By on April 20, 2015

luxury car. Shutterstock user supergenijalac

Sam writes:

Hi Sajeev,

My wife is interested in upgrading from her Subaru Legacy to a more luxurious make. Nothing crazy, we’re talking BMW 428 or Audi A5 range. Her requirements include automatic transmission and the usual ‘winter package’: AWD, remote start, heated seats (and steering wheel, ideally), etc… She wants something mid-sized with a comfortable ride. Enough punch to feel fast without needing to actually be fast.

Here’s the hitch: when it comes to car problems, she has a “one-strike and you’re out” policy, so reliability is a big concern. We’ve never had anything fancier than Chevies or Subarus, but have heard plenty of horror stories about BMW transmissions or Audi electrical gremlins or Volkswagen, well, everything.

What would you and the B&B recommend in the semi-luxury coupe range (sub $50K) that provides a modicum of Fahrvergnügen while providing the best chance of avoiding the dealership’s repair shop? Suggestions are appreciated!

Thanks!

Sajeev answers:

Your wife’s (impressive) “one strike” policy is in direct conflict with her wish for a more premium, luxurious make. But premium cars have good warranties with nice loaner cars for 4 years or 50k miles: plenty of time to reconsider the “one strike” policy!

At a macro level, I doubt any one German brand is much better than the other. Even a particular body style has variances: some power trains are trouble prone, DSG gearboxes need specialized attention at regular intervals, and in-car technology can be buggy and glitchy. Hell, do you remember the drubbing Consumer Reports gave Ford for MyFordTouch? Keep this in mind with any option you consider on any car.

Focus on the vehicle and its options. You both must test drive the ones you like, research the past history – via recalls and more importantly, model specific forum feedback – and see if you both are comfortable taking the plunge. In general, buying the most common platform (A4, 3-series, etc.) with the least unique parts will net you a more reliable, durable and cost-effective vehicle after the warranty expires.

I promise you that you’ll learn a ton about your future vehicle purchase by reading the forums for owner feedback.

Some within the Best and Brightest grimace at the usual stereotypes I (and others) spread to Germany’s latest iron, because HPFPs, Sensotronic Brake Control, etc. are the past. So let’s see what the B&B consider the ideal luxury performance whip for your situation!

[Image: Shutterstock user supergenijalac]

Send your queries to [email protected]com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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113 Comments on “Piston Slap: The One Strike Luxury Car Policy?...”


  • avatar
    The Heisenberg Cartel

    1) Lexus RC, if extreme reliability is more important than every other factor.
    1:5) Cadillac ATS coupe. 35,000 dollar car, $300,000 dollar rarity. (Ninja’d in due to forgetting about it)
    2) Almost anything else on this list. But possibly a tie between 428i and Mercedes coupe (C or E)

    • 0 avatar
      krayzie

      +1 on the Lexus RC, 3.5L 2GR-FSE engine with port injection and no turbo, should be reliable.

    • 0 avatar
      ...m...

      …difficult to beat the lexus for one-strike luxury…

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      The Lexus RC coupe would be a good bet. It has that upscale feel, with reliability. But, it is a first year car. So, that can be an issue with any brand. Infiniti would be ok. But, you would driving a fancy nissan. Surprisingly Audi has done well with reliability lately. BMW, means a lot of free breakfasts while waiting for the car in the shop. Lincoln has the MKZ awd is actually a great vehicle. It is a four door. But, it does have a uniqueness and it may just be the car for her. Check out the Black Label Lincoln and I think they still offer to buy dinner on Lincoln and give you the car for a day or so to test drive.

    • 0 avatar
      kmoney

      Would go with the RC as well. They are probably the only luxury cars that have the reliability and durability of an econobox.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “…that have the reliability and durability of an econobox.”

        I think this is a bit of a stretch. Yes Lexus is just about peak reliability among mainstream manufacturers, but to think that one of these will be as durable as a Corolla is unrealistic IMO. Low profile rims will get dinged and cracked, stupid little things like steering column motors will crap out, etc. Lexus may be head and shoulders above other luxury car makers in terms of longevity, but they can’t defy physics and the simple fact that they’re more full of stuff to break than more plebeian Toyota cousins.

