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Luxury Lounge

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  • cyclone4cyclone4 Posts: 2,287
    Len, great to hear from you again in spite of your very busy schedule. Yes, as I stated above, I have driven the S550 and I agree with you that it is a very nice vehicle. I do have air suspension on my LS and the sport mode does provide for better handling. But, there is nothing like a quiet, comfortable ride in the comfort mode on the Interstates. I could not see going for the S550 for the two main reasons you mentioned (cost and reliability). I have not driven the A8 or the 7, but I trust your impressions. In fact, the only other car I have driven (other than the S550) that can be considered in this discussion was the Infinity EX (CUV). That sucker is rough and I did not at all like it.

    As far as the navigation system and bluetooth is concerned, I really like the new generation RX. The voice recognition is vastly improved and I love the positioning of the navigation screen and the mouse-like control. There are also lots of other "toys" like Heads Up Display, Radar Cruise, remote start, etc. that I love on this vehicle. The new RX450h for my wife should arrive by later in June. Great to hear that your GL has been perfect for you.

    Yes, it looks as if Obama made a mistake with the CIA/torture policy. But I think that he will learn from this and not repeat it in the future. I still have a lot of faith in him. Good luck with your "really big deal" in your business. Do you still see the Dow up to about 10,000 by the end of the year?
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,687
    Charlie - Yes I do provided Obama doesn't try to push Bernanke out and Larry Summers in. If he makes another "on the job" learning mistake like that we are in a heap of trouble. And if Obama curtails his budget I think the market can go higher than that. Oil makes no sense to me though. We are at a 20 year inventory high and building 3 million plus barrels a week while demand is declining worldwide. I think that market is trading on way too much speculation and has forgotten that there are so many OPEC cuts that will be restored if there is any demand spike plus another 3 million barrel a day new supply line from Saudi Arabia that was never part of the original pre-cut oil production supply. On top of that I think when our stock market comes back with rapidly increasing year over year company profit gains in Q4 of 2009 and Q1 of 2010 we'll be dealing with low-mod growth in revs with companies having retrenched costs much lower - permanently. So valuation multiples have to come up significantly at that point as incremental profit margins will be higher than ever but I see fairly high unemployment rate, say 7.5-8% for a long time once some employment is restored because the false leverage of the old economy that drove unemployment rates very low isn't coming back. So without that leverage oil demand won't come back either and you have to remember that worldwide demand for oil was barely increasing at 1% during the big worldwide stock market boom during that term of very low unemployment. So I think investors tieing oil into the stock market gains are nuts and the tie in to a weaker dollar is way overstated.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Well, I agree to a point about faster improvement for Infiniti and Lexus and Audi, but that's relative to where they were, which was nothing close to the Bimmer. The 3-Series was already a benchmark... making it more of a challenge to make a leap on improvement... and I certainly expect BMW will not disappoint us in the future either.

    Again, we'll see :) The 540i Sport used to be "the benchmark" something the GS400, E430, and A6 4.2 couldn't even dream of touching. Not anymore. The 535i finds itself a very good car among some very good cars.

    The S4 is already better than the 335 xDrive, and I'm willing to bet that the RS4 will be better than the M3.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Give me a safe, reliable luxury car with all the technological advances and I am a happy camper.

    I felt much the same way back in '96. I was fed up with Mercedes and their service, so I bought an LS400 and was very pleased with it. The LS has never been particularly exciting and it certainly wasn't then, but I just wanted a car that I didn't have to think about, and it served that mission perfectly.

    Eventually though, I got rather bored with the LS. Driving one isn't the kind of soul-killing experience that something like a minivan is, but the LS makes no effort to involve you in the drive in any way. It would be happier in a sci-fi "auto drive" mode, while you take a nap in the back.

    I still don't have much interest in Mercedes and BMW products, but Audi provides a compelling alternative to Lexus. Audi seats are more comfortable, and their interior materials and ergonomics are superior. Most Audis are probably what you would call a "grand tourer" - not a bone crunching, teeth rattling sports car, and not a syrup injected, overly cushy luxo-barge cruiser. Audi Drive Select takes things a bit further and lets you set up the suspension, throttle response, and steering how you like it. The S6 is not jerky and harsh at low speeds like an M5, nor is it too soft and too bland like a GS460. It's just right.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    The S4 is already better than the 335 xDrive, and I'm willing to bet that the RS4 will be better than the M3.

    I still don't have much interest in Mercedes and BMW products, but Audi provides a compelling alternative to Lexus. Audi seats are more comfortable, and their interior materials and ergonomics are superior.

