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
#8299 of 10348 Re: What's GS350 [felke001]
Sep 04, 2006 (5:40 am)
Speaking as someone who "almost" replaced a long long lineup of German cars with an Infiniti, perhaps it is time to seriously consider the Japanese cars.
Frankly, I did think Infiniti made a good run at "German-ness" and although I have driven Lexi's over the years, I had not given the current gen a serious look-see.
The reason (before the 2005 Infiniti M35X near miss)? I thought the Lexus cars were MORE money than the Germans, rather than "coming in cheaper than MB,Audi and BMW."
My Lexus owning friends always seem to be getting very little discount on their Japanese LPS's -- perhaps the Acura RL would be a present-day exception.
#8300 of 10348 Re: What's GS350 [markcincinnati]
Sep 04, 2006 (8:17 am)
A loaded AWD GS350 with Nav, ML stereo, etc. stickers for ~52K. I think that is cheaper than a loaded A6 3.2 quattro(~54K) and a loaded 530xi (~57K). Haven't priced the Benz E class but I assume its as much at the BMW.
So based on sticker alone (recognizing that the ability to discount significantly from MSRP may differ between models), the Lexus is relatively "cheap".
There has been talk on the Lexus boards that when the G350 came out it would be going for sticker, but given the lack of buzz about the "redesign" I suspect they will be discounting soon if not already.
Driving the A6 and the GS tomorrow back to back, still trying to make up my mind. Life is tough:)
#8301 of 10348 New forum member buying experience
Sep 04, 2006 (8:26 am)
About a month ago, I began researching and test-driving cars in the category being discussed on this forum. Decided to sign up and share my experience. So, here goes…
Sidebar … CR and JD Powers didn’t seem like much help, since they show that (to take the recently release JD Powers Dependability study as an example) 2004 Lexus owners typically had one or two problems; 2004 Cadillac, BMW, Infiniti, Jaguar, and BMW owners typically had two problems; 2004 MB and Audi owners typically had two or three problems -- in three years.
I drove two 2007 MB E350s, one with and one without Sport Package. I like that all MBs, from the oldest I see on the road to the 2007s, look like members of the same family. Aesthetics matter a lot to me in car choice. I did not immediately love the MB interior -- just didn't feel my kind of "car-ness" in there. I did like the Sport Package's driving feel.
I then checked out the BMW 5-series, but, having driven a 2002 530i for four years, I knew that I didn't like the design of the new ones. But nothing drives exactly like a BMW (I don't think BMW's drive better in every way, just distinctive - unlike one post I read where a BMW 5-series owner claimed never to have been passed on any curved road because all other cars had to drop off, unable to keep up with road-hugging Bimmer; I don't have that idealized image of Bimmers). I might have stayed with BMW, but the interior left me flat -- again, just me -- both in layout and backseat room. The car drove flawlessly smooth, but the extra smoothness, compared to my 2002, seemed to have pushed smoothness into some territory that, for me, felt less interesting.
I had read a lot of wow! Words about the M35/M45 in newspapers and magazines and in Edmunds own comparison report. The M35/M45. M35x and M35/M45 Sports were unique among these cars. They got positioned in my mind as contemporary luxury muscle cars -- exhaust system tuned to make loud growl, 5 gears all set to keep rpms very high (and, according to car's computer, to keep gas companies happy -- I was quizzical when I read someone say you can balance it out by buying oil stocks; I own several, but can't quite see the joy in giving the company back the money I'm making), thump and bump rear end. But I get how Motor Trend and Car and Driver couldn't get past the muscle car acceleration. It's a kick. Infiniti saw a way to run to the top of the auto mag comparos (unlike the German big-3 whose engines have articles written about their blend of increased power and fuel efficiency) by taking their terrific V6 and setting up the drivetrain to stay in high-torque range (car rarely went below 3000 rpm even cruising on highway; in fact, when you start the engine the tach revs up close to redline and snaps back (very dramatic on bright orange gauge) and any touch of the gas in any gear pushes you above 4000 rpm). I did not like interior of "Luxury" M35, compared to "Sport" -- un-wowed me more than interior of any car I've driven). But the Sport was the bumpiest of any of the cars, including the MB Sport and Audi A6 S-Line. So, I dropped the M choice.
I spent the most time at Lexus because I hadn't driven them. I tried the ES and GS. Too much torque steer in ES. GS was impressive, but had too much plush (in interior and handling) and not enough of the sport ingredient in the "performance" factor of LPS. Just not my brand -- totally understand, however, how some drivers love them. They offer a distinct choice.