        • 0 avatar
          VW16v

          “Low profile rims will get dinged and cracked, stupid little things like steering column motors will crap out, etc. Lexus may be head and shoulders above other luxury car makers in terms of longevity, but they can’t defy physics and the simple fact that they’re more full of stuff to break than more plebeian Toyota cousins.”

          Used error and reliability are two different things. Cracking rims are usually user error.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            My point is that a Corolla LE with steel 15 inch rims will probably not run into the issues an RC350 on sporty big rims will in it’s lifetime, but your point is well taken.

  • avatar
    ant

    TLX.

    worth a test drive at least. I’d take a MDX for a spin while I was there as well for kicks.

  • avatar

    Is a Cadillac ATS too small? They’re nice cars when well-equipped, built to a surprisingly (to me, anyway) high standard, and deals abound.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “What would you and the B&B recommend in the semi-luxury coupe range (sub $50K) ”

    It would help if the OP told us whether he’s only considering new, or if it can be used as well.

    This is hard, because we are not in the era of the coupe any longer. It’s doubly hard because of the one-strike policy, and the nagging in the back of my mind that says any German car under $50k will encounter its first strike rather quickly.

    So that limits us to Japanese. And how many Japanese semi-luxury coupes are there today (reasonably new, not brand new, and under 50k)? Very few. But let’s see…

    Lexus RC
    Lexus SC
    Infiniti G/Q coupe

    -And that’s it.-

    You might argue the 370Z is semi-premium, I’m not sure if you can option it highly enough for that. My basic advice to you, as someone switching from a mass market Japanese car to something luxury – is to stay with the Japanese. Buying a German car -will- make your eyes water when something breaks, and it’s definitely going to happen. It sounds like she’s got the Moet champagne taste on a reliable grape Kool-Aid budget.

    Japan is for you.

    • 0 avatar

      I wouldn’t necessarily insinuate that his and his wife’s budget can’t or shouldn’t accommodate a German car, but rather that what the things they value (particularly reliability) are probably better found elsewhere. The RC is probably priced on-par with its German counterparts, but is more-likely to last.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Z is a no go just on road noise alone. The back seat of the G/Q helps that problem a lot.

      I would roll the dice on a 435i. The look is growing on me and they have figured out most of the issues. RC is nice, and I really love Lexus’ “80s Nakamichi” interiors but they are too weird for most. S5 is probably going to be replaced soon and it’s been around for like a decade, it looks old.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I’m not sure if you meant to say S5? Did you mean SC? The SC has been gone since 2012. But I included it since the OP didn’t say whether new or used was alright.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Lex SC is going to be a no go, too old and too expensive used (also did it come in AWD?).

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Nope did not have AWD. But it’s within budget, and closer than a lot of the crap people are recommending down here. Here’s the most expensive one listed on cars.com, and it’s well within budget with only 5k miles.

        http://www.cars.com/vehicledetail/detail/633470661/overview/

        • 0 avatar
          cpthaddock

          I’m with you on the G/Q or RC.

          Essentially it’s a call between buying new and relying on Lexus’ reputation or having the option to go used and banking on the bulletproof Infiniti platform.

    • 0 avatar
      Kendahl

      I’m glad I’m not the only one to suggest an AWD Infiniti G.

      Both Lexus and Infiniti are reliable. Lexus is a little softer and quieter. Infiniti is more performance oriented.

  • avatar

    I would second the Lexus RC. I’m not sure how roomy the backseat is, but the front seat was definitely comfortable when I sampled it. And I find it to be much prettier than the A5, 4-Series and ATS coupe.

    The only other coupe I could recommend is the newest Mustang, maybe in the EcoBoost Premium trim. There are still some hard plastics, but it still manages to look and drive like a much more expensive car than it is, and even the turbo engine probably won’t have the same issues that a BMW or Audi would…not to mention that a well-equipped Mustang EcoBoost Premium comes in at well under $40K, and what you’d spend on a meagerly-equipped A5 or 4-Series would net you a loaded Mustang GT.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I’m thinking the Mustang badge won’t appeal to wife’s present snob desires. ;)

      • 0 avatar

        Too bad. It’s one of the few cars that I’d consider a substitute for an actual luxury car. Plus, except for the rental-spec V6 base version, the Mustang seems to garner a larger approval rate from surrounding strangers than any luxury car, if that’s a factor. The other day, Jalopnik was talking about cars that transcend class barriers, and the Mustang was rightfully mentioned. (The GTI was also mentioned, but we won’t go there.)

