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High End Luxury Cars

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Comments

  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    Comments like that about MB's engine designs make you wonder if they even knew that Mercedes did the whole DOHC-VVT thing back in the early nineties up until 1998.

    Obviously they didn't. More importantly, it makes you wonder if they've ever driven an MB powered by the motor they're criticizing.

    Unfortunately, I think MB (and every other luxury car company) has no choice but to go with DOHC, 4 vavles per cylinder and continuous VVT on intake and exhaust as anything other than that draws automatic and unjustified criticism in the lux. car market.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well you know I'd have to disagree with that. Airbags, ABS, Brake Assist, ESP, and even Pre-Safe have all proven themselves to work as advertised, with the first half of those features having been pioneered by Mercedes back in the 70's and have since been adopted by the entire industry.

    Idrive is something altogether different. The safety tech is no where near as razzle-dazzle as Idrive.

    saugatak,

    Yep they all have to play that game now.

    M
  • stevesteinstevestein Posts: 263
    Yes, I just get out of the car and walk away when car is in my garage. I didn't lock the doors, merely closed them (and the trunk in one case) incorrectly. With the retained lighting there is no immediate feedback, no BEEEEEP{a function of the remote key lock command) or chimes (key in ignition), and the lights remain on, draining battery
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Give me a break. The 3 valve per cylinder SOHC you're denigrating was one of Ward's Top 10 engines.

    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)

    Using one less valve per cylinder and one less cam per wing of the V gave MB the room to put an extra spark plug in the engine, which makes more efficient fuel combustion and reduces emissions. That's very creative.

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

    MB's 3 valve per cylinder, SOHC, dual spark plug v6 was also the only v6 on Ward's 10 Best that was a 90 degree v6.

    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.

    Honda's v6s are SOHC and they're as good as any DOHC v6 out there. So now you have 2 quality companies that haven't gone the traditional DOHC route and yet have done just fine.

    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)

    There are several ways of designing effective engines, each with its relative strengths and weaknesses. I applaud MB for taking a different and INNOVATIVE approach to designing and building an award winning power plant.

    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.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    ".. 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. .."

    By that logic, no V8 is worth bragging about, since they're merely two very pedestrian I4s put together, right? And indeed they are.

    I find it somewhat sad that the basic engine design choices no longer much reflect some brand philosophy, but are merely dictated by baby-boomers naive belief that a V8 is the best engine design out there, simply 'cause they lusted after some big V8 as teenagers. A well designed I6 has better natural balance.

    But the car world is poorer because customers seemingly believe that an engine with more acronyms and valves and cylinders is necessarily better. I'd have a blown Bentley 6.8 any time of the day, ancient as it is in design, and I actually prefer the Beemer I6 toi any of their V8s. Incidentally, the old Jaguar I6 engine was smoother than the V8 it was replaced with due to buyer pressure. I know 'cause I had them both.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Interesting points, though not all valid.

    The 3.3L Toyota V6 is brand new compared to the Mercedes SOHC engine designs came out in 1997 for 1998 models. Everything changes and technology moves one hence Mercedes like anyone else is updating their engines after 6+ years on the market.

    To say that 3.2L V6 in say the E320 is not a smooth running engine is complete bs. That engine and the 5 speed automatic it is attached to is one of the smoothest V6 powertrains around. The bottom line is that these engines got the job done and back in 1998 when they were introduced they were seen as a refreshing change from the norm of the day. Is it time for them to be replaced, certainly.

    You're right about the V6 and V8 sharing the same design and block construction for cost reasons, I'll give you that. BTW, the 45K Acura RL uses a SOHC engine also so SOHC designs aren't limited to all Accord-based models at Honda.

    You do realize that Mercedes has done DOHC, Variable-valve-timed engines before right?

