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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans



  • The Acura doesn't need a turbocharger to develop its horsepower. Haven't test drove or revved up the Saab's engine, but its 4 cyl. is probably a screamer at high revs. And how will it hold up after 60,000 miles + ?

    Where does a Saab have 'more performance' than a TL?
  • Most of Saab's high end lineup are all V6's with twin-scroll Turbochargers.

    Take a look at their statistics, not all 4-cylinders.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    The Saab 4 cylinder is a "WARDS" Top-10 engine.

    Well for 2007' the Saab still offers a manual gearbox while the TL doesn't. The Saab will also out accelerate and handle about as well as the TL using 4WS technology. Saabs also to a certain degree have as much if not more luxury than many of the cars in this segment.

    I say the brand belongs in the discussion is all. :)

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,993
    Very true.....I personally can't wait to see the 08 or 09' 9-5 photo's. Perhaps you know better than I do when the next 9-5 is coming out. I've now heard 09' for the first time today but have seen 08' many times. :confuse:

    Regardless the next 9-5 should be sweeeet followed by a sweeeeet 9-3 in 09' or 2010' :blush:

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "It's got all you need, it just does not need to show it."

    Oh please, spare me the rhetoric. I drove both the 2.0T and the Aero 9-3 as well as the 2.3T 9-5, and all three cars were..., underwhelming at best. True, the Saabs go, stop and turn better than most pedestrian cars, however, unlike the "in your face brands..." (a little biased are we?) I certainly wouldn't want to make a pilgrimage to a local track event in any Saab that I've ever driven. That said, I don't think I'd be inclined to visit a track in an MB or Lexus either, but I'd be WAY more inclined to use one of them than a Saab.

    Like it or don't, Saabs are not now, nor have they ever been considered "Performance" cars by most driving enthusiasts.

    Best Regards,
  • Why I want 18"? It looks better.

    Wow. you don't care about handling but you care that the wheels look better. Okey dokey. I couldn't tell you what the wheels look like on my 330i ZSP. They're simply wheels.

    But first I would like to find out how much is the stand alone 18" option cost. You would sell your brand new rims and tires which are RFTs - that's gonna net you at least $1500. New rubber 18s and rims of your choosing can cost any amount you want.

  • Air fare and lodging also cost money ya know...

    Airfare = free. Got enough FF miles right now to fly myself and my girl to Europe. By next February I hope to have enough for business class - assuming I get another bimmer or we decide to make a vacation of it. My ideal - fly out Sunday, land in Munich Monday AM, pick up the car, drop it off and fly home that day. Be home late Monday night.
  • If Acura's TSX had a turbo in 03, i woulda bought one without a moment's hesitation. That RDX's engine - a turbo - seems like a beauty. Much like the sublime engines of VW/Audi. Mmm, turbos.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Much like the TSX, the 9-3 is certainly an ELLPS. It's just that after a 4 year production run, they are simply no longer competitive in this class.

    I think Car and Driver summed up the Saab 9-3 Aero best in last year's 8 car sport sedan comparison test:

    "A shifter with tighter spacing and firmer detents would help the 9-3. A steering rack with less friction and more feedback would heighten our enjoyment. Body roll and structure flex distracted us with vibrations through the seats and floorboards. Over bumps the 9-3 stepped heavily with hard impacts that sent quivers through the body. Where's the real Saab? Surely not here in last place."
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Not to take sides on your debate with blueguydotcom, but after reading through these posts, I do believe that your personal price comparison between a stripped IS350 and loaded 335i is disingenous at best, deceitful at worst. Maybe not for you personally, based upon your "ideal" configuration. But that $10k difference that you come up with is not something that 1% of other buyers would ever experience - and claim that both cars are comparably equiped based upon their own preferences.

