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High End Luxury Cars

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  • fennfenn Posts: 197
    OK, so I can accept that that revised S55 may post improved numbers over the 2001 version that Road and Track used, but that was their last test result. I just went by the information and views that I found expressed in the recent automotive media. I also went by my own impression as a real buyer and shopper for my next car.

    I actually test drove an S55 and and XJR within an hour of each other last month. They felt equally fast, but I did not take either car to the dragstrip for timing trials. For my "real life" driving, and ownership criteria,the XJR felt great, and felt sportier (maybe because of it's light weight) .... for $30k less money. Does that much $$$ mean anything to you, Merc1?

    It is one thing to be an opinionated observer and commentator without regard to price. It is another to be a bona fide driver who has to deal with the price/benefit ratio. Some folks are car "fans" that seemingly aspire to convince the rest of us to agree with them. Others among us, are actually car owners in this luxury class, and we may have more pragmatic views.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Of course price means a lot Don, the only thing I was speaking out against was the notion that the XJR was faster than the S55. Thats all. The other merits of the two cars can be debated forever, as they both are great automobiles. The fact remains that I like the new XJ a lot and find it be a screaming bargain on the part of a European manufacturer, especially the top-line XJR which cost less or the same as the entry level cars from Audi, Mercedes and BMW.

    I wasn't trying to convince anyone to agree with me on anything, I was merely tryig to point out the facts about the performance of the two cars.

    M
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    "Performance" can mean a number of things. If mileage matters to you, then mpg becomes one performance criteria. If the word performance is thrown about without further qualifiers, you will be having silly discussions with people that associate entirely different notions with the word.

    Even the S55 comes at a very significant price premium over the XJR, so no, I don't think it is a natural comptitor because it happens to be the performance model. Price wise, the XJR offers itself to people that might be considering indeed the S430 and S500. Most car buyers first establish the price bracket they go for, and which cars fall into that category.

    Furthermore, the Merc versions with the additional umph are rather recent, and there are still several 350HP S55s in dealers' lots. Those certainly can not dream of outperforming an XJR.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I postulate that there are reasons that the autorags (and some of the more vociferous voices on this board) tend to under-rate value as part of the equation that real, cash-paying BUYERS use in evaluating cars.

    Reason one might be, these test drivers / writers / editors aren't shelling out their own, hard-earned cash. They're just driving around for free.

    Reason two might be, that at least when it comes to high-end cars, only a relatively small proportion of the reader base is actually ever going to buy at the high end. For instance, Ferrari has sold 818 units in the US year to date, compared to Car & Driver's paid circulation of 1,387,113 (and it's "total audience"...whatever that is...of 9,898,000). In other words, most people reading about high end cars in the autorags are to a large extent dreamers that are never going to be in a position to actually pay for such a car. So they don't care too much about price either; the autorag reviewers understand this and cater to the dreamer.

    So it should come as no surprise that the autorags will tend to side with a car that might be marginally "better" in some respects...even if it costs 30, 50, 100% more. Price and value just aren't that important to dreamers (unless the price is low enough to bring the car into reality-land for the reader). The dreamer is going to want to hear about ultrafast accelaration, ultrafast topend speeds, skidpad results, etc.; consideration of quality, reliability, and value are pretty boring reading for the dreamer.
  • I drove to Jacksonville, Florida yesterday. My first stop was the Audi dealership. They didn't even have one new A8L on the lot. So I headed on over to the Jaguar dealership where there were several 2004s. I drove a Vanden Plas. It handled very well. The power was OK. There were no XKRs in stock. A "base" model is certainly a bargain at $59,000. I am surprised that xenon lights aren't standard. The interior has an elegant simplicity.

    I am looking forward to driving the Audi. Shopping for a new car is my hobby.
  • I too drove the XJ this weekend. I chose to drive the VP, and I was amazed how light it felt. I thought it was quick on it's feet as well.

    I was a bit put off by the sheer size of the A8. Michael Audi had one on the lot. It was Grey. The color was very nice. It did not feel as quick as the cat, but it was quick enough. You have to remember I am used to a 300e. All of the cars were 'quick' imo.

