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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans



  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,707
    It gets even worse if you look at their torque differences and the RPM curves. But then again, Porsche has built the best small cars for decades. You kind of expect them to make great things.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,430

    TTS Coupe: $48K-53K
    Cayman S: $62K-80K
    911 Carrera S: $100K

    Apples and oranges. Complaining about extra 200-300 pounds on car that is 20K+ cheaper is simply not fair. For extra 20-50 grand anybody can throw in extra engineering and lightweight materials and horsepower. And even mighty Porsche couldn't lightend its Carrera 4 (AWD) version - 3150 to 3197 lb, making it below 200 lb differential against Audi at 50 grand more.

    Audi should be compared to similarly priced vehicles to comparison make sense. Weight is money, for hundred grand I sure would expect a sports coupe to be 300 lbs. lighter. Just like if one pays 100 grand for a luxury sedan, they should expect stuff, they would not find in a 30 thousand family "fully loaded" sedan.

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,284
    I feel compelled to point out, that, yes, but the TTRS has smoked the Cayman R (the fair comparison) around any track they've both been measured on, despite any weight disadvantages, or so-called "trouble with the curves."

    On the other hand, I agree that ALL car manufacturers need to put their vehicles on a diet; it has gotten out of hand. At least BMW, AUDI, and Porsche try and make an effort, can't say the same for everyone.

    On the plus side, my A3 is much quieter than a Mazda 3 regarding road noise (sound dampening) and the Mazda feels tinny and thin in comparison (particularly the sheet metal seemed dent prone). I would take the Audi in a crash or accident any day, so their are some advantages to the heft, but I would like to see cars get lighter in general.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited October 2012
    I feel compelled to point out, that, yes, but the TTRS has smoked the Cayman R (the fair comparison) around any track they've both been measured on, despite any weight disadvantages, or so-called "trouble with the curves."

    I feel compelled to point out that you're wrong: Nordschleife Lap Times

    As you can see scrolling down, the Audi TT RS Coupe is 8:09 and the (old) Cayman R was 8:06. But even more impressive is the new 2013 Boxster S, which has come in at 7:58. With the weight reduction and chassis improvements, I expect the new Cayman being somewhere between that time and the 7:37 posted by the new Carrera S. My bet would be 7:48 for the Cayman S.

    But I don't need to go to Germany with a racing helmet to form my personal opinion. Even with moderately vigorous test drives, I have felt the weight and bulk of Audi's. For a big luxury sedan like the A8, not a problem. For an A6, a little more so, for the S5, it didn't feel as nimble as a 335is or M3. The TT S (I haven't driven the RS), was not as rewarding to drive as my old S2000, let alone a Boxster S or Cayman. It has a great looking interior and probably is the most comfortable with cruise control on at 75 mph on the highway, but that's not the top of my priority list for a sports car. BTW, I am even more critical of the BMW Z4. The make a great diesel SUV, as my garage can attest. But not a very compelling so-called sports car.

    I understand Audi has elected to go with AWD as their preferred performance drivetrain. It certainly beats FWD to death. But it adds weight and takes away the nimbleness of RWD when you get into the sport sedan, coupe and sports car categories, IMO. I'd make the same claim relative to Porsche. Give me a GT3 over a 911 Turbo any day. Or if you are feeling really generous, a GT2.

    P.S. Price vs. Weight. Yes, I agree with a previous post that Porsche has a few more engineering dollars to spend to squeeze out more weight. The point I am making is that right now, Audi doesn't seem to think that weight is a problem, period. That's an attitude issue, not a cost one.
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,524
    Apples and oranges. Complaining about extra 200-300 pounds

    When creature comforts started taking over cars, they will get heavier. back up camera's, Nav system, Infiniti adjustment power seats, quieter highway cruising.) Also look at the safety equipment that cars have to have, air bags, safety glass etc..

    Of course car companies can build the extra light weight sport car with no thrills Honda S2000, Cayman R (2855lbs) or how about the Honda/Acrua NSX (2975lbs) Porsche knew what lightweight was in 73-74 when they built the 911 RS 2175 lbs (this was the SL (superlight) weight)...

