New Car shopping, the conclusion!!!

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by anubis, May 28, 2006.

  1. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    #1
    Hello everyone. You may remember me from about a month ago when I posted that I am about to start a new job and of course, as a 22-year-old male, a new car is on the top of my priority list of nice things to buy myself now that I can afford it. I was considering the following mix of luxury and luxury-sport cars: Lexus ES 350, Lexus IS 350, BMW Z4, BMW 330i, Mercedes C350, Acura TL, and Infiniti G35. I'm happy to report my findings as a result of my test drives.

    The BMW Z4 was pretty sporty and definitely got some looks as I was test driving it. However, the construction of the interior was mostly cheap plastic and poorly-fitting trim pieces. I even found a couple of loose screws rolling around underneith the seat. Where they came from, I have no idea, and I don't intend on buying one to find out. The performance on the 3.0i was sub-par to say the least. Mashing the pedal to the floor with the manual trans didn't produce the kind of power I was expecting was a small, luxury German sports roadster. Generally it surprisingly reeked of cheapness. It was a nice car, just not $45,000 nice.

    Next up was the BMW 330i. Its performance was also alright, but the interior looks like it hasn't been updated in 20 years. Pass.

    The Mercedes C350 was decent. However, I never really seriously considered it after I found out that Consumer Reports rated Mercedes dead last among the 28 biggest car companies in terms of 5 year overall reliability. I'd literally be better off buying a Kia. What's the point of a $45,000 car if it's in the shop 3 months out of the year? I know Mercedes has supposedly been making improvements to its reliability, but my confidence is pretty low in them right now regardless.

    The Acura TL was a nice vehicle. The interior was very well thought out. The fit and finish was the interior and exterior was nice and it seemed like a well-polished car, except for one thing: FWD. What's the point of having a 270hp engine if you can't use half of that power without extremely violent torque-steer through moderate cornering? Even on straight road, accelerating from a dead stop by mashing the pedal into the floor caused the steering wheel to buck wildly. Supposedly the TL is going to be redesigned during the 2008 or 2009 model year and will come with RWD standard with optional AWD. That would make the TL an excellent contender. But until then, I'm going to have to pass on this otherwise great car. A real disappointment.

    The Lexus IS 350 had a very attractive interior to me. I was expecting to get whiplash from it's 3.5 liter 306hp V6 and 6-speed transmission. But, for some reason, the performance just wasn't what I was expecting. The handling was very anonymous. It wasn't stiff and responsive, nor was it spongy and luxurious. It felt like I was steering a Camry. Because of the numb steering, I didn't feel confident whipping around a corner at 40mph to make use of the RWD and 300+ horses. Additionally, I'm not a fan of the exterior styling. It looks too bunched up, like they planned on making it a coupe and added 2 extra doors at the last second. Even with these complaints, it was still a good car, it's just not for me. I can understand why people buy them, though.

    Up to this point I mainly listed near-luxury sport sedans. However, the next car on my list doesn't pretend to be something it's not. The Lexus ES 350 is a luxury sedan in every way. FWD, with 272hp and 6-speed automatic, it is definitely not designed to be sporty. The handling and steering were very spongy and numb, and significant body roll discouraged me from trying to see what it would be like to whip it around a corner at high speeds. The suspension was extremely soft. What the car doesn't have in sportiness it makes up for in Luxury. Air conditioned seats, keyless starting, and touch screen nav system are just the tip of the iceberg of the luxury features offered. There is virtually no wind noise, and no road noise thanks to the soft suspension. It has what I would consider to be the perfect interior. Modern and luxurious but not overdone. And mashing the pedal to the floor provides a surprising rush of speed and power with minimal torque steer for highway merging or red-light racing. It was faster than the 3.0i Z4. Very impressive vehicle.

    Finally, we have the Infiniti G35. This car was introduced in 2002 as a 2003 model. The interior design definitely looks old and tired by today's standards, especially compared to the Lexus. However, for the 2007 model year, Infiniti is releasing an all-new G35. RWD standard with AWD as an option, the 2007 G35 will sport a 300+hp V6 (a 20+hp increase over the current G35). Based on pictures , I think the interior refinement will be very impressive and definitely challenges the Lexus in terms of fit and finish of the interior. Furthermore, the performance specs seem very impressive, and I haven't read a single negative review yet about the steering or handling. I think it might be the car for me. The only problem is that I'll have to wait until November of this year to get one!

    So what I need you people to do is talk trash about the ES 350 and talk up Infiniti. The problem is that I definitely like the ES 350 and I will be pretty happy with it. I just think I will be happier if I wait for the Infiniti. On the other hand, I could test drive it and hate it. What I'm affraid of is that I won't be able to force myself to wait for the Infiniti and I will splurge on the ES. I will be able to afford a car by mid-July, so it would be an agonizing 4-month wait to replace my hooptie with a Infiniti if I decided to wait. I don't know if I have the will power!

