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High End Luxury Cars



  • dieselbreathdieselbreath Posts: 243
    so, now I can be hated by both the Japanese and German factions! :)
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
      Diesel emissions are still a concern. The new MB E320 Diesel will not be sold in Massachusetts, b/c it doesn't meet their air quality standards.
    Toyota also builds a pretty clean diesel, but they only sell it in Europe. I saw it demonstrated in England. Someone held a sheet of paper to the tailpipe and you couldn't see any dirt. Diesel sure has come a long way. BTW the LS430 is one of the few high end cars out there that is Ultra Low Emission (ULEV) and doesn't get hit by the gas guzzler tax.

       Germans build stronger cars that last longer? Where are the facts to back this up? The latest JDP survey came out and MB and VW were at the bottom. I'd say 1.6 problems per Lexus vs over 3 for MB/VW is pretty substantial. There are legions of LS400 long term owners who would dispute this very notion.

    I, however might agree with you that this trend may be changing. I'm not terribly enamored with my LS430 and question whether it will be as trouble free (long term) as its' predecessors. The car has too many gadgetry that will likely fail over a 10 yr period.
       It's no mystery why Japanese excel in the electronics field. Commercially they dominate it..Most of the cutting edge tech is usually released in Japan first. While not the most innovative, the Japanese are experts at taking another's innovation and making it much better. (Just look at what Sony did to the US Television makers)
       As for Safety, I think Mercedes is the undisputed leader. I don't see other Euro nameplates that innovate as much as MB does in this segement. Lexus has a tendency to borrow whatever MB feature catches on in the marketplace. It's bad for prestige but sound Business strategy.

  • dieselbreathdieselbreath Posts: 243
    For those who think this is the bible of car quality, the European car avg. defect rate is lower in 2004 than the Japanese avg. was in 2003.
    They are that close!
    These cars are all good (except for VW's ignition coils ... I wonder what their rating would be without that disaster?)

    And JDP picked a Dodge Stratus over the Toyota Celica???

    Just goes to prove that Reliability statistics do not beget quality ratings! (or even long-term reliability ratings)
    (but quality is also subjective, so much harder to measure)
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129

    Topspin628... Ljflx was quick on the draw... better luck next time!

  • Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Diesel cars....

    If they are any good...How come so few people buy them?....At least in the most important Auto market on earth. THERE MUST BE A REASON
  • The o4 stats are worthless for anything other then the delivery flaws.

    Show any 3-5 yr. stats on reliability...If you dare.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    That's great. By the way the episode I was referring to was the one where he thinks he's going to Hollywood off of a local play performance - remember the string of "polarponies". It's Alice that they want of course. If you're really into the Honeymooners pick up the DVD of the 39 GREAT shows. They have some brief scenes that were edited out of the TV show reruns - for whatever reasons - and when you see the scenes put back in some of the shows come together better.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    For the VDS - which measures problems reported over three years.

    Here's the link to the 2003 numbers at jdp's site:

    While 2004 were at:

    I missed any references to JDP's ratings for European vs Japanese in 2003 and 2004, even though in 2003, they pointed out the DOMESTIC makers had 49 FEWER reported problems per vehicle than of the Europeans.

    Can you share a link or two to the info about Europeans being in 2004 where the Japanese were in 2003?

  • dieselbreathdieselbreath Posts: 243
    RE: "Diesel cars....If they are any good...How come so few people buy them?."

    This is the world's easiest question to answer: BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT FOR SALE HERE!
    Actually, the new ones are all around you, but you think they're gas-engined because there is no smoke or rattle.

    VW has been the only one selling in the US and you don't hear about them because they sell every diesel car they make and don't need to advertise them. No discounts, no 0% interest, no rebates!
    But they were only in the smaller cars ... no Passat TDIs till recently.
    Show me another car where demand outstrips supply that badly!

    But take a look at 3/4 ton pickups. Diesel is taking over there.
    Jeep is releasing the Liberty diesel.
    Benz has the E320CDI ... 0.1 second slower 0-60 but much less fuel than the gas E320, and resale is much higher.

