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High End Luxury Cars



  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Funny......I was actually being funny (about the feet part), but there were some cases of manual trans cars being reported as accelerating unintentionally. Also the pedals were placed the same for both transmission types.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Your opinion on the new Mercedes CLS please. I posted this in another topic, but I'm starting to like the BMW 5-Series. Unbelievably the 5-Series actually looks pretty good in lighter colors.

  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I actually like looks of the Audi Le Mans better, but the reality is that I probably will not be in the market for either. I'm just not the type that wants to be 'wasteful' by having more cars than drivers in the family, and a car like that just isn't going to be an everyday driver for me.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "Unbelievably the 5-Series actually looks pretty good in lighter colors."

    I just question the word "unbelievably" :)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well usually cars like the 5 and 7-Series look better in darker colors, because of their styling, i.e. not that attractive. I'm saying that the 5-Series, which I initially said was uglier than all getout is actually attractive, and doesn't has to have its styling detail hidden under a darker color to make it look better. I know it's a bit much, but does that make sense?

  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Each to their own, eh Merc1. To me the 5 and 7 still look like somebody scrambed a box of model cars on the floor and then picked up the pieces and stuck them together with a blindfold on. From the headlights of the 5, which remind me of an owl, to the bustle on the back, the 5 seems artificially contrived. Of course, the 7 looks like someone put a big square box in the trunk and then shut it with a metal press.

    Even though there's supposed to be a single designer behind these cars, I also still liken the new 5 and 7 to camels, which of course are horses designed by a committee.

    I much prefer the MB design to the BMWs, beccause the MB design is integrated, flows smoothly (jellybeans) from front to back. Not everyone may like the MB, but at least it is harmonious.
  • edspider1edspider1 Posts: 195
    I like the outside styling of MB best, but I have no faults with the other players. I don't see any as ugly. I'm more interested in how they feel while inside the car. I don't know about you, but that's what I see the most of. IMO, Lexus & Jaguar have the best looking interiors. MB comes in second. The rest are about the same. There is an exception, though I don't like the brushed metal/aluminum so many makes are using. I would not be happy with an RX these days. I hope that doesn't ever land in an LS.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I've noticed your change of heart regarding E60. I’m not understanding the swing from “uglier than all getout" to “actually attractive” though. Wow, I have been known to make 180 degree swings in my opinions but this one stumps me. Wouldn't mind hearing you elaborate. As a BMW owner and long-time fan, Lord knows I've tried to get some growth on E60, but it just isn't happening.

    With regard to the CLS, I'm pulling my hair out over it because it is so close yet so far on my score sheet. My first impression was very positive… sleek, curvaceous and aerodynamic. I believe they had great aspirations with the curves, but the curves are lacking in sophistication… too simple. For instance, the curve of the beltline, and the crease just beneath the beltline, are just too darn symmetrical and parallel.

    And I don’t like how my attention is always drawn to the rear door. It’s the wedge working. The front is a little squeezed. Compare the areas just above the front and rear wheels… disparate… framing some bulk in the doors.

    I like the treatment of the front lamps, but they clearly copied Porsche although not as shapely as Porsche.

    I really wish they would lose that pinched-putty treatment of the trunk… it’s just so out of nowhere.

    I’ve always liked five-spoke wheels but these need a little shape and change in direction… not enough thought in them.

    MB interiors have always been kind to my taste but this one is a potpourri of random, uncalculated shapes. I particularly don’t care for the circular vents and heavy application of wood.

    For the most part I like the exterior of the CLS, particularly the grand aerodynamic picture, but I don’t I believe it was finessed enough… rushed… a little too sketchy. I have to believe the diversity across MB model platforms has precluded the nth degree of effort that a fully implemented design deserves. But due to the disposable, just-do-it world we now live, I fear this is becoming the norm across the board.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I am in your camp, inside matters more to me because I don't see the outside that much...LS will be my next car even if it is still the least attractive among its closest competitors (to me) when the next generation is rolled out.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "With regard to the CLS, I'm pulling my hair out over it because it is so close yet so far on my score sheet."

