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High End Luxury Cars

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  • topspin628topspin628 Posts: 373
    To me, MB was always the top of the top (being close to 50 years old). I did own the first GS300 and while it was incredibly smooth and reliable, I became bored with it quickly. I am currently driving a BMW 330i which is a blast and has been problem free and a great machine. Now that I am interested in getting back into the luxury category I am having fun testing many cars.
    The BMW 7 series just didn't do it for me. It's neither fish nor fowl. Not luxurious and not sporty. The Jag XJ is very nice but I'm not sure if it's in the same league. I may take for an extended drive. The A8L was very impressive but the back is so long that it really is a limo. Also, first year model from Audi scares me off a bit. No doubt that LS430 is best bang for buck and a no hassle experience, yet it didn't wow me yet.

    Just trying to justify 70K for the MB vs 60 for LS and have a little nagging thought about reliability of the Benz based on Consumers Reports.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    I don't like that new S-class interior one bit but the exterior pix that Pablo linked is a good looking evolutionary car to me. Supposedly the car is being lengthened but in all these pix it looks the same size or shorter. The car connection and autospies views do indeed make it look like some combo of the current car, a bloated Accord and a 7-series and it loses its beauty in those views. But somehow I doubt that MB would tweak the current car so radically given its looks are so well accepted today.

    OAC - In person the HPX looks nothing like the Infiniti. It's truly an AWD minivan or tall station wagon and not SUV-like at all. Its a softer and more beautiful vehichle than the F45 but nevertheless I like the F45 as well. In pix it does have some feature resemblance to the latter but that disappears quickly when you see it in person. They are clearly two different vehichle types and the F45 has that bulge on the side that the HPX lacks. Someone once described it like stepping on a bug and having the sides bulge out.

    designman - looks like the new LS and new S are both 2006 cars with the S having a 6-8 month lead time. I find it interesting that the S will have engines ranging from a 6cyl (probably not here) to a 600HP V8 plus a V12. Obviously they are paying close attenion to Lexus announcements these days.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    MB losing their marbles ? Geez... Who would have thunk dat ??? :)

    My trip to Japan was disappointing in terms of learning more about the Lexus plans sans 2005. Seemed like many people are resigned to having re-badged Toyotas as Lexi in Japan in 2005. At least to the ones I talked to, they seemed ambivalent about buying rebadged Toyota's as Lexi when Lexus becomes an official brand. They also say that Lexus will be a huge success in Japan when it becomes official. For sure, the only car anyone can certify will be new design in 2005 is the 2006 GS. Else, some feel that the LS, IS and RX will be carry-over Toyota models as they are in 2004. I do not believe this tho', so I have requested for more detective work and a friend has promised to dig more and get the stuff to me shortly, so I am waiting !

    A 600HP MB ? Not anything new these days ? Its all about HP with MB. New design looks like destined to the dogs, electronics that we know won't work as advertised, and a brand over-promising and under-delivering will finally get what its due sooner rather than later. Its only a matter of time now !!!

    The LF-X is not even remotely close to the FX, I agree with you completely. If Lexus ever makes that car, they'll sell every one made, I'd wager.

    Designman: Yeah, the stakes for Lexus to deliver the LF-S and LF-C are high indeed ! Everyone is waiting and watching. If they ever do, the US lux car playing field as we currently know it would be forever changed AGAIN

    lexusguy: Yeah, great moniker. Fits quite well these days. I'd rather be a lexusguy than an MB, BMW, Audi or VW-guy !!! These manufacturers seemed to not have a clue where they are heading... Just MHO, of course....
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    If you think the S430 handles better, try an LS430 with the euro sport suspension and 18" wheels. If you dont dont like it, then theres probably nothing I can say to make you change your mind. The 2004 S does get their new 7-cog auto, which is nice as I found the previous five speed to be a bit on the sluggish side. If it were me though, I just couldnt see dishing out all that cash on a car that is the oldest, most dated car in the segment. Plus I think the styling is tired, and I've never liked M-Bs HVAC and clumsy nav controls. There's no Mark Levinson system either.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    The euro LS easily outhandles an S430. But they aren't easy to find - at least not here in the northeast.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    Just saw the new VW Phaeton article in the main page. Has anyone seen a live one driving around yet? Does anyone know someone who owns one, or is even considering one? The Initial fizzle and curiosity factor sure died of quick!
  • topspin628topspin628 Posts: 373
    The 4 Matic versions only get the 5 speeds. The Lexus dealers all but laughed at me when I asked them to call me when/if they get a Euro sport model. Sounds like no chance.