    The best LUX SUV is the VW Touareg with 5.0 liter V-10 TDI diesel.
    50% More torque than Dodge's "Hemi"
    Its 1200 pounds heavier than a Hemi Durango and 1 second faster on 0-60MPH! (so much for that urban myth about diesels being slow)
    It will outrun ALL SUVs except the Porsche TURBO (yes, that includes the V8 BMW X5 and the Porsche Cayenne S)

    Personally I think a high-performance SUV is the stupidest form of transportation on the planet.
    But on the sensible end, Audi said they will be selling diesels in Canada this fall. Probably just the A-4. I don't know about US.

    The Audi A8 in Europe comes with a 4.0 liter V-8 TDI engine that makes it one of the fastest luxury cars on the road, but still has decent mileage (for a car thats bigger and 6" wider than a Benz S-class).

    US emissions rules are designed for gas engines. In areas where they apply the same rules to diesels you will not be able to legally buy a brand new diesel (but buyers have worked around this ... read the Passat TDI forum)
  • dieselbreathdieselbreath Posts: 243
    Look at the chart in the 2004 Initial Quality Study.

    here it is:

    its the first chart.

    BTW: In England, their customer satisfaction survey puts Lexus at #1 (no surprise) and SKODA at #2 (!!??? Aren't they the VW division in the Czech Republic?)
  • dieselbreathdieselbreath Posts: 243
    re: Clean Diesel
    The VW Passat diesel winning the awards in Europe has a particulate filter. I think the new ones here will have that too, but not sure.
    It will fill up by 200,000 kms (125,000 miles) and you'll replace it just like getting a new muffler.
    These will also pass the white paper test.

    My VW TDI has a catalytic converter and is emissions legal in California. If you put a catalytic converter on an "old style" diesel you'd be lucky to get to the end of the block before it plugged up.
    The secret is the ultra-high pressure injection which atomizes the fuel better resulting in less un-burnt or partially burnt fuel.
    The latest VW technology has an injection pump for each cyclinder driven off cam lobes to generate higher pressures than any electric fuel pump can.
    The diesel noise was killed off by electronic injectors and a tiny pre-injection of fuel to avoid the "big bang".

    RE Germans build stronger cars:
    Talk to any veteran police officers who regularly attend accidents including fatalities.
    One working in the Rocky Mountains told me "I'd rather be in a German car with a seat belt than in a Japanese apple-crate with an air-bag"

    I'm sure he wasn't talking LS430 (this was mid-90's) but instead comparing civic/corolla/golf type vehicles. His personal vehicle was a Passat.
    But for a comparison, my VW Beetle weighs almost the same as a 4-cyl. Camry (of the same year) but the Camry is much longer and I think a bit wider. For an analogy, take a piece of macaroni and a piece of spaghetti made from the same pasta that weigh the same. Which is harder to break, the macaroni or the spaghetti?

    The reason a Golf is hundreds of pounds more than a Civic or Corolla is that its made of thicker steel everywhere. And its also the newest ultra-high-strength. When cars collide, the steel around you is the only thing that can save your butt!

    PS: a '98 Beetle is rated higher in side-impact safety than a Volvo S-40, Toyota Camry, Crown Vic, of Chevy Tahoe. Look it up on the safety institute's site (assuming they still have these stats)
    I wasn't surprised about it beating the baby Volvo or Camry, but I was about the big Ford and Chev. SUV!
  • dieselbreathdieselbreath Posts: 243
    When my son inherits the Beetle TDI and my wife is happily driving her new Passat TDI wagon, I'll be looking for something less ... "minimalist" than the Beetle.

    Cars of interest are:
    Used e-class diesel (practical but boring)
    Used A6-4.2
    New A6 S-Line.
    Any out-of-town driving will be in the Passat TDI, so this car doesn't have to be "practical" as it won't accumulate many miles.

