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High End Luxury Cars

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  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,662
    Don't like it at all. Seems to cheapen the look of the car. The 2004 A8 front and grille is spectacular. But the next gen seems to blow it. With that said though the overall look of the next A6 looks pretty good.

    merc1 - C&D said the V12 big Audi would be $138k in Europe. Seems far too high. What's does an S600 go for in Europe?
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,662
    Where are you??

    You're the only one I know who may be able to get the facts straight on this GS fiasco and what happened to the LF-S. You, I and Syswei may need to go to Lexus HQ and straighten these people out before they blow the 2007 LS. Also, if they make the HPX look anything like the GS they should forget about building it. I'm glad to see merc1 has his share of disappointment with his favorite brand as well.
  • merc1,

    Interesting observations from the Detroit Auto Show press/industry previews. I actually attended the Washington DC Auto Show this last weekend and am planning on going to the Detroit Show the weekend of the 18th. I will also be going to the NYC show in April since it is just a quick train ride from my NYC/NJ apartment.

    At first, I was puzzled by the new MY06 GS but the more I look at the pictures and read about the upgraded technology, AWD and euro-driving intentions the more interested I get. One thing that troubles me is that I expected the new GS to be a MY05 car not MY06. The official press information just says the car will be available in 2005 but does not say what month. A MY06 designation would seem to say it will in October 05 or at least the later half of the year. However, I am still not sure what they are doing with the final new GS exterior design.

    As ljflx stated, this means that the new LS will not be until MY07 which I assume means either October 2006 or April 2006 at the earliest. I still am holding on to our LS and was hoping to replace it with the new LS in October 2005 (as a MY06 release).

    My wife really liked the silver 2004 LS we saw at the Washington Show but I believe that it will look really dated when the MY07 LS comes out. However, I feel Lexus really did improve the looks of the MY04 LS with only minor exterior revision. Until we really spent some serious time looking at it in silver (the color my wife would want) I had only seem a few at a distance on the highway.

    As for BMW, I share ljflx's and your observations. I have had BMW's over the years and really like the last generation 7 series. My bottom line is that BMW is not even on my list of consideration anymore. I just wish that I had purchased the last generation 750Li before they came out with the current 7 series abortion.

    By the way, I travel to Switzerland for business and the BMW 7 series is having even more sales problems there then here and it use to basically be BMW's best per-capita market.

    Since I have always purchased all of my cars/trucks I typically try to wait for the new completely revised model before making a new purchase. In the case of the new 7 series that proved to be a big mistake.

    I did come very close to purchasing a MB S600 a few months ago but was put off by all of the horror stories I keep hearing about MB having a lot of trouble with their computerized electronics. And, of course, the S600 basically has all of them. I was also put off buy the fact that MB excluded the S600 from the special 2.9% financing deal.

    One other observation from the Washington Show, my wife and I did like the looks and feel of the Audi A8 L but not the VW Phaeton. The VW just left us both cold except for the interior. Also, the Audi is about 800 lb lighter with the same engine and overall size.

    As for your comment on the Lincoln pick-up, I could not agree more. What the hell does anyone want (yet alone need) a Lincoln or Cadillac pick-up. Give me a break! And, I am actually getting ready to buy a new Dodge Ram for my place in Texas.

    I enjoy you guys feed back and opinions. Please keep it up.

    Jim
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    The more I read about next generation cars, the more I think the entire car industry has taken a wrong turn.

    In a nutshell, all of these new desgins are overweight, over-assisted and dynamically incompetent and unbalanced machines that need to be fixed by computer intervention. It is a brutal assessment, but nevertheless I think it true. They might be superbly comfortable transport appliances, but a pure driving environment they miserably fail to provide.

    I think a smart luxury car vendor at this point in time would come in with a superbly crafted, but -other than ABS- utterly electronics-devoid car. Built to be light, engineered to be agile and competent without assistance. That would provide a huge and unique differentiator, and luxury buyers are borderline eccentric enough to ensure such a car would be a success. More of a private aircraft philosophy.

    And while I love the idea of hybrids and their inherent efficiency, I'd love for at least *one* study to put the available torque to a slightly more rowdy use.