    Gee, I wish I still had some hair of my own to pull out. (:-/

    I agree with you though, with the demise of the 5-Series (at least in my eyes), I feel like a person without a country. Lots of cars have certain "right" features, however, virtually everything currently on the market is just wide enough of the mark to make me wonder if I will still be driving my E39 for another eight or ten years.

    Best Regards,
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    ..Lexus/BMW sedan mix with a honking big V-8, stick shift (no more than 5 speeds preferably) and only a few electronic doodads: stability control, antilock brakes, traction control, all with off switches. Climate control (single zone, gasp!). Thats' it.

    No nav, no air suspension, no Idrive, no power windows, no power mirrors, no sunroof, no leather.

    All that for a 40-45K tag, and I'm there!
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    "...with the demise of the 5-Series (at least in my eyes), I feel like a person without a country."

    Well said. I try to stay optimistic though. I think if I can't get passionate about a car to replace my 530, I'll just save the money and go back to driving cars with plain 'ol economy and utility. Then hopefully the sports cars will still offer up the thrills. I can't imagine them going south... knock on wood!
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    There is a lot to be said for the idea of replacing my 530i (when the time comes, and none too soon at that) with something like a Dodge Stratus for under $20K and then a 1995 911 for $35K. Then again, we still have our old 1998 Caravan as a third car so maybe I'll just skip the Stratus and get a lightly used 2000-2002 911, or even a 2003 M5. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    If you can stand the bland styling the M45 is quite a bargain in this segment. Edmunds gave it a very positive review, particularly in the performance and handling.

    Lexus-class reliability and quality, class leading 340 hp V8 333 ftlbs torque VVT w/32 titanium valves. ABS/EBD/TRAC/VSC, 18" wheels, 5 speed sport / automatic. You can get it without the moonroof, nav, etc. but you are stuck with leather, though the seats are ventilated and highly bolstered.

    Should sticker out around $45,000 and given its lack of popularity, probably can be had for a substantial discount.

    It's probably one of the best car buys in this category if you are more interested in how it drives than how it looks.
  • edspider1edspider1 Posts: 195
    That does fit vcheng's requirements. I went to the web site. It is well priced. I'm suprised it isn't selling better. I didn't notice a manual tranny option.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Just for clarification vheng, do you think that the automatic tranny's with the + / - up / down sport shifting are significantly different from the manual transmissions with shift pattern and a clutch?

    It seems like to me that these newer autotranny's offer the best of both worlds - without a clutch to bother with! If you want to select gears you can. If you want to run through the gated notches you can. If you want to put it in drive you can.
  • davieboy1davieboy1 Posts: 14
    I am seriously considering lease/purchase of an A8. Loved the car when I test drove it at the dealer, but I have been reading about service and reliability issues and poor residual values. An extended warranty seems to be a must in this car but I cannot have a car in the shop that long. One person had theirs in the shop 17 days since October. Is this a major concern. Should I again look at the 745i with its quirks like idrive but better reliability and residuals. Thanks.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    While I cannot speak for VCheng, I can opine for myself. An automatic is an automatic is an automatic. No matter how many do-it-yourself shifter devices they invent, it's still an automatic. IMHO, nothing can replace a conventional manual transmission with a third pedal style of clutch, nothing. What's the difference you ask? After all shifting is shifting, right? Nope. With a true clutch (as in foot operated), you have an infinitely variable speed of engagement ranging from feathery soft to slammin' so hard that the glove box involuntarily egresses its entire contents on the passengers' seat (or lap as the case may be). Done right, a car with a manual transmission is smoother or faster or both, depending upon the mood of the driver. Then of course there is the mileage to consider, not that buyers of "High End Luxury Marques" pay too much attention to mileage. That said, I kind of like the fact that my 530i 5-Speed gets about 31mpg on road trips and has averaged a little over 25 mpg in its first two years with me.

