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High End Luxury Cars

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  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I need a few more road sightings. Not that it matters, but I want to represent my impressions accurately. The 6 is a real different beast, and I think its redeeming qualities are in this bestiality, just as a rhinoceros is an awesome sight on an African plain.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    I found it pretty ugly. If this was their best shot at MB they failed badly in the looks department. I'm not sure why I leep reading in car mags that the new BMW design have presence and draws viewer attention. Did these people say the same thing about the Aztec? Godzilla would draw plenty of attenion too. I've read this now about the 7 (often) and the 5 and 6 a few times. I guess the 3 series will have this stuff written about it as well when it is redone. It's quite clear from the writer's article that he doesn't like the cars looks. Is that a nice way of saying the car is bad looking so as to not turn off BMW advertising? Maybe it's that the writer just can't say something bad about BMW.

    Merc1 - I find the new S design sketches as shown disappointing and much prefer the current model - assuming the sketches are real. The line on the sides is too much like Honda and to a certain extent Jaguar. A car that big has to be seen in person though. Personally I still think that is nothing but a modified sketch of a C. What's your thoughts?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The 6 fails miserably on the inside as well compared to the CL. Again, not changed (well except for a new comand screen) since '00, and the inside of the MB blows BMW away. The inside of the CL600 is about as luxurious as you can get without stepping up to Bentley or Rolls.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Nice comments guys. I think when they refer to Bangle BMWs getting attention they mean it in the same way that a guy who splits his pants gets attention. You notice it but don't want to point it out to the poor soul. If they don’t follow it up with positive comments it means they really think it sucks. Overall the press is snowballing in its willingness to really call it as it is with Bangle BMWs because they are coming to realize that it can’t be avoided. One writer said he couldn’t stop looking at the Z4. It’s the same with me, I’m thoroughly mesmerized by it… constantly trying to figure out how they had the audacity to put that abomination into production, and imagining how much sales would increase if they made it look more conventional like a Jag, S2000 or SL. They're nuts.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    The CLS looks neat, however it looks to showcar like and slightly impractical inasmuch as I think the shoulders are very high and thus the side windows rather narrow. It must feel a bit claustrophobic, I like cars with maximized window area because they are more open.

    As to the 6 series, a good friend got the convertible, and all I could say is that I was sure it drove incredibly. A pretty car it most certainly isn't.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Thats just it, most of the write ups I've seen have slammed the 6 for its driving characteristics (mostly thanks to the wonderful active steering), in C&D it lost to a CLK55.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    Well, I have seen it called a great GT car, which typically means that it's somewhat heavy and ponderous but very comfy. Kindof a Caddy Eldorado, really. I am a great GT fan: I love the Merc CL, which I think is one of the most desirable cars on the road, and am a huge Bentley Continental (old model) fan. But GTs are supposed to be gorgeously beautiful, yet BMW managed to crank out a notoriously ugly one, with Pontiac Aztek design cues thrown in and the usual Bangle saggy butt hind treatment. But I wouldn't tell my friend that, since he'd rightfully label me rude. It's his new toy, after all.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Take this look and futurize it. I think this is what Bruno Sacco meant when he said a Mercedes should look like a Mercedes.

    image
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    Looks like a Lexus. Even used to be built like one. :-)
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    That's why I always say MB's move to a sportier look is very very recent, but some would have you think it's always been that way.

    designman - I don't think you can blame this whole thing on Bangle. He's just the instrument. Someone above him ordered a revolutioary change in BMW design trying to pur artwork and even sculpture into their car designs. Everytime I see that trunk it reminds me of an architectual column sticking out beyond a wall in your home. In a home it looks beautiful but on a car it looks ridiculous. Similarly the eyebrows belong on an artist's portrait not on a car. Someone had the thought of a design departure, probably or at least partially because MB departed from their tried and true designs with the S-class re-design in 1999. MB pulled their move from classic to a more athletic/sport look off beautifully. BMW moved into the art world. It's a disaster. Someone should pull the plug real quick. But decisions like that come from the top as well as from the designer. Plus someone beyond Bangle signed off on the cars before they went into production. The i-drive was supposed to be the icing on the cake but just turned out to be part 2 of the mistake.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,890
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  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    I'd say MB has always been a very "stretched" brand. They've always had very desirable cars in the high end of their line-up (several unforgettable classics that belong into the Best Ever list of car history), but at the same time they've always had very utilitarian cars in their line-up. The change is that they decided to go more trendy across the range, and that they decided the legendary durability and over-engineered nature of their product was not worth spending as heavily for anymore. I do have a friend that works in MB in their engineering department, so I'll draw his attention to this discussion and see what he says - I've never discussed the topic with him before, we seldom talk work and corporate strategies. :-)

    But definitely, MB used to have a reputation for boring, albeit reliable cars in the mid-range. It's when BMW started to hurt them in their core markets with the 5 and 7 series that they started to counter with some more sporty flair, and also attack BMWs core segment more decisively. I do remember when the 190 came out (I was a kid) it was a hot topic of discussion among grown ups whether it'd kill the MB image.

