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High End Luxury Cars



  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Lexus will launch a performance brand in late 2007 to compete with Mercedes' AMG and BMW's M divisions.

    Lexus will start with an IS sedan equipped with a 425-hp, 5.0-liter V-8. The engine is a retuned version of the LS 600h L hybrid's engine, dealer sources said.

    Consider that Toyota's "TRD" vehicles are mostly cosmetic features. With regards to the IS, just raising the HP won't be enough. Serious suspension modifications will be necessary, IMO, and I've yet to see TMC come through with BMW-matching suspension and handling.

    MY bet is tons of HP and a cosmetic appearance package to go with it. Unfortunately, many buyers will likely find it is terrific enough even without the handling of a BMW, and will still buy it over the 3-series, just due to the its HP rating and appearance package.

  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    That's possible, as there is no mention (yet) of suspension changes with the -F cars. We'll know more next month, maybe firsthand when merc1 goes to the Detroit show.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Consider that Toyota's "TRD" vehicles are mostly cosmetic features. With regards to the IS, just raising the HP won't be enough. Serious suspension modifications will be necessary, IMO, and I've yet to see TMC come through with BMW-matching suspension and handling.

    I think Lexus knows what they have to do. The very short lived "L-tuned" package for the GS added no power at all, and very little in terms of cosmetics. The big change was to the suspension. Also, the fact that they are looking to outside help like having Yamaha tune the engine and Brembo do the brakes is a good sign that somebody other than Toyota will be doing the suspension tuning. Toyota already has an established relationship with Lotus, for example, and they know suspensions.

    I think the IS-F and GS-F will be like the C and E class AMGs, enormous power with very solid handling. I don't think they will be track ready like the M5 and RS6.

    I really hope this convinces Infiniti to make a similar move.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,251
    IMO Infiniti would be a far better contender in producing exclusive limited production performance cars than Lexus. Unlike Lexus, Infiniti has proven with the M and G that they can produce both a chassis and a drivetrain that can easily compete with the Germans. Also the Nissan GT-R shows what potential Infiniti has in producing exciting cars.

    So why Lexus-F models? I guess Toyota is continuing its tradition of imitating Germans again by offering special limited editions. Apparently that is where the growth is according to a Wall Street Journal article:

    The growth of the luxury vehicle market is great news for auto makers with strong brands in the segment. But it presents a problem. If one of every five people on the road is driving a "luxury" car, the mystique of exclusivity that gives luxury brands a good chunk of their pricing power risks dilution.

    This is why there are cars like the S65 AMG and it's why you will see more such vehicles -- although not too many -- in coming years. The S65 AMG -- and rival high-performance models such as the BMW M5 or the Audi R8 -- represent the strategy by which "mass luxury" brands, as opposed to more exclusive nameplates like Rolls-Royce and Ferrari, will offer something special to customers whose financial capacity and discerning tastes set them apart from the merely affluent.

    The S65 AMG is very much a connoisseur's car. The real point of this car isn't the top speed or horsepower -- or even the city fuel economy of 13 miles per gallon. The magic of the S65 AMG is in the torque. The big AMG's V12 delivers 738 pound-feet of torque at a low 2000 revolutions per minute

  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    Thanks for the update, syswei. ;)

    But, regarding the IS, give me a call when the stick gets thur! Same goes for the "F-Class".

    Mercedes makes plenty of super-fast slushmobiles! All they get is a yawn from me. The market needs an animal meant to be driven! They should approach it the same way Chevy does the 'Vette/Z06.

    Fast doesn't always equal fun. :(

    I hear the Z06 is fun! :D

  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    If you can get around the Camry's greatness, the LS460 and S550 were, more or less, compared. Interesting findings!

    0-60: Mercedes - 5.6 to 5.7

    Quarter: Lexus - 14.0 to 14.2

    Braking: Mercedes - 127 to 135

    Handling: Split!

