Last post on May 01, 2013 at 3:12 PM
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
Aug 07, 2005 (2:23 pm)
I did not expect to be in the market for a new LPS. I was driving to meet someone for dinner in my 2001 BMW 540i, a great car, when I had to lock up the brakes to avoid hitting a car that pulled out in front of me. The guy behind me in a 1990 Caravan did not have the same stopping power and totaled my car. I live in the land of Mark from Cincinnati, so if he is browsing he will know of some of the places and dealerships that I have been to.
I decided to narrow my search to AWD LPS. I live at the end of a long driveway that is tough to get in and out of in the winter even here in Cincinnati. I bought a Yukon Denali last year in order to deal with that issue and still be able to keep my beloved BMW.
In my search for a new car I have test driven:
BMW 530xi twice
Mercedes E320 4matic with a sport package
Lexus GS 300 AWD three times
Infiniti M350 AWD or whatever they call it
Audi A6 with the small engine once and with the 4.2 twice
Acura RL twice
For comparison I also drove the Audi A8, and S4.
I do not consider myself especially knowledgeable. I tend to be up to date on the latest major car magazine articles, and think they do provide a nice source of reference information that makes me a better consumer. Of course I read Edmunds.
So far these are my impressions. They are worth what you are paying for them.
BMW -- Nothing drives like the BMW. The steering gives you a feel of the road unmatched by any other car in the above grouping. That being said the price they want you to pay for that road feel is steep. I wanted and priced a manual transmission. It appears the only way to get it is to order the car. My 4 years experience with the dealership here was, in general good.
Mercedes -- It is a nice car. The E350 is probably much better. I haven't given it a lot of consideration due to quality issues. I do own a 2000 E320 4matic wagon, and can attest to the problems with the electronics in those cars. Added to that is what in my opinion is a poor dealership here in Cincinnati.
Lexus -- The GS 300AWD is a pretty darn good car. I drove it a few times to find a fatal flaw and couldn't. It is somewhat underpowered, but it still has some spunk. The steering is very much like the Mercedes, which is good if not as engaging as the BMW. The ergonomics of the drivers seat are terrific. The touch screen interface is a great help, as are the seats that blow air up your ... All in all it is a very good Mercedes replacement. I worried about the reported the computers having a heavy hand. When this car gets a bigger engine it might be something.
Infiniti -- I am not a great fan of the manager of the local dealership, who is more of a self promoter than a dealership promoter. That being said the car is an excellent car. It is a little too much boy racer for my taste, but again it is an excellent car.
Audi -- The Audis have a V-8 option, and that is a great thing. That engine makes the car a good choice. I thought the A-6 with the 3.2 was underpowered. The A-6 with the 4.2 and a 6 speed automatic is a wonderful choice. The engine winds out well. The sounds coming from the engine compartment reminds me of a formula 1 racer. The A-8 is a great car, but I am not sure if the price premium is worth it. The S-4 beat the heck out of me.
Acura -- This is a tough call. I could get one for $45K and change. The car drives well, but you know you are in a really nice Honda. The question between this and an Audi is whether you want to pay the price premium for what you get. From my standpoint the jury is still out.
I have submitted this as an aide for discussion. I would appreciate any comments on the relative strengths or weaknesses of any of the above cars. I am in no rush to buy. I still have the Denali to run around in.
#3521 of 10338 Re: New meat [larryoflebanon]
Aug 07, 2005 (4:27 pm)
Your choice of cars is a great list. None of us can tell you what to buy. We all have our biases. Keep us apprised of your thoughts and I'm sure others will share their specific opinions.
#3522 of 10338 Re: New meat [larryoflebanon]
Aug 07, 2005 (4:47 pm)
Sorry to hear about the accident. How do you feel about the elctronics in the new 5? For the record, the new 5 hasnt proven itself particularly reliable just yet. I've driven a 545i, not impressed with iDrive, or the Active steering system. (And this is not just a BMW bash, I dont like the steering in the GS430 either). I'm not sure if the 530xi offers AS or not, but if it does, dont get it.
The E350 got some fresh ponies this year like the BMW, but otherwise not much has changed. Theres not enough data on MB to know if they really have the problems under control or not, though they did reasonably well on IQS this year. The E has no bluetooth system, and to do hands-free stuff you must use the MB phone, which is lame. I'll stick with my Treo 650, thanks.
I like the GS300 a lot more than I like the 430. The GS300 doesnt have the ultra agressive VDIM stability system as in the 430, or the variable ratio (AS) steering, which makes it a much less annoying car. The electronics are also the easiest to use in the class, though I didnt really have any trouble with the Infiniti system, which I think is designed better than the RL's. Like the RL, the GS is on the small side in terms of interior volume, and the trunk design is poor. CR said the driving position was "flawed" in their report, but I was able to get comfortable. It sounds like you didnt have a problem there either. The GS300 could use more horses, unfortunately it wont get them for at least a year.
