Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mid Week Match-Up: Seeking A LuxoBarge

Today's Mid Week Match-Up comes from DT reader SeekingLuxoBarge who writes:
I wanna spend roughly 10k on a used luxury car. What are my best choices? It wont be my only vehicle, I don't mind doing my own maintenance, I understand that things break and parts are expensive, I have a decent set of tools, and a garage to work in. Common sense says I should get a Camry/Accord and be done with it, but people on Craigslist seem to overvalue them. Just trying to find something that will give a nice smooth ride on the days I have to take the kids to school. 

My only requirements is that it's an automatic. I would prefer a manual, but I feel I should get an auto so my wife could also drive it in a pinch. Her learning manual is not on the table, no use barking up that tree.

As I'm closing in on purchasing my dream Porsche 997, I've still got small, occasionally carsick kids I need to take to school and activities on occasion.

Since I've got the sporty side of things covered, I'm looking to trade my bouncy and no longer useful truck for a luxury car to drive on days that I need to haul a family, or travel long distances. It would also be nice to have a car that I could drive when the weather is gross, or when I want to go somewhere that I would worry about leaving a fancy-pants car unguarded.
Current prospects are:

Y50 Infiniti M35/45, or maybe a G35
E60 BMW 528/530
Lexus LS 430 / GS300
Possibly a W211 E class?

and before anyone suggests a Panther, I have owned 3 (83,89,06) and don't really care for the newer ones. 

Thanks,
SeekingLuxoBarge

(DT Ed Vince) I'm going to go out on the proverbial tree branch over here and suggest something luxury that is neither German nor Japanese -- but 'Merican.  Whereas Cadillac went all Nurburgring lap time idiocy with their CTS-V, and Lincoln jumped the shark with the skate styling, only Chrysler continues to produce the kind of floaty luxo-boats that are comfortable to drive and somewhat impressive to see (but you gotta like chrome).  You can almost get into an Chrysler 300C SRT8 for $10k, especially if you find one with nasty wheels and high miles (KBB lists a 2006 SRT8 version for around $12k from a private party)-- and you'll thank me for the 425 horsepower and 420 ft-lbs of torque V8 later.  If you want to get gas mileage into the teens, you'll need to back down to a standard 300C with its 5.7 liter Hemi V8 that pushes out 340 horsepower and 390 ft-lbs of torque.  Spring for a version with the SRT Design (sort of like /M Sport package or F-Sport) version, like this one offered for $12,500 buy-it-now. 

What would you recommend?  Comments below.





71 comments:

  1. I can't recommend the e60, and it's not because of the styling (although that's reason enough for many). In a nutshell, their driving dynamics are just flat out sub-par---BMW screwed up with the handling and steering feel of the e60....they tried to go all lexus on us. The interior materials are lousy---seriously----squeak and rattleville and/or blinding shiny plastic everywhere you look. Lastly, the reliability ain't there either.

    No, I feel I must recommend the e38 740i sport (or the iL---the short wheelbase i has a few more enthusiast goodies, but for what you described, you wouldn't miss em). It checks all your boxes, is easy to repair on your own when needed, has a huge online support community, and won't make you miserable when you hop out of your 997 and into it.

    Here's one that has been for sale for months because the price has been crazy----offer him $9k and enjoy.

    http://nashville.craigslist.org/cto/5009681815.html

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    1. Pretty but the lack of sport seats would put me off that one and probably the L in general.

      I like the E38 but it's got pretty much all the same faults as the E39, just make sure you know what you're getting into.

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    2. ...and at the risk of saturating the comments here I'll note that 'all the same faults as the E39' has not kept me from owning a pair of E39s, and would not fear an E38.

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  2. I loved my wife's W140. It was so solid. Wish I never had sold it.
    s500

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    1. The 'Bruno Sacco Bank Vault'.

      I dunno about that one.

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  3. Replies
    1. Pretty, sweet to drive, Jag parts prices make BMW look like a trip to the dollar store

      The early AJ-V8s had the same Nikasil bore problems as the '94-95 BMW M60 V8s, Jag didn't learn from BMW's near-disaster with those things. Though there's so much less sulfur in gasoline now that if the engine didn't fail then, it won't fail now.

