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High End Luxury Cars

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  • v12powerv12power Posts: 174
    I JUST got my new C&D yesterday. I have FINALLY read the articles in question. On the CLK vs SC430, I would definately side with C&D and get the CLK. I like the looks better. I like the idea of a stiffer structure and better handling. The features issue and extra glitzy Lexus interior are a distant second on my priority list. That I think is where Merc and I differ from toyotas1. A dvd nav system does not appeal to me. I have two cars with nav systems. In the last three years I have actually used this feature on one trip.

    I also do not think adding stiffer springs to the SC is going to transform it. If you think about it, the Lexus drew critisism for a flexy structure. It demonstrated flex with soft springs. What do you think the result of adding stiffer springs would be? You may get some handling improvement, more likely you will be overtaxing the structure insighting more chassis flex and ultimately squeaks and rattles. It would take more than that to cure the SCs handling deficit.

    I think the SL500 was well received. They had a couple negatives. Most had to do with the lees than sporting nature of the car. WELL, it is not intended to be a sports car. The AMG version will address that, as they noted. There is simply no comparison between the SC and SL. An objective comparision test would surely demonstrate where the extra $25k was spent.
  • arcoatesarcoates Posts: 221
    Not to pick a fight, but copying the cylinders in an engine or the displacement is not the same as copying the styling. I don't even have a problem with copying technology or safety features because that is competition. What car companies don't expect to be copied is their original designs!~ A.R.
  • antiosamaantiosama Posts: 62
    Compare a 120K S600 to a $70K LS430 then blast it for copying. Let's not forget all that Toyota/Lexus has given to the luxury car game in the last 10 years. They have added innovations in many areas. True, the styling, especially, on the current LS430 is a rip-off. But very little does Lexus copy from other car brands.

    Features are copied all the time. That is a stupid thing to even bring up.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I agree with the last two posts about technology and engines, but Lexus copies all the little details they can. Wheels, gearshifts, styling (I mean the whole body is some cases) and when then don't outright copy they make a very awkward ungainly car, like the GS series, which took E-Class cues and matched them with the original GS300's Italian styling. A mess.

    M
  • v12powerv12power Posts: 174
    "Features are copied all the time. That is a stupid thing to even bring up."

    That is a pretty shortsighted view, don't you think? How about features like ABS braking systems and supplemental restraint systems? These now commonplace systems were pioneered by MB. Somebody has to innovate, or nothing changes, or at best change is painfully slow.

    MB even pioneered crash testing so that we could all be a little safer. So you would rather send your money to the copy cat company? Wouldn't it make more sense to send your money to the company on the leading edge? How else do we improve automobiles? If everybody copied like Lexus who would lead?

    They copy brand new features. Some of you Lexus supporters act like Lexus offers this cutting edge sedan for less. Ironically they didn't invent anything on the car, somebody else did. I guess if that is OK with you, be my guest. I prefer to send my dough to a company that actively improves the standards of the whole industry, to all of our benefit, rather than pick up a knock off for less and consider myself wise for doing so.

    You claim that Lexus copies very little. Funny, did you read post 1284? There is a pretty good list of innovative features that MB invented and brought to the market. Lexus then copied them and undersold the innovator. The list included; heated and cooled seats, power sunshades, power door closers, adaptive cruise control, voice recognition systems.

    I have just been using the S600 because it is an easy referance for me. We can use the S430 if you like, it is essentially the same car.

    You claim Lexus has added many innovations over the last 10 years. Please list their innovations.
  • antiosamaantiosama Posts: 62
    v12power, You're just another joke waiting to happen. You're just like every other prestige loving fool.

    Every company copies from other companies. It's how products are improved. Benz has given a lot of innovations to the automobile market, but that doesn't mean whatsoever that I will pay them $10K more for a similar product or for a lesser product. To say things like power seats are copied is ridiculous. It's not really what I would consider a innovation. Wow, a extra motor is added to make one more cushion move. How about power closing doors. A motor is placed so that the door is closed. Again, not much innovation. And alot of the features you see on cars that are really innovations are not at all innovated by the car makers. Try Bosch, Delphi, Visteon, etc. for parts innovations. Generally these companies work with the car companies to come up with new products.

