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cjg225
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Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:47 pm

I have a 2000 Audi A6 Quattro 2.8 with 164k miles on it. I got it in 2004 with 46k miles on it. I've loved the car the entire time I've had it. As much as I want to get as much life out of it as possible, I do recognize I probably need to consider a newer car soon. I take very good care of mine, so hopefully it has plenty of life left.

I'm not necessarily married to getting another Audi, but it's a preference given that my only car ever has been my current one. I've done some cursory searches on certified pre-owned A4s or A6s. At least one non-negotiable criteria for any car is all-wheel-drive.

What experience do folks have with recent-vintage Audis or other luxury sedans? Like BMW or other brands that offer AWD in their small/medium sedans (I have no interest in the large luxury sedan classes like the A8, S-Class, etc.). What are best in poor-weather environments with rain/snow? Most comfortable for long-distance driving? Seem to be most reliable?

Reliability is probably my #1 criteria. I don't mind that Audis are expensive to fix as long as they don't break down often.
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jetwet1
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:20 pm

With Audi's, avoid the V8's.

I own (for a little while longer) own a VW Phaeton W12, fantastic car, however, the service bills are eye watering and be prepared to sell a kidney if something breaks.

We had a Volvo S60, fantastic car, 100% reliable, very comfortable on long road trips and good in all weather, however front wheel drive only. I'm in the process of buying an Alfa Romeo Giulia, fantastic car during the test drive, I don't trust it not to break down every 10 ft though.
 
cpd
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:35 pm

If all wheel drive is a priority, then you are stuck with 4matic S-Class or the Audi Quattro models. BMW does do 4wd 7 series and 5 series, but only in the more recent models as far as I know.

M550d X-Drive? Is it even sold in your country? Or what about the X5 M50d? That's a lovely thing with a really nice diesel inline 6 (triple-turbo). Engine sounds great and performs well.
 
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Aesma
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:15 pm

Last time he bought a 4-year-old car.

Besides, the 5-series has AWD since 2004.

I prefer RWD, hate Audi (in part for that reason, the other being boring looks) and like my sedans to have only 2 doors, so can't be too useful to the OP.
Last edited by Aesma on Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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flanker
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:16 pm

S8, A8L , LS430/460, S Class.. etc
 
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cjg225
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:24 am

cpd wrote:
If all wheel drive is a priority, then you are stuck with 4matic S-Class or the Audi Quattro models. BMW does do 4wd 7 series and 5 series, but only in the more recent models as far as I know.

M550d X-Drive? Is it even sold in your country? Or what about the X5 M50d? That's a lovely thing with a really nice diesel inline 6 (triple-turbo). Engine sounds great and performs well.

My family used to have a 4-matic E320 Wagon. I'm pretty sure my mom was looking at some certified pre-owned C-Class vehicles with 4-matic back in 2015, too.

Isn't the X5 an SUV?
flanker wrote:
S8, A8L , LS430/460, S Class.. etc

That's actually the level of car I'm trying to avoid. I'm looking at the small/medium luxury cars. I only know the Mercedes and Audi naming conventions well (like A4 = C-Class, A6 = E-Class).
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cpd
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:42 am

cjg225 wrote:
cpd wrote:
If all wheel drive is a priority, then you are stuck with 4matic S-Class or the Audi Quattro models. BMW does do 4wd 7 series and 5 series, but only in the more recent models as far as I know.

M550d X-Drive? Is it even sold in your country? Or what about the X5 M50d? That's a lovely thing with a really nice diesel inline 6 (triple-turbo). Engine sounds great and performs well.

My family used to have a 4-matic E320 Wagon. I'm pretty sure my mom was looking at some certified pre-owned C-Class vehicles with 4-matic back in 2015, too.

Isn't the X5 an SUV?
flanker wrote:
S8, A8L , LS430/460, S Class.. etc

That's actually the level of car I'm trying to avoid. I'm looking at the small/medium luxury cars. I only know the Mercedes and Audi naming conventions well (like A4 = C-Class, A6 = E-Class).


Just trying to think of anything that might be all-wheel-drive. X5 M50D is an SUV, but not a huge one. The M550D X-drive is a really nice 5 series wagon with the same thumping triple-turbo diesel engine, but it might not be sold everywhere.Here in my country, they refuse to sell us the 4matic wagons and 4wd 5 series wagon.
 
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cjg225
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:55 am

cpd wrote:
Just trying to think of anything that might be all-wheel-drive. X5 M50D is an SUV, but not a huge one. The M550D X-drive is a really nice 5 series wagon with the same thumping triple-turbo diesel engine, but it might not be sold everywhere.Here in my country, they refuse to sell us the 4matic wagons and 4wd 5 series wagon.

My mom actually has an x3 with x-Drive, but it's the 4-cylinder model. I recall from the sales process that there actually is a 6-cylinder model.

