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High End Luxury Cars

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Comments

  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    At one time there was a forum about the American auto manufacturers, and what they need to do. Some of your ideas would fit right in there. I don't know if it is still available. I'm sure it would be easy to check. Anyway, you have some great ideas, no doubt.

    TagMan
  • denaliinpadenaliinpa Posts: 169
    beautiful car. good luck and enjoy!
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    Tagman, whaddya mean by "if well equipped"? The standard XJ is fantastically well equipped. Sure the V-P has those picnic tables but when was the last time you pulled of the road and climbed in the back for a little pate? I think that color is very important in all HELM resale discussions. I don't think that a white, green (except maybe for a Jag), gold, etc. have a chance. Yet white and green pickups I think do OK.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Hey, blckislandguy, you are very right that XJ's are fantastically equipped even in the standard mode. I was merely referring to some of the extras that recent HELM buyers look for. For example, beyond the picnic tables which are icons for the the Vanden Plas, Jaguar offers some desireable options . . . such as gorgeous upgrades to the wheels and tires (which are popular nowadays), bluetooth, satellite radio, rear multi-media entertainment, rear climate control / window shades package, and other options and accessories. That's what I was referring to. Those very cool features just make a good thing even better.
    :)
    TagMan
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    ... And the hilarious Freestyle was headed for doom before it even reached the assembly line. ...

    That comment disturbed me a little. Have you been in or driven a Freestyle? My experience with one was quite positive. It's a fairly good looking vehicle in comparison to other SUVs on the market and appears to be fairly well put together. The interior is top notch. On first contact, I couldn't believe it was a Ford. Then again, I hadn't "driven a Ford lately. :P " It's very practical, comfortable, and feature-filled. I tried to get the other half to buy one, but she's a diehard Hondaphile and went with a Pilot instead. But anyway, I don't think you or anybody else is giving the Freestyle a fair shake.

    Now about Cadillac having a competitor to the S-class, 7-series, et al. Those cars would be well beneath the Sixteen. The Sixteen is a car that would go directly at the jugular of Maybach, Bentley, and Rolls. (sounds like a lawfirm. :P ) I think they should push the STS up to be the S-class/7-series competitor, put the CTS up to be the E-class/5-series competitor, and put some drive wheels on the rear of the BLS and bring that over to be the 3-series competitor.

    I'm just sayin', is all...
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    Newport Engineering in Placentia, California has built HELM convertibles for many years. They are now building open versions of the Maybach 62 and RR Phantom.

    These are massive convertible sedans! First link is for the Maybach, second for the Phantom.

    http://www.newportconvertible.com/Detail.tpl?rnd=2182&cart=11431389263745587&sku- =107592474313380200

    http://www.newportconvertible.com/Detail.tpl?rnd=3397&cart=11431389263745587&sku- =1063920620712947
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    BMW never stops amazing me. Here's a little blurb about the hydrogen-powered 7-series to come within only two years.

    http://www.autospies.com/article/index.asp?articleId=6872&categoryId=21

    I also noticed that the short article mentioned that BMW intends to have ALL it's cars available with hydrogen motors as a long term goal.

    TagMan
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,938
    Eww! Those cars are horrendous. That Rolls is okay since they (used to) make a convertible Rolls, anyway. Everything else is just awful looking.
  • scott1256scott1256 Posts: 531
    IMO both the RR Phantom and Maybach 62 look very stately as convertibles.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I think the biggest problem with the Freestyle is that ol' duratec trying desperately to move its 4111lbs. with just 203hp. It might have a CVT, but its still a very old dog. If you want one, you better grab one while they're still here. Despite being launched for '05, its already curtains for the Freestyle.
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    Sorry for the disturbance, altho I still maintain my valid point. Ford once again short-changed a perfect car in the powertrain department. The Freestyle, while interesting, doesn't quite have the get-up-and-go and smoothness that's necessary even in the mainstream model cars.