        Still, I beg you, take her to test-drive a Mustang and see what she thinks.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Sounds like a mainstream midsize car like an Accord with a bunch of options is the best choice for her. A fully loaded version with a V6 will meet the spec sheet, but won’t have dat badge. There’s a lot of sacrifice with that badge.

    An Infniti Q whatever coupe would be alright and not necessarily be a turd on reliability.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Badge indulgences are OK. I am sure most people have have more car than they need or use, badge whoring is no more or less irrational or unjustified.

      • 0 avatar
        ellomdian

        Sure, but ‘indulgences’ don’t match well with expectations that you will never have to get something fixed.

        Luxury cars are not know for their reliability, they’re known for the quality of service you feel when getting something fixed.

        If you want an appliance, buy an appliance.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Oh I meant to add in Accord Coupe, but many would not consider this semi-premium.

      It would be if it had an Acura badge on the front, but then of course it would have to look hideous as well.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        +1 on the Accord coupe. Honda makes a nice car. It’s available with leather and probably most of the other goodies she wants for upper $20’s. Why pay more?

        In the unlikely event it takes its one strike, the owner won’t take a beating on resale.

        Oops… never mind. She wants AWD. Still, for me, snows beat AWD, anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          Sam Hell Jr

          Just caught the AWD coupe thing myself. I think she’s pretty well talked herself into an RC.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            …AWD…

            And I have to wonder why. Vehicles on her list don’t have the clearance for dealing with exciting amounts of snow and I expect >90% of AWD purchasers never put on snows, so they don’t really get the traction benefit they think they’re getting, while spending a lot of money for the feature.

  • avatar

    Oh yes, I would also like to point out that the Germans do not offer remote start from the factory. That is mostly a domestic thing, as well as being included on a few foreign cars that were intended for the North American market, like the Passat, Altima and Pathfinder.

    • 0 avatar
      kmoney

      True. The new RC (just because everyone seem to push it above) has remote start through the Lexus Enform system, which is nice, but requires and annual subscription after the first year.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Hmm, what sort of time frame would you consider for this ‘one strike and you’re done’ deal? If it’s anything more than 3-4 years with a new German I’d say you will probably be setting yourself up for disappointment. If, like Sajeev suggested, you make peace with the fact that the dealer will hopefully take good care of you with customer service and rentals, then it’s not such a big deal. Perhaps leasing makes sense in this situation? I have a particular disdain against VAG products, reliability wise. Lower-end BMWs seem to be somewhat less afflicted with issues, but have fast wearing suspensions (nothing that will show in in the first 5 years at least). Not sure if the twin turbo 6 engine troubles are behind them or not. It used to be an option to at least get a rock solid naturally aspirated I6 from BMW and avoid all of the headaches, but CAFE took care of that option. In my mind that leaves Mercedes. I was going to suggest a nice E class coupe with the 3.5L, but then I realized that all 2012+ cars got direct injection as well as stop start nonsense. A quick scan of the forums and what dealer techs are chiming in with shows that yes, DI intake valve coking is still somewhat of an issue. Damn shame. I consider the W212 body E class, particularly the coupe, the most proper heir to the W124, styling wise at least.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      I have to agree with you on the new Mercedes DI engines. It seems like they were built by BMW or VAG. I would have thought that being one of the last manufacturers to go DI, they would have learned from everyone else’s mistakes and solutions. Toyota got it right with their D4-S setup where fuel can still be injected outside of the combustion chamber to clean intake valves. It’s not just the DI either. The new engines are just so complicated for the sake of being complicated. Supplier issues are also cropping up. The pins at the engine controllers harness connectors are being made too loose, and random faults are popping up for just about anything connected through that connector. They are also making us jump through hoops to fix it. Instead of replacing the affected pins, we have to disconnect and reconnect the connectors. According to Mercedes, this fixes 98% of the problems. Our dealer must be getting most of the the 2%, because everyone has come back. Then we have to start a case with engineering and it becomes a big process, even though we know how to fix it. These things are designed to be leased, not bought.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “These things are designed to be leased, not bought.” This seems to be the general consensus I’ve heard from my brother and his indie mechanic friends. Once the CPO warranty is over, drop it like a hot potato, into the lap of some kid that thinks he got a “totally sick Mercedes, like, for totally cheap.” Now, for the really committed DIYers who buy the proper factory diagnostics tools and don’t mind being their own mechanics, these off-lease Germans can be a fantastic value. But that is a very small and specific subset of people. Not everyone wants to get intimately familiar with the workings of ABC pumps or resoldering body control module circuit boards, or where to find the best deal on Meyle control arm kits.