    All spoken like a true Audi fan ;)

    Well... I agree Audi seats are comfy last time I checked, but more comfortable than a BMW Sport Seat or the seat in a Lexus LS?... not so sure about that. I think it gets down to personal preference.

    And you are willing to bet that the RS4 will be better than the M3? Hmmmm... I'm not so sure about that either. It may have a horsepower edge until BMW does some more tweaking, so as not to be outdone, but I doubt it will handle as well. And... I am certainly willing to bet that the next M3 will be even better than the current one.

    That all said, I really like the direction Audi is taking the RS4... well, not the over-pricing. :)

    TM
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    All spoken like a true Audi fan

    Well, what can I say.. :shades:

    Well... I agree Audi seats are comfy last time I checked, but more comfortable than a BMW Sport Seat or the seat in a Lexus LS?... not so sure about that. I think it gets down to personal preference.

    I agree, seats are definitely a personal thing. It usually takes extended time behind the wheel of a car for me to really determine if one seat is significantly better than another, except in cases where the seat and/or driving position just don't fit, as in the RL.

    In my brief time with BMW Sport seats, I've found them to be very good, but I wasn't blown away by them. I've had plenty of time in LS400 and LS430 seats, which were average. Not uncomfortable, but nothing special. The previous generation A8 had significantly better seats than those cars, but I was not a fan of the old A8 for various other reasons.

    Lexus has definitely upped their seat game in the last few years, and the LS460 is much more comfortable than earlier generations. I would still give the edge to the A8, though.

    And you are willing to bet that the RS4 will be better than the M3? Hmmmm... I'm not so sure about that either. It may have a horsepower edge until BMW does some more tweaking, so as not to be outdone, but I doubt it will handle as well.

    Audi's gone a bit mad with horsepower lately (see RS6) so its a given that the RS4 will significantly out power the M3, and possibly the C63 as well. I'm not sure exactly what their engine plans are, but my guess would be a TT version of the 4.2L V8, with at least 450hp. What tweaking is BMW going to do? The M3 CSL has been canceled, and I haven't heard about any other significant changes to the car.

    As far as handling, the two cars are going to be very different. The RS4 will most likely not be able to do crazy tail-out powerslides like the M3 (and even the R8) can. That said, I don't think we've seen close to what Audi's modular front-midship architecture is truly capable of yet. BMW has played their cards, and the RennSport guys have their target to take down. I'm willing to bet that the new RS4 with significantly better weight distribution than the old car, and an RS version of the Magna/Audi "QuattroSport" active differential will be quite a bit faster than an M3 on a track.

    And of course the RS4 will also unfortunately be very expensive. I have no doubt that the next M3 will be a better car, the Motorsport division wouldn't be doing their jobs if it isn't. Let's just hope they can spare the time between making new jet powered SUVs. So much for Motorsport not following AMG down that path. :sick:
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Good reply.

    Speaking of seats, as you know Jaguar also puts in very good seats for long-term driving... almost too comfortable, like being in a favorite TV chair... y'know, the one you can watch NFL games all day, and it cradles you so nicely you tend to fall asleep... not good to tend to fall asleep at the wheel due to excessive comfort... LOL.

    BMW does have some major plans for replacing a lot of their engines, as I recently read something to that effect. I just can't imagine what the next step really is (or even should be) for the M3. A horsepower war? Efficiciency will need to fit into the equation, as it will be demanded, and will be part of the competitive attributes between future vehicles.

    So far, Audi's handling takes a back set to BMW's, so it will take more than gobs of horsepower to beat BMW on the track. This is one particular competition that I am most interested in. I have my eye out for the next generation M3 as a car I might trade in the 135i for, but it's too early yet to know that.

    Speaking of which, I believe I read something about the N54 might be replaced by a twin-turbo 4-cylinder, delivering more power and fuel-efficiency with those 4 cylinders. Are you up to date on any of this? I may have to do a little homework to find the source of some of the info I read.

    Oh, BTW... an X6 drove next to me yesterday. Absolutely horrible. It's a monster. The Mercedes R-Class has some good company... a couple of freakazoids.

    TM
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,389
    I would submit that you need to feel the drive...it shouldn't break your back but no communication with the road is less control and awareness as well.

    I believe there are enough choices at the top of the luxury car market to get the best blend for everyone. Audi seems to have the best value and balance from what I have experienced as you have so eloquently stated.

    Regards,
    OW
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,389
    Audi's gone a bit mad with horsepower lately (see RS6) so its a given that the RS4 will significantly out power the M3, and possibly the C63 as well. I'm not sure exactly what their engine plans are, but my guess would be a TT version of the 4.2L V8, with at least 450hp. What tweaking is BMW going to do?

