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Luxury Performance Sedans



  • docnukemdocnukem Posts: 485
    If I am wrong will you buy me a beer sometime?

    Heck, I'd love being wrong if somebody bought me a beer every time. :)

    FWIW, I've had a couple FWD cars, a 328, some AWD/4WD SUV's, and now an AWD LPS. On really icy days, the AWD certainly accelerates better. The 328 had traction control and did okay, but the FWD's performed slightly better starting and cornering. Now, these are really slick conditions, so cornering was done at very slow speeds. I doubt that any FWD car could have done rings around the 328, though. All in all, the fun of the 328 more than made up for what little advantage the others had on really icy days. Now I have that same fun in an AWD car--Whoo-Hoo!
  • getting interesting. I'm not sure who to root for. My experience {5 years in michigan} has been that front wheel drive is better in snow. I have not driven a modern bimmer in the snow. However AWD makes the most scientific sense to me.
    Someone shutting Grandaddy a mastercard commercial :P
    Two plus two is three, where's my beer
  • I feel another time out/cookie break coming.........
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    This time I think it's a beer break. ;-)

    Grandaddy, there is plenty of scientific and anecdotal evidence suggesting that the ONLY metric where FWD has it over RWD in the snow is under light acceleration.

    After experiencing a winter tire shod RWD BMW and three other winter tire equipped FWD cars through the last four New Hampshire winters there simply isn't anyway for someone to convince me that FWD is superior to RWD in the snow (much less be able to run rings around the BMW). Hmmm, I guess I owe you that beer. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "But the new Lucerne may offer a viable alternative to the ES (at the price, at the price)."

    If you're talking about the 1997 version of the car, I might give that to you. When compared to the '07 ES though, the Buick seems as old as its original four-porthole forebears. The new ES is as close to state-of-the-art as you can get for the price. The Buick is thrown together from '80s era GM parts (like all Buicks of recent memory) and '90s era Japanese styling, the one exception being the taillights copied from recent VWs. Also, for all of GM's talk of the "legendary" Northstar V8 finally making its way back into a Buick, the top version has no more power than the ES's V6.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "The degree to which the upcoming Acura and Honda models have similarities will be revealed, but there is an internal corporate effort underway to further distinguish and separate the two brands from one another.

    I cannot precisely determine the extent to which this is different than Toyota's approach with Lexus, but it seems, at least on the surface, that Toyota is blurring the lines as time passes, as opposed to Honda's more deliberate attempt to separate Acura."

    I dont see any evidence of Toyota "blurring the lines".. at least no more than they have ever done before. Its not as if they're simply going to slap an L on the front of the Rav4 and call it a day. This isnt GM we're talking about. I know that the '02 ES\Camry shared roughly 30% of their parts. Not sure about the new cars. From what I understand, Toyota is also trying to push Lexus away from the core Toyota brand, and launching Lexus in Japan was a big part of this.

    For the record, Lexus USA currently has 4 models on unique Lexus architecture. Infiniti has 1, Acura has 0.
  • Lexusguy's point is again on the money. Acura needs a wake up call. The RL has been a colossal disappointment in my view and will compare even less favorably once the new Lexus models are out.

    I drive Acura and wanted to buy a new Acura. However, I will probably buy a Lexus 450 hybrid or a BMW 550. Ultimately, even those somewhat expensive cars have significant drawbacks/tradeoffs. At some point (hopefully soon), one of the auto companies will offer a nice sports luxury car with AWD and hybrid technology so that it gets decent mileage. The car will have decent trunk and back seat room to truly be a luxury car but will have performance (sub 6 second 0-60 and preferably 13 second area quarter mile with outstanding braking and handling characteristics). Acura RL has AWD but fails on most of the other requirments. The new Lexus 450H (hybrid) will meet most of these requirements except being AWD but comes the closest to really being special. If BMW 550 was AWD and/hybrid, I would have purchased.

    Yes, I want it all but I bet someone will deliver it soon for less than $75,000 (and some are getting closer--an Audi with better mileage/slightly better performance could fill the bill, Infiniti also getting closer, Mercedes starting to improve, Lexus is the closest).
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    Hey Tagman. I would have responded to your very helpful post sooner, but I have been comparison shopping HDTV's and that took up most of my day.

    Wow! Turbo without the horrible delay which has marred the VW turbos.
    BMW does it again!