    The question do car companies want to build them? BMW had the The BMW M3 CSL (Coupé Sport Leichtbau) weight 3050lbs (light for BMWs) I'm sure BMW could have shaved off an extra 200lbs from the car, but elected not to. Wouldn't be nice to be able to buy a BMW 3M coupe, at 2800 lbs, making 330hp, or better yet, just a 3 series sedan or coupe CSL...
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    When I read your reference to the 911 RS, I realized that I'm probably guilty of taking this discussion too far for the ELLPS forum. ;)

    I had originally responded to another post suggesting that Audi is in the engineering leadership position. I agreed that, while they make some very nice cars, they could use a dose of attitude adjustment and make weight loss a higher priority. Across the board. That doesn't mean I think they should shoot to compete with 1970's vintage sports cars. But almost every vehicle they have now competes for the title of "heaviest in the segment". The Q7 was by several hundred pounds the heaviest SUV we considered - even though it has a smaller interior than the MDX. That excessive weight made it feel slow and ponderous handling compared to the X5d, Cayenne and even their sister Toaureg (which is no lightweight either). Lost sale relative to us, given that it is otherwise a fine vehicle.

    We can take up on another sports car board whether Audi has been too pig-headish on maintaining AWD as their only drivetrain on their TTS, S4/S5 and other performance models. But you will never get a TT anything to feel as tight, sharp and visceral as my old S2000 with the extra weight of a water buffalo in the passenger seat. Maybe a juvenile buffalo, but a buffalo all the same.
  • victor23victor23 Posts: 201
    Blame not car companies. Blame our litigious culture resulting in the heavy (literally) safety mandates (often overkill or just nonsensical). Blame also a dumb consumer car culture where cupholders and stereo take precedence over driving dynamics even in the so-called "enthusiast" segment.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 2,897
    The "creature comforts" of nav, power windows/locks, power seat adjusters, soundproofing add very little weight in relation to the manual systems they replaced. Especially with todays mini electronics and motors. Soundproofing is not the heavy stuff of bygone years either. The culprit in weight gain is safety systems in response to federal regulation and insurance industry standards AND the overall size of the vehicle. While you can add high strength steel in the framing and aluminum hoods, etc which can save a few pounds, physics will not be denied and the weight goes up somewhat relative to the increase in the size of vehicles.

    Just look at tires. My first car had 13" and even 16"s were large throughout the 90s. Now the the standard is about 17" with 18"s pretty common as well. Can't tell me that these larger wheels and tires don't add significantly to the weight.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I think that is mostly correct, but it would be interested to see where all the weight is if you pulled a couple of cars apart. Here's three I'd start with:

    1995 Maxima SE 5-speed manual: 3,001 lbs with 3.0 6 cylinder engine. Length 187.7 inches; width 69.3 inches.

    2013 BMW 328i 6-speed manual: 3,360 lbs with 2.0 4 cylinder engine. Length 182.5 inches; width 71.3 inches. AWD/Automatic: 3,595 lbs.

    2013 Audi A4 FWD CVT: 3,509 lbs with 2.0 4 cylinder engine. Length 185.1 inches; width 72.2 inches. Quatro: 3,616 lbs.

    Wheels and tires have gone from 15" 215 series on Maxima to 17" 225-245 series on Audi/BMW. In fairness, the Maxima has gone up to 3,551 lbs, and is now 190.6 inches long and 73.2 inches wide. That's A6/535i size, both of which are pushing 4,000 lbs. Also, in spite of the greater exterior width of the A4 and 328 compared to the older Maxima, the interior width (shoulder/hip) is almost identical. Much of the exterior width difference is in flared fenders and design elements.

    I don't think we should go backwards in structural rigidity and crash worthiness. But I have to question how much that accounts for the significant weight increases since the mid 1990's. You can have very light safety cages that can withstand tremendous stresses, as Formula One proves.

    Oh well, I'm up about 10% in body weight since buying my 1995 Maxima. I'll get that down to 5% before I complain on this subject again. Hopefully, before Thanksgiving.
  • victor23victor23 Posts: 201
    Sorry guys for my lack of precise knowledge, so please just bear with me.

    I think I remember reading somewhere that the reinforced cages added weight significantly (new materials notwithstanding, or maybe because of their higher costs?); in particular, new requirements on the roof strength in case of rollover raised the center of mass and changed the vehicle balance and handling, which in turn was one of the reasons to mandate the electronic stability control. FWIW. I don't know about you, but I would take an active safety over passive any day. I am concerned much more about the capacity of the car to outmaneuver and avoid an accident than about it saving my a** when the accident happens.

    You are right about tires, but maybe the difference is less than it appears from the rim diameters. The overall wheel diameter is probably not much more that it used to be. In the past, high-aspect passenger tires were the norm, while now low-profile (such as 45-50) tires are ubiquitous even in the "family" sedan category.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,049
    edited October 2012
    Regarding your observation that "Audi has been too pig-headish about maintaining AWD . . . on their . . . performance models." I have no real proof (other than what I read in Car & Driver, et al) of my observation that Audi has built its reputation on AWD (at least in the US, if not elsewhere) and it has, of course, marketed itself, trademarked, copyrighted, and probably patented its "image" (if possible) on quattro and "The Four Intersecting Rings."

