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
#11184 of 16984 Re: Help for the weary [slance66]
May 23, 2010 (8:17 pm)
The previous generation CTS is a lot less ugly than the new one and would be my pick, then. The pearl white and light blue are very nice and are aimed at female buyers. YOU might not like the CTS, but your wife probably will love it after a test drive after her old car she's been suffering with.
I know this as my mother is looking for the exact same type of car - and the CTS keeps staying on her top 3 list.
That's a nice car - lighter colors hide the angles a lot.
Look, the simple fact is that anything from BMW, Audi, or Mercedes will literally cost you thousands a year in repairs and maintainance once it's out of warranty. I'm talking about idiocy like $6000-$12000 transmissions and $500 for a sensor under the hood. You have been warned if you go down that path. And, it's not really luxury to put pleather in a car these days.(no typo - real leather starts typically in the 40-60K+ range) Simply put, if you can't afford it new, these will destroy you financially, used.
07 Lexus E350: FWD? Isn't this a Camry?
07 Lexus IS250 AWD: Slow? Backseat a bad joke?
Infiniti M35x: mileage is awful, worse than my SUV
Infiniti G35x: tempting, crappy mileage again.
Acura RL: wife hated it.
Acura TL: ??? New one is hideous.
Acua TSX: Too small...glorfied Civic.
Your original list immediately shrinks to this. Lexus is largely bland, souless junk. (two exceptions though - I'll get to them in a bit). Infiniti is great. The G37 Journey is fantastic. And, honestly, NONE of the AWD system in cars unless they are 100% full-time engaged actually work in bad weather. It's pure marketing and smoke and mirrors. So either get a 4x4 vehicle or something like a Subaru that has full-time 4 wheel drive. Or just get a 2wd vehicle and save money. note - this also gets you 2-5mpg back.
Interesting that you say that the new 2009 TSX is small - it's much larger than the older one and I thought it would be a perfect fit.
Anyways - the reason you consider domestic vehicles is because they depreciate quickly and yet are solidly engineered. I can guarantee that 95%+ of the people on this forum can't begin to reach the limits of a first generation CTS, let alone something like a G37.
So, the two Lexus exceptions you should look at:
The IS300 was perhaps the closest thing Japan ever made to a 3 series in terms of getting that small European sport sedan feel. They also are one of the least expensive luxury sport sedans ever made in terms of repairs and upkeep. I'd look at one - and actually drive it before you pass on it, because it is a great car to drive. I'd also say the same thing about a 2007 CTS - DRIVE it and then decide if it's bad or not.
The other one is a 2005 Lexus GS300. What makes this car special is that it is RWD and has a 3.0L inline 6 engine. As a result, it has great reliability, smoothness, power, and does it while getting good MPG. There's a reason BMW and uses inline 6 engines, and Lexus got it exactly right with both the IS300 and the GS300(same engine, btw, in both).
Why did they change? They worshiped HP and marketing more than building a perfect compromise. Then again, to be honest, both designs are dated compared to the CTS, which was a real game changer.
Other than that, you're looking at a Volvo or maybe a SUV. The reality is fo rused cars:
Japan - reliable, expensive to fix, costly to buy used.(depreciate too slowly)
GM - less reliable, inexpensive to fix, reasonably priced.(depreciate normally)
BMW/Mercedes/Audi - terrible reliability, insane to fix, reasonably priced.(depreciate like a rock)
#11185 of 16984 Re: Help for the weary [plekto]
May 23, 2010 (9:15 pm)
Disagree that BMW/Mercedes/Audi depreciate like a rock. They actually have really good residuals, as does VW. The driving experience and interiors of these cars raise their values even though the maintenance is high and reliability is highly variable. I've owned VW and Audi and I love the vehicles. I've had pretty good luck with reliability, but you are correct - if you have to pay for the repair it is not going to be pretty.
When I owned an Audi (not THAT bad for repairs and reliability) I wished for a very reliable Japanese car.
Then I got rid of it and bought an Acura TL. I now have a very reliable Japanese (brand) car. And I really long for the Audi!
Pick your poison; I am still searching for the European driving experience together with the Japanese reliability. Let me know when you find it.
#11186 of 16984 Re: Help for the weary
May 24, 2010 (12:47 am)
I am still searching for the European driving experience together with the Japanese reliability. Let me know when you find it.
One car fits that bill, a used IS300. I know, I drove everything, and the only *Japanese* car in your price range that feels like a European model is that one.
Now, domestics have that as well, though reliability is a little less. It's still worlds better than BMW or Audi, though. GM has spent a lot of time testing their cars in Germany lately, and the G8, CTS, and a few others show it. They feel properly "European" as well.
#11187 of 16984 Re: Help for the weary [tlong]
May 24, 2010 (4:57 am)
Yes this is exactly my problem! My prior car was a Volvo S60, which was a compromise that fell just short on both counts. Still it was an excellent car for 9 years. Now I'm in a bullet-proof Subaru Tribeca. Build quality is amazing, but I want a sedan again and better than the 23 highway MPG I get with the Tribeca.
As for the CTS mentioned previously, my wife hates them. She has a Lexus RX350, so she's very happy with that. She wants me to get a soul-less Lexus ES350, which she loves. I'm looking for a little more of the European driving experience than that, even a TL would be better. I'm looking at used because I pay cash for cars, never had a payment and I don't want one and because new cars are a rip-off, especially for someone with a 3 mile commute.
#11188 of 16984 Re: Help for the weary [slance66]
May 24, 2010 (7:40 am)
Ah. Bit clearer now.
