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Help Me Choose!

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  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Unfortunately its hard to tell with that kind of thing, regardless of the manufacturer, the model usually has to be on the market for at least two years or so before any kind of reliability index can be made, as they come from owner surveys, and people have to have a chance to actually buy the car :) What I can tell you is that the outgoing generation A6 seems to be Audi's worst offender. Their other cars havent been particular stand outs as being plagued with issues, but at the same time, they arent rated particularly well either.

    Basically if you want something thats pretty much gauranteed to be trouble free and can last 300K+ miles, Toyota, Honda, and to a somewhat lesser extent (though Infiniti's are rated very highly for reliability) Nissan is where you want to be. That said, if you're looking for some real driving excitement, Toyota may not be the best choice. Acura made a great start with the original Legend, but then lost their way in the 90s with the soft and pudgy RL, and the Vigor and early CL\TL. They seem to be regaining their performance roots though, the RSX Type-S, TSX (Accord Euro R) and the new TL have all gotten great reviews as far as fun factor is concerned, and hopefully the new RL will continue that. Infiniti is kind of all over the map, as they are still in the midst of a Renault fueled rescue. The G35 (Nissan Skyline) is a fantastic driving machine, easily a solid 3 series competitor. So if you want a decent mix of performance and reliability, a G35, TL, or RL could be what you are looking for.
  • boomsamaboomsama Posts: 362
    hmm...maybe I'll have to wait for the next RL.

    So the current GS isn't that much of an "exciting" driving experience? Might the next one be?
  • pg48477pg48477 Posts: 309
    GS300, give you no performance, on the other hand G430 is pretty powerful, and have nice straight line acceleration, but suspension is way too soft. The result is you have a lot of power but can't use it due to soft suspension.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    pg48477 is pretty much right on the money, at least about the outgoing car. The 3.0 inline is a great engine, but the GS is just too heavy for it, and its slow as a result. The GS430 is fast enough to keep up with a 540i and an E500 on the highway, but the platform dates back to '97, when Lexus wasnt particularly interested in driving excitement. That seems to be changing, and based on poor GS430 sales, combined with the new sport suspension and 18" wheels now available on the LS (things its never had before) my guess is that they may tighten up the new GS to make it more competitive. Its still a big question mark though, so your just gonna have to get behind the wheel of the new car when its released and try it out.
  • boomsamaboomsama Posts: 362
    I heard that the A6 is much more like the A8, might that make it more reliable?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Well, that would make it go from awful to merely poor. Europeans have slipped to 3rd place world wide behind US and Japanese nameplates, with an average of 20% of cars having major issues, versus 10% for Japan. If you buy a new Audi, anything that crops up should be covered under the warranty. I would definitely caution against a used out of warranty car with more than 60K miles though. If you plan to hold on to it for 3 or 4 years and trade it would be ok.. but I wouldnt expect to get much money back. Audi doesnt have Mercedes resale. You could buy a new say E500, drive it 3 years, and sell it for 80% of what you paid. For a three year old Audi, you'd be lucky to get 50%. Lexus and Acura will also return more than Audi.
  • boomsamaboomsama Posts: 362
    So if not the A6...then which would be better out of the GS300 and the RL?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Good question. The RL is kind of a wild card, but based on the TSX and TL, my guess is it will be a BMW style car, quick, agile, and fast. The GS will be more of an E class type car, superb long distance cruiser, quick and comfortable, but not something you'd necessarily want to fling into a corner at 90mph. The new Infinti M should be closer to the RL side of the spectrum, and its 4.5L V8, if they can get the gearing right this time, will be faster than both of them.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "Basically if you want something thats pretty much gauranteed to be trouble free and can last 300K+ miles, Toyota, Honda, and to a somewhat lesser extent (though Infiniti's are rated very highly for reliability) Nissan is where you want to be. "

    I was pretty much in agreement with everything you'd said up to that point. Any car that lives past 150K miles will need all types of different things replaced (i.e. maintenance) to make it to 300K. Japanese cars are no different. The big difference is whether or not one lists these things under maintenance or as a problem when things fail due to age and the owner never thought about replacing it.

