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High End Luxury Cars

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  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yeah I was kinda thinking the same thing. It doesn't have as many curves as I thought it would have. I'll reserve final judgement until I get to actually "see" it.

    Jagboyxtype, what do you think of the new A8?

    M
  • jagboyxtypejagboyxtype Posts: 241
    I haven't seen it in person either. However, I think it has a pretty clean, organized design all around, with a sporty Germanic, machine flair to it. I like how the wheels fill up the wheel wells - Audi has always styled the flares around the edge of the wheel wells nicely, and I like the simple pillar arches and their shapes. The C-pillars taper nicely into the rear quarters at good angles from the rear 3 quarter views I've seen. Overall, I'd say it is a handsome car. But like the XJ, it may be a little too conservative in some peoples' views, though its sheer size (I've read it's larger than the S-Class, 7-Series, and XJ) might give it a lot of presence on the road. The interior also looks to be quite nice in a simple modern fashion as opposed to classic, almost overstated elegance like the XJ - but both come off well. I like the unclutteredness of the car's detailing, and can definitely see how VAG is trying to make the Audis look sporty and upscale v. luxurious and upscale, as the Phaeton fills that role. Truthfully, beyond that, I haven't really given it a whole lot of thought though, so I hope I haven't dissappointed you with my rather skin-deep analysis of the vehicle. Though it's aluminum intensive, I also read that it is still quite a heavy vehicle and that it doesn't feel exactly light the way the other aluminum car here does - the XJ - but I haven't actually checked the weight stats on the cars, so I cannot be sure. Stylistically though, it gets great marks in my book, as do S-Class and XJ (and you know how much I like those, so it's a real complement).

    CAR did a comparison that I gave a cursory glace at, but I did not read the whole article; just the captions for the pictures - and you know what car I was interested in within the group. Didn't the A8 win the comparison? I believe it did, and the Jag didn't do so badly either. They were rather harsh to the Bimmer, saying something along the lines of it trying to scare the Jaguar away with its ugly rear end, and at another point saying that although the XJ was following the 7 in the photo, the XJ was a superior vehicle. I didn't read much about the A8, and that might be its only flaw - it doesn't grab attention so much as the curvy Jag and sleek Mercedes (at least in photos) - even the 7, though not aesthetically pleasing in the traditional sense, grabs your attention. But that is the problem with photographs - the proportions and sheer mass of the vehicle do not come through to create the car's presence, and Audi's styling, being modernized, sporty-simplistic, relies a lot upon balance and dimension for its true effect. A lot of the beauty of the car is in its 3 dimensions.

    For market shars, the other cars it is against also all have names that carry solid reputations: BMW is supposedly "the Ultimate Driving Machine" and the hot thing right now - it is known to be a great drive and technologically advanced to a perplexing degree; Mercedes is more luxury oriented but massively powerful and holds its own in terms of performance, it is to some the ultimate status car and is known to be solid all around with technology under every panel that doesn't confuse the driver like iDrive does, though Command may have to be learned for a few minutes; Jaguar, though with a bad rep for quality (despite being one of the top brands in terms of quality in reality), also carries a powerful name that to some is up there with Mercedes-Benz, it is slightly mysterious being that its numbers are more limited and its world class wood and leather interiors are iconic along with the leaping jaguar hood mascot - from its Le Mans racing history, the words "Jaguar" and "speed" have become synonomous, and the beautiful cars feature styling like no other - they also carry a reputation for having snooty drivers, but the repuation is half of the fun - they are ultra smooth with fantastic rides and perhaps the epitome of refinement. The A8 and Audi, however, are still developing a meaning as I'll call it, and while Audi has gotten a pretty good connotation, "A8" is not as widespread as "7-Series", "S-Class", or "XJ." Maybe this will be the A8 to solidify its name into widespread fame and acclaim; it seems like it is off to a good start.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    See post #2288, I posted some some of the ending comments from that comparison. The A8 did win. They called the Jag a better car than the BMW. High praise indeed. If it wasn't for that dangone Phaeton I think the A8 could really hit the big time here now.

