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High End Luxury Cars



  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I've never asked your view on the Chrysler 300:




    This is the hot as hell SRT-8 version. Your styling critique please.......


  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "How 'bout Jaguar, Phaeton, Acura, Ferrari, AM, etc... And your favorite, Maserati Q... Maybe more details on these cars later as they come to you ???


    Well for those see the earlier Detroit review I guess, there really wasn't anything new for those brands at Chicago. The Phaeton and cousin A8L remiain my favorites in the segment, especially their repsective W12, 4-seater versions. Awesome. Oh! That Jaguar Lightweight Coupe Concept is awesome, but like I said before (I think somewhere) it kinda looks like a junior Aston-Martin, which is no bad thing in my book. There are much worse looking cars out there to imitate. The Maserati Quattroporte like the A8 has an optional all wooden steering wheel. I mean the entire wheel is wood and it is tacky and could be dangerous when sweaty hands are grasping to make that crucial turn. I'm surprised at Audi which always considered wooden steering wheels to be a tacky American car thing. Thats about all that has "come" to me since....


  • the discussion was about the "Brands" and their ability manufacture what "I" consider high end luxury automobiles. Lexus as a brand only has one vehicle that reaches out of the "Near Luxury" segment....the LS430.... while all of the German manufacturers go much further. one thing that i haven't even mentioned was the VW Phaeton. it even has more engine combinations and also comes in a swb and lwb version. in this segment "I" believe the customer wants more than a one size fits all approach. this is just another difference that separates "Z" Germans from the Japanese.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
    Hi All,

     Since when does variety of engines and wheelbases apply to the prestige argument? As someone rightly pointed out, that would mean a Ford Focus is more prestigious than a Rolls Royce.


    Lexus has a few models that are considered Luxury cars, LS, SC, GS..I'd call the ES an entry level Lux sedan..I think prestige is formed by high quality, driving experience, customer service, and of course Public Perception. As far as engine options go, Lexus is going that route you prescribed in 2007. You've also refered to price as another criteria..


    Did it ever occur to you that most of those models are vastly overpriced? I don't see how Jaguar can charge $80K (VDP?) for a car that isn't very competitive..Same goes for the S430..At $78K I found it somewhat lacking in terms of equipment. The Mercedes dealer I went to freely admitted that they couldn't compete with Lexus on price..He was trying to steer me towards the subjective argument of "feel and prestige.."


    You only seem to hear German car enthusiasts putting down Lexus as a second rate marque. No one can deny the Original LS400 changed the whole industry. Sure it doesn't have the 100 yr tradition of the others, but it's success more than justifies it being a player in this market. Btw, does anyone know when each marque was established? I know MB is the oldest but don't know much about the other brands.


    As far as Gizmo's go, you can argue the Germans have gone a step further with all this iDrive interface nonsense. Lexus adds electronics without them being too intrusive and they work flawlessly.The sole exception is this drive by wire nonsense..(What was the point of that?) Do I really need a computer to push the gas pedal??


    A more general comment..All these electronic toys are great...But what happens when they decide to stop working? The more complicated you make it, the more likely it's going to have issues..I still don't think I should have to use my touchscreen to access basic A/C and radio controls...Doesn't Audi or Infinti have a pop-up NAV screen with separate controls for everything else..I can only imagine when this thing breaks in 8-10 yrs what it's going to cost me to fix it.


  • footiefootie Posts: 636


    That's why the S and 7 are getting their heads handed to them by the LS.


    If this argument was true, then all those folks would be ordering off the infinitely variable MB / BMW option lists and the LS would be fading into the past. In fact, just the opposite is true. The LS is fully-featured and buying one isn't complicated or requires a Phd. from Wurttenberg U to figure out.


    It is true however, that Mercedes little advertising jingle "Like No Other" is right on target. They can't get two of them to come out the same even when they want to. Different bugs in each one insures customer individualization!
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Good for you if you're extremely happy with your A8. The point of the JDP data is that you're in a minority among A8 owners; the average A8 owner only gives his car 3 out of 5 stars on non-reliability issues.


