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High End Luxury Cars



  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I can go with that, but good luck on trying to decide what the HELM criteria is. I might take a crack at it after some thought.

    You're the man for the job . . . good luck.

    Too dangerous for me. lol!

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Amazingly small car, and by all accounts handles pretty much like a go-kart.

    That about sums it up. Take the S2000, remove all of the creature comforts to save as much weight as humanly possible, and you're left with the Elise. Its heavier than the original British version because of things like airbags required for US spec, but the 1.8L Celica GT-S motor that we get (and they now get) is also a lot more powerful than the original hamster wheel Rover engine.

    The Elise is softer than the Exige and rediculous Exige-S, but thats like saying getting hit by a car is softer than getting hit by a train. It will beat a Boxster on a track, but you can actually drive a Boxster on regular roads and not come home with bruises.

    For what it can do vs. what it costs though, there's nothing like it. Top Gear got the hottest Exige-S version to go around their track as fast as a Ghallardo.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    is anything any of you want it to be within some small reason.

    Please stop arguing about what belongs here and talk about the cars YOU think qualify without telling everyone else what they may or may not include.

    This discussion has existed as is for six and a half years. There is no need for some of you to attempt to redefine it now. If anyone really needs to control what is and is not on topic, you are certainly free to go create another discussion that seems more to your liking. But let's let this one continue as it has been, please.
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    We have sidestepped my main point about the Tier system again. This is where our debate stepped off.

    As Inside Line's article reinforced, Audi lapses in 3 main ingredients that MUST be included in order to be a HELM of THE HIGHEST ORDER!

    Management, Marketing, Perception (or Brand Image).

    In the US, Audi is below average in ALL of these categories.


    Lexus SUCCESSFULLY sells and markets, the LS and SC, which puts them on a higher tier than Cadillac or Audi, who cannot SUCCESSFULLY push XLR or A8.

    That is why Audi, and certainly not VW, are not 1st-tier HELMs in the US, because they can't sell high-end lux cars here. SELLING SUCCESSFULLY is a key ingredient to being a 1st-Tier HELM. So Audi lacks HELM sales too!

    The more I explain it, the more Audi seems like peanut butter, no jelly! Ham, no burger! Damn!

    Lexus has SUCCESSFULLY moved past the "wanna-be" phase of it's development. Lexus has arrived!

    Cadillac can sell a truck. Audi can't sell much of anything here over $50k. Lexus has moved past that tier rather easily.

    The more I explain it, the more Audi seems like peanut butter, no jelly! Ham, no burger! Damn!

    Porsche cars are luxury cars, they just aren't sedans. But in the States, they are 1st-Tier all the way.

  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Nothing radically new about the X5 looks. It appears BMW is playing it safe with the styling of their newer models.

    I saw a picture of what the new 2009 BMW 5 series may look like in the September Automobile Magazine. The styling of this car appears very conservative. Maybe Chris Bangle is under some kind of restraining order and is not allowed to enter any BMW design studios/premises?

    it appears BMW is reading your posts.

    I like the new X5. They got rid of the midriff bulge that runs above the rocker panels. Everything looks very integrated and nothing screams for bad-haircut attention. It also looks like that character line (ridge) below the beltline is becoming a common theme across platforms.

    On the other hand the 2009 5-series photoillustration that appeared in Automobile is another shapeless abomination. The butt is s-o-o nowhere, the tail lights are Dumbo city. Saving grace is that it’s only an illustration.

    I have to believe car companies forage the web as research in some manner. Think I’ll apply for a job at BMW and tell them I’m designman… see what they say. But then again Merc probably would have been e-mailed job offers by now... Doctor M!

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The whole point (that you missed) about Cadillac, Lexus and Audi is that yeah you can debate where they rank among themselves all day long, but NONE of them are on the same exact level as Mercedes or BMW. Mercedes and BMW are on a seperate and higher level from Lexus, Audi or Cadillac. Feel free to debate where Cadillac, Lexus and Audi fit within their space, but they don't fit in the same/equal space with MB or BMW.

    Lexus has SUCCESSFULLY moved past the "wanna-be" phase of it's development. Lexus has arrived!

    Surely you're kidding with all the BMW envy going on with them now!

  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Kudos to the host for saving the world from the attack of the pedants.

    No rules committees. YES!!

