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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans



  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,294
    I owned a vw and the dealership experiance is nothing great- and I was there alot with my Gli- but like I said before the newer cars you should not be at any dealership due to extended maintience schedules. What do you need to do in the first 30k? I think the whole lux sheak feel of the lux dealer should be a thing of the past- great they have a lattes but they also high maintence bills-
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,066
    Just as much as you read everybody else's..
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    You might consider the Mercedes C with the sport package. It's actually a much better car than the Volvo. But the car that you really need to try before you buy a G37 is a Cadillac CTS. It's flat-out a better car than the G37 as it does nearly the same things when driven hard, but has a nicer interior and is better in every day traffic as well. Also, the rebates are quite good. At the end of the model year, expect to be able to get the AWD model for close to 37-38K.

    GM makes exactly two great cars. The Corvette is one, and this is the other.
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 10,133
    pletko...I agree with you about the CTS. I test drove a coupe before I bought either my TL or my 335i. They are very good cars. I had a run-in with Cadillac some years ago (with my Mother's car). It was an experience that turned me off to Cadillac forever.

    Disagree about the MB C class. I think for the money, there are a lot of other, better choices out there.

    I must be a party of one, because I like the Volvo S60, too....especially their sport version. I even like the way they look. Can't explain why I've never pulled the trigger on one, though.

    BTW, while not a part of this group, if anyone is out there shopping, I was also impressed with the Taurus SHO. It's big, it's heavy. But, it's way fast, handles well, and has just about all the tech anyone could want in a car.
    2018 Acura TLX SH AWD ASpec
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,066
    Graphicguy I'm lucky that my work have me traveling a lot, and I rent many cars, I have driven the CTS 92011 MY) and I liked it, The fit n finish wasn't as good as say Audi or BMW but much better then most GM cars. I wish they would drop the "regular" 3.6 and just have the 3.6DI as the base engine though and 8 spd tranny then I think it would have the edge it would need to steal sales from others.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    Not welcome here. Posts removed and will continue to be removed. Any conversations that are contrary to creating a welcoming atmosphere in here aren't productive.


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  • mkahn21mkahn21 Posts: 11
    edited March 2012
    In my initial evaluations (online and at the Philly car show in February), I looked at both the CTS and the C class.

    The CTS just felt and looked big, relative to the others. There's a fan base out there for this car and the reviews are stellar, but I just didn't feel "right" inside the vehicle. Plus it's expensive when equipped comparably. (Edit - I didn't see the note above about the rebates. Interesting and maybe I'll revisit before the deal is done.)

    The C-class is an interesting case. It's probably a great car, performance wise. It's just that I didn't want to put out a certain, vaguely defined impression with colleagues and bosses about being a Mercedes driver. Interesting how these kinds of things play out in the decision making that have nothing to do with the actual vehicle performance itself.

    And what's really interesting is that I would have had no issue whatsoever putting out an impression of being a BMW driver, if I could afford it.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,066
    You have never owned a Vette ?... I'm not too sure if GM will ever produce a excellent sport car, the vette is a blast to drive but own one for a few years, drive it and watch it fall apart. I loved my vette but it wasnt screwed together all that well. BTW, I had MY 2000.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Of course, the *old* GM was an entirely different story. Even the previous generation CTS was a joke compared to the present one. It's the first car that GM has ever made that the engine doesn't sound like it came out of a tractor.

    I've been not too impressed with Volvos as of late. They frankly remind me of fancy 90s era GM FWD sedans. Now, that said, when I had to help my parents decide between cars, it came down to a decision between a G37, a C350 Sport, and a CTS. The C350 was easily the most luxurious. Not that flashy Beverly Hills crud, but more like the old wealth you see in the upper end of London. Understated but obviously much better.

    Handling and driveability went to the G37. But it also felt plastic and "thin". Kind of like the same problem you get with the TSX. It's nice and all, but it doesn't have the same feel of say, an Audi or Porsche. You know that feeling. Leather alone doesn't make a luxury car. "Leather plated" comes to mind for many cars these days. Now, the Infiniti M, that's a whole other story. Check it out and then wonder why they didn't make the G feel more like a smaller M.

    To top it all off, the G37 looks like everyone else's jellybean. Is it an Infiniti or a Hyundai or... Who knows until you get within about 100 ft of it.

    The CTS was the best combination of the two, though. It's a usable car for daily driving and feels like it's worth the money inside and out. Bit of sport, bit of luxury, and exactly what a luxury sport sedan should be. Only the BMW felt similar to drive. But the BMW also has two major issues. One is the cost of repairs, and the other is that it's not a U.S. company. Now, this is a minor point, to be sure, but there is something to be said about driving a domestic car and not being part of the typical sheeple horde.

