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
Mar 11, 2005 (9:12 am)
One of the guys I work with has an Acura, OK, two of them do -- one says his has been very unreliable in the "nit" department (power window motors, fans, comfort stuff.) The other guy says the thing is a rock but has to be taken into the body shop a lot as it appears that it rusts easily almost as if it was not undercoated.
My current Audi, on the other hand has provided, from my perspective, nuttin' but love in the reliability department.
My wife's TT has been trouble free on the "big stuff" -- but seems to have little problems crop up all the time. My wife said to me this morning "I haven't been to the dealer for about 10 days, I need to have my built in phone microphone replaced (again.)" Moreover, lamps burn out with annoying regularity on the thing and the battery in the key fob drains every few weeks. My key fob battery, as I recall is the original (31 months old). Again, go figure.
The Japanese cars, however, appear to have so many folks rave about their reliability. I swear, I used to think that the people that went on about the reliability of their Japanese cars HAD to be plants -- the reliability stories were just too, too, perfect.
Now, however, I read the Automobile (April 2005) article called "Lost Its Luster" and, well, gulp, even the German market itself seems to acknowledge that German cars have really slipped in terms of their reliability (although there is some evidence that they may be on the rebound.)
What are we to make of all this? My wife is frustrated, yet loves her car; her co-workers that have Camrys and Lexus and Honda's and even Plymouth's go well beyond 100,000 miles and usually end up replacing their cars out of boredom rather than any technical "need" (like the car is costing so much to maintain).
Cars, generally, MUST be getting more reliable -- one of my arguments for a preference for German (and perhaps more broadly European cars in general) is "no boring cars." The few Lexus' I have rented and or test driven over the years always seemed to totally isolate me from the experience of driving.
Well, I cannot speak for a NEW GS, but I can attest to the feel of the M35x -- and the odd thing is here is the order of cars I drove back-to-back-to-back: pulled in the Infiniti dealer in my own 2003 stick shift equipped allroad, test drove both a G35x and an M35x, back into my allroad, then test drove a maxed out 2005 BMW 330xi and then drove my allroad out of the BMW dealership.
I was struck how the M35x and the 330xi had a solid feel that made them almost indistinguishable from each other -- and both of these cars (mine has 44,000 miles on it) felt somewhat tighter than my allroad, but the main point is the M35x felt "almost Teutonic!" Enough so, that it is a contender to be on the list titled: "No Boring Cars." Styling is subjective -- the M35x seems to be the [imaginary] offspring of an Infiniti G35x and a Cadillac CTS -- if you like that kind of edgy and somewhat modernistic yet vaguely derivative look, you'll not find the M35x objectionable. If you like the big butt BMW and Acura RL look, you may be less pleased; and, finally, if you like the big mouth new Audi look, you'll probably not like either the BMW, the Cadillac,or the Inifiniti.
To each his own.
I hope this does not start a "did too, did not" argument, er, contradictory line of ping pong -- beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My preference is leaning toward tolerating all these manufacturer's styling impressions coupled with just a tinge of revulsion for the Chris Bangle "big butt look" started by the BMW 7 and somewhat evident in the 5 and the RL. One more time, to each his / her own.
#1145 of 10348 markcincinnati
Mar 11, 2005 (2:28 pm)
Interesting thoughts. For what its worth, Acura's are built well, but they've never come close to Lexus in terms of "this is how a car SHOULD be screwed together". Nothing near as many as Audi's major fiasco's, but Acura has one big one: the '01-'03 TL\CL automatic transmition recall. As you said, you might expect a few "nits" from a Japanese car, but transmition failure is not what I'd call a "nit."
Personally, Acura has never interested me much. Interior quality used to be barely better than Honda (though their quality in '04+ is excellent) and while the Legend was pretty nice, it was still V6 and FWD, and was quickly surpassed by the mighty LS400. That early spark of interesting car though with the Legend was quickly squashed by Honda conservative mediocrity, Vigor, RL, TL, CL, etc. etc. Acura is certainly more well known, but its cars were largely no better than Infiniti's in those days.
In '03, Acura and Infiniti left their respective boring 2nd and 3rd tier behind Lexus positions and went in different directions. I like Infiniti's choice more than Acura's. They seem to be finally living up to the mission of the original Q45, Lexus quality, BMW fun. Honda seems to want more excitement for Acura as well, the problem is "old school" Honda thinking keeps getting in the way. 4-way passanger seat? Fine. 3-channel ABS? Good enough. Bland, derivative styling? Who buys a car based on how it LOOKS? As Nissan\Infiniti keep gaining, I think a large part of their new strength will come at the expense of Honda\Acura who move too slow and are too scared to take chances.