The G37 sedan is your likely best bet, then. It's big, luxurious(just get the Journey package with the wood trim and NO sport package), and handles far better than your Volvo did. It also costs the least per repair of any of the luxury models, so that's a plus. It's a much more refined car than the G35, which felt like a 4 door Z. IMO, it's critical to get the wood and interior premium packages with the Infiniti and TL/TSX and NOT to get the upgraded suspension or tires. The stock suspension is exactly firm enough and gives the car a slightly sedate feel on highway roads as opposed to jarring you to death for that extra 5% grip.
There is one more option as well, but that's only if you like manual transmissions. The Mercedes C class is actually a perfectly decent vehicle if you don't get a sunroof, nav, or anything that is electronic or a gadget that can break AND get manual as well. Of course, less than 5% came as base models like this(leather, wood trim, etc, but no electronics), so it can be hard to find the exact right one. Avoid automatics - the repair bill on one is reason enough to never get anything from Mercedes with an automatic.
The gem of course was a 2003-2005 C230K *sedan*. The replacement for it is a tremendous seller in Europe(now C300K, iirc). It gets a legitimate 35 mpg highway and is the "real deal". But only if you get manual. (the manual is easily as refined as the 3 series - almost video game easy)
#11189 of 16984 Re: Help for the weary [slance66]
May 24, 2010 (7:10 am)
A BMW won't be as inexpensive to run as a Honda, but they are nowhere near as expensive to maintain as the urban legends some like to parrot. Since 1983 I've always had one or more BMWs in the garage; I currently own a 1995 3 Series as well as a 2004 X3(and a 1975 2002- but that's a hobby car). The 3er has 121K miles on it and the X3 has 92K miles on the clock. Maintenance and repair costs for both are averaging 5 cents per mile(in the case of the X3, that number is calculated over the 42K miles after the free maintenance plan expired). Non-scheduled repairs on the 3er have consisted of a brake light switch, a thermostat, and the serpentine belt idler pullies. The X3 has required a passenger seat SRS sensor(replaced under warranty).
Of the cars you mentioned, I'd take an E39 530i- with the Sport Package, of course. It's a fantastic car; many enthusiasts(myself included) think that it is superior to its E60 successor.
As for non BMWs, I'd also take a look at the Mazdaspeed 6.
I find the Lexus models to be terribly unsafe;
if I drove one I'd almost certainly die of boredom...
#11190 of 16984 Re: Help for the weary [plekto]
May 24, 2010 (7:20 am)
Yeah G37 looks nice, but is beyond my "no car payments" price point, since it's a new model. I drove a G35x, and liked it except that what I'd like even more is a detuned model with 230-240HP and better mileage. The 4 door Z description is right on. Where is the balance? I agree on the wood in the Inifiniti and Acura, the metal looks too "techno" and cold, and agree on the suspension and tires. Anything less than an aspect ratio of 55 is way too hard to handle our broken New England pavement without punishing your kidneys.
I don't need Nav...I would opt for it in a Japanese car, as I expect it to be trouble free. I can't get a manual, as my wife can't drive them. So Auto it is, but I like the idea of de-electifying a MB. I really like the 2008+ C class, looks better and the prior version was awfully small in the back. Prices are still high though. Haven't checked the 03-05, but will look at specs. I had the same thought with BMW...a 525xi with no i-drive. I'd rather a nice cupholder than that knob. At least MBs have cupholders.
#11191 of 16984 Re: Help for the weary [roadburner]
May 24, 2010 (7:42 am)
roadburner, if I had an indi BMW mechanic nearby, I'd probably put an E39 530i near the top of my list. I've seen several of them for sale, at good prices. Snow tires and wheels would be a definite expense however, for any RWD car. Even then I'd worry about my steep driveway, but a 5 series should have good weight distribution. Are there any known big expenses with those (I assume timing belt...what mileage?).
#11192 of 16984 Re: Help for the weary [slance66]
May 24, 2010 (8:35 am)
The base G37 starts at almost exactly $30K new(cars direct has one for $30,200 after $1K in incentives!) So used run 4-8K less. The Journey with premium and maple wood accents(2010 only ) is $34,115(advertised street price). So 25K for a 1-2 year old example is possible to find. Yes, it surprised me as well - it seems like a steal at that price.
This is a nice color combo - though it's not the Journey with wood trim and all of that. edit - these two are different shades of blue...
Typical private party price. It's a stunning color in person and looks like a very expensive car. Doubly so since it's the new model. I know how women want to be seen in the new model if possible Maybe it's not required, but it's certainly a feather in their cap if it's new bling vs old bling.
My brain also did a double-take at these prices. If you can wait until September when the 2011 models come out, a 2010 with that nice wood trim will be available in the 25K range.
edit - they have 0% and 2.9% financing now, so this fall, expect great incentives on a 2010. I can't find one, but the light interior and wood trim makes it feel much more luxury inside.
#11193 of 16984 Re: Help for the weary [slance66]
May 24, 2010 (9:36 am)
No US spec BMW engine has used a timing belt since late 1991. The cooling system is the only major issue. Most owners practice preventative maintenance and replace the water pump, thermostat, and radiator at 100K miles. My indie shop charged me $1000 to do the work on my wife's 528i back in 2005(it's an easy afternoon DIY job but it was the middle of winter and my wife needed the car pronto). I bought a set of winter tires/wheels and changed them out myself in November and March; the car had no trouble in any sort of winter weather. There's a great E39 group non Yahoo as well as several websites dedicated to the E39. It is just a fantastic car. As a matter of fact, I'm considering picking up a low-mileage E39 M5 for a daily driver/track toy.