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High End Luxury Cars

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  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    That car was posted in a sketch a while back - maybe 6 months ago. I think it was coded as the v10 back then and a $150k price was noted. This is probably the updated news and it must be the car syswei posted a few weeks ago. Lexus is definitely heating things up in the next few years.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    If any of you are interested in learning more of how Toyota came to be, how they approach problems and opportunities and the real story behind the company and development of the Lexus brand, see if you can find this book at your local library like I did:

    Against All Odds - The Story of the Toyota Motor Corporation and the Family that Created It. by Togo and Wartman (1993)

    The trials and tribulations section of how the company started and barely survived WWII that makes up most of the book is bracketed by an introduction to the terror they went through deciding to risk doing Lexus and the final chapter where they reaped their rewards.

    The last chapter talks about their market research that helped them define the Lexus cars. It also energized their committment to create an incredible customer service organization that they also made very low-key.

    It might help clear away alot of the cobwebs and speculation that develops here about Toyota's intentions and Lexus' genesis.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    You asked about the next S-Class a few months back. There is some information leaking out. If you didn't know Mercedes will be discontinuing all of their SOHC, 3 valve-per-cylinder engines over the next 2 years. The new engines (V6s and V8s) will all be 24-32 valves and DOHC in design, with direct injection among other tricks.

    This fall the new SLK 350 will be the first model to debut with the next generation engine, a 268hp V6. This engine of course will make its way over to the E320 giving us the E350, next C-Class, ML and it will be present in the SL350 (Europe only) and the CLS350 (next Feb). It will also power the upcoming GST (rumored R-Class).

    CAR and Autoweek are both reporting that as per usual practice there will be two new V8s. One is a 4.6L with 355hp and the other is a 5.5L with 405hp. These will no doubt power the next generation S-Class (S450 I'm guessing because S460 doesn't sound quite right) and S550. Of course the SL500 will become the SL550 and the next base CL will be the CL550. You can knock off about 4 hp on each for U.S. figures. With the right pricing there could be 6-cylinder S-Class in the U.S. again.

    The next generation AMG V8 cars will get a high-revving 6.3L V8 with over 500hp. Autoweek is reporting that Mercedes has already registered the name CLS63 among others. The two V12s stay the same for now.

    The bad news is that it is also being reported that Mercedes is going forward with an idrive like system for the next S and CL, only. The British press says that they don't intend to implement this system on the lower level cars.

    Also, the new CLS that just debuted at Geneva in production form that would normally come here this fall won't be released here until Feb 2005, to ensure launch quality is right for the U.S. market. The new SLK's interior looks to be of much higher quality than the previous car, even Edmunds said so, a big deal as they're one of the biggest complainers about some Mercedes' recent model's decline in interior quality. Hopefully this new emphasis on interior quality and reliability will be carried over to the next S-Class because the engine lineup looks like it will be class leading. It seems that someone in Germany is finally seeing that there is a problem and actually doing something about it.

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    I'm curious as to whether people find scratches on their lux cars in places that make it obvious the scratches were not accidental and had to be done intentionally. Several of us were out to dinner the other night and its seems we all have found these things. One guy with an S-classs had a scratch that zig-aagged on his roof for its entire length. I don't need to say what he would do if he found the culprit particularly because he bought the car rather than leased it. I've found a few on my trunk but they were not all that bad and could be buffed out. But on my 1998 LS I had a few on my roof also.
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    I had a nice ding on the right front door ($100 to fix by paintless repair) and two scratches, one on the roof and one on the trunk ($80 to buff out) that were all not accidental apparently. The car is a black 2003 LS430UL. Honestly, some people.....

    This is my only gift to myself in 40 years, and I bought the car, so it pains me to see things like this. I think that is the intention by people who do things like this.
  • edspider1edspider1 Posts: 195
    I once took my new LS to a high school kid car wash. The kids put a nice deep scratch on the trunk. I don't know what motivates kids to deface our cars. I guess jealous.

