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Entry Level Luxury Performance Sedans



  • Review in Car and Driver of Q50S Hybrid -- not especially encouraging if you are a fan of the brand.

    I'd say the review is stronger about the previous iteration (the G37) than the new one -- too much tech, too expensive, too too.

    Back to the A4, 3 and the new IS F Sport if you asked me (but I would still argue in favor of test drive rather than being put off by C/D's take alone.

    Drive it like you live. :surprise:
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,299
    No one is saying a test drive should not be used- but for someone, who is not constantly testing cars to write a review and that said review would be taking over a car mag is just ludicrous. I think a proper comparo test done by more then one mag- with all current contenders pulls more weight then the 15 min test drive you had with a salesmen sitting shot gun. Not saying the information and experience was not of any value, but just less then a James Healey or consumer reports- and another few ticks lower then c&d and others.

    Let's get a couple of comparos before we jump to conclusions.

    Drive fast, take chances
  • I totally agree -- the early report from C/D however is a bit of a bummer (for those who were rooting for Infiniti and Johan, of course.)

    Right out of the gate, the IS 350 gets a positive response, besting even the mighty 3 series.

    I have NOT driven the IS -- hence my lack of input on that vehicle. Sween, if you drive the Q50, I'd be very interested in your input since you are a current G owner, as I recall.

    Drive it like you live.
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,299
    Mark- have you read any other article on the car? The few I've read and watch are actually glowing, you mentioned the c&d one which I guess was about the hybrid. For those of us looking at a SUb 50 sports sedan would not consider a hybrid. Sure tesla has done it right; but what other hybrid is a real all around Lux sport sedan and at a price point of 50k, which I think is redik .

    On the g and a test drive, look I would love to drive the new one but I honestly can't think of replacing my car as its an 07x that has 36k miles on it- all driven by me. Just got an oil change and swaped the battery- the low maintence $$ is huge, my usage tax which was 1500 when I bought it is under 150- and most of all it's still a car that can hold its own with cars from today. The q for me would be on a very short list, always liked the lex and the 335- but I can't see being a guy who goes to dealerships and not truly looking to buy a car- not me - better ways of using my time - like driving fast and taking chances
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 9,462
    I test drove the car, admittedly a sample of 1.

    It was brand new of course, but it seemed like the computer wouldn't give me more than 205 HP even though I floored the son of a gun as I wasn't getting the OOMPH I was looking for. The 305 horses were being lazy, or the 8 speed auto was slushing the power drastically.

    Either that, or I got a "lemon" 350 F Sport for my test drive.

    Even with a better engine, the car just didn't do enough for me handling/drive wise.

    I'm spoiled by a dual clutch auto-manual transmission. I can't see ever going back. Once you go DSG, you are stuck.
    Toy '16 Audi TTS quattro AWD, Commuter '16 Kia Optima LX 1.6 Turbo FWD, Wife's '17 VW Golf All-Track SE 4-Motion AWD
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,299
    edited September 2013
    So I'm sorry to hear the IS350 has some flaws - I'm surprised a guy who just got an S4 would even bother wasting time, not only yours but the dealers- on such a car - certainly hearing about how good the s4 is and also how much of a good deal the a3 was for you.

    The IS350 prob slow due to standard backup camera, or maybe it was a is250 ...also liked your commentary on the blue accord, good choice.
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 5,159
    I think a proper comparo test done by more then one mag- with all current contenders pulls more weight then the 15 min test drive you had with a salesmen sitting shot gun.

    One knows more about a fit to their own needs in one drive versus a pile of reviews.

    15 minutes is quite a bit of time to get a reliable impression.
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,299
    "15 minutes is quite a bit of time to get a reliable impression."

    How can you compare 5 different cars side by side , without driving all side by side. You can't. 15 mins can get you comfortable with a car for sure
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    edited September 2013
    I drove the Q50S AWD recently. Loved it. The article from C&D, while disappointing, wouldn't change my mind. I was and continue to lament the apparent lack of marketing savvy Infiniti has demonstrated regarding the Q50 -- but I will wait (for another year) to see how Infiniti does under the watchful and experienced eye and hand of Johan (as we know -- 19+ years at the helm of Audi of America, who does a great job, typically of marketing across traditional and non-traditional media).

