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High End Luxury Cars

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Comments

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    tturedraider, there is a line under the discussion title at the top of the page that explains what vehicles this discussion is generally about.

    We had an Entry Level Luxury discussion around here somewhere once upon a time - it's probably archived. I could dig it up and reopen it if you like?

    Edit: Actually, putting those three words in the keyword search on the left side of the page turns up three archived discussions. Check them out - if any interest you, let me know. Or start a new one if you'd rather - two of them are very old. :)
  • You're right! There surely is! I'm usually pretty good at catching the small print. I guess I'm used to looking for it at the bottom of the page.....(excuse, excuse) :-) My apologies to DonFenn. I'll have to think about starting a new Near Lux board.

    b4z - I'm still curious about your experience with the I30 v. I35. And whether none of your cohorts drive an Infiniti?

    See y'all in the funny papers.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    A "near luxury" discussion is actually what I was remembering - that term is worth a keyword search as well.

    Anyway, back to the topic ...
  • fennfenn Posts: 197
    I will offer tturedraider this final comment:

    The I35 and I30 are birds of a feather, but the I35 got an evolutionary tweak with a bit more engine power/torque, and slighly better handling, due to the bigger tires and wheels.
  • I don't mean to be rude, but you're not saying anything I'm not already aware of. I've driven both of them fairly extensively and I can tell you the evolutionary tweak was a really good one. The engine is very stout and the handling is much better. A 12%, 28hp increase and a 13%, 29lb-ft increase in torque. The I30 was very floaty. The I35 is very well controlled.

    btw - Just for complete accuracy, Infiniti has announced that the I35 is continuing as a 2004 model. There is no reliable information out there right now as to the exact timing of its replacement. It may indeed have a short model year run or it may run for the complete model year. You are correct, it is pretty well accepted that 2004 is the last year for the current iteration. But, the prevailing opinion of those who speculated about the '03 I35 was that it would not continue as a 2004. Nissan has a model sold in Japan called the Teana that is "based" on the Maxima with more "luxury" styling. The Teana is offered with AWD in Japan and the the current prevailing speculation is that it will be brought over as the I35's replacement. This fits with Infiniti's stated plan to concentrate on RWD and AWD vehicles.

    Over and out.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    As an ex-owner of a 2001 XJR and a 1996 XJS previously, I can attest to the fact the i6-cyl was a smoother engine. Not that the V8 isn't civilized, but still an I6 engine has and will always have the better natural balance. It's well known in engine circles that I6 and V12 (two I6, basically) offer the best balance and smoothness. Physics facts about secondary vibrations and such.

    The gruntier V8 note in the higher revs is actually a rason for the popularity of the V8, since it's macho since the days of big V8s in the USA.

    In the end, the quest for total smoothness is self-defeating, though. Thnk of floating in a perfectly idolated, noiseless car... is that fun when you go for a spin?
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    Actually, the Jag I6 in the XJS was so silky smooth that I think it outsmoothes the V8 in my "special occasion" car, an early 90s RR Corniche.

    But it's also a matter of the character of the particular engine (and exhaust system).

    It's one of those things - within the BMW range, for instance, I also think it's well-establshed that the I6s are actually smoother than the slightly more raucuous V8s: when the latter revs up it develops attitude, whereas especially the smaller displacement 6s just spin up like a little turbine.

    But at the same total displacement, it's easier to make make the 8 cyl spin higher, and probably -I suspect- make it more efficient all in all - smaller cyls can be fed more efficiently. The I6s can be designed to be a bit torquier. It's got to be with flows, the size of the cylinder, and the force of the combustion...
  • My local dealership has two. I hope to drive one this weekend. They are "different." I like the new style, except the back lights.

    So many choices....
  • fennfenn Posts: 197
    I have mixed feelings about this review. I did not agree with some of the reviewer's findings, however, I lack objectivity, since I have an XJR.

    However, let it suffice to say that some of the Edmunds reviewer's conclusions are different than those in recent reviews of the XJR in both "Road and Track" and "Automobile Magazine"...

    In particular, I cannot agree with the reviewer's thoughts about the handling, and cornering, since I find the car very tight, and the steering quite responsive. The XJR feels like a much more responsive and sporting car in the curves when compared to the S430, S500, and Audi A8, which are luxury cars are in the same price range as an XJR.

    If you want to compare this car with an M5 or E55, the XJR may feel a bit softer, but this is a larger, luxury class vehicle. Therefore, the review's final comparison of the XJR with the smaller E55 seems inappropriate, since are obviously two very different types/sizes of vehicles.

    I will agree with the reviewer that the base XJ8 offers many of the XJR's attributes at a much lower price...In fact, I have mentioned that in my comments earlier in this thread. However, for me, the supercharger and the performance tweaks of the XJR do make a difference....Only the buyer can decide whether this is worth 12k to 15k of their money.

