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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans



  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    edited August 2012
    I agree the TL has the better powertrain, but a 6MT costs $44K, and for that much money, there are better choices IMO (S4?).

    And the interior and exterior styling of the Audi is far better (again IMO). Better control layout and material quality in the Audi, and the Audi just goes down the road better (quieter cabin with classic German suspension tuning). It's the only $35k car here that makes you feel like you spent $45k when you're driving it.

    The AWD TL is the best car Acura sells right now and I agree it's still a contender (I like it better than the G37). But I have to bump Acura down a notch from 6 years ago because as a whole, their lineup isn't very compelling.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,081
    In regards to the 550i, yes it is heavy, however, the 550i still does 0-60 in 5 sec, pretty darn quick for a heavy sedan, and with M sport Package handles very well too. Much better then MB E550 (which one comes in all wheel drive.)
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,081
    Not in my book, three turbo's, talk about one hot engine compartment. I read that BMW was looking to bring over a V8 twin turbo oiler that made the same amount of power, which was faster and better MPH. Heck, I would be happy if they just dropped the X5 oiler in the 5 series and turned up the boost some.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,081
    NYC, just because it has a sport package doesn't make it is a sport's car. Just as the MB SL doesn't live up to its name, SL means "superleicht" Super Light, however we all know that over the years that wasn't true for that model.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,574
    I know its a big, grand touring, coupe & that sport pkg doesn't equal sports car. I expected a hint of sharpness, but it was more isolated than I expected.

    True about the SL.

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

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    In my area, the "real world" price on a 2012 A4 and TL 6MT would be within a few dollars. An A4 with navigation and premium package is $41k, Invoice $38.2k. Add $2,500+/- to those numbers if you go with a Prestige package. The TL 6MT is can be bought for about $35-36k ($8-9k off MSRP) right now, from Pohanka Acura, with 3 in stock. So, if anything, a comparably equipped A4 Quattro might be a little more expensive than the TL. Prices may vary where you are at.

    Aesthetic preferences are very subjective, and I respect yours. If the A4 had more of the look of the A5, I'd be more excited. Not sure how they would do that - maybe reshape it into an A7-lite and flair the sides a bit. As for going down the road better, I'll hold off on that until if and when I get behind the wheel. The 2010+/- A4 automatic I had as a service loaner was certainly not as you describe in quietness and luxury feel, but that was a couple of years ago and it may have been beaten up a bit.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,574
    Thanks for the vote of confidence. Yeah, they do grow up insanely fast. Can't believe my oldest will be 6 & going into 1st grade in a few weeks.

    Features vs. MoJo

    Just curious as to how many of you would take the ELLPS with the smaller engine & more features vs. the car that would have you fighting to keep it below triple digits on public roads (if the costs were in the same ballpark) Daily driver of course?

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

  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    I respect your opinions as much as anyone here and I admit your points about the TL are valid. Street pricing vs. MSRP, while a legitimate point, always complicates the discussion so I tend to avoid bringing it up.

    And yes, the A4 styling pales in comparison to the A5, which is drop dead gorgeous, but it appears to me as the most fluid and least contrived of the segment. Of course, there's just so much you can do with a 4-door 3-box design without sacrificing interior space/comfort.

    I admit it's been a while since I've driven the TL, so maybe I need to refresh my memory? I remember it being a very nice car, but like all Honda's, a little less isolated in cabin noise vs. the competition.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited August 2012
    I am a BMW fan, as evidenced by our imminent pick up of an X5d in early September at the Performance Delivery Center in Spartanburg. And the 550i is a very nice car in many respects. But it could - and should - be better yet.

    The 550i 6MT weighs 4,350+ lbs, goes 0-60 in about 5.0 and gets 15/22 MPG. The CLS550 is 200 lbs lighter, goes 0-60 in 4.4 and is rated 17/25 MPG. The E55 AWD is another 115 lbs less than the CLS.

    When I was vaguely contemplating an M5 in 2002, it weighed 4,000 lbs and with a high revving 400hp/369 engine, was a few tenths quicker than the current 550i in spite of giving up 80 ft lbs of torque. Forget the handling comparison, the old M5 was much more precise, nimble and tossable than the current 550.