    Also, although I knew you were less of a "driving enthusaist" than me (my manual transmission requirement vs. your acceptance of an auto), I didn't realize that you were that ambivalent to driving dynamics. If that's the case, I'm not sure why you aren't driving a TL, which would have saved you another $5-7k+ AND given you a boatlaod of standard equipment that the IS350 lacks. Apples to apples, that's the only $10k difference we have here, far greater than the difference between the IS350 and 335i. If the handling, steering and other dynamic advantages of that sport package equiped 335i are not worth anything to you, than neither should the fact that the TL is FWD be a detraction, given that its actual on road handling, steering, etc. is at least comparable to the IS.

    In your cost comparison, what I would see as significant performance and feature differences are deemed irrelevant by you. Yet you are willing to pay more for an aesthetic wheel upgrade than I would have paid for on my "other" car. It seems to me that your cost benefit analysis of the IS350 vs. 335i is based heavily on image and not a lot on substance. Which is certainly your perogative, but I don't think it is typical of ELLPS shoppers. Certainly not the ones that are "P" oriented, but probably not even the "L" oriented ones.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "Saabs have as much performance if not more performance than a Acura TL"

    Are you drunk?

    Back in 2004, I test drove everything remotely in the ELLPS category including Volvo and Saab. When I was back in the market for a convertible last year, I also retried the Saab 9-3 Convertivble. A friend of mine is the general counsel of Saab Aerospace NA and would have been able to get me a spectacular deal, had I been interested. I should have suspected that would not be the case, since he and his wife drive an Acura and Lexus.

    As much as I would have liked to have been impressed, the Saab driving dynamics were closer to our 1996 Isuzu Trooper than the 2004 TL 6-speed I bought. I won't rip each and every aspect of it, but just try driving a manual transmission Saab and tell me it bears any resemblence to the crisp short throw of the TL or 3 series and I will have the guys from AA pick you up immediately.

    One things for sure, as much as the hard tops have some issues, you don't ever want to get zesty with one of their convertibles. It's right up there with the Toyota Solara. Or should I say, down there.

    Saab deserves a lot of credit in certain areas. Their safety engineering is right up there, if not above, Volvo's. They are refreshingly consistent with their unconventional style. They actually seem to have decent reliability, as our neighbor has been milking an early 1990's model for close to 200,000 miles. I would even give the the ticket to enter the ELLPS forum. But, unfortunately, they are a decade behind in serious driving dynamics and performance. I wouldn't have picked any 2005 model offerings over my former 1995 Nissan Maxima SE 5-speed in that area.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    I am going to respond with just this one post...

    I would like to mention that everything I said is IMO, and please don't take it personal. Also it's funny that how many people would love to tell me how to spend MY $40K on MY ideal car.

    First of all, I don't like aftermarket rims, they just don't look right with the car. Had them on my previous Honda Accord but much prefer the stock one. As for the FF miles, not everyone has them (at least not that much) as you, blueguy, so it is naive to assume everyone can do what you do. It also doesn't make sense to assume other people have the same lifestyle as you so it'll be great if we can all respect other people's decision once a while.

    As for habitat1, I understand I was comparing a stripped IS350 to a semi-loaded 335i. However, I said not just once, I wasn't comparing them equipment to equipment I was merely comparing my ideal IS350 to my ideal 335i. If we can't get pass this point then the discussion can't move forward.

    For all y'all BMW people, help me out here, what are my options if my "Must Have" includes:

    Real Leather
    18" wheel
    Comfort access
    Other colors besides red, white and black
    Auto-dimmed Mirror
    Digital Compass
    Automatic transmission

    The sales guy told me in order to get all those on the 335i I'd have to get one with Sports + Premium + Comfort Access + Auto + Metallic. That's how I come up with the $10K difference. I understand a 335i configured this way has more goodies than a stripped IS350 (like HID, auto turning head light, sports suspension, etc). However, those aren't that real important to me. If I can get my "must haves" without them for a cheaper price I'd love to do so. But as far as I know that's not possible on the 335i. Right now I am open up to all suggestions so please, entertain me.

