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High End Luxury Cars

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  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Just got back from Belmont. Some informational tidbits I got from chatting with the LS specialist (to be taken with a grain of salt...he seemed reasonably well-informed, but could be wrong about certain things)

    -LS600hL will start around 88k...at that price, it will be configured as in the preview brochure

    -AWD will come to the LS460 late CY2007 at the earliest. Original plan had been CY2008, but they are working to move it up. Big disappointment to me personally, as I require AWD and the 600hL's trunk is going to be too small for me.

    -Top management has mandated that every Lexus vehicle will be offered with a hybrid option by the end of 2009, at a price premium of no more than $1500. He said some of the engineers are a bit panicked about this (I assume because the price point will be a challenge).

    -Lexus is "toying" with diesel and/or diesel/hybrid for the LS. Doesn't sound like a near-term event. When I suggested that clean diesel circa CY2007 from the Germans looks pretty interesting vs hybrid, he said that GM has shown that designing good diesel engines is easier than designing a good hybrid system.

    -Neither the LS or GS guys had heard of the JX.

    As far as my personal experience with the drives, I think a 1-minute test drive isn't enough to guage a vehicle. My only comment from the short experience with the LS is that the steering felt a bit light to me. I got on line for the S550 but gave up after 10 minutes because it looked like the line would take another 30-40 minutes....they didn't have as many S550s or 750s as compared to the LS. I also drove the IS250 and IS350, RX400h, and ES350, as they had shortish lines. Overall, it was pretty fun for me because I normally don't drive aggressively...at this event, one of the Lexus people told me to "take a little off next time" after I finished with the ES350, and that driving that aggressively (I had made the tires, which I assume were not very sporting, squeal like crazy, and the VDIM or something beep at me) was more appropriate for the GS/IS course. (And I hadn't even hit any cones, which is something I saw one guy do in the S550, and heard another guy talk about doing in both the LS and S.)

    Anyway, for me personally, an LS460 in AWD trim is still the leading possibility, but we're talking 12+ months from now based on availability, and I'll be able to take lenghthy test drives of the S and new 7 when the time comes. So, I'm keeping an open mind.
  • guestguest Posts: 774
    Since the LS will be a smash hit, delaying the AWD only makes sense, as it will not be needed early on, and it's a nice follow up to a strong 2007.

    I have to confirm, but I should be scheduled for A Taste next Sunday.

    Want to drive the S, the IS350, and the LS. :)

    DrFill
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Well I didn't realize the Cards were going to wake up and play great baseball. The Tigers should have learned from the Mets-if you want to beat the Cards you have to pitch around Pujols no matter what.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Well Tony, I tried sending the spelling police over to your house, but Edmunds wouldn't give me your address. ;)

    I agree with you. Hopefully all former posters taking a "sabbatical leave" will come back one day.

    It's only cars. There is so much to life that is really more important. Some folks are taking this stuff much too seriously and are exhibiting childish behavior. Boycotting the HELM thread. Do you realize how ridiculous this sounds? Life is too short to waste it on being angry and carrying grudges.
    Nobody should really care that much if I prefer BMW to Lexus.

    To each his own and peace be with everybody. :)
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Well I do hope they give us more than 1 minute driving each vehicle at the Taste of Lexus. I am traveling rather far.
    The only 2 cars I will be checking out are the LS460 and ES350. I will be keeping in mind that these 2 cars have been deliberately engineered toward luxury. I will not be driving them with BMW performance in mind.
    The IS is too cramped for me and the GS450h is a disaster.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    BTW at the NY event, the only non-Lexus vehicles were the 750 and S.

    You can always get back in line and drive again, and I've no idea how crowded/uncrowded it will be at the event you go to. But it does seem like a long way to drive. You could instead opt to take the vehicles out for extended drives at your local dealer. Some dealers will even loan you a demo car overnight.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Some folks are taking this stuff much too seriously and are exhibiting childish behavior. Boycotting the HELM thread. Do you realize how ridiculous this sounds? Life is too short to waste it on being angry and carrying grudges.