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    If you don't think Audi belongs here, please stop talking about it. Talk about your "first tier" vehicles all you want, but STOP talking about what you think does NOT belong here. please!
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    The car is F1-inspired, and Lexus is darn serious about going way above MB here. They want a true marque car they can hang their hat on. And what better way than to go to the level of the Ferraris.... Yes, you are right, the Lexus GT450 is aimed higher than the SL, maybe at the SLR/Ferrari class, but priced dirt cheap at $150K (give or take)…

    Its top speed is close to 200mph, and can reach 60mph in about 4s. What's not to challenge the big boys with here?

    Well it’s not that simple or a matter of going above the SL or to Ferrari. Neither is it dirt cheap. Anyone can manufacture this type of engine that has a totally radical formula approaching F1-type specs. There are good reasons why exotic cars that double as race cars and street cars don’t have this type of engine profile. If the Lexus GT does indeed have a 12,000 RPM redline, it subverts everything we’ve seen in cars like the F430, Enzo, SLR, Saleen, Carrera GT, 911TT, Lambos et al.

    Sure I would love to sample such a car and so would any performance nut, but I don’t think there will be too many people who want it. And if they do they will be either track rats or people who don’t realize what they are buying. It’s just outside the performance realm of what is practical and what people expect, namely high on speed but low on muscle. What do I mean by that? You’re looking at anywhere from 250-350 lb-ft of torque and a meager 4 sec 0-60 if what that magazine said is true. Today’s monsters go well below that. And to get the 4.0 the Lexus will have to be redlined. An ancient low-rent S55 might even spank it at a stop light unless the Lexus is in the hands of someone who really knows how to drive it.

    Cars like the original S2000 and NSX went a little over the top approaching that type of performance and they were not well received except by track junkies who knew how to drive them and were comfortable with the narrow performance bands. And those cars weren’t even CLOSE to what this Lexus is showing here. I’d be surprised if that engine profile is for real. Furthermore, I think there is a chance a street car with such an engine profile won’t even make it to production.

    Lastly, I don’t even see the track hounds wanting it because driving it to its capability will mean a low shelf life—too much maintenance—engine rebuilds and replacements. That’s what you get with extreme RPM. If anything, Lexus will subsidize a racing program and showcase it in that manner. It’s a very different production car and probably not the result of extraordinary engineering; rather, they could be doing it JUST to be different. I mean, even a 9K redline is extreme for a street car. Maybe they really do have their minds on strictly track use which is certainly palatable.

    I’m skeptical about its performance allure and especially its sales potential. It’s going against marques with deep roots and the ability to arouse, and where the street is concerned it’s going against well established performance margins. This car is in a home run derby and nothing short of the fence will scores points. But we’ll see. I look forward to seeing the final spec sheet and reviews. I do hope it is successful in one way or another. At this point Lexus surely gets an A+ for brass. Any company that throws a hot, dedicated performance car at us is OK in my book.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661
    "In typical Lexus fashion, they're almost always late to the game. The new LS will undoubtly bring a fresh face to the game, but a threat to it's main competitor, the S550? Highly doubtful. And the LS600hL may be blazen with technology, but with only 430hp, all it's technology seems superficial. And the fuel econ numbers I've seen aren't anything special, maybe 2 mpg better than the class norm(as a matter of fact, the supposed 18/25 is akin to a Jag XJ, the other "non-HELM car".)

    This is in no way discounting Lexus."

    If that is not discounting Lexus than what is? The commenmts are a complete attempt to put off the company and it's upcoming technology but the success of the business model and the demand for the new car renders the comments as a joke. As well what exactly is Lexus late with? HP? MB just upped it's horses 3 months ago. No this LS460 and particularly the 600HL is late with nothing and the latter is now in need of some serious challenges from those that now have to follow.

    "Basically, Inside Line says Audi cars are as good as anyones, but the company is a paragon on mismanagement, and is not highly regarded here in the US because of it."

    Inside Line is then completely at odds with Merc1, who has constantly maintained that car buyers couldn't give a damm about corporate financials or how well or bad a company is run.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Inside Line is then completely at odds with Merc1, who has constantly maintained that car buyers couldn't give a damm about corporate financials or how well or bad a company is run.

    ljflx - I get your point here, and you know my respect for your views, but here's something to consider.

    When you state that merc has maintained that "buyers couldn't give a damn about corporate financials or how well or bad a company is run", you are inferring that buyers do, in fact, give a damn.