    Japanese cars are no different and it will cost plenty to keep them for 300K miles and while the engine and trans will last on most Japanese and German (Audi transmissions excluded) the body and interior of most Japanese cars don't hold up. I can't tell you how many Legends and LS400s I've seen with cracked driver's seats and faded paint while the MBs of the day are in much better shape. There was a reason why MB used that industrial grade leather back in the day.

    M
  • boomsamaboomsama Posts: 362
    yeah, it seems that there are a lot more older european cars driving around than japanese cars.

    Would the GS also be a surprise? Would Lexus try to make the car as fun to drive as a european car?
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,083
    . . .of a new Audi (A4 or S4, auto or stick):

    Transmission: sourced and manufactured in Japan.

    I don't know if this will effect reliability one way or another. . .

    . . .just to note that we are moving more and more global.
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289
    merc1,

    ".....the body and interior of most Japanese cars don't hold up."

    Gotta disagree. I've seen a ES250 and ES300 at about 200K miles and a LS400 at about 250K miles and body and interior were in excellent shape. I think today with the proliferation of leasing alot of cars are taken good care of.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I'm going to have to disagree as well. If people dont take care of their cars, then they are going to fall apart, plain and simple. A Mercedes owner who never cleans or treats the leather, never polishes or waxes the car, and never does any kind of preventative maintanence, the car is gonna fall to pieces, German or not. The difference between Germany and Japan is that with a German car, once you get past the 150K point, just keeping the engine running means literally pouring money into the car, and constant trips to the shop. Japanese cars arent like that. My own '96 LS400 had 156K miles on it when I traded, I went to the dealer for regular scheduled maintanence and generally took very good care of the car, not a single problem. I've also had a chance to talk to the techs at my Lexus dealer on occasion, and they said that they get LS400s and ES250s with 300K+ all the time. A friend of mine had a Mercedes SL from the mid '80s, it was literally a nightmare, he dumped it after less than a year.

    Boomsama, you have to remember that Mercedes has been selling cars in North America since the '50s, and the company is over 100 years old. Lexus, Acura, and Infinti are only about 15 years old, and the entire Japanese auto industry has only been selling cars globally for about 35 years. In the '30s, Toyota was making textiles.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well Lexuses do hold up better than other Japanese cars and I've seen this first hand. But the way Mercedes used to make their cars they had no equal in longevity. A Mercedes could be driven to hell and back. Cars like the W126 S-Class (1981-1991), W124 E-Class (1986-1995) and the R129 SL (1990-2002) were built to last. Now I know these newer ones are not of the same ilk (for many reasons), but still. I see MY 2000 S-Classes in just as good a shape as LS400s of the same time frame. Particularly in the area of the driver's seat leather (you know that industrial grade leather MB uses does great here, but felt like..well cheap), and paint and body integrity.

    "The difference between Germany and Japan is that with a German car, once you get past the 150K point, just keeping the engine running means literally pouring money into the car, and constant trips to the shop. Japanese cars aren't like that."

    I disagree with this to the point of it being somewhat exaggerated. Japanese cars need belts, hoses and everything any car would need to keep the engine running with that many miles. The difference is that most Japanese car owners will usually call this "maintenance" because Japanese cars will run in whatever condition whereas a European car will usually give some type of warning that something is in need of attention, and if ignored a breakdown will happen..hence it being called a problem at that point. I've seen this happen so many times, especially with Mercedes, BMW, and particularly with Volvos. Saabs just tend to "quit" first.