    100% agreed. In the past I have sometimes gotten frustrated myself, and even took a sabbatical once. But you're right, people shouldn't get too worked up over the debates that go on here. It isn't life or death. Or even politics.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Well, being that I am not a Lexus customer, I would have to have a salesperson along with me on a test drive, and I find it hard to drive the vehicle the way I want with him/her beside me. Also, I am not interested in purchasing/leasing any vehicle at this time. I'm just really curious and am trying to make a list of potential future candidates. I don't want to mislead any salespeople and waste their time.
    In other words, no pressure at the Lexus Taste.
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    ":makes sensedelaying AWD only"

    I don't know about this one Doc. With this car coming out in the dead smack middle of the NE winter, AWD would look more admirable to the potential buyer.

    But then again, the S550 was late also with AWD. And the sales never wavered one bit. So you may be one to something.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Burned you before? Well, if someone makes generalizing statement, it's only fair to question the assertion with the relevant details . . . hard numbers as they say . . . would you rather prefer someone who argues back with no facts citation? or engage you in a childish my assertion is more valid than your assertion game with zero factual support? If someone who obviously has no attention span for details or numbers, and yet claim to have a CFA, it's only fair to wonder aloud if the person even knows that the "A" in CFA does not stand for "accounting." I'm not the one tossing around outright lies, and I suffer nobody's fool.

    Hey Tagman,

    I had the great fortune of lurking here and noticed your discussion with brightness. I have not a clue how my name got involved here? :confuse:

    Unfortunately Brightness does not understand that a person like myself can have both an accountant's designation and a CFA designation at the same time. There are many Accountants with a CFA designation.

    The fact that Brightness expresses such a strong opinion about two professions in which he happens to be so misinformed about does not surprise me at all. Especially after reading his views on cars. ;)

    Anyways back to my vacation from Edmunds (need to catch up with the non-virtaul parts of my life). This time I am serious. Well at least I hope so. :surprise:
    Looking forward to future discussions with you and fellow forum members.

    Take Care

    Dewey
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Hi Syswei,

    unlike our views on cars it is nice to know that we at least have something in common ;)

    CFA designation 1995
    CA(equivalent to CPA designation) 1988
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Hey, I do know what a CA is, most of the accounting people that have worked on my firm's behalf in the Caymans seem to be CAs - with Ontario accents. If you ever need a job in a warmer clime, check out the hedge fund admin firms down there.
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    Lexus is out to make damn sure everyone knows the LS460 has arrived.

    On one commercial I saw earlier this even, the commmercial played back memories of people reflecting on how things used to be done: ie- playing 45's, coffee in the perculator, milk delivered, not bought in a store. And in the last skit, a guy driving an LS says that: WOW! I've always had to park my own car, and then the AutoPark kicks in and parks the car, no touching the wheel mind you.

    And another one just a few moments ago highlighted the 8-speed gearbox. It showed it breaking gears in seconds sequence going over several different terrains of Earth.

    INGENIOUS to say the least. Very effective marketing campaign going on with this car. I'm nowhere near a Lexus fanatic, but I do tip my hat off to them for their superb marketing practices of late.

    Anytime you make an ES350 look "engaging", that's saying a lot...
  • guestguest Posts: 774
    As a New Yauker, I feel your pain. :cry:

    But Lexus has to leave something in the cookie jar for next year, right?

    Do you think they'd go right to 5.0 for the 2010 update?

    Maybe the LS460 will keep the 4.6, and the L will get the 5.0 standard?

    That's what I'd do.

    DrFill
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    BTW at the NY event, the only non-Lexus vehicles were the 750 and S.

    What??? No DTS?? No STS?? Not even an STS-V?? Evidently Lexus isn't terribly threatened by the Domestic stuff....
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    What??? No DTS?? No STS?? Not even an STS-V?? Evidently Lexus isn't terribly threatened by the Domestic stuff....

    Oh Lexus, nor BMW or Mercedes ever worries about Cadillac or Lincoln. I don't think they ever did. When Lexus and Infiniti set out to build luxury cars they looked at the leaders MB/BMW never even mentioned Cadillac or anyone else.

    A very timely article.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    -AWD will come to the LS460 late CY2007 at the earliest. Original plan had been CY2008, but they are working to move it up. Big disappointment to me personally, as I require AWD and the 600hL's trunk is going to be too small for me.

    Well that is very good news. I'm very interested in an AWD LS, but not the 600hL.

