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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • mvs1mvs1 Posts: 462
    I'd be inclined to scratch my head and agree.....if you look at GM's large SUVs, Tahoe, Suburban, etc. The difference between invoice (what the were selling for, real world) and MSRP was what 5k? Less rebates and haggling your around that 8k-10k mark the employee discount offers.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,109
    My guess is that the cars discussed were the A4 and the A6, the allroad, A8 and TT probably don't merit that much attention considering their relatively low sales numbers.
  • bjbird2bjbird2 Posts: 647
    Interesting that those "crappy cars" from GM have been getting better JD Powers quality reports than any of the higher-priced European spreads recently.

    http://www.jdpower.com/news/releases/vds2005089.asp
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    And Subaru has the lowest number of defects per 100 of any other manufacturer in North America.
  • bjbird2bjbird2 Posts: 647
    "And Subaru has the lowest number of defects per 100 of any other manufacturer in North America."

    How do you get that from the JD Powers Chart? Subaru looks like it's below the middle of the pack at 260 defects per 100 vehicles.
  • 35673567 Posts: 6
    I am not fimiliar with the CPO plan, but with a new BMW I have never had a problem getting a loaner. And yes, your "home" BMW center is will give you the service loaner.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Subaru topped the IQ study this year, which covers just 90 days. They are not tops in long term dependability. Lexus has won that title for 11 straight years. Also, even if a Buick Century is rated best in class for dependability, I stand by that its a crappy car.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I saw it in another article somewhere, I'll have to find the link and post it.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,109
    . . .in the A6 3.2. Quickly adapting to using the tiptronic as my "normal' mode.

    In previous versions of Audis 5 speed tips, control of 2 - 5 was possible -- 1st gear was still under "Hal's" control, "Dave, what are you doing? Dave?"

    The new 6speed tip does at least two things better than even a two year-old tip:

    1. Control of 1 - 6 is about 98% "in your hands and feet" (it still will upshift if you have a stupid attack, it will downshift if you are in 6th and slow down to stop and "forget" to use the shifter and it will also kick down if you punch the throttle all the way down.)

    2. Responsiveness -- actually forget responsiveness in the previous versions, there was little to speak of (upshifts were sort of responsive, downshifts less so in the 5 speeds -- even with the 4.2. Note: the previous version S6 tip seemed to have a "better" program, as did the RS6, I assume -- I never drove an RS6, i.e. )! The new 6speed tip shifts "now" when I say not a .5 second (or more) after I make my request. This is a substantial improvement.

    I am sitting here chuckling that I am going to great pains to explain how the new automatic transmission is almost as good as a manual, almost. The tip, with my only 1,000 mile experience is still "more work" arguably than a 6speed manual -- not that I am opposed to "more work" but that it is odd that so many computer programs (and programmers) and electro-mechanical bits (and engineers) have put forth so much energy and thoughtfulness to make something that is "almost as good" as some (many?) manual transmissions have been for years and years. :confuse:

    Of course the positives about this car outweigh this admittedly [very] personal preference. Important suggestion: My advice on this matter -- do not test drive a BMW 530xi with a manual transmission (it is OK, however, to test drive same with the step transmission BMW offers), for it will make you wonder why virtually all of these LPS cars are ONLY offered with "genuine imitation crab meat" instead of the real thing.

    While I'm on about the transmission, I started cleaning up the accumulated test reports and brochures from the various and sundry cars my wife and I tested. I have, for another day or two probably, kept the Audi brochure, the Cadillac STS / 4 brochure and my favorite (brochure) the Infiniti M(35X) piece. My checklists, notes, comparison and one-off magazine test drives and reviews are all neatly piled up soon to be tossed -- but I, of course, made a last -- final -- glance at all of them.

    My memory of the Cadillac and the Infiniti, I'm certain, do not do them justice, but there are a few "notes" that do bear sharing.

    The Audi wins, hands down, not even close, the prize for the interior -- the Cadillac loses hands down, not even close. Yet, the Infiniti (I had configured Platinum with Bourbon for my M35X order -- and ended up with my first choice color combo of Dark Green Pearl and Amaretto in the A6) with this love it or hate it interior (Terracotta in the BMW X3 -- a rose by any other name, that is) was certainly worthy of an honorable mention even though it does come in as second to the Audi. Remember, Audi's interiors are often thought of as "the benchmark" in Premium Class automotive interior design -- they ooze quality and taste. For the Infiniti on its first car in this class (arguably) to come this close basically means that Audi had better keep looking over its shoulder and it will certainly see Infiniti gaining on it.