I am not thrilled that the A4 has only a 2.0 Turbo 4, so that is part of the reason why I am not enamored with it. But, I suppose I could live with that. I'm more concerned about the Turbo part (reliability and cost) than the 4-cylinder part.

I know so little about newer cars because I've not had to look at any for so long, so my knowledge rests mostly with Audi. That's why I am asking broad questions.
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cpd
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:04 am

cjg225 wrote:
cpd wrote:
Just trying to think of anything that might be all-wheel-drive. X5 M50D is an SUV, but not a huge one. The M550D X-drive is a really nice 5 series wagon with the same thumping triple-turbo diesel engine, but it might not be sold everywhere.Here in my country, they refuse to sell us the 4matic wagons and 4wd 5 series wagon.

My mom actually has an x3 with x-Drive, but it's the 4-cylinder model. I recall from the sales process that there actually is a 6-cylinder model.

I am not thrilled that the A4 has only a 2.0 Turbo 4, so that is part of the reason why I am not enamored with it. But, I suppose I could live with that. I'm more concerned about the Turbo part (reliability and cost) than the 4-cylinder part.

I know so little about newer cars because I've not had to look at any for so long, so my knowledge rests mostly with Audi. That's why I am asking broad questions.


Have a look on Autogefuehl: https://www.youtube.com/user/autogefuehl

You might find reviews of some of the cars you are interested in. Not just 5 minute reports, those are 30+minute long in depth reviews.
 
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cjg225
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:31 am

cpd wrote:
Have a look on Autogefuehl: https://www.youtube.com/user/autogefuehl

You might find reviews of some of the cars you are interested in. Not just 5 minute reports, those are 30+minute long in depth reviews.

Interesting. Thanks! I watched a couple on another YouTube channel last weekend, but this looks like a really good resource.
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cpd
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:45 am

cjg225 wrote:
cpd wrote:
Have a look on Autogefuehl: https://www.youtube.com/user/autogefuehl

You might find reviews of some of the cars you are interested in. Not just 5 minute reports, those are 30+minute long in depth reviews.

Interesting. Thanks! I watched a couple on another YouTube channel last weekend, but this looks like a really good resource.


Yeah, he's pretty good - quite fair as well. You find out more about the car from him than you do with others like Car and Driver, Autocar and any of the others. It's about as close as being in the car yourself.
 
Ken777
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:18 am

Lexus might be an option - you're basically getting a Toyota so quality should be good and serving cheaper. The AWD Lexus (or Toyota) SUV would be good in the snow (and have a higher clearance than a sedan)
 
Flighty
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:32 am

I do think CPO is the way to go. These cars are very complex. Even routine wear items (and I mean radiators, water pumps, wheel bearings) would be costly enough that you want to either buy new, or stay in official factory warranty.

Alternatively, drive fully depreciated 10 year old cars and roll the dice. Up to you. I kind of like the M-B E class from 2006.
 
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cjg225
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Tue Jan 31, 2017 1:45 pm

Ken777 wrote:
Lexus might be an option - you're basically getting a Toyota so quality should be good and serving cheaper. The AWD Lexus (or Toyota) SUV would be good in the snow (and have a higher clearance than a sedan)

For some reason I just am not a fan of how Lexuses (Lexi?) look, but I can't deny that they get consistently high marks for reliability.

Flighty wrote:
I do think CPO is the way to go. These cars are very complex. Even routine wear items (and I mean radiators, water pumps, wheel bearings) would be costly enough that you want to either buy new, or stay in official factory warranty.

My one concern is finding a CPO with sufficient warranty left. I thought getting one with 46k on it was tight on original warranty coverage. I got a 3rd party extended warranty, which was nice for a while.
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Kiwirob
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:05 pm

go out and drive a few cars, listening to the armchair experts here will just give u a headache!
 
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cjg225
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Wed Feb 01, 2017 1:22 am

Kiwirob wrote:
go out and drive a few cars, listening to the armchair experts here will just give u a headache!

Well, I am hoping to avoid driving every luxury car model around, so maybe some advice here can narrow it down. Furthermore, finding out the reputation of various manufacturers' certified pre-owned programs is valuable. I know of Audi's because I have one, but I don't know how good other CPO programs are.
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vrbarreto
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:35 am

There's always the new V90 Cross Country

http://www.volvocars.com/intl/cars/new- ... ss-country

I have a XC70 D5 and have driven it from the UK to Slovakia and back several times and it is a fantastic beast.. The V90 is apparently even better.. Hopefully taking one for a test drive in a couple of weeks.
 
luckyone
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Wed Feb 01, 2017 2:33 pm

jetwet1 wrote:
We had a Volvo S60, fantastic car, 100% reliable, very comfortable on long road trips and good in all weather, however front wheel drive only.