    I agree on the ML stereo as the best. The Bose on the MB was excellent though. As far as the styling, I think the S Class is classic and will stay that way for a long time. There are trade offs here on both models. One has all wheel drive, the other offers back up camera and blue tooth. The MB has standard air suspension, auto door closers and pre safe, the Lexus has those as options on the Ultra only.

    And most importantly in my book is the ride. I am going to test the LS again on a longer ride to see if I'd be happy. It would be great if I preferred it since it's less $ and probably more reliable.

    The segment does have some interesting choices. The A8 was very sporty but as I mentioned, I feel a bit silly driving it alone without a paying customer in the rear. Audi told me that they are getting the short wheel base in soon. I didn't think it was being imported to the U.S. but I guess now it is.

    The new A6 due this fall could be interesting with the large 8 from the S4. It sounds like it will be a mini A8 and with all bells and whistles will probably be in the low 50K range. It could be a car and I like the new bold grill.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    What in the world is all this talk about the S-Class about? The car hasn't even been shown officially and already the Lexus folks don't like this and don't like that. What a concept, Lexus fans criticizing styling of other brands. Supporters of the brand with the blandest bunch of nothing-looking cars in the world talking about how ugly a car is in spy photographs and drawings. This is obvious wishing that the next S doesn't crush the next LS in styling, again.

    ljflx,

    "I find it interesting that the S will have engines ranging from a 6cyl (probably not here) to
    a 600HP V8 plus a V12. Obviously they are paying close attenion to Lexus announcements these days."


    What? You've got to stay current. Lexus is the one increasing their engine lineup to match the market and Mercedes' not the other way around. The S-Class is available now with V6s, V8s and a V12 from 245hp to 604hp. You seem to forget which one of these companies has been following the other since 1990 when it comes to things like engine choices and model.

    I'm sorry but whoever you were talking to doesn't have a clue. They're smart enough not to be under the false impression of Mercedes' superiority, but they think Audi is still suffering from something that happened nearly 20 years ago, something that wasn't even their fault. That is the most ridiculous thing I've heard in a while. These people are supposed to be in the "know"?

    I have yet to see a LS430 Euro outhandle a S430/S500 Sport. Why you insist on comparing cars that are not evenly spec'd I'll never know. Gee the S55 will outrun the LS430.

    Lexusguy,

    "Those pointless brakes are a definite sore point with me, its been proven that they do NOT outperform standard mechanical brakes..."

    That simply is not true in every case. Look at the numbers for the E320 in Road and Track's last comparo. Ditto for the SL500 in Car and Driver's last comparo.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    From what I've seen, the E needs 120+ feet to stop from 60. The GS can do it in 115 or under. Lexus is not the pedal feel king, but at least the brakes in the GS feels like brakes. Mercedes has a computer simulation of what brakes supposedly should feel like. How does the Matrix know what Tasty Wheat tasted like? What if they got it wrong?

    That post was kind of hostile merc, are you worried that Japan will finally step up to the plate and crush the Europeans once and for all? It is inevitable. Resistance is futile.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well then you haven't seen all the tests in which Mercedes' were tested, like the two I mentioned. No hostility...just some of the hype on this board is so ridiculous at times. The Japanese will never crush the Europeans. There, you read it here first.

