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High End Luxury Cars

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  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    mentioned the Porsche 911 and Boxster as another example. But, for goodness sakes, when an SL is parked next to a CLK, it doesn't take much to see which is the SL.

    For Porsche it was definitely worse with the 1st gen Boxster and the 996 911. The 997 looks like a proper 911 again, and the Boxster is better differentiated from it.

    The SL is a bit wider than the CLK, and the front end is pulled back a bit farther, the CLK's is more upright. Other than that, they are almost identical. If they are on the other side of a lot and all I can see is the front, I cant tell which is which. Especially in silver.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I personally love the way the 6 Series looks. Not necessarily the trunk lid, but it's a very avant garde, unique shape- not as curvaceous as the XK, but gorgeous all its own.

    Wow. I never thought I would see the words 6 series and gorgeous in the same sentence. Perhaps something like "pug ugly, but not pug fugly", or words to that effect, but not gorgeous. Wow.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Plus, Paris Hilton drives one. Thats a deal breaker right there.

    LOL. The illustration I posted is supposedly an SLS, not an SLR. I've never heard of an SLS before, so either it would be something new or the article was a typo.

    Regardless, it's just an illustration of an idea. The real reason I posted it was to agree with you that the SL is indeed aging a bit, although gracefully IMO, and the future of the SL is still anybody's guess. Last year, I posted a different picture of what might be the next SL. Bottom line... a new one should be around the corner, IMO, and I'd expect it to be an improvement.

    In real life, I'm with you on this one... I'd take the Carrera GT.

    BTW, When I was making the hard choice recently, I ruled out the both the XK and the SL only because I wanted the manual transmission of the Carrera S. Had I been choosing between automatics, I'd never have touched the Porsche's Tiptronic. I'd have been in the same boat as blkhemi and would have been choosing between the SL and an XKR.

    While I have been saying that I'd have gone with the SL, I can't be 100% certain, because the XK I drove was not an XKR. Quite possibly, the added power of the XKR could have swayed me in that direction.

    I must admit that your posts and others have made me realize a little more that as beautiful as the SL is, it is indeed a bit long in the tooth at this point. I hope its replacement does come soon.

    I hope you don't think I was being overly critical of the Jag's front end. I was being honest about it, and I don't want you to think that I dislike the XK overall. I still love it quite a bit, and would buy one under the right circumstance. Anyone should be proud and excited to own one... including you, of course.

    Interesting that you hate the 6 that much. I'm not a fan of that model either, but I don't hate it.

    As you know, it's the Lexus cars that get under my skin. I don't know why exactly, since they are so well made. I think it's just that the styling is dead, IMO. Lexus styling does very little to arouse the senses, IMO. I think this will change with the next generation of Lexus vehicles, however. The concepts do indeed look interesting. Future Lexus for TagMan?... never say never. LOL.

    Enough rambling for now... Talk to you later,

    TagMan
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Well they can't call it the SLS, because Cadillac owns the rights to that. It looks a heckuva lot like an SLR to me.

    I hated the design of the 645i when it launched, and I still hate it. Of all the Bangle BMWs, I think it is by far the worst, with the 745i being in second place. They've cleaned up the 7, and now it doesn't look too bad. It doesn't have the clean lines of the A8, or the sexy curves of the Maserati QP, but its no longer an eyesore. The interior is still the worst of any HELC though, barely beating out the Jaguar XJ.

    Lexus has had a few styling hits, and a lot of misses. The original SC coupe was good, and the GS400 was good (except for those stupid circular brake lights in the back), it just sat on the market WAY too long. I didn't really like the new GS when it hit, but it has grown on me.

    I liked the first gen RX much better than the original ML's minivan look, and the RX has influenced a huge amount of (mostly Korean) crossovers. The IS350 is a great looking car. The SC430 is really, really awful. The sooner they get rid of that thing, the better.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I do agree about the IS. It's the only Lexus that I'm OK with the styling. I think, in part, because Lexus styling in general doesn't look upscale to me, so it therefore better suits the IS. And speaking of IS, the new high-powered IS that will be forthcoming will further prove my long-standing argument that Lexus has BMW in it's crosshairs. The #1 comparison that will be made with that new IS will be with the new M3.

    Regarding the XJ... I do remember that you're not fond of the XJ interior. I'm good with it, and although it is no doubt dated, I still am very fond of the XJ overall... both interior and exterior. It's a classic that works for me... especially the Vanden Plas. Not to say that I don't look forward to a replacement, because I do, and I hope it is a good one. Jaguar could really use a terrific brand new flagship sedan at this point in time.

