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High End Luxury Cars

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  • The Toyota Century compared to a S600 -- what a joke! I agree with scottphillip "must be last century" or maybe last millennium.

    I have seen them in Japan and they are laughable. Absolutely Ghoulish on their best day. They could only legitimately sell in Japan, third-world Asia and some of the former Soviet Union.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,677
    Great car for my buddy - merc1.

    I thought it was a Ruussian car when I saw it. Some resemblance to a Mercury also. I think this car will be in its retirement in the near future. But the interior is nice. I also thought the Crown (probably just as bad) was the top Toyota. No I wouldn't lose any sleep over this car in Germany. In fact its a helluva sleeping pill. Hey - maybe its a Lexus decoy strategy.
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    Actually this is not a driver's car at all. If you own one of these cars you are suppose to have it chauffeur driven just like a limo. If you think about it, all Lexuses are rebadged Toyota.

    Toyota Lexus

    Windom Es300/330
    Aristo Gs300/430
    Celsior LS400/430
    Altezza IS300
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,677
    They just haven't used the Lexus name in Japan so they brand those cars as Toyotas. They followed Lexus so the statement is actually made backwards.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Well if a super STS cant take it down, I have little doubt that the next RS6 will. The new 5 has so far appeared to be mostly a disappointment.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "First of all, 20k doesn't reflect the real world, even at the S430/LS430 level. It's more like 13k there, and less (or nonexistent) at the E/GS, C/ES, ML/RX levels. Just go to the autonation.com website, search for the S or LS among the whole network, and click on 'msrp' to sort by price...the median in-stock S430 is $75,380, the median in-stock LS is $62,189. I know that looking at inventory isn't a perfect guage, but annecdotally, I don't see many people on edmunds or cl talking about shopping or base LSs."

    You're right one dealer's inventory isn't a perfect gauge. You're only looking at the S430. The S500 has been the bestselling S-Class for more than a few years since 2000, it is more than 13K over the median LS430. You must not have looked the E-Class and GS' prices either lately. There is certainly a difference there, to even suggest that a price difference is "nonexistent" shows you haven't looked at the prices.

    "But I will grant that some INDIVIDUALS may be priced out of the market by the S430."

    My point exactly! The S500 even more so.

    "To wit, there are some INDIVIDUALS who just won't consider Lexus because for them, they must have THE highest-prestige mainstream luxury sedan, period. Lexus just can't be considered, for such individuals. So just as price may exclude some individuals from the S430,
    lack of prestige may exclude some individuals from the LS."


    Also true, except you're forgetting that person who won't consider the Benz could still buy the LS, but the person who wants the S has to overcome something real....like having the money to buy up. You can always buy down, not up. One issue is easily overcome, the other isn't.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    If Cadillac doesn't step up to the plate with more than 450hp with the STS-V it isn't going to do much against the next M5, RS6 or E55's mid-cycle replacement (read: 6.3L V8 500+hp).

    Say what you want about the 5-Series' styling idrive and what not, but the M5 performance wise is going to inhale this segment and all the rest are going to be hard pressed to compete at least at the track.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    We'll see about that. BMW basically had a free ride for years while M-B, Jaguar and the like made mostly weak competition. I dont know of any plans for Jaguar to do more than 400hp, but Audi and M-B are obviously not content with 2nd and 3rd place anymore. BMW has made quite a few mistakes, and their cross town rivals smell blood on the once invincible auto company. I wouldnt count out Japan either. The new M will come with 340hp stock, and if Lexus goes ahead with their 450hp+ GS"GT", Infiniti will have to do something to match them. The RL could also be capable of significantly more power, if Acura chooses.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    We will definitely have to see what happens because I don't see 450hp doing anything but merely being "competitive" at a time when the Germans are pushing 500hp like it is nothing right now. I'm speaking in terms of the tuner versions of these cars only, not the regular models.

