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High End Luxury Cars

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  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Thank's Pat for speaking up and keeping a good thing going....

    To the point. Thank you's are in order here.

    So . . .

    THANK YOU, PAT!

    AND . . . THANK YOU TO EDMUNDS MANAGEMENT.

    :D

    TagMan
  • garyh1garyh1 Posts: 386
    AH, SO NICE TO BE BACK IN THE OLD CLUB ROOM AGAIN, WITH JUST A SMALL REDECORATION (MARQUES > CARS)!

    Hi Dewey. Nice to hear from you. I too went into "read-only" mode for a while (just to be clear to everyone, not boycotting, just fell about 1700 messages behind while on vacation and never able to catch up; now Pat has given me an excuse to skip over the last 1700 messages! So if I say something already covered or miss some allusion to a previous post, please forgive me).

    Thanks for that link to the BusinessWeek article. I raised the question in that other short-lived forum (HELV or whatever) that nobody has really answered: is the still low ratings in CR for S more based on the average of the past 3 years (which includes '04-'06), so that any improvements made in '06 got overshadowed by the well-documented problems in '04 and '05? I'd like to believe that the earlier 2 years masked any significant improvement in the last year of production; this becomes very relevant if I wanted to consider a lightly used '06 some time in the future.

    Anyway, I am still hoping that MB has really righted themselves with the quality of the W221. This line from BusinessWeek gives me hope:

    Since electronics problems peaked in 2002, the number of flaws has dropped 72%, to about one per car. And warranty costs are down by 25% this year. "It's about doing things right 1 million times over," says Mercedes Chief Operating Officer Rainer Schmückle.

    But boy, all you have to do is look at the online "reader's comments" following that article and you see how far MB has to come to win back previous owners.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    So, Dewey you are back. Now that you've got that beautiful new BMW, we're not supposed to talk about it. :(

    Oh heck, keep us posted on it from time to time . . . I'm sure a little blurb or two won't destroy the forum. ;)

    Quote from BusinessWeek:

    But Mercedes still has a long way to go.

    Y'know . . . BusinessWeek is a great magazine, IMO. I subscribe to it, and love it. Remember that article about BMW I posted recently? That was also a good one, IMO.

    That quote from the article you posted makes us realize that while MB is on the right path, the final benefits won't show up for a while yet. But it is good news, nonetheless . . . especially in the wake of the recent CR report, which can't be helpful as it extends the poor quality reputation, even though it is more of a historical data report as opposed to a current one.

    Fortunately the current reliability is likely improved beyond what the CR report would have us believe.

    That should mark the end of those bad CR reports for MB, as future reports should start to reflect the current improvement . . . finally.

    Edit: I see garyh has made a good reply. Nice to see he has made it back to this HELC (?) forum.

    TagMan
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Would you believe that 1999 mesg was posted after another forum change? This board, the former HELM, now HELC isn't the original board for this type of chat. There was another board before this one and when it was closed it took some time for people to fome over to this one, the one we almost lost!

    Thanks Pat!

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I'm betting on the new W221 S-Class to get some good marks next year, but I still have no faith in the Bama made Benzes. For some reason (still) Mercedes-Benz USA, Mercedes-Benz in Germany and MBUSI still won't spend the money to make things "right" at the Bama plant. In just reading owners posts on MBWorld the new R/ML/GL are much better than the original M-Class, but that doesn't say much because the original was likely the worst Mercedes in history when it came to reliability and build quality.

    True the new ML, R and GL (in that order) are built pretty well physically as far as their interiors and bodies go, especially the GL, but there are still many posts about problems with suspension (on models with Airmatic), nav systems, and even transmissions. That latter of which I don't get because other Mercedes' (E,S,SL,CLS,CL,C350 etc.) use the same tranny and there have been very few if any problems. Someone is still pinching pennies in Bama it showing up once again.