    Audi has labored and fought hard to be equated with "quattro" just as a famous cola manufacturer has fought hard to be called Coke; or as hard as a tissue manufacturer has fought to be called Kleenex.

    If Audi reverted to FWD instead of AWD several things would happen and not many of them would be good (at least from both marketing and performance perspectives). And there is no way I [at least] could ever imagine Audi marketing RWD cars -- any more than Coke wants any cola product to be called coke (with a little "c").

    Audi would also probably point to near premium, premium, and super premium (and exotics, too) cars that are all-wheels-driven vehicles.

    Several of the world's greatest automakers save AWD for their highest performing models. Perhaps AWD is in Porsche's blood what with Audi, VW and Porsche all being related. Perhaps Lamborghini too has AWD in its blood due to Lamborghini's relationship with Audi. The same for Bentley.

    Audi would probably argue that AWD is their performance vehicles' "secret" [not really secret, of course] weapon or sauce as the analogy might go.

    I love the use of the phrase "pig-headish" -- and assume it was meant to be ironic or at least be a double entendre since Audis are "front end" (or head end, as opposed to butt end) heavy.

    I just don't see Audi doing anything else than continuing to embrace AWD -- especially for its highest performing cars. :shades:
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,524
    Victor, litigious culture is correct, however, if car companies would build a super light version of a M3 or A4 in a small run to give the driver enthusiast what they want. I would have to say that i highly doubt the average BMW 3 series driver wanting to buy one of those, As stated before, you can have a light weight car, but do the car companies want to build them? When BMW built the M3 CSL it was sold out before the production run started, Porsche does not have a problem selling their Cayman R either. It seems selling the cars isn't a problem..
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited October 2012
    Perhaps AWD is in Porsche's blood what with Audi, VW and Porsche all being related

    That will get the blood boiling with a lot of Porsche enthusiasts that are far more knowledgeable and much more proficient sports car drivers than me. I've been casually shopping for a replacement for my 911 C2S that I sold 18 months ago. In the process, I've attended a Porsche track event and test driven several cars, new and used. The conversations I've had with Porsche employees, enthusiasts, and professional drivers has been pretty educational.

    Bottom line, very few serious Porsche enthusiasts consider the 911 Turbo (AWD) to be the pinnacle of the 911 line. They put the GT3 RS4.0 on top, GT3 next followed by GT2. Some would put the new 991 C2S ahead of the 997 Turbo. They like naturally aspirated engines and RWD. The GT2 is the RWD answer to the Turbo S, and is fast as hell, but not preferred by them over the GT3.

    The AWD 911 Turbo and various "4" cars were, as explained to me, partly based off the fact that the 911 RWD has a front/rear weight balance of roughly 37/63 and some buyers liked having another 150+/- lbs over the front wheels and some extra grip. That was usually followed by a thinly veiled "amateur" adjective to further describe that type of buyer. But not the preference of the serious enthusiasts, it seems. As a matter of fact, I have heard from several that they have acquired 993 Turbos (last of the air cooled engines) and actually disconnected the front drive train to make them RWD.

    The Cayman and Boxster will never be AWD. They are already perfectly balanced and light.

    My pig headed comment was probably unfair. Audi has built quite a reputation on Quatro. But remember, they started out as FWD, which is the worst of all worlds, so AWD was really a necessity if they didn't want to fire all of their engineers and start over. A RWD TT RS is probably not in the works, and the fact that the heavier AWD TT RS has none of the feel and sharpness of a Cayman S or R is probably not important to the typical Audi customer. But it would be to a Porsche enthusiast.
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,524
    When I read your reference to the 911 RS, I realized that I'm probably guilty of taking this discussion too far for the ELLPS forum.

    Not really, I had to relive one of the most scariest moments of my driving life. My father and I bought a 73 911RS, needed work, after getting the car fixed and driving it for a couple of months, I took it to San Diego Stadium (where the San Diego Chargers play) SCCA has been having auto cross there for about 30 years, this is where I learned NOT to apply brakes or take your foot off the gas too quickly.. Spinning a 911 is not fun....
  • flightnurseflightnurse at 35K feetPosts: 1,524
    Just look at tires. My first car had 13" and even 16"s were large throughout the 90s. Now the the standard is about 17" with 18"s pretty common as well. Can't tell me that these larger wheels and tires don't add significantly to the weight.