    Then I made my way over to Mercedes of Fresno. I drove an S430, and was impressed with it, because it was some what familiar. It felt like a Mercedes and it drove like a Mercedes. I am still undecided...
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    There aren't any new 02' S55s for sale anywhere, as the 03' model has been out for about a year.

    M
  • fennfenn Posts: 197
    300eguy05 and scottphillip:

    I was originally very excited about the new A8L when I started my shopping. Even though I did not buy the Audi, it is still my favorite with respect to it's interior. I also respect the attention to details that Audi lavished on this car....In that regard, I consider it the best in this class.

    However, after a couple of test drives I characterized the car as the ultimate luxurious cruiser, rather than sporting sedan. It felt a little too big for my needs. While it is only about 5" longer than my XJR it just feels like a much bigger car to me.

    Of course, since Audi built the A8L as a big luxury sedan, this is not a negative comment. For people that are looking for a commodious, large, luxury car the A8L is hard to beat.

    Had Audi brought the standard wheelbase A8 into the U.S. market,it might have fit my needs better.

    In about six months, Audi will be bringing the new version of the S8 to the U.S. to meet the needs of a true high-end sporting sedan. I think this will be a really hot car....but it will probably be an $85k+ vehicle.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,664
    I read somewhere - I believe in one of the auto mags but I'm not sure - that Audi is not going to bring the S8 into the US anymore because there was virtually no demand for the car.
  • How does the Jag compare to the Q45? Doe you miss any of the electronic gadgets? Were your Qs trouble-free? My 1994 Q45 was an excellent car. Has your cruise control been fixed? Is your Dad happy with his XJ8?

    Thanks for your input,
    Scott
  • adobadob Posts: 18
    Is there anyone on this board that has a current model BMW 7 series (for 3+ months) that has not had any severe maintenance issues? I look at the edmunds ratings for BMW (7 specifically, but all models generally) and they seem to evoke either great marks, or really bad marks - especially in reliability. I have read the many horror stories and wonder whether those giving the 7 series high ratings actually owned their cars for any amount of time, or are the 10's in reliability just the first week of ownership excitment, before the trouble really begins.

    I am looking for an 04 LS, Q, or 7 - the 7 excites me, but the Germans are not really up to par (own 2 MB's) on quality, and BMW seems to enjoy Yugo type quality. Actually surprised I don't hear it in the mainstream press....
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    I think the bad ratings from the 7 series come from people who get remorse because either they get tired of jabs about the design or because the intrisuve user itnerface gets on their nerves. My uncle has the new 7 series, and right now seems to hate it, as he's constantly driving my Aunt's Beetle convertible.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Try going here: http://www.jdpower.com/cc/auto/auto.jsp# , click the 'I know what I want' and go from there.

    The good thing about JDP is that they probably have a much larger sample size.
  • Thank you Don for the info. After thinking about each car, for some time today, I have narowed it down to the A8, and the S. I want to drive the A8 again, just to get a better feel for it.
  • fennfenn Posts: 197
    My XJR is actually at the dealer today to have the defective adaptive cruise module replaced. They ordered the part a couple of weeks ago, and I just got around to taking it back in for the repair. My car also has a very minor interior trim flaw on the console, but Jaguar has issued a factory repair bulletin for this repair on some early '04's. Other than this, the car seems very solid. No squeaks, rattles, or quality issues. My father has not had any problems to date with his '04 XJ8.

    I really liked my 2002 Q45, but it is not a fair direct comparison to the XJR which costs about $15,000 more, and has about 50 more horsepower, along with bigger tires, wheels, and brakes.

    As a competitor to the more basic Jaguar XJ8, the Infiniti Q45 is certainly worthy, although the XJ8 feels a bit more athletic to me, maybe because of it's light weight and responsive six speed drivetrain.

    To tell you the truth, I do not really miss the so-called "tech" stuff of the Infiniti. Beyond the novelty of the voice activation, the logic of Q45's dash cluster was not particularly intuitive when handling a/c and audio controls. However, I do miss the tire pressure monitor, which the XJR lacks.

    I have the Jaguar Navigation option, with it's touch screen on the XJR (an option on all XJ models). This system is very straightforward and logical...I find it more intuitive and easy to use than the Infiniti's dash pod and switch-gear.

    I still think that the Q45 is a great car, especially for the money, if you can get a great lease deal, since the resale is not good.

