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High End Luxury Cars

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  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,683
    I test drove it and did indeed find the ride far too bumpy for me. The old A8 was a lot smoother but it was noticably rougher than cars like the S and LS to begin with. But I didn't find the new car to be slow at all. So I don't get that one.
  • boo20boo20 Posts: 85
    Setting aside the questions of roominess, styling and value for the money can I get an LS in AWD? Didn't think so. So that rules it out for me as a winter car. The Audi? If you think MBs are a nightmare from a repair standpoint don't even consider an Audi. I see plenty of posts of repeated dealer visits for the same problem that they seem unable to fix. You may argue the same about MB but that just hasn't been my experience. Maybe I've just been lucky so far.

    So if I want a luxury car with AWD (and I do) and don't like SUVs (and I don't) what options does that leave me with? Looks like the E or S class.

    Different strokes for different folks.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    AWD is a requirement for me too, and that's why I don't have an LS yet, I have a LX and RX for my family.

    Apparently Toyota has had AWD on the Celsior (LS's name in Japan) for years, but for some reason hasn't brought it to the US yet. Stupid, imho.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Re LS vs S performance, posts 2840 and 2858...my recollection is that you have more than once in the past referred to the LS as performing "like a Buick".
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Carnaught,
     I've had a 1992 Lexus LS400 from the beginning. I can attest to the bulletproof LONG term reliability of the car. I've probably spent $3,000 in scheduled maintenance. I've spent $3.00 in a blown tailight bulb. That's it. Well..It was until some idiot girl smashed into my Left Front after blowing through a Red Light yesterday.:(
    I won't belabor the board with that story.

    Merc,
      Last time I checked, my LS430 sure as heck didn't drive like a Buick. (I had an '89 Park Ave, Great car) I've consistently agreed with you when you criticize the styling of these cars. You're right in saying Lexus has taken a step back from the innovative designs that allowed them to establish a foothold in the industry.

    I think others have pointed out well that the LS is a better value for money. Considering the S430 is more expensive, it ought to at least beat the LS in the numbers game performance. You're correct, however, in saying that these numbers are only a part of the story.

    I think we all can agree Lexus fundamentally changed the Luxury car industry with it's entry in 1990. Attempting to classify any car as "better in design, prestige" is a subjective judgement at best. Lexus has proven it can play with and even beat with the "Big Boys" in virtually every arena, "Reliability, value, 0-60, Customer Service..." My personal opinion mirrors most on this board. Lexus needs to improve their exterior designs.

    BTW: heard about MB's new 7 speed Transmission...Question: Is there really a need for all of this?

    Cheers,
    SV
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,683
    What a ridiculous myth. If anyone believes that I've got some nice old "valuables" to sell them.

    Boo20 - I understand your point and agree with you completely. But I have an LX470 which treats 2 ft. of snow like a car treats a 2 inch hill pile of dirt. Nonetheless I, like Syswei, wish Lexus would make AWD available in the LS. But my old boss, who had the A8L I drove occasionally in the past (and it was a nightmare and in the shop so often I lost count of it) had to put snows on in winter otherwise the car was not that effective in the snow even with AWD. That is according to him as I never drove it in the snow. But from a financial standpoint (and since I prefer an LS430 over an S-500) I could lease an LS430 and a RX330 for a tad more than an S-500 AWD and I'd go that route first. But that is me. Now with all that said I will tell you that I love the S-500 and would be driving it (probably with AWD) if Lexus wasn't around. I think MB's reliability is far removed from Audi but it seems very difficult for anyone to replicate the exceptional reliability the Japanese have brought to the table. But if anyone can it will be MB and possibly BMW in the longrun. But only if both fix the issues at hand without rushing onto the next level. I'm convinced that is why MB reliability has slipped so much. I don't for a second think its the engineering or drivetrains.
  • boo20boo20 Posts: 85
    I don't know if the new MB 7 speed is going to be 'worth it' in terms of increased complexity for some improvement in fuel efficiency and performance (which will probably be modest) but it seems to have done one thing already: Lexus is coming out with a six speed transmission in the LS in 2004.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    And GM is coming out with a 6 speed auto with 2 overdrive gears in 2 years.
    They will also develop a 6 speed FWD transaxle with Ford.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I don't think you should ascribe the Lexus 6-speed as a direct reaction to MB's 7-speed. These things take ages to develop, and there is a high probability that Lexus started development before they knew a 7-speed was coming. Lexus DOES need to keep moving because it knows MB and BMW and others are moving, and vice versa. But thats about it.
  • near-luxos

