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High End Luxury Cars

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  • No kidding. The rags certainly know which side of their bread get buttered . . . or was that never bite the hand that feeds :-) I have always considered the ads-based magazines as little more than sales literature.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I always smile when new models are being introduced. It is about the only time that the rags and even sometimes the manufacturers will tell you what was wrong with the outgoing models. A Lexus exec even said that the outgoing LS was not up to some other luxury cars.

    They all sing the praises of the current model until the new one comes out. Then, "Well this new model takes care of the heavy nose, or the bad brakes, or not enough power, etc.


    Interesting.

    A lot ot truth to that idea! But sometimes the weaknesses are only seen by contrast to the latest and greatest version itself . . . so it was never really seen as a weakness in its own time.

    Even more interesting.

    I think both viewpoints are valid depending on the vehicle in question.

    I notice that with the new CL the writers and a Mercedes exec (like a Lexus exec before him) is saying unflattering things about the old CL, design wise that is. Design wise the outgoing CL was praised all across the world, it even won several European design awards, but now Holger Hutzenlaub is saying that old car was too conservative and didn't look the part. The old CL is easily regarded by most Benz fans as one of Mercedes' best looking cars of the last 20 years, but now it didn't look right? Right.

    Not every new car gets this type of treatment relative to the old one though. Various GM, Nissans (new Sentra C&D Dec) and more germane to this thread the 5-Series didn't get instant praise over their immediate predecessors. C&D has come around to the 5-Series in recent comparos, almost putting it in 1st place, but there is a problem: the M45. If it weren't for this car they'd now be singing the praises of the 5-Series, now that the car is going into its 4th model year.

    Automobile Magazine stated flat out that they liked the previous W124 E-Class (1986-1995) better than the W210 (1996-2002) E-Class and they did so for years after the W210's introduction. This sentiment was echoed by more than a few owners also. I agreed with this also, still do when it comes to most things about the W210 relative to the W124.

    Then you have cars like the Saturn Ion which truthfully is just a piece of junk so there is no way its replacement could be any worse so the new model praise will be fully justified. Off thread I know, but it is one outstandingly crappy car!

    Oh, the Infiniti M45 comes to mind too. Compared the place-holder model Infiniti first brought over the new model is in another league.

    How could I forget Acura. The press moaned big time when the Acura Legend was replaced by the RL and while the press has come around to the car this last time around, buyers have been moaning every since for the Legend.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Not every new car gets this type of treatment relative to the old one though. Various GM, Nissans (new Sentra C&D Dec) and more germane to this thread the 5-Series didn't get instant praise over their immediate predecessors.

    Yeah in their "best and worst automotive makeovers" list, the GM "big nose" minivans, and Impala were listed as being worse than the cars they replaced, at least styling wise. Interestingly, they had this to say about the new Camry:

    "Toyota took the bestselling car in America, the inoffensively styled Camry, and in an effort to make it appear more upscale for 2007, grafted on a ponderous schnoz and a cellulite-puckered rump, the latter crime more grave. The result looks like an aging starlet who’s had work done, only to be exposed and damned by the invention of HDTV."

    That I don't really agree with. At least in SE trim, the new Camry doesn't look bad. Also, the old car was the styling equivalent of packaged cheese slices. I don't see how you can do "worse" than that.

    http://www.caranddriver.com/features/11617/the-best-and-worst-automotive-makeove- rs.html
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yeah I don't know what they're talking about there. The new Camry is the best looking Camry ever, especially in SE trim. I still glance at them when I see one, unheard of for a Toyota in my eyes. The only thing I see really wrong with it is that in SE trim it needs bigger tires to fill out the body add-ons, but that can be fixed very easily with a nice set of rims. Secondly is that front emblem placement, it is wrong, that I agree with, but they couldn't put it in the middle of the grille otherwise it would look too much like a Lexus. Not sure what they could do to fix that.

    Also, the old car was the styling equivalent of packaged cheese slices.

    Lol. Don't ever stop with the creative descriptions!