    Let's keep in mind, my "must haves" and "don't really cares" might be dramatically different than yours. However, I am building this car to satisfy one person, and that's me. Many of you will have different priorities but that's none of my business and frankly I don't really care.

    Habitat1, to answer your question why am I not in a TL. Actually when I was in the market I had only 3 cars on my list: IS350, 330i and TL. The TL was actually the front runner until I test drove the IS350 then it's all over. I might not be an enthusiast but I like IS' light gas paddle and more powerful engine. I am a hardcore Honda fan (first car Acura Legend, second car Honda Accord) so I prefer TL's interior layout and steering. However, the comfort access, the engine and many other goodies the IS has to offer just make them incomparable IN MY BOOK. Also, even though not the biggest factor but I would love to have RWD on a $35K car. By the way, the TL comes with standard 17" and the 18" option (remember, must have) costs about $2.5K if I remember correctly.

    Anyhow, that's why I am not in a TL right now. You may not understand or agree with my decision but it's not like I didn't do my homework.

    I'd have to say that I agree with you that I am not your typical "P" buyer nor the typical "L" buyer. I guess that's how I end up with the IS350 since it is somewhat like an oddball in this group anyway :P . I think if I am the "P" buyer I'll be driving either G35 or 330i. On the other hand, if I am the "L" buyer than I should end up with either ES350 or C350.
  • Jensb,

    Can you elaborate on switching from Sirius to XM on the 335.

    I am coming off an Acura TL lease in a few weeks and am addicted to XM (blame it on O&A). I'm trying to choose between an '07 G35 and the 335. I'm struggling with the decision (as is evidenced by this forum), but one of the things swaying the G35 in the decision, was that I could get "built-in" XM with the vehicle.

    I asked the BMW salesperson about switching the Sirius module and whether the audio head unit would interface with XM. He said no, but didn't seem to know what he was talking about.

    If I can get XM built into the 335, that just may sway my decision.
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 3,094
    "Like it or don't, Saabs are not now, nor have they ever been considered "Performance" cars by most driving enthusiasts. "

    I'm fairly sure that there are several rally drivers (Eric Carlsson, e.g.) who would disagree with your statement... Although the "...not now,..." may be more true than not? Since the demise of the 9-3 hatchback, I've kinda stopped following Saab.

    I'm a Saab fan and believe the marque belongs here. Whether there's that much to discuss, however... I have wonderfully fond memories of the Saabs my family drove in the '70s, so much so that when we were expecting child #1, to avoid a minivan or SUV (hey, I was too cool for the former and practical for the latter. Well, I was...)I steered the evil wife to the Saab 900s hatchback. For 6.5 years and ~85,000 miles, wonderful choice. Even with the somewhat loose 5 speed stick. But I knew she was safe, tha hatch offered SUV practicality with very good mpg. Looked good too.

    Come '04 and it's time for me to get a new car (evil wife had graduated from the Saab to the Lexus RX300 two years earlier, of course) I considered the new 9-3. Handsome devil, felt Saab-ish enough but compared to the TL? Sorry, Trollhattan. Maybe next time...

    '13 Jaguar XF, possibly my favorite of all the cars I've owned. But, my '09 Jag XK was a beauty, as was my '05 Acura TL, '88 Acura Integra, '84 Mitsubishi Mirage Turbo & '78 VW Scirocco (my first!). And, of course, the '92 Nissan Sentra SE-R and '95 Saab 900s I bought for the ex... Ok, I like a lot of the cars in my life.

  • What in the wide-wide-world-of-sports would possess you to do such a thing? :confuse:

    Note: Your air fare is NOT free, it may not require any cash, or only a little cash, but man this is a waste of FF miles.

    Business class is quite nice and you may get to nap on board, but you will hardly arrive in Munich feeling well rested.

    You will, with most carriers, arrive in Munich in the morning. Coming from California, you would know better than I when you would arrive; but, I urge you to spend some time in Munich.

