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Luxury Performance Sedans



  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    Car and Driver $55K sedan comparo:

    1. M45 (219 points)
    2. RL (215 points)
    3. GS430 (208 points)
    4. E350 (202 points)
    5. A6 (199 points)
    6. 530i (198 points
    7. STS (191 points)
    8. S-type (181 points)

    "The M45 rocks. Game over."
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 63,046
    Sure.. with a V-8..

    What engines on the STS, S-type, and A6?

    The RL, Mercedes and BMW all are six-cylinders...


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  • docnukemdocnukem Posts: 485
    Did this just come out? I haven't seen my issue yet. I can't believe C&D would put the V8 versions of the M and GS against 6's (although some of the others might be 8's). Why can't they compare apples to apples?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 63,046
    I think a lot of C&D stuff is just luck of the draw... They get what cars are sent to them... and, they have to make up some criteria to make them competitive with each other..

    In this case, they came up with $55K as a common denominator...


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  • richcreamrichcream Posts: 205
    STS = V8
    S-Type = V8
    A6 = V8

    Yes the RL, Mercedes, and Bimmer are all 6's, but that is because:

    Acura has no 8...not C&D's fault.
    Benz and BMW's 6's are priced comparably to the others' 8's.

    It is a COMPARISON test, you should be able to COMPARE the vehicles within $10,000 of each other.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 63,046
    Yeah... but, every one of those cars is available with a six-cylinder...


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  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    I agree with kyfdx, that the V8 versions of the E and the 5 should have been tested.

    But I also see the logic behind pitting similarly priced vehicles against each other.
  • Almost every 545 that is sold has a sport package. We are the #1 selling BMW Center in the nation and have 58 545's in our inventory. One of them doesn't have a sport package.

    Who would want to spend all the money to get the V8 and then not get a sport package? Just about nobody.

    Consider yourself corrected.
  • richcreamrichcream Posts: 205
    Yeah... but, every one of those cars is available with a six-cylinder...

    Yes, but the bar, as set by C&D, and the market, to some extent, was $55,000.

    The Bimmer and Benz 8 cylinders are not attainable at that number.

    If performance were the determining factor, then yeah I would say they should have compared all the 6 cylinder versions.

    Of course, this would totally ignore the sales prices of the vehicles, which I'm sure is one of the main reasons (if not the main reason) to conduct a comparison test (to let consumers know which vehicle will give them more bang for their buck.)

    Maybe they could have factored pricing into the "points" rating system, but that would have greatly diminished the scoring of the Mercedes and the BMW anyway, which I'm sure would be as decried, if not moreso, than the "why were 6's pitted against 8's?" issue.

    Basically, they are comparing (for the sake of the dollar-conscience consumer) based on price, and not for the sake of the performance enthusiast for whom price is not an issue.
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,926
    I agree. I rarely ever see a BMW with a Sport Package. And it's probably because the Sport Package costs too much. I don't know about now, but a previous generation 540i Sport that I test drove was within just a few thousand of a base M5!
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,926
    Are you sure you're a BMW salesman? If so, are you an actual car enthusiast? You definitely can tell the difference between a Sport and non-Sport BMW. There are visual differences that are easily spotted, the least of which being the ground effects.
  • drtraveldrtravel Posts: 395
    In March Motor Trend had a story "Six Degrees Of Separation" comparing the Acura RL, Audi A6 3.2 quattro, BMW 530i, STS V6, M35, Jaguar S-Type.

    Anyone have a link to this report - I couldn't find it on their web site.
  • richcreamrichcream Posts: 205
    I can't find Motor Trend comparison anywhere either.
    I do believe the M35 won that comparo as well, right?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 63,046
    They see what cars show up..... then set their criteria according to what is available...

    I couldn't care less who wins these comparos... But, it is interesting to see what they say about each individual car, and what they consider its good and bad points compared to the competition..


