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High End Luxury Cars

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  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    The price difference isn't $10k when the cars are comparably configured.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Well, price wise, the 550i fits right in there with the new LS at $58,500 "unstuffed", to about $77,000 MSRP.

    True.

    The 5-Series, however, basically comes out of the gate with a base price of well under $50K. Additionally, the emphasis is not so strong on luxury, but on performance.

    The E-Class, however, has the styling, luxury, driving dynamics, and as well, even the E350 is out of the gate above $51K, with the E-BlueTec, E550, and E63 well above with a comfortable margin even before options.

    I understand that the vehicle is in some ways on the borderline here. I really do. But, just because it barely crosses the line in a few criteria, doesn't mean it hasn't done so, and in other criteria it blows across the line easily.

    So far, Houdini, Blkhemi, Powders and myself TagMan have agreed that the E-Class has evolved far enough to be included here. Although Brightness hasn't posted much here on this forum until these recent days, he still has a voice to be heard, and he, Merc, and Lexusguy still have reservations about including the E-Class here.

    At this point, we need Dewey, Syswei, Designman, and others, if interested, to review the posts and arguments, and then give us their points of view.

    If they agree that the E-Class has finally crossed the threshhold to be included, then it would seem logical to do so. If they do not, I would then not see enough of a concensus here, IMO.

    So, let's just wait and get some more insight into the idea from others. It's been interesting so far.

    TagMan
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I totally agree with you. I will make a point of skipping the GS450h at the Taste. However, I do want to see the trunk. I could use a good laugh after the long drive. I bet they have it bolted shut.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I consider the 550i a HELS rather than a true HELM and its inclusion would be out of place here, allowing my one or two "allusions" to it from time to time, of course. :blush:
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I have a question. If the E-Class is a high end luxury marque (which by my understanding means either the vehicle or the brand for whomever asked), what is the S-Class?

    (The dewey proxy snuck in on me. ;))
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 2,731
    Just a technicality, but as this discussion is entitled, "High End Luxury Marques," as a Mercedes-Benz (the HEL Marque) the E Class is certainly acceptable to this discussion. As is the full range of MB (BMW, Jag, Audi, Lexus et. al.) offerings. Had the discussion been titled, "High End Luxury Marque Premium Models" (or something as such), then the specific model inclusion debate would be more germane.

    Or am I wrong, that the word "Marque" is being applied more granularly, i.e. to specific models within a marque?

    '13 Jaguar XF, '11 BMW 535xi, '02 Lexus RX300

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I thought it meant brand only but I wasn't sure, so sometime back I looked it up in a humongous dictionary I have (but don't have access to right now) and was surprised to see it could mean either. I'll try to check it and quote you the source.
  • laurasdadalaurasdada Posts: 2,731
    Thanks, Pat. I didn't read through ('till now) the entire thread before I posted to realize that the topic had already been discussed a bit. Although through the years I've just believed that "Marque" was the brand. In articles I'd oft read phrases such as, "Model X truly represents the marque" or "...doesn't befit the marque..."

    Not a big deal. I'd vote to include the E class. For a majority of folks (I'll postulate), any cars that MSRP (using MSRP just for consistency, not reality) at $50k+ represent "High End." Of course, I'm just a poor workin' man with no CPA or CFA to append to my name. But I can append MCSE, FLMI, AFSI, ACS and ARA (whatever the heck they stand for?!)!!! :shades:

    '13 Jaguar XF, '11 BMW 535xi, '02 Lexus RX300

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I agree with how you read it - I did too. I forget what made me question it, but I was surprised to see what I saw in the dictionary.
  • psychdocpsychdoc Posts: 147
    Looks to me like it can be applied to individual cars within a brand as well as to a whole line.

    4 results for: marque
    View results from: Dictionary | Thesaurus | Encyclopedia | the Web

    Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.0.1) - Cite This Source
    marque1  /mɑrk/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[mahrk] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation

    –noun 1. letter of marque.
    2. Obsolete. seizure by way of reprisal or retaliation.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    [Origin: 1375&#150;1425; late ME < MF < Pr marca seizure by warrant (orig. token) < Gmc; see mark1]
    Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.0.1)
    Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.
    Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.0.1) - Cite This Source
    marque2  /mɑrk/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[mahrk] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation

    &#150;noun a product model or type, as of a luxury or racing car.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    [Origin: 1905&#150;10; < F: lit., mark, sign, n. deriv. of marquer to mark, prob. dial. deriv. of OF merc, merche boundary, boundary marker < ON merki (from same Gmc base as march2, mark1, marque1]
    Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.0.1)
    Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.
    American Heritage Dictionary - Cite This Source marque (märk) Pronunciation Key
    n.
    A model or brand of a manufactured product, especially an automobile.

