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Luxury Performance Sedans



  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    funny i was reading about the new law yesterday and it dawned that it has flipped from being a deduction to a credit... don't we love tax credits instead of deductions... but sadly toyota buyers will be losing their credit rather rapidly.

    from what i read, anytime a manufacturer hits 60K sales of hybrid, their customers credit will start sliding down a curve along a formula. so i guess honda and ford have some more time to entice customers into their shop for hybrids, but toyota will be losing the tax credit luster too. did anyone read the law in detail and get the same impression on the hybrid tax credit? Basically the way I read it, this credit was an incentive to the "other" manufacturers who are sitting on the sidelines without any real hybrids on the market. to me that is a smart move to get more manufacturers to commit to hybrids and really "broaden" the hybrid movement rather than just rewarding the few smart ones who anyway did it on their own.

    this reminds me of the faux-pas in Arizona some years ago. I wish i was smart enough back then to drop money on a 5K electric golf cart and get a 5K tax credit instead of spending zillions on the 7.1 surround system. It took an entire year for AZ to roll back the mistake they made but i'd scores of neighbors who bought golf carts and took entire 5K credits on taxes (not deductions)... bless scottsdale... i miss it.

  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    "Speaking of BP, starting I believe next year, all Ford branded vehicles will have the BP logo on the gas cap!! "

    Interstingly my wife's bmw's engine oil cap has been saying "castrol" to me since we bought it in the summer of 2003.

    seems like ford got a lot of flap for their announcement on co-branding with BP, but others have been quietly doing it for a while now.

    Depending on what part of the country I am in, I tend to develop an almost superstitious belief that certain gas stations/companies give me better HP or mileage. Do any of you get religious like that? (and i'm an aethist)....

    When I lived down in scottsdale AZ, i was a fan of cheveron and tried to get gas at a certain station on scottsdale road up north of 101.

    in my distant life in NJ, i remember i used to get my gas at a mobil station on route 10 just off 287 in parsipanny.

    lately, i try to get my gas at a BP station and interestingly, I find they are cheapest compared to the surrounding shell's, mobils, exxons and GETTY too???? I find it unusual because I've seen BP's in most other places at price par with the mobil's and exxons.

    i wonder if my cars care more or less what they are fed...

  • hihomikehihomike Posts: 111
    You seem to be "up" on audio systems, to be sure. I just got a 530i with Premium Surround Sound with Logic 7. The MSRP on that system was $1800 and dealer cost was about $1650.00. I've listened to some outstanding audio systems, and I consider this one, from my standpoint, extremely well balanced and accoustically refreshing.

    What's your assessment of this sytem, the price paid for it, etc? I'd be very interested in your opinion.

  • i wonder if my cars care more or less what they are fed...

    Didja take a look at this website (in the post immediately preceeding the one you answered):

    It says cars do in fact care. The following are recommended companies:

    Entec Stations
    MFA Oil Company

    I haven't compared mileage/performance as it relates to brand of gas (I pretty much stick with Shell), but I derfinitely have found that my bimmer really, really likes to go fast. If I do too much local stop-and-go driving, it gets sluggish and starts hesitating more on acceleration (and of course the mileage plummets). The best remedy is to get on the highway and open it up.
  • msu79gt82msu79gt82 Posts: 541
    A lot of people don't like shiny wood trim because of the cheap aftermarket kits that are available. ... If, however, you get a Mercedes Benz or Audi or BMW or another high end car, you basically know it's real wood... I like non shiny wood too...but if you look close at the M35's wood, if I can call it that, it looks like plastic...I'd rather have plastic that looked a lot like wood than wood that looked like cheap plastic.

