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Luxury Performance Sedans



  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,926
    Your satellite radio song/artist info scrolls? Is that a factory unit or aftermarket?
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Aftermarket. :) My Jeep came with am/fm radio. No cd and only 2 speakers. I've fixed that. hehe

    I believe those vehicles with displays like iDrive will show the entire song and artist w/o having to scroll. That's what my friend with the new BMW tells me. Markincincinnati has satellite radio in his Audi, so maybe he can chime in on how MMI handles it.

  • MMI (Sirius) Truncates the text. Wife's 2005 BMW X3 with Nav system and 16x9 screen also truncates.
    Screen has plenty of room, makes little sense to me.
  • vchiuvchiu Posts: 565
    > 1) No manual transmission... Damn shame that.

    well , Alpina want to position it with comfort in mind. the auto box is coming from ZF, so it should be a pretty decent unit. the available torque should solve many issues anyway.

    My choice car would be a 7 series with the same engine, the B7. more tests reports on

    My choice car would not have all the Alpina spoiler and gimmicks. i would look like a stock BMW.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "well , Alpina want to position it with comfort in mind."

    Well, in my mind at least, there's nothing so comfortable as well engineered slick shifting manual transmission with an honest to goodness clutch pedal. ;-)

    "the auto box is coming from ZF, so it should be a pretty decent unit. the available torque should solve many issues anyway."

    It could be the finest automatic transmission in the worls (ala. Audi DSG) and I still wouldn't want it. IMHO, no luxury perfomance car should be offered without at least a manual gearbox option. Apparently BMW agrees as they've reversed themselves on the new M5 and are now going to offer a version with three pedals.

    Best Regards,
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,926
    I think the true manual option is only for the States.
  • Shipo, couldn't agree with you more. Even the S4's over at the Audi dealer are just as likely to come with 6M and 6A anymore. :cry:

    Even worse at the BMW dealer where only ordered cars come with the stick shifts. Once in a blue moon it is possible to find one that a customer ordered and passed on -- there was, as I recall ONE 525xi so equipped.

    Back in the day the Audi dealer would order one or two stick shifts totally stripped "as if" someone would want the stick but no premium or sound packages.

    Speaking only for myself, Shipo, I am a dinosaur. The DSG or SMG may be super sweet; ditto the Mercedes 7 speed auto -- but the "p" stands for something doesn't it?

    If the upcoming B8 Audi A4 actually comes with a manual option (as does the current BMW 330xi) I may be in my last Luxury "performance" Sedan.

    My wife is now worried the next gen X3 will only come without a clutch.

    I keep hoping this "ain't so."

    I do wonder, however, if this is market driven. If the main purpose of offering the 3's and 5's with stick shifts is to say "we offer stick shifts" well, what are we going to do?

    I believe it would be darn near impossible to go to the BMW store and find a 530i or xi with a stick to test drive.

    If you find one here in Cincinnati, I would assume the dealer cap cost reduction would be huge just to get rid of it (at least based on what they tell me, which seems "eeewwww who would want a stick shift.")

    Crying, screaming voices in the wilderness, Shipo: you and me. :confuse:

    Truth be told, I am not confused -- the market, apparently has spoken.

    As Firesign Theater once said, "I said live it or live with it!"
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "I think the true manual option is only for the States."

    For the moment at least, I believe that you are correct. I must then ask the question, "Why is BMW providing a manual gearbox for the North American market only?" Of course given the rhetorical nature of the question I'll now provide y'all with an answer: DEMAND!

    My bet is that other countries will follow suit. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Well, I'm not ready to throw in the towel just yet. I do believe (maybe naively so) that there is something that we can do. Over on the 3-Series and 5-Series boards a few of us three pedal stalwarts have convinced a fair number of folks to opt for a manual gearbox over a Steptronic or SMG. If we can just keep getting the word out about the pleasures of having a heightened level of involvement with the driving experience, I think (hope?) more folks will opt to stir their own. It's kind of like a pyramid scheme, sell a few, have them sell a few, and have those sell a few more...