    The Audi, too, has a bit more solid "thunk" when the doors close -- again the Cadillac is a distant third and the Infiniti (without the benefit of comparison) would be completely satisfactory. Considering the differences in MSRP, the Infiniti would have to be the winner, even if only by a nose. Without the price consideration the Audi's nose protrudes, however. Look out Audi.

    Engine refinement (not in a vacuum) -- hmm, much tougher to call, or at least initially so. The Northstar V8 is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Yet the Cadillac comparably equipped to either the A6 3.2 or the M35X is $10,000 minimum more money and technically it is more like $13,000 since the Cadillac requires the sport package option to even think of keeping up with the Audi or the Infiniti once the road ceases to be flat, straight and wide. Both the Audi and the Infiniti leave the Cadillac in the distance in this respect. The Cadillac engine may be a jewel but its "setting" is just all wrong in standard trim.

    The Infiniti V6 is about halfway between the Audi 3.2 and the 4.2 in terms of urge -- it is the winner in the power department for certain. In terms of smoothness, refinement, maintenance intervals and SOUND, the 3.2 rivals the sweetest sounding engine I've ever heard -- the Audi 4.2. I can only conclude that "had I a magic wand, I would want my 3.2 equipped with an Audi bi-turbo breathing apparatus."

    I loved the power of the M35X -- the A6 3.2 is "decent," "adequate," "capable," but hardly likely to go much beyond a 7.5 (or MAYBE an 8) on the grin meter. The 3.5 M35X is at worst an 8. Audi is so close, but just can't quite manage the hustle that the extra ponies provide in the Infiniti.

    Sound systems -- the BOSE system in the Audi IS the best Audi sound system, ever. The surround capabilities (for Sat Radio) are notable and quotable. The Infiniti, however, has the best system I have ever heard, period, in ANY car (tied with the Acura TL). The M also plays DVD-Audio discs. Bonus! The Infiniti is a 9.5, the Audi an 8.5. Notably the Cadillac system is fine, but it seems to lack definition (almost as if there is a fine mesh of cheese-cloth over the tweeters) and gets an OK 7.5.

    Comfort -- the Cadillac in a straight line, the Infiniti and Audi are tied for second place, simply because of their more "sporting" capabilities (apparently.) Drive a Cadillac with Magna-Ride and ask yourself if such technology can't be reverse engineered or outright purchased and put to good use by Audi and Infiniti -- I'd pass on the Audi (allroad-like) air suspension for Magna-Ride in a heartbeat.

    Overall, you have three decent cars (and I am not discounting the RL or the 530xi, I just didn't consider them after a certain point in time.) The Infiniti still seems to be the most impressive -- FOR THE MONEY. My heart, as you probably already know/knew, belongs to Audi though.

    Moreover, for those of you who followed my "saga" with respect to getting the Audi at "price parity," I still think Audi would fare far better in the sales stats if it returned to those days of yesteryear and priced the Audi du jour aggressively against its Japanese rivals.

    Then as a final note to Cadillac -- unbundle the HUGE $ option packages so that a guy like me could actually go into the dealer and "build" an STS w/AWD and sporting intention for less $! :shades:
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Are your posts available yet in Cliffs Notes?

    ;-)
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "Sound systems -- the BOSE system in the Audi IS the best Audi sound system, ever."

    According to this month's issue of TAS, Audi is working with B&O of all people on a new system in the 2007 Audi A8 that will make their current Bose setups look like a boombox from Wal-mart.

    "Virtually all of the Beolab 5's innovations are currently being applied to the harsh sonic environment of automobiles. The initial beneficiary will be the 2007 Audi A8 sedan, Audi's flagship vehicle. The advanced sound system will consist of no fewer than 14 speakers and 1100 watts."

    "While the speaker drivers are nothing unusual, their deployment is. Rather than mounting them in open-air spaces such as door frames and parcel shelves, each speaker is treated to its own custom enclosure."

    "The crown jewels of this set are the tweeters which, when summoned, rise ghost-like from the dash top. These units employ Acoustic Lens technology to disperse sound waves over a remarkably uniform 180 degrees. "

    "Not one, but every speaker in the Advanced Audio System gets its own Class D digital amplifier, ranging in size from 28 watts for the midranges and tweeters to 250 watts for the sub."