The S60 can be purchased with AWD, as can its wagon sibling, the V60. Both great cars. I had an S80, which I loved. Recently traded it for an XC70 (basically a lifted S80 wagon), which I also love. S80s are solid, reliable, though not entirely heart-stopping cars. They are incredibly comfortable. You can also get a lightly used one for not a lot of money.
 
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Kiwirob
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Wed Feb 01, 2017 4:14 pm

luckyone wrote:
jetwet1 wrote:
We had a Volvo S60, fantastic car, 100% reliable, very comfortable on long road trips and good in all weather, however front wheel drive only.

The S60 can be purchased with AWD, as can its wagon sibling, the V60. Both great cars. I had an S80, which I loved. Recently traded it for an XC70 (basically a lifted S80 wagon), which I also love. S80s are solid, reliable, though not entirely heart-stopping cars. They are incredibly comfortable. You can also get a lightly used one for not a lot of money.


Volvo never built a V80, what you're thinking of is the V70, I owned one back in 2010, great car.
 
Flighty
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Wed Feb 01, 2017 5:10 pm

luckyone wrote:
jetwet1 wrote:
We had a Volvo S60, fantastic car, 100% reliable, very comfortable on long road trips and good in all weather, however front wheel drive only.

The S60 can be purchased with AWD, as can its wagon sibling, the V60. Both great cars. I had an S80, which I loved. Recently traded it for an XC70 (basically a lifted S80 wagon), which I also love. S80s are solid, reliable, though not entirely heart-stopping cars. They are incredibly comfortable. You can also get a lightly used one for not a lot of money.


Yeah my family member has had two recent XC70s - a 2008 and a 2016.

The recent S80/V70/XC70 from those years is a very solid platform, near indestructible. And I would prefer the six cylinder cars.

They are a Mercedes-Benz equivalent car that is less conspicuous and less money. They ARE incredibly comfortable.
 
flanker
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Wed Feb 01, 2017 5:56 pm

cjg225 wrote:
cpd wrote:
That's actually the level of car I'm trying to avoid. I'm looking at the small/medium luxury cars. I only know the Mercedes and Audi naming conventions well (like A4 = C-Class, A6 = E-Class).



LOL my bad completely did not read the part where you specifically said you're not interested.
 
luckyone
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Wed Feb 01, 2017 6:24 pm

Kiwirob wrote:
luckyone wrote:
jetwet1 wrote:
We had a Volvo S60, fantastic car, 100% reliable, very comfortable on long road trips and good in all weather, however front wheel drive only.

The S60 can be purchased with AWD, as can its wagon sibling, the V60. Both great cars. I had an S80, which I loved. Recently traded it for an XC70 (basically a lifted S80 wagon), which I also love. S80s are solid, reliable, though not entirely heart-stopping cars. They are incredibly comfortable. You can also get a lightly used one for not a lot of money.


Volvo never built a V80, what you're thinking of is the V70, I owned one back in 2010, great car.

Yeah I never said they built a V80. What I said was the XC70 is basically a lifted S80 wagon (ie. the same S80 sedan with a wagon boot attached), which indeed was called the V70.
 
B777LRF
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:06 pm

May I suggest a Jaguar XF? Great engines, AWD is an option, looks the part and drives very, very nicely indeed. If your budget will spring for it, the XJ is another option, albeit I'm not sure they come with AWD. But, who cares when the glove compartment is lined in purple :)
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dtw2hyd
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Fri Feb 03, 2017 11:48 am

If I read correctly you are looking for a midsize luxury sedan.

BMW 5 series and MB E-Class are your best bets.

Don't get too hung up on Reliability #1, with so many sensors and electronics they will brake down and you will be spending money after warranty runs out, unless you are a DIY person.

Its not that you can avoid these electronics because most of them are standard. Avoid turbo, your long term TCO will be same. Whatever you save on fuel will be a wash because of initial markup + out of warranty repair costs.

Blind spot monitors or collision avoidance systems are nice features to have for now but when components start failing they are drain on your pocket.
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cpd
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Fri Feb 03, 2017 11:55 am

dtw2hyd wrote:
If I read correctly you are looking for a midsize luxury sedan.

BMW 5 series and MB E-Class are your best bets.

Don't get too hung up on Reliability #1, with so many sensors and electronics they will brake down and you will be spending money after warranty runs out, unless you are a DIY person.

Its not that you can avoid these electronics because most of them are standard. Avoid turbo, your long term TCO will be same. Whatever you save on fuel will be a wash because of initial markup + out of warranty repair costs.

Blind spot monitors or collision avoidance systems are nice features to have for now but when components start failing they are drain on your pocket.