    imho, I think the I35 is the most bang for the buck right now, even though it doesn't have all the "latest" technology. It has so much - Mongo V6 engine power & torque (255hp/246 lb/ft), HID's, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (compensates for variations in load, i.e. 1 passenger v. 2,3,4, etc.), Brake Assist (senses emergency braking and applies maximum force to the brakes), Traction Control, Front side airbags, seatbelt pretensioners & load limiters, Bose stereo (some would argue the value of this), great warranty - all for roughly $27K.

    The TL is right there, also. Mostly just a matter of taste. More suave luxury with the I35; more sportiness with the TL.

    I was thinking the other day, the I35 seems to me right now like the perfect realtor's car - style, luxury, size, reliability and value. Imagine, if you get the cold weather package, being able to offer your "rear seat" clients their own heated seats in the winter while you drive them around house hunting. :-)
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    In an unscientific poll I have determined that the LS400 is the perfect Realtor's car.
    Since I am a Realtor and also 6'8", I won't be fitting into any I35.
    And since I conducted the poll the outcome was assured.

    In my office of 40 realtors there are 6 Lexii and
    7 Tahoes.
  • b4z - Yeah, since I'm 5'8" I never think about that height thing. It's kinda nice. I am comfortable in just about any car and my friends don't mind if they have to sit behind me. Although, I wouldn't mind another 3" or 4" in height. But, oh well, what am I gonna do? I'm a little too late for the growth hormone thing. ;-)

    I'm big (no pun intended) on the I35 because I'm big on value. So much car for about half (or less) of the current and imminent LS430. However, I certainly won't turn down an LS if someone offers to make the payments. :-)

    No Infiniti's in your office? Not even a Q or J?
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Isn't the I-35 considerably smaller inside (and overall) than the LS430? Sure looks like it, and carries lots less clout, despite the good looks of the I
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yes, I have stated that Lexuses ofter remind me of a Buick if more so in concept than in driving, depending on the model. Of course a Lexus drives better is easily 5 times the car, when it comes to build and engineering etc etc, but what they do share is the same philosophy. Neither of them are really that satisfying to drive. They're both dull in styling and design and do nothing for the lust factor, and they both cater to being quiet and lush above all else. There is never any mention of actual driving. Incidently, the press has also said this same thing, especially about the SC430 and the ES300. Buick also just identified Lexus as their target, so obviously they see some similarities. Again, I'm not saying that Lexuses are buicks, I'm saying that aren't worlds apart either. They're more similar than not.

    ljflx,

    The A8 is no different than any other awd car, it has to have the correct tires for the awd to be effective. All these S500 4Matic Sport owners around here are going to have to do the same thing (switch tires) once it snows.

    M
  • Yes, the I35 is smaller than the LS. It is in the same size category as the Lexus ES, but has a much more hospitable rear seat. The I35 has a more "sporting" character than the ES. 255hp/246lb-ft torque V6, lower profile 215/55 tires on 17" wheels and a firmer suspension. My mom has one and there is no doubt, you feel the road more in the I35.

    As far as clout, I find that in the general population (those who aren't into cars enough to be on these boards), Infiniti carries close to the same clout as Lexus.
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Is based on the last generation Maxima.
    Has a very nice and luxurious interior and
    dealers are blowing the '03s out the door for 28K!
    The downside is that all FWD Nissans suffer from
    bad torque steer.
  • They're blowin' 'em out the door for $26,995 right now. That's with sunroof/rear sunshade pkg, splash guards and trunk mat, but not winter pkg.