    Lastly if you look at Ward's list of engines they range from GM to Ford to BMW to Toyota, they aren't biased to certain brand names.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I really have to go with Mark on that one. If Mercedes is guilty of anything its not updating the 320 engine fast enough. In 1998, Toyota's top version of their V6 was 3.0L in the ES300. It didnt have VVT, and made less hp then M-Bs engine. Toyota has updated that powertrain several times since '98 (VVT heads in '99, then the 5-speed w/ VVT-i, then the displacement bump to 3.3L) and MB hasnt changed theirs at all. Theirs isnt the greatest 6 in the world (Porsche's are) but its far from the worst. (Daewoo)
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Lexus' mastery of NVAH is only partially due to a smooth and quiet engine. It is the interior that gives Lexus the edge in that, not that M-B have bad interiors, but Lexus just goes the extra mile with more and better sound insulation, and razor thin panel gaps.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I think you might be too caught up in specs because I haven't seen one complaint about the E320's performance or engine refinement.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    You mean me or brightness04? I havent complained about the E320s engine refinement. You cant tell me the cabin is quieter (or better put together) than the ES330 though.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    No big deal really but the comment was kinda meant for both of you. This: " If Mercedes is guilty of anything its not updating the 320 engine fast enough." kinda implies that it isn't up to snuff...thus my comment about its performance and refinement, meaning they comply with the class the E320 competes in. As far as the ES330 is concerned yes it is quieter, verified this with my own ears. I does have a nice interior too, but I don't a night and day difference between it and the E320. Mercedes have always gone for the business look compared to all-you-can-stand leather and wood treatments of Lexi. To me the ES330 has to have a superior interior to a whole host of cars, even ones more expensive that it because it drives like a lifeboat and looks like a experiment gone bad. The interior, reliability and features sell the car basically. The styling, driving and overall designs bores me to tears.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Well I mean since that time, both BMW and Audi have updated their 6's from 2.8 to 3.0L, Nissan and Toyota increased displacement of their sixes, and Mercedes kinda didnt do anything.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I see what you're saying but BMW and Audi's updated engines still don't shame Mercedes' so its kinda moot point to me. Audi's V6 (without turbo) still doesn't do anything but underperform in the A6 3.0 compared to the E320 and the 528i-to-530i conversion isn't doing much either without a stick shift so......

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I guess, but the C320 isnt exactly a road scorcher compared to the 330.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    That is true.

    M
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Interesting points, though not all valid.

    albeit most _are_ ;-)

    The 3.3L Toyota V6 is brand new compared to the Mercedes SOHC engine designs came out in 1997 for 1998 models. Everything changes and technology moves one hence Mercedes like anyone else is updating their engines after 6+ years on the market.

    But even the 3.0 in the last iteration was DOHC VVTi as well; that had been around since the late 90's. MB is a generation or two behind the curve, which was exactly my main point.

    To say that 3.2L V6 in say the E320 is not a smooth running engine is complete bs. That engine and the 5 speed automatic it is attached to is one of the smoothest V6 powertrains around.

    Not compared to the Toyota V6 offerings costing little more than half as much.

    The bottom line is that these engines got the job done and back in 1998 when they were introduced

    Only in the sense that it was adequate to get the not-so-auto-literate buy into "cheap" MB offerings with behind-the-curve engineering and sub-par quality control . . .; i.e. getting a snow job done. Needless to say, a large number of disgruntled ex-MB owners was created within a few years.

    You're right about the V6 and V8 sharing the same design and block construction for cost reasons, I'll give you that. BTW, the 45K Acura RL uses a SOHC engine also so SOHC designs aren't limited to all Accord-based models at Honda.

    Nobody pays 45k for an RL (not yet anyway). Those cars are heavily discounted precisely because they are fundamentally derived from the Accord, FWD and all. People buy RL's for reliability and good value; for that, the 3.5 SOHC derived from the Accord 3.0 SOHC does just fine.

    You do realize that Mercedes has done DOHC, Variable-valve-timed engines before right?

    Then Mercedes was gripped by the same sort of bean counter machination as Caddies were in the 70's and 80's.

    Lastly if you look at Ward's list of engines they range from GM to Ford to BMW to Toyota, they aren't biased to certain brand names.