    For the M3, the next power plant will be a blown 6. Less weight and modular power. Word is it could be a V-6!!

    I would guess at least 400 ponies and high 300 twists. I wouldn't be too quick to give Audi RS4 the nod if the M folks go on a crash diet with the next M and get it around 3,200 lbs. Guess which one will be the scalpel?

    Here is some recent news.

    The next generation BMW M3 will be powered by a turbocharged six-cylinder engine, says Ludwig Willisch, the man in charge of BMW’s M division. But there’s more to the story than that, according to an article on MotorTrend.com after staff of the magazine sat down with Willisch and other journalists in Munich.

    For starters the engine will not be the same twin-turbo inline-six found in the current 335i. In fact, it might not be a twin-turbo at all. Even more shocking, it might not be an inline-six. That’s right, BMW is currently looking at the possibility of using a V6 for the next M3.

    While the BMW faithful will abhor the idea (like they did with the amazing V8 that powers the current M3), a V6 would allow for the engine to be located in a more central position in the car. Unfortunately, it would most likely be heavier.

    Interestingly Willisch defied convention by stating that the next generation M3 wouldn’t necessarily have to be more powerful, so long as it was lighter. And BMW intends to focus on decreasing the weight of their vehicles across the board.

    The discussion also raised the possibility of an M for the 1 Series, and while it won’t be called an M, BMW is planning a high-performance version of the second generation 1 Series. It will, says Willisch, be more in line with one of the most iconic BMW’s of all time, the E30 (the original) M - sort of.

    By today’s standards this high performance 1 Series will be light with a curb weight of 2,860 lbs - which is still a significantly larger number than the roughly 3,200-lb curb weight of the E30. Willisch said that BMW engineers are currently working on a twin-turbo four-cylinder engine to power such a car, but noted that with the weight it would still need at least 300hp in order to be an ideal package.

    As for when these new cars will come out, both models are slated for 2014, so expect concept cars and pre-production models throughout 2013.

    With all this talk about turbos for the new M3, we shouldn’t forget that with the new 5 Series and 6 Series due out next year as 2011 models, the following year will bring M versions of those cars - and you can be sure the V10 is a thing of the past.

    In related news, stay tuned for our coverage from the New York Auto Show starting April 8th, as BMW plans to take the wraps of its M version of the X6.


    [Source: Motor Trend]

    TM, you might want to consider the next high performance 1-er...most likely a new Tii.

    Regards,
    OW
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I will consider your recommendation... a 1-Series on a diet with improved performance would be ideal for my taste. Only thing... I seriously wonder if we would see that version in topless form, which would be a prerequisite for me.

    OTOH, I'll always keep the door open to an M3... depending on just how good it is.

    Thanks for the info.

    TM
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,389
    Just some things to consider (regarding your question) when evaluating the driving dynamics of a car to fit one's ideal:

    1. Ultimate grip and cornering power: The familiar skidpad g-force performance.

    2. Transitional behavior: How the car behaves when turning the steering wheel, especially while accelerating or braking.

    3. Path accuracy and directional stability: How well the car goes where it's pointed and how faithfully it tracks straight ahead.

    4. Steering and brake feel: How well the controls convey what's happening where the rubber meets road.

    5. Chassis composure and control: How confidently the suspension absorbs and reacts to bumps, dips, and changes in the road surface.

    6. Cockpit ergonomics: Control positioning and function, and the seat comfort and support contribute to good car control.

    When it's right for you you know it...particularly if you rate each one of these characteristics and your ride scores high on all of the criteria based on your personal preferences.

    Regards,
  • jlbljlbl Posts: 1,333
    Saturday afternoon. After watching F1 qualifying series on TV, time to browse, time to enjoy. In particular MB and Audi fans may do it with these pics of some Bernie Ecclestone's collection items as shown in F1 official website. :

    MB
    image
    image

    Audi
    image
    image

    And a rare Ferrari
    image
    The fan on the rear was intended to create max. ground/car adherence by increasing Venturi effect because of the acceleration and diffusion of the air coming from below the car. Sort of anticipation of the current diffusors. The car was a winner in the hands of Nicki Lauda.

    Regards,
    Jose
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Interesting stuff... thanks.

    I think I may need to put one of those Venturi fans on the back of my car. :shades:

    TM
  • jlbljlbl Posts: 1,333
    LOL. Have a look to the MB seat, just to guess the comfort it could deliver!!!

