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Luxury Performance Sedans



  • edspider1edspider1 Posts: 195
    The Phaeton is a unique and stunning car. If you don't mind the gas guzzling, last generation electronics, and rapid depreciation, look for a Phaeton. It would be a fun car to tool around in. After 6 years in [non-permissible content removed] land(Lexus/Infiniti) I was bored and almost got the Phaeton. I'm still bored and have a new E-Klasse on order.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    The availability of the V8 is a plus, I do not think it is mandatory to be considered an LPS car.

    With all of the research and reading I have been doing about AWD being a prerequisite for membership in the Premium Class, aka LPS (partly in defense of AWD, partly), I have just come to the conclusion that many of these cars we wax poetic about continuously morph their luxury quotient at the expense (emasculation perhaps?) of the performance quotient.

    The BMW 530xi declines to offer a true sport package offering and eschews for the time being the active steering (that some swear by and some swear at) -- but it can be had with 18" wheels and tires and a smooth as butta 6 speed manual. This, IMHO, would be the total anti-Lucerne were BMW to offer a sport suspension and trim package (as is offered by Audi as S-Line.)

    The criteria -- my lunatic fringe criteria, maybe someone else's maybe not -- are sporting characteristics, true, traditional sporting characteristics, rather than simply accoutrements.

    A wing on the butt is an accoutrement but as part of a total ground effects package and plus sized wheels and tires and an active or at least a "more aggressive" suspension can be more than an accoutrement.

    A stick shift is almost certainly a dead giveaway that the car is meant to involve the driver in the act.

    A V8 coupled to at least a 6 speed automatic with manu-maitc controls can "pass" for performance; but, an automatic-shift manual (e.g., DSG or SMG) is better as is a 7 speed lightweight manu-matic.

    Can the Mercedes E be equipped with a real sport option in 4Matic mode?

    For today, for this member of the lunatic fringe, AWD is also the only way to wring out the last bit of performance as horsepower and torque approach weapons grade (examples of such motors would be the M45's V8, the M5's, Audis V10 and somewhat less inspiring but still a contender Audis 4.2 V8.) Then you have the problem of coming up with all the key characteristics in one offering.

    An almost total lack of willingness to seriously consider a car with a something-tronic transmission with less than 6 speeds and a literal lack of willingness to consider one of these babies with anything less than a state of the art AWD system -- preferably with rearward biased AWD -- narrows the field, too.

    Now I say all of this in the same breath as Lucerne, simply because the Lucerne, I am led to believe, seems to contain much of the luxury content so many of these LPS cars emulate (and apparently aspire to?)

    Today, what can be actually bought or ordered TODAY, the choices are slim:

    1. BMW 530xi with 18" wheels and 6 speed manual
    2. Audi A6 S-Line 4.2 or bronze mention of the 3.2
    3. Audi S6 V10
    4. Mercedes E class (probably with every sport option box checked and perhaps some aftermarket springs, shocks, and anti-sway bars (and possibly aftermarket wheels and tires.)

    Of these, only the simple turn of the spigot from BMW to allow an S-Line (M-Line) like appearance and sport set up in a 530xi, prevents it from being in a category all by itself.

    Of course this is the lunatic fringe perspective and is statistically and financially irrelevant and possibly irreverent too. :surprise:
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Since many of the LPS brands (other than Audi, of course) are new to the AWD game, I think many of them are cautious about AWD, and just want to start with the "mainstream" option of tilting towards luxury rather than performance. Now that AWD in this class has proven to be a success pretty much across the board, I would expect to see more "true" sport packages for AWD cars in the near future.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    We are in complete harmony in this regard! :shades:
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,926
    What if the "success" of the other makes' AWD offerings is simply conquest sales from Audi? Sadly, Audi still has a reliability stigma. Maybe a lot of the folks who bought Audis instead of BMWs or Mercedes in the past did so because of Quattro.

    It is something to think about once you consider that both Acura and Audi had brand new AWD models (RL and A6) on the market last year, yet they've both been locked in an epic battle for next-to-last place in sales since inception. Even the STS is outselling them. :surprise: I mean, come on!
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    For the 10th year in a row, Audi (and specifically AoA) has had "its best year ever."

    What I think is being suggested, when you factor in that every 2005 A6 in the US was AWD and EVERY Acura RL was AWD and (here in Cincinnati) 40%+ of the 2006 BMW 5 series are X-drive (so says the purchasing agent at Ohio's largest BMW store which is here in Cincinnati); and coupled with the fact that the owner of the Audi store, the Acura store and the Infinti store claims that the M35X is the most popular M, plus the numbers you cite looked at in toto, well I just can't buy that Audi is losing sales to BMW any more than it ever has.

    The remarkable thing is the number of AWD drive cars in the LPS class that are [apparently] being sold considering LPS AWD widespread availability is a 2005 CY and 2006 MY phenom.