    The weight of the 13" steel wheel and the weight of the aluminum 18" can't be that far off..
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,284
    Your link to that track in Germany had an '09 TT RS tested with an unnamed driver. That's ancient by car standards. :) granted, you could argue the Cayman S and R are due for updates, but the '12 TTRS is faster than the '09 version I'd imagine, and a time around 8:00 will probably be easy with the 360 HP '12 version of the TTRS. The Cayman time was for a 2010 model for what it's worth.

    Road & Track has some figures that don't take into account curves, corners, and turns, but are useful for the Audi owner pulling up alongside the Porsche owner at a stoplight who revs their engine up to see who can get to the next stoplight fastest :P

    0-60 MPH (Ahhh, yes, AWD works wonders): Cayman R 4.4 TTRS 4.0 (That's smoked)

    Quarter Mile: 12.8 for the Cayman R, 12.6 for the TT RS (That's closer, and for the $20K+ difference in price it should be).

    Also, when they reviewed the TTRS in January's issue, I can't find it, but I remember them beating their very own Cayman R's time around the track (don't remember which track they use).

    But if your giving them away as Christmas presents this year, I won't reject either in my driveway come 12/25/12. Thank you. :P
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited October 2012
    Tell you what, if you put a measly Boxster S in my driveway for Christmas, I'll put something in yours that will kick my butt between stop lights and we can call it even. Do you have a color preference for your Camero? ;)
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,284
    Speaking of weight hogs, the Camaro is an excellent example.

    The last guy to track a Camaro at an Audi Club event had a busted leaking transmission (auto) and tow truck trip to bother Hertz for (of course, the track tow truck was nice enough to tow him a mile off the track onto public roads so Hertz wouldn't be any the wiser. :P
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    edited October 2012
    The wheels are bigger because the brakes are bigger. The brakes are bigger because the cars are heavier. The cars are heavier because the wheels are bigger. ;)
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,430
    edited October 2012
    Just got first service on my 328i wagon (E91) and got a 328i sedan (F30) loaner - first time around. Couple of first impressions, especially on those contentious issues:
    1. Boy, it got bigger. Not elephant yet, but it's basically equivalent to 5-series from two generations ago.
    2. The engine is quick. The car is faster than mine, noticeably - but I still like engine sound on mine. Just can't replace the six cylinders. Transmission - well, if I can't have a manual anymore, this automatic is doing really fine job, especially on sports mode.
    3. The start/stop feature is not such a satan's work, as some people want you to believe. Did not disturb me. Once you know it's there and you're prepared, it's fine.
    4. Steering is a disaster, especially low speeds/parking lot. The car feels like Buick and that's NOT a good thing. Highway speed (it's variable) is probably not as bad, but at low speeds the
    car definitely lost its sportiness.
    5. The seats are terrible. I have sports seats on mine and this loaner has standard seats. They are bulkier and seem a bit more solid than previous generation (it seems to be common complaint that 3-series seats go out of shape too quickly), but the thigh support is just atrocious. 20 minutes and it already hurt. Yes, I'm a heavy guy and even my sports seats get to me, but it takes them 300-400 miles before they do. This is probably single disqualifier to me. I hope they have sports seats option, for their sake.
    6. They eventually fixed the cupholders. Funny, we all make fun of the cupholder obsession, but I get in with my morning coffee and look for the old style holder (you know, that POS plastic thingy springing from the front trim) and it's not there. Getting quickly upset, then after a few seconds I realized they would not market one without cup holders, so it must be there - sure enough, the holders were covered with a neat plastic cover in front of the shifter. And boy, why it took them four generations to figure out the right place and size is beyond me.
    7. They kept most of the switches and knobs in same locations, so it was easy to find. However, some switches and iDrive have different feel on clicks - the clicks feel "harder", more plastickey, including iDrive. I think I like my old one better. Also radio switch was odd, I can turn it off by pressing, but to turn it on, I have to dial (in effect increase the volume) and couldn't get back to my previous volume level with one press. Really odd - don't know if I missed something, or if this is on purpose.
    8. Overall dashboard look is just like mine - boring, unispiring and seems like they again have a 1 to 50 ratio of manhours for development of mechanical features vs. interior. The dials are as boring as mine, same with trim. Yes, it is all put together well, but they need to hire couple of Italian designers. I generally like simple, but there is simple/elegant and simple/basic. I think 3-series is the latter in many places.

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

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