    I had great regret leaving my beloved inline 6 for the more powerful but less refined BMW V-8.

    Looks like my next BMW will be the new 330 turbo. If it has to be a coupe, so be it! I can hardly wait!
    I'm absolutely salivating!
    Time to start putting away some extra scheckels! :)
    Thanks, Tagman!
  • I won't even bother including FWD in any of those performance metrics. Why? Because in the snow and ice, it's the worst of the three across the board.

    I won't pretend to be the expert that some of you in here are regarding FWD/RWD. However, back in about 1983/84, I was the first person in my neighborhood to own a FWD car. That winter we got an ice storm one evening. The street approaching my dead-end block was a two block long low-rise hill. I was the only person who was able to make it up the hill! I counted at least 20 abandoned cars along the street. I'm sure among those people were at least a few who were good drivers and I'm sure there were a few who had proper tires, but it made no difference.
  • I apologize -- I have no information on the Lexus, the '07 Lexus. We were driving '05 and '06 cars. My guess despite the advert that we were driving current versions was that the Caddy's were '06's and the competition were '05's.

    The new Lucerne has received some very favorable press, I have seen the Buick up close and personal (and NOT the Lexus). While I think I would, were I ever to consider one of these, go for the CTS over the Lucerne, the current Lucerne vs the then current ES seemed to be a more prudent choice.

    In the real LPS world, however, the GS I do find appealing at the very least from a styling perspective; but, of the major players from Japan, my fave remains the M from Infiniti.

    Now here is a thought, I am willing to bet one of these beers we've been wagering, that in the not too distant future there will be a Korean LPS entrant.

    A salesperson visited my firm yesterday in what I assume is the latest and greatest (and biggest one I have ever seen) Hyundai -- I gave it two double takes, from 10 yards it seemed at first glance to be cut from similar cloth as our beloved LPS babies.
  • Ingolstadt, Germany -- location inside the Audi AG compound, the Audi Forum. A museum dedicated to many things Audi and all things automotive.

    Demonstration: three "identical" Audi TT coupes: one RWD, one FWD and (no peeking) one AWD; all facing a hill (a steep hill.) The museum guest is being shown the relative tractive capabilities of the three drive-lines under "identical" circumstances. "All you gotta do" is press a button and the three cars begin their vertical climb. One goes "a" distance, another goes "a+" distance and the third goes (drum roll) "the" distance (to the top of the incline.) The envelope please.

    Video: of several LPS "station wagons, SUV's SAV's, Avants" (there I think I have the names covered) facing upward on a downhill bunny slope ski run covered with fresh snow (one presumes) -- all are 4WD (AWD). Again the viewer witnesses each of the cars attempt to "make it to the top." Only the one with the TorSen AWD system makes it. Guess who?

    Hands on: BMW 3 (RWD) with four studded snow tires and Audi A4 (AWD) ditto. You are on a controlled space, a huge controlled space covered with Olympic Ice of such quality the figure skaters from Torino would feel at home. Cock the steering wheel and give way. Faster, faster, faster still -- the BMW loses its rear end and requires the driver to slow down to a speed where the driver can regain control and reach a certain controlled speed in a "perfect circle." Rinse, lather, repeat in the otherwise very similar sized Audi (also with the four studded snow tires) -- note the "terminal" velocity where the Audi can no longer be controlled.

    The RWD vehicle in what you may argue (and I cannot counter with certainty) are "unfair" circumstances is the least capable in example one and three. In example two, they're all AWD and the video was purportedly not created by Audi AG.

    Over the years, growing up on Chrysler Newport's with big V8's w/RWD and eventually getting a FWD car in my twenties, I basically "lost my respect" for RWD in SW Ohio's winters where my snow-tire-less FWD's cars "always" would go in the snow and my snow-tired (rear only) RWD cars could only go sometimes.

    Modern packaging has once again dictated a move to RWD in what I can only assume is "what is old is new again" fashion. And, just as we moved en masse to FWD during a 1970's and 1980's fuel crisis (due to packaging and weight, so they said), it would not surprise me to see another shift -- this time to AWD as heavy heavy SUV's are often purchased because they are AWD (not to go off road, that is for certain) and because station wagons were out of favor. Now that station wagons (for some) are once again sexy :confuse: I am certain that just as the price of entry (POE) into the LPS ranks has become "thou shalt offer at least one of your LPS cars in AWD" that there will be a trickle down of this POE first into the near-LPS class and then downward further still.

