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High End Luxury Cars

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  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    The styling of the new 5 is okay; I like the rear, but the profile is a bit awkward. The front of both the 5 and the 7 reminds me of an elephant's face.

    I drove an X3 the other day, and I thought the interior was pretty bad. Both in design and in materials. Dunno what happened there.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    My guess is that the redesigned LS will come first, with the GT a year later. Thats what they did with the RX, and what will most likely happen with the GS300\430\350GT as well.
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    If the LS500GT does happen that is great. Right now, just waiting to see how the RX400h performs in acceleration as well as MPG.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Ordinarily I'd agree with you 100% and I do for the most part as it is. But they really want to shake this lux segment up with the new world branding so I'd say its only a 60-40 chance that they will delay that GT. Lexus and Toyota definitely smell blood here. I think some decisions will be tied to the success of the GS. The latter is just my business opinion though.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The 400h is expected to run 0-60 in roughly 7 seconds, with something like 36\31 mpg.

    lijflx, there's a strategy in delaying it a year as well. If the new LS is introduced for the '06 MY, then releasing the GT for the '07 MY allows Lexus to grab headlines for a second year with what is essentially the same model, plus steal some thunder away from competing cars that may be introduced for '07 also. You'll notice that the M, AMG, and S\RS cars usually come on the scene a year or two after their regular models are introduced.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    Newest generation diesels don't smeall or make diesel noise. They are remarkably refined in every respect. Claiming otherwise just shows one's ignored diesel advances for 10 years, as basically the entire US market has done. Personally, I couldn't believe it when I drove a BMW 330d. I'd buy one in a second. *Nothing* gives away the fact it is a diesel. And VW's 10 cyl TD is supposed to be even more refined.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "I wouldn't talk about using this and that and this for "Lexi folk". All you do is use your enthusiast slant of everything and the only reason you don't use JDP or CR is because, frankly, they are never on Benz's side. If they were, you would be using them as references left and right!

    Wrong. I most certainly wouldn't. Those things wouldn't ever matter as much to me as they do some Lexi on this board. I personally wouldn't care if they said Mercedes was the most reliable car ever made. I personally like it when they sell out and win mag comparos or are generally praised by mags on both sides of the Atlantic. There is nothing about JDP or CR that makes the heart flutter.

    "And just to let you in on a little secret, you really can't hush up the Lexi crowd, just like nobody can hush up the "Mercedes crowd" or the "BMW crowd" and their infinite enthusiast slant to everything or the "japanese are brainwashing you" crud.

    Lighten up Max, I was just trying to let livinbmw know he isn't using the right criteria here. However there are things that will make certain group's rhetoric dry up, styling, handling, reliability, price, etc. depending on which crowd you're talking to. Know what I mean?

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    And you think they aren't putting any emphasis on quality and innovation now? That is ridiculous. One thing doesn't cancel out the other. Their innovation hasn't ever stopped. Haven't you been paying attention? They're still first with most (not all) of the things the come out in cars today, especially Lexus. True their quality has slipped, but it wasn't because they're concentrating on styling first. There are many other reasons why their quality has slipped, concentrating on styling isn't one of them. Mercedes has already said (twice) that they plan to top the surveys by 2007. I personally doubt that, but if you think they've given up quality for styling you're completely mistaken. Even more so if you don't see the MB innovations of the last few years, just now showing up on other cars.

    Like I said before I think you're using this as an excuse for Lexus not having discovered any sense of style yet.

    I'm still waiting on you or the other poster than has picked up your rhetoric to show me how a Mercedes isn't functional anymore in design because of their looks. This is the most ridiculously futile and unfounded Mercedes slam yet.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Your comment about the hail storm in Chicago, where "...only the Volvos, Mercedes and VW/Audis weren't damaged..." is a complete generalization."

    As is yours.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "I know the "germans can do no wrong" crowd will go off and twist and turn the post around to say what they want it to say, but buy saying that Mercedes has thinned out the metal in no way means it's as thin as a Hyundai's panel or the E-class is not solid."

    I can't speak for everyone, but I didn't read it that way. You're correct on this and I certainly think (and know) the Germans can and most certainly have done some "wrong" especially in the last few years. Not that you do this but some read these surveys and they conclude that just because a car like a Buick or Hyundai has less problems that it is actually physically built better than a Mercedes or BMW or Audi. There is a difference between build quality and reliability.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "There is a difference between build quality and reliability."

