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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans



  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,299
    I would also note the good resale - prob another reason they can offer a lease so cheap- BMW has been doing it for a while infact they might have invented leasing
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,586
    Great point robr2. Like I said above, $50K is a pill I'm not prepared to swallow when my lease is up in 2 years. I've been doing a little financial soul searching (Mortgage, car payments, retirement, 3 kids to feed, clothe, & send through college). I lived with my Prelude as my DD for 9 years. It's a great driving car, power everything, cloth (unheated) seats, AC, no navigation... Yes I can afford an off lease $25K to $30K nicely equipped CPO ELLPS, but maybe I could also buy a Honda Fit (new, much cheaper) & pay it off in 3 years. That car & my wife's Pilot would be paid off around the same time & winds up being a HUGE chunk of money to put away every month.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Well, in my book, a $38,000 328i with leatherette seats and 17" wheels is much easier to fathom than a $48,000 328i with Nav, Leather, and all the other frills.

    $10,000 is a lot to spend on stuff that adds little to the driving/ownership experience and will probably break in 5 or 6 years.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 4,646
    The results are unverified, but assuming your research is right, it indeed is quite a spread, which flies into face of commodity inflation thesis. Obviously speaks into strategies of those companies pursue. There can be some one-time factors in play, or some shifting in target markets. As I remember, MB used to be most expensive, Audi least - it may be different now.

    BMW may also pursue somewhat different strategy in option vs base pricing. I noticed that the start from high forte, ridiculous prices at the beginning of the model life, but over time they tend to add things as no-cost or deeply discounted packages. For example, my 2012 wagon, last year of its line, had leather free already since 2011, there was additional discount on navigation with premium package ($500) and some of those phone integration electronics (bluetooth) were rolled in as no cost, as well. On the other hand, MB pretty much held its C-class options just the same for all that time. A friend of mine notices (he likes them much more than I) that MB-tex (vinyl surface) is actually dominant in stock, whereas almost no BMWs have leatherette on dealer's lots. I suspect MB did some creative content shuffling to hold the line on base.

    2018 430i Gran Coupe

  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 4,646
    Well, in my book, a $38,000 328i with leatherette seats and 17" wheels is much easier to fathom than a $48,000 328i with Nav, Leather, and all the other frills.
    Funny, I exactly got the latter (a little less than $48K MSRP, but not far) and would never consider the former. Absolutely not point for me to get car like BMW with leatherette.
    When I look at cars, I ignore strippers and their prices. If I can't afford good stuff, I can't afford the car. Would rather buy loaded model of lower prominence than bottom of line something "aspirational".

    2018 430i Gran Coupe

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,586
    Funny you say that about MB Text. My best friend's wife had an '09 E350 4Matic. $60K car with MB Text. The MB Text was so good that my friend didn't even notice it until the temps started to heat up. He said his back would sweat on car rides longer than an hour. He called the sales manager that his family deals with & asked him about it. I think mb charged $2000 or $2500 for full leather seats. He said they order what they can w/ mb text because the majority of people would rather have the cheaper lease payment.

    Our 2007 X3 had leatherette. I had no problems with it.

    The auto mfrs. definitely toy around with standard features. Sunroofs were standard starting in '04 3 series. All of the sudden in (I think) in 2010 sunroof is a $1000 option or part of the premium package. Back in '07, the panorama sunroof was standard on my wife's X3, but an option on my Dad's X5.

    My 2011 has the no cost Value Package that gave me standard heated seats, leather, 17" wheels, & an iPod/USB ASAP. My slushbox was a no cost option too.

    Fedlawman - I agree with both your line of thinking as well as dino001's. My wife's former 2007 X3 had 4 options, Steptronic (nc), Montego blue metallic paint, heated front seats, Bluetooth, & rear privacy glass & we loved it.

    My 2011 328xi has leather, navigation,metallic paint, premium package, Xenon lights...

    I'd have to price a stripper out, but I still think it will be too rich for my blood.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    ...there was additional discount on navigation with premium package ($500) and some of those phone integration electronics (bluetooth) were rolled in as no cost, as well.