    Well anyway, tell me what you think of the new G35 and the ES 350. OK Thanks, bye!
     
  2. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #2
    I think you'd be very silly to buy either over a new 3 Series.
     
  3. mcarnes macrumors 68000

    mcarnes

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    Mar 14, 2004
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    USA! USA!
  4. Frisco macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2002
    Location:
    Utopia
    #4
    If you are looking to spend around $45K, more likely $50K (with options) I would go with the Lexus GS. It's so beautiful! But for a car in the mid 30s the Lexus ES is hands down the best bang for the buck in the entry level luxury market.
     
  5. cantthinkofone macrumors 65816

    cantthinkofone

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2004
    Location:
    Missouri, USA
    #5
    id take the G35 coup my self. very slick looking car. and being a Infiniti it should be a very reliable car. i think the wait until november is worth it.
     
  6. evoluzione macrumors 68020

    evoluzione

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    down the road, that's where i'll always be
    #6


    haha, of course, someone in NJ liking the Lexus ;)

    i agree with iGav, both Beemers are top of the list you gave us...but, your choice, if you're thinking about the others, go for it.
     
  7. Felldownthewell macrumors 65816

    Felldownthewell

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2006
    Location:
    Portland
    #7
    Again...I wish I had a car.:( :D


    Anyway, since I have never driven any of the above mentioned cars and the only cars i ever drive are a stick '99 subaru outback and an '04 Honda Pilot auto, I won't pretend I know anything about the performance or steering or anything technical at all.

    However, I do know that there are two G35s that park outside of our school now and then (I go to school in downtown, one is the car of a music teacher with a band, which is how he must have afforded it, and the other belongs to some lady in a nearby appartment.) and those are some nice looking cars! They turn heads and look powerful.

    If we are going on looks alone (which I know you aren't but I am) the Nissan 350z looks similar to the G35. I know Nissan is not a luxury brand but the design is similar and the engine might be too? I don't know. I'm just jealous that you can afford to even think about these cars! Good luck!
     
  8. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #8
    I totally agree. The 3-series chassis is brilliant.
     
  9. Kwyjibo macrumors 68040

    Kwyjibo

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2002
    #9
    I would spend less money on the car but I have no ideas on your financial situation and you seem set. You're young I would go with the Infiniti or possibly the Nissan version of the same car ... comes in sexier colors too.
     
  10. iGary Guest

    iGary

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    Randy's House
    #10
    For reliability, I would buy the Lexus or the Iinfiniti over the BMW hands down.

    If you want to have fun with your new car, get the BMW.

    Personally, I think you ought to put all that money into retirement. :eek:
     
  11. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #11
    I have owned two 330s in a row. Never a single problem with either and I drove both VERY hard.
     
  12. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #12
    No Audi's on your shopping list Anubis? Didn't feel like trying those FWD Saabs either (why not - you might not like the torque-steer but a test-drive is always fun)?
     
  13. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #13
    I think anubus knows as much about cars as I do. Me, for goodness sakes.

    *chuckles*
     
  14. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    May 26, 2004
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    Randy's House
    #14
    Very lucky for you. They've always been maintenance nightmares in our family.
     
  15. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #15
    Personally, if I were you, I would put money into a house or something. In a year I will be graduating college as an engineer and will be in the same posistion as you. I plan on keeping my current car, a 1990 toyota celica gts and keeping it in great condition as it currently is. Not only will the insurance be dirt cheap compared to a luxuary car, but so will the registration and the like. If you have a somewhat cool car, I would consider just modding your current car. For instance, I would like to put a 3s-gte engine in mine which will give it like 250hp for a car that weighs only 2700lbs. This would only set me back around 3k and give me one of the fastest cars around (it only has 130hp now). This would make it seem like a brand new car :D

    Maybe its just me, but I would like to keep my very first car around as long as I can as it has sentimental value somewhat. Plus, in my opinion alot more finacially reasonable.

    However, the lexus IS series is awesome like none other
     
  16. Kwyjibo macrumors 68040

    Kwyjibo

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2002
    #16
    Are you sure insurance will be dirt cheap? I mean if you're buying it through your parents policy perhaps, but I don't think auto insurance for a single 22 year old male will ever be what I consider dirt cheap. I expect to pay a lot on that front, regardless of car.
     