    And yes, I've driven one(fully-loaded) as a rental last February when I was stranded 1800 miles away from home because no flights were coming in/going out of Boston Logan Airport due to blizzard-like conditions. I admired the Limited model's well executed interior assembly and greatly appointed cabin, albeit not quite Pacifica nice. But that 3.0L Duratec and CVT has gotta go, no question about it. What do you think is going on with the Five-Hundred/Montego right now? The same thing. Ford pretty much cannibalized their future right from the jump. The 21st century average-Joe customers are more interested in powertrains than they were a decade ago, so you either put up or shut up. Chrysler barely got away with trying to slide the Pacifica into market with the hopes of customers flocking to them. They did, in the second model year because Chrylser out-priced it and the powertrain wasn't what the price afforded it to be. The R-Class Mercedes is sure to be low volume as it's R500 model tops $70k; GL-Class territory. Caddy seems to have hit it on the nail in the low-roof/crossover market. Having oustanding V-6/V-8 powertrains, RWD/AWD, versatility, and extremely good quality inside and out.

    If you re-read my post, I stated that "concept(s) like the Six-Teen of a few years back" would've been formidable opponents against the rivals. The STS shouldn't move upmarket or grow in size because it's been known as a luxury mid-size since 1992. No, Caddy needs to create a from-scratch RWD/V8, full-size, $60k-$90k automobile to be successful. They are ready to play in this price range as witnessed by the increasing orders of the amazing XLR-v($100k) and the good start of sales of the STS-v($69k). GM has 3 new platforms in the works, RWD to support the upcoming Camaro, another crossover unit, and a undisclosed "high luxury" variant. Let's wait and see what happens.

    P.S.- The buying public aren't the people not giving the Freestyle "a fair shake". It is the Ford "engineers" who think the consumer is willing to trade refinement and power for a pretty interior. It ain't gonna work.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    …BMW intends to have ALL it's cars available with hydrogen motors as a long term goal.

    Them and everyone else. Anything with hydrogen attached sounds impressive on the surface because it produces zero emissions and because it is an abundant natural element.

    But BMW’s effort here is BS, a specious effort to appear on the leading edge of technology. They’ve had that PR hydrogen ICE 7-series going for some time now. And Toyota has been right in there too. A hydrogen ICE is easy to create, not high tech. But their hands are tied. The problem is you don’t just create a hydrogen infrastructure overnight. The stuff is very hard to manufacture in quantity. Hydrogen is the long term answer for fuel problems but it’s very far down the road due to the problems producing, distributing and containing it. Fuel cells will make it well before hydrogen ICE.

    If BMW puts out a 7-series in two years that runs on both hydrogen and gas, it will sell to only a very limited and novel market. People who buy it will never get to use it with hydrogen unless they live near one of the few (fewer than 5?) filling stations that exist in the US. And even then, the size of the gas tank will probably be too small to get the range on hydrogen that we are use to with gas.

    By the way, contrary to popular belief hydrogen is a safe fuel with regard to flammability because it requires a very precise ratio of oxygen to ignite. I believe there are more safety concerns with the pressure required to transport and contain it.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Them and everyone else.

    So, designman, if BMW's approach is just to keep them in the recognition game, who's really ahead in the pursuit of a true hydrogen powered vehicle? Initially, Honda comes to my mind . . . what do you think?

    TagMan
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    …if BMW's approach is just to keep them in the recognition game, who's really ahead in the pursuit of a true hydrogen powered vehicle?

    No one. Mainstream hydrogen ICE production cars aren’t going to happen, at least not anywhere in our lifetime. It will be hydrogen fuel cells and fuel-cell/electric hybrids first and they’ll have to trickle in. But it’s totally out of the hands of the auto manufacturers due to the enormity of the hydrogen production requirements. Lots of hydrogen vehicles have already been produced, but it’s all PR at this point… manufacturers showing that they are capable, proactive and ready to go.

