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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    I drove a W140 S Class for 3 years. it was the last of the great Mercedes tanks IMO. What a fantastic boat!
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,689
    LOL, I didn't like the style of the W140's as much as I did the W126s.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,689
    That really can be said about any manufacture these days. Our Genesis or our neighbor's new Altama. Yes, you can check all fluid levels and add if needed, but that is really about it.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,536
    We are supposed to buy new from the dealer, drive for 3 or 4 years, then trade in on another new one.

    I concur. I'd even throw the Japanese Lux brands into that mix. They certainly don't want the shadetree mechanic messing with the car.

    I know I used to do my own tuneups (now, you just change the plugs), oil changes (if you can find the oil filler tube, today), and brake jobs on all of my cars.

    It's too much of a hassle, now. Many times, it takes specialized tools.

    They like turning their inventory over new, and 4 years as used, "Dealer Maintained" cars, while you sign the dotted line for a new one.

    Personally, I'm not that brand loyal. I think the only model I've owned more than once would be an Acura TL and BMW 3 series.

    All the people I've known that have owned Porsches (3 of them) swear by their reliability and robust build. Can't disagree with them as they seem to stick with Porsches once it's time for a new one.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,992
    Like fedlawman said, it is a shame that $30, $40, $50K cars are considered disposable in our society. Many people only see the out of warranty repair cost or maintenance cost & not the cost of depreciation.

    Today's cars are extremely complex. I have a thought in the back of my mind that I might buy the lease out on my 2011 328xi. If I do so, I'd like to be prepared. So I went & bought some Mobil 1 0W-40, a Mann Filter, & an oil filter wrench. I looked up how to change the oil on an E90 & found plenty of posts & how to videos. Then I get ready, drive my car up on to a 2 x 4 so I can get a look see. And there is a metal plate covering the underside of my engine to get to the oil drain plug. In order to get to it, I'm going to have to now find a way to raise the car. Dealers charge a lot of money to repair & maintain European cars. I really don't know how much less expensive using an independent shop would be. They still have to pay competent mechanics a good wage, pay over head, plus parts.

    Regarding Porsches. My Mom has had her 2011 Cayenne V6 for almost 2 years. She's racked up over 40K miles already & loves it. Maintenance costs are through the roof though (they wanted 300+ to rotate the tires & another $300+ for an alignment). So much so that she has the maintenance done at our local BMW Dealer.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium

  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,536
    nyc....that's crazy costs on your Mom's Cayenne.

    That said, doing it yourself, unless you have a garage, a lift, specialty tools, etc can prove to be more costly given how the German marques are engineered. I don't know if it's better, or worse. It is more costly, though (as you give a good example of with your foray into changing your own oil).

    I have an independent guy who's made a good living servicing German cars for the last couple of decades. He has so much business because of the outrageous dealership charges, you have to book him no less than a week in advance...even for a simple oil change.

    On my 335i, I had him change the oil in-between the "scheduled" free oil changes from BMW. BMW gives a basic oil change for $70-$80. My mechanic charges 1/2 that. But, he also doesn't give me loaner car, doesn't have cappuccino in his waiting room, nor any flat screen TVs to watch while you wait. He does have a little greasy tube TV that looks like a relic from a Walmart Black Friday Special, circa 1985.

    I haven't turned a wrench on any car for quite some time. Whereas, 15 years ago, I could do a complete tear down of a small block, by myself, in an afternoon.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 15,651
    I could tear one down (assuming you took it out of the car for me!) but I guarantee I would never get it back together again. At least not running. But I always thought it would be fun to get a beater/junker to experiment on. Basically practice with the tools, and see how it all goes together. And then just have the parts taken away in boxes!

    as to service, if I ever do get an older BMW, there is a very highly regarded indy shop about 3 miles from my house. They are factory trained, very experienced, and supposedly reasonable cost (about what you would pay for any reputable repair shop, and way cheaper than a dealer).

    they only work on BMW and MB (well, they added Mini now). So I am sure they know what they are looking for before you even show up (all the common failures and gotchas).

    having them nearby makes me a lot less leery of buying say an E46, and that is where I would go for a PPI.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2007 Volvo S40 (daughters college car)

  • buyabuya Posts: 74
    edited December 2012
    That's about what they want for doing the same thing for LR2 at the dealer here, and it's not included in one of their affordable service plans either.

    You may find yourself still needing the help of a mechanic after you got the tools and electronic gadget. While it's good to read up and learn the work that might be needed on your car, so you won't get ripped, it's better to let the mechanic do the job because he has more experience than you on the brand (as your post seemed to convey).

