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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans



  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    There are a few exceptions from time to time, though. The IS300, for instance, was awesome when it was released. The IS250/350 somehow lost that "Euro" feel and magic to it. I think it's more than just designing a car to handle well. I think it's that BMW and Mercedes know how to balance all of the factors so that none of them really stand out. ie - you get a solid B+ rating in everything and so it feels poised and has the same feel to it.

    A good analogy is a band. If one instrument stands out badly , it kind of ruins the thing. Japan usually gets only a couple of areas wrong, and sometimes manages this balancing act. GM -well, they're lucky if the band is in tune most days. :P
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 5,156
    GM -well, they're lucky if the band is in tune most days.

    They sometimes play really well, it's just that the band has trouble getting through a song before one of the members goes unconscious from an overdose. :P
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    Perhaps but they don't use enough high quality materials like BMW and Audi do consistently throughout the cabin. I've found way to many cheap imitation plastic things in their vehicles when I test drove them which bothered me a lot. I've seen two or three reviews over the last few years slapping them a little bit on the amount of plastic as well.

    Though the leather was really nice quality and comfortable I'll give MB that!
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    edited October 2010
    Plekto is right.

    The IS300 is a good example of a fine effort by Lexus to build a BMW. For the most part, they did a good job - in-line 6, 5 speed MT, fun to drive, and sporty inside. At the same time, they missed a few little things that held the car back from becoming a hit with enthusiasts - the interior was cheap and gimmicky (chronograph instruments), it wasn't as quick as a comparable BMW 330i, and it was nose heavy.

    Of course, the biggest problem with the IS300 was sales. It didn't appeal to Lexus shoppers. It wasn't quiet, luxurious, or elegant so it didn't sell well.

    A couple other opinions:

    GM makes the Cadillac CTS, which by all accounts is a fine car in this class. It compares well to any car in this category, and does well because it doesn't try to be all things to all people. It is what it is, and it's proud of that.

    Infinity is the closest Japan gets to building a BMW in this class, but it lacks many of the things that BMW buyers want - a smooth and refined driveline being at the top of the list. I also think it's wheelbase is too long and it's too heavy.

    Kind of off-topic, but the best recent examples of Japanese sports cars are the dearly departed Honda S2000 and the Mazda Miata and RX-8. These cars are/were fantastic because they aren't trying to beat BMW or be a "Japanese BMW contender." They are great simply because they were built from the ground up to be great cars. Period.
  • jimbresjimbres Posts: 2,025
    These cars are/were fantastic because they aren't trying to beat BMW or be a "Japanese BMW contender." They are great simply because they were built from the ground up to be great cars. Period.

    Excellent point - very insightful post. I had never thought of the Miata & the RX-8 that way, but I see now that you're right.

    A used Miata can be a terrific value. A friend bought an 8-year-old Miata for less than $3K some years ago & is having an indecent amount of fun with it. It's not fast, but the handling is superb & the gearbox is almost as much fun as you-know-what.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,396
    edited October 2010
    was also built to compete with the E36 BMWs or maybe the early E46 328i. The I6 was a smooth mill, but it wasn't that powerful (215 hp) and didn't get very good gas mileage for such a small car.

    It handled very well and was handsome once they tinted the taillights. The wheels were sharp & filled the wells quite nicely.

    It was ultimately too sharp, edgy, & rough for the traditional Lexus buyer. It didn't perform well enough to Wow the BMW crowd.

    There were actually a bunch of us BMW lovers back in late '05 that were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the '06 IS because we thought Lexus was so close with the 1st gen IS that it would hit a home run with IS version 2.0

    I happen to like the styling of the current IS. The IS 350 gets out if it's own way, but the brakes are instant on and cannot be modulated.

    Performance-wise, the IS250 doesn't compete at all with a 328i. For the price of an IS350, I'll spend a few $$$ more and get a very nice N55 powered 335i which is available with 6-speed manual transmission.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Infiniti G37x Q40 AWD

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Like I said, they somehow missed that sweet spot. The G25, though, appears to be the magic combination, though. Especially with the Journey package and wood trim. I think at 30K, it's going to be a huge wake-up shot across everyone's bow.