    Slalom - 60.1 Lexus, 58.6 Mercedes

    Skidpad - .83 Mercedes, .81 Lexus

    No need to ask who has economy or price advantages (almost $30k less for as-tested Lexus!).

    They basically said what you'd expect, the LS is a preeminent passengers car, and lacks an intangible that Mercedes has.

    "Still, Mercedes-level tech in a creamy, quiet package with a $25k discount should make Stuttgart nervous."

    At the end of the day, it all comes down to price/value.

    The LS SWB is still doing it's job expertly, I'd say. ;)

    BTW, many complaints about the luxury features in the Benz being stylish, but not very useful (Night Vision, adjustable susp.).

    The more things change..... :blush:

  • I posted some links at 21553.
    The LS needs little more BRAKING power, other than that, I believe it beats the S in comfort/luxury and value.
    Tag the Man, insisted that the we compare ONLY the LS L to the S550. :surprise:
  • You are right about the L-tuned stuff. I found out that with $2500 part and labor, my car would out handle the last gen 540i (sport version). They used to offer this as a dealer option.
    I guess now, with the F's, TMC is doing the variant thing to the Lexus line up.
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,251
    DrFill, 2001GS and Houdini:

    You three Lexus Musketeers have done wonders in defending the good and reputable name of Lexus despite all the mud slinging going on in this forum and outside this forum (auto journalists) regarding the LS

    Touche and good work indeed.

    If you think the LS reviews are bad you aint seen the latest review of the MB AMG S65 by CNNMoney/Fortune Magazine.Coincidentally Wall Street Journal could not stop raving today about the S65 while another another business mag/website today pooh poohs the S65. I guess we shouldn't be taking auto reviews in business magazines too seriously?

    Blkhemi I think you are very wise in picking the MB S600 over a MB AMG S65. A MB S65 is nothing more then a elephant(a large LWB luxury sedan) that wants to sprint and be and be as nimble as a leopard ( a sporty roadster). The S65 is proof that such a combo is not possible.

    Tagman at least you picked the right car for performance--a Porshce 911. Your car is certainly more fun to drive than a MB AMG S65.

    Whether you want to take CNN/Fortune seriously in terms of an auto review is up to you. But if you do here are some riveting details of their horrid AMG S65 review :


    PHOENIXVILLE, Penn. ( -- Some people, no matter how much they have, want to be sure they have more than everyone else.

    If you're one of those people, the high-priced Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG is the car for you - though you may regret your obsession with rushing to the top.

    This is a big car, though. Trying to make it into a sports sedan is a futile effort. True, it feels well controlled in turns. The automatically adjusting suspension stiffens up under pressure so there's surprisingly little body lean.

    But, beyond goosing the gas pedal, is it fun to drive?

    No, not really.

    It packs a punch, but at such a cost. It's not just the $40,000 between this and the V-12-powered S600, or even the $90,000 between this and the V-8-powered S550.

    It's as if someone drank a third of your bottle of Courvoisier and filled it back up with Night Train. The S65 is brimming with raw power, but the modifications make it feel, ultimately, more ordinary to drive than the car on which it's based.

    With its heavy and wide wheels and tires, and the power steering cranked up to compensate, the S65's steering is flighty and numb at low speeds.

    As speed increases, and the power steering boost is ratcheted down, steering feel is much better. But you feel bumps and, over rough pavement, you hear the sizzle of rubber over asphalt and the "whap" of expansion joints. In the S-class's opulent cabin, the noise is grating and out of place.

    The S65 doesn't have the advanced seven-speed transmission you get in other S-class cars, either. With 738 foot-pounds of torque, the S65's engine would make cogmeat salad out of that fancy machinery.

    So it comes with a 5-speed transmission. Again, feeling shifts from an automatic transmission is nothing unusual. But when those shifts are virtually imperceptible in versions costing tens of thousands less, you begin wondering just what it is you're paying for.

