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High End Luxury Cars

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  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The C-Class isn't the most direct competitor for the Buick-clone ES330, nobody else is even playing the fwd, Buick-like game in the entry-level market anymore. Even Acura has moved to making, or at least trying to make the TL a sports sedan.

    Where does Mercedes have the lead in sales?

    Let's see the E-Class outsells the GS, and the C-Class outsells the IS300. Some here talk about Lexus' sales like everything they make is at the top of the sales charts and nothing could be farther from the truth. Period.

    The SL and SC sell nearly equally, despite the SL's much higher price. Wow the LS430 outsold the much more expensive S-Class by something like 2000 units last year, somewhere around a months worth. Wow.

    The one point that you and others never seem to be able to get is that most of the Mercedes' competing models cost more than Lexus', yet either outsell or sell very close to the same volume. The only place Mercedes is hurting sales wise compared to Lexus is in SUVs. Mercedes sold way more CARS than Lexus did last year. The GS, old or not, that's and excuse and if it can't be used for the M-Class, then you can't use it for the GS, and the IS300 are duds sales wise.

    You're also trying to imply that Mercedes' wouldn't sell much without the C-Class. Wrong. Look at what the E, S, and CLK did last year, all up over 2002, especially the E-Class.

    Typical Lexus rant, it's not even current on the facts. There is no C280.

    A 400hp GS400H would be nice, but it will still get its windshield and lug nuts handed to it, by an E55 AMG, M5 or RS6. I doubt very seriously Lexus will make a 400hp GS of any type, hybrid or not for the same price as today's GS430.

    M
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    There will be no winners in this endless Lexus vs. Mercedes debate because most of the folks doing the debating are unwilling to concede anything, they all think they are right and other side is blind.

    This makes for pointless, repetitive, aggravating and often way-too-heated conversation that accomplishes nothing but to drown out the other comments in here. It needs to stop.

    Let me say that again - it needs to stop.

    Anyone here who can't find anything else to talk about but this Lexus vs Mercedes argument is invited to find another discussion to join.

    I'm calling a halt to it in this one as of now.

    Thanks.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    The majority of Lexus sales come from four models: ES, LS, RX, and GX.

    One of the reasons the ES sells so well is because it is practically the only choice in its category. With the death of the I35, and the sport-emphasis of the TL, there is no other 30k to 40k import sedan that emphasizes comfort and cushy ride above all else.

    There are a lot of shoppers who look for the above qualities and don't really care about handling, and they select the ES330 almost by default.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi All,
      A question for Ksurg: If you could sum up the Porsche experience in one sentence, what would you say? I ask this b/c I found myself gawking at one earlier today. (I think it was a C4, but I don't know how to distinguish between them. Imagine Porsche building a Luxury car..That would be something..

    As for Jaguar, I'm in their corner too. I've been thinking about retiring the venerable 92 LS400 in favor of a 01 Xj8. The design of the XJ just shouts out "Class," and Elegance. I don't think anyone does a better job in the Lux brand in terms of aesthetics. Jag has done

    I agree with Designman about the 911. It brings me to the old aphorism, "If it ain't broke, Don't fix it!" I find that the automakers are redesigning perfectly good models just for the sake of calling it new. The old 80's S class Benzes were perfect examples of this.

    As for the Endless MB vs Lexus argument. Give it a rest, it's not like either side is going to concede. Call in the UN to negotiate a Peace Treaty between the MB and Lexus camps, LOL.

    SV
  • mfullmermfullmer Posts: 819
    On the other hand, I have a good MB story. Now, granted, I'm a Lexus guy and the only reason I'm telling this story is because I'm waiting for my new Lexus to arrive...

    ...So, I'm waiting for my lexus to come in, sometime in March, but I had to return my STS from lease. Lexus offered a loaner but for a couple of weeks I just used my friends car that he offered. Talk about SWEET!

    1988 300SEL, 241,9xx miles, Two owner. Every single maintenance record (every 5k miles) in the glove box.

    Now if MB made them like they used to, I'd buy them in an instant! Yes, the car was a bit underpowered with the straight six but the quality of the vehicle is phenomenal! The 16 year old leather looks better than the three year old leather in my STS when I returned it. The dash and all interior materials look great, save for a little fade of the top dash and the wood.

    Two weeks in my garage and not ONE single drop of any kind of fluid. Stereo (Becker Grand Prix) works flawless, even the antenna.

    Took it in for a wash before I returned it (I decided to take Lexus up on their loaner offer) and the detailer was flabbergasted. He thought it was MAYBE 10 years old.

    I'm still a Lexus guy but I definitely know how MB earned their [former] reputation That car is like a vault!

