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High End Luxury Cars

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  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Nothing implements our freedom like a car. Nothing. Can you imagine being incarcerated with public transportation? Passion about cars is underrated. When CR notes consumer satisfaction with sports cars as highest, this gets my attention as says volumes about passion. No matter how unreliable a car is, no matter how impractical, when a person has to have a certain brand or make, he has to have it and he should have it. Period. When I hear people talking about being in heaven in their cars, this is where it’s at.

    That said, my car is still better than yours. Buy my brand for my reasons. You’ll be much happier. But more importantly, you will validate my decisions and lessen my insecurities.

    ;-)
  • edspider1edspider1 Posts: 195
    "less than 10 percent of consumer care about handling is pure absurdity" True, but I don't think that's not ljflx meant. I interpret him as meaning that 10 out of 100 high end luxury car buyers, if polled would say how well a car handles is their primary concern. They like to push the car to its limits, feel the car. They want to be attached to the transmission and engine. I think in the luxury car market 10-20% is about right. The vast majority in that market want peace of mind, safety, quiet and luxury.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Thanks for putting it into perspective.

    There are all kinds of enthusiasts who buy anything. I'm an electronic enthusiast but don't ever ask me to build an electronic item for you or explain all the ins and outs. Merc1 is what I would call a hard core enthusiast and when I reference a 10% figure that is what I mean - the pure hardcore auto enthusiasts. Now I love handling but I prefer a great ride first. If I can get the LS430 sport I get the best of both. Why my preference to ride and reliability - I get to enjoy 100% of both all the time and I get to enjoy 100% of the great handling - well maybe 1 or 2 % of the time. Easy logical decision for me - give me better than normal handling with the best ride in the world. The LS (and the S for that matter at least from a ride standpoint) solve my needs and desire perfectly particularly because I'm buying a family sedan not a sports car. Secondly I'll take the super reliability over the fickle super handling cars - which tend to have complex problems - any day. The handling will end up being excess whereas the reliability can never be excess.

    Now if I follow merc's logic then anyone who buys a Lexus couldn't possibly be an enthusiast because of what the mags say. If they were they wouldn't ever buy a Lexus - afterall - it's been deemed by the mags as a non-enthusiast's car. I naturally find that absolutely ridiculous and someone should explain to all the former German car owners who've switched over to Lexus - that they no longer qualify as car enthusiasts.
  • ksurgksurg Posts: 48
    Can you imagine choosing your spouse based on reviews, specs, surveys, and chat threads. That would sure heat up the board. Obviously we all have different priorities and tastes. If I wanted reliability foremost I would buy the LS 430, if prestige were important definitely the MB S500. But for whatever reason I wanted the 745i, which I am still very happy with. I think the real value of this board is the information that helps you understand what each car has to offer. Before you buy it's good to hear from owners who know firsthand the strengths and weaknesses of a particular vehicle. You know... the stuff the dealers and magazines never mention. With that said the "my car is better than your car stuff" doesn't really add anything.
    Case in point is that I would never get merc1 to like the looks of the 745i nor would I get ljflx to accept the reliability of the S500. However, I am convinced that they both have wealths of knowledge about their vehicles. Anyone buying those cars would benefit from their experience.
  • designodesigno Posts: 14
    there are many different type's of luxury cars out there that simply cater to different people.

    Most of you should know by now:

    The die-hard Lexus LS430 fan will probably stick to supporting the Lexus, no matter what the MB says, and vice versa.

    I was a different case, though. After a happy "marriage" with my trusty Lexus LS400, I finally decided Lexus was too borring, and was considering the BMW 745Li and the Mercedes S430. I went ahead with the Mercedes- big mistake.

    Granted, Mercedes has a BIG problem with reliability. But the sheer fun of driving behind the wheel of a Mercedes, and seeing that silver star makes up for the number of times I have had to bring in the S-Class for service, ranging from airmatic to power trunk.

    What was one of the main reasons why i did not decide to return to Lexus, after more than a decade of pleasant driving experience? Their philosophy. Believe it or not, I finally grew tired of their (Lexus & Toyota) "How about I copy you?" philosophy towards their competition (basically the Germans). Just take a look at the LS430 (part. the '00-'03 model); it's almost identical in exterior to the previous generation S-Class. The next-generation GS greatly resembles the new "Banglerized" BMW's, particularily the new 5er and 6er. Another one is the Toyota Camry; the rear is quite similar to the E-Class. Maybe it's just my personal opinion, but I finally had enough (w/ exception of the SC430).