    Because my wife and I have (thus far) kept to 3-year leases (and we drive over 18K miles per year), it seems -- almost literally -- that one or the other of us is always shopping for a replacement car as one or the other is coming off lease. Hence, we do tend to test drive, as noted at least 10 times per year. I completely understand if you are NOT in the market, not wanting to test drive. Conversely, as an "enthusiast" I would understand if someone test drove -- on the pro-am circuit -- 24 times per year even if they weren't in the market or in the mood, so to speak.

    Posting here (and on Audiworld, for instance) gets our (my) interest up, so I am in the camp that favors staying "on the hunt." Potato, Potaato, kind of a thing.

    Last night, got to drive a loaded IS 350 F Sport.

    First impression (for the price) - better than the Q50S.
    First impression (price be damned) - still better than the Q50S

    Felt tighter, more connected -- heck, it felt like a go-kart it was so connected to the road. Turn-in was sharper than a Ken Onion Shun chef's knife -- I am sure I could get used to it, but in Sport+ mode the thing DARTED with only small steering wheel inputs.

    Felt "as if" it were electric, the power was so quick and smooth. I only got it to about 65 MPH.

    Great sound system, fantastic seats (almost Audi good, in fact.)

    Not so sure why the pros say the dash is the first premium offering from any manufacturer to better an Audi interior. Interior was nice, but seemed like looking at a staircase instead of a flowing piece cut from a single piece.

    I'd put it on the list -- cause at $49K (including shipping), this seems to be a better bang for the buck than either the A4 Sline or the Q50S.

    I've asked for a second, long, test drive -- we'll see if it holds up to further inspection.

    Drive it like you live.

  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,299
    "24 times per year even if they weren't in the market or in the mood, so to speak"

    Who has that kind of time- even if you were in the market -24 times - that's crazy. Dealers must love you - yeah love the car- have to wait a year still have 23 more test drives to make sure this is the one. You and flight should car pool to these dealerships.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,207

    Being in Cincinnati, I'm sure that the Q50 was AWD, right? How about the IS350? RWD or AWD?


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  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    edited September 2013
    We test about 10 cars per year, escalating, sometimes to 12 or 13 -- I never said we test drive 24 times annually (although we have friends who are well heeled who seem to get a new car every spring whether they need one or not -- meaning they test a LOT.)

    Dealers -- from our experience with premium brands, that is -- do seem to "love" having their cars test driven. The Chrysler/Jeep dealer (on the other hand) asks "if you're going to buy today" and if you don't give the answer they obviously want, well, "see ya!"

    Friend of ours used to work at Circuit City (remember them?) and he told me that he had two-minutes to spend with a customer and if there wasn't a clear indication that the person was going to buy TODAY, their mantra was "who's next?" Seems like the domestic auto dealers (Cadillac excluded) all have this "2 minute mindset" too.

    My wife ordered her new Audi (delivery estimated at ~75-90 days) last week from a salesrep that has seen her smiling face numerous times over the last year (and we've test driven everything but an R8 and an A8) -- talk about the patience of Job. But, in the end she chose the $51K Audi over similarly priced BMWs, Volvos, Infinitis and Mercedes.

    One point is (or could be) -- "no one buys a car without driving it" (according to the rep), so the more "drives" the reps have going on, the more likely it is they'll have sales; it is a numbers game, even for Premium Autos or perhaps especially for the premium autos, apparently.

    Another point is (and often is) -- folks, Baby Boomers especially (not so much Millenials) like or love cars, like or love talking about them, blogging about them and driving them; so for some (especially like my wife) test driving serves a secondary purpose -- it's entertaining!

    The only time I wasn't entertained was when we took out a new Lincoln -- couldn't get back to the dealership fast enough.