    As a trade journal, Ward's tends to reserve a slot for each major so as not to offend anyone. So it's pretty much redundent to preclaim that MB has an engine in the top 10 by Ward's; even lowly Chevy has that.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Again, interesting points:

    "But even the 3.0 in the last iteration was DOHC VVTi as well; that had been around since the late 90's. MB is a generation or two behind the curve, which was exactly my main point."

    They had just retired their DOHC-VVT engines in 1997. It isn't like they hadn't done it before or couldn't they just changed directions, unlike what you're trying to imply here. They'd already been there and done that. Behind the curve isn't right, try they had already gone through it.

    "Not compared to the Toyota V6 offerings costing little more than half as much."

    Totally disagree, so we'll have to agree to disagree on that one.

    "Only in the sense that it was adequate to get the not-so-auto-literate buy into "cheap" MB offerings with behind-the-curve engineering and sub-par quality control . . .; i.e. getting a snow job done. Needless to say, a large number of disgruntled ex-MB owners was created within a few years."

    These ex-MB owners were disgruntled over these engines? You'll surely have to prove that one. Mercedes has its problems but engines isn't one of them. Like I said before I think you're too caught up on stats in this instance because these engines got the job done and the industry (the same one that pats Lexus on the back for quality) ranked these engines as being some of the best around, at the time of introduction.

    "Nobody pays 45k for an RL (not yet anyway). Those cars are heavily discounted precisely because they are fundamentally derived from the Accord, FWD and all. People buy RL's for reliability and good value; for that, the 3.5 SOHC derived from the Accord 3.0 SOHC does just fine."

    Now you hadn't made a single "excuse" up until now, you'd been as straight forward and factual as can be, but here you let me down. It doesn't make a difference what the car actually sells for (it still lists for luxury car money at 45K) and I think everyone buys a car (especially a luxury car!) expecting a certain level of reliability and saying that RL buyers are different is just absurd. People buy E320s, 530is and every other mid-level luxury car for the same or similar reasons. If the RL's engine does the job for the few people that seek it out every year, then the E320's (which outsells the RL by like 5 to 1) SOHC engine surely serves it's owners equally as well. The ironic thing is that they come withing spitting distance of each other in power 221hp compared to 225hp, yet the Acura gets an excuse for its output and the E320 gets ripped. Come on now. Clear and present double-standard going on there. They're both luxury cars competing for the same buyers. The RL should be excused because it is fwd? I think not! The RL is poorest "value" on the market. There is absolutely no reason to buy it over Acura's own (270hp from a SOHC engine I might add) TL. No reason at all. You get nothing for what ever premium is actually being paid (over the TL) by RL buyers, the few of them that exists. I think you'd have to be totally clueless to walk into an Acura showroom and purchase an RL over the TL this year or even last year's TL-S, which was a better car. The RL still has a 4-speed automatic for gawd sake!

    I already conceded that you were right about the cost reasons regarding MB's engine design switch in 1997.

    Ok so if Wards isn't a good source for engines, who is? They have put certain Lexus engines on that list too in the past. Where they wrong then too?

    M
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    My point was that having a spot on the Ward's top 10 list alone is no reason for boast; every major manufacturer, including lowly Chevy, has a spot on that list. Ward's has a way of making all the major players content ;-) Does making the list make it a _bad_ engine? of course not. It's like calling any engine made by the big-three/four "world class"; of course, it's world-class; the four combined account for half the world's total output to begin with. Trade journals know where they bread get buttered.

    Much of your diatribe can be applied to E320 when compared to its competition (or even Camry XLE and Accord EX for that matter). RL has somewhat more supple interior material than TL (and of course bigger and more substantial car), but is that worth the extra dough and lack in performance? probably not, nor does the E320 compared to ES330 and TL, or even the lowly Camry XLE / Accord EX. RL's are literally two generations out of date (not having been revamped for a long time), whereas E320 acts like one.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Mentioning that Mercedes had a spot on Ward's top 10 was no boast, just a fact. I can understand if you don't agree with their lists. I just disagree with you on that.