    Mind you, I think MB still holds itself quite well. They have a different value proposition, and their cars articulate it effectively - it's an all around compromise, never trying to be the most fashionable, the sportiest, the anything, but merely showing all around balance and... something MB-esque, I don't know. There's not a single car in the MB line up I would not at least consider at all if I was shopping in its segment. And that's quite good, even if I might in the end not go for it. And there are not many brands I'd say that about, especially not about BMW these days.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    Cadillac certainly is becoming quite confident, its pricing is no longer significantly below what others would ask for, and it strategy is no longer to evade the Euro-Japanese onslaught moving sideways and simply coming out with a car that is utterly different in value proposition. Finally they try to compete head on across the range... so I am curious about who around here now would consider the new Cadi STS which now starts at $62k or something like that.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    The STS starts at $41k and maxes out at $62k.

    Haven't seen it so I can't judge, but the styling ain't bad. Better than the CTS, although they definitely share a common theme.

    I don't like the 6 styling at all. Whether from the front, rear, or side, it just doesn't do it for me. Looks out-of-proportion and awkward.

    The styling of the Z4 is definitely awkward as well. Usually, when I see a car, a word comes to my mind... such as "sleek", "has presence", "cute", "elegant", etc. For both the 6 and the Z4, it's "funky".

    On the other hand, the 5 looks okay.

    BMW can't mess up the 3. There is already some stiff competition from the G35 and TL. If Lexus gets the next IS right, it really has the potential to hurt 3 series sales. Lexus has a much more recognized brand name than Acura or Infiniti, to steal away those otherwise BMW buyers who prioritize car "prestige."

    With 7 series sales lagging, and the 5 getting a lot of new competition in a few months (RL, GS, M, STS, A6), the next 3 MUST be a winner for BMW, as it always has.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    ljflx,

    Well to be completely honest, some of the other MB sites that I read have actual spy photos of the car being filled up at a German gas station and I must say I'm completely put off by the new S-Class' design. The spy photos on this board aren't even close. The actual car looks like a baby Maybach, but worse imo. I can't post the pics here because they are copyrighted. Check out the Canadian MB (MBCanada.com) site. All I can say is OMG, Mercedes is about to goof up one of their best looking designs. Audi and Mercedes seem to think BMW is the target because they have both gone or are going in that direction with the new A6 and S-Class.

    pablo_l,

    I find this:

    "They have a different value proposition, and their cars articulate it effectively - it's an all around compromise, never trying to be the most fashionable, the sportiest, the anything, but merely showing all around balance and... something MB-esque, I don't know."

    to be very much what Mercedes has always been, only to add to that they do strive to be the safest and used to do the same as far as durability was concerned. An engineer's car and that worked for years and years. Problem now is that others have caught up in most of those areas, so they need to go back to their roots and do what they used to best, quality, safety, durability, reliability and intelligent, but simple (very important point) engineering brilliance. Their door-mounted seat controls (just one example) set the industry standard for ease of use and simplicity, the rest of the car needs to be designed in the same manner.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Speaking of comparision tests...

    There is one in the Aug issue of Car and Driver. The Mercedes CL600 beat that overweight and awful looking Bentley Continental GT and the gorgeous Aston-Martin DB9, but lost to the Ferrari 612 Scagletti.

    A Mercedes coming in second to a Ferrari, but beating Aston and Bentley is the way it is supposed to be. The 612 costs double the price of the CL600. The CL600 outperformed the 2 British cars and stayed with a few ticks of the Ferrari. Mind you this was the regular 493hp CL600, not the CL that C&D tried to, but couldnt' get....the 604hp CL65 AMG.

    This only shows what I've stated all along, Mercedes best cars are the CL, SL, and S-Class. The only S-Class that gets beat in a comparo is the S430, not the S500 and above. The S600 handled (beat) the BMW 760Li in their June 2003 issue with ease.

    Mercedes' upper range cars rarely take second, and when they do it is almost always to the most expensive and exclusive cars in the world. Why I love Mercedes-Benz....this type of showing makes the image....none of the other "regular" luxury brands we discuss here...Lexus, BMW, Audi, Jaguar can contend with Ferrari, Aston-Martin or Bentley.