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    An interesting tidbit from the Carconnection.com:

    For instance, the 2006 Mercedes-Benz E320 CDI posts EPA estimates of 27 city, 37 highway, for a combined figure of 30, yet owners (seven of them so far) report an average of more than 33 mpg. The 2007 version I drove, with its updated Bluetec engine that will be 50-state compatible next year with a new urea-injection system to cut nitrogen oxide emissions by 80 percent, posts 26 city, 37 highway, also for a combined figure of 30 mpg. In a recent 300-mile test-drive of an E320 CDI Bluetec, we saw an average of more than 33 mpg. That included about 85 miles of around-town driving, split over several days, with several puff-free cold starts (the aluminum-block engine warms up quite quickly) and several just-for-kicks full-throttle launches, along with a Saturday highway loop that included a variety of roads, including 70-mph expressway driving, creeping through small towns, and slaloming up and down a national-forest road to a trailhead. On that 300-mile day loop, we averaged more than 35 mpg, indicating that for the highway driving we were running around the 40-mpg mark for much of the time.

    Full Article

    M
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I have yet to see the SE Camry trim but I have seen plenty of LE's and I agree with the writer from C&D.

    As I have posted before, the rear of the new Camry looks cheap and ugly to me. I much prefer the older design-conservative but not embarrassing.

    However, Toyota designers got it right with the Avalon.
    Smart looking, front and rear.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    It is quite refreshing to see a fuel efficient car with EPA ratings that are actually conservative, rather than at best hopelessly optimistic, and at worst outright lies. I wonder how it would do with an E350 Sport spec suspension and wheels\tires?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I wonder how it would do with an E350 Sport spec suspension and wheels\tires?

    Good question. There are more than a few prospective E320 Bluetec owners on MBWorld that are upset about the E320 not being available with the sport package which is for 07' (gasp!) a no charge option. I guess the bigger wheels/tires would bring the MPG numbers down some and MB seems to be going for maximum efficiency with the E320 Bluey.

    M
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Interesting. One of the plusses of an AWD LS460 possibly not being out until late CY2007 is that there will be more alternatives available to consider....not just a new 7, but maybe an S diesel? I have heard the next 7 would be available AWD, though it isn't clear if that would be out of the gate. Is a diesel S going to be offered AWD?

    And most importantly of all, will the owner have to endure urea jokes, like "if you run out of urea can you pop the hood and piss into the car?" ;)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I think that once they get around to offering a S320 Bluetec it will be offered with 4Matic. The current European S320 CDI has a 4Matic option.

    M
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 5,873
    It sometimes takes a while for a new design to grow on me so I am patient. I am still waiting on the new Camry, but so far I still don't like it very much. The grill just sort of ruins it for me ( evokes a 50s' circa Studabaker) and the whole car just looks sort of bloated.

    I must be especially sensitive to grills because there are quite a few that I don't like:

    1. Honda Accord- This car really doesn't have a grill. If you look at one head on and up close about all you see is the radiator.

    2. Audi- I don't think I will ever get used to that big mouth look.

    3. O7 MDX- A brilliant car/truck except the nose looks like a big chrome cheese slicer.

    For me, simple is better.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    If you want to see cars get old quick wait until the next round of BMWs come out which will bid good riddance to this current fleet. BTW, I can see the attraction to this new Camry because it looks sportier and loses the frumpiness of its last three predecessors. However it's an endomorph, reminds me of a chunky little ground hog.
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 5,873
    I really like what Mercedes and Honda are doing with diesels. I just can't figure out why it almost seems that there is a conspiracy to keep them out of the U.S. Just think of the gas/oil we could save. Having them virtually banned for the last few years really made little sense to me unless Big Oil wants more time to figure out how they can justify charging 40% more for diesel than gasoline, thus pocketing the savings for themselves.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    The Accord is simply uninspired. I prefer the older design.

    I agree on the Audis. Can't stand the front. Too bad. Their interiors are among the best.

    Well, the MDX had nowhere to go but better. The outgoing design was minivan dull. Big mistake not having front and rear parking sensors in such a big vehicle.

