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High End Luxury Cars



  • docnukemdocnukem Posts: 485
    You could probably get into a bunch of psychology, too.

    A large S class is probably going to be driven by a middle-aged or older married male. Such a person may have a wife who would not appreciate a sexy female voice.

    Now take a Z4, G35 coupe, or any Porsche, and the driver would probably expect a sexy voice.

    Other vehicles would probably split the difference.

    The real question of sexism, though, is why are all these voices female? Most people who anthropomorphize (is that a word?) their cars will make them female, so that is probably the number one reason. I also believe that most people consider a female voice more calming/less bossy (now there's a setup for any married individual with an axe to grind). What do people think? I am curious as to whether there is a gender bias here. That is, am I right in assuming that both men and women would prefer a female voice, or would women be more evenly split or favor a male voice for their car?
  • aggie76aggie76 Posts: 266
    While its not anywhere near being a HELM, my wife's Ody has the option of selecting either male or female voice on its Nav. She's got it set for the male, and she refers to him as James.

    My LS430 only uses female voice.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I think it has to do with Sci-Fi movies. With the big exception of HAL, most computer voices have been female. Speaking of HAL, I'm not sure I would want my NAV system to have a male voice.
  • docnukemdocnukem Posts: 485
    "Open the pod bay doors", I mean "Navigate home"....

    "I'm sorry, Dave. I can't do that..."
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    Thanks for the info. I've always been a fan of the E-Class Benz. It seems to be a great value. And with added option of 4-Matic on the CDI, it will be even more of a bargain.
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    I finally saw the S550 in another shade, other than black. It was a brilliant white/tan combo with optional Merc chrome wheels. The white actually made the car look better than the black, no easy feat seeing how I think all cars look better in black.

    I'm still not completely sold on the S's styling. But hey, in '02 I thought that Bangle was the anti-Christ when he ruined my beloved 7, then the 5. But look what happened: I purchased a 760il. I'm sure the S's styling will grow on me over time. It's just a huge departure from the M-B conservative yet stately norm, which is no bad thing.

    Can't wait to see the 600/AMG models!
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    Chris Bangle so ruined the 5 series, that since its introduction in 2004, it has absolutely creamed the competition.

    The used to be fashionable Bangle-bashing has grown old and tired and is in complete disconnect with reality.

    I am the proud lessee of a 2005 545 and it is absolutely one of the boldest, sleekest, sexiest cars on the road, IMO.
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    "Chris Bangle so ruined the 5 series, that since its introduction in 2004, it has absolutely creamed the competition."

    Nice assumption, albeit a little far-fetched. The Infiniti M35/45 and M-B E-Class are very formidable 5-Series opponents. The M35/45's are more stylish IMO. The "flame- surface" technique that BMW applied to the otherwise class benchmark just "ruins" the whole apparatus.

    The 5-Series may still have the "crown", but with competition like the E55 going against the M5, and the E55 is faster still, the crown is up for grabs.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    In reality the 5-series may still be the leader but on a marketshare basis others are taking a larger incremental share of an expanding market. If the 5-series were a stock instead of a car shareholders would be bailing. A smaller share (even if it is the leader) of an expanding market is viewed as a weakening position.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    HAL was a rather sinister computer, as was the computer Colossus (as in Colossus the Forbin Project), also a male voice. So maybe people came to associate male computer voices as sinister...hence the carryover into modern day computer voices.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    No doubt it is highly competitive out there on the LPS and HELM circuits.

    But don't sell BMW short quite yet (pun intended.) You may get burned. ;)

    I can't wait to get back out there in 2.5 years and test the best from Infiniti, Lexus, and BMW all over again!

    All I think about is cars and HDTV's.
    There's gotta be a cure! :)
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    I'm not selling BMW short. But creaming competition as you state and having less market share than 5 years ago are opposite extremeties and both can't be right. If you have a 60% share of a 10,000 unit market but a 50% share of a 20,000 unit market, you are still strong but any business investor will view that as a weakening position and a sign that the competition will keep eroding your position. Hence my point that if the car was a stock investors would be bailing as growth is occurring elsewhere.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    "All I think about is cars and HDTV's.
    There's gotta be a cure!"