    Let's see Lexus is on the cutting edge on many planes. Do you see any other carmaker matching the quality of a Lexus? I see after 10 years+ BMW and Mercedes still can't touch a Lexus for quality. I see plenty of innovation in that. They keep pushing the envelope and nobody can catch up. And please don't tell me that isn't part of the car. Because how you build a car has everything to do with a car. The Japanese innovate in many areas. Typically German car fanatics can't take it, because they are too full of their rolling snob mobiles.

    Adaptive cruise control. Give me a break. Both companies-Lexus & MB-were working on these at a similar time. As usual, the credit goes to Benz for no reason. YOu fail to realize that alot of carmakers are designing similar features at the same time.

    I suppose Benz introducing Air-conditioned seats would be copying Lincoln?
  • v12powerv12power Posts: 174
    I guess when it gets down to the facts of the matter, and you cannot compete, the insults start to fly.

    So you are able to list ONE supposesed inovation, quality? At the same time the things MB brought to market first, the things they innovated are discounted by you. It only counts if you say so right? Credit goes to Benz when it is deserved, when you are first, thats it, pretty simple.

    This quality thing is so overblown. Sorry but Lexus is NOT on a plane above the rest. I have owned MB products for years. I have not had a single failure on any of them. Routine maint is all they have ever required. Best of all, unlike Lexus, all of my maint is paid! On my Benz to 36k miles and on my BMW to 50k miles. You must pay for Lexus service, and it isn't cheap. C&D long term tests show Lexus cars to have higher than average maint costs over 40k miles.

    My MB experience has been very good, why change? My BMW experience has been very different. I have had MANY repairs on my 7 series BMWs. Multiple trips for the same problem, waiting for parts, worthless customer service at the factory level. Lexus certainly has most manufacturers beat. This is changing. MB(and BMW) now issue surveys at every visit. If things are not perfect, the contact employee is docked pay. The level of service is already MUCH improved and is bound to succeed by holding people accountable.

    So the quality gap is a pretty thin margin to be staking your entire argument on. The gap is nowhere near what you suggest, in my actual experience with the cars. The innovations come from the Germans, always have. Your inability to list ten years worth of innovation by Lexus clearly illustrates this.

    If buying the finest product I can afford makes me a snob, well, so be it. I'm just not a K-Mart shopper.
  • wishnhigh1wishnhigh1 Posts: 363
    I love it. Somehow, German cars are rolling snob machines...which makes Lexi cars for the most humble and meek that walk the earth.
  • antiosamaantiosama Posts: 62
    As I said before, v12 driver, many things are innovated by many companies at the same time. Adaptive cruise control is not just a mercedes innovation. Long before Lexus even introduced adaptive cruise, dateline on NBC showed Toyota testing adaptive cruise. That was several years before the LS430 ever hit the streets.

    I never stated Mercedes hasn't innovated. They are clearly the leaders in innovation. But as with most Mercedes fans, you also make it out as only Mercedes innovating. Where do all the electronics innovations come from? That is typically Japan. As I said before, the technology that goes into building a Lexus, Mercedes or BMW can't match. And it shows in many areas. I'm sure just like a typical German car fan, you'll say JD power's and Consumer's Reports are biased or their testing is flawed. But realistically it speaks volume about how well about the technology that goes into every Lexus product. Also who had Nav systems in cars long before Mercedes? TOyota had them years before Mercedes did. And when Mercedes was still lugging around with archaic stereo systems with paper speakers and crappy sound quality, lexus was designing a ground breaking stereo system with Nakamichi. Let's move on to the 1995 LS400 being the first car to have front seats with it's own suspension system. Or the innovative climate control system of the 1995 LS400. Let's not forget a innovation Mercedes still can't seem to muster, a in-dash CD changer. Quiet-can anyone make a car as quiet as a Lexus? If you don't think this is constant innovation, you're kidding yourself. To make a car quiet takes alot more than just packing the car with foam & weight.

