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High End Luxury Cars



  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Oh, let's don't.

    Could we just try ... try ... to stick to High End Luxury Marques and not drag every single tangentially-related topic no matter how loosely connected we can think of into this?

  • deweydewey Posts: 5,251
    I am responsibe for this tedium by trying to show proof that some notions about High End Luxury Marques are false.

    The end-result was a big waste of time and I apologize to fellow members for the flood of posts which at least appear irrelevant to High End Luxury Marques

    I think it is time I take an extended holiday from this foum!
  • No way is the Phaeton overpriced! The Phaeton is cheaper than the S-Class and 7-Series. It wasn't intended from the start to compete with cars like the LS430 which isn't a "benchmark" in Europe. Europe being where VW wanted to make an engineering statement in MB's face. Selling it here was debated, delayed and then half-done. The car was intended to be a cheaper rival to the S-Class and to a lesser degree the 7-Series and it is cheaper than those cars.

    It's not you who determine whether or not Phaeton is overpriced. The market has spoken! That car just does not sell at the price. VW can either cut the price or cease the production. It's that simple.

    Ignoring Lexus, the leading luxury marque in the largest auto market, is also a mistake. Even MB and BMW cannot afford to do that, what makes VW so confident?

    As I mentioned, the Lexus LS started out in the price range of an E-class and still undercuts S-class by at least 20% as of today. E-class price level is where Phaeton should start, even in the absence of Lexus. Otherwise, it is overpriced. To my knowledge, Phaeton was no better off in Germany.
  • OK let us conclude that your personal experience with a 5 series is statistically significant in terms of German reliability!

    After five for five (including three Germans) being less reliable than all the Japanese cars that I have owned, I'm inclined to conclude that European/German are statisticly less reliable than Japanese cars. Most others seem to agree to. As to "let us," apparently you are not willing to accept any report of unreliability related to your beloved German cars.

    Stats please, stats! Or are you going to talk about your Aunt Sarah's unreliable BMW 5 series?

    I don't have any Aunt Sarah. I had two BMW 5 series, one had a transmission problem that cost me close to two grand to fix. The other, I got rid off after having too many small things that needed fixing, bulbs, roof leaks, etc.. If you want stats, CR provides a treasure trove in stats.
  • Dewey:

    Consumer reports (april auto issue 05) rates the ES330 Transmission in 03 as ALL BRIGHT RED and in 04 1/2 red both excellent ratings...It doesn't seem that they actually have UNCOVERED THESE sure isn't in their ratings....

    It is recommended for 05 and called the most comfortable and quiet driving experience in it's class...impressive in fit and finish. a comfortable interior, smooth ride.

  • I missed that Avg. that LS got in 99 for electrical Good catch. HOWEVER; even with all the exectronic gear that the LS has compared to the relatively spartin Corolla the LS is equal to or better then the Corolla in every other year and I do think the discussion started with over all reliability but I don't remember for sure any longer.

    Of course...LS is superior or equil in ALL THE OTHER CATAGORIES...and Both are EXCELLENT.
  • THE LS...DOES NOT HAVE TRANSMISSION I have pointed out. Has not had transmission going back to 97 which is as far back as my consumer reports goes and I don't want to dig out the older issues.
  • Dewey:

    What on earth are you talking about...What car specifically has a better reliability record then the LS...

    There is only the Acura that competes with it for reliability but it is not in the same class..and the LS overall Numbers are still better.
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    I'm still wondering if this thread can discuss anything except reliability.... In my previous post, I set a challenge at going three posts without mentioning reliability. I'm upping that challenge to two posts!
  • Reliability is the bedrock upon which almost every single high end luxury marque with a history of success was built:

    Rolls Royce had Silver Ghost, a car known for its silence and reliability;
    Bentley built its reputation at Le Mans endurance race of the 1920's;
    Mercedes-Benz was the benchmark of reliability, for many decades;

    The success of Lexus and utter failure of VW further goes to show that a High End Luxury Marque, for cars anyway, is not built upon charging higher prices, but on impeccable reliability. Reliability alone is not sufficient condition for a high end luxury marque, but without it, one can seldomly build a high end luxury marque.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    As usual, you castigate every dissenting viewpoint to yours... Hype, wannabe, envy, etc.. Here is a simple factoid for you: can you tell us which MB has had an in-dash CD changer for years and are sold here in the US ???

