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High End Luxury Cars

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Comments

  • jgraveljgravel Posts: 54
    I've been looking for a 2001 740iL recently. I figured the final year of a model series should be fairly solid. Should I be looking at other cars as well? I've owned BMW's for awhile so I'm leaning that way but I don't want to pass up an opportunity if one exists.

    Thanks,

    -jay
  • carnaughtcarnaught Desert SWPosts: 1,641
    I know it's not a German import, but have you checked out the new Jag. XJ-R?
  • It's just my opinion but I think you would do yourself a disservice if you did not at least drive other luxury models....

    If you want a drivers car maybe you would want to try a Mercedes S class in addition to the 740iL If you want dependability and all out luxury maybe a Lexus LS430.

    There are other cars out there worth driving.
  • fennfenn Posts: 197
    The A8L is a great car, but it has gotten a lot of mixed reviews. Some reviewers and posters have mentioned a choppy ride, among other critiques. However, after several of my own test drives, I never understood those criticisms.

    Although, I am not sure about Ksurg's mention of the "cheaper" price issue, because the A8L with convenience package and wheel options will be in the $74,000 range, which puts it in the same range as an S430 or 7 series.

    I was very close to buying an A8L before getting my new XJR. I really liked the A8L. As I mentioned a while back in this forum, I think it is one of the ultimate luxury cruisers. It is spacious, well built, and it oozes quality.

    So, why did I not get an A8L..? Well, for me the A8L felt just a bit too large, and it was not quite as sporting and quick as the XJR. That is not a negative comment. For somebody that wants a big luxury/sport cruiser with a limousine-like accomodations, the A8L is my choice.

    I have mentioned my feelings about the '04 XJR earlier, so I will not tout it again. Let it suffice to say that I find it a perfect balance between luxury and high performance at its price.
  • ksurgksurg Posts: 48
    I'm not sure that everyone is on the same page here. The 2004 A8 is a completely redesigned vehicle. I have yet to read any negative reviews. In European Car comment was made about undulations on choppy roads due to a long wheelbase but that same article rated it's ride superior to it's 745i and S500 cousins. As for price it is cheaper...look at comparisons here on Edmunds and keep in mind the options it comes with as well as the fact that it has standard all wheel drive. Lastly, it does look big but it is within an inch in length of the 745iL and the S500( interestingly there is a 4" discrepancy in width between published spec's and those here at Edmunds).

    As for the 2004 XJR, I haven't seen it yet. Maybe I'll check it out!
  • fennfenn Posts: 197
    I know what page you are on. I am talking about the new '04 version. It has been discussed here previously.

    You need to read back through the older posts on this board to see some of the comments.

    I found this a link to the Car and Driver review of the '04 A8L this past August, which said: "It's a stiff ride for such a lavish luxury liner, but one that doesn't come with terrific body control. The A8 actually shivers side to side as the car clomps over broken pavement, a slightly more disconcerting feeling in a new $74,090 German autobahn inhaler than in, say, the 1953 Ford Mainline we recently drove across Mexico."

    I think that a few other Edmunds posters made the same comments in July after the car first came out. It may have been a problem with early production cars. I know that I did not find those ride issues to be present when I drove the A8L, but I thought that I would share the informantion anyway. (I was thinking that the car may ride rougher with the optional 19" wheels that they had on the test car).

    The only version of the new A8 that is being imported to the U.S is the A8L. This is the long wheelbase version.. I drove it after driving the XJR and BMW 745, and it did feel bigger to me. It is the ultimate large grand tourer. Drive the car and see what you think. If you often carry four or more in your car, you will appreciate the commodious back seat area too.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    I've been seeing a lot of posts saying Audi has good quality and I would totally disagree. I don't mean for this to be a "I know someone..." post, but I do know a lot of people that have had major quality issues with Audi.

    One person in my office has an A6 that, after a few months of ownership, lost all interior and exterior lights. She was about 75 miles from home and called Audi roadside assistance. They said since the car could be driven they would not send help, so she drove 75 miles in the dark just to get home.

    Another person in my office also has had numerous electrical problems with her Audi. Too many to even list here, but it's been one thing after another. One odd item was the car just died once while she was driving it on a highway. The car was in for service for a week before the dealer discovered a problem with the temp sensor. The car thought it was 50 below outside and shut the car down. To make things worse, the dealer rented her a Chevy Cavalier from Enterprise because they offer no loaners.

    You can also check out some guy in the A6 forum who had his A6 bought back because of the many problems.

