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Sajeev Mehta

Quiet Tuning vs. Lexus ES 350

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http://www.detnews.com/2005/autosconsumer/.../F03-345652.htm

Is this the Quiet tuning you're talking about?

I couldn't fault that quote: sure the Lucerne is quiet at cruising speeds...provided you never need to step into the throttle to pass or go up a hill.

How about this: I am getting a Lexus ES 350 for review next week (fingers crossed). I will come on C&G and personally give you my thoughts on Buick's quiet tuning compared to a Lexus. 

Well, I just came back from a 400mi trip in the Lexus ES 350 and here are my thoughts.

1) At 75mph, the Lexus ES has SIGNIFICANTLY more wind noise than a "Quiet Tuned" Lucerne.

2) The ES has a lot of road noise on coarse pavement, more than a Lucerne on any pavement I drove on.

3) Stomp the throttle for passing and the ES gives a muted howl, its much quieter than the Lucerne at WOT.

Forget the dB ratings at cruising speed and put the cruise control on in hilly conditions. The Northstar constantly reminds you that this ain't no Lexus. Need to pass someone? The 4-2 downshift really wakes up the Northstar and silences all interior conversations. I did that while talking with two passengers and everyone remained silent until I got off the throttle.

That doesn't happen in a Lexus. Good or bad? I donno. But it's not my definition of Quiet Tuning.

So I stand by my words, the Lucerne is a quiet car on the highway, provided you don't get on the gas much.

The Lucerne needs an engine as quiet as the Lexus ES to fit my definition of "quiet tuning."

Edited by Sajeev Mehta

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Maybe its me, but I like that Northstar growl. Lexus engines make no noise and are therefore boring. Let me add to this by saying that I'd rather here a more audible growl from under the hood than under the tires and that my opinion comes from barely hearing my own 4.0 V8 at idle, yet it comes to life under throttle, as opposed to an LS430 I drove, whose engine kept nearly silent under all conditions.

I appreciate Lexus' achievement in this area, but it seems very mind-over-heart, very engineer > enthusiast, like printing out a Monet instead of having the real thing. Sure, its perfect, but it lacks that authentic, real texture. See, I knew that LS was quite faster than my car, you could see that plain as day. But the journey from x to xx mph just wasn't as...visceral.

I know some people like to be completely isolated; that's fine. Its a preference thing. Just let me hear that sweet power when its being used. I notice many high-horse German cars also stay rather quiet at idle and low RPMs but roar like a bitch when pushed. Its how you know something's alive under there and, IMO, part of the reason you own a car with so much horsepower.

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I'm with Fly. The way I see it, 50% of an engine's performance is its sound. A nice growl is better than a quiet whirr anyday, at any time.

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I'm with Fly. The way I see it, 50% of an engine's performance is its sound. A nice growl is better than a quiet whirr anyday, at any time.

185332[/snapback]

I disagree... while I love a growl... there's something to be said about a smooth, quiet hum when flooring it. To me it says luxury--it's power on demand without intrusive sound. Loved it on an LS400 from years back. Loved it on an S500 a few years ago. Granted both those cars are out of the league we're talking about, but that's my point.

However, if I were to own a Lucerne, I would appreciate the growl--the only time I floor it is when I want to hear the engine as I blow past someone in anger. Otherwise, I prefer everything to be hush.

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There's more to successful acoustic engineering than making a car quiet. Here's an article on BMW that explains it all nicely...

http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:WdJX-Er...lient=firefox-a

“Apart from the look of a vehicle, its acoustic behavior is the aspect most directly observable to the user,” says Dr. Peter Zeller, Director of Acoustics and Vibration at BMW. “The subjective impression of the car is shaped by its sound character. Drivers expect quietness at cruising and a particular acoustic feedback when they accelerate - the silky-smooth tonality in a luxury sedan and a rugged roar in a sports car. Acoustic design is therefore a critical task not simply for reasons of comfort, but also because it is a key means of conveying brand identity..."

...According to Dr. Zeller, a quiet comfortable sedan typically has low wind/rolling noise and a low level of engine noise. A vehicle that glides along very quietly at constant-speed travel, but whose engine roars as soon as the accelerator pedal is pressed is perceived as more sporty. On the other hand, a vehicle where high wind/rolling noise largely conceals the engine noise even at full load is lacking in character and is therefore not desirable.

Posted Image

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Well, I just came back from a 400mi trip in the Lexus ES 350 and here are my thoughts.

1) At 75mph, the Lexus ES has SIGNIFICANTLY more wind noise than a "Quiet Tuned" Lucerne.

2) The ES has a lot of road noise on coarse pavement, more than a Lucerne on any pavement I drove on.

3) Stomp the throttle for passing and the ES gives a muted howl, its much quieter than the Lucerne at WOT.

The Lucerne needs an engine as quiet as the Lexus ES to fit my definition of "quiet tuning."