    And as usual your posts are minus the facts. Yes I can tell you, the E-Class. The E has had an in-dash CD changer since 2003. Audis had them from 2002-2004, until the moved the back to the glovebox for the latest A6 and A8. A simple check of the fact OAC will do it everytime. To say that they can't is simply nothing more than hype because they have (E/Audis) and will (upcoming S).

    Of course. German cars were never defined by cup holders either, but they do now, eh ? Maybe the point escapes you: that the Germans think CD changers deserve to be in the trunk, while a $15K KIA can put one in-dash. I chose Kia, a Korean car as an example here. I could have chosen a Ford ZX3, which is even cheaper at $11K.... And please note that luxury car makers don't brag about having an in-dash CD changer, but it sure sucks if your $60K+ car cannot even provide a basic feature you'd find in far less cars ??? That's the point....

    Point is that nearly no one cares as much as people who tend to knock every German car to begin with. Please note that because German cars don't put CD changers where you think they should be doesn't mean the world or much of anything to everyone else. When those lower level cars you harp about drive anything like a German car then you'll have a point, until then you don't. Pure hype and minus the facts at that.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Luxury cars are about amenities, and inpeccable ownership experience. If the Germans are inferior on amenities and ownership experience (reliability), then on what ground do they sell their luxury cars? Snob appeal alone? Horsepower is never a trademark of luxury automobiles, nor handling.

    The first part of this is true, but a CD changer not being in the right place? Thats a pretty lame thing to disqualify a car like a Mercedes or BMW on imo. Secondly I disagree, power is most definitely what a luxury car is about. It may not be a "trademark" but it is part of the reason people buy luxury cars.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    It's not you who determine whether or not Phaeton is overpriced. The market has spoken! That car just does not sell at the price. VW can either cut the price or cease the production. It's that simple.

    Guy that wouldn't make a bit of difference. Please ask around about the prices a Phaeton is going for nowadays. A dealer here has one in the showroom for 12K off! That is to anyone that walks in, forget the people who know about the car and know that VW is deperate move them. That savy group is likely to get even more off the MSRP.

    You could ask any traditional German luxury car buyer and most of them would tell you the Phaeton is a bargain compared to a S-Class or 7-Series. The problem is not price, its the dealer, being a VW and being a VW and being a VW. VW's don't have the stuff to command 68K to gasp(!) 90K for one of their cars. That is the problem. They've even offered the Phaeton V8 for $499 a month for lease a while back and still nothing. People don't even know about the car until they see it on the VW showroom floor and Jetta/Passat/Golf/Beetle buyers can't just say "Oh I'll take the Phaeton". Doesn't happen. Won't happen.

    Thanks to VWOA hardly anyone buying in this market segment we talk about here even knows about the car. The only reason any of us know about the car is because we "follow" cars to varying degrees here.

    Oh I agree that the car was a grand mistake. Automobile just complete a long-term test in which they called it "The World's Most Perfect and Pointless Car" or something like that.

    E-class price level is where Phaeton should start, even in the absence of Lexus.

    Yeah that is pretty much what I stated earlier. A SWB Phaeton might sell a little better for about 58K and some serious promotion on the part of VWOA. Problem is that anything over 35K is an iffy sell for VW. This new Passat is already going to run into price problems when fully loaded.


  • Luxury cars are about amenities, and inpeccable ownership experience. If the Germans are inferior on amenities and ownership experience (reliability), then on what ground do they sell their luxury cars? Snob appeal alone? Horsepower is never a trademark of luxury automobiles, nor handlin