    Factor in the poor resale value and I could not imagine spending $70,000+ on a car no matter how nice it may be. A comparison article in a magazine does not give a true ownership experience.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    I am one that found the Audi A8L ride rather harsh and uneven and it was on the standard tires. I test drove it a while back so DonnFenn may be right that it is an early production problem. I am quite familiar with the old A8L as well, having driven and ridden in it often. I never felt that its' ride approached the refinement of the S-class or LS430. What I found disappointing was the new car ride was even less refined than the prior model. But I found the handling on the new A8 to be excellent (better than before)and the interior was well crafted and definitely had high-end materials. I would rate the interior more in line with Lexus and Jaguar and above the MB S-class. It is unquestionably spacious and luxurious and a nice place to live in.

    My old office had a lot of Audi buyers, particularly the A4 and A6 and people often had problems, some pretty serious including tranny related problems, with the cars. But many people were quite loyal to Audi and the main reasons were the sportier handling and the AWD offered in all models. This is the Northeast and there has been an awful lot of snow lately so AWD is highly valued. What is interesting is a few Audi owners had Toyota and Lexus suv's in their garages and in the big rain and snowstorms they showed up with them and left the car at home for their spouse.

    DonnFenn - I spotted a Q45 driving around a local strip mall the other day. It was in a dark burgundy color and I did a double take on it as the car seemed perfectly made for that color. Then the guy pulled right along side me and for the first time I realized that the Q's engine is as quiet as an LS430. I asked the guy how he liked it and he said he loved it.
  • ksurgksurg Posts: 48
    Thanks for your comments. We all have our biases. I suppose I know people who have had problems with just about every marque, with the notable exception of Lexus. Service in California tends to be better with Lexus and Infinity. However, I've recently been impressed by my local Porsche-Audi dealership. By contrast getting service from BMW and MB has been painful. I'm sure that is influencing my opinions. At least if you have a problem you know it can be worked out. Finally, we could probably find articles to support each of our points of view. Maybe this speaks to reviewer bias or the fact that these are all great cars and we're spoiled. I don't know. By the way have you ever liked a car on a test drive and on driving the vehicle again felt differently?
  • bluestar1bluestar1 Posts: 112
    "I suppose I know people who have had problems with just about every marque, with the notable exception of Lexus..."

    As an LS owner, I say AMEN to that :) So why not just buy an LS430 and be done with it? Aren't your time worth a lot to you if you are a lux/super lux car owner ? Mine certainly is, hence I can live with so-so styling for peace of mind, reliability and second-to-none customer service.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Just a little ahead there....there won't be a new S-Class for the 05' model year. It's not scheduled to be shown until the Frankfurt autoshow of 2005, which means a spring 2006 debut here. It could debute at the Geneva show next spring, but I seriously doubt that. There won't be a "S430" or "S500" either, there will be all new direct-injection engines of different displacements. Now Mercedes might ignore the actual engine's displacement and badge the upper V8 S as a "500" model because of the equity in that designation.

    lenscap,

    Ahh...what you're describing is the difference between reliability and build quality. Audi does make the best interiors of the German makes, and arguably the industry. Their cars are heavy, solid and generally very robust in their construction, but their "guts" just don't hold up as well as a BMW or Mercedes. The old A8 and current A6 4.2 basically use the same drivetrain and they are notorious for dropping transmissions. I've seen these range anywhere from 5-14K replace! It should be interesting to see the new A8's showing in this area since Audi switched to a totally new ZF 6-speed auto for the 2004 model. This is the same trans that Jaguar (XK,XJ,S-Type), BMW (5, 6 and 7-Series), VW (Touareg) and Rolls-Royce (Phantom) use.

    M
  • bluestar1bluestar1 Posts: 112
    A guy on another board has had a horrible time with his '03, so much so that Audi is buying it back after $20K in repairs. Ouch!

    Read for yourself

    kwarnold "Real-World Trade-In Values" Oct 20, 2003 10:23pm

    Heavy, solid, and generally very robust build, eh ? Are you sure about that Merc1 ?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Re-read the previous post. You missed the point (the difference between build quality and reliability) just that fast.

    M
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    I understand that a new replacement 5/6 speed transmisssion for an Audi A4 is $10,000!!!
    That will get anybody's attention.

    Audi A8's ride quality is hampered by the couple of hundred extra pounds sitting over the front tires.

    It will never ride as well as a Lexus/Jag/Merecedes. And I am sure when they go AWD there will be similiar comments about ride quality.

    Lexus's can and do have problems that can be quite expensive to repair.
    They just thave fewer probs than the others.
    New A/C $2500-3000.
    Faded instrument panel/climate control/radio LCD's
    $3-400 for each item. $1000s if taken to the dealer.
    Suspension parts are expensive, shocks,tie rods, etc. etc.
    90K service with timing belt, water pump, valves,
    belts $1500.

    This is opposed to a BMW which is $3-400 Every time it goes in for anything.

    I would never let a BMW/Mercedes get out of warranty. A Lexus out of warranty doesn't scare me.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The S-Class is already available with AWD and there haven't been any complaints about it's ride quality. By all accounts it rides and handles just like the regular S-Class. And I know Lexus isn't going to give up the ride quality their buyers so love just for awd.