I read that Automobile article, it was definitely interesting. It was not an article you would see in C&D or Motortrend.
One think I find kind of strange mark, the TT is certainly German enough, but it doesnt even handle all that well. Way too much understeer. Also, its AWD system (haldex) is more Volvo than Audi. Wouldnt she find an S2000, or better yet, an Elise, A LOT more entertaining to drive?
#1146 of 10348 Rear End [markcincinnati]
Mar 11, 2005 (2:52 pm)
HMMMMMMMMMM! The first thing I noticed on the new RL was the rear end. Kept looking at it and looking at it on all the pictures on all the websites. The Spy sites etc... Nobody could even get a brochure on the car until it was almost "Show Time" in the dealerships around Oct.14th. (There were a few that got out...and I was envious.) Finally saw the car in Houston while visiting our daughter. My wife and I drove over to the nearest Acura dealer. I stood for a long time checking out the rear end that day. Checked it from every angle. I have to admit. She still has it after 37 years. Thats right. A great looking rear end!
#1147 of 10348 Re: hpowders [SergeyM]
Mar 12, 2005 (8:47 am)
It is also available on the M35 as well.
#1148 of 10348 Re: Future Lexuses, including GS [jrock65]
Mar 12, 2005 (8:53 am)
Wow-great information! Thank you! I wonder how the current price of current GS will be affected by larger engine coming out next year. I am also curious to see the new body style of the y07 ES...I hope Lexus designs something that doesn't look like a Toyota......
Mar 12, 2005 (12:18 pm)
I would expect the ES redesign to be even more luxurious, since the new Avalon is pretty close to the current ES in terms of luxury levels. The interior of both it and the LS redesign should really show the world how its done.
#1150 of 10348 Re: Comparison
Mar 12, 2005 (3:56 pm)
I've had 5 Audi Quattros going back to 1992 and I still have a 2004 S4. I just got a new Infiniti G34x AWD in July 2004 and I had to break my lease early since I was so dissatisfied; the quality of the interior materials was so much beneath what I was used to and the service was unreliable. I put a lot of time and research into my comparison shopping for a replacement. My Dad has a new Lexus ES300 and it's very much a luxury oriented big Camry. The A6 4.2 was my clear 1st choice, especially as it just won an international sedan of the year award (see www.audicanada.ca) and it's engine also just won a "top ten engines" award. It's far ahead of the others in terms of responsiveness, fun to drive factor, and torque and Audi's Quattro system remains superior to all the newcomers (despite the high tech descriptions in manuals) in snow. The only dealer that would offer me substantial help in breaking my Infiniti lease was at Acura and I got a deal too good to turn down for the RL. I just got it last week and I'm very happy with it; fit an finish ahead of Lexus, not quite up to Audi though and while performance average (in these days of 340 bhp Chryslers), I can very much enjoy it for a few years (after which I'm getting another A6!)
#1151 of 10348 comparison of RL, GS300 AWD and M35x
Mar 12, 2005 (5:35 pm)
I test-drove the Acura RL, GS300 AWD and M35x in the last several weeks, and would like to offer my views to a least partially reciprocate all the great info on this list.
The reasons why I would not buy the GS:
- Not enough headroom in the driver seat when I have the seatback almost upright, the way I like it. I am 6'0" and the sales guys blamed it on my "long torso build." He offered a custom-ordered car with no sunroom, but I would like to have a sunroom. (I have been suffering
the same headroom problem with my current Volvo S70 for almost 8 years, so I am definitely looking for a car with more space.)
- Not enough headroom in the rear seat (my son is 2" taller than me, so if I have problems fitting in, he will even more).
- It is difficult to get in and out from the rear seat since the opening near the threshold is not wide enough to get the foot out w/o tilting; ugly scuffing of the lower door panel is inevitable.
- Not enough engine horsepower for its class.
Acceleration is adequate but unimpressive for a $50k sports sedan.
- Driver's position is too much to the left side
because of the hefty middle part under the center console (transmission housing?). One feels crammed against the B-pillar and the top part of the A-pillar feels too close to the head. (I wonder what the safety test results will be like; probably like on the E320 in which the dummy's head actually went out of the left window.)
- The brake pedal is to the left of the steering wheel's axis. This is a safety concern because in panic mode one may accidentally step on the gas not the brake pedal. (This has been reported against various other makes, such as the Jeep. This is also an issue I have with the BMW and my current Mercedes ML.)