    Does anyone have any ownership experience with the S-Line?
    How bad of a mistake would this be?
    And how bad is the mileage in an A6 4.2?
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    That's a great chart, I had missed it.

    What it really shows is the rate of improvement for the Koreans has been terrific (57%) and Domestics have caught up with the Japanese brands with a 32% annual improvement. The Europeans continue to improve at a slower rate.

    But not only have the Europeans come within a year of the Japanese and (now) Koreans, it looks like the domestics have too. I suspect some of this is because the real learning curve here in the U.S. is in the improvements in reducing defects in the components delivered from the domestic supply chain. Toyota, in particular, has been training them ever since they built the plant in Kentucky.

    The three year VDS in 2007 will be interesting to see. Porsche went in the tank for the 2004 IQS.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
      Good post. I have a neighbor who swears by Diesel VW's. he's been driving one since the late 70's. I must say I'm impressed by his mid 90's Passat wagon. It's a nicely built machine. I only brought up the Toyota diesel to illustrate your point on how far along diesels have come. Diesel just never caught on here, but are widespread in Europe. I guess relatively cheap gasoline doesn't do much to encourage conservation..

      I'd have to concede to your point about a VW being better built than some Corolla. Part of the Beetle's impressive results are due to the arch design. This was widely commercialized in their adverts some years back. I can only speak from experience with my LS400. A young girl ran her Civic into my 92 LS at 35-40 MPH (Side impact)..I heard a thump but the car didn't even appear to move.

      An unrelated topic..Who do you think has the highest quality paint our there? I've noted my LS430's paint chips way too easily. The previous LS400's finish were more durable. This car is polished/wax 4X a year, so I'm abit surprised..
     Also of note..Looking at the 2003 and 2004 VDP charts, I noted a steep decline in Jaguar..In '03 they were above the average and then dip to well below it in 04..Any reason why?
  • footiefootie Posts: 636

    I think that thicker steel used to be the approach to safety design. Maybe that's the way VW still does it, but I think that much of the industry has moved on.

    Back in the 1980's, computer simulation technology was pretty new, computers slow. A single simulation could take 1000's of hours of computer time.

    Instead engineers desgined what they thought could do the job, prototypes were built and crashed and decisions made about what level of steel they needed.

    Today, the simulation technology is 'same day'. It's allowed steel to be used very competitively against aluminum and platics.

    Have you ever seen any DOT reports or 'fatality surveys' that indicate that Corollas, Civics, etc. have any more/less deaths or injuries?

    I haven't. If there were fatality/injury reports that pointed a finger or smoking gun at Toyota's most succesful car ever, don't you know that the competition would be lighting fuses at every media outlet in the country.

    So my conclusion is that the Golf may weigh more and possibly because the steel is thicker. It just doesn't matter when it comes to crashes.

    What matters is whether the car has been designed to absorb the impact while allowing the high probability of occupant survival and minimal injury. That is done with a combination of right materials in the right structural shapes in the right places.

    Absent any evidence to the contrary, it seems the Corolla and Civic are doing just as well safety wise as the Golf or Mercedes C-Class (which is smaller than the Corolla but weighs MUCH more).
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    1. Norton goes to Halloween party as Pierre Francoise Della Brioschi

    2. On the wrong train to Racoon Convention:
    Norton: Hey Ralph, ya' mind if I smoke?
    Ralph: I don't care if you burn!!!
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    lbs. of steel does not equal safety. Just look at the muscle cars of the '70s, all steel, and 5,000lbs. plus. But those cars are death traps. I'll take an accident in my LS any day of the week over ANY VW product.
  • dieselbreathdieselbreath Posts: 243
    Yes, the design is most important.
    As you probably know, the concept of crush zones and controlled energy absorption was invented and developed by Mercedes Benz back in the early 1950's, and it quickly spread from Germany to Swedish cars, but it took a longer time to reach Detroit and Japan. Decades ago I drove Datsun 510's that were death traps if I'd ever wiped out!