    My guess would be that Audi tuned the A8's suspension for sportiness and the nervous ride is just a result of this, especially with the 19' wheels. Being awd has nothing to do with it. Wasn't Car and Driver's car suffering from a computer glitch concerning the suspension? Others like Motor Trend and Automobile haven't found fault with it's ride.

    M
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi All,

    b4z,
     Keep in mind the majority of those repairs come well after 100K miles. I did have the rear shocks replaced on my 92 LS b/c I was getting annoyed with the soft ride. Cost: $325 at the Lexus dealer. The shocks themselves were only $65 each. Even the LCD displays are only $400 at the dealer. I pretty much agree with everything you said, just wanted to highlight that those costs are even lower based on my own experience.

    bmwseller
    I think b4z said 3-400, as in Hundred. You're not going to win the reliability debate. A Lexus trumps anything in long term reliablilty costs. It's how Lexus sell cars while BMW probably uses Sportiness to sell theirs.

    I'm not saying BMW is a poorly built car, but in the Long Run a LS car will be better in that regard.

    Merc,
    In your opinion, what is Build Quality vs Reliablity? Are they mutually exclusive?

    SV
  • ksurgksurg Posts: 48
    OK guys I tried to do my homework. It is very curious that Car and Driver was the only mag to seriously criticize the A8L. I did an extensive literature search to see if there were any trends in regard to ride quality or other issues. Though many commented on the weight of the A8L and some visual obscuration from the rear headrests the reviews were glowing. As for refinement I find driving a LS430 equivalent to 10mg of ambien and the S500 like watching a rerun documentary. I suspect some of you believe if you can feel the road the ride is not refined. I enjoy driving and don't want to feel like I'm sitting in a sofa in my living room. So I wouldn't presume that isolated is synonymous with refined. In the end it is a matter of taste but for those of us who drive aggressively the LS430 and S500 are neither more refined nor appealing.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "In your opinion, what is Build Quality vs Reliablity? Are they mutually exclusive?"

    The short answer is no they aren't mutually exclusive. Lexus blends them very well, on the whole probably better than anyone else. I'm just guessing here, but I think you knew this, but wanted me to admit that? Anyway...with Audi they are exclusive traits. When you open the door of a A8, A6 or A4 you feel the heft, when you sit down your senses are delighted by the sheer quality of the interior plastics, wood, chrome, aluminum and the way it all all assembled. The A4 Cabriolet is stunning this reguard, try one out. The convertible top and it's folding structure are overbuilt. Look at the trunk hinges on the upcoming VW Phaeton, overbuilt and really not necessary, but they scream quality.

    You'd think an Audi would be very reliable too, considering the last forever "feel" of their cars. Audi has more problem than either Mercedes or BMW, and gulp(!) admittedly more serious ones at that (trans, engine etc). So really the answer to the question depends on the brand being discussed.

    Mercedes for example used to be the standard in build before they starting cutting cost. Mercedes' problem is that when they used to insist on overbuilding their cars they really didn't have much competition, yet when they decided to downgrade their interior fittings, the Japanese appeared and BMW, Audi, and all the rest got much better at it. The funny thing is that Audi and Mercedes use the same (French) supplier for the S-Class and the A8, but Audi pays for higher specification, thus VW's thinner profit margins. Mercedes specifies thicker gauge steel and sheet metal (Volvo does too) for safety purposes, magnesium seat frames and so on..all costing...while not really noticeable by the average buyers, unless you get into an accident.....while using lesser grade materials for things that didn't relate to safety. This is most easily seen in the 1999 S-Class compared to the 2000 S-Class.

    The British and German press continue to insist that Mercedes is going old-school with build quality, and focusing more heavily on reliability with the next S-Class, but for a price. There was a tear down study done about a year ago comparing newer Mercedes' with older ones. Surprisingly they found that the newer cars structure/chassis was just as robust as the older cars, but the decontenting mainly came in the areas of interior panel thickness, plastics for just about everything and seat frames. Interesting indeed. All car companies decontent in some way or another, but they do it differently. Toyota does it where you can't see it and where the average car buyer is not likely to care. Or in other words where its not likely to show up.

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Best business post I've ever seen you make and NOT because of the Lexus comment. I must be getting to you.

    The Audi folks in my office had a number of tranny problems and a business associate of mine just had his transmission go on his Jag at 58k miles - one year out of warranty. These things can be very expensive. Cost on the Jag - just for the transmission before labor - $9,500. Ouch. But - he complained to Jaguar and after a few go rounds they admitted they had a number of problems with their transmissions and agreed to provide the transmission free if he picked up the labor costs. That was classy and a lot better service than Audi provided to the folks in my office.
  • fennfenn Posts: 197
    Ksurg: I really like the Audi, but I found it interesting that you are wanting to make the A8L into more of an envigorating sports sedan than it really is....