    I urge you to spend a few days driving your new car both in Munich and down the autobahn (south) to Garmisch and Füssen to see the Neuschwanstein castle, back toward Garmisch taking time to go up he highest mountain of Germany - the Zugspitze and ultimately back to Munich to enjoy the sites and sounds of one of Germany's most desirable and friendly to Americans cities.

    Munich has one of the best restaurants IN THE WORLD, Tantris, indulge. The experience of Restaurant Tantris is nothing short of a phenomenal dinner, one of the best on any continent, period. I'd go to Munich just for this meal, rent a BMW from Budget or Hertz, spend a night or two in the Munich Park Hilton or the Kempinski Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten or the Bayerischer Hof (my personal favorite.)

    Furthermore, if buying a BMW, take the tour of the new BMW world center, the BMW museum, visit at least one beer hall (hmm, the Hofbräuhaus perhaps) and enjoy an old world yet modern city for a couple of days.

    Perhaps there is a return flight to the west coast that you could catch after going from the Munich airport to the BMW world center. My experience is that the return flights (to the US) leave between 11 AM and 3 PM, it just seems too tight, too fraught with possibilities for missed connections, traffic issues and jet lag "blackout."

    I have been to Munich and the surrounding areas dozens of times (most recently Sept/Oct 2005), take my word for it, please, don't squander a trip to Munich to get a new BMW and not delve deeply into this Bavarian treasure.

  • If the year had not somehow gotten to be 2006, I would agree Saabs are entry-level LPS cars.

    They have been passed by, unfortunately. They are, IMHO, but a spec in the rear view mirror of the rest of the el-LPS entrants.

    And I'm not one of those who says if it ain't RWD or AWD it doesn't count either. I can see that an FWD car (just not this family's offspring) could qualify. The Acura and I would suspect Volvo certainly demonstrate this.

    Saabs -- to me, at least -- used to be in the "near premium" or perhaps near-LPS class alongside Audi and Volvo, to name two Europeans. Audi clearly has moved forward and certainly seems to offer cars in the el-LPS class and the LPS class (and even the HELV class.)

    Saab? Not any more.

    Just another opinion. I don't actually dislike Saabs, in fact I look for reasons to like them, to include them when I am shopping.

    But they seemed to have stopped moving forward some time ago -- hmm? possibly something to do with the time period when they were acquired by GM? Of course, Volvo too, could be thought of or could HAVE been (past tense) thought of to be on a similar trajectory, on a similar bubble. Somehow they managed to move forward almost in spite of Ford's influence.

    I'd certainly not kick a Volvo out of bed for eating crackers -- but Saab is no longer a member of the club from where I sit. Sorry. :sick:
  • I love that a compass is important (maybe it's from my travel schedule but N-S-E-W is pretty easy to discern for me) but xenon headlights aren't.

    To each his own. But I agree with habitat, the comparison is unrealistic. He expects the BMW to have a digital compass but not the Lexus (which a navi in the IS350 would give him the beloved digital compass).

    He wants to claim there's a 10k difference. But comparably equipped the gulf is much, much smaller. Clever shoppers can actually reverse the gulf.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I certainly am not telling you how to spend your money. But the discussion, an interesting one, is centering around the manufacturer selection process based on option packages. That is what habitat1 was saying. You also agree you are not a typical car buyer, neither am I.

    My first criteria is not the options and packages, while you are making it sound like it's the options first, car second. That is what is generating the discussion.
  • Mark,

    I've been to Europe several times. I was just there in April. Every time I fly to Europe I follow the same pattern - stay up all night the day/night before. Fly out tired. Stay up for the connection and then pop a sleeping pill and wake up landing in Munich. If I do quick turnaround I'll fly coach.

    I've driven the autobahn in a new bimmer. Been all through europe in my e90. I put over 1400 miles on the car going through Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and France.