    I really don't think Mercedes was really wasn't concerned about "2nd place" or even considered themselves that with BMW because while BMW took all the magazines wins with the previous 5-Series, the E-Class outsold it in just about every country around the world. The only "free ride" BMW had was with the magazine accolades, not the market. Clearly though the new 5 has stumbled in design, which is keeping the harping about its still-good and class-leading (for right now) dynamics to a minimum. I'm telling you, watch the press put the M5 over on dynamics and completely ignore the things they've negatively harped about in the regular 5-Series models.

    You're right about Audi too, of the Germans I'd watch them the most. The Gallardo's V10 in a A6? Gee whiz that is going to be a car's car.

    The RL won't be in this league unless they get something with more than 6 cylinders.

    It will be very interesting to see what Lexus does also in the way of a hi-po GS, I suspect 450hp won't cut it by the time such a model arrives. Still such performance combined with great fuel economy can't be ignored.

    M
  • Merc:

    The fact that an S class Mercedes cost more, does not mean if you buy an LS 430 you are buying down...expecially since the quality of the LS exceeds that of the S class...
  • mbukukanyaumbukukanyau Posts: 200
    If Lexus gets into this performance game, Cadillac has to increase its Northstar displacement to something above 5.0 to get the Necessary #’s reason being they are the newest boys in this European 'Sedan game'. Lexus reputation is very Solid and there are some Royal consumers out there.
    STS V could get a V10 or V12 soon, because there is a planned Escalade V with a V10 or V12. Cadillac has a good arsenal to turn to. Not to mention the upcoming 6. Liter LS6 Gen IV Vette Engine.

    However from inside GM news, it seems Cadillac has settled for a Kompressor Northstar for the STS V
  • lovemyclklovemyclk Posts: 351
    It will take much more than sheer horsepower to determine the winning combination of balance, handling, comfort, steering, safety, 0-100/100-0, style, etc. I would say that a bet would be safely placed on the soon to be released M5 in this group of players,as the prior M5 set every record possible for the high performance enthusiast with 394HP. It's the entire package, folks and still incredibly desireable!

    I'll wager today... sight unseen, that the next-gen M5 will embarass anything from Lexus or Cadillac that is destined to be sold to the general driving public. And I'm not refering to simple 0-60 runs, either. I'm talking about the whole high-performance driving experience.

    I'm talking about taking these vehicles to an accredited road course for race-simulated sessions of sufficient distance/duration so as to test all operational systems of the vehicle.

    Neither Lexus nor Cadillac has had the history of building a winning formula into their mid-sized "super sedan" offerings... oh, that's right... Lexus has yet to release such a vehicle.

    Forget Toyota racing (TRD), which has been impressive... we're talking about a Lexus sedan sold for the luxury/performance buyer. Who cares how much horsepower the thing has if the tranny dies, the brakes burn up and the engine blows seals and spews oil. This is the reality that the M-series cars from BMW are designed to address.

    GM and Caddy...? The CTS-V is a decent 1st shot out of the cannon that remains to be tested in the real world of racing. I wish them well, but I'll place my money on the M5 when push comes to shove.

    The E55 is another case in point... focus is as a high-speed express train of an experience vs. more of a "motorsport" exercise, IMO. I'd love to have an E55 in my garage, as it takes style and speed into another realm. Different beast than the next M5, however!

    Not that Caddy and Lexus don't deserve to play in this league... just let them EARN their stripes before you make unsupportable claims. I'd love to see both succeed, as competition improves the breed!
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Im not even a fan of the CTS-V, but you're incorrect. It has been tested at the track, and its nose to nose with the current M5. What the next car does to it remains to be seen, but aside from the launch problems, Cadillac HAS produced a worthy M fighter.

    Kompressor Northstar? Thats a german word, I dont think Cadillac is going to use it.
  • lovemyclklovemyclk Posts: 351
    My point is this... that the M-Series program has been racing for a long time and it shows. Caddy has not. Put the CTS-V and an M5 head to head for more than a car mag comparo and watch what happens! I'd put my money on the M5, although you do pay for it.

