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Luxury Performance Sedans



  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    If the price of gas goes up that much more, the economy will have other issues. The people who will need to buy these cars, won't be able to afford them, due to the downturn resulting from high gas prices.

    But as the price of gas continues to go up, investment and interest in alternative fuel sources goes up was well.
  • mariner7mariner7 Posts: 509
    Hybrids as they are now don't make economic sense, from any angle. It costs manufacturers more to make than they're passing on to customers, depressing profits per car. This is the principal reason Ghosn is not enthusiastic about them.

    It only improves fuel efficiency in city driving. It actually makes it worse in hiway driving because of added weight. As someone said in a previous post, to make it worthwhile for the customer, he has to do an abnormal high amount of driving a year. Or the price of fuel has to shoot way up. To where, who knows, maybe European levels or beyond?

    Now Lexus is trying to push the idea it's going to improve performance. Please!!! It seems like way too much complexity for some added performance. It's hard to imagine a more conventional way is not more effective and efficient. Remember the Honda Dualnote, the concept from a few years ago, supposedly a hybrid supercar, making all sorts of hype. We haven't heard much about it, have we?

    I'm not saying all the dreams about hybrid won't ever be realized. Supposedly DCX-GM are working toward a more advanced hybrid that can realized fuel savings under any driving condition. But it won't happen right away. By that time, all major automakers will be on the bandwagon, not just Toyota and Honda.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I can almost see the point of a hi-po hybrid in a car, but for an SUV like the RX400h, doesn't make any sense to me from a "performance" standpoint.

    We're talking about a tallish vehicle that in its present form isn't anything near being a performance vehicle and quite frankly has terrible road manners from a performance standpoint. Unless you're buying a Cayenne, FX35/45, X5 4.8is you're not buying a performance orientated SUV, not matter what Lexus says. In an SUV the main point of a hybrid should be fuel economy, not some false sense of "performance". Faster in a straight line with no correspoinding upgrade in handling? There is some very interesting reading on the RX400h forum in the Future Vehicle section. Supposedly the RX400h can't go off road either, then again this suits the RX demographic to a T. No matter how false it is calling it a performance upgrade they'll sell every RX400h they can build.

    The GS450h I'm more curious about. If it has about 400hp will it be pitched against cars like the E500,M45,545i,A6 4.2 or the M5, E55, RS6 or will it just sit in the middle of these two groups as an alternative to either?

  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Maybe what Lexus has finally decided that's worth copying at Mercedes is 'image management'.

    If it's a "performance upgrade" in the minds of the Lexus buyers, who are we to say otherwise?

    It's just the same as making people believe that higher costs and higher prices make a better car at Mercedes, which of course, is you know what ...
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Is the true according to at least the people who buy those cars. After riding in both S500 and an LS430, my take is the S500 is worth it only if you like what Mercedes has to offer. I believe you get what you pay for, and I'm not talking the rhetoric about reliability.
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    Merc, Tomorrow Sunday at 11 AM (CST) on Spike cable TV, Car and Driver features the new C6 Corvette vs the new 911 Porsche. (Remembered you like Corvettes!)
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I'm not surprised about the Insight, that was a car that really should've died once Honda came up with the Civic hybrid. I dont think Honda's IMA is necessarily any worse than HSD, even if it lacks some of the versatility that HSD has. Honda has a few problems. For one, they arent doing enough to market the Civic and Accord hybrid. Also, I'm not sure the Civic and Accord were the best models to get IMA treatment first. You'll notice that Corolla and Camry havent gotten HSD yet. Civic and Accord, especially in their 4cyl versions, are not exactly gas guzzlers. I think Honda would've been much smarter to start using IMA in Pilot and MDX, I think if they had done that they would be enjoying at least some of the success that Toyota is right now. For what its worth though, the Accord Hybrid IS alot faster than the regular version, thanks mostly to all the electric torque that a Honda engine cant provide.

    As for the 400h, here is Toyota's case for it. It will be able to compete with trucks like the ML500, and Toureg V8 in terms of 0-60, but while the VW is sucking down 12mpg in the city, the 400h will be getting 30+. Its true that the 400h cant go off road. Its a FWD car in the traditional sense, and the electric motor that powers the rear wheels is air cooled, so its not strong enough for rock climbing. This wont be a problem for owners though. When's the last time you saw somebody mud slinging with an RX330? Toyota would point you to the GX470 for that kind of thing.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yeah I saw that one its a re-run, but nevertheless interesting to watch. Thanks. True, I do like the C6, but I really like the new 997 911.


    Good point about Honda. Its is very interesting that Honda has to put incentives on the Accord Hybrid though. I think the 30k+ price may have something to do with it. I know I wouldn't pay 30K for an Accord no matter how miserly it is. The Accord Hybrid's situation is one reason why I don't think Hybrids will take over the world. At the end of the day, its still an Accord and for some being a Hybrid won't change that. I agree, they should done the Hybrid think with the Pilot and MDX first because they're more in need of better gas mileage. Very good point.

