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High End Luxury Cars



  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    Very exciting news from Toyota/Lexus....The article did answer most of my questions on the IS as well. Thanks syswei for this link.

    A 600bhp (V8) LS sedan with 50mpg ??
    A 400bhp (V6) GS sedan with 60mpg ??

    Smelling blood ? That is an understatement ! These cars will truly revolutionize the industry as we know it today. And they are scheduled to be out within the next 24 months. That is even more astounding !!!

    Not too long ago, GM was touting its plans for Hydrogen gas-powered cars as the way forward. They challenged and ridiculed Toyota's gas-electric hybrid plans. To top it off, GM even speculated they could have a production version of Hydrogen-powered vehicles by 2010. No one in the industry believed the latter timeline. Well, it didn't take long for GM to do an about-face and they have now abandoned this ludicrous idea and agreed that Toyota's PZEV gas-electric hybrid was the correct business model (similar to Intel's 64-bit Itanium chip design vs AMD's Opteron 32-bit/64-bit chip design approach - guess which model won out ? AMD's. Now Intel is forced to go the same route as AMD ... and poof goes the ~$2B already spent on their 64-bit plans. Ouch !!!).

    With the US consumption of fossil fuel-based gasoline increasing, and very questionable world oil reserves, Toyota should make a killing on these hybrid cars. Ljflx is absolutely right. The list of buyers for the LS and GS will be long indeed !!! In some cities, many potential Prius owners are waiting up to 9 months, others have been told they should just wait until next year for the 2005 version. That is a sign of things to come for the RX400h, GS350 GT and LS500 GT. Anyone wants a GS better get in line right now.
  • I have a brother-in-law who is a genious in the field of energy with maybe a dozen submitted patents of which about 3/4 have so far been approved....Some of those patents involve Fuel cells....anyway.

    He says he doubts Hydrogen Fuel cells will be practical in the next 10 to 20 years it is just too expensive to seperate it from whatever it is attached to (Hydrogen does not appear in nature by itself it is always in something like H2O for example.)

    Toyota looks like a very good investment right now.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I wonder if "expensive" to separate the hydrogen might mean "energy intensive"?...which would imply "remote polluting" rather than "non polluting". Anyway its just something to think about when anyone talks about a "clean" fuel...does it take energy to make or process the fuel? And how much pollution does that energy expenditure involve?
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Lexus is about to re-invent the whole segment - for the second time. This time they will combine it all with a new styling theme, new engines and will copy no one. Quite the opposite - everyone will copy them. The Germans better abandon these 400-500HP fuel engines that result in a gas guzzler tax pretty fast. Who's going to want them? When I was shopping in 2001 even your everyday S500 was penalized. Diesel will never cut it here. These new cars will excite even the most beholden German car buyer. These stories about the new engines are all real. When I picked up the car yesterday the GM at my dealership told me - if I lease the LS again in 2007 - this will be my last 100% fuel based car. An LS that will get 50+mpg. Wow. Back in this time frame - I just drove 10 miles out of my way to be behind the wheel of the 2004 longer. So - in the meantime I'm going to enjoy this 2004. It's awesome enough.

    Hydrogen fuel cell - Didn't GM just say they were abandoning it?
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    If the article turns out to be accurate then it would appear Lexus is making great strides in the technology...we are told "at least 600bhp and...more than 50mpg"...from a car that will obviously be much heavier than the Prius, which has 143hp and gets only 55mpg (combined EPA).

    BTW the EPA tests are outdated...the typical Prius owner gets about 44mpg in mixed driving. I understand that the EPA won't let Toyota show anything other than the EPA numbers, though.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    "These new cars will excite even the most beholden German car buyer." Think in 2006 we'll finally get Merc1 to say "I want an LS not an S"? What do you say, Merc?
  • Currently, my understanding is that the most popular seperation process is through a membrane that seperates oxygen and hydrogen...I think the membrane is very expensive and does not last very long...

    I don't think the process causes pollution.

    Again All my comments are from memory of talks with my brother-in-law who lives on the East coast while I am on the West coast, The last time I saw him was about 7 months ago.
  • I am guessing in his heart of hearts...that is the way Merc. feels now...
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    The complications of the technology will again play to the Japanese building and reliability efficiencies and leadership. I don't have confidence in fuel based German cars right now so I wouldn't go near a new technology based car with that crew until they prove themselves. My ex-boss told me a Cayenne story that will amaze you. He was going to buy one and had it delivered to his door. When it arrived he sat behind the wheel and it wouldn't start. A technicality was cited. So they brought it to a shop - supposedly corrected the problem - and brought it back two days later. Car still wouldn't start. They brought the shop mechanic to his house but he couldn't diagnose the problem. So he told them to keep it. Porsche has written him an apology letter.