    BTW, the Bangle-look taken to the extreme doesn't work for me either. In moderation, it's OK.

    Yes, the RX has definately inspired the Koreans. And I've never been a big fan of the looks of the ML... reminds me of a high-top sneaker.

    TagMan
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Yes. I bought my second Sony XBR recently, this time an XBR2, and I did post over there. Trying to get HD all over the house. :)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    This year seems to have been more crowded than in recent years, maybe because I went on the first public day. It was very tough to get good pics this year, but I stil managed to get some great shots. I will posts the pics in a day or so. Now down to the business:

    Jaguar - The XF concept wasn't present. It was only for the preview days. They did have the new XKR on display, it was a beautiful as I'd seen in pictures. More on this SL and XKR issue later! Without seeing the XF concept there wasn't much to do at Jaguar but look at their classically good looking, but familiar cars.

    BMW - BMW is slowly but surely coming back around to being my second favorite. They knocked the X5 out of the park. From the exterior to the interior this new X5 is seriously gorgeous, but don't kid yourself about it being able to seat seven, because it can't. That "third" seat isn't even fit for most kids let alone adults. That said I love this truck just like I did the first one back in 2000 and it blows the ML (save the ML63) out of the water. The new BMW 3-Series convertible looked a little awkward in pics, but it looks fine in person, top up or down. The top up profile is a little boxier compared to the Coupe. The cure for the 6-Series is the M6, specifically the M6 convertible, stunning car. This year all the M cars wore white and they cast an impressive figure. The little Z4 M Coupe surprised me by also looking great on the stand. Last but not least is the 3-Series coupe, also hot. Still don't like the 7-Series no matter how fancy they make them, because now you can get your 7-Series done up by BMW's "Individual" outfit. Customer leather, wood and paint. Still doesn't work. Overall I'm slowly but surely coming back around to BMW.

    Cadillac - The new CTS is very impressive. It has a deep grille like an Audi and the overall styling is much more together and cohesive than before. Kinda what BMW has done with their look from 7-Series to the new 3-Series, it has gotten better looking. The CTS was roped off and locked so there was no touching of the interior, but I can tell you that it looks so much better than before. I still like the STS-V to a degree, but not much else at Cadillac to get excited about.

    Audi - Here is a company on the move, with the best looking lineup of any carmaker from top to bottom. They had 2 Q7 diesels there. The 6-cylinder 3.0 TDI and of course the concept V12 TDI concept. The V6 TDI Q7 "may go on sale" next year. The V12 concept has a look to die for, deeper grille and huge wheels give it an aggressive stance that the regular Q7s can't match. Then you have the RS4, S6 and S8, all gorgeous, brandishing their swank engines and stuffed to the gills quality interiors. The S6 in particular has some of the best seats I've ever sat in. Their winning diesel racecar was there also, a nice touch.

    Rolls-Royce - Nothing prepares you for the first time you see the Phantom Drophead Coupe. OMG is the car so over the top. The teak wood top cover and stainless steel hood and winshield surround are just sick! Be sure to check the 2007 Autoshow pics thread in a few days on the News and Views for this one. The rear opening doors and the sheer size of the thing creates an unbeatable presence. Look for this one to be all the rage with the athelete/hip hop crowd as well as the old-money rich.

    Aston-Martin - A very strange and bare display. The only car they had their were the new V8 Vantage Roadster. There was no DBS or DB9 of any kind there. Their display was just some black sand and some pics on the rear wall of their lineup, very unusual. I know Ford is trying to sell Aston-Martin but come on. AM reps didn't even have a podium, they just sat there in chairs!!! The was no seperate glass area this year for private viewing for pontential customers.

    Mercedes-Benz - I didn't like the Ocean Drive Concept. It looks like a Bentley or Cadillac, way too flashy and gaudy for a Mercedes-Benz. I do like the concept of a 4-door convertible if the structural rigidity issue can be resolved, but they've got to tone this thing down before production. It does look equally balanced top up or top down. I didn't think it would since the top is so huge. The GL420 Bluetec's grille is a direct response to the American market's "bling" factor, to say that it is huge is to state the obvious. According to the reps there the GL230, GL420, R320, ML320 Bluetec models will all go on sale in roughly a year from now. Along with the existing E320 Bluetec these will be all be 50-state certified. A S320 or S420 Blutec is being debated for the U.S. market. The real stars of the Mercedes stand were the AMG vehicles in a seperate enclosure. The CL63 being the star of the show. The new CL is somewhat plain looking without the AMG trim, moreso than the previous CL so the AMG changes are more dramatic. The CL63 looks so right from kit to wheels. They also had the new S63 on display along with the E63 and ML63 (the only ML I'd want). There wasn't a C-Class in sight, guess they'd like you to forget about it since the official 08' pics are due on the 19th of this month. The S, SL, CLS and E were all still as impressive as ever considering how familiar they are now.