    I had a 88 Benz S-class. It was a very good car. It was extremely reliable up to 100K miles. I was very happy with it. But the new E-class(in 2000) and S430 were simply outclassed by the LS400. Yes, the S430 has slightly better handling and more features but it also costs about $20 grand more. The E-class costs a about the same as the 2000 LS400 but with less feature content. And luxury. And both Benz's had subpar interior quality. The plastic, leather, & vinyl in both of these cars felt cheaper than my 88 420SEL. As for handling, as I said, the S430 is slightly better and ultimately that doesn't cut it. Especially considering I spend 70% of my time in traffic and the rest lugging the family around. Who has time to be Mario Andretti? As the name suggests, it's a Luxury car and luxury is the top priority for the average luxury car buyer. How many S430 customers do you think buy a S430 for it's handling? I can guarantee very few.
  • ajvdhajvdh Posts: 223
    "the technology that goes into building a Lexus, Mercedes or BMW can't match"

    OK, where's the Lexus equivalent of BMW's valvetronic technology (no throttle plate, drastically increasing efficiency)? Or an active anti-roll system? Or the doors that hold open at any arbitrary angle (not just at detents)?

    I don't see them selling electro-hydraulic braking like MB does. What about MB's ABC suspension - the nearest thing to a true "active" suspension on the market?

    Toyota does a lot of things right, but to claim that they're technologically head and shoulders above MB or BMW is evidence of blind bias.
  • wishnhigh1wishnhigh1 Posts: 363
    how Mercedes drivers are snobs and Lexus drivers somehow are not...
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    You'd thimk ABC is standard equipment on a Benz the way MB fans talk about it. When I was shopping MB I asked the salesmen about ABC. His response was that it was a nice to have feature but hardly needed. I then asked how often it was optioned in. Response - 1 in 10 cars. So please - stop the nonsesnse. 10% of the buyers opt for a technology that is not needed and maybe is used 1-10% of the time on a good day.

    The difference between Lexus and MB on the technology front is that Lexus pours its' money into things you enjoy all the time. A radio may be something un-important to some people on this board but to Lexus buyers its more important than ABC.

    A Lexus buyer wants a supreme luxury ride with a royalty like cabin. A BMW buyer doesn't. They prefer a hard riding car. That is called carving out your customer base and has nothing to do with which car is better. The fact that the 7 has never sold more than 18k cars in a year is an indication of where the preferences lie in this niche.

    Does anyone in his right mind think that Toyota, who has a financial position MB and BMW can only dream of, couldn't match MB innovations if it thought it was prudent? They take a more common sense American approach while MB and BMW duke it out to be king of Europe.
  • v12powerv12power Posts: 174
    Active Body Control IS standard on some models. The S55, S600, CL500, CL600, CL55, SL500 and the upcoming SL55. This is brand new stuff, rest assured it will permeate the line-up in time.

    Quiet is not a Lexus only option. I tested a new LS430 and my '98 750 back to back one day. The BMW was noticably more quiet and rode smoother than the Lexus. To be fair, I suspect the dual pane windows unique to the 750(in BMWs line) made this possible. None of these cars is going to make your ears bleed, you are splitting hairs on this subject.

    ljflx, you make a very important point. These cars all have sublte niches in the high lux arena. Lexus offers value and excellent customer care. They cover most of the bases and provide a price leader in the segment. BMW used to be the home of the sporty driver. I am sadly dissappointed by the new 7, a column shifter in a drivers car??? Yet they raise the bar again with the latest design. MB seems to have several irons in the fire. They are providing technological innovation with ABC and brake by wire systems. They are trying to take a bite out of BMWs niche with the AMG cars, every line has one now. They are admittedly playing catch-up to Lexus in customer service and initial quality. All of this and still trying to foster its long heritage.

    "innovative climate control" on a '95 LS400?? You mean the one they plagarized from the new in '92 S-Class? Actually they didn't have four zone until the LS430 did they?

