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High End Luxury Cars

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Comments

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I doubt it will look like that. The Ford 500 put the "B" in bland, especially the front of it.

    The Japanese, especially Toyota don't like to leak spy photos like the Europeans do. I doubt if you'll ever see the next LS like we all did the S during its development. I suspect it will be shown either this month at the Tokyo auto show or in Jan at Detroit. Then again the Japanese like to wait until the last minute so if it doesn't make either one of those shows it might not show up until the New York show in April, since the car will be a 2007 model.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    An Audi A8, with a 4.0L, twin turbo TDI V8 engine, made a round trip from London to Edinburough Scotland - thats 800 miles, on one tank of diesel, averaging 40mpg. Granted the A\C was off and he got back to London literally on fumes, but still, for a car the size and weight of the A8, thats astounding.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I'm not saying I like the Ford 500, but don't you think bland trumps ugly?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I keep forgetting that show comes on here! Discovery channel right?

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I'm not saying I like the Ford 500, but don't you think bland trumps ugly?

    I guess, but by the slimmest of margins...I don't like either. A car has to have some style to it for me to be interested.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Yes, Wednesday night at 10pm. You should be able to catch the rerun Saturday at 6pm.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Ok, thanks.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I went to the "Taste of Lexus" earlier today, as always with these types of events it’s a real up close look at the cars without the sales folks.

    They had every Lexus model there for people to drive. I drove the LS430, IS350 and GS430. Surprisingly (or not surprisingly in the day of $3 gasoline) no one drove the LX470 for a while during the 3 1/2 hours I spent there.

    First the not-so-good stuff. Looking around at all of Lexus' there is nothing there with any sizzle to it. No rare models, no styling, much less anything exotic looking. There is nothing special about the brand, no racing history to read about, no vintage cars, nothing in the way of oooh ahh..type things you get at similar events from Lexus' competitors. Lexus is too synthetic. They didn't even have their usual trophy wall stacked with JDP awards. Uh...hello Lexus this is your claim to fame. As usual they go out of their way to make it nice, meaning a lot of fufu food and other non-automotive things for folks who feel the must be pampered at a ride-n-drive event. Mercedes, BMW and Cadillac are guilty of having all this irrelevant stuff going on also. I would spend that budget on getting more competitor cars there and longer

    Now......about the IS350. Holy (expletive) this car is fast. I was lucky enough to be there when they had some professional drivers (they should have asked me!) race the IS350 and the 330i. People boo'd because the IS350 got a head start on the 330i, but after driving the IS350 myself there is no contest in the way of straight-line speed. The IS350 is a rocket. I was shocked in seeing the IS350 and 330i side by side. In pictures I was almost convinced that Lexus had a winner on their hands in the styling department, but in real life a 330i with the sport package (18 inch wheels) looks better than the IS350 to my eye. The IS350 looks like something Scion would come up with imo. It almost looks like a 4-door Scion TC Coupe. Mind you it isn't ugly by any means, but the BMW looks better imo. There is no imagination to the IS, all flat, broad expanses of unadorned sheet metal with nothing to break up the monotony. The BMW at least in sport guise looks more aggressive and cutting edge. Enough about styling, the driving is where the real fun is. I was told to floor the IS350 so naturally I did. In a few eye blinks its time to get on the brakes...like now! I'm at the end of the straightaway part of the course. The only other 6-cylinder sedan I remember with this much pull was the C32 AMG. Where the IS and 330i are clear opposites is in their interiors. The IS350 is a mini GS, snug and comfortable and luxurious. The 330i is actually much roomier, even in the front. The 330i has a more spartan interior, but the test car did have the wood trim and idrive which helps a lot. A non idrive 3-Series is really plain on the inside like BMW of the early 90's. The 330i shines on the handling course. It has a tighter, more buttoned down feeling to its handling and steering, where the IS350 is lighter and not as precise, but could be deemed as more "fun" to some, while the 330i is more serious. My take is the IS350 will suit Lexus buyers perfectly, those looking for something a little sportier than the normal Lexus, but those used to BMWs will likely stick with BMWs. That firm, almost heavy feel of the BMW just isn't there in the IS350. The IS350 is a worthy competitor, but the look is plain and sterile imo. I do wonder why they didn't make it a tad bigger though, its really a tight fit for some folks. Funny how things change, BMWs used to have that same cockpit feeling that the IS350 now has, a feeling that the 330i doesn't give off as vividly as it did in the past. The BMW was also quieter. :confuse:

    Next, up I drove the GS430. They had an E500 there for comparison. The GS430 actually has better steering than the E500, but their handling is about the same. Neither car is a 5-Series, which wasn't there for comparison. I would have really liked to have seen a M45 there also, but I think Lexus knows better than to have a 550i and M45 there, especially on such a tight course, the GS430 would be embarrassed quite easily. Naturally they had the softer of the two premier German competitors there, the E500. The E and GS are the same in acceleration too, with the E500 reaching for extra gears when it was time to hit the brakes I would like to have had some extra room to see what these cars would really do. I haven't driven the new GS without a sales person present, nor have I driven the E500 since it got the new 7-speed tranny. Pretty much comes down to style and whatever other personal criteria a person has here as both cars were equally impressive.