    I'm surprised nobody knew about the JX, as according to the Lexus roadmap, its supposed to show up before the RX is due for its next redesign.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Oh Lexus, nor BMW or Mercedes ever worries about Cadillac or Lincoln. I don't think they ever did. When Lexus and Infiniti set out to build luxury cars they looked at the leaders MB/BMW never even mentioned Cadillac or anyone else.

    If it weren't for fleet sales, Lincoln would already be a rotting corpse. I don't see the "MK" cars changing any of this. Lincoln's old product names were not the problem. And the new Lincoln interior design themes, wow. It's like they are trying to kill their own cars. (Are they?)

    When Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti hit the market in the late '80s, early '90s, Cadillac was pretty much a joke. Absolutely no threat there. Currently, Cadillac is only threatening where Lexus is at its weakest, the GS. This "taste" is not about the GS though, so obviously there's no need to bring the STS.

    I see absolutely no reason for BMW or Mercedes to sweat anything about Cadillac. The Cadillac BLS (a Saab 9-3 with a Cadillac badge on it) is the only car they really sell in Europe, and its gotten off to a very slow start. Cadillac should know better than to put its badge on a pedestrian car (Catera).
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The IS is too cramped for me and the GS450h is a disaster.

    The GS350 is worth taking a look at. Its about as fast as the 450h and is within 1-2mpg. The steering doesn't have VGRS, the brakes are normal, and it offers AWD. Oh yeah, its also about $10 grand cheaper.

    Oh, and you're going to hate the ES350, I honestly wouldn't even bother driving it. They killed the adaptive suspension option from the old car, because apparently nobody ordered it. Test drive a Camry V6, and just imagine it cushier and even more boring, and you've got ES.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    If it weren't for fleet sales, Lincoln would already be a rotting corpse. I don't see the "MK" cars changing any of this. Lincoln's old product names were not the problem. And the new Lincoln interior design themes, wow. It's like they are trying to kill their own cars. (Are they?)

    The only thing I even remotely like from Lincoln is that new crossover, the MKX I believe it is called. For some reason I like the look:

    image

    Well except for the perimeter fencing grille design.

    Yeah Linc interiors are something of a acquired taste it seems. Their cars have SUV interiors and the SUVs have throwback car interiors gauges and all!

    Cadillac in Europe is even more a joke than they are here. The only thing they have that impresses are the V-Series cars and two of them are overpriced and the one that isn't is far to crude to be taken seriously by the Euro buying crowd.

    M
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    from CL fellow who owns the Phaeton, E55, and LS460L

    After pushing the Lexus, I have to say that there are both pros and cons to its' cornering and handling.

    The Phaeton has better -- and more accurate -- initial turn-in. I suspect this has something to do with the elecrically-assisted power steering in the Lexus.

    Also, the Phaeton has AWD; this allows you to enter a corner just below the limit, then floor the throttle. The car executes damn near perfect four wheel drifts. The overall handling on the Phaeton is very precise; though it's a heavy car the turn-in (with the proper tires) is good, and once you set the car up for a corner it stays set.

    In contrast, the LS460L is a bit twitchier and less confidence-inspiring under aggressive driving conditions; it's a bit harder to sense the limits, there is a bit more body-lean, and the overall feeling under hard-cornering is slightly less stable than in the Phaeton. It certainly seems to understeer more than the P-car.

    I'd say the German cars I've driven have a slight handling advantage (which is greater in the BMW 7-series -- especially with the Sport Package -- than the other luxo-barges) over the Lexus. However, this is all subjective until you get all the cars together on a track and clock them against the stopwatch. One thing about the Lexus -- it's so insanely quiet and well-isolated that -- quite often -- you are going faster than you might have thought.

    ...The Lexus is superior to other luxury sedans in many ways -- and it's important to remember that cars are merely tools....Given it's level of luxury, ride quality, and absolute comfort, the Lexus handles well. It would not, however, be your preferred method of transport for a long jaunt down the CA coast along Highway One.

    ...The Phaeton is larger overall and heavier, but only has a noticeable space advantage when it comes to interior width. The rear seat in the LS460L feels even roomier (legroom + headroom) than the Phaeton. Without the TinyTrunk option the trunk sizes are probably comparable, though the Phaeton may have a more usable trunk than the standard LS...