    Regards,
    Jose
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    And the nice quiet wind-free drive. :surprise:

    Seriously, though... it really makes me consider the terrific heritage of Mercedes Benz. :)

    BTW, are you and the wife back at work now after all that skiing?... healing people as you should be doing. ;)

    TM
  • jlbljlbl Posts: 1,333
    From time to time is good to heal ourselves :D to better heal others in between

    Regards,
    Jose

    image

    2009 Ferrari 599 HGTE First Drive, Edmunds Inside Line
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Words of wisdom.

    Personally, I know that I am better able to serve the world when my batteries are charged. Sometimes it's a simple good night's sleep, sometimes a little R&R or get-away, and sometimes it requires a full-blown vacation... but I always need my cup of Starbucks or Kona coffee in the morning. ;)

    TM
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    So far, Audi's handling takes a back set to BMW's, so it will take more than gobs of horsepower to beat BMW on the track. This is one particular competition that I am most interested in. I have my eye out for the next generation M3 as a car I might trade in the 135i for, but it's too early yet to know that.

    Don't underestimate what torque-vectoring all wheel drive can do. Just look at the TL SH-AWD. In conventional terms, the car should handle like a complete pig. It's based on a pedestrian platform, it weighs 2 tons, and it has a good 60% of its weight on the nose. And yet when Edmunds tested it, it thrashed the 335i around a track. Both the RWD and AWD versions were sent home, tails betwixt legs. That's despite the fact that the TL like most Acuras has no real low end torque, and is significantly slower than the 335i in a straight line.

    Both the 335i and 335 xDrive were also beaten by the V8 powered, old gen B7 S4, so its an absolute no-brainer that the 2010 B8 S4 will mop the floor with them, as well as Acura, since the Audi has better balance, and enough power to at least match if not outrun the 335i in a straight line.

    I'm sure the 335i is much nicer to drive than the Acura, which has been criticized for numb steering. But lap times aren't about how nice a car is to drive. They are about what car can brake latest, and get full power down earliest coming out of a corner. RWD is at a significant disadvantage here. That's how the GT-R is able to take down supercars, despite a weight disadvantage that can be as high as half a ton. Torque-vectoring AWD comes pretty close to breaking the laws of physics.

    The B8 RS4 will be faster on a track than the current M3, I guarantee it. It probably won't be as playful, but it'll be faster. The next gen M3 is a whole different can of worms, we're talking the B8 RS4 vs. the E90 M3 sedan here.

    Audi is also proposing smaller engines and radical weight reductions in its upcoming cars, so the continued rivalry between these two teutonic titans should be very exiting, and will benefit fans of both. RennSport is forcing Motorsport to work harder and produce better cars, and vice versa.

    TL SH-AWD track test
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I concur. The RS4, faster off the line, and faster around the track. The M3, the better drifter.

    The AWD certainly adds stability, but what I don't like is that the AWD simply sucks too much of the fun out of the entire experience.

    But, nevertheless... you are right.

    TM
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The AWD certainly adds stability, but what I don't like is that the AWD simply sucks too much of the fun out of the entire experience.

    You've got a point. The S6 will not dance like the M5, but that's not really what I wanted from the car. After so long with a rolling sofa, I wanted a car that was solid, quick to respond, effortless to drive at high speed, and gripped the road like it was digging into the surface with claws. I also wanted to experience a V10 before they disappear from all but the supercar realm. The S6 does all of those things, without forgetting that its also supposed to be a luxury car.

    I also like that the S6 is still an understated, under-the-radar stealth mobile. Only an Audi enthusiast would notice the little side skirts and aluminum side mirrors. IMO, the M cars and especially the AMG cars have gotten too flashy and brash looking. Too many slats, vents, slashes, badges, and too much chrome.

    An old AMG used to be nearly indistinguishable from the standard car, but those in the know would recognize those monoblock wheels and say "cool, that's an AMG." I wish they would go back to that.

    image
  • jlbljlbl Posts: 1,333
    Correction: the previously depicted rare fan car is not a Ferrari but a 1978 Brabham. My apologies :cry: :(

    Regards,
    Jose
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Your S6 is a masterpiece of engineering... yet I might be frustrated by the way it turns fun driving into a simple ho-hum achievement. I respect the S6 in the same way I fully respect the GT-R. It also gobbles up pavement like an obedient robot lacking any flare. OTOH, having bucketloads of confidence, knowing that the car you are driving can quite easily devour most other vehicles as an appetizer, must have some redeeming value not to be overlooked. :)

    TM
  • bmlexusbmlexus Posts: 755
    Any1 watched F1? BMW were 19th and 20th respectively!

    Toyota 3rd and 7th.

    Oh, BTW... an X6 drove next to me yesterday. Absolutely horrible. It's a monster. The Mercedes R-Class has some good company...

