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High End Luxury Cars

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  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I drove the M35 (so called) "luxury" and M45 sport and found the suspensions on both to be quite punishing. I could not get used to the busy display in front of me and I hated the rosewood-looked like thin cardboard. The engine drone would prove quite tiring once the novelty wore off. And now all those complaints on the M board. I don't think so! Also, the M looks too much like an Altima but I actually prefer the look of the Altima! As a matter of fact I prefer Nissan designs to every corresponding Infiniti! The Murano looks much better to me than the FX.
    I'll be in Bermuda for a few days "smelling the roses" but when I get back I have an appointment to drive the new 330i and after that I will call Lexus for another drive of the GS 430.
    You know, my instincts tell me one could probably make a great deal on an LS 430 this summer.
    Although, I am used to driver's cars having BMW 3 series since 1993.
    In mid-July, I will see what the leases look like. Perhaps Lexus will come down quite a bit from MSRP on the GS 430 at that time. I wouldn't want to pay more than $750 per month with tax included.
    And before I forget, I do like how the new GS looks.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Hey you can try as you might, but you can't run around the fact that Lexus fingered BMW as the target, and that means a sports sedan. All the profit and sales talk won't erase that Lexus said that the 5-Series (the standard or former standard as a "sports sedan" in the class) was their competition and that on that front it doesn't cut it. Period. Who says? The press has every since it came to market. You'll notice that in tests where sport wasn't the main criteria, the GS did well, like in the Automobile and Edmunds test, but in test where Sport was more of a factor, like in the Road and Track and C&D reviews it got put behind the real sports sedans in the segment the M45 and 545i (except C&D with tested a puny 530i like boneheads). I'm sorry if you're not able to understand that a nice nav systems/stereo and isolation aren't what make a sports sedan.

    "Methinks the utlimate competition is in the bottomline, afterall BOTH companies are in the business to make money not just to compete against each other."

    That reads like a grand excuse for them not making a sports sedan to challenge the rival they themselves mentioned - BMW. Every car company is out to make money and pointing this out here means what? Nothing out of the ordinary.

    That many on Edmund's prefer the M45 to the GS430 in terms of sporty handling is NOT an indication that the M is a better car than the GS. IMO, the M45 is better in some areas and short in other areas against the new GS. Same can be said in reverse. What matters is what MOST of the buying public prefer, and that, Merc1, will be determined by the sales volume. Let's wait and see the success factor of both cars in the highly competitive mid-size luxury-sport market before we declare which car is the best.

    You seem to misunderstand me here. I didn't say that the M45 was just an outright better car than the GS. I said that the M is a better sports sedan. There is a difference, that is why I said you can't apply that LS400 logic to the meduim segment and call the GS some type of standard because it isn't. So far that would appear to be the M45 as a sports sedan. Weren't you the one that drove the GS and declared that they missed the mark as a sports sedan or am I making that up? You asked the others to explain to you on the IS board what a sports sedan is, yet you seem to have forgotten what all of us said already. As a sports sedan the GS doesn't cut it against the class leaders in the respect. You ask: "BTW, what does it mean to be a 5- fighter ?" Answer: Infiniti M45.

    Since you're bent on making excuses for the GS not being a sports sedan like Lexus said they wanted it to be, you'll revert back to "its selling" and "companies are out to make money". Come on guy time to really get a new line here.

    If by chance the IS250/300 don't stack up to the class leaders as a sports sedan, currently the 3-Series and G35, will you say the same thing about the IS too? I mean Lexus is saying the same thing about the IS as they said about the GS: Target = BMW. Yet it means nothing to you as long as the car sells and Lexus makes money. Forget the design brief and/or competition. Amazing denial.

    Didn't your guy Clements say that they're staggering engine introductions to be like BMW? So the GS can be in the press throughout the production cycle? Their target in the two lower segments is BMW, not Mercedes.

    No one said the car is a failure or anything close to it. It just isn't the sports sedan Lexus promised. Big difference. I mean seriously you don't see the difference here. Read the Automobile compar in which the A6, GS and E placed in that order because they weren't looking for sport as much. Ditto for Edmunds. Then look at C&D and Road and Track. Especially Road and Track. They state that after a while they knew the real sports sedan battle was going to be between the 545i and the M45, not the GS430.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    You seem to have missed the point by a country mile here. A sedan's length doesn't deterimine how sporty or what the design brief is. The 5 is the same length and the M is longer and they both more sporting DNA so I don't understand what length has to do with anything here? Are you saying that Lexus isn't capable of making a car of this size sporty enough to match the class leaders in that area? The M45 in particular is both longer and heavier than the GS430 it utterly destroys it as a sports sedan so I guess your theory about length making the GS430 a "family sedan" is correct, but all yours. There certainly is no industry standard anything like that. To make it worse the M45 is even roomier than the GS430 too. I'd say that you're doing more than generalizing though, there is no way to know what 90 percent of the drivers in this segment want.