    "Finally, and perhaps most significantly, B&O attacked a raft of other challenges via the aggressive use of DSP. The company's newly developed processor supports 16 seperate channels and uses 14 of them to create an EQ, delay, and active crossover profile for each speaker."

    It sounds like Lexus\Mark Levinson may have some serious competition from Audi.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Sounds very interesting, it'll keep Lexus on their toes. However, my impression is that B&O is know more for styling than for sound, so imho the jury is out until we hear both a 2007 A8 and 2007 LS.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,109
    The Infiniti system is BOSE, as is Audis.

    I would possibly find the Audis system as good as the Infinitis if I could audition the Audi system with the same DVD-Audio Discs I used in the Infiniti.

    B&O and Mark Levinson win in an important category "image." ML electronics are certainly almost without peer, of that there is little doubt.

    B&O is a good image company for Audi to team up with.

    No one asked me, but I would probably marry the best electronics with the best speakers or at least pick a "high end" company that often is considered the best in both fields or at least is well thought of in both fields: McIntosh electronics and speakers would be my choice, were I limited to but ONE mfg. I might consider Thiel speakers or perhaps Revel speakers with McIntosh electronics (since ML has already been taken.) But even then, one would have to ask who has some of the best transports? Well, Pioneer Elite wouldn't be too shabby -- but they are, gasp, Japanese. So we're back to picking something that has the "it" factor.

    B&O is certainly more exclusive than BOSE. The BOSE company, truth be told, might actually be able to do a better job, but heck, BOSE is overexposed, I suppose.

    So we're back to B&W? B&O? McIntosh?

    I'd vote for a 100% McIntosh set up -- I must've misplaced my ballot.

    The 13 speaker system in the Audi is only given a markdown because I can't "prove" its capabilities. I have become quite taken with really good DVD-Audio (but it is probably a still-born medium) and a few Japanese makers will play them and Audi will not. If you don't give a hoot about DVD-Audio, I am confident you will find the Audi Audio system to be "among the finest."

    I am not too concerned that the B&O system will be a step backward -- yet I wonder if B&O really is more about "show" than "go," time will tell.

    I am now home and at 1,300 miles. The A6 makes 250 mile stints (with one stopover for a bottle of cold iced tea) darn near effortless, that's for sure.

    P.S. Maybe Audi didn't consider McIntosh since Subaru got there first. :(
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Interesting choices. McIntosh isnt bad by any stretch, but they definitely would not be my choice for the ultimate car stereo. Thiel's use of pretty much metal everything in their speakers makes them overly bright and foward in my opinion, pretty much requiring tube gear, and I dont think tubes would work very well in a car. Revel is interesting because they are under the Harman umbrella, along with Mark Levinson and Lexicon, so Lexus could use Revel designed drivers if they wanted to.

    Pioneer's transport is a good one, and a popular choice for many high end companies such as Simaudio and Theta. However, Denon and Esoteric (Teac) have better ones. Both are also from Japan though. Another possibility, (probably the best possibility if this ultra system wants to have SACD capability as well as DVD-A) is to use a Linn transport from the Unidisk, which comes from Scotland.

    When considering amplifiers, space and efficiency is a lot more of a concern than it is in home audio. Big fat Class A Krells would be great, except they would weigh hundreds of pounds and turn the inside of the car into a blast furnace. Class D amps are best suited to cars because of power-to-size\heat ratio, but most digital amps are noisy (see: Sunfire).

    My choice for pre and power amplification would be PS Audio. Their new "gain cell" powered digital amplifier is capable of unimaginable power (1000 watts per channel!) with almost no heat, and none of the heavy harmonic distortion of the traditional digital amplifier. PS Audio GCA-MC

    Speakers is a tough one. Assuming conventional dynamic drivers would be used, I think Von Schweikert is the best of the best, better than even Dynaudio and Revel.
  • bondguy1bondguy1 Posts: 228
    Drove the A6 tonight about 80 miles roundtrip to a relatives house. Cruising at speeds of about 70-75, the whole jouney averaged 24.8MPG. I was kind of shocked because there were some instances when I gunned it getting on the Turnpike. It must be the FSI engine. I didn't realize that fuel economy would actually register so close to the highway figure quoted on the window sticker. When I filled up my car, it took 19.6 gallons of unleaded (Premium...$48.00 Argh) and the distance to empty meter in car registered 560 Miles to Empty.
  • jlbljlbl Posts: 1,333
    Here there is a picture of the battery place in an E-60, which is %50/50 very well balanced.
    José

    http://www.bmwnation.com/images/gallery/5/e60e61/e60_prod_paintshop_01_s.jpg
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,109
    I pretty much agree with your remarks. Remember what we seem to think Audi (and others) may be doing -- building a NAME or IMAGE relationship.