    I find it totally laughable that anyone who thinks a Lexus is a good looking car could criticize anything else on the road.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Oh I dont know about that. German prices keep skyrocketing, and their quality continues to stagnate. Infiniti has only become a player since the G35 came on the scene, which is just a few years. How long have BMWs been on sale here? Given until the end of the decade to fill out its product line, BMW will have much to fear from Nissan. Acura has come out of its slumber as well. Both should put even more of a dent in the European's already eroding sales and market share.

    Oh, btw, the first generation Lexus SC coupe was pretty much universally praised as a gorgeous car for its time, and its styling beat the pants off the ugly, big and blocky first gen CL coupe, that was basically a 2-door S.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    We'll just have to see what happens. For Infiniti or Acura to do anything to Mercedes or BMW they'll have to become global brands and in Acura's case they'll have to build a real luxury car. This means no Accord based fwd/awd V6 powered vehicles. They'll have to do an S-Class/LS/7-Series type car and it will need to be badged an Acura all over the world. As far as I know they aren't going global with the Acura name. I'm not even concerned with Acura past 35K. Infiniti is going global, but it won't be complete until 2008 or so. Infiniti will pose the biggest threat to BMW, but the Germans aren't going to stand still until then either.

    You're right about the previous generation Lexus SC400/300, it was good looking for a Japanese car, but Lexus neglected the car in the marketplace. My how things change because the CL of today beats the pants off the SC430 as does the SL. One good looking car in 14 years of existence is pretty dismal.

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Go back and read. The person inquiring asked about an LS euro vs a base S430. It's not a mag contest and I don't insist on comparing the two at all. The euro costs the same as the regular edition mod lux car in the Lexus line-up which is why the comparison to a base S-class is valid anyway. Can you even get an S430 sport? I thought it was limited to an S500 in sport edition.

    I have never seen a 600HP V8 from Benz available on their base cars. Thus my other remark.

    Audi only sells 80K cars a year here. I actually think the comments are quite valid. People will hesitate to make Audi a big seller here until they prove to be very reliable and the acceleration problem (which I never bought as a real problem anyway) was the first manifestation of an unreliable car - at least in public perceptions. As for the folks i talked to - they are all $250K+ players and two have equity ownership positions in their dealerships. I think they know their industry a lot better than you or I know it. It's also a close knit industry.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I was refering more to the North American market, where Infiniti and Acura are already established. BMWs sales here dont come from the 7 series, the come from 3 series and X5. If the G35 and FX45 are faster and better values than comparable BMWs (which they are) it spells big trouble for BMW. For Acura to jump into the tiny volume full size lux market (which there already was not enough room for a VW) would be pointless. What they need to do is, just like Infiniti, beat BMW (and M-B) where it hurts, with a hopefully AWD TL, and an eventually redesigned MDX.
  • I think Acura could do to Lexus what Lexus did to Mercedes...Especally when they started up....Come in with big luxury package price the car at $50,000 with a package similar to the Ultra.

    But first they will need to come up with a nice V8 and then an attractive design both in and out...

    Acura however is the only one who I think could crack into the market...The Germans are just not competitive enough.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    “Lastly they are all upset about the NSX as well despite its low sales volume as it could have and should have been a halo car matched with a true V8 flagship sedan to compete with Lexus, Infiniti and the Germans.”

    Been meaning to respond to this. NSX is an awesome car. However, I think it is living proof that when it comes to Japanese cars, the world is not yet ready to pay “more for more” in the ilk of German cars. As expensive as Porsches are, NSX is one non-European car that Porsche wallops on price. And at one time not too long ago, it was almost twice as expensive as the extremely popular Corvette. Low sales of NSX tend to show us what the world expects from Japan, and that is “more for less”.

