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Luxury Performance Sedans



  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 4,054
    If I can broaden my horizons, anyone can.

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I think in general blind devotion to a brand is a thing of the past. Consumers are more educated than ever before, and there's also a lot more competition than ever before. Just in this cycle of mid-lux sedans, the competition has gone from 4 to 7, 8 if you count the S-type. Ironically, despite what my handle says I'm really not a "Lexus guy", though I would have to say I am firmly a Japanese guy. I know you are new to the far east, but as a Japanese driver for over a decade, I can tell you from my own experience that the rumor of Japanese reliability is very much based in reality, especially from the "big Japan 3". The used luxury cars that make up CR's "good bets" lists are pretty much exclusively Infiniti, Acura, and Lexus. Additionally, the LS400 sits near or at the top of their owner satisfaction lists from '97 (as far back as CR currently lists) through '04.

    That said, I have spent plenty of weekends flogging Motorsport and AMG cars (as well as Porsche and Maserati). They are heaps of fun, I will give them that. However, I am happy to return them after an hour or so behind the wheel and return to "ol' faithful" as it were. I'm much more tolerant of potential issues with my weekend car though, otherwise I'd be in an SC430, and bored. What I'd love to see from Lexus with the next SC is for them to build it around the LF-A platform, using the regular 4.6L V8 and cutting the price in half, similar to the Chrysler Firepower\Viper.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    Obviously I have been able to overcome "blind loyalty." I have talked the talk and walked the walk (as much as I can, thus far, since Infiniti has MY money and BMW has my wife's money or better said they have our money). I certainly believe you and others who wax on about the Japanese reliability. Your comments (and other people's too) did weigh, did contribute to my decision to go for the M35X. My wife kinda took my word for it on the X3, until she took it out for multiple test drives (and we did mutliple tests of the A4, too) -- then she became the believer in this particular Bimmer.

    I must say, while I am not typically someone who "only drinks Coke, never Pepsi, etc" that I think I might miss being known (internally by me) as an Audi guy. Soon I will be the "former" Audi guy (and maybe "future" Audi guy) -- I must confess also to some small sense of angst -- almost as if to second guess myself . . . "what if it isn't as nice as I thought it would be?"

    I'll get over it.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,624
    Hey... and it only took you 30 years... :surprise:


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  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Once and future king eh? Perhaps after you've driven your M on a daily bassis for maybe a year, go back and try another A6 3.2 and see if you really feel that your missing out on something.
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    " I'll get over it."

    No problem Mark...I'll pass this along from Benedict XVI..."In nomine Patri et spiritue sancte."

    now you are all set.
  • moxiemoxie Posts: 33
    Yes - and thank heavens they didn't migrate that lame feature over from the G !
  • moxiemoxie Posts: 33
    Although I tolerate it a bit more now than when it first came out, the design of the E60 still prevents me buying it. True that the designer on Bangle's team who produced it created a daring look but IMHO the E39 was a masterpiece of design and they should have freshened that without being so radical !

    Interesting that with the 7 they have now backed off the original design and softened it (although not all that much)

  • "Believe you juxtaposed the two"

    Very true. Thanks for the correction. That will teach me to think and type at the same time!
  • senneca01senneca01 Posts: 34
    I agree, but I hate to admit it. I do feel that the 5 series is at the lower rank in interior quality in this class of cars. It is nowhere near what Audi and Lexus are in terms of interior refinement and quality. The dark nature of the 5'er makes everything look even worse IMO. I am not sure, but it seems like BMW spent a lot of time on the top part of the dash and forgot about the lower section. The hard plastic by the idrive knob and cheezy looking lettering on all of the controls is a letdown. The guages look old-school as do the center control knobs. It doesn't even feel like it is built very well either. If you tap on some of the parts, they feel hollow and empty. Perhaps a weight reduction measure? I think that the 7 series is a nice place to be, but the 5 is a totally different story. The X3 is the worse of them all. :cry:
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "Perhaps a weight reduction measure?"

    Last time I checked quality plastics dont really weigh anymore than the cheapie stuff. I'm betting on cost cutting.
  • turnbowmturnbowm Posts: 76

    Have to agree about the low interior quality (leather, in particular) and the "old school" look of the gauges, but don't understand some of your comments.

    "The dark nature of the 5'er...."

    A 530i with gray leather and antrhacite maple wood trim is anything but dark.

    "The hard plastic by the iDrive knob and cheezy-looking lettering on all the controls...."

    The iDrive is surrounded by wood trim with a Menu button next to it. What hard plastic are you referring to? As for the cheezy-looking lettering, I just did a quick comparison of the 530i controls and those on my wife's Lexus and didn't really find that much difference. The 530i controls were, in fact, somewhat bolder (lettering) and easier to read.

    "It doesn't even feel like it is built very well...."

    Actually, I find the switches and controls to have a nice tactile feel with good detents for the various settings (temp, blower, etc.).