    In the ELLPS, we have seen pretty steady improvements in performance, at not a huge increase in price. I would expect BMW to have maintained it's dominance with the 550i, but in my opinion, has been slow to put it on a diet and keep it positioned as the clear enthusiast's choice over some of the LPS competition. At least they do still offer a 6-speed manual. And maybe the added 40 hp in the performance package for 2013 will help. But I'd like to see it tip the scales at 3,950. That's still a half ton more than my beloved 1995 Maxima and only 400 lbs less than a Cayenne SUV. Come on, BMW, start doing those push ups and get rid of the flab.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,081
    when you say sharpness, explain. _I_ feel that the people might expect more out of the 6 series then what BMW was intending the 6 series to be. Now I can tell you the 1st Gen 6 series had more sporty feel then the current one. Haven't driven the 4 dr 6 series yet, which I'm thinking wont be all that sporty but still competent when pushed, more so then the MB SL.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,081
    I remember it being a very nice car, but like all Honda's, a little less isolated in cabin noise vs. the competition.

    Hey Fed, for me most Honda products are like appliances, they do what they are suppose to and don't leave a last impression. On my last trip arrived into Charotte NC late, got to rental car agency and had a problem, not many cars to choose from, had a couple of Chrysler 200s (no thanks), 2 Altima's, a Camry and an Accord. I had my choice of Tahoe or transverse. I took the Accord (its been a while since I have driven one) it was an EX. Nothing stood out for me, the driving position, the steering feel, the brakes, the handling. When one talks about the TL, I hear people talk about the top of the line model, not the entry level or mid level. The last time I drove a TL was back in 2008 and it was a Type S, nice car, very comfortable seats, but again, not else stood out.
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 26,287
    I would go with features. I rarely would get to use any of the extra performance, and after driving relatively small engine cars, even a small motor (say, the Infiniti G25) is going to be fast!

    so I would give up some motor (your car vs. a 335 say) to get the goodies like moonroof, fancier seats, etx.

    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • While I agree that for the price of a TL SH-AWD Advance you could get a BASE Audi S4, the S4 requires over $11,000 of options to get to parity with respect to "content."

    The TL SH-AWD Advance with the a la carte addition of back-up sensors and splash gaurds is north of $47 or $48K depending on how many a la carte do-dads (which are nice) you check off.

    The TL SH-AWD, however, is able to (mostly) keep up with the S4 (you've no doubt read the test report comparing the two cars, which shows them to have remarkably similar performance -- even though the Audi, in the end, does out-perform the Acura -- for $11,000+ more outlay.)

    I call the TL SH-AWD Advance, an S4 "lite" or perhaps S4-like. Given a price independant choice, I would still, however, take the S4 without any hesitation.

    I like the [Acura's] 19" wheels, blind spot warning, the ventilated seats, the best factory sound system ever and the torque vectoring, etc, etc, etc, all of which jack the cost of an S4 way too close to $60,000.

    I went to Acura from a nearly $49K 2009 Audi A4 2.0T Prestige quattro sport -- the last in a long, long line of Audi products (which I dearly loved.) I wanted the performance of the Audi and the content of the Acura -- for UNDER $50K. The Acura is outgunned by the S4 (and yet the TL is NOT shamed by the S4), but [the TL Sh-AWD Advance] is priced like an Audi A4 Premium+ with a couple of options on it. And the Acura is "similar" in performance to the S4, which I would argue is at the top o' the heap of the desirable car list (that can be afforded by mere mortals.)

    The TL is ugly, a step up from fugly, but a far cry from the beautiful A4 (IMHO). But once you're behind the wheel of the TL at, ahem, "highway" speeds ;) listening to a great DVD-Audio disk, you quickly forget how the face and butt of the TL look.

    Today, the TL remains an interesting proposition -- perhaps when Acura "rationalizes" the entire lineup, improves the styling and so forth, Acura will regain legitimacy in the Premium class. I await 2014 for some sign from above that they have once again found their way.

    My hopes are high, but likewise are my doubts that they [Acura] will once again be a legitimate player in the ELLPS and LPS sandbox. The new RDX and ILX indicate they think they can get away with producing "Honda's who know someone" rather than real Premium cars.

