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  • Re: Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

    dino - I guess I should add, too, that I don't actually know that the Japanese LPS brands have previously been humbled, either -- but I think (my opinion) they have, or at least they should be since they so frequently are NOT the winner in comparos in the BIG, IMPORTANT car magazines.

    I saw MotorWeek on TV this week and the Lexus GS was tested (not compared), things went along nicely as the car was shown on the track and street -- and then WHAM! John Davis pretty much put the car in its place (which was to say, it was NOT at the top of the Premium car heap, based on comments about handling, braking, etc),

    Yet, "everyone" I know who has a Lexus loves them -- of course whenever I ask why, the reason, THE reason, THE #1 REASON, the ONLY reason I can ever get out of them, is either how reliable or durable they are.

    Odd, methinks, how I can't ever seem to elicit a comment about a Lexus, Infiniti or Acura that praises their performance, style, switchgear -- oh oh oh, I take it back, once, someone told me how good the sound system in his Acura is (and speaking as a previous Acura TL SH-AWD Advance owner, I agree -- Acura has the best sound systems for mere mortals -- the only one that is better is the hyper expensive B&O option Audi offers for $6,000+).

    Don't get me wrong, a sound system is very important in a car -- but, you know, when someone tells me about their 5 series or their new Mercedes E or C, they tell me about the performance, ergonomics, 8-speed or 7-speed transmission, engine, responsiveness, cornering, etc, etc, etc.

    My wife thinks that her Infiniti was great -- from a durability (and probably reliability) standpoint. But she ended up with an SQ5 (Audi) because "Infiniti's ain't got no soul." She was against my getting a 2014 IS 350 for the same reason -- told me, I'd be underwhelmed by it's appliance-like disposition.

    I do appreciate, too, that I've read, here, the comments -- positive comments -- about the recent EL and LPS Cadillac offerings. And, well, they are hardly known as durable cars -- and no one I know who has one claims they got it thinking it would be the new world champion of longevity. OK, so here I am at age 63 -- I'm thinking I'm still gonna outlive any car I get, so I might as well get one that comes with passion, performance and pulchritude.

    Got one more data point for you: when I used to have the Acura, I'd take it to the dealer for service and would talk to other customers about their reasons for being Acura owners. Now, get this -- the BEST answer I ever got was "because I got a good deal." Meanwhile, over at the quattro cafe (and the BMW store service area, too) the folks talk about how much fun their cars are to DRIVE.

    Imagine that.

    Oh, and, yes, I know, this proves nothing.
  • Re: Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

    WEBN = We Eliminate Banal Noise.

    Those were the days . . .

  • Re: Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

    "We have met the enemy and he is us." -- Pogo.

    I agree with the following statement made here by one of our fellow posters:

    "The more you want to sell, the more you have to appeal to average Joe, even if Joe has more than average income."

    What I sense here, however, is that "average Joe" is meant to imply someone who, due to their lack of sophistication, and due to their sheer numbers has been at least partially responsible for the degradation of the "essence" of BMW automobiles (at least the 3 series apparently) ride and handling characteristics. Somehow I get the feeling here that I (we) am (are) meant to hold "average Joe" accountable and to blame for the sorry state of current BMWs steering and ride/handling characteristics.

    What BMW did was realize, apparently, that it is better to be popular with respect to your target market rather than attempt to appeal to what some have called the lunatic fringe. If you are the CEO, what is your charge? I would argue it is to first retain market share then to gain market share. If your loudmouth customers won't put their money where their mouths are, do whatever it takes to find the customers and prospective customers who will.

    Why is it so difficult, virtually impossible, these days, to find manual transmission cars? If you read what I read, you would think manuals are the best way to go if you want the best performance possible. Were I an auto manufacturer's CEO, and I read these posts and virtually all of the automotive enthusiasts magazines, I would start making stick shifts available all across my car lines. I would spend time and treasure to make certain my brand would offer stick shifts and that my dealers would be required to keep stick models in stock.

    My company would suffer, because as Pogo says, "the enemy is us" [sic]. All of us loudmouths who want stick shifts (based on our bellyaching) were all yak and no shak! Stick shifts aren't popular, they don't sell and if I listened to the lunatic fringe, my car company would die on the vine.

    Stiff suspensions and steering that offers road feel don't increase sales, in fact they must actually decrease sales or they would dominate.

    It is possible to order an Audi A6 with a sport suspension, ultra low profile tires and 20" wheels -- and those tires would be max performance designation and be made of short tread life summer only compounds. You would think the benefits of the lower stiffer suspension calibration thicker anti-roll bars and the above mentioned tires and wheels would be so obvious that dealers couldn't keep A6's so built in stock.