    Again, I certainly want to see other manufacturers push the envelope to improve the breed. The trickle-down into other variants is good for all of us! My 2003 e39 (530 SP) has many of the attributes from earlier generation M cars, such as suspension tuning, etc. It is an incredibly well-balanced machine.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I'll have to believe it when I see it. I don't see GM increasing displacement on the Northstar or giving the STS-V a V12. I think you can completely forget a V10 because GM doesn't even have one. What hp ratings are they estimating for the supercharged Northstar?

    The CTS-V is a worth contender, but the target has already moved. I've yet to see the CTS-V even match the numbers GM quoted originally.

    M
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    Merc, whaddya think of this?

    http://media.gm.com/events/productseminar/powertrain/pdf/XV12.pdf

    And if that's not enough for you, what about this?

    http://popularmechanics.com/automotive/auto_technology/2003/4/cad- - illac_sixteen/print.phtml

    Anyone know what the Germans have lined up to compete with that?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The Cien was a nice concept car, but it will remain just that. The V12 in the Cien is impressive, but it will never see the light of day in 750hp tune. There might be a super Cadillac in a few years with probably 500 or so hp, but 750...I think not. I do expect the 2006 Escalade to have a V12 option because GM has stated that is the only engine bay large enough for the XV12 engine.

    What do the Germans have? AMG already has a 6.0L V12 producing 600+ hp right now. This same engine is kept on an electronic leash in the SL65/S65/CL65 to protect the transmission. The same basic engine is present in the Chrysler ME-Four-Twelve and makes 850hp unrestrained. The ME-Four Twelve is being tested right now. Though I don't think Chrysler will build it, but you never know. If they can make the business case for it. Sales are up this year for them so they may do it.

    I have to admit I too went ga ga over the Cadillac Sixteen, but you can forget a V16 from anyone I think. The Rolls-Royce 100EX concept also sports a V16, which will never see the light of a showroom (the engine that is).

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    V16s will never happen. Nobody has done one for 80 years for a reason. Saugatak, I think it is GM trying to compete with Europe, not the other way around. Mercedes, BMW, and Jaguar have had 12 cylinders for years and years, and the Germans still offer them. Unfortunately Jag is stuck using Ford 8s. Almost makes me miss my XJS-V12. I wouldnt be surprised to see a Ferrari V12 in some kind of super Quattroporte either, and I'm sorry, but no GM engine can even hold a candle to the 12s out of the Italian Stallion.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "I wouldnt be surprised to see a Ferrari V12 in some kind of super Quattroporte either..."

    Wouldn't that be nice! Makes perfect market sense for Maserati to combat the German V12s from Audi, BMW and Mercedes. Why didn't I think of that...

    M
  • mbukukanyaumbukukanyau Posts: 200
    http://autoweek.com/cat_content.mv?port_code=autoweek&cat_cod- - e=carnews&loc_code=index&content_code=04515625
     lovemyclk you said
    "The CTS-V is a decent 1st shot out of the cannon that remains to be tested in the real world of racing. I wish them well, but I'll place my money on the M5 when push comes to shove.".

    Would you say that about the Vette? the CTS V is a Vette in sheeps clothing. Its way proven than the M cars. Going back 50 Years. the CTS is a real shot from a Bad old Cannon.

    What you said could be applied to the upcoming STS V with Northstar, an Engine that has not seen perfomance application not the CTS V. The CTS V is a winner. Just read the Reviews. All they need on that car is Better tires to deal with Wheel hop.

     lexusguy
    "Kompressor Northstar? Thats a german word, I dont think Cadillac is going to use it."
    It means Supercharged.

    As for GM having V12's They have already committed to building them. In a few years it might be intresting to have this conversation. There are the Nay sayers who said the same about Lexus. Today MB sells less cars than Lexus, Cadillac is back in the game with only three vehicles, CTS and Escalade. What will happen once they have more vehicles? Cadillac is going to play in this HP game seriously. They are not there yet, but they are certainly looming in the Rear view mirror.
    That is not good news for Germans, whichever way you look at it.
  • sevenfeet0sevenfeet0 Posts: 486
    There have certainly been worse times in the luxury performance game...a lot worse. Guys, we're in the middle of a performance golden age. Back in the '80s, who would have thought we'd be talking about 500 HP engines BMWs, V-12 Cadillacs, V-10 Lamborghini-engined Audis or Ferrari-powered Maseratis....with a straight face?