    To deny that Lexus takes others ideas and implements them after the competition brings them to market would be to deny the facts.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    What is going on here? Lexus innovators?? Not even. CD players, Navigation systems and stereos wow (!), those are really big things that have really proven crucial to the advancement of the autombile. What bs. Car quality is not an innovation, it's a necessity. Mercedes-Benz has always led the luxury car market, with Lexus being their main follower. Mercedes' seats have had their own "suspension" for years, springs and all. Again another minor thing that is being passed off as a major innovation. SBC is a innovation, ESP is an innovation, ABC is an innovation. If designing a stereo is a innovation, then the Ford Focus SVT, Mazda MP3, Sentra SE-R and others are innovators too right?

    ljflx,

    What are you talking about? ABC is used anytime you manuver the car. It keeps the driver and
    passengers from being tossed around and keeps the body level. I find it ironic that the features that get knocked are NOT on Lexus cars. People don't buy 60K cars based on their stereos, if any do that's saddening. Oh Toyota will try to match these features, once they've had time to study them.

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    When was the last time anyone got tossed around in your car? It has never happened to me in 30 years of driving. Maybe if your driving like Mario Andretti, as Antiosama says, it can happen but who drives like that in an S-class or in any luxury sedan. And when do you have a chance anyway? Every S-class driver I'm behind brakes on a curve. My point is that it may be a bragging point but it's in 10% of S-class cars and maybe 1% of all MB cars and while it may be in use 100% of the time I'll bet most people couldn't tell the difference between a car with it or without it.
  • v12powerv12power Posts: 174
    ...you're wrong. It is very easy to detect. The car has NO body roll, yet the ride remains compliant.

    The biggest stumbling block in this discussion is different priorities when buying a car. I think the Lexus guys are correct, many people would prefer a better stereo system over a better suspension system. Many lux car buyers are most concerned about the quiet smooth ride, not the cars handling. Many lux car buyers have absolutely no need for the "extras" MB provides, thus the extra money would be spent foolishly.

    I personally have a different set of priorities. After several driving schools and tons of track time in my Porsche, I have developed an affinity for the way a car drives. The BMW and MB products cater to this more than the Lexus. I also greatly prefer the styling on the Germans, just a personal preferance again.

    I am not alone in these preferances. I have many friends in the P-car club that choose luxo sedans on the same criteria. I have yet to see a Lexus in one of these guys garages. Nothing wrong with the car, it just appeals to people for different reasons. I don't think being a snob is one of them, not in my experience anyway.

    I also believe the Germans are better engineered cars. The premium price is relfected in areas you do not see. This is convienient for Lexus, the less demanding (performance wise) Lexus owners will never notice, or care. I do, I pay the premium, I enjoy the superior feel of my cars. I think they are worth every extra penny. I certainly don't blame you for feeling otherwise.
  • nealm1nealm1 Posts: 154
    "When was the last time anyone got tossed around in your car?" ljflx, you are being brutally unfair to our friend merc1. Driving his Mitsu as the "enthusiast" he claims to be, I suspect that many things -- animate and inanimate -- get tossed around regularly. And I am not surprised that the arrested adolescents among us credit only "advances" that allow them to drive their cars at speeds that threaten their own lives and those of others, and simultaneously deprecate mundane contributions such as mere "reliability" and "customer service." There are many among those who BUY these cars (as opposed to reviewing them or drooling over their pictures in magazines) that value things other than marginally better skidpad performance or the timbre of the exhaust note with which we can wake up the neighbors.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Oh boy so you've never made a sharp turn or abrupt manuver? Right. Anyway my point was you and others are only knocking ABC because Lexus doesn't have it. Period. ABC is not even tuned for "performance" on most S-Class models, the S55 being the exception to that rule. It's mainly for comfort, i.e. keeping the car level no matter what.

    nealm1,

    And you're reasoning is why Lexus cars are looked up as great cars, but no fun to drive, basically a yawning coffin. This whole thing got started with one word innovations. Neither of you can point to a true innovation like ABC or SBC from Lexus. Yeah and I guess anyone of these cars here has an exhaust that will wake up the neighbors right. Your ridiculous statement about exhuasts fits. Yawn.

    M
  • v12powerv12power Posts: 174
    ...of course there is me. I have bought these cars. I prefer the marginally better skidpad performance and I am a sucker for the timbre of a finely tuned exhaust. I live in a decidedly rural part of America. I enjoy using these cars at speed on deserted country lanes.


