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High End Luxury Cars

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  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Some have suggested that MB and BMW have rushed a bunch of new models to market to better compete, and thus quality has suffered.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I had been meaning to ask you what you thought of the facelifted 2005 XK cars? I really like what they've done to the lower body. I've seen a coupe in White and a convertible XKR this very rick looking Blue, absolutely stunning. No arguement about the interior, asthetically it was all Jaguar. The Germans then were just leather appointed board rooms in which to conduct the "business" of driving. I look for the 2007 XK to vault to the head of this class giving the SL much to worry about.

    sv7887l,

    "Any thoughts?"

    Yeah plenty. Truthfully no Benz has been immune from problems over the last 4-5 years. The current SL has been less than stellar also, especially the early build 2003 models. Some of the SL owners on the other boards are reporting much better goings with 2004 models. One poster in particular (Shoes) can tell you all about the current SL, I think he's owned 3 of them now! The first one he had was not so great, a 2003 model, but his 2004 SL500 has been very good so far, he also had a SL55 AMG if I'm not mistaken.

    The current S-Class (2000) was one of the biggest offenders along with the 2001 C-Class and the omg 1998 ML, which I personally detest. I'll start with the S-Class and the facts: Mercedes doesn't do "cheaper" too well. The 1992-1999 S-Class is the car Mercedes knows how to build and even that car wasn't perfect because they sought to decontent it from 1995 foward, but still it had a build the current S simply doesn't match, it was generally more reliable (read a lot less electronics) than today's S. The problem was that people complained about it being to expensive, big and heavy so Mercredes responded by making the new car cheaper, lighter, and somewhat smaller (outside), but the quality went way down. I got a chance to examine one of the last 1999 S500s next to the 2000 S500s when they first arrived. I was truly startled at the compromised they'd made in order to save a few bucks. Needless to say the body, interior, fittings and finish all went down quite a bit with the 2000 S. They addressed a lot of these things for the 2003 with the facelift, but it's like to retrofit the quality that should have been there in 2000 and it still doesn't match the LS, A8 or Phaeton in certain area where the old S wouldn't have had a problem doing so. Hopefully they've learned their lesson and the 2006 S will be built with the traditional quality in mind and less glitches like the current car. I'll say again though the 2003+ S-Classes are much better in build quality and reliability from the 2000-2002 models.

    The ML, and I'll be brief here. Mercedes sold their soul to the devil of volume. Instead of build in a true 50-70K truck like they know they wanted to (and can) they built the ML to a price point to compete with a Ford Exploreres and Jeep Grand Cherokees, at 33K in 1998. The 1998-1999 models were unbelievable cheap inside and out. I remember it like it was yesterday, me and a salesman looked at each other in disbelief at a ML unveiling at the then Loeber Motors on the near-north side of Chicago. This this is so freaking cheap! Needless to say the ML truly showed its colors after the sales boom put them in the hands of traditional MB and new customer alike. One problem after another, and I don't mean electronics. I mean fuel leaks, brakes, radiator leaks, differential failures, you name it. Now 6 years later it places in the top for initial quality. I don't buy it. The basic chassis has proven itself in various motorsport events around the world, but everything Mercedes sub'd out was of dubious quality to say the least. I've never so worried about a new Mercedes in my life as I am the new ML, R and next G, which will all be build in Alabama.

    The C-Class is basically the same as the S, much improved with it's facelift (2005) in the area of build quality and features too, but the 2001 model was far less then right.

    Industry analysts have theorized about Mercedes' quality decline and come up with many things. I think electronics, Chrysler's finanical drain, and more models all led to their quality fall. Remember in 1990 there were only the 190, 300, S-Class and SL. Today there is the SL, CL, S, E, CLK, C, ML, SLK, G, Maybach and more new models (CLS, R) on the way.

    There are signs that things are improving, especially when a Mercedes is redesigned. The CLK and E-Classes are not being knocked about their interiors like before, thought the new E has had a few initial problems. Ditto for the SL. The new SLK and CLS look to have the proper build of a Mercedes. The upmcoming Bama made vehicles worry me the most.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    To be honest, I was curious if Jaguar would do anything with the XK to make it more competitive. Nope. A new front end air intake ooo boy! What about the wollowy suspension, numb steering, mushy brake pedal (and brakes that shouldnt be in any car with a letter "R" on it), manual tonneau cover, and certain substandard interior materials. Still there. I was not even remotely impressed by the '05 XK that I saw at the NYAS. I've been thinking of basically getting rid of my LS and having a single car for myself, and the '05 XK did nothing to sway me from planning to buy an SC430 as my daily driver\weekend car. Plus whats with the J-gate? Every magazine in the world has literally screamed at Jaguar to get rid of that damn J-gate, but they just cover their ears and try and figure out how to make the X-type sellable. Im finished with Jaguar.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    Yeah, the XK8 is definetly on its last legs. Still one of the best looking cars out on the road (in my opinion at least).