    Hah. I have the same disease. Unfortunately, there is no cure.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    Just got the new Bravia KDL-V32" XBR LCD for the bedroom.
    Impressive blacks for an LCD.
    Having it professionally calibrated this Sunday.
    The guy is coming from Maine down to Tampa to do it.
    Can't wait!
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Nice work! Our bedroom set is now a 27" Toshiba LCD, and I finally have a proper sound system to go with it, thanks to tiny Mirage Omnisats mounted on the walls. (For some reason the wife wasn't impressed with the idea of giant tower speakers in the bedroom).

    Let me know what happens with your ISF video calibration, I'm curious to know if that really does make a big difference. So far I've just done the calibrations myself, with the help of a D.V.E. disc.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    I have it adjusted pretty well on my own but from what I've read on the different video threads, people are absolutely ecstatic after the calibration.
    The guy I'm using is supposedly one of the best ISF guys.
    It will take 4-5 hours.
    The new Sony is about as good as an LCD picture can be: quite breathtaking. Not plasma, but getting pretty close.
    I will let you know if I feel it was truly worth it.
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    After having my day made better by the sight of a new S550, I managed to drive crosstown to the M-B dealer for closer scruinty of the S.

    The Interior: As some may know, I'm a self-proclaimed Audi nut, so I look at interiors very closely. My intitial close-up of a '07 S early in the year revealed that Mercedes shorted the S yet again of overtaking Audi in the interiors department. BUT, I saw the interior in a different color scheme and WOW. The graining and seaming of the upholstery is top-notch. The choice of materials inside are appropiate for the class. But I'm still out on the switchgear. I wonder why M-B chose to use those 70's style window switches? Retro maybe? But it throws off this otherwise classy interior, albeit not Audi classy.

    The Exterior: The panel gap tolorances are within millimeters. I don't think you could stick a quarter in the gap. The painting process on the cars seem to be of more good quality than before; absolutely no runs. The Bangled-trunk isn't so Bangled in person. The dreaded wheelflares aren't quite as big as they appear on print.

    The Drivetrain: That 7-G tranny is one miracle piece of machinery as it is able to squeeze every once of the 362-hp hidden in that 5.5L motor and get the car 0-60 in under 6 seconds(wonder if M-B will one-up Lexus with their upcoming 8-Speed Autobox in favor of a 10-Speed?). That's no easy feat considering the cars mass at 21/2 tons. The suspension is the M-B norm, plush yet compliant and firm when need be.

    Summation: M-B has built another car worthy if the 3-pointed star.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    That says a lot about the durability of those cars. I'd prefer the 4 Matic option, but I've heard those old I-6 Diesels go on forever. Is there any reason to believe the new Diesel engine won't be as durable?

    No there isn't. I must say that all this talk about MB diesels lasting forever is pretty interesting. Other than the engine itself (which their gas engines aren't one of Mercedes' reliability problems) the diesels are the same as any other Benz yet the diesels have the rep for lasting till the end of time, when I see plenty of old gasoline beater Benzes still on the road today. That said the April issue of C&D has story about diesel beaters which I guess will further perpetuate the myth about not being able to kill a diesel Benz.

    I see you're getting acquainted with the S430, how wonderful. You'll find that Benz is full of little, sometimes odd details!

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Speaking of MB diesels, I frienD of mine just bought an R class, nice people mover but I wonder why no diesel option?

    This fall there will be a R320 CDI, once the low sulphur diesel is widely available. Also a ML320 in OCT.