    Of all of the things you said, pertaining to high end companies, I think I will now scratch McIntosh (and they're already spoken for by Subarau) and substitute Linn entirely.

    I use Tukans as my surround rear speakers, and although they are somewhat pricey, Linn does make good stuff. Then, again, there may be one issue -- is Linn TOO obscure (from a name standpoint)?

    Audi could use Linn to great effect and perhaps that is what will happen with B&O, but for many people, even B&O will be somewhat of an unknown.

    Yet, Lexus used ML, which is hardly a household word.

    Cache first HAS to be the motto.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,109
    . . .so I will post it where the cars are that seem to be the most demanding of the gas we put in them.

    I was surfing along over the long weekend whilst at my mother in law's and came across this web site:

    http://www.toptiergas.com/

    You'll certainly want to check this site out, but here is a brief tease:

    "TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline is a recently established new standard for gasoline performance. Four of the world's top automakers, BMW, General Motors, Honda, and Toyota recognize that the current EPA minimum detergent requirements do not go far enough to ensure optimal engine performance.

    Since the minimum additive performance standards were first established by EPA in 1995, most gasoline marketers have actually reduced the concentration level of detergent additive in their gasoline by up to 50%. As a result, the ability of a vehicle to maintain stringent Tier 2 emission standards have been hampered, leading to engine deposits which can have a big impact on in-use emissions and driver satisfaction."

    There are only 8 retailers of gasoline that pass the TopTier standards -- the site lists them.

    I pulled into my local Chevron station today -- and right on top of the pump was a plug for the TopTier gasoline standards and of course they are one of the 8 retailers. I'll have to check their prices -- but as far as I can tell there is no difference (in Cincinnati) as to brand, only as to location. If all the gas is $2.32 in the immediate area, the differences are never more than a penny. If the gas is $1.99 ditto. Today gas is back to $2.45. Yesterday on my long drive from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati the differences were as great as $.25 (speaking only of Premium juice, BTW) from station to station, again location dependant.

    Check out TopTier -- I remember when we had our first BMW way back in time and the dealer was adamant that we used "BP" gas. For years the Audi dealer was equally adamant that we use either Marathon or Mobile or Chevron.

    Hope it is not just marketing.
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    Interesting you came across that website.

    Car And Driver in their August 2005 issue had a editorial article on Top Tier gasoline.

    Speaking of BP, starting I believe next year, all Ford branded vehicles will have the BP logo on the gas cap!!
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "I use Tukans as my surround rear speakers, and although they are somewhat pricey, Linn does make good stuff. Then, again, there may be one issue -- is Linn TOO obscure (from a name standpoint)? "

    Apparently Aston Martin doesnt think so. Linn DB-9 systems
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,109
    Well heck, for a lot of folks Aston Martin is obscure.

    Maybe B&O was all that was left for Audi in the esoteric (but not TOO esoteric) space.

    Said it before: I've not been a big fan of BOSE, but they have managed to put together some excellent in-car audio.

    BOSE must be too "pedestrian" for Audi; or for the "Audi" Audi hopes and wants to become, one would imagine.

    Shame on us, we're already (possibly) assuming that B&O will be all yak and no shak! All hat a no cattle, etc.

    B&O certainly has made some cool looking stuff for the home (or Dr's office) over the years. I am just really enjoying the BOSE system in my new A6 -- more than I thought I would. Just got the new Van Morrison, "Magic Time" and Coldplay "X&Y" CD's for my traveling music -- the Mark Levinson system, I would hope, is better -- but this new Audi BOSE collaboration is, as I noted, the best Audi sound system ever. And, it is among the best I've heard regardless of mfg.

    The Infiniti with the in-seat speakers was just a tad better but in fairness that was with a DVD-Audio source. Someone somewhere must know why Audi chose NOT to include DVD-Audio or SACD in this car (and I haven't forgotten the obvious answer: price.) Perhaps it is just because there isn't much of a selection of such media.
  • greenbeltgreenbelt Posts: 55
    Where in the world did these numbers come from? I think your calculator blinked.

    Generally, the top of the line Lexus (like the SC430) will have a rating something like 63 problems per 100 vehicles or about .63 per car in the initial quality studies and the 80 problems per hundred vehicles in the long term study.