    [French, from Old French. See marquetry.]

    (Download Now or Buy the Book) The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
    Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
    Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
    WordNet - Cite This Source
    marque

    n : a name given to a product or service [syn: trade name, brand name, brand]

    WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Pat,

    Glad to see your input and assistance here.

    I notice that Larasdada has also voiced an opinion to include the E-Class.

    Personally, I think the word "marque", as defined, indicates that we have some latitude here.

    One of the reasons I am hopeful we can include the E-Class here is that it would inject some new on-topic discussions here. A number of posters have expressed a real affection for the car when they voted to include it.

    Well, either way, no one's going to lose sleep over it, but it could make for some refreshing exchanges around here.

    The luxurious and exciting new E-BlueTec, I imagine, will be one of the more interesting models to discuss and watch over time.

    TagMan
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The price difference isn't $10k when the cars are comparably configured.

    The MSRP for a GS350 RWD with NAV\ML, PCS, 18" G-Spider wheels, AFS and power rear sunshade is around $53,200.

    MSRP for a 450h with the same equipment is $62,805. Thats just about $10K.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The E-Class, however, has the styling, luxury, driving dynamics, and as well, even the E350 is out of the gate above $51K, with the E-BlueTec, E550, and E63 well above with a comfortable margin even before options.

    That doesn't matter. You can't simply ignore size and equipment levels just because the E starts a few thousand dollars more than the rest. The E350 is a midsize luxury sedan with a V6 engine. The exact same can be said about all the rest, (except for the 5 and its inline). Even the Volvo S80 qualifies for the mid-lux class, as does Jag's poor old S-type. Styling and driving dynamics have nothing to do with what makes a "HELM class" car. And the E class is hardly the leader in driving dynamics. Styling is a subjective thing. I find the E class to be rather bland looking.

    The fact that the E is overpriced doesn't make it more of a luxury car than anyone else's mid-lux offering. Now if you wanted the CLS on this board, that would be a little more reasonable. Its not quite S-class level, but its definitely above the mid-lux E, 5, A6, M, GS, RL, STS, S80, S-type class. The Audi A7 and BMW 650 could also be included.

    What do all of the cars currently on the board have in common? They're all around the 200" mark. They all come standard with V8s, and many of them offer V12s. They are each respective manufacturer's top-of-the-line range. The E class is none of those things.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Um, well, I didn't really give you any input. I just asked a question - one that has not been answered so far.

    What is the resistance to talking about the E-Class where we've already been talking about it and where we can measure it against the vehicles which are commonly seen as its competition? Some of you are already there, but it might be good if some of the rest of you branched out a little... Luxury Performance Sedans. ;)

    That said, if you guys want to include it here, have at it. But I don't think it fits the image of the subject nor the original intent of this board.

    There. THAT's input. :P
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Exactly! Thank you for reinforcing the exact point that I made earlier . . . the very existence of S-class means E-class is not "High End" . . . "End" does not mean somewhere in the middle ;-)

    If "marque" is to mean brand instead of model or model lines, then Mercedes-Benz may not qualify at all. Mercedes-Benz is a full-line brand not an exclusive luxury brand. There's nothing high end luxury about the majority of MB cars sold worldwide or in the US: either the $15k A and B classes or the $199-299/mo C-class, or for that matter even the E-class taxi cabs in Europe, even before we get to the touchy subject of how much is E class really fetching in the US.

    If a very small minority of cars having high MSRP, like the S-class for MB, makes the whole brand HELM, then we may as well get prepared to include:

    Chevy (Corvette Z06 MSRP $70k); more vettes are probably sold than S class in the US.

    Ford (GT MSRP $150k)

    I'm sure there are lots of fans of Chevy and Ford :-)
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    For a majority of folks (I'll postulate), any cars that MSRP (using MSRP just for consistency, not reality) at $50k+ represent "High End."

    Unless of course, someone starts MSRP'ing a car at $50k and selling/leasing it at real price of admission comparable to a $35k car . . . like MB is doing with E class. For the majority of folks, $35k is luxury . . . as in defined by the luxury tax that somehow passed the legislature a decade and half ago (the majority was so overwhelming as to be able to penalize the minority). For the majority of folks, buying a new car is a luxury.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Although Brightness hasn't posted much here on this forum until these recent days, he still has a voice to be heard, and he, Merc, and Lexusguy still have reservations about including the E-Class here.

