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Luxury Performance Sedans



  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Actually that was me. ATTESA-ETS doesnt have the torque shifting abilities of SH-AWD, but as you said, it doesnt need them. The M doesnt naturally come loaded with understeer. Even still, the 45 does offer rear wheel steering, (something Nissan has been dabbling with since the '80s) to provide a similar effect. If I remember correctly, the RL is bringing up the rear of the new mid-lux class in sales, with something like 1300 in march. Sales are up over the old car... but not that much, and sales of the old car were pathetic. The GS is enjoying 3x the sales numbers, despite the RL's significant lead to market.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,749
    I agree with a lot of your generalizations about Acura buyers and also Honda corporate philosophy...

    They are constantly targeting a "more for your money" type of customer..

    Rather than compete directly, they like to shoot for a "nearly competitive" car at a much lower price point..

    Ergo... the TL vs. the 5-series/GS/E class...

    RL vs. 7-series/LS/S class....

    Now, cognescenti realize that the RL doesn't really have the features, V-8, etc. to compete with those cars, but the majority of buyers see three basic levels of luxury cars..

    Level I --- TSX, 3-series, ES, C-class, G35

    Level II --- TL, 5-series, GS, E-class, M35

    Level III --- RL, 7-series, LS, S-class, Q45

    So, the RL looks like a screaming buy... and for 98% of buyers, it is all the car they will ever need.. They think the rest of the people are idiots for paying over $60K for a car that is no better than their RL.

    I hate the term: perception is reality, but in this case, it applies directly...



    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • The Acura performance sedan was a great buy and a pretty cool car back in the 90's. Remember the second generation 2 door Legend? Not a bad performer and it look good too. Acura then decided to let go of the performance sedan crowd and shot for the over 55 crowd that just wanted a very dependable luxury ride. It will take some time for the RL to catch up in the minds of performance buyers. They did it with the Civic also and now they are trying to get the performance minded buyer back on their side. It's the same as the first generation Infinity with a hot V8 and active suspension and all that cool stuff back in ~1989 and then the second generation and this new generation of Q45s came out. Fat cars built for non-performance seeking customers. An example is the rear view video camera which is not something that a person who seeks performance is looking for. You should always be aware of what is around you and keep that information in your mind before you shift into reverse. If you cannot process the information regarding your surroundings or have the wherewithal to look backwards then a sport sedan is not what you NEED. You just want one because it LOOKS cool.
    Acura will have to accept that time is needed before they get any recognition for this new car and they need to accept that a V8 or their excellent V10 would be a much better choice to lead the pack. I would buy a new AWD 6 Speed RL with a V10 that could maintain better than 23 mpg in the city. There is the challenge. Acura is soft though and they will never get it done right. They will make an RL-S and think that it will persuade the Infinity/BMW performance buyer to drop their cars and run to them. They are fools to think that they can compete in the V8 category of sport sedans with a V6. There is more to an engine than pure hp and you can tell the difference in a V8 and a V6 at 90 mph or even at a legal 75 mph.

    The RL can not compete against the V8 sedans and Acura does not have the performance history, in sedans, to do it either. It is not a genuine attempt to provide the performance minded buyer with a true BMW/Infinity substitute but more of a stop gap measure to give their (Honda's) old bosses something that they wanted. They can make better but they chose the conservative market every time. It's in the Honda DNA now. Think "dependable" and don't alienate anyone other than those that don't already own a Honda product.

    It’s only the magazines that want to put the RL against performance sedans. It’s was never meant to compete but just to be. Think BORG!

    Capt. Sandell
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    I just hopped over to the Acura RL town-hall.

    Last post April 12, 2005 -- 6 days ago!

    Perhaps interest is waning?
  • kfhmailkfhmail Posts: 199
    The unbria grey looks a little like "bronze" to me.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Your point really applies to the entire Honda company right now. Honda is the turtle, with the slow and steady wins the race philosophy. Nissan and Toyota are the hare. The problem is, they arent stopping to take naps. Toyota always wins the "I want a reliabile car" sale, Honda has tried to compete with them more directly in the last few years with increasing Toyota copy-cating like the current gen Civic. Enthusiasts HATE the car. Thats absolutely the last thing you want as a car company, is to lose the young adult market that may stay with you for life if they like your entry car enough to another company.