    So, for my money (and I suspect for VCheng's as well) only a transmission with a stick and a third pedal need apply. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • Just guessing but I think your chances are the Audi A-8 will be as or more reliable then the BMW 745.
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    You said it all, more eloquently than I could've myself.
  • ksurgksurg Posts: 48
    Hands down you will get a better lease deal on the 745i. Why? Mostly because the relatively low residual on the A8L as compared to the 745i. Other factors to consider include a more comprehensive scheduled maintenance program on the BMW and higher insurance premiums on the Audi( due to its aluminum construction). Intellichoice rates the 745i as excellent and the A8l as average in terms of cost and reliability. Even Edmunds has the A8L as having a higher true cost of ownership.
    From an option standpoint the BMW doesn't have four wheel drive but the A8 is not yet available in a SWB model.
    Lastly its hard to talk about reliability and get trustworthy info, especially since the A8L is so new. My personal experience having owned an A6 4.2 and 540i was that the Audi had far more problems but most of them were not serious and were fixed promptly by the dealership. I recently was in your position and went with the 745i because the deals were to good to pass up. So far I love the car. The whole quirky idrive thing is beyond me... everything seems intelligently if not intuitively designed despite what you read on this page( keep in mind that idrive before '04 may have been a different animal). IMO MMI is no different. Good luck with whatever you decide they're both great cars!
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    I was just curious as to why folks enjoyed the manual tranny's.

    We just added an Element to the family for the teens and as a 'workmobile'. We got the front wheel drive, 5 speed manual combination.

    I got it that way because I couldn't get an inexpensive vehicle with the multi-functionality like an Element that also had TRAC and VSC (yet). So I prefer the freedom that the manual gives me in inclement weather.

    If it had TRAC/VSC to go along with the ABS/EBD, I would have bought a AWD/Automatic in a blink.

    Cars with TRAC/VSC/EBD/ABS, etc. flat out drive everyone but a very good professional driver. The Porsche Cayenne / VW Toureg being a very good example.

    Must be one of those 'eye of the beholder' things.
  • lexus0622lexus0622 Posts: 27
    footie: Only one question -- how old are you? Forget that one.

    If you have ever driven an old (old by today's date, but current day at the time of driving) Fiat, BMW, Aston Martin, even VW Bug, you would know the difference a left foot clutch guiding/right hand gear shifting/body tensioning/total control feeling experience makes. It's a total body experience that has no equal in today's electronic push button/flip switch controls. I, for one, have come to accept the change. But I surely miss the subtle physical choices a true manual transmission permits. They are just not the same.

    Any other thoughts??
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well with the new 5, I've had some time to actually see it on the roads in more real world surroundings. Now I must be clear, only the models with the bigger wheels and tires are "actually attractive" imo. The folks who buy the 525i and 530i with the standard wheels are still getting a car I can't whole heartedly endorse as being good looking, none of the 5-Series models are for that matter. However I kinda see what Bangle was going for with the 5-Series, I can't explain it, but I'd say he did a much better job on the 5 than he did the 7. Trust me it still isn't an E-Class or A6 (previous model) to I wouldn't say I'd done quite a 180 degree turn, but it does look at lot better than the 7-Series.

    As always I enjoy your analysis on styling, the reason I asked your opinion of the CLS in the first place. Ah...the CLS, another car I'm starting like more and more, though it is about as far away from traditional MB design as possible. Your comments about its shape, lines and treatments are spot on, imo. I personally would have liked a blocky or more squarish back end like the S on the CLS. I agree about the interior, though my problem is more or less they used too many E-Class pieces, this car should have been completely different and daring, like the exterior is, for a MB that is.


    The transmission debate. No automatic or SMG, F1, or DSG type tranny will take the place of a true 3-pedal, lever operated manual for the purest of enthusiasts. No question. That said, my vote for the next best thing is Audi's DSG gearbox. The transmission is different from the rest of the automated manuals out there right now. Unlike the SMG/F1 type trannnies offered by BMW, Ferrari, Aston-Martin, Mercedes, Toyota, and Maserati, the Audi DSG unit functions pretty well in automatic mode, which truth be told is how most of these trannies will be operated most of the time, otherwise the person would have bought the traditional manual in the first place. The Audi system uses dual clutches and doesn't give that jerky, hesitation of all the other auto/manuals. Test drive the Audi TT 3.2 if you don't believe me. No it still doesn't shift as seamlessly as regular torque converter automatic, but its real close and much smoother than BMW's M3 SMG system is in automatic mode. Ferrari and Toyota MR2 owners complain the loudest about how awful there F1-style trannies behave in automatic mode while in stop-n-go traffic. I've hear similar stories about the Aston-Martin Vanquish and Maserati Sypder too. Which is why I'm shocked that Maserati would see a luxury sedan, the Quattroporte with essentially the same (with some changes) gearbox.