    And, you know what? If they sell enough of them, it doesn't matter one whit what any of us thinks. With Acura we're kind of at the same place we were (or are) with respect to manual transmissions -- no matter how we cry and whine (here on these boards), manual transmissions are virtually dead because "no one" buys them and it costs a lot to get a car certified for sale here in the US -- so why bother when the customer take up on stick shifts which used to be at 3% continues to fall and fall and fall into the abyss.

    We have voted with our dollars -- and here we are. :surprise:

    Drive it like you live.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    edited August 2012
    Oh, almost forgot. I drove a TL in the $35K price range -- it was almost as bad as a Lexus ES (a Barco Lounger on wheels). The TL that truly feels like an ELLPS is the TL SH-AWD Advance (by a moderate margin, I'd venture.)

    Even the Tech version seems tinny, flimsy and not worthy -- of anything but the comment, "nice Honda." :confuse:

    The top of the line must have some secret sauce, a "sport tuned" suspension perhaps(?) -- I had never driven any TL other than a TL SH-AWD Advance until 2 weeks ago. What a disappointment to drive the lesser vehicle. It wallowed (like a pig) and seemed to be soft and squishy, able to overpower its poor tires and wheels even on a cloverleaf exit ramp.

    Damn near made me say "who screwed up this car, is this a joke?"
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,299
    Stick not dead yet

    2010 stats- odds of a camry being sold with a manual 1237 to one, total cars Sold 325k in the states.
    Outbacks 1300 to one they sold 93k in the states
    Acura TL 6305 to one

    In the us Acura sold in 2010 total tl's of 34,049, simple math is 5.4 TLs with manuals - (mind you this is one of the sweetest manuals you could ever by for any money)

    My point.
    TL might be a nice car but it's no S4 or even an enthusiasts choice - even with its fancy long name.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited August 2012
    I'm not sure what to make of your TL AWD "Advance" accolades. All the "Advance" is, is a Tech with a few extra gadgets. Period. No chassis, brakes or other mechanical differences whatsoever. The Advance comes standard with 19" "all season" performance tires, whereas the TL 6MT can be ordered with either all season or summer performance tires. None of which are as good as you can do from Tire Rack when you replace them.

    My 2004 TL 6MT had a number of addiitonal performance features that none of the automatic models offered at the time: Brembo brakes, larger diameter stabilizer bars, "sport tuned" suspension, summer W-rated performance tires. But for the current 2012 model, Acura bagged the Brembo brakes completely (bad move) and made the suspensions equal across all AWD models regardless of base, Tech, Advance or 6MT.

    What the TL SH-AWD 6MT offers is arguably one of the better close ratio short throw six speeds to be found in an ELLPS and a not insignificant 110 - 145 pound weight savings over the Tech and Advance automatics. To me, the driving difference between a 6MT and any of the automatic TL's is significant - with much more responsive acceleration and fun to drive factor. If you found there to be a difference between driving a Tech and an Advance in automatic form, I can't imagine where it's coming from. Possibly those ventilated seats, but not the engine, suspension, brakes or anything else that matters.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    I agree the TL SH-AWD is a terrific car, and with discounts is also a good buy. My comments about Acura really sum up my overall disappointment with the downward spiral of their entire lineup.

    In 2004 they had the RSX which, while arguably not deserving of the Acura badge, was a terrific sports car (especially in "S" trim). Then there was the first gen TSX 6MT. It's ride, handling styling, driveline, etc. had such a synergy that, for me, made it an even match for the BMW 3-series. And the TL in 2004 was lean and mean, with good looks, powerful driveline, and sharp reflexes.

    Today, the only Acura worth a second glance is the TL SH-AWD. And even their best has polarizing looks (I'm being polite ;) ) and an unattractive cockpit with too many buttons (my opinion).

    For me, even with a bottom-of-the-line A4, you get a handsome, elegant sedan that does no wrong. Now I'll admit that I'm not a bells and whistles kind of guy, so i don't care if my car has back up cameras, Nav, and surround audio. Hell, I even prefer cloth and pleather to genuine cowhide!

    Oh well, I'm just one enthusiast with admittedly unconventional tastes. And I've admitted before that I became alienated from this segment several years ago when I discovered the joys of E30's.