        • 0 avatar

          And even then, some of these newer cars just aren’t worth preserving because they have nothing of value. Would I buy an E350 or E550 out of warranty and do the maintenance/repairs myself? Absolutely. Would I do this on an A3 or CLA-Class? Why bother?

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Charger sxt awd and stop by your local Weinerschintzel now and then.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Charger sxt awd and stop by your local Weinerschintzel now and then. Or do the logical thing and wrx.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, even the latest Charger probably has a number of parts leftover from the DaimlerChrysler days, so there’s your German DNA. Still, I just can’t get around the meathead/beer/guns-n-flags stigma surrounding the entire Dodge brand—which Dodge itself actively cultivates—and if I specifically wanted something demure and badge-snobby, the Charger and Challenger would be stricken from my list. A Chrysler 300? Maybe. But probably not.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        300 has its own image issues…I think sacrificing the coupé issue to keep awd is the smart choice. There us Hyundai Genesis v6 awd too. If a coupé it must be, mustang ecoboost would be my choice. I would forget the germans, personally.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I don’t even think the 300 cuts the premium badge test either. It might be an okay car and a pretty good value for what you’re getting – but it’s still got a strong Eau De Dub about it. It has no perceived “class” by anyone with any brand knowledge.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          “Eau De Dub”

          Bahahaha oh man that made my day! If we ever went over to the odious jalopnik model of commenting, I would give you a “+1” or whatever.

          I agree, I love the 300’s slab sided brashness and unabashed “‘Murica” vibe. But there’s just too many ex rental cloth seat 300s floating around for $17k as 2 year old used cars for them to break out into the “desirable” range of luxury cars. In the same way that a Grand Cherokee Overland Limited’s classiness and wealthy owner bracket trickles down to the base Laredo, the rental grade 300’s future BHPH status trickles up to the high end 300c “Luxury” trims.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I have this same issue with the GC in higher trims. People don’t know you’re in a really expensive GC, because they just got cut off a few minutes earlier by a Burger King employee in a 5-year old GC Laredo pulling out of the lot after their shift. Sorry, she was lighting her Kool, and texting baby daddy #3.

            This is why the Grand Wagoneer was needed a long time ago. There IS no cheap one, thus very obvious it’s a premium conveyance.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “I have this same issue with the GC in higher trims. People don’t know you’re in a really expensive GC, because they just got cut off a few minutes earlier by a Burger King employee in a 5-year old GC Laredo pulling out of the lot after their shift. Sorry, she was lighting her Kool, and texting baby daddy #3.”

            But that anti-status is exactly what appeals to so many people about the Grand Cherokee. It has a reasonable amount of prestige without the HEY LOOK AT ME I CAN LEASE A $$$ CAR try-hard factor of the imports.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            So based upon that opinion, do you feel the new GW will not sell well, as there will be no cheap version? It will have the implied status of always being expensive (and from a nameplate revered by WASPY northeast types)?

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Hmm, I guess my own biases from what I’ve seen (upper trim GCs rubbing shoulders with loaded Yukons, Range Rovers, ML/GLs) in the gated communities outside the Indy beltway sway me to hold them in higher regard. I haven’t seen any of the 2011+ WK2 generation Jeeps in the hands of Kool smokers, or any fast food employees yet. Even the most basic early build Laredos are above the $20k threshold for now. I mostly see the Laredos driven by the sort of people that I share my apartment complex with. Aspirational, wooed by “luxury apartments” that mean granite countertops and slip shod construction with drafty windows. To be fair, I’ve yet to see a 2nd gen 300 with autozone port holes tacked on, or even any with huge aftermarket rims. But that’s just a matter of time. Boy I do get carried away with my automotive social demographics.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I didn’t notice any GCs the last time I was in Carmel, but that’s been a couple years. I do recall lots of Cayennes and RR’s, and a couple G-Wagens.

