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Luxury Performance Sedans



  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    How many non Quattro A6s are really sold here? I can understand people opting for a FWD A4, but in the $50K class, really? I dont think thats going to do much to help Audi's A6 sales situation. Even Acura stopped offering an RL with FWD, and they are the FWD company. They could have offered a FWD RL for significantly less cash than the complicated SH-AWD version, with perhaps some kind of torque management system or just a detuned engine to deal with the torque steer problem, but I think they understand that people just dont want FWD in this class. Another part of the A6's problem may be the last one. The turbo engine especially was hit with problem after problem. I personally know two people that had A6s, one was a 2.8, the other a 2.7T, and both no longer drive an Audi.

    As for the GS300, frankly I think Lexus could have done a much better job than they did, but it is still Japan's best selling entry by a wide margin, and is currently outselling Audi 2 to 1.
  • I have been reading this board for several weeks now since buying my '05 A6 to get a feel for what others think of both the A6 and other premium sedans. The one thing that seems to be missing (IMHO) is the fact that the M35 has the ugliest dash and interior layout in this segment. What were they thinking??? It looks like somebody put a keyboard on the dash so we can make our own music while driving. If I had wanted this type of layout, I would have taken piano lessons years ago from Henry Ford.

    Sure this car can get up and move and it meets or beats the competition in most categories, but you have to want to drive the car in order to appreciate those amenities and I don't think I could sit in this car long enough to experience it without gagging. The BMW is not really that much better.

    In order to appreciate these cars you must want to sit in the drivers seat and enjoy your surroundings - both inside (the cabin amenities and finish) and outside ( the engine performance, the tires gripping the curvy road, etc). Without feeling comfortable with both categories, one needs to keep shopping. All the cars are excellent performers with each having its own little performance niche. That is why I ultimately chose the Audi over Infinity and BMW.

    Sure the Infinity and BMW's are going to get to the dance a little sooner than the Audi, but they also have have the uglier dates. (IMHO) :P
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I agree with you, but ultimately everyone makes their own choices.

    Beauty, after all, is in the eye of the beholder. BMW always gets it from both ends. Before the redesign, there were those who thought BMWs were lacking or dated. After the redesign there are those who think the new designs are lacking or ugly. The comments about i-drive from real owners do not seem to be the same garbage the journalists are spewing. The comments about the styling seem to be confined to the magazines.

    The one thing the mags and the common folk agree on, is they drive like they are on rails.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    As kdshapiro said, to each his own. Personally, I dont like what Audi did with the interior of the new A6. While I thought the exterior styling of the old one was kind of bulbous and I didnt like its XXL rump, the interior was very warm and inviting, in stark contrast to most German cars. The new one is a lot more traditional teutonic, to me it seems very cold and computerized, with just a few splashes of wood so that its not one big gray slab. The M45 is not my favorite interior, but I like it better than the A6. I think the best interior is a toss between the RL and GS.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    I drove the 545 yesterday. Used iDrive for the first time. After all the negative media hype, expected the worst. Found it very easy. I cannot believe how much control it gives you as to what the vehicle can do. Just one small problem. When trying to set the speed volume, I could not get my setting to click in. Must be a software glitch. IDrive is great assuming the software cooperates.
    Almost seems like an organized campaign to bring BMW down.
  • I am curious. when you were using the I-drive, were you were driving the car or were you in the parking lot learning how to use it? If you were indeed driving down the highway or around using it then please let me know where you got your PhD in computer engineering because I found it as difficult as the mags claim. Sure it does everything under the sun but will you arrive alive to you destination after just changing the temperature in the cabin. The worst part of that scenario is that I feel like I am an above average car guy and computer guy.

    Even presumably non-biased Consumer Reports has a problem with it and they still consider the older version without I-drive as the benchmark for even newer cars. Can EVERY review in the car magazines be part of a conspiracy?
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    I used it when I got into the vehicle after the salesman showed me how to use it. During my test drive(alone), I pulled off to the side of the road and went through a few menus and clicked some settings. I tried doing one setting change at a red light but I didn't have enough time. IDrive is definitely NOT something to be using when driving. The idea is when you first get your car, input all your settings-air conditioning, radio station settings,etc; and then forget about it. Once that is done, you have climate and radio controls right in front of you. You do not need to use iDrive to change radio stations as CR claims. Once all the settings are put in using iDrive, most people would never have to use the iDrive ever again. The system definitely could have been designed as more user friendly. No argument there.
    No conspiracy, surely. But are they really being honest by not mentioning that once the settings are inputted, you can forget about iDrive? They seem to imply that it is something you will need every time you drive the car. Not true.
  • bartalk3bartalk3 Posts: 692
    Thanks for the tip on the Peoria dealer. I'll check it out. Congratulations and good luck with your RL (sounds like you've already had lots of trouble-free good luck with it).
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    If you're serious, give me a holler. A friend of mine (who is now retired and in FL) bought 5 different cars from Lexus of Peoria over a 5 year period, and I also know at least 3 others who have bought cars there in the past 24 months. Although I have very little personal experience with them (other than a test drive), I can connect you with some reliable contacts if you are ready to deal. Good luck.