185328[/snapback]

Maybe I'm confused but 2 out of your 3 points Buick beats Lexus 350 (according to YOU) in quietness- yet it still isn't as "quiet as the Lexus ES to fit your definition of 'quiet tuning'"... WHAT? It has significantly less wind noise and road noise but because Buick uses an engine that, when accelerating (and I mean REALLY accelerating) reminds you of a low-growling muscle car and you say Buick needs to work on its engine...

Are you crazy?! You PREFER a muted howl to a low growl? And be serious- the growl is only heard when you're punching the gas- and you are upset you get to hear a powerful growl?! You are upset it reminds you of a muscle car when you're flooring it (you even admitted in your review you enjoyed thinking of the engine as a muscle car and you thought that Buick should market it as such- but the fact is 275 HP isn't a muscle car compared to other muscle sedans such as the 300)

Oh man- that has to be one of the best things about owning a GM car or a Buick in particular. I LOVE the growl my Regal makes when I floor it and I would never have it any other way. That growl does not signify less class, it signifies a force to be reckoned with. This is typical for all American cars (I believe)... you are asking Buick to have japanese engineering- that is where your bias comes from. Buick uses American engineering and you can hear it when you punch the gas...

that isn't a sign of quality- it is a sign of who made the vehicle- Buick shouldn't be Lexus. That low growl is a big reason that I enjoy riding a Buick more than a foreign made vehicle that whirs when you speed up.

It sounds like you put a lot of stock in to a "muted howl" but please don't discount all of Buick's quiet tuning because it isn't engineered from Toyota- thanks.

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I thought one of the reasons you guys hated Lexus was how quiet and non-enthusiast they were? A Buick is even more silent...gasp!

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There's more to successful acoustic engineering than making a car quiet. Here's an article on BMW that explains it all nicely...

http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:WdJX-Er...lient=firefox-a

Posted Image

185367[/snapback]

Yes, but that's a bimmer.. not a Buick. Big difference. No Buick on the current market is really geared towards giving the driver an phenominal driving experience, taking corners at high speeds, flying down the freeway.

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However, if I were to own a Lucerne, I would appreciate the growl--the only time I floor it is when I want to hear the engine as I blow past someone in anger.  Otherwise, I prefer everything to be hush.

185362[/snapback]

I donno if you've drove one, but the northstar growls all the time. I like it, but my daily drivers have headers and 2.5" exhausts. Most prefer a Lexus-quiet motor.

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Maybe I'm confused but 2 out of your 3 points Buick beats Lexus 350 (according to YOU) in quietness- yet it still isn't as "quiet as the Lexus ES to fit your definition of 'quiet tuning'"... WHAT? It has significantly less wind noise and road noise but because Buick uses an engine that, when accelerating (and I mean REALLY accelerating) reminds you of a low-growling muscle car and you say Buick needs to work on its engine..

We seem to have a communication problem, so let me make a couple points CRYSTAL CLEAR for you.

1. The Northstar growls all the time. Part throttle, full throttle, it doesn't matter. You only hear a Lexus come to life when you floor it.

2. Quiet Tuning is a joke if the motor is still loud. Unless you make the whole car quiet, you failed.

Edited by Sajeev Mehta

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I thought one of the reasons you guys hated Lexus was how quiet and non-enthusiast they were?  A Buick is even more silent...gasp!

185396[/snapback]

They never said they hated them being quiet when cruising, they said they hated them being quite when you floor them.

As for me, I would rather be able to hear the growl of the LS1 underhood even under moderate acceleration than having it be quiet. I usually drive with the windows down though, so it's not too hard to hear the engine and excellent exhuast note.

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I donno if you've drove one, but the northstar growls all the time. I like it, but my daily drivers have headers and 2.5" exhausts.  Most prefer a Lexus-quiet motor.

185413[/snapback]

I thought you said you drive a Lincoln..headers on a Lincoln???

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Yes, but that's a bimmer.. not a Buick.  Big difference.  No Buick on the current market is really geared towards giving the driver an phenominal driving experience, taking corners at high speeds, flying down the freeway.

185401[/snapback]

True enough..I like BMWs for the total performance 'ultimate driving machine' experience---great handling, feel, great sound, etc...

but in a luxury car, I see silence, isolation, smooth ride being top priorities, whether it's a Lexus, Buick, Lincoln, Benz, etc...

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I thought you said you drive a Lincoln..headers on a Lincoln???

185418[/snapback]

Damn right. Headers on my Mercury Cougar too. :CG_all:

Edited by Sajeev Mehta

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We seem to have a communication problem, so let me make a couple points CRYSTAL CLEAR for you.

1. The Northstar growls all the time.  Part throttle, full throttle, it doesn't matter. You only hear a Lexus come to life when you floor it.

2. Quiet Tuning is a joke if the motor is still loud.  Unless you make the whole car quiet, you failed.

185416[/snapback]

Quiet Tuning isn't a joke if the motor is still loud.. the point of Quiet Tuning is to make the vehicle QUIETER. I'd think the engine would be louder if the car wasn't QuietTuned.