    Subjectivism run rampant :blush: If you can call it that? :confuse: Come on, you don't have to like it but it is OBVIOUSLY real wood and not plood :sick: To me (I admit subjective here) the "real" wood in the BMW 5-series looks just like the "real" wood in the Acura RL which looks just like the plood in my MDX. So how am I to basically know that the BMW uses real wood since it looks like plood? Just because its a BMW I guess :confuse:

    Thats the problem with subjectivism - its subjective (atta boy yogi). You don't like the matte finish in the M35 and thats OK for YOU, but you will never convine ME that it looks fake, because it does not :shades:
  • msu79gt82msu79gt82 Posts: 541
    Virtually ALL gasolines are refined from the same basic stock on a regional basis. Note that I did not say that all gasolines are the same at the pump, but they are all derived from the same basic gas stock.

    What makes Shell different from Chevron different from Exxon different from etc etc are the additives. Proprietary additives are blended into the basic stock (the primary, but not only, additives are octane boosters, oxygenators, and detergents). In my opinion the most important additive is the detergents. For example other than higher octane the biggest difference between Shell Regular (87) and Shell V-Power (91+) are the detergents to keep you engine "cleaner" Or at least thats what Shell claims. From a legal marketing perspective I have no doubt that Shell V-Power is different than Shell Regular, but I am not sure V-Power will keep my engine significantly cleaner that Regular.

    Top Tier gasolines have proven engine detergents in them and can be trusted (and recommended by auto makers), that is not to say that other gasolines will not keep your engine clean either.
  • docnukemdocnukem Posts: 485
    Matte finish is clearly not for everyone. Most people like the wood in the M; obviously some people don't. The only problem with glossy wood is that it is hard to judge if it is real wood under all the acrylic ( which is plastic, by the way). Matte finish in a car is foreign to most people, so it may seem odd to those people who have preconceived notions about what wood is supposed to look like.

    As to the leather door handles and shift knob, I guess I don't understand the problem. Leather is far more warm and comfortable than plastic or wood for these gripped surfaces. Just as a leather-wrapped steering wheel is favored over plastic or wood wheels, it seems natural to put leather where you are going to be gripping surfaces.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    Amazing how folks see things differently.
    The wood in my BMW 545i looks like real wood to me.
    The wood in the M35/45 looked like cardboard to me.
    Different strokes for different folks.
  • msu79gt82msu79gt82 Posts: 541
    Amazing how folks see things differently.

    That was my point exactly :shades:
    By the way the same goes for hearing too, thats why there is so much disagreement regarding sound systems. There is no accounting for personal taste - literally, we all have different tastes in foods.

    Thats the problem with subjectivism - its subjective ;)
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    since i detail my own cars, i guess i dont particuarly like shiny parts as yet another thing to polish every second or third week ;)

    plus specially in the wife's bmw, i think the glossy wood gets smudged so quickly, i hate to see that.... it's like kids, do you have any value of your dad's time spent in making sure there was a sparkle and shine?


  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    You're not factoring in economies of scale here. If I wanted a pair of Scan Speak Relevator ring-radiator tweeters like Von Schweikert uses in the VR-7 and up, I'd have to pay $900 for them. I seriously doubt VS is paying $450\ea retail though.

    I also dont think that car audio premium systems have the kind of markup that ultra hi-end home audio does. Ferrari sold more Enzos in a year than Wilson does WAMMs, so sure, there has to be an outrageous markup there for it to make economic sense for both Wilson Audio and their dealers. Car audio just doesnt work like that.

    I do agree though that Bose (in some cases) and HK and all of their subdivisions (also in some cases) can do a pretty good job with the worst kind of "listening room" imaginable. Actually I think the Bose home division could stand to learn from the car division on how to make a system that actually sounds like something. You're probably aware of the saying: "no highs, no lows..."
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    If you like the interior in the M, that's good. Enjoy it!
    I think the E60 interior is okay but you know what?
    After being in the car for 2 weeks, I'm not really paying attention to it much!
  • docnukemdocnukem Posts: 485
    Actually, the matte finish seems to show smudges as much or more than the glossy surfaces I had in may last car. As of now, I am unsure of what I should be cleaning it with. With the glossy stuff, I just used whatever was available (usually a baby wipe). Any suggestions? Someone posted about a high-end furniture polish, but I don't think they named it.
  • bfeng7bfeng7 Posts: 47

    I cannot comment on specific systems or talk about specific cost ... for professional and ethical reasons ...