    BMW is still at the top of the segment but it's clear that there are chinks in the armor. The 7 series was slammed for styling and the 5 series didn't warm up people much in that department either. The 5 series awful showing in the recent R&T survey was especially damning. iDrive is dragging down BMW's image and should be revamped or discontinued. And the X3 has been panned by more than one publication for it's buck-board ride. Still, new M5s and M6s coming soon show that BMW can still do what it does best.

    Mercedes has rapidly been closing the gap between them and BMW for the performance-minded consumer's dollar. Sure, the exact same people will never be completely in the sights for their brands, but the recent AMG Mercedes offerings kick booty and take names with silly amounts of horsepower on tap. Mercedes biggest problems right now are quality (which is suffering in their products worldwide, not just from one plant in Alabama) and a harder and harder justification to pay their top dollar prices.

    Audi has always been the stealth fighter in this group. With styling never offensive, nor particularly radical, they've built a quiet but loyal following. But with recent offerings to show that their RS cars can play with everyone else along with proven AWD technology, they always should be considered when picking from this group. Whether Audi's new styling direction finds favor with buyers is still to be determined.

    Finally, Cadillac wants into the game after decades of sitting on the sidelines. The good news is that they are truly serious and have full corporate backing to get the job done. The CTS found an audience with a competent design that only seems to be getting better with reviewers (again, read R&T). The Escalade rules its roost but needs a new design to keep it's place in the pecking order, not to mention compete with the likes of the Range Rover. The XLR has come out of the gate well despite its plastic body. The CTS-V took a good design and a great engine and proved that GM wasn't afraid to think out of the box to get the design they needed. They still need to solve the axel hop problem though, and soon. The STS/STS-V will prove once and for all whether or not that Caddy belongs in this game. Cadillac's problems? Interiors that continue to underwhelm and a dealer network that often seems stuck in the 1980s.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    We're pretty much on the same page there. Have you guys seen the recent comparo where a Quattroporte beat out Mercedes and Jaguar? http://www.caranddriver.com/article.asp?section_id=15&article- _id=8113&page_number=4

    The part of my brain that buys Lexus says that it gets horrid gas mileage and that reliability is totally unproven, but the other half just LOVES that car. The first pininnfarina styled Maserati in 30 some years. Compared to the Italian, the germans might as well be selling washing machines, because their cars are just appliances.
  • lovemyclklovemyclk Posts: 351
    Of course, it takes more than an engine to make a world-class car... as the CTS-V aspires to be. The Vette (at least in C5 and certainly in upcoming C6 form) is the "whole package".

    The entire platform is built to a standard and all componentry is designed for performance. With the CTS, you have a competent platform with a polarizing (to some) design and powerful engine. Yes, some of the hardware is upgraded, but the total package remains unproven at the highest performance levels.

    I say that we let GM learn some lessons over the next couple of years and let the marketplace respond through ownership experience. If the Caddy's EARN their spot in the high-performnce fraternity, all the better. This is not to say it isn't a great effort!
  • mbukukanyaumbukukanyau Posts: 200
    I agree, C&D said of the CTS. This is what a BMW should be. The BMW 530i was not in their opinion what it should be
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    It's not just BMW. All of Germany is going insane with the technology. German cars are supposed to be about the driver. Germany cant do electronics like Japan, so they should stick to what they know how to do.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    But the performance versions of the High end luxury marques are not what draws customers to the showrooms.

    Who the heck cares about 500hp. It's totally irrelevant to street driving.

    And, if you haven't noticed, there's not a single Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, Audi racing in Nascar. If they are such tough cars with wonderful engines and suspensions, why aren't they competitive?

    Anybody can build a 700hp tire torching street car for 70K or so.

    Duh?
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    "You're only looking at the S430. The S500 has been the bestselling S-Class for more than a few years since 2000, it is more than 13K over the median LS430."