    Are they dialing out the *fun* factor entirely out of the luxury car scene?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "A few Lexus lovers bash the new GS and you're a voice of moderation on the subject?? It must be a new year."

    Well unless you're a certain person on the "News and Views" board I won't say (harp) too much negatively about a persons's fav brand's new debut when it doesn't meet expectations...it can happen with any make.....I'm trying to be as fair as possible, on this board that is. I will say that I'm going to wait until next week before making a final judgement on the car. The only thing that's sort of curious to me as to why its going to take so long for it to go on sale, they're saying Spring 2005, thats seems like a long time to me.

    I'm not sure what the S600L costs in Europe, I'll have to look it up. Could it be that the price C&D quoted could be in Euros?? Speaking of Mercedes and Europe, there is a new SLK for 2005. The pics/stats are on the germancarfans site, and the car will be shown to the public in March at Geneva.

    On the A8, only the W12 model is getting the new grille, the V8 model will keep the current grille/look.

    "I'm glad to see merc1 has his share of disappointment with his favorite brand as well."

    Well none of these brands are perfect, come to think of it Ferrari (Enzo), Porsche (Cayenne), Mercedes (CLK, Maybach), BMW (5,6(?)7) have all introduced something that wasn't a knockout like the rest of their cars. So no brand is perfect. The saving grace is the for Mercedes, Porsche, and Ferrari they all have some stunners left in their lineups, whereas BMW has only one left, the 3-Series, imo.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Interesting comments. You were considering a S600???? Yikes. Must be nice. The S-Class shouldn't be much of a problem at this point, the car was largely gutted in 2003, and the complaints have dropped since, its the C, ML and some E's mainly causing the problems for Mercedes now.

    I just can't wait to get to Detroit. All this mere looking via the net is getting tiresome.

    pablo_l,

    You raise some good points, and I for one understand you perfectly, but the luxury crowd on the whole wants more and more features, you either provide them or be left behind. The biggest indication of this was when the most driver-biased car of the group, the 7-Series became a mobile computer in 2002. While it still drives right, the interface is oh so complicated. Your view is the majority on this (not disagree, just looking at the market prefers) and will soon be relagated to only sports cars.

    M
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    You can have lots and lots of fun in SCCA racing where the race cars are bare bones, the dynamics something you can set up and your skill at driving is evident and measureable.

    Street racing and exercising automobile dynamics in public is dangerous and encourages law enforcement to step up the ante in controlling auto hormones.

    At some point in time, somebody in a grossly overpowered super car that is going 2x the speed limit will kill someone else. In the ensuing litigation the prosectuor is going to ask the jury the question the Walter Mittys all dread, "If the speed limit in most places in our country is 65 - 70 mph, why in the world do manufacturers intentionally build automobiles that can go twice that fast? They must do it to encourage people to drive that fast and therefore share in the culpability for the death that was caused." If the jury agrees, the auto industry is going to get a curve ball they have deserved for a long time.

    Legislation could go into place to have governors on the cars. It would be easy for example to integrate GPS location info with a speed limit data base. That way your speed limit would be controlled to be suitable to local conditions. The system could be set up allow over speed for passing for a reasonable period of time. This might even save a few car loads of teenagers from hitting trees at 80 mph.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Correction. In my post 3884, I mean to say minority, not majority.

    M
  • stehersteher Posts: 37
    The A8 6.0L costs 117.000 Euros here in Germany,
    the MB S 600 short wheelbase costs 127.000 Euros (can't find the L's prize).
    Saw a A8 6.0L today on the road here in Ingolstadt and the grill looks amazing!!
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    I disagree. You don't have to go drive like a nut to enjoy a more puristic everyday driving experience. Your point has nothing to do with the car itself, and everything with the rider's right foot. Any of these electronic wonders can cause just as much destruction and incite illegal driving - perhaps even easier. It has nothing to do with electronic gimmicks.
  • I am disappointed with what happened to the car. The front looks ok, but the rear end just does not work on the car. I was surprised when I read that all-wheel drive is only available on the V6. Wonder what the reasoning was in that decision?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Actually the only S600 in Europe is the long wheelbase version (unless something has changed), sorry for the "L" at the end, I has just finished looking at the car on another site with the L shown.