    Audi, apparently, thinks it is on a roll.

    And, yes I know they do fight for the right to be the last on the list each and every month.

    In Germany, however, Audi and BMW often vie for the top spot, recently BMW has played second to Audi and in the UK, Audis sales have shot up to near US levels.

    China too has seen Audis sales grow by over 40%.

    Audi certainly has much to be concerned with from BMW now that BMW has pretty much joined Mercedes with an AWD onslaught "against Audi." But, personally, I think Audis problems if they can be called that have more to do with their voluntary low-profile with respect to marketing themselves as "the first (for 25 years)" AWD LPS or at least near-Premium (historically) car company.

    They squandered their secret weapon as far as I am concerned.

    But, as usual, they didn't consult with me.

    What once were vices are now virtues, if you get my drift.

  • marleybarrmarleybarr Posts: 334
    My wife is enthusiastic about the S4 Cabriolet, thinking of actually selling the 2.7T or trading. What is your impression of the S4 concerning handling, braking, acceleration and general reliability up to this point?
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    As a suggestion, you may find the answer more readily on the forum specific to the Audi S4.

    Generally speaking the Audi 4.2 V8 (used in the A6, BTW) is well regarded, a great performer, reliable and . . . wait for it: thirsty!

    All Audis reliability ratings have improved -- if you are the owner of an older Audi (one with the 2.7T) and you are still shopping the brand, your experience (like my own family's) will probably sway you more than anything else.

    For example, had you been burned by that rare defective Lexus car you would probably be disinclined to repurchase despite Lexus legendary reliability scores.

    The new Car and Driver, for instance, paints an unflattering picture of the Acura RL in this regard -- but still concludes the RL worth considering in the Premium Class.

    Check over on the S4 board, post some questions, see what happens.

    FWIW, other than the thirst of the beast, I wouldn't hesitate to own an S4, but I would for personal reasons (living in Cincinnati makes soft top cars a contradiction of terms -- weather wise, IMO, i.e.) not consider a drop top.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    February 2006 Sales – Midsize Luxury Sedans:

    5 = 4,153
    E = 2,310
    GS = 2,049
    M = 2,000
    STS = 1,740
    A6 = 1,168
    RL = 712
  • docnukemdocnukem Posts: 485
    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't that a huge dip in E sales (and STS, too)? When is a new E arriving?
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    New RL ad:

    "Buy one, get one Free!"

  • docnukemdocnukem Posts: 485
    Don't you mean:

    "Buy a TL and we'll throw in an RL for FREEEEEEE!"
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    That would work too!

    Wow, though, the RL ought to be a stone cold bargain for one already in stock, I would assume.

    The RL despite my own biases is a darn nice car and a worthy LPS player -- with the incentives that OUGHT to be out there to move the product, well, how 'bout no money down and $499 for 36 months on a 15K mile per year lease?

    And, no sec dep either!
  • marleybarrmarleybarr Posts: 334
    Last Sunday, I drove over to the new $8 million Audi dealership in St. Paul and it certainly is breathtakingly beautiful!The showroom looks just like Audi headquarters in Germany. They have about 50 used and about 80 new Audis for sale on the lot.They claim to now be the largest Audi dealer in the country sitting on about 20 acres with Mercedes and Porsche building their own separate facilities next door coming in 5 years or so.To spend that much on infrastructure and have all that business "faith" for one brand of car does motivate me to atleast seriously consider the Audi brand for my next auto purchase/lease.

    I wonder how many potential buyers like Mark will question the wisdom of the v-8 or v-10 engine w/ $3+ per gallon coming soon to a station near you?
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    Diesel for me, please.

    Our local mini Audi headquarters was over $6,000,000 (we have two dealers not owned by the same folks, too) last year and they sell 50 cars a month.

    The math doesn't add up in the near term, so I have to conclude that optimism and a sense of more good things to come are at play here, too. :surprise:
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yes you're correct. The facelifted E should arrive in June/July. Going to be a long few months!

  • marleybarrmarleybarr Posts: 334
    Don't know the ins/outs or the monthly overhead of a $6 million Audi dealership, but would assume that the "pressure" on the salespeople and service writers to perform must be much greater than before they moved to this incredibly glitzy new Audi headquarters. I believe that the new St. Paul Audi location is the fanciest dealership of any make in town!
  • i really cant decide which i want for my first car. they are close to equivalant price. almost the same features and everything. an advantage to the a6 is the s line package u can put on it. anybody have an answer to which is better???
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    The A6 3.2 is 255HP and 243 pound feet of torque and it is AWD.

    The 525xi (it is an X I assume) has the 6speed manual.

    If you are going with the auto trans, the Audi, otherwise the BMW is more likely to be your fave.

    There is no sport option that includes a performance upgrade on the 5X's.

