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
Aug 14, 2013 (10:08 am)
Our 2011 FX35 is coming off lease -- and Infiniti has already tried to lure my wife into another Infiniti with an "early out" or "pull ahead" deal (you know where at least 3 months of the lease is forgiven, plus any miles over are wiped off the books.) In the time frame where we switched from German to Japanese, the primary motivation was the super sub-vented lease deals offered by (at the time) Acura and Infiniti. We've actually grown to have more than a modest amount of appreciation for the Infiniti and, truth be told, my '12 SH-AWD TL Advance Acura has certainly made me confident that its reputation for durability is probably well deserved.
The issue -- of course there is an issue -- is that theses otherwise fine cars still fall short of the driving pleasure of the German cars that have dominated our garage since 1977.
We've driven, recently:
Audi A4 2.0T '14 MY
Audi A6 2.0T quattro '14 MY
Audi Q5 (both 2.0T and 3.0T) '13 & '14 MY
BMW X3 (with the turbo four) '13 MY
Infiniti FX37 '13 MY
Infiniti Q50XS '14 MY
Volvo XC60 T6
I'll jump to the most important points (in my mind):
The Q5 3.0T can be very nicely configured for a hair under $50K -- and compared to the S4 vs the A4, feels like a bargain.
The BMW nicely configured is breathtakingly expensive from an MSRP standpoint, perhaps there is a super sub-vented lease deal on it, though.
The Audi A6 2.0T Premium Plus with Sport Package costs about the same as a NOT fully equipped Infiniti Q50 AWD -- but the A6 isn't nearly as quick. The A6, however, feels like a very good deal (the 2014 has a slight HP bump).
I'd hold off on the A4 until the new one comes here next year -- it seems just like my 2009 A4 Prestige Sport -- not that that is a bad thing, but it seems more dated, somehow.
The Volvo is very nice, but mostly because in T6 form it is very peppy. The deals and lease programs on the Volvos make them probably the most expensive -- which is to say they cost too much.
The Infiniti Q50S AWD is slightly NORTH of $50K -- and that is without vented seats and without blind spot monitoring. The car is super nice -- but it feels small inside and although the interior is a huge leap forward over the outgoing G, $50K is too much for what you get. If you're looking for performance -- it seems to have it, but the engine in the Q5 3.0T is, about a million percent smooooother.
Already the Q50 is being offered in AWD trim for $399 per month on a super lease deal (at least here in Cincinnati) -- so maybe the breathtaking price of the Q50 at MSRP should be taken with a grain of salt.
Too bad you cant get an A4 with the Q5 supercharged engine in it (and not have to pay the premium to jump into an S4.)
Bottom line -- it is a great time to be in the market for a new car. However, there may need to be a reality adjustment for Infiniti -- for as nice as it is, we still can't call the BMW the German Infiniti, we still, however, call the Infiniti the Japanese BMW.
Based on the driving of these cars (and yes, I do know there are three CUV's in the above list), the Q50 and the Q5 are the most rewarding -- both in performance and luxury. The A6, if you're looking for a "bargain basement" sport luxury vehicle is also worthy of your consideration (they must have done something to make the A6 2.0T feel THAT strong!)
The next few shopping months are gonna be fun!
Drive it like you live.
#16405 of 16984 Re: 2¢ More [markcincinnati]
Aug 14, 2013 (10:23 am)
As always, appreciate & enjoy your adventures
at 'new vehicle time.'
Thanks for posting.
I'll give you 3 ¢ ...
Aug 14, 2013 (12:31 pm)
Here is one aspect of the bundling of features and options the automakers seem hell bent to force onto us: the nearly autonomous capabilities some of the technology seems to imbue these cars with comes at a huge cost ($ cost.)
I have now had blind spot monitoring for nearly 6 years -- and as much as I am against the government telling us what we HAVE to have, must pay for, etc, I am literally dumbfounded that BSW isn't as standard as turn signals, brake lights and seat belts. Infiniti, for instance, offers BSW as part of a package of technologies that literally makes the Q50 damn near capable of driving itself -- and the charge is over $3,000. Audi and Volvo charge $500 to $700 -- which has to be about 90% margin.
My point is, why not offer an unbundled price list -- I don't want all the autonomous driving stuff (at this point) that you are forced to buy if you want the perfectly reasonable and proven BSW technology.
On the other hand, if you really do want all of the mitigating technologies offered, I would understand a bundling discount.
For years, it used to be you had to order a truckload of options just to get a heated steering wheel -- or you had to get leather seats if you wanted rear seat heaters.
If there is a technology reason to bundle some feature set, I'm OK with that -- but at this point, the current generation of autonomous technologies offered are just not likely to be used by either my wife or me -- but we want BSW, just like we want turn signals, ESP, seatbelts and so forth.
Additionally, so many of the new EXPENSIVE options offered seem to be computer processor, software or chip based -- meaning super high gross margins. Why make me buy lane keeping technology and automatic cruise control when what I would find far more useful is BSW.
Assuming I can justify a $50K Infiniti Q50 when a much nicer A6 quattro sport is about $1,000 more (and that includes BSW) why ding me for yet another $3K when all I want is a fairly priced (~$600) technology that has saved me tens of thousands of dollars as it warned me my blind spot was full of a big ol vehicle just waiting for me to have a stupid attack?