    Regarding BMW dealers and sticks, the dealership that I ordered my 328i through told me that over 50% of the 3-Series cars they sell are manuals, and over 20% of the 5-Series cars are so equipped. Of course this was seven years ago and so maybe the numbers have changed somewhat, however, more recently the dealership where I ordered my 530i through told me a different story. When I turned said 530i in at lease end, my now local dealership (I've moved to a different state) couldn't wait to get their hands on my 530i 5-Speed, SP, PP, Xenon, Premium Audio car and CPO it for their lot. Why? "Because," according to them, "it will command a higher price than a like equipped car with an automatic." Sure enough, they were correct, they sold my three year old car for only $7,000 less than my ED price!

    Best Regards,
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "If we can just keep getting the word out about the pleasures of having a heightened level of involvement with the driving experience, I think (hope?) more folks will opt to stir their own. It's kind of like a pyramid scheme, sell a few, have them sell a few, and have those sell a few more..."

    Sorry, but I think that's wishful thinking. I've taken out a Maserati Coupe Cambiocorsa for a test drive every year its been on the market. The first year, the SMG was pretty crude, and they told me most people bought the stick. Now, the SMG is very slick, even in full-auto mode. Just about all of the jerkiness from those year one cars is gone. The Cambiocorsa option is also a lot more popular now, so I'm told.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I said that sort of tongue in cheek, however, sort of not as well. There is a certain "thing" that happens to many drivers (but certainly not even the majority) once they master driving a car with a stick. For folks like them (me, Mark, Dewey...), not even horrendous NYC, Cincinnati, or Toronto traffic can put even so much as a patina on our enjoyment of stirring our own. I truly believe that if more folks spent the time to learn how to drive a stick, we would see MANY more converts who demand a car with a stick and not even SMGs and DSGs will be good enough.

    Best Regards,
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    didn't most cars start out with manual transmissions and people get lazy and not want to have to do it themselves?

    Are you saying you would like to see a trend to more driver involvement and driver situational awareness?

    Blasphemy! :) hehehe

    I'd like to see that too. When I offroad, while and automatic would make things easier when crawling over obstacles, I prefer the interaction of 3 pedals and 1 hand on the gear lever and hand throttle.

    Spirited driving should always be done with the squishy stuff between the ears in control, not the hard-wired computer and software.

  • moxiemoxie Posts: 33
    Couldn't agree more. Amen !

  • dhamiltondhamilton Posts: 875
    I would like to say many nasty things about people who refuse to drive anything other than automatics.... but I won't. I will say that I prefer a true manual for reasons that Shipo has stated so well, " You have a heightened level of involvement with the driving experience". It was sad to see every German offering at the Houston auto show with auto tranny's only on display {Audi,Bmw,Porsche} Standing next to the new Cayman I witnessed 3 different parties ask whether or not in came in auto. I threw up all over them :P Just kidding.
    What do you do. I recently read a quote by Michael Schumacher that he would prefer to go back to a 3 pedal set up in his F1 car. Auto trannies are the opiate of the masses.
    Mark, the new Q7 is gorgeous :blush:
  • The Q7 looks good in pictures and on the DVD they sent me.

    But, no manual.

    The issue or AN issue must have something to do with age. I am 54. I learned to drive a VW "bug" my dad had a second car a Plymouth Valiant with a "slant 6" and "three on the tree," and when he moved up to a Plymouth 318 V8 Satellite I graduated from the VW to the Valiant -- so I cut my teeth on stick shifts.

    The "fancy" or lux cars (American of course) of the day were all and always automatics (which was funny since they all came with sticks but never were ordered with them unless they were for police use.)

    As time has passed, I think it is safe to say that some under 40 have never driven anything but autos, the number increases when the age drops to 30 and increases again when you go under 25 year olds.

