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High End Luxury Cars



  • rcf8000rcf8000 Posts: 619
    I went from a l995 S500, which I had for 7 years and liked a lot, to an LS430, and I have never regretted it. Nor have I regretted not getting the new generation S500. I consider it to be a shrunken, cheapened version of the earlier generation car. I have owned 3 different Lexus models in the last 5 years, and the reliability has been far superior to what I have experienced with MB cars, not to mention the dealer experience. However, I have not given up on MB. I recently replaced my RX300 with a new E320 wagon. If Lexus offered anything close to it, I would have gone with Lexus. (How about a GS300 wagon, Lexus?) Except for marginally comfortable seats, I am really enjoying the E320 wagon.
  • adu1adu1 Posts: 47
    FWIW, rumor has Lexus planning a "sportwagon" (which can mean all kinds of things, these days) variant of the next-generation GS.
  • I am about to order a 2003 745i. The question I have is regarding the Adpative Ride Package. I have tried all dealerships in my area to see if I can compare cars with and without this package but have been unsuccessful. Can anybody give me some hands on experience or insight into what this Adpative Ride is all about. I understand the Self Leveling part but will it make a dramatic improvement in ride quality (handling, etc) ?
  • I don't consider this a real luxury car, but...

  • When does the luxury tax expire? Is it Jan. 1, 2003? Anybody know, or is there another board that addresses this?
  • I think I answered my own question, if this is reliable:

    Anybody know any different?


  • My LS430 has the Adaptive Vehicle Air Suspension if that is similar. The improvements in ride and handling appear to be only slight. The Self Leveling and lowering feature reduce the Cd, improve gas mileage, decrease tire wear and should reduce wear and tear on both the drive train and other suspension parts; but again the improvement is only slight. On the other hand, on many makes, it has the reputation of being the first major system to fail. My brother-in-law estimates that it will cost $3000 to replace a similar system on his Lincoln. It should cost more on a BMW. My recommendation is that unless it already comes on the car you want, don't order it as an option.
  • ljflx and stevestein, I didn't know you guys were over here again and embroiled with some old adversaries!! I thought all the fun had gone out of this place when arcoates disappeared. I see at least one "benzaholic" is still battling, facts notwithstanding.

    And stevestein, that analysis based on movement trends between brands was very insightful.

    Can't believe I missed so many posts and such a spirited - if predictable - debate. Back on the LS board we're reduced to arguing about the nav system being a deadly distraction!
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Flint350 - I thought you were still reading. i would never want you to miss the fun. Some interesting comments on the S-class board if you haven't been there re S-class build quality and staying power.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,024
    Eric Gillin, a staff reporter for, is doing a story about the luxury used car market and is looking to talk to people who have recently bought a used luxury car.

    Feel free to email with your comments or contact information. Thanks!


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    Share your vehicle reviews

  • ihave purchased a 2002 ls 430-u/l with 4ooo miles.
    this is a rare find.bought from an estate sale,
    the dealer kept me from going to mb to sniff around.i bought the car for 58k from the dealer
    with 5.25% somtimes makes it hard
    to rear off to another brand name.the lexus financing is easy to hop on since they can play
    with the big boys in % far this car is
    flawless except for the goodyear tires that need to be replaced at 35k miles
  • linardlinard Posts: 59

    Our S class (1987) was safe, but this one tops our big time...

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yeah that is amazing but nevermind that, Mercedes' aren't good cars anymore according
    to a special few on here.

    If it doesn't have the fanciest stereo, the softest leather, extra glossy wood, lowest sheen
    plastics, and coffin-like silence then it's a cheap pitiful car. Thats all you need nowadays
    to "impress". Nevermind all that wasted engineering beneath the car.

  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    All of these cars have great engineering. Some of the ones MB differentiates itself with only come as options and only end up on a handful of cars anyway.

    What's with all the exaggerations and more importantly what's with all the bitterness?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yes all these cars have great engineering, but for some if they can't see it in the interior's plushness, or window sticker it isn't important. Safety is one of those things.

    "Some of the ones MB differentiates itself with only come as options and only end up on a handful of cars anyway."

    Not entirely true. Electro-hydraulic braking is on every E-Class and SL. ABC is available on all the S and CL-Class cars, and MB's unequaled safety engineering is present on every car they make.

    "What's with all the exaggerations and more importantly what's with all the bitterness? "

    What exaggerations? That seems to be all the talk on here now, plastic quality, wood and stereos. If a car doesn't excel in those areas it's not up to par, everything else doesn't matter. Not bitter at all, just going by the mood on here lately.

