not always. The layout also has an adverse affect on handling, especially compared to BMW, which they want to compete with model for model.

    They're getting better are moving all the hardware towards the center of the car, or behind the front axle line, but still. The A8 and VW Phaeton for example still have most of their engine in front of the front axle, not good for handling.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    This is what I'm talking about. The new Passat seems to have more hanging off the rear than the front.

    image
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Oh, I see what you mean. There might be an extra inch or so on the rear overhang compared to the front, but I hardly see where it makes the car even close to being unattractive imo. This new Passat just like the old one when it was introduced, looks better than anything in its segment, imo. Simply gorgeous to me. Cars like the Maxima, Avalon, Accord and Camry look like lawnmowers in comparison.

    M
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    Mark, Now that you mentioned your age, I've got you by 10 years. (Which has nothing to do with anything... :-) But I Always enjoy your posts. Well almost always. The one thing I can't figure is.... When are you going to make time and test drive the RL. It's been around 4 months longer that the M you drove. But you talk about it all the time and you are in the RL forum all the time.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I agree the Accord, Maxima, and Camry arent much to look at. I like the looks of the new IS, G, and TL better than this Passat though.
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