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High End Luxury Cars

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  • Remember that the A8 is in its last year and that the new 2004 model is due out this spring. Just looking at the updated styling and features there is no doubt that A8 sales will increase dramatically in percentage terms. Just how much will depend on how competitively the car is priced compared to its competition (BMW and Mercedes, most directly). I personally like the looks of the new A8 better than either of them.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,679
    Never has sold well in the US. Even when the last re-design occurred sales were slow. Plus it has a twin in the Phaeton to compete with next year. For the life of me I'll never understand VW's strategy.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    It seems like an even more of an uphill fight for the A8. Just when it gets re-designed and has a real chance at selling in greater numbers, it has to share the spotlight with a VW. Between the two though the A8 looks to be the superior car.

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,679
    In depth story on front page of today's NY Times on BMW and Chris Bangle. You should try to access it on-line.
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    Everyone must also remember one more reason why the A8 has always sold in really small numbers: the aluminum spaceframe contstruction. I think it's a turn-off to many would-be buyers because only a few body shops across the US can do body repairs to them.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Ok thanks I'll look it up.

    Yep that is probably the main reason as to why the A8 didn't sell. The other biggie is that 70k for an Audi is still a bit of a tough sell for those living off of Audi's past.

    M
  • Audi will start to sell more A8's once it develops a longer-standing repeat buyer clientele, which it seems to be doing.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,679
    200 sales a month is 200 sales a month - whether its repeat buyers or not. When was the last time you saw an A-8 advertised on TV. Audi may have thrown in the towel here in the US and maybe is simply shipping enough cars (with minimal advertising) to keep the A-8 brand name alive. As long as it sells well enough in Europe they may not care.

    Merc1 - it's a good story and shows how BMW may be walking too fine a line. They wanted to break-out - but they seemed to turn off at least some, if not many of their loyal base with the new styling cues.
  • Audi will be launching an expensive new advertising campaign for the 2004 A8 - they seem determined to increase sales here in the U.S.

    For those who haven't seen it, here's a pic of the exterior and here's one of the interior.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,679
    Does anyone think that the new Accord looks a bit like the 7 on the side and toward the rear? I actually like the design of the Accord and I find it doesn't have the disjointed look of the 7 in the rear or on the side.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I don't know if it looks like the BMW 7-Series, the 7 is much heavier looking. The new Accord and Saab 9/3 do favor somewhat though. Somewhat.

    M
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    I think the accord is a very attractive vehicle, with a consistent integrated look that fits its market very well.

    The new 7 looks like a camel - both literally and proverbially.

    Literally with the odd-hump back shape remeniscent of a chop job where someone cut two cars in half and welded them together. The 7 now seems to wear the butt of a Volvo S80 shapewise. Proverbially, the camel being a horse designed by committee, of course.

    I know the new 7 was 'designed' by der vunderartiste, but frankly it's a hodgepodge.

    The Z4 is ugly too. It reminds me of odd styling originated in the 1970's fiberglass kit car craze. It's very choppy, the flutings on the side don't serve any purpose except to catch dust and mud. Yuk!
  • Well, I bought it -- and it's fabulous.

    After two months of wavering while my 1998 740i lease ticked to the end, I started the process of buying the 740 from BMW (the lease was up) because of my misgivings about the 745. This thread was a huge source of info on that.

    Then I learned that BMW had sweet financing terms on the 2002s to move them out, and I figured I'd be spending nearly as much on the non-warrantied '98 740 as on the new 745. So I made the decision to get the 745 -- without ever having driven it. Can't really explain why.

    My conclusions so far:

    ** The iDrive complexity issue is vastly overstated. It took very little time to get familiar with the base functions. The system's logic is fairly transparent, so I did not even consult the owner's manual on the iDrive until I wanted to do some more advanced tasks, like programming in voice commands for the built-in telephone. The "this car makes me feel like an idiot" folks should buy Cadillacs and shut up.

    ** The 745 is about 30% more fun to drive than the 740, which was already a near-perfect driving experience. The extra power in the engine is evident, making it just a tick smoother in highway driving. The sensation is slightly up-higher and more knife-like, more like the 5-series, instead of the lower sedan-like 740 feel.