    Drive it . . . you know . . .
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    edited September 2013
    Hell, the Infiniti dealer told me they have zero, zip, nada plans to even STOCK RWD Q50's -- dealer trade or special order only for the RWD versions; so, yep, we test drove a Q50S/AWD with every option except the TECH Package (the package with the blind spot monitoring system). The AWD factoid should come as no shock especially since the 10th largest BMW store's sales manager told me "well over 50%" of the cars they sell are X-drive

    Regarding BSM, it seems like so many brands offer Blind Spot Monitoring systems as a stand alone option (usually around $500-$600) -- Infiniti bundles it an a $3,000+ package of electronic nannies. Much as I like the Q50S AWD, I wouldn't get any new car without Blind Spot Monitoring, and I don't want my new car -- yet, if ever -- to be able to drive itself and fight me whenever I try.

    So, the Q50S AWD is [probably] off the table -- but I can be bought.

    The Lexus IS offers BSM for relatively cheap (like Audi and Volvo, to name two) -- so score another point for the IS (but the Audi offers it stand alone too, don't you know).

    The IS 350 F Sport I drove was RWD -- the only one in Cincinnati (the only F Sport so they claim). I have already signed up to test the first AWD version of an IS 350 F Sport once they come in. I didn't even bother to get into a regular IS 350 AWD -- although IS's overall seem plentiful (it's just the F Sports that are in short supply -- which was blamed on the dealer's procurement mgr; he/they didn't think Lexus customers would clamor for the SPORT version of anything -- being that it is Lexus -- "a sofa on wheels" -- after all).

    There's a new sheriff in town -- and his/her badge has a stylized "L" on it (look out BMW).

    Drive it like you live.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,207
    Well.. I was going to say... An AWD Infiniti with all-season tires would be a real pig compared to a RWD IS350 with summer rubber... Hard to make an apples-to-apples comparison...

    And, I've got an AWD G37... and a BMW 3-series with sport and summer rubber, so I get to make that comparison, almost every week..


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  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 9,462
    I found the IS 350 RWD F-Sport I drove to be a bit more cramped inside than an A4/S4. Both less leg room, less width, and a lower roof line. Roof line matters to me a lot, I'm 6'3" tall, and I'm not skinny anymore.

    Granted, it was close, but it seemed the S4 was just a notch roomier in every way.

    I didn't notice much if any difference when switching between Sport, Sport + and comfort/regular. I did notice a bigger difference in a pre-owned 2011 S4 when I was playing with comfort vs. dynamic.

    I have to admit I preferred the steering weight and feeling in the '11 S4 and '09 335i I test drove over the '13 S4, which still felt better and more weighted than all others. I guess in recent years everyone has gone with electric steering for efficiency. It didn't change the mileage rating on the S4 so it must be .4 miles or less better per gallon.
    Toy '16 Audi TTS quattro AWD, Commuter '16 Kia Optima LX 1.6 Turbo FWD, Wife's '17 VW Golf All-Track SE 4-Motion AWD
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,080
    M6, sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

    There is no comparison really, the Genesis is really a Korean E-class. Big, comfortable, and reliable. The styling is bland, but in a good way. The Impala isn't as roomy and doesn't have the "luxury" touches as the Genesis. However, for the price that Rick paid for his Genesis, I think the Genesis is the better deal.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,080
    "You and flight should car pool to these dealerships."

    Funny you mention that, was at the BMW dealer Wed night, drove a 320i, since BMW is giving 2,500K credit, towards purchasing a 2013 3 series. People criticize the 320i, but as a occasional driver it's not a bad car, Premium package, Sport package is $39,950, costco auto program $36,750 so far give price of $35,900 plus tax and lic. This does not include the $2500. I'm going with the BMW Select Financing, don't know if I'm going with the 48 or 60 month. I was told BMW has a special rate with the 48 months, but the sale manager has to get back with me.

    While at the dealership, they have two 3 series GT's, have to say, lots of room in it much more so then what I figured, they also have 4 328d's, didn't drive one, I might tomorrow just to see what it drives like.

