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High End Luxury Cars

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  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    The majority of reviews do NOT say much different. I do NOT read that the car has a reputation for seductive styling, exhilerating performance, tremendous handling, or a kick-in-the-pants drive. It is NOT a style leader, but a handsome-enough successful-appearing adequately styled vehicle. It won't starve anyone, but it won't fill 'em up either. That IS the Lexus story so far. Nicest Japanese rendition of reliable transportation so far. I'll give you that, but give me a break, the Lexus just doesn't tend to quicken the pulse.

    Every car has their attributes, and are designed for a purpose. Does it tell you something that this car happens to be the best selling luxury full-size sedan in America ? Does it tell you something that of the 745, XJR, A8, S500, LS430, most Americans prefer the LS430 over these other cars ? They must want something that the LS provides, whatever that is, much more than whatever the Germans provide in this market space. Enjoy your heart and soul car, whatever that is. The LS is not for you, find what appeals to you and enjoy it. Its your money do whatever you like with it. But do not question the motives of others who choose the LS.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I am not suggesting that there is NO relationship between sales numbers and a car's stature, as some of you might twist my words. But, often a great car and the number of units sold have NOTHING to do with one another. And history has shown that not-so-great, or just ordinary cars can certainly sell in large numbers.

    Does Porsche sell more vehicles than Ferrari? It makes no difference, as one of the marques is more likely to raise my pulse when it goes flying by. Maybe a poor analogy at the moment, but you get the point. To some, a car is great based on units sold. To me, there are other considerations.

    And for goodness sakes, enjoy your Lexus. I'm not suggesting you shouldn't. I just couldn't. A lot of people do buy them. Does EVERYBODY have to now?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Never said that and yes I still think they'll be passed in status in the the next 3-5 years (which is what I did say).

    Ok, now its 3-5 years instead of the previous 3 you gave back in 2001! Ok. Either way, ain't gonna happen. Lexus ain't gonna build the top-end cars or have the world-wide presence of Mercedes-Benz to do that.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    You said if MB costs the same or less than Lexus, MB will sell more. You are wrong. The rich people who buy it to show off will then buy something even more expensive than MB to show off. Therefore MB may actually sell less. That's why it will never happen. MB knows that.

    Sorry but this makes absolutely no sense at all. If Mercedes were cheaper they'd sure as heck sell more to regular folks. Truly rich people buy what they want now so price has no affect on them. Problem with your theory is that the average person you see riding down the road in a Benz or any other luxury car this side of a Bentley, isn't a "rich" person in most cases. Well-off, maybe, but truly rich nope. For you theory to be valid all the people in the world who didn't buy a Benz because of the price would have never existed. To say they wouldn't sell more SL500s if the car was 65K instead of 90K is just plain silly.

    M
  • ctsangctsang Posts: 237
    I felt exactly the same way you felt in the Lexus when I sat in my family's RR and my MB. To the rich folks I know, a car is a car. We buy them to show off. Heart and soul are real subjective. Anyway, again, the RR and MB go to shop a lot more often than the Lexus.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I'm willing to consider that Mercedes could indeed pull off a big upswing in sales and market share, but the note of caution is the recent unusual style that has shown up in the "R" for example. If this mutated style starts to invade the SL and new E in any way in the future, that would spell trouble. After seeing the new S-Class, I believe that Mercedes is actually on the right road. One problem I see is that Mercedes tends to offer options and packages at very expensive prices and the overall price tends to escalate very quickly. This is, again, where the Lexus people who look for "value" might take a poke at Mercedes. But that is a requirement for Lexus . . . they can NOT be very, very expensive, or they will NOT sell the number of units they need to.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The vitriol against Lexus and Lex fans is disturbing. There is so much name calling, it is just not funny. Why ? You and others now fancy calling any rebuttal to your German *we are the world* posts as "spin". You are still waiting for us to "unspin" the so-called Toyota helping GM thingy. That was a red herring thrown out here by BMW fans to get us all knotted up, another thing to carpet bag Lexus about.... Since you guys brought it up, why not deal with it ?

    Must have taken a while to come up with this one OAC. I haven't called anyone anything. It amazes me how you holler "personal" and/or "foul" when you can't compete on the facts.