    You really hate X6s dont you? Rather like the R class better :blush:
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Hate the X6? Hmmm... I said, it's terrible looking when I saw it driving next to me. I guess so far I hate the way it looks.

    TM
  • jlbljlbl Posts: 1,333
    Any1 watched F1? BMW were 19th and 20th respectively! Toyota 3rd and 7th.

    Yeah, BMW and Toyota, both have been deep in the pit for the last… so many years I cannot even remember. :P Honda F1 performance was no better as well.

    Honda eventually gave up as F1 sponsor just last Summer. So, this season the full former racing team previously called "Honda" changed name (Brawn), engine (MB) and sponsor (Virgin) to started winning races: four out of five up to now. Imagine. Brawn is the name of the current owner, who is at the same time team director and chief engineer and was formerly Honda, Ferrari and Renault chief engineer.

    Toyota has made good progress this weekend. Yet BMW still is one of the worst racing teams. Why? May be they are only Germans. :sick:

    I mean, almost every F1 racing team is made up with F1-specialized engineers and team directors coming from all countries and backgrounds and using a few number of different engine brands. MB furnishes three teams (McLaren, Brawn and Force India), Renault two teams (RBR and Renault itself), Ferrari other two (STR and Ferrari itself). Toyota and BMW, one team each.

    It seems to me that BMW is too loyal to its brand background. But Toyota is also a brand devoted team. Kudos to Toyota. It must be said, in F1 world British engineers are considered the best, and most chief engineers are Brithish.

    Regards,
    Jose
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    BMW did much better last year. Are they suddenly a different company this year because they didn't place as high in F1? Toyota did better than usual this year. Are they magically transformed or something? Of course not.

    Lot's of fun and excitement, but that's mostly what it is good for. .. the business of terrific motorsports entertainment. Anyone (not you, of course!... LOL) that might draw any unrealistic conclusions from this is fooling themself. :)

    It must be said, in F1 world British engineers are considered the best

    Maybe they are employed by Lotus. ;)

    TM
  • jlbljlbl Posts: 1,333
    Toyota did better than usual this year. Are they magically transformed or something? Of course not.

    True, IMO. It has been a surprise the good results Toyota has achieved along this week-end.

    BMW did much better last year. Are they suddenly a different company this year because they didn't place as high in F1?

    As you know, BMW F1 racing team has been second to other "big" teams (Ferrari, McLaren, Renault) in past years. Is particularly in this year that BMW is in trouble. But so are Ferrari, McLaren and Renault. This year is like the "rebellion of the younger siblings".

    All of this is caused by different interpretations on the regulations approved by FIA at the end of last season. These regulations, intended to set a common pattern for all, are so ambiguous that technical differences among chassises are wider than ever, being the engines very similar nevertheless.

    As a result, the beginning of this season is being very much interesting because apparently weaker teams consistently win over historic teams. But BMW seems to be the most confused by this crazy play. They and Ferrari have followed more than anyone else the rules just the "right" way, or so they say.

    Really it is like Bernie Ecclestone, the owner of F1, and FIA were playing fool with the teams. Which in fact is as it was intended, given the "war" that started between FOCA (constructor association) and FIA-Ecclestone along last season.

    Anyhow, historic teams are putting big money in new chassis developments. Everyone is looking forward next race in Barcelona, to see how much everyone has improved. This is good for the show, and the sport, but not good to save money spent on car development, which was the reason that led FIA and Ecclestone to write the regulations in order to save money in crisis times. As usual, "life is what happens when you are making other plans", as goes the saying.

    Regards,
    Jose
  • bmlexusbmlexus Posts: 755
    Hate the X6? Hmmm... I said, it's terrible looking when I saw it driving next to me. I guess so far I hate the way it looks.

    Why is it that you don't like the looks of the x6?

    Is it particularly the looks that you hate? Or because bmw tried something different?

    If you wanted an suv, but didn't need the extra space, would you buy an rx350, honda pilot or the X6?
  • bmlexusbmlexus Posts: 755
    Honda eventually gave up as F1 sponsor just last Summer. So, this season the full former racing team previously called "Honda" changed name (Brawn), engine (MB) and sponsor (Virgin) to started winning races: four out of five up to now

    Correction, three out of four.

    Brawn GP and Red bull are both using their engines better than their suppliers Renault and Mercedes
  • jlbljlbl Posts: 1,333
    Correction, three out of four.

    Rightly so. :sick:

    Brawn GP and Red bull are both using their engines better than their suppliers Renault and Mercedes

    As said, Brawn and Red Bull R chassis are better than those developed by McLaren and Renault teams.

    Regards,
    Jose
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