    My only hope is that Infiniti figures out that it's the right thing and not mess with it until it's broken.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,396
    No sport suspension, no stick shift, no nyccarguy.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Infiniti G37x Q40 AWD

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Sport suspension isn't really required, and I don't like super-harsh rides, but the omission of manual... Oh lord, they've just fallen on their face. So close and yet, someone in the board room is just a daft idiot. Because in Japan and Europe, you'll be able to get the manual version.

    Seriously, what part of "put your best foot forward" isn't reaching these guys? It's like GM's Regal. Get rid of the base model corporate nonsense. Get rid of the base trim, the puny base engine, and only offer your best example FIRST. Then offer a cheaper alternative in a year or so. You have to strike hard when the product is new and fresh. If all you hear(as GM did) is "awesome, but the engine is pathetic", by the time you get to doing it right, everyone will have passed on for better choices.
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    was was a bigger disappointment for me on the G25 is the lack of navigation and the fuel economy. How the heck does a G25x, with an over 100hp reduction, have the same fuel economy as a RWD G37 :confuse: :confuse:
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    The non AWD shows 20/29...which is better than the 17/25 for the G37.

    Better question is how does the V6 mustang get 30 highway with almost +100 hp...if only Ford had something a little more refined on par with this class.
  • edwardsfedwardsf Posts: 190
    edited October 2010
    Wow, that is a lot of: "get over it" and "you don't get it" and "give me a break" in one post. Why would I ever want links, cites or stats? Ivan99 and a couple of other posters have some interesting comments about prestige as a factor and some are convincing. But I still think most people buy the car they like to drive. Or as you would say, "it is a FACT people buy the car they like to drive."

    BTW, I would take a nose heavy TL over a MB anyday. MBs are very good looking but of course are very expensive, super costly to repair and are not nearly as fun to drive as Bimmers, Audis or Infinities. But I guess - given your theme song - that people drive them because they think they are "prestigious?"
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    "it is a FACT people buy the car they like to drive."

    I'm not certain it is a fact.

    WE -- buy cars we like to drive (of course speaking for you here ;) ).

    A large number of people in my corporate office buy cars that have a good resale, have good reliability, look nice, have a good reputation

    The way they drive (which I'm assuming means a well handling vehicle) is further down the list somewhere.

    Of course I suppose if the vehicle meets the requirements above (resale, reliability etc)...they'd "Like to drive it" :)
  • edwardsfedwardsf Posts: 190
    I loved the IS300 and they had a wagon. This was another Euroconcept that the IS300 had that Japanese cars normally eschew. And I love wagons and long hatches.

    The 1st gen G20 was also a tossable little sport sedan - something like the 1993-5 era Audi 4000. None of these three were rocket ships but then I don't buy cars for that. I will take tossabilty and usable torque over raw stoplight takeoff power. But that is just me.
  • edwardsfedwardsf Posts: 190
    Um,yeah. That was the point - my statement was an opinion and calling opinions "facts" is dumb. Reread my post. I wrote, "or as you would say..."

    On the point that you know people who do buy for resale, I thought that was just Acura drivers. ;) Seriously, I would buy a minivan for that but not a sport sedan and that is what I was referring to.
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    Thats not what I'm talking about. Up here in the Northeast, I would never buy just RWD vehicles b/c of the snow factor in the winter so its either FWD or AWD. So I'm left with the AWD option on a G if I were to get one. The fuel economy should be better than this with such a smaller engine in the vehicle and its size. I was hoping for 21/30mpg minimum but didn't even get that. To me, the way Infiniti has it, there is no big advantage of getting the G25 over the G37. Mise well get the bigger oomph G37.

    AWD G25 is rated 19/27mpg
    RWD G37 is rated 19/27mpg
    AWD G37 is rated 18/25mpg

    I'm left :confuse:
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    edited October 2010
    We actually agree on somethings :surprise: :surprise:. I agree that many people buy the car they like to drive and one of the reasons some like to drive it, is b/c of the badge it has on the front end ;) . You be hard press to find BMW or MB drivers who would still think they would like to drive a vehicle with say a Chevy or Toyota emblem on them simply b/c they liked the way they drove.