But blind spot warnings, active cruise control and collision avoidance systems now are hard to avoid, even quite a number of mundane small hatch backs have them. Even older cars without these systems can still be extremely expensive to repair, certainly the W126 420SEL that a friend of mine has, that's also expensive to fix. Lovely car though, really comfortable thing and easy to get in and out of (I had to do that earlier this week, with my leg heavily bandaged and assorted other fairly severe injuries).
 
dtw2hyd
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Fri Feb 03, 2017 12:08 pm

cpd wrote:
dtw2hyd wrote:
If I read correctly you are looking for a midsize luxury sedan.

BMW 5 series and MB E-Class are your best bets.

Don't get too hung up on Reliability #1, with so many sensors and electronics they will brake down and you will be spending money after warranty runs out, unless you are a DIY person.

Its not that you can avoid these electronics because most of them are standard. Avoid turbo, your long term TCO will be same. Whatever you save on fuel will be a wash because of initial markup + out of warranty repair costs.

Blind spot monitors or collision avoidance systems are nice features to have for now but when components start failing they are drain on your pocket.


But blind spot warnings, active cruise control and collision avoidance systems now are hard to avoid, even quite a number of mundane small hatch backs have them. Even older cars without these systems can still be extremely expensive to repair, certainly the W126 420SEL that a friend of mine has, that's also expensive to fix. Lovely car though, really comfortable thing and easy to get in and out of (I had to do that earlier this week, with my leg heavily bandaged and assorted other fairly severe injuries).


Agreed but when old cars brake down, it is most likely engine, power-train issue which you have to get it fixed, but if a safety feature like collision avoidance system sensor/component goes bad and car doesn't want to move because it thinks there is an obstruction, you have to pay to avoid the nuisance. These sensors and components are buried deep, $100 component, 10 hrs fixed labor charge at $200/per hour, $2100 total bill. Just an example.
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cjg225
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Fri Feb 03, 2017 12:15 pm

dtw2hyd wrote:
If I read correctly you are looking for a midsize luxury sedan.

BMW 5 series and MB E-Class are your best bets.

Don't get too hung up on Reliability #1, with so many sensors and electronics they will brake down and you will be spending money after warranty runs out, unless you are a DIY person.

Its not that you can avoid these electronics because most of them are standard. Avoid turbo, your long term TCO will be same. Whatever you save on fuel will be a wash because of initial markup + out of warranty repair costs.

Blind spot monitors or collision avoidance systems are nice features to have for now but when components start failing they are drain on your pocket.

Or small-size luxury car, like the A4/C-Class range.

I've long heard BMWs are one-owner cars; they may be good if you get them new, but never get one used. How are BMWs in the CPO world? I must admit I've never liked the BMW grill... very odd look to me... but my mother got an X3 in late 2015, and I've felt it's been a decent car when I've driven it.

My concern with Mercedes is that I've heard from multiple sources that the last several model years are incredibly prone to tire problems because of their low-profile tires. My family had multiple Mercedes for many years, and we have a good relationship with one of the service managers at our local dealer. He was even telling us that Monday mornings they have a line of cars outside to have wheels replaces and damage repaired because of blowouts from their low profile tires, especially on the horrifically bad roads of eastern Pennsylvania. Conversely, I've not heard of similar problems with Audi or BMW.

I'm not quire sure I understood the sentence structure; you're saying to avoid turbo because the total cost of ownership with be the same as... what?

I definitely get the thing about electronics. Driving a 17-year-old car, I don't have that many electronic features in the car, so there is little that can break (I've had a radio go... that's about it). I dread chasing electronics problems in a new car. I guess when I think of "reliability" I mean things that will make driving the car impossible, difficult, or at least unsafe. I do put up with a variety of problems that are minor or have no real effect on operation of the vehicle. So if things like a blind spot monitor stop working, I don't care because I view a lot of those features as unnecessary crutches. It's still my responsibility to drive safely. As long as it doesn't prevent me from driving somehow, I can survive with something like that breaking.
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dtw2hyd
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Fri Feb 03, 2017 1:39 pm

cjg225 wrote:
Or small-size luxury car, like the A4/C-Class range.

I've long heard BMWs are one-owner cars; they may be good if you get them new, but never get one used. How are BMWs in the CPO world? I must admit I've never liked the BMW grill... very odd look to me... but my mother got an X3 in late 2015, and I've felt it's been a decent car when I've driven it.

My concern with Mercedes is that I've heard from multiple sources that the last several model years are incredibly prone to tire problems because of their low-profile tires. My family had multiple Mercedes for many years, and we have a good relationship with one of the service managers at our local dealer. He was even telling us that Monday mornings they have a line of cars outside to have wheels replaces and damage repaired because of blowouts from their low profile tires, especially on the horrifically bad roads of eastern Pennsylvania. Conversely, I've not heard of similar problems with Audi or BMW.

I'm not quire sure I understood the sentence structure; you're saying to avoid turbo because the total cost of ownership with be the same as... what?

