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High End Luxury Cars

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  • Tony, I understand your concern. I had the same feeling about my 1992 LS400 the first day I had it out. Then I realized that I would never truly enjoy the car if "protecting it" was a lingering concern. So, after that first day (like bringing your 1st born into his/her new home) I cut those cords free and accepted that they would be dings and scratches. It's been great ever since -- dings and all!
  • ksurgksurg Posts: 48
    I've been waffling a long time now on leasing or purchasing a new vehicle. Recently I decided on leasing a luxury vehicle, which ironically is where I started.
    In re entering the leasing market it is clear that some of the standard price considerations don't apply especially if you plan on turning over the vehicle at lease end. For instance, a 745i can be leased cheaper than an A8L given the lower residual on the Audi despite the higher MSRP on the BMW. The same is true in comparing a XJ-8 vs. LS430.
    Next is research will only get you so far. I'm not debating JD powers, intellichoice or our host Edmunds...but does everyone always agree on appearance or ease of operation? Several days ago I drove a 745i that was unprepped and not programmed. My impression was that it was indeed deep in complicated technology but for me the layout was intuitive and reasonably laid out. Maybe for those of us who own planes or boats certain types of technology are less daunting. Interestingly anyone who thinks auto technology and the landscape of the cockpit won't change will probably be disappointed. Someone recently commented that "rich businessmen won't buy a car that requires a teenager to drive." I don't know about anyone else but my teenagers are growing up quick. I recently saw a auto mag with "auto's of the future." The layout doesn't even resemble a present day car, in fact there was no obvious gearshift and no foot pedals! So much for easily accessible audio controls.
    The point I'm getting to is that major changes in technology seem to meet a lot of resistance. BMW took a lot of heat for a vehicle that may turn out to be the link between the auto of today and tomorrow. If guilty, their mistake was releasing the technology before perfected and maybe before we were ready for it. The whole situation reminds me of other areas of technology where people focused on the downsides and resisted change. What office still functions efficiently without faxes, computers, DSL...
    With the above said I am leaning towards the 745i but felt compelled to write this given the expectation the 7 series was poorly conceived and designed. For the record other vehicles driven included the S500, A8L, XJ-8 and the venerable LS430(seemingly this boards favorate...please let's not review the reliability issue again).
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I forgot to mention someting in that post this morning. Instead of a Bentley Conti GT, what about an Aston-Martin DB9? It's a stunner, easily for me the best looking car making the rounds at this year's autoshows.

    sv7887,

    Point taken. Older luxury cars that haven't been maintained like yours are the ones that most people get I guess, because I see a lot more being done on early 90's LS' (second hand) than that. The Lexus "experience" just isn't for me...

    jstyle,

    That is the exact same thing I said on the A6 board in the future auto section. They're doing what BMW used to, cockpit wise.

    Pablo......your comments on the interior are correct also. I expected something along the lines of the A8, but they've done a rather generic layout imo. The whole car has moved towards being generic, nothing like the A8 or A4.

    M
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    “The whole situation reminds me of other areas of technology where people focused on the downsides and resisted change. What office still functions efficiently without faxes, computers, DSL...”

    This argument always surfaces and this is my answer.

    Around 1984, it was clear to me that the world was going to be turned upside down by computers and those who didn’t accept it were going to be in for a rough ride. However this whole digital story is about PRODUCTIVITY... more for less. In 1984 It would take at least 12 people to do my work today. This we can’t stop. It’s manifest destiny.

    The problem with bringing computers into cars is that it is counterproductive, unlike office computers. It takes more effort now to adjust what should be simple climate control and radio functions. What used to take one move now takes several. At least if it cut production costs for the auto makers you could make an argument but I doubt this is the case. It’s glitz and change for the sake of change, not progress.

    I never cease to be amazed at how the ergonomics in my $24K Subaru are superior to that of my $48K BMW. In the Subaru it takes one move to change the heating direction while in the BMW it sometimes takes several. The BMW cockpit does look more impressive though and I suspect having an LCD screen light up the new cockpits will have the same effect. Technology and the APPEARANCE of technology has always been part of the BMW countenance even though owning a BMW has always been somewhat of a pain in the butt because of it.

