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C&D: $35K Sports Sedan Comparison Test

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Full Article Here

The Results:

8. Saab 9-3 Aero
7. Volvo S60R AWD
6. Cadillac CTS
5. Audi A4 3.2 Quattro
4. Acura TL
3. Infiniti G35
2. Lexus IS350
1. BMW 330i
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It's funny how the BMW, Audi, and Lexus (probably C&D's three favorite brands out of the group) are all over $40k in a $35k Sport Sedan comparo (the S60R was $47k!? too). Most of the others can be priced to $40k and beyond (not the G35 or TL, but the others can I think), so I don't see why they couldn't turn it into a $40k sport sedan comparison so there isn't such a big gap in pricing. They complain that the CTS doesn't have all the features of the other cars (and it gets a few points taken off because of it), but if they would have allowed it to be $40k like half of the other cars, then it would have had them :rolleyes: I think the CTS looks good with that body color grill, that's the first time I've seen it like that. I find it hard to believe that the CTS only did 0-60 in 6.9 when last year it got 6.6 with the automatic. Here's a major WTF: How does the TL, the only FWD car in the group, score the best in chassis performance, especially when they list the lows as "Jittery ride, steering gets squirmy when you goose it"? Just scanning the results tells me that all the new CTS will need is a better interior, upgraded engine, and a tuned suspension.
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Fair review. The CTS does look great with the body-color grille. Cadillac should give it to all CTSes. BMW remains the gold standard. The last 3-Series was one of the best cars around with very little room for improvement, so it's no surprise that the new one continues to set the bar. It's impressive that Lexus is presenting a formidible challenger, but I still don't like the looks of the car. 5.1 seconds for 0 to 60 could be intoxicating, I would imagine. When I took a brief drive of the Acura TL, it just said family sedan to me. The steering was too light, and the handling was ok, but not an exciting car.
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With the exception of the positions of Acura/Audi and Lexus/Infiniti, this is pretty much the auto rags' accepted norm.
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Actually Lexus tied BMW is you add the numbers.  C&D just failed to do a better job manipulating their data.

[post="6828"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Car and Driver rounds the scores for each category. The grand total, however, is the sum of unrounded points, rounded at the final tally.
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Here's a major WTF: How does the TL, the only FWD car in the group, score the best in chassis performance, especially when they list the lows as "Jittery ride, steering gets squirmy when you goose it"?

[post="6690"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Stats tell very little about overall handling performance. The TL was probably aided by its limited slip differential. It got a "7" for handling. The 9-3 is FWD, too, by the way.

This is pure speculation, but did Lexus send them a non-US-spec ringer? I don't think the new IS is on sale yet.

Edit: Oh, thanks for the link, but that is one crappy forum. A "330i" with "dubs"? Edited by empowah
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It's funny how the BMW, Audi, and Lexus (probably C&D's three favorite brands out of the group) are all over $40k in a $35k Sport Sedan comparo (the S60R was $47k!? too). Most of the others can be priced to $40k and beyond (not the G35 or TL, but the others can I think), so I don't see why they couldn't turn it into a $40k sport sedan comparison so there isn't such a big gap in pricing. They complain that the CTS doesn't have all the features of the other cars (and it gets a few points taken off because of it), but if they would have allowed it to be $40k like half of the other cars, then it would have had them


It is hard to look at these numbers and actually factor in what isn't wrong with them. But, you must remember that the CTS doesn't really offer anything. For example, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are not options as far as I'm concerned. And, the CTS would probably top the IS and 330 with all those nice options. Options are very pricey with the CTS...take it from a man who actually owned one for 2 years. The CTS was, without a doubt, a great car, but pricey indeed...to buy and to service.
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was it just me or did C&D trash every other make, and then dismiss the issues with the 3 series and score it #1 :blink: Just a little question for thought: Why would a "professional, non-bias, and respectable" automotive mag, perform a comparison/peformance test in the desert in anywhere from 98-116 degree heat and then find it strange that the perfomance figures weren't that different? :unsure:
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Car and Driver rounds the scores for each category. The grand total, however, is the sum of unrounded points, rounded at the final tally.

[post="6884"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Right, and C&D couldn't use Lexus EPA fuel economy estimates of
21/28mpg which are correct, instead they somehow came up with 19/26mpg
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I wouldn't care if the CTS was dead last, I would still buy it. And it's looking way cool with the painted out grill etc. The others just don't do it for me.

And especially this one:

Posted Image Edited by HarleyEarl
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Gah! Doesn't it seem like C&D does the same sports sedan comparison several times a year? Enough already! Is the $30-40k sport sedan market really that big?

It is?

Crap. <_<
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I have this C&D in front of me.... lets see here: A 42k Bimmer probably at or near sticker or a 36k CTS that I can probably get at employee discount around 32k. 42K will get you a LOT of CTS after employee discount. Certainly one with NAV what would kill their complaint about the dash screens. Or..... A 47k ?! Volvo... when I could get a CTS-v for probably the same price. It's just another case of C&D stacking the deck so they get the outcome they are looking for.
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was it just me or did C&D trash every other make, and then dismiss the issues with the 3 series and score it #1  :blink: 
Just a little question for thought:

Why would a "professional, non-bias, and respectable" automotive mag, perform a comparison/peformance test in the desert in anywhere from 98-116 degree heat and then find it strange that the perfomance figures weren't that different? :unsure:

[post="7772"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]



Seriously, the bimmer even broke down on them....
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I have this C&D in front of me.... lets see here:

A 42k Bimmer probably at or near sticker or a 36k CTS that I can probably get at employee discount around 32k.  42K will get you a LOT of CTS after employee discount. Certainly one with NAV what would kill their complaint about the dash screens.