    Merc, I think we found a lexus snob! nealm1 is throwing some stones here. Well buddy, take a look at my stable, and how I use them. You will see pics of my V12 cars, my Porsche on the racetrack and my Geleandewagen way off the road. I buy my vehicles with purposeful use in mind. I find the German vehicles are better at their targeted purpose, unlike Lexus which seems to take the "shotgun" approach. They make cars for people who just want you to think that they are conneseurs. They appeal to the masses, certainly not to auto enthusiasts. http://homepage.mac.com/bwinterholm

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Oh he definitely is that, and a bore too. I'll take a look.

    M
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I just posted this in another discussion, but I see now that it needs to be said here even more loudly.

    Please debate your thoughts and opinions WITHOUT the name-calling and personal insults. If you must include personal attacks in your messages, it sure looks like you don't have any facts or opinions worth stating.

    Besides, you know the Membership Agreement requires civil and respectful discourse.

    Pat
    Host
    Sedans Message Board
  • nealm1nealm1 Posts: 154
    No one with a brain (or a sense of history) would deny the accomplishments of MB or BMW. No one who has driven the 7 or the S would deny that they are terrific cars. And I can tolterate -- even enjoy -- the Deutschland-uber-ales cheerleading that comes from fans of both brands. What I find inconceivable is the delight supposedly mature adults take in "racing" ANY car on a crowded urban expressway (here the Kennedy) finding sport in passing a tractor trailer on the shoulder of the road. There are ways to get your jollies without risking the lives of others. THAT is why I said grow up. Before you kill yourself.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    I'm not knocking ABC. I'm sure it's a marvelous engineering feat. I'm saying it is hardly ever purchased in the first place. Why over-engineer a car? Reminds me of the technology guys I had to deal with that want perfection in a product at all costs but the market won't pay or opt for it. I appreciate that V-12 power is one of the guys that likes that perfection, notices subtle differences in a car, can afford it and has no issue paying for it. But he's an exception to the rule not a standard. Most MB S-class buyers obviously pass on it.

    You act like I'm jealous that Lexus doesn't have it? Who cares. If they developed it and offered it I'd pass on it. My point is simple - Lexus is trying to appeal to the masses and makes strategic decisions based on things those masses will appreciate the most. That is always a smart business strategy. Besides do you really think a company like Lexus couldn't develop it?? They have virtually unlimited capital resources and they reside in a country where engineers have to construct buildings to withstand powerful earthquakes. You think thoses engineers couldn't do whatever they wanted with a car?
  • flint350flint350 Posts: 250
    Why don't you consider consolidating the 2 "high end" boards. They are virtually indistinguishable as they are now. The Euro/Japanese/Amer. title is probably closest to a compromise without listing specific models.
  • v12powerv12power Posts: 174
    You have summerized my view nicely. Lexus is trying to appeal to the masses. As you have noted this is smart business practice. I think they are also smart to allow others to develop much of the newest technology. Then they can pass on certain new tech items that probably wouldn't help sales anyway. All of these things make it easy for Lexus to offer a premium car at a lower price.

    Could they do it? I think it is foolish to assume otherwise. You are correct, they have the resources to be a leader.

    One notion that seems to lurk around here, and any discussion of premium autos, is the one that says people buy MB just for status. I think that is a bit insulting to the owners of any of these cars.You generally do not amass the wealth to buy one of these cars by being foolish or wasteful. I do not think I am a big minority among buyers of the S-Class or 7 series. There are tons of people that prefer the driving feel of the MB. They are willing to pay the premium for that largely intangible feature. Undoubtably the Lexus is a fine machine, and a superb value at that. There must be plenty of people that also value the German driving experience. I think you are kidding yourself when you assume MB or BMW buyers are only concerned with the badge on the hood. If you really did not like the car that much better, what is the reason for spending sooo much more. I just do not accept that it is because the owners are shallow badge snobs. Like I stated before, that has definately NOT been my experience.

    I would be willing to bet that in many cases, speaking to the owner of a new MB or BMW would yeild a very different conversation than the one with a new Lexus owner. The MB and BMW guys I know could site all kinds of techno info about their cars. I think the Lexus owner is much less likely to be interested in the mechanical workings of their car. Different strokes for different folks. Just don't pass of MB and BMW owners a dupes because they could have had the Lexus for less. Accept that they may just really appreciate their cars for very different reasons than you love your Lexus.
  • wishnhigh1wishnhigh1 Posts: 363
    I have been trying to say that for so long. Somehow some of these Lexus advocates are telling me that the only reason to buy a Mercedes is for the badge snobery. They go spouting mercedes drivers are snobs...etc.