    The thought of a hydrogen economy is so cool, but I think it will require collaboration and cooperation between government and business on a massive level.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    The thought of a hydrogen economy is so cool, but I think it will require collaboration and cooperation between government and business on a massive level.

    Exactly. The infrastructure and distribution are key. My take on this is that there is already a massive fuel distribution infrastructure in place. Hence, our friends the "oil" guys will be in the perfect position to inherent the job of hydrogen distribution. Without sounding "left-wing", which I am not, from a business standpoint it is obvious that the "oil" companies already have an enormous amount of power and presence. No one lets that kind of thing go. The transition will be done in a manner that keeps them in place . . . at the very least as a major player. It's not politics I'm talking . . . it's basic business 101. So . . . it also needs to be profitable enough for them to make the transition. That's where government incentives and technological advancements enter the picture.

    BTW, I am looking forward to the debut of the Lexus LS600h at the NY Auto Show, April 12. I have no chance of being there, but I know there will tons of press coverage on this. I am a hybrid fan, as well as a huge diesel fan.

    TagMan
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    BTW, I am looking forward to the debut of the Lexus LS600h at the NY Auto Show, April 12. I have no chance of being there, but I know there will tons of press coverage on this. I am a hybrid fan, as well as a huge diesel fan.

    Yep. I will try to make it there this year. I think the alternate-energy efforts are great. I’m looking to see how performance will assimilate this stuff, and am particularly interested in what will come out of the VW/Porsche partnership which, by the way, is a very strong bond. There’s a good article in the April issue of Excellence on this, that is, the business relationship, not the hybrid venture.
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    RE: a pretty interior vs. a poor drivetrain.

    Gee, this reminds me of the last 20 years of GM SUVs. The difference is that GM thought the reverse and offerred a lousy interior with a decent powertrain.

    RE: The Pacifica

    While I didn't quite follow your post, I think that the Pacifica has the styling to take aim at the Volvo/Audi/BMW AWD crowd IF it would just move upscale a little with great leather/Bose/bun warmers/ zenons and nav, etc. (How about a Coach Leather edition with all of the preceding?)

    Take a look at the Caddy comparable and both it AND the customer's inside are upscale. Something that doesn't scream "rental" or "fleet". Not so with the Pacifica who IMHO attracts a significantly lower income crowd. (While there is nothing wrong with that, it doesn't build the brand nor make for good margins.)

    PS I hope you closed on your Wellesley house. According to the Globe sales and prices are significantly off.
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    Interesting post, and yes I did sell the house in Wellesley, for about 180k above asking price.
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 5,925
    I wonder if they might just stick a diesel in the Pacifica? Mercedes must have a few lying around.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    It would be nice, but I don't think the Pacifica's FWD-biased platform, which is loosely based on the Caravan/T&C platform, would support a diesel. The 2.7L or 3.2L CDI are very efficient TD's. I had the chance to drive a CDI-equipped E-Class when I took the wife's CLS55 in for service. This car totaly eliminates all of those past problems associated with diesels(loud,smokey,gruff-only when cold). This car was just as refined and smooth as a regular E320/350, while returning 35mpg. And it's cheaper by about $2k over the E350. A real bargain.

    For now. I say this because I haven't read anything about Merc converting the 3.2 into low-sulfur acceptable. And 2007 is the deadline. This is why VW has halted imports of the wonderful T'egg TDI, what with it's massive 553 lb-ft of torque.

    I too am a huge fan of alternative fuel sources. I don't care who gets it done first, Honda or BMW, I just hope we have the cure before we use all of what's left in the ground. Toyota seems to be on the right track, even tho the Prius among others aren't returning the estimated city mpg. Who cares about being 5 mpg off? It still returns over 40 mpg. And to add they've promised to have a hybrid version off all of their models(both Toyota and Lexus) by decade's end. I guess they've finally got enough HSD hard/software to support every model, including the full-size Tundra/Sequoia.