    The distinction of being able to do “more for more” still belongs to the Germans. When this changes, the Japanese will truly have arrived as prestigious brands. Mind you, I am not saying the Japanese don’t make superior products in many cases, it’s just that they haven’t proven they can get the price that the Germans command. Discounting is a crack in the German armor, but there is still quite a way to go. The interesting thing is that I think we are right in the middle of witnessing that tranformation.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    I agree with you sbout Acura and Infiniti. I have no doubt that Lexus can command over $100K pretty easily for a V12 equivalent car and will probably introduce a $150K car in the next few years. Lexus has separated themselves from the rest of the Japanese. I think the high German prices are already running into plenty of resistance and won't hold. The resale values are far too low in percentage terms to hold the high prices for the new cars in place. It's already pretty obvious but you'll never know it from the Edmunds TMV. But a $77K MB S is less than $150 different in lease price than a $62K LS430 now and the 745LI at $76K was barely more than my $64K custom LS a few months back. On top of that its the LS that holds 60-62% of its value after 3 years. The others are in the low 50's. Without that resale foundation the upfront price just won't hold unless its heavily subsidized and disguised which is what is happening already.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Lexus truly have separated themselves from the rest of the Japanese. It is now up to Infiniti and Acura to duke it out as the next up-and-comer brand in the US lux market. That's whay these two companies are taking on BMW knowing Lexus pretty much sowed up the MB level competition.

    By 2006, the competition at the upper echelon of the lux market will truly heat up. If the 2006 LS is the LF-S design, and if by MY 2007, Lexus comes out with the LWB version, with the 600HP hybrid-ized engine, then MB will truly face its stiffest competition yet. No amount of gnashing of the teeth, or the wringing of hands will wish away the poor reliability and quality of MBs going forward. Truly, their marqueness is slowly eroding, and the evidence is overwhelming. Like most historical things, it may take a while for its full effect to manifest.

    Time, always, is the enemy (or friend) here.

    ps: Merc1, you need to tone down your lambasting of Lexus-fans at the obvious ugliness of the new and improved 2006 S-class spy pics. There is no need to focus on Lexus-ophiles, rather you need to direct your anger at MB for their poor judgement in coming up with such a disastrous design for their top brand. Are they that scared of Lexus to rush through such poor design???? Hehehehe.....
  • I think Mercedes is also hurting it's image with it's cheap line of cars. They look like Mercedes but an inspection reveals that they are really cheap..

    When the image goes what will Mercedes have left to sell?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yes you can get a S430 Sport. The Sport package is an option on the S430, S500 and S600. My point had nothing to do with what someone was comparing this time around, you've always stated the same thing that a Euro LS will outhandle a base S-Class.......that shouldn't be a shock. My point is that when you evenly spec the cars you can't say such a thing about the LS. You always state as such like a better handling S-Class can't be had.

    "I have never seen a 600HP V8 from Benz available on their base cars. Thus my other remark."

    I'm not sure what you mean here?? No car in this class is going to have a 600hp V8 or any other cylinder configuraton as the "base" engine, with that much hp. Please explain what you're talking about here. You think the next LS is going to have a 600hp V8 as the "base" engine?

    "Audi only sells 80K cars a year here. I actually think the comments are quite valid. People will hesitate to make Audi a big seller here until they prove to be very reliable and the acceleration problem (which I never bought as a real problem anyway) was the first manifestation of an unreliable car - at least in public perceptions. As for the folks i talked to - they are all $250K+ players and two have equity ownership positions in their dealerships. I think they know their industry a lot better than you or I know it. It's also a close knit industry."

    I agree that Audi has a problem, but it isn't unintended acceleration. Anyone who thinks that Audi is still suffering from something back in 1985 is just lost imo. If these people are truly in the industry then they should know the facts surrounding that whole episode about Audi. Audi's biggest problem is reliability.........and it had nothing to with that acceleration mess. I'm wondering if you even know what the true problem was with Audi back in 1985?

    lexusguy,

    I just can't get worried about Acura. They're not even willing to make a rwd or V8 car. There is only so much you can do for under 50K with fwd/awd and V6s. To take on Mercedes and BMW at the top of their game and brush aside their image and market power you have to build a true upper-class car that plays their game. So far Lexus is the only one openely talking about a 100K V8 or V12 luxury car or who competes with the Germany's best cars (sedans at least) right now. Neither Acura or Infiniti can give away their most expensive cars. Bold prediction: I expect Cadillac to place above Acura in the next few years because they're willing to push boundaries that Acura simply won't.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I really dont see Acura doing much damage to Lexus. The two brands are just too differently focused. Lexus' strength, at least right now, comes from ES, RX, and LS. Acura cant do a car like the ES. The MDX cant sell for $43K+ so they will not be able to offer the level of refinement and materials quality that RX has. Acura has no LS fighter whatsoever.