    I've driven both Nissans and Infinitis for years and I've never been bothered by torque steer. And I don't drive slow! I'm usually the guy movin' out in front of the pack on the freeway....and in town....no more than 10mph over in town.....freeway's a different story. ;-)

    I'm driving a '96 Lexus GS300 right now. I've wanted one for years. I think the body on this car is art. And I found one in exceptional condition. But, I hate the stupid remote key. It unlocks all the doors at once (even my '93.5 Infiniti G20 had once for driver, second time for the rest) and there's no remote trunk release (again, even my '93.5 G20 had that). And I find a remote fob easier to use. But, I still like the car. I've always wanted a straight 6.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    tturedraider,
      I find it interesting you have a preference for a Straight Six. Here's a question I want to pose to the board: Is it necessary to have V-8 engines in these high end sedans? What are we getting for them?

    The first inclination will be "Power!, Lots of it!" But there are numerous examples of V-6 engines that can outperform some V-8 (Obviously not XJR's AMG MB's and M class BMW's) Does Luxury require a V-8?

    I've heard some in the Jaguar Forum lament that the old 6 Cylinder in the XJ6 ran smoother than the V-8 currently.

    Appreciate your thoughts,
    SV
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Straight 6's are inherently smooth.
    They can be even smoother than a V8, depending on the design.
    packaging can be a prob with a straight 6 especially in smaller cars.
    V8's are very compact, which is a plus and smooth also.
    I don't think power is the issue. it is a displacemnet issue.
    Although some people feel a V8 means it has a lot of power.
    If you really want to hear a smooth engine listen to a Packard straight 8.
    The ultimate in 8 cyliner smoothness.
  • fennfenn Posts: 197
    Re: 2004 A8:

    I am curious if those who found the new A8's ride to be choppy, were driving cars with the 19 inch wheels..and, what was the adjustable suspension setting on, since the A8 has multiple suspension modes.

    By contrast, I enjoyed a relatively smooth ride in the A8 that I took out for a long demo ride, but it had the 18 inch wheels. I noted that the test report which mentioned the "busy ride" of the A8 all used a car with the 19 inch wheels.

    I35..??:

    I am a long time Infiniti fan, having owned a few Q45's...but the I35 is out of place in this thread. I am very familiar with this model since I have had them as loaner cars on several occasions when my Q45 was in for service. It is a very nice, comfortable car, which offers lots of bang for the buck, but it is not in the same class with its big brother, the Q45, or any of the other cars in this luxury class. It is also a "lame duck" in its current configuration, as the car is get replaced in the next six months in it's new incarnation.

    6 Speed:

    This is not another copying issue....I think that 6 speed transmissions are the evolution of the transmissions for most cars in this class. The new Jaguar XJ's have 6 speeds. I find the main virtue of the 6 speed to be an improvement in fuel economy due to a more efficient drivetrain. The upcoming seven speed Mercedes trans is a further incremental step in transmission evolution.

    6 cylinders vs 8 cylinders:

    I think that a very nice car can perform quite well with six cylinders, but for high output performance, and ultimate smoothness, the V-8 seems to be the choice. I doubt that this will change. Of course, Acura has stuck with a very smooth 6 cylinder in their flagship RL, but that car is a notch below these cars.

    I think that some of the Jag owners who say the old six is smoother than the V8 may be trying to talk themselves into this, or they are comparing it to an older incarantion of the Jaguar V-8 engine...By the way, it should be noted the new XJ is being offered in a 6 cylinder form in England to offer the big Jag in a more affordable and economical configuration...
  • buicks and Lexus LS430....

    Have you driven an LS430, Do you really KNOW if it drives like a Buick?. For that matter have you ever driven a BUICK?

    PS Your comments about not needing to have owned a car to post your opinions are absolutely correct and I don't think anyone on this board has ever stated otherwise:

    I would certainly agree that the Looks of a car does not require prior ownership to have a very valid opinion on, it is a totally subjective judgement that we all can make.

    I also think you would agree that having driven a car would lend someone more credability on issues like fun to drive and handling, comfort and quiet then a person who has never driven the car would have.