    My impression on safety is that the Japanese makers tend to optimize their vehicles for max profits, which means just enough to pass mandated tests. In fact, with modern simulations you can optimize a car to pass the government test without it being very useful in other accident situations.

    As an example: locally, in Richmond, a few months back a kid in a speeding Civic T-boned a crown-vic police car in an intersection.
    The police officer was killed, but the kid walked away with no injuries due to the great design for front impacts and the air bag.

    Just after that, a woman spun her Honda on a small highway north of Vancouver and the car was struck near the rear by a truck. That Civic looked like a banner instead of a car. It was totally ripped open and stretched out to about 40' long ... like it was made of aluminum foil!

    There was no way any living thing could have survived in it, and the woman was indeed killed. Her accident was at lower speeds than the kid hitting the police car!
    It was difficult to believe that it was the same make and model of car.

    On the other hand, we all recall the crash where Lady Di was killed.
    Hitting concrete at 200 kmh it is absolutely amazing that anyone lived. My personal suspicion is that the only other vehicle that you could survive in at that speed besides a Benz e-class is a Benz S-class.

    VW, Benz & BMW design cars to be overly safe from all types of accidents. They happen to be strong enough to meet gov't tests, but the gov't tests aren't the only design criteria. That's why they are heavier. Same with Volvos, but most of the safety features in a Volvo were designed in Germany. Same with Lexus. They have crush-zones, enhanded braking, ABS, skid-control, dual-mode air-bags, seat-belt pre-tensioners, ... all inventions of Mercedes Benz.

    ... about the steel though.
    Put another way, imagine all the fancy engineering applied to a Camry for structural integrity, and then management saying: "go ahead, make it 50% stronger!" But that would cost $ and cut into profits.
    Toyota is incredibly profitable and there's a reason. They aren't leaving any money on the table when it comes to component or production costs. German makers are commited to higher safety levels.
    The cars weigh more, and they cost more. (Passat vs. Camry/Accord or Golf versus Mazda 3/Corolla/Civic) I believe a Golf comes standard with safety features that aren't even avail. as options on some competitors.
  • dieselbreathdieselbreath Posts: 243
    Wo! Get your facts straight.
    Just look at the muscle cars of the '70s, all steel, and 5,000lbs.
    Very few muscle cars tipped the scales as high as 3500 pounds, and those iron V8s and solid rear axles were a big portion of that!
    The ONLY car that I can think of from that era that exceeded 5000 pounds was the Cadillac Eldorado with a 475 cube engine and power-window motors the size of the starter in your Lexus!

    My '66 Thunderbird Deluxe with 335 HP 390 ci big-block and C-6 tranny and 6 power windows, power seats, etc. weighed under 4400 pounds and it was a lead sled. A V8 Dodge Durango 4x4 is smaller and weighs the same amount.

    My '65 Malibu SS with 350 HP 327, NHRA scatter-shield, M22 4-spd and 4.11 12-bolt positraction rear, plus dual 3" exhaust through Walker turbos barely weighed 3000 pounds.
    The average minivan today weighs MORE than the average muscle car back then.

    I'll take an accident in my LS any day of the week over ANY VW product.
    You are obviously unfamiliar with VW's Phaeton. Possibly the only vehicle you can buy that may be safer than an S-Class in an accident!
    Plus the first vehicle with draft-free climate control (how long before Luxus copies that? or is it too expensive) and also 4-zone climate control.
    And with the diesel its probably faster than your LS too.
    Its the most powerful engine in a volume production vehicle according to the 10-best engines list, where it is engine of the year over 4 liters (again) with BMW in second place.

    Would you rather be in your LS than one of those new Fed-Ex trucks called the Sprinter? That's another VW product (called the LT when VW puts their name on it) with a Benz 2.7 CDI engine and RWD. Built like a tank.

    But of all Japanese vehicles I'd pick the LS or the Land Cruiser.
  • diesel:

    In one breath you say diesels are not available here and in the next breath you tell me they are all around me?...