Audi has the design that turns my head. They look just right to me and the interior of the A6 felt right immediately. I had read a lot of positive things about the car, but also mentions of not-enough-low-end torque in the V6. My experience was different. In regular "Drive" mode, I felt what had been described: the car moves very quickly into higher gears, saving fuel (car computer matched CR's observed 4 mpg more than M35), but feeling almost like a bit of hesitation (if you're wanting to fly off the line). Then I flipped the transmission into Sport mode and got muscle-car type of instant acceleration. So, I came away feeling that the A6 3.2 Quattro gave me a nice choice of driving styles depending on whether I feel laid-back-smooth (it has the nicest blend, to my ears, of exhaust-system music and quiet) or high-testosterone. The small info screen right in front of the driver helps a lot to avoid constantly looking over at the Nav-Info screens that all these cars have.
So, the next weekend, I narrowed down my choices to the 2007 MB E350 Sport and a 2006 or 2007 A6 (not much new that matters to me; in fact, I prefer the 2006 beeping "Park-tronic" rear parking assist to the 2007 rear camera; the camera thing distracts me and I couldn't get to trusting that it was showing me how close I was to the wall in the garage at my office (I drove both cars down the highway and into the city and right into my building, to see how each of the two finalists would feel on the route I drive 5 days a week). One deciding factor was the S-Line versus the MB Sport Package. The MB Sport suspension was lower but, other than that, didn't seem, in my hands, to dramatically change the handling/steering/engagement factor, while the S-Line sport suspension seemed to me (not sure of the engineering involved) to be a more complete "European-style" suspension change and to yield a real sports-car feel, without any loss of solid-quiet feel going over bumps. I also loved the gray birchwood trim that comes with the S-Line. The lack of an Audi equivalent to the "Oh, you're a Bimmer guy" or "So, you've moved up to MB" added some appeal (I liked that relative anonymity with the M35 too). And, on the most twisty backroad part of the final test-drives, the type of AWD Audi uses felt like it provided the most on-rails feeling. So, I bought a 2006 A6 3.2 Quattro with every option package (Premium, Technology, S-Line) and power rear and manual sunshades. MSRP = $55,790. Invoice (this dealer just handed me the vehicle invoice) = $51,958. Dealer offered it to me at invoice, with additional $6,000 off (due to Audi dealer incentive). So, I got it for $46,000. Very happy first week.
Just my experience.
#8302 of 10348 LWB version of the RL
Sep 04, 2006 (11:39 am)
Below is a picture of the upcoming stretched LWB version of the Acura 2009 RL.
In all honesty I think Honda is overusing their Accord platform
#8303 of 10348 Re: New forum member buying experience [domenickamarc]
Sep 04, 2006 (12:44 pm)
One of the most thoughtful (and on topic) personal reviews of these cars I've read on this forum. Great contribution.
#8304 of 10348 Re: New forum member buying experience [domenickamarc]
Sep 04, 2006 (1:08 pm)
So much more useful than BMW sold more than x, therefore it must be the greatest. Each person's hot buttons get pushed by different things, and deciding what is most important to you as an individual is what is required to make an informed decision. Viewing others perspectives, opens up thoughts on aspects that might not be initially perceived, and is very useful.
#8305 of 10348 Re: New forum member buying experience [domenickamarc]
Sep 04, 2006 (1:30 pm)
Wow! 17.5% off of MSRP.
#8306 of 10348 Re: New forum member buying experience [domenickamarc]
Sep 04, 2006 (4:28 pm)
Thanks & congratulations on your new car.
#8307 of 10348 Re: New forum member buying experience [domenickamarc]
Sep 04, 2006 (7:37 pm)
Excellent synopsis of your experiences on testing these autos. Can't fault your logic one bit. Good job and a great car and deal you decided on.
#8308 of 10348 Re: What's GS350 [felke001]
Sep 05, 2006 (7:36 am)
Showing my ignorance here:
Can you specify a GS with a Sport Suspension option?
NOT a Sport Pacakge, or Sport Appearance Group, or some other designation that, while including the word Sport, does NOT contain a sport suspension.
The 530xi sport package, for instance, does NOT include a sport suspension.
Audi offers SLine which IS BOTH appearance AND performance bits for the [some would say "steep" price]. The Audi SLine gives you sport wheels, tires, suspension bits and some ground effects.
The Infiniti M35X could have been dealer uprated at the time (mid 2005) with 19" wheels and UHP tires, but not suspension calibration.
Some of the sport offerings seem, too, to only come with Auto trans if there's AWD involved. This has become, even for die hard manual trans fans (bigots) like me, to be much less of an issue what with the 6 speed auto trans being as good as they are these days.
Anyway: can you actually get a Lexus with a true Sport Suspension even if it isn't part of a sport group or package?