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High End Luxury Cars

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  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Fresh from the show floor, just a few hours ago!

    In an earlier post I mentioned that I received an invite from Maserati to see their cars up close and personal.

    What an experience! I'll start with the Maseratis, but please remember that Maserati's owner is Ferrari and their cars were in same section! More on that in a moment.

    The Maserati Quattroporte feels custom made for me. It's a real intimate car with a very sporty personality, kinda like a 4-door coupe. The seats are similar to BMW's "sport" seats, confining for some, just right for others (me). The car here, as opposed to Detroit was a shade of silver, with a beige interior. Really gorgeous. Custom luggage, check. F1 style transmission, check. They have a display with all the different shades of leather and wood types, man this car is like a blank canvas. The little lever for Reverse looks really weird, not in a bad way, just in a way that makes you think something is missing....i.e. a real gear shift. Then you see the little shift levers behind the steering wheel.

    The Maserati Spyder is my second favorite in the lux-roadster class, at least based on everything except driving it. I still want a SL500 first, but then a Spyder. Interior wise it's pretty much the same as the Quattroporte. Custom interior tailoring is the catch phrase for any Maserati. They'll wrap any and everything in the softest of leathers and/or real suede, even the roll-bars.

    FERRARI........Ferrari...............Ferrari

    The only thing was the wouldn't open these! Nobody there could get them to open the cars. I guess them being actual customer cars had something to do with it huh?

    I finally got to see the new 612 Scagletti up close an in a lighter color than the Detroit car. It's gorgeous. The 360 Modena was conspicuous by it's absence. Ferriari's best looking car is still the 575M Maranello. Such a brutal 2-seater.

    All in all this made the Chicago show more memorable, but the Detroit show is still by far the best. Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce didn't officially come to Chicago, but Shell did have a Phantom and Gallardo on display.

    I still don't like the Bentley Continental GT, though everyone else did.

    I noticed also that here as opposed to Detroit, certain cars are not open for sitting. Porsches are typically locked, except for the Cayenne, but here they were locked also. This cut down on the traffic in their section dramatically.

    The VW Phaeton was on a turntable, and there was no Audi A8L 6.0 W12.

    I also noticed that the displays here are much smaller than Detroit's, even thought McCormick Place is much larger than Detroit's Cobo Hall. Interesting.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "None of your posts rebutting my statement bring a case that people who are concerned with value would choose a $89,000 Mercedes Benz over a $70,000 Lexus (which has more features, luxury and better reliability, depreciation)."

    That's partially because no S-Class owners posted, at least any of the usual ones that post here from time to time.

    Secondly, like I said before Value is what you "value" in a car, not that cheaper/more/less stuff, that doesn't always apply to cars costing 70K+ as none of the cars at this level are really a true "value" by original definition of the word. None of these cars are needed! When people shop at this level they pretty much know or have an idea of what they like and want, true value in this class is about as personal as personal can get. The things you listed are not the total experience nor do they comprise what every one values in a car of this type. You can't make such a broad generalization about every S-Class buyer, because surely every Lexus LS buyer isn't a wannabe Mercedes owner either.

    M
  • Here is the link for Forbes' review of the 2005 Maserati Quattroporte they just broadcast - http://www.forbes.com/2004/02/09/cx_dl_0209feat.html. It appeared just before I saw merc1's review from Chicago and especially his time with the Quattroporte. I found the following quote very interesting "... Maserati is gunning for BMW. When designing the Quattroporte, the company hoped to emulate the driving dynamics of BMW's M5 sedan and the content and features of BMW's 7-series sedan".

    I recall showing a picture of the Quattroporte to my wife asking her opinion when it first appeared in Automobile Magazine a few months ago. Of course, since she is from Italy, I was somewhat stacking the deck.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    That is why it is so hard to even think of leaving the Lexus fold. Ordering a sports suspension LS430 for a 3 year lease before end of February for late April delivery. You need to get in early to get the sport suspension. Then I am very anxious to see that next LS design. The sport suspemsion is a great car - 95+% of the perfect LS ride with real nimble handling.
  • jziol,

    I really concur with ljflx! He gets right to the point of how hard it is to leave Lexus once you have purchased/leased a new Lexus (however, I have to limit my experiences to the V8 rear-wheel drive models like the LS and GS).

    I made a post on this thread a while back where I focused on the "true cost" of the ownership experience which I believe is far more important than the actual price of the vehicle.