    As for Lexus - they will also target the performance market for the first time and they will probably do it first class and near perfect - like the origonal LS400. It will be hard for anyone to resist their cars or make the accusations seen on this board in the past. Most importantly - for me - I will have 100% confidence that Lexus will make the hybrid as near perfect as the gas engined cars. I will have no such faith in MB, BMW or Audi doing the same when they counter. Jaguar - maybe because I thought I read they did a deal with Toyota. But I'm not an XJ fan.

    Lastly - Toyota has patented virtually everything they've done in the hybrid space. So it will be interesting to see how this plays out on the business side. By the way I've been in the showroom 3 times in 10 days and the foot traffic is the most I've ever seen. They are quite busy even during the week. Saturdays are a circus. That's why I picked up the car last night. It's still not easy to get a GX - they are pre-sold well into May and the LS is pre-sold for all of April. The sales charts are indicative of what I see in my dealers showroom.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    The major upcoming technology changes will not be easy on the boutique car makers. This is why MB needed and wanted Chrysler despite the fact that diehard MB fans just can't accept or understand it. Personally I think MB made a brilliant "business" move there for the long-term. They gained volume to soread technology costs to and gained a natural currency hedge. You need to spread these new engine costs among a huge volume of cars to make the financial investment worth it. The only lux car maker poorly positioned right now is BMW. The company that doesn't have a high end car. GM - though they have a number of Toyota affiliations. Caddy is trying but they are a notch below. A marriage is coming for BMW. If not they may be squeezed real hard.
  • edspider1edspider1 Posts: 195
    I took delivery of my long awaited Flint Mica w/Black Ultra. Perfect delivery. 10 miles on the car. I'm very pleased. Didn't even hint at re-evaluating my trade.

    ljflx is right. I've only had it a few hours, but I noticed lots of improvements throughout over the 2001. Bluetooth works just great. The rear camera is fun. The ride is indeed even smoother and quieter. I love smart access, too. The flint mica is beautiful and the antique walnut much nicer than the purple stuff my 01 had.

    This is a perfect car to tide me over until that hybrid comes out! I hope they make an LS430h as I don't really want 600HP.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Doesn't matter if all those European Mercedes have leather or not, they're still Mercedes-Benzes. Unlike Lexus leather and wood do not a Benz make. If you're going to play the badge and leather game to count up Lexus' and Benz's worldwide sales why bother? Fact is Lexus isn't even close to BMW or MB worldwide. Lexus isn't even a spec on the European market...and to sit here and try to seperate all the non-luxury Benzes as defined by (who?) to make a point that Toyota sells more cars (no matter what they're called) is ridiculous. Why make a sales claim about Lexus cars that can't be substantiated in the first place?

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Lots of dreamy talk going on in here about Lexus I see. All the hundreds of thousands of MB diesel owners who kept their cars all these years haven't been waiting for a new diesel model. Makes sense to me. The average person (most Lex fans too) doesn't even know about diesel technology, except for the 1980s or what they've read in the past. Hello...diesel technology has changed in the last 10 years! When the cleaner diesel shows up for 2006 you can bet BMW, MB and Audi will be selling diesels here and in good numbers, right along with Japanese hybrids. All this talk about hybrids putting the Europeans out of business or the market is the same talk from 1990, and it didn't happen then. The 3 Germans luxury car makers (for better or worse) are still present.

    Lexus is going to make a 400 or 500hp LS model to sell to people who already think 290hp is enough and don't even care about hp, or at least when someone else does it. All that talk about how dangerous hp is I guess doesn't apply to a 500hp LS because it will somehow be safer with its 4 sec 0-60 times and 155mph+ capablilies, as will its driver. Only people who own E55s and M5s drive wreckless.

    MB, BMW and Audi better abandon all their high-hp cars because the everyone will want a hybrid. Nonsense.

    There will be room on the market for both concepts. Not everyone will want to deal with the complexity of a 400hp Hybrid, or a diesel. Neither concept is going to replace the regular S500 or LS430. Nor will these concepts replace cars like a M or AMG series.

  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    "Lexus is about to re-invent the whole segment - for the second time. This time they will combine it all with a new styling theme, new engines and will copy no one. Quite the opposite - everyone will copy them."

    Oh my ! Just imagine MB copying Lexus ????