    Thank you and Habitat for setting the record straight on the SH-AWD - I did do it a disservice by not mentioning it in my initial comment.
  • mcdawggmcdawgg Posts: 1,680
    "2010 stats- odds of a camry being sold with a manual 1237 to one, total cars Sold 325k in the states.
    Outbacks 1300 to one they sold 93k in the states
    Acura TL 6305 to one "

    I have one of those 2010 Camry 6 speed manuals. Love it. People say Camry's are boring, but the 6 speed manual makes it better than ANY automatic, CVT, whatever, in my opinion.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Acura TL 6305 to one

    Where in the world did this stat come from? Had they discontinued the 6MT in 2010? (I wasn't in market and don't know).

    In any event, there are 3 TL manuals sitting on Pohanka Acura's lot right now, and they have sold at least 10-12 so far this year. That kind of blows the 1 in 6305 out of the water for 2012. I've been told that manual transmissions on the TL this year are running about 3%, which would make it 33 to 1. Or 190 to 6305.

    It is a shame in my opinion. The TL manual gets an 8.5 out of 10 on my scale for crisp feel, short throw. Behind my S2000 (rate 9) and 911S (rate 10), but ahead of all non-M BMW's, all Audi's, and the G37. Just rating the gearbox, mind you, not the car. On the other hand, the TL (and MDX) automatic gets a 3 on my rating scale. Way too much lag time and mushiness in response. The MDX and X5d have almost identical 0-60 times on paper, but when you drive them, they couldn't feel more different when you accelerate from a standstill or punch it on the highway.
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,299
    Yeah buddy where we're you 2 mths ago when I was getting killed on these boards - trying to save the manuals - good for you man-

    Lots of guys on this board are auto lovers - but also claim to be enthusiast, they will talk dsg, dct, cvt all day long, one guy even mentioned Lamborghini as being now auto only as his argument- pretty funny stuff.

    Enjoy the ride.
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,299
    Where in the world? Here buddy, I always do homework(ask flight). d_get_with_a_stick/viewall.html

    I bet you could get a sweet deal on those 3 sitting on your local dealers lot- not only does he have to sell a weird looking car - but he has to sell a manual of such car.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    And that was interesting homework, but I don't quite get it. The "take rate" for the TL is 5%, but the odds of one being sold is 6305 to 1?? 5% is a lot closer to the actual sales ratios I've heard.

    Interestingly, we came very close to getting a 2012 Cayenne 6-speed manual instead of a BMW X5d. Beautiful black on back one at Auto Palace in Pittsburgh. If it wasn't for the fact that it's just a hair too small inside and I didn't really want to pay Porsche service costs for the next 10 years and 150k miles, we would have gone for it. According to your article, that one has a take rate of 1.3% and an odds of 37,000 to one. Which means that at 5,000 to 1 for a hole in one, I should get 7+ aces if I let my wife get the Cayenne? Maybe I should rethink that.

    Thanks for posting your sources. Still not sure why the "take rate" and "odds of selling" are so at odds with one another. But at least I will know to never question your homework skills again.
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,299
    edited August 2012
    Take it up with motor trend, its not my article as I didn't write it, I used it as a resource. I was surprised about the Camry number, also 50/50 rate on the S5 is pretty cool (save the manuals)

    Btw how are you getting to the number you heard?

    And yes I only post numbers that are researched, why clutter the board with Jargon or opinion when talking about specific numbers.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    edited August 2012
    The 3% number for Premium Cars with manual transmissions is the number the enthusiasts magazines used in 2010. I would assume the number has declined what with the increase in excellent 6, 7, and 8 speed "clutchless" automatics.

    For those of you who see no merit in comparing a TL SH-AWD to an S4, I do understand your incredulity. I was exactly in that mind-set until I drove the two cars back to back one long afternoon of test driving in June or July, 2011.

    There is no way the S4 is NOT more satisfying and overall believable as a performance car. Nevertheless, the TL SH-AWD with the 19" wheels, driven exactly over the same test drive route and the same speeds (up to 90mph) feels somewhat like a diluted S4. The S4 is the better machine, there is no argument from me on that point. Where I found myself able to rationalize and accept the TL (after 29 Audis in a row) was when I contented the two similarly and found the Audi required an MSRP bump in excess of $11,000.