    In my younger days I often thought why can't such mechanically superior European cars be available to everyone to appreciate? Now I see the reason -- repairs and maintenance. The car makers have made their cars affordable to many, but the R & M cost is a reason why some people would take the lease and dump the car when done.

    It would be wise to shop for a garage that service your BMW. My cars maintained at dealership because the garage guys I used aren't cheaper and not better either. Don't take recommendations for granted, and always price out at dealers and garage both for every job and read the forums for advice. Dealers won't say "let's try this and see", but some garage does, and that could be their ways to milk you out of thousands per try until nothing gets done and you wised up.

    Good Luck.
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,190
    While I have not had a lot of experiance in the matenance aspect of cars- I do have a thought- the g I currently roll in is he longest I've kept a new car- I have had oil changes and breaks done in the car in its 32k miles and 5 years of ownership - while I don't drive a lot and own a low maintence Japanese brand (that was 12k cheaper then it's closest rival) I have learned that dealerships are negotiable - bring in that coupon- tell the service manager you saw the price cheaper- I have and am not ashamed to say I did not pay for the 15k service at 699- I got the tires rotated and oil change for 50bux vs a competitor that they matched- other items I've done ala Cart and also on discount - when they told me it was going to cost 300 per new tires I went to Goodyear and got better tires for half that-

    The free maintence thing is laughable as an advantage. I'll buy my own wiper blades for 20 bux to save thousands any day.

    Now only if my Infiniti and the winter gas were on the same page - city mileage has now gone closer to 10 then 20
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,992
    That's an excellent point too sweendogy. Just like you did for the car, shop around. So many times the "xx,xxx mile service" is nothing more than an oil change with a bunch of "check this, check that..."

    When the tires were shot and needed to be replaced on my Mom's Cayenne, I bought them from a Good Year place for $189 each including mounting and balancing (it was cheaper than tire rack & you don't even want to know what the dealer wanted to charge). While the car was there, they checked the alignment & noticed it was way off, so I had them align the car for $59.99 + tax.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,992
    Like I said, I'm going to try it in between the first oil change (this Tuesday) & my next one. There are a few independent mechanics around here that specialize in BMWs that I will check out just in case I do decide to buy the car out when the lease is up.

    It is nice to get a loaner car when the car goes in for service. I do have my Prelude as my extra car or if worse comes to worse, I can probably rent a cheap car from enterprise for the day and still make out cheaper than bringing it to certain dealers.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,992
    I agree completely. I'd like to try it out "just to say I did it" type of thing. I've spent close to $100 already on 7 quarts of Mobil 1 0w40, a plastic pan to catch the oil so I can recycle it (and it doesn't mess my garage floor), a Mann Filter, and a special oil filter wrench before I even put once second of my time into this. I also have 3 children (6, 3 1/2, 1) & work 6 days a week (we are open M-F 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM & Saturday 7:30 AM to Noon).

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    The free maintence thing is laughable as an advantage. I'll buy my own wiper blades for 20 bux to save thousands any day.

    Not sure I follow you. In my comparative shopping of a new 2014 Cayman S vs. 2013 BMW M3, it looks like that in addition to a roughly $14k difference in actual purchase price between the two, the 4/50 free maintenance from BMW would cost roughly $3,500 on the Porsche (40k miles is a big one) using the dealer. If I need new brakes during that time, add another $1,500+ BMW advantage. So that "free" maintenance on an M3 really adds at least $2-3k in favor of BMW to the M3 vs. Cayman S, even assuming I go independent on the Cayman service.

    As for Infiniti, that was a real joke between a friend of mine here several years ago. I had a 1995 Maxima, he had a 1996 I30. Exactly the same car mechanically, other than mine was a manual, his an automatic. I spent less at the Nissan dealer on service over 8 years and 120k miles than he spent in 7 years and 60k miles. Take Nissan prices for just about everything, multiply them by 1.5 or 2.0 and call them Infiniti prices. And then come up with a bunch of crap that the Infinii "needs", but the Nissan service manager never called for. Hopefully, your dealer experience is a little better than that.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 15,651
    I have had a 2000 Acura 3.2 TL for about 4 years, and have always taken it to the Honda dealer. they were perfectly happy to service it. I am not even sure what the prices are at the local Acura dealer relative to them. But since until recently I also had 2 Hondas, it was a lot more convenient to get them all serviced at the same place!

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX (wife's) and 2007 Volvo S40 (daughters college car)

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited December 2012
    Our hometown PA Acura dealer is more reasonable and o higher integrity than either our DC area Honda and Acura dealer, so we try to have our two serviced there when we are traveling back.

