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
#5274 of 10348 Re: AWD on Infiniti M35X vs Audi A6 [len55]
Dec 04, 2005 (3:08 pm)
When shopping for a new car to replace my 2003 Audi allroad, I got down to the short list of the Audi A6 3.2 (loaded) vs an Infiniti M35x with Journey, Technology, & rear spoiler. The Audi was my first choice if all things (including price per month on a short term lease) were equal.
I had been biased for Audis in particular and German cars in general for over twenty years. I had also felt that if America could build a car that even came close to the German car, I would be inclined to put it on my short list.
At the time, the STS seemed like a lot of car for the money -- until I tried to get one with all wheel drive and the price at MSRP in any case shot up to ~ $63K.
Now, too, I wanted a 6 cylinder as I believe we are heading down a path toward $4.00+ per gallon gasoline -- and if I could buy a German turbo diesel equipped car (such as an Audi A6 with the fantastic twin turbo diesel) I would.
The ability to acquire a fine German car with AWD at a price that seemed competitve with the Infiniti M35x was (in April 2005 time frame) a pipe dream.
Three test drives, one auto show and an Infiniti open house later, I plunked down a deposit for a silver Infiniti M35x with the auburn leather looking interior.
My primary concern about the Infiniti was the fact that it had but a 5 speed transmission. But I drove the car over a pretty challenging and diverse route and found the transmission to be no worse than the other guys "intelligent" autos.
The Infiniti M35x was approximately $200 per month less than the Audi I had configured -- but did not come with free maintenance (like the Audi.) Yet, I had reached a point where I felt the Audi, although in my mind superior to the Infiniti, was not a good value. The Infiniti, for ONE reason, did offer a slight advantage (other than price) over the Audi -- and that is it is somewhat better balanced. The Audi has its engine wayyyy out front.
Now, the Audi is a marvel of German engineering in that it handles much better than any car so nose heavy has a right to.
In the real world, this difference is probably rarely an issue -- but it is worth noting.
The quattro AWD system is based on a US technology called torsen for Torque Sensing. As I recall there are three flavors of torsen (versions 1,2 and 3.) Version 3 is the 40% 60% (Front Rear) nominal torque split and is currently only on one or two production Audis (NOT the A6 for '05 and '06 however.) The current A6 uses torsen type 2 which is nominally a 50% 50% split of power but it is instantly able to shift power where it needs it since it is a mechanical system.
There are no delays, no interpretations of sensory data required to effect the power shift. It, in almost every way, is the best AWD available -- but it is a very heavy system.
The weight of quattro provides both positives and negatives, but, frankly, weight is never, all by itself, desirable.
RWD biased AWD gets lots of publicity as if it is the holy grail -- and in many ways there is merit to this argument.
But, in the context of quite a number of AWD cars that have been based on FWD platforms, Audis 50 50 system is, at the very worst, among the best if not the absolute best (in cars with other than some very exotic and expensive names.)
If, for example, you look at the Volvo AWD V60 type R (?) it is 95% FWD and 5% RWD under normal circumstances -- yet it can quickly, if not quite instantaneously, shift power to where it is needed.
SH-AWD, too, is a great concept in a very nice car (the RL), but the RL is more of a front wheel drive car as it is currently engineered than the Audi quattro.
The Infitini is an RWD car that can put power to the front wheels when needed -- its RWD biased AWD is, if for no other reason able to claim it is more RWD like than some of its competitors.
Frankly, I can't tell the difference in these systems in daily use -- AWD trumps FWD and RWD in my experience. But I don't race, I virtually never (deliberately) go off road but I live in the most southern part of Ohio which does have mostly moderate winters.
AWD is important for that reason too.
AWD's greatest impact is in the overall stability and performance of the car under all driving conditions, not just winter however.
In the case of the Infiniti vs the the Audi, either one is certainly likely to be infinitely more competent and capable than their RWD or FWD counterparts regardless of manufacturer.
The Infiniti will probably have poorer gas mileage than the Audi (a couple of MPG's) -- it will also have a bit more urgency than the Audi.
The interior of the Audi is a bit more upscale, but this is more a matter of preference and opinion than hard fact based on empirical data.
If you are looking for history with AWD, Audi wins. If you are looking for a true RWD biased vehicle, the Audi cannot currently make that claim.
If the cars are priced the same, the Audi has a certain solid feel that the Infiniti comes close to matching, but does not quite equal.
The Infiniti seems to handle a bit more like a BMW, and this is a good thing -- but, I attribute this more to the F/R weight balance of the Infiniti than to some "secret sauce" of engineering.
So, how does this directly answer your question(s)?
It probably doesn't -- it didn't make a hill of beans difference to me. The cars, beyond the cosmetic will be bought largely for subjective reasons anyhow.