    I know this looks like a Lexus-fest, with us Lexophiles excited about our prefered auto manufacturer's future. BUT, there is plenty to be excited about Toyota/Lexus' future prospects in the auto industry.

    BTW, on a different note, I have always wondered why MB canibalizes their own trim lines with so many clones. For example:

    CLK vs CL - why ? Both are 2-door coupes, but differ greatly in price (engine hp difference ?)
    SLK vs SL - why ? Both are 2-door roadsters, but hugely different price-wise (engine hp difference ?)

    Where is Merc1 when you need answers to MB questions ? :)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Why have a CLK and CL? Have you taken the time to look at the two cars? As good as the CLK is the CL is in another league. Styling, features, engines and technology seperate the two cars mainly. The CLK, unlike the CL is also available in a convertible.

    The SLK and SL. Come on now, you don't see the reason or difference here? The SL is the luxury roadster and the SLK is more of the sports car, or at least wants to be. We'll have to see what the new one does.

    Why does Lexus have the LS430 and GS430 when then are so close in base price? What is it 48k vs 56K(?) for two cars with the same engine? Same reason why Mercedes has the CLK/CL and SL/SLK, sure some of them share engines, but their missions are different. I can't believe you don't see that? The LS is the luxury car first, the GS is sportier, ditto SL and SLK, same for the CLK and CL.

    Both the SL and SLK are so far apart in price and mission to the point of almost never being cross shopped. How many Lexus fans would consider the SL? Quite a few according to these boards, but I've never seen any of them mention the SLK. Same goes for the CL and CLK, their prices are waaay apart, and they both sell as well or outsell anything else in their price range. The CL in particular makes it market segment, as the only true competitors might be the Aston-Martin DB7, Jaguar XK8/R Coupe and certain Ferraris, which are way more $$$$$$. There is no canibalization going within MB in the least. None.

    Don't believe in having more models? Lexus does. You can bet there will be a new IS Coupe, Convertible and Sedan, just the like the 3-Series and V8 performance variant. Why have the SC430 and a IS??? Convertible? Different cars thats why. If anything Lexus (if they do all these variants of the next LS) will be using the S-Class/7-Series rulebook about variety in that class.

    For the record the only companies that canabalize their own sales are the Japanese. The LS430 has rendered the GS430 obsolete when Lexus buyers go looking for a upscale sedan, they barely move 150 GS430s a month. Look at obvious annihilation of Acura's RL with the TL. Look at the spec sheet for either the previous TL Type S or the new 2004 TL and I bet you couldn't come up with one valid reason to buy a RL. It's hopelessly outdone by its cheaper sibling, has been since 2002. Look the Q45 vs the M45 at the Infiniti house. Same interior, engine and everything, only difference is styling, room and price, and even worse one was a sales dud (Q45) before the other (M45) arrived. If anything the Japanese need to learn how not to canibalize their own cars. No non-AMG/M model Mercedes-Benz or BMW show up their higher priced siblings like this or interfere with their sales. If there is one thing Mercedes and BMW know how to do is place their model lineup correctly. Now the CLS will test this theory.

    I guess it is every Lexus fan's dream to have MB or any other Euro maker copy Lexus since just the opposite has being happening since 1990.

  • Have you concedered that as North Americans we look at cars a little differently then Europeans.
    Our likes, dislikes and needs are different in some ways.

    In addition...We are far more objective in evaluating these cars then the Europeans who make the Merc's and BMWs and Audi's...or...the Japanese who make the Lexus.

    Based on N. American sales figures the LS is a better high end car for US then the Merc. or Audi or BMW
  • 6sn7s6sn7s Posts: 9
    It is not like Toyota does not have their own diesel technology.

    If the europeans play the diesel game in N.A... and succeed. You can bet Toyota will not be far behind with thier Common rail turbo diesel in perhaps a GS ES ????? But for now Hybrids ICE/Electric seems to offfer for advantages over ICE diesels.

    "When equipped with the D-CAT, the Toyota Avensis will be the cleanest diesel car in the world in regards to both NOx and PM emissions. With PM at 0.002 g/km and NOx at 0.12 g/km—90% and 50%, respectively, below the Euro 4 standard—the Avensis beats any other diesel car on the market, including those fitted with particulate filters, according to Toyota."
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Diesels don't sell here. The country isn't set up for it and people don't care about it. The perception of diesel won't change easily no matter what the improvements are. Those same slow changes from perception to reality are what is keeping Benz as a status symbol right now. Hybrid cars will get people very excited and will fly quickly. The price of gas will soar in advance of their arrival because if it doesn't the oil industry will get crushed. It happened in the 70's in advance of gas milaegae doubling and the government setting guidelines. I still remember my 74 Monte carlo - 11 city, 14 highway. It'll happen again and that will cause the gas engines of today to have a short life. I've been through it already in the 70's. It's easy to read the cards particularly when you've been through it before.