    Sometimes I'm afraid to park too far away from other cars as it invites attention. And then there are those buffoons who double park. That's asking for a scratch.
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    Soon after I purchased my accord I found a small dent at the edge of the hood above the grille and some paint was scrapped off the bumper at work. I believe someone threw a rock and it caused the dent and then it scraped up the bumper on the way down.

    Recently, someone dented my father-in laws 2000 LS400, probably with the use of a elbow bashed in the driver side rear quarter panel. The dent ran almost the full height of the rear fender from top to bottom. Good thing paintless dent removal got most of it out.

    You know that's what sucks about owning a luxury car. People get jealous of what you have and go around vandalizing it.
  • gteach26gteach26 Posts: 576
    buying a brand new '03 Lincoln Navigator I come out to find a scratch covering 70% of the drivers side of the SUV.. around $600 to fix it! In my area they call it "tagging" and seems to be quite the past-time for local bored ingrates. I guess it is just the price of admission when you get a new car.
  • mariner7mariner7 Posts: 509
    A while ago I stated on these boards my gut feeling was Toyota was coming out with new Supra. Many people, including Toyota/Lexus fans, disagreed with me. But looks like I might be right after all:

    http://www.autoweek.com/cat_content.mv?port_code=autoweek&cat- _code=carnews&loc_code=index&content_code=07456387

    But I disagree with the article. Toyota will want Supra to compete with 350Z, so 100K+ is out of the question. Now there might be a very pricey Lexus variant off the platform to compete with Infiniti GTR, but that's a different story.
  • pen101pen101 Posts: 238
    Since the new STS is not for sale yet, why not expand the comparison to the new Lexus GS, the upcoming new Infiniti M45 and the upcoming Acura RL?

    We are living in the best of times (car wise), more cars than ever to choose from in this category and they all just keep getting better!
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    When I had an XJR during the downturn it got some nasty scratches, which is one of the reasons I decided to get a more down to earth everyday car and sell the XJR. Some brands seem to invite more hostility then others - my wife's Merc ML got a really nasty deep scratch all down the side...

    I am in Japan on a business trip right now for 10 days, and watching the car landscape here is interesting. The Toyota's seem to own the high end market for the most part, in several days I have only spotted 2 Mercs and 3 Beemers here, while I have seen the Toyota LS4xx equivalent relatively often. And if you see Japanese roads, you see why the cars handle differently than Autobahn stormers - lots of very slow speed extremely low radius turns, lots of wheel turning that needs a lot of assistance in a heavier car. What's odd is how "right" cars feel in their native environment: I got carted around in an older LS400, and it was great, a 3 hour drive passed by quickly. On the other hand, a one hour drive in a 3 series made me very glad when it was over. Similalry, when I lived in Germany a 3 series was the tool of choice for high speed highway business drives for several hours, it just felt marvelously planted.
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    Because it's a mercedes or because it's a good engine? Unfortunately/fotunately trade journals/panels often reserve a spot for past winners (like the last gold medalist automaticly get a spot in the finals)

    Wards engine awards are trumpeted by ever automaker that gets 'em and you're some guy on the net.

    Whose opinion has more credibility?

    That must be why the the 3.2 liter MB consumes more fule than the 3.3 liter Toyota and not meeting ULEV standards whereas the Toyota does.

    Um, OK, I wonder if gearing, aerodynamics or weight might have an effect on fuel efficiency IN ADDITION to the engine?

    Was Toyota's 3.0L v6 ULEV compliant when it was introduced? I don't know. I thought the 3.3L v6 from Toyota was updated last year. You'd expect some improvement in an updated engine.

    That must be why MB is finally replacing the 3-valv/2-spark engines with 4-valve engines in the upcoming lineup.

    I think the more likely reason is that unwarranted criticism from buyers who insist on DOHC and 4 valves in the luxury market.

    You do realize DOHC engines come with tradeoffs, don't you? The extra cams take up more space and limit displacement, which is what's needed to provide low end torque and up max. torque.

    Mercedes is able to offer a 5.0L SOHC v8 which has more torque and power than their competitors', all of whom are offering 4.3 to 4.6L DOHC v8s.