    Personally, and I'm of German heritage with lots of family in Germany, I couldn't get out of there fast enough. Some people dig on Germany. Not me. I always kid that I get nervous when I see two Germans talking to each never know which disadvantaged group they're plotting against.

    My plan is sound - if I go that route. The plane arrives at 8 am. No bags, so I would hop the trains immediately to the delivery center. Pick up the car by 9:30 and have it at the dropoff by 10 am. Be back at the airport before noon. The latest flight out is a 3:50 pm from Munich that arrives in San Diego at 11:40. I'm in bed at midnight.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Blue, I don't need to get Navi to get the digital compass, that's standard on the IS but not 335i as well as the auto-dimmed mirror and homelink. I think it's ridiculous for Lexus not offering HID as standard but to me it's equally ridiculous that those aren't standard on the 335i.

    I don't think to say options first car second is fair. To me I can go either with the IS or the 335i. Since I'll be happy with either "car" it is nature that the next step is to find the "options" that I want. If you don't understand what I am saying just look at the options as a tie-breaker.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    And, like I said, I respect that it's your perogative to spend your $40k +/- any darn way you wish. ;)

    I will say that you have enlightened me to a couple of things that I wouldn't have expected. An admitted non-enthusiast to which a sport suspension is unimportant preferring RWD. Maybe we are in role reversal on that one! And, even more "unique", factory optional 18" wheels being a "must have" on a compact, non-sport suspensioned sedan.

    I have not driven an IS 350 w/o the sport suspension. The only time I test drove one was back in the summer when I wanted to satisfy my curiosity and the one they gave me was fully loaded. I hope, however, Lexus learned from their previous faux pas on the previous generation GS400. A business associate of mine bought one with the then optional 17" sport wheels and tires (standard were 16"). At less than 8,000 miles, the tires were shot. Turns out that the Lexus suspension wasn't up to the task of keeping the soft compound tires firmly planted and there were widespread complaints of premature and uneven tire wear. Lexus refunded the price of the option and provided free replacement 16" wheels and tires.

    I realize a lot of people think 17", 18", even 19" wheels look "cool" on a "non-sport" sedan. Just the other day I almost had a heart attack when I returned to my "other" car in a parking lot to find a 55-ish guy bent over looking at the rear of my car. I thought he had run into me. Turns out he was checking out my tires, as he is considering putting 19" wheels/tires on his wife's Avalon. :surprise:

    Just a quick realty check for the financially prudent, however: My 1995 Nissan Maxima logged 155k miles on 3 sets of 15" 215/60 "H" rated tires. At $95 a pop for the Eagle RS-A's, that's under $1,200. It's fairly easy to expect that same number of miles will require 6-7 sets of 18" 45 series tires at, say $200-250 a pop. That works out to $5,000 to $7,000. If I had been that free and loose with my money 12+ years ago for the sake of aesthetics, I wouldn't be driving a car that actually utilizes the capability of 19" wheels and tires today.
  • Why would someone want a digital compass? What's the point? Why is this so important to you? Ditto homelink. A garage door opener achieves everything homelink accomplishes.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    If the IS' suspension is stiff enough for me why would I want to opt for a sports one? If the 17"'s are popping out everywhere on those mid-size FWD family sedans then why not 18" on these "sports aspiring luxury sedans"?

    Maybe your friend has bad luck on his GS400 but so far I have 10,500 miles on my IS and no problems with the tires.

    Thanks for the financial lessons, pop, will definitely keep that in mind. I am thinking about switch from summer to all reason after 15,000 miles so I could spend less money on rubbers. ;)
  • Unless you're driving on snow - which would be suicide with all seasons anyway - summer tires perform better in the rain. Stick with summer rubber.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    What's the point?

    So I know which direction I am going...

    As for homelink, I don't like any attachments on my sun visor.

