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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    I prefer the rosewood to the aluminum. One particular M45 Sport that I drove had the aluminum trim and it made the interior look very cold and uninviting.
  • kmg68kmg68 Posts: 108
    I completely agree with you! First, I do think that the M35 has more to offer and is less expensive than the Lexus, however there is a certain intangible feel to a Lexus that I can't seem to get passed. As a result, I am still undecided. Second, I refuse to pay list price. Through Costco's car buying program, Infiniti dealerships are offering deals at $2,500 above invoice. This is very tempting! Not sure if Lexus is doing the same, but I have not heard of anyone even coming close to this kind of deal on a Lexus. I plan to wait at least three months to purchase and will see where prices stand at that point. Good luck!
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,049
    As far as weight is concerned, AWD, when added to a RWD or FWD car usually adds over 150 pounds (sometimes more) onto a car's weight. When the car is not available without AWD it is difficult to determine what the car might weigh if it did not have AWD; but, after years of reading about the various AWD systems the weight factor that is oft repeated is ~ 150 pounds. Check the M35 vs the M35x for some indication of this.

    In the Audis case, quattro actually can be said to improve the understeering behavior of the A6's chassis. The Audi's engine faces north south and is ahead of the front axle -- the weight distribution of the Audi A6 (C5) which could be had either with or without quattro was worse (that is the front end was even heavier as a %) without quattro. So, despite the current fact that the A6 (C6) can only be had with quattro, suffice it to say the Audis understeering behavior would be even worse if it were FWD. For the record, Audi is starting down the road toward better balance by announcing its intention to move the engine back, perhaps ultimately going to an E W orientation, who knows. Audis quattro system IS mechanical, but it is instantaneous in its actuation and does not rely on putting the brakes on to a wheel that is "misbehaving" (although ESP, which is standard, does have this as one of its capabilities).

    All the rave today is to proclaim rearward biased AWD. The Audi, currently, starts out with its torque split 50-50, the Acura is FWD biased and the Infiniti is RWD biased to the extreme even though it can move torque to the front end when needed. Acura's system IS new and SH-AWD can shift the torque on the rear wheels from side to side to improve cornering. This torque shift can be as much as 5%, which under the right circumstances can be all the difference.

    Other systems and electronics that the others are equipped with do provide some of the same benefits of SH-AWD, the stability program's capabilities leap to mind. However, the Acura has both SH-AWD and a stability program. Now, if the Acura would shift to a RWD biased AWD, that would probably have the car magazine writers tongues all awag.

    Generally I agree with each and every point, including the mystery that is the Lexus AWD system. But the suggestion that the quattro system is significantly heavier than other's is a bit overstated. Further, although the torsen system lacks the left right torque shift capabilities of SH-AWD, it has been demonstrated to be a very effective technology for improving the sporting nature of Audis for 25 years and continues to do so today. The very fact that Audi is a legitimate player in the Premium Performance Luxury Sedan market is in large measure due to the preeminence of quattro in the market.

    I also grant that now that "everybody" is rushing to have an AWD sport luxury premium car, that Audi is no longer the "leader of the pack" -- but I would still argue that Audi is "a" leader "in" the pack. Worthy of being in the class.

    The car gods at C&D and R&T and Motor Trend seem to really fawn over both the Acura RL and the new M's from Infiniti -- less so the Lexus for only 1 reason, according to C&D the new Lexus is perfect in every way, but it lacks "passion" (it is somewhat less appealing from their driver's perspective). They can say nothing bad about the Lexus, don't get me wrong, they just don't find it "involving or engaging" when they're behind the wheel.

    If someone gave me one of these cars, free of charge (thank you Opra if you're reading this) and I was unable to trade it in or sell it for 50,000 miles, I would be quite pleased to have any of these dandy new AWD Premium Sport Sedans. If, under the conditions of "free," I was given a choice, I would probably take the Audi A6 with a 4.2 engine (remember in my fantasy it is 100% free).

    In the real world, however, with a new 5 series BMW in the wings and these three fine Japanese cars now competing for my dollars, the Infiniti -- TODAY -- would win my vote. Why?

    Almost a BMW insofar as the way that it handles or so say the Car Magazine writers; almost an Audi in terms of the interior -- so says ME. More power, more content, better warranty, more bang for the buck. The lease on an Infiniti M35x for 39 months including tax and for 15,000 miles per year that has a sticker of $50,240 is $677 with no up front money.

    My allroad is $790/mo (same deal essentially and the MSRP was under $50K) -- and a new A6 3.2 similarly equipped and priced (if that is even possible) has a lease number that begins with an "8!" Now, time will tell if the new 5 series AWD can be both a match in content and competitive in price -- hence my qualifier, TODAY. Moreover, it is also possible that Audi Financial will "get aggressive" and meet or beat the global competition (remember there is a V6 STS AWD buzzing about soon, too.)

    So I'll take anyone of them for free and thank you very much. They are in many ways comparable cars -- today the Acura and the Infiniti seem to be bearing down hard on the Germans, see they just flashed their lights, as if to say "move over."

    Audi and BMW will counter, of that I am certain -- it will be soon, but that may mean a couple of years in the car biz.