    The latest sham is "cracked engine mounts". Chevy Chase Acura has told us that we need them replaced on both our MDX and TL. Local independent pointed out that the hard rubber mounts always get cosmetic surface cracks after a few years and it has no impact on structural integrity. Based upon our experience, Chevy Chase Acura is slightly above Bernie Madoff on the integrity scale, so if it's not warranty work that Acura covers 100%, we will never go there again.

    Unfortunately, part of the problem where we live is "dumb money" owners that will take their cars to places like Chevy Chase Acura for service, get screwed with excessive charges for suspicious work, and talk about how nice the car wash and vacuum job was. Without realizing that their wallet was vacuumed as well. Final example. Our MDX had a loose hatch latch that caused it to rattle. When in for routine oil change, they quoted my wife $300 to fix it saying it would take 2-3 hours. Another woman in the waiting area had same exact problem. She told them "sure" to the repair; my wife said no thanks. Brought the car home and in about 8 minutes flat, armed only with a Phillips screwdriver, I undid the plastic cover around the hinge, found the loose screw that had fallen out of the hinge and replaced it - with a lock washer, this time. I washed my hands, we went out to a nice 2 hour dinner with a bottle of wine and came back $175 ahead.

    Sorry for the Chevy Chase Acura digression, but for anyone in the DC area, be forewarned.
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,190
    Regarding your post on a porshe and a BMW m3- Prob the reason you are not following me- this is Ellps chat - 14k difference minus the 3500 40k service, really, I'm talking apples to apples - I also mentioned the coupon and shopping around aspect of dealing with regular maintence costs- these cars are basically pretty easy- Gas, oil, tires and pads- most other "problems" are covered under the basic for the first 4 years - these cars have the engine upfront & trunk in the back- not vice versa- which I'm guessing makes them more complicated, thus costing more to fix.

    The Nissan Infiniti statement is funny, wouldn't a good friend tell his buddy - you have a maxima (i30) take it to the Nissan dealer for those oil changes. The upselling in service is not limited to luxury cars btw.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited December 2012
    I concur, the BMW free maintenance is much less of a benefit if you are comparing a 328i to an Acura TL than an M3 to a Cayman. I'll try to stick to ELLPS comparisons.

    Unfortunately, my friend with the Infiniti lived in Virginia and his closest Nissan dealer was a bit of a crook, as well. My Nissan dealer in Maryland - or perhaps just the "red team" service manager I was assigned to when I bought my car - was very honorable and reasonably priced. Unfortunately, dealership changed ownership and he retired a few years ago, so that's no longer the case.

    You are right again about upselling service not being limited to luxury cars. A couple of years ago, the local TV station did an undercover sting and caught the VW dealer charging for additional services that were not only unnecessary, but they didn't actually perform. Idiots tried to charge one elderly customer for an air conditioning recharging service on an older car that didn't have A/C.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,775
    Our hometown PA Acura dealer is more reasonable and o higher integrity than either our DC area Honda and Acura dealer, so we try to have our two serviced there when we are traveling back.

    I was driving to Orange County, CA to do some repeated consulting and my '05 TL started developing a power steering noise. I took it into a local Acura dealer where I had never been, figuring I would be out a few hundred $$ to get it fixed.

    I was SHOCKED that this was, by far, the best dealer service experience I have ever had. They writer was very nice, and he wanted the mechanic to hear the noise, so he had him ride along with me in my car (!!!). Then I got a ride to work. At the end of the day, I went to pick up the car and they fixed it FREE! They implied an o-ring might not have been installed correctly, so no charge! And they also torqued some bolts in the suspension to see if that would eliminate a creak I had. Top it off with a car wash, all at no cost.

    They could have easily taken me for a ride, and I wasn't even a local customer. Tustin Acura in CA.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Too bad they are 2,500 miles from me. Was the car still under warranty at the time?
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,775
    Too bad they are 2,500 miles from me. Was the car still under warranty at the time?

    No, over 100K on the car.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 7,536
    tlong....great experience from that dealer. I've always said, whether it's the most basic Civic, or the most expensive TL, the dealer will either make or break the owner's opinion of that particular brand.

    Several years ago, my Mother had a Cadillac STS that was under warranty, and at the time, the selling dealer was really taking her for a "stooge". She got me involved and I started questioning everything they charged her for that was supposed to be warranty work. As I started to find more and more malfeasance with this particular dealer, I decided to file lemon law on behalf of my Mother. Long and short of it, after many fights (since the Caddy dealer tried to deny they charged for work that should have been taken care of under warranty), GM agreed to buy the car back.