    Then there’s the BMW ride, so good that we just accept the shorcomings. BMW had better watch its step though. This current schism is like nothing we’ve ever seen before. What with the controversial styling there appears to be a limit to what the BMW “technophile” will put up with.
  • mfullmermfullmer Posts: 819
    For those that use the technology how it intended to be used, it IS a timesaver.

    Take electronic climate control - I use it the way it is intended. It is set at the temperature that I like and on "Auto". The only manual adjustment I make is when I turn the A/C button on or off in response to outside humidity.

    And electronic radios - give me a break! Do you not remember having to manually tune radios and get it just right so that it wasn't 1/2 on and 1/2 off the station? No need to do that with the electronic radio of today.

    What about memory seats? Talk about a time-saver. When you have two cars that two people drive 1/2 and 1/2 it saves a lot of time.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I was referring to BMW and iDrive. Do you think for a minute that I'm calling for the return of vacuum tubes and the like?
  • mfullmermfullmer Posts: 819
    I thought you were referring to all electronic systems.

    Yes, the BMW version does make it much harder to do simple steps.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,662
    Post 4176 - great post. Couldn't agree with you more on excess technology being counter productive. The dashboard and console technology is supposed to be complimentary and secondary to the car, not overpowering to it.

    ksurg - good luck on whatever car you choose. The lease prices you talk about are indeed changing the landscape. As I posted a few times - I can get a $77k 745 at the same lease ptrice as a $70k LS430. That is with having negotiated the LS430 and not even having begun negotiating the 745. I'm not interested in the 745 but my experience is MB and Lexus have lease pricing in the S-500 and LS430 that more truly reflect the MSRP's of both cars whereas BMW is heavily subsidizing the 745 lease deals. No one should buy the 745 outright. Much smarter move is to lease and buy at lease end. Even the LS430 leans that way though it is a real close call depending on what you think you could get with the upfront principal you'd NOT be laying out.
  • ksurgksurg Posts: 48
    I don't necessarily believe that BMW executed all the technology well in the 745i. To some extent all manufacturers are guilty of sensationalizing their products or putting in useless features( I'm still trying to figure out why I want a rear video cam). As for BMW they are still improving idrive. Though not perfect the '04 version is better. I don't really agree with the technology not enhancing auto function no more than I agree with a manual shift being more efficient than F1 paddles or a SMG transmission. Is it more fun for me to drive a manual... sometimes!
    Progress is going to continue and at times we need to stay flexible and willing to change our perspectives. As I said in my last post, BMW was guilty of releasing a vehicle that was a ways short of adequate testing to assure the first customers didn't become beta testers. That part is hard to forgive and I hope they learned their lesson. But I'm in the market now and find to my surprise the BMW is a pretty nice vehicle for the lease price.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I love technology, but imho technology should be used to improve ease of use. I have not tried out idrive but from what I understand it takes something like five steps just to set a radio station into memory, compared to one step for pretty much any other car. Seems like a giant leap backward from a usability standpoint, and adding that many steps to what should be a simple process (slightly) compromises safety, too.
  • "An innovation, to be effective, has to be simple and has to be focused. It should do only one thing, otherwise, it confuses. All effective innovations are breathtakingly simple. Indeed, the greatest praise an innovation can receive is for people to say: This is obvious. Why didn't I think of it?" - Peter Drucker

    It's not just the innovation itself, but also the execution that satisfies. Lexus excels at this, the Germans, in general, are quite pleased with their engineering prowess... and well they should be. My 2003 530 SP is the culmination of a 7-year model run and is as close to automotive perfection as I have driven.

    I understand the German approach to engineering, but do not believe they give much credibility to the "soft science" of ergonomics. It's not the concepts they rightfully introduce, its the execution that confounds the intended buyer at times.

    That said, the new 7 is quite a piece of engineering and appears to be screwed together beautifully. Sure drives well also!
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi All,
       I'm abit of a purist on the technology front. I see where modern technology has it's place, but it should not be too intrusive. Maybe it's just me, but I notice all the high end manufacturers in a rush to cram as many electronic toys into the cars as they can. That's probably why quality is suffering. I only think Jaguar has done a great job of ensuring the driver has the latest toys that don't distract from the overall experience.