    Now with the GL450 Mercedes made a curious decision regarding Airmatic. Every other Mercedes that has Airmatic (S550, E550, all CLS models, E63, ML63) have the adaptive damping standard, but the GL450 has just airmatic with no adaptive damping standard, to get it you have to order the off-road package. That is the only major difference between the GL450's airmatic and say the S550s, and the GL450's airmatic has been troublesome and the S550's isn't. The MBworld forums on the new S-Class has no reports of any problems and some of these owners now have over 10K on their cars. Total opposite to when the W220 was introduced.

    With the new X5 BMW produces the same level of fit and finish here as they do in cars made in Germany. Why Mercedes won't (because I know they can) do that is beyond me. Oh well I'm not in charge of the plant. Why the ML and R have the old 5L V8 is beyond me also, a ML550 or ML450 should have been a given ditto for the R. Hopefully they'll do an early 08' model (next spring) with a sligh re-fresh next spring with the new V8(s).

    M
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Dewey and tagman - please go to the BMW 335i 2007 discussion if you want to talk about his new 335i. Sylvia was very serious about having to stay on topic. Please don't put me in a bad position.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Good to see you! :D :D :D

    (Tagman, I knew drfill was kidding, btw.)
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Thanks, Pat.

    BTW, since you're "lurking" about :) . . . you had suggested twice on the short-lived HELV/C forum that you have never objected to different body styles, so long as they were high end. Does that mean that I can continue some discussion with Designman regarding our Porsche quests, and with lexusguy about the high end suv's?

    TagMan
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    If others don't object, I don't either.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Why the "management decision" to change the title from "Vehicles" to "Cars", anyway?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I got to thinking about this answer, and I gotta tell you I don't know a thing (well hardly anything) about SUVs - you've got to keep it high end, okay?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I do not know.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Hi Garyh1,

    Good question? Maybe the good 06 results for the S were overshadowed by lousy results for 04 and 05. And even if that is the case I would still not get too excited about the new 06 S in terms of reliability since it is still far too early to determine how they will hold out in the long term. Various MB models that were rated above average by JD and CR have ended up being rated below-average in later years. Consistent high quality throughout the years is no longer a Benz-like attribute ( My wife and I still drive my dad's problem-free 83 MB300D with its close to Guiness Book World record mileage numbers on its odometer)

    The latest CR ratings for various Audi models have been very positive. Unfortunately these one year results will not transform Audis into Lexuses in terms of reliability. Lexus has earned it reputation for quality by being consistent throughout the years. Audi ,MB, BMW and even Porsche have still a long way to go.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Remember that article about BMW I posted recently? That was also a good one, IMO.

    How can I forget. I think that BMW article you had posted was responsible for at least 2000 posts in what was then called the HELM forum. ;)
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,243
    Dewey and tagman - please go to the BMW 335i 2007 discussion if you want

    Dont worry. Unfortunately that leaves the BMW 7 and 6 as conversation topics which just happen to be my least two favorite cars from BMW. :(
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    Why MB opted to give the new GL an optional active damping system tied to an off-road system that no one is going to use, which is standard elsewhere? Why did they feel compelled to just offer the 335hp 4.7L V8 standard, but the only engine? No 5.5L is even planned, only the Bluetec and a possible 6.3.

    There are a lot of things tha MB did with it's biggest ever US offering that is sort of interesting.

    But one thing is for sure, they didn't skimp on the refinement and dynamics, which makes an '07 Escalade look like a '34 Buick, all for the same money(as a matter fact, the MB starts 1800 bucks less). And it has a 3rd row that borders on Surburban-expansive. Couple that with it's relatively low weight(for the class) and some real athletic moves, and you have one SUV that is unphased in this class. Ok, the Q7 does compare nicely, which happens to be it's closes competitor.
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    "The latest CR ratings for various Audi models have been very positive. Unfortunately these one year results will not transfrom Audis into Lexuses in terms of reliablility. Lexus has earned it reputation for quality by being consistent throughout the years. Audi, MB, BMW, and even Porsche have still a long way to go."

    Welcome back from your short hiatus, Dewey!

    But, as I see it, regarding Audi, very few owners report the problems that are so purported with German cars. I had the most technology-driven, most powerful and biggest Audi of them all, yet that car never saw one unscheduled visit.