    Finally I am sure you would agree that Someone who has owned a varity of cars like Mercedes and LS and BMW would probably be in the best position to compare the vehicles one to the other and would therefore demand the most credability.

    Speaking for myself I own an LS 430, I have only driven a Mercedes S class and have never driven a BMW. My knowledge beyond that is gathered from friends and car magazines.

    How about you.
  • fennfenn Posts: 197
    You need not own a car to comment, or to have a valid viewpoint. However, I appreciate the input of those that have actual experience with these cars, whether it be Mercedes Lexus, BMW, etc., to those that never have.....

    If the driver of a Ford, Mitsubishi or Honda is astute, and moderately respectful to those that actually have real life driving and ownership experience with these luxury cars, it would mean a great deal more than a person that continually wants to make them self into the ultimate authority, and argues every one of his subjective opinions into oblivion. It really seems silly.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    As respectfully as possible, I'm going to post my last answer to you. Your posts make no sense to me most of the time. There was the thing about innovation which got twisted. Then there was the issue about peformance about two cars, which you later claimed that there are other factors involved, of which there weren't. Then there is the constant assumption about what I've driven and haven't driven. I don't know how you long you've been on this board, but it's well documented about what I have and haven't driven.

    You always seem to come from behind whats being said to someone else for nothing more than to get me into an arguement, which isn't allowed here, so I think it's best that you and I stop here.

    DonFenn,

    I haven't tried to present myself as an "authority" to you. I merely pointed out that you were incorrect about the performance of the two cars in question at the time. You took it personally because it was your car I was speaking of and went on to knock what I drive (I did see your posts in other forums), and to try to make fun of it. I at no time said anything derogatory about you or you personal ride. Other than that S55/XJR thing, I don't even recall us ever really arguing over much else. My "experience" with cars of this class, doesn't come from ownership, you're correct. It comes from simply having family and/or friends that do, thus I'm not speaking from a dealership test drive. I haven't said a thing about long-distance comfort or ergonomics or anything that would require actual ownership.
    The things I've spoken about can be seen or experienced in a few hours or a day with this cars, especially when you like cars like I do.

    M
  • I have politely ASKED you if you have driven an LS430...you have seemed to profess a great deal of knowledge about it's driving and ride qualities in relation to the Mercedes and more recently the Buick. Your unwillingness to answer does lead one to make an assumption.

    I have been on these boards for at least 6 months and would not have asked the question if I had known the answer...

    P.S. In the spirit of full disclosure, I have owned 3 Buicks a Century, a Regal and in the 60s an electra 225 convertable.
  • fennfenn Posts: 197
    Merc1:

    It has nothing to do with what I drive. You wanted to make a big case of .4 of a second when comparing a 130k car to a 75k car...You used to terms like "smokes" ..and other over the top descriptions.

    Meanwhile, I quoted two major sources in the automotive press which seem to put these cars in a similar class.

    However you did not use the term "smokes" when comparing the .4 of a second difference between a Mercedes S430 and a Lexus LS430....That is actually an even larger differential, as a ratio of the speed. Hmmm?

    Being the one who actually buys with these vehicles and lives with them, as opposed to being a rooting section for Mercedes, is a big difference. To be quite candid, some of your opinions are very strong for a fan, rather than a driver.

    Styling is very subjective. Strongly comparing a Lexus to a Buick is harsh. By comparison, I think that some folks might see a resemblance between the discontinued Buick Skyhawk and a Mitsubishi Eclipse too, but that is subjective. I might say it once, but I would then back off, and try to respect your opinion as an Eclipse driver.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Thats just it, I never compared a 130K car to a 75K car. I only used the performance numbers of the 130K (S600) because they would roughly be equal to the car in question, the 107K S55. I spoke nothing about which was the better value. You're right I didn't use the word "smoked" to describe the difference between the LS430 and the S430, because you need at least a half second to make difference, if you were racing the two cars. However, the difference between those two other cars is more than 4 tenths of a second, it would be like a full second, and thats just from 0-60, if again the tested R&T figure for the XJR (5.1) or Car and Drivers figure of 5.3 secs is compared to that other similarly powered S-Class. That would be only the beginning of the performance gap between the two cars, if you really looked at figures here. I didn't any time state that one car was in different class from the other based on it's performance. I merely said that there wasn't much contest between the two cars performance wise. The data you listed was from 2001 and was irrelevant. It seemed to me that because I pointed out you were incorrect about the peformance of the two cars value had to be thrown in, though nobody knocked the Jag on that count, or ownership experience just because.