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  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Yep, the M35 won that comparison. If I were a German auto exec, I'd be a bit nervous by this article. I found it rather amusing that C&D actually thought about throwing an S80 T6 into this. Why not bring an Avalon along as well? Since when is the S80 even a sports sedan at all? I'm not surprised Volvo turned them down either. After all, the S80 is ANCIENT compared to this class, and it would've been like sending a Sopwith Camel into a dogfight with a bunch of Raptors and Super Hornets.
  • cohenfivecohenfive Posts: 85
    hmmm...i don't think that's quite right. i've owned both 540 sports and an m5 and they stickered about $15k apart from each other as i recall. the e39 540 sport was hard pressed to get to $60k loaded up while an m5 loaded was about $74k...
  • richcreamrichcream Posts: 205
    Is "lexusguy" also an "airforceguy"?
  • There is no body panel difference, ground effects or aero kit as part of the 545 sport package. The bodies are the same. The visual difference, other than the wheels, is the shadowline trim (black) around the windows as opposed to the chrome.
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,926
    That's what the sticker read. It was a 2003 540i Sport and listed for a bit over $62K. Back then, I believe a base M5 was going for $70K. At that price point, I think I'd ante up the extra $8K and get the M5.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 63,046
    Except that there were big incentives on the '03 5-series sedans, and the M5 was likely bringing MSRP or more...

    I'd bet the real world price was at least $15K apart....

    But, sure... from $62K to $70K, I'd take an M5 every time.. I'd have to live in it, though, at that price...


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  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Heh. It was the best analogy I could think of. For the record, the F\A-18 Super Hornet is a Navy aircraft :)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The point was lost long ago it seems. Now we're into how many sport packages BMW sells or how many E500s are sold. Even further from what was stated origianlly. I agree that the RX getting more power is a good thing for passing. My point about its handling was from what I experienced and also from what I'd seen in the press, but mainly from drivng the RX a few times with someone looking at one. The first test C&D every did talked about this concerning the RX. I've seen nothing of the sort about the ML, X5, or any other European luxury SUV. The analogy about the 5-Series and E-Class doesn't apply because with those upgraded cars you get more than just more power on the same suspension tunning. They're upgraded.

  • mikey38mikey38 Posts: 141
    The Sopwith Camel would no doubt be able to turn inside modern jet aircraft ;) Advantage in handling? The cloth and wood would make it difficult to see on radar. Advantage for stealth technology perhaps? ;)
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Perhaps, but theres no way in hell the Sopwith could possibly WIN the fight, that was my point. Also, an IR missile shouldnt have any trouble finding all the heat spilling off of that engine.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    NO SUVs, NO sopwith camels, NO IR missles.

    Are we clear now?

  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    Just one more comment....If Lexasguy wasn't airforceguy, then maybe he tipped his hand and really was NavyPilotGuy.. ;-) ..and to keep this forum on track....I really liked the results of those C&D totals published earlier. The RL faired extremely well. Hip Hip Hooray for Acura and C & D magazine!
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Very interesting comparo. What else of interest is in the newest issue? I'm surprised the E-Class beat out all of its newer European rivals. The 5-Series definitely doesn't have a cheering stand at Car and Driver anymore. Though of course I think all V8s should have been tested. Who really shops V6s against V8s in this class? Not many I'd imagine. Poor Jaguar, always in the rear. Looks like the STS isn't living up to the Lutz hype either. Lexus' dreams of building a true 5-Series competitor might have been realized if it weren't for that pesky Infiniti.

    As usual my copy won't arrive until this time next week!

  • rboyd4rboyd4 Posts: 23
    I think at this point enough comparisons are filtering in to say that the Infiniti is very strong competition. Particularly once price and reliability are factored in. In one test the M35 came in first and now the M45 comes in first in another test. I think the M45 came in second on the Edmunds test.

    I will make one 100% prediction however. If Consumer Reports does a similar test the Infiniti will come in at or near the very bottom and Lexus will come in at or near the very top.

    We can all belabor the nuances of exactly which cars are better forever. Suffice to say the competition is extremely keen nowadays.

    What I garner from all of these tests is that the lead BMW always held is definitely fading. Maybe the 5 series 8 cyl. would have won the C&D comparo but by how much? Then what about the price difference (20%)?

    Somewhat surprised the Acura came in second because on this and other forums it has been pretty well hammered relative the cited competition.