  • So youre saying that Mercedes leaves absolutely no room for improvement in the area of interior quality?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Sure they do, but plush leather, fancy stereos and the like was never what made a Mercedes a Mercedes. It was always the engineering and features that seperated them from the rest. Something that they still do admirably I might add, engineering. I guess I'm just tired of reading about plastics, leather and stereos, things that can be had in any car.

  • pluskinpluskin Posts: 79
    Seems to me that since you are paying a premium for a Benz over any equivalent car in its class, there should be no excuses. If you are paying top dollar, shouldn't their interiors be up to par?

    Anyway, great engineering is a matter of perception. Are Mercedes clearly better engineered than other luxury makes? Do they handle better than BMW's? Have better reliability than Lexus's? Better craftsmanship than Audi's? Safer than Volvo's? Are features like electro-hydraulic braking or ABC adding significantly to your driving experience?

    Don't get me wrong, they are for the most part very nice cars. But this vaunted engineering prowess is mostly a thing of the past.
  • cul8tercul8ter Posts: 10
    You have to remember that merc1 has never owned a Mercedes or any of the other cars discussed on this board. So, his opinions are all based on what he has read or on test drives. He has not had the privilege of sitting in the Mercedes service department for four hours only to find out that they are going to need to keep the car for a week to repair some malfunction. The engineering of my S500 has seen many more days in the service department than my LX470, LS430, H1, and Volvo S80 combined. I am confident that all of these vehicles would withstand the most severe accidents. Unfortunately, there's always a question in the back of my mind as to whether all of the electronics based safety devices (air bags, abs, etc.) in my S500 will work properly when needed. Does good engineering equal reliable engineering at Mercedes Benz? Maybe, when it comes to safety systems, but definitely not when it comes to any other aspect of the car's engineering. Anyway, I know merc1 seems to have plenty of positive things to say about Mercedes, but I don't think it would be wise to put too much stock in his opinions because they are based primarily on what he's read or what someone has told him. It would be like expecting a person who has read every book about playing baseball for the Yankees and has talked to every second baseman who's ever played to be able to suit up and play second base for the Yankees. How much do you think that person would love the Yankees or second base after seeing how it really is to play in the majors?
  • "Seems to me that since you are paying a premium for a Benz over any equivalent car in its class, there should be no excuses. If you are paying top dollar, shouldn't their interiors be up to par?"


    World class car engineering should include the engineering that goes into making all customers happy...not just the engineering that goes to making engineers and car enthusiasts happy.
  • if I'm correct, merc1 has too owned Mercedes...
  • And by the way, I own a Mercedes that is ultra-reliable and gives me no problems whatsoever.
  • You own one of my favorite Mercedes models. Ive actually been looking around for a 2.6 lately.
  • linardlinard Posts: 59
    cul8ter - I agree with you that the failure of any component on a car such as a Mercedes is unthinkable, it is not the sign of weakness or deterioration on Mercedes' part. While many of believe Mercedes to be subpar on reliability scores, I still believe they still are the tops in durability. I have enough friends and acquantances that service the luxury marks to generalize the longevity of Lexus, Mercedes, and BMW. These mechanics believe that an E class will outlive any GS or LS Lexus and even the 5 series BMW. Go to Europe, you'll see Mercedes being the main brand utilized by taxi drivers and services. This is due to the fact that those E classes will go 200 to 300 miles w/o major failures (such as those of major driveline components or structural deterioration). These taxis are then resold to private owners who cannot afford a newer luxury make. While Lexus is tops in reliability, it's long-term durability is not as trusted as Mercedes. For example, I have seen a lot more tired 90-93 LS' than same period S Classes. In addition, the plastics of the Lexus, which I can vouch for as my extended father figure has had two, do not hold up as well as those of a Mercedes (of which, we've had three). They are much softer I agree, but they are not as durable. The leather fits along the same lines, much softer in a Lexus, but find any 4 year or older Lexus with average miles, and you'll see much more wear and tear than in a Benz.

    While many of you have also discussed the group that has switched from Mercedes and to a lesser degree BMW to Lexus, I know many who have switched from Lexus to Mercedes b/c there is a perceived difference in qualities such as solidity and perceived safety. A friend of mine who has a 2001 LS430 didn't realize how unsatisfied he would be with his car is now trying to sell it. He also has a 92 SL that he's trying to sell as well since he can't fit in it anymore. But he will agree that there is this sense of solidity that you can't quantify in a Benz.

    Reliability is difficult to gauge as the typical Mercedes driver will more angry at any mechanical or electrical issue than that of a Lexus driver. I myself know of hoards of Mercedes drivers who have had no issue on their late model Mercedes. Mercedes, while rated less in reliablity than Lexus, is similar or better than BMW and Audi.