    The reason why the newer diesels can't run on the older blend is partly because of what you stated about what comes out the other end. They can't pass emissions on the old blend of diesel we get here and they aren't designed to run on it. The old Benz I6 can run on nearly anything but the new V6 can't, but it is much cleaner than the I6 too. There there is the issue of engine damage.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Give it time the styling will grown on you I'm sure. I'm sold on the S having seen it on the road a few times now, especially in AMG trim the car is killer.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Once the E gets it mid-life adjustments I expect it to re-claim its traditional position in the LPS segment. See you in June/July and again in Dec. ;)

  • blckislandguyblckislandguy Posts: 1,150
    I picked ours up at BestBuy, took it home on the ferry and the cable guy hooked it up when he came with the new box you need. Looks fine. Where do I find these video threads you referenced and who has the disc you can buy to adjust it?
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    A great video site is avsforum, a direct link to their forums is here.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    I second the "avsforum" recommendation.
    There are great discussions there of every popular HDTV model and an entire discussion alone of how to calibrate the new Sony Bravia XBR LCD with and without professional help. Posters discuss their complete settings. Excellent!

    The Avia Guide To Home Theater, a fine calibration DVD, can be purchased at Circuit City, Best Buy, Tower Records, J & R, in person or through their websites and at
    Hope this helps.

    I apologize profusely for the divergence.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    The knock on the LCD sets in the past has been their inability to handle motion, particularly fast sports motion as they left a blur motion behind at times. I noticed that liability in football once while I was watching a game on an LCD set in Best Buy but that was 2 yeras ago. Supposedly the next generation sets were going to reduce or eliminate that problem. If they have corrected that than these sets should start to dominate over plasmas and prices should fall. As for me - my decision, at least for my family room is, unfortunately, tied to what can fit in my family room cabinet and it's a custom made one that had to be fit between two load bearing columns. I've got a 46" latest generation DLP and am very happy with it. Many people have mistaken it for a plasma.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,301
    The new Sony XBR LCD has made motion blurring a thing of the past.
    The picture quality approaches plasma. Excellent blacks.
    Note that Sony has given up on plasma and is concentrating their HD efforts on LCD.
  • benzsterbenzster Posts: 152
    An answer to the issue of speakers being heard and not seen:
    There is a screen product that is paintable. It is mudded into the wall like a piece of sheetrock and painted over. Depth is an issue on an outside wall of course. Then there is the possibility of 2x6 offset wall studs for soundproofing (new const.) to gain .... whew whoa. sry ADD kickin in.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    The Freestyle, while interesting, doesn't quite have the get-up-and-go and smoothness that's necessary

    As an owner with 25K miles on my Freestyle, I'd have to disagree. I just drove last weekend from the coast of Virginia to Ohio over the Appalachian mountains. No problems with power, and I averaged 24mpg driving in the 70s. I put the car on cruise at 70mph, and even when going up the mountains it was smooth. The only time the engine RPM noise is really rough sounding is when you floor it, and I've never found the need to do that. And I've passed trucks on two lane roads as well.

    The CVT is great in that going up or down the mountains you don't have to downshift in a manual or put in Low gear in an automatic. I would put the cruise at 70mph and going down the mountains on pretty curvey roads, the car kept going the constant 70mph without the need of any shifting and I never had to touch the brakes once. The signs said to slow down to 60mph on some of the steeper and curvey downhills, but the Freestyle was plenty steady that I kept the cruise on 70mph. And my wife and baby were sleeping in the second row the whole time during this part of the drive, so I consider that a pretty good test of smoothness and refinement.

    I'm not sure what "refinement" issues you're talking about, but the only unrefined sounds I've ever heard was when I did floor the engine just to see what it would do. It jumped forward fast, but it did sound pretty unrefined; however, in an emergency situation (which is the only situation where you need to floor the engine), I'm not too concerned with how the engine sounds! Plus I only paid $24K for my Freestyle, so for that money, I'm not expecting all of the qualities of a $40K car.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,992
    I just realized I'm in the High End Luxury Marques forum, which isn't where I'd expect to see the Freestyle. I guess if you're comparing the Freestyle in terms of refinement in this category, then I can see how you can say it's unrefined. But you have to compare vehicles in a similar price range.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    I'm kinda thinkin' there are other places where conversations about the Freestyle and, um, home electronics would fit better. ;)
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