    I have said it repeatedly, the key fact you all seem to run away from, and instead castigate and de-mean is that a for-profit company like Toyota created a luxury division and within 15 years became #1 lux nameplate in the world's most important market. This irks all of you, I bet. It must eat away at you for such vitriol against Lexus. What else makes this incessant attacks - wannabe, copy cat, synthetic, not a luxury company, a Toyota in fancy clothes, etc that you all throw around here.

    Yep and we've all yawned at it repeatedly because this alone doesn't mean that everything Lexus does is perfect like you and some others like to believe. I personally have never, ever cared about a sales race with a brand with prices below that a Mercedes. The only sales race I even mildly care something about is the one with BMW. The majority of Lexus' sales are in the 35-50K category so why wouldn't they take the lead enventually?

    If reliability is so unseemingly, why is MB doing its darnest best to position themselves as fixing this problem ? Why do BMW strive so hard to improve this aspect of their product with theri freebie program ? And don't even get me started on marketing ! Puleaze... The slogan - "The Ultimate Driving Machine" is all marketing BS. What is ultimate about the mainstream BMW cars or trucks ? If they are that great why create another expensive SP option, or M version ? If MB were that much driver's cars, why the need for auto-trannied AMG cars ? Truth is, MB S-sedans are luxury cruise mobiles, just like their Lexus counterpart. They are overpriced for what you get. Imagine a V6 E350 selling for $50K and change ? Pure robbery. Those who want the 3-pointed star do pony up this money, and more power to them. But I am sure Merc1 you won't spend your hard-earned money on such a car, or would you ?

    Wow. I guess this paragraph full of shots is due to getting battered over the last few weeks by a BMW enthusiast and me having to set you straight on more than a few things - as always you'll hype up anything that appears bad about Mercedes, like that Distronic episode. Who here said that reliability was "unseemingly" (whatever that means)? Who said that OAC? Now BMW's slogan is BS? This kills the last bit of credibility you had with me. BMW's are the definition of what a driving machine is. If you can honestly tell me that they aren't (in the luxury segment) then you really don't much about cars at all. Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't you driven a 330Ci only to come away raving about it? Sounds like to me this whole paragraph was typed during an emotional moment because it has zero facts and doesn't make any sense whatsoever. BMW's mainstream cars like the 330i, 530i, 550i, 750i Sport at their "mainstream" cars and they're sportier than all of their competition in sport guise. Are you telling me they aren't? I really need to get an answer here. Their Motorsport cars only hammer home the point of which they do on a regular basis even over more powerful Mercedes AMG models.

    Let me see if I can state this again so you'll understand it. No one here said that Mercedes' were drivers cars like BMWs. Ok got that part? What I and others have said that they are more in touch wiht the road than the average Lexus is. Only Lexus cars like the GS430 and IS350 are the exceptions to this. Since you brought up AMG cars, where are Lexus' performance vehicles?

    But I am sure Merc1 you won't spend your hard-earned money on such a car, or would you ?

    I love this one. When all else fails you turn right about an do what you acuse me and Dewey of doing - get personal.

    Question is how many times are you going to pass off incorrect statements about sales (like the recent one about the LS outselling the S and 7) to make an pointless argument about sales, only to lose credibility when any one of us actually look at the numbers? I like how you cleaned it up by going back to 2004 to make your point. Nice.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Unvanished truth, huh? If you're going to spread truths, then you should probably have the facts to back it up.

    Facts: As of Dec 1, LS430 YTD sales = 23723, 7-Series YTD sales = 15989, S-Class YTD sales = 14124. 30113 COMBINED.

    Unvanishedly made up. Good job.


    Oh this isn't the first time the sales thing has been blown up to favor Lexus when it fact it favored another brand. Sadly this is what you get here now, hype passed off as facts from Lexus fans, well at least some of them. Once there was a debate about who sells more cars, not SUVS and the numbers were posted showing Lexus to be within 1000 cars of Mercedes YTD, but the numbers for Mercedes were short a month.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    If Lexus is selling more vehicles than a competitor in the same class, then indeed, more people find Lexus superior to MB than find MB superior to Lexus. That doesn't mean Lexus is objectively superior; it means that more people find Lexus superior based on their own subjective needs/desires.