    As for Acura, they need to figure out a way to make their cars sell on merit, not on the fact that they are cheap. You can get cheap from Korea. The G, FX, and M don't rely NEARLY as much on a bargain price tag as the MDX, TSX, and TL do. The RL doesnt even have that, so I think its going to fail. There's only so much room in the segment. While the E and 5 will not rule forever if they dont remain competitive, they still have plenty of badge to cruise on for quite a long time. The STS is fortunate enough to be gauranteed at least moderate sales to the buy american crowd. I expect the GS and M to remain strong, at the expense of A6 but mostly RL. Finally, if you're not going to replace the NSX, just stop selling it. How many NSXs has Acura sold this year? 5? Its just an embarrasment, its the Chevy Astro of sports cars.
  • mg808mg808 Posts: 22
    The RL has endured mixed reviews, sales are brisk and most V8 lovers are annoyed. What is the problem, well I see a few..

    Looks. Well for one thing, the car isn't photogenic. Have you seen an RL in person. Its a really nice looking car and not as bland as everybody says. I saw one today and it looks pretty aggressive in styling. But you be the judge.

    Price Part 1. The fully loaded RL price has given some customers sticker shock. Its like buying a case of beer, should I buy it for $9.99 or $11.28? I would say $9.99, but the $9.99 beer is warm and doesn't come with a can opener. The lack of option packages also allows Infiniti and Lexus to suck in customers under false assumptions. Do you see the Infiniti M commericals and they show the price as: starts at $39,900, $56,000 as shown. Now that's false advertising, can I say, $16,100 difference?

    Price Part 2. To buy a GS300AWD, M35X or RL you are going to spend $50K or more. Also, the invoice price on the loaded RL is about $4K less than the similar equipped GS300AWD or M35x invoice price. Most consumers don't see that, they see the $50K sticker..while the M35x is $41,000 and GS300AWD is $44,000.

    Performance. Honda engines are high rev, low torque. If you drive hondas, you know what you are getting in a 3.5L / 300HP engine. Although, the new RL does seem to have good performance numbers from the car rags. Still less torque. That's a bummer

    Bigger V8 or V10. There are rumors that Honda/Acura will build a bigger flagship sedan and add a V8. Some people might think Honda is a 4cylinder shop, but they have a very successful racing history, more successful than Toyota and Nissan. They ruled Formula 1 racing in the 90's, currently supply alot of the Indy race engines and have returned to Formula 1 racing. If they build a V8 or V10, I'm sure it will be top notch.

    In a nutshell, I think Acura missed the big prize with the RL. The RL value story does work for some but in this hot sedan market, people will buy a $60,000 E350 just to have a Benz...and that doesn't help the RL. Hopefully they will correct some pricing and options in the 2006 RL.
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    I disagree that the RL was designed, or is even attempting, to compete with the V8 cars. Although the 8-cylinder cars get all the hype and press, the marketplace reality is that 70 to 80% of BMW 5-series, Lexus GS, Infiniti M, M-B E-class, Jaguars X/S-Types, and A6's are sold in the U.S. with a 6-cylinder.

    The TSX is also nothing more than a European/Japan spec Accord. I would juggle the Level 1,2,3 breakdown as follows....

    Level I --- TSX and TL, 3-series, ES, C-class, G35, add: A4

    Level II --- RL, 5-series, GS, E-class, M35, add: A6

    Level III ---7-series, LS, S-class, Q45, Acura currently has NO such flagship car, add: A8
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    I disagree with so many of your points in Post # 1661, but don't care to delve into them. Let's just say we disagree, not necessarily on the merits of your points, but more on the degrees to which you draw lines in the sand. It's not so much a black and white argument, but instead it's in the shades of gray. At the end, the numbers will speak for themselves, and I predict in 5 years, the TL and TSX and MDX will continue to soldier on with updated styling, while the FX may be discontinued. (Same thing with the Murano---a very cool car, but not sure if it will always exist in the marketplace once the cult status wears off.)