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  4. Replies
    1. Nice one. You could be crazy/awesome and buy the W12 Phaeton

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    2. It's a VAG product, so budget for maintenance accordingly.

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  5. Previously answered, on my part. Mic raised, mic dropped. Taking my two cents and going to the penny candy store. Those still exist, don't they?

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    1. I hear Stan frequents them often.

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    2. I forgot what you said. Azera? Roadmaster? 164?

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    3. Just because I like you guys, here's my "spitball" list again (though I refined it just a bit). No particular logic other than new(er) and within $$$ budget. As usual, I tried to think a little outside the box.

      Stan says "Hi" but he's busy with the Brock's Candy Puffs and Cherry Humps.

      Hyundai Genesis
      Infiniti M45
      Acura RL/TL
      Cadillac DeVille/STS/DTS/CTS
      Jaguar XJ/Lincoln LS
      Volkswagen Phaeton
      Toyota Avalon
      Volvo S60/S80 V8
      Mercury Marauder

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    4. I'm just curious about my fellow DTers out there...mainly because they're a curious lot. But my question for you is, given the specs here, would you consider the Hyundai? With this budget, you're probably talking the 290 hp V6 and it's going to take a bit of searching and/or traveling to buy one under Blue Book around $10K. But if you'd already rejected the rest of the cars mentioned here in this Mid Week Match-Up, would you consider one? Or is it just too plain jane for you?

      [img]http://i.imgur.com/A9xsBlC.jpg?1[/img]

      [img]http://i.imgur.com/HoBbDGT.jpg?1[/img]

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19q1zzZNTWU
      I couldn't find a decent quality commercial that featured the first gen. Maybe you can find a better one.

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    5. I would, provided that I can find a good enough supply of parts and an online community that would make diagnosing things easier.

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    6. I'm not aware of any parts sourcing issues but I don't know that for a fact. I've only been on the Genesis Owners Message Board a few times. You might take a look, if you're interested. At this price point, or even a couple grand more, the Genesis sedan is a downright steal and one of the best deals on a luxury car on the market right now. Even at MSRP. You just don't get any prestige with it and maybe the interior doesn't quite meet up to the standards of, say, Audi. But you gain so many other things in the process...well, it would definitely be on my list of potential vehicles, for sure. It should come as no surprise that most DTers most likely do NOT agree with me, as you can tell by the other comments.

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    7. I don't have a problem with the Genesis, and I definitely don't buy my cars based on any perceived "prestige" factor, so that's not a strike against the car either...in fact I like it and what it represents. The form you linked to though is very typical for the Japanese marques....it's all about wheel choices, and "who have you raced", and "what did you pay for your Genesis", and almost zero mechanical topics and discussion, much less the awesome wealth of maintenance and repair pictorial DIYs that I find on the German sites. I think that's what LuxoBarge is referring to by "online community", and it's a huge, huge reason why I prefer the German brand online support communities (in general, they have their cheesy ones too.)

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    8. You realize you just knocked German cars, right? Was that intentional?

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    9. Not really....a Genesis is going to need transmission fluid, plugs, fuel filters, differentials, etc changed as well (despite most of their owners never doing those things and treating them as 100k mile disposables)....I'm just pointing out that if there's a good trick for doing any of those, you sure won't find em on a Hyundai forum. It's not because you can weld the hood shut and never think about it because the car will never break.

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    10. You're right but it's also an indicator. Actually, it indicates several things now doesn't it?

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    11. I suppose to me it indicates that most modern-era Japanese car owners don't like to work on their own cars, but I'm sure it's open to multiple interpretations.

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    12. Agreed about the multiple interpretations.

      I'd again refer to my infamous wiper blade example. The parts are indistinguishable in every way except price, but the German (not JUST German, of course, but that's another discussion) parts are more expensive from the dealer and well-known online sources. AGAIN, just trying to have an oranges to oranges evaluation here. But there's no conceivable reason why parts like that aren't more competitively priced from those sources.

