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High End Luxury Cars

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  • greasykid1greasykid1 Posts: 336
    As someone who has driven Lexi over 100,000 mi-----all models I own MB's. Lexi are fine cars but also have their problem. A run of recalled trannies, sludge engines etc. No mfg is perfect.

    Recently made an over 700 mi 1 day trip in my late model E Class with Dynamic Seats. No comparison in the seats or driving ease in mountain conditions. Yes the LS seats are soft but No support. MB seats are harder but the real test is how YOU feel after 12 hours in the saddle. Also more accurate stearing and braking in the MB.

    Maintenance-------every 5'000 mi with Lexi. Every 13'000 mi with MB. Take your choice on styling. I did.

    Both are very good. IMHO in also comes down to-------do really want to drive or do you want to ride?
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Way too many things said here, Merc1, and I don't have the time to respond to all, but I'd pick a few key ones:

    1) Lexus isn't half the innovator the Mercedes is and this nonsense about MB's electronics never working is total nonsense.

    Maybe you'd like to list all the innovations MB has brought forward since 1989 ? And stack them up against Lexus' in the same period... Let's see who wins... Pls include well-integrated into the list... No one has ever insinuated that MB electronics NEVER works... Just that they seem poorly integrated in some models... Do you recall your post commenting on how many electronic features MB are removing from their newer cars just to reduce the electronic gremlins afflicting them ? And that was only circa 2005, or thereabouts... If you don't recall, I can find it for you.... its right here on this HELM board.

    2) Because they're cheaper. Read the previous posts and see what a LS430 sells for on average. If MB wins in all those area shouldnt they sell more because of a higher price? Is that what you're asking? That doesn't make any sense. The higher up in price the thinner the market is.

    Obviously you are wrong here. For starters, the affluent class has EXPANDED globally in recent years. Many more people can now afford to own/lease luxury cars, and you see the evidence all around you, and in luxury sedan sales growth. Secondly, a car like MB with so much more attributes than its competitors should be selling in droves, despite its higher price (heritage, class, features, performance, etc). Besides, its not like most S-class buyers pay cash for a $90K product. They mostly lease. And the difference in lease rates b/w a 65K LS430 and a $90K S500 can be a matter of a few hundred bucks (money factor, down payment, rates and incentives). I don't suppose that if I can pay $900/mth on an "inferior" LS430, I will be easily scared to pay $1200/mth for a "superior" S500. Would most buyers in this category not afford another $300 a month or so for the MB afterall most are earning in the 6-figure+ range ? Real-world pricing/leasing knocks your argument down, Merc1. Finally, MB is priced higher BCOS ............. its cost structure is higher, not bcos the car is better. I am sure you know that already... So why knock Lexus for making a product that competes at the S-class level but costs thousands LESS to produce and sell ???? Ahhhh !!!
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Better when you stack the criteria in favor of the LS. No where in there does performance, handling, styling or anything else that actually relates to it being a car as opposed to an appliance even come up...

    Let's ask this again: What exactly do you guys constantly harp on as "performance" ? is this about suspension setup, steering and/or road feedback, speed, or what ?? You also add "handling"... Is the MB better at handling than an LS ? And sayz who ? Is the MB a better performance car than the LS ? Sayz who. The last comparo of record was the MT Dec 2003 report for MY2004 releases. The LS430 won that comparo, while the S430 came dead last... or close to last. And pls note that the S didn't come last despite its better performance against the LS....

    I guess its easy to always throw the "performance" and "handling" shpeel out there as things German cars are always better than Japanese cars... It's simply become an acceptable fact to be announced everytime whether its actually true or not. I have yet to read of an LS that tipped over taking a corner way too fast bcos its handling was terrible. Does the LS430's 278HP not best the S430's 275HP ? Always.... Put a Z-rated shoe on the LS with the Euro suspension, and pit it against an S with dynamic suspension and the crap on it, and let's see which car outshines the other. I am sure none here has done this test, so pls, don't harp on performance and handling and drive like the MB is a Ferrari. If mainstream MBs are that, why the need for an AMG setup ?