            Specifically I meant the prior GC, the crappy one with crap interior, before this current version. That’s why I had to make my reference to a 5-year old one.

            Also, and LOL, I have seen:

            Brand new 300 with landau and stick on ventiports, and extra pillar chrome stick ons.

            Brand new 300 CONVERTIBLE. That was kinda legit though.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      So she’s looking for something more luxurious than a Subaru Legacy and you recommend something less luxurious than a Subaru Legacy?

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Is a WRX a coupe now?

      I mean, if we’re gonna ignore the user requirements, I suggest a Volvo; the climate package not only gets you heated front and rear, but the steering wheel AND windshield.

  • avatar
    vvk

    So many contradictions. First of all, entry level BMWs and Audis are premium, not “luxury.” Second, they are not mid-size. More like subcompacts. Third, they feel slow (smooth, balanced and flowing) when driving fast, so it is the opposite of what you are looking for.

    I would suggest an American “luxury” brand, such as Acura, Infiniti or Lexus. Q60 fits the bill nicely if you want a coupe. If you want to feel fast while going slow, try Acura ILX.

    • 0 avatar
      e30gator

      Do you mean “Japanese”? Japanese luxury is good bet when it comes to reliability, even if they do still feel a bit appliance-y.

      Real American luxury is probably a good value too. Most Cadillacs and Lincolns are based on more plebian models and can be snatched up for comparatively much less money than their German competition.

      • 0 avatar
        vvk

        No, I consider Lexus, Infiniti and Acura to be American born, American focused brands. American as American can be.

        Other than some fringe sales, these brands are not sold anywhere else. Until very recently, not even in Japan.

    • 0 avatar

      The poster didn’t say anything about entry-level (as in CLA-Class and A3); you did. The A5 and 4-Series were mentioned, and those are capable, compact coupes that they could probably get in the high-$40K range. But I agree that there are better options. I don’t know if the outgoing Q60 would really do it, but maybe they could wait for the upcoming redesigned one.

    • 0 avatar
      Waftable Torque aka Daniel Ho

      Nothing wrong with premium when much of what you’re paying for in luxury is the in-store experience. Once you’ve walked out with your Canali top coat or Patek Phillippe watch, how much better off are you compared to someone who buys a Cardinal of Canada top coat and a Grand Seiko? Someone has to pay the bills for the marble floors and the abundant halogen lighting, so it might as well be someone else.

      Semantics aside, you’re right, there’s really nothing smaller than a mid-size I would consider luxurious.

      • 0 avatar
        fvfvsix

        I’d argue that you’re much better off if you can walk out of a watch store with a Patek…even a Calatrava. Resale value in the western world gives the nod to Patek. Might I also interject that there are Grand Seikos and Credors to be had in the $20K-$100K range?

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Isn’t the Q60 their small SUV? You know, the one they used to call a JX35 and then something else?

      Infiniti needs to have someone remove their collective heads from their bottoms.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Things with Q## are cars, things with QX## are SUVs.

        EX35 = QX50
        JX35 = QX60
        FX35 = QX70
        QX56 = QX80

        New NX competitor is the QX30 (not released yet).

        I did that without looking, because I pride myself in remembering this junk (for some reason), so we’ll see if I got any wrong.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    They don’t offer a coupe, but I’ve owned several Volvos over the years and found them to be pretty reliable as a daily driver. Also, they offer everything that you’d get in a similarly-sized BMW or Audi for less money and are cheaper to maintain and service.

    Most of the issues I had with my last V70 T5 were trivial and it was every bit as nice as the BMW and Mercedes I used to have.

    I also wrench on all my own cars, and have found Volvos to be overall easier to repair than even our current Chevy and Nissan.

    • 0 avatar

      I wish they *would* release that coupe concept they did a while back—which looked like a successor to the original P1800—because it was gorgeous.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        I didn’t see it. Was it gorgeous because it was intrinsically gorgeous or gorgeous because it was good looking and reminded you of the P1800, which you have always loved?

        I’d be perfectly OK with the latter, by the way. I’ll watch reruns of “The Saint” just to catch a glimpse of that car.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        The C30?

        They sold it from 2006-2013.

        I see them on the road occasionally around here in Portland.