    I'm not criticizing DOHCs with continuous VVT on intake and exhaust. I'm just saying there are other ways to get things done. And technology ain't gonna move forward if companies aren't allowed to explore alternative solutions b/c of market demand for DOHC.

    Being 90 degree unit is a cost-saving meassure because the block is a chop-off of a V8. In other words, it's hardly a point worth bragging.

    It's both cost-saving and a bragging point. I have never driven a 90 degree v6 as smooth as MB's. I would never be able to tell that it's not a 60 degree v6. That's impressive, b/c it's usually not too difficult to tell when you're driving a 90 degree v6.

    Honda uses the SOHC on family sedans for the low-cost markets like the Accord V6 for North America (the Euro Accord is sold here as Acura TSX, costing more than the North America V6 Accord even having only a DOHC I4). Honda puts a DOHC V6 in the NSX. That goes to show you where SOHC engines belong nowadays (cost savings); it's a damn shame that MB still puts those (and have one less valve than even the Accord V6) in a car that costs twice as much as an Accord V6 (E series, where the most frequent useage of 3.2 V6 is found)

    I guess I'm less concerned with cost savings and more concerned with performance than you are.

    If the SOHC v6 performs just as well as a DOHC v6, why do you care that the manufacturer is saving $? Is it your goal to extract every ounce of value out of the manufacturer?

    Besides, the SOHC v6s are in Honda's luxury line. Acura TL and MDX are going to have SOHC v6s. No one yet knows what engine the RL will have other than that it's a 3.5L v6, but it will probably be a SOHC v6 as well.

    Did they win on name brand, or low-cost? The MB 90degree 3-valve twin-spark V6 certainly is not a smooth running engine, compared to either the Toyota VVTi V6's or even the Honda SOHC V6's, and make significantly less power than either Japanese competition. No wonder MB is finally moving to 4-valve designs in the near future.

    Hmmm . . . if all this is true, how come MB's 90 degree v6 is on Ward's 10 Best and Toyota's 3.3L v6 isn't? I'm not knocking Toyota here, their old 3.0L v6 was also one of Ward's 10 Best but I've never found the MB to be a thrashy engine.

    As for NVH, every Lexus typically has better NVH than the comparable MB. It's something that Toyota focuses on, I don't know that it's due to the engines.

    As for its power, the MB v6 was powerful when it was introduced. I'm sure MB could update the technology to produce more power, but they've chosen to go with the standard DOHC game. It's clear that's what the luxury markets demand, and MB has to comply.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    The LS was designed for the U.S. market.

    It's native environment is the U.S.

    The fact that it works in the tight turns of Japan shows how well the design worked when taken back to Japan.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    There are large volume sales of Lexus equivalent cars in all of Asia. They just don't count as Lexus because they are sold under the Toyota name plate. That's why the volume of actual Lexus + Toyotas version of Lexus cars are a lot closer in overall worldwide sales volume to MB and BMW than people think.

    Footie - The original LS400 design - as I remember - was bred to be a US car but I am sure Toyota had the Japanese and Asian markets in their radar scopes. They didn't count on Europe since they weren't going to build the cars there and knew that would take a long time to penetrate. Anyone who goes to Europe often enough knows that you need to build your products in Europe to win over the market unless you are a monopoly. That's why its funny to read all the dissing comments on the board about Lexus from European car lovers. If Lexus was invented from an enthusiast standpoint it would have been out of business in 2 years or less. Business usually rules over emotion. There are exceptions though - witness VW these days.
  • jstylejstyle Posts: 129
    Yes AutoBild magazine in Germany has what they said was the first true picture of the interior of the new S Class. I did a double take because it looked like modified 7 Series with a curved dash. Looks like what you said was confirmed. They had no exterior pictures (I think they used a camera phone to snap the inside) but said there are huge wheel wells that put the Audi A6 4.2 to shame. It was said that the car's body shape is absolutly stunning though.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    A Forbes article on Lexus states the LF-C concept that will be at the NY show is a prototype for the next-generation IS coupe they hope will provide a youthful, sporty image. Here's what they say about it:

    1. The V8 is meant to signify the new IS will be even more sporting than the current IS and is an acknowledgement of America's love of cubic inches.
    2. As a coupe it helps reposition the IS as a sportier car (although there will be a sedan).