    Many buyers don't give a "flying leap" about all this dependability/reliablity superiority that Lexus defenders constantly harp about it, if they MB/BMW/Audi wouldn't be able to sell cars, and they all do it for more money on top of that...

    Hmmmm ! The likes of JDP, CR, etc are mere nuisance in the industry then, eh ? If buyers and auto execs don't care about what these companies provide, why do they even exist ??? They must not serve any need in the business, right? I'll let you answer that one....
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I've gotta say something here ...

    What the German car fans are saying is there a certain exhilarating experience (performance, handling) that the German cars give them. They don't find that in a vehicle such as a Lexus. There's nothing wrong with that.

    What the Lexus fans are saying is that they prefer the comfort and reliability of the Toyota brand. They don't find those things in the German cars. There's nothing wrong with that either.

    It's a very good thing that all of these vehicles are available for everyone to choose the one that pleases the most. It doesn't really matter why someone has a particular set of preferences - it's just the way it is and of course we're all entitled to our own priorities.

    I think we should discuss the merits of all the vehicles we include in this category until the cows come home (or longer), but beating each other over the head trying to change each other's mind is not only totally fruitless, it's also very tired, old and unproductive ... :sick:
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Oac, I'm not just addressing that to you, I'm addressing it to all the usual suspects. ;)
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    oac - I was going to reply . . . I thought some of your points were well taken, and they deserved a response, but perhaps another time looks more appropriate, my fellow left-coaster.

    ;)

    TagMan
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    If you are saying that because of my post, you don't have to.

    I just genuinely don't understand how/why you folks repeatedly need to go after each other trying to make each other change perspectives - for years and years, now.

    It ain't a-gonna happen. :D

    But go for it. I'll go back to living in the walls. :blush:
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Pat,

    I'll do my best to answer.

    Here's what you just posted:
    I just genuinely don't understand how/why you folks repeatedly need to go after each other trying to make each other change perspectives - for years and years, now.

    The idea of trying to change each other's minds isn't the entire goal, but for those posters that are open-minded enough, over the years, opinions will change. Some never will, but that's OK, too. Also, there are folks that basically only READ the posts, and they get to see the back and forth debate, which illuminates BOTH sides of the coin. It is a HEALTHY exchange, typically, and only when it gets deeply insulting is it not.

    Also, the landscape is constantly changing. This recent discussion about Audi is a terrific example. In the last few years, look at what is happening to Audi. Just in the last months, Mercedes now has a new S-Class. This is BIG, since it represents the single best-selling HELM in the WORLD. And just look at Lexus. They are poised for another leap as they are about to unleash an entire new LS. Very significant indeed. Worthy of passionate discussion.

    The debate will go on and on, and the real world is changing. To debate it all is half the fun. To have a "tea and crackers" discussion about the heavyweight cars is just not realistic. Too much passion here for that, I'm afraid.

    My recommendation, if I may? Unless the topic strays WAY off for much TOO long about the wrong things (I know it always will a little), just let it go. Unless it gets NASTY, also just let it go. I have seen it self-correct itself most of the time. Most all of these posters are great guys with good intentions.

    I hope I haven't gone too far here. And I know you have the best intentions at heart here, and I do believe you'll KNOW when it is time to step in.

    ONE more thing . . . I think it would be cool for you to express YOUR ideas about cars more often. I already know you like the Quattroporte. ;)

    Warmly and Respectfully,

    TagMan
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    My recommendation, if I may? Unless the topic strays WAY off for much TOO long about the wrong things (I know it always will a little), just let it go. Unless it gets NASTY, also just let it go. I have seen it self-correct itself most of the time. Most all of these posters are great guys with good intentions.