    Of the drive types, and assuming I live long enough to collect the beers, I am willing to bet RWD (over time) will be among the first to be abandoned -- first becoming available as the de-contented model (alongside competing FWD cars) then being relegated to ultra expensive cars who have as part of their mission to "pay homage" to drive lines of yesteryear.

    The "rise of the machines" from an automotive perspective is underway -- and that rise is a rapid shift to AWD starting, in many cases, with the LPS machines.

    Of course, I may be dreaming. :surprise:
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    When my wife and I were shopping for a sedan to replace the one she totalled back in December, we shopped the RL. We test drove it. It drove fine. It was quiet. It was rock solid.

    It was also sterile feeling. The center stack felt like a WalMart boom box to me. I didn't say a peep during the drive (I sat in back too, while the salesman was in front with her). When we left, her words were, "It's okay, but there's something... not sure, what it is. It's just that I feel like I'm in a cocoon. I don't feel or hear anything to give me a feeling of where I'm going or what I'm doing."

    For an LPS, isn't that kinda what you WANT? Don't you want to feel where you're going and what you're doing? Not to a HUGE extent, like in a SUV or a Jeep, but some feedback - whether it is from the wheels, steering wheel, little bit of engine noise.

    For some, that may be exactly what they are wanting, but for an LPS, it was way too isolated for even my wife, who doesn't care as much about performance as me. She wanted luxury. Even in that department the RL fell short for her.

    We drove the RX330 and pretty much got that same impression. We did hear some more engine noise, but not much. Again, isolation. Not sure how the GS or ES's are, but I'd imagine they are quieter than the Camry we rented one day.

  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    You are much more likely to run into a little snow and ice on your daily rounds than a slalom course.

    Not exactly. My daily drive is all about the twist. I have a New York-to-Joizy commute that is one big 30-mile slalom. The 18-wheelers, Camrys, Town Cars and minivans are pylons. There was a time long ago when trucks stayed in the right lane. No more. The GW bridge and NJ Tpke are now very interesting places if you have the good fortune to travel opposite traffic as I do. The trash you have to dodge on the Jersey turnpike adds a lot of spice to the drive too.

    Favorite spot in the commute: Henry Hudson Parkway going north between the GW and HH bridges. There are some nice twisties.

    New York City had a record snowfall last week... 26 inches. You hardly noticed it between the impeccable road clearing and ensuing warm weather.
  • In the face of almost every test ever done and just good plain common sense, it must take a lot of blind faith to assert that rwd is better than fwd (or even awd) in the snow and ice.

    After this I would not be surprised to hear someone say that a good rwd can climb a hill better than a jeep!!

    Reminds me of the story about a guy standing in his yard and watching a kid dragging a chain up the hill in front of his house. The guy said, "Hey kid, why are you pulling that chain up the hill"? The kid replied, " Have you ever tried to push one"?
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,251
    I find the current success of Audi a bit puzzling? But I think one contributor to Audi's current and future success is BMW. Let me illustrate what I mean with the following three hypothetical questions:

    You want a performance orientated wagon?

    BMW's response: Touring Wagons 530xi and 325xi are fast enough. What family man needs a fast wagon anyways? If you want a fast wagon then go buy a Audi S4/S6 Avant.

    You want a fast small four door performance sedan?

    BMW's response: The BMW 330i is fast enough. What sedan driver needs a biturbo or M series anyways? If you want a fast sedan then go buy a Audi S4 .

    You want a fast little sport wagon?

    BMW's response: NO WAY! If the upcoming 1 series makes it to these shores it will only be sold in non-hatchback form. If you want a fast small hatchback then go buy a Audi A3 3.2 Quattro.
  • Admittedly I have been coached by "our" (my wife's actually) BMW dealer here in Cincinnati (sales 1,200 cars per year making them Ohio's #1 -- or so they say); but, I have been led to believe that BMW dealers are unable to keep up with the demand for the 5 "X-drive" cars (but not so the 3's as only 15% of them are "X's.")

    Of course, our dealer says "virtually" every 325 sold is sold as a 325xi -- steptronic. What this means I know not.

    So, at 40% of the 5's being sold as X drive versions -- apparently constrained not by demand, but by supply (yadda yadda yadda) -- my dealer speculates that BMW will (in response to Audi's successful "S-Line" variants, perhaps?) soon offer a "real" sports package instead of the current "in name and trim only" version.