    "Much of your diatribe can be applied to E320 when compared to its competition (or even Camry XLE and Accord EX for that matter).

    No it can't because the E320's acceleration isn't behind the class like the RL's is. Look up the stats on the cars. If the E320 is behind the class then the GS300 and IS300 are also behind their competitors too when it comes to engine output.

    "RL has somewhat more supple interior material than TL (and of course bigger and more substantial car), but is that worth the extra dough and lack in performance? probably not, nor does the E320 compared to ES330 and TL, or even the lowly Camry XLE / Accord EX. RL's are literally two generations out of date (not having been revamped for a long time), whereas E320 acts like one."

    Sorry, but that is a big fact excuse and absolutely no justification for buying an RL and paying however many thousands more it costs over a TL. The RL may be bigger but it surely isn't more substantial, as it failed a crash test a few years back, which I'm sure the brand new TL wouldn't. You're making excuses for the RL, plain and simple.

    The E320 is a totally different driving experience from the ES330. The ES is a nice and isolated Japanese Buick. It is equally absurd to even suggest that a E320 isn't up to the level or an Accord EX or Camry based on engine specifications or output. There is so much more to any car and the E320 than just engine output/specs. The Acura TL is a fine car and I have no problem with it other than styling, but it isn't an E-Class either. FWD and torque steer do not a E-Class beater make. If the E320 is not worth the money over those cars, then surely the GS300 isn't either.

    M
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    People buy RL's because they are hoodwinked into thinking they are buying a topdog of a luxury brand; perhaps an S/7 for half the price; that's what they think, and vehicle lengths are about right; RL is about the length of short-wheel-based 7 and S, whereas the E is in the same class as TL, which the E320 trails badly in performance.

    RL is 400lbs heavier than TL, how is that not "more substantial"? Remember, there was a time when MB's were sold on being "heavy and substantial"? (and poor crash results as we later found out despite their heavy weight). Some people still buy that, and find RL a half-priced S/7, certainly not performance-oriented drivers, but they do exist, in many retirement communities ;-) RL does have better interior material than TL; that's another one of those items MB owners used to brag about until the bean counters got to the recent offerings.

    There was a time RL was semi-competitive with S and 7, back two generations ago when RL was designed and introduced, when there were such animals as 735i and S320 (and outside the US, even more perplexing 728i and S280, the latter in which Princess Di died btw; what kind of moribound slow boat was that anyway) Apparently there once upon a time was a market for those slow boats.

    A base E320 is actually not quite up to the engineering or quality standards of an Accord EX V6 or Camry XLE V6, and I'm not talking about merely engine, even thought it's a big part of it. Check the panel gaps yourself. Check the reliability record yourself. So what makes the E320 superior if the engine is subpar, the workmanship is subpar, and the reliability record is subpar? Electronic gadgetry count? In a fully loaded E320, at twice the price of a fully loaded Camry/Accord, the interior material (the choice of leather for example) is indeed superior to the latter two (just like RL interior material is better than that of TL; apparently that's of no great concern to you ;-)

    If the E320 is not worth the money over those cars, then surely the GS300 isn't either.

    GS300 sales are indeed miniscule compared to ES330 and TL. GS300, RL and E320 are all out of date; the problem for MB is that, while GS300 and RL are marginal products for their respective manufacturers and placed on the back burner for updates, the E320 is supposed to be _the_ mainstay of MB sales.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I can't imagine that anyone thinks they are getting a S-Class or 7-Series level car when buying an RL. Some buyers are clueless about cars, but I don't think any are that clueless. BTW, we don't get SWB S-Classes here and the RL and 745i, give me a break.

    "RL is 400lbs heavier than TL, how is that not "more substantial"? Remember, there was a time when MB's were sold on being "heavy and substantial"? (and poor crash results as we later found out despite their heavy weight). Some people still buy that, and find RL a half-priced S/7, certainly not performance-oriented drivers, but they do exist, in many retirement communities ;-) RL does have better interior material than TL; that's another one of those items MB owners used to brag about until the bean counters got to the recent offerings."