Or.....

A 47k ?! Volvo... when I could get a CTS-v for probably the same price.

It's just another case of C&D stacking the deck so they get the outcome they are looking for.

[post="11910"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


The S60R starts at $38K well-equipped. If you read their explanation, theirs was equipped with $9K worth in options. It doesn't affect the outcome, anyway.
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The S60R starts at $38K well-equipped. If you read their explanation, theirs was equipped with $9K worth in options. It doesn't affect the outcome, anyway.

[post="11970"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


1. For 47k you can get as loaded a V6 CTS as you can get.

2. For 47k you can get a CTS with NAV which would have eliminated their gripe about the HVAC and Radio controls.

3. For 47k you can get a CTS-v... if that wouldn't effect the outcome, I dunno what will. The V will smoke any of the cars in that list for performance considering it runs in the same league as the M-series BMWs.

4. Car and Driver stacks the deck.

Edit:
I'm re-reading the review now....

They complain about the 4 preset buttons on the steering wheel. They aren't presets, they are programable for whatever function you want. I left mine in the default up/down for CD track and temperature, but they can be anything.

The BMW's pushbutton start ....didn't. The ABS light came on durring the test, they spun the car at 70 because of ABS failure, and then the Airbag light came on. They didn't like the interior, the A/C wasn't strong enough for them..... yet it's the best of the bunch!?! Edited by Oldsmoboi
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The BMW's pushbutton start ....didn't. The ABS light came on durring the test, they spun the car at 70 because of ABS failure, and then the Airbag light came on. They didn't like the interior, the A/C wasn't strong enough for them..... yet it's the best of the bunch!?!

[post="13134"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


What are you, stupid?

Typical idiot Cadillac driver. All you care about are your interior designs, air conditioning, ignitions, and ability to stop the vehicle in a safe, stable, and controlled manner. You don't understand anything about real cars.

:P
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1. For 47k you can get as loaded a V6 CTS as you can get.

2. For 47k you can get a CTS with NAV which would have eliminated their gripe about the HVAC and Radio controls.

3. For 47k you can get a CTS-v... if that wouldn't effect the outcome, I dunno what will. The V will smoke any of the cars in that list for performance considering it runs in the same league as the M-series BMWs.

4. Car and Driver stacks the deck.

Edit:
I'm re-reading the review now....

They complain about the 4 preset buttons on the steering wheel. They aren't presets, they are programable for whatever function you want.  I left mine in the default up/down for CD track and temperature, but they can be anything.

The BMW's pushbutton start ....didn't. The ABS light came on durring the test, they spun the car at 70 because of ABS failure, and then the Airbag light came on. They didn't like the interior, the A/C wasn't strong enough for them..... yet it's the best of the bunch!?!

[post="13134"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


My point is that the Volvo's options didn't affect the score, so they're not "stacking the deck". The S60R is still a $38K car; it just so happens that Volvo sent C/D one with $9K worth in options. It still would have scored second to last.
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My point is that the Volvo's options didn't affect the score, so they're not "stacking the deck". The S60R is still a $38K car; it just so happens that Volvo sent C/D one with $9K worth in options. It still would have scored second to last.

[post="13213"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Then why can't they send them a regular S60 (non R)? None of the other manufactures got to send their performance versions. The added performance of the R version could have affected the score.
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Then why can't they send them a regular S60 (non R)? None of the other manufactures got to send their performance versions. The added performance of the R version could have affected the score.

[post="13218"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Because for the same price of a "regular strength" 330i, you can theoretically get a high-po S60R.
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But then the you can argue that for the same price as a S60R you can get a CTS-V. If they say it's a $35k Sport Sedan comparo, they should make sure none of the vehicles go too far above that. The same thing happened in the $45k sport sedan comparo they did. The BMW was $56k, and then they bitched that the $43-44k STS didn't have the same features as the $50k RL. WELL DUH! If you got a $50k STS it'd have the same features.
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But then the you can argue that for the same price as a S60R you can get a CTS-V.

If they say it's a $35k Sport Sedan comparo, they should make sure none of the vehicles go too far above that. The same thing happened in the $45k sport sedan comparo they did. The BMW was $56k, and then they bitched that the $43-44k STS didn't have the same features as the $50k RL. WELL DUH! If you got a $50k STS it'd have the same features.

[post="13223"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


You can't get a new CTS-V for $38K. And I have the STS comparison with me ("$55,000 Spoilsport Sedans"), and they didn't bitch about the lack of features. Plus, the STS they tested was a V8 Luxury version, which starts at $52K. Edited by empowah
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You can get a CTS-V for $50k... $47k for with EPP which is the same price as the S60R they tested. Who cares if it starts at $38k if you have to pay $47k to get everything you want? Sorry if I was wrong about the STS comparo, I probably got it mixed up with the MT. Either way, one of them bitched about the STS having no NAV, bluetooth, etc., like the RL, but an STS for the same price as the RL would have had that.
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You can get a CTS-V for $50k... $47k for with EPP which is the same price as the S60R they tested. Who cares if it starts at $38k if you have to pay $47k to get everything you want?

Sorry if I was wrong about the STS comparo, I probably got it mixed up with the MT. Either way, one of them bitched about the STS having no NAV, bluetooth, etc., like the RL, but an STS for the same price as the RL would have had that.

[post="13236"]<{POST_SNAPBACK}>[/post]


Sorry to make this never-ending, but you can get a S60R after incentives for $31,701, so there! :P

And the S60R already has pretty much "everything you want", like heated leather, climate control, electric everything, DSC, etc. Their's was fitted with a tacky $2000 "aero" kit, $2000 special-order leather color, and $2400 stereo/moonroof package.
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