    In the end, I do believe Mercedes must continue improving it's perceived and actual quality which I think will be marked by the year 2003 as the new E and CLK class have been rated ahead of their competitors in European publications. They both have been heralded as a return to traditional Mercedes values of quality. The S class receives a much needed interior revamp, the SL is just wonderful, and the M class has one less year of life.
  • You are lucky that you are one of the few that has a very reliable 190E.

    However, I don't feel they are true luxury since they break down all the time. And to make matters worse, I see more '86-'92 E class than '84-'93 190 Es. How is that?

    Simply put, the 190 is pure garbage and if you look at most of them that are around today, they look like crap as well. And I am surprised that they have not aged well like the 300E compared next to them. Those 190s creak and rattles over minor potholes and bumps now. Poor condition automobiles at best.

    J "CaddyLac"
  • Actually the 190E from 1989-1993 was one of the most reliable Mercedes' ever. The 2.6 engine is a shorter stroke version of the 3.0 and is in fact as reliable... the 2.6 was more widely produced worldwide as the 300E 2.6 or 260E was more popular in most countries. My car is basically just like a smaller version of a 300E, I don't see how they are garbage at all. The 300E has aged better, but then again, they started out with richer owners and people are more willing to put money into a more expensive car to begin with than a compact.
  • By the way, Jaguars broke down all the time and lots of Bentleys do too but they're quite the epitome of luxury.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I'm glad you know me so well. You're right I don't own a Mercedes, neither do I know of anyone that has owned one. Nope. I'm going completely by what I've read and seen on TV. Makes sense.

    I have stated a many times that Mercedes-Benz needs to get reliability under control especially since they're taking technology further and further with each re-design. Agreed.

    What gets me about certain people in here is that they'll tell you that a Benz is made of Kia grade plastic and a sound system so bad that you can't hear it. Every Mercedes is this cheaply built, poor handling, terribly unreliable side-of-the-road car.

    Lexus on the other hand has never ever had a problem, no recalls nothing. Perfect in just about every way. Good-looking, welded correctly from the factory, outhandles BMWs etc, etc.

    Pluskin, handling like a BMW was never part of the design brief for any Mercedes except the C-Class. Where is it written that a Mercedes has to out-handle a BMW? BMW for all their "handling" doesn't move nearly as many cars as Mercedes does over 50K. Handling plays second fiddle to cracked engine blocks and failed SMG transmissions. Don't get me wrong, I love BMWs, but this "handling" thing is getting a little absurd now. Nowhere other than at the C-Class level has Mercedes ever said anything about BMW and trying match their handling.
    As far as safety is concerned I think you need to see the photo about 10 or posts back. I seriously doubt any other car would have held up as good as that S430 did. Only Volvo comes to mind.

    "World class car engineering should include the engineering that goes into making all customers happy...not just the engineering that goes to making engineers and car enthusiasts happy.

    Nearly impossible. You can't make everyone happy. A Mercedes never was and never will be as "plush" as certain cars it's not the MB way. If you want gushy-plush, Cadillac and Lexus will gladly sell you a car. If Mercedes went that route their traditional customers would be gone.

  • So youre saying that if Mercedes started using high grade plastics and had the latest in nav system technology and had the greatest of stereos available in any car, then all the traditional Benz buyers would be pissed off and wouldnt buy a Benz anymore?

    Last time I checked, Benz was in the business to sell cars. Lexus sells more cars than Benz. Do you think that Mercedes doesnt really care enough to try to cater to the tastes of the new modern Lux buyer???
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    You ask:

    Are Mercedes clearly better engineered than other luxury makes?

    Do they handle better than BMW's?

    Have better reliability than Lexus's?

    Better craftsmanship than Audi's?

    Safer than Volvo's?

    To answer your first question, Yes in most ways they are. Though it's lost on the uninformed or the type that can't get past the window sticker or that all important 10 minute test drive.
    Do they out-handle BMWs? No, never were intened to. Better reliability than Lexus. No. No argument there. Safer than Volvo's thats a good debate since Volvo is the only other company that can hold a candle to Mercedes' experience with safety engineering. Better craftsmanship than Audi. Not quite. Does a Benz suffer the problems that Audis have? Nope. Side note: I love Audi too, but they don't build a car even cable of standing next too a Benz over the long haul, once all the wood and leather treatments get old.

    What I'd like to know is what car does all of these things in one singular package. Outhandles a BMW, more reliable than a Lexus, better made than a Audi, safer than a Volvo. What car does all of this? Please tell me because I want one.

    Does ABC and SBC add anything to the driving experience? Every driven an Mercedes with these features? How do the SL55 and SL500 overcome their heavy weight to post excellent handling numbers? Ever read any posts here from S and CL owners with ABC on their cars?

    "This vaunted engineering prowess is mostly a thing of the past."

    Oh really, I'd like to know what other company is pushing technology like Mercedes.

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