    If you are looking at a 525 NON X model, the Audi Sline, by far will blow the 525 away in both Lux and Perf as a Sedan.

    But I am one of the few members of the lunatic fringe.

    For I cannot imagine getting the BMW with an automatic and without AWD -- and if you don't consider the stick shift the BMW isn't even close.

    I am sure to be called on this -- but I stand resolute.

    Now upgrade to the 530xi keep the stick opt for the the sport package (in name only) AND the 18" wheels and tires and the BMW is the winna and champeen despite its fake sport package.

    Since most folks don't want a real sport package, I assume you can tolerate the BMW with the Lucerne effect. If you care about crispness, the Sline makes both an appearance and performance difference.

    Based on the discount, the A6 can be had with a sweeeeet V8 with Sline. Today, no such BMW can be had.

    Go for the stick shift.

    Else go for the Audi.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    What about the 7k units of ES, 4k units of TL and 3k units each of CTS and G? They are all mid-sized luxury sedans, too, if a 525i with $4xx/mo lease price can be counted as a mid-sized luxury sedan.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    Nice as they are, they are NOT currently in the LPS class. The cars you noted are Near LPS cars.

    The Premium class as is commonly defined cannot include FWD cars either.

    I may personally argue that FWD is capable of better performance than RWD, but this is a non starter argument and I understand the reasons.

    The CTS probably is more of a 3 series competitor.

    The TL would go up against the A4 or Merc C class, not the A6 or M class Infiniti.

    You may disagree and I may at least see your point of view, but the pragmatist in me understands what can pass for LPS and what can only Lust for inclusion.

    The ES, TL and CTS (and G) are not in the same league as the GS, RL, STS (and M) at this point.

    Someone once said, it is just not worth going there.

    Me, I'd at least consider the Chrysler 300C AWD for consideration.

    I am often wrong.

    But never uncertain.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    As Mark said, this is the wrong class for those cars. Compared to the Germans, the Japanese have a somewhat strange approach in the entry class, because some of their cars are specifically designed for our market, and thus a lot bigger than the German world market cars. Despite this, they are still in the $30-40K entry category.

    Acura competes with the C230, 325, and A4 2.0T with the TSX, and with the V6 (or I6) powered versions of these cars with the TL.

    Lexus competes in the entry performance class with the IS. The ES is in another category all together. Its competition is the "MKZ" and LaCrosse\Lucerne.

    The G, despite its size, is an entry level car. In other markets it is available with a smaller 2.5L engine, but in the U.S. we just get the big VQ35 as the only option.
  • edspider1edspider1 Posts: 195
    What is worth waiting for on the 07 E-Class? I thought it was just a new steering wheel, drop brake-by-wire, and some very minor changes to the rear end. I thought the interior and engine choices would be the same, although the CDI flavor gets the Bluetec upgrade. Is there more?
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,251
    although the CDI flavor gets the Bluetec upgrade

    Other than Blutec it sounds all cosmetic.

    I find the Blutec upgrade quite interesting, although the E itself is not my kind of car ( maybe I will begin to like it in a few decades or so )
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    And whoever said CR has a Japanese bias when it comes to cars! :)
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    They dont. CR has a bias about reliable cars. Japanese cars are the most reliable. Therefore...
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,251
    Ok, therefore...the CR results are a mere reflection of the Japanese car biases that are held by a majority of surveyed CR readers.

    And as CR continues picking Japanese cars as their top picks then CR will attract even more readers with a Japanese car bias.

    The superiority of Japanese cars according to CR is nothing more than a reflection of biases versus real reliability.

    Here is an analogy: If the President of the USA was elected based on NY Times readers' surveys , then there would never be a Republican President.
  • docnukemdocnukem Posts: 485
    You are making a huge assumption that CR readers have a Japanese bias. I know of no study showing people with such a bias are more likely to return CR surveys.

    Have you seen the CR survey? It is not a poll for what kind of car someone would choose. Even if more people with Japanese cars return the survey, don't you think the results are weighted to reflect the number of responses per brand?

    Put another way, you are implying that even those surveyed with non-Japanese cars have a bias for Japanese cars. The CR editors have a bias towards reliability rather than performance or styling, granted. They have their biases, but they are not dummies when it comes to statistics.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,251
    Is it mere coincidence that a Infiniti M driver like yourself is an adamant defender of CR? Especially when it is selected as a CR top pick?

    Ofcourse there are German car owners in the CR survey. But a majority of German car owners are turned off by CR survey results and the CR magazine itself, especially when the results contradict their own positive experiences with their cars .

    The minority of German car owners who are disgruntled with their cars will seek CR guidance for a Japanese alternative and are likely to participate in CR surveys.

    Therefore even the German car owners surveyed by CR will have a Japanese bias.

    Is it any wonder why all the top cars are Japanese?
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