    Infiniti also wont do any real damage because Infiniti and Lexus are pretty much polar opposites. The cars that Infiniti has tried to position against Lexus, I and Q, have both been huge flops. You'll notice that the I did not get a redesign with its Maxima cousin. I think it will not get one. Same goes for Q. As OAC said, I think they are content to let Lexus gun for M-B, and generally avoid them. Theres fresh meat on BMW and Audi, and thats where Acura and Infiniti can get stronger.

    As for the Germans themselves, they are at an interesting cross roads at the moment. They want to preserve their luxury prestige here, but at the same time, they want to offer increasingly lower and lower priced models. Europeans might not even blink at the idea of a C230 taxi cab, but I think that would definitely give American C-class owners some pause. Because they have no "regular" Toyota or Honda or Nissan type badge, they must offer the C230 coupe, Audi A3, and upcoming 1 series with the same badge as their $100K machines. I'm not sure in this market that is a good idea. The global auto market at this point is probably the most brutal it has been in history. If you take away your own badge prestige by offering $20K cars with the blue and white prop, 4 rings, or 3-pointed star, how do you continue to justify your asking prices as the Japanese (and Koreans) get stronger and stronger?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Good points. This Japanese onslaught happened 20+ years ago with regular cars and Detroit survived, barely. The British as a whole had their entire automotive industry collaspe and wind up in German (VW, BMW) or American (Ford) hands. Think about it, Jaguar, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, and Aston-Martin....some of the most prestigious names in the history of the automobile are no longer British owned. The difference is that Germany is the driving automotive force in Europe and they aren't going to just roll over, they'll at some point re-invent themselves to deal with all these new challenges.

    The one I'm the most worried about overall is BMW. This styling is going to catch up with them at some point. So far they have stood by their design department's (Chris Bangle didn't even personally draw the 6-Series or X3 people, only the 7-Series was truly "his") new styling direction. The real test will be the 2006 3-Series. Will they destroy the most critically acclaimed car in the 30-40K bracket just for the sake of change? We'll find out in Sept of 2005. The 2005 Frankfurt autoshow will also reveal the next S-Class, which certain people are desperately hoping turns out to be an ugly car.

    You're right about Acura. They're limited not by talent, but by Honda's smaller is better thinking and smaller budget compared to Nissan and Toyota. A shame really because a big rwd Acura with a Vtec V8 sounds really nice. In theory they could do to Lexus what Lexus did to Mercedes, but to execute this will require a fundamental shift in Honda thinking, that isn't going to happen.

    I think the brands to watch with varying degrees are Audi, Cadillac, Infiniti, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. BMW has a new 3-Series coming, but after that things will cool down for them somewhat.

    Audi will introduce a new model every year from now until 2008! A new TT, A6, A6-based Coupe (think Novoluari Concept), S8, RS6, updated 2005.5 A4, RS4, and a production version of the LeMans Quattro. All Audi needs to do is improve reliability because unlike BMW their designs make all Japanese and some European cars look like toasters and refrigerators.

    Cadillac is working on a 100K+ car to compete with the S600s of the world. They'll have performance variants of the CTS, STS, XLR, and possibly the SRX. There is a new smaller Cadillac on the drawing board for Europe. Naturally the car I'm most interested in seeing is this 100K car they keep talking about. Unfortunately I don't see Cadillac becoming the "Standard of the World" again though. The XLR and CTS just aren't the worldbeaters they promised. Cadillac will gain a lot of attention with all the new product, but unless it is executed right....