    M
  • jagboyxtypejagboyxtype Posts: 241
    I think if word gets out about the A8 enough, it will get the sales it deserves. Phaeton is a great car, but it is also a Volkswagen - a "peoples' car" - and in this class, people do buy into the image of the car as well as its tangible traits. Audi is already upscale, so the A8 does not face the battle the Phaeton faces of becoming recognized as a real luxury car. But as I said, the competition has solid names already, and this A8 will have to fight to secure its own name among them, as I don't feel the previous one - however marvelous it may have been - was successful, or as successful as Audi would have wanted it to be, at doing that. This one is beautiful and engineered right, so it just may be the A8 that gets the recognition it deserves.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I do not see the appeal of the VW, speaking of image......
  • jagboyxtypejagboyxtype Posts: 241
    That's what I meant - most people don't view "veedub" as an image car with the same appeal of a leaping cat, roundel, or tristar, but the quad rings of Audi are recognized as a marque with (almost - it still needs to become more widespread) the same appeal as Jag, Bimmer, and Merc, so that is already to the A8's advantage over the VW Phaeton. VW has more image to build than Audi does as an upscale brand = advantage A8.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I think VWOA is having second thoughts about the uber-peoples-car here, they still haven't said "when". It was supposed to go sale this spring.

    M
  • dwongswongdwongswong Posts: 63
    Hi everyone! I'm new to the luxury car board. I recently got an Audi A6 in February. Since then, I've already put close to 11,000 miles on it. I really like the way it drives--comfortable, fast enough for me, like the way it looks, and feels safe with the quattro. I've owned three BMW's before I finally got the Audi (a friend advised me to get one). Though I did research on it and found out that it had many, many bad reviews on the Audi board, I went ahead and purchased it after seeing it in person.

    The three BMW's that I owned (I still have a 2000 model), all have had numerous problems with them. The first was a '94 525i. I spent an extra $11,000 on the car fixing it after the car overheated and killed the engine. Plus, the glass fog lights kept breaking every few months whenever a small rock hit it. The second was a '00 323Ci. I had to replace the speakers, amplifier, wood trimmings, instrument cluster, outside temperature gauge and door moldings (twice). The 2000 328Ci that my wife drives has had the VANOS intake system, wood trimmings, and door moldings (twice also) replaced. The only reason I haven't traded it in is because my wife likes the way it looks and likes to drive cars until it is at least five years old. A BMW specialist told me recently that BMW's are not made to be owned more than 60,000 miles. They are sprinters; not marathon cars like Japanese vehicles.

    I've been following the news about the 2004 Audi A8 L every since I first saw it at Autoweek.com. It's the best luxury sedan I have ever seen. I even sent AudiUsa.com an e-mail telling them how in love I was with it when I saw it. I wish that I could afford one, but not in this economy right now. Maybe someday.

    For those of you who don't like Japanese luxury cars, I tell you this--no car, in general, will last as long and as easy to maintain as the Japanese brands. Many of my relatives and friends own them, and they all have never had any complaints about them. They may not look as good or drive as nice as the Germans, but they are fine cars if you intend to keep them for several years.

    If there are any owners out there who like or dislike their luxury cars, please post on this board or e-mail me at dwongswong@yahoo.com telling me the likes and dislike about these fine cars. I want to know so that I can have an idea about what luxury car I want to get next. Also, if there is anyone who just got the 2004 A8, please let me know about your experience.

    Thank you! And as always, drive safely out there.
  • benzownerbenzowner Posts: 20
    why don't you try a mercedes there very good cars too.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Try asking on the A8 board, I think there are two people there that just got new 04' A8s.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I would like to pose the question to the room. How much hp is enough?

    All the Euro luxury carmakers: Mercedes, BMW, Audi, VW, Jaguar, and Bentley are all pushing hp to levels that are just short of ridiculous. We won't even go into what Bugatti, Ferrari, Porsche and the like are up to.