    He claims, despite the fact that they will be overwhelmingly automatic equipped cars, that such an availability of a "true" sports package will only INCREASE the demand for "X-drive" cars ("5's? or does this apply to 3's as well?" he wondered out loud.)

    Indeed many of the X3's our dealer stocks do come with the sport package perhaps because of the sportier interior, upgraded wheels and tires, no change in ride height and "low price point" for these "upgrades."

    The early reports of harshness with such a set up were over a year ago addressed by BMW -- so goes the company line.

    I know I argue or whine as you may perceive it in favor of the quattro (TorSen) system in particular and AWD in general, but a BMW 530xi with a "proper" (e.g., "S-Line-like") sport package coupled with three transmission choices: stick, steptronic and SMG, ought to go some distance in keeping BMW at the top 'o the heap of LPS cars as the monthly sales reports posted here have demonstrated.

    Whew, I'm getting sweaty palms.

    Do the "other" LPS guys, besides Audi, i.e., offer their AWD versions with a true sport suspension set-up, or does Audi with it's S-Line offer (at the moment) the ONLY LPS car available in V6 and V8 flavors both with AWD and "sport?"

    I know, for instance, when I shopped for the Infiniti M, I could -- for a stack of 100 dollar bills -- upgrade the wheels and wheels alone (through the dealer) to 19" married to UHP summer only tires. But, other than a possible aftermarket set up, no "suspension" option was offered. To get that, one had to go for one of the RWD versions.

    Just wondering?

    Looks like, if what the BMW dealer "predicts" as true comes true, that BMW will once again, start late and finish first. :surprise:
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I suppose the V8 Lucerne is reasonably comparable to the '02 ES330 which also has around a 7.5 second 0-60, (though it did have a 5-speed auto).

    When compared to the new ES though, its hopelessly out of date, that is unless no Xenons, no adaptive cruise, no bluetooth, the usual GM 4-speed auto, 17/25 (for the V8) EPA ratings, and a dinousaur era steering column with four or five tilt positions and no telescope is "good enough". The Avalon, Chrysler 300, and Hyundai Azera are all better equiped for less money.

    The ES brings a 21\30 rated 272hp V6, 6-speed auto, 10 airbags, bluetooth and voice command, back up camera, adaptive headlights, a "frameless" panorama roof, a power rear sunshade, and of course the 14-speaker ML system with DVD-A support. - undefined - undefined

    If I were the Buick I'd be lowering my MSRP about now.

    Also, while the Azera has the size, and the "L" and "S" covered, there's no "P" yet. Hyundai has basically caught up to Toyota's '00-02 era cars, but they still have a lot to learn when it comes to engine and suspension design, as well as the art of weight reduction.
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    "Shipo, I think that I can prove (to your satisfaction) that on an all around performance basis the ES is superior to the BMW, no matter how equipped. If I am wrong will you buy me a beer sometime?"

    Such a funny post. :D
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I'll admit, I dont have any experience driving a recent RWD BMW in the snow. However, I have plenty of experience with my LS. With stability, traction, and a set of Blizzaks on the wheels, its passable.. but only in light snow conditions. Anything remotely approaching heavy snow on the roads, I take the RX and the LS stays at home. For me, an AWD LS would be wonderful.
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    "I won't pretend to be the expert that some of you in here are regarding FWD/RWD. However, back in about 1983/84, I was the first person in my neighborhood to own a FWD car. That winter we got an ice storm one evening. The street approaching my dead-end block was a two block long low-rise hill. I was the only person who was able to make it up the hill! I counted at least 20 abandoned cars along the street. I'm sure among those people were at least a few who were good drivers and I'm sure there were a few who had proper tires, but it made no difference."

    Traction is based on coefficient of static friction X weight X cosine of slope. Odds are you had the most weight over your drive wheels, so you made it up the hill.
  • Somehow I seem to have gotten, inadvertently, in the dubious position of "defending" the Buick.

    Call it a misstep -- a generalization too broad. A reflection of several mostly positive Lucerne reviews over the past couple of months. And, some time spent with a colleague shopping for a new sheen -- from GM we had it narrowed to the Lucerne and the Cadillac CTS. The Cadillac was OVER $40K and the Buick (with the V8 and virtually every option box ticked off) was under $36K.

    She, my colleague, went with the CTS and for chassis feel alone probably feels she won, not to mention many of the things you pointed out.