    Glad I'm no longer considered a freak or conspirator :-) I know it's tough to be in the political minority. Doubly glad I have some illustrious company on this. For what it's worth, I have been posting on this since the last decade, just off and on as my work load demands. As my current handle implies, it started in 2004. I had a different username before the edmunds forum server change-over (anyone remember the Townhall?) but just so happened that I was extremely busy in 2003 and early 2004 so I forgot my old username and password altogether due to lack of use, and had to register for a new username.
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    Having read the opinion of others, mine is the E has a bit more luxury than the cars it competes against..although imo really not in the HELM league...Therefore for what it is worth I vote in....I remember when Tag got the Lotus .I certainly was very interested in his input and it went on briefly to no ones horror...In fact I would like a little bit more feedback from time to time....Tony
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    if you guys want to include it here, have at it. But I don't think it fits the image of the subject nor the original intent of this board.

    When I first brought it up, it was due to the article I had read, which I linked in the original post.

    I then asked what criteria for HELM status is, to see if it did or did not meet that criteria . . . especially since the older LS seemed to meet the criteria (although subject to much debate).

    Kirstie suggested a discussion of the matter, so that's what happened. some interesting perspectives have been discussed here, and it's been fun, but unless those that are in favor of inclusion want to push the idea any further, I won't lose a wink of sleep over this either way it goes.

    It has already made for some interesting a refreshing discussions, and I would have enjoyed including it, but I can easily enough see and appreciate the reasons for not including it as well, and those points have also been well-made.

    In case anyone missed the article that prompted me to ask you all to consider the E-Class, this is a quote from the article:

    While not all cars can say this proudly, the E-class can. The new generation of the Mercedes-Benz E Class has taken over the lead in the upper-range segment worldwide immediately following its market launch by selling more than 21,000 vehicles worldwide.

    Since its introduction in June, the E-Class is the best-selling upper-range model in Germany, with a current market share of about 45 percent. In September alone, sales rose by eight percent in Germany to more than 6,000 units. As a result, the E Class performed much better than its main competitors.

    With a current market share of 34 percent and sales of more than 12,100 vehicles in September, the E-Class also maintained the leading position in Western Europe. The same holds true in the U.S. and Japan, where the Mercedes-Benz upper-range model is clearly in front of its German competitors in the premium segment

    I am sure that the trend will stay like this for the near future, with the introduction of the BlueTec engines and its cleanest diesel in the world


    Again, it's been a refreshing injection of interesting opinions.

    Thanks Pat for your REAL input this time. ;)

    TagMan
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Having read the opinion of others, mine is the E has a bit more luxury than the cars it competes against..

    How so? I keep seeing that lately as part of the argument for "E and no one else gets in to the HELM board", and yet its never explained exactly what about the E makes it more luxurious than an A6, or GS, the other top contenders for luxury in the mid class. I don't see any edge in terms of cabin materials, and the E is certainly not the technology leader of the class, with its last gen COMAND system. I dont think its the conservative\bland styling that makes the E more luxurious. What am I missing?
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    The MSRP for a GS350 RWD with NAV\ML, PCS, 18" G-Spider wheels, AFS and power rear sunshade is around $53,200.

    MSRP for a 450h with the same equipment is $62,805. Thats just about $10K.


    There are still equipment differences, for instance AVS and VGRS on the 450h, not available on the 350.
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    I guess for me it is a combination of a visual, and mental state of mind. It appears (not to say it is) a bit larger than say A6, what with overall attractive lines..and hopefully an alternate to the hybred push of the Japanese..I don`t personally think it really is a HELM, and also don`t think anyone on this board thinks so either, but for me it is a shade above it`s competition. So until a product come along that `knocks it out` it is what it is, and if others want to discuss it is fine with me...Further I think Audi A6 with just a little more fine tuning could be that product..

    I remember four or five years ago there was a big discussion between almost everyone vs Merc on the Lexus and was it even a HELM car or not...Slowly Merc threw in the towel, but really put up a fight....It was back then that my admiration for Merc grew as he really knew his fact and figures--and was stubborn as could be..Today there are quite a few imo who are right up there with him...Tony
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    IMHO, "upper-range" is a more modest decriptor than even "luxury car" much less "high end luxury." For the US market, "upper-range" brings to mind something like the Toyota Avalon in market position. For the European market, with the majority of E-class sold with 1.8 liter inline-4 and small V6, and more plebian interior than in the US, the "upper-range" description may well be the correct one. In the US, only the top models of the E-class are available, and it's marketed as a midsize luxury car.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    So until a product come along that `knocks it out` it is what it is, and if others want to discuss it is fine with me

    Well, I agree with you.

    The problem is that there is no definate line in the sand as to when a car is a HELM, and that's OK with me to leave some latitude.

    As the totem pole has its positions, who's on top and who's in the middle and who's on the bottom, I think it was a concensus that the older LS430 was low man on the totem pole up until the new LS460. Now the question is which car is low man?