    I'm a lifelong BMW customer and fan. Their premium sound was pretty poor 10 years ago (when my e39 was designed). BMW has made great strides forward with audio system sound quality since then.

    Cost & Value? Value is a very personal thing. $1800 for you might be a bargain but for me it might not be. Too personal a thing to judge. With respect to cost, remember that dealer cost is a very different animal than what BMW paid their parts suppliers for the audio system components. Consider an alloy wheel. BMW's 2-piece wheels typically list around $500 each. Dealer cost is probably 40% less ($300). I would not be surprised if BMW pays the supplier $150 or less for the wheel.

    Sorry I can't say more. How do you like Logic 7?

    (Bose employee)
  • docnukemdocnukem Posts: 485
    Hey hpowders:

    Don't keep on sugar-coating it, tell us really how much you enjoy your car. ;)
  • bfeng7bfeng7 Posts: 47
    Even if you factor in economies of scale, there is a big difference.
    Let me present a hypothetical case: Let's say you're doing a woofer. Let say the idea material for the surround in a special butyl that has really nice damping qualities, great stability over the really tough environmental conditions cars live it. I can guarantee you that surround will cost you a LOT more than a treated cloth or an impregnated foam. The cost difference could be several hundred percent.
    Ditto the cone material, and nearly every part of that speaker. Now let's extend this to the rest of the audio components (not perfect, but it's a ballpark). That 100% or 200% difference will cascade down to you, and you'd be paying $4k rather than $1500 for a branded premium sound option. Plus, let's say the automaker is only willing to go to this better system for their top luxury cars. How many M45's are sold every year compared to Chevy Tahoes?

    Regarding your comments on markup ... do you work in the automotive audio OEM business? If not, how do you know what your saying is true?

    Finally comment. Like all companies with a diverse group of "divisions," it is often the case that one division will have a very different mandate than another division.
    Take Toyota. Their priorities and goals are VERY different from Corolla to LS430.
    The same company that makes the M45 (Renault/Nissan) makes some really low end, bare-bones, stuff for other markets. Harman does everything from Revel to stuff that I rank down there with Cerwin Vega. What I'm saying is don't judge Bose automotive by your impressions of Bose home products ...

    (Bose employee)
  • Quoting myself:

    "If you don't give a hoot about DVD-Audio, I am confident you will find the Audi Audio system to be "among the finest."

    I am not too concerned that the B&O system will be a step backward -- yet I wonder if B&O really is more about "show" than "go," time will tell."

    And, earlier in the post I said perhaps BOSE is overexposed.

    I REALLY like my Audi A6's "premium" sound system by Bose.

    B&O will certainly provide the listener with a fine experience, perhaps better than the BOSE experience (I assume that is Audi's intention, anyway.)

    I am not opposed to see Audi go with a more "upscale" NAME -- but I also have no belief, until I hear it, that it will be a KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF experience either. The BOSE systems in the M Infiniti's and Audi A6's are among the best I have ever heard -- I would wonder what the Audi's speakers and amps would do with a DVD-Audio disc, but the availability of content in DVD-Audio is even lower than the availability of HDTV programs.

    The CD and Sirius playback in "surround rear" mode is at least a "9" on the 1-10 scale, and if that is my evaluation, I would say the Infiniti M top o the line BOSE system is at least a "9.5" (with DVD-Audio as the source).

    If my post was sounding as if it was anti-BOSE in the Audi (and/or Infiniti) applications, it was not intended to be so.

    Indeed, my Audi A6 has the best factory car system in a car that I have ever owned. Only the Infinti M and Acura TL's DVD-Audio edges it out slightly.