  17. dukebound85 macrumors P6

    dukebound85

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2005
    Location:
    5045 feet above sea level
    #17
    Well it will be as cheap as you can get for being 22. The fact is that a 16 year old car is not worth near as much as a 40k car and hence the insurance will be cheaper. Also, on an older car, you are able to have liability only whereas a new car, you will be forced to have full coverage unless you pay the total cost of the car up front. Full coverage greatly increases the insurance premiums. On an older car, full coverage isnt really worth it since a small fender bender may in fact total the car. Just a thought
     
  18. SharksFan22 macrumors regular

    SharksFan22

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    #18
    I've ridden in the Infiniti G35 and the Lexus and pretty much agree with you. The Lexus is somewhat numb but likely will be an extremely reliable vehicle and should retain it's value well. I think the G35 coupe is one of the best looking cars on the road, but the 4-door is a little "pedestrian", not bad, but not as attractive as the coupe. You mentioned waiting for the new one -- you will probably get a better deal on the current generation as well as the benefit of 3-4 years of minor engineering improvements. First year models for most vehicles can be a little quirky.

    I'll agree with others that the 3-series is a fantastic driver's car. I've owned two of them and hated getting rid of them. With regards to reliability, while not scientific at all, it seems that if performance cars are "babied" they tend to develop a number of problems. However, when driven with enthusiasm, they tend to be more reliable. Purely and observation based on my experience, but something to consider. You also MUST do the regular, scheduled maintenance or you'll start seeing problems.
     
  19. jakochampolska macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    #19

    yeah what about an audi??
     
  20. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #20
    iGary basically captured my idea.

    ...especially the last point.
     
  21. bigandy macrumors G3

    bigandy

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2004
    Location:
    Murka
    #21
    as someone pretty much your age, who's been in that kind of money before (but swapped it to finish university), i'd say don't waste it on a new car.

    the depreciation of the thing will annoy the hell out of you, plus you'll be paying for it forever.

    when i came across this money, i went on ebay and bought myself a second hand car for a very good price. i've had it two years now and my friends are all envoius - including the ones with brand new sports cars.

    but that may be because mine's pushing almost 400bhp now. and it's very light.

    but yes, my point is, don't buy a new car. it's about as clever as flushing money down the toilet. if you MUST buy something new, consider something even 'nearly new' - you could get some great car, and save yourself a good few thousand in the process - or expand your potential towards something even better for the same money.
     
  22. Frisco macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2002
    Location:
    Utopia
    #22
    One of the worst reliable cars on the road today. Worse than American cars.
    You buy Audi or VW you will regret driving period. They are pieces of s*it!
     
  23. ksz macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #23
    You must have sat in one that did not have iDrive, which means it also did not have navigation and the large screen. If the interior turned you off, try to find one with iDrive.

    Despite what every knuckle-headed magazine reviewer thinks, iDrive on the 5 and 3 series is JUST FINE. Some, like myself, actually like it a lot. Infiniti, Lexus, Audi, Mercedes and others have placed an array of buttons around their versions of the iDrive controller. Instead of making it more user-friendly, I think they have made it less so.

    BMW has removed as many buttons as possible and made nearly everything accessible through the iDrive controller. This means your hand always reaches for one and only one location. There is no hand-eye coordination needed, and the eye, in fact, needs to be focused on the road while the hand is controlling functions of the car.

    As for reliability, I have no complaints after owning three 5 series in a row. However, the 5 series are made in Germany whereas the 3 series sold in America are made in America. Since I have never owned a 3 series, I cannot comment on its reliability, but when I buy an import I want it to be built in its home country.

    Mercedes, for example, builds E-Class sedans in several parts of the world, including South Africa. In my experience talking with owners in various parts of the world, build quality and reliability vary significantly depending on the location of the factory. Recent South African-made E-Class sedans have experienced a lot of engine problems. Our family's M-Class SUV (long since sold) was built in America and was completely atrocious. It soured the grapes.

    Finally, we have 4 Lexus cars in the family (2 SUVs and 2 sedans and all of them owned by women!). All of them drive smoothly but are lacking in performance and handling. Steering is not nearly as precise as my BMW, acceleration is muted, and there is an overall spartan feeling to it that bores me. I can't imagine being satisfied with a Lexus for more than 6 months; it would be a nice initial experience that would wear off far too quickly.

    Buying on the basis of reliability alone is a lot like dating a girl who has all the right credentials--the right academic degrees, the right career, the right earnings potential, the right clothes--but with whom there is absolutely no emotional connection.

    Between the Lexus and the Infiniti, I would recommend the latter. Infiniti (and Nissan in general) is based more on the characteristics of BMW. Lexus (and Toyota in general) is based on the characteristics of Mercedes.
     
  24. jakochampolska macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2005
    #24
    its all about the looks, skrew the hp and everthing else haha
    well actually I think the new VWs are FUGLY as hell. What were they thinking!
     
  25. musicalmcs8706 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    #25
    Exactly! Go to a car auction to find something cheap. You can get a lot more car for your money.
     

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