I definitely get the thing about electronics. Driving a 17-year-old car, I don't have that many electronic features in the car, so there is little that can break (I've had a radio go... that's about it). I dread chasing electronics problems in a new car. I guess when I think of "reliability" I mean things that will make driving the car impossible, difficult, or at least unsafe. I do put up with a variety of problems that are minor or have no real effect on operation of the vehicle. So if things like a blind spot monitor stop working, I don't care because I view a lot of those features as unnecessary crutches. It's still my responsibility to drive safely. As long as it doesn't prevent me from driving somehow, I can survive with something like that breaking.


I am not much of C-Class fan, you are just paying for the badge. A4 is a good option(sans Turbo), but there is a huge VW/Audi community which helps you find cheaper solutions for the nuisance problems. BMW 3 series is also good, but very small.

You cannot avoid run flat & low profile, just bargain a good deal on hazard protection for wheels and tires with the dealer.

Here is a sample of my own TCO estimate for Turbo vs V6. This is my personal opinion, not trying to present as a fact. Do your own research.

List price of Turbo will always be cheaper than V6. Say Turbo-$45K, V6-$49K, but you have a better chance of negotiating down a V6 price say to $46K.

Over 8-10 years, all other things equal, say you save $2K on fuel with Turbo, but you spend $2K-$4K on Turbo/Twin Turbo repairs.

Turbo ... $45 -$2K + ($2K to $4K) = $45K-$47K
V6 ... $46K

Longer you keep you spend more on Turbo repairs and you will be missing the raw power and reliability of V6.
All posts are just opinions.
 
vrbarreto
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Fri Feb 03, 2017 1:59 pm

Yeah electronic problems can be a bit of a pain. Car in the garage today as it went into limp mode on the M25 yesterday on my way to one of our offices... Got there ok and left the car for 20 minutes.. Came back and the car was fine for the entire 75 mile drive back home.

Suspect something went over the threshold for a sensor and it went into self protect mode.. Last time it did this was because of what the garage reckon was a bad batch of diesel about 8 months ago. That was on the Authoban.. A quick stop, look under the bonnet, nothing on fire or hanging out and was back on my way.
 
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cjg225
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Fri Feb 03, 2017 4:12 pm

dtw2hyd wrote:
I am not much of C-Class fan, you are just paying for the badge. A4 is a good option(sans Turbo), but there is a huge VW/Audi community which helps you find cheaper solutions for the nuisance problems. BMW 3 series is also good, but very small.

You cannot avoid run flat & low profile, just bargain a good deal on hazard protection for wheels and tires with the dealer.

Here is a sample of my own TCO estimate for Turbo vs V6. This is my personal opinion, not trying to present as a fact. Do your own research.

List price of Turbo will always be cheaper than V6. Say Turbo-$45K, V6-$49K, but you have a better chance of negotiating down a V6 price say to $46K.

Over 8-10 years, all other things equal, say you save $2K on fuel with Turbo, but you spend $2K-$4K on Turbo/Twin Turbo repairs.

Turbo ... $45 -$2K + ($2K to $4K) = $45K-$47K
V6 ... $46K

Longer you keep you spend more on Turbo repairs and you will be missing the raw power and reliability of V6.

Well, I'm not saying I would get a C-Class (unless it was the right car). I know just the Mercedes naming conventions so I can give an alternate to the A4.

I don't think the A4 has non-Turbo models in the US anymore, unless I am reading the Audi USA website wrong. If they did get rid of non-Turbo engines for the A4, when was that? Since I'd be interested in a CPO, I guess I might be able to get a good non-Turbo A4 still. Also, has the A4 always been only a 4-cylinder?

After driving an A6 for so long, I guess the smaller size of something like a 3-series could bother me, but as long as it's not substantially smaller. I understand that, for example, the A4 has become bigger over time, so maybe a 3-series today isn't that small compared to a 2000 A6?

I know I can't avoid low-profile, but I am hoping that some brands are better than others. Like I said, I have heard repeatedly how bad Mercedes' low profiles are, but I have not heard similar complaints about Audi or BMW. And protection plans are great, but they can't cover my time and aggravation if something does go wrong. I'd prefer things not go wrong in the first place rather than be 100% covered but always facing a problem with the wheels.

What you say about the Turbo is exactly why I'd prefer to avoid one. My V6 has been very good to me, but it is showing its age. It's not nearly as elastic as newer V6s (and some older ones) I've driven.
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Molykote
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Sun Feb 05, 2017 8:52 pm

cjg225 wrote:
I have a 2000 Audi A6 Quattro 2.8 with 164k miles on it. I got it in 2004 with 46k miles on it. I've loved the car the entire time I've had it. As much as I want to get as much life out of it as possible, I do recognize I probably need to consider a newer car soon. I take very good care of mine, so hopefully it has plenty of life left.