    I am certain that Audi felt it needed a "snootier" name -- Linn, too, would have filled that bill. BOSE needs, IMHO, to come out with an "elite" branding product if it wants to keep corporate customers like Audi. Perception, sometimes, is reality.
  • Local radio car-talk show subject one week was gasoline.

    What I think I learned:

    #1 if the car will run fine on regular according to the mfg, it is a waste to use mid or higher grade

    #2 if the car is specified to be able to run on regular but clearly states it requires 91 or 93 (premium, i.e.) is is a false economy to use regular and ends up -- over time -- costing more than using premium in the first place (a false economy? a dumb economy, if you asked me -- hence I always use premium in both my Audi's 3.2 FSI and BMW 3.0 engines.)

    #3 the difference between "top tier" (e.g. Shell V-Power) and another non-top tier gasoline can be that the top tier gas has 5 times the amount of engine cleaning additives -- and, again over time, the cost of using a non-top-tier gasoline could be a false economy. This is a bummer, for here in Cincinnati it is NOT always easy to find Chevron or Shell "when you need it."

    I do the "best I can" to fill up with top tier gas -- sometimes I slip (truth be told, probably 50% of the time, I am not close to a top tier retailer so I take another "name brand" instead.)

    Drive it like you live. :shades:
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    Well, now that you mention it.... :)
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I dont work in the OEM car audio market. What I'm saying is the WAMMs are (or were) something like $250,000 a pair last time I checked, unless somebody else has come out with something more expensive, in which case Wilson will have raised the price. They pride themselves on having the world's most expensive speakers. Their ads in TAS dont even show speakers, but their own cabinent material which they make themselves using military lasers and imported rock dust from Pluto, which is "14x more expensive than mdf". I seriously doubt Wilson spends more than 5 figures on production costs. The rest is from the fact that they make like 6 of them in a year, and that Dave Wilson and his team home deliver and install them.

    Would Toyota take a loss on putting a ML system in every SC430 made? No way. But I also seriously doubt there's a 70%+ markup there.

    I'm not judging Bose auto products based the "Acoustimass" stuff. What I was saying is I think Bose auto products are the best sounding products the company makes, and if the 901 is ever replaced this century, the guys working on the follow up should listen to the M45 stereo to get some ideas.
  • bfeng7bfeng7 Posts: 47
    Actually a couple more comments.

    Let's take you VR-7 example. Let's say VR pays $300 for these tweeters.
    Add to the mix the need for integrated connector, redesign of materials to withstand automotive environmental/mechanical/green requirements. Add back the need to implement end-of-line automotive level quality testing. Plus, ScanSpeak has to redesign the basket/frame to fit into the physical space the automaker has given you. Despite all this, let's say economies of scale could cut this price by a factor of x3. Now we're at $100 for a tweeter. You, Lexusguy Corporation needs 4 tweeters to do a system. Let's say you need 5 midrange drivers and 1 subwoofer and they price out the same as the tweeter. You are up to $1000 without an amp or dsp processor.
    What would it cost you to make a 10 channel amp with room correction DSP for all channels? Don't forget it has to have an optical MOST bus interface. Then add in the DVD-A compatible headunit. How about $750 for the entire electronics package. Your total system cost is $1750 .. not counting ANY capital investments or overhead costs you have to run your audio company. It seems reasonable if you sell it to the automaker for $3500, and it seems reasonable for them to mark it up another 100% to make retail $7000.

    What do you think? Nuts or reasonable guestimate?

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "BOSE needs, IMHO, to come out with an "elite" branding product if it wants to keep corporate customers like Audi. Perception, sometimes, is reality."

    Agree. Its the same idea that brought about Sony "Qualia". Sony's Qualia 10 headphones in my opinion beat the pants off the vaunted Grado RS1s and Sennheiser HD650s. Nobody would buy them though if they were sold at you're average Circuit City or Best Buy.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I'm with you every step of the way except for the 100% automaker markup. Why is that necessary, especially in a case like the SC430 where every car is equiped with the system?
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    as a customer of bmw, bmw damn well give me real wood for the prices i pay.

    and as a stockholder of nissan, they better damn well not use real wood for the affordable price at which they sell the M....