#16407 of 16984 Re: 2¢ More [markcincinnati]
Aug 14, 2013 (1:30 pm)
Seems like a long post for one option- my opinion which means zero - you can get a 50k q50 with bsw - I'm sure at that price point one would get a boatload more car then an 51k A6 with BSW. (Again I've not done the apples to apples research)
This BSW must be something for one to go off on such an item- one would also argue the bSW and other options on that package are options that most people would not want- I like options packaging as long as the lower options (sunroof and nav) get priced at the lower end of the packaging range and not forced on you with other packages like BSM and lane departure - things I can live without. I think the Japanese have made options packaging a thing because it cuts down on costs. German cars can be ordered ala cart which is cool -
Drive fast, take chances - sween
Aug 14, 2013 (5:10 pm)
Yes, a long post if the entire spirit of what I was "on about" was a single feature -- my peeve is with the concept of being able to choose to select a set of features or to customize. I am fine with the concept of discounting if a bundle is selected. Yet, there are customers who would upgrade and add X option but are discouraged from doing so by virtue of the bundling cost.
I read an article about the concept of the "option-less" vehicle. In short, since most of the options are software or firmware based, it is actually more efficient to build every option possible into every car and charge those who want it.
Our IBM computer, for instance, has a capability called "computing on demand" essentially the computer is delivered with the biggest baddest CPU made -- but it is hobbled at 60% 70% 80% etc capacity unless you're willing to pay for the extra horsepower. Some companies pay for 2 days of full horsepower once per month for the monthly demanding processing routines.
My last Audi -- with the assistance of a free software program and a $300 cable, was able to have any number of features enabled or disabled via a laptop. Companies -- both factory approved and not approved -- offer performance upgrades via a reprogramming of the vehicles on-board brain. Volvo even offers a PoleStar upgrade to its turbo engines -- for a price.
Point is, we've been at a time and place in technology where our cars are largely controlled by software, so putting in every possible feature or option into every car and charging those folks like my wife and me to turn features on and off, would be a revenue (and income) enhancer.
Mass customization has been possible for some time -- and it would be a money maker. Bundling just pisses people off or puts them off spending.
On the other hand, BSW is one of those things that once you have it, you can't imagine how you ever lived without it.
#16409 of 16984 Re: 2¢ More [markcincinnati]
Aug 14, 2013 (6:13 pm)
I hear what you are saying and it makes sense about the full packaged car with expandable options, even after you leave the lot. (Would like to see the software program that includes wheel and tire, sunroof, seats, suspension and other items thou). The car makers will learn a lot about what tesla is doing with its customizable options and production line efficiency. Bsw seems like a good idea to be standard - but I wouldn't use it.
Aug 15, 2013 (6:32 am)
At the risk of raising the ire of the moderator, I am wondering, not critically, why you wouldn't use BSW? To underscore the point, I would assume you don't stick your arm out the window to indicate you are turning -- you flick the turn signal stalk, yes?
My first experience with BSW was accidental -- I ordered a new Audi A4 in 2008 with what was then the just announced Prestige package. BSW came standard (as did a backup camera).
I, initially, thought, how lame -- backup cameras are for mini-vans, real "men" (or women) don't need no stinkin' backup camera. As I recall, the default for BSW was to come on when you started the car (like ESP, ABS, and "auto" for the Audi Drive Select system) -- then, you could punch a button to turn it off.
After a few times of "forgetting" to turn it off, I noticed that little amber stack of LED's (in the outboard mirror housing) come on when there was no one or nothing around -- you know, I checked my mirrors. Well shut the front door -- multiple times over the initial few months of having this "excuse to charge more" feature (that I didn't even order), I would see the light come on, see nothing in any of my mirrors and "just for the heck of it" I would look over my shoulder, and damn if there wasn't someone in my blind spot.
In short, I came to not only appreciate BSW, I started to count the number of times the lights came on that I would have sworn no one was near me -- just one time of ignoring those lights (or, god forbid, not having them) would have been at least a 4-figure episode at a body shop (or worse, especially if it had been on the freeway.)
What I am saying is that I was (past tense) in the same place you're in when my new 2009 A4 came in in October 2008 equipped with this "who needs it" piece of tech. Further I am suggesting that as perhaps stupid and simple as it may seem, it is right up there with such things as sealed beam headlights, turn signals, brake lights, backup cameras and holes in the roof.
What once were vices (?) are now necessities.
Finally, don't discount it until you've had it for a few months and find out that it has both a positive financial and safety feature.
Drive it like you live.
#16411 of 16984 Re: 2¢ More [markcincinnati]
Aug 15, 2013 (6:53 am)
No offense but I think I'm a good enuf driver and constantly scan my mirrors and understand my driving position at all times on the road. I'm not saying its not a useful tool certainly to people who are preoccupied by other driving features not we all are saddled with. I've used the lane system thing in a m35 a few years ago for a week when I swaped cars with a co worker- I found myself looking to shut it off every time I started the car. I like technology but do we need cars that drive itself like the new q50? I can count the lawsuits. I can see its benefits but I wouldn't equate it to seatbelts, break lights or blinkers (or even slipmanagement systems).
Drive fast, take chances
#16412 of 16984 Re: 2¢ More [sweendogy]
Aug 15, 2013 (7:53 am)
No offense but I think I'm a good enuf driver and constantly scan my mirrors and understand my driving position at all times on the road.
You must be outstanding then. I've never had a significant accident in 40 years of driving (knock on wood), but I've definitely had times I started a lane change just "sure" that nobody was in my blind spot, then heard a horn honk! How many drivers, really, have never made that mistake?
While I've never had BSW in one of my cars, I can see how it would be useful.
#16413 of 16984 Re: 2¢ More [tlong]
Aug 15, 2013 (8:16 am)
How many drivers, really, have never made that mistake?
I consider myself an excellent driver (don't we all!!). Just this week on long highway drive, I started to change lanes and lo and behold, there was someone in my blind spot on the passenger side. I got the typical Masshole horn blow and swerved back into my lane.
Did I check my blind spot? No I didn't and most people don't.
I've driven a car with BLIS and it's a great item to provide an assist for all of us excellent drivers.