    Industry average for the most recent JDP Vehicle Dependability Study was 237 PP100 or 2.37 per car. The only European companies above the average was BMW at 225 and Porsche at 149 (just behind Lexus' leading 133). See http://www.jdpower.com/news/releases/vds2005089.asp for the VDS.

    The JDP Initial Quality Survey showed significant improvement in recent models for Audi, Jag and even Mercedes. It's at http://www.jdpower.com/news/releases/pressrelease.asp?ID=2005069&search=1

    I checked Consumer Reports April Auto issue today and there reported numbers were pretty much in line with JDP. Both sample sizes are similar and statistically significant.

    Regards
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    TAS made mention of the fact that B&O had previously been known more for fancy wall hanging CD players than stuff that necessarily sounds good. The Beolab 5 though is supposed to be a suberb speaker, (havent actually heard it myself) and the author of the article said that he was in an A6 test vehicle that B&O was working on and it apparently sounded pretty good.

    While I think the Lifestyle systems, Wave Radios, and "Quietcomfort" headphones are all junk, I agree that Bose has done some nice work in cars, but they've done just as many cars that are mediocre at best. Very hit and miss. I think I can understand what Audi is thinking though. Bose is used in a lot of cars, including mass market cars like Nissan, so having the Bose logo on the head unit is just not that impressive, especially for audiophiles who dont drink the Dr. Bose kool-aid, and like to watch a few minutes of the infomercials just to laugh at them (ok, maybe thats just me).

    Maybe a top Audi guy likes B&O, or maybe B&O wanted to get into the car business and approached Audi? There's definitely no shortage of speaker and electronics companies to choose from though, and actually I'm kind of surprised that Mercedes or Audi havent turned to German audio companies. German speaker and electronics maker MBL AkustikgerŠte GmbH for example, makes some of the best gear in the world, easily the equal of a Mark Levinson.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Speaking of Dr. Bose, have people on this board seen the following? I think it looks absolutely revolutionary, and Automobile magazine calls it "the first mega-breakthrough in car suspensions since the gas-pressurized shock....astonishingly silken ride and...remarkable level of handling achievable without compromise in the same vehicle":

    http://www.automobilemag.com/news/0410_bose/

    Coming soon to a Lexus near you (I hope!)

    P.S. make sure to check out the video by clicking on the old-style LS400, about midway through the article...you will be impressed!
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,109
    If I copied wrong, I apologize -- as far as I can tell, I did not, however.

    "Audi Improves Ranking in Consumer Reports Reliability Survey"

    Survey finds European vehicles continue to be among the least reliable overall

    Mar 7, 2005

    source: Consumer Reports
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Thanks for the link. Indeed, that’s impressive.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Speaking of CR, in the latest issue they indicate that next month they will be testing 5 "luxury sedans." They are the Acura RL, Audi A6, Cadillac STS, Infiniti M35 and Toyota Avalon.
    Wouldn't you think the new GS300 would have fit in better in this group than the Avalon?
    I can see it now in the next issue of CR, "You don't have to spend 45-50k as the 33k Avalon clearly shows." I predict it comes in number one in this group in the Toyota-crazy CR next issue.
  • I Believe this thread in the forum is biased and of no realworld comparison. It is two sedans that should be on this forum, (PAT your probably going to erase this as always when people dont agree with you)

    The first is a fully loaded 300c awd and the second is the toyota avalon. I understand your premise, of look at the entry level of their bloodlines and if its not luxury than their not allow entry into the discussion but i believe the real view is both of these cars fully loaded is more of a bargain and out performs and in some cases out classes some of these so called allowed cars in this thread, the one thing i dont understand is there is threads talking about something similar to this manner on Car and Driver, Motortrend, Road and track, automobile mag, and various euro mags and the one thing they share what the almighty edmunds dont is the ability to see the market change and restructure itself.

    Pat and everyone else, you can think that the cars allowed are the ones that should be here but the funny thing is the cars thats allowed are the same cars being traded in for the 300c and the avalon. This will probably be erased as no one here can have a view that against the moderators or the owners of the so-called allowed car for fear of being beat, but if someone sees it than great, one last point i know that this view is against the moderators but the moderators are against the norms so ......... never mind that would make too much sense sorry. erase away. :confuse:
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 31,206
    You seem to have issues..

    One piece of advice.. Use a paragraph now and then.. Your posts stand a better chance of being read...

    regards,
    kyfdx

    MODERATOR
    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

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