    IMHO, this comes from the falling cost of electronics as a whole.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    I'd have to price a stripper out, but I still think it will be too rich for my blood.

    It's $37,395 for a base 328i with leatherette and absolutely nothing else. 2.0, RWD, choice of manual or auto.

    I think the sales person at the dealership would scratch his head if you came in looking for that.

    One could:

    get the TSX with leather standard and the $1K manual option and save $5K
    get the A4 with leather and Quattro and save $4K
    get the C250 with auto and save $500
    get the G25 with auto and leather and save $3K
    get the IS250 with auto and leather and save $1500.

    Some folks might be happy with the base BMW setup as what I consider a driver's car and others may want a couple of other features and a few extra bucks in their pocket knowing they weren't going to be driving 9/10ths anyway.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 4,646
    Possibly, but the price went back up for 2012 sedan. They charge as much as they can, not as much as it costs. Old model, you get discount here and there, new one you pay up.

    2018 430i Gran Coupe

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,416
    Our '03 BMW 325i sedan... with every option but NAV, more or less...stickered for $38,500..

    I think a comparable 2012 model would be under $46K (of course, you get a turbo-4, instead of a 6-cylinder)..


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,085
    If this was true, then the price of the options for the MY 2012 would be the same price, but that wasn't the case.

    My 328i and all of the 328i for 2010 and 2011 came with the value package at no cost, leather (any color), Ipod connector. This made the Premium package costing $1750. I know for 2012 the Wagon and Coupe's had no charge leather too. With the price of these cars going up, some options should be standard. With the Wagon, sunroof is standard. Not too sure for 2013.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,881
    edited August 2012
    Thanks to a nationwide promotion to support the US Olympics Team, yesterday I got a short drive in one of BMW’s new F30 3-Series cars. The invite didn’t specify which model but I figured all they’d have would be 328i models (X-Drive models aren’t in showrooms yet) but I was given a choice and opted for the 335i (nearest equivalent to the ’01 330ci I own.).
    The car I got was a Melbourne Red 335i Sport Line four-door with the 8-speed autobox and a black leather interior. The car didn’t have a Monroney sticker and I didn’t ask the price but
    I figure it should sticker around $50K.

    Except for the color, I thought it was a really good-looking BMW. Although the hood has an odd shape in some photograph it looks fine in the metal. The current BMW reds lack the vibrancy of the old Imola Red and the black made the inside a bit dour IMO. I thought the othe cars on hand in gray or blue were more attractive. The interior was quite roomy for a 3er, pretty close to the size of my E39 Five Series.

    I thought the interior styling was too cluttered and I was a bit taken aback by the many options you had to sort thru for suspension, transmission and other settings. It would take at least a couple of weeks to learn all the settings and controls on this car.
    The prescribed test route was a short 8 mile circuit on some of the best maintained tertiary two-lanes in the NH Seacoast which is to say it wasn’t much of a test of ride qualities but from what I could tell the car rode very smoothly, giving no hint of being on all-season run-flat tires of very low profiles.

    There’s been a lot of concern about the lack of feel from the steering in the new (F10) Fivers. I’m happy to report that the steering on the 335i is just as communicative as you would expect on a Bimmer. The transmission can be manually shifted readily and is well suited to a fast drive on back roads. Brakes and handling were excellent and the stop-start system was almost invisible. You can fell the restart but there’s no unpleasant bump or shudder.

    Overall I think the F30 is an excellent all-round car that should be a very hard target for Cadillac, Audi or anyone else to surpass. I certainly would shop it but I do have some reservations. I’ve never driven any car rated at 300HP but I assumed if I did it would be scary-fast. Don’t get me wrong, the turbo-Bimmer is a fast car and will cover ground in a huge hurry but my old 5 liter Mustang (200HP) felt faster when you dropped the hammer to take off from a standstill but then the ‘Stang was very light and had no traction control.
    I also thought the ’013 335i lacks the “whee” factor of my E46 Cabrio, it handles very well but just feels heavier and less tossable and less grippy than the old E46.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,586
    robr2 - I just priced out a 2013 F30 328xi sedan and kept the options to a minimum (Standard Paint, Leatherette, no sunroof). Lighting Package, HK Stereo, & Heated Front Seats. MSRP is $41,670. I know it could be ordered if that's what I really want. What BMW brings to the table as far as the base model goes does impress me. There's also a part of me that thinks like dino001 and says: "You really want a $42,000 BMW with so little options."