    I'm also tired of hearing people bashing BMW and Bangle for their design-trend. It might be unusual and too-futuristic/controversial, but it's "revolutionary and evolutionary" in terms of design and technology, not to mention performance. Many characteristics (albeit the trunk, which in my opinion, was marvellous and gorgeous, but backfired in the minds of many) such as iDrive have made it into the competition. It might be a little "rusty", but they pioneered it, and often, the one who invents/creates new ideas controversial at first become second-nature later on down the road.

    Below is a list I just came up with:

    Audi A8L 4.2 Quattro- +Sport/+luxury/+design
    BMW 745Li- ++Sport/++avant-garde/++design
    Lexus LS430- +++ Luxury
    Mercedes S430/S500- +/-Sport/++luxury
    Infiniti Q45- +sporty/+luxury

    What do you think? Mind you, i have absolutely no intention for starting another MB vs. Lex debate. I will be gone for a couple of days, but will check back when home again.

    Designo.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "" I think in the luxury car market 10-20% is about right. The vast majority in that market want peace of mind, safety, quiet and luxury."

    This is true of any luxury car buyer, but it *seems* like you're trying to say that the German cars in the segment don't provide these things. Who buys a car in this class and doesn't place at the very least some emphasis on these things? Are S-Classes, 7-Series' and A8s really that noisy and non-luxurious? Safety? The German cars wrote the book on this issue, especially the S-Class and A8.

    ljflx,

    I'm sorry, but anyone that only owns Lexuses and raves about surveys, plush riding and sound systems is not an enthusiast in my book. If all the former Mercedes owners are doing the same things now then they aren't either. However it is not all about what a person owns either, its a mind state or way of thinking. You yourself drive any and everything else on the market (Cayenne, a sporty SUV no less) and expect it be quiet and dulling like a LS430. If I drive or ride in a Hummer H2 I'm not looking at the leather. Ultimately it is about choice and its really no big deal, but please don't tell me that buying a Lexus LS430 is in any way, shape or form even close to being an enthusiast. It is the dullest car in the segment. When you get that SL500 or 330Ci then......

    If former Mercedes owners now prefer Lexus I'm sure they have their reasons, but at least they've been there unlike most of the survey clutchers on this board.

    M
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Haven't been here for awhile but can see nothing much has changed.

    "I'm sorry, but anyone that only owns Lexuses and raves about surveys, plush riding and sound systems is not an enthusiast in my book"

    You take yourself too seriously my friend ! Len is as much an enthusiast as youself. You do him a great disservice by this statement. He cares and he is passionate about his cars as much as you are. Is that not someone that is *enthusiastic* ? Or do only German car owners/wanna-be owners the only ones qualified as enthusiasts ?

    Let's see now: Does Toyota not make the very sporty Supra ? The MR2 Spyder ? The Celica GT ? and the IS/Alteeza ? These cars drive as much, if not better than some of their German counterparts. Toyota also has a history of competing in Formula One racing, Le Mans, etc... Long and rich racing history. Can Lexus build a performance car ? Well Denny Clements promised one for 2007. And if history is any judge, they will build one, and my giess is it will be a worthy competitor to its MB/BMW competitions.... We'll see, won't we ?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "Len is as much an enthusiast as yourself."

    He's a great guy and all but he is no enthusiast from what I've seen on these boards, and he certainly doesn't see cars anywhere near the same as I do. You must not have been paying attention for at least the last 3 years. What in the world is passionate about a LS430? My statement was not meant to single him out personally, just to point out the general stick-in-the-mud mood on this board. Did you not see where I said it isn't *always* about what someone owns? It's just as much of a viewpoint or way of seeing cars too. Missed that part?

    Like I said before, it's no big deal really, but please don't try to lump me in with the survey watching crowd and then try to blanket everyone as enthusiasts. That's ridiculous. I take myself too seriously? Ok. I'm reminded of a time where a Lexus owner that used to post here basically stated that another poster was an idiot for buying a piece of junk E-Class instead of an LS430. Now that is serious.

    What in the world does a discontinued Supra have to do with this discussion? Ditto for a 20K MR2? These cars have nothing to do with Lexus, and all Mr. Clements has done so far is promise. Hardly proof of anything yet.

    Would you care to compare Toyota's racing history to Mercedes-Benz's? Hint: Toyota isn't even close. Mercedes was involved in the first races of the automobile and had established their racing rep before there was even a Toyota to speak of.

    M
  • aggie76aggie76 Posts: 265
    It seems that several folks think that the only definition of enthusiast is that it only refers to someone whose automotive interest in the realm of sports cars with handling and acceleration only.