    BTW, as brightness04 suggested, does your V8 feel "more luxurious" to you because the car also comes in a W12, even though you don't own one? I guess then if I bought a C230, I could feel "more luxurious" because MB also makes an S600, right?


    Also, just what does an LWB version of an A8 get you? More interior room than an LS? Nope, 107 cu ft vs 107. More trunk space? Nope, 20.2 cu ft for the LS vs 14.6.


    The Germans are soooo great at engineering...why can't they engineer more space in a LWB SEDAN?
  • The discussion is about high end luxury automobiles; what "you" consider luxury personally does not make it so. Your argument that _you_ consider MB higher end luxury than Lexus therefore _you_ consider MB higher end than Lexus is totology; it has about as much relevence to whether MB is actually higher luxury than Lexus as if someone came in here and claimed that Chrysler is higher end luxury than MB in their own mind simply because they think so. Both the Germans and the Japanese were into mind overcoming material reality some half a century ago, and both got a rude awakening by reality as they lost WWII. Japanese learned to make high quality machinery in the subsequent years, while the Germans apparently continued/resumed their tradition of making crap vehicles that choke at the critical moments. That's some tradition all right.


    Ford Focus has even more engine/body variation, and your point being? Since you purchased the SWB V8 A8, obviously you got nothing out of the plethra of variants.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    I'll give you mine. It's a great looking car with a lot of presence. I've always thought that when you look at it from it's side, that it's front end was a copy of the old E-class and it's back-end is all Cadillac CTS. The roofline and grill is what really gives it its independence. Have you ever sat in one though? The ability to see the outside world is the worst of any car I ever sat in. Low roofline, high seat backs, squooshed down feeling makes you pay the price for the exterior looks. This tells me that styling and headlines (MB's patch fix for the last 10 years) was what they wanted and let the drivers figure out how to deal with the limited sight they are given. Safety, at least from a visibility standpoint and that's the most important one, was the last thing on the priority list with this car.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Where's the big luxury SUV?? You can't buy one where you shop. That's how silly and hollow your line of reasoning is. Maybe we should say they are luxury carmakers for all but not luxury vehicle makers for all. But that's an equally silly point of view.I just bring it up to point out the shallowness of your argument.


    But this thing of saying your brand is superior because that's your buying preference has reached the ridiculous point. As for near luxury vs. high-end luxury I'd put the ES, C, A-4 and 3-series all in the near lux segment and the E, 5, A6, and GS and larger sedans all in the luxury segment. We'll see where the new IS fits but it's a fork in the road for Lexus. It's past emphasis was not luxury or near luxury in my opinion and was served up too early by Lexus. All three Lexus SUV's are luxury vehicles to me. I would have left out the RX in the past but it has been greatly improved from what had been near lux. The X5 is there too as a lux suv but it's RX size. The ML is as bad as the IS in trying to figure out where it belongs. I think as brands Acura and Infiniti are near luxury. Life is simple and too short to be arguing the obvious.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "This tells me that styling and headlines (MB's patch fix for the last 10 years) was what they wanted and let the drivers figure out how to deal with the limited sight they are given.


    Now wait a min, just because Chrysler (I assume you're talking about my question to desigman about the 300C) can actually make a good looking car all of sudden styling has been a "patch fix" for Mercedes' problems. That is the part that seems ridiculous to me my friend. Is this the theory because Lexus can't style a good looking car to go with all their quality and surveys for all those who actually look for more than a glowing JDP or CR report in their vehicle? I've ridden in the car and I could see out if it fine, and guess what most cars are getting taller and harder to see out of nowadays. Why do you think Lexus and others have started offering rear mounted cameras in their cars.


    BTW, 10 years ago the C, E, S, and other Mercedes were of traditional Mercedes upright design, not the swoopier models out today. The sleeker theme you see today started with the 2000 S-Class.


  • MB's latest avant garde design cues started with the 1996 S class (introduced in 1995) with the two pairs of size-differentiated bug eyes. So that was about 10 years ago. Before then, for decades, MB used to stand for square grills with square lenses. It was the Italian maker Fiat that was into exterior design flair. MB just sold boring cars on their intrinsic "solidness." We know what eventually happened to Fiat in the competitive North America market.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    in this segment "I" believe the customer wants more than a one size fits all approach. this is just another difference that separates "Z" Germans from the Japanese.