    Very few are fortunate to even be able to consider the S65 AMG. But there's a lesson here for everyone. More power doesn't always mean more enjoyment
  • deweydewey Posts: 5,251
    The biggest flaw in the M6 is its SMG transmission. Unfortunately BMW engineers at this point of time cannot make the SMG as capable as VW/Audi's DSG tranny.

    These criticisms are trivial compared with the M6’s one absolute failure: its transmission. The seven-speed sequential manual gearbox, intended to mimic a paddle-shifted Formula One racecar, is neither a good automatic nor a competent manual. After a week of frustration, I asked for a second week with the car to see if I could eventually make peace with the transmission.

    Fact is, when driven hard (and this is a car that seems to relish being pushed to its considerable limits), the gearbox shifts crisply. But if you ask it to perform mundane daily duties like driving to a grocery store — or nearly any task at which a two-speed Chevy Powerglide from the 1960s would excel — the S.M.G. fails miserably. Shifts are harsh and come at unexpected times. Starting from a stop is an exercise in lurch management.

  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    When C&D's review came out you were shaking your head and hanging it low...and discrediting that review as though it was trash. Now MT compares the short wheelbase(??) LS to the S550?... and suddently you are very supportive of the article.

    This is what merc1 always seems to complain about...agreeing with only those reviews that say what you like.

    This seems like an example of that to me.

  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    Tagman at least you picked the right car for performance--a Porsche 911. Your car is certainly more fun to drive than a MB AMG S65.

    Fun is exactly what I'm having with this car.

    But, in all honesty. I'd love to have that AMG S65 or even an S600 parked next to it. But that's not gonna happen anytime soon. I don't have blkhemi's resources. ;)

    BTW, I noticed a pic on the Porsche website that is exactly like the one I purchased, so I'll post it so you'll know what mine looks like. Here it is:


    No silver for me...speed yellow all the way. :)

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Thats why I like the Jag's ZF gearbox so much. It blips the throttle and matches revs during downshifts, and upshifts happen instantaniously, no tip-lag. At the same time, when in auto mode its buttery smooth. Definitely better than any SMG out there, other than Audi's S-tronic, which would actually be useless on the Jag because the torque would tear it apart.
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    I reported a while back that I had stopped at a Lexus dealership to take a look at an LS460 first hand.

    Well today, the dealer called me up and asked if I'd like a test drive seeing how the deal fell through on this vehicle.

    Well, quite naturally, I abiliged the offer and set up an appointment.

    Upon first impression:

    The Lexus-classic near inaudible-at-idle engine is still there. The gauges are very legible, again another Lexus novel. Once out onto the street, the first few feet tells me that this is not a LS430. The car seems tighter just be travelling at walking pace speeds. You just got a since of wallow on the brink of acceleration from the 430.

    The brakes, well they're reassuring, and are on the grabby side. I hate to say it, but I do concur with those who've said so. Not so grabby as the pre-'07 E-Class Benz, but grabby enough and on par with the V8 GS.

    The steering is hugely improved over the predecessor. I believe Lexus redesigned the whole rack and pinion set-up. It works wonderfully.

    The ride is vastly better, still with those slight secondary motions that plagued the previous car. The car seems more controlled on the whole tho, particularly on fast humpbacks that would've sent the old car into panic VSC mode. The handling, while still at the back of the pack, is improved just as well. But this is still an LS, it won't feel comfortable cruising the autobahn at 100+. But that's not it's core intention.

    The build quality is the Lexus norm, impeccable. But it no longer is the leader, as witnessed again by the expanse of hard plastics and the wide panel gap tolerances. The materials don't seem to be an outright advance over the 430.

    As great as the new LS is over the old one, there is still not enough of an advancement to warrant some to become pro-Lexus. Has this car became too perfect? Nah, Lexus just didn't want to ruin a winning recipe. And that's great. But in this country, that may prove to be a cardinal sin as witnessed by some of the best selling cars going from on top on the world to a has-been at the snap of a finger because of continuing the status quo, without change.