    No it doesn't because you don't know if the majority of these buyers even considered or test drove a Benz before buying a Lexus. Though I do halfway agree with this theory, it still makes too many assumptions.

    Indeed MB's product line starts marginally lower in price than Lexus'. In other words, MB brackets Lexus' price structure. If Lexus ran from 30-80 and MB from 40-170, then the price arguement would hold water in regards to overall nameplate sales. But the reality is different.

    How so? After the E-Class/GS level Mercedes and Lexus aren't playing the same game. Mercedes lineup starts a few hundred dollars cheaper than Lexus' hardly even worth mentioning.

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    "The engine IS a bit buzzy as the engine winds up, and I GUARANTEE you that if you drive it IN COMPARISON to the MB or JAG, for example, and full-throttle the gas, you WILL HEAR the engine to be buzzier in the Lexus"

    Have driven the Jag a few times - don't like it one bit. Would never even consider getting one.

    Have driven an S430/500 at least 50 times. The LS is quieter and smoother in the city and on the highway or at least it was in the 2001-2004 time frame. As SYSWEI has stated often it seem from comments made by reviewers the S is trying to be more in tune with the LS in the upcoming model though and CR even said it may have gotten there with the 2005 model. Soul - in an S class - it's imagined at least in the way you seem to define soul. Luxury - it's plenty luxurious but I'm no fan of the current interior. Sorry - as stated we are in total and complete disagreement. So let's just leave it there.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    This link from USA Today link title is truly eye opening. Of the cars we discuss on THIS forum, guess who actually drives geezer mobiles - MB ranks right next to Buick in old age buyers. Lexus appeals to *younger* buyers than MB, while BMW is even slightly younger still. Interesting factoid. So if Lexus were that geezer mobiles, how is it that younger folks buy them so much ? Truth is, many upwardly mobile 30- and 40-somethings are buying Lexus bcos it represents what they want - luxury that is affordable, quality that is not overt, reliability you can count on, features that work as intended, and a customer service that actually is customer-friendly. What is not to like ?

    Being a Lexus fan, I just added an LX470 to the home fleet joining my venerable and still highly reliable 1999 LS400. After 109K miles and still outstandingly quiet, smooth and refined, it makes most sense for another Lexus. At least I am putting my money where my mouth is, not just blowing hot air around here !!!
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    You and Oac keep missing the key part of hpowders' statement. He was talking about the LS430 in particular, not the entire Lexus brand. The LS430 looks and drives just like what he stated. It even has the flatest seats around to go with that image.

    M
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    In consideration of some of your eloquent, rapid-fire posts as a Euro-car fan, I thought your LS review was rather mild. Anyway, I totally agree with you about the noise and engine. To me the LS is a gilded Toyota, which in my opinion is both good and bad depending on which side of the sport/luxury fence one is on. The Lexicans don’t get sport. It’s like trying get a kid to eat escarole and beans.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Must have taken a while to come up with this one OAC. I haven't called anyone anything. It amazes me how you holler "personal" and/or "foul" when you can't compete on the facts.

    I have shown in many posts how you personalize everything in your posts. What was your response to it ? Paraphrasing you here: it was your way of getting back at those who continually remind you that you don't OWN an MB you argue so hard for. Want me to provide you links to your posts on this ?

    Who here said that reliability was "unseemingly" (whatever that means)? Who said that OAC? Now BMW's slogan is BS? This kills the last bit of credibility you had with me.

    Obviously you have a huge ego about yourself, so much that I need to be credible with YOU. Hmmm ! This car thingy sure goes to the head... Just remember that you are a poster here like everyone else. As to reliability, wow... where do one start ? There is too much track record here of your statements.... Better to let sleeping dogs lie.

    BMW's are the definition of what a driving machine is.

    You don't drive this car daily so how can you know ? Or are you going to give us the auto rag definitions, and your test drive impressions ?

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't you driven a 330Ci only to come away raving about it?

    Of course. I even drove a e90 330i SP just a couple months ago, and loved it. Ultimate driving machine these cars are NOT. I still say it is pure BS. Do you know what *ultimate* means ? Check out its definition and see if you can attach it to mainstream BMW cars. A statement repeated long enough can become fact... That doesn't make it so, just bcos many people believe it...