    I didn't drive the SC430 because the line was too long and in 50 degree weather I was not about the stand in line that long to drive a convertible. The SC and IS350 were the most popular vehicles there by far. The LX470 just the opposite. After the IS and SC came the RX400h, everyone wanted to drive it. I can't stand SUVs so I passed.

    Finally I drove the LS430. Other than the quality and reliability I don't see anything else appealing about this car. The design is aged, upright and just about as non-aesthetically pleasing as possible. There is nothing special here in the way of design over anything at Toyota dealership. Sure everything is of the highest quality and what not, but the look of it, yuck. Why Lexus had a handling course for car like the LS430 is beyond me. They used to have a bumpy section and an evasive maneuver for you to go through, which would make more sense than a slalom/handling course. The LS430 keeled over like an old battle ship on the handling course. The steering is completely lifeless and felt like something in an old-school Cadillac. It is church quiet though. I mean nothing. No suspension noise, no nothing, but I did make the tire protest about my driving. ;)

    They also had the IS250 and GS300 there, both cars in either rwd of awd. They didn't have a 325i to compare with the IS250, but they did have a 530i there for competitive drives against the GS300. I couldn't stand the cold (wind) any longer to drive all of them. Just like I suggested to Mercedes last year around this same time, these events need to be held in the summer or spring for Chicago, Oct. weather is too dicey for outdoor stuff.

    In summary, I was most impressed by the IS350 and pleasantly surprised by the GS430. Slowly, but surely Lexus is discovering that people might actually want to drive instead of just commute. The IS and GS are more entertaining to drive than any Lexus of the past. The LS430 was about what I expected, having driven one back in 2002. The IS250 and GS300 will have to wait until another time.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Interesting report. I agree about the LS, nobody will call it a race car. As I've said in its defense before though, when driving through PA's utterly lifeless (except for the lousy, noisy road surface) highways to Harrisburg, Philadelphia, etc, that comfort and quiet is simply sublime. No one buys an LS430 to tear up some back roads on weekends.

    As for the SC430, you didnt miss much. Its basically a 2 door LS. Quite a disappointment, as the old SC400 coupe was actually pretty fun. Hopefully when it gets replaced, probably around 2008, the new one will be more IS350 and less LS430.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    As for the SC430, you didnt miss much. Its basically a 2 door LS. Quite a disappointment, as the old SC400 coupe was actually pretty fun.

    I really wanted to drive it though, but the wind whipping through the tent area was no joke.

    M
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Merc1, I really enjoyed reading your report and hearing your viewpoints. Sounds like Lexus is finally coming up some with vehicles that appeal to you in some respects (beyond reliability, which is a given).

    I didn't make it to the NY area event myself, unfortunately. But then, the IS isn't really my cup of tea. Now, when Lexus or MB has an event with the new-generation LS and S, I'll make more of an effort to go.

    I am curious, now that you've been to the event, if you had the money to buy a new 2006 model in the 3/IS/C/A4/G class, but not enough for a M or AMG type, what would you pick? Same question for the 5/GS/E/A6/M. From your report it sounds like the 3 or IS, and the 5?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I am curious, now that you've been to the event, if you had the money to buy a new 2006 model in the 3/IS/C/A4/G class, but not enough for a M or AMG type, what would you pick? Same question for the 5/GS/E/A6/M. From your report it sounds like the 3 or IS, and the 5?

    Well in the entry-level class I would have to seriously look at the IS350, 330i and C350, which I have yet to drive. The A4 is a distant choice and G35 doesn't cut it for me. My reality in this class is that I'll be looking at the new V6 C230, IS250 and 325i, not their pricier versions. In the next segment up it would either be an E, A6 or M35/45, the 5-Series' interior turns me off and the GS I just couldn't stand to look at. The E and A6 are just so much more elegant looking than anything else in this class imo. The M45 is pure Japanese aggression, very boy-racer imo. Its kinda unusual for this class of car, but I like it for some reason. Since we're dealing in "what if"s I'd stretch things and get what I really want, a CLS500. No contest if the CLS500 is an option.

    M
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    "I really wanted to drive it [SC] though, but the wind whipping through the tent area was no joke."

    You should have gone straight to an MB dealer to sample an SLK with air scarf.
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    A thorough report thanks ...With the wind blowing it gets cold quick t
  • great report Marcus.
    time to send a resume to Car & Driver!
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Oh my gawd....where have you been...my favorite A8 owner?

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Whats really crazy is that Mazda has an event coming up at the same racetrack next month. Unless some kind of freak 70 degree day happens I won't be going to that.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    You should have gone straight to an MB dealer to sample an SLK with air scarf.

    Actually last year at this very same time I went to a Mercedes event (I think I posted about it here) at which I drove the SLK350 with Airscarf. It makes a difference, but still not enough to make a windy 50 degree day in Chicagoland a proper convertible day, imo.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Everyone probably knows that I really don't like SUVs in general, but there are few exceptions.

    I love this thing for some reason.

    image

    image

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The one SUV that I like is the Infiniti FX. Its just awesome that it can chase a Cayenne considering how much it costs. Now that Infiniti has the money to give it a proper interior, I'm eager to see what they do with the next one.
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