    I had a TSX, liked it, ditched it after 2 1/2 years for my 2011 328xi. Acura's version of electric power steering wasn't for me.

    The A4 is a really nice vehicle, but Audi/VW long term durability scares me.

    The C250 seems like a nice car too. I haven't driven one, but right now MB only sells 4Matic C300's with a lackluster V6 instead of the cool, new Turbo 4.

    If I were to go with a G, it'd be "go big or go home" G37X. Xenon lights aren't available on the G25X either. I haven't read positive things about Nissan's small V6 as far as performance goes.

    I drove an IS250 AWD when it 1st came out in 2006. It had absolutely ZERO pickup. The 4cyl in my former TSX felt better by the seat of my pants.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    Well my comparison was of "entry level" performance sedans. The $41K you priced out shows how the BMW is priced further into the stratosphere.

    Now everything you listed as cons on all the vehicles are totally subjective things.

    IMHO, the $36K for the 325i without the things you mentioned in my eyes just isn't a value. I mean $36K for leatherette, no fancy electronics, not heated seat, no premium pack just doesn't work for ME.

    If anything, I'd probably go for the A4 with leather and Quattro and put some of the saved $4K into better tires and suspension. I'm not afraid of Audi reliability as I've had a great experience with my VW.

    Besides you would probably lease - long term reliability shouldn't be a concern.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,586
    I leased my 2011 328xi & while I LOVE IT, I'm going to buy (finance) my next purchase.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I've been out of the car market (and off these forums) for a couple of years, but our recent decision to replace my wife's SUV brought me back. When we went to look at the MDX, the Acura dealer, seeing us arrive in my 2004 TL 6-speed, asked me if I wanted to test drive a new 2012 TL AWD 6-speed manual.

    I know all about BMW vs. Acura relative to driving dynamics and feel. (As evidence, we are paying $16k more for an X5D than the MDX would have cost). HOWEVER, if budget was an issue and I was lamenting ELLPS creeping towards and above the $50k price point, the current deals on the Acura TL's would be compelling to me.

    The dealer (Pohanka in VA) is currently offering $9,000 off on a TL-AWD Tech for a net price of $34,900. Was the TL as satisfying to drive as the RWD 335is Coupe that I drove when we were X5D shopping?? No, but I suspect it would be just as satisfying, if not more so than a 2013 328ix. And the price is compelling - a mere $25k less than 335is sticker

    As a side note, I referred a buddy to a BMW dealer in Baltimore that had a brand new 2011 535i 6-speed manual on their lot for 12 months. Sport package and lots of other options put the sticker at $59,000+. I told him to hand he dealer a check for $45,000 and dare him to rip it up. He got it for $45,500.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited August 2012
    Interesting to see your 10 year price comparisons showing 14%, 21% and 33% increases for MB, Audi and BMW respectively. I happen to have an old Kelly Blue Book that I pull out occasionally as a reminder of how crazy things were in the "old days". Here are some base price stats that show what the decade from 1985 to 1995 looked like by comparison:

    1985 Mercedes 190E - $23,730
    1995 Mercedes C220 - $32,000
    Increase = 34.9%

    1985 BMW 325e - $21,700.
    1995 BMW 325i - $34,120.
    Increase = 57.2%

    1985 Nissan Maxima SE - $13,699
    1995 Nissan Maxima SE - $22,989
    Increase = 67.8%

    1985 Honda Accord LX - $10,824
    1995 Honda Accord LX - $18,880
    Increase = 74.4%

    1985 Porsche 911 Coupe - $31,950
    1995 Porsche 911 Coupe - $63,055
    Increase 97.4%

    A few takeaways from this analysis:

    (1) It's pretty amazing how modestly prices have gone up in the 17 years since 1995. If they had continued to climb at the 1985-1995 pace, a BMW 328i would now have a base price of $73,600 and a 911 Coupe would be a mere $200,400.