    BMW's mainstream cars like the 330i, 530i, 550i, 750i Sport at their "mainstream" cars and they're sportier than all of their competition in sport guise. Are you telling me they aren't? I really need to get an answer here.

    It all depends on what you want in a car. Sportier than others suggest others are aiming for sportiness in their products as well. What if they aren't ? What if each car is biased towards some strength of its maker ? Do you understand market/product differentiation ? A product that doesn't differentiate itself is doomed to failure. Lexus' strength and differentiators are luxury, refinement, reliability and customer service. And that's why they have been so hugely successful. BMW may appeal to *sportiness* and that may make them successful. MB may appeal to heritage and marqueness, and that may be enough for them to be successful. Do you even remotely get this ?? So pls stop the *ultimate* driving machine sloganeering. It only matters to those who target such feature.

    Let me see if I can state this again so you'll understand it. No one here said that Mercedes' were drivers cars like BMWs. Ok got that part? What I and others have said that they are more in touch wiht the road than the average Lexus is.

    Yep. MBs are more in touch with the road than Lexus ! You can say that with a straight face ? Have you owned or driven extensively an S-500 and LS430 to judge that ? Or is it what you read in auto mags ?

    Question is how many times are you going to pass off incorrect statements about sales (like the recent one about the LS outselling the S and 7) to make an pointless argument about sales, only to lose credibility when any one of us actually look at the numbers? I like how you cleaned it up by going back to 2004 to make your point. Nice.

    You are simply looking for something to trump out as non-credible. The post of mine you quote stated NOTHING about a timeline. I said LS was outselling S + 7-series COMBINED. Did I tell you which year that was, or like your colleague, you simply assumed I meant 2005 YTD? So when I specified the timeline, why not prove that wrong instead of denigrating my post ? If you have the facts for 2004 why not present it ?

    The tone you adopt is rather defensive. Throwing and casting aspersions on everything. Credibility with you ? You must have such a lofty view of yourself, Merc1. You and I are like night and day in our lifes... You just don't know it. The only way we cross paths is Edmunds. So pls lay off credibility with you.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    needs to stop making and taking this discussion personally. You can talk about the cars and the marques all you want, but the comments about other posters need to stop altogether.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I don't know how many times I have seen Lexus LS's on the road.
    Maybe 20 times.
    I have never seen anyone who wasn't a geezer driving one.

    Most of the younger folks, especialy the young suburban mall princesses are huge purchasers of Lexus SUV's.
    To get the average Lexus age down in the 40's, those SUV purchasers are probably included in the stats and are responsible for lowering the average age, IMHO.
    It would have been nice for them to say if cars really meant cars.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    To get the average Lexus age down in the 40's, those SUV purchasers are probably included in the stats and are responsible for lowering the average age.

    At 58.7yr for MB, imagine how they arrived at the mid-point ? Must have 70-something S-class owners + 30-somthing C/E owners.... The geezer mobile is MBs... hehehe...
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Does Porsche sell more vehicles than Ferrari? It makes no difference, as one of the marques is more likely to raise my pulse when it goes flying by.

    Just an FYI. This board discusses the 7-, A8, LS430, Jag, etc level of cars. Only within THIS class of cars are we debating the sales numbers. So there is no need to extend these beyond the confines of HELM. We are not debating Porsches and Ferraris here. Pls use the example pertinent here. When we say the LS430 is #1 luxury full-size car in America, that is within HELM scope, and is correct.

    So of the cars in HELM, which one would you rather own ? Not one you'd rather dream about, but one you'll actually BUY.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    "BMWs are the definition of what a driving machine is."
    "You (Merc1) don't drive this car daily so how can you know?"

    I have driven BMW's daily since 1993 except for 1 day when I had a fight with a neighbor and didn't leave the house for fear of bodily harm, which is a story for another day.

    I have had 2 325i's and now have a 545i.
    I have driven the LS430 and the driving experience doesn't even come close.
    Unlike Tagman, I cannot say anything good about the seats in the LS.
    I agree with Merc1. The seats are rather "undistinguished" except of course to Lexus apologist, Consumer Reports.
    My comfort seats are much better. You cannot even compare them.