    As for super powerful cars - those powerful engines will be a fraction of the real sales. What do you expect - Lexus to enter the performance sector with 275HP engines?? They want the headlines and they are going to set the goals and the bar very high. The mainstream car will be a 350-400HP equivalent but it will also be a hybrid availability and it will get super mileage. It will also get a lot of buyers and a long wait list as well.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "Have you concedered that as North Americans we look at cars a little differently then Europeans. Our likes, dislikes and needs are different in some ways."

    Oh yes definetly, no argument there, but some of what I'm reading is a little too precious. I'm sure hybrids will catch on big time in the luxury class, as they have with the masses no doubt, but to say MB, BMW and Audi should give up big hp and sporty models is absurd. I mean really how does anyone here know that diesels won't catch on again here? I mean aren't luxury car buyers astute enough to know or at least learn (research) that diesel technology is not the same as it was during the admittedly crummy 1980s?

    I disagree totally that sales figures determine which car is better for the U.S. market, you're ignoring price which is a facter here. Even still the LS only outsold the next two cars by about 5K units thats hardly resounding proof of anything especially when you look at what the entry level S-Class and 7-Series costs.

  • 6sn7s6sn7s Posts: 9
    It is not like Toyota does not have their own diesel technology.

    If the europeans play the diesel game in N.A... and succeed. You can bet Toyota will not be far behind with thier Common rail turbo diesel in perhaps a GS ES ????? But for now Hybrids ICE/Electric seems to offfer for advantages over ICE diesels.

    "When equipped with the D-CAT, the Toyota Avensis will be the cleanest diesel car in the world in regards to both NOx and PM emissions. With PM at 0.002 g/km and NOx at 0.12 g/km—90% and 50%, respectively, below the Euro 4 standard—the Avensis beats any other diesel car on the market, including those fitted with particulate filters, according to Toyota."
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    My sole point with the comment on SL/SLK is that I see both regularly and cannot understand why the SL is worth what MB charges for it. Ditto the CLK/CL combo. To me, these twins are only about engine displacements, suspension and other *fluffs* MB throws in. Maybe it is just for the halo effect of owning an MB when you buy the low production CL or SL cars ? I guess I answered my own question afterall.

    I don't know how you can even mention the LS430/GS430 in the same vein as the SL/SLK or CL/CLK combos. Seemed to me too much of a stretch to make your point, isn't it ?

    I will agree with you about the examples of Infiniti and Acura canibalizing their vehicles. Need to include Audi and VW in your examples too.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    All I can ask is how do you know any of this to be fact? There are hundreds of thousands of diesel Benz owners that have been waiting for a new diesel. Diesels don't sell here...ah...hello nobody is selling any diesels except Volksagen. Why don't you wait and see how the new 2005 E320 CDI does before predicting the future. If it doesn't sell then maybe you'd have a point, until you're just merely speculating. Gas prices went up about what two years ago too and nothing happened people still bought SUVs and gas guzzling cars by the truckload. Have you seen the record sales for these things for 2003? They took fifty-three percent of the market. Now if we have a truly sustained period of high gas prices, then things will change, this is only a or right now (disclaimer). Suvs will go first and then gas guzzling luxury cars, one group has enough money not to make knee-jerk buying decisions, ther other doesn't. You seem to think that everybody will want a hybrid and that will never be, some people will always want a "regular" car, only once hybrids take off the automakers will have make there regular offerings even more fuel efficient.

    I'm curious as to why you would you get excited about a 400hp LS, when such hp is useless per all the talk done in here? Great gas mileage for a 400hp car that most Lexus owner will never push??? Doesn't make any sense. BTW, 400hp won't cut it anymore 500 is becoming the standard for performance biased cars.

  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Best of luck with the car. It's a fabulous car and a joy to drive. You've also got one of the last flint mica with black interiors. The interior on this thing in black is a knockout and the outside refinements make the car beautiful on the exterior. The antique walnut wood trim belongs on Baker furniture.

    Have you noticed the quickness of this car both at 0-60 and in torque. I'm dying to just floor it but I can already see the flashing lights in my rear view mirrow. I can't believe its the same engine as before. Plus the engine is even quieter - if that's possible.

