Last post on Dec 06, 2013 at 7:58 AM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G37, Acura TL, Lexus IS 350, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Cadillac CTS, Volvo S60, Audi A4, Acura TSX, Car Comparisons, Sedan
#1 of 16984 Introduction
Mar 23, 2002 (11:04 am)
Entry level performance luxury sedans are a hot area for car manufacturers and enthusiasts alike. These sedans show their performance by being fun to drive and handling well. They show luxury by offering leather and some of the important creatures comforts found in the most luxurious upscale sedans. The selection of vehicles that compete in the space is vast and varied.
The benchmarks which define this are the BMW 330 and the Audi A4 3.0. But there are many contenders, such as Acura TL-S, Chrysler 300M, Jaguar X-type, Infiniti I35, Mercedes C-Class, Volvo S60 T5. Some companies have contenders that emphasize performance Lexus IS300 or luxury Lexus ES300. And the field is continously growing, with the recent additions being the Cadillac CTS and Infiniti G35.
The common charateristics of this entry level perfomance luxury group seem to a price around 30 to 40k (US dollars) and 0-60 times between six and eight seconds.
With this wide variety of cars targeted at a similar market segment, the choices for our own personal car are great. But with all these choices, it is hard to understand and personally evaluate all these options. So this topic has been created to start a discussion on the relative merits and personalities of the cars available in this entry level performance luxury field.
Mar 24, 2002 (9:54 pm)
I personally think that with a few tweaks the C320 could also sit at the top of this group. It's still more of a entry-level luxury sedan than Mercedes would lead you to believe. The C320 "Sport" needs to have it's suspension retuned to accept 17 inch tires without a harsh ride. MB also needs to stop forcing metal trim and black leather on everyone that wants the sport package. The C240's 6-speed wouldn't hurt either if offered on the C320, though it needs to be "fixed" first.
That said, my favorite of the group is (gasp!) the new A4 3.0. The A4 easily has the best interior of any sub-40K car, combine that with stunning looks and a body that is as rigid as any ever made and you have my personal favorite. The single thing I don't like about the A4 is the grey trim around the bottom of the car. This trim doesn't match any of the body colors, as it should be body color anyway. This is an excellent car and in my opinion the best there is under 40K. The upcoming A4 Convertible, Coupe and S4 WILL all be winners.
The BMW 330i is now an old favorite, but I'm (of all people) starting to tire of the 3-Series just a bit, save the M3 variants. I was kind of dissappointed by the 2002 facelift, they could have done a little more in the way of styling. I hope they do a little more for 2003 with the coupe models.
The Acura TL-S is easily my favorite fwd car in this class. Wonderful engine (you actually can hear it) and decent handling for a front driver. Nice price, seats and what not, not hard to see why the TL is so popular. This car's main faults are styling and obvious cost-cutting in the interior, stereo, fake wood etc. Otherwise a standout.
Lexus ES300. Nice, but not my type of car at all. This is one for the Buick set. The IS300 is half baked, but has a wonderful chassis. Styling is also in question here, it simply doesn't look like a 35K car (grown). The interior is gawd-awful. Bet on the next IS300 being done right from the start. In their defense Toyota didn't initially intend for this car to be sold in the U.S. so it was a rush job.
The CTS holds the greatest unrealized potential here. I've seen several now, and each time I see one they look better and better. Again like the C320, IS300 the car has interior issues. The dash feels like it was made by Rubbermaid. If you're going to be stingy with wood trim, why bother? Half of the steering wheel in wood, and very little anywhere else in the car??? The seats are very good though, as is the handling. A work in progress.
The G35 looks like it may have a winning chassis, but the interior, though clean looking seems to be styled about 10 years ago, lots of square shapes and flat surfaces. Another great engine, waiting to drive this one.
Don't really care much for the X-Type. If I were a Jaguar man I'd be truly pissed at Ford and Jaguar for this one. They are actually selling a fwd X-Type in England and I've read where they're thinking about selling it here! Hell no. The car should have been rwd not awd. Some will tell you that this was done to compete with Audi. Thats BS, awd was the only way to keep the car from being fwd, WITHOUT spending the money to convert the car to rwd. It is a good looking car though and that Jaguar "leaper" will be enough for some, but this car has to grow on me.
The Chrysler 300M is about as close to an Audi that American cars come. This new 300M "Special" is truly a good looking car inside and out. One problem: Where is the performance???? A 255hp car *in this class) with a 0-60 time over 8 seconds is not accpetable. Something is not right here. Some say engine, transmission and/or gearing, but whatever it is, Chrysler needs to let some MB engineers have a look at this car. The heavier E320 with less power is faster. I still like this car, but it's no lust object once you get past the great styling.
#4 of 16984 ES300 vs. Acura TL
Mar 24, 2002 (11:06 pm)
I am debating a new purchase and these two are at the top of my list. The price difference between these two is approx. 6K (non-Type S Acura). Is the ES300 worth 6K over the TL? I don't know because I have never owned a TL but I am familiar with the ES300(previous generation). Supposedly the 2002 ES300 is a lot better than the previous generation but is it that much better than the TL? Of great importance to me is initial quality and overall dependability. Does the TL compare with the ES300 in both of these categorys? I am not familiar with the Honda Co. Are prices lower than Lexus for service work? I would appreciate any input on this dilemma from some TL owners.
Mar 25, 2002 (9:02 am)
Great handling, RWD, excellent engine and the best warranty around. Easy winner.
Mar 25, 2002 (3:04 pm)
And no manual tranny. That may not matter to you, but it most certainly does matter to me and many other enthusiast drivers.
So IMO, it's not even on the board, let alone the 'easy winner'.
#7 of 16984 Choices
Mar 25, 2002 (4:44 pm)
One beauty of BMW 3 Series is that there are so many models to choose from. Almost half of all buyers in America don't get the basic RWD 4 door sedan. Besides having 3 engine and 3 transmission choices, you can get coupe, convertible, AWD, station wagon, and super-high performance M-Series!!!
hungrywhale... I concur that having the availability of a manual transmission across the line is absolutely critical!!!
Mar 26, 2002 (12:20 pm)
good grief, so you wait 9 months for the manual. Even with an auto, I prefer to every car listed and I NEVER have owned an auto and never thought I'd enjoy driving a car with an auto. That's what value, performance and an exceptional engine can do for a car. Once the G has a stick there is not another sedan under the M3 that I'd consider.
Mar 26, 2002 (1:02 pm)
I'll give it a fair shot when the manual comes out, but I'm just flat-out not interested in an auto. I don't care how fast it is. It's not about the speed, it's about the driving experience and having more control over the car.
Mar 26, 2002 (1:45 pm)
I understand it's not about the speed. I really don't care if the car won't do over 100 as I rarely break the century mark. What I do care about is power and with the manual mode on the auto, I can get it when I want it. Will I buy an auto-equipped G? In all likelihood, no. I desperately want to drive the 6 speed.