    The NSX is also a cult car, a halo car, and one that has no direct competition. It's a holy grail to Honda. It doesn't mean it's a great car (especially with its eye-watering MSRP), but to call it the "Chevy Astro of sports cars" is way out of line.

    But we just disagree. And that's okay!
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    "Perhaps interest is waning?"

    Nah Mark, Just a lot of very satisfied customers of this brilliant car. No need to go on and on about it in a forum. But I tell you what. Get yourself into a Celestial Silver RL with Taupe interior. Take the wife it on a sunny day around a hilly lake area in suburban Cincy. Then come back into the forum and tell us what you feel about it. (Phoenix was warm, Sante Fe was cold, it's good to be back home.)
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,749
    Well... I think my point was missed...

    I wasn't grouping them as an enthusiast or even someone just well versed in the cars would... I was grouping them as most of the vast uninformed car buying public would... You know, the 99.5% of people that aren't on Edmunds...

    Most people that buy an RL think it belongs in Level III... and think they are getting a screaming deal... It doesn't really matter what we think..


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  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    I believe most people realize that the Acura TL competes with the BMW 3 series and not the 5 series.
  • formulaformula Posts: 17
    I have read many of your posts over the last months, but these last two seem to once again mystify me as you indicate that you haven't driven the RL. I wouldn't expect you to take the word of the auto mags and there often confusing comparisons that one day have one car beating everyone and the next a completely different view based on how the comparison is framed. And I know you have been on these boards long enough to know that everyone has their opinion and it is difficult to trust anything you read on these forums. Which brings me to the point, that before you discount the RL, or any other car for that matter, you really need to drive the car. This is especially the case with the RL. Take the RL on a twisting road at speed, and I think you will start to understand why so many are passionate about the car. The best comparison I can come up with is the difference between skiing on the old straight skis vs. the more modern shaped skis. The car is absolutely a pleasure to drive, and the only way that you can possible understand what the car is about, is to drive it.
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    kyfdx---okay, I'm with you now. With luxury performance sedans, the tendency is to expect consumers to be educated and sophisticated, but perhaps you're right that many car buyers in this segment are relatively uninformed. Do they cross-shop the LS430 with the RL, and conclude that the Acura delivers the same things for $20,000 less? I'm not so sure, but maybe you're right.

    Something like 80% of luxury cars are leased in the U.S. This is because most consumers couldn't afford these cars if they had to buy them, and they end up in a cycle in which a lease is replaced by another lease. This fact alone complicates the car-buying process considerably, and puts the dealer in a more advantageous position if the consumer is indeed so uninformed. In addition to comparing features, styling, and performance data, consumers are forced to navigate a labryinth of residual values, money factors, annual mileage limits, lease term options, warranty factors, early termination and wear/tear penalties, gap insurance, and other fine print.

    But it's also possible that many consumers don't even get that far with the leasing variables. They simply compare monthly payments, follow their heart, roll the dice, take delivery, and end up on Edmunds telling everyone how great their new car is!
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    Maybe the average RL consumer is cross-shopping with the LS a bit, but I doubt that they are cross-shopping with a 7 series or S class that much.

    Here is how I group the luxury sedans:

    1: IS250, TSX, 325i, C240, A4 2.0T, CTS 2.8

    1.5: IS350, TL, G35, 330i, C320, A4 3.2, CTS 3.6

    2: GS300, RL, M35, 530i, E350, A6 3.2, STS 3.6

    2.5: GS430, M45, 545i, E500, A6 4.2, STS 4.6

    3: LS430, Q45, 745i, S500, A8 4.2

    3.5: 760i, S600, A8 6.0
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I like that grouping. Thats pretty much how I'd list all of those.

    You left out Volvo, Saab, and Jaguar, but I can pretty much guess where you'd place them.

