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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans



  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,065
    I see the Acrua CSX here in PHX this time of year with the snow birds in town. I found it interesting that Canadians will pay extra for a fancy Civic.... Then we have people complain that the TSX is a fancy Accord. I'd take the TSX over the CSX anyday.
  • My last post was well under 1K words, it was 450.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,935
    ' was 450.'
    Even if over 1,000 words, of all those who post here,
    his make the most sense.
    To me.
    - Ray
    Sometimes guilty of long posts -
    that no one is ever obliged to read....
    2016 BMW 340i
  • I agree-the guy is an excellent writer, not that I agree with his take on Acura but I do like reading his opinions and insights.

    PS- Mark, I am not kissing up, just been honest.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    The "bromance" is somewhat,
  • Almost repulsive uh KD-:)
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,294
    edited December 2011

    Above why.......Canadians are paying more for cars and Acura responded by offering a car that is a civic but with more features- they did this to sell cars. you can also use google to find lease prices of one manufacture vs another - watch out for "leader" ads, thou.

    Tsx is a euro accord- fact. See below.

    Internet might be around for a while - use it wisely.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    edited December 2011
    I am guilty of being:

    Often wrong. . .but. . .

    Never uncertain.

    My "take" on Acura is based soley on what I read (in the present tense) and what I have read (previously.)

    I read, with a dubious eye, the Automobile magazine article wherein an Audi S4 was "tested against" an Acura TL SH-AWD. No way you say?

    I recall my initial reaction as, "yea, sure the two cars finished neck-and-neck, pull the other one." Read the article for yourself -- just google it.

    Sitting there on my couch reading the Automobile article as a person who was at the time driving his 29th Audi (that either my wife, my company or I had either leased or purchased) since 1977 and also knowing that I was soon due to turn in my 2009 Audi A4 2.0T quattro sport, I thought, "I'll test drive all the ELLPS cars that I can, and that includes the TL."

    It didn't hurt any that Motor Week also had a favorable take on the 2012 TL 3.7 AWD as did most of the automobile magazines I subscribe to (Automobile, Car & Driver, Motor Trend and Road & Track) and read (add to the list European Car and Popular Mechanics.)

    My wife after 3 BMW's (and many Audi's) had leased an Infiniti FX35 AWD Premium last December; and, since we had spent some time at the Infiniti dealer here in Cincinnati, I had taken several G's and M's out for at least four test drives to see if they really were the "Japanese BMW's." For the most part, they are, I discovered.

    So you see, I had read all the magazines, participated in the Audiworld and Edmunds forums for years and had started test driving cars in the ELLPS and LPS class. I was um, an "amateur expert" on the subject matter.

    The confluence and influence of all the above events got me to test drive an Acura MDX, RDX, ZDX and TL SH-AWD [Advance], an Audi A4 2.0T [Prestige], S4 ('11) [Premium Plus], A5, A6 ('11 and '12) and A7, a BMW 3X, 5X, X3, X5 and X6, a Cadillac CTS/4 3.6 Performance Luxury, a Honda Crosstour, an Infiniti G37X and M37X, a Volvo S60 T6 and a VW Passat CC with the VR6 engine/AWD and a VW Toureg. I probably test drove some other cars like a Taurus SHO, a Genesis and a Jeep Grand w/a Hemi, but they were never really something I took seriously.

    What got me off the "I GOTTA have another Audi" mind-set was the back to back to back to back test drives of a pair of Infinitis (the G and M), an '11 Audi S4, the Cadillac CTS and the '12 Acura TL.

    As I recall the order of the tests, the only fact of significance was the fact that I reluctantly, more or less, tested the TL after I had tested the S4 and the CTS.

    Other than the lack of interior grab handles for the front seat passengers (which I consider a very important feature for Cadillac to have overlooked), the Cadillac was, er, sublime -- an American Luxury Performance Sedan; the S4 was also very impressive and typifies the German Performance Luxury Sedan -- and the Acura TL SH-AWD Advance (which had the "benefit" of my low expectations) which, from the driver's seat, actually seemed "about as quiet as the Cadillac" and "about as HOT as the Audi S4." What?!? Blasphemy!

    If you've taken back to back to back test drives --over the IDENTICAL route, playing the IDENTICAL CD on the sound system and pushing the cars into corners at IDENTICAL speeds -- you will understand how it is possible to see cars you might only have test driven for a lark in a whole new light.

    Standouts in the entire bunch (w/o regard to price): the TL, S4, A7, BMW 335 w/x-drive, the M37X w/Technology Package, and the S60 T6. The CTS and the CC get a "quite nice" rating.