    Actually snob appeal play a huge part. Or what is actually called branding. Cars like MB and BMW have established their image as being upscale items. Much like a Ralph Lauren polo cost $60 while an exact shirt at the Gap cost $25. You're paying for the brand and all the image that comes with it. As for the Phaeton discussion, VW's image is (or used to be) the "People's Car". They worked for many years to establish that brand. To come out with a with $60k car is sort of contradictory. But they've been working hard towards the more upscale image the past few years. I remember when the redesigned "rounder" Jettas came out, the ads were targeted towards the yuppy dotcommies. Their marketing campaign and car design was so successful that I've had friends buy the Jetta over a 325i which they could easily afford. Now, the latest Jetta design is a bit hoaky and now resembles a Corolla which of course doesnt have the upscale image. Bad move by VW there and watch brand loyalty diminish - regardless of what junk they put in the car. The Phaeton is a beautiful car, but just doesn't jive with people's perception of the level of the VW brand at the momment. People dont think of VW as in league with MB - yet.

    You wont necessarily establish an upscale brand just by putting leather and all the cool gadgets and amenities in the car. Those are just "touches". The Land Rover Defender doesn't have much it in but someone who owns a 100 acre country estate would no doubt want to show that off in his/her driveway because it speaks blue blood. It took Land Rover many many years to get that image. I dont care what Lexus or Acura does, it will take them a while before they get accepted in the very snobbish world of luxury cars.

    My 2 centavos.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Lenscap, thanks for the link. Here’s the 85% quote:

    “Inside sources say this is “about 85 percent” of what the new LS will look like.”

    That’s pretty vaque and surely indicates to me that the actual LS is going to be considerably different. Perhaps it will have the same overall countenance, but it doesn’t take much for a style to lose or gain in quality. I would point to the G coupe vs G sedan and also the facelifted 7-series as examples. Is the facelifted 7 85% of the original? I would call it about 98%, yet it looks better in my opinion. You know, they can screw up the LF-Sh very quickly by tampering with the grille, headlamps and other things... yep, very quickly.

    Anyway, this is why I haven’t made much comment about the LF-Sh. I really like the design and have studied it considerably from the images that are available. Some aspects are almost spectacular such as the front end and the overall subtle contours. I even like the way the expanse of the sides (I refrain from using the term slab-sidedness here) contrasts with the detail on both ends.

    The comparisons to Banglism are getting me sick because BMWs show no restraint and attempt at elegance whereas the LF-Sh clearly shows sophistication and more thought. BMW features scream and compete for attention. The Lexus features and motifs are integrated and balanced. The overall impression I take from the LF-Sh is a subtle blend of retro and future, kind of like a documentary on the state of auto design. To me, this is as good as it gets considering the state of shamble automotive styling is in today.

    Well, I sure hope the 15% in question is actually an improvement because the design as it stands is going to help sell this car bigtime IMO. I’ve said this before… Toyota and Lexus is showing a clue. They’ve been indicted a lot over the years in all manner of styling and I sense the tide may be turning somewhat.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129

    So, you’ve inked a deal with the boss. Sounds good. I know a thing or two about those deals.

    I have no plans of retiring the 530 anytime soon. To give you an idea why, my wife said we should have bought two of them. She loves it and, like me, doesn’t like what’s out there. I showed her the movies and shots of the LF-Sh at Tokyo and her first impression was… gasp… “it looks like the new BMWs that we hate.” Perhaps she will see it in better light once she studies it more.

    As far as the sports car, that’s a different story. I’m kinda’ chomping at the bit to get into more power. I’ve test driven driven plenty of 911s before but had a chance to get up close and personal with a 996 Cab for 5 days last month. The dealer gave it to me as a loaner when I brought the Box in for service and they had to order a part. Sports cars are like computers. Once you get one with more power it’s hard to turn back. Anyway the following are on my short list: 997 Carrera, 996 Turbo, Z06 Vette.

    You may ask how the Z06 fits in. The only way I can answer it is perhaps with the mid-life crises thing although I think I am past that. Little kids who liked cars and grew up in the 50s, only to stand on the sidelines witnessing the sons of rich kids driving the muscle cars of the 60s never lose their vroom vroom libido. You know… once, just once, it would be nice to experience the authoritative rumble of a hot V8 and learn how to apply it to the surface of a track.

    Gotta sort it out in my head, then see if I can ink the same kind of deal that you got.