    They may forever stay in BMW's shadow at the 3-Series/C-Class level and the E-Class, though it outsells the 5-Series in every country worldwide, won't unseat the 5-Series when it comes to pure enthusiasts.

    [EnD RaNt]

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I personally don't have a problem with the front:

    image

    but the rear:

    image

    is gawd-awful. Imo, this could have been a beautiful car if it were not for that stupid trunklid.

    There is something elegant about a luxury car in White:

    image

    image

    Though not necessarily in this case. Gulp(!) I still find the 6 to be an "interesting" car. The convertible more than the coupe.

    Lexusguy,

    I'm not sure if BMW intended for the 6-Series to compete with the Mercedes CL. There is a bit of a price/size difference there. BMW took the safe route and place the 6-Series between the CLK and CL in both price and size. Time will tell if this was smart. Mercedes kinda did the samething with the CLK, somewhat competeing with the 3-Series on the low end (like in size) and cars like the SC430 and XK8 on the high end (engines, features). Only the CLK offers a V6 and a V8, with everyone else it is either a 6 or an V8, but not both. I think this is why the CLK has been so successful in what has been a very tough market for coupes. Nobody else seems to be able to keep their coupes selling past those first two years and the previous CLK was an in-demand car for all 5 model years, especially the Cabriolet versions.

    Luxury/sport GT Coupes don't always fit into the strictly defined categories like sedans usually do I've noticed. Actually the CL was facelifted pretty extensively for 2003, mainly interior upgrades, which were needed.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I dont like the front of the 6 either, it looks like somebody tied a cinder block under the front bumper and it dragged the front down giving it that sleepy, bored look. As for my thoughts on the STS, has anyone else noticed that Cadillac incentives have surpassed $6,000 per car? That spells one thing, people arent willing to pay the prices that Cadillac THINKS it can get for its cars. The STS might MSRP for $62K, but it will sell for $52K.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    I'll check them out. How do you screw up a car that good looking and why mess with it so much anyway?? By the time its finished with its new model run it will be too late for Bruno to come out of retirement and rescue it. Its a great looking car that, at times I think the Audi tops. But that's because the A8 maintained more of the classic big lux look while the S combined a lot of sport with some classic. But looking at the refreshed S with the larger grill makes me realize what a great car Bruno came up with. The only thing I didn't like on the 2001 was the grill which I thought was a bit too 'mousy' for a car that large. The refresh cleaned that up beautifully and had the more classic MB grill. Unfortunately Audi will do the opposite and hurt the A8 with that absurd new grill they came up with.

    By the way - you are hard on Lexus - I think you know that - but I've always found you pretty honest and frank on MB despite your favoritism there.

    BMW sales up 17% in June - bad designs and all. But somehow I think a true model by model comparative to prior year would not bear that out. The X3 though should be combined with regular 3 series sales because I'm sure it has taken some 3 series sales away.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    For some reason people are buying 745s. Despite its better looks, the 740 never sold well. At least not here.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    broken link, designman.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    It's driving me nuts. There's this shot I'm trying to get up and it's not cooperating. Will get to the bottom of it later.
  • sysadbsysadb Posts: 83
    It's selling better (for one reason) because it's an improved car. Despite all the styling criticism parroted by many of the self-appointed experts in the media, many of us like the styling. It has a muscular look, especially from the side, that all the other competitors lack. I'm not crazy about the front end, but it's acceptable. I parked my 740 beside one recently, and thought that my car was a plain Jane in comparison. The fear of i-drive is the real reason the 7 has had only limited success.

    DB
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    The last time I looked 7 series sales were way down from last year and I found the pricing - at least in leases - quite cheap a few months ago. The YTD sales I saw had indicated the 7 would be 30+% down from 2003 total sales. I don't think it is selling well at all. I think its BMW's tried and true 3 series plus the X3 carrying the weight. Also weren't 5 series sales unusually low from May - August last year?

    merc1 - don't like those pix either - but a car that big has to be seen in person. It's not a bad looking car in pix but it just falls short of the car it's replacing.
  • sysadbsysadb Posts: 83
    Yes, the 7's sales are down from last year, but we were talking about sales comparisons with the previous model. Those who don't like the styling or the iDrive for the most part haven't realized that the new car has sold much better than the previous model. Obviously the new 7 is not selling in numbers comparable to the LS, but it's not a flop relative to the car it replaced.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Agree. The old 7 was only a 12-14K a year seller and never sold over 18K. The new one was over 20K in year one. I'm not sure who the new 7 hurt. The LS sales grew and the S and Jag held very well. Maybe the market expanded. I think the A8 - still a real low seller but up a lot from last year - cut into 7 sales this year. The Phaeton seems like a car without a country.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    BMW was a relative newcomer to the large luxury sedan market with the 7 series, so the volume in this conservative market has to be considered a huge success for BMW no matter what - they have managed to expand both upwards and downwards very successfully. And the problem might have been that the previous 7 series was way too conservative, the new one is way too cutting edge - so it's a model that BMW has never quite gotten quite right yet.