    Two things wrong here. The RL being 400lbs heavier than the TL helps it what way? None. It isn't any safer, hell it isn't even as safe as the TL. Does this help fuel economy? Heck no. Weight doesn't automatically equal greater safety, other wise so many SUVs wouldn't be do so poorly in crash tests. Ford Crown Vics are heavy as hell too, but you'd better not hit one in the [non-permissible content removed], boom...gasoline and fire everywhere. Good design is what makes a car safe not weight. Anyway, that the RL weighs more than the TL and has much less hp is bass ackwards and is not grounds for a boast. Secondly, a Benz being heavy was not intentional, but a byproduct of the way the used to build them. The RL having better materials is not worth paying what 10-12K (list price) over the TL. I'm dismissing any and all arguments about the current RL. You may re-submit your case when the 2005 model arrives, until then the current 1996-2004 RL is a dead issue (and duck) with me and the market obviously.

    The RL was never competitive with any S-Class or 7-Series, I wouldn't care if the S-Class and 7-Series had 4-cylinder engines!

    "A base E320 is actually not quite up to the engineering or quality standards of an Accord EX V6 or Camry XLE V6, and I'm not talking about merely engine, even thought it's a big part of it. Check the panel gaps yourself. Check the reliability record yourself. So what makes the E320 superior if the engine is subpar, the workmanship is subpar, and the reliability record is subpar? Electronic gadgetry count? In a fully loaded E320, at twice the price of a fully loaded Camry/Accord, the interior material (the choice of leather for example) is indeed superior to the latter two (just like RL interior material is better than that of TL; apparently that's of no great concern to you ;-)

    Heck no it isn't and the difference isn't worth the price over the TL! They should have given the RL a modern transmission first.

    This is a classic case of judging a car by your own criteria. Which is fine, but it surely isn't the only thing I and obviously a many others judge a car buy. The E320 will get an engine upgrade for 2006, it will become the E350 gaining the SLK350's 268hp 3.5 DOHC V6. The reliability angle has been long worn out here. Nothing more to say about that other than the surveys show the E320 to be less reliable than the cars you mention. The side of freeway stuff is bs in my book because I've seen cars from any every brand on the side of the road and I just like you had no real idea of why they were there unless the hood was up and the car was smoking etc.
     For me the ES330 could have the best quality in the world and it wouldn't mean squat when I have to look at and/or drive it. The car is a better Buick than the real Buicks. Sorry the comparison with the E320 is far to surreal to me, as is the Honda Accord and Camry, two of the blandest, most boring cars on the road today. Neither of them match the E320 in safety engineering either. The Honda might have tighter panel gaps, but that metal is like tapping on a tin can compared to the E320 or any other Benz.

    The E320 isn't supposed to be the mainstay of MB sales, it is the mainstay of MB sales because it (despite your low opinion of it) offers a great driving experience, styling, features and comfort for the class it competes. The Camry and Accord, ES330 comparison is totally ridiculous.

    I like how you try to cover the GS300 with an excuse about it not being the mainstay of Lexus sales. Do you think Lexus intended that? Do you not think they wanted to sell as many of those a Mercedes does E320s? Just because doesn't sell doesn't excuse it from the same knocks you've given the E320. Now I know the GS300 doesn't sell now because it is simply old and due for a redesign, but you didn't exactly state that. You tried to cover it by saying it wasn't a priority of Lexus. That is ridiculous. That is the same thing (nonesense) theory I was given about the Phaeton on the VW Phaeton board, that it wasn't a priority, absolutely absurd. Every luxury car maker wants to move their sedans in good numbers, and Lexus is no different. If the car is no priority why are they redesigning it?