    The car is what it is. A lot of geez.... er, uh, people like it.
    Good. God bless them.

    You can compare any car in any category where BMW "lives."
    It doesn't matter-whether it's SUV's or sedans, it is a simple fact of life.
    BMW's are the Ultimate Driving Machines in their price categories.

    This is not to say that I am not looking forward to the 2007 LS.
    I am and look forward to driving it.
    I hope the seats, the steering and the barge-like feeling are improved in the new model.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    The Lexicans don’t get sport. It’s like trying get a kid to eat escarole and beans.

    I always try to get my kids to eat brocholli. I remind them its good for them, but they go eeewwwww !!!! See, kids by-and-large don't like what their parents tell them *is good for them*, especially teen-age ones.

    :)
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I heard BMW’s competitors in “sport guise” mentioned here. I want to point something out. You can’t even get an LS430 in it’s native sport guise. I tried on numerous occasions to drive one but it ain’t happening. On my last attempt the sales person told me that he had one person order it the past year and the car was never delivered, couldn’t be delivered. And this is a big dealership. That shows you where the Lexus sport mentality is at. There is none, period. So a LS fan commenting on sport sedans and vilifying BMW is like the Pope commenting on football.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Lexus Sport?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    First let me be quite clear here. I do NOT care about being credible with YOU. Obviously you have a huge ego about yourself, more power to you. You are a poster here like everyone else. As to reliability, wow... where do one start ? There is too much track record here of your statements.... Lets just let sleeping dogs lie.

    Thats all fine and good, problem is posting incorrect sales figures, statements about Mercedes safety systems failing and how they invited journalist to come and watch are extremely mis-leading at best, to say the least. It does a great diservice to readers who tend to believe any and everything they read on the internet and if it weren't for others double checking most of this stuff it would be left to stand as fact, when it couldn't be any further from the truth.

    It all depends on what you want in a car. Sportier than others suggests others are aiming for sportiness in their products. What if they aren't ? What if each car is biased towards some strength of its maker ? What you have no clue about is market/product differentiation. A product that doesn't differentiate itself is doomed to failure. Do you even remotely get this ?? So pls stop the *ultimate* driving machine sloganeering. It only matters to those who target such feature.

    It seems to me that BMW has proven over and over that they are just that, the ultimate driving machine. Now since Lexus opened their big mouth and said they were targeting this and failed we get this spin about this slogan only meaning something to people that BMWs appeal to! You're kidding! I thought that was the whole reason for having a slogan or advertising in the first place - to reach a core group of people or a select audience. All the irrelevancy about customer service and what not the Lexus fans constantly tout likewise only matters to people who place such things above all else.

    Lexus' strength and differentiators are luxury, refinement, reliability and customer service. And that's why they have been so hugely successful. BMW may appeal to *sportiness* and that may make them successful. MB may appeal to heritage and marqueness, and that may be enough for them to be successful.

    Who is arguing with this? You act as though no other car other than a Lexus is luxurious or reliable. The truth is that other cars are just that, at least enough to keep their buyers interested. The ridiculous theory about Lexus selling so many cars and being so perfect because of that is just plain silly when other brands are in the same sales ballpark, esepcially BMW. That alone tells you that their are other factors besides reliability and customer service that sells these cars.

    Yep. MBs are more in touch with the road than Lexus ! You an say that with a straight face ? Have you owned or driven extensively an S-500 and LS430 to judge that ? Or is it what you read in auto mags ?

    Nope, don't need to own a car to know how it drives. Another fallacy given here constantly, that you have to own a car to know how it drives. You're able to tell how a 330i drives from a test drive of a few minutes, or at least to be able to tell it drives sportier, but no one else is able to do the same with a test drive of a LS430 vs the competition. I've driven the LS430 a few times now and the S-Class many times and my opinions on both as to how they drive are based on such driving experience. Don't need to own one to see and feel how they drive, don't be ridiculous. If I made a statement about which car was more reliable or disputed the fact that the LS shows to be more reliable in survey - then I'd need to own one of them of both. Not to know that the LS430 keeled over like a barge at Lexus' own test drive event.