    I thought for a while that the latest E-Class would be a perfect low man on the totem pole, but I'm afraid it looks like it could be an entirely different discussion, you know, as to which of the regularly-accepted HELMs is least qualified, or low man.

    If the E is accepted here, then it is the natural low position, and the others are safe. Otherwise, low position is up for grabs. Is it still the LS (standard wheelbase)?

    The E-Class is a lot more car than many give it credit for, as I have seen here recently. It is a perfect candidate for the E63 AMG, and yet it is the perfect candidate for the BlueTec. The E63 is a freakin monster of a car, for those that are in the know. The standard E's perform like a bullet, and are very luxurious. No wonder the E-Class is such a great seller . . . worldwide! Mercedes has to be very careful not to let it get too far ahead of itself, as it could slightly cannabalize the S. The E is that good, IMO. Slightly lacking on rear seat legroom, IMO, but not horrible by any means, and that is one of the main distinctions or objections . . . its size.

    Seems that many of us like our HELMs to be BIG. I agree to a point, but for me, it's also about the quality, and I see it in the E. The E is a bargain, IMO. I had one once, with the 430 engine . . . the same engine in Merc's CLK. A silky smooth very willing powerhouse that got surprising fuel economy. And now the E550 is even better. The E deserves the 550. One of the best engines to come along in a while. And as I said, it also deserves the AMG variant and the BlueTec. All for that wonderful E-Class that many of us seem to appreciate enough to include it in this forum, but a few of us do not, at least not to the level of HELM inclusion.

    The fact that so many would consider the E-Class to be included here is testimony to the greatness of the car, IMO. It's also nice to see the E-Class get some of the recognition here that it has earned . . . and it's earned it on a global level.

    Anyway, terrific posts from all, and even from some posters we haven't even heard from in a while.

    TagMan
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    I thought the candidates for "low man of the totem pole" were/are Infiniti Q45 and VW Phaeton. S320 was pretty low too when it was available (and S280, which was the perennial favorite for luxury livery service overseas). It's interesting to see if MB brings S350 over here in a couple years. Having a low man of the totem pole, so to speak, certainly can jazz up sales.

    E class is a nice luxury car, in the form of the model range offered in the US. Its large worldwide sales volume however depends on E200 with an inline 1.8L inline4, E220 diesel, and the two E280's (diesel and petro).

    E63AMG is a monster, in a brutish way like those shop-tuned Mustangs and Camaros . . . I have a hard time believing that platform designed and built with most unit sales in the form of I4 and small V6 can accommodate such a large engine without adverse effect on handling . . . but then again AMG was never focused on handling.
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    But I'll throw in my two cents (and expect a little change back!).

    Nothing too profound, but the E doesn't make it as a HELM, as the others have pointed out, it is eclipsed by the S-Class, so the middle brother does the heavy lifting, but doesn't bask in the spotlight. :cry:

    I like the car. But the LS460 can still be the start of the HELM class, as far as I'm concerned.

    Kinda like Rickey Henderson leading off the game with a Homer! ;)

    DrFill
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I like the car. But the LS460 can still be the start of the HELM class, as far as I'm concerned.

    At least you're not claiming the LS460 is at the top of the heap like some others used to do.

    I gotta give you credit, Doc, for the way you've posted some rational ideas from time to time.

    But don't get too big-headed . . . you've still got some real crazy ideas, too . . .
    . . . but I'll admit that I still look forward to reading them. ;)

    TagMan
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I thought the candidates for "low man of the totem pole" were/are Infiniti Q45 and VW Phaeton.

    Q45? Sorry, I should have been clearer and phrased that "low man on the HELM totem pole".

    I have a hard time believing that platform designed and built with most unit sales in the form of I4 and small V6 can accommodate such a large engine without adverse effect on handling

    That's because you under-estimate the E, and AMG knows better. ;)

    TagMan
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    No idea who thought LS460 was higher than S600. Until LS600HL is here, the V12 offerings from MB and BMW are still the top of the HELM heap, if it's defined to exclude Maybach, Rolls and Bentley, on account of much much smaller volume. Over time though, I do believe the three in the rarefied field will all try introducing lower-end products that will dove-tail with what's offered at the S, 7 and LS price point. It will be interesting to see what Toyota/Lexus' response will be . . . bring the Century brand over or further extending the Lexus line upwards while dropping the ES.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Q45 is the low man of the HELM totem pole. It's higher than M, which is a midsize LPS . . . Q also has an MSRP of close to $60k, length of 200" motivated by a 300+hp V8. It's a bit like the XJ, aging design with very poor sales. Even more importantly, Q is at the very top end of Infiniti's totem pole, which is a luxury brand.
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