    Plus, nobody poor drives a new Cadillac. There is till some status involved with owning one, even if it is just a little bit. :P
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 10,133
    edited March 2012
    pletko,'re both probably right. My experiences with Cadillac was during what one might consider their "product malaise" period. To be frank, the CTS coupe test drive was the one with the DI motor. While not the fastest, it certainly held its own. Plus, I thought the interior quality, fit/finish rivaled that of any Audi and my own 3 series. I might even say it was a bit better than either.

    There is still an air of luxury (and now add a healthy dose of "sport") when driving a CTS.

    The Cadillac dealership I visited wasn't the one I had so much trouble with previously, either. So, I think that's a positive. He tried his damnedest to make a deal for me, too. He knew of my previous travails. He ate into his holdback and offered me well over what my trade was worth. It just stuck in my head the previous experience.

    Too bad! The CTS (especially the coupe) is a good looking car, that drives well, and has bumped up the quality quite a bit.

    That said, I really like my 3. So, it will stay in my stable at least through the warranty period (which is an achievement for me :surprise: ).
    2018 Acura TLX SH AWD ASpec
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 10,133 always, only you know what you'll be happy with. Again, this was on an '11 CTS, but I know the dealer I visited, who's not part of a large conglomerate, with only one store, was willing to move units. I actually met the owner. He personally gave me the price (which was invoice, less rebates, less some of his holdback). All-in-all, he offered me a CTS coupe, totally loaded, for about $7K off MSRP and well under invoice.

    This was last summer, so I don't know if such a deal could be made today.

    Either way, they're nice cars.
    2018 Acura TLX SH AWD ASpec
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,294
    Was told by a local dealer that the 2013 sedans (dk about coupes) will be automatic only. Don't know if this is fact but what he relayed to me when I inquired about ordering one.

    I've searched the web- only thing I've seen is they discontinued manuals on 535 x drives.

    If that's the case this leaves a select few with manual awd option, which would bum me out as a driving enthuiaists.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Yeah, nothing kills true sporting excitement like getting rid of a fine manual gearbox and putting in a box full of rubber bands and hydraulics. That's one thing Mercedes and Volvo have also done recently, and why I'm not putting them on my short list any more.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    I loved the CTS, especially the cooled seats that seemed to function far better than other vehicles (TX hot...hate sweaty back...).

    My big problem with the CTS (a few years ago when I drove one) was the Nav interface. It seemed real low tech with low resolution pixelated graphics; reminded me of an 80's video game. Another issues was the slow shifting automatic...

    Seems like a silly thing to disqualify a contender but I couldn't look at that screen for 3-5 years.

    I'd put the interior design at #1 and materials #2 for a fully loaded CTS with 'sky' roof. One of the few vehicles I've been in where I said "wow". The 'low-end' CTS really did look like a low-end vehicle (drove one to try the manual).

    Another 'plus' is the exterior is unique (love it or hate it).
  • graphicguygraphicguy SW OhioPosts: 10,133
    edited March 2012
    ivan...depends on how long ago you looked. The current CTS Nav is very clear, with very nice graphics. I didn't take a long enough test drive to really give the trans a work out. Seemed fine to me. But, who knows over the long haul.

    I've always felt that GM makes some of the best automatic transmissions in the world however.

    Not a big fan of Bose. But, the one in the CTS (surround system) was probably better than any factory stereo I've heard. And, I've heard a lot of good ones....the Pioneer in my former TL, the Harmon Kardon in my current 335i, and the Bang & Olufson I heard test driving an Audi S4.
    2018 Acura TLX SH AWD ASpec
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,935
    I drove a 'Vette for 30,000 miles.
    I agree that it was a blast to drive.
    Mine did not 'fall apart'.
    - Ray
    2016 BMW 340i
  • dag63dag63 Posts: 4
    I'm looking to upgrade from my '07 Mazda3s. While I love the Mazda's handling, braking, well-bolstered seats, and Bose stereo, its a little small, underpowered, and noisy. I do not, however, want to give up the manual transmission and the excellent steering feel. I am a little worried that some of the ELLPS lose that steering feel with a little too much power assistance. Trying to keep the price in the mid $30k range. Thanks, in advance, for any advice.
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,294
    I like the fact your keeping the manual transmission - its the way to go for sure. Prob your going to have is mid 30k price.They only one comes to mind is the Tsx which is quiet and has a good engine and sweet 6 speed- car is a little bloated in current form thou- has a nice radio and good service - and will be replaced by a new acura based on the civic soon. . The is250 (haven't driven it) could prob be had for that range if you could find a manual on a dealer lot. G 37 is over 40k along with the TL - but with deals you could prob get under 40k. BMW 328 if you could find a stripper or a experimental deal situation, maybe a cTs in stripped form . I might be missing some. Good luck-
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 5,126
    IMHO it's going to be tough in the $30's. There isn't much out there that handles like a Mazda 3 until you get to the $40's. The TSX also came to my mind, but no way it will handle like the Mazda, although it would be more luxurious. How about the G25? Or perhaps a fully loaded Jetta.
  • I bought an 08 VW GLI last summer and couldn't be much happier for the price. Yes, I bought it used, but with only 18k miles, it was still very fresh inside and out.