    Reading the latest Merriam-Webster definition says that "enthusiast" refers to "someone who is filled with enthusiam as a : one who is ardently attached to a cause, object, or pursuit b : one who tends to become ardently absorbed in an interest." While the example is sports car - it definitely means intersts can be much broader.

    This seems to indicate that we can all be enthusiasts of the automotive world with different interests. I enjoy all the different vehicles for different reasons but most importantly I am an Auto Enthusiast who has admiration for all the manufacturers out there and their abilities to differentiate motors, wheel, and shells to carry people and things.

    I value reliability, quality, handling, performance and style and have weighted these differently from my early youth to my mature perspective these days. Today's U.S. public roads leave us less and less opportunity to explore the handling and performance limits of automotive technology. I reserve that enjoyment to the SCCA, WRC, Formula One and other venues now as a participant or observer.

    I do however value my time and no longer enjoy visiting my local mechanic or dealership like I did years ago to chat about cars while mine was in for repair or maintenance. I would rather spend time in my business and with my family now that I have achieved my goals and professional success. The desire for reliability and quality is now a much greater priority in my life.

    What does all this mean - just being on this board indicates we are all enthusiast's and isn't it wonderful to debate and enjoy the 21st century of automobiles.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    I guess I was briefly an enthusiast when I drove MB's in the past. Funny thing about the S-class, It handles a whisper better than the LS430 (the euro susppension LS430 blows it away though.... I know its a sport but it costs $100 more not $7k more like MB's sport) and rides a whisper worse. Blindfold some people and put them in the passanger seat and they probably can't tell the two cars apart - unless you put the CD player on. But the MB name qualifies the S-class driver as an enthusiast even though the car is far removed from an enthusiast car. Now those who have one car of each brand are 50% enthusiasts - I guess. I should call up Ray Romano - this would make for a hillarious episode on "Everyone loves Raymond".
  • warthogwarthog Posts: 216
    Can we get over the obsession with the word "enthusiast?"
  • edspider1edspider1 Posts: 195
    Ok, warthog. I must be a luxuryist.

    merc1. I think the germans are big in luxury. All cars costing 60K and up must both drive well and be luxurious. I think the S is the best looking. The 745i is second. LS is last. But all are nice. BTW. I am a german convert. I've owned E and S classes. I moved to the LS because I thought it was more luxurious on the inside where it counts (to me). I stayed in the LS camp because it was so reliable. I'm picking up 04 LS ultra to replace my 01 Ultra in three weeks. It it weren't for the Ultra trim, I'd still be in an S and living with its mechanical problems.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Well, what we really need to "get over" is the characterizations of each other, and stick to the cars ....
  • carnaughtcarnaught Posts: 1,593
    I am one of those 50% enthusiasts you speak about, owning an E-Class and LS430. That said, I do not believe that you, as simply a Lexus owner, are any less of the enthusiast that me or one of our "arm-chair" enthusiasts. As aggie76 pointed out above, we are all auto enthusiasts by virtue of the fact we are on these boards.

    'nuff said??

    Sorry Pat
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Actually, that's a very good stopping point before we get into too much trouble.

    There isn't anyone participating in this discussion that cannot be considered an enthusiast - else they wouldn't be here.

    Frankly, it's just silly to accuse anyone who is a regular contributor here of not being an enthusiast. You might not agree with the person's opinions, but that doesn't make the person any less of an enthusiast than anyone else.

    So let's move on and get back to the cars.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Pat: "There isn't anyone participating in this discussion that cannot be considered an enthusiast - else they wouldn't be here"

    Exactly my point. OK enough already.

    My colleague's 2003 C230 Kompressor/6-speed was a blast to drive. Did I tell you already ? As an LS owner, that was a different kinda ride for me. Taut steering, crisp and precise gear shifts, handles curves like a champ. I thought I was driving a 5-er. A little annoying problem with the electrical didn't do much to dampen my enthusiasm (that word again) for this car. MB makes darn good cars, just sad to see it messed up with little stuff like electrical circuitry....

    Would I do the LS again ? Let me just say that I cannot wait for MY 2007. I will pay CASH for a 2007 LS4/5xx. I have been saving for it (thanks to home valuation here in San Diego hitting the roof), and although I have the cash right now, I won't sweat the 2004 model. I like it, but not as much as the *promised* MY2007 version. Did I tell you I cannot wait for Oct 2006 ? See, I plan to put my money where my mouth is, no armchair quarterbacking for me.