- A wooden steering wheel. Not only do I find this distasteful and overdone from the aesthetic point of view (to each their own, though!), but it also is a safety concern because of a slim and slippery grip. I understand a car without one can be ordered but I am not willing to wait 5-6 months for custom delivery. I would not consider wrapping the steering wheel in an after-market leather case only to obscure this expensive wood option.
- A relatively small trunk with a small opening. It is too narrow betwen the rear wheel wells.
- A relatively short service interval of 5k miles. I would like to see 10k+ miles with synthetic oil, as in the ML.
On the GS plus side:
- Frugality with fuel, although even at the high and rising premium gas prices, the annual savings are at the order of 1% of the price of the car compared to the RL and the M with average driving.
- Overall Lexus-brand reliability, although there were some scary posts on this forum about leaky headlights, etc. On JD Power's site, Lexus is generally given 5 stars for quality with Acura at 3 stars and Infiniti at 2.
But, unfortunately the GS is out for me.
My impressions of the M35x compared to the RL:
- The M generally offers all the same options, except for the rear mechanical sunshade that is only available with the expensive Premium package (and I do not need a rear DVD that comes with it). M's options over the RL are:
-- Backup camera with car path tracing that changes as you turn the steering wheel--really neat. (Wish the woman who backed up into my Volvo at the grocery store's parking lot today had one of those on her G20!)
-- Lane departure warning that activates above 45mph (may not work perfectly, as I read on this list, but at least it is there)
- Much tighter turning radius (great for U-turns in the city). It appears to be even tighter than my ML, which I find very maneuverable.
- Thicker steering wheel with a great grip that (unlike in the RL) does not obscure the gauge cluster in its top position when I adjust the driver's seat to my preferred position.
Apart from these above safety attributes, the M also has:
- Front bucket seats with a firmer sports upholstery and great lateral support
- Climate controlled seats, incl. cooling and at least 4-stage heating. (However, I read that the heating is with hot air not electricity, which would explain why some people observed it to be slow. If indeed there is no electric heat that would defeat the whole purpose, since IMO the seats should get warmer well before the engine does.)
- More adjustments to the driver's seat
- 14-speaker Bose, incl. 2 speakers in each front seat. (The multichannel Bose is somewhat overrated, as is the the Mark L. system on the GS, in the standard stereo mode. The stereo Bose in my ML sounds clearer and has deeper bass, actually. Try Peter White's "Talkin' Bout Love" piece from his "Confidential" CD for your tests.)
- Larger NAV display that also plays DVDs in park mode
- Better acceleration due to the higher low-rpm torque
- More effective brakes with less fade. (Compared to the G35x that I also test-drove, the brakes are less grabby and easier to modulate.)
- Appears to have more room in the rear seat.
The items of concern on the M were:
- Stiffer ride. Have been suffering this on the Volvo GLT, esp. with its tires inflated to a full-load 36 psi per spec. On the tested M, the display showed 31-32 psi; the tires are 5mm lower profile and 1" larger diameter than on the RL. Did not check the treadwear number; hope at is at least 340 as on the GS.
- Noisier engine; perhaps the exhaust note is tuned to be more sporty. Actually, online mags report a similar level of noise at full throttle (within 1dB) but about 6dB higher for the M at idle than for the RL.
- Unclear service interval. (Oil change recommended every 3,750 miles, except if synthetic is used as the dealer claimed; I have this under verification on the M discussion thread).
- Somewhat high fuel consumption reported on average by users online.
In terms of the overall safety, I cannot compare the 2006 M to the 2005 RL because neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS have tested the M yet. I can only speculate that, as a bigger cousin of the G35x, the M will have similar ratings, being all Good, except for the driver side dummy touching the steering wheel through the airbag in one test (Acceptable). Yes, I have seen a post arguing all these tests are antiquated and irrelevant, but IMO this is the best we have available.
Hope this is useful.
#1152 of 10348 Re: comparison of RL, GS300 AWD and M35x [marko7]
Mar 12, 2005 (8:42 pm)
Excellent review. My only concern with the M35 is the quality of the interior materials. I didn't feel they were up to the same high quality of the Lexus. Just wondering about long term durability. I'm only 5'-8" and the back seat of the GS is cramped - the M35 had plenty of room.
Mar 12, 2005 (11:11 pm)
Thats really to be expected. No Infiniti in the history of the company has ever matched a Lexus when it comes to interior materials quality. The M is more for people interested in handling than the quality of the woodgrain.