    Prius has had waiting lists as long as 10 months...In the US.

    I don't hear about the VW diesel because they sell all of them...Sounds like they need to make more of them...Why don't they?

    Finally you tell me The VW diesel will not pass US emissions standards

    You seem all over the board with this message.
  • quemfalaquemfala Posts: 107
    How about the ridiculous price difference between the gas engines and the diesels? It would take a lifetime (exageration) to make up the price difference in mileage and/or fuel costs. Why bother? Smog comes out of the tailpipe whatever you burn. Life's too short! Enjoy it!
  • dieselbreathdieselbreath Posts: 243
    Sorry, I don't have enough time for all the info you need.
    Please read the forums on Passat TDIs, the other diesel forums, Benz E-class, look at "Fred's TDI club" (try google), etc.

    Why doesn't VW make more of them? They're making them as fast as they can. And the Passat's sell for more money in Germany than here, so why do they even bother shipping them over here?

    VW made cars in the US in the early 80's then shut the plant down.
    It killed their reputation, and they concluded than American's can't build a quality car. Toyota and Honda have since proved them wrong, but Beetles come from Mexico (making them a "domestic") & Jettas come from Brazil I think. Passats come from Germany and the cars made in Germany are better than the ones made elsewhere (same with Toyota & Japan).
  • dieselbreathdieselbreath Posts: 243
    How about the ridiculous price difference between the gas engines and the diesels?

    What ridiculous price difference?

    Go to your dealer, tell him to take your favourite model and add:
    - variable vane turbo-charger with electronic controls
    - air-to-air intercooler plus all the plumbing
    - and make it so I can put 20% more miles on it and still sell it for 30% more than the other gas ones
    - and by the way, add 50% better mileage, and faster acceleration at the same time.

    For a VW these extras cost < US$1000-
    I know, I have one TDI in the driveway and one on order.
    Before the turbos and intercoolers the diesels were the same price.

    What car costs so much more in a diesel than gas?
  • 300eguy05300eguy05 Posts: 39
    Princes Diana was killed in a Mercedes-Benz S280. The car was not an E-Class. I believe it was determined that if the Princess had been wearing her seatbelt she would be living today. The same with the other occupants that did not survive.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "Today, the various cars in the class, 745, LS430, S-class, A8, STS are all on a converging path."

    In many ways they are, but they're not the same either and a BMW still has the edge in roadholding and agility. My point about the 740i Sport back when was that it was on offer when Lexus no sporty derivatives of the LS400 back then. Either way you want to word or compare it the BMW has the edge in handling and road feel for those who want it, numbers don't always tell everything about a car's dynamics. In the end the 754i Sport will outhandle the LS430 Euro or whatever it is called. I don't consider the STS to be in this class. It is playing the sport role more than any one of these cars and it doesn't have the room of an A8L or S500 either.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "My response to another poster addressed his statement that the 7 was better then the LS in every way, You response supported my list of
    examples in which the 7 was not better then the LS....Why are you spining your response now?"

    Mike you're confused again it seems. Read the post slowly and you'll see where my point wasn't even about the cars themselves, but the things the people look for in these cars.......specifically how BMW and Lexus likes and dislike differ to the point of arguing about them is silly.

    "I have never said Lexus is overtaking anyone in the area of style..I have said that in the days that Mercedes was acknowledged as the best car around it had little style but it was bullet proof or had that reputation....Now that Mercedes and it's defenders talk about it's style in fact placed Style over Function Mercedes has lost it's edge to a car LS that is NOT as stylish but is Bullet Proof."

    Yes you did (do I have to find the post Mike) say just that and now you're trying to spin it. Just because Mercedes talks about style doesn't mean they don't mention other things, not hardly. Don't be upset because Mercedes can emphasize styling like every other expensive luxury car company can, except Lexus. Like I said before you tried to imply that MB's problems were because of their styling and that notion remains foolishly ridiculous.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Wait a minute...just because some "marketing" shows the LS430 to be bought by older folk than say the A8 or 745i or even the S-Class, on average, such marketing is BS? How hypocritical is that? I bet when this same group says that LS430s have a very high buy-again rate it isn't bs then is it? Marketing folk, for example track loyalty rates and buyers ages in the same breath, so you can't seperate one "marketing" fact from another because you don't like one of them.