    The article also says the current IS buyer's average age is 30, the youngest for any Toyota/Lexus. Also, Toyota is dramatically rethinking the next IS because of its poor sales.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    A few questions for you:

    All reports to date speculate that there was going to be 3 variants of the next gen IS - coupe, sedan and conv. Does the Forbes article confirm this ? Does the article say anything about a hybrid engine (V6 or V8) for the IS ? How many trims/engines will the next IS have ? And will it have the I6 or a new V6 (like in the 2006 GS300 ?

    Pablo: I do travel to Japan a lot and can confirm some of your cursory observations. Last December on a business trip to Tokyo, I was toted around in my company VP's black/black 2002 S500. That drive was the most pleasant and soothing I had ever had in 5+ years of trips to Japan. It was superb. Loved it. Graceful, smooth, comfortable and rode like walking on air (must have the air suspension). I had only rode in a Celsior while in Japan, an older model (2nd gen), which also drove quite well, but I must admit, the MB rode better. Granted it was an older Celsior (LS in the US/Europe and Australia). I'll be going back to Korea and Japan in June and hope to do more car-toting around (altho' right hand steering is downright dangerous if you are not used to it)
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Maybe you are right. But the design work for the LS started in 1983, over 20 years ago and it took six years to get to market.

    Maybe in their long term thinking the LS might have a place in Japan or in Europe.

    But I think they were very, very focused on the U.S. because that was the market they wanted to crack, and crack it they they did.

    Did you see the Lexus sales figures for 1Q04. Best ever March and Q1. 65,394 vehicles!
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    In case anyone wanted to see the data footie referenced: http://pressroom.toyota.com/photo_library/display_release.html?id- - =20040401

    It's interesting that the LS was up 98% for the month and 73% for the quarter, despite the 2004 facelift being, imho, relatively minor. Wonder how they'll do when the all-new car is introduced in CY06.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    The RX has a shot at 100k vehicles. The GX was only supposed to be a 20k per year SUV and the LS430 looks solid at 25-30k+ cars. It's easy to see the 2 holes in the line-up - the GS and IS. Also they've got to do something about the fact that the LX competes with its sibling Landcruiser. But if you combine the LX and TLC you have pretty good volume in that space too. Never met anyone yet who doesn't speak glowingly of the RX330. Did Lexus ever hit the sweet spot with that car/suv. Most people I know think of it as a tall station wagon and don't even consider anything else when their lease is up.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I'd be interested in seeing the worldwide sales number for Lexus and their Toyota badged versions. I hardly think they even come close to a million cars a year like MB and BMW. At some point the Toyota version isn't going to count since a Lexus is seperate from everything I've been told here.

    jstyle,

    It will be interesting to see what happens. By this time next year we should know more.

    M
  • lexus0622lexus0622 Posts: 27
    Speaking of scratches, dents, and accidents, does anyone have any experiences with insurance companies with the best rates/services for the high high end cars (RR, Bentley, Aston Martin, Maybach, etc.)? Particularly with underage drivers in the household.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I have no idea how they are with RR, Bentley, etc., but I have a high regard for Amica Insurance, which I've used for both home and auto. Originally found them in a CR ranking. I didn't do exhaustive price comparisons but they were cheaper than my previous insurer, plus Amica seems to have very good service. www.amica.com
  • edspider1edspider1 Posts: 195
    That's exciting an LS with mileage. What do you think the premium for the LS500 will be? Anyone know what the premium is for the RS hybrid?
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I don't know what Lexus is going to do with pricing. If they have 4 variants of the LS, 430, 430h, 500, 500h, then the 500h could well sell at a pretty steep premium (even though manufacturing cost difference wouldn't be dramatically higher). But if its only 500 and 500h, then it might be more reasonable. Personally a 430h would be fine for me.