    The wash techs at the local full service car washes here in River City DO NOT, CAN NOT, WILL NOT drive a stick shift car -- most of them are young men, probably under 25.

    Usually if I take my wife's X3 to one of these places the wash pro has to get the manager to put the car into the wash tunnel.

    If you were selling cars, why would you fight the customer who wouldn't even try a stick?

    Imagine the effort required first to convince the noobie to drive a stick (grind, grind, stall, stammer) and then somehow make this new stick driver think that this is more fun, provides better performance, economy and control and hence can lead to more safety.

    Tough sell.

    Some people won't eat a certain food since it "looks like it tastes bad," but if you ever get them to try it sometimes they love it.

    My secretary wouldn't eat lobsters cause they look icky.

    I bought her a lobster tail and got rid of the shell -- ta da she loves lobster.

    More's the pity, more's the pity.

    Sticks are kinda, sorta, like, well, er. . .similar.

    Tough sell. :surprise:
  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    My first 5 cars were sticks. With the parking lots for streets around where I live, the occasions when a stick is enough fun to consider justifying the pain of miles of stop and go just isn't worth it. Now, if I lived somewhere else, I'd consider it. Some of the cars in this class just aren't set up for successful manuals - I much prefer a good hand brake when I've got a manual transmission...many of these cars no longer have one making a manual transmission a pain in hilly areas.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Yeah, I think C&D mentioned the C350's foot pedal E-brake in their review. Pretty half-hearted.
  • esfesf Posts: 1,020
    My wife has an '04 Lexus RX330, and we're thinking of getting a new car in a couple of years.

    I love the Q7- but she doesn't want the Q7. She's going for something more "sophisticated".

    We also don't want three Audis in the household (I already own an S4 Cabriolet and an A3 for winter) because that would be extremely creepy. (And both of the Audis we already own are blue!)

    I'm thinking of Mercedes-Benz, and she would like an E-Class. My son also recommends the CLS.

    Any thoughts, and any cars besides a BMW that you can recommend (I like one, but wouldn't want to own one)?
  • I completely agree. I remember my dad always saying there was *something* about driving a stick. (At 85, I forgive him his automatic.) When I was a kid, I would spend hours riding my bike up and down the block, imagining that I was driving a stick. When I finally learned to drive one--an Audi 2000, at rush hour on a busy six-lane road in Virginia, immediately after which I took said car to Pennsylvania for a dealer exchange--I was completely hooked. Every car since has been a 5 spd--and in fact my obsession with sticks and performance was what led me to buy my 5er. My daughter is now learning to drive :cry: , and she is learning on a 5 spd manual (I insisted). Someday, she will thank me. Right now, she's just terrified of the whole driving thing.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Any reason she's unhappy with the RX? Does she have any thoughts on the GS?
  • bjbird2bjbird2 Posts: 647
    This may have been posted already, but JD Powers dependability study, an industry benchmark that tracks model 2002 cars and trucks by problems reported per 100 vehicles, ranks them:

    1) Lexus 139
    2) Porsche 149
    3) Lincoln 151
    4) Buick 163
    5) Cadillac 175
    6) Infiniti 178
    7) Toyota 194
    8) Mercury 195
    9) Honda 201
    10) Acura 203

    It's surprising how well the American brands fared, actually beating out Toyota and Honda.
    Perhaps the owners aren't as critical of their vehicles.
  • There have been some pretty interesting discussions and assertions about American cars in the aftermath of the Ford announcments recently.

    I will attempt to present them unfiltered:

    American cars have relatively few quality problems. They are currently in terms of build quality competitive. The Japanese saved the American Automobile Manufacturers and improved the quality of American made cars to the point that quality issues are not significant issues in the consumer's minds.

    However, what is significant is "the products" themselves.

    American car manufacturers build too many similar cars and still too many cars that while being of good to very good quality are not as desirable as the competition's.

    Content configurations and current technology are also issues cited.