    Lexus - I was more impressed with Lexus this year than ever before. The LF-A concept is hot and should make the first true lust object from Lexus. More on it later. My favorite production Lexus is still the IS350. I actually spent more time in the LS460L here than I did at the TOL event. I'm finding myself liking the LS460L more and more. The looks go in and out with the color and style of wheel, and there are a ton of buttons everwhere, but I can somewhat see the appeal for those who like it. This LF-A sports car represents the first time I've ever walked into an autoshow with a Lexus on my "must see" list. It didn't let me down either. Much better looking than the original concept, all that needs to be done is tone down the front end. I love the rear cooling vents under the brake lights. The car was displayed on one of those up high rotating turntables so you really couldn't see much of the interior. I have high hopes for this car when it reaches production. The IS-F on the other hand was sort of a mess. The car looks very nose-heavy and the stacked rear pipes are not attractive. Neither is the giant hood bulge. It seems as if Lexus never intended to put a V8 in the IS because of all the surgery to get one to fit.

    Infiniti - The new G35 is nice, but the rest of the lineup is pretty much forgettable at this point. I still "like" the M35/45 and the FX, but my fascination with them is wearing thin with at this poiint. Other brands have m uch better looking lineups overall by far. Nothing but sketches of the next G35 Coupe, the real star of their lineup IMO.

    cont....
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    And speaking of IS, the new high-powered IS that will be forthcoming will further prove my long-standing argument that Lexus has BMW in it's crosshairs. The #1 comparison that will be made with that new IS will be with the new M3.

    I think the IS-F looks awful, like they sent it to DUB magazine and said "go nuts guys, we really want this to be in Fast and Furious 3". The cartoonish body kit makes it seem like they are trying to pull buyers away EVOs and STis, rather than M3s. All it needs is a big wing on the back and a roof scoop, and they'll be gold. I honestly can't see anyone shopping for an M3 or C63 even considering the IS-F. Park that in the executive lot and you'll be laughed at.

    The two problems I have with the XJ on the inside are that 1. its like a time machine straight back to 1996, and 2. they really cheaped out in places that are very noticeable. I was absolutely shocked when I felt the inside of the driver's door handle and it was hard plastic, like they pulled it out of a Kia Rio. I hope the guy who said "we can save $8.50 per unit if we use plastic here instead of leather...I mean how often are you going to touch a door handle?" was fired, then dragged out back and shot.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The IS-F on the other hand was sort of a mess. The car looks very nose-heavy and the stacked rear pipes are not attractive. Neither is the giant hood bulge. It seems as if Lexus never intended to put a V8 in the IS because of all the surgery to get one to fit.

    What's so stupid is that using twin turbos on the 3.5L V6 would've solved all of the IS-F's problems, and they could've easily gotten 400+hp out of it.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Acura - You kinda feel sorry for Acura after looking at Lexus and Infiniti. They are in reality a collection of really nice Hondas with not one looker in sight.

    Porsche - The new Cayenne still looks best in Turbo trim only, just like before. Porsche didn't allow anyone to sit in the Turbo. The new 911 GT3 and GT3 RS were there for the hard-core 911 fans. I'd have a Carrera 4S Cabrio or Turbo myself. The Cayman and Boxster didn't disappoint either. The Carrera GT is out of production now so of course it wasn't there....sigh.

    Bentley - The new Azure as impressive as it is, gets upstaged quite easily by the Rolls DHC. The Azure is still as timeless as ever and looks the part though, but the Rolls is just I dunno. My favorite Bentley, the Arnage wasn't there. The new Continental GTC droptop was there in a "unique" shade of brown that was very much an aquired taste, IMO. As many of you know I'm no fan of these new VW-based Bentleys, not because of their VW connection but because of their looks. The sedan, the Continental Flying Spur is the best looking one of the trio.

    My favorites, the production and concepts that impressed the most. In no particular order, after #1 the Roller:

    1. Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe - This car is so over the top, expect to it to cost about "400K" according the Rolls folks on hand. It was truly the star of the entire show for me.

    2. BMW X5 - Inside and out, BMW has a hit on thier hands with this one. The best BMW interior going also.

    3. Lexus LF-A - The first lust object from Lexus in the making. This is the car that could win Lexus some respect from the Euro-only crowd.