    BTW he doesn't have the Touring trim of the LS, which has 19"x8" rather than 18"x7.5" wheels, upgraded rotors/brakes, and variable gear ratio steering (though this last could be on his LS since it is a standalone option too). Might make some difference but probably wouldn't close the handling gap entirely.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    BTW he doesn't have the Touring trim of the LS, which has 19"x8" rather than 18"x7.5" wheels, upgraded rotors/brakes, and variable gear ratio steering (though this last could be on his LS since it is a standalone option too). Might make some difference but probably wouldn't close the handling gap entirely.

    Up sizing wheels is a very easy thing to do. Same for the brakes. VGRS would only make things worse, I'd much rather go without it.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The only thing I even remotely like from Lincoln is that new crossover, the MKX I believe it is called. For some reason I like the look:

    Unfortunately for Lincoln, the regular Ford Edge has pretty much that same look. It's probably going to be another Zephyr, a Ford with a few flashy bits and an $8-10K price hike for no apparent reason.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Unfortunately for Lincoln, the regular Ford Edge has pretty much that same look. It's probably going to be another Zephyr, a Ford with a few flashy bits and an $8-10K price hike for no apparent reason.

    True. I've seen the Edge on the street, really attractive too IMO.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Also, the Phaeton has AWD; this allows you to enter a corner just below the limit, then floor the throttle. The car executes damn near perfect four wheel drifts. The overall handling on the Phaeton is very precise; though it's a heavy car the turn-in (with the proper tires) is good, and once you set the car up for a corner it stays set.

    Gasp! 4-wheel drifts a VW Phaeton!

    M
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    "Oh and you're going to hate the ES350."

    Some of the recent reviews were pretty good. I'm thinking of Healey and USA Today. It's obviously geared toward luxury with the suspension and the steering.
    If it's there at the Taste, I will probably drive one, not expecting too much.

    If I see a GS350 there, I will drive it. Last time I drove the GS300 and GS430 in 2005, my right thigh was hitting the console. A little cramped.

    And of course, the LS460. I read on another thread that the left foot well is rather awkward. I'm very sensitive to that-one of the deal breakers with the redesigned M45.
  • psychdocpsychdoc Posts: 147
    ...Well, I just got home from a wonderfully stimulating afternoon of gawking at and driving cars.

    Here's some of my thoughts.

    First off, Lexus did a wonderful job and had enough cars that the lines to drive them weren't excessively long. The entire affair was handled with polish and class. Kudos to Lexus for an entertaining and informative afternoon.

    Lexus LS 460 - Very much the "big brother" to our car. Nice but not drop dead "holy cow, I can't believe it" nice. Very fast, nicely balanced and pretty flat through s-curves. On the negative side, the throttle is still very non linear with small changes corresponding to either no change in power or massive "throw you back in the seat" acceleration; the brakes, too were very notchy and "grabby" with small moduations in pressure causing unpredictable and overly aggressive braking. All in all the drivetrain was a major dissappointment in it's lack of harmony and linkage. As this is clearly present in our cars (the ES) one begins to think that Lexus just can't get engines and tranny's to link together properly.

    M-B S 550 - WOW!!! Both inside and out, this car radiates class and elegance. Literally everything about it pretty much screams "in this car you have reached the pinnacle of automotive sophistication and refinement." Everything looks like quality and radiates good taste. Awesome, simply awesome. The engine is incredibly torquey (sp?) and it feels like the ability to accelerate is limitless. Power delivery is entirely linear with the degree to which the accelerator is pressed and there is no hesitation whatsoever when you push the gas pedal. Power delivery is immediate with your right foot, the accelerator pedal and the drivetrain all feeling as if they are governed by one mind. Very impressive! The transmission is as smooth as fresh butter and you never feel any shift points at all. On the negative side, the car is heavy and the front end doesn't respond to rapid direction changes as nimbly as the Lexus. There is very little body lean, however and the car maintains a nice neutral posture thru s-curves. The steering is positively awful. The steering wheel is too big and feels like a Mack truck it's so heavily weighted. All this comes at a price (what doesn't?). $86k is what you'll need to bring one of these home.