    One major error did stick out. The reviewer's complaint about the brake and accelerator height differential is way off base---since the XJR's brake pedal height is quite adjustable. Other reviewers commented favorably on this adjustability and adaptability. Hmmm? I guess the Edmund's reviewer could not figure this out.....So much for being a thorough journalist.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    I have always been amused by most reviewers inability to relate to the British concept of a "gentlemen's GT". It is not supposed to be a sharp sports-car, for which it would have to give up some of the coziness that -as the whole itnerior treatment shows- are of the utmost importance to the car's philosophy. The fact the car comes with abundant performance is nearly a case of British humor: you sit as cozy and comfortably as if you were reading The Times sitting by the fire-place in your library, bloodhound at your foot, a cognac-dipped cigar in the corner of your mouth... and yet you can still set things ablaze. Look up "Bristol Blennheim" to try to understand the basic philosophy, but the new XJR does without the quirks and impracticalities. I find it brilliant.

    Reviewers seldom reward "personality" in cars - they tend to always go for the ultra-clinical and sharply performing, even when it's somewhat sterile. I admire German cars -heck, I am half-German- and have had a view, but think they're a tad too damn functional and lacking in humor. To me, when you get into the $50k+ car realm you are giving up rationality anyhow. I'd demand custom-to-fit, and since no one will design a car to my spec, it typically leads to a car with some traits that appeal to me, but deter others.

    I think it's stupid to make car recommendations for other people based on the premise that one knows which one the "better car" is, a presumption that unfortunately is common to car journalists. Instead of trying to understand the differentiating attributes and putting themselves in the shoes of the true target audience, they measure the car by never-changing standards that might work on $25k cars, but are somewhat laughable in luxury territory.

    It's idiotic to claim people should buy the E55 instead of the XJR because they'll lap the Nuernburgring 3 seconds faster. A $7,000 motorcycle will trounce them all into oblivion, so geez, save yourself $65k and buy that. All these performance sedan represent compromises, it just so happens these compromises make them the best choice for their very particular target audience.
  • fennfenn Posts: 197
    pablo:

    I agree. For me, each car has its very own character, yet many reviewers love to compare apples with oranges, in a less than realistic manner.

    The greatest feature of the XJR is that I can cruise around most of the time in gentlemenly comfort. It is big, refined, luxury car...Yet, I can agressively unleash the supercharger and use the car's high performance side at the drop of my foot.

    A Jaguar driver is not typically going to be comparing the XJR with an M5 or E55. The Jaguar driver is likely a person that likes the Jaguar characterics and cache, and opts for the performance variant with the XJR.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    I always find it funny that with cars people are so religious about what supposedly "the best" is... but invite some friends over for a blind-testing of wines under $30, and go see if anybody agrees there. Fact is, it's probably harder to find a bad car that is over $30k than it is to find a truly bad wine that costs over $10 these days - and that is bad enough: there'll be wines you don't like, but it's hard to find truly bad ones.

    A wine enthusiast would not tell another "I think you should get the $20 Merlot because it's a better wine" when he knows the other guy is a Sauvignon Blanc fan and is considering to buy a case of Marlborough stuff...

    Apples and oranges indeed, so pointless.
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    A newspaper reporter is looking to interview BMW and Lexus owners who previously owned or have considered owning a Mercedes-Benz.
    Please respond with your daytime contact info and your current vehicle model to jfallon@edmunds.com by Monday, September 29.
    Thanks for your consideration!
    Jeannine Fallon
    PR Director
    Edmunds.com
  • Here is a link: http://www.forbes.com/2003/09/22/cx_mf_0922test.html

    I haven't driven the car yet, but probably won't consider it since there isn't a local dealership.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    Saw a RR while out on the motorcycle, and honestly I thought it underwhelming. Truly a sign of the times: European car design for the most is in unimaginative trouble, it seems largely disoriented on how to combine tradition with elegance and yet introduce innovation, and in my opinion this is opening a huge window of opportunity only (and inexplicably) the Nissan group is benefiting from.

    I can't think of the last high-end car design I truly liked right now. By far, I think the best design of the last few years is the MINI, which is a devastating score card for high end car designers.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,677
    I would tend to agree with you except that I did think the S-class was a fabulous design and I think Audi found a good balance with the A8. The new SL is nice looking though I don't find it as appealing as when it first came out. Long-term - I don't think it is going to be the classic car that the old model was. In NJ I saw one ad that listed about 30 of them for sale so the sales trend must be slowing. Nonetheless I still like it. There is nothing special about the rest of the MB line-up. BMW's new styling under Bangle is AWFUL and the new 6-series looks like a Pontiac Bonneville to me. The A8 is the only Audi design I like out of Audi's lineup. Jaguar styling has always been classic and remains so in my opinion. Maybe that is why they are so hesitant to make the revolutionary changes that MB and BMW are making.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    It does appear the European car community is at a styling crossroads of some sort, though I hardly think that a few misteps in styling signals a crisis. Especially considering how many good looking cars they make compared to a few that aren't. Unlike the Japanese brands, which is servely the opposite.