    Lexus has a new LS, GS, HPX (don't think for one moment this crossover won't be built), and most importantly a new IS. I think the next IS is the most important upcoming product launch for them, not the LS, GS or the hybrids. Why? Because this is type of car that BMW sells over 100K of each year. Lexus currently stands at 12-15K a year. They want to desperately crank up those numbers. A new IS Coupe, Sedan, Convertible and Wagon are very critical to Lexus' 350K a year sales goal.

    After Lexus, Cadillac and Audi...there is Infiniti on the watch list. The new M35/45 should do better than the current car. How could it not? Infiniti's biggest problem is Lexus. When people go looking for a truly upscale Japanese car, Lexus' LS is the one on their list, not the Q45. How does Infiniti turn that around? The next generation Skyline is coming here in 2007 as a Infiniti. If Infiniti is smart they'll do a G35 convertible and a hi-po version....a G45 Sedan with the 4.5L V8 tweaked for at least 350hp to take on the M3/S4/C55 etc.

    On a different note I predict the Koreans will introduce a luxury division complete with a real rwd V8 luxury car in about 10 years at the rate they're going.

    M
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    "The real test will be the 2006 3-Series. Will they destroy the most critically acclaimed car in the 30-40K bracket just for the sake of change? We'll find out in Sept of 2005. The 2005 Frankfurt autoshow will also reveal the next S-Class, which certain people are desperately hoping turns out to be an ugly car."

    I think the 3 is as good as destroyed. I read somewhere that iDrive will be applied only for nav. I think this is a sign that they perceive iDrive to be the problem with their sales, not style. Me, I'll take a thousand iDrives with great styling.

    On the other hand, I am desperately hoping all Mercedes turn out to be gorgeous. I root for all cars to be lookers… makes the pickins better. Unfortunately, I think the S we see in those spy pics is basically the one we are getting. It looks bloated and homely. The spy pics of test horses have been pretty accurate except for minor trim details. No?
  • topspin628topspin628 Posts: 373
    Without much negotiation, I have been quoted about 1K under invoice on an S430 4 Matic. I realize that there is 3K coming back to the dealer from the company so they will still net 1K.

    Do you think this is a fair price?

    They are also offering a 39 month residual of 53% and a money factor of .00255 on a lease. I think both of these may also be factory subsidized as well.

    Better to lease or buy on this deal?

    As posted earlier I am down to S Class vs LS and think both are great cars but the drive of the S and the 4 matic give an edge to the MB in my opinion. I am assuming that a well equipped LS can be had for around 65K that makes it "only" about a 5k difference.

    Any thoughts on the price of the MB? Can I do better?
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    The write-up with one of the S-class spy shots photo said they would have a 600hp V8 as well as a V12. I don't understand the logic or see any need for both (unless they push the V12 up to 700hp) but that is what was stated. My "paying attention" point was simple - Lexus says they are coming with a 600hp V8 hybrid and right afterward you hear MB mentioned as coming with a 600hp V8. How they bring that in - base car availability or special order AMG is not noted. I'm sure the Lexus 600hp will be a special order car (though they probably will ship a bunch un-ordered that will probably be snapped right up the way the ultra was in 2001 - its the way they do things). But that mid level hybrid - which will probably be their $75K bread and butter car will likely be in the mid 4's on hp. What I'm wondering is what happens to the base 290hp gas engine. I think you see three trims - the gas engine probably moving up to 340-360hp and a $65-$70k car, the mid-level hybrid ($75 - $85K range) and the high-end hybrid ($100-$110k range). This probably carries through to whatever the SC becomes and to the big engine GS as well but without the 600hp option. When it is new lease time for me there will be no hesitation on my part to taking the $75K-$85k car. Its just going to be weird getting better mileage in the city than on the highway.