    I also think that a base XJ8 is priced well, since the basic XJ8 is actually priced closer to the Q45 than it is to a basic Mercedes S430 or BMW 745.
  • adobadob Posts: 18
    MAxHonda - sorry about the Yugo comment - certainly don't mean to offend... I really was trying to solicit current owners. If you read the ratings, here and the many other forums google picks up, people have had horrific experiences with mechanical and computer glitches on the 7 series. You can almost feel their pain from their postings. Dealer visits ever 3 weeks, bad service, shop stays for weeks, cars returned not fixed etc... etc... it just seems to go on and on. I was just wondering, whether there truly was a current 7 series customer, that has owned their car for a while, where these problems were overblown/non-existant (I really want to believe these cars are good). Of course there are positive postings, but I was trying to discount those who just came home with their brand new car, and immedietley rated it a 10 in quality/mechanicals. I saw too many "just got mine yesterday" postings with 10 on every rating item. I love the look and tech of the 7, just don't want to make the $70k mistake, especially with adequate warning from others.

    So to restate, has anybody had a GOOD several months with the new 7 series - mechanical and computer??
  • fennfenn Posts: 197
    My '04 XJR had to sit at the dealer for an extra day and a half because of the complexity of the programming and set up of the adaptive cruise module which was replaced. I think that my car may have been one of the first in the U.S. to have the adaptive cruise changed out, and the programming required Jaguar Tech Support....

    The good news is that they felt bad about the delay in getting this done, so they gave me a new XJ8 to drive for two days. That gave me the opportunity to spend some time behind the wheel of the '04 XJ8.

    I have to say that I was really impressed. At low speeds the car felt similar to the XJR except for a slghtly lighter steering feel. Even without the XJR supercharger, the car felt quick and responsive.

    Last night, I got the opportunity to push the XJ8 on a curvey canyon road. Sure, I felt more body sway and it was less "grippy" than the XJR, but it still hadled really well..I must admit it felt lighter and more athletic than my '02 Q45.

    At one point I started to realize that I probably could have been happy with an XJ8--- for way less money than my XJR.....

    Of course, that was until I went back and picked up my XJR and pushed the accelerator pedal to the floor....Yowza!
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Over the months I’ve read from some of the MB fans that Lexus is a slouch at performance compared to MB, that for example engines of a comparable displacement will have less hp, less torque if from Lexus. For all that time I accepted this as true.

    Well I decided to check the facts for the LS430 and S430

    HP: LS430 290, S430 275

    Torque: LS430 320 lb-ft, S430 295

    0-60: LS430 6.3sec, S430 6.9

    These numbers are from the company websites for 2003 models. For 2004, the LS gets a new transmission and Lexus puts the 0-60 time at 5.9. MB gets a new transmission too so its acceleration will improve also, but my guess is Lexus will still beat them.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,664
    Having driven both cars several times in 2001 I can tell you the LS430 easily outpowers the S-430. It is very noticable in torque. You need the S-500 for this to be a real battle. In handling the S-430 outhandles the LS430 but the euro suspension LS430 - which remember is the same price as the LS430 as it is equipped 75% of the time - will put away the S-430 and the S-500. Now MB fans will cry foul and say that the S-class sport will take out the LS430 Euro (or sport as it is now called) and it probably will but that car is not the at the same price point as the base cars. Lexus never intended to compete with the European sportier suspensions. Rather its' intentions were to provide a suspension to the car - without much ride compromise - that would surpass the handling of the base S-class cars thereby appealing to customers who might not shop for an LS. I drive the Euro often as my business partner has one and it handles and rides beautifully. I am very curious to drive the 2004 LS430 sport suspension with the 18" wheels as I am leaning in that direction when my lease is up.
  • Don,

    Thanks for keeping us posted on the Jaguar. I am hoping to drive the A8L this weekend.

    I was looking at the Mercedes message boards here, and was shocked to see all of the owners' complaints. S-class (command system) and E-class electrical bugs. I have had a deposit on an SL for one year, but I think that I am going ask for its return. I am #92 on the list.

    I really enjoyed my 2002 LS430 Ultra, and may end up getting another one if I like the 2004. The Lexus may not be the most exciting car to drive, but I think that its reliability and luxury make it a rewarding ownership experience.
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