    A new Northstar V8 equipped Buick Lucerne other than the "blue hair" factor (I represent that remark) has a four speed automatic. "Five speeds are expected," it is claimed. I have no way of knowing if this is true.

    I do know that the car magazines really beat up GM for their old tech transmissions. Chrysler at least can use the 5spd from their sibling Mercedes. What does Ford use predominanty? Four speeds too?

    I don't know, for certain, if this is part and parcel of what they were pontificating about, but we have been using a 2006 Trailblazer for a week while my wife's BMW is in the Body Shop for a door ding (right on the crease in the metal -- $600+ ouch!!!) -- this Chevy @ 9,000 miles on the OD and a stippie to boot is a decent car and feels as solid and quiet as anything I've been in regardless of where it is built.

    I don't know if I would want one -- but I do know it seems very well made. It just seems to be really, uh, bland.

    Way more bland than even the Lexus cars that are so reviewed as "too perfect" or "so perfect they are unengaging."

    This Trailblazer makes a nap seem exciting, if you get my drift.

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "American cars have relatively few quality problems."

    Thats a pretty sweeping statement, and for the most part, not really true. Buick and Lincoln are generally reliable. The rest of detroit iron.. not so much. Why do Buick and Lincoln have it together? I think its a combination of using the oldest parts GM and Ford have in their inventories, combined with owners that are VERY gentle on their cars.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Agreed. Lincoln and Buick are not representative of the much bigger picture. BTW, that report is very old and dated at this point.

    There have recently been some interesting questions raised about the reliability of the reliability statistics themselves. The JD Power stats do not always agree with the Consumers Reports stats, for example, and the real questions are "why" and "are EITHER of them correct?" I think that, like MANY STATISTICS, they should be taken with a grain of salt. They are an indication only, and not an authoritative final analysis.

    Many statistics are only as good as the method in which they are compiled and the method in which they are represented, as they can often be manipulated either at the point of compilation or the point of representation.

    Further, even if the reliability statistics are only to be used as a general guide, they do point out that the differences between some of the models are rather small and not as significant as some would have us believe. It's not so black and white as to say that since Lexus represents the most reliable vehicle, for example, that all the others are not a good choice. This is Lexus marketing . . . as they would have us believe that . . . and why not, if it's to their advantage.

    So, what then is the reason for the different results from different studies? The reason is that the compilation method is different. The surveys are conducted utilizing different methods of gathering data, and often actual service records are not utilized, but a car owner's "opinions" are recorded, and that becomes the record. Also, there are issues of "money" in these surveys. For example, who is paid for the survey, or who is rewarded for the result of the survey, and can the survey be used in marketing for a price?

    Further, there are the implications from voluntary recalls. What a shame it is to penalize a company statistically for making a voluntary recall, and then it shows up as a greater number of service issues. This puts backwards pressure on the manufacturers to do voluntary recalls. Instead voluntary recalls should be an important preventative method of keeping our cars safer and more reliable, not less reliable as the statistics would indicate. It's a twisted misrepresentation of reliability.

    To sum up, consider how much weight you give to these reliability studies, and look at them CAREFULLY, if you are going to rely on them too heavily.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The new S80 will offer a 311hp V8 with AWD, and Volvo's Four-C active suspension as on the S60R. What do you guys think? Should Germany and Japan be worried?
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    January 2006 Sales – Midsize Luxury Sedans:

    5 = 4,681
    E = 2,465
    GS = 1,978
    M = 1,892
    STS =
    A6 = 1,617
    RL = 773
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Of course not. lexusguy, you know that VOLVO can NEVER be a threat, just an alternative.
  • bjbird2bjbird2 Posts: 647
    "BTW, that report is very old and dated at this point."

    Actually, the article in my paper says it's the JD Power 2005 Vehicle Dependability Study, so it can't be very old and dated, although it doesn't say what month it was done in 2005.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,251
    Interesting stats.

    I am just curious to know the Dependability numbers for BMW, MB and Audi?

    Or even better could you provide the link to the site that has these stats?

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