    I swore I'd never buy a Cadillac for as long as I lived (and have stuck to that promise). Cadillac lost two customers (probably more given my negative word of mouth) over one dealership's service dept.
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,190
    I agree dealership experience is important - I like not having to go to the dealership at all-'or as few times as possible -
  • jg88jg88 Posts: 59
    My process is to only have the dealer do warranty work on a new car. The exception -- oil/fluid changes while under warranty. All wheel/tire work is done by a chain -- when I get a new car I buy a lifetime alignment package that will include free rotations. Every 5k, the car is aligned, tires rotated. I usually max out on tread life that way. I would never consider buying a tire from the dealer either -- there are too many companies who will beat their price all day long. Ford comes closest to offering reasonable tire prices from their dealers, the rest are 30+% higher, or more.

    I concur with the "dumb money" theories -- dealers will overcharge as much as they can. Once out of warranty, I go to independents who may specialize in certain types of cars as they are usually ex-dealer folks who go out on their own.
  • buyabuya Posts: 74
    Very smart. My advisor on whichever car it was said their dealership sends their cars out for things like alignments, and so I took mine to a garage chain and paid $99 for it. I'd only need 1 alignment on my cars if any at all, and if the lifetime alignment package is more than $99, it'd be too much. But the service pack is a smart thing for those who need alignment a lot.

    One time an advisor ignored the alignment request because he said my car didn't need it, and the shaft can only be aligned so many times. Didn't know how true that was.

    Tire rotation is a must and it should be front and back rotate on normal tires, but left and right switch for staggered. But go to the garage or gas station garage that has the right size and "star" tools for your car!
  • buyabuya Posts: 74
    Dealers charging for services they did not perform. Absolutely! Think my dad had been routinely charged for services that never made at the dealership where he purchased his car, so I took mine to that dealership for check up and lo-&-behold they said some parts needed to be replaced. I asked for the bad part held for my inspection and the advisor shown me a greasy part near the back door to their shop. That was the last time we bought a car from that dealership nearly - ahem - 20 years ago.

    My preference is to cultivate a relationship with my advisor and head tech at the dealership and not have to try a garage after warranty is over and redo the same service at the dealers.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited December 2012
    but left and right switch for staggered.

    Don't think that works for most cars. Virtually every vehicle I've owned or shopped that has staggered wheel sizes also has "unidirectional" tires with an inside and outside. Meaning that all four corners are unique and they cannot be rotated. If you try to put a left front on the right front you will either end up having the outside sidewall facing the inside or the tire will be rotating the opposite direction intended. Not sure what happens if you put a unidirectional tire on backwards (i.e. rolling in opposite direction intended) but don't think I want to find out on a new Porsche or BMW. If the tires are not unidirectional, no problem, but that's the exception based upon the cars I know that have staggered wheel sizes (i.e. usually higher performance models).
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,689
    edited December 2012
    BTW, oil change for my BMW is about $10 more then the local indie shop charges, and the Indie shop wont give me a free loaner... I'll pay the extra $10 for a free car.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 1,689
    This is not a problem on cars that do not have staggered wheel sizes, like TL's or G's, BMW and or MB. My BMW 330 has staggered and "unidirectional" tires and really haven't had a need to "rotate" them..

    So hows the 911 or Cayman shopping? Was at the LA Auto show, very much liked what Porsche has done to the Cayman and Boxster, but have a hard time justifying the price for a new one. Currently I only drive my personal car roughly 5-6K/YR, can't get into paying $850/m lease on a new Boxster S.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I've put down a deposit to secure the #1 spot on a dealer list for the 2014 Cayman S. Earliest I would get the car would be late April, according to the latest release information. My "build your own" price on the Porsche website works out to an MSRP of $80k. We'll see; I can't place the order until Porsche gives the dealers the go ahead, which won't likely be until January. The only way I can do a purchase like this is to bite the bullet and pay cash. Do not want to be reminded of the frivolity of it all every month.

    On the tire thing, I think on 50/50 balanced RWD cars like the 330i, the tires naturally wear pretty evenly. It's on FWD cars with 60%+ of the weight on the fronts and the fronts doing both the steering and the driving that they wear considerably faster than the rears. Maybe my TL should have reverse staggering?
  • buyabuya Posts: 74
    edited December 2012
    Great point! I almost forgot the unidirectional thing! I had the staggered tires switched in a sedan type performance car and no one said anything to me. But that was back in younger days. The more recent sport car had one direction tires and the garage guy explained that to me too when he can't switch those tires. I thought it was just a Michelin thing. Less work, no complaints.

    It's all going to be history! Nice cars still appeal to me, but it's like vegans appreciating farm animals. I'm opting for a no fuss no muss use-and-toss car that is decent to drive and no batch concerns. Working on finding such wonder car at the moment.

    Good driving, good fun and good luck to all of you who desire or drive European cars or performance cars.
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