    If money were no object, I'd probably go for the A7 Prestige or S4 w/sport differential (think of that as the German SH-AWD -- aka torque vectoring.) If money were REALLY no object, I'd probably wait for the upcoming Audi S8 and learn to smoke cigars and swill cognac or grappa.

    Money being an object, I narrowed my choices down a bit, but was able to strongly consider an M37X (due to fantastic lease deals) and a '12 Audi A4 2.0T Prestige w/sport pkg. I also considered the Volvo but found them totally unwilling to budge off of sticker (or $1,000 off.) Just because the '12 TL SH-AWD Advance was the sleeper of the bunch (in terms of performance), priced right (at $47,000 as I wanted it) and had enjoyed the Automobile S4 vs TL comparison article, I kept it on my list.

    Well cut off my legs and call me shorty -- the TL came in at 87% of MSRP, a low money factor and no-wait for it to be shipped from Europe (it is made here in Ohio) -- no other car even came close to the "value" the TL presented.

    I, at the time, ONE time (so far), turned my back on Audi and took the plunge into a non-German car.

    The Acura TL does NOT blow me away like the S4 or A7, for instance. Yet, like some wines, the TL does seem to be impressing me more as it "ages" (miles). I do not consider it to be an Audi S4 clone, even though the Automobile article is very complimentary of the TL's performance vs the Audi's. The TL is, as I have written elsewhere, "close to fine" (as if "fine" is a destination.)

    I now am at a place where I will probably consider Acura again based on my current experience. Yet the recent press releases about the upcoming Acura line-up is a cause for concern. They seem to be saying, "we're giving up on being a tier-1 Premium Car Company." Time will tell.

    If you have not test driven (i.e., a good long test drive) the TL Advance SH-AWD (and ONLY the Advance SH-AWD, not the lesser configurations, and certainly not the FWD version, period) and you are looking to purchase a new car from the ELLPS line-up, I do encourage you to take the long test drive -- even if the somewhat beaky styling puts you off -- of the TL Advance SH-AWD, back to back to back with the cars you are more seriously considering. What can it hurt?

    The TL's styling may be too much for you to overcome and perhaps the price I got was a fluke or a once in a lifetime deal -- hence the TL will remain unattractive to YOU no matter how impressively it may perform. Perhaps too, you are a cash buyer and then the Volvo may merit more consideration (I was interested in the lowest lease price I could get and the Acura's discount and money factor were compelling.)

    In any case, as I have said, what could it hurt to spend a day test-flogging, or, test-driving three or four very nice cars, including, just for the fun of it, the Acura TL Advance SH-AWD.

    Drive it like you live.

    Often wrong, but never uncertain,


  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,294
    edited December 2011

    im guilty of being honest and speaking the truth.

    Above is an article about a man and his car- we all talk about current cars
    belonging in the group, some very clear, others not so much- but its pretty
    clear to me reading this blog and knowing the car he rides and talks of - this was one of the pioneers for this group- and to see what the brand has become over those 500k miles disheartens me. I remember once I got a license 16 years ago the car I wanted was a legend coupe 6 speed, with the souped up Type2? Engine.
    I settled for a 89 maxima which in itself was a great car but not the
    looker the Acura. My first new car was a 2000 Acura integra gs-r coupe-
    redline was almost 9k Rpms and I took it to that level every day- loved the car and the service. After the 3 year lease it was time to get a 4 door, the
    original TSX was on the short list and after long debate I bought a jetta gli-
    200hp and at the time (2003) it had the vr6 and a 6 speed- it was a close call but price won out. After that day I have never stepped into another Acura dealership- the passion is lost- along with sales numbers. I'm still on acura's mailing list -the email lists exciting developments for the 2012 auto show- lets hope they finally deliver. sorry for long post. - TE4MjM3NDcyS0&mt=1&rt=0

    Always right, always certain, always do homework

  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 4,054
    edited December 2011
    on several of these boards, particularly those associated with . . . wait for it, Audis.

    He took a pretty significant sabbatical, but now appears to be back to his old ways. Why use 30 words when 300 will do? That said, the 300 will be carefully chosen and very well put together.

    Welcome back, Mark.

    Of course I'm pleased that he chose to bless the brand of car I picked last time with his attention. However, I'm at the bottom of the Acura food chain while he spends time much higher on the hog (if you'll pardon the very mixed metaphor). Many posts have been written to the effect that the TSX is something of Yugo in terms of its deserving to be discussed here. Oh well. . .

    Funnily enough, I used to give him a lot of jazz about the substandard (at least perceived) reliability of Audis vs., well, just about anything else, but particularly Asian vehicles. That he and I share a brand at this point is well beyond surprising.

    Times change.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Just goes to show you the ever changing fast world of ELLPS.