      Another reason that the Japanese car owner boards aren't about fixing and tweaking every little and major component and part is because it's unnecessary. Nothing broken to fix, really. And the electronics on every car these days makes it very difficult to work on your own car. That just leaves items like wheels, as you pointed out. This is the sticking point for you in particular, I think. It may just not seem possible to you that such a thing could be. You might be right. Or maybe I am. Interesting to kick it around.

      Additionally, it's my gut feeling that the Genesis board isn't focused on fixing broken stuff because they really haven't even existed all that long. The Koreans certainly don't have the legacy that BMW, MB and VW have. They're the new kids on the block and they have to overcome - which clearly they have in a BIG way - the stigma that they created when they originally brought in inferior products to our market. The cars they sell now are amazing if you consider the rate of growth they've pursued in such a short amount of time.

      So that begs the question; is it better to be a new company that has less restrictions or a historied one that must produce products that neither alienate nor stagnate, in today's market? Tough one. I'm glad I don't have to make those decisions.

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    13. I'd wager that there isn't a automotive maintenance or service question that can't be answered by someone, somewhere online. If a purchase is being governed by the size of the online support community, then I'd hazard a guess that the car in question is probably not in the running anyway. That's fine but it isn't much of a concern in reality. I'm sure somebody online could answer what the torque is on the lug nuts of a 570S right now, all it would take is a little searching and inquiry. So the online community argument is moot, in my book.

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  6. As for the Chrysler 300 - they're not bad, though you'd best do your research, know a guy who was a Mopar dealership mechanic and he was just astounded at how badly built some of the mechanicals were at least on the early cars, diffs failing from housing casting flash breaking off inside, etc.

    Seeing out is not a strength, though I find the second-generation model (in addition to the massively nicer interior materials) to be better for some reason even if the profile hasn't changed that much.

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  7. What are Pontiac G8 GTs going for?

    I know the GXPs are rare as rocking horse excrement, but there's enough GTs around, the material quality won't make you think 'BMW' but they're wonderful drivers.

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    1. Another option would be to try to find one of the Chevy Caprice cop-cars - the LWB version of the Aussie G8.

      The pics from Baltimore were, alas, full of a whole lot of 'em getting stomped, maybe you could make the city a deal and buy a dozen of 'em for scrap value, have enough parts to build two usable cars...

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    2. pontiac is a luxury brand?

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    3. If you want to be picky about it, neither is Chrysler.

      And it's not a Pontiac, it's a Holden.

      The build quality and features of the G8 is at least as good as the original 300C and the design and performance a bit better. The second-gen 300 moves ahead on material quality but the Holden is still a more useful design.

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    4. I'm sure I'm going to regret this, but here goes nothing...

      Blue Book on a '08 GT is over $15K. I think, for the $10K budget, the buyer would probably be really looking at a base V6 model. Maybe. It would be a bit of a search and no V8 for them. I also think -and this is just my opinion- there isn't much that's luxurious about the G8. Frankly, I love them. But they're more sporty than luxurious. I find something like a TL much more luxurious (RL even more so), the Volvos even more so. Even a Marauder would be more luxo; that's an interesting option and it even has the chance of being a future collectible (it already is, actually). If your username is "SeekingLuxoBarge", I think the G8 a bit too hardcore. Again, just IMO. Still, an interesting option that I personally wouldn't have thrown out there. But to each his or her own. I make no judgement.

      And now for something completely different. And expensive. Speaking of the G8...

      [img]http://i.imgur.com/sN1cdWG.jpg?1[/img]

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    5. Pretty sure they left the letter "r" out of the word "scap". Or maybe it's a skin rash of some sort.

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    6. Here's something even more completely different (related to Pontiacs and Holdens), http://www.lefthandutes.com/

      And we're way beyond the $10k budget.

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    7. Chrysler is clearly the "luxury" division of that car family, like Cadillac is to Chevy. Pontiac, not so much.

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  8. not the E60 go for a 2001 740i with the m-sport package. Gorgeous car. All of my imaginary 2 car dream garages include a 740i as the daily driver.

    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/scz/cto/5008626841.html

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    1. look up^ great minds think alike.