    I agree about the RX, its no offroader and isn't harmed in the least by not being one. My only point about the RX is that making it go faster is just pointless unless they're going to tighten up the the handling, otherwise you're buying a 50K vehicle because you either like the RX in the first place or you want to save fuel, the latter of which depends on whether you like the RX and the way it drives in the first place. I can't stand suvs, especially ones with awful on-road dynamics like the RX, but thats just me.

  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    "My only point about the RX is that making it go faster is just pointless unless they're going to tighten up the the handling, otherwise you're buying a 50K vehicle..."

    How is making it go faster pointless? What is a E430 for example doing over a E320? Doesn't the E430 essentially go faster than a E320 in a straight line? The last time I checked a E430 and E320 handle basically the same therefore the E430 is basically a straight line performance upgrade. So is essentially a 530i over a 525i, or a GS430 over a GS300. But of course there is one big difference between the RX400h vs. RX330 and between a E430 vs. E320. The more powerful RX400 is faster and more fuel efficient yet the same is not true for a E430 vs. E320.
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    And Honda is not playing the game right with Hybrids. The Insight is basically useless because it can only fit 2 people and a little bit of luggage and it weighs next to nothing, which I'm sure turns off alot of people. The Civic Hybrid looks no different from a regular Civic, and the Accord Hybrid should have been a 4-cylinder in the mid $20K range. They should have brought a Acura TL hybrid, if they wanted to sell a $30K+ hybrid sedan. Otherwise as someone above said, install IMA in the Pilot/MDX since they suck the most gas.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Its pointless to me because the RX is sloppy as all getout on the road. The cars (there is no E430) you mention aren't, far from it. No rwd car from Lexus or any BMW/Mercedes have such a awful ride/handling/steering compromise as the RX. The RX's directional stability was a complete joke to me.

  • 00boxsters00boxsters Posts: 202
    You need to drive another RX330 or put more time in the one you drove. I own an RX330 and recently turned in an ML500. The RX330 is not sloppy and is quite stable. It is an SUV and does not handle/corner like a car.

    An extra few horses in the 400 would be welcome to accelerate out of a corner or a freeway on ramp though, as well as tow heavier loads up long interstate slopes. The 330 is rated at only 3500lbs.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "It is an SUV and does not handle/corner like a car."

    True, which is why they need to upgrade the suspension too if they're going to up the power, imo. But hey I don't like most SUVs either way so and on the two times I've driven the RX it failed to impress in dynamics. Even for an SUV it drove badly to me, poor straight line stability and lifeboat handling when even mildly pressed. I don't think the RX400h is going to be any more capable in towing, according the talk on that board, but I'm not sure.

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Nobody tows with an RX either. Lexus understands their RX customers to the T. They dont want to drag a trailer camping, and they dont want to go rock climbing. The toughest terrain RX's will have to deal with is a bit of snow fall. RX owners are people like my wife, who like the view of the road, the comfort, and the quiet which makes PA highways a bit more tolerable. Our RX300's around town power is fine, but I could see wanting a few more ponies to pass a smelly farm truck on one of those 50 foot long "passing zones" that PA likes to use on two lane roads.
  • 00boxsters00boxsters Posts: 202
    Our RX330 came with the tow package 'standard'. Every early 330 and many thereafter came to our PA Lexus dealer with the tow package option (but not the hitch).

    We do tow our Honda Rincon quad with the RX330. I also (rarely) use the 8x6 trailer to haul other oversize stuff as well. We of course did not get the RX for towing but it is a great asset to have.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    After reading your unfavorable remarks about the RX330 handling, I googled "poor handling RX330" and only got hits where those words were lauding the RX330 while panning another vehicle.

    In particular, the BMW X5 3.0's "dynamic" handling was found to be poor during emergency tests. The SRX and Rainier from GM were both lousy as were some Mitsubishi's.

    Your experience though personally relevant appears to be a singularity.

    Everyone seemed to agree that the RX330 was the most comfortable, quietest handling SUV around.

    The new RX has an adjustable ride height option that can lower the vehicle at speed and raise it for 'off road clearance'.

    However, there's no doubt that it lacks that 'special oneness' that comes from the butt kick you get when a stiffly sprung truck hits a pot-hole, or the endless 'rat-ta-tat-tat' that pavement separators inflict.

    There was no mention by professional testers at all of 'at speed road worthiness', straight line stability, etc.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    In my experience, the RX330 handles much better than the 300 does. The 300 definitely has some bad body control problems, but the 330 seemed reasonably stable, at least to me anyway. It is no FX45 though.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    In particular, the BMW X5 3.0's "dynamic" handling was found to be poor during emergency tests