    A few years ago I would never have dreamed about owning an Infiniti. After renting one for a week, I decided to buy one and forgo the 335.

    SO I guess the more things change the more they stay the same!
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,065
    When Acrua came out they were the sport version of Honda, no doubt. Today that isn't true, even though they try and market the car that way.

    I had (sheee no tell anyone) a Vigor GS when they came out, I only had it for 2 years. I had 1 Infiniti Q45 (second year of Infiniti) love it, too bad it too Infiniti so long to get back to their roots.

    After my Vigor, I went to BMW, and haven't looked back.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    I wanted a Legend so badly when it first came out. And the 2nd gen Legend Coupe - still gorgeous even today.

    When I was in college my girlfriend's dad had a Vigor. I thought it was very nice at the time too.

    The TSX is very much like a modern day Vigor - only it performs better in every way.

    It's not that Acura has lost it's way. The TSX, TL, RL were a very logical lineup for a near-luxury brand. Time has simply marched on and Acura hasn't kept up. They cannot use the Accord as a platform for their entire lineup any longer, and they cannot market any Civic-based car as an Acura.

    A three-car lineup moved upmarket is what Acura needs to compete. Make the TL the entry-level sedan with a choice of engines (base car would be FWD 240 hp I-4 turbo from the RDX, top would be AWD with the 3.5L V-6). Next the RL should be a RWD and AWD 5/7 Series competitor (base engine the 3.5L V-6 and top engine a V-8). Finally, introduce a small RWD luxury-sports coupe/convertible (think M-B SLK or Lexus SC). Same engines as the Legend, but smaller and lighter.
  • They need to work on their styling first. That's half the battle. I saw a new Acura TL coming and going with the beak/grimace fore and aft. It's ust cringeworthy. No one in that entire company had the nerve to tell them that it looks awful before it was released. Poor Honda.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 4,555
    If Audi can its sell Golf-based A3, so could Acura sell Civic-based RSX, RIP. The problem is packaging and pricing. There has to be enough separation between the vehicles.

    I think TL is a nice vehicle. Don't really care for its nose styling, but that can be fixed. Same with TSX. The problem is at the top - RL is on verge of being irrelevant. I have not seen one in months.

    However, their main problem is the line - it's just too short. Their "all inclusive" approach is great for people looking for a good trade-up deal, but does not impress people with money looking to be awed. No coupe, no convertible, no buzz-creating (albeit not necessarily profitable) supercar, no exciting supersedan - that's a big problem for an aspiring luxury manufacturer. Too little choice - premium market likes choice. People with money like to be different from others. Even Lexus has long lines on different packages on their cars.

    I think biggest problem for Acura is Honda'a accountants - they probably don't give them enough to develop a real luxury lineup. To understand why one has to look at Honda as a company, where automobiles are just a part of a much bigger structure, within which Acura is just a small line in corporate balance sheet.

    2018 430i Gran Coupe

  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,935
    Noticed when filling the tank this AM,
    I passed 3,000 miles over the weekend.
    Enjoying every [s]mile.
    Providing enjoyment [ at least ] commensurate with price paid.
    - Ray
    Very happy customer.....
    2016 BMW 340i
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    edited December 2011
    "If Audi can its sell Golf-based A3, so could Acura sell Civic-based RSX, RIP."

    I was actually thinking of the A3 as the perfect entry-level type car for Acura. However, the Civic is an economy car platform and will never have the refinement of the A3 - which, I believe, is really just a smaller previous-gen A4.

    Acura's entry-level car needs to be built on the Accord platform - the Civic just cannot be a near-luxury car.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 4,555
    A3 is based on same platform as previous Jetta and Golf, not A4. If you have ever seen Euro-versions of Golf or Jetta (not the versions they sell here, the ones sold in Europe, i.e. 1.2-1.4 engines, crank windows, econo suspensions, etc.), you'll see it is possible to transform Civic to a point it would not be recognized. It's all about the price, content and having actual development budget.

    2018 430i Gran Coupe

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "I was actually thinking of the A3 as the perfect entry-level type car for Acura. However, the Civic is an economy car platform and will never have the refinement of the A3 - which, I believe, is really just a smaller previous-gen A4."

    The A3 is effectively a GTI in Audi clothing; given that the GTI is a hotted up Golf, the original comment regarding the A3 being based upon the lowly Golf is correct. Said another way, there is virtually zero relationship between the A3 and any previous generation A4; that said, the Audi TT and the A3 share a lot of DNA.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    If Audi can its sell Golf-based A3, so could Acura sell Civic-based RSX, RIP. The problem is packaging and pricing.

    I don't think Audi can sell A3's...and I think packaging and pricing IS their problem as North America anyway. I routinely find 1-2 year old ones on dealer lots for huge discounts.