    The GLI has a slick 6sp manual OR the very popular DSG. I have the manual and it drives very well.

    Starting in the mid 30s, you can outfit them with the full options kit at $30. If you want to tick up the performance, the turbo can be chipped for an extra 50 hp and swapping brakes would return you a car that pulls like a MazdaSpeed3, nets 30 mph highway, has four doors, and can carve curves in a slightly subdued, but still spirited way. The car buttons down nicely.

    Haven't owned the CTS or the 3, but have driven both and the A4 and I would put this car one slim tier below them - but without any of the snob factor. It becomes a very subtle Q-ship, and every time I zip past someone on the country roads between home and the cities, I get a pretty big grin from the pull of that turbo.

    And yes, I just recently chipped my car (REVO) and it has added a brashness to the car's personality - still a q-ship, but with even more grunt under the gas pedal.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 25,330
    No stick in the G25 pretty sure.

    the TSX is probably the best choice in the category, unless you can find a killer deal on a strippo 3 series.

    Can the Passat V6 come with stick? not really a handler, but an interesting option.

    Audi A4 come in price wise?

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,320
    I did the deal today guys! Come next week I'll be a BMW owner once again.

    2010 Acura TSX w/ Technology Pkg - Black/Black - 48,8XX miles. Trading it in for 18,500.

    2011 BMW 328xi - Titanium Silver, Blk leather, Value pkg, Premium pkg, Steptronic, Heated steering wheel, split folding rear seats, Xenon headlights, Navigation, Satellite radio, Destination.

    MSRP: $44,190
    Purchase Price: $38,746

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

  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 9,199
    Agreed that Audi's/VW's 2.0T engine chipped is the best way to go for 35K and under.

    I have an '06 A3 with Unitronics Stage 2 "chipping." The stage 2 takes advantage of my custom exhaust system over the stage 1. Put in an S3 intercooler and I basically have a non-Quattro S3 which is a car that is far TOO good for the US market. :cry: :shades:

    It is very fast. Not sure about REVO's software, but most "chipped" 2.0T motors get around 280-290 lb/ft of torque to go along with the 250-260 HP.
    Toy '16 Audi TTS quattro AWD, Commuter '16 Kia Optima LX 1.6 Turbo FWD, Wife's '17 VW Golf All-Track SE 4-Motion AWD
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 25,330
    that baby sounds loaded. Nice discount there from MSRP certainly.

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,174
    If by mid 30s you are talking 33-37k you should be able to get into a base G37 as long as you don't load it up with nav and sports pkg. Discounts are fairly heavy off MSRP.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    The CTS I drove was 3 years ago...think it was right when they came out.

    The tranny was very smooth shifting. When used in tiptronic mode with spirited driving it would take a very long time to shift after I made my selection...shift lever...1 second...2 second...almost 3...shift.

    But as a disclaimer...I find all 'pretend manual' automatics to be that way. Unless you're driving in the hills/mountains where you'd like to hold your gear the tiptronic isn't very useful. Love the DSG...haven't drive the new 8spd.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 5,126
    No stick in the G25 pretty sure.

    Yeah, after I wrote my original post I thought that might be the case.

    It's kind of a sparse field between the Mazda 3 and the ELLPS's if you are looking for a stick shift AND really good handling. You would think some automaker would come in and plug that hole around $30-$35K.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,724
    edited March 2012
    VW CC or TSX..

    I don't think the TSX gives up any handling to the Mazda3, though...

    I like the GLI idea, but I've never driven the new model....


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 9,199
    It's kind of a sparse field between the Mazda 3 and the ELLPS's if you are looking for a stick shift AND really good handling.

    Sounds like someone needs to write Audi that they'd want an A3 sedan if they want something with great handling, a 6 speed stick, and slot in the 30 to 35K zone.
    Toy '16 Audi TTS quattro AWD, Commuter '16 Kia Optima LX 1.6 Turbo FWD, Wife's '17 VW Golf All-Track SE 4-Motion AWD
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