    I suspect that you will get your entire purchase price back minus some possible usage (although I would fight that assumption). If it is not heading in that direction, my advise would be to retain an attorney that specializes in Lemon Law cases.

    Best of luck.

    JF
  • ljflx,

    When do your dealership sources and readings indicate that we will see the next entirely new LS? Based on your post, it appears that you are expecting to trade the LS you are ordering on the next new LS in March 2007.

    Are you expecting the new LS to hit dealers in OCtober 2006? I can not seem to get a real handle on exactly when to expect it. The only firm knowledge seems to be that the new GS will be in dealer showrooms in January 2005.

    As I had mentioned before, I am waiting on the new one to replace the LS I have but my wife also like the pictures of the new GS.

    Thanks,

    JF
  • My friend got one of the new 7 series and it has been in the shop several times, too. I had an MB which was out of service for 40 days while they replaced the engine block. The car was only 4 months old. I wasn't too impressed with the honda civic they loaned me during the repairs. My next car was a Lexus and like so many on this thread, I can't imagine considering a BMW or MB anymore. My LS is 3 years now and I just ordered a second. There were no other models to consider.

    I think the durability and quality of MB and BMWs has declined in the last few years. Both in their cars and in their service. If you find a problem with your Lexus, the dealer will bend over backwards to keep you happy. They can afford to - it doesn't happen very often.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    A very sad tale. Hopefully BMW will buy your car back and you can get some other brand. One striking thing about your post was "The wait for service if one wishes to have a loaner car is several weeks." At my local Lexus dealer, they were out of loaner cars for me once and they just picked up the phone and rented a car for me for a day. It was a Camry from the Toyota dealer down the street, but better than nothing.

    There was a more funny than sad annecdote on this board some weeks ago...a ML owner had both bumpers fall off the vehicle after running it through a carwash!
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I don't think there is any hard info or even reliable rumor on the next gen LS. Clement said recently the whole line would be new by Spring 2007. A reasonable expectation for the LS would be sometime between fall 2005 and fall 2006.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    I fully expect the next gen LS will be a 2007 model and will be available in Oct 2006 - at the latest. My sales guy told me I'm on the perfect 3 year plan right now for always getting the latest significant changes. But Lexus is getting aggressive in their roll-out plans for this new LFS design and I think they just want to get it over with for the LS,IS and ES ASAP. Toyota's financial resources are sky high right now so they can do almost any aggressive move they want to. So I would not be surprised if the new LS is available as early as the Spring of 2006 as a 2007 model. I don't think they want the S-class to have a one year lead anymore and with BMW shooting themselves in the foot this is becoming an LS vs S battle in the long run. The Maserati won't cut it here in my opinion and whatever it does will likely hurt BMW and Jaguar.

    Speaking oof Jaguar - a business acquaintence had to have his transmission replaced in the fall. After a lot of negotiations with Jaguar they cut him a deal that allowed him to only pay for the labor (about $1200) as the car was about a year past warranty. This was a classy act by Jaguar as the transmission cost over $9k. But he only had 30k miles on the car. Now the car died on him again and is in the shop for 10 days. His comment to me last week was "I never had a problem with a Jaguar until I bought one". He's had numerous minor problems before but now he is flat out disgusted. What is with these European cars?
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    I did get Automobile today and saw that GS comment. The car does look sleek in the picture they show. What is a bit confusing is that it seems AWD may only be put on the V-6 but maybe Automobile got it wrong.

    Next to it is the story about the 12cyl A8. I must say I think the Germans have lost their minds with these rocket power engines. The V-8 power and 23mpg I get in the LS430 with a 6.5 second 0-60 is more than sufficient and is a beautiful blend of power and good gas mileage. These super powerful engines are putting excess on top of excesses and you hardly ever need or can use the power anyway. The German carmakers would serve themselves a lot better to invest in building the cars better and improving their reliability problems. I'm also no fan of Audi's new corporate grill. The one on the current A8 is bold and beautiful and should be left alone.

    The funny story in automobile is on page 34 where they accuse VW of copying the Lexus HPX style with its possible future C1 hatchback. Now I must say I like this C1 Crossover but that is most likely because I like the HPX so much - and it is a copy.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The VW is merely a drawing at this point and that drawing looks nothing like the raised HPX, but already its a copy. Only because they mentioned Lexus would anyone on this board think that. The C1 crossover is similar to a Mazda 3 five-door or the old Saabs that had 5-doors in concept/layout, not a high-riding wagon trying to be a SUV like the HPX. Automobile gives pure speculation about styling they don't even know about yet and they're so right, but when they said the LF-S had a lot of 5-Series in it's make up they were oh so wrong. Right.