    Exactly. Buick and Hyundai no, but Lexus build quality is every bit as good as Germany, and in most cases, better. Lexus' human hair thin panel gaps are the envy of the industry. I've also seen complaints in car mags about recent Mercedes having misaligned interior panels and such, where as even the lowly $30K ES always gets ooo, and ahhh comments about how great everything is put together. I guess you can have great build quality AND reliability at the same time, that is, if you buy Japanese.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    You guys sure are basing a lot of world domination talk on one comparo in which the lowliest S-Class, the S430 got beat. The S500 has never lost (that I know of) to the LS430 and the other S-Class models would smoke it. The S-Class still rules the world market and is far from being the finished product like the reading on this board would lead one to believe.

    Mercedes and BMW might have a problem here and there with fit every now and then, which is inexcusable, but an Audi is put together just as good as any Lexus, though per the surveys (and my experience) they won't be near as reliable. The ES330? Yuck, its the worst looking Lexus yet, and a complete nap-machine.

    Oac,

    Like I've said before, most of the incorrect information spewed on this board about sales, features, etc. (or anything else not pertaining to JDP/CR/WSJ) about German cars comes not from former BMW and Mercedes folk who now own Lexuses, but from Lexus-only owners.
    This has been proven in your posts over and over again. Its all surveys and charts. Bring up anything else and it doesn't matter or is over your head. I'm still laughing at your comparison of MB and Lexi features a year or so ago, totally clueless as to the Benz features but ready to either knock them or say MB doesn't have something.

    Oac I'm not surprised, you seem to pick up whatever else is being said after your own sales stuff runs out of steam. Quick the sky is falling the S430 lost a comparo! Yikes Mercedes is finished! Pluhease.

    M
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I actually like the look of the current 911 better. But indeed they seem to have taken the new one up a notch in handling with the wider track width, added torsional strength and the variable steering ratio which is designed to give it better handling at high speed—911s are notoriously tough to handle up there. Which one did you have?

    When we talk about enthusiasts Porsche is in a world of its own. I can't tell you how delighted I am that they aren't coming out with a sequential gearbox just yet. I brought the Boxster in for an oil change last week and out of the 32 Porsches I counted, 29 of them had manuals. Shows you where heads are at in P-land.

    But this new 911 is supposed to be an interim platform that could last only two or three years. I know they're considering a sedan but I can't help but wonder what they have up their sleeve with both the 911 and Boxster. In any event, I think these two will always follow each other because of major part sharing which reduces production costs. People often forget what a small player they are. Even when they created the 924, they were very unhappy with the look as it was too square, not Porsche-like. They decided to go ahead with it for one reason—they couldn't afford to change it. Also, had Cayenne not succeeded, it would have been curtains.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I admire Japanese cars for what they are... heck, I've owned four of them. That said, BMW makes superior performing luxury sedans, and until they are dethroned, that's the way it will be. And there’s more to it than just handling. There’s the drive train, engine, chassis and suspension design.

    The engines are torque-balanced and are very fuel efficient. Their drive trains are probably the best around. The auto transmissions are silky smooth and the gear ratios are optimized. Is there any wonder why BMWs seem more powerful than their hp seem to suggest? BMW steering is tight and precise. Front/Rear balance is nearly 50-50. Camber, caster and toe settings are also optimized for turning and stability. For years no other car manufacturer could match the drive characteristics of BMWs. They just can’t seem to nail down the engineering. We are currently seeing competitors give it their best shot ever and, indeed, this is a good thing.

    Most BMW buyers are people who crave the impeccable synergy of BMW drive mechanisms. Dubious electronics and ergonomics are nothing new here—we live with it, it’s that simple—this stuff is merely a small stone in the BMW lover's shoe. To most of us the ride comes first. Always will. And why? Because to us cars are about driving—being one with physical forces, challenging them, controlling them, feeling secure about the stability the vehicle offers—not bringing your living room onto the road. If for one minute we can forget about the buttons we press on our dashboards, BMWs have always been about acceptable form, impeccable function.

    Choose luxury first? Fine. We know the preferences here—enter Lexus and MB. But when it comes to performance sedans BMW is the standard setter and the standard bearer. They are the ones to beat.