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Interest last few days on this board. I don't think its the materials in the 5-Series that are the blame totally. If you ask me BMWs have always been bare and plain looking on the inside for as long as I can remember and their materials were always good, but never the main focus. Now since they've changed the layout from the cockpit theme everyone is noticing the materials more. Just my theory. I've always thought BMW had the worst looking interiors of the three German luxury makes, but they were always functional and when driving you didn't care about how they looked because the experience was so enjoyable. The only BMW that I thought really had truly plush materials were the 7-Series, and then only from 1995 onward. All imo of course.

  • warthogwarthog Posts: 216
    As far I can tell, the interior materials and design of the previous generation 5's and 7's were identical. The 5 was merely a shrunken version of the 7 interior.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    True the designs were the same, but the 1995 7 was the plushest BMW I'd ever seen/been in up to that point. I mean it was downright plush for a BMW I thought at the time. Gathered leather and all. I don't think the materials between the two were the same though.

  • jlbljlbl Posts: 1,333

    I fully agree with your opinion about BMW interiors.

  • mariner7mariner7 Posts: 509
    "For comparison, none of the G35X's German competitors are capable of this. The Audi A4 quattro can transfer up to 50% of the engine's torque to the rear wheels; the Mercedes-Benz C-Class 4Matic up to 60%; and the BMW 330Xi up to 62%."
  • jlbljlbl Posts: 1,333
    I understand you very well, markcincinnati. I was (almost) as loyal to Citroën as you has been to Audi, and for 28 yeas too. I never excluded other brands, however. I did short excursions into other fruits in between 5 "lemmons" (Citroën is an old French word for lemmon). It happened that Citroën was always a good compromise between price and performance, here in my place, and I came back to it with joy. Guess my first car? A second hand BMW Issetta. That was really fun and painfully slow. It was not exactly a luxury performance sedan. I never thought of being a yuppy while driving it.

  • warthogwarthog Posts: 216
    I beg to differ about the 5 vs. 7 interiors. A good friend has a '95 740 and I have a '03 530. Both have the gray leather interiors. The leather is the same material, so far as we can tell, and is pleated in the same way. The door and dash materials are identical. In fact, the only differences are that the 7's center console is wider and has more controls, and the dash being wider, the side air vents are on the dash instead of in the doors.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    You know what, you're right I'm thinking about the previousx2 5-Series the 1989-1995 model not the 1997-2003 model, yep the two you mention did have the same style of interior, but that 7-Series was first to market so thats why it sticks out to me. I remember the previous 5-Series coming to market in spring of 1996 as a 1997 model. I'm thinking about the 535i from the late eighties.

    Your post only confirms why I think a lot of folks don't like the new interiors. Even from the 1989 to the 1997 5 the interiors didn't change radically. They had the same bare, cockpit style layout which everyone got so used too. This is one reason why I think the new 5 causes so much shock. Combine this with the urge to really notice the interior materials (since the cockpit feeling is gone) and bam you have folks not liking BMW's new design motif. The 7-Series was basically the same theme from 1988 and 1995, only it got plusher to me.

    I personally don't have a problem with it as it still to my eye looks very plain and BMW like though everything is more upright and straight. To me it still looks like a old-school BMW especially around the climate controls and the other few switches left. They just took out the driver focused angling of the dash/ upper center console imo.

    I've always found Mercedes and Audi interiors to be far better looking than BMWs.

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "I've always found Mercedes and Audi interiors to be far better looking than BMWs."

    We're definitely in agreement there. Audi didnt impress me much in the early '90s, but by the time the previous gen A6 was introduced, they had the best of the bunch.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    The Audi system can "transfer" up to 50% of the power to the front or rear?

    The Audi system STARTS at 50% f 50% r power distribution and via an instant acting (not virtually, not electronically but mechanically instant) Torque Sensing (TORSEN) AWD set up can send additional power to the front or rear depending on where the most traction is.

    For purposes of this explanation, I am speaking specifically of the TORSEN quattro set up, not the Haldex quattro set up. However, the quattro intent is to shift more or less power forward or backward regardless of the technology used. The TORSEN system (today) is nominally a 50-50 set up. Upcoming TORSEN set ups will be nominally 40% f 60% r biased (basically to remove the issue of not being an RWD biased AWD system from the discussion).

    Depending on the model (and application), the quattro system will send up to 75% of the power to the front or rear based on traction.

    According to Audis own literature, the ability to pinpoint a single wheel that can benefit from additional torque is also part of the system: "[Under normal conditions] power is split 50/50 front to rear. But in extreme cases up to 67% of the engine's power can be directed to a single wheel. The benefits to the driver are safety, performance, power, and control in copious amounts."