    I live in Cincinnati, a small city or a big town, replete with at least twice-daily traffic clogs on our three Interstates. The chances, my chances, that is, of being able to ever tap the potential of the S4 continue to erode -- although there remain a few chances to make forward progress at speeds in excess of 65MPH. The S4 does rip through the TL's performance envelope, but the TL SH-AWD with the 19" wheel and tire upgrade rips through most other car's performance envelopes -- but even then, there is a decreasing window of opportunity to use its performance.

    I have not been drinking any Kool-aid -- I am not suggesting you should succumb to the price differential if you are willing and able to pay the price for an S4 Prestige with several options that crank its price up over 5 figures more than the TL.

    What I am suggesting, or asking, is that you do test drive a TL SH-AWD advance or TL SH-AWD tech with the upgraded wheels and tires and with the super slick 6-speed stick.

    It is difficult to learn to love, let alone like, the TL's nose and butt, and the interior has "too much Honda" in it -- but damn, the TL SH-AWD Advance can be loaded up with options and leased for less than $550 per month for 36 months. If you have not driven this car equipped thusly, I believe you will be impressed.

    I do not believe you will think you are driving an S4, I believe you may think of the TL SH-AWD Advance as a "second cousin, twice removed," however.

  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,081
    What a horrible article, first off the VW, Toyota manuals are regional, my zip code you can not build a VW Tiguan or Toyota Camry with a manual. I believe this a east coast thing.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    edited August 2012
    O.K., I think I figured it out.

    The "take rate" of 5% for the TL means that 5% of all TL's in 2010 were manual transmissions. The 1 in 6305 odds of being sold means that of ALL cars sold in the US in 2010, 1 in 6,305 was a manual TL.

    Test: The "take rate" on the Camry was 3%, but the odds were 1 in 1237. Which if you do the math backwards, implies that there were about 8.5 times as many Camry's sold in the US than TL's. According to the site listed below, total TL sales were 34,039 in 2010 and total Camry sales were 327,804. That's 9.5 times as many, but given Motor Trend rounded the "take rate" to the nearest percent, is within the rounding error.

    sales by model

    Looking at it another way, total car sales in the US were 11,371,674 in 2010. Odds of one of those cars being a manual TL, 1 in 6305 = 1,804 total. Odds of one of those being a manual Camry, 1 in 1,237 = 9,193 total. Odds of one of those being a manual Cayenne, 1 in 37,361 = 304 total.

    P.S. I personally test drove 1.3% of all manual Cayennes made in 2010 (1 GTS and 3 V6's). Does that make me an "expert"??

  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,299
    Article is what it is, its A well Respected car mag and You have the right to dissagree with it. Manuals for the Camry were dropped in 2012, prob the reason you can't build a manual in the region, or any region in the us, data cited was 2010.
    Vw you can still for 2012 get the Tiguan base S model without sunroof with a 6 speed. Don't know IF this goes away for 2013.

    I think your responce was incorrect.
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,299
    Nice work on crunching the numbers.
    I don't get the "expert" part but for sure you were one of very few who drive such a car.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,081
    Sweeny I'm not incorrect, back in 2010 a co worker who moved from NC to PHX, had a 2010 Camry SE 4 cyl with a 6 spd manual, when I told him that you can't buy one here in PHX, he was shocked. Toyota has been doing this for years, having regional cars, now not too sure why one could not buy a SE with a stick nationwide.

    If you type in 28201 (Charlotte,NC) you can build yourself a Tiguan with 6 spd just as you stated, however, when type 85006, no 6 spd manual. So again, horrible article, if someone was to read tha article then they would think they should be able to to buy one.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,081
    P.S. I personally test drove 1.3% of all manual Cayennes made in 2010 (1 GTS and 3 V6's). Does that make me an "expert"??

    In the sense of what the term expert means, yes.

    BTW, when I test drove a Cayenne GTS, I was very surprised how the size shrunk the faster I drove it. BTW, The GTS model's that Porsche builds IMO is the best one to get just the right amount of go fast goodies and luxury combined.
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