    I think the biggest problem working against the Germans right now is the labor situation as was broached in the "Critical Mistakes" thread. Wherever you have unions and social infuences overpowering, it creates questionable work ethic. In this regard the Americans are one step ahead now that they have years of experience dealing with the problem. The Japanese have eluded it because they have managed to maintain their culture. Not sure this is going to last though as they are infatuated with everything American. Also, capitalism is unstoppable. Like America, the world is becoming a melting pot and capitalism is the stove, the fire and the pot all rolled into one.

    BTW, the redeeming quality of unions and social influence has been the elimination of the sweat shop and exploitation of the human being. That said, it has created a world filled with an incredible amount of lazy people and this manifests itself in inferior products. I believe we are starting to see this in German cars just as we did some 30 years ago with American cars. I'm not sure how this can be overcome or if it will be overcome. Is there anyone out there who has not run into a buzz saw when trying to get someone to work on your house? Amazing how many people are out there posing as carpenters, plumbers, electricians and the like. Immigrants come to America filled with healthy working attitudes until they become afflicted with the American cancer—money GOOD, hard work NO GOOD! This is why I am hoping, as America exports everything both material and immaterial to the world, that by some small chance certain Japanese influences will take root. Personally, I think the odds are stacked against them over the long haul and their economy will become a part of the world melting pot. I've said this before, mediocrity is in the cards for planet Earth. Who knows, maybe it's not such a bad thing if you consider some of the nasty places this world has been.
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    merc1,

    This was just a general statement, not necessarily directed at you.
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    Diesel engine deservedly or undeservedly had the reputation of being an unrefined truck engine. Granted a lot has changed in the last decade in terms of emission and refinement. Today's TDIs are no longer the sputtering clunksters of yesteryear. In fact, the TDI E320 actually outperforms the gasoline version in 0 to 60 sprint. But bad image is hard to erase and it will take time for diesel engine to gain a foothold in this country. Most people are unwilling to go to a truck stop to refill their gas tank.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    Unions have always been there in Germany since WW1. They were there and far more influential when German products got a reputation for extreme quality. Unions have los a lot of pulls in Germany. So I absolutely do not agree that their existence has anything to do with the quality issues, quite the contrary, the point could be made the opposite is the fact, because the loss of quality coincides with the IG Metall's loss or power. And it certainly would not explain the quality differences between German vendors.

    What is more likely to have had an influence is complacency and lack of leadership. German industry captains are nototcious for lack of action, sitting it out not rocking much is a typical German leadership style, believe it or not. Thus they didn't see it as an issue, thus they didn't much invest into quality improvements - and given labor costs, cost savings were seen as key. That and moving factories to Eastern Europe.

    So whole claiming "it's the damn left wing socialist concept of unions that kills the German car industry" is very politically correct if you happen to network with Limbaugh and go for good old intellectually lazy right wing clichees, there is no single fact that supports the statement, and several facts that seem to indicate it was good old fashioned lack of investment and good old lack of leadership, since they failed to prioritize quality... chosing to believe it was their core competency no matter what. The money went into developing new oversized factories in Eastern Europe, and aggressive model expansion campaigns. One striking difference between Toyota and some German brabds (Merc notably) is the focus on fewer models and fewer permutations.
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    "The money went into developing new oversized factories in Eastern Europe, and aggressive model expansion campaigns. One striking difference between Toyota and some German brabds (Merc notably) is the focus on fewer models and fewer permutations."

    Same logic applies for GM as well.
  • livinbmwlivinbmw Posts: 120
    All the sport package does on the old 5 is give you different wheels and a low profile tire, right? You could do the same to an ES300 (yawn) and it would look more athletic. The new car looks faster and stronger.
  • Merc:

    Lets not put words in my mouth...A tactic you seem to be using more lately....I did not say Mercedes was not putting "ANY" emphasis on quality and Innovation.

    "First with the most" Actually I think to say Lexus is "second with the best" is accurate. Being First is a negative in many ways when a company rushes innovations into production just for the sake of saying they were first.

    Merc. Lexus has no sense of style in the same way Mercedes had no sense of style back in the days when they made the best car in the world. Quality over style and getting it right with innovations BEFORE puting them in the CAR...that attitude was once Mercedes.

    I say again...Mercedes once the greatest car in the World has slipped because they have favored in recent years Form over Function. They have favored "Get it first" rather then "Get it best"
  • Pablo:

    What would be the German workers incentive for working hard everyday?