    BMW 750 - This is one seriously ugly car. And you know what? It gets even worse (if that's possible) when you get in. The interior looks cheap and as if it's ergonomics (I admittedly use the term loosely) were designed by a psychotic, retarded person. Buttons and knobs are strewn everywhere with little or no apparent planning. The button to adjust seat position is mindlessly placed on the side of the center stack by your right knee. Buttons are everywhere and you don't even want to get me started on the mind nubbingly dumb-assed "I-Drive" system. It's all a design and ergonomic nightmare. Chris Bangle should be shot for the exterior but whoever "designed" (again, I use the term loosely as this thing doesn't appear so much designed as thrown into some cosmic blender and put together based on whatever spilled out) the interior should be given to Saddam Hussein's kids (if they were still alive, but I guess you get my point). Now onto something a bit more pleasant. The car drives like a dream. As with the M-B, there is total harmony between the engine, transmission and accelerator pedal. Power delivery is immediate and the thing is a rocket ship. There is essentially no body lean and it handles like a slot car. Pretty impressive for a 4500 lb. vehicle. There is simply nothing bad to say about the driving dynamics of this champ. If you could get by it's "Ugly Betty" appearance and hideous interior, this is a killer car. And a steal at "only" $74k.

    Lexus SC 430 - Ughhh! Who buys this thing? It looks like an upside down bathtub. It's proportions are all wrong and it's cramped inside. It's not terribly fast and it handles like a Cunard ocean liner. I simply don't know what to say. This baby is just a joke.

    Lexus GS 450h - OK, I'm on record as saying that I despise the hatchback appearance of the GS and I stick to that. And the interior is cramped. I couldn't car less about any dimensions that Lexus publishes that say that this is as roomy (or roomier) than the ES...it's not! You feel confined and claustrophobic. It's interior is quite spartan, perhaps taking its lead from it's target demographic, the BMW 5 Series. It's instrumentation is very nice, however and thankfully there are just enough buttons and knobs to control everything that needs to be controlled on a regular basis. You say you want power? Well, let me tell you, have you come to the right place! If the BMW 750 is a rocket ship (and it is), this thing is an anti-missile missle. This thing is frighteningly fast. This must be what driving a Ferrari is like (well, maybe not quite, but close). In very unLexus-like fashion, power delivery is pretty much immediate and the car feels like it could take off with another millimeter or two of accelerator travel. The chassis is as flat as a carpenter's level and it handles s-curves with complete composure and confidence. This thing is like driving a go cart at a carnival. Except it's much bigger, has a roof and goes a whole lot faster. Oh, and it costs just a little more too ($62k). The brakes are a little notchy in reassuringly Lexus-like fashion (what's the problem here guys, you can get this right...you really need to work on this..."Relentless Pursuit of Perfection" huh?...well you have some work to do here) and you have to be very careful modulating them or they grab way too hard, a characteristic seen on just about every Lexus vehicle. If Lexus wants to know how to do brakes right, they should just copy whatever M-B is doing because, let me tell you, they have it dead solid perfect.

    OK, end of rant, er, I meant review.

    Flame away!
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I really enjoyed reading your post. Who could disagree with your own personal experience? Well . . . someone might try, but it is interesting to read the different personal interpretations of these different vehicles.

    When the dust settles, and it seems to be settling on the LS brakes, we'll have the big picture.

    The LS does seem to have the grabby brakes, and you are not the first to mention that the tranny and engine may not be as synchronized as we've been led to believe. One reviewer indicated that it all-too-often searches for the right gear, but just can't seem to find it

    I wonder if anyone will defend that 7-Series interior.

    Sounds like the GS was quite a surprise to you.

    I agree about the SC. Pitiful.

    Great remarks about the S-Class, BTW. The heavy steering is typical from my experience with MB's. I'd also prefer a somewhat smaller steering wheel.

    Thanks again,

    TagMan
  • psychdocpsychdoc Posts: 147
    Thanks Tag.

    While I respect and am appreciative that Lexus chose to give attendees the opportunity to drive the big Bimmer and M-B, one does have to wonder if it was/is the wisest marketing move.

    They offer some pretty serious competition and really do eclipse the big Lexus in at least a couple of (to put it mildly) fairly important automotive areas.

    You'd really think that after all the posts and all the comments about the lack of throttle response and brake grabbiness, Lexus would have rectified these issues a long time ago.

    I guess as long as you're still selling all the vehicles you put out on the marketplace you don't sweat such "trivialities."

    Lexus is a fine marque and I have enormous respect for them but they really have to get the basics right before going on to more esoteric matters.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I have read, I think somewhere on CL, that there is some sort of dealer service fix available for throttle lag, at least on the outgoing generation LS.
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