Last post on Nov 25, 2013 at 11:27 AM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Lexus GS 430, Acura RL, BMW 5 Series, Volvo S80, Audi A6, Infiniti M35, Infiniti M45, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Cadillac STS, Sedan
#105 of 10348 Re: Interiors [w210 #97]
Jul 05, 2004 (10:23 am)
Totally agree with you on this one!! My mother is shopping for a new car and has ruled out the Lexus ES330...and a great part of ruling it out was based on the red wood in the interior....not a good move!
She's now considering a 2003 GS300 which has a better color trim....and in our opinion...a more attractive body style.
The other option is a 2005 Mercedes c230 Kompressor. Two totally different types of car....but both have things she likes about them.
#106 of 10348 Driving vs. Driven (Riez)
Jul 05, 2004 (12:32 pm)
I love driving my '01 530ia. I never feel that I am being "driven" in it. There have been many times that I wish I had a manual transmission when pushing the car hard through the great coastal roads of Northern California, but my Steptronic definitely helps bridge the numb-gap a little from AT to manual. It allows for decent compression in and out of turns and I rarely move out of 2nd & 3rd gear through most of the fun bits. Reality always sets in: I am a father of 3 sm. kids and commute to San Francisco. My job requires that I am out and about in the Bay Area traffic daily. Letting the clutch pedal out 3,000 times a day in traffic does not sound like much fun. This whole board is about Luxury/Performance which, I agree, is oxymoronic. But c'mon Riez--a heavy 5 series sedan like the 540i6 you used to run is itself something of a trade off. Your could get more pure performance out of many other smaller, lighter cars for the same money. Heck, I'm leaning toward a S2000 as a third vehicle. You mentioned 50/50 weight distribution--with no mention of hp or torque requirements--but the 540 is the least balanced of the 5 series lineup.
Bottom line: I definitely "drive" my 530 and love it.
#107 of 10348 BMW luxury/performance combo—automatic, no SP do it best
Jul 05, 2004 (2:55 pm)
mtjohn… good post.
Listening to the Lexus guys, they don't care for a ride that is too firm. They like to be insulated and isolated from the road. Understandable… this is the luxury aspect. The LS fans are VERY enthusiastic about their cars so you have to tip your hat to luxury.
Listening to the sport drivers who are stuck with sedans, they need their sport packages, RWD and manual transmissions. Very easy to comprehend… sport driving is invigorating and fun, there are no two ways about it.
It's hard to find equanimity and adequately define the luxury performance sedan in light of these two camps. But this is where BMW has been at its best, bringing the qualities of sport into the world of utility and luxury, satisfying preferences on both sides of the fence.
But to me, BMW has been at its VERY best at the dead center of the scale. The E39 530 with automatic transmission and without sport package is the most perfect, most balanced combination of performance and luxury. This is why CR called it the best sedan they ever tested. It has enough firmness, stability and power to be road confident; enough luxury to sooth; straightforward, well-dressed in its appearance; silky-smooth automatic transmission. Certainly the E60 530 continues this with regard to performance even though its other aspects are in question—reckless style, frivolous engineering, electronic excess.
Have your preferences either way, but in this thread, balance is the sweet spot and BMW has had the recipe for years. They are less about sports cars and more about road savvy sedans. Besides, I don't like the three-pedal 530. The stick is tentative, loose, the clutch pedal soft. The Audi S4 manual is better IMO, closer to a sports car.
The BMW sport package is definitely for the driver. I love it when driving but hate it when I'm a passenger. A colleague of mine has an 01 540 with sport package. When I'm his co-pilot I do NOT find the ride to be comfortable.
Bottom line for me: the BMW 5 with automatic, without sport package has better manners as a family/client limo. The sport configuration is too edgy for all-around sedan use. If I spent most of my time in it by myself, I might go with the sport setup. But then again, this is what sports cars are for. Better to keep them separate… better to appreciate the qualities of each.
"Cowboys like smoky ol' pool rooms and clear mountain skies."
#108 of 10348 Arbiter of Driving Pleasure; Get Sport Pkg w/Manual Transmission
Jul 05, 2004 (3:21 pm)
designman... CR as the ultimate arbiter of driving pleasure? C&D. R&T. SCI. Automobile. Maybe MT or Autoweek. But CR?
When the car magazines test and rave about BMWs (esp. the E39 5 Series and E46 3 Series), it is almost always with Sport Pkg and manual transmission. Just read all the old reviews of the E39 540i6. Think I have over a dozen. All positive. A classic sedan. Practical and very, very fun to drive!
CR is the ultimate arbiter of toasters, cell phones, cameras, refrigerators, but driving pleasure isn't their primary concern.