    I do think there is one more class though......10. Phantom, 'Bach 57/62,

    I also think that in the first class the C230 is a better fit since it and the C240 are to get new V6s in about a month or so. The C230 is much sportier than the C240 and upcoming C280.

    Lastly, don't forget the VW Phaeton V8 in class 3 and Phaeton W12 for class 3.5.

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Why exactly would Infiniti discontinue the FX? While I dont have any individual sales numbers to look at, I see FX35s and 45s on the road constantly. The last time I saw ONE MDX was a few years ago. It needs a redesign NOW, not a few years from now. Its not competitive anymore with either the RX330\400 or the FX. As for the Murano, its hard to say. Nissan may choose to redesign it to better compete with Pilot and Highlander, or drop it. They will still have 3 SUVs, so I think they'll be fine.

    As for the NSX, when your "halo" is a 15 year old car, thats kind of pathetic. Since when does it have no competition? Did Chevy stop selling the Corvette? Did Porsche go out of business? Last time I checked, the NSX was eaten alive by its actually modern competition years ago. When I said "Chevy Astro" I didnt mean the NSX is a van. What I meant is like the Astro, its a relic of a car that should've died a long time ago.
  • mariner7mariner7 Posts: 509
    You have to understand that when the Honda fans see these Nissan/Infiniti models, so snazzy compared to what they're used to from Honda, they think these must be cult cars. Fact is Murano, 3 years into its cycle, just had its best sales month ever, 40% over March '04. Murano is to Nissan what Pilot is to Honda, only much more stylish.
  • nebraskaguynebraskaguy Posts: 341
    >>I see FX35s and 45s on the road constantly. The last time I saw ONE MDX was a few years ago.

    I don't know where you live, but in the DC area I see MDXs on the road constantly. Rarely does a week go by that I don't see at least one. When I drove to northern PA a couple of weeks ago, I saw at least 10 MDXs. In contrast, I saw my first FX45 on Sunday. I do see a lot of FX35s (or maybe Nissan Muranos - it's hard to tell) on the road, but I mainly notice them because they're so ugly.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Well, while I'm not behind 100% of Nissan's designs (the Quest and Armada are pretty ugly) for the most part I like what they have done since Ghosn took over..well except for the horribly cost cut interiors of '03 and '04, but it looks like that is over starting with the '05 cars, hopefully for good. The Murano is at least interesting looking, where as the Pilot looks like a CR-V after some double-cheeseburgers. To me, All Honda\Acura products save the TSX and TL, and I guess the S2000, are utterly boring and forgetable looking. Classic Japanese "styling" at its best\worst. Honda is in an uncomfortable spot between "crazy fun" Nissan and "ol' reliable" Toyota. They need to work harder to carve out their own identity, especially now that Subaru and Mazda are more focused players.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    In post #1662, the comment about price "from" and "as shown" are mentioned. The statement is factually accurate. But, I have driven a completely "base model" Infiniti M and it is quite nice. Add the Journey package and the stand alone Nav system to an M35x and for many people that will be a dandy car.

    Yet, there was a moment in time, when I began reading about the new STS (with some positive CTS experiences and some lengthy SRX test drives under my belt) that I thought "why not American?"

    The package bundling in an STS means that a car that has been suggested will come to market for $40,000 can only be had in AWD trim with over a 50% markup -- making what could have been an attractive car cost over $62,000.

    Infiniti, for example, does allow the buyer to eat smaller bites of the apple, by far.

    In this era of mass customization, I cannot figure out why we can't just order what we want and pay a slight premium for it as a stand alone option rather than putting all this stuff in a package. Infiniti, too, does this -- I would love to buy the rear window sunshade (but not for $10,500 -- which is the only way to get it).

    I took a couple of marketing classes in graduate school (but that was back in the 70's) and one of the things that was said was to market things so that customers will buy them.

    Rear heated seats, I'd buy. Rear window sunshades, I'd buy. Since I don't want rear seat DVD video, don't make me buy that to get the one or two options that I would gladly pay for.

    Lesson: figure out a way to allow the customer to give you money. But, don't force the customer to buy packages that may not be universally wanted.