    (2) Back in the "old days", even a bottom of the line BMW or Mercedes was a relatively rare symbol of status, costing over twice as much as a Honda Accord or 70% more than a ELLPS Maxima. When I bought a 1995 Maxima SE, the 325i was over 50% more. Today, the base price of a 328i is only $5,000 more than the base price of a 325i 17 years ago. And only a similar amount more than a Maxima.

    Draw your own conclusions as to what this means relative to ELLPS today. Frankly, I think a lot of people today are stretching to get themselves into a BMW, Audi or Mercedes when, back in 1985, or even 1995, they would have not even considered it and had to "settle" for a Honda Accord or maybe Nissan Maxima. I'm not so sure that was a bad thing.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 4,646
    I think your little study (thanks for it, BTW - informative). Only makes me wonder if cheaper cars (subcompacts went up even more). I blame our government that knows better what's good for the people (airbags, stability control, ABS, emissions, fuel economy, the list goes on). As always defenders of the people end up hurting them much more - they always throw in arguments that it is only "a little more", but over time it those very people who pay for it through their noses. It seems that it is bottom car prices that came closer to luxury cars - as they were galloping up, the luxury cars were dribbling, as those mandatory features were there anyway and smaller price differential created more incentive for people to reach, even if stretched.

    2018 430i Gran Coupe

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,586
    Hey habitat1. Good to see you back on the forum here. Saw on another thread that you no longer have your beloved 911 C2 Cab. My automotive condolences to you.

    I've never driven a TL SH-AWD, but know its got some chops from what I've read. What'd you think of the brakes compared to the BMW? I don't track or race my car, just looking for a little fun on my 6 day/week commute like I did with my 2001 Prelude Type SH for the 1st 9 years of its life. I wasn't "getting it" from the 2010 TSX I inherited from my wife (lifeless electric power steering, crummy brakes). I love my 2011 328xi. I just don't know if the new F30 328xi will be worth it so sparsely equipped as I "built" last night. Especially when a TL SH-AWD Tech comes loaded for a similar sticker. I've still got 2 years of research to decide about my next purchase.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    You make a good point. Adding incremental costs for safety requirements will increase the cost of lower price cars by a higher percentage than expensive cars.

    But I still think the biggest difference over the past 2-3 decades in what we now label the ELPPS segment is that BMW and Mercedes are now considered "affordable" by a much larger percentage of the population because of their conscious decision to employ a product mix and pricing strategy that competes for this market. Perhaps partly in response or retaliation for Lexus, Infiniti and Acura moving into their previously unchallenged luxury territory.

    Anecdotal example: Back in about 1969, I had a friend whose aunt drove a new Mercedes. She would pick us up from grade school 2-3 days a week. People used to stop and stare at the car - and be even more shocked when they saw a woman driving it. At one point, she was interviewed by the local newspaper and asked how it felt to be the only verified single female that owned a Mercedes in a city of 100,000. She worked for Navy Intelligence, spent a lot of time in Europe and got the Mercedes through a diplomatic/military purchase program at a huge discount, or so she said.

    Today, I'd make a bet that if I drove 15 miles to the nearest Wal Mart, I'd find at least a dozen Mercedes and BMW's in the lot. Hell, I think you can buy a Mercedes at Costco.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Thanks, but no condolences needed. I had a good 5 1/2 years and 30k miles with the 911 and my daughters couldn't fit in the back seat anymore. But if the bank account recovers in time from our upcoming X5 Diesel purchase, I could possibly see a new Cayman in my garage sometime next spring.