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We seem to have a communication problem, so let me make a couple points CRYSTAL CLEAR for you.

1. The Northstar growls all the time.  Part throttle, full throttle, it doesn't matter. You only hear a Lexus come to life when you floor it.

2. Quiet Tuning is a joke if the motor is still loud.  Unless you make the whole car quiet, you failed.

185416[/snapback]

Okay- so Lexus doesn't fail even though it has "SIGNIFICANTLY more wind noise than a 'Quiet Tuned' Lucerne" and Lexus doesn't fail for "a lot of road noise on coarse pavement, more than a Lucerne on any pavement I drove on."

But Buick fails completely because of an engine that purrs. I'm glad you made that "CRYSTAL CLEAR" for me.

I didn't know wind noise and road noise didn't count for when making a whole car quiet.

Edited by Cananopie

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Okay- so Lexus doesn't fail even though it has "SIGNIFICANTLY more wind noise than a 'Quiet Tuned' Lucerne" and Lexus doesn't fail for "a lot of road noise on coarse pavement, more than a Lucerne on any pavement I drove on."

But Buick fails completely because of an engine that purrs. I'm glad you made that "CRYSTAL CLEAR" for me.

185426[/snapback]

I never said the Lexus doesn't fail, did I? Whatever makes you feel better.

I got plenty to complain about with the Lexus, but that's for the road test review on TTAC, not for C&G.

Edited by Sajeev Mehta

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Quiet Tuning isn't a joke if the motor is still loud.. the point of Quiet Tuning is to make the vehicle QUIETER.  I'd think the engine would be louder if the car wasn't QuietTuned.

185425[/snapback]

If Buick had an engine on par with the Lexus, it would truly be "Quiet Tuned".

Simple as that.

Edited by Sajeev Mehta

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Wait a minute. How can the Northstar's growl be that annoying if the Lucerne can (and does) get quieter than an ES when cruising?

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Wait a minute. How can the Northstar's growl be that annoying if the Lucerne can (and does) get quieter than an ES when cruising?

185429[/snapback]

Because it growls all the time.

Have you folks driven a Lucerne and its competition?

Edited by Sajeev Mehta

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Because it growls all the time.

Have you folks driven a Lucerne and its competition?

185430[/snapback]

YES! And the Northstar sounds perfectly fine. However wind and road noise (sounds I wouldn't expect to hear) would annoy me.

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YES! And the Northstar sounds perfectly fine. However wind and road noise (sounds I wouldn't expect to hear) would annoy me.

185432[/snapback]

I like the sound too.

But don't tell me that ride is quiet tuned, with both on the highway, at least the Lexus is dead silent sometimes.

Edited by Sajeev Mehta

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I like the sound too. 

But don't tell me that ride is quiet tuned, with both on the highway, at least the Lexus is dead silent sometimes.

185436[/snapback]

Compared to my Park Avenue (and the Seville STSs I've rented in the past), the Lucerne is noticeably Quiet Tuned. You can barely hear the AC while driving. Road and wind noise are minimal under the worst conditions. I'm not saying the ES isn't successful at its task either, but the Lucerne w/ Quiet Tuning accomplishes its mission. Hearing a DOHC V8 isn't a negative in the Lucerne's case. The V8 growl is what appeals to a lot of potential buyers because those 2 extra cylinders make a difference to them.

I've heard too many bitter arguments about how unrefined the OHV V6 is... how it sounds coarse. People screamed for GM to put a DOHC engine in the Lucerne. GM did. Now people are complaining because they can just hear the engine... if any at all. Sorry, but some people don't want to be satisfied.

Edited by VenSeattle

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I never said the Lexus doesn't fail, did I? Whatever makes you feel better.

I got plenty to complain about with the Lexus, but that's for the road test review on TTAC, not for C&G.

185427[/snapback]

Successful Quiet Tuning according to your definition. I have driven the Northstar V8 and your complaint about the incessant growling is equally comparable to living about 2 miles away from a railroad track in the country and constantly complaining about hearing the trains drive by when your home should be dead-silent.

Or better yet a toddler who is upset that his mother is making him breakfast in the kitchen and wants to ONLY hear the TV or NOTHING and screams at his mother that he doesn't want to hear the sizzling bacon or the toaster pop and wants complete silence so he can watch TV.

Typically most people ignore these childish antics, in the case of the person who is upset about trains passing two miles away that intrude his silence by shaking their head and walking away (knowing that if he didn't want to hear a train, he shouldn't have moved by the tracks, let alone how HARD you have to try to let it annoy you enough to call it a problem), or try and explain calmly that it is possible to still enjoy the TV without having the kitchen completely silent and still get breakfast.

But a spoiled child and an irritable man will always find a reason to not back down.

Edited by Cananopie

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