    ** Once you drive it, the "looks" issue becomes less of a problem for those, like me, who consider the 740 a classic. The 740 is still the better looking car, but the feel of the 745 is in synch with the body changes, the rearward location of the cabin, the accent on the wheels, the more rounded corners. (It's cute that the video BMW gives you with the car includes a Chris Bangle segment explaining that the raised trunk design is tied to the roof aerodynamics -- they clearly are defensive on this point.)

    ** There are a couple of really silly quirks that are beyond explanation. Why would any engineer design a headrest to automatically rise when the seat is adjusted?

    ** Of course, if the car ends up spending 2 weeks in the shop because of software snafus, I'll have a completely different view. But I've heard the mantra "those problems have been fixed and all the campaigns have been performed on the late-build vehicles" enough to believe it, for now.
  • I am trying to decide between the two. I currently have a bmw 540ia. I love it so I guess I am leaning toward the 745 but I need reliability also. I would appreciate any and all ideas.
  • How about an S-Class pearl
  • Apples and oranges. Both cars are terrific vehicles. For me, it would come down to what is more important to you: handling or comfort. The 745 is more of a driver's car: providing sharp turning and awesome power. The LS430 provides less excitement in driving, but awesome comfort and quiet. Drive them both and determine which one provides you with the best driving experience, given the type of driving that you do. A few other things to consider would be price (745 is generally $15-20,000 higher than the LS430) and reliability (Lexus seems to be more reliable, based on everything I've read). For me, it was a no-brainer: although my heart pumps harder when I drive a 745 (I test-drove one and my best friend has one), I opted for the comfort and incredibly smooth ride of the LS430 (this weekend, when I slowed from 105 mph to 90 mph on the interstate, my wife asked whether there was a reason I was driving so slowly - - she thought I had slowed from about 70 to 55).
  • nealm1nealm1 Posts: 154
    Interesting piece in the NYT yesterday about driver distraction and, esp., about idrive.


    http://www.nytimes.com/2002/12/01/magazine/01PROBLEM.html

  • pathdocpathdoc Posts: 126
    I test drove the 745 a few months ago and found the biggest negative for me was not the looks or iDrive but rather the lack of a console mounted shifter or if you use the wheel mounted switches the inabilty to shift up and down without having to hit the steering mounted lever. I am surprised that a company with an image of the "ultimate driving machine" would go so far from it's heritage. I guess if you just put it into drive and never shift it wouldn't be a problem. Any thoughts from enthusiastic drivers who have driven the 745 for prolonged periods and who use to enjoy manual shifting at times with an automatic?
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    I think that "enthusiast drivers" buy the 5-series.
  • jstylejstyle Posts: 129
    Anyone know when this auto will be available and any news on what, besides the engine and perhaps all 745 options standard, will set this model apart and justify a close to $100K price?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The 760Li is supposed to be available in Jan per the local BMW folk here. Price will be "about" 110K. Equipment info:


    http://www.germancarfans.com/News.cfm?NewsID=2021127.003


    M

  • Can't agree more with PathDoc. The huge center console that houses i-drive and cupholders would be better served with a tiptronic style shifter for the 6-speed automatic with the redundant controls on the steering wheel. My current 2000 740iL has what I feel is the perfect cockpit. Spacious, yet intimate. Driver oriented, but luxurious. I would probably appreciate the i-drive as my car with the integrated phone, GPS system and upgraded sound with DSP processor is about impossible to figure out anyway!

    My only other suggestion to BMW would be to go out on a limb and provide warranty and maintenance protection beyond the 50k currently offered. You see more BMW's with lots of miles for a reason, they beg to be driven! How much additional cost would it add to the vehicle to make the statement, bumper to bumper warranty and maintenance for 7 years or 100k. That would really make a statement about BMW's confidence in their product.
  • pathdocpathdoc Posts: 126
    I just read on Autospies.com that starting in Jan. all the 7's will come with steptronic. This will at least allow you to shift up and down using the buttons on the steering wheel.While I still would prefer a shifter in liew of the iDrive it will in my opinion improve the driving experience and eliminate a "fatal flaw"
  • While on the subject of flagship marquees, you might want to do a Google search on "BMW NIKASIL" before making your decision. As recently as 1995 BMW had major engine problems that they tried to blame on inferior petrol. Funny, my wife's Mitsu runs regular and has had no engine problems while I, running Amoco white, had engine failure at 6 years, 6 months and 74k miles. I, being one of the lucky(?) owners of one of these will probably never own another BMW - at least not one out of warranty. I took my car to the dealer for all maintenance and they never alerted me to this potentially devastating problem. The car ended up running like an ill tuned model T and I traded for 5K under wholesale 'poor' condition even though the car looked and drove perfectly(except for an idle that would wake the dead and 0 to 60 in 5 minutes). I've owned plenty of German cars but this car single handedly drove me back to Japanese reliability - but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
  • l943973l943973 Posts: 197
    Just read in interesting article in AutoWeek about the 745i. It turns out that the other cars that owners looked at were the