    I do. :P

    I told you, I've gone back to living in the walls now. ;)

    I was just saying some things I keep thinking, that's all - but I meant what I said in my subsequent post - have whatever conversation you need to have.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Pat,

    Let me take it one step further. Instead of "living in the walls" and occasionally emerging as referee or police, please jump in more often with some of your opinions about the CARS, which are just as valid as anyone elses here. ;)

    Against the rules?

    TagMan
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    Get in there and throw some sand!

    Don't get me started! :)

    You know you want to tell Hemi "I'd get an Audi, when they build 'em in Tahara, Japan!"

    You can do it! Stop sending me e-mails, and get it off your chest. I got your back!

    DrFill
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    oac - It gets down to what makes a car "better" than another, doesn't it? Be open-minded here. I'll try as well.

    When you read the car mags, they generally use criteria such as subjective comfort and "feel", but they also use objective measureable things such as 0-60 acceleration, 60-0 braking, slalom results, fuel efficiency, db noise levels, and other measureable vital statistics.

    With regards to many of the measureable vital statistics, the Mercedes shines. With regards to the reliability, it is a statistic that favors the Lexus, but realize that reliability can occur at ANY price tier, and frequently does so at the economy tier. Performance, on the other hand, more typically improves at the higher price tiers, and is therefore a reflection of "invested dollars" into the design and production of a car. Performance has value.

    So, again, what makes one "better"? The measureable data of performance and reliability are certain factors, and then the subjective factors as the "feel" or comfort of the car. The features of the vehicle are certainly part of the equation. For the most part, what huge and significant differences do you see between the "features" of the S and the LS that you would claim is so much "better" for the LS?

    The history and heritage seems to be a new hot topic, but nonetheless, it does exist, and it is in Mercedes favor, of course, as are status and prestige, and the previously mentioned performance.

    So, it is interesting that when I compare all the factors here, it just looks obvious to me that the S-Class one-ups the LS, which is also a great car, BTW. But, somehow when a Lexus fan looks at the same data, the LS looks better.

    Same old conclusion, isn't it? Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

    TagMan
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Performance, on the other hand, more typically improves at the higher price tiers, and is therefore a reflection of "invested dollars" into the design and production of a car. Performance has value.

    If only you or any of the Germancarfans can explain this I'd gladly listen... And of course, point out to me how these performance is measured objectively, that'd be nice as well.... Trust me, I do have an open mind to learn "new" things, or re-learn old things as well.. :)
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    Ah Doc, there you are. I thought I'd get away from the flip-floppin today. Interesting, who's your fav politician? Hilary R. Clinton or John F. Kerry? Could be both since the two of them voted for Iraq and then voted against the funds. Floppers.

    I say this to you as you're the reigning king flip-floppin on this forum. Over the days, you said once, Audi isn't a HELM, secondly, a semi-HELM, and third, a full-out HELM. Which is it Doc? Can't slice your pie three ways.

    ...You know you want to tell Hemi "I'd get an Audi, when they build'em in Tahara, Japan!"

    And this was supposed to imply what? Because it's German, it's not better than Japanese, which couldn't be furthest from the truth? Or the fact that if Audi does build the cars there, it will eat at even more of Lexus' turf? Whatever.

    The truth of the matter is this. Most people that care about how a car is ranked are some of the same ones who are overly self-conscious of themselves, having to be oh so perfect each time. Is this why most Lexicans believe that Lexus has sold them perfection? And to add, some of those people also are so ever intrigued about what the next person thinks of the ride much more than they care to think. Which is really sad as with me, for sure I will continue to buy luxury rides, but not on the opinion or thoughts of anyone else....
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    If only you or any of the Germancarfans can explain this I'd gladly listen... And of course, point out to me how these performance is measured objectively, that'd be nice as well.... Trust me, I do have an open mind to learn "new" things, or re-learn old things as well.

    Fair enough, my friend.

    Performance is measured OBJECTIVELY by testing specific criteria and then using that data as a measure of performance and allowing comparisons between vehicles.