    The Cadillac is the worst of the bunch -- it is impossible to get an SRX AWD with nav and magna ride for under $53K!.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    I did commit a sin, I admit it. I went to the Acura dealer (and the Chrysler 300C AWD dealer) several times. I couldn't get a test drive. The cars were sold, on hold, being prepped for the auto show; dog ate homework, etc. I did look at the RL and 300C AWD -- got to move around the parking lot in the Chrysler -- woo woo). After seeing AND driving the M35x and noting the RL was a bit smaller than I had hoped I just stopped trying to test the car.

    When I went to the auto show, I did spend a lot of time in the RL (and others) but zero drive time. I liked the A6 a lot, also liked the M35x -- time remaining on my lease and a need to place an order are my only excuses. The subsequent complaints about its lack of off the line power were noted,but I did read the performance numbers and frankly I could live with them quite happily.

    I did test the TL and found it a strong A4 and BMW 330 alternative save for the massive torque steer and that no AWD was available and no certain AWD was known.

    I remain a believer that the RL is a bargain -- and I find much of the dialog here doesn't seem to be simply chest pounding or an attempt to justify why the Acura or the whatever is superior.

    I am awaiting my M35x -- July is the target. They have my deposit. I do wonder if I shouldn't have stayed the "Audi" course -- but I am uncertain that I would have not been kicking myself for paying too much for too little performance (although in the last several weeks the Audis seem to have started to be almost competitive in terms of leasing).

    If someone gave me an RL or an A6 or an E-4Matic, I am quite certain I would not feel I was settling for anything. These cars are all good (with the possible exception of the Jag and the Volvo -- but I even tested the Volvo S60 Type R and found it to be "entertaining" and I just have no interest in the Jag and the reviews don't encourage me to change that opinion) -- out of the list of 7 or 8 that keep showing up in the comparos in C&D, R&T, Motor Trend and Automobile any one of the top 5 or 6 would be at the very least acceptable.

    The new 5 series may once again change the paradigm -- especially with the 255HP motor (6 cyl) with "x" drive. I'll bet BMW will be able to sell as many of them as they can screw together -- and another round of comparos may unseat Infiniti from its top spot (or Audi from its top spot if you prefer Automobile's take on the pecking order).

    These are highly entertaining and thought provoking forums. And as someone mentioned probably less than 1% of the car buying public ever participates in these things so we all are fundamentally "screaming voices in the wilderness."

    But most of us seem to be able to get our points across well and I continue to learn and rethink my positions (obviously, after 27 Audis I went Japanese) based in large measure on the "conversations" we have here.

    I do wish I had been able to drive both the Acura RL and the 300C AWD, but it does not extend to "regret."

    Next time.
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    Why exactly would Infiniti discontinue the FX? Diminished sales

    I see FX35s and 45s on the road constantly. The last time I saw ONE MDX was a few years ago. It needs a redesign NOW, not a few years from now. Its not competitive anymore with either the RX330\400 or the FX. Whether Lexusguy personally sees these cars on the road has nothing to do with reality. The MDX is a 7-seat SUV based on a minivan platform. The RX and FX are luxury 5-seaters. They appeal to different market segments. I agree with you that the MDX and Pilot are boring and "uncool." But that's why Honda sells so many of both.

    As for the Murano, its hard to say. Nissan may choose to redesign it to better compete with Pilot and Highlander, or drop it. They will still have 3 SUVs, so I think they'll be fine. I love the Murano. It's well-designed and well-conceived. But I think it's riding a trend that may not have long term staying power.

    As for the NSX, when your "halo" is a 15 year old car, thats kind of pathetic. Since when does it have no competition? Did Chevy stop selling the Corvette? Did Porsche go out of business? Last time I checked, the NSX was eaten alive by its actually modern competition years ago. The NSX is a hand-built, "Asian-Italian" aluminum exotic with a mid-engine, high-revving V6, with Honda reliability and low maintenance costs (except for tires, perhaps). It's a rich geek's exotic. MSRP is almost $90K. So, no, it does not directly compete with a pushrod Corvette or the Germanic Porsche (although both are great cars in their own right). It's a cult/halo car and Honda sells less than 300 of them globally. It may be discontinued, or replaced by a V8/V10 exotic when Toyota rolls out its rumored exotic.