    M
  • b4zb4z Posts: 3,372
    Not sure that the 0-60 comparisons here are that worthwhile.
    Unless we are comparing the "AMG to the "S" to the "XJR".

    The bread and butter luxury cars should be compared in material quality, interior/exterior design, drivetrain refinement, ride quality, cornering ability, audio system quality and maybe even character, etc.
    These are more interesting topics because they are subjective.
    I would think that there would be unlimited conversation about the above characteristics.
  • fennfenn Posts: 197
    That is a wonderful point...especially since we are talking about luxury marques.

    I do not wish to be exclusionary of any point of view, but many of those areas are of the most interest to me when they are addressed by folks that actually drive, and live with, these cars.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    Did anybody see the article in last week's Automotive News titled "Bugs bite Mercedes quality; Glitches lead to go-slower approach."

    Basically the article says that Mercedes has admitted it has widespread quality problems and has had a difficult time debugging its increasingly complex electronics. Problems with Comand even forced Mercedes to buy back 2,000 E-classes from US customers. Mercedes is debating the need to adopt less essential technologies quickly.

    The interesting part is Mercedes' head of worldwide sales and marketing says that Mercedes is still very successful in terms of brand awareness and loyalty and that their image is great.
  • DonFenn - personally, I believe Infiniti fits in "High-end Luxury Marques". Though I'll grant you the I35 is certainly at the lower end of the scale. I like looking at, reading about and occasionally test driving the higher-end marques. But, when it comes to spending my own money [or my family's or friend's :-) ], I'm big on value, getting the most bang for the buck. For me, the I35 fits. I hadn't given the "I" a second glance in years, but last fall I happened to look at the I35 and was impressed with the refinements and improvements Infiniti had made to the car. It fit the bill for my mom and she ended up getting one. I've been home several times recently and I've been surprised how much I've enjoyed driving it. It kinda grows on you. Anyway, my real point is, to me "High-end Marques" covers a fairly broad range. (btw - I think Infiniti is doing a pretty good job of closing the "status gap" between itself and Lexus. Of course, my view is affected by my perception of value.)

    I haven't read way back in the posts here, but I get the impression from what you said that the discussion is of the more lofty luxury representations. There are several cars priced as high as $45-large I'd love to have the opportunity to own. Cheap (Frugal sounds better doesn't it?) as I am though, I'd have a hard time moving into the $50K and above arena. Going over $35K is a stretch for me to consider. I think the '04 Lexus LS430 is a gorgeous car, but even if money was not a consideration for me, I'm not sure I could justify to myself spending that much. But, of course, that's just me. Then again, I saw a Maserati on the Speed Channel the other day.....I'm just a contradiction in terms, aren't I? Oh, well.

    SV - I read an article several years ago in Popular Mechanics that said the engineering characteristics of the in-line six make it the most inherently balanced engine design. They were assessing BMW's V12 in the 7 series. They compared the sound of the engine on acceleration to ripping silk. Said the engine was like multiplying the benefits of the in-line six by two, making it twice as good. I've wanted a straight six ever since. I hope BMW never goes the way of Mercedes; succumbing to market forces and going to V6's. Even having said that, I must admit I love the Audi A4 Quattro with it's V6. I really like the V6 in my mom's I35. :-)

    b4z - I'm curious. When you drove Infiniti "I"'s as loaners, were they I30's or did you also have the opportunity to drive an I35? I've driven several I30's as loaners [1st gen (barely not a Maxima) and 2d gen) and I was never impressed. That's why I hadn't given the I30 a second glance and was quite surprised by the improvements in the I35.
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