    A regular automatic with manual shifting capability isn't even close to comparing to a true manual when it comes to feeling in control of or being at one with the car.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    There was a recent Automobile magazine article that stated "there is an old joke that says BMW's marketing is determined in Stuttgart", meaning that BMW's product lineup is influenced by Mercedes-Benz. For what MB does, BMW must answer in most cases, but vice versa also applies, but most of the time MB does the leading.

    Car and Driver has also stated that these two companies have more effect on each other than their competition does. This was stated most recently in their comparison of the CLK55 AMG and M3 a while back.

    Autospies recently published photos from the Detroit show showing BMW head designer, Chris Bangle and some other top BMW execs inspecting the Mercedes GST concept crossover.

    It is reported that BMW now has at the very least has a plan on the drawing board to develop a GST like vehicle. So far the rumor mill has them pegged as the V-Series: V3, V5 and possibly a know to mirror the X3, X5 and the once proposed X7.

    Now Automotive News is showing BMW CEO Helmut Panke in the front seat of the CLS 500, while BMW production Chief Burkhard Göschel "looks on" at the Geneva motor show.

    Now of course BMW has influenced Mercedes to *try* and go sportier, especially with the C-Class. The C-Class for 2005 gets another round of chassis improvements in keeping with this belief of BMW's influence.

    Will Mercedes go for an idrive like system in the 2006 S-Class? Will BMW build a 4-door Coupe-like vehicle if the CLS is a hit?

    Interesting stuff.

  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Merc1, I’d be interested to hear what you (or anyone else) think of the Cadillac concept cars. I’m really hot on Cien. This one has the styling that has been brought home, finished up and nailed down the way I expect—the swagger and forward-thinking that only comes from Lamborghini. CTS had the idea, but Cien has the details. It’s a perfect study in assymetry... complex, striking proportions yet extremely balanced. I particularly like the harmony among flat and curved surfaces.

    If Cien ever makes it to the street, I would seriously consider it based on style alone. Any brains, performance and reliability that comes with it would only be icing on the cake. Too much to ask for? I suppose so. But this is not your father’s Cadillac, and it’s no Allante. I really hope they can make a go of it and shed that stigma. There’s a lot of inertia to overcome and I don’t think XLR is going to help the cause. But in any event, Cadillac is indeed providing some interest and worth watching. I know they take a beating in the minds of foreign-car buyers, but I try not to curse the darkness.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Japanese continue to dominate the CR best lists and reliability (if you read the magazine article) seems to be higher than ever while European reliability seems to be worse than ever. One thing of interest is that they thought the S-class ride was actually a tad bit better and more sullen than the LS430 which is the exact opposite of what I have found in the past. This however is the ultimate battle as both cars have phenomenal ride quality. It's clear that CR considers the S and LS the best mass production cars on the planet but the S loses out because of poor reliability. The other thing is that the S is only average in customer satisfaction which must be tied to a combination of its poor reliability and high anticipations of the buyer. The LS scored highest marks possible in all categories including depreciation. 7 series was considered to miss the mark as a luxury sedan (my take is because of the difficulty with iDrive and performing ordinary tasks whilee driving) and scored awful in reliabilty and average in satisfaction and depreciation. It was considered very quiet but lacking a great ride. The A8 is too new to be rated (as was the Phaeton) but its clear CR was quite impressed with it. The Jag was considered a classic car but its ride, interior comfort and quietness trailed the S and LS. The Q scored high in reliabilty but misses the mark as a world class car.

    The Passat tied in a top category as it had average reliabilty. The Passat commercial with the woman test driving a car and passing an unmarked state trooper is one of the best auto ads I've seen recently. The look on the troopers face as he's passed, the auto salesman's face when he realizes what just happened and the excitement on the woman's face as she looks at the auto saleman for approval to pass beforehand all desreve Clio awards. - - nn=yes
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