    Reason why I would not consider MB the next go around is for personal reasons. Their vehicles are very luxurious/nice looking but both the C and E class have gotten way to close to the ground for my taste and I have a really bad back and would break my butt getting in and out of them all the time. Plus, as you pointed out, they are not as fun to drive as Audi's, Infinities, or Bimmers which is a factor for me when driving! Luckily, BMW and Audi have not followed MBs direction of low ground clearance on their sedans and those 3 makes will most likely be the brands I cross shop next time around, maybe Lexus if they can improve upon the IS enough for my liking.
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,294
    i agree the G25 is not a great deal in awd form vs the g37. MpG on this car stinks, i have a g35x. i really hope the g25 owners get more mpgs because the 3k difference in price FOR me is not worth the lack of quickness. I just went on infinitis website and the new g25 is now listed.. no manual navi in the cheepo 25 and the price of the sport(g37) now starts with all the options (i would get them all, yes) and its a tad under 40k-- right now i am not a fan.. Infinti where is the manual AWD car we are looking for.
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    It is my hope that the lack of manual, nav, and a few other things on the G25 was done intentionally by Infiniti b/c they really are just using the 25 right now to test the entry-lux level for it and see how it does. All those features it lacks would jack the price up on the G25 further making it compete in the G37 territory of price which would be just plain ridiculous.

    Remember, this generation G is coming to an end hopefully at the end of next year since 2011 is the fifth model year now, and it will be due for a redesign across the board for 2012.

    It's my hope that if the G25 sells okay for Infiniti that when they go to redo the 3G G-Sedan they will completely redo/rethink the G25 and add these features and maybe even make a totally different body style for it from the high trim G sedan.

    This is just speculation of course though.
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    Just read this and thought some of you might want to read it since we have been discussing the G25 a lot. - html
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,294
    i think from that article you posted that infiniti didnt change the body for a reason.. and that reason is to take on the bmw328-- keeping pricing as its biggest advantage and not losing the "g" spirit. I think its a calculated move but misses the target without the manual option.

    as for the g coming to an end in 2012--is that the case?? why would they offer this car for just one year before an overhaul... dont know why you said "hopefully" - this is the car that saved infiniti from being boring.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,396
    for different folks.

    Every single one of these cars has pluses and minuses to different people. For the longest time I've actually favored handling and driving dynamics over raw power and torque.

    Maybe I'm getting older & the fact that I live in CT where the entrance ramps on The Merrit Parkway are short and have STOP signs at the beginning of them has something to do with it. My 2001 Honda Prelude Type SH handles brilliantly. However, its 200 horsepower @ 7000 RPM (7500 RPM redline), 156 lb/ft of torque @ 5250 RPM, & almost 128,000 miles just doesn't quite cut the mustard anymore. Even my wife's 4cyl TSX feels like it has more pickup. I'm not in the market now because I just bought a house and a second car payment is out of the question right now. Plus I think we're going to try and ditch the TSX next year to get wifey an SUV of some sort (she misses her '07 X3).

    So if she gets an SUV, then my next ride doesn't have to be huge. Just as long as it has LATCHes for the car seats so I can take my boys somewhere without stranding wifey without a car (she can drive stick, but hasn't in years). In my new home,I'll be putting over 21,000 miles per year on a car just commuting.

    I believe with the modern electronic nannies (traction control, stability control, ABS), I can rock a RWD sport sedan through our winters with a dedicated set of snow tires (as I do with my Prelude).

    The G37S is priced right, has gobs of power, and I'm really impressed with how it handles. I've only driven an AWD G37X, so I can only imagine how well the S handles.

    BMWs are not cheap to buy. 3 series are everywhere you turn. I love the way the E90 3 series drives, rides, handles, brakes. I've only owned new cars in my life since I passed my driving test at 16 (I'm only 34 now), but I will totally consider a CPO N55 powered 335i in the future.

    Like I said before, the Lexus IS350 appeals to me. I like the styling, the interior is very well finished I'm sure, They now offer an F Sport version of the IS which I'm sure sharpens the handling. I went to Lexus and built one, it isn't as expensive as I once thought. But no stick shift available on the IS350 kills me. I know there is a stick offered on the IS250, but that car has the pickup of a Corolla. At least the slushbox AWD version I drove did. The brakes are impossible to modulate. There is NO way the steering is as sharp as the 3 series.

    I keep my cars for a while. Going on 9 years with my '01 Prelude (bought new as a leftover in April '02). We'll see what happens when the time comes.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Infiniti G37x Q40 AWD

  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    heh...I think you have my email confused with somebody else.