    Truth is, buyers are at the final receiving line of what those corporate financials are about. They don't care about the financials themselves, only the results themselves. They don't give a rats [non-permissible content removed] generally whether or not Mercedes or Lexus for that matter have cash on hand, or are in debt. They want CARS that meet their needs and fulfill their desires. And they respond to well engineered advertising campaigns.

    Bottom line . . . it's about the CARS and the MARKETING. Consumers either see good cars and are influenced by great advertising or not. But they don't really care much about what preceeds all of that.

  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    The official "merc1 tier system" was good. Arguable, but good, and fun. The HELM definition thing is not as good because it is exclusionary.

    To the contrary, the definitions are more INCLUSIONARY than the tier system and it does not attempt to put down other HELM cars. The definitions I provided permits more cars into the HELM space, and does not stratify these cars, like the tier structure. Besides, MB/BMW are not any more HELM than Lexus or Audi, except in the availability of low-selling hi-po variants. Lexus would add such this year and early next year, and Audi has plenty of similar hi-po cars as well, so there ......
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,661

    I'm not saying Merc1 is wrong. I'm just pointing out that Inside Line is at odds with his belief. It's my POV that people who buy expensive cars are often business execs that have knowledge of what is going on, so in effect bad business stories offset marketing efforts. Thus some thoughts of a company that is struggling in some way shape or form (or perceived to be struggling) will enter into the variables of a purchase decision for some people.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I'm not saying Merc1 is wrong. I'm just pointing out that Inside Line is at odds with his belief.

    I think Inside Line is perfectly consistent with what Merc and many around here have been saying for centuries—that people in the US are in the dark about Audi because of its feeble marketing, not its financials. Remember the tune from Funny Girl “I’m the greatest star but no one knows it”? That’s Audi in the US. And this has been a signature topic of the CTS so I wouldn’t be surprised if Inside Line’s Mr. Washington was motivated by these forums.

    I don’t believe for one minute that your buying MO is financials in spite of it being your interest and profession. The reason you buy Lexus is because you truly like their cars, you savor the reliability, and you like the price. It’s really no more complex than that.
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    Mercedes and BMW are on a seperate and higher level from Lexus, Audi or Cadillac. Feel free to debate where Cadillac, Lexus and Audi fit within their space, but they don't fit in the same/equal space with MB or BMW.

    I KNOW you're not lumping Lexus in with Caddy and Audi, are you? The S-Class has a bad case of Lexus LS envy itself! Seen a S-Class interior lately? How pillowy soft is the S-Class suspension now, compared to days gone by? Where did those electroluminescent guages come from?

    When is the last time Lexus pulled an Allante? Or a Cimmaron?

    When has Audi sold anything over $50k? They have no marketing, no management, no image, and you want them in the same tier as Lexus?

    Lexus has DOMINATED the luxury scene, and is second to no one! Mercedes or BMW included. The only question is how dominant does Lexus want to be, without ticking off the US government!

    Come on, Merc!

  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    The definitions I provided permits more cars into the HELM space

    As you can re-read, I was initially supportive of your post. I think you were fair and balanced, for the most part.

    Unfortunately, it opened up a can of worms. Next thing you know folks were excluding one car or another. It got so bad that the whole process of defining the HELMS was out of control, and our HOST did the right thing by stepping in.

    It was obvious what was happening. So, even BEFORE the HOST stepped in, you can review and see that I was trying hard to INCLUDE Lexus, and INCLUDE Jaguar, and INCLUDE Audi.

    So, I had a discussion with merc about the whole process and mentioned that the "tier system" is not exclusionary. I do realize, my friend, that your original definitions were also not exclusionary and that your intentions were noble, but you can see what happened.

    The tier system allows posters to have their own opinions and explain why, and it can include all the cars, with the variable only being the tier that an individual poster thinks it should be on. And that makes for lively discussion and fun, IMO.

    That's why I have taken this position on the subject.


  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    ljflx - I understand your point again, but in this case I think designman's reply is more consistent with my view here.

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    If we could all stop bickering about my badge is better than yours for a few minutes, AS has shots of the new Benz CL class. Thoughts anyone? Merc?

  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I don’t know what to say. It’s horrible. Looks like the R. I'm gonna take a couple of Advil.
  • geneh1geneh1 Posts: 4
    It will take a little getting used to. I like the front end but the rear is something else. Brings thoughts of the ford taurus/jaguar look (terribly ugly).
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