  • avatar
    Mikein08

    Well, if reliability is at the top of your shopping list, then a Honda
    Accord EX-L V6 would be a connsideration, as would a Nissan Maxima.
    These of course do not have the badge cachet, and maybe they do not
    have all the toys you desire. But they will go reasonably fast, are
    quite reliable even when not well maintained, and aren’t silly expensive.
    I also understand the Toyota Avalon is quite nice.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      My experience with a loaded-up V6 Accord coupe’s reliability was not positive, and CR tends to love the V6 models less than the I4s. We’re a couple of years into this model now and maybe that’s less of a concern, but typically for reliability you want the engine that the car was designed to accomodate, not the one they manage to shoehorn in.

      The Avalon Hybrid is nice, and all the Avalons are built to V6 specs. She also might be able to track down a fin-de-siecle TL. And the Audis have all been around a while. CR is also warming up to the Fusion and I could see a Titanium fitting the bill.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    I’ll throw in a word for the Hyundai Genesis. It’s not a badgy-badgy marque but the Genesis (sedan at least; not sure if they’ve redone the interior on the coupe yet?) was really well put together and feels pretty nice. It’s definitely not going to be the proverbial driver’s car that some of the others will be, but in terms of bang-for-buck and nifty features (remote start via phone, heated things, etc) it’ll be in with a shout.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    I would check out Buick. You might be pleasantly surprised.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I’m glad my wife is not a badge snob. One in the family is enough.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Honestly, limiting yourself to a Coupe is severely limiting the number of options. I’m not going to go into the whole 2 vs 4 door debate, but there are plenty of ideal cars out there that’s only flaw is 2 more doors.

    I’d say the best choice is the Acura TLX. Sure, it has 2 more doors, but it is damn near perfect for what you are looking for.

  • avatar
    John R

    Two words. Japan Ichiban.

    When you’re outside today count how many first and second gen G35’s Lexus ANYTHINGS you see still rollin’ down the road. You may run out of fingers.

    The Lexus RC will, probably, be the most reliable A5 VAG has never made.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    She is the perfect RC 350 customer. If she’s willing to wait a year or so then the all-new Q60 also becomes an option.

    If she’s willing to go to four doors that expands the choices to the IS 350, the TLX V6, and the Q50.

    Anything else is going to be a gamble from a reliability perspective. You may be the owner who turns up here saying his Audi has gone 100k miles with oil changes. But you are at least equally likely to be the one who says that an engine computer was replaced at 20k, a fuel pump at 30k, and two ABS sensors at 35k.

  • avatar
    udman

    Obviously they are looking for a German Coupe, yet the Best and the Brightest are hell bent on recommending something Japanese. All well and good. Looking through the recommendations, I have yet to see anyone recommend a Mercedes-Benz C class Coupe, so I’m going with that….

    The C250 has a 1.8L inline Turbo 4, 201HP, 229 lb-ft of torque, and is the one to go for at a starting MSRP of $39,400.

    The next step up is the C350 Coupe with a 3.5L V-6, 302HP, and 273 lb-ft of torque. Starting MSRP is $44,050.

    Both of these options are available with the 4Matic All Wheel Drive Package, and would still be under the $50,000 Price Range. Don’t get too crazy with the option packages though, and unlike the C-Class Sedan, the Coupe Models are still assembled in Germany.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The B&B are recommending something Japanese because reliability was mentioned as such an important criterion. Any car can have issues, and any car can be trouble-free, but your chances of the latter in the luxury arena are a lot higher with the Japanese makes.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      udman,

      The original post mentioned German cars but it wasn’t spelled out as a requirement. I didn’t take “farhvergnugen” as requiring a German car, either, just as a shorthand way of expressing “relatively fun and engaging to drive.”

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    The answer is Lexus RX350. Or used Lexus LS460 AWD.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Can you still get the G37 in a Q4xxxx coupe? If so, that.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The cars listed by the OP are coupes IIRC.

    I’m with the herd on this one Lexus RC – Toyota gets a lot more right than the average car marker, and Lexus has consistently been on top in quality short and long term quality. The only hesitation I have on the RC is it is a first model year vehicle (ya ya ya most of the parts are tried and true out of the bin).

    I’m out of recommendations out of that if luxury and bulletproof reliability are both requirements.