    The Canadian Driver piece is not entirely accurate in its declaration of toque split and torque shift in a Torsen equipped set up such as the A4. The new A4 could actually send 2/3 of the power of the engine to the front left or the rear right for that matter. The most the Infiniti system can do is send 50% forward -- not that that should ever be insufficient. The Torsen system simply can send another 17% forward should it be necessary to do so.
  • All this BMW,Lexus,Jag,MB talk drives me nuts.I've owned them thank God and the UAW I have owned 39 new vehicles of all makes and models.Go down to your Ford store drive these two and tell me where the 30 grand difference is?Better yet buy 2 of them and put $10,000 in your new SS account.
    Buy American.........cause you are one!
  • docnukemdocnukem Posts: 485
    I looked at the Five Hundred AWD. I liked the body, the size, and the AWD. I didn't like the performance figures (from the small engine size with CVT). The car would also look nicer if they took the grille from the Fusion and stuck it on the 500. But you are missing the point. This is a luxury performance sedan board. The Cadillac STS (and to some extent the CTS) ARE discussed here. If I had liked the angular cuts in the STS body, I would have seriously considered it, as Cadillac has changed their stodgy image.

    Remember also that Jag and MB have American connections, now, too.
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    Firstly, not everyone here is American. Secondly, why should "we" support inferior products simply because we hail from the country that makes them? That may be a very nice set up for our car manufacturers, but it does nothing to help them make better products. Think about it, if they make crap cars (and in my opinion most American cars are crap), but we buy them anyway simply because we're "'merican" what incentive do Ford or GM have to make better cars? My father will only buy American and to answer your question, yes I do believe that my 545 is worth $40K more than it. Since we've been talking about cheap materials let's expand that to include American cars which use the cheapest material that I can think of. The leather feels like pleather, the knobs on the dash feel like they'll fall of in your hand anytime you use them and the designs at least to me are for the most part atrocious. The goal of American car manufacturers seems to be to figure out how to transfer our family room sofa into a moving vehicle. The only exceptions I see are the new Mustang, the 500 that you mentioned (though the grill REALLY bugs me, and SOME Cadillacs. So until we learn to engineer better cars, I won't be buying one. If that makes me less patriotic in your mind so be it. Sorry, but I just hate it when people say things like "Buy American.....cause you are one."
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    thank God and the UAW

    What? IMHO the domestic auto industry would be in better shape now if the UAW didn't exist. In recent decades all they've done is make American auto labor uncompetitive. I'm not against buying from a US or Canadian factory, but frankly the stuff out of the non-union US or Canadian factories is a better value (for what you're getting) and generally better quality too.
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    James Healey's review on the A6. Worth a read. First analogy between the A6 and an Edsel. A little harsh.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    The new STS cannot be had with a sport set up and come in under $60,000. Even Audi only charges $1250 for the sport package (and one would presume $1000 of that is for the wheels which can be purchased minus the sport suspension for that price).

    The STS too cannot be had with AWD for any price less than $62,000 -- even BMW and Mercedes (using MSRP as my guide) can beat this.

    The new Ford and Mercury cars with AWD are mostly impressive -- but when you can get a Chrsler 300C AWD with every possible option for just north of $42 or $43,000 why would you consider the STS and for the extra performance why would you accept the anemic Ford products (this anemia being the main impediment to their success).

    Insofar as considering the Ford 500 as a competitor in this class, even with a 50% boost in power, well, it isn't likely to happen in my lifetime unless some major sea change happens within Ford.

    I don't believe the 500 is even meant to rival the "usual 8 suspects" in this class.

    Long before the 500 would be an entrant, the 300C AWD would have to at least be up for "honorable mention."

    One thing I do agree on, though, if the difference is $30,000 between a Ford 500 AWD and the Mercedes or BMW or Audi or Infiniti, etc -- well I think our new poster does have a point (where is the $30,000 difference). There certainly is a difference -- and the difference probably justifies a 5 figure premium for the 500's "rivals" (in mrlizzad's opinion). But I dunno if that new Audi A6 is worth $30,000 more than the 500; but, if true, that is the "market's" tolerance apparently since most of these Premo cars are selling at least "OK."

    While we're at it, we could probably include the new Passat at $37,000 as a contender, too (at least for the CTS customer's dollars).
  • ed22ed22 Posts: 2
    I am new to the forums and I would like to give my opinion on this as well. I think there is nothing wrong with being patriotic, but like others I have to agree that if you don't buy the vehicle for legitemate reasons, you are definately giving the manufacturer a reason to improve.
    Unlike most people on this forum, I actually like the new Cady design theme, in fact I love it and if it wasn't for that interior I would probably be driving one myself. That is a big part of a car for me, and I have sat and driven all sorts of luxury cars when my dad was making his decision and I have to say that most European cars with the exception of Audi, have really bad interiors (Merc, BMW). There are way too many buttons and stuff, I drive has reduced this but at what price. At this moment I would say that the American manufacturers are definately picking up some speed and if the Europeans are not carefull they could be outclassed just as quickly.
    To me it seems like the European manufacturers are selling only one the fun factor, and mainly the badge. Their quality is simply bad, the interiors are very bland and not designed very functionally (unless you are comparing them to other European manufacturers), and you get very little for your dollar, most things that should be standard are considered options.
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