    So far the best-designed new vehicle I have seen happens to be the Lexus GS350; the worst, the Camry, with the Accord not too far behind.

    I will be at the auto show tomorrow and will get a better look inside and out-especially at the new LS, MDX, GS350, MB E-Class Bluetec and the S-Class. Hope they have a Camry SE to look at but they will probably go with the boring XLE.

    Can't wait to test a Bluetec. My 545i should get me a free pass into a test drive. Could be my next vehicle.
    Should render hybrid technology obsolete.

    In an ideal world, I could see myself with a new MDX for transporting my road bike to great cycling trails throughout the country and a Bluetec for everything else.
  • The main problem was nitrous oxide (and other nitrogen-oxygen compounds), which is the result of diesel engine operating at higher temperature than gasoline engine (high operating temperature also being the source of its efficiency to begin with). If this urea injection thing, and even better if Honda's no urea necessary approach, really works in reducing NOx without adding too much maintenance complexity, it will be fantastic indeed. After 100+ years, Rudolf Diesel's dream of widespread adoption of the efficient engine finally coming true . . . except not running on peanut oil like he envisioned :-)
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Good question. There are more than a few prospective E320 Bluetec owners on MBWorld that are upset about the E320 not being available with the sport package which is for 07' (gasp!) a no charge option. I guess the bigger wheels/tires would bring the MPG numbers down some and MB seems to be going for maximum efficiency with the E320 Bluey.

    If there is enough demand for it, M-B will probably do it. I can't imagine the penalty for the bigger wheels and suspension changes would be more than what, 2mpg? 3? Im sure there are plenty that would be willing to make that sacrifice, especially considering you'd still be well ahead of the gasoline E350 even with the drop.
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 5,873
    While I am on a rant here on new cars, here's something else I don't like. Anyone else notice that if you want a car equipped a certain way, maybe just a fully adjustable passenger seat, you can't buy a Toyota, or Nissan. You have to pony up another 10 or 12 large and step up to a Lexus, Mercedes, or some such (not just an entry level one either in many cases). Do they think we don't know what their game is?

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    Sure looking forward to your report....Drive Carefully....Of course I like the Audi snout, and also like the Bmw snout....Got both....Tony
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Hey,Tony. Which BMW and Audi vehicles do you have?
    I do wish the BMW interiors were as nice as the Audis.
    I have a crush on that dark gray Lexus GS350 I saw yesterday.
    Hope to see one up close at the auto show tomorrow and sit in many of the MB, Audi, Acura and Lexus vehicles. No BMWs.

    Thanks for your kind words, Tony. I still have a few weeks to go for the TOL. My wife was supposed to go but she dropped out. Means more caviar for me, I guess.

    I will try to drive carefully, thanks, but not slowly! It is, after all, on the other side of my state.
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    The Audi is an A8 and my wife`s bmw is the 530xi(sp) stationwagon with x4...You have the really sporty 5 and drive it as I would ...I sort of got the understanding you are in South Florida??If so where? My Audi is the short (regular) wheel base and it is a very comfortable and if need be percision drive..I really have to draw the line somewhere , therefore I just couldn`t see spending the extra forty five thousand dollars for the more powerful twelve w12 engine....I swear I thought you were going to the TOL tomorrow Drats Tony
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I had a feeling you are an A8 person when you mentioned Audi.
    That is one great vehicle with a beautiful interior.

    I am an ex-New Yorker in voluntary exile living in Hillsborough County near Tampa. I have a 260 mile drive to the TOL in Miami in a few more Sundays. I don't mind. Any excuse I can use to drive the 545. Now that my "navigator" decided she won't be joining me, I may be able to get there a little faster! Heh! Heh!

    Tomorrow is the auto show (very close by) which is fine too because I can compare exteriors, interiors, seats and legroom of all the best vehicles without feeling pressured in the dealers' showrooms. I look forward to this every year. As Tommy Lasorda would say, "I live for this!"

    I'll be looking at the A8 as well as the E-Class Bluetec, the S-Class, LS460, GS350 and the Acura MDX (interior looked great in photos, so I will check it out up close and personal).