    Mercedes has 4 600+ hp cars coming in the next 12 months: SLR, CL65, SL65 and the S65. They already have SEVEN cars that produce nearly 500hp as it is!

    BMW is preparing a 550hp V10 for the next M5 and their 760Li already produces over 400hp.

    VW is working on a "R" Variant of the Phaeton with 600hp.

    http://www.thecarconnection.com/?article=6164&n=156,178&s- - - - - id=178

    Audi will no doubt have to produce another S8 or an even more potent RS8. The current RS6 has 450hp.

    Bentley's new Continental GT has about 550 hp.

    Cadillac has what is sure to be a performance bargain coming the 50K 400hp CTS-v.

    Jaguar has a few cars (XKR, S-Type R, XJR) with around 400hp too.

    The Maybach and Rolls Phantom wear their high-hp engines with pride.

    I remember when 300hp was awesome (about 10 years ago) for a luxury car and 400hp was truly reserved for exotic sports cars and a handful of sedans, now ordinary "luxury" cars are carrying this much hp and more. Where will it all end?

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Speaking of the VW Phaeton, does anyone know the pricing or on-sale date?

    M
  • ford624ford624 Posts: 75
    Wow, I almost know that I am getting over my head writing in this discussion group.
    Well, here goes:
    A 2004 XJ8 with 18" wheels has a window sticker of about $60,000.00.
    A 2003 MBZ E 500 with a sport pkg and a few more options has a window sticker of about $60,000.00.
    Humbly, I am asking, which will provide the best all around (bang for my buck)?
    "Thanks"
    ...Jack
  • aki86aki86 Posts: 15
    I don't think it will ever stop. If you look even farther back, 50 hp was considered enough for a high-end car. Just like Intel keeps rolling out faster processors, these guys will keep boosting hp.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Interesting comparo. These cars are pretty much even on paper. However they differ greatly in styling and character. The Benz is the colder more efficient one, the Jag the warmer sensual one. I would say drive both and then decide. Normally I'd hands-down say Benz all the way, but this new XJ is a stunner, and its the first Jaguar since I've been paying attention to cars that actually stays with the Germans on technical, detail engineering. The Jaguar I think is also bigger inside. Tough choice.

    aki86,

    I have to think it will end somewhere, otherwise can you imagine 10 years from now!

    M
  • ajvdhajvdh Posts: 223
    "A BMW specialist told me recently that BMW's are not made to be owned more than 60,000 miles"

    Who was this "specialist?" The service writer at the Audi dealership? Sorry, but I know of too many very high mileage (>250k) daily driven Bimmers to believe that statement. In particular, the E30 3-series and the E28 and E34 5-series are known to be very hardy specimens. My '89 325is has only 160k, so we'll see how it holds up when it gets old. From the experiences of my friends who have owned them, I'd be less sanguine about the chances of an Audi making it that far.
  • prattsterprattster Posts: 59
    A BMW specialist told me recently that BMW's are not made to be owned more than 60,000 miles"

    Of course they can be kept for more than this, anything can, it's just a matter of how deep your pockets are and how busy your mechanic is. <wink>
  • msgreenmsgreen Posts: 67
    whomever said that BMWs aren't meant to be owned past 60K miles was either having a good time pulling someone's leg, or is full of it. Boredom is what causes most cars to be traded (gotta have the latest model), and sometimes reliability. Anybody buying a BMW as opposed to some other high-end marque has probably considered their sportiness and driving excellence. Few drivers get bored in BMWs - and they are as reliable as their owners want them to be (maintenance, etc). My 97 528 has 92K miles on it, looks and runs great, burns no oil and has had only "normal maintenance" done to it for seven years. Thousands more could tell similar stories (as could the owners of other makes).
  • dwongswongdwongswong Posts: 63
    Your BMW may have high mileage on it, but I'm sure that there are high mileage vehicles in all car categories. My overall experience with BMW cars was very bad--as well as my sister and friends. We all have had many problems with them during and after the warranty expired. I had three BMW's; my sister had one; my college friend had two; my professor had one; and my boss had one. Base on talking with them, we all came to the conclusion that BMW's are great cars to drive, but terrible cars to own out of warranty. All of us had to pay too much extra money to fix the cars' numerous problems after the warranty ran out. I alone had to pay more than $16,000 to keep the three BMW's I had running. I kept my '94 525i until 1999; my '00 323ci until '03; and still got my '00 328ci. My wife and I drove a lot, so our cars ran out of warranty within two years.