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  9. 114K so it's leaking coolant at the valley pan and needs hoses but it won't need cam tensioners for another 50-75K.

    I'd pass on that example, though, as it looks to have the base seats, and the sport seats are a must-have in any BMW of that vintage and a significant competitive advantage over anything else.

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    1. Learnt sumthin new.....I thought the base seat on the 740 was the equivalent of the 540 comfort seat, but the one Eric listed sure does appear to not have the hinged backrest. As much as I love the sport seats (at 6'3" the extending thigh support is a godsend), I have to say that the comfort seats are a nice compromist---I love being able to adjust the upper back part to a more upright position than the lower backrest.

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  10. I'm kinda digging this 1971 Buick Electra Coupe in Portland OR. Original Portland car in decent condition. They only want 3,750, it's been for sale for a month, so you can probably bid them and you'd have tons left over with your 10K budget to spruce it up a bit. You certainly can't get much more barge-y than this. Luxo is in the eye of the beholder.

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    1. I didn't go the direction of classic because I got the impression that the seeker wanted something newer. Still, that's an interesting idea, G. And of course I'd go that way too, were it my money, just as your thinking does. I'd also try to find a late 60s (preferable) to an early 70s American boat, but make it a fo' do' see-dan.

      1972 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 75 Limousine with a 472 V8

      1967 Cadillac

      Once you've gone Caddy, you can...never...go...backy?

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    2. K2- Have you ever dealt with that dealer, they sure show up a lot on my eBay searches. Most recently with a pair of Mercedes Wagons.

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    3. Hiya Hunsbloger! No, I know nothing about them. They could be thieves and liars for all I know. I haven't bought a car from a dealer since the 90s. Probably won't ever again, unless it's a very special car or deal.

      Speaking of thieves and liars; this one's for you, Bolo! Remember when industrial was cool?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLCZhQX_Fm0

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    4. The guy has a 997 as a daily, so why not buy a classic? Can't get much more barge-y than a late 60's early 70's land yacht.

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  11. Jag-U-are S-Type with 32919 miles for $10,450 or make offer.
    I heard the V8's were very reliable as they were based on the Lincoln LS.
    Change all the fluids/filters and it should be good to go.

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  12. I sold a 2008 S80 last winter for a friend. It had the turbo , 4 wheel drive, and everything you could get on it (T5?) with 65k miles and a few dings. I had it detailed and ding fixed and it looked and acted like a one year old car. The best I could get for it after 3 months was $12k. It drove so well and fast and the interior was so comfy and luxurious that it was a crime that it went for cheap. I am guessing there is one out there now for 10k.....

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    1. The second gen S80 is indeed a lovely car. But in my opinion, the first gen is one of the most trouble-prone cars "I Roll" ever produced and should be avoided at all cost. You'll notice that I recommended the 311 hp, 325 torque V8. Why not take advantage of Volvo's typically rapid devaluing and go full luxo? Plus, the PCC is a classic bit of automotive trivia, featuring a technology nobody wanted and nobody even knew existed.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjuYFOwm5ng

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    2. +1, but they are extremely hard to find as there were not many sold. I'm guessing that most are still in the hands of the original owners who tried to trade them and found that they aren't worth much. As Volvo dropped the V8 there's no new replacement for them until the T8 hits the showrooms in an S80 and they'll be so high priced that many will shop elsewhere.
      These are incredibly competent cars, but they are, for the most part...still... blandmobiles in the eyes of most. Once you've sat in and driven one in nasty weather at speed, you'll be a fan.

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    3. If my aging brain remembers correctly, this is either vuja de or the Dr. may be weighing in soon with a different assessment of the S80 V8.

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    4. They certainly don't fall from the sky. But they're out there. Here's an example. I like the gauge needles on these things.