    As to the Phaeton, I have to yet see one driving around, and it's been a while since launch. That's bad news. The even worse news for VW is that if they were trying to excite the imagination and create brand equity with the Phaeton... since when are big sedans the type of car to ignite the imagination? Do an innovative coupe or some sportscar for that.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Yeah I've never seen a single Phaeton on the road. I've seen one of the new BMW Rolls, but not a Phaeton. The Toureg must be doing pretty well though because I've seen a few of those, not nearly as many as I see RX330s though.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    In a burgundy color and thought it was a good looking car. The Tourag is also a very well done SUV and I prefer it over the Cayenne in looks. The RX330 is so popular by me that you can't drive around the corner without seeing one. There are far fewer Tourags here vs. RX330's but my impression was that it was a solid hit for VW.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well you know what I think of the A8 W12's new grille. I think it fits perfectly. Gives the car real presence.

    Mercedes and Bruno Sacco are done from everything I've read. He is apparently still "close" (whatever that means) to the company but he isn't running the design studios. Oh well, not even Mercedes, BMW or Audi can make a gorgeous car every time. They used too, but not anymore. The 7, 5, 6 has proven BMW can't and the CLK and Maybach have proven the same with Mercedes. I guess Mercedes felt the need to do a radical change with at least one of their cars since all their recent re-designs were conservative and safe. Despite all the criticism of the 7-Series, like others have just pointed out and like I pointed out a few months back during all that gloom and dooms sales talk here about BMW , the 2002+ 7-Series has sold better than the 1995-2001 model ever did. Hence MB, and even Acura (have you seen the rear of the new TL?) may not see it as a such a big risk in doing something radical.

    "By the way - you are hard on Lexus - I think you know that - but I've always found you pretty honest and frank on MB despite your favoritism there."

    You know what, the only reason I'm "hard" on Lexus is because some here are just as "hard" on Mercedes and/or BMW. I happen to like the GX470 and I still think the SC430 is an "interesting" car. I've always seen Mercedes for what they are, problems and all. Its the baseless and unfounded hype that invades this board and the news and views boards sometimes that sends the bs meter into the red. Especially the rhetoric about sales that isn't even based on anything and the ever preached gloom and doom/crisis talk based on it. When Mercedes has a model that cools down in sales it is crisis, yet when Lexus has one that hasn't sold well in years we get (not from you) all types of different excuses and it isn't seen as a crisis. You'd think that MB or BMW don't have any bestsellers at all per the tone on this board at times. You know what I mean? All that bad talk about the 7 and that it has done so well reminds me of when you say the car rags don't know what they're talking about...and I'm thinking that they've harped on and on about the 7's styling and idrive since 2002 and the car still has outdone the previous 7-Series. Most (not all) of the people on these boards who complain the loudest about the styling probably wouldn't have bought a 7-Series BMW anyway is my thinking.
    The car mags aren't marketing people so they really don't have a clue as to what will or won't sell ultimately.

    BMW sales are up due to the X3 first and then the 6-Series. The 7 is down and the 5 is about even with last year. Now worldwide they outsold Mercedes in May, and they might do it for the year if the 1-Series catches on because Mercedes' A-Class doesn't go on sale until fall. BMW's 3 and 7 have cooled a bit worldwide, which is at least somewhat expected of the 3-Series. The car is its 6th model year.

    The Paris autoshow in Sept of this year is going to be a "really big show". Lots of German debuts.

    VW doesn't have a bad looking car in their showroom. They all define that conservative, yet handsome look that Audi/VW is so good at projecting. The Touareg is one of the few SUVs that I like, that interior is the best going imo this side of a Range Rover. It along with the GX470, Cayenne and Range Rover would be on my list if I had the money and desire for a luxury SUV. The Phaeton is a smashingly handsome car, but it is a pointless exercise in VW showroom.

    VW needs to improve reliability and get the new Jetta, Passat here ASAP. Though both of these cars are still very handsome and look timeless to me they are dated in features, engines etc. compared to the newer Korean and Japanese competition. VW needs small SUV to compete with the RAV4s and Escapes of the world. I want a sports car from them like that R Concept they showed at Frankfurt last year. Phaeton misstep aside VW is here to stay.

    Have you and Lexusguy seen the comparo in the Aug issue of C&D? Awesome group of cars!

    M
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