I'm not necessarily married to getting another Audi, but it's a preference given that my only car ever has been my current one. I've done some cursory searches on certified pre-owned A4s or A6s. At least one non-negotiable criteria for any car is all-wheel-drive.

What experience do folks have with recent-vintage Audis or other luxury sedans? Like BMW or other brands that offer AWD in their small/medium sedans (I have no interest in the large luxury sedan classes like the A8, S-Class, etc.). What are best in poor-weather environments with rain/snow? Most comfortable for long-distance driving? Seem to be most reliable?

Reliability is probably my #1 criteria. I don't mind that Audis are expensive to fix as long as they don't break down often.


I get a few mixed signals from your question, but I'll take a stab at it:

If you need AWD and reliability is #1 you should look at a Lexus. I don't like much of their interior (or exterior) design, but that's largely a personal decision. The handling isn't as good as most of the German competition, but this doesn't matter to all drivers (and even then doesn't matter in all situations).

You said that you need AWD, so I won't talk you out of it. I assume you "need" AWD because of PA weather, so I would suggest a set of winter tires (makes sense to get spare wheels too) for whatever car you settle on. Winter tires will make a bigger difference than AWD in winter/cold weather conditions. Based on your signature we went to the same university (and I lived in PA for more than 90% of my life), so I am very familiar with the deficiencies of PA roads and weather.

If you're going to put ~10k on your car in an average year (just guessing based on your 2000 Audi) I would get a CPO used car that is low in its mileage/year of service warranty. This ensures that you get the maximum number of years of protection. I don't know your budget, but you can get a $35k CPO car that will give you 4 years of warranty and is nicely optioned. Although you mention being "tolerant" to secondary system failures, you might as well get the best warranty that you can knowing these things will come up and can be addressed under warranty. Most luxury brands offer loaner cars and will pick up your vehicle, so the headaches with back and forth trips to the dealer are largely mitigated. My experience (direct or via parents) with ~10+ high end German cars in the PA climate is that they seem to hate our weather and temperature swings (I am sure that no machine "likes" it - but the German stuff seems to be more temperamental in response to it).

My basic comparison would be as below...
Audi - great interiors and AWD*
MB - structural build quality always impressed me more than others. Avoid the pre-2010 stuff. They seemed cheap - maybe some Chrysler merger hangover?
BMW - better to drive but the gap has closed in the last ~decade. great seats.
Lexus - reliable, soft, quiet

* - AWD was Audi's thing long before others adopted it. The fundamental design of the car was created with AWD in mind. I haven't kept up with all of the OEMs to attest that Audi's AWD system is (still) more spohisticated than the others, but they've been doing it longer. I always preferred the driving experience of a BMW (and liked that they biased torque to the rear wheels back when Audi was doing 50/50), but I think the perceptible differences in one OEM's AWD system to another are pretty nil for "most" drivers. AWD will generally numb the steering feel a bit, but you don't get into any of these concerns with your questions, so I won't go any farther.

I happen to be looking at similar cars right now. I no longer live in PA and the roads I most commonly drive are joyless. I'm probably just going to settle for an automatic transmission (always liked manuals) and get something robust and quiet. My inclination at this time is for an E350 (RWD) that's a couple years old. Maybe an E250 (diesel). The RWD E350 is probably the simplest powertrain setup you can find, which is part of its appeal to me (no turbos - but it seems everything has a turbo anymore so I wouldn't let it scare me).
 
coolian2
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:12 pm

My 1997 A4 was just the worst. When I decided I was trading it in I thrashed it. Then it was fun.
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cjg225
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Mon Feb 06, 2017 1:10 pm

Molykote wrote:
I get a few mixed signals from your question, but I'll take a stab at it:

In which way...?

If you need AWD and reliability is #1 you should look at a Lexus. I don't like much of their interior (or exterior) design, but that's largely a personal decision. The handling isn't as good as most of the German competition, but this doesn't matter to all drivers (and even then doesn't matter in all situations).

You said that you need AWD, so I won't talk you out of it. I assume you "need" AWD because of PA weather, so I would suggest a set of winter tires (makes sense to get spare wheels too) for whatever car you settle on. Winter tires will make a bigger difference than AWD in winter/cold weather conditions. Based on your signature we went to the same university (and I lived in PA for more than 90% of my life), so I am very familiar with the deficiencies of PA roads and weather.

Yup. Three-time graduate from Penn State. :D

I have long thought the idea of having two sets of tires to be very cumbersome. No one in my family during my lifetime has done that, that I can remember. We've always bought high-end all-weather tires. I have 4 brand-new Michelin Premier A/S on my A6.

AWD is not just for snow, though. It's all weather conditions and various road conditions. I don't go off-roading with an A6, of course, but having the functionality of AWD is a must, as far as I'm concerned.