    Lets' see here. MB is 118+-yr-old, BMW is 80+-yr-old, and Lexus is what ? 15-yr-old ??? See any point in that history ? Lexus is a *young* company, and will only grow at the expense of the others (has done that so far). Even the one-size-fits-all LS is doing extremely well compared to the multiple-size-fits=everyone S and BMW versions. Take US sales of all S-class (430/500/600/55), then add all 7-series (745/760) and you just about match the LS430 sales. Hmmmmm ! What can one infer from this fact ? Does the market not speak for these cars in terms of their sales ?


    Finally, by MY2008 or thereafter, there will be other variants of the LS - LS460/500/GT, including LWB and SWB trims. And oh, imagine a hybrid Lexus lux-car with ~600hp V12-like output, but delivers a refreshing V6-like gas economy ??? What would MB and Audi and BMW throw at Lexus to compete with this car ?
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    In the U.S. market, as others have pointed out, the LS outsells the S by a healthy margin and the A8 by a ridiculous margin.


    Now, if having all those S and A8 variations is so desirable, and if the S and A8 are sooooo much more luxurious than the LS (to the point that they are in a different and higher class entirely, according to you), how could that sales performance possibly happen????
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Someone will say its because of price, but of course no one looks at the fact that lease prices are very close to one another in all cases except maybe an S500 where there is a 250-300 difference to a $62K LS. In the case of the LS ultra it's lease cost is higher than an A8 even though the latter stickers $5K more. Lexus plays the game with real interest rates and probably residuals that are too low. The others will never sacrifice list price so they resort to very low interest rates, increasing dealer advertising subsidiaries and overstating residuals. That only works until the auditors blow the whistle though. If your a thief you go further and cook the books the way Worldcom and Enron did. If your honest the profit bleed shows up the way it does for VW and MB.
  • Does your Audi have...AWD...does it have a V12 ..I have a LS430 ULTRA in which the transmission and Steering can be set up for sports mode at the push of a button. I get that and a superior suspension that gives a nicer ride then your Audi...I get Better Service....I get a Lighter Car..a car with cleaner emissions, that gets better milage has ample leg room in the back and front and a much smaller turning radius then your audi and still has a 20 cu.ft. trunk...I have Radar Cruse control, an easy to use Nav. system and the best Audio system put in by a manufacturer, I have through the seat Heating and Cooling, and a computer controlled air suspension system....I am sure you car has the obvious stuff as does mine like Auto wipers, folding outside mirrors that are heated and automatically dim a trailing cars head lights, a seat cusion that adjusts out to give me additional thigh support if I want it...and adjustable lumbar supports suports at two different levels...It has several levels of air filtration to keep out everything you don't want in....Especially pollin and gas odors etc and self closing doors...It also has a whole bunch or rear seat stuff that I wouldn't go into and other amenities that most cars have.


    WHAT AMENITIES DOES YOUR AUDI HAVE? Especially anything that I haven't Mentioned...I am truly curious.
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  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Sorry, but there was no S-Class introduced in 1995 or 1996. The last S-Class came out in 1992. Now if you mean the E-Class of 1996, then yes they changed the front end, but the rest of the car was upright and traditional stody MB design. Take a look at one and you'll see what I mean. The slim, swoopier styling didn't come full circle until the 2000 S-Class and the 2001 C-Class and back again with the 2003 E-Class. The E of 1996 only changed front end light treatment. The start of inset grilles began with the facelift of the previous W124 E-Class in 1994 and the new S-Class of 1992. Small incremental changes at best, the real thing came for 2000 with the totally new S.


  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I'm reading this about the A8L and LS430 and it's hilarious for the most part but seriously why do you think eveyrone leases? There has been an extreme contradition on this thread from the start. One minute one of the LS430's biggest virtues is that it cost less than the S-Class, 7-Series, or A8, yet in the same post it will be said that they all cost about the same. Which is it? Every one doesn't lease and for cash folks the difference in price does make some type of difference. The average LS doesn't even sell (62-64K) for what a A8, 745i or S430 stickers for, yet this doesn't make a difference? Come on now.