    M
  • cericceric Posts: 1,093
    My friend's 1995 LS400 had a 60K "regular" maintenance and was changed $2000+. A number of things were replaced according to him. Is that normal for Lexus? Another friend of mine with 2003 RX300. He was changed $187 for "first oil change". To be fair, the tires were rotated plus N-points of "top-off inspection". Is that typical for Lexus?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Depends on the dealer, and exactly what was done to the car. Merc1 is right, things made of ruber, gaskets, seals, etc, will fail, regardless of what country the car came from. At 100K, my LS needed a new oil seal $900, and new rear shocks $500. Properly maintained, a Lexus will last for an extremely long time, but that proper maintainence does cost money. It's not a Corolla. As with any car you will pay more at the dealer, but I like the general peace of mind that they know exactly what they're doing, and a local shop will not come to the house and get my car, and drop off a loaner like Lexus does.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "Properly maintained, a Lexus will last for an extremely long time, but that proper maintainence does cost money."

    Exactly my point about a Mercedes, but you will pay more to keep that Mercedes up, advantage Lexus.

    M
  • diesel11diesel11 Posts: 21
    Interesting discussion. I own a Mercedes and a Lexus. The Mercedes is the ML350 and it is a great vehicle for our family. We love it.
    The Lexus GS300 is mine and I love it big time. It has lived up to everything I hoped it would.

    There are definitely differenes between the two. The leather, safety equipment and even the paint are superior in the Mercedes. we have an inspiration edition with the silver stitched perforated leather and it just exudes quality.

    My Lexus seems to get more stone chips on the pant and the leather is cheaper feeling. However, the overall quality and feel are much better. Far fewer rattles and quirks. I'm excited to get into my Lexus each morning.

    Bottom line is that there is no winner in every category, But having researched almost every near-luxury and luxury car available, The GS was my clear quality winner. (see JD Power surveys)

    Longevity has a lot to do with how you drive and service and maintain as well as brand.

    Just my thoughts
    Fred
  • cericceric Posts: 1,093
    Exactly my point, lexusguy. I was trying to manifest the point that Lexus is not "bullet-proof" as people might get the impression from your prior postings. Proper maintenance is the key as you said. BMW and other German cars just tend to have things that should not fail, but do. No one doubts that Lexus has higher reliability, quieter interior, etc. Just like what 'diesel11' said, there is no winner in all categories. German cars have their advantages, not just the emblems.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Interesting. My wife and I considered the ML320, but being a body-on-frame, we found the ride a bit too truckish for our tastes. Also, I'm very technically inclined, and it took me about five minutes to figure out how to change the radio station on the "Command" system. Apparently you hit the "9" key, and then type in the freq, or something to that effect if memory serves. Since it was going to be for my wife, there was no way she was ever going to figure it out, she's not a manual reader. Also at that time, Mercedes was still using CD based NAV systems, and that was pretty much the deal breaker right there.

    I do agree that German cars have their strengths, the biggest one being their residual value, which, for at least M-B and BMW, are some of the industry's highest. It is nice to know that if you buy a new CLK500, 3 years down the line the car will still be worth like 80% of its new tag, which makes leasing a very attractive idea. I would actually consider a CLK500 for my new drop top to replace my XKR if I didnt dislike Command so much. They also clean up on the fun to drive factor. The M3 SMG is an absolute blast.
  • boomsamaboomsama Posts: 362
    anyone know what type of leather the 05 GS is getting?

    what do you guys think of the new 05 GS anyway?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I'm afraid I don't know the type off hand. It might be on the official site, or I'm sure a dealer could answer that question. Personally, I really like the new GS, I think its a more agressive looking car than the RL, and if I was going to buy in that segment, my choice would be between the GS and M45, and of those two cars, I would most likely end up with a GS. Infinti's NAV systems arent so great, and I'm still not entirely sure how much of the concept's hq materials will actually survive intro production. Nissan has been especiall stingy with its interior materials lately, I'm hoping that the new M will reverse that trend, but recent introductions like the QX56 havent.
  • boomsamaboomsama Posts: 362
    well down here in aus, we dont have infiniti so yeah :)

    I bought a Camry a few weeks ago, the seats are a bit short, and the leather feels very cheap compared to the one in my wife's volvo.