    Hope these thoughts, opinions and observations are helpful or at the very least interesting.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    I know that to most people it may not be an issue, as the front part only slopes down somewhat when you have the seat as high as possible. With the seat at a normal height, the angle is fine.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    C&D comments were for the GS 300 only.
    Next month they will test the GS 430.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,049
    And perhaps the extra power of the 430 will win them over -- my interests for my own purchase remain exclusively in the AWD camp, so I will certainly read the review, but even if they say "GS300 Passion Lost" and "GS430 Passion Found" it won't be on my radar. Only Audi, thus far, in this league, seems to be putting V8's and AWD together (footnote, I guess you could add Mercedes, but then the price point jumps to the breathtakingly expensive zone.)

    Ditto the STS V8 AWD ($62,000+ -- too bad the STS can't be "option unbundled" -- it might be a contender, too, then.)
  • richcreamrichcream Posts: 205
    "Only Audi, thus far, in this league, seems to be putting V8's and AWD together."

    Considering that the A6 4.2 is, at most, 3/10ths of a second faster than the M35x to 60mph, and that it's fuel economy is worse by at least 1mpg overall (naturally), why the preference for the V8?

    Funny thing is, the Audi V8 is quieter than the M's. Is that where the extra $6k-$9k is going?
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,049
    If you have had an Audi V8 equipped car in the last 8 to 10 years, especially the generation that started in the then new to the US A8, you would know, or might know that the Audi V8 at full throttle makes the sweeeeeeetest of sounds.

    And, remember, I was in my imaginary world where Opra or somebody had offered me a free Premium Performance Luxury car of my choice -- despite my desire NOT to have a gas guzzler, well, if Opra were to offer me a $59,000 Audi A6 with all the trimmings, I figured why not go for the big dog with great sounding engine, I could afford the $3 buck/gallon gas if my basic car was a gimmie.

    When not the beneficiary of Opra's largesse, I would certainly take the 280 HP 270 lb ft of torque engine in the Infiniti any day.

    If you want to grin, tho, take either an S4, A6 or A8 for a test drive -- and when the coast is clear, floor it -- the grin-o-meter will go to eleven!
  • richcreamrichcream Posts: 205
    I'm surprised that you didn't see my post where I talked about doing just that (flooring the V8 A6 and the S4 six speed.)

    I had the S4 at 110mph with the salesman gripping the armrest and the "oh sh*t" handles for dear life!

    I liked the V8 A6, but for the money, I think I'd go for the M35x. If it were the Oprah-car-giveaway scenario, then I might opt for the V8 A6.

    Let me ask you this:
    Assuming you could get the lowest stated prices listed on this site for both cars:
    The M35x w/ Premium Pkg for $51,000 ?
    OR
    The A6 4.2 fully loaded for $56,000 ?
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,049
    If Opra is not involved, I guess I would have to go with the M35x -- but, and this is not to bring up old subjects -- the premium package is goofy.

    I would pay for heated rear seats. I have no need for rear seat DVD. I'm not sure I would have passengers who would feel that I had chinzted out on them if they did not have a reclining back seat. And, I have had a rear sunshade in two Audis and I would pay for that.

    The Premium package is, in my estimation, leaving money on the table (for Infiniti). Let me buy the options onesey twosey, even if they cost a bit more when not bundled.

    For a short moment of time, I actually thought I would consider the new Cadillac STS AWD, but then I found out it was not offered except with a bunch of other stuff that raised the price to over $62,000. I love toys and gadgets and stuff, probably more than the next guy -- but when you take a $40,000 car or even a $48,000 car and force a bunch of options on the buyer to get to the point of being able to order the AWD option for an additional $1900 -- well I'm not your customer.

    I understand packages, I am not against them -- but unless something is a prerequisite and there is a good reason for it, don't make me buy a rear seat DVD player to get a $300 sunshade.

    So, I'm not interested in the Prem Pak but of the choices you offered assuming no Opra, well -- the Infiniti wins again.

    What a revoltin' development.
  • richcreamrichcream Posts: 205
    I agree completely with the sunshade thing....who's idea was THAT?

    Also - watching DVD's in the back of cars is overrated, especially when you have to crane your neck to look up at a flipdown screen (have you ever sat in the first row of a movie theater?...can you say chiropractor?)

    I would like to get just the rear power seats and sunshades though, and I think soon enough Infiniti will offer them a la carte.

    Hey does anyone have any info on the matte wood? How it holds up vs. laquered? I can't recall a car that used it, at least not in such abundance as the M.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Actually, the Merc CLS500 has a HUGE slab of matte wood finish across the entire dash, Jag style. (Glossy finish is optional).
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    The 7 series uses a lot of matte wood as well.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Matte seems to be the new way to do wood trim.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I think the matte look makes it look and feel like real wood. Aston Martin does this too in the DB9. A lot of wood is so well polished to the point of looking fake, the matte treatment solves this problem.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I agree, a quality matte finish can give it a furniture look and feel, instead of typical "car wood". For example, the trim in the final run of the XJS was much more natural looking than the XK8. The XK certainly has a lot more of it, but it has about 8,000 coats of gloss that just isnt necessary.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Whats funny is that I hadn't even noticed that in the 7-Series because I've been so turned off by the car since 2002, but yet there it is - matte finish woods in several grains/colors.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    And every one of them is ugly.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I know you dislike the 7-Series, but calling the wood ugly....my goodness..lol!

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I mean the dash design is ugly, and the refresh didnt fix that. The refresh didnt really fix anything. I think I actually liked it better BEFORE they updated the styling. That horizontal stripe seems to be the "BMW look" now for interiors. Cant say I like it.
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