    M
  • i_drivei_drive Posts: 35
    last friday, drove my entire family up to los angeles to see the '04 car show there. starting from about Del Mar to the car show in LA, we followed:

    Black Volkswagen Phaeton W12
    Tectite '03/'04? Mercedes S500 4Matic
    Black sapphire (not sure if it was just dirty black) 745Li.

    At least it turned a two-hour drive into something exciting!
    unfortunately, my 15-year son, who is also turning into a car freak, kept on dronning-on about how Audi is trying to enter the once-exclusive MB-BMW groupe with the 6.0 litre A8L V12. He thinks the A8L V8 is the best buy when compared to the MB S500, Lexus LS430, and BMW 745Li. I think he's going to be into luxury cars.

    The Phaeton--- i really don't understand VW. Do they really think people are going to buy a $70,000 VW? Come on. I can get a Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7-series, Audi A8L, Lexus LS430 Ultra-Lux, the list continues. VW is entering dangerous waters here. The Phaeton i saw on I-5 was a W12 model. It was probably the owner/manager of the dealership, as it had a DLR plate. The rear-lights are also something. More like an alien; i think VW could have done a much better job with the rear. I always thought car companies need to work more on the rear (part. Lexus; RX, GS, GX...) because that's were most people see the car when on the road. And overall, not to be ignorant but i truly think the Phaeton is a big-Passat. The front headlights say it all. The driver and his family was heading towards the LA auto-show.

    The 745Li, we saw about in Orange County. Passed the VW and us really quickly, but caught up to it in LA in the convention centre (outside). Why I am infatuated with the 7? The rear (so ingenious and creative), and the rear door. Another strange thing me and my son both pay extra-close attention about cars are door designs, and in my opinion, BMW best executed it in the 745Li and 760Li lwb models. the rear door is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous. I trully don't understand why soooooo many people find the design controversial. it might take some getting used to (i've got a close friend, and after about a month, I'm already used to iDrive). Granted, it's not exactly the most pleasing-to-the-eye design, like the S-Class, but it's something that should not be critized.

    I'm convinced that the '04 S-Class is getting really long in the tooth, and needs to be redesigned soon. Although it's still a gorgeous car (i mean come one, a mercedes is a mercedes), but it could use some plastic surgery or a complete make-over. the 7-speed is a great progress, though, as i have tested it and it is truly amazing.

    overall, in the car show, i determined that the two most popular cars were probably the BMW 645Ci and the LS430 Ultra-Lux. The BMW popularity surprised me, as while walking through the 7-series and 530i, i heard a lot of people saying stuff like "i hate this design." or "let's go look at lexus". but overall, it seemed as though people loved the 645ci, and so did i. i have become addicted to it (even more so than the 745Li). the interior is quite roomy, and quality was impressive.

    The LS430, which greatly needed that refresh, is still a little to "boxy" and shared numerous characteristics with both the previous-generation S-Class (call it the cathedral-on-wheels) and the previous-generation CL-Class. The rear-seat affair was truly amazing, and I've got to give credit to the guys at Lexus; they did a damn good job at giving both the drivers and passengers lots of comfort.

    I think lexus is trying to become more like a poor-man's Bently; luxurious, with a slight twist of power. Just look at the LS430 or SC430. They even bill their Sport Utility Vehicles "Luxury Utility Vehicles". Whereas Infiniti seems as though it's heading towards german BMW-land.

    I don't know. I got mixed feelings from this car show.

    iDrive
    by the way, my son just told me an interesting comparison; he calls Apple Computers the equivalent of Infiniti; great (almost) looking cars (like the G35 coupe/FX45), but whether or not their insides are that good remain to be seen). intersting thought.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    My main problem with the 7-Series' look is that the trunklid juts out like it added after the fact, that and the wheels not fitting in the wheelwells is just too much for me to accept from a company like BMW which always made "good lookin" cars before. That said the car does have a presence on the road that for better or worse, can't be denied. It makes the previous 7 look dull and tame by comparision.