    Yes, that was CRs finding from the previous generation. The other engines were class leaders in emergency handling.
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    I test drove the new RX330 and the X5 and I found the RX to be loose as a goose around turns comparably. It felt like it was floating and swaying much, much more than the X5. Or my wife's ML for that matter. Sure, it's a softer ride, but if we're talking about handling here, that is not a positive.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    You'll find largely similar differences between an ES330 and a BMW 3 series. Different car for different folks.
  • Maybe it's just me, but don't the RL, M35 and GS300 all awfully similar. I took a good look at each at the Chicago Auto Show, and I swear I could barely tell them apart. Aside from the Audi, this new crop of $50k sedans are all pretty dull, and it's not as if Inifiniti and Acura don't know how to design cars with pizazz. I suppose it has to do with the perceived conservatism of the target demographic, but I really think these designs are uninspired...
    While I'm on the soapbox, I'd also like to know why none of the Japanese automakers have come up with a vehicle to compete with the CLK. It seems a sport coupe in this price range would be met with a lot of interest among boomers with older kids or commuters (like me) who spend a lot of alone time to and from work and would like something a little jazzier than a sedan, but with a usable back seat.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    There are some rumors of an M based coupe/convertible to go up against the 6 series and the CLK. It'll probably depend on how succesful the M sedan is.

    I haven't heard anything of a GS or RL based coupe, I doubt it'll happen. However, the next gen. SC might be more of a CLK fighter, and may be available with the V6.
  • Well, it's not just straight speed that you get with the larger engine. It's quietness, decreased vibration, smooth effortless power. It's not all about speed. It's luxury and comfort that's afforded with the better motor, too.
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    "Well, it's not just straight speed that you get with the larger engine. It's quietness, decreased vibration, smooth effortless power. It's not all about speed. It's luxury and comfort that's afforded with the better motor, too."

    I know your post wasn't aimed at me directly but in your opinion would a V-8 give a luxury performance car the added qualities above or can it be achieved with the 6.
  • If a V6 or straight 6 could replicate what an 8 does there wouldn't be 8's selling for 10 grand more than what a 6 does, right?

    Different topic but an RX330 (glorified over-priced canadian camry station wagon) drives like crap compared to an X5.
  • look at the excessive overhangs in the front and rear on the RX. the short wheel base along with these overhangs make it far from a nimble handler......sloppy.

    An X5 or especially an X3 are much better drivers as you might expect in comparison to a fancy camry station wagon.
  • 00boxsters00boxsters Posts: 202
    "It's not all about speed. It's luxury and comfort" -virtual bm

    I'd rather drive our RX330 during a 3 hour trip on the interstate in PA than an X5 or X3, as I suspect anyone else would who knows anything about the three vehicles. Particularly since the RX330 hauls the four of us and triple the cargo behind the rear seats compared to the other two. One of my partners refuses to bring his X5 out in the snow while we do not give it a second thought with our RX in our PA winters. Perhaps the sporting tire and awd bias in the BM is to blame?

    The RX330 has AWD and more ground clearance not available in a camry wagon, among other advantages. I do not see the need for an X5 to exist now that the 530xi is nearly about. The RX330 does not pretend to be a sports car but the X5 pretends to be an SUV and does a terrible job at it, imo.

    For me, I will save my tight handling/cornering for the Boxster-S next to the RX330 in my garage.
  • senneca01senneca01 Posts: 34
    Here is a little tid-bit for you all.

    Infiniti just ranked #1 in Strategic Visions Total Quality Index.

    It tied with Mercedes-Benz. Lexus, Jaguar, and Cadillac came next in a three-way tie.

    The G35 and FX were the highest in their respective classes.

    "...owners are asked about more than vehicle features and problems that emerged. Strategic Vision said TQI incorporates the experience of buying the vehicle and driving it, too."
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The "personal luxury coupe" market died about ten years ago. Remember cars like the Acura CL, the original Lexus SC, or the Lincoln Mark VIII, dead, dead, dead. Nobody can sell a coupe in the North American market anymore, so Lexus wisely changed the SC into a convertible.

    There are a few that are working, like the G35 coupe and CLK, but its just such a small niche that I dont think there's a case for other automakers to try and get microscopic pieces of a tiny pie.

    Oh and virtualbmw, I would argue that the X3 is a tarted up Rav4 with a 500% price increase. At least with the RX you can see where the money went.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I think the coupe market is what the automakers make of it. The G35 does fine, as does the CLK, and the even the Mustang. Ford's Thunderbird, and countless GM coupes just went bust from the start and I don't know why in every case. I think a coupe, done right will sell.

    A lot coupe failures are due to automakers letting they go too long unchanged as was the case with the first generation Lexus SC, a car that I thought was truly something to behold back in its day. The previous Mercedes CLK had the shortest model run of any modern day Mercedes, just 5 model years. Then you have cars like the GTO which on paper should sell out but is a sales dud. The theories abound - styling, no nav, no heated seats, poor trunk space and so forth. Is their any mystery why the last Buick Rivera died? Older folks can't get in and out of Coupes to good. I know the older folks I know hate cars that require them to bend and what not to get in. I think Coupes like the Acura CL died because it actually looked worse than the sedan it was based on. Bass ackwards. It surely didn't die due to poor handling.

    The Coupe market is a very fickle market segment, but despite what GM thinks the market does exist. I find it truly amazing they blame the market for the F-Body's demise, yet the Mustang has been a hit every since its last redesign in 1994 and now again for 2005.

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