  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the LF-Sh, your design opinions always seem well-reasoned and I enjoy reading them. Glad you like the car.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    I think I can help answer the ES transmission issue. I had a 2002 ES 300. The transmission never really shifted smoothly at low speeds as there was a little lag when accelerating from a stop or slow speed. Even after the dealer updated my software I still had the lag. I wound up talking with Lexus and they said that from a reliability issue there was nothing wrong. The transmission was in no danger of failing or breaking. So, that would explain the Consumer Reports high transmission rating. Although not smooth, the transmission was reliable.

    However, I was still disappointed that a car like this would have a lag. Lexus apparently agreed and bought my car back. They stood by me and were really great. It is because of this that I plan on getting the new IS 350 at some point within the next year.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    That is excellent dealer service. Most dealers would either say you were "making it up", or that its "supposed to be like that".
  • I dont care what Lexus or Acura does, it will take them a while before they get accepted in the very snobbish world of luxury cars.

    Only a while. Less than 10 years, to be exact.

    Lexus was introduced in 1990 and became the top-selling brand before 2000. They are already accepted. Lexus, Acura and Infinity combined outsells BMW, MB and Audi combined.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Lexus is already there and will jump higher with the 2007 LS, the LFA and the new LX. Acura lacks the V8 and that continues to hurt them and they are the Audi of the Japanese market from a perspective standpoint. Infiniti is gaining but unless they establish the Q, they'll never get there.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    I like it ! Imagine a 997 Carerra or a 996 Turbo... These are the fun cars to have.... I would kill for one of those if I can ever afford one. They are soooooo much fun than a Box... I won't even think of a Z06. Gotta go for the sports car of sports cars, IMO. And these would be the Porsche's, at least in the affordability bracket (<$100K).

    Yes, like you the pre-Bangled BMWs are my favorites. And the 530i is certainly nicely balanced b/w the high power and rough riding 540i, and the ripoff 525i. But, do you find the 530i underpowered ? Now that power seems to be in the cards for you, mid-life crises or not :)
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Based on what C&D had to say about it, I think you should spend a lot of time with a Z06 before handing the check over. They did rank it ahead of the Viper because it is faster and does have a price advantage, but they said it was nearly impossible to drive fast without having a heart attack because the car likes to snap oversteer at the drop of a hat, with absolutely no warning, like a '70s era 911. Its a "for experts only" car like the GT2. By comparison, the Viper was a friendly companion on the track, with predictable and managable understeer.

    I spent some time recently with a 997 Cabrio, definitely a fun car.
  • merc.

    Was the German through the dash CD changer just a Single disk changer or would it hold multiple disks?..

    Why did they stop using them?
  • Merc

    Comfort and convience...easy to use...Spells Luxury...A nav. system that doesn't require a disk change every time you drive out of your region and is easy to understand and use is a luxury feature...

    A CD player that you don't have to crawl under the seat or into the trunk to change CDs is also a luxury feature.

    A car that is so reliable it usually only needs to be brought to the shop for oil changes, that doesn't need light bulbs constantly changed, or never ending repairs a luxury feature.
  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    LG: While searching for an LX470 for the spouse, I am starting to consider the Cayenne S Turbo, slightly used (2004-ish) for around $40K. Found a few on EBay.... I don't want to wade through thousands of pages on Edmunds, so I might as well ask if you or anyone know what to be wary of ? What are the issues to be concerned about with this truck ? Any help will be appreciated.
  • bigobigo Posts: 22
    What do u guys think? and witch one do u guys think is better? Navigator or Escalade?
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Look at the GX470 before you make a decision - it'S fabulous.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The fact that its a close cousin of the VW Toureg would make me very nervous. CR ratings for the '04 Cayenne are absolutely horrendous, with very poor scores in 8 catergories. Not quite as bad as the Toureg's eleven catergories of full black dots, but not exactly confidence inspiring. Also.. doesnt a new Cayenne Turbo S cost like $90 grand? Does it really depreciate by more than half of its value in under two years?

    For about the same money, you can get a brand new Infiniti FX45. Not quite as much power, but its lighter than the Porsche by some 800lbs, and has been very reliable.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I agree, check out the GX. A brand new Mercedes G class is also coming soon.
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