    You are simply looking for something to trump out as non-credible. The post of mine you quote stated NOTHING about a timeline. I said LS was outselling S + 7-series COMBINED. Did I tell you which year that was, or like your colleague, you simply assumed I meant 2005 YTD. So when I specified the timeline, why not prove that wrong instead of denigrating my post ? If you have the facts for 2004 why not present it ?

    Well it really doesn't require much "looking" to see the hype often presented here. Sales figures YTD that have been light by one month for the non-Lexus brand or articles about safety equipment failing without the whole story being posted - nothing but hype.

    Lastly, this about Lexus and their product differenation skills is a joke. They have 4 sedans and 3 SUVs, yet they're so diversified as to make them all boring (except the IS350) and drive more or less alike (again except the IS350), yeah that is product "differentiation" alright. Seems to me they've made their success on making the same type of product for different segments not because they offer something from everyone as you try to imply. People looking for sporty car that isn't small like the IS or a sporty car without 4-doors are out of luck at a Lexus store. Seems to me product diversity is something they're only just now trying to do with sportier cars like the IS and to a lesser degree the new GS. Until now all they had was boring, yawnish sedans and even more drole SUVs.

    Oh, If BMWs aren't the ultimate driving machines in the luxury segment then what brand is? It certainly isn't Lexus. Yet if someone were to suggest that the ultimate in luxury is a Lexus, this would be gladly excepted as some type of fact. If BMW isn't the maker of the ultimate driving machine from the 325i all the way up to a 760i Sport, then who is?

    M
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    You can compare any car in any category where BMW "lives."
    It doesn't matter-whether it's SUV's or sedans, it is a simple fact of life.
    BMW's are the Ultimate Driving Machines in their price categories.

    Geez... I have some free time today... no golf game, hence time for Edmunds HELM...

    Ultimate; adj, Representing or exhibiting the greatest possible development or sophistication; n: The greatest extreme; the maximum...

    If defined narrowly as you do: in its space, then maybe. But I doubt if BMW defines this so narrowly.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Oac, a BMW is good for you ...

    I've tried buying one, so far... no can-do... Maybe someday when I am a geezer - retired and wanting to re-live my youthful years all over again, after the pampering by Lexus sedans and trucks... :D
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I heard BMW’s competitors in “sport guise” mentioned here. I want to point something out. You can’t even get an LS430 in it’s native sport guise. I tried on numerous occasions to drive one but it ain’t happening. On my last attempt the sales person told me that he had one person order it the past year and the car was never delivered, couldn’t be delivered. And this is a big dealership. That shows you where the Lexus sport mentality is at. There is none, period.

    Exactly!

    M
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    A BMW with the comfort seats and you will never go back to Lexus again!
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    There is no "maybe" except to the absurdists.
    Of course,"in its space."
    One cannot compare a $60,000 545 to a $200,000 Italian race car.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Merc1: This recent post is a very nice one. I like it a lot actually. More moderate. Pls keep this up and we'll truly get a good debate going here.

    Oh, If BMWs aren't the ultimate driving machines in the luxury segment then what brand is? It certainly isn't Lexus. Yet if someone were to suggest that the ultimate in luxury is a Lexus, this would be gladly excepted as some type of fact. If BMW isn't the maker of the ultimate driving machine from the 325i all the way up to a 760i Sport, then who is?

    In its space as you and hpowders have defined it, I'd say BMW is truly a much better *driving* car than some others. The M twins are pretty good too. I have driven the M35. The IS350 is pretty good as well. I have driven it too. The IS350 and M-twins are new challengers to the BMW crown in this space. Only in the last couple of years have there been any serious challenge to BMW in this area. What it portends is more challenge in the future. Hopefully, more challenge means better cars in the future. I still want a small compact lux sedan. May be a 330i (hate the e90, prefer the e46) or an IS350 (too expensive, gotta wait for it to come down), but my real target is a convertible. Which car meets my needs at that time (kids left home for College) will get my money.

    Or maybe step up to the real (affordable) ultimate driving machines - the Porsches, and get a 911 or 940. That'd be a real driving sports car, just for wifey and I.
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