Both vehicles will be great under all kinds of traction conditions. Pick the one you like for other reasons, that is.
AWD vehicles with All Season tires are better than AWD vehicles with summer only tires in snow, likewise, FWD vehicles are better than RWD vehicles in moderate snow when both are equipped with all season tires (or summer tires for that matter.)
All season tires are able to withstand cold weather better than summer tires -- sometimes, sometimes, they have tread designs that give them the edge in snow, too -- but all season tires are not winter or "snow tires," no matter how good they are generally.
An AWD vehicle so equipped with A/S tires in a part of the country that has cold and generally no more than moderate snowfall will pretty much eliminate the need for snow tires. Even when there is one (or two) heavy snow day(s), AWD + All Season tires will virtually never strand you.
Get the car you want of these two -- were it my money, I would make certain I ultimately had Ultra High Performance All Season rubber on 18" wheels.
My Audi has 245 x 40 x 18's and the high performance all seasons -- the thing is, therefore, under tired for the capabilities and confidence that I am convinced the suspension inspires.
You figure it out for yourself, is the message -- from my perspective, you can't go wrong with either car.
In my case when Audi dropped the price and I factored in the free maintenance, I got a car that I liked slightly better for less money.
#5275 of 10348 Re: Perspective and Reality [bmwdoug]
Dec 04, 2005 (3:08 pm)
Excellent post! If you search back you'll see my "rational" analysis of and why the M35 barely beat out the 530. For handling I also factored in what would I truly notice in every day driving, but then my old Porsche Turbo and crotch rocket blow all these LPS away. Everyone considers the "badge says BMW (or whatever car they're considering)" and the "admiration of others" to some extend but each of us has to determine just how much that weighs in the decision. For some alot, for others nil. I also weighed in the value proposition. A $55K LPS should be better than a $30K Honda/Toyota but then what other hedonistic pleasures can $25K buy?
Different values result in different choices - luckily we are in the position to make these choices! Had similar discussions with my old motorcycle buddies about buying Japanese, German and Harleys.... oops got a bit off topic.
#5276 of 10348 An Advantage For RL Buyers
Dec 04, 2005 (3:10 pm)
At least RL buyers can find a car quickly. No pre-ordering is necessary.
Just choose your color and drive it away.
#5278 of 10348 Re: An Advantage For RL Buyers [hpowders]
Dec 04, 2005 (4:26 pm)
#5279 of 10348 Re: Only A Pot-Stirrer! [hpowders]
Dec 04, 2005 (4:48 pm)
Last week I found myself in JAX & picked an Impala from what National (our corporate "choice") had on offer.
The thing had good power, full-up trip computer (it got 30+ mpg on the road), and an overall nice feel & interior. Combined with the G6 I was issued in June, I'm inclined to think GM may be making significant progress. Perhaps too little, too late.
Either way, I enjoy renting a variety of cars, both to compare them to mine & to evaluate the general state of the situation.
Cars in general appear to me to be getting lots better.
Dec 04, 2005 (4:53 pm)
Some of my biggest positive surprises have been from rental cars.
Liked the Ford Focus.
Would like to try a Mazda3. It's supposed to be roomy with a nice interior, comfortable seats and excellent handling.
I'll ask for it next time I travel.
#5281 of 10348 Re: Pinch your nose and drink the cod liver oil [jjacura]
Dec 04, 2005 (4:53 pm)
Hmmmm. Just the opposite here. I think the TL is the best Acura design since the original Legend Coupe. To me, the current RL is like the previous TL: A handsome, but generic, design.
I'm still no Bangle fan. The changes to the '06 7 have helped. I've grown accustomed to the current 5 but still think it looks like three different designers were involved without actually collaborating. Mostly, it's the Bangle-butt. It just looks tacked-on, kit car-ish. The 3 series is the best of the lot for me as they toned down the Bangle design. I think the 6 is ruined by the Bangle trunk.
#5282 of 10348 Re: Pinch your nose and drink the cod liver oil [laurasdada]
Dec 04, 2005 (5:42 pm)
Hmmm...I like keeping this Title going...as it reminds me of good old Gramma Van Wormer who immigrated to this country from Norway! She had a thing for cod liver oil.
Interesting comment and observation...about the RL. I really liked my 2000 TL a lot. The 2004 came along and we balked. I think you really Hit on it! The new RL is like the previous TL...a handsome but generic design. A very handsome car indeed. Thanks.
#5283 of 10348 Re: Pinch your nose and drink the cod liver oil [laurasdada]
Dec 04, 2005 (5:58 pm)
Well lucky for BMW, you are in a distinct minority as the overwhelming success of the Bangle E60 is one of the few bright spots in the automotive news these days.
For he shall reign forever and ever....