    For MY money in that price range in that pre-LPS class or whatever it is called these days, a Chrysler 300C (in my case, of course with AWD) would get my bucks.

    She likes the "Buick and Cadillac" feel (sofa on wheels?) but has in just over two weeks come to like the hint of Euro handling the CTS brings to the table. The spunky 255HP engine, RWD probably and the 5 speed transmission (and a very nice sound system) probably cinched the deal.

    Car was 36 months, 18,000 miles, no upfront money, GM made the first mo payment (loyalty bonus) and the total mo pay is $515 for a ~$41+K CTS.

    We looked, too, at the Infiniti M35X with Journey and Technology Packages, but the mo pay for that with the mileage noted was a high $600 per month number.

    Much as she liked the M, the CTS was, in terms of nimbleness, "close enough for jazz" and over $150 per month less plus the free first month's payment.

    I hearby cease defending the Lucerne. :shades:

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 66,537
    FWD cars back then were generally short-wheelbase hatchbacks that had a much higher percentage of weight over the front wheels... As FWD cars have gotten larger and tires have become more performance oriented, the advantage has decreased..

    I had an '82 Accord hatchback that could go anywhere.. Of course I was coming from a '77 Cobra II with RWD and a V-8 upfront, so anything would have been an improvement..


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • You crack me up.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I could have guessed that you would appreciate an engine like that. When I read the article I knew I should link it immediately!

    I am suspicious (and hopeful) that it might make its way beyond the introductory models, after a while. That would give you more of a selection, if it actually happened perhaps in the following model year.

    After all, you are very content with your 5 at the moment. Maybe a little patience would pay off. Just a thought.
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,926
    if you want a V8 powered AWD (LPS) sedan? There is, of course, the 300C AWD.

    Why aren't the other "luxury" marques in the V8 AWD game? Wonder how many of the 300C AWD sales are conquest sales? :confuse:
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,251
    I guess I am a contrarian.

    A steptronic x drive BMW 3 series would not even be ranked among my top 100 list. Maybe number 106 after a RWD Lincoln(just kidding).

    A manual RWD BMW 3 series is right now number one on my list. Even in snow-blown Toronto I have no requirements for AWD. Snow tires combined with driving carefully during blizzards and icy conditions has never prevented me from going from point A to B. At least not yet.

    The only AWD vehicle I would ever consider buying is an Audi but that is only because a RWD Audi does not exist.
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    "Of course, I may be dreaming."

    I'm sure you are. As long as drivers want performance, there will be RWD.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I'll admit, I dont have any experience driving a recent RWD BMW in the snow. However, I have plenty of experience with my LS. With stability, traction, and a set of Blizzaks on the wheels, its passable.. but only in light snow conditions. Anything remotely approaching heavy snow on the roads, I take the RX and the LS stays at home. For me, an AWD LS would be wonderful.

    You guys have a different experience than I do. For me, the daytime temperature this week is in the mid 60's. Two weeks ago it was in the 70's . . . very nice . . . no snow , of course. To get to the snow out here requires a drive of about 3 hours to the mountains (Sierras). At that point you find yourself in snow heaven, with many ski resorts, etc. The trick is to get up early and drive the 3 hours right before breakfast, then eat, and ski or snowboard all day. When I make the drive, I always drive an AWD SUV, so I have basically no typical daily winter driving experience with a sedan. I'll just have to trust all of you and your recommendations. So, if I understand this, it makes sense that an AWD sedan is the best choice?
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,251
    You guys have a different experience than I do. For me, the daytime temperature this week is in the mid 60's
    To get to the snow out here requires a drive of about 3 hours to the mountains

    Wow you actually have to drive 3 hours to see snow during winter. What a wonderful escape. In my case it takes about four hours to drive south from snow-blown Toronto to snow-blown Bufallo(2 hour drive + 2 hours waiting to cross the border)
  • The written word usually sounds harsher and more biting than the spoken word. The reason for this is that the reader cannot see the smile on your face or hear you actually laughing as you write. On top of this I tend to be rather blunt whether speaking or writing.

    If my style has offended anyone I sincerely apologize and I will try to watch what I say (type) in the future. I am kind of new at this type of correspondence and I will admit that improvement on my part is needed. Thanks for your patience.

    I'll say it for you. Hearing grandaddy apologize......PRICELESS!!
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