    Have a good weekend everyone.
  • I signed up for the C-Spot drive party right after your posted it here last month. Just got back from the event and it was a LOT of fun!
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    and while I get plenty of Lexus versus Mercedes talk up a work and don't need the extra above, I'd like to venture off just a tad on some of the Jag X-type comments.

    Just curious why the general disdain for the X-type. I don't own one, but I've spent a little time in one. I just don't get the hatred of it. Really size, luxury and peformance wise it is very similar to the old Mk I and Mk II Jag sedans of the 50's and 60's. Good decendent if you ask me except for the AWD part. I would prefer the more traditional RWD. I actually don't mind the platform sharing (just something that we're going to have to accept in today's market) but the car seems well composed and for those that knock the interior, it seemed much nicer that the c-class and 3-series that it competes against.

    The only big thing I can think of is that people have come to think of Jaguar as only being the XJ8 and anything other than that they reflexively don't like as a "cheap" Jaguar. I'll have to try to look it up, but I wonder what my '67 Jag Mark II cost in relation to the rest of the market? Probably was a "cheap" Jag then too.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    I think part of the problem is that you could ask 10 people what a Jaguar "should be" and you'll get 10 different answers. Anything from "sports cars" from people that think of the old XK's, E-types and the XK8.....to sporty cars (the previos and the light, fast sedans of the 60's) to "Luxury" the old Mk V through X's and the XJ6, XJ8 and XJ12's. I'm guessing that's at the root of the issue.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The S-Class Sport option doesn't cost 7K, try 5K. Plus you get much more than a set of tires, unlike the LS430. You keep saying this over and over like you're getting a great deal for 100 bucks when all you're getting is some tires, per you (I haven't looked at the Lexus site to see the details). The Sport LS looks like the regular one, whereas the S is stunning in its sportswear. The MB sport package totally transforms the S-Class, in appearance and capability. If you're not going to compare equally equipped cars then what is the point? You missed the whole point in my post about an enthusiast. I clearly stated that ownership doesn't dictate being one nor is it the sole indication, but like always if you don't own one you're an "arm-chair" enthusiast and couldn't possibly know anything. When you drove them you learned everything per the theory here, I didn't and don't get anything from the same (non ownership) experience with a Mercedes.

    M
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    but why isn't this topic in "News and Views" rather than sedans? This topic is a broad one that would normally be in news and views....plus I seldom venture this way and forget that this interesting topic is out there. ;-)
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Don't your own comments make you nothing but an arm-chair enthusiast - even on your favorite brand? I didn't miss your point at all. I've driven and rode in the S-class many times. Heck - I was even chaffeurred home in one on a return trip from JFK. Best limo I've ever been in. It's a wonderful car. My experience is simple - rides great - a tad less graceful than an LS430, handles very well - a tad bit better than an LS430 - though it probably does handle noticably better than the old LS400. You mis-understand my point about the LS 430 Euro-sport. It was made to be a better handler than the base S-class. It was not made to be a sport-edition car the way the MB sport was. The latter gives up too much of its great ride - from everything I've read - I have no experience here. But the LS430 sport retains nearly all of its great ride and outhandles the base S-class car. For that - you hardly have to pay extra. But 80% of LS430 buyers prefer the non-sport suspension car as do I'm sure 80% or more of the S-classs buyers. That speaks volumes about this segment and says very clearly that the enthusiasm here is for luxury not sport.

    BMW 7 - It sold a record level 20K cars last year but historically its best year previously was around 18k cars. It usually sells in the 14-15k range and I'll bet most of its buyers do not take advantage of its sporty heritage. I wouldn't say that about the 5 series though.

    Maybach - it was obvious to me that sales were slow when I saw as many as 4 in inventory in the local sunday paper at Ray Catena. That's a lot of cars for just one dealership given the very low production element of this car. As well that was only a partial listing of available cars so there may have been even more on hand. MB will be making a mistake if they launch a mid $100K figure Maybach car. That is too close in price to the higher end MB's and will make people wonder where does one brand end and another begin. The big mistake they made seems to be that they made the car far too close to an S600 in the first place. It doesn't have enough of a new brand image to justify a $200k price premium. On the other hand the Rolls has no visual resemblance to any BMW car and is very unique. I guess that's the advantage of buying the brand rather than creating it.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Seminole_kev - because it started out being a comparison discussion about high-end sedans and it evolved from there.

    If you use the subscriptions feature, you'll be able to follow all of your favorite topics conveniently no matter where they reside. Actually, very few people use the Board views anymore - there are so many ways to find things these days.