    Every writeup about the new GS states that awd will only be offered on the V6 GS300 model.

    The Maserati Quattroporte is a niche player, they aren't going for volume like the S/LS/7.

    M
  • Thanks, ljflx for bringing to light another thought of mine. This recent obsession with power. The LS is perfectly balanced. I don't want any more HP. I'd rather have the MPG. Yeah I know you buy a $68K car you shouldn't fret about MPG, but I really appreciate the good MPG I get in the LS. I'll pay for safety and luxury - but not cylinders.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    I still get upset when I'm in unknown territory and I see a gas station a nickel a gallon cheaper right after I filled up. It's a throwback to college when those pennies added up to an extra beer at the bar or a sixpack for the frat. I'll never outgrow that.

    Merc1 - Sorry - It looks an awful lot like the HPX to me - in the picture - right down to the headlights.

    Maserati - smart move to only make 1500 or so a year since it is probable that a larger volume will run into sales problems. But if they prove the car and then crank up the volume it can be a different story. I don't know if they have the resources for much more volume thus I don't get the the story of how they are going after a very resourceful BMW. 1500 sales a year is a change in the rounding after the decimal point when those sales "take aways" are distributed.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Sounds like most of us who drive Lexus vehicles aren't going to be buying a v12 if they ever produce one.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi All,
      This horsepower race is absolutely befuddling to me. I don't think the average buyer cares whether the car can do 0-60 is 5.6 sec rather than 6.3. I use my LS cars for commuting, not racing. I wouldn't be terribly inclined to buy any upcoming V-12..I live in New England, where am I going to use all that horsepower?

     I was happy with the amount of power my 92 LS has. I don't mind the extra 40 horsepower my 02 has, but it's not really necessary. Both cars can easily do 90+ MPH on the interstate, so that's good enough for me.

    I hear you all on Gas prices. I always wait for "Super Tuesday" or some other gas station promotion to save a few cents per gallon..Not that it makes a big difference, but I guess it's a psychological effect of paying a lower price.

    Any idea on what a hybrid LS would offer in MPG?

    SV
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    I don't really care if they tweak the HP up to 340 or even 360 but don't make it a high priority and don't compromise gas mileage. HP at 400+ is for bragging purposes and is pure wasted excess. All it does is get a bunch of writers at the automags and the hardcore enthusisast excited. As a car buyer I couldn't care less as long as there is enough power and the LS430 is plenty long on power with excellent torque. I'm glad to see the hynbrids add power but at realistic levels.
  • Wow, what a bunch of fuddy-duddys on this board!

    Yes, I checked the board name twice and it still reads "High End Luxury Marques". But the posts go on about new models having "too much power" and how fuel economy is a greater priority to the writers. I think this attitude goes to show how different the people who populate car forums are from the great majority of people who buy the cars.

    Since the 1930s, power has been a defining characteristic of a luxury car. Today's luxo-bombs are getting pretty heavy. Three hundred horsepower is about entry-level for moving around a full-sized Jag/Merc/Lexus or BMW. Four hundred horsepower is NOT excessive when it can be managed with traction control and in some cases 4WD.

    But more to the point, I'm not about to tell anybody their car is too expensive, or has too much power, or uses too much fuel, or whatever. Decisions about what's too much vs. what is just enough are subjective.

    As a general convention, though, I'm like most people who really buy "high end luxury marques". I'll take my luxury car (in my case a Jaguar XJ8) with all the ponies the manufacturer is kind enough to install. As the French philosopher once said, "A little too much is just enough for me."
  • pathdocpathdoc Posts: 126
    I second johncalifornia's comments. I suggest that is why Lexus owners don't "get it" when drivers of Mercedes suggest that the "driving experience" is totally superior to Lexus and why we are willing to put up with slightly less reliability. I own and drive Mercedes, Jags and Porsches and every time I test drive a new Lexus LS,GS,SC I have no desire to buy one. I have an open mind and will keep trying. I would be interested in a Lexus with a V12 if the handling matched the engine.
  • Most people posting here do own luxury cars. I'll define luxury as any car costing over $55K. I don't shop for gas or rarely look at gas prices. I was just saying that for the future LS, if given the choice, I would prefer more MPG than HP. I agree there are lots of luxury car buyers who want excessive power. I don't think that's the LS market. We'll leave that for BMW and MB.
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