      [img]http://i.imgur.com/WNitDeS.jpg?1[/img]

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  13. Must go against the grain of the majority of these recommendations. To our inquiring reader, you say you're nearing a purchase of your dream Porsche 997; that's great. If you have unlimited funds for maintenance, sure, go ahead and buy a BMW 740 or a Mercedes. My question is, are you prepared to spend a fortune properly maintaining two German cars? With the Porsche, you'll have a fantastic driver; if you want to haul the kids and groceries, and have something your wife can drive easily, I'd point you to a Japanese car. The Japanese have owned the reliability index for two decades. I'd suggest a 2001-03 Lexus LS430 (the GS is a compromised car) or any Acura RL, TL or TSX, if you can live with the latter's smaller size. Infinitis offer a lot for the money, but they're not as well-made as an Acura or Lexus. We have a '95 Acura Legend with 148K and it has been both a marvelous highway car and dead reliable.
    The 2000-2004 Acura RL was upsized and has the generic 'Mercedes' look, but the 3.5-liter V6 is bulletproof, and the amenities and quality are beyond reproach. With two kids, I'd avoid two German cars and stick the money you'll save on maintenance into the college fund. Happy hunting!

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    1. If you spend a fortune maintaining any German car, it means you take it to the dealer for all maintenance and repairs. If you take your car to the dealer for all maintenance and repairs, it means you're a man who sits down to pee. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

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    2. It really isn't any different at any other dealership, regardless of make. That's just the way it goes these days. They've earned the name "Stealership" for a reason. Outliers exist.

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    3. Dunno man, in a case of role reversal for us, I gotta say I used to love taking my FZJ80 Land Cruiser to the dealership because they could do the maintenance at a price point that made the time savings worth it to me. The best part was they were always so apologetic about the pricing---"Ok Mr FTB, you want to change the plugs, differential fluid, trans and transfer case fluid, oil, radiator flush, brake flush, and a new air filter. We can do that, but it's going to be $300...are you sure that's ok?"

      As a result, any of my friends who don't know a wrench from a rachet and ask for car buying advice rarely get referred to non-Japanese cars unless they have warranty left.

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    4. I only know based on my personal experience and the information that I've received from others. The dealers may be nicer, friendlier, more convenient and whatnot. But they still overcharge, much less charge for ridiculous things. My Toyota customers used to come in with a burnt out headlight and I'd just swap it for them for the price of the part as they sat there in their car. For that I'd get yelled at by upper management and told to charge them .5 hours' labor or whatever it was at the time. Which was retarded in the extreme at the time. It was literally so simple that a monkey could do it.

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  14. I just bought a 2013 Taurus SHO yesterday (more than $10k but less than $20). I couldn't pull the trigger on any of the german options so I thought I would try my first American car in 30 years. It's big and fast and I like big butts.

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    1. I have actually looked at some of the older 500/Tauruses but I have yet to drive one. They seem to have taken a huge deprecation hit as I've seen them hovering around the 6k range, but i dont know much about the reliability of them.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. SHO aside, I think the Accord is a far superior car to the 6th gen Taurus. They have similar size interiors but the Taurus feels huge to drive and claustrophobic inside to me, unlike the Accord that shrinks around you the faster you go. It also doesn't handle as nearly as nice as the Honda. More luxo just means move up to the Acura, if the Accord doesn't have enough of that quality for you. Also a better investment. That being said, the Ford isn't a bad car by any stretch. Luxo? No. But that's a subjective quality, now isn't it?

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    4. C'mon, you mean you aren't going to dismiss all American cars entirely based upon the SHO taking a 66% depreciation dump in 2 model years? ;-)

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    5. Well, I could if that would make you happy...

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    6. I'd be happy to analyze the American car industry in general with you, if you'd like. I'm just as critical, frankly. Nobody asked me before and I haven't had an opportunity to bring it up really because DT is not particularly interested in modern 'Merican cars, which is just fine by me. But I was discussing the Taurus versus the Accord specifically. If Seeking is interested in going the direction of supposedly less fun (subjective, I know) luxo (again, the line is grey if Seeking will consider a car like the Taurus) cars (I didn't get that impression), then that opens up a whole 'nuther kettle of fish. The Lexus ES comes instantly to mind. There isn't much fun about a car like that but you get outstanding quality, reliability and a surprising amount of luxury in a more compact package. It's also relatively cheap to maintain. I had a boss once that went from a leased 5 to an ES and absolutely loved it. I'm not making this up to just fit my premise here - I was as mystified by that as you surely are (he also thought my 951 was a Ferrari, so that tells you a lot). But not everybody feels the same way about cars as we do (some would call it rabid).