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I am, for the most part, on Merc's side on this issue. I dont see anything wrong with M-B's SOHC designs (now if they were push-rods, then I would have an issue, and there would be saugatak as well, saying the LS1\6 and Hemi are the worlds best engines). The RL stinks. It has always stunk. I know Legend people that were SORELY disappointed with Acura for that sorry half-assed effort at an LS400. Acura messed up, they underestimated the competition, and they paid for it with pitiful sales. The appear to want to change that with the new car and make something that actually DOES compete with the E, and we'll have to wait and see how that pans out.
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    I don't see the point of using the old RL in ANY comparos. This is a car that hasn't been updated in 9 years and is the acknowledged dog of its class by everyone.

    My point was that having a spot on the Ward's top 10 list alone is no reason for boast; every major manufacturer, including lowly Chevy, has a spot on that list. Ward's has a way of making all the major players content ;-) Does making the list make it a _bad_ engine?

    Now you're bashing GM's inline 6 4.2L engine?

    Have you ever driven a Trailblazer or Envoy and tried out that engine? It is incredibly smooth and powerful. It's just a shame that such a great engine is mated to a decent looking but shoddily built car like the Trailbalzer or Envoy. The 4.2L straight 6 completely deserves its spot on Ward's Top 10. This is a 6 cylinder engine that slaughters a lot of V8s.

    Check out the torque curve on GM's 4.2L straight 6.

    http://www.gm.com/automotive/gmpowertrain/engines/vortec/apps/veh- icle/images/ll8curve.jpg

    That is one of the flattest torque curves I've ever seen. Plus it looks like that engine is hitting around 235 ft-lb (or 87% of peak) at just 950 rpm! When GM dyno tested this engine, they had some running smoothly on dyno for over 300,000 miles and still going strong. They eventually took it off dyno b/c they needed the dyno to test other engines.

    Ward's opinion is that every well made straight 6 belongs in Ward's Top 10 and I fully agree with them.

    You make a lot of good points, but bashing Ward's is not one of them. Maybe engines ranked #7 through 10 could switch places with engines ranked #11 through 13, but every engine in Ward's Top 10 is a fine and worthy engine.
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    now if they were push-rods, then I would have an issue, and there would be saugatak as well, saying the LS1\6 and Hemi are the worlds best engines

    LOL.

    Well, unless you're in a Porsche or a Ferrarri or are driving a turbo-boosted car, the SOHC or DOHC v8 powered luxury car you're driving would get flat out spanked by the Corvette (and probably the Dodge Magnum/Chrysler 300C).

    It's hard to argue with #s like 400HP and 400ft-lb.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Saugatak, RL isn't exactly a dog. We (myself included) tend to get a little performance-drunk around here. Let's not forget about price, the roomy and nicely finished interior, the straightforward no-nonsense exterior, PLUS Acura quality. For utilitarian sedan lovers who don't need to debate performance on Edmunds, the current boring RL is a bargain. In the HP wars it's easy to knock, but for those who know that luxury sedans don't compete with sport sedans and roadsters, the RL adds up just fine in the big picture. It takes a lot of abuse among the cognoscenti but I'd take one and exploit the price hits.

    Ljflx:
    Nothing like a piano to add cheer, music culture, decoration to a home. So from this perspective you can't go wrong with ANY piano. But a Steinway is in a different league and that Fazioli comparison that Shiftright was talking about in the other thread is less than accurate and overly spectacular. In order to keep this as brief as possible, my point is that a Steinway grand not only is the crème de la crème among music professionals and amateurs, it is a proven investment for anyone. I paid $11K for mine in '85. I can now sell it for around $30K overnight. My sister paid $35K for hers about eight years ago, and it commands close to $60K today, that's what, roughly 5%-6% per year and I think they say it's reasonable to expect 4%. Talk about getting some real use out of your money. I know not everyone is ready to drop 30 grand on a piano but both of us have actively played since we were 7 and music comes with our family traditions so it was a no-brainer for us. I think you said you work in NY. If you haven't done so, I suggest taking your family to the Steinway showroom on 57th street off 6th. Not only is it impressive in itself, but listen to the musicians who come in to try them out. Then pick their brains about the piano. Even if you don't wind up with one, I think you will find it to be a most pleasant experience. BTW , the standard ebony (black) is by far the most desirable and sellable, plus it works with any décor from traditional to modern. I don't know, maybe you already know about these things… sorry if it sounds didactic.