    The same can be said for many other German cars. The 3-Series for instance(using it as a point, PAT) is enjoying record breaking satisfaction scores. I don't think these people are very happy to know the service manager by first name. This car is now as reliable as it's Japanese/American comp.

    And the latest MB's are absolutely stellar, mainly the E and S, with the E having 75% less problems than the 96-03 model it replaces.

    And it's not all cake and ice cream over at Lexus. Several problems have aroused about the LS' 6-speed autobox and the previous 5-speed. The LX470 has not been the model of reliability that most will lead some to believe, right along with it's LC platformate. Diddo the GX.
  • the GL when i drove it. It was smooth, and powerful, very quiet. My problem with it is the ergonomics. They are a disaster IMO. The ML doesn't offer anything in terms of driving dynamics, fit and finish, or hushing road noise over the new MDX. My wife loves the look of the ML, but I doubt it will win her over if she drives it. My guess is that it's gonna come down to the Q7, and the X5, with the X5 winning by a small margin when she's due for another ride.
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 6,067
    You know, I thought that is what it sounded like.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    True to most upper-end MB's, the dash controls are the result of an F5 tornado making landfall.

    But I must confess, the new S-Class controls are by far and away the most intuitive I've seen from MB in a while.

    I've seen the MDX, both inside and out, and I came away not all too impressed, especially with the downmarket interior, looking rated under an Explorer Limited's interior. And that exterior, is well let's just say uninspired. I'm now convienced the Honda/Acura designers post-TSX/TL are completely moronic. The new CRV looks like something off of the cartoon movie Cars(and not in a good way), and the new RDX is even worst.

    On the X5, I've heard glowing reviews on it. Everything from the improved driving dynamics to the newly embossed interior is said to be of first-rate.

    I can tell you the Q7 is more than competitive.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Since we're talking SUV's (of a HIGH END nature, Pat, as promised) the Porsche Cayenne deserves a mention, as does the Range Rover. I will be looking at the '07 X5, the '07 Range Rover, and the '07 Cayenne. They will make for an interesting comparison. (The GL diesel is a seperate consideration at a future point in time, so I can not consider it now, as it does not yet exist.)

    TagMan
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well a member on another board I post on asked MBUSA about the GL550 and the V8 GL420 CDI and he got:

    "Thank you for your recent internet inquiry.

    We anticipate the release of a GL320 CDI at some point in the first quarter of 2007 as a 2008 Model Year vehicle. At this time, we do not have any information regarding the release of a GL550 and the V8 Diesel engine will not be available for the US Market. We would encourage you to periodically check our website. This would be the best source for news on all our models, and can be accessed at www.mbusa.com"


    So I'd say that for 2008 we might, might get the GL550 (GL500 that is running around Europe now), but no to the V8 GL420 CDI. There will be no GL63 AMG, one of the AMG bosses has already stated this.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I think we can stick of fork in the W220 S-Class and possibly the W211 E-Class as far as JDP and Consumer Reports are concerned. I really believe that once a car gets a bad rep for reliability with them there is no saving the design. We'll have to see what the 07' E-Class will do next year since it no longer has the SBC brakes and has been revamped. Ditto for the new S which is all new and judging by the owners here and there and word of mouth it seems to be an about face when it comes to reliability.

    There is no way I'd ever let these surveys dictate what type of car I buy. Never. There are GL450 owners who are reporting that their GLs are making a slight hissing noise when parked, i.e. the airmatic is just leveling the car or lowering it after it is parked, but I'm sure some have reported this as a "problem".

    M
  • I totally agree. I'm a big Honda/Acura guy, but the first time I sat in the new MDX I said to myself, this interior isn't up to German standards. I had hoped that they would step it up a little and be more competitive. I guess in order to hit their price point, they have to cut somewhere. All that to say, the driving dynamics are pretty competitive IMO.
    I have driven the Q7 extensively and I love it. I think [hope] my wife will to.
    The S class interior is very clean and modern. I can't speak to how intuitive it is, or isn't.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Well a member on another board I post on asked MBUSA about the GL550 and the V8 GL420 CDI and he got:

    "Thank you for your recent internet inquiry.