    If any of you ever get a chance to drive a high-mileage, well taken car of S-Class from that era (is that the W124 body???) I would highly recommend it.
  • ksurgksurg Posts: 48
    The Porsche is pure driving pleasure. It's always engaging and never boring. The car is telepathic when it comes to response and extraordinarily nimble. Sort of makes you feel like superman. This is despite the fact that it is not lightning fast nor does it have the best spec sheet. Go figure!
    The down side is that it is not the best car to be a passenger in( probably downright uncomfortable when the driver is making believe he is Schumaker). Unfortunately, my life also necessitates multitasking in the car on a regular basis. Consequently like any tool I choose my car for the day based on the job at hand. Sometimes it's the C4S, often the sedan, and occasionally a Yukon XL( actually I drive the Yukon XL for awhile after I've been in the Porsche for a few days just to tone down my driving habits).
    Something that's not talked about a lot on this page is diversity. Even in the "high end luxury marques" I get bored of the same old stuff. I may still be a kid at heart but I enjoy change. Don't you remember when you were a kid looking at concept cars and every one was "cooler" than one before. I try to enjoy whatever car I have. Cars don't define who we are but they sure are fun to experience.
  • davieboy1davieboy1 Posts: 14
    Anyone with experience with the cars in snow in the midwest. AWD vs RWD. I hear the BMWs have problems with snow even with snow tires.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The car you speak of is the "W126" S-Class/bodystyle.

    Not to get into the Lexus debate again, but the type of leather that Mercedes used back then was used for that exact reason, lasting quality and more importantly durability. None of that torn drivers seat mess you see on other cars of that era, but of course others saw the leather in older Mercedes as being cheap and not luxurious enough so they now use something that comes closer to pleasing people who are impressed by such things as how soft/supple leather is.

    M
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "I hear the BMWs have problems with snow even with snow tires."

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    I have been driving in winter conditions (primarily in the Midwest and in New England) for over thirty years and have racked up an easy quarter of a million miles in the winter alone. In 1979 I switched from RWD cars to FWD cars based upon the "Hype" that they were better in the snow. Then in 1999, I switched back to RWD cars (2 BMWs) and as such, I can definitively say that my current car, a 2002 530i with winter tires (Michelin Arctic-Alpin), is the finest car I have ever driven in snowy and slippery conditions.

    Considering the fact that we had 114" of snow in our town last year (I live in southern New Hampshire these days), I have had plenty of opportunities to drive the BMW in snow as deep as 8" and have had no problems at all. In fact, on one snowy day last January I needed to go and get gas for my generator (the snow and ice had accumulated to the point where the power lines were down all over the place) I was driving down our very hilly and winding main road (which was covered in 6-8" of heavily rutted snow) minding my own business when I had to slow way down because I caught up to a conga line of 4x4s!

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • . . . in all the good ways, not the bad!

    SV7787 said: "As for Jaguar, I'm in their corner too. I've been thinking about retiring the venerable 92 LS400 in favor of a 01 Xj8. The design of the XJ just shouts out "Class," and Elegance."

    Having owned both the BMW 740i and now a Jaguar XJ8, I suggest the two cars have different missions and are for different drivers, or as in my case, the same driver at different stages of life.

    If you want to go fast the 7 will not disappoint. It's not really happy at 75 mph -- it wants to go faster. In the corners it's amazing for such a big car. The cockpit (of the previous 7 at least) is driver-oriented too, like an airplane.

    At 75 mph the Jaguar XJ8 is in its element. It's a cruiser that will not embarrass itself in corners but it doesn't urge you to tear through them either.

    A few years ago nothing less than the BMW would do -- I could ghost along the freeways at 100 mph in perfect safety and comfort.

    Now I don't feel comfortable driving that fast, and I've allowed myself to give in to the walnut-and-leather embrace of the big XJ. (Nobody does leather and wood as well as the English. Nobody is even second.)

    If you're coming from a Cadillac or Lexus, Jaguar could be your car. You'll know within five minutes of undertaking your test drive.

    Today I was in a co-worker's '97 XJ6. He's had 135K trouble-free miles, and he says he drives the crap out of it. My '98 is a different generation and I expect nothing less of an experience in reliability and owner loyalty.

    My point is, I was ready for a more "stately" sedan when I made the transition from German cars to English. Like Cadillacs of many years ago, Jaguar provides a luxurious and conservative driving experience with excellent reliability -- and there's plenty of motor when you put your foot down.

    If you want to strafe apexes or tear up the autobahn, though, there are better choices than Jaguar XJ8. (The XJR is one of them!)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    A Jaguar will always, for better or for worse be a unique, low-volume car. Their uniqueness limits their sales and market penetration, but their appeal and image are still up there with BMW and MB, and for those who like Jags, nothing else will do. Well maybe a Bentley if you have the $$.