    Yep I'd agree that the ML is a yawnbox, but so is the RX330, LX470, and every other SUV on the market, except the FX45, Cayenne S & Turbo, Touareg V8, and Range Rover. I simply can't stand the beast.


    Good points about safety, but this isn't the board for them. Lexi won't grasp any of that unless you can point them to a JDP or CR graph. You can just about forget bringing up that simulated crash testing is only part of what MB and Volvo have been doing before anyone else, including the government. Forget that Volvo and Mercedes recover a percentage of their cars right after a serious crash to see how their real world safety can be improved. None of this will matter here.

    Thicker sheetmetal was so evident here a few years ago after a hellacious hail storm. Of all the cars in the lots only the Volvos, Mercedes and VW/Audis weren't damaged. Everything else including BMWs had all types of little pock marks and what not.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    For the record post #5792, you stated that style was one of those things MB was yielding to Lexus.

    "Now the torch (the public perception of quality and style and prestige) is passing from Mercedes to Lexus...

    Ain't no torch being passed in styling Mike. Period.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Reading back through the last 100 or so posts to make sure I didn't miss anything to respond to I'm finding that you're using all the wrong points to argue with Lexi folk from a BMW point of view. Financials? Forget it. Even I'm in awe of what the mighty Yoda is earning. I read a post where designman tried to point in the right direction. His points were correct, imo. You have to use a different set of criteria to hush up the Lexi crowd. It almost pains me to have to tell you (admit) this. You're going to have use things they can't run to JDP and CR or the WSJ to disprove and/or areas that generally go over their heads because Lexis does not compete or does poorly in. With Mercedes-Benz, styling is one unarguable point with Lexi, but with BMW I can't bring myself to say (past the 3-Series) BMW has much of an advantage.

  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    I appreciate your long post. I still don't think you are thinking fully about what is happening.

    Saying that the Japanese are making cars to 'just pass' the tests is a good debating point but it doesn't have any substance in a discussion since you can't establish if it's true. It's just an opinion. It's just like someone saying, Mercedes and BMW cars are heavier because they are rear wheel drive and pay a weight penalty for the drivetrain components.

    What's interesting about your points regarding accidents is that they show that different accidents, different situations, produce different outcomes on an individual basis. One Honda, passenger walks away, another, dead.

    If you go to the NHTSB web site there are many reports regarding vehicle safety.

    I found the one that showed that car fatalities and injuries have fallen substantially over the decade 1990 - 2000, while light truck, pickup truck and SUV fatalities and injuries all rose.

    Cars built like tanks back in the 1960's, 70's and 80's had a much higher fatality and injury rate than those today.

    Cars being built today are much safer by design.

    There's no evidence that 'German cars' are any safer than any other car that I could find.

    If Mercedes or BMW or Volvo could say "...our cars really are safer. Last year when our vehicles were involved in accidents, people were injured or killed at a much lower rate than Cadiallac or Lincoln or Lexus ..." they would say it in a blink.

    But they don't, because I believe your chances of survival or injury are vehicle manufacturer independent.

    The thickness of the steel doesn't matter (if it really is different). How it's pressed, shaped, welded, glued, stamped, etc. does matter. The NHTSB calculated that improvements in car saftey resulted in 29,000+ fewer fatalities in 1999. Since the German cars are a very small % of the car sales in the U.S. the improvement in fatality rates is coming from domestic and Japanese manufacturers general improvement in safety built into their cars.


    p.s. IMHO yawn inducing, gross generalizations like "VW, Benz & BMW design cars to be overly safe from all types of accidents" really need a big IMHO in front of them.

    p.p.s What the heck is "overly safe"?
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