    Blue, let's just drop it shall we? It's obvious that you have different priority than mine come to cars.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Really? Summer performs better than all season in rain? That's really important to me since I live in Florida.
  • Had a long talk with a suspension/tire guy who used to work for the manufacturers. He's now an Edmunds employee. He pointed out that all seasons really are not the best option for the rain. They're designed for snow and dry roads but their rain performance isn't at the level of summer tires. Shocked me too.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Also remember that the capability of today's tires are vastly better than even a decade or two ago. It's all based upon the tire's maximum weight rating and the contact area.

    Rim size actually has little or nothing to do with this for anything less than a true sportscar.

    15 inchers are more than adequate, for instance, for even a IS350 if they are the right profile, for 99.9% of drivers.

    But consumers equate bigger rims with better handling, much like how they worship horsepower. But all that gets you is tires that are worse in curves and in the rain that are also more expensive to replace.

    Thinner, taller tires are more comfortable to ride on, wear better, and turn quicker. But you obviously can't be going super thin/tall, either. But something like a 235/75/15 is more than adequate for anything on the road these days(note - used to be a truck tire - now it can be found on a few higher-end cars) My 67 Mercedes had 185/80/13s on it and never had a problem with traction. $200 for a set, and not the cheapest tires, either, but good Michelins.

    The suspension also has to be dialed in as hard as a rock to utilize low-profile tires as well(or they wear unevenly), so you get a harder ride. It's a lose-lose situation for anything short of a Saleen or Lotus Elise or Viper.(ie - no luxury here - pure performance is all you get)

    Oh, and again - they are silly expensive. $150 a tire isn't my idea of low cost of ownership. Not when a $60 tire would have done the same job.
  • I am mildly perplexed by some of the numbers being thrown around in this forum.

    My nephew recently picked up his well equiped 335i in Germany through ED. He ordered it through my dealer. Specs: 335i sedan, 6-speed, premium package, sport package, cold weather package, navigation system, metallic paint. His MSRP was $47,020 (I'm looking at the sticker). He paid exactly $42,000 (roughly $1,300 over ED invoice). The 5 day, 4 night trip cost him a grand total of $1,500, as he booked the airfare well in advance. So, if you want to add the cost of the trip to the car, his total was $43,500.

    His girlfriend had bought a 2006 IS350 in July, about the time they met. Her car is comparably equiped: sport package and Mark Levinson / Navigation pacakge. Her MSRP was approximately $43,600. The comparable 2007 has an MSRP of $44,105. She negotiated a $1,800 discount, for a total equivalent of $42,305. I'm guessing that's not a great discount, but not horrible.

    Guys, this is a toss up. The IS has an automatic. If you need one, that's another $1,300 in the BMW. But both my nephew AND his girlfriend prefer driving his 335i significantly more. I've driven both and the 335i engine feels much more powerful, the steering more precise, the handling crisper... Yes, I own an M5 so call me biased if you want. But the point is, there is hardly any price difference between the final cost of these cars. Throw in BMW's all inclusive maintenance, and you are talking about lunch money insignificance.

    Perhaps the more important difference is practicality. My wife and I have gone out with them on several occasions. My nephew is 6'2", his girlfriend 5'7". My wife (5'5") and I (5'11") have a very difficult time fitting comfortably in the IS350. The 335i isn't exactly M5 sized, but the difference is significant. We fit quite comfortably in the rear seat. To call the IS350 a four adult passenger sedan is being generous.

    So, for anybody who is using this forum to shop, rather than defend their previous purchase, I would highly recommend you test drive and consider both cars. The price difference is not significant. The attributes can be, depending upon your needs and preferences.

    P.S. Rumor has it that he is popping the question to her this New Years Eve. At least they previously worked out that, if they were ever to "get together", she would trade her IS350 for a RX400h.
  • I agree with your comments about wheel sizes and performance. However, anything less than a 17" wheel will not allow clearance for the disc brakes on my car. So I am forced to buy those expensive low profile tires. I only have 4000 miles so far; we'll see how it all fares in the long run.
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