    I like the XJR and XKR myself. Classics.

    M
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    ksurg, I enjoyed your description of the Porsche experience with one reservation. With regard to the 911 you said "it is not lightning fast nor does it have the best spec sheet." I appreciate the modest perspective but would like to add this to keep it in PROPER perspective. There is bragging-rights fast and there is lightning fast. THE 911 IS LIGHTNING FAST ;-)

    The Porsche experience is about driving perfection, and the "luxury" of the Porsche brand is its ultimate combination of form and function. But one of the most eloquent, powerful descriptions of the Porsche experience I have ever heard comes from the February 2004 issue of Automobile magazine when they gave all-star awards to cars in 14 categories. The Boxster was the recipient in the sports-car category. What overwhelmed me is that it not only qualifies the Boxster but it also speaks volumes about the manufacturer and the revered 911 by default. I could not possibly put it into words any better than this:

     "The two seat roadster segment is based largely on impulse and emotion. New roadsters sell well for a few years until they are deemed passe by the mix of enthusiasts and poseurs who consume them. In this constantly evolving segment, the Boxster is so immediately perfect and timeless that only slight tweaks are necessary to keep it on top. Porsche knows when to change, and more important, when change is unnecessary. A true Porsche, the Boxster feels crafted instead of merely built. It is beautiful to behold, still or in motion, and even better when you are the one putting it in gear. Boxsters speak so clearly through the controls that driving becomes an existential quandary of human getting lost in machine, in the snarl of the flat-six and the gentle pulsing of the leather wrapped steering wheel. Cynics will claim that there are less expensive sports cars that duplicate, or even surpass, a Boxster’s quantifiable abilities, but none has its noble grace, which is rarely found in machines at any price. Mesmerizing and involving, the Boxster is a living being in a segment full of automations."
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    That old MB leather - it looked cheap, more like vinyl - but that doesn't mean it was cheap. Obviously its durability proves its quality. Nevertheless - as a leasee I prefer the beautify of today's leather but as a long-term owner - should I go that route - I would have preferred the durability of the past leather on the older MB's. Leasing changed a lot of things. Back then some of these cars were bought for 10-15+ years of ownereship.
  • motownusamotownusa Posts: 836
    The main reason Lexus trails the competition in the car lineup is due to a lack of variety. The LS only comes with one engine choice. Although that will change soon. The Merc S class offers four choices from the S430 to S600 to S55 AMG. Same with the GS only two choices. BMW offers 4 powertrains from the grossly underpowered 525 to the lightning fast M5.

    I think the problem with Mercedes begun when they switched from DOHC 4 valve per cylinder to SOHC 3 valve per cylinder in 1998. All the pre 1998 Mercedes were built to last forever, the same cannot be said for the current generation. It is good to know that Mercedes learned their lesson and going back to DOHC engines. My dream car is a 911 Turbo with automatic.
  • mfullmermfullmer Posts: 819
    I don't understand all this Porsche talk. It's hardly a "...Luxury Marque".

    Nice sports cars though.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I guess we'd have to debate the word "luxury". By definition it qualifies.

    In my opinion there are two types of luxury cars:
    1 - couch-potato luxury
    2 - sport luxury

    If you want to throw it out be my guest, but as a fine upstanding citizen of Edmunds, I'm doing my part to provide a respite from that MB/Lexus topic. And besides, I think you couch potatos can use a little exercise.

    All in fun ;-)
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    No reason why we can't talk about Porsche here from this corner ... :)
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Seemed appropo to me.

    BTW, I have declared a self-moratorium on Lex/MB debate. I enjoy the talk about Porsches although I don't own one nor plan to own one. Hence, you can put me in the *couch potato luxury* camp

    All in fun, as well :)
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    If you see 10-15 new posts in a short period you will know the cease fire has ended.

    merc1 - I'm curious - have you ever had a chance to drive the new A8, the Phaeton or the 7-series? Would you ever consider a Boxster for yourself?
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    I've always thought about the 911 because it has a classic's appeal: authenticity, proven track record, instantly recognizable etc etc

    However, I found the interior *very* underwheling unless you're willing to customize the heck out of it and spend left and right for the never-ending list of options Porsche offers. I love the fact they allow you to customize your own car to the point you'll hardly ever encounter one that is the same, on the other hand the base version should have a bit more appeal.

    My favorite Porsche: the 911 Targa. Nearly a convertible, good practicality. I'll go for it one day in the none too distant future - in my opinion, everybody needs to have owned a Porsche once if they claim to be car enthusiasts. :-)

    The cheap options is to go for the earlier generation 911, but that one is too coarse for me, it's like a European Corvette with way too much chest hair and not enough refinement.
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