    Last time we (a few of us guys) were out for lunch I pointed out a real nice looking A3 (3.2, real nice rims)...they all commented that it looked like a cheap courier car (a pizza delivery car).

    It may be a 'hatch' thing...since these were 'truck' guys. But I think to sell a hatch here you need something that looks different. Similar to the way that SUV's are really mini-vans without sliding's really the same underneath---but it's an SUV!

    But...the A3 sedan (Concept)...which reminds me of the 97 A4...looks compelling :)
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,665 an A3 Quattro with 2.0T and stick-shift....

    Why is that so hard?


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    edited December 2011
    "All we need is an A3 Quattro with 2.0T and stick-shift...."

    Available at a dealership near you, errr, if you live in Europe that is. :)
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,317
    I took my 2010 TSX in for service today. They gave me a TSX V6 as a loaner. I dig the power. That much I can tell you.

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

  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,294
    Good service as well
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    It's been a little while since I've driven a Golf, but if memory serves, it was a lot more refined than a Civic.

    Bank vault solid with well damped NVH - light years beyond the Civic.
  • fkongfkong Posts: 11
    I recently leased an IS350 F-Sport. Before making this decision, I also looked at a few other cars, and will let you guys know why I went with the big L. Even my brother was excited that I got the IS350, versus any of the other cars.

    Acura TL - I did consider this car. I actually do find the car to be quite attractive. But, I find that it's a bit huge. Plus, why this car isn't RWD is a whole new story, and I don't want AWD. I can accept the front beak problem.

    Audi A4 - Audi's never really appealed to me. Don't get me wrong, they're nice. My brother has an A6 that I do find some beauty in, but they just aren't my cup of tea. And, same situation with the Acura, why isn't it RWD?

    BMW 3-series - Cost more than my IS350 F-Sport to begin with (almost $47k for the 328i w/ M-Sport package, Nav, auto, parking sensors) versus my car (F-Sport package, Nav, Backup camera, auto, NO parking sensors). Chances are, if I want the 335, it'll be more than $50k. Plus, I don't want to look like every other guy on the street. I'm in So Cal, and the 3-series are more popular than Camry's here.

    Cadillac CTS - I wanted to buy American, but America's definition of luxury involves the use of low end materials. I do like the car, though.

    Infiniti G37 - If I were to get the Infiniti G, it would be the coupe (I had a G35 coupe a few years ago and love it). Therefore, I won't be getting a ELLPS. I find the G sedan to be absolutely ugly, plus the fact that it's so big. At least it's RWD.

    Mercedes C-class - I do like the way the C-class looks, but the C250, after configuring, costs as much as my IS350. I do believe that Mercedes finally decided they wanted a piece of the ELLPS pie, and seriously upped the ante with the C-class. The previous 2 generations of C-class were, IN MY OPINION, bad jokes gone wrong. BMW, at least, had the right formula with the 3-series.

    With these points, I decided to go with the IS350, and absolutely love it. Perhaps when the lease is up, I might step up to the new 2013 GS. ;)
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    edited December 2011
    Agreed on the Civic versus Golf thing. Three years ago I needed a new inexpensive commuter car and after test driving both cars (in addition to the Corolla, the Focus, and the Mazda3) I had settled on a Golf (called a Rabbit back then); the Civic simply wasn't in the same league. Unfortunately due to the Mark V to Mark VI model change-over, all of the Rabbits with manual transmissions had pretty much been sold and the only cars left were automatics; I ended up with a Mazda3 instead.

    Fast forward to this year, my wife was looking for a new car, and while we didn't drive a Golf per-se, we did drive a GTI, and once again I was impressed with the vault like feeling of the car; after thirteen and a half years of driving exclusively minivans, my wife now has a new 2-Door black GTI 6-Speed sitting in her garage bay. Can't wipe the silly grin off of her face. :)
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,294
    Love the way the IS 350 looks- but again it's auto only,has been around for a bunch of years and has had minimal updates. The is f package is pretty cool looking but adds significant price and options on this car add up quickly as well. I sat in a 2011 IS 350 awd and it's sticker was almost 50k. Your right not many people ride the IS 350 but up north we do see alot of 250 Awds- so I don't know how exclusive the car may be where you live. Performance wise I know it's quick but have not seen many articles written to understand the full merit of its capabilities. The new GS is something that interests me - wonder which direction Lexus goes-

    Enjoy the ride
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 4,555
    It may just be, but again - you have to compare with base version, i.e. starting point. Golfs sold in Europe are good to understand how much any line can be refined.

    2018 430i Gran Coupe

  • Sween , are the new GS on dealers lot?
    If, yes, I will probably pass by and take a look, the pictures I saw online did not impress me.
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