    Starting to hear some rumblings that the Jaguar F-type may be coming back around. (For those that remember, this was a smaller, more Porsche Boxster sized roadster that was axed a few years ag while in developement.) I think it would do Jaguar a lot of good to get a smaller roadster more like the orginal XK's and E-types back on the market.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    That would be nice, but what platform is it going to go on? Ford doesnt have anything good enough to go up against the likes of Z4, Boxster, SLK350, etc.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    I suppose it could be a new platform as was originally planned.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yikes! No waiting for the 2007 model I guess huh. I too think its still one of the best looking cars around, but the design/mechanicals are outdated. Though I am surprised about the SC430. What happened to the Maserati Coupe Cambiocorsa or 911 (I think that was you?).

    M
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    I am currently in Japan on a business trip and plan to learn as much about Lexus' plan for their launch. Maybe their are some hidden stuff out here..... I plan to poke around some in-between meetings here in Tokyo.

    BTW, around my hotel here in Akasaka (Chiyoda-ku), and most of the places I visited (including the Tokyo-American Club) there are just way too many MBs and Celsiors (newer models or LS430 trims) everywhere. In the past, I find so few MBs in Tokyo, but I must confess the number of MBs just keeps increasing. And I'm seeing mostly the high-end S500/S600 sedans. In fact, I have never seen a C-class MB here in all of my 5 years of business travels to Japan. They must be out here, I just haven't seen them yet. I asked a couple of colleagues here and they confirm that MBs have a higher prestige status than Toyota here in Japan, at the luxury level. Maybe the introduction of the Lexus line will change this. Time shall tell....
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Yeah I like the Maserati, but after talking to owners of the car, apparently they had a lot of bugs in the '01 and '02 versions, so I would have to get an '03 at the earliest, and I don really have $100K+ to drop at the moment. Plus, if I do decide to drive a convertible to work, I dont think Im ready to trust them yet. The SC430 Id have nothing to worry about.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,822
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  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Lexusguy,
     I've noticed you've had alot to say about Jaguar. Having experienced both a Lexus and Jaguar, how would you compare them? I'm still wondering whether I can deal with a Jaguar's issues after 12+ yrs of driving a Lexus. Like most LS owners, I'm not very tolerant of repair issues. that's the only sticking point for me..Otherwise I thought that the last gen XJ was a fantastic looking car.

    As for the debate about the SL, I still think the SL is the benchmark in the industry. So far I've seen nothing close to it. Mercedes has always built a superb two seater. I'd like Lexus to make a more determined effort to develop something similar.

    SV
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Ok gotcha. I was amazed by the level of customization available on all Maseratis. You can have any and everything colored to your personal specs. I've seen a few Spyders on the road, simply gorgeous.

    What are your thoughts on the new XJ?

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The spyder actually doesnt do that much for me, I really dont like the short wheelbase\chopped rear end look. I think the coupe is very sexy though. The leather customization is impressive, they are like Rolls in that respect.

    sv7887, I loved the racing D and E-types as a kid, and have been a Jag fan for a long time. The '80s and early '90s were not good years for them, but at least some of the soul of the classic Sir William Jaguar was still in there. The Ford buy out basically killed all that. The classic Jag 12s are gone, in favor of run of the mill Ford V8s. Manual transmitions in almost all cars are gone, and Jags automatics arent even remotely good. While quality has improved since the early '90s, I've still had significant mechanical problems with both my '98 XK8 and '00XKR, and interior fit and finish have absolutely plummeted through the floor. Then theres the residual...