    I must say that was very clever of you to throw MB in there though. ;)

    M
  • One thing that is going unsaid on this board, (maybe because I am the only one who thinks it) or because I have an LS and really like the Lexus product but I have always loved the look of the Mercedes S better then the LS....NOW

    Having seen the new GS...The Mercedes look seems dated to me...Maybe I have seen it and liked it for so many years now that I am ready to move on to something different.

    Anyone else agree or is it just me....we all do have different tastes
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Upon biking on my regular route through suburban Tampa streets, I always pass a beautiful 2005 silver S class Mercedes parked in a driveway. No doubt about it. One beautiful car. So graceful. A work of art. It's always in the same place. Could the owner be showing off his trophy car?
    Also on my bike route, there are several 2004-2005 LS 430's and I don't care what anyone says-that is one good looking car. I get to pass one in silver and one in white. Both beautiful. My heart races like it used to do when I was a kid on a swing.
    But that S class. Wow!
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Yo... Waiter!! I'll have the Strawberries Sauvignon!!
  • carnaughtcarnaught Posts: 1,579
    I can understand that the "M" Infiniti just doesn't appeal to you as simply no one car appeals to everyone. You go on by saying "all those complaints on the M board". Hmmm, there may be one or two complaints from one or a couple of owners, but this is hardly befitting the word "all". Most owners that I am aware of ARE still on their "honeymoon" with their M's, so if you want to continue to put your spin on the car because you don't like it, realize that by saying it doesn't make it so. The M is not for you so simply don't buy it.

    With my personal ownership experience now seven weeks including all its gadgets (tech.and journey packages), I can honestly say that the car has been flawless with no squeaks, rattles, malfunctions or issues of any kind. I neither find the ride punishing nor the car loud or harsh in any way, only sporty (strictly MY opinion though).
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Stick around. This may just develop into a doubles match.
    What a revoltin' development this is!
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Well thank you very much for telling me I have the priviledge of not buying the M if I don't like it.
    I will take advantage of your generous offer. I won't buy it.
    Where's the spin? I listed concrete examples from the M35/45 board of M owners who are having problems with their new M's. Strange odors and mysterious noises requiring engineers from Japan to come to the US. because the crack Infiniti service technicians can't figure out what's wrong.
    A blowout after driving for only 2 weeks.
    Hey, you can't make this stuff go away. It's right there on the M board unless someone has deleted these experiences.
    See M35/M45 post #2564. You're a riot Infiniti! A regular riot!
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Here is the main point you fail to understand:

    If Lexus promises a BMW fighter, but delivers an E-class competitor, as long as the product delivered makes them money (profitable), that's all that counts. I would think that is plainly obvious !

    Let me draw you a picture here. Everyone knows about Viagra, right ? When VIAGRA came out a few years ago, did Pfizer bother to tell the public that the drug was found by serendipity ? A team of scientists testing a clinical candidate with patients found that the patients were experiencing some *secondary* effect that were *beneficial*. Lo and behold... a class of PDE-V drugs was born with Viagra. And BILLIONS of dollars later, copy cats now flood the market trying to make money in this therapeutic area.

    I'll say it again: The bottomline is that the product makes money for the manufacturer, whether/or not it meets the mark with some auto rags or self-appointed enthusiasts. If the GS outsells and out-profits the M, think Lexus will change the game plan ? Nope. No corporate entity will willy-nilly go away from their strength just to satisfy a miniscule amount of the public. Lexus' bread-and-butter is LUXURY, and as long as that is not compromised, they'll continue to beat the crap out of the luxury sedan/truck competition.
  • esfesf Posts: 1,020
    Everyone still compares cars with BMWs- I'm with you, but from a different perspective. BMWs are not benchmarks any more, exceptions to the new 3. The 3 is still the best in class. But, the 5 lags in several areas: style (of course), power (Will be addressed with the 535/550), luxury, and warmth (the interior is business-like and cold).