    Funny thing - the hybids were hardly mentioned anywhere a year ago. Now they are popping up in stories everywhere as the "hot" item. They will be badly needed to sustain the SUV bull market. Newsweek or Time had a story on this just this week. I read a few days ago that the Google owners drive Prius'. Believe me - hybrids will be the rage. The momemtum is alraedy too far gone to stop it. Diesels may end up dominating in Europe but they have no chance here. This is a lot more predictable then the bust we knew the idrive was going to be on the 7-series and that one was pretty easy to see.

    Maybe I missed it but what's your take on those S-class photos. The ones Pablo posted look good to me though the back-end looks more like what you'd expect on a C-class. The other ones are a big drop-off in looks from the current car - if they are the real thing.
  • jstylejstyle Posts: 129
    Take a look at the uncovered shot of the new '06 ML testing in Alabama. It looks very Acura MDX like. I think MB is loosing its ability to make cars "lookers." Perhaps this for tells the S class.

    http://www.thecarconnection.com/index.asp?article=7247&sid=17- 8&n=158
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I think it's a big improvement. I like the front, looks like a Mercedes. They should put those lights on the sedans. A little too much topography on the flares around the wheel wells but it sure beats the midriff bulge on the X5. I see Nissan influence. Would like to see the back though. I wouldn't be surprised if that part of it looks like an elephant that raided the pizza store. Getting both ends to complement each other is rare these days. And I think all SUVs could use slimmer C columns. However this one has a nice shape.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The 3 series is definitely going to be a VERY important car. BMW has held on to its "better than all your cars" image with basically that car (and some help from the 5 of course.) But the new 5 is not that great. If the 3 is also not that great, G35 will jump on it like a wolf on a frightened bunny, with TL stepping in to mop up the left overs.

    The British auto industry's problem was it was all too high end for its own good. You cant survive in the modern age without being a volume player. What happened to Jag, Aston, etc, would've happened to Porsche without the Cayenne. It would be like if M-B was a company that just sold SL500s and SLRs. They'd get killed in seconds. The Germans arent invincible though. If sales trends just keep going down and down as they are now, they wont dissappear completely, but they may go the route of Alfa Romeo, Peugot, and Renault and leave the American market. Not that Im saying that is going to happen any time soon.

    The IS is definitely going to be a very interesting car for Lexus. The Altezza rebadge that we have now is absolutely nothing like the new car is going to be, but it will face competition from G35 and TSX\TL, which most of the rest of their line up does not. What would be nice is if the IS convinces Acura to fill out its line up some more.

    The new ML still doesnt do anything for me styling wise. I think its rather bland generic-asia in the front, while trying to retain some styling cues from the old car around the back. What makes it a M-B? It could have a KIA badge on it.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    “What happened to Jag, Aston, etc, would've happened to Porsche without the Cayenne. It would be like if M-B was a company that just sold SL500s and SLRs. They'd get killed in seconds.”

    Well the last time I looked Porsche only has three model platforms plus the supercar Carrera GT. Theyre not dead yet. Cayenne is a prostitute… it’s about staying alive. No one has survival instincts like Porsche. They’ve been on the brink quite often. Tells you something about passion, the mission and not selling the soul. They are the only production manufacturer with a truly artistic personality.

    Porsche. There is no substitute.

    (I think their internal corporate slogan is “Business Shmizness.” I don't think they would have even considered Cayenne if a couple of accountants didn't sit them down and give them a lecture.)

    :-)
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    You and lexusguy had some excellent posts about 8 or 10 posts back. His points about cheaper MB's and BMW's for the american market are so right on and you've always said MB would be nuts to go any cheaper. So enter business 101 logic. Why not introduce the cheaper MB's as Chryslers. Solves every possible American problem but maybe opens up a can of worms in Europe. If that's the case just re-work the grill or something on the front-end for the American versions. Just like I don't want to see a Lexus "corolla", no MB S500 or higher buyer will want to see an $18K car with the three pointed star on it. But business logic says why cut-off the whole American market because of prestige. Just re-badge those cars. Plus look at the box it puts BMW in. Lexus, Infiniti, Acura, MB, Jaguar and Audi all have outlets for cheaper cars. BMW is stuck without one. What am I missing?
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