    I also want to check out the exteriors of the new Camry, Avalon, ES350 and LS460 for similarities and differences.

    Should keep me busy for a few hours as the "co-pilot" dies of boredom. She still can't find my car in a parking lot with only 3 silver cars in it, but if I move a living room candy dish a fraction of an inch, she will notice it as soon as she enters the room! I find our differences in DNA "curiously refreshing."
  • guestguest Posts: 774
    Didn't no we shared so much in common, HP!~

    I did 25+ years in the Big Apple, AND am also in somewhat-volunary exile (couldn't afford another $115 parking ticket and a latte!), AND I lived for 2 years in Tampa! :surprise:

    AND you are slowly falling in love with a Lexus GS?

    You are one scary cat! Stage Name: Rod Serling? :P

    DrFill
  • guestguest Posts: 774
    Interesting little tidbit I picked up from the sales reports this month:

    October Sales for BMW 325i/325xi/330i/335i: 3496

    October Sales for Lexus IS250/250 AWD/350 : 3464

    Just throwin' it out thur'..... :blush:

    DrFill
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    I liked the look of the GS350. Will look at it more closely tomorrow.

    I'm originally from Brooklyn. Lived in Crown Heights from the 1950's through 1970-2 blocks from Ebbets Field, when once upon a time, baseball was undiluted with mediocre talent and computer-generated playoff possibilities. Lost interest in baseball when "dos bums" abandoned ship for LA.

    First car I had back there, a 1969 Cougar, was found one morning resting on concrete blocks with all 4 wheels missing. That's when I began thinking of future voluntary exile.

    I'd call those numbers a dead heat. Lexus is doing well with the IS which is a message I hope the company "gets."
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Lexus is doing well with the IS

    And where would you imagine those IS sales would have otherwise gone? :)

    BTW, interesting personal story. And oh yes . . . I know exactly what you mean about moving that candy dish or something else out of its place . . . they all have some kind of frightening radar system.

    TagMan
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    If you want to see cars get old quick wait until the next round of BMWs come out which will bid good riddance to this current fleet.

    True, especially if BMW does something radical to "fix" idrive in the press' eyes. They'll harp endlessly (as they do now) about how terrible idrive was. If BMW smoothes out their new look and makes the next 7-Series (the next major redesign) a looker again, they'll do the harping endlessly (again) about how ugly the current car was.

    BTW, I can see the attraction to this new Camry because it looks sportier and loses the frumpiness of its last three predecessors.

    The new one is easily the best looking one ever, IMO. Not a hard thing to do considering. The last Camry that even looked decent was the 1992-1996 model and it was a melted shape from somewhere else, the LS400.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well if Mercedes can get the 08' models certified in those 5 remaining states I think we're going to see a mini-diesel revolution. Early sales indicate the newly introduced models are being well received. The real numbers will be next month, which will be the first full month of sales for the E320 Bluey, R320/ML320 CDI models. A GL320 comes in Jan 07'.

    Maybe Honda will place a diesel Accord in the spot where they should have placed the hybrid model, the low end. Prospective Accord hybrid buyers apparently did't want more power, they want better MPG over the regular Accord models.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    If there is enough demand for it, M-B will probably do it. I can't imagine the penalty for the bigger wheels and suspension changes would be more than what, 2mpg? 3? Im sure there are plenty that would be willing to make that sacrifice, especially considering you'd still be well ahead of the gasoline E350 even with the drop.

    They just might. That package sure does make the E look a whole lot better too.

    M
  • And where would you imagine those IS sales would have otherwise gone?

    I doubt many expected IS sales to nearly match 3 series this quickly in the product cycle. I wonder if BMW is experiencing some kind of product transition issue in the market place. The perenniel sales leader in the entry level sport-luxury sedan market is certainly expected to hold on to its lead by more than the skin of teeth, so to speak. Perhaps consumers are waiting for the 328i/335i to fill the supply chain?
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    BMW is transitioning to new engines in the 3 series, which is causing the dip in sales. Lexus can't celebrate yet.
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