If you're going to put ~10k on your car in an average year (just guessing based on your 2000 Audi) I would get a CPO used car that is low in its mileage/year of service warranty. This ensures that you get the maximum number of years of protection. I don't know your budget, but you can get a $35k CPO car that will give you 4 years of warranty and is nicely optioned. Although you mention being "tolerant" to secondary system failures, you might as well get the best warranty that you can knowing these things will come up and can be addressed under warranty. Most luxury brands offer loaner cars and will pick up your vehicle, so the headaches with back and forth trips to the dealer are largely mitigated. My experience (direct or via parents) with ~10+ high end German cars in the PA climate is that they seem to hate our weather and temperature swings (I am sure that no machine "likes" it - but the German stuff seems to be more temperamental in response to it).

Well, the 10k/year average is more because I barely drove in college. I'm putting much more than that per year on the car now that I've been out of school for 3.5 years.

And, yeah, a good warranty is a must. I even got a long secondary warranty when I got the A6.

I tolerate anything that I feel doesn't affect performance of the vehicle perceptibly or doesn't inhibit my use of the vehicle. I've had 3 rear-view mirrors go bad because extreme temperatures broke the reservoir of fluid that is used to dim the mirror. I've learned to get used to it after the 3rd time. Stuff like that doesn't bother me, even if it is annoying. But if a car consistently were to have use-inhibiting problems, then, yeah, I'd be very upset.

Unfortunately, the Audi dealership in my area has gone from "bad" to "MUCH worse." I have not the slightest intention of buying an Audi, new or used, from the dealer. And I know they do NOT offer loaner services, unlike the BMW dealer where my mom got her x3 in 2015. That dealer has treated her extremely well.

One of the things that has prompted this search is my growing concern over my ability to take time off to get my car services by my local mechanic, so the loaner service is actually not an insignificant point to me in my search. But, all of the luxury dealers in our area are 20 miles away on the opposite side of the valley (with awful traffic, usually), so I've been a bit stuck as to where I'd go for a new car regardless of brand. Everything on my side of the valley is an everyday car brand (Chevy, VW, Ford, Dodge, etc.). I have been tempted to see if the VW dealer here at least knows how to repair Audis so that I know I have an option just a few miles away that could do emergency work.

My basic comparison would be as below...
Audi - great interiors and AWD*
MB - structural build quality always impressed me more than others. Avoid the pre-2010 stuff. They seemed cheap - maybe some Chrysler merger hangover?
BMW - better to drive but the gap has closed in the last ~decade. great seats.
Lexus - reliable, soft, quiet

* - AWD was Audi's thing long before others adopted it. The fundamental design of the car was created with AWD in mind. I haven't kept up with all of the OEMs to attest that Audi's AWD system is (still) more spohisticated than the others, but they've been doing it longer. I always preferred the driving experience of a BMW (and liked that they biased torque to the rear wheels back when Audi was doing 50/50), but I think the perceptible differences in one OEM's AWD system to another are pretty nil for "most" drivers. AWD will generally numb the steering feel a bit, but you don't get into any of these concerns with your questions, so I won't go any farther.

I happen to be looking at similar cars right now. I no longer live in PA and the roads I most commonly drive are joyless. I'm probably just going to settle for an automatic transmission (always liked manuals) and get something robust and quiet. My inclination at this time is for an E350 (RWD) that's a couple years old. Maybe an E250 (diesel). The RWD E350 is probably the simplest powertrain setup you can find, which is part of its appeal to me (no turbos - but it seems everything has a turbo anymore so I wouldn't let it scare me).

I do agree about the Audi interior. My dad always commented on how much he loved my A6's interior compared to any Mercedes we had. As for Mercedes' quality, fortunately all of ours were pre-Chrysler. We had a lot of trouble with the 2001 E-Wagon, but the 2000 ML, 1998 ML, and 1989 300E all were or have been great vehicles. I'm just not enamored with newer Mercedes, though if one is the right car, it is the right car.

I'm actually not quite sure what 'numb the steering' means...?

Do you know anything about BMW's reliability? Like I'd said earlier, I've long heard that BMWs are 1-owner cars, but I don't know if they experience higher rates of problems with their first owners, too.

I have noticed that Turbos are much more common than I'd remembered them to be. I've long heard Turbos are extremely expensive to repair and prone to problems, so they still concern me even if they're much more common.
Restoring Penn State's transportation heritage...
 
coolian2
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Mon Feb 06, 2017 1:21 pm

Oh also I'm so glad I switched from my Audi to a Corolla. Not half as much fun to thrash but it will do 600ks on a single tank and as a student with a partner in a city ~200ks away, and a father who demanded I move to where I live because he didn't want his car (I'm his chauffeur) being the actual other side of town......