    When I said "Chevy Astro" I didnt mean the NSX is a van. Yes, I think we all understood what you were trying to say, but thanks for explaining.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Well, my wife and I cross shopped the RX and MDX directly. If the FX had been out at that time, we would have looked at that too. Just because the MDX has a "kid row" that doesnt mean its suddenly in a different segment. I found the MDX to be the better driver, but it wasnt as comfy, and my wife was turned off by the cheesy materials compared to the RX. Also, at the time, the MDX was brand new and there was a year long wait list.

    At least to me, the NSX has no appeal whatsoever, and I love Japanese cars. Its like the Lotus Espirit, another '80s design that stayed LONG past its prime. The V8 Vantage, 911, etc. are just so much better cars. I dont really care about the LF-A. Yeah, I know thats wierd considering my name, but I'm never going to buy one. The Infiniti GT-R though is very interesting.
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    "I am awaiting my M35x -- July is the target. They have my deposit."

    OK...I've been away and missed out on this... Congratulations! A big decision for a long time Audi loyalist.
  • Why do you guys like these asian cars? At this price point? What value do they provide to have such a sticker. Not one has real wood (completely through-out the vehicle,) Not one uses all metal trim (versus chromed plastic,) and not one has leather that measures more that 1.5 MM in thickness (which means fade and wear in less that 9K miles.)

    Obviously from my name you can deduce that I am a german car fan. Especially Audi. I feel that any car over $25K should give performance AND quality.

    The thing is that an Asian car is made by or approved for production by a guy that gets on a rail train and rides to work each morning amid thousands of other guys. He therefore designs a car that is refined, quiet, smooth, and devoid of "distractions."

    A german engineer drinks his coffee, gets in his car, and drives at speeds in excess of 90, on twisting roads to get to work. He then goes into his office and designs a car that will out handle most cars on the planet. Smooth acceleration, but still felt in your spine, hair tingling corning combined with utmost traction qualities, these you will find in a German car.

    Going to the store in your lexus or acura, one would think of the cd you will play on the way.

    Going to the store in your Audi or BMW, one would think of the corners and bumps, and how to take the longest way possible.

    Asians are great cars truly. But not for the price.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,749
    I think you would do just fine with an Asian car.. You talk about how the engineers design it, but you seem to be more worried about the trim and leather..

    I like German cars, and not once have I ever considered how many MM of thickness I'm getting with the leather..

    Shewwww.... back to the Audi boards please...


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  • docnukemdocnukem Posts: 485
    Prepare to be flamed....(by others)

    I see you have just joined the boards. Read more posts and comparisons (and take a few test drives) before making such sweeping statements.

    Personally, I do try to take the longest and most winding way to work in my M35x (with real wood trim).
  • See this is what I mean.

    We are stuck in a "soda can, disposable" society.

    Lets start with the leather. I keep my cars to 100K+ miles, and I have several. The leather is important. At the greater thickness, support is improved. The seat shapes itself around the driver giving precision support in handling maneuvers. Plus WHO WOULD BUY A $50K CAR AND WANT TO REPLACE THE TORN RAGGED LEATHER 25000 miles IN IT????

    Then there is safety. Not one Asian car can withstand more that 1100lbs of pressure on the roof. Audi will not release a vehicle that withstand LESS than 12000lbs. Sheet metal is thicker that a HUMMER. Everything down to the thickness of the suspension pieces focus on safety

    Performance. Don't even go there. Try a 90 degree turn on wet pavement at 60 mph in ANY car and then do it in ANY audi. Good Luck! No comparison.

    My $$$ Buy Comfort, Safety, Extreme Drive Capabilities, And good looks. And real leather. And real wood. And fiber optics. And the highest grade metals. And the best service.

    Waste your money if you choose.
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