    If you aren't familiary with Subscriptions, check out the Help file linked on the left side of the page. :)
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    In of all places - the January edition of Architectual Digest with a focus on Mercedes interior design team in Milan. It was interesting to read about how the approval process of automobile design works and is balanced between interior and exterior design teams. The latter group in conjunction with the engineers still wields the power but some of the power is shifting to the interior design team for the first time. Dental Office reading but overall AD did a big story on automotive design in its January edition that is worth reading.

    Pat - Edmunds gets its third straight JD Powers award. Edmunds is getting up there with Lexus.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Now that I'm about to order the 2004 LS430 I looked back at how well the cars I looked at in 2001 have done as per Edmunds used car reports. The 5 cars I looked extensively at were the 2001 E430 4-matic (judged too small but desired initially because of the AWD), the Audi A8L (always loved its looks and AWD but overall found it disappointing), the S430 and S500 and the LS430. The S-class cars, particularly the S500 and the LS430 were far superior to both of the other cars for my tastes and preferences.

    The prices and residuals were - E430 $61.5k with a residual of $39k. Today the dealer retail is $37k and the consumers rated the car at 8.2. The A8L was $72.4k and had a residual of $39k. Today the dealer retail is a bit under $38k and consumer rating is 7.9. The S430 was $76.1 and had a residual of $49k. Today the dealer retail is $46k and the consumer rating is 8.3. The S500 was $85.3k and had a residual of $55k. Today the dealer retail is $52k and the consumer rating is the same 8.3. Finally the LS430 was $61.5k and had a residual of $37.5k. Today the dealer retail is $42k and the consumer rating is a sky high 96 (pretty clear this group of buyesr are real happy). Since the residuals were my buyouts I would have expected all the cars to have dealer retail above those figures but only the LS430 can make that claim - by a fairly wide margin.

    I have no doubt I made the best choice then and will go for another ride. But some of these guys have really been burned on the residuals and the strength of the dollar worsens it even more.
  • edspider1edspider1 Posts: 195
    Has anyone seriously looked at this newcomer? I'm trading my 01 LS for an 04 shortly, but I just had to check this one out. I really liked it. The interior was gorgeous. I didn't take it for a test drive as I didn't want to get hooked. I doubt I would buy one though. Even the V8 has a gas guzzler tax (15/20 hw). It priced like an LS Ultra. But I doubt it would hold its value as well. But really, if you can find a VW dealer, take a peek.
  • ikotoyanikotoyan Posts: 4
    Can anything be done about how mb uses its teleaid, it says right in the contract that they can listen in on people without them knowing, so now i can have people listening in on conversations in the car. is a car not a private place anymore?
    anything all of us who want a safety feature , but dont want to allow anyone to listen in on us as they wish can do about this?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well its pretty much like I stated before, you've only rode and driven the S, but haven't owned one, but you are much more of an expert than me, though I've done the same things. Makes sense.

    The fact that Lexus designed the sport version of the LS to out handle the base S-Class is their problem not Mercedes'. What kind of excuse is that? Secondly, I have not seen one single report in which an S-Class with the sport option gave up too much ride comfort, nor have I experienced it myself, having actually driven a 2002 S500 Sport more than a few times.

    I never said anyone buying an S-Class was buying it for sport, my point is that the option is there and it's a real sport option, unlike the LS, which is merely a tire upgrade. The S Sport package transforms the car in looks and capability. Guess what the S-Class now offers just the option of upgraded wheels and tires too (without the body work). My point is that with an S-Class Sport you'll pay more and you'll get more than the LS' so-called "sport" option.

    You should read up on the 7-Series board, they talk about driving far more than anyone on this board. The sportiness of the 7-Series is indeed a selling point, and if we're guessing you know I'd guess that more 7 owners use it than S or LS buyers.

    You're right about Maybach. I've said all along the car was too close to Mercedes inside and out. It is too much like a super S600 than an entirely different i.e. special car. Both Maybach and Rolls fell short in 2003. I said from the beginning that neither of them would be able to sell 1000 cars a year in the U.S. There are just too many high-end cars competing for the most elusive of buyers in the 200k+ market. The dealer here has had one on the floor for a few months now too. Still they did move over 160 of them last year, at 300K+ a pop, and that was from June, not a full year.

    Technically Mercedes didn't "create" Maybach, they revived it. Wilhelm Maybach was instrumental in the very first "Mercedes" cars and the brand the carried his name made some of the best cars on earth long ago. I know, I know it doesn't matter in today's market and isn't memorable to anyone under 80 years old..lol.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Correction to the above post. The sales goal for Maybach in the U.S. was 400-500 cars a year, not 1000. The 1000 unit goal was for worldwide sales.

    M
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