    I believe that the Audi A6 is the benchmark, with the GS nipping its heels, the M-Series Infiniti closing in, and the Mercedes E-Class not far behind. The BMW does not even make the list, and this is for one reason: The 5 sells itself on performance. If you want a luxury sedan, it's supposed to sell on style, luxury, and performance, not just performance.

    It's just not a luxury sedan without the luxury. Slapping a polished slab of wood on the dash doesn't help.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    With so much talk about the sportiness or lack thereof of the Lexus GS vs its Infiniti competitor, well what are they doing in the market ???

    April 2005 sales:

    GS300/430 = ~3000 units sold
    M35/45 = ~2200 units sold
    5-series = ~4500 units sold

    So what was that about the GS not been sporty enough ? It is beating the M where it counts, and is getting close to the 5 (with a zillion variants). Oh, the LS sales wasn't bad either against the S and the 7-series. I threw in the Q45 sales just to show that lower-priced or *value-priced* product in this space does not necessarily translate to success, as MB fans often state about the LS... And of course, I expect Merc1 to dismiss all of this as hocus pocus !

    LS430 = 2,398 units sold
    S-class = 1,451 units sold
    7-series = 1,182 units sold
    Q45 = 81 units sold
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    What is it that the GS has failed at? Maybe they failed to make a car you would want, but that's about it as far as being a "failure". Lexus aspires for the brand to be perceived as more sporty like BMW, but when did anyone at the company ever promise to make a GS that would "out-sport" the 5? Please show us a quote stating such a goal, because the only GS goal I have seen in print was this:

    "Traditionally, Mercedes and BMW have been the class leaders in sales, consistently maintaining an 18-percent-or-better share of market. Our goal, with the GS is to join the leaders near the front of the pack with an annual share-of-segment of more than 14 percent, while achieving an annual sales rate of about 33,000 units. That's a bold statement and a bold move from our 2004 sales rate of 8,200 units and five-percent share of segment." - Mark Templin, Lexus Vice President, Marketing - March 24, 2005 - New York Auto Show

    From the April numbers they are making decent progress. The GS as I stated previously trailed the segment-leading 5 by 30% in April. The ML trailed the RX (not counting hybrid versions) by 58%, which you said "Doesn't mean its a failure"...yet the GS to you is a failure??? And just a few posts ago you called yourself unbiased and objective?
  • docnukemdocnukem Posts: 485
    I guess it all depends on what Lexus meant when they said "5 fighter". If they meant they wanted to challenge the 5 in terms of sport alone, some people might consider it a failure. If they meant that they wanted to steal sales from the 5, then the verdict is not in, yet, but it looks promising. I wonder, though, if Lexus won't end up cannibalizing some of its own sales of the LS and ES.

    Personally, I like the GS. It looks much better in real life than in pictures. I happen to think the Infiniti M looks better, though, and that is MHO. While others may disagree, the 5 looks fabulous and still turns my head (I like the controversial look of the 7, too).

    The really interesting thing will be to see year-over-year sales one year from now. While the Infiniti can't be compared as it is a completely new vehicle (although as a percentage increase in sales, this would make it the hands-down winner).
  • mariner7mariner7 Posts: 509
    "Lexus won't end up cannibalizing some of its own sales of the LS and ES."

    I'd argue that's happening. If you look at sales figures for March and April, GS increases greatly, but LS, ES and IS all had double digit decreases for both months. If you look at overall Lexus sedan sales, they stay pretty much the same as 2004, in spite of GS. It seems like you have a set of owners who have to have a Lexus, and they decide to buy the shiniest, brightest model.

    The picture is different at Infiniti. M is selling way over projections, 40% is what I read. And for both months, G sedan had record sales.

    It's a long battle between these two though, the first two months of six, seven years.
  • greenbeltgreenbelt Posts: 55
    Maybe this has already been discussed on this board. A friend told me to look at this link in automobile magazine. Does anyone know who Bose is working with besides Lexus? It's interesting to see electronics move further and further into the infrastructure of automobiles.

    http://www.automobilemag.com/news/0410_bose/

    Seems like to me that this kind of suspension could go a long way towards eliminating the difference between 'sport sedans' and 'luxury sedans', particularly if one had some kind of control over the settings.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    > except C&D with tested a puny 530i like boneheads

    The blame lies with BMW not C&D. 525 and 530 far outnumber 545 on the road. For the amount of money involved, 530 not 545 was the only thing BMW was willing to sell you. C&D explained as much. It's either boneheaded of BMW to charge too much for 545i, or boneheaded of the reader who glosses over the explanation.