    In my own test driving experience the A8L felt like a great luxury sedan. It was a really "nice ride"-- but it was not particularly fast, sporty, or lithe. Despite Car and Driver, I did not have any complaints about the ride, but I found it almost sedate until pushed it hard in the "dynamic" suspension mode.

    I am not an active member of the Lexus fan club, but I imagine that the new '04 Lexus LS 430 is actually quicker in acceleration, and may even equal or exceed the A8L in handling, with the optional handling package.

    During my own recent car shopping experience, I also drove the MB S500 (your "rerun documentary")and found that it's powertrain and acceleration was pretty spunky compared to the A8L. So in my book, as nice as it is, the Audi is just as much of a sedate luxury cruiser as the Lexus or Mercedes.

    That said, I still am an admirer of the big Audi, and was almost going to buy one......

    (None of this should be considered as negative commentary since we are talking about big luxury cars here)
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    To echo you comments about VW/Audi.

    Have always heard and felt that they put their money in the interiors. Especially Audi, which has just the right mix of aluminum, wood and plastic.

    I guess the powertrain has to take the hit. There is no free lunch.

    No manufacturer has figured out how to do it all for a price.

    Don't know about Lexus, but i think Hondas have thinner sheetmetal.
    The Asians have been doing this for some time.
    The public doesn't seem to notice or care until it needs to be repaired.

    I believe GM was the first of the domestics to go with thinner sheetmetal.
    In '77 with the redesigned/downsized Impala/LeSabre/Bonneville/Fleetwood,etc.

    Chrysler made a bid deal about the reintroduced early 80's Imperial having extra thick sheetmetal.
    The new SSR has thicker sheetmetal but weighs 4700 lbs!!!
  • ksurgksurg Posts: 48
    Thanks for you comments. Truth be told I'm not sure I want to spend the extra bucks for the S500. For most of my friends it's a status thing, which I think is stupid. I've never been in the Lexus fan club either. It's not that it isn't a great vehicle, it just isn't my preference. When it comes down to it I guess my choices are between the A8L,745iL, or XJ-8. Keep in mind I already have a C4S for fun and a Yukon XL for utility( a must with 3 kids, two dogs, a boat...).
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well despite popular belief it's not all about the so-called bashing of Lexus with me. I see things a lot clearer than you might think. I like Audi almost as much as do Mercedes-Benz, but that doesn't mean I don't see the issues that both makes have.

    b4z,

    Yep, the Japanese have traditionally used thinner sheetmetal. VW/Audi should be able to get past their infamous window switch and transmission issues as they have either, or are going to switch suppliers for both as new models arrive. The new A8 uses the same trans as the Jaguar XJ & S-Type, and the BMW 7-Series, among others. I actually got a chance to talk to a ZF engineer at the Detroit show this year. They supply something to just about every European make nowadays. ZF along with Bosch are the German brands key suppliers.

    M
  • tasillotasillo Posts: 51
    I may be mistaken in this, but I believe the new Porsche Cayenne and VW Touraeg use a 6-speed automatic sourced from Japanese transmission company, Aisin. Sacrilege! I have driven both however and found the transmission incredibly smooth, especially in the VW. Perhaps the Japanese technology and build quality has been attractive to the Germans? I'd imagine the ZF marketing people must have fainted!
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Autoweek has lots of pictures of the Acura (next gen NSX) and Lexus concepts: http://autoweek.com/specials/2003_tokyo/

    The Acura is listed as "Honda HSC"
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Partially correct. The Cayenne uses a Asisn (sp) (Japanese) unit, and VW uses a ZF (German) unit.

    M
  • My local dealership was delivering a XLR to a customer. I made a quick U-turn on my way to work (priorities) and stopped to take a look at it. I was impressed by the exterior design--very modern, and displaying all the latest Cadillac styling cues. The man buying it was pushing 80. I had my checkbook out to put a deposit on one, but the salesman wrote MSRP plus $5,000 on the sales order. I don't want one that badly!

    I hope that the cars sell well. It's nice to see a good-looking American car.
  • fennfenn Posts: 197
    It is nice to see Cadillac progress from the old days. It is a bit ironic that a Led Zeppelin song is their advertising theme these days. However, I am sure that some anachronistic Cadillac dealers will continue to add gold trim, vinyl roofs, and Vogue tires to some of these new and improved Caddies. LOL
  • I saw a 2004 XJ8 today, and thought of you. How is your car doing? What's your mileage now? Do you have the 20" Sepang wheels?

    The Jaguar I saw was black, and looked great! I just wish that my town had a dealership.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Bentley, Maybach and Rolls-Royce have nothing under their hoods compared to this:

    http://www.mercedes-benz.com/omb/amg/e/cars/kleinserie_s65.htm

    M
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