    The reality is, the very few sport suspension equipped models are the slowest sellers. Pogo strikes again.

    I say we all need to go out and BUY the 3 series all tarted up with every performance enhancing option possible, ditto the Audi, Cadillac and Mercedes (and other brands) models.

    We need to shut up, grow up and pay up -- the cars you're (me too) bitchin' about are the way they are because of YOU. If you had forced the issue and actually put your money where your mouth is, well we'd have great performing BMWs (and the others, too) instead of the cars so many of us decry as "not what they used to be."

    The way they used to be is not responsive to the market.

    Qwit yur bitchin'

  • Re: Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

    roadburner: You are, of course, correct -- for the most part those who attend driving events are enthusiasts and often well informed ones at that.

    Earlier I had perhaps inartfully attempted to say that I noted the folks (customers) at BMW dealers did behave enthusiastically about BMWs and often cars in general and that I could not say the same was true at an Acura dealer (for instance). Even those "dweebs" who may incorrectly talk (gush perhaps?) about their BMW's V6 engines do continue somewhat to make the point -- the "tone and tenor" of the shoppers and buyers of BMWs and Audis is -- even when factually incorrect -- very much upbeat, excited and passionate.

    The only thing I have ever seen, however, that even approaches the dweeby-ness you suggest is when someone at the Audi store asks me if my S4 (with the V6 T badge on it) has noticeable turbo-lag or some remark indicating they are unaware that Audis V6s are super, not turbo charged. I correct them, of course and they then ask me why Audi puts the "T" on both the super and turbo charged cars.

    I give them the party line that is somewhat difficult to say with a straight face, we both shrug and I then tell them my S4 is both incredibly quick off the line and very fast thanks to the instantaneous response only a supercharged (or, granted, a naturally aspirated) engine can offer.

    Even the dweebs are excited at the Audi and BMW store is the point -- the folks [shoppers] at Infiniti of Cincinnati and Columbia Acura, well, they're more concerned with things like "can I run it on regular?"

    Maybe I need to seek out a better class of dweebs.
  • Re: Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans

    Some may recall that when I wanted to go ahead and get a 2014 Lexus IS350F with every option box ticked off (in metallic white with red leather), my wife said, "we tried the Infiniti and the Acura, it just seems that they ain't got no soul . . . " We test drive cars and seek out new restaurants as damn near professions as any hobbies could ever be -- so when it came time to drop the Acura and Infiniti, we seriously went into test driving as THE weekend event for a few months.

    Here is what we noticed: Audi, BMW, Porsche and (to a lesser extent) Mercedes owners participate in "clubs," attend driving schools, take road trips en masse, make trips to Germany to visit the Holy Land (the factories where their cars are made) and spend a fair amount of their disposable incomes on logo'd shirts, coats, key-fobs, ball caps, wrist watches, wine glasses, beer mugs and other branded memorabillia. Acura, Infiniti and Lexus owners? Not so much.

    So, maybe my wife was onto something -- data points suggest the above mentioned Germans attract buyers and have owners who are passionate (they have soul perhaps?) about their favorite car brands. Other than some key fobs and a narrow selection of ball caps, only the local Infiniti dealer even had a Branded Boutique of items touting their owners love of their brand's cars.

    The BMW store, in Cincinnati, offers free car washes -- so what you say? Well, arrive at the BMW store bright and early on a Saturday morning and you will see a line of BMW's, perhaps 20 cars deep, waiting to be hand washed -- sometimes the wait is hours. The customers park their cars, take a claim ticket from the attendant and gladly walk up to the service center's lounge where there is free Starbuck's coffee, all kinds of beverages and snacks and even portable DVD players and headphones with a choice of movies. Often the folks chat about their adventures in their X5's or the pleasure they had picking up their cars in Spartanburg and driving back to Cincinnait. Some folks regale others about their European delivery pick up in Munich and the fun they had driving on the autobahn.

    Sitting in the Acura waiting area didn't even come close -- and there was no waiting room at the Infiniti dealer.

    Somehow, the Germans seemed to have cracked the marketing code to imbue their cars, dealerships and, most importantly, their customers with passion -- soul -- for their fantastic creations.

    As the sign at the BMW dealer reminds: "Don't Forget to Breathe!"

    Me? I'm heading over to the quattro cafe to check out what's in the fridge and what's playing on the big screen TV. God, I'm such a geek.
markcincinnati - Car Forums at