    4. Audi Q7 V12 TDI - Awesome engine, interior, exterior, a killer package.

    5. Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG - Stunning Mercedes coupe with the racecar engine.

    6. Audi R8 - Just like Lexus this is a crucial image car for Audi. A stunning sports car with all the typical Audi goodness. Audi had 2 stars on their stand, more than MB and BMW. The should do wonders for their image.

    7. BMW M6 Convertible - For this package I can forgive the trunklid, a must have from BMW.

    8. Ferrari 599GTB - A real Ferrari in every sense of the word. There has never been a sleeker Ferrari.

    9. Cadillac CTS - A huge improvement over the previous car. Now if Cadillac could pull off such a transformation with the next round of replacements of their other cars they'd be on to something.

    10. Toyota FT-HS - A surprise. This concept looks much better in person that it does in pics. Sure the front end has a little too much going on, but it doesn't ruin the overall concept. I stood through the entire presentation, very impressive stats/drivetrain for the money.

    Notes:

    Aston-Martin's display was just awful for such a great marque. It was so bare and last-minute looking and their entire lineup wasn't there. The new V8 Roadster is gorgeous but gee whiz does selling the brand mean skimp on the display?

    Mercedes had their 4Matic cars displayed on a floor of real ice. No one fell while I was there..lol! They also had a wall of ice from the floor to ceiling with little "4Matic" badges embedded in it.

    There is hope for GM moreso than Chrysler and Ford IMO. I'll post my impressions about the "regular" bands later in the 2007 Detroit Autoshow thread over on News and Views.

    All I can think of at the moment about Detroit...so there you have it! Pics in a day or so!

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    What's so stupid is that using twin turbos on the 3.5L V6 would've solved all of the IS-F's problems, and they could've easily gotten 400+hp out of it.

    True, but this is a matter of keeping up with the Joneses. This class will be all V8 when the M3 arrives so Lexus wasn't about to use a V6 no matter how much hp they could have rung out of it.

    M
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Well then, I will add the new X5 to my list of test drives.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Surely you're not going to go for this about the SL being so old and not recognizable from the CLK? The SL is on the streets in good numbers because it has been out since 2003, its called success. It is easy to say that they're "everywhere" compared to a brand new Jaguar that doesn't sell in the same numbers as a car in its 5th model year. Of course I don't have anything against the XKR, its a beautiful car, but lets not carried away about the SL either. The SL is still the leader of this class easily even though you can get the top of the line Jag for the price of a "base" SL550.

    I won't go into the the Jaguar's front end looking like a much lesser non-Jaguar vehicle because that isn't Jaguar's fault. I remember reading that the brother of the stylist of the XK did the Ford Taurus also. On the other hand all Mercedes coupes and roadsters have had the same front end for years. Whether or not it was the SL, CL or this generation CLK. I really don't see the problem with a similar front end when there are far less "exclusively" branded cars that look a lot alike also. This about the SL and CLK being identical is really trivial IMO.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    True, but this is a matter of keeping up with the Joneses. This class will be all V8 when the M3 arrives so Lexus wasn't about to use a V6 no matter how much hp they could have rung out of it.

    Its disappointing that cylinder count for the marketing guys trumps the engineers, and logic. Reminds me of the camera companies all shoving in more megapixels regardless of whether or not it actually improves (or in some cases degrades) image quality.
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 5,966
    Thanks Merc, nice write up. If any other thoughts come to mind please share.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    make sure you go 1080p (progressive). you'll get better results with the newest HD DVD's and BluRay disks.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Yeah there's a spot or two of plastic in the XJ interior, but certainly not that much, especially compared to the Lexus LS interior which looks like an explosion at a plastics factory.

    For the most part the interior of the XJ is proper amounts of wood and lots of genuine leather.

    The IS-F definately is as you described. It isn't going to matter that it isn't in the same league as the BMW M3... all the comps will be between it and the Bimmer... just wait and see. Just by being compared to the M3 will give it credibility that it won't deserve. Diehard BMW fans will see through this, but there will be those that won't.

    TagMan
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    this new X5 is seriously gorgeous, but don't kid yourself about it being able to seat seven, because it can't. That "third" seat isn't even fit for most kids let alone adults.

    I am very sorry to hear that. I was thinking of taking the wife to the BMW dealership to look at that new X5. She needs seats for seven.