    Is there really a need for all these complicated electronics? The more complex the design, the more issues you're going to face. We're buying cars, not F-22's!

    Speaking of Jaguar..How come there is no talk about them? This seems to be a Lexus vs Germany dominated forum..Any news on the reliability of the new XJ?

    Thanks,
    SV
  • ksurgksurg Posts: 48
    I recently drove a XJ-8 and was impressed. I didn't like the previous generation but the new one is completely different. There used to be a poster by the name of Donfenn who owns an XJR with a lot of info on the Jags. Maybe he's still around.
    Overall I would put the XJ series on the short list to consider(it came out # 2 on the Car and Diver comparison). However, my wife doesn't like the styling and I'm not a fan of the J-gate. Do you think touch screens are more sensible than a joy stick or other pointing device? I've been wondering.
  • ksurg,

    After repeatedly telling BMW I was not interested in their 7-Series, I recently heard from them to inform me that the 2005 restyled 7-Series should hopefully be available in late spring. Although I still do not like the appearance of the 7-Series from what I was able to see from a couple of pictures the front-end all the way to the A-pillar and the lights were significantly improved. However, even though there appear to be slight changes to the rear-end and trunk lid if was not enough to solve the serious problem the have with the rear of the car (in my opinion). They also said that there would be some improvements to the iDrive but did not elaborate.

    My point is that if you can wait a few months you can get into an improved 7-Series that should be more satisfying.

    I hope this is helpful.

    JF
  • ksurgksurg Posts: 48
    Interesting info but what are your sources? I've scoured the internet, BMW of NA, friends, family, salespeople and everyone else with an opinion and no one seems to anticipate any significant cosmetic changes to the 745i in the next couple of years. It wouldn't be first time they've kept close wraps on a change but this one seems like it is further off then you are suggesting. I'm willing to hold off for a little while if this is true.
  • ksurg,

    A multi-store BMW dealer I have purchased from before and know personally. The only thing he was not certain of at this point was the exact time frame it will hit the US shores after appearing in Europe very soon. He said that BMW is pulling out all of the stops to get the re-style out to try to overcome customer acceptance problems with the original "Bangle'd" 7-Series.

    From what I could gather, BMW dealers are having one hell of a time trying to move the current 7-Series and monthly sales are dropping in spite of incentives that BMW is throwing at the 7-Series. My take was that he can not wait for the 2005 model and does not want to get stuck holding too many 2004s.

    Although I would like to, I don't get to spend much time on other auto Web site. However, you might want to check the German Car Fan site (I don't have the exact address handy on this computer). Maybe some of the other posters know it.

    JF
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    While I too can find no confirmation of any cosmetic work being done for the 2005 7-Series, I will say that this isn't the first time I've heard tell of a lifted 7. It seems that BMW-NA might be the only source for that information, and they might even request a non-disclosure before they tell you. Can't hurt to ask though.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • ksurgksurg Posts: 48
    Thanks for the information. I'll try to check it out. I need a new lease by this Summer. I'm also on the list for the V10 M5(E60). The release date for that vehicle keeps getting pushed back. Now it sees that it will be an'06 release in '05 instead of an '05 in late '04.
  • ksurg,

    I also like looks of the new BMW 5-Series much better then the 7-Series (its looks just totally turn me off). I looked the 5-Series over closely at a recent auto show and warmed up to it more then I expected to.

    I have read and heard especially good things about the new 5-Series variable steering system that comes with the 5-Series Sport Package. However, some reviews before all this cold whether really did not like the cooling ability of its new technology air conditioning system.

    Good luck.

    JF
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I wouldn't expect too many wholesale changes to the 7-Series. They aren't going to spend the money to change the hard points. What they'll do is try to smooth out the front end like the new 5, and try to make that trunklid a little less offensive. The biggest improvements will be in the interior. Simpler seat controls, and most importantly an updated (i.e. simplified) Idrive system. There is also a new short wheelbase 760i, that just debuted at the Chicago auto show, it's about 5-6K less than the 760 "Li" model.

    M
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