    How's this… a Steinway in the LR to complement an MB in the driveway… uh oh, here we go again.

    ;-)
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    Well if you take price hits into account then the RL is fine, but we're talking high end luxury marques here, and the RL is not a high end luxury marque.

    By "dog" I dissed the RL more than it deserved. I guess I should have said that the RL is underwhelming vis a vis the competition in its alleged bracket, but does OK when compared to the competition in its "real" bracket.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Actually I should have included lexusguy in my response. He said the RL stinks and has always stunk (I prefer "stank"... love that "word" ;-)

    Maybe the RL is not a high-end luxury marque per se, but hey, there are people who swear there are $20 bottles of wine that beat the $200 per bottle varieties. I tend to be in that camp.
  • topspin628topspin628 Posts: 373
    I am really in a quandary over the S430 4Matic and the LS 430. The LS is a great car with fantastic luxo interior, sound system, very quick and bullet proof quality.

    The MB is more my style in terms of looks, drives great (I like the Euro ride a bit more than Lexus), feels like a tank, and has all wheel drive. I wouldn't be surprised with a few visits to the service dept. for some electrical "adjustments". By the way, on 2 different test drives in 2 different cars, I experienced 3 problems first hand: Tilt steering wheel wouldn't tilt down after I moved it up, air suspension wouldn't adjust and door locks would not close! Each salesman said that it may be a fuse or something.
    Am I nuts for still considering anyway.

    The real issue for me is that with the heavily incentivised pricing, leasing and interest rate from MB the cars are very close in price. That's a tough pill for me to swallow when it's fixed in my mind that MB is the far more established prestige player and for the same $, it's hard to swallow emotionally if not rationally. Throw in free maintanince and all wheel drive too.

    That said, the LS 430 may be the best luxo car in the world for comfort, quiet and quality. The Levinson sound is fantastic and blue tooth is a real plus. In addition, it really gets my goat that on the top of the line S Class you don't get things like xenon lights as standard. The TL has them and blue tooth for almost 1/3 the retail price.

    Regarding RL. I think that was their attempt at an LS /Q45 competitor and at the time it probably provided about 80% of those attributes for 80% of the price. Now it's so outdated. The new one looks like it might be a winner.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    "Stank" is now sanctioned by Webster's due to common usage. I don't believe this was the case years ago. Anyone know for sure? Can't remember. And sometimes words play games in the head. This is one of them for me. What I do know it is a funny word. Just reading the definition of "stink" and all the forms makes me ROTFL. And just when you thought that George W's pronunciation of "nuclear" as "nuke-u-lar" is churlish... SURPRISE... it's acknowledged by Webster's as common usage among many dignitaries and luminaries!

    And by THAT logic, it's OK for MBs and BMWs to be ugly! What's this world coming to!

    Yah, suh Bangle cars stink stink unt zay alvays stank!

    ;-)
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Thanks for the Pian data. We will probably buy one in September and Steinway is the heavy favorite.

    Now here's one for you. In machine appliances (washing machines etc) the Germans have as their great brands ASKO (Audi), Bosch (BMW) and Miele (MB). I believe Asko is German. Nice little co-incidence, huh. My Miele Dishwasher which was touted as the best money can buy and which was supremely quiet had reliability problems up the kazoo and lasted 6 years. Somehow I expected a lot more. Our friends Bosch though has been spectacular and that was the one my instincts told me to buy when we built our house. We ended up switching off to a high-end Kitchen Aid which has been great and is just as quiet as the Miele. These high-end appliances are real fickle as well. Our sub-zero has humidity problems in the summmer and repairs on it over 10 years has cost us about half as much as a high quality "ordinary" fridge. Come to think of it we never had a problem with a refrigerator until this sub-zero. These high end things can be so damm problematic.
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