    I don't think I wrote "fact" in any email...Obviously I do not deal in facts ;) Just conjecture, speculation, rumors... :)
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    Ahh...AWD...that usually kills mpg.

    I can't think of an AWD that gets 30+mpg; even partial AWD systems that kick in at wheel spin. There must be one...somewhere; maybe an A3 TDI Quattro...something like that.

    Other than cost I don't see much that would sway anybody towards the G25x
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    I'll reply to myself :)

    A 2011 A4 2.0T Quattro 6sp manual.

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    You beat me to it. :)

    Funny thing; I live in a rather hilly part of (often) snowy New Hampshire and I have yet to understand why so many folks "need" AWD. I mean geez, unless you have a driveway like my 'cross the street neighbor (a driveway that rises more than 100' over a distance of about 250'), I feel that the extra weight of an AWD system can actually lead to a less safe vehicle when it's slippery out there. "Less safe?" Some might question. Yes, less safe. Why? Because the extra weight will, if anything, lengthen stopping distances and reduce the already diminished capacity for a quick maneuver.

    FWIW #1, when we moved up here I had a 530i SP, and after the first quarter inch snow fall I promptly ordered a set of winter wheels and tires; they in turn transformed my 5er from a car that couldn't make it up my driveway (only a 9% grade), to a car that could easily reel in AWD and 4WD vehicles in rutted snow up to about 7" deep (beyond that my car would turn into a snow plow, causing me to simply stay home or leave it at home in favor of a set of cross-country skis).

    FWIW #2, the neighbor I referred to above has a winter tire shod Audi A6 Quattro, and as often as not, when the snow flies I see his car either parked down by the street, or stuck kinda sideways some distance up above the road. Said another way, even AWD isn't all it's cracked up to be on really steep slopes.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,041
    It isn't *just* AWD on these vehicles. I'm certainly not an expert, but for whatever reason, I haven't had good luck with MPG results on Infinitis. Right now, I'm looking at putting an average of under 10K miles per year on my car, so it's not a big deal. But when I was driving 22K/year, low MPG on my G35 (RWD) was disappointing.


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  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    What kind of mileage do you get?

    I had an 03 G35 and would see about 21mpg or so. This was mostly highway (70-80%).

    At the time I thought it was fine...but TODAY... with Sonata's putting out more power than my G did back then (especially with the old hp rating system) and getting in the 30's expectations have increased.
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    edited October 2010
    no, I didn't say they were ending the G they will be due for a redesign on the G model since 2011 is the 5th model year of the 2G.

    I wouldn't get so hung up on the lack of manual at this point. Like the article says, there is no demand for the manual and Infiniti even has trouble selling them in the G37 so most are not going to want the manual in a G25 and they might have some cost issues with at least offering. The TSX does not offer a manual and you don't see its sales tanking. Yes the option is nice to have but Infiniti might have the lack of it as an excuse to force people to get the more expensive G37 as a sales ploy so you never know. Maybe in the future they will make it an order only option.

    The 3G G models are just around the corner and I'm eagerly anticipating what Infiniti is going to do to their best selling vehicle. I'm interested to see what influence MB is going to have on the next gen G engine since Nissan/Infiniti is now in a co-op partnership with Diamler and they are suppose to be sharing things between divisions!
  • smarty666smarty666 Posts: 1,503
    Well I can't speak for when, how, and what kind of vehicle you have, but I know from multiple bad winter storms here in NJ over the years, that with my FX, I was all over the road with just the RWD. I tried driving numerous times without the AWD and II was scared for my life. Even doing 10-20mph below speed limit and being extremely careful the wheels would spin out. Once I engaged AWD the vehicle felt planted to the road and I stopped spinning out and having difficulties controlling the vehicle.

    Everything I read to this day still says AWD is the preferable option for winter weather traveling and I concur with my own personal experience.

    To me, there is usally only a 1-2 mpg difference between AWD and RWD so mise well not take the chance and sacrifice a little mpg. Personally, I like that Infiniti has AWD option and not AWD all the time like Subaru and others. This way, 85% of the year I can use just the RWD with better fuel economy and just use AWD when I need it specifically.

    If there is ice on the road forget AWD or any drive for that matter. When there is ice on the ground nothing can help you.
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