    The BMW specialist works at my local dealership. He's been with them 11 years. He told me that BMW's are made to drive fast, fun and sporty. But as far as keeping them out of warranty, he would not own one. He told me to always buy an extended warranty when I get a new BMW, because they usually have problems once they reach 60,000 miles. He said that's why he would never own one unless he was rich. Also, look in Consumer Reports Used Cars Guide. BMW's don't have good reliability scores. Most are average, and some are even below average.

    This is not to start an arguement; just to tell you my experience with Bimmers.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Finally something on Maybach. Looks like they sold a whopping 13 cars in June:

    http://www.germancarfans.com/news.cfm?NewsID=2030702.003&Page- =1

    M
  • ajvdhajvdh Posts: 223
    I have mine. I know too many people with high-mileage, reliable BMWs to put much stock in your "expert's" opinion. I also know too many Audi owners to believe that you'll see an improvement in long-term ownership costs by switching to that particular marque.
  • msgreenmsgreen Posts: 67
    have had so much trouble with your Bimmers; however, your "expert" is full of it. Horror stories can be told about any make as well as success stories. However, to have some automotive "expert" (right) essentially claim that BMWs turn to junk at 60K miles is ludicrous. You need another source of advice.
  • libertycatlibertycat Posts: 593
    1)'04 Jaguar XJ Type
    2)Infiniti Q45
    3)'04 Audi A8
    4)Lexus LS430
    5)Mercedes-Benz S Class
    6)BMW 7 Series
    7)Volkswagen Phaeton
    Every one of these is a good car but this is the order in which I like them. I think Volvo needs to make an S100 to compete in this class. If you are interested in signing an internet petition for Volvo to make the S100 go to that chat under Future Vehicles/Volvo related. Also, the DTS (2006 Deville replacement) will be in this class so watch out Jaguar and Infiniti, this could be a class leader.
  • airmaticairmatic Posts: 54
    Is anyone going to the MotorTrend exclusive test-drive? If you go to their website, and click on the link saying &#147;exclusive luxury-sedan test drives&#148;, and request an invitation (they have lots of space still), you can test drive the 2003 S500, 745Li, and 2004 Audi A8L. you get 30 min. in each car, and get hands-on-experience, for free. I believe that they have 2 separate drives in S. California (LA) in July, and 2 or 3 in New York. Just wanted to know if anyone&#146;s going…

    i basically agree with your list, libertycat, except slightly out of order:
    1) '03 BMW 7-series
    2) '03 Mercedes-Benz S-Class
    3) '04 Audi A8L
    4) Lexus LS430
    5) ?

    i don't know... the new Jag XJ never attracted me, neither did the Infiniti Q45 or the VW Phaeton.

    oh' by the way... i also saw a new Maybach on the road yesterday. driving away from my S.Cal dealership, and it was beautiful- some pewter metallic-type color. I believe that it was the short-wheel base model.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I'm curious to know what you didn't like about the Audi and what you did like about the 7-Series. They also had the uber-VW there too??

    libertycat,

    My personal list:

    Mercedes S-Class
    Audi A8 (a very close second, I mean very close)
    Jaguar XJ, BMW 7-Series (tie)
    Infiniti Q45

    I wouldn't want a LS430 even if it was given to me!

    M
  • airmaticairmatic Posts: 54
    I'm curious to know what you didn't like about the Audi and what you did like about the 7-Series. They also had the uber-VW there too??&#148;

    I was hoping that Audi would &#147;drastically redesign&#148; the flagship A8L. The front looks essentially the same (has the same general shape; same with the grille), the side looks… well not that exciting. As for the rear, I don&#146;t know what to say. It just doesn&#146;t look the same to me as when the 2000 S-Class came out and when the controversial 7-series came out in 2002.