    Mercedes Benz S55
    Audi S8
    Infiniti Q45

    All happen to be high powered (310+ hp) autos.

    So it would seem that even though there isn't much talk about the Q45, there are folks out there still checking out the car. The LS430 and S500 weren't on their lists.

    Which brings up another fact I came across on the BMW website. It turns out when you select the competitors to the 745, it only lists

    Audi A8,
    Jaguar XJ Series
    Lexus LS430

    In this case, they left out the Mercedes Benz S-Class. From a price point, I guess it makes sense since the 745 is cheaper than the S500.

    Looking at Carpoint, it looks like the income demographics for an S-Class ($185k) is much higher than the BMW 7-Series ($175k, no longer listed) and the LS ($145k). So even if the LS is trying to compete with the 7 Series and S-Class, the buyers are a lot different they maybe what marketing is expecting. The Q45 trails at around ($100k) even though marketing is trying to cater to an income demographic of $200k (Edmunds src).

    So in the end, if you want status, get the Mercedes or MB/MayBach. Actually if you afford the Maybach, then the S500 is probably too cheap for you. :)
  • jstylejstyle Posts: 129
    Very cool I think. I always liked the Black & White Individual model from this division. For those that don't know what I am talking about go to the BMW worldwide site and click the links for the program. (think designo from MB)...Any comments?


    http://www.germancarfans.com/News.cfm?NewsID=2021217.001
  • nealm1nealm1 Posts: 154
    I have always said that the new 7's interior is simply gorgeous. Wouldn't own one on a bet at this point (have you seen the depressing turn the 7 board has taken?), but it is a stunning piece of design ON THE OUTSIDE. Don't get me started on the rear exterior. (I can do w/o the stripes (inlay?) on the console).
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    The stripes are what make it the Yacht interior. The standard 7 interior does not have the stripes.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The 7-Series BMW has been the single most styling disappointment I've ever seen from BMW in my 15+ years of being a fan of the brand. The car brings all types of engine and suspension technology to the table, but for the life of me I can't bare to look at the rear of the car. The front has become less severe with time, but that rear end is only palatable in black or dark blue. Strangely enough though, the car also makes a statement in white, I mean it's get the looks and fingers pointing....though I'm not sure all are saying it's a "good" looking car.

    The 2004 BMW 5-Series is where the straw will be broken. So far it looks even worse!

    The S-Class has always been on another level as far as it's average buyer;s demographic is concerned. One basic reason for that is the price, it starts where all the rest top out (except the 760Li). The S55 has moved further upmarket with 493hp and 107K sticker. I've driven the S500 and thought it was good enough, I can't image how a 191 hp increase must feel!

    The Q45 is a very interesting car. Infiniti messed up on the marketing of it though. It was never as sporty as a 7-Series or an S55, and for all it's 340hp it's no faster than similar cars with less power. No large car marketed as a sports sedan has been a success, except for the 7-Series. Even the 7-Series has started to place more emphasis on luxury with each re-do. Infiniti should have marketed the Q45 as a luxury car first, with a touch of sport. Why can't Infiniti get their transmissions right? The M45 is a midsize car with 340hp and it's actually slower than the way less powerful E500, GS430, and 540i.

    All is not lost at Infiniti. They are doing great on the lower end. The G35 is a hit, and rightly so. I'm forced to drive this G35 Coupe the first chance I get. The FX35 and FX45 look to be potential winners also. Infiniti, like Acura just can't get any respect past 40K.

    M
  • diploiddiploid Posts: 2,286
    Anybody else notice that the Maybach's rear end is similar to that of the BMW's 7-Series, but for some reason, it actually works better than the BMW's?
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