    I'll take the hybrid version in 2007.


    merc1 - I said 350-400 for the mainstream car. I'm also talking annual sales not accumulated sales in diesels. Besides Toyota will have no problem bringing a diesel to market if they want to. But the diesel just won't work here. I don't know anything for a fact. Just know my business intuition and its usually right. By the way I couldn't care less who copies who. Just give me a great reliable car.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    All I can say is go look at the SL and SLK, they are very different, ditto for the CLK and CL. There is no way these cars are twins, they don't even share the same platforms, only one with no experience with either would say something like that. Sure they all carry the MB theme, but they're very much different cars. If you see them both regularly you should know they don't affect each others sales. I'm willing to bet that if you drove the current SLK and SL you'd see that the SLK doesn't even compare. Saying the SL and SLK are twins are like saying the IS300 and GS300 are twins, or the LS and ES....similar cars sure, but different in execution.

    You're right about VW and Audi, they're insanely planning for Audi and VW to go model for model at the upper reaches, while it will produce some interesting cars, it doesn't make sense.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Even 350-400hp for a mainstream car isn't going to shock anyone, the next S is rumored (just like you're doing with the LS) to have a 355hp V8 as the entry level car, with a 400hp V8 as the next car up and then you know the AMG and V12 versions will be much higher. BMW and Audi aren't going to sit still with hp either.

    The appeal will be if Lexus does these hp numbers with better gas mileage, which I don't doubt they will, but that will probably be the only advantage of buying one, 400hp is still 400hp.

    I know you were talking about annual sales, my point is that many a Benz diesel owner have been waiting so they shouldn't have a problem moving diesels here again, there is a pent-up demand. There is no way for either of us to know whether or not they'll be successful, its all speculation at this point.

  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    You miss a point or my point about powerful engines. I never said or meant to say I wouldn't use the power or that Lexus drivers wouldn't use the power. I said the reality of everyday driving is that road conditions rarely - 1% of the time maybe - allow you to take advantage of that power. Hence I rather the money be spent on things that you can enjoy all the time. Read my other post - I'm dying to floor this new car, the power it has is awesome and it's only a 290HP (feels much more powerful though).

    What I absolutely hate to see is people - usually kids - weaving in and out of traffic endangering people to show off. Four kids just got killed on a winding stretch of the Northern state pkwy in Long Island - where I've seen that type of driving often. They were going so fast the car got split in two by a large tree. Too much power - in the wrong hands - borders on irresponsibility. Remember the speed posts of a few weeks ago - it was in that area of Long Island. But ultimately its the driver that needs to control themself.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well I don't think kids will be driving E55s, M5s or 400hp LS400hs. Any car can be dangerous in the wrong hands. My earlier post was about something someone said a while back about how useless all this hp was when it pertains to a MB or BMW, but reading all of today's posts it seems to be implied that a 400hp Lexus will somehow be magically safer.

    I say find the "correct" road and circumstance and floor that thing, safely.

  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Right, can you sell an E class MB with steel wheels, cloth interior, a dorky radio and a 2 liter engine in the U.S. as a luxury car. Nope.

    Why? Because IMHO it isn't a luxury car. It's just a Mercedes, like the taxi's all over Europe. They aren't Luxury Taxi's. They are just taxis.

    I wasn't trying to make the Lexus/Toyota luxury number as great as the Mercedes numbers, which are still larger. But you can't compare the Toyota/Lexus number to all of MB's sales, because they definitely are not all luxury cars in the same class as the Toyota/Luxury cars (or anyone elses for that matter).
  • warthogwarthog Posts: 216
    Now the host is going to chastise me for this, I guess, but here's a perfect example of why spelling and grammar matter on this board and everywhere else: merc says (not to pick on you, bud): "Only people who own E55s and M5s drive wreckless." I assume he means "reckless," which changes the meaning of the sentence 180 degrees. Or maybe he really meant "wreckless," but who's to know?

    OK, host, let me have it.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hmmm, not too long ago I flagged down a W211 E-Class taxi in Paris. On the way to CDG the driver asked me how I liked his cab, and when I looked around I realized that it was easily as nice as my 530i, decked out in leather with all of the electronic goodies. Then as he merged from the on-ramp to the left lane (in one sweeping move) of the Autoroute I was stunned at the acceleration. When I got out at the airport, I peeked at the trunk lid; hmmm, an E320CDI (I hear that there is now an E400CDI, must be damn fast from say 20-120). Not too shabby.

    Not saying that all Paris taxis are like that, but this one was great.

    Best Regards,
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