    Sweeny, it's nice to sit at home and read car magazines and bench talk about cars, however, getting out and test driving them is a whole different story, as Mark stated, the Germans want to go for a test drive, what i found is, they want a stat a relationship with the client, something that the domestic dealers lack and asians. Once you are in the fiance office it's NEXT. The guy I deal with at BMW knows me, he knows I'll buy again, and I am. If I bought a ford, I doubt that same sales person would be at the same dealer 6 months from now.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    edited September 2013
    I can't remember if the "cause" is local or if all BMW dealers do what is done at one of the dealerships here in River City: About once a year (it could be more) I get an invitation in the mail, followed up with a voice mail message inviting my wife and me to test drive as many BMW's as we want (all in a single day).

    As I recall, the dealership has a huge grill that they keep fired up cooking brats, metts and hamburgers. They have veggies, cookies, sodas, bottled water and (in the dealership) a Starbucks - lite. All the food and other things offered (a goodies bag) are no-charge.

    What they are doing, I assume, is pimping their cars in the most subtle way possible. They tell you that for every car you drive and every mile you drive it, they will make a donation to the [breast] Cancer society (something like that.) And, after you have taken so many cars out you get a little sticker or pin that proclaims you helped raise money for the cure.

    Naturally when there is free food and drink and cool cars to drive, the place is packed. My wife and I drove an X6 (she had an X3 at the time) and she loved it (conceptually). Now she didn't buy one, but of all the cars we drove that day, the ruby red metallic X6 was the subject of a number of subsequent conversations.

    Altruism? I'll go so far as to say "possibly" since there was money raised for a good cause. Yet, the buzz generated by this "forced" test driving has to be worth a lot of TV ads and other marketing expenses -- don't you think?

    And, we actually got to drive some pretty cool cars (there was no M5 in inventory, however), eat some good burgers, mingle with a bunch of other BMW (or perhaps just premium car) geeks and raise money for a good cause. Seems like a great idea -- get folks to drive "everything" pump them up, "don't forget to breathe" signs were hung everywhere -- it was a blast.

    The point is, if you like these premium cars and you blog about them, belong to and participate in forums about them -- you might just be like the characters on "The Big Bang" who are always playing D&D, shopping for comic books and buying memorabilia -- even though they are PhD's working for a prestigious university.

    I would guess many of us here posting are closet (or maybe we have come out of said closet) car geeks -- we drink our coffee out of fill-in-the-blank logo'd coffee cups (in my case Audi, in my wife's case BMW), we have "expensive" logo'd polo shirts, jackets and key fobs proclaiming our affinity for our favorite brand (lots of BMW jackets here in Cincinnapolis, for example) and so forth.

    To this day, Audi sends me expensive brochures and from time to time a hardcopy book (25 years of quattro, kind of thing); but, to be fair, so does Lincoln, even though we only took a short test drive of one of them and couldn't get out of it fast enough the test drive was so bad.

    Ahhh, its the weekend -- and we're on the hunt for a replacement for my 2012 Acura TL SH-AWD. My wife says we're testing a new ATS (already tested the CTS -- not the 2014 -- and found it wanting) and a new A4 or S4 or both. I recently drove an A6 with the 220HP four cylinder, and I thought it was pretty sweet, maybe we'll do that too -- with the sport suspension if possible.

    What a great time to be in the market.

  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    edited September 2013
    I can't remember if the "cause" is local or if all BMW dealers do what is done at one of the dealerships here in River City: About once a year (it could be more) I get an invitation in the mail, followed up with a voice mail message inviting my wife and me to test drive as many BMW's as we want (all in a single day).

    That was the Susan G. Komen Ultimate Drive. It was an event done by corporate and is "feel good" marketing. AFAIK, BMW decided to stop funding the event back in 2010.

    An outside company toured nationwide with a fleet of cars. The dealers paid to have the event stop at their store and they providesd food, sales people, et al.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,207
    Yeah.. the whole flap with Planned Parenthood put the kibosh on that deal, I think... It almost killed the Komen organization..

    It's too bad... I loved doing that event.. got to drive a lot of upscale models that I'll never be in the market for....