    We were discussing the role of price in potentially limiting S sales. You and I and I think the vast majority of potential buyers view the S430 as the closest (MB) competitor to the LS. Clearly the S500 is a higher-content car.

    Frankly I feel your thinking is a bit confused if you have to point out that the S500 sells at a bigger premium to the LS than does the S430. Of course it does.

    But the appropriate way to look at this is that if MB had ONLY the S430 to go up against LS430, total S-Class sales would be LOWER not higher. Having the S500 and S600 to sell in addition to the S430 only ADDS to total S-Class unit sales, which your reasoning doesn't seem to recognize.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,677
    That's an interesting point. Lexus seriously thought about a more powerful LS in 2001 and was going the route of a 12 cyl but pulled it at the last minute because of its cost. They were still hesitant on high price acceptance by the American market. Then they introduce the ultra (which was supposed to be the car mated with the 12 cyl) with the same engine as the base car and demand far oustrips supply despite its un-Lexus like $71k price point. On top of that they push the LX into the $64-71K range from its earlier $57-61K price levels and still maintain the same annual sales despite a cheaper TLC and a GX. To me it showed Lexus would not have had a hard time selling a car over $70K years ago and probably not one in the $80K+ arena either in the near future. Their name is gold here now. They didn't give engine size any thought this go round because the hybrids are so near and they don't want to steal the thunder from the 2006 or 2007 new build - whichever it turns out to be. But when they bring on the more powerful engines and the $75K-$80K+ cars in the new build the S500 will be caught in the cross hairs and LS sales will rise higher by having models that serve a wider audience. The current engine output LS430 already pummels the S430 and they'll keep a lower LS model around to keep that going. If this really occurs - and I wouldn't bet $1 against it - it will lay to waste the price argument.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "But the appropriate way to look at this is that if MB had ONLY the S430 to go up against LS430, total S-Class sales would be LOWER not higher. Having the S500 and S600 to sell in addition to the S430 only ADDS to total S-Class unit sales, which your reasoning doesn't seem to recognize."

    No it isn't because there is a S500, S55 and S600 and those models all cost way more than any Lexus. Period. Your reasoning assumes that everyone can afford to step up to the upper 3 S-Class models with no problem thus their price not being a factor (hindering) in sales.

    "Frankly I feel your thinking is a bit confused if you have to point out that the S500 sells at a bigger premium to the LS than does the S430. Of course it does."

    I think you're confused because you clearly stated that prices need to be sales weighted and I'm telling you the S500 outsells the S430 some years. If anything they sell equally now so to count just the S430 makes no sense.

    They call it the S-Class for a reason..it comprises more than just one car. Lexus does the same thing without an engine change. A LS starts at 56K and tops out at 71K quite a spread similar to the spread between the S430 and S500.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "Compared to the Italian, the germans might as well be selling washing machines, because their cars are just appliances."

    Gawd yes this is so very true, but in the real world the auto-manual Quattroporte is going to suck big time with its jerky gearbox and "brittle" ride. In the real-world is where the E55 will smoke this admittedly very lusty Italian "4-door" The E55 AMG was easily the best all-arounder of the three cars in that test. There is nothing with 4-doors that combines such speed and (yes boring compared to Italian machines) such sheer competence.

    "And, if you haven't noticed, there's not a single Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, Audi racing in Nascar."

    Wow how ridiculously lost is that? Where the hell are Chevy and Ford and the rest of the good ole boys in Formula 1, DTM or any other real racing theater? Nascar is joke and a half and I'd really like to know what Ford and GM translate from their racing experience to their street cars on the order that Honda, Mercedes and BMW do with theirs? Due tell....

    Shall we discuss Audi's Ferrari-like winning streak in LeMans?

    sevenfeet0,

    Good balanced commentary on those brands. I personally want Audi to shove it to BMW and Mercedes just once really good. I mean build a car that they simply can't compete with, at least for a few years.

    mbukukanyau,

    Car and Driver said no such thing. They would never say that about a Cadillac. Road and Track said that.

    M
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