    The BMW 7-Series started it, followed by CLK, Maybach, and now the 5-Series (more on it in a min). They all range from ugly (7-Series) to just not quite right (CLK). BMW may have missed it with the 7, but the 5 *might* prove to be a different story. Bill Jacobs BMW (Naperville) has a new 5-Series on the lot and it's not nearly as bad as the 7-Series, dare I say I kinda like it. It's kinda big in the hips and much more substantial looking that the old 5. The interior is so futuristic for a BMW and moves clearly away from the old "cockpit" theme of every BMW prior. I finally got a good detailed look at a Maybach 57 today also. MB of Naperville has a 57 model out front with MFR plates on it. One look and you can tell it's being driven by a MB/Maybach exec, the interior and exterior were very dirty and the tires looked as though someone had been playing E55 driver with the car. Anyway, I like the styling a little bit more now, it doesn't look at Lincolnish as I first thought, except for the grille. If anything it looks like the previous S-Class, but rounded off. I really didn't realize how big this car is, as it made the E55 next to it look like a C-Class. I still hate the rear end's red light strip.

    ljflx,

    I know you like or liked the SL, but what do you think of the CL. IMO, it's the best looking Mercedes going today. What changes do you think Mercedes is making that are revolutionary?
    BMW is the only one I see taking some serious styling risks.

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,677
    I'll have to take a look at the CL when I have a chance. The last S-class body style which has now transcended to the E and C was a revolutionary change for MB in my opinion. It took the line to a sport luxury look from a classic luxury look. The latest design is best suited for the S - again - just my opinion. Actually when you look at BMW designs - particularly the 7 - they are going in the opposite direction.

    I still like the SL - very much. But when it first came out I thought it was a knockout. It doesn't bowl me over like that anymore but it is still a wonder car.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    The CL happens to be my favorite current Merc design, too. It is elegant and to the point, without unneccessary distraction thrown in meely for effect. I think excessive "character lines" are a general malaise with many current European designs, it seems the designers got tired of the clean surface, but I am not sure the public ever did.

    The purposeful, simple predatory feel of the traditional BMW design has given way to a "shock" design, and I have no idea why they want to play rebellious "let's shock our parents" teen strategies. It's a sign of insecurity, I guess, for according to CAR the 7 series re-design is complete and due for next year, an obvious admission of a blunder. BMWs always looked planted, now they look more bloated and top-heavy, and, dare I say it, Japanese.

    Audi and Jag merely stick to what works for their identity, and are successful with that perception wise. And I think that's what many high-end customers actually want: they want to buy into some notion of heritage and tradition, and that's better underlined design wise unless you want customers to re-consider things with every product generation...
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well get ready because Audi is going radical too. The new 05' A6 (March 04' debut) is supposed to have the double grille design of Audis last three show cars, Nouvolari, Pikes Peak etc.

    I wouldn't go so far as the 7 looks "Japanese", but whatever it is....it surely isn't attractive. I still can't believe it when I see one with the 18-inch wheels which don't even fit the wheel wells.

    M
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    At the moment, I certainly give the nod to the new Mercedes style over the new BMW style. I think the Benz has really enhanced their looks at every class level, while staying true to their styling cues and theme. BMW is reinventing, and time will tell if they're on a good track - or (gulp) not!
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I'm not giving up on BMW just yet. The 7-Series was a miss, but I think Bangle nailed it with the Z4, it looks just right. The new 5 isn't all that bad, so far from just looking at one in dealers lot. When I see it on the open road I'll be able to get a better look.

    M
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I'm a bit behind the times because this is from the Frankfurt show, but I find the Audi mid-engined concept (as pictured in the new Automobile mag issue) to be really really beautiful. Just one guy's opinion.
  • fennfenn Posts: 197
    There is little disputing that BMW pushed the envelope in recent styling decisions. The 7 series styling miscues are often discussed. The Z4 has not been universally well received either. I think that the Z4 is dismissed by many as an overly contrived and busy design.

    I like that Mercedes Benz has carried a similar design theme throughout their sedan line up. My only complaint is that the 2003 E class was the last of the MB sedans to get this treatment, so it comes across as almost too subtle of a statement.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Well, I really like the new E Class redesign, inside and out. That's one nice looking package, in my opinion. I like the Gold.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,677
    I don't know the official color name but I saw an S-430 in a dark charcoal color (probably a $1k specialty color) with ash interior and thought it was the best color yet I've seen the car in.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I'm betting that S430 you saw was either Tectite Grey or Obsidian Black. Black Opal is also a possibility.

    M
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    The 430 is an 8 cylinder, right?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
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