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  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,080
    Mark I too took part in the same event, was able to drive some cool BMWs, this is where I fell in love with the 550. I liked the fact that no salesman was with you while driving the car but they had a "plan" route for you to take. BMW severed their relations with SGK and Ford pick it up for one year. AS you pointed out it was a great way to drive BMWs...
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    Yeah.. the whole flap with Planned Parenthood put the kibosh on that deal, I think... It almost killed the Komen organization...

    From what I found, BMW stopped the program back in 2010 - cut backs in marketing expenses due to the recession. The Planned Parenthood - Komen fiasco was 2012.
  • flightnurseflightnurse 35K feetPosts: 2,080
    BMW severed their relationship with SGK before the whole planned parent hood debacle. I had my own issues with SGK, just a tib bit, before a participant could do the 3 day walk, they HAD to raise a min of $2500... Which I thought was very unfair. There were other issues I had with the organization as a whole their corporate (politics) leaned towards women which I was not happy since men can get breast cancer too. I think BMW did the right thing to distance themselves from SGK... Now back to our typical of why we by the cars we do.
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 9,462
    I preferred the S4 over the TL -SH-AWD model, but one of the biggest was just simply that I preferred the looks and styling of the S4 inside and out to the plain Jane TL.
    Toy '16 Audi TTS quattro AWD, Commuter '16 Kia Optima LX 1.6 Turbo FWD, Wife's '17 VW Golf All-Track SE 4-Motion AWD
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    ...just a tib bit, before a participant could do the 3 day walk, they HAD to raise a min of $2500...

    Many fundraising events like the 3 Day have minimum commitments for fundraising. Here in MA, there is a biking event called the Pan Mass Challenge which raises money for the Jimmy Fund at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. It's a two day 110 mile ride and one must raise or commit to paying $4300 to participate - it goes to $5000 if you register late (there are shorter rides with lower fund raising commitments). They were the first charity event to have participants give them a credit card at registration. The founder isn't shy about it - trying to raise the amount isn't good enough.

    Yet they get 5000 people regularly and have a goal of $38 million this year.

    Part of having a minimum amount is to make sure participants are committed. It's a logistical nightmare to coordinate support for 5000 people over 110 miles. If people sign up and then drop out, they have too many resources. If too many people raise too little money, then the event might not make money.
  • Same message in Motor Trend comparo of the Q50 to the IS -- Infiniti just can't get no love.
    On the other hand -- if Infiniti continues its practice of seriously subventing leases [on the Q50] -- the Q50 so priced per month, could be a value buy. The thing is the Q50 is still in the league that it is being compared with (and losing.)

    I drove it (the Q), and yes I liked the IS more, but for a $120/month differential for 36 months with no money down, the Q50 could prove to be a good seller, good value, and selling well enough to allow the '15 or '16 to work out some of the complaints presented by the pros and amateurs (like us).

    In any case, as I have said previously, Johan has his work cut out for him. Better tackle the M sooner rather than later, too. Of course only changing the name of the FX to QX70 seems a invite a sales slow-down there, too.

    Of course, all of the above would seem to bode for increasingly more expensive IS prices.


    Drive it like you live.
  • sweendogysweendogy Left lanePosts: 1,299
    Reading that article has opened my eyes - the caddy of the group comment wow. Agree the new naming stratigy is a disaster and will Prob hurt them for a few years. Stupid if you ask me- every car is called Q because 20 years ago they had a car that started the brand.

    Pricing and discounts will tell the story- if you can get a Q for 10-15k less then 335 its prob a good deal and like mark said lets hope they fix alot of the problems for 15.

    Drive fast, take chances
  • ivan_99ivan_99 Posts: 1,681
    Strictly from an exterior perspective...the IS doesn't work for me.

    It look similar to the outgoing model, except tweaked with ground effects from a trendy aftermarket company.

    Perhaps side-by-side with the competition it holds it own...and the complete package may indeed put it in the #1 position; but with the "looks" disclaimer: it doesn't work for me.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,953
    Since the CTS is listed here: -review

    Also a review here on Edmunds...
    - Ray
    Not shopping in that zip code - today.
    2016 BMW 340i
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