    Rx400h pricing hasn't been announced. I think I've read that hybrid adds about 4k of cost to a Prius, but this is bound to fall over time, and Toyota priced aggressively to encourage adoption.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    I haven't seen the March world wide sales figures for Mercedes yet, but both January and February were down 10% from the same two months of last year. Around 75,000 cars/ month. They may make a million -- but not if their sales keep slipping away.

    Also, to have a fair comparison to Lexus and Toyota badged versions, we need to find a way to deduct all of the MB's that are sold in Europe that aren't really 'luxury' cars and wouldn't be thought of as luxury cars here or Japan. They include cloth interiors, lower grade accessories and some very small engines. The three lines are the Classic (it comes with steel wheels), Elegance (still has cloth) and Avant Garde (cloth too).

    How do we figure those?
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    Lexus smells blood. The wait list for those new LS cars is going to be long.

    I picked up the 2004 today - It's absolutely fabulous.

    Edspider1 - you are gonna love it. Ride is great, handling is improved (this is very far removed from an old body 2000 LS400), there's more road feel but its quieter than 2001 and the new rims give the car an athletic look. The improvements are subtle to the non-owner but you'll notice and appreciate them alot. By the way I love the radar cruise and the swivel headlights. As for build quality - the glove box sounds like a bank vault when you close it.

    Footie - right on the money re how do you really keep track of true lux sales.
  • When I bought my '98 XJ8 a few months ago it had a few door dings and I elected to leave them in place, knowing that if they were repaired I'd start obsessing about it getting "pinstriped" by the local misunderstood youth.

    But . . . at my local car wash the manager made me an offer I couldn't refuse and within a couple of hours I had a near-showroom car. No more dings.

    That was a couple of weeks ago, and so far so good. But I realize it's only a matter of time.

    My underground parking at home is secure, and so is parking at work. I rarely park on the street and don’t go to bars late at night -- late-night street parking near bars is where 90% of vandalism happens I suspect.

    My biggest worry is shopping center parking lots. Since the day I saw some idiot use her Explorer's door to tag the fender of a Rolls Corniche and walk away without even a glance backward, I've realized there is a more sinister force than vandalism out there -- stupidity.

    The problem is, where do you park? Another poster pointed out that parking in empty areas makes your car more conspicuous. Too true! Another drawback of parking in an empty area is that your car is exposed on both sides. I've actually seen a beater driver park within a foot of my car in a huge near-empty truck stop parking lot. He took care not to strike my door when he got out, but I can't help but wonder what prompts this behavior of having to park next to another car -- some kind of primordial herding instinct perhaps.

    Anyway, somebody on one of these boards gave a piece of parking-lot advice that has stood me in good stead: Park beside another nice car. Your exposure is reduced 50% from the get-go, and chances are, the owner of the other car will be considerate. (I always try to park beside the driver's door rather than the passenger's.)

    Having a ding-free car is a short-term condition for anybody in today's world. (Same goes for windshields -- I got mine replaced last week and will actually be relieved when it gets its first chip.) Being ding-free is like virginity: of dubious real value, temporary by nature if not design, and gone before you know what happened.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    You post made me think of something I saw once and had almost forgotten about. Once while waitning for the bus in a parking spot at my old bustop I watched a woman pull into a spot about 20 feet away. It was a brutal cold morning with snow coming in later that day so people stayed in their cars until the bus showed up. This woman parked in a row where there were about 4 or 5 cars than her open spot then two more cars and then the entire rest of the row - maybe 40 spaces were empty, plus the parking spaces behind those spaces were vacant. Worse still was that she decided to back into this spot and the spot was very tight. She could have parked 10 feet away and posititioned her car the same way without having to back in. But she chose this herculean task of parking. Don't remember her car or the cars on either side of her spot but they weren't high end. It must have taken her 3 or 4 minutes to park and she could barely open her door when she was finished. I was almost tempted to go up to her and ask her what in the world was she thinking. I can't even begin to understand the logic of people like that.
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