    I wasnt really all that impressed by the new XJ. The car is larger and much less claustrophobic than the old car, and the aluminum shell makes it feel a little lighter and more agile, but there still isnt much steering feel, there's significant body roll, and there's still ZERO brake feel, plus the usual Jaguar last place braking performance. And the wonderful J-gate and sluggish automatic transmition makes a return once again. Aside from all those great things, Ford just cant keep up with the majors on electronics, so the Jag offers almost none of what you can get in an S class, LS430, or 745i.
  • billp8billp8 Posts: 56
    ...since you were talking about MB quality a few posts back, how do you think the 1990-2002 SL compares to the 1993-95 E-class cabriolet? Would you currently favor one over the other from a reliability standpoint? I can't remember whether or not the 1990 SL was a shortened version of the very complex 1992 S-class. I'm hoping that either of these could be my next car in a year or two. Most likely the mileage would be 2-3 thousand per year, as it would be a "fun" car. Probably my main concern with the E would be oil leaks, and power top problems with the SL. Just wanted the benefit of your expertise. My thanks--
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well from a reliability standpoint I'd say they are about the same. You basically stated the known problems for each. The old W124 300CE/E320 Cabriolet had the last of Mercedes I6s and yes it usually developed a head gasket problem around 120K or so, but it is an easy fix. I've heard about a few problems with the top on the R129 SL, but more importantly the air conditioning system needs to be checked because they are very expensive to repair if they crap out.

    Overall I liked both cars about equally because as special as the SL was the W124 E-Class and all of its many variants is still probably my favorite Mercedes-Benz of all time.

    M
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Favorites:

    R107
    W108/109
    W116
    C/W123
    C/W126
    R/129

    The one I really aspired to own was W123. Could never afford it back then. It was so close but so far. I had two colleagues who had them. Man was I envious. Plus this was a time when both MB and BMW fought for my affection with equal intensity.

    And the most refined, balanced, elegant and stately was C/W 126. With the latter, the presence and distinction between Mercedes and everything else was never so apparent in my mind.

    So I guess the years 65 - 91, with the exception of R129, which ran much later are the years that forged my positive image of Mercedes. (Wouldn't mind finding a bargain on a R129. This one's a keeper. Smooth, easy contours and lines, limited topography.)

    The turning point IMO was 190E in what... '84?. What a turnoff. Baby Benz? Anti Benz!!

    Flash forward… just ain't the same today. The only Benzes I would consider today are S55 and E55, Even then, I don't know if I could get passionate about them when it would come time to sign. That's a lot of dough to cough up sans passion. Anyway, there are always the next generations to look forward to. Real strength lies in the ability to recover.

    :-)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Though I know the chassis codes, most of those are before my time.

    You didn't like the W124 (1995-1995) E-Class? That car was the essence of Mercedes-Benz imo. The 500E/E500 and the 300CE/E320 Coupe/Cabriolet variants are so timeless to me.

    I too liked the W126 S-Class. That was another Benz that defined an era and ruled the market. The 560SEC was such a stately coupe for the period yes....

    A friend of mine's mom had a 1990 190E 2.6 that we rode to school in. I just loved the ride of that car. True the 1984-1988 models weren't that hot at all. Too small wheels and the 190E was always too small in the back seat. There was a color that Mercedes had called Desert Taupe that looked so good on those two-tone Benzes of that day. They have a color called Pewter now, but it just isn't the same. The Desert Taupe was so much richer and darker.

    M
  • billp8billp8 Posts: 56
    ...there was also a silver blue color that I thought looked especially nice. I think it was around in the late 80's and early 90's. I also liked the Desert Taupe, and of course Astral Silver! Finally, some of the old enamel paints of the 60's were nice--one that I remember was a robin's egg blue. I will be going back home July 17-18 to see the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. There is always a nice collection of classic Benzes there, so I am hoping to be in "color nirvana." Merc1--thanks for your thoughts. I think that the mid-90's E cabrio will begin to spike upward in value--and of course, the E Coupes from 1988-95 are even more rare, though not quite as $$$$.
  • deadeye5deadeye5 Posts: 93
    Greetings..In the process of buying a MB 560 SEL 1987 model. I know nothing about MB. Just was wondering about MPG etc. it has 94,000 on it. My son told me about it..A real "Cream Puff" says he. Will appreciate any comments.advice from you MB experienced types..

                                 Tks, Deadeye
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    With today’s perspective W124 looks good to me. I didn’t dislike W124 back then, but I was really attached to W123. In my mind it was a tough act to follow. In addition, I think C/W123 and CW126 were the evolutionary peak for everything that came before, similar to the E39 5-series and E46 3-series. As disappointed as I am now with BMW, this was sort of my feeling with MB in 84. They were starting to lose the majestic style and 190E looked as out of place as the Queen at MacDonalds, as does the C now twenty years later. The difference is that MBs change was slower and not linear across platforms (I’m not sure that’s the right description). BMW’s change has hit like a ton of bricks.
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