Believe CR has now determined the Acura TL to be the "best car".
mtjohn... I'm the father of one teen and one pre-teen. I and they love driving! I have no trouble getting around Omaha, NE, with manual transmission. (Greater metro area has almost 500k people.)
Jul 05, 2004 (3:48 pm)
"CR as the ultimate arbiter of driving pleasure?"
Never said that. I'm the ultimate arbiter and used it because of its poignancy.
"CR is the ultimate arbiter of toasters, cell phones, cameras, refrigerators, but driving pleasure isn't their primary concern."
Can you be sure of this? Have you read other product reviews of these items that you can compare? More importantly, have you bought a toaster etc. recommended by CR that you can verify?
#110 of 10348 sharonf, riez
Jul 05, 2004 (4:33 pm)
Sharon, if she likes the GS, there's no real reason to get a 2003. The GS was completely unchanged from '01 until it will ultimately be replaced next year. Go back another year or two, and get a maxed out GS430 with the Nav\Mark Levinson, and 17" wheel\tire package. That engine is silky smooth and has effortless power, and is at the same time ULEV certified, and can achieve about 22mpg. The GS300 makes do with only 220hp from Lexus' long in the tooth IL6, which isnt really enough power for a sedan that large with an automatic transmission, and its not a particularly fuel efficient engine either. MPG is about the same as the GS430, except it takes almost 3 full seconds longer to get to 60mph.
The C-class is ok, but 4 cylinders arent something the Germans do particularly well. I've never liked M-B's Supercharged 4, its power is uncompetivive, and its noisy. M-B stopped offering the SLK230 quite awhile ago because nobody liked the 4.
Riez, now the cars must be normally aspirated as well? That wasnt in your previous list of requirements, and is just plain silly. The turbocharged boxer 6 Porsche GT2 is about as pure as you can get, certainly much more so than any BMW 5 series with a stick
#111 of 10348 Re: sharonf, riez [lexusguy #110]
Jul 05, 2004 (5:17 pm)
Well, we didn't set out looking for a 2003...originally it was a 2004 ES that we were looking at....but decided against. The dealer just happened to have a 2003 there that he thought she might like. Today we went to a different dealer to see what the 2004's were going for...and to see the color choices. One of her top color choices would be the same color the other dealer has the 2003 in. Asking price for the 2004 is about $5K more than the 2003...but given that the 2005's will be coming soon...maybe we'd be able to get them down some?
I don't think she's much concerned with the engine power difference between the 300 and 430....she doesn't drive fast....nor does she do much driving other than around town.
Are they changing the body style for 2005?
I do think that as of this afternoon she is leaning towards Lexus now...rather than MB.
Thanks for all your input!
#112 of 10348 Re: sharonf, riez [lexusguy #110]
Jul 05, 2004 (5:20 pm)
Oh...forgot...she also doesn't want the navigation....and doesn't even own CD's....so that that should tell you how much she'd appreciate the sound system! =)
#113 of 10348 Metro area / balance
Jul 05, 2004 (6:52 pm)
I realize that Omaha has a decent population center, but the 9 county Bay Area, which is one big population center, has close to 7 million people. Some of its congested freeways trump even those of the Los Angeles area. The cool thing is that I get to go back over the Golden Gate Bridge every day to sparsely populated Marin Co. where some of the country's best driving roads are. There is one stretch near the peak of Mt. Tamalpais that overlooks the Pacific where dozens of car commercials have been filmed over the years. They wet the road down and it just has "the look". I live a few miles down the road from there. But make no mistake, it is easy to be stuck for over an hour in stop and go traffic through Silicon Valley or across the bay near Oakland.
The reason that I bought a 530ia SP is that it was the closest thing to a "drivers car" that I could get and still explain to my wife that it is simply a replacement vehicle for my aging Volvo 850. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The 530 has changed my perception from car-as-appliance to something that moves my soul. Thus I spend a good couple of hours each week reading posts and chatting about it online. I am not sure where the balance lies between Lux/Perf. but I would like to say that I believe that as far as BMWs are concerned, the e39 01-03 530i is the best car they ever built all things considered. I also believe that it is the best example of what a "sport sedan" implies. (This subject has been aired out pretty well on the 5 Series Sedan board)Lux/Perf. is harder to quantify and fairly subjective.
Jul 05, 2004 (7:45 pm)
Another question, does she plan on keeping this car as long as her previous Acura? I just heard today on Motorweek that M-B is recalling more than 600,000 cars to fix a defect in those "great" electronic brakes that Merc was so enthusiastic about. As I've said before, something like my cars ability to STOP is not something I'm going to trust to another pointless example of German "cause we can" gadgetry. I wouldnt recommend a M-B to someone who wants to keep one long out of warranty.