  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Come now, does anyone really believe that whatever price difference there is between the A8 and LS, that that price difference accounts for the LS selling 5.4 TIMES as many units (U.S., cy2004)?


    If price elasticity were that high, all Audi would have to do is lower its prices to LS levels, and volumes would explode...Audi would mint money based on the incremental profits of each car.


    Put another way, if Audi lowered its prices to LS levels, does anyone think that it would sell the same number of units as the LS? Come on!
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    It's a 50-50 lease/buy relationship. Where I live it's more like 80-20 in favor of lease but I've read it's 50-50 many times as a whole in the US. As for the A8 - there are people that wouldn't take the car if you put a 40% discount on one. You can count me as one. I'm not sure I'd take it if you gave it to me because it would cost me 44% in taxes. I have no desire whatsoever for an A8, trust me on that one. Just watch A8 sales plummet in the next two years. The car has no staying power. Within 3 or 4 years it's not easy to resell an S-class or an A8 because demand is so low for used ones. Even MB diehards don't trust the electronics and long-term ownership of the cars particularly after 3 years. The E and S threads are loaded with comments like that.
  • Great observation! Lean is not about inspections after the product is assembled and is why inspections on Lexus lines are practically non-events.


    Arrogance never improved a production process... even the venerable Porsche has teamed to a degree with Toyota to improve production processes.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    This isn't just a 'JDP' problem for MB, Merc.


    It's folks at the country club and the fund raising soiree's that are going 'my new MB has been in the shop so much it seems like they ought to be making payments on it, not us'.


    They aren't reading JDPower either, but they are getting real tired of sending the Service Supervisor's kid to Yale.
  • ok....where to begin!


    just to bring everyone up to date...the discussion and point i am trying to convey is that Lexus still has a long way to go to be a top notch Luxury automaker. the whole point about variations in the offerings by the German brands is this...they offer more to the upscale luxury car buyer. the LS is the best that Lexus has for now so any pontifications about the future are absolutely meaningless at this point in time.


    when it comes to the vehicle i drive that is another topic all together. the A8 i just purchased has these options...adaptive cruise control, parktronic, 18" wheels, XM radio, power closing front and rear side doors, heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, electric rear sunscreen,manual rear side window sun shades, power one touch trunk close and open, advanced key(key less start). those were all the optional items. here are some of the notable standard items......10 airbags, onstar, nav, power everything, 12 speaker 5 channel surround, sub woofer, center fill speaker, audio pilot noise compensation(neat stuff automatically counters and cancels unwanted noise).......and of course All Wheel Drive!


    interior cubic volume.....114.9

    A8L interior cubic Volume.....121.5

    yeah....i guess they engineered it in!


    also the A8 has adjustable suspension but it goes one step further. you are actually able to put the car in lift mode. this raises the car in case you need to go over a speed bump without damaging the car. the car will automatically lower itself at speed and also firm up the suspension or you can set it ahead of time. the MMI navigation screen can be tucked away with the information then reported in the center of the drivers interior dash. the heated seats have 5 different temperature setting. the warranty on corrosion is a 12 year unlimited mileage warranty. the list goes on and on. everything an LS430 has and more. actually is enjoyable to look at! comfortable or sporty in an instant...even without the push of a button.


    and guys...Audi even goes higher...all leather interior, double pane security glass, 12 cylinders, longer wheel base....etc.


    these differences separate what Lexus is today to what the Germans are today. tomorrow maybe another story. overall the Germans sell more of their luxury cars worldwide than Lexus many times over. also as the LS430 has just surpassed the sales of the S class in the past 2 years. i will post the past 2 years sales numbers and you will see that it is not selling in the numbers posted above.


    on a side wife's going to divorce me if i keep spending all of my time on the computer!
  • I was indeed thinking of the E class of 1996; edmunds timed out the post before I could edit it. The bug eyes fascade were the obvious stylistic departure from the old; what took place in 2000 was positively minor incremental compared to the 1996 change from traditional MB rectangular lenses to the two pairs of ovoids.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    "interior cubic volume.....114.9

    A8L interior cubic Volume.....121.5

    yeah....i guess they engineered it in!"