    > I'm sorry if you're not able to understand that a nice nav systems/stereo and
    > isolation aren't what make a sports sedan.

    These are not sports sedans, I'm sorry if you are not able to understand that. These are sporty luxury sedans. There are sedans that are far more sporty and cost far less than the 5 series (WRX-STi and Lance Evo come to mind), the likes of which BMW 5 series can not begin to compete unless luxury is a priority consideration. Different people have different takes on their preference on a sporty luxury sedan. By the simple ratio of 525/530 : 545 sold, it should be obvious that most BMW 5 series buyers are more interested in luxury than sportiness.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I agree about the sport on the WRX and EVO. If you are comparing on sport only, then the WRX wins, but as soon as you want luxury, these cars fail miserable compared to any luxo or even entry level luxo car.

    BMW is still the benchmark, when respect to the drive. I can't remember the last time I heard some manufacturer saying I want my car to drive better than a "GS".
    After driving a BMW, I realize how much I enjoy their interiors compared to the other manufacturers. They have it nailed.

    Selling more does not make one better, it just gives one more sales. MacDonalds sells billions and billions, yet it is better than Outback at burgers?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    we're talking about High End Luxury Marques here, so strictly sport sedans aren't relevant in this particular discussion.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    > BMW is still the benchmark, when respect to the drive. I can't remember the last > time I heard some manufacturer saying I want my car to drive better than
    > a "GS".

    > Selling more does not make one better, it just gives one more sales.
    > MacDonalds sells billions and billions, yet it is better than Outback at burgers?

    Hmm . . . the last time I checked, BMW still outsells Lexus in this sporty luxury segment. The reason why BMW has been considered a benchmark, since circa early-1990's, is its volume and ability to maintain profit margin (ie. maintaining Porsche/Ferrari like image, yet moving cars like Chevy at the same time; doing better financially than all three). Nobody was interested in benchmarking against BMW when it was just a "poor man's Mercedes" back in the 70's and early 80's even though the 2002 was quite a fun car, nobody was interested in emulating.

    > After driving a BMW, I realize how much I enjoy their interiors compared to the
    > other manufacturers. They have it nailed.

    But now they are flattening the cockpit that has been such a central piece of BMW interior for three decades!
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Greenbelt, that article is absolutely fascinating, thanks! The video was quite convincing. As for your question as to who he'll be working with, toward the end he is quoted as saying "Within the next six to ten months, I'll be in a position to select a manufacturer, only one, to team with. We have to focus on its perfection." IMHO, better than 50% chance that one company will be Lexus.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    LS and GS are entirely different cars aimed at different market segments. If the GS cannibalizes the ES I doubt anyone at Lexus would mind. But they too are entirely different cars/markets and I doubt there is any cannibalization going on. You had a ton of pent-up demand for the GS and the LS is coming off some real high sale months a year ago when it had its refreshing. It's on its normal track to sell 30K cars.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Selling more does not make one better, it just gives one more sales. MacDonalds sells billions and billions, yet it is better than Outback at burgers?

    Typical excuse.... Remind me once again why these companies are in the business of making these cars ? I guess selling zillions of MBs and BMWs all over the world has not helped their prestige or financial status either, right ? Oh I forget, the real McD's have to be MBs and BMWs since they sell far more luxury cars/trucks than Lexus, so ...
  • topspin628topspin628 Posts: 373
    I was reading where the new 360 hp BMW 750 i can run 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds.

    Isn't the LS 430 supposed to run at 5.9 with less than 300 hp?
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I think the LS has a weight advantage.
  • mariner7mariner7 Posts: 509
    "You had a ton of pent-up demand for the GS and the LS is coming off some real high sale months a year ago"

    If you're right, that doesn't bode well for GS and LS either. Because GS sales will fall sharply when the pent-up demand is satisfied. And it means LS is running out of steam just 1 year after freshening.

    Take a look at these stats, it's a classic a case of cannibalization as you can get. 04/05 units, 04/04 units, % change

    Lexus cars (ex SC)
    ES 5597 6460 -17
    LS 2398 2704 -15
    GS 3198 522 513
    IS 454 884 -50
    Total 11647 10570 0

    Infiniti cars (ex I & Q)
    Gsedan 3275 2896 9
    Gcoupe 2556 2532 0
    M 2288 168 1211
    Total 8119 5596 45

    GS increases by 513%, but Lexus cars increases by 0%. If it's not cannibalization, it's quite a coincidence all other cars tank when GS comes into the scene. BTW, it's exactly the same picture in March.