    Unions and expecially Socialism Rob people of incentive...It is human nature, it is also happening in the US just to a lesser degree.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    Germany is a capitalist country, make no mistake. Bonus payments do wonders to people, and pay and promotions *are* job performance related. To claim Germay is a socialist, everybody-is-equal society where there are no incentives for hard work is silly: German workers were known for busting their balls when unions where at the height of their power, on the other hand the younger generation of German workers is more complacent and less hard working *despite* the fact the country has gone far more hard edge capitalist and shaken off the foundatoions of many social(ist?) institutions in recent years. The statements made here are utterly counter-trend when compared to the facts,anbd would lead to the assumptions that unions actually helped incentivize the German worker and brought about the reputation of excellent quality. When in fact they're a non-factor either way, really.

    German work quality standards were based on a demanding, strict apprenticeship system that produced a highly qualified work force that took painstaking pride in the quality of its work. With automatized factories combined with the lack of foresight and mistakes in planning by management, what happened, happened irrespective of unions' existence.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "The ES330? Yuck, its the worst looking Lexus yet, and a complete nap-machine."

    Did I say it was getting praised for its design? I was talking about fit and finish, which has nothing to do with wether you like the design or not. The ES even though it costs so little, has spotless fit and finish, and uses materials that make the C320 look like a joke in comparison. Yes the C should be better for '05, but again thats M-B being forced to fix their cost cut interiors. The same thing happened with the initial ML320 run.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    - sick leave that averages one month or 22 days per year,
    - four- to six-week paid vacations
    - strict labor laws that restrict layoffs
    - mandatory shop closings at 6PM weekdays, Saturday afternoons, all day Sundays

    Here, read this tidbit from WSJ on German labor laws to whet the whistle:

    http://www.careerjournaleurope.com/myc/management/20020930-boudet- te.html

    By the way Pablo, I was trying to avoid political rhetoric. If you want to invoke anti Rush Limbaugh sentiment, fine. But for the record, I follow no one and weigh my own opinions. It’s called independent thinking. There are great opinions and ideologies on both sides of the political/social fences. There is also greed, and it has managed to corrupt at all extremes, including dead center. And if you read into my last post, you will see that I believe capitalism and socialism are coming together in the melting pot. Let’s hope that the best aspects of each will combine to affect the world positively. Although socialism must work to temper greed, only a fool would deny that capitalism is not manifest destiny where economy is concerned. There’s not a good balance yet, not in the US, not in the world. Long way to go my friend.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    “All the sport package does on the old 5 is give you different wheels and a low profile tire, right?”

    You also get different wheel camber, toe settings, and heavier sway bars and shocks. Not sure about caster. I think BMW caster is more than most anyway. In the case of the 540, you also get a higher final drive ratio.
  • Pablo:

    Unions represent all workers equally...The hard working person makes no more in his job class then the slowest lazyest worker in the same job....NO INCENTIVE TO WORK HARD....Hence German cars have fallen off in quality dispite the fact that Germans are some of the finist engineers in the world.

    Say what you will Germany is a socialist country...The defination you gave was for a communist country ...Which it is not.
  • livinbmwlivinbmw Posts: 120
    We were talking style........the wheels and tires are the only part of the package that would have anything to do with the look of the car. Do you have a sport package? Granted wheels greatly effect the look of the car .......... Did you notice that the new 5's sport package does not have the obviously different more elaborate wheels?
    In fact, on the new 530 I prefer the standard wheel to the sport wheel, same for the 545.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I have 03 530ia, no sport. IMO, the wheels on all new BMWs are horrible. Next thing you know they'll be giving us square wheels and telling us it's hi-tech.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    My comment about Lexus metal vs. Mercedes metal was not a generalization. It was based on what I saw last summer after a hail storm (parked in the same driveway, my Lexus did not have hail damage, my cousin's E-Class did), and I indicated it as my opinion.

    Unless you personally went to every car dealer lot and checked every single car (which I'm fairly confident you did not), there is no way you can claim that all cars had hail damage except for Volvo, Mercedes, VW and Audi.

    Without facts and/or statistics about Mercedes metal, your statement is nothing more than a "Mercedes is superior" generalization.
  • lovemyclklovemyclk Posts: 351
    I have a 2003 530 with SP, PP, etc. The wheels are the wonderful 2-piece BBS-type wheels. The 540 SP has a different wheel as standard equipment. Lots of aftermarket options that look great, but very pleased with my OEM wheels. Not sure if BBS is the actual supplier, however. New SP wheels are not exceptional, but not unattractive either.

    BTW, the BMW SP option is more than a wheel/tire upgrade as on the MB E-Class.
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