    I'm hoping that the GS would have some higher quality leather, and also some more supportive seats than the camry i have.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Lexus interior quality is MUCH higher than Toyota, which is already pretty much at the top of the mainstream segment. Take a look at the ES330, its essentially a Camry XLE V6 under there, but the interior is better than anything you can get for under $50,000. Lexus cars get better seats (though dont expect huge side bolsters) Higher quality leather, real wood trim, and the best fit and finish in the entire auto industry. Lexus panel gaps are so tight you couldnt squeeze in a business card if you tried. Everything that isnt leather is extremely high quality soft touch vinyls and plastics.
  • diesel11diesel11 Posts: 21
    First of all, bias plays a big role in all discussions, especially this kind of stuff.
    My Bias is very pro Lexus...just so you know.

    The quality of my Lexus is in the engine and the electronics. Big time! I don't mind my Lexus leather, actually I like it, it's just not as good as my ML350. But this is the leather in the ML55amg (inspiration edition).

    The leather they used to use in Mercedes and BMW was much better IMO. Most people should realize that even Lexus and Mercedes use leather inserts...that is your seats aren't 100% leather. On the big time cars like SL600, 7-series and S600 you get 100% leather, but you all know the price of these babies lol.

    I like JD Power...does the quality of the vehicle meet your expectations. That is, are your expectations realistic. Maybe Lexus owners have more realistic expectations. Just a theory.

    Fred
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Actually the E500, SL, S, and CL Classes use leather to cover the entire seat.

    The ML, E320, CLK (non-AMG) and C-Class models have a partial leather covering, unless you spring for full leather on the E320 models.

    M
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    even the LS430? I was under the impression it is 100% real deal. The XJ8 is 100% conolly, and that doesnt cost anymore than the other players in the segment.
  • boomsamaboomsama Posts: 362
    so would you guys think that the '05 GS seats be more supportive than the ES/'04GS seats? I might take a visit to my local dealer to have a look at these seats :D

    The leather in the camry feels very rough, and the seats arent exactly soft either. It's like sitting on a wooden bench.
  • ckelly14ckelly14 Posts: 105
    Mark:

    I agree with you completely. Over the last 7 years my wife and I have owned: 1993 Toyota Camry, 1998 ES 300, 1999 Ford Explorer, 2001 Audi A6 2.7 T, 2001 Honda Accord; 2002 Acura MDX and, my recent purchase, a 2001 Audi A4 1.8 T. After owning these cars, there is absolutely no question in my mind that Lexus/Toyota makes the most reliable cars out there. Period. The worst made cars- Audi. No question.

    I purchased my 2001 Audi A4 as a CPO car in December and it has been to the shop 4 times- trip computer not working, 2 check engine lights, clutch replacement. Fortunately, all were replaced on Audi's dime as it was a CPO car. They balked at replacing the clutch, trying to tell me, in pleasant words, that my driving caused the clutch to give out in 3 months. However, I found out they had no documentation on the condition of the clutch during their "300 point" inspection, so they replaced it.

    As insane as it sounds, our favorite car of the bunch is the A4. There is simply not a better driving car out there. Yes, I am still considering a new Audi for my next vehicle. I just don't find a better mix of interior comfort, looks and driving than this car. My caution is to buy new or CPO. If it is CPO, make sure it is from a reputable dealer.

    I can't say I would recommend the new A6. My 2001 A6 2.7T was fast and had a beautiful interior, but the driving was "floaty" and the steering imprecise. I would like more room than the A4 but the driving characteristics of the current A6, along with the poor reliability, would keep me at arms length unless the 2005 changes drastically.

    Honestly, on every trip to the shop I told my wife "I should have bought a Lexus". However, every time I'm in the market, I just can't find a model that suites me. I almost bought a GS 400 a few years back, but I personally think it was one of the worst rear wheel drive cars I have ever driven in regards to steering and control. I remember hitting an on ramp fairly hard and almost losing control. I will look at the new GS but it is unlikely to change very much. Two different philosophies.
  • diesel11diesel11 Posts: 21
    BTW, full leather seating (over inserts) can be had for an extra $1500 in the E320. So if full leather is your main criteria, then Mercedes is your answer.

    Fred
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