    Audi must have some uniquely contrived definition of interior volume to make themselves look good, because when passenger volume is measured in a STANDARDIZED way by the government EPA, they come up with 100 for the A8, 107 for the LS, 107 for the A8L, 108 for the Phaeton. The Audi website clearly uses inflated numbers, whereas VW's site does not. If I were a class-action lawyer I think I'd have good grounds to squeeze Audi for some dough. Maybe Audi would say, "we didn't specify 'passenger volume', we only said 'interior volume' which of course includes the trunk" or something equally idiotic.



    When it comes to features of an A8 vs LS, you need to consider the different trim levels of the LS. I don't see anything that unique to the A8, with the exception of AWD. But you can't get the A8 in RWD, can you? Which some people actually prefer. One thing you can be sure of is that when Lexus puts AWD on the LS, it'll be an OPTION.



    It's also not true that the A8 has "everything an LS430 has and more"...for instance, a backup camera, or a Mark Levinson sound system that has seen rave reviews in true audiophile publications such as The Absolute Sound, or a little refrigerator for the rear passengers. Maybe a little over the top, by YOU are the one who started talking about luxury appointments.
  • i honestly don't know how interior space is

    "contrived". i have an 05 A8 brochure and that's where i found the numbers. the SWB A8

    and the LS should be the same by my eye. the A8L has a wheelbase that is 5 inches longer than both. the back seat is enormous. i just don't see how they could be the same. the Phaeton also comes in a long and short version.


    when it comes to the "OPTION" of awd ...MB offers that as we speak on the S,E,and C class. Audi tends to do more of it's vehicles in the awd(QUATTRO)fashion. it is kind of like their niche. A8's only come with AWD.


    i've got a question. now that Acura has the new RL with 300HP and SHAWD(super handling all wheel drive) would it be accurate to say that the RL is now the equal or even greater than the LS430?
  • yes the back up camera is not something available on the Audi. the sounds systems are subjective. check out what is available on the 12 cylinder at the LS430 can't even come close.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    I guess that Lexus has a long way to go for YOU in the standards and variation options that define a lux brand based on what you have said. But let's be clear that using your standards Audi just joined the club because when I was shopping in 2001 and the few years after that they had only one wheel base to choose from and one engine. So they offered far too narrow a selection criteria to be considered a luxury car maker. Now they used to offer a SWB and a LWB before that so I guess they bounce in and out of this lux club like a yoyo. On the other hand both the SWB and LWB cars only came with the 310HP V8 so maybe that is not a full qualification anyway. Again I'm just using your definitions because to me this is utter nonsense.


    For most of us and the rest of the world as viewed in every publication you will ever read Lexus arrived about 10-12 years ago as a lux nameplate in their infant years. Now for me the Germans have a long way to go on quality and reliability because a true lux car should be something you can bank on. After all true luxury is one that not only gives you luxury amenities but combines that with the feeling that something is built as solidly as possible and you know it will always work. That is the way just about every Lexus owner feels and that is why their scores always beat Germany's best - usually by embarrassingly wide margins. Before the early 1990's that was MB's claim to fame and the feeling their owners had.
  • luxury SUV's???MB created the segment. it didn't exist before the ML. the RX 300 was created....get this guys off of the Corolla platform!!! the ML is now dated but a new one is to be released in a couple of months. BMW has the X5...the best handling SUV period. only Audi lags behind in this segment. supposedly an SUV is coming shortly. the MB and BMW have tons of options and each has 2-3 separate engine choices. very soon a new G wagon is coming from MB. what does Lexus offer? the LX 470, GX, RX....all re badged and underpowered Toyota's. they are in and of themselves not a bad vehicles....but is this a "Luxury Brand"....rebadged Toyota's????
  • Audi had the S8.

    a high performance A8 with 360hp

    and other performance options.
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