    Hydrogen. Fuel-Cell. Electric. Ethanol/E85. I'll take any over visiting the pump 3 times a week.
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 5,925
    I think the Merc diesels can handle the clean diesel without any mods. As in Europe. It would be nice to get 40 mpg and have a cruising range of 800 miles or so. I would like to see a diesel C class.

    Some theories say that the dinos really didn't make the oil but that it is just a natural occuring substance caused by pressure, tidal forces, etc. Many times they go back to an old well that has been pumped dry and guess what!! The oil is magically back! I sure hope that is true!

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • greenbeltgreenbelt Posts: 55
    I guess I am confused. I understood that Europe had been on low sulfur fuel(less than 50 ppm sulfur) for sometime. And the EU is mandating ULS (less than 10ppm). Mercedes and other diesel car/truck makers having been meeting or exceeding this for some time.

    I thought that the problem here is that the diesel fuel isn't even low sulfur event and correspondingly the Diesels from dont run well on the crap that comes out of the pumps here ...
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    The diesel in the States as of right now isn't low-sulfur. And the cars we get from Europe, and elsewhere, are designed to run on what we have here. So it should be an easy swap from high to low sulfur fuel, especially since they've had in Europe for years.

    The EPA and DOT has mandated that ALL diesel-powered automobiles must be able to certify under the increasingly harsh emission laws of California and NE states, by 2007, next M/Y. And this has thrown a fork in the road for many automakers, both here and abroad.

    Makers like Mercedes and VW have diesels that can certify under this new "clean-air ACT". The CDI's and TDI's are very efficient and reliable engines, and I hope that both companies continue to work on bringing more into the U.S.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Actually, EPA recently decided to push back the new diesel requirements to 2009. article here for subscribers to the WSJ.
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    Thanks for the article. Maybe we can enjoy these wonderful engines for a little longer.
  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    Not only is the MB E Series diesel a bargain, it is faster 0-60 than the gas version. Don't think you can get it in Fourmatic, though. (That could be a keeper: a diesel E Class with fourmatic.)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    You will be able to get "4Matic" on the new 2007 E320 CDI because the V6 engine layout frees up some crucial space compared to the old I6 engine.

    M
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi All,
    That E320 CDI is one heck of a car. Once it becomes MA compliant I can see those cars flying off the lot. My salesperson told me that Diesel owners are an odd lot. Apparently there are wait lists for Diesel trade-ins, and they don't care whether it has a 100K on the clock or not.

    That says a lot about the durability of those cars. I'd prefer the 4 Matic option, but I've heard those old I-6 Diesels go on forever. Is there any reason to believe the new Diesel engine won't be as durable?

    One interesting thing about my new S Class:
    The Lady who gives the Navigation instructions sounds really mean. The Lexus lady was more forgiving if you made a mistake. I'm sort of expecting the system to say, "Nein! Nein! You are Idiot! Turn off car and wait for Mercedes to repossess it from you! You are too stupid to drive this car"

    It has some weird quirks: There is no way to know the door is open if the car is at a standstill. We spent 20 minutes looking for the gas cap release. Much to my surprise there isn't one. It locks itself when you lock the car. As I've mentioned before, the cupholder is one of the weirdest I've ever seen.

    Otherwise the car is great. It's not as quiet as my LS400, but it is more involving and sure-footed on the highway. It's good to have both makes of car. You get a distinct experience out of each one.

    -Sam
  • upuautupuaut Posts: 14
    IMHO I don't think Diesel here in North America is "crap" as far as I understand it Sulphur in Diesel is a lubricant, and so is not harmful to the engine in the higher doses we have here, it is actually good for the engine. I am not sure of the reason European diesels (excep VW and MB diesels being sold here) cannot run on it, must cause some kind of problem. of cousre, high sulphur fuel causes more crap to come out the tailpipe, I agree with you there.

    Speaking of MB diesels, I frienD of mine just bought an R class, nice people mover but I wonder why no diesel option?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    It is a German car after all, I would be really surprised if the NAV lady was sweet and understanding. Germany isn't really known for that. They're known for being ambitious and misunderstood.
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