    A Lexus may be cheaper but it still is in the luxury car class(READ: Wasted money!). People buy luxury cars because they want luxury cars. They don't need luxury cars. That would make a Lexus driver just as snobby, under your own conditions, as a Mercedes driver.

    Get over it...Mercedes owners drive their cars for their own reasons, which may or may not be what you think they are. To some it is worth the extra money, and for you it isnt. No big deal.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    Not a statement I ever made. I almost bought the S-class. Had I done so I wouldn't want anyone saying I was a snob. I drive around my town and I see many people who own both a MB and a Lexus so I'm not sure I agree with your point. In some cases it's an E and an an ES-300. One guy has an LS430 and an S-430. Be interesting to get his viewpoint. I'm sure one is his and the other's his wife's. Heck - I almost took an E instead of the second LS430 for a job change that required driving 120 miles a day last year. But I thought the E had a ridiculous lease deal and I preferred the comfort and roominess of another big lux car in the end. There are many that have S or E class cars (or BMW's) interspersed with LX470's and Landcruisers. It's funny but rarely do I see a Range Rover. I rarely see your situation though - a BMW and an MB under one roof. Where I live though Lexus and MB are far more popular than BMW's. The point is that as much as we debate the cars there are many cross-bred owners. A guy in my parking garage at work just matched his old body S-500 with an SC430. I cringe when I go past either of his cars because he's parked right at the edge of a row where many turns are made and there isn't a lot of space for turning.

    The bottom line is most people who own or lease these cars make 250-500k or more per year and have accumulated wealth or have equity positions that will give them future wealth. There are many who consider anyone in that bracket to either be a snob, be perceived as a snob or be eligible to be called a snob. What can you do?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    If you had read what I posted you would have known that I wasn't a part of that. I was merely telling you what I saw that night driving home. Loosen up some, if you live in the Chicago area you know full well that this is going on right now, there is nothing you nor I can do about it, so just drive defensively and don't worry about it. And I take it you've never driven your LS430 past 65 mph then right? If you have then be quiet, you're just as bad.

    ljflx,

    Overengineering as you put it is part of the Mercedes way or tradition. How do you know that ABC is hardly ever ordered? For one it's standard on the S600/CL600, S55, CL500, CL55 and new SL500 so it's out there in decent numbers, and there people right here on Edmunds in the S-Class topic that have it on their S500's so some do think it's a legitimate option. I'm sure Lexus could come up with something like ABC, they've had 3 years to study it complements of MB. If they have all this engineering prowess why don't they ever come up with something first? Not everyone wants a car that appeals to everyone, some want something that stands out from the herd. ABC is one of the reasons MB cars do.

    v12power,

    Post # 1318, exactly!

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,675
    Maybe the whole snob issue is not aimed at the people who buy the cars but at the manufacturers particularly MB and BMW but more so MB. I never see anyone saying anything about Audi. Remember the statements of these companies. MB - "if we build it they will come". BMW - "We are BMW and we do what we want". If the brand is viewed as snobbish then the spillover to the consumers who buy it can be expected. Lexus has been humble up to the last few years but their new one - "isn't it time you deserve a Lexus" will get them the snobbish view also.

    Merc1 - you confuse business strategies with auto enthusiast desires. Lexus has executed their strategy spectacularly. They don't care about a few auto enthusiast opinions. Guaranteed though - that will change over time probably in the next couple of years.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    You might be right about the business vs desire point about carmaking. As always I appreciate your business take on the doings of these things. Ahh...I've been waiting on someone to mention Audi...my underdog favorite. Audi is the new up and coming brand in most luxury car buyers minds (though they go back almost as far as MB), they don't have the pretensions of MB or BMW. A lot of people like that, me included. I'm pulling for Audi all the way......

    By the way I saw two 745i's tonight, in black. They both looked good to me (this time). The look is sort of growing on me.

    M
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