    My personal experience with contacting manufacturers has typically been a waste. It is nothing more than a lesson in public relations.

    The primary interest of MB is to sell cars. Almost every time there is internal knowledge that an upcoming model could canabalize existing sales, the information is somehow non-existent, not up-to-date, or is totally incorrect.

    I completely understand how it is in MB's interest to suggest that there will be no upcoming diesel GL for the US market, because there are lots of current units to sell, and those sales are mission critical. But there have been other indications that there will be a diesel GL, and it just makes too much darned good obvious sense. I still believe that there will be a diesel GL for the U.S. market announced or available within 2 years.

    BTW, I read your post about the ML quality issues that seem to emerge from the Alabama assembly plant. I found that to be very interesting.

    TagMan
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yeah they're holding back on the GL320 CDI, but it will be here in late Jan/early Feb. Buyers on MBWorld already have production dates and specs from their dealers. The 4L V8 diesel engine I would imagine isn't clean enough for U.S. duty. On the GL550 I'd always read that if the GL450 is a hit (which it is) then they'd sell a GL550 here the following year. Fingers crossed for the GL550 as a fully loaded, nappa leathered, very few options, 70K or so, true Range Rover fighter for the 2008 model year. The GL550 is going to be a beast with the GL450 already matching the acceleration of way more powerful trucks already, i.e. the Caddy Slade. A 382hp GL550 is going to be a hoot.

    Yes the issues at the Bama plant go back to day one. I guess they're too deep to correct this time around. A shame really. One plant in Germany spits out the SL, S and CL, all shimmering in build quality and the Bama plant isn't anywhere close except for maybe the GL450. Hell if this new S proves to be reliable there will be no excuse as to why the ML, GL and R aren't. Mercedes knows how to build a reliable car, they did it for years. Someone, somewhere forgot that, but they seem to have remembered how to do so with the S (fingers crossed), but no one told the folks in Bama how to or showed them the best materials to assemble the ML and R with.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    My theory has always been that they're purchasing a lot of things from the same suppliers that do business with Ford, GM and Chrysler. I've read where a lot of German suppliers opened up shop here back in 1998, but my nose told me otherwise when I sat in the first ML. The same smell and feel you get in a German made Benz simply wasn't there. Now the new generation Bama vehicles seem to be a mix of American and German suppliers by my nose. On thing I truly hate is that steering wheel. It screams cheap when you order it with wood and only one half of it is made of wood in contrast to every other Benz. I couldn't care two lugnuts about a wooden steering wheel in general, but if they're going to do one they could at least do it right. That 1/2 wood stuff was for Cadillacs and the like. Then there are the huge gaps between the buttons and the steering wheel hub, it reeks of American supplierism. See the gaps in this photo:

    image

    M
  • I actually believe them when the MB executives claim that they are building cars more reliable than they ever did. The problem is that staying at the top (or bottom in this case) in the reliability rankings is a moving target. MB's reputation for reliability was built at a time when annual tune-up for cars was expected. Hardly anyone does that any more. Most people don't even do 30k, 60k or even 90k service any more . . . they just change oil every 5k and change tires every 40k, and expect their brakes to last 60k! and hardly any change of brake fluid in the life of the car! MB never engineered the kind of tight tolerance for that kind of, what would have been considered "neglect" in old days, operational demand. The quality expectations today are quite different from what were two decades ago.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Then there are the huge gaps between the buttons and the steering wheel hub

    We've all seen this before, when the steering wheel's hub uses the center axis as a pivot point, and therefore needs the "space" to move (push on side to side) the hub in order to honk the horn. The gap is by design, but there are alternatives that other manufacturers have clearly proven are less unsightly.

    TagMan
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,857
    I guess as a personal opinion that the wood steering wheel looks great, but after now having the leather I sure wouldn`t go back...On my next car if the pictured wheel were to be all leather on the bottom--no metal--I would be happy....The wood gets slippery and sort of a light greasy feel if not wiped off regularly Tony
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