    We've only had the RL for 3 mos. now. No issues, except today we learned from the OnStar rep that there is some sort of hardware issue with our car in terms of getting OnStar to identify our car and to locate it via their satellite connection. Apparently we have to go back to Rizza to address this problem. It's not a major issue, but something we'll have to deal with when we are in Chicago in the next couple months.

    Take care and best regards.
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    My issue with i-Drive (and similar interface systems) can be summarized in this one question---

    "Is It Necessary?"

    For something this complex and central to the car, if the answer to this question is
    "No, it's not necessary," then I would suggest that it is mostly just technology for technology's sake.

    I want to drive my car. Not interface with it.
  • matt5matt5 Posts: 6
    The anti- I-drive bandwagon has, in my opinion, been way overdone.
    It's not a big deal, in fact it gives you more customizable options. As with anything "new", there's a learning curve. Moreover, there's separate push buttons/dials for radio station scan, volume, fan speed, temperature (L and R), etc.
  • turnbowmturnbowm Posts: 76
    When I first got my 2005 530i, I made it a point to study the iDrive system so that I could use the various features to "personalize" the car to suit MY preferences. Once that was done, I find little occasion or need to use the iDrive system.

    Manual controls for A/C temp, blower speed and the audio system are provided on the dash for fast, convenient changes. No need to even use the iDrive.

    It's interesting that those who bad-mouth the iDrive seem to have very little experience or understanding of the system or how it can be used to enhance the driving experience. Too bad.... they don't know what they're missing!

  • bondguy1bondguy1 Posts: 228
    I too just got the 05' A6 after driving the 02' 3.0 for the last three years. At first, when I saw the new A6, I didn't like the layout of the screen angled towards the driver. It made a German car inteior too much like an interior found on a luxury American Car. But, once I got behind the wheel and the comfort of the seats, I was sold. And, seeing how much the MMI controls and how easy it is to use, the interior grew on me. One thing I love about the new car is the white leds that light up not only the floors but also the strip of white leds that are like under counter lighting you'd see in a kitchen...located above the armrests on all four doors. When you are driving in the A6 at night, with everything lit up in red or white, and the way the area jets out from the dash near the shifter, you feel like you are in a cockpit of a jet.
    BTW, what is up with the new Acura RL? I used to think they were the Plain-Jane looking car that was overpriced a few years ago. I saw a few on the road recently and all I can think is "What a nothing looking design". I hope the car drives really, really nice and it has a great looking interior because from the outside, it's really NOTHING to look at. I agree with you 100% on the M35. That was my second choice. It is a really, really fast car. For some, that's the most important thing. And, it does give a lot of bang for the buck. I just thought it was a lot more expensive price to pay for the exact same engine that one can buy in the G35 for a whole lot less. At least the new A6 has some new technology to it, like the FSI injection and all the tech a real NAV system now and Advanced Key. Also, if you don't look closely, the M35 doesn' t really look all that much different from the outside than a G35 sedan...especially from the front (grille). Plus, living in Florida, I feel comfortable driving the Quattro All Wheel Drive in rainy weather and like the fact it comes standard as for now. If you go into an Infiniti dealer in my area, good luck finding an AWD version. The salesmen kind of look at you funny if you ask for one saying it's snow here.
  • kgarykgary Posts: 180
    I agree. The M35/45 has one of the ugliest dashboards I have ever seen. By the way I bought a 05 4.2 instead.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    iDrive is necessary if you want to personalize your car as you never could before.
    The media is reporting inaccurate information about iDrive in an attempt to bring BMW down.
    "Too much drive time spent not looking at the road to perform routine functions, like changing a radio station." Motor Trend, March, 2005. This is such a load of crap. You input your favorite radio stations with iDrive in your garage when you first get your car. After that you just press a button on the steering wheel while driving to change the station. IDrive is not a hazard that takes your attention away from the road. You do not use it when driving.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    It is necessary if you want to personalize your car as you never could before. Imagine being able to control speed volume of your radio. As you are driving, the noisier it gets in the cabin, the volume gets louder and vice versa. Wow!
    You better face it. Not only is iDrive here to stay but as all cars get more and more sophisticated, they will all have some variation of iDrive. Lexus can hold out only so long.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    You have your wish. There are thousands of buttons in the RL to study from. Push the wrong button and the wheels fall of. :sick:
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    You input your favorite radio stations with iDrive in your garage when you first get your car.