    Regarding the TL vs. BMW, my own 2004 TL 6-speed has Brembo brakes standard. I believe the 2012 TL SH-AWD 6-speed manual does as well. In my car, they are great, and way, way better than the crappy brakes on our MDX or the automatic TL's I was given as service loaners. My 2004 is FWD, so it has all of those performance pitfalls, but is still a reasonably fun car.

    I would never seriously consider or recommend an automatic or FWD TL over a BMW. The 6-speed manual TL-SHAWD might be worth a test drive for you to make the call yourself. Interestingly, I was NOT very favorably impressed with 2011/2012 535i 6-speed manuals. I wasn't seriously in the market, but when we were shopping for the X5, was being tempted by some great deals. But after a few test drives, I concluded that the new 5 series felt heavy and a bit dull compared to the older models or the (outgoing) 3 series.
  • m6userm6user Posts: 3,175
    The general inflation rate will of course affect any price increases in addition to governmental regualtions. I believe the period you mentioned, 1985 to 1995 has substantially more inflation than the period I tracked, 2002/3 to 2012/13.

    Mortgage rates were in the 9-10% range back in the late eighties. I remember refinancing in 1992 to 7.5%, down from 9.5%. If you consider the "hyper" inflation of the late 70s and early 80s(I can actually remember getting pay raises of over 10% several of those years) car prices may have been catching up somewhat. I believe they lag inflation by a couple of years as manufactures try to hold the line on prices until profit pressures become too great to resist.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 4,646
    This is good story. However, in 1969 Mercedes was only making cars that were market positioned equivalent of today's S-class and top of E-class. Model 190 (predecessor of C-class) was introduces somewhere in late 70s or early 80s, don't know exact dates. The ELLPS simply did not exist back then. There was a small BMW and Europe has always had cars like those, but the concept was pretty much unknown in the US. So the bridge was gapped from both sides (cheap cars becoming not so cheap and expensive brands introducing less expensive models)

    2018 430i Gran Coupe

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    You are exactly right - and that's the essence of my point. An ELLPS segment that has BMW and Mercedes competing against Japanese and even American cars for the same buyer didn't really exist until about 1995 or later. Prior to that, it was easy. We all knew our place in car society. And now Hyundai is on TV with ads comparing their Genesis to a Panamera S?? Holy cow.
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    So with these's actually cheaper now.

    Inflation is the killer...

    $38,500 in 2003 is $48,000 now

    If you use any online inflation calculators you can see similar results:

    You can't print over a trillion dollars without getting hit with inflation...
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 4,646
    The President (and the previous one as well) seem to disagree (or not care)... :mad: :cry:

    2018 430i Gran Coupe

  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,085
    The 190E came state side in 1985.

    I remember in 1993 looking at the E320 Convertible and thinking 80K is a lot of money.... Today you can get a E350 convertible for the came amount of money.

    Today an entry level C250 sedan is 35K (base) and will balloon to 43K with a couple of options. My 1987 E190 2.3-16 sportline was $36K new.

    Just interesting to see how some cars have faired priced wise over the years.
  • Hey look who is back- welcome back buddy, remember those battle we had with my 2003 TL Type S? Well now I have the 2009 SH-AWD.
    The new car itch is setting in and its going after the 550 XI but I think I will stick with the TL a couple more years.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Hey Billy,

    Great to hear from you and I bet you are still as feisty as ever! Weren't we going to meet up on some deserted road and have a showdown between your TL-S and my old Maxima SE 5-speed??

    So is your TL SH-AWD a stick or an automatic? if it's the latter we can start a new round of digital drag racing with my 2004 TL 6-speed manual. With only 62k miles in 8 years, I'm probably going to keep it for awhile longer and see if I can't sneak another Porsche into my garage next spring.
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,299
    You must of been gone a long while- no one here believes in manual transmissions anymore- - infact they will even try To sell you on a CVT, everyone very old now - good to see one manual is left- and in a great (before the beak) TL.

    Welcome back- keep the oldschool cooler body tl- wait until Acura cleans it up.

    Any chance the hosts can clean up the messages titles here- no need for 20 names on a header
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