  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    if it's real wood, use a real wood cleaner. don't trust anything else.
  • Don't want to cause any arguments, since we ARE, after all, talking subjectively -- but. . . .

    The last couple of BMW's I tested had that dreadful black gloss wood in a car with black dash, headliner and seats -- thank god I didn't have a knife, I might have slit my wrists just for some COLOR.

    OK, it wasn't THAT bad, but black wood? Black gloss wood -- if I wanted the black and gloss look, personally I would probably opt for carbon fiber.

    OTOH, I just picked up my A6 (took it in to have the 5,000 mile service about 900 miles early) and looked at an A8L W12 and an S4. The wood in the A8L was fantastic, wonderful, darn near humbling -- no wonder the car's sticker was $128,000+ (the headliner was Amaretto alcantara and the dashboard was stitched leather and it even had a built in fridge for wine and cheese to please whilst watching the dual screen DVD CHANGER; the seats were perforated Amaretto sports seats front and rear.)

    The S4, black with a grey interior with carbon fiber trim and/or the "grey ash gloss wood" -- darn near as depressing as the aforementioned BMW, but no where near enough to make me contemplate my own bloodshed.

    Then I get into my A6 with the Amaretto interior and the Audi glossy "wood colored" wood -- beautiful.

    Of course, I also thought the M35X with the bourbon interior and matte rosewood was very good looking (better than the BMW and not quite as nice as the Audi, but one that I could easily have lived with.)

    The BMW interior wood, when in black, just seems IMHO to contribute to a feeling of "starkness" (as in that old Youngblood's song, "Starkness, Starkness. . .be my pillow. . .") that these other cars with their dark or light brown glossy or matte real wood lack, replacing starkness with warmth.

    But like we all say, "To each her/his own. . ."

    Don't get me started on the Black exterior, black satin alloys, black tinted windows and windshield, black leather dash, headliner, seats and interior wood trim BMW 5's that seem to always be in "plentiful" supply here at River City BMW dealerships (has BMW uncovered a new market. . .Goth?)

  • I just wipe with a dry diaper (cloth; left over from my kids), but any soft cotton cloth will do. If there is something that won't come off I dampen it slightly. I don't bother with special cleaners and I never have a problem.
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    i had to reread your sentence several times, but i'm darn sure you wrote:

    dry diaper left over from my kids???

    just teasing :P
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    well i've never personally liked darker woods, i prefer lighter woods. the bmw in my garage has lighter wood in it and i've light maple hardwood and natural tone cherry in the house so i kinda agree with you on the dark wood.

    oh wait, i forgot, my definitive tower speakers are all in high polished piano gloss black wood finish... but those things sound so nice, i'll make an exception.

    why don't i see kdshapiro jump back into the discussion to tow the bmw official line? ;)

    as i've said before, the only car i think that looks decent, ok, not just decent, but simply lovely in this category is the A6, inside and out. i personally love the E, it looks timeless and classy in my personal biased opinion and i'm absolutely not turned off by the bmw 5 looks. Though i tend to be partial towards japanese cars due to quality considerations, i have concluded in my biased personal opinion that all 3 [non-permissible content removed] missed the boat by 5000 miles in the looks department, GS, RL, M. The more I see them the more i realize that though none of the 3 are offending and each one is lovely in some way, their looks just refuse to grow on me.... specially the RL disappoints me because i LOVE the way the TL stands and thought the RL might get an aggresive bearing like that.

    biased forever and always right ;)
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    It would also be nice if comfort seats and the fold down rear seat were standard on the 545i.
    The 2 of these cost me around $1500 as extras.
    Had to cash in 5.5 GOOG shares for those 2 options.
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