    TagMan
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Good review, Merc. I recently posted that the Toyota concept sportscar will be a big hit. I agree about the R8... I posted a similar positive response to it after seeing it at the SF Int'l Auto show. I am glad to learn that the X5 is terrific, but am sorry to learn about the useless third row seats. And, the Mercedes diesels will be even bigger news next year for sure.

    I am glad you agree with me regarding the merits of the SL.

    Again, thanks for the review. Just think... one day in the future we might actually love a Lexus! LOL.

    TagMan
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Thanks.

    I'm waiting to see which of the 2 new DVD technologies becomes the accepted one.

    If I wind up with an X5, it would be purely for hedonistic reasons.
    I need the extra leg-room...and enjoying BMW's best interior wouldn't hurt. The 545's interior is sooo boring. Might be worth giving up some driving excitement. But then again I read the 4.8 X5 can do 0-60 mph in 6.4 seconds. Gulp!


    I also intend to check out the 335i coupe and any BMW diesels that come along within the next 18 months.

    Some tough decisions, but somebody's got to do it! :)
  • dhamiltondhamilton Posts: 873
    Thanks for the Detroit review Merc.

    Just MHO, but I think the new XK just kills the SL.

    I have had some significant seat time in the new X5 and can tell you all that it is the best high end SUV out there right now. It's Lexus quiet and smooth, and still has that great BMW steering. For long road trips I think the Q7 is better though.

    I think that we're all forgetting that the new ISF has to compete with the brilliant RS4 as well. Top Gear recently tested the RS4 against the M3 with the competition package, and the RS4 just killed it.

    I fear that the new M will displace the Audi, but I don't expect the Lexus to do much but show up. [based on Lexus history.]
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Either disk format, you'll still want 1080p capability in the tv. BTW, there is now a universal HD disk player announced at CES that will play BOTH HD formats AND current formats as well... an all-in-one player! Yeah, a solution at last!

    X5 does sound good. Wonder if there will be a diesel option in the future.

    TagMan
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Based upon the current trends, there should be a poster called audi1 very soon. Or is there already such a poster?Maybe merc1 will change his name.

    TagMan
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yeah the X5 having "seven seats" is just for marketing only. The commercial they have going where it is lapping the 'Ring is pretty misleading when all those adults get out of it. The ones in the rear seats wouldn't be able to walk!

    Again, thanks for the review. Just think... one day in the future we might actually love a Lexus!

    Anything is possible. I really feel like the LF-A could be the first.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    O K merc --drive carefully with the new Mercedes and don`t get a ticket Tony

    I did drive "carefully" and didn't get any tickets. There was a lot of 95-100 mph crusing on the way back though. Effortless at those speeds. There is a sticker inside the gas cap that tells you what tire PSI should be for "sustained driving over 100 mph", only a German car would have such a sticker.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Unfortunately, that LG universal player may never happen. The DVD forum either is suing or will sue because it cant read the HD-DVD menu system, and thus cant be called an HD-DVD player. HD-DVD is the better format, its cheaper and looks better. Unfortunately Sony is loathe to give up on their failures (Beta, MD, Memory Stick, SACD, UMD) so expect this pointless war to drag on for several more years.

    Plus, $1200 is a bit much for something made by LG.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The IS-F definately is as you described. It isn't going to matter that it isn't in the same league as the BMW M3... all the comps will be between it and the Bimmer... just wait and see.

    I'm not so sure about that. I think it will be compared with the C63 AMG more than anything. They're both going to be automatic only and 4-doors. The M3 will no doubt offer a manual after the uproar about the SMG only M5/M6 and the M3 will be a 2-door initially.

    M
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Too bad about the lawsuit in the face of the solution. I'm disliking Sony more and more as the years go by. Too often the brand name itself is more valuable than their products. Fortunately there are often better alternatives out there.
  • brightness04brightness04 Posts: 3,151
    Also make sure the HDMI connection actually works. I just took home a $2000 (cheapest, only 40") 1080p Sony LCD before Xmas. The picture is fantastic, over the air, through component input and computer D-sub input. However, neither of the two HDMI connectors seem to work. How am I gonna watch movie when the studios clamp down on DRM control?! It's going to be a royal pain-in-the-tail to haul it back.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I think it will be compared with the C63 AMG more than anything.

    Nope. Hate to say it, but the Autospies website (not an endorsement!) has a video that says how the IS-F will be a major comparison to the M3. It's what people think of, even if it isn't a truly appropriate comp.

    And, yes, I agree the C63 AMG will get its day in the sun with the IS-F as well. But...

    Trust me, the major comparisons will be between the IS-F and the M3... afterall the M3 is the king of the hill, at least perceptually.

    TagMan
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