    So, those objective measureable performance items are typically 0-60 acceleration, 0-100 acceleration, 5-60 acceleration, 60-0 braking, 70-0 braking, top speed, standing quarter-mile, slalom, 300-foot diameter skidpad, and fuel economy. Collectively, this data tells us how a car handles. Does it corner well or accelerate poorly, or brake poorly and other performance and handling criteria. In a certain sense, it is the athletic condition of a car.

    Later this summer I will be taking a very serious look at the Lotus Elise. The objective and measureable performance data on that car are practically off the charts in comparison to most vehicles. It's the PRIMARY reason I want one. Anything else that close in performance would cost me an ADDITIONAL $200,000. Now that's amazing to me . . . an affordable race car. Why is it amazing? Because, as you asked about, it is generally true that major performance is found in higher-priced cars. The more notable extreme being Porsche, Ferrari, Lambo, Maser, etc. A manufacturer must invest design-work and materials into performance. That's also why there is a premium for performance variants such as the "M" badge for BMW or the "AMG" badge for Mercedes.

    What does it say if a base car has terrific performance? It says that the manufacturer has done its homework and designed it into the vehicle, and has spent money on at least some level of original equipment to make it perform well.

    If you are saying that performance measurements do not matter and that the performance of the Lexus LS is "good enough" than I would counter and say that the reliability data doesn't matter and that the reliability of the Mercedes is "good enough".

    The reason I throw that out is that it is not fair to discredit the achievements of a marque, only to boast about the achievements of another. It should be that credit is given where credit is due.

    And performance is generally not the Lexus strength. Reliability is. Both these attributes are OBJECTIVE differences, measured in FACTUAL data.

    Style, however, is SUBJECTIVE and although the Mercedes is generally credited with more style, it is not a FACT. It is only a more popular or common opinion. Comfort is subjective and involves opinions, although at extreme comparisons, it presents itself as obvious, such as the comparison between the comfort of a Cadillac and a Chevy Cobalt. Subjective, but pretty obvious.

    History and heritage are FACTUAL, but their relevance is SUBJECTIVE and emotional, as are prestige and status. They exist and can actually be measured in marketing studies, but they are emotional factors and should be treated as such.

    So, performance in a vehicle is typically a result of superior design and components. It is an indication that money has been spent to achieve it. It is ultimately MEASUREABLE and has VALUE and MERIT. It is an ACHIEVEMENT.

    And that's more than enough for now. The first-place A's are playing the LA Dodgers . . . good West-Coast game for guys like us.

    :D

    TagMan
  • stevekilburnstevekilburn Posts: 359
    You brought a very good point to the table which almost everyone at HELM has overlooked.

    Service Intervals.

    lexus: 7500 miles or roughly 6 months
    MB: 13,000 miles/ 1 year
    BMW: 15,000 miles/ 1year
    Audi: 12,000 miles/1 yr
    Porsche: 20,000 miles/ 2 years (VOW!)

    This is one weak point in Lexus, Acura, Infiniti strategy.
    this is also the reason why I like porsche and would buy the cayman as my next bet. Well said greasykid!

    I am not 100% sure, but I believe among all the marques, lux and non-lux including HELMs, porsche has the longest intervals.

    Does anyone know if there is anything better out there.
  • stevekilburnstevekilburn Posts: 359
    Benz: :shades:
    Porsche: :shades:
    BMW: :lemon:
    Audi: :sick: (30s and 00s but very sketchy)
    Jaguar: :lemon:
    Rolls Royce: :lemon: :lemon: (Fraudulent heritage, propaganda)
    bentley: :lemon:
    Aston Martin: :lemon::lemon:
    Land Rover: :lemon:
    Lotus: :shades: (great heritage, especially F1 and mid-engine road cars, truly innovative, english charm, best handling along with Porsche and Ferrari)
    Ferrari: :shades: (everyone from stockholm to South Africa and LA to Singapore knows what ferrari is and what it has accomplished)
    Lamborghini: :lemon: (fraudulent, never raced, like a neutered bull)
    Maserati: :sick:
    Lexus: :shades:
    Acura: :confuse:
    Infiniti: :confuse:
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Alright, TagMan.... thanks for that refresher. I want to call your attention to the Dec 2003 comparo of the HELMs, which the LS430 won outright, and which the S430 came in dead last. Here are a few snippets from the C&D review for the first place 2004 LS430:

    First Place
    Lexus LS430

    If you just walked up and asked, we'd say this is not a Car and Driver sort of car. But like gravity, the Lexus kept pulling on us. It's so confident. It does so many things beautifully. It's like the salesman who never quits, and finally, you find yourself agreeing with him.

    "Yeah, why didn't I think of that?"

    The Lexus ride is unmatched in this group. There's a switch on the dash that lets you make it a little worse if you must. Go ahead, if more sinew in the suspenders makes you think handling is better.

    If you really want muscles, opt for the sport suspension with 18-inch summer tires. The 17s on the test car were quick to moan when pushed. Skidpad grip was weakest of all, 0.73 g. But don't confuse that with stumbling behavior. This is an agile dancer wearing slippery shoes.

    It's best that you have a light touch on the controls when you hustle. The steering and the brakes are almost delicate in their feel. You must caress them. And when you do, the responses come with precision. Still, this sedan is at its best on the expressway. The steering knows exactly where straight ahead is, and the faster you go, the more it locks onto that heading.

    Read the rest of the entire comparo here

    http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/7359/70000-luxury-sedans.html

    As this comparo shows, the LS430 was weakest in skidpad grip shorn with all-season tires in 17" gab, compared to the German cars with upgraded suspension and 18" Summer tires (in sport gab). Not particularly apples-to-apples.... but like I said earlier, all you need is to put same 18" on the LS and with its Euro suspension pit the car against its comparable S, and let's see who wins that "performance" test.

    What remains a mystery is how easy it is for many people to simply believe the perception that the LS has poor performance cos its luxury-biased. Part of the beauty and allure of the LS is its deceptiveness... It does everything so well and effortless that makes you think it couldn't be that good.... Yes, its that good. The outgoing LS430 is pretty fast (5.9s with a 278HP/6A ain't bad), brakes are super sharp, has decent handling for a big sedan, and can be slightly sharpened with the Euro suspension. Maybe some don't think much of the LS in handling, but its a pretty good performer in its own right.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    For someone like me who buys a car, keeps it for 5-6 years, and drives 25-30K miles a year, the LS is the only way to go. I honestly don't care what its skidpad numbers are, thats not why I bought it. I think that probably goes for most LS owners.

    Lexus service interverals are more frequent than the Germans, but the dealer does all of the work including getting my car to and from the service department, so that doesn't really bother me. What's important is that even on year 5 and mile 150,000, my '96 LS400 kept on running day in and out without a single unscheduled repair visit, and my '01 has been more of the same. In contrast, I drive my Jags 1\10 of the amount of miles, and yet the '96 and '98 saw the dealer many a time. The '00 has been quite a bit more reliable than those older Jags, but it has still had its share of problems, including a supercharger failure that would've been hideously expensive to fix had it not been covered under warranty.
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    Now if you're gonna stay on my team, you've gotta defend the team's right to earn a buck!

    How would Lexus' service dept. make money if they didn't require service visits? The cars won't break down, and you have to pay the service men well to keep good service men, so to cover your service overhead, and ensure your brands reputation for long-term durability, a six-month service interval is not only fair, it's expected.

    The other HELMs have turned to the use of longer intervals as a way to market against the superior quality of Lexus, and increase their perception of high quality.

    20 years ago, the German's intervals weren't so long.

    What's changed in 20 years? Lexus, owners expectations (brought on by Lexus), and technology..

    DrFill
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