    Now… as for the 745Li…
    I just think that overall, it has the best design. Outside- the front truly does look like an eagle, with the &#147;eyebrows&#148; in the headlamps. The wide kidney grille looks majestic. But for me, and most beautiful aspect of the vehicle is the side-profile view. The shape, and lines, and chrome trim (I particularly enjoy viewing the rear doors on the Li model, with that opera window…). Now, I must confess that the rear of the 7 is indeed strange, but sometimes, we have to accept different ideas, whether for the good or the bad.

    Another part of the car that I love is the interior and performance. The inside looks like the interior of an airplane- the ways things are laid out… the only negative issue I have with the interior design is the position of the iDrive display, as I believe it reduces visibility. Ah yes… iDrive, another issue. I must say that even this system is more complicated than my MB S430&#146;s COMMAND system. But, as we have already seen, Audi&#146;s MMI technology (incorporated in the new A8L) is basically based on it (I don&#146;t buy it when people deny that). Hey, this isn&#146;t the first time a new idea was widely rejected- I remember clearly when Acura (I believe) introduced the moon-roof, a feature that the Germans didn&#146;t seem to understand nor appreciate. Nowadays, almost every car, from Honda to Maybach, offers or features a moonroof. Now, enough of moonroof.

    Now I am certainly not saying that MB builds bad cars like the S-Class. Of course, you really can&#146;t get any better than a S (not counting Maybach, Rolls Royce, Bently…). A Mercedes will always be a Mercedes, and I really believe that is why Mercedes has such a high repeat-customer rate. Mercedes will always be first, and BMW, Audi, and Lexus will never pass MB.

    As for the VW Phaeton, it will not be at the motortrend event; only the S500, 745Li, and A8L.

    By the way, I went to my local VW dealership to view the new SUV, the Toureg, as well as any info regarding the phaeton. Apparently, he was new and had no idea about the Phaeton (but did know a lot about the Toureg). The Toureg was really beautiful, with striking resemblance to the Porsche Cayenne.

    In my opinion, I don&#146;t know who on earth would buy a VW at that high of a price. I may as well get a MB, BMW, Lexus, Infiniti, or Audi. The rear looks absolutely hideous in my opinion. I just don&#146;t understand how are they going to sell this product?

    My best friend just got a 2003 SL55 AMG and a 2003 S500 4Matic together! He loves them, and is currently at a MB-hosted private Golf-event for patrons who purchase 2-or-more MB&#146;s at one time. He called during the party and said that there was an Iranian doctor who bought 8 MB&#146;s all at once! (gee, even in this economy!)

    merc1- now I would like to know your opinion on the new Audi A8L (you say very close to the S-Class), and why you included the Jag and the Infiniti Q45 (i really don't understand the design team of the XJ, and i figure at the same price, you can get a much better car; LS430)

    P.S.- you guys should check out this article on cnn.com/money about reliability (yes, the Japanese are still the best when it comes to reliability, I guess:

    http://money.cnn.com/2003/07/08/pf/autos/bc.autos.durability/inde- x.htm?cnn=yes
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,683
    Car and Driver did not speak all that highly of the new A8. In fact much of their story was negative. While they were at it they trashed the styling of the old A8 (as an appliance on wheels; by the way I thought the old car was a good lookin car so I'm not on the same page as these guys) and made sure everyone knew about Audi's moribund sales of the A8. They said the looks were improved over the old design but never said they were good - unless I missed it.

    Personally - the A8's new style has grown on me though I'm not crazy about its' rear. But from the side and front it's a great looking car.

    Now you know how I feel about these mags but I do take the individual car write-ups much more seriously. The only disconcerting thing I took from the story was that the car had a rough harsh ride - something no high end lux family car should have.

    As for looks - they also reported on the BMW 5 series and thought the new design was somewhere between bold and beautiful. Amazing. I'm not even in the same chapter as these people - let alone on the same page. Bangle is a one man wrecking crew. I hope he doesn't wreck the 330CCI. That's the one BMW I really like and would consider buying - rather seriously.