    Note Lexus cars outsold Infiniti about 90% in April 04. That was cut down in half to 43% last month. G has very long legs, still setting records 4 years after debut. I'd think the same of M. detnews reported new G & Altima are coming in 2006.
  • stroudmanstroudman Posts: 192
    I had always understood that the 5 was a "benchmark" car for the total package of handling prowess and daily driver luxury and practicality. I've been bamboozled. It turns out it was all about the corporate numbers, all along! Drivability be damned.
    My impression all along has been that the traditional European marques spent decades building good drivers cars that were safe and luxurious, and that through the years, they got better at it to where high profits and sales numbers became part of the equation as well. Then, about 15 years ago, the producers of Japanese economy cars decided they too wanted a piece of the action, and wanted to be players in a game that's been going on for a long, long time. Their offerings satisfy a great deal of the folks who can afford to play, and that's fine. I think what makes a small number of us dedicated German Car Fans is that there is a specific FEEL to their cars that is rooted in culture, tradition, and a sense of enthusiasm that can't just be cloned in every facet of a car, just to get a cut of the dollars to be had. Let Toyota sell to their hearts content, "world domination" and all.
    "try it again, grasshopper, this time...with FEELING..."
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    2400 units for the LS is right on the mark for a 30K annual figure. I doubt there is any cannibalization going on. They will sell around 30K units. They have been in the 30-36k range sInce 2001. Their original annual goal for the car was 25k units. I also doubt GS sales will slacken. If anything they will accelerate. .As for the ES - the two cars are night and day in looks, performance and price and it's hard to fathom they would attract the same buyer given those character and demographic differentiations. On top of that you can hardly make a case of cannibalization from one or two months worth of sales data anyway and you need to look a lot further than sales if you want to make a case. One place to start is checking the inventory days of the LS and ES vs one year ago. If they're static than it's a production issue. I guarantee you Lexus pushed production capacity in favor of the GS to meet its anticipated demand. I'm afraid you are reading far too much into this.
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    "If you're right, that doesn't bode well for GS and LS either. Because GS sales will fall sharply when the pent-up demand is satisfied. And it means LS is running out of steam just 1 year after freshening. "

    The LS may be in it's 1st year after freshening, but it's midway thru it's 5th model year. And even at 2,XXX units per month, it's selling strongly.

    I don't think GS sales will fall sharply next year for example or the year after. They have the GS450h coming to keep demand up. As well as a new V8 and possibly a replacement or a additional 3.5L V6, probably in 2007.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    It's rather ironic a "dedicated German car fan" would use BMW to examplify "traditional European marque." For what's its worth, BMW's tradition was in motorcycle and aircraft engine (the latter being the primary reason why Vicker's handed the ultimate name brand, Rolls-Royce, to the company for a pittance). If you really want to talk about tradition, one of what you derogatorily referred to as "Japanese economy car players," Toyota, was making luxury cars and SUVs (Crown and Landcruiser) in the late 1950's and early 1960's, when BMW was making Isetta (an econobox if there ever was one) and VW was making the original Bug. Oh ya, how's that for pre-dating MB ML class?

    I have owned two 5 series in the past. There was nothing really luxurious about them until the E40 of the late 90's. Americans, British, French, Italian and Japanese were building luxury cars long before BMW came along. BMW's success, for a time being the most profitable car maker in the world (per unit car manufactured), stems from the consistency of its marketing message and image control. It found a market niche building ordinary cars for ordinary people who think they are different and are willing to pay the premium for the expression; and thanks to the size of German home market, it beat Saab to dominate the market niche worldwide. That's how the 5 and 3 became the benchmark: benchmark for profitability, and the envy of other car makers. Nobody was benchmarking against 944 despite its immense handling prowess and practicality; the sales numbers simply wasn't there.

    > there is a specific FEEL to their cars that is rooted in culture, tradition, and a
    > sense of enthusiasm

    Yadda, yadda, the culture, tradition and sense of enthusiasm can be well summarized by a ride in the 1958 BMW Isetta, a single-cylinder 13 (thirteen!) horsepower car. Meanwhile Toyota was already building the Crown at the same time! It doesn't take much imagination to figure out which one was safer to ride in. As you can see, "High End Luxury Marquee" is very much a perception thing, and one that does not take long to build up, or conversely, forget. "Tradition" is nothing more than someone saying he/she is too young to remember the reverse.
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