The A6 is very nice, and its interior (IMO) is much nicer than the Benz and the BMW. I also like MMI better than iDrive and COMAND. If I were gonna go German, I'd go with an A6. The lower price compared to the E and 5 also makes a V8 an option, and unlike Lexus, Infiniti, Acura, and BMW, you can get the V8 and AWD together. Reliability is again unknown at this point, but Audi has been doing much better with that than either MB or BMW lately.
The Acura (again IMO) is just an OK car. Its a good value at $45K, but I wouldn't pay any more for it than that. Acura set the MSRP a bit too high. For 2006 Acura is adding a "Technology package" that adds Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), basically the same as MB's PreSafe and Lexus' PCS systems. The radar also allows for auto cruise controll. The car will also come with Michelin PAX Run-Flat tires. The Acura can offer you almost everything that anyone else can in terms of technology, but as you said, you're driving basically a big Honda.
The Infiniti is my favorite car in the segment. The M35 can make short work of the GS and RL in terms of acceleration thanks to short gearing, but at the same time that means higher revs (and more engine noise) at highway speeds. The Infiniti is the closest to the BMW in terms of driving dynamics, at a much better price. The interior space feels much bigger than GS or RL.
#3523 of 10338 Trailer Hitch!!!
Aug 07, 2005 (5:37 pm)
HMMMMMM...WHAT A COINCIDENCE! All our dingposts rang loud and clear in my brain earlier this afternoon as my wife and I were walking back to the RL sitting there in a nice wide spot on a new furniture store parking lot. Eagle-eye Karen spotted a scrape in the right rear quarter panel of the otherwise immaculate 8 month old celestial silver beauty. Looks like a trailer hitch and it gouged pretty deep. OK ....thats something that was not expected and quite frankly I'm done blowing steam. Life's too short and I'm not going to sweat the small stuff. I'll get it fixed and move on!
#3524 of 10338 Re: The Real Luxury Car [nvbanker]
Aug 07, 2005 (5:58 pm)
Thanks for the positive feedback. I know I'm swimming upstream here, but it's nice to find a kindred spirit.
I love to drive.
I'd rather do it in something that does it well, but I enjoy thousands of miles a year in rental appliances for business. OTOH, I've blasted through the Canadian Rockies in the middle of the night in my own very capable vehicle with the aurora on display and no traffic anywhere around, and touched the face. . . (oh wait, that's for those who fly).
In my world, the journey is the important thing. The car (or truck) is. . . the vehicle.
#3525 of 10338 Re: The Real Luxury Car [lexusguy]
Aug 07, 2005 (6:09 pm)
Exactly! My car is always my servant, not my master. But I do keep it up and looking as like new as possible - I just drive it and park it for MY convenience.
#3526 of 10338 Re: Trailer Hitch!!! [jjacura]
Aug 07, 2005 (6:09 pm)
Sorry to hear of your misfortune. At least it can be fixed.
#3527 of 10338 beauty is in the eye
Aug 07, 2005 (6:40 pm)
It's kind of cracking me up all the people in here bashing the RL for looking just like an accord. [It does I must admit] These are the same people who are proudly driving there Infiniti M forty Maximas, or there Lexus GS three Avalons, or there Audi A Passats. I realize that some of these have the advantage of being on a different platform but PALEASE, if your talking about styling these cars all look like there less expensive siblings. It's called cost savings and all car manufactuers do it. The bottom line is everyone in here is money conscience so this BS about
" I'm not gonna spend that money on an overpriced accord" is rubbish. And don't tell me money isn't a factor, cause if it wasn't a lot of y'all would be over on the Bently- Rolls Royce thread.
Just feal the need to stick up for a fabulous car
#3528 of 10338 Platform Sharing.....
Aug 07, 2005 (7:07 pm)
Interesting how when Ford or Honda do it, it's shameful - but when Lexus does it (ES-300 & IS) it's BRILLIANT!
#3529 of 10338 Re: Platform Sharing..... [nvbanker]
Aug 07, 2005 (8:03 pm)
Platform sharing can be both good and bad. There's also a definite difference between platform sharing and "rebadging". I agree, everybody platform shares. You have to if you want to stand any chance of competing in today's cut-throat automarket. BTW, the Passat and A4\A6 are no longer related in any way, and the GS and Avalon have never shared anything.
Something like 40% of the ES330 comes from the Camry, which allows Lexus to sell the ES for a very reasonable price. Thats fine. What's not fine was the old Maxima GLE and Infiniti I35, which were the exact same car except for the styling differences. Thats a rebadge, which is bad.
The original IS was pulled from the JDM Altezza, and was not related to any US market Toyota. The new one is built on a chopped version of the GS's platform, so I'm not sure what you were going for there.
The RL uses Honda's global midsize architecture, the same one thats under the Accord. The M35\45 use a lengthened version of Nissan's front-midship architecture, which is in almost everything they make. That doesnt mean I would call the RL a rebadged Accord or the M a rebadged Maxima. The GS doesnt use any mass-market US Toyota platform, but that doesnt make it a better car than either RL or M. I just think Acura dropped the ball with the RL styling, which is so anonymous it could be a Honda "insert name here".