    Lastly - it was clear they were looking for negatives on the A8 and only positives on the 5 series. These guys are quite biased in my opinion.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Thanks for the evaluation and info.

    Well as you know I'm blinded by the star, but I really love Audis too. I haven't been inside the A8 yet, just took a look at one on the dealer's lot on a Sunday. I'm drawn to if first by it's styling inside and out, then by it's engineering. I do find it to be disappointing that it isn't any lighter than any of the other cars in the class anymore. The S500 4Matic is actually a few pounds lighter and really shows up Audi's claimed advantage by using the expensive stuff. I'll have more on the A8 when I actually get to sit in one, or drive it if I'm lucky.

    You have a friend that just bought a SL55 and S500 at the same time! Gee whiz. You guys just don't know how blessed you are to be able to do something like that, my other friend on this board has 3 Lexues, count them three. I can only imagine. A private party for people who buy 2 or more MB's at once huh...sounds very nice.

    The VW SUV, truth be told totally shames the ML, of which I never, ever liked. I'll be so glad when it's replaced. I can see paying that much for the VW because it shares it's very being and most of it's engineering with a Porsche, a company that could be said to have even loftier engineering standards than VW. I think it will be a hit.

    ljflx,

    Hey, I was just talking about you! Anyway, I think they stated that the A8 they had was suffering from some type of glitch, concerning it's ride/suspension. I hope that was the case. I can't imagine such an awesome car being let down by a bad/nervous ride, as they indicated. The A8 just had it's best month ever in the U.S. for June, with 443 units sold.

    Now it's no secret that Car and Driver is biased when it comes to BMW, and Honda. I can point out numerous examples, so I just tend to take their writeups of certain cars with a grain of salt.

    Now for the 300K question...what did you think of their writeup on the Maybach? Also checkout Automobiles writeup on the "Bach" this month also, both magazines are saying the same thing....this is the best riding car in the world and probably the best car in the world period. They both mention my sole problem with the Maybach, it's styling. I too wish it were a little more seperated from the S-Class on the inside also. There were 13 Maybachs sold in June in the U.S. and Rolls has had to up production to 3 cars a week, so I guess somebody still has some money.

    BMW's new styling direction hasn't failed them so far, with the new 7 selling far better than the old car ever did. The 5 doesn't look quite as bad so we'll just have to see. The new styling theme does work on the little Z4 roadster though, it's quite handsome. So maybe they're on to something???

    M
  • libertycatlibertycat Posts: 593
    Why don't u like the Q45 that much? Do u like the exterior styling? the interior styling? I like both. But the XJ Type has it beat for 2004 with its beyond beautiful interior.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,683
    The styling on the Maybach doesn't look as nice to me as before. It's definitely its weak point. Disreguarding that it sounds like its the best car in the world. Until Lexus builds one. Ah - I'm just kidding my friend.

    By the way - whether you like it or not - the SC430 is a great car, fun to drive and very high end luxury. I just drove it again a week ago. I don't know what the heck I'm doing in 2004 when my leases are up. I'd like to try that Audi A8 but have no faith in its' reliability and if it doesn't ride smooth (the old one lacks the quality ride of an S or LS) it definitely has no chance. But I'll test drive it. I've got to have two AWD's and my wife is in love with RX but I must have 3 rows of seats. The new GX is nice but its not in the same league as the LX and I like the latters looks much more. But she hates driving such a large SUV. I started to think RX, A8 (but believe me it's nearly impossible for me to walk from the LS and the only other car that really grabs me is the S-500) and SC430. I wish they'd put AWD on the LS. Odds on favorites right now are RX, LX and LS (outside shot for SC - but it's not all that practical) - but I've got plenty of time to figure it out.

    By the way its not unusual to see all Lexus or all MB's in a family's garage. The loyalty to both brands is very high.

    Anyway I'm off on a much needed vacation - see you in a few weeks.
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