    Make no mistake about it, Lexus' priority is luxury, but unlike Bentley, they just don't have the style to match. Bentley also is lot more sportier and every one of their cars have more than just a "twist" of power, as hp is one of their major selling points. Lexus is more like Rolls-Royce than Bentley, at least the Rolls before BMW took over. Even the new Rolls Phantom mentions driving and hp figures in the sales literature, whereas before concerning hp all they would say is that their cars had "adequate" power, and "driving" was never mentioned. I see where the LS430 is similar to a Rolls in principle.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    From several sites that report such things, it seems that Maybach sold 166 cars in the U.S. and Rolls-Royce sold 169. Both were introduced around May or June, so not quite a full year. Interesting. Can they each sell the 400 units they originally predicted in all of 2004, we'll see.

    M
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Interesting article in the WSJ...unit car sales in China up 68% in 2003 through November, on pace to become the third-largest market in the world for the full year. Premium pricing allowed VW to get 80% of its worldwide profits from China in 1H03.
  • mfullmermfullmer Posts: 819
    The addition or adaptation of various electronics to enhance safety or performance in no way means that the cars, without these things, are less safe or handle worse than cars built before these things. (ALL cars are unsafe in certain circumstances.) That is similar to saying that the only reason we adopted Air Bag use because seat belts had become unsafe. ???

    I've driven many, many vehicles with electronic enhancements and usually you can disable these for certain purposes. Even disabled the cars are more stable and safer than the older cars without these things. The simple fact is people drive a lot. Some people drive safely and cautiously, some don't. Just about everyone, no matter what their typical driving habits are, has a "frantic moment" where they over/under compensate. These things reduce these instances and help the overall ride quality.

    The problem is not with the gadgets and electronics, it's with the manufacturers. Most notably, Mercedes Benz, who is trying to be the Chevrolet of the "Status Marks". In their zeal to flood the market with over 26 different models in 9 classes, they have lost sight of what originally made them a "Status Mark" - exclusivity and vault-like reliability. In loosing that, they have failed by having poor quality materials and design while still raising prices on models with absolutely no changes, year to year.

    Advancements are good, in most cases, and any thing that works to save lives and injuries should be regarded as "worth-while".

    Remember - The first cars didn't have windshield wipers or headlights (electronics) yet the cars that started having them were not somehow deficient because they "needed" them.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    I'll let you beleive that controlling 4000lbs+ cars with 400HP+ engines is something that anyone can do easily, even though it defies logic and has been repeatedly the subject of car experts' columns.

    My point has never been with something like ABS or other things that genuinely add safety. I stated that clearly.

    It is the engineering by addition rather than by calculation. *more* gadgetry is better: traction control, stability control, electronic braking control, sat nav TV, in your pocket keys, etc etc - I don't *want* most of this stuff in a car. I think it detracts a lot from the driving experience - it makes driving utterly uneventful rather than something that brings a smile to your face even when you just drive around the corner to get groceries. One of the reasosn I chose the car I drive now for everyday driving is because I got tired of the remoteness of the experience: I want comfort, but I don't want to be utterly cocooned. I can't imagine my personal predilections represent such a negligible niche of the market.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,662
    I don't think they are going to sell the level of cars they had expected. Ray Catena has shown several Maybachs in his car inventory the last few weeks in the Sunday paper. I did not expect that to happen.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I don't know, 166-169 is pretty good for an abbreviated year, but who knows. I'm sure the "Bachs" in stock were cars that someone backed away from it happens with all expensive cars. I'm just waiting to see one on the road so I can get a "real-life" look at one.

    mfullmer,

    I'm curious to know which Mercedes-Benzes are of "poor design". Reliability wise they have definitely taken a hit, but "poor design"? The E, S, SL, CL, CLK all hit their market segments head on, only the ML is questionable, and maybe the C-Class if you're expecting a sporty 3-Series beater. Mercedes wasn't in a position to play the exclusive game anymore, they wouldn't have made it. Truth be told their bread and butter models C and E-Classes were never that "exclusive" as they've always sold in good numbers, especially the older Es and 190s. The "exclusive" ones are the AMGs, CL, and to a lesser degree the CLK and SL, unless you live in certain areas of the country in which I'm told these cars are more popular than Accords.

    M
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