      2004 Lexus ES 330 with 62K miles for $9,500

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    7. Oh and by the way, if you really read what I've written here on DT about German cars, I clearly have NOT written the entire countries' automakers off. You just read it that way and chose to think I did. Not true. Again, I've invited further conversation on the subject but it was rejected and ignored. That's probably because nobody cares what I think, which is perfectly fine. But I'm correcting you now on your misconception that I think all German automotive manufacturers and their products are junk and should be dismissed out of hand. Blatantly untrue! There ARE outliers and exceptions to my "rule" (of which there isn't one). I was merely pointing out that if you purchase a premium (that word indicates that I understand that these have very good qualities to them) product at a premium price (this isn't the 60s or 70s any longer, which always throws me!), I find it surprising that parts, labor and maintenance are typically also premium-priced and yet they last no more or less than another other similar product that typically costs less. That's a consumer issue and not necessarily an enthusiast issue (just look at the car magazines to nail that concept home), I know. I also know that the two can become confusing and intertwined.

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    8. Seems like the luxo-car manufacturers have chosen to address this via the included maintenance so that the first lessee gets a satisfactory experience. It's the 3rd owner that takes it in the shorts when the recyclable plastic cooling parts have to be replaced or fail if they don't know that is part of the maintenance regimen.. At least that is what I've gathered. I've only owned one luxury car and it was Italian. My German experiences have been with a new Passat in the 90's (but not THAT Passat) and a 30 year old Rabbit, built with care in Pennsylvania. Not sure where the strange mix of English/German that I drive now fits...

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    9. Excellent point, G! I think that's actually a really good step for the German companies as well as all of the other automakers doing the same thing. Next up for the Germans is to address the long-term costs, as you pointed out. But they've had a history of being rather blase about the issue. Except MB, of course.

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  15. W8 for it...just budget for maintenance!

    http://seattle.craigslist.org/sno/cto/5013709800.html

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  16. I haven't seen any comments from SeekingLuxoBarge. What do you think about the suggestions? What's the story with the 997 purchase? Inquiring minds want to know...

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    Replies
    1. Hello, G! He did, replying to my posts about the Genesis. So Seeking is clearly keeping an eye on the shenanigans happening here. I hope we can help!

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    2. Oops, missed it. Sorry SLB...

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    3. I like a lot of the suggestions and its made me consider some stuff that I hadn't even thought about before

      My current favorites from the list are: (in no particular order)
      Lexus LS430
      Chrysler 300C
      Acura RL
      Infiniti M45
      Hyundai Genesis

      I spent some time yesterday looking at various e39/38 forums and I don't think I could stand having 2 needy German cars. Even the newest e39 is 12 years old at this point. The idea of a 540 wagon is very appealing though. Also that W12 phaeton on the front page makes me want to disregard all logic and buy it.

      The Volvo and jaguar suggestions are intriguing, but as I mentioned on the genesis comment I would prefer something that has a decent production run and a robust online community around it, just to make fixing things myself a bit easier. The BMW community seems to be the best in this regard, but the Infiniti and Lexus forums still have a nice amount of information. I still need to check up on the Hyundai, Acura, and Chrysler stuff.

      As for the 997 ive been been wanting a "cool" car for many years but it got delayed by various life stuff (house, kid, etc). After having kids all my 2 seat choices went out the window so I started looking at 4 seaters. After tying some american pony cars, a friend at work let me drive his 03 996 and I was hooked, but I just cant get behind the 996s interior so I started looking at 997s. Im still trying to decide between a 997.1S vs a 997.2 non-S with sport chrono and PASM at the moment. Mostly im waiting for my work to move closer to my house in September, otherwise I will have to drive it in an hour of stop and go traffic. Plus I need to clean out my garage so I have a nice place to shelter it from the elements.

      Thanks for all the suggestions guys!

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    4. You're welcome and please let us know how it goes!

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