    Maybe I should reconsider and add the RL to my list along with the M and the A6. The E could be my back up if I could find a good deal on the secondary market but I would be concerned with maintenance issues.
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    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?

    This statement is a little misleading. A 6 cylinder engine and 8 cylinder engine with equal technology and the same displacement will produce equal power.

    The advantage of having more cylinders is that the power output should "theoretically" be smoother because there is a shorter time gap between cylinders firing the more cylinders there are. I say theoretically because there are a host of other factors.

    For example, let's take a 3.5L V6 and a 3.5L V8 with the exact same technology. Let's assume each will produce max 280 HP and 235 ft/lb at 5k rpm.

    Assuming that each engine has the same stroke to simplify this example, this means that the v6 will have a bigger bore than the v8.

    In real world terms, the v6 will fire 6 times per second (it can be any time interval but I'm using 1 second here to make the point) and the v8 will fire 8 times per second. They produce the exact same power, but the v6 produces more power each time it fires and the v8 produces less power each time it fires but fires more often.

    This is why the v8 should be smoother.

    However, it's not that simple. A straight 6, for example, is perfectly balanced and has no need for a balancing shaft, which in turn robs power and causes variations in the torque curve depending upon the rpm. That's why BMW's straight 6 is legendary for its smoothness and smooth power acceleration -- no balancing shaft as found in equivalent v6's.

    That's also the reason why everyone says BMW underrates its HP. I think the torque and HP ratings on BMW's straight 6s are on target. BMW just does a better job of getting the HP to the wheels and the ready acceleration at any point of the torque curve makes the straight 6 feel more powerful.

    In contrast, the v8 is basically 2 I4s joined at the V. An I4 is an inherently unbalanced engine with primary and secondary vibrations and requires 2 balancer shafts. A v8 consisting solely of 2 I4s is called a "flat-planed" v8 and is one hell of a rough engine. To my knowledge, only Ferrari makes flat planed v8s.

    All of the luxury cars we're discussing are "cross-planed" v8s, that is the 2 cylinder banks are offset at 90 degree angles to kill some of the inherent primary and secondary vibrations of 2 I4s. However, this has the side effect of robbing some power, which is why Ferrari goes with flat planed v8s, and which is also why Ferrari sounds like a jet taking off, too much NVH for the luxury car market.

    Even though cross-planed v8s are quieter than flat-planed v8s, cross-planed v8s generate a certaing whirring growl when accelerating. Most people actually like that sound and associate it with a luxury car.

    GM makes a 4.2 L straight 6 that is as powerful and as smooth as a v8, but of course a straight 6 is a long engine and would not fit under the hood of normal sized cars.

    I think it would be possible to make a 4.2L or 4.3L v6 that is just as smooth and as powerful as the equivalent sized cross-planed v8. Although the cross-planed v8 should be smoother, a 60 degree v6 is an inherently smoother design with less secondary vibration. So both the v8 and v6 have their NVH advantages, the v8 smoother power delivery, the v6 less vibrations.

    Engine design requires compromises of power, smoothness, efficiency, packaging and marketing. Both 6 and 8 cylinders can be designed to do the task required.

    IMO, it's marketing that requires 8 cylinders for the lux market, because a smooth v6 with enough power should be as good as a v8.
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    Where's the stick?

    On this basis alone, I'd give the nod to BMW.

    I'll hold off my judgment until I try BMW's new engines. I haven't driven the e60 530 or the M, but I've driven the 645 a lot, and I have to believe that the 645 drives just about the same as the e60 5 series.

    There are a lot of things I don't like about the e60 5 (it's ugly, the interior is cheap, the price increase was ridiculous), but as far as driveability goes, it is awesome. The 645, despite being bigger and heavier than my e36 3 series, is a far better road handler. And of course, I do love inline 6's.

    I'm just glad that Infiniti is taking it to BMW. If the M steals enough sales from the 5 series, BMW will finally listen to its customers for a change and give us what we want instead of having overpaid suits make all their bonehead blunders.

    raising prices and cheapening the interior?
    forcing active steering on the sports package? (I actually like active steering but requiring it in the sports package?)

    Who makes these idiotic decisions anyway?
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