    That's fine if you never drive out of town. Suppose you take a road trip or vacation even 100 miles away. You find some radio stations you like on the way, or at your destination. How many manipulations do you have to go through to set your iDrive to one or more of those stations, and is it a complicated enough procedure that it could be distracting? And then when you get back home, you have to do it again.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I'm not so sure that they will. Lexus is very proud of their touch screen system. It is true that Audi, Infiniti, and Acura have already jumped on the joystick bandwagon, and M-B is next in line with the new S class. No sort of control stick is anywhere in the GS or IS though. I suppose if ANY Lexus were to get some sort of control system, the LS460 would be the most likely candidate. We'll have to see, but if I were to make a bet right now, I'd say its going to have a system similar to the GS, with a central touch screen and very little in the way of dash buttons.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    Yes. If you drive out of town, re-setting iDrive can be a pain. I don't.
    The only annoying thing about it to me is having to look at that huge iDrive thing on the dash all the time.
    It would be nice if they could make the iDrive optional on the 5 as they did for the 3. They can then come out with hidden buttons like the Lexus GS. If you don't want nav. you don't get iDrive.
  • karmikankarmikan Posts: 116
    It is necessary if you want to personalize your car as you never could before. Imagine being able to control speed volume of your radio. As you are driving, the noisier it gets in the cabin, the volume gets louder and vice versa. Wow!

    Incorrect. I have an '03 530 and I'm able to adjust the speed volume of my radio with a couple of button clicks, no need for iDrive.
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    Ever heard of the scan feature found on most radios? Do you honestly save stations you find while driving out of town on your standard car radio? I never do. Normally I'm not in another place long enough to preset their stations. Besides, I have SAT radio and rarely (if ever) listen to regular radio. Bottom line is, if you're determined to find fault with iDrive or similar systems you will regardless of what other people say.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Don't the radio controls on the steering wheel work that if you hold the memory control, it actually goes into scan mode? Since it only takes a few seconds to set the radio controls via i-drive, how much faster can it really be by doing it the old fashioned way?
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    Yeah. It's foolish to argue. Let's face it. The media has relished this all out assault on BMW ever since iDrive came out. But they have the responsibility to get the facts right. For most normal people out there, once iDrive is set when you first get your car, you can forget about it. The auto rags make it sound like it's a distraction when you are driving which it is not.
    I just wish that ugly iDrive thing on the dash wasn't so prominent.
  • bartalk3bartalk3 Posts: 692
    Thanks for the offer. We're going on vacation for a few weeks, but when we come back, I'm going to get serious and try to work out a deal for the Lexus. I'll be in touch about Peoria. That would be the best bet for me, in terms of proximity. I've taken a test drive up there, so there is a salesman I would be working with. When I asked about factory ordering a car, he kind of hedged and didn't seem thrilled. Somehow I assumed that larger Chicago dealers would be more amenable to factory ordering a car, or being able to trade within Chicago for the car I wanted. But if I could get the same deal at Peoria, I'd prefer to deal with them.

    For routine warranty work on your RL, you might contact Barker Honda and see what they say. For OnStar and things that Honda doesn't have, you probably would have to go up to Rizza.
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    YIKES...I'm sorry. Didn't mean to start ANOTHER long and tired thread on the pro's and con's of luxury interface systems! We're spinning out of the stratosphere again, and we've been there a few times already.

    I do agree that these types of interfaces are here to stay. And I'm convinced that these interfaces make sense AS LONG AS YOUR CAR COMES WITH A NAVIGATION SYSTEM.

    However, if the car doesn't have navigation, i-Drive, MMI, COMAND and other interface dials add unnecessary complexity, IMO. The functions they control can be managed more effectively the "old way." Same deal with these big display screens, like you get in several models with or without navigation. If you don't have navigation, these screens are also unnecessary.

    Okay, I'm done. Hope you guys are too.
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    Yeah, Barker told me they would service the RL for simple stuff like oil changes. But Rizza will give us a TL as a loaner, so we'll time a trip to Oakbrook, a ball game, etc. in conjunction with a service stop later this year.

    Take care.
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    cstiles... Are I-Drive defenders Ego driven? :sick: (Ba...Bump Bump!)
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Nah - we're just trying to edumacate the uneducated. :confuse:
  • cstilescstiles Posts: 465
    cstiles... Are I-Drive defenders Ego driven? (Ba...Bump Bump!)

    Maybe ego and income and education-driven???? If you've invested the time to master a system and have embedded it into your driving lifestyle, then I can see how people argue so strongly, while others who have not will feel strongly the other way.

    Not sure if the cost of the technology will come down enough, but I somewhat shudder to think that these types of systems will end up in lower end, entry-level cars. It does take a certain level of sophistication to master them, and I've argued before that with people already eating, phoning, multi-tasking behind the wheel, that these interfaces can be a safety hazard in the wrong hands.

    Those who are posting on these forums are likely more educated, and we probably don't represent the "typical" driver (whatever that means). I accept that interfaces are here to stay, but I'm not sure if I want every 16 or 90-year old out there fiddling with them while they try to stay in their lane of travel.

    That is a scary thought to me. Especially when there are no standards for consistency from brand to brand. I respect Lexus for holding out, and I hope they are successful.

    With each passing year, our driving behaviors are also being monitored through black box data recorders and other intrusive wireless/GPS devices that are pre-installed in cars. One darker consequence of "advanced" technology is that we will be giving up more of our personal freedoms so that 3rd parties can track our driving patterns and lifestyles. Of course, interfaces like i-Drive aren't causing this, but I still see it as part of a larger pattern of companies pushing the envelope with technology that has less and less to do with the daily business of driving a car.
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