    • 0 avatar
      cpthaddock

      RC’s 1st model year unknowns and price premium are why the Infiniti G/Q has such a strong case to make for itself. No, it doesn’t have every single one of latest whizz bang gadgets, but everything it does have has been tried and proven to a ridiculous degree.

  • avatar
    Fred

    My brief 5 year 95000 mile experience with a 2007 A3 was good, but I had 2 strikes, one the AC compressor (replaced under warranty) and a rear wheel bearing, paid out of my pocket. I say that it was very reliable. My only caveat is that it is expensive to maintain. A simple inspection/oil chance at the dealer is $300, an independent shop is about half.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Turned in the leased 2012 A6 3.0T today. It wasn’t particularly reliable or durable by my standards, but it wasn’t disastrous with a lease either. OTOH, I walked behind the shop while looking for a replacement car that wasn’t cleaned up for the showroom yet and saw a stack of replacement engine crates the size of a Winnebago. In my days in the auto business, the only time I saw anything like it was when the first batch of Subaru Legacys’ engines went bang. I’m surprised there aren’t stories about Audi engine failures all over the place.

      The A6 kept 45% of its value after 3 years and 47K miles. That was where they valued it even though we were looking at replacing it with a $78K A7 ‘Prestige’ with the same drivetrain and about 85% of everything else. When we got the A6, they told us that the A7 would have lousy residuals, so the lease payment would be far higher than reflected by the $5K difference in MSRP. I’d much rather have a GS-F, but this is a company car and I have even less input into selecting it than I did last time, when I was blamed for picking the A6 when all I really wanted was to avoid an S4 or a Genesis 5.0R.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Hmm replacement engines for Audis, could be any number of things: oil burning 2.0Ts that the dealer just can’t keep up on replacing ring/pistons on, timing chain stretching V6s jumping teeth? Don’t know enough about the latest 3.0 supercharged engines, could they have some sort of catastrophic faults?

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          Our 3.0T didn’t have a catastrophic failure, but it has been shaking on start-up for a while.

          Many of the crates were for 06H 100 034 D RUMPFMOTOR, which seems to be a variation of the 2.0T used in 2012. They’re made in Hungary. I snapped a few photos because I figured some VAG fanatic would claim I was full of it.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “has been shaking on start-up for a while”

            tell-tale gunked up intake valves IMO. Bet you’re glad it was a lease and you could just wash your hands of it, having enjoyed an awesome driving car no doubt.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            It stopped driving awesomely at about 16K miles, when the POS transmission had lost the plot. From then on it was constantly a struggle to finesse the gas pedal so as to avoid bizarre shifting behavior.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “I walked behind the shop while looking for a replacement car that wasn’t cleaned up for the showroom yet and saw a stack of replacement engine crates the size of a Winnebago.”

        This is a cautionary tale if I’ve ever seen it. I’ve heard similar things over the years about Cadillac dealers in the 4100 era. Something to the effect of replacing three motors a day.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Not enough information from the OP. Does warranty repair count as a strike? How about maintenance – how high does the parts/labor/frequency of required service have to be before it enters the strike zone?

    Also missing is how long Mrs. Sam intends to keep the car. Because sometime after the warranty expires, everything from Germany is going to put one right over the plate.

  • avatar
    jmiller417

    The current, i.e., old, Infiniti coupe is pretty good, but I wonder about the generation to come. Consumer Reports (take it for what it’s worth) rates the current Q50 sedan’s reliability as “much below average.”

    I love my ATS sedan, and would recommend the coupe, but I’m not sure it’s the place to go for one-strike reliability. Basically, you’re stuck with Lexus if you want a luxe coupe you don’t have to worry about.

  • avatar
    Equinox

    For what it is worth, I can provide my personal experience. I have owned a 2011 A4 for 4 years and 40,000 miles now with no issues at all. Prior to this I had a Civic Si and a Ford Focus that gave me 1 problem each!

  • avatar
    alcaponed

    G37S/Q60S coupe is the best right now in my opinion. Lexus RC is also nice but I find the G is better looking. It’s definitely superior in driving dynamics as well. BMW reliability is terrible compared to Audi and Merc so I would avoid BMW if that’s the main issue. For pure reliability though, Lexus has always been king, although Infiniti is not far behind.

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