Keeping coins in the ashtray is the best way to determine if I'm hitting a corner too fast. I've only crashed it once too.
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dtw2hyd
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Mon Feb 06, 2017 2:41 pm

Molykote wrote:
I would get a CPO used car that is low in its mileage/year of service warranty. This ensures that you get the maximum number of years of protection. I don't know your budget, but you can get a $35k CPO car that will give you 4 years of warranty and is nicely optioned.


Make sure to read the fine print. Most extended warranties do not cover all components of turbo system. Contract may cover actual turbocharger but not seals,gaskets and hoses. So if a $30 seal goes bad you pay for the seal and labor charges with it.

Another issue with extended warranties is most dealers use refurbished parts. Though they come with same ONE year part warranty, you pay if that part goes bad just after one year. Labor being is 70% of total cost, you should pay the extra money and get new part.
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Mon Feb 06, 2017 3:50 pm

The Genesis brand is making some major inroads.

Formerly the Genesis model by Hyundai (along with the flagship Equus), they split off Genesis as a separate luxury brand. Amazing value, great reliability, and loaded with bells and whistles. Incredible engine. The Koreans are accused of being derivative, but it's working, and they're kicking ass.
 
Molykote
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:19 am

cjg225 wrote:
Molykote wrote:
I get a few mixed signals from your question, but I'll take a stab at it:

In which way...?
[quote]
Mainly just the points that (1) reliability is #1, (2) AWD is a must, and (3) your position on what constitutes acceptable reliability. I am not saying that any of your preferences are wrong - just that I hope I am reading your post correctly in order to provide a constructive comment.

Regarding the steering "numbness" on AWD cars.... I should first say that this effect is best noticed when comparing RWD to AWD models on the same chassis (say a 5 series BMW or a Porsche 911). In an AWD car (particularly one of the aforementioned pedigree) it's fair to expect solid handling, a sure footed feeling, and that the car will go steadily in the direction that you've pointed it (up to a high fraction of its handling limits). If you drove the same chassis in RWD form you might notice that you have a better sense of what the front wheels are doing. You get better feedback from the tire contact patches and it feels like you have a more direct line of communication between yourself and the front wheels (because you generally do). In layman's terms this benefit is realized because the front wheels are being asked to do less in a RWD car. Or to put it another way, there's more machinery attached to the mechanical path between your steering wheel and the front tires in an AWD car.

There are plenty of excellent handling AWD cars. There are also a lot of people that prefer the steering feel and general handling of RWD.

There are certainly other factors that complicate the "all else equal" comparison (electric steering, steering weight, ride height of an AWD vs RWD car, tire options on RWD vs AWD models, etc), but I see those things as distractions to the fundamental point and see no need to go down that rabbit hole :)
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Aesma
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:02 pm

All things being equal I prefer a NA petrol car, but being surrounded with millions of turbodiesel cars (and driving one everyday as it's what my company gave me) I have zero concern about the reliability of turbos. They're very reliable.
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cjg225
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Re: Recent-vintage luxury sedan advice

Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:13 pm

Molykote wrote:
Mainly just the points that (1) reliability is #1, (2) AWD is a must, and (3) your position on what constitutes acceptable reliability. I am not saying that any of your preferences are wrong - just that I hope I am reading your post correctly in order to provide a constructive comment.

Regarding the steering "numbness" on AWD cars.... I should first say that this effect is best noticed when comparing RWD to AWD models on the same chassis (say a 5 series BMW or a Porsche 911). In an AWD car (particularly one of the aforementioned pedigree) it's fair to expect solid handling, a sure footed feeling, and that the car will go steadily in the direction that you've pointed it (up to a high fraction of its handling limits). If you drove the same chassis in RWD form you might notice that you have a better sense of what the front wheels are doing. You get better feedback from the tire contact patches and it feels like you have a more direct line of communication between yourself and the front wheels (because you generally do). In layman's terms this benefit is realized because the front wheels are being asked to do less in a RWD car. Or to put it another way, there's more machinery attached to the mechanical path between your steering wheel and the front tires in an AWD car.

There are plenty of excellent handling AWD cars. There are also a lot of people that prefer the steering feel and general handling of RWD.

There are certainly other factors that complicate the "all else equal" comparison (electric steering, steering weight, ride height of an AWD vs RWD car, tire options on RWD vs AWD models, etc), but I see those things as distractions to the fundamental point and see no need to go down that rabbit hole :)

I guess I could have refined "reliability" to mean "things that cause the vehicle to not work or severely inhibit safety." As I said earlier, if my rearview mirror's oil reservoir breaks, I don't really care as long as the mirror itself still works. My cupholder behind the stick has been stuck in the up position for nearly a decade; I don't really care because it has 0 effect on driving the car.

Thanks for the explanation on what "numb" means. I guess that sort of makes sense. I haven't driven RWD cars much, but my impression would've been that I wouldn't be as certain as to what the front wheels were actually doing because the power is all in the rear wheels, which can cause problems in poor conditions.
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