    And in this hotly contested category, a constant evolution is mandatory. And for this, I see the LS being very competent, but not the #1 contender....
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    Now MT compares the short wheelbase(??) LS to the S550?...

    Would you agree that the most appropriate future comparison would be for a LS460L vs a S450?

    And for the S600hL vs (depending on where it is priced) S550 or S600?

    After all, if you want wheelbases to be roughly comparable to make a comparo "fair", why not engine displacement too?
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    This is one of those cars that comes along that makes everyone gawk with the ? tattooed right on their foreheads.

    Well, I was one of these people in in October of '04 when I dropped the hammer on my spiffy new '05 S65 AMG.

    It's just one of those cars that no one absolutely needs, but absolutely has to have. 738lb-ft of torque. 0-60 in 4 secs flat all the while having you and 3-4 of your passengers wisked away in total opulance at 155 mph gov.limted speeds(189 top out, I know, I topped mine out).

    I decided, however, this go'round would be different. One thing, I didn't find this current S65 to warrant such a premium over the S600 as this car has it all, standard, and is only .4 secs. to 60 slower, but interestingly enough, it out-brakes the AMG, all the while delivering better mileage.

    Secondly, the S8 was already here. So, I didn't have to put up with the stiffened AMG ride and I could've bought the S8 and a loaded A8L for what one S65 runs. I know, the S65 will chew the Audi for lunch, but the Audi is still the best all-arounder I've seen in this super-sedan war. So it all made sense, altho the reasoning is in the eye of the beholder. I was once a beholder...
  • blkhemiblkhemi Posts: 1,717
    The Jag's version of the ZF is probably the best on the market. I love the way it blips the throttle and keeps the car in the powerband.

    Only DSG and Infinti's manumatic that's used in the M45 truly compares, while F1 Ferrari's, DuoSelect/CamCorsa Maseratti's, and SMG Bimmer's flat out ridiculous, and these are the supposed "fun cars".

    BTW: I wonder it this is the same ZF used in Aston Martin cars? The V8 Vantage blips the throttle simiarly.
  • sysweisyswei Posts: 1,804
    I see the LS being very competent, but not the #1 contender....

    I will grant that the LS460 isn't a revolutionary improvement on the LS430.

    But what does "#1 contender" mean, exactly? Not number one in your eyes, in the sense that you'd pick it as a purchase over its competitors. But it will be number one in other people's eyes. Possibly enough so that, once we get past the first year, it may well be, like the LS430 was, the top seller in the class in the U.S.
  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    When C&D's review came out you were shaking your head and hanging it low...and discrediting that review as though it was trash. Now MT compares the short wheelbase(??) LS to the S550?... and suddently you are very supportive of the article.

    This is what merc1 always seems to complain about...agreeing with only those reviews that say what you like. This seems like an example of that to me.

    Tag, you make it seem like I said MT is great and C&D is crap, which is not what I said.

    From my post, how did you get that? :confuse:

    I am the first to say C&D has a history of doing the best comparisons in the business. My point is that since their facelift a few months ago, the comparos have slipped. The $18k sedan test, the previous month, was also below their high standard.

    I brought up the good, and bad, notes on the LS test in MT. They said it was better for passengers than drivers.

    The objective tests numbers were important to bring out, since everyone with a belly-button here has questioned the integrity of Lexus and the LS' abilities.

    The Mazda3 is a better car than the VW Rabbit.

    Accepting the LS460 losing to three cars the LS430 beat two years ago just isn't going to happen.

    What would you have me do, Tag? Ignore any contradictions, and praise the C&D comparison?

    Should I surpress the fact that the lowly SWB 460 fully matched the supreme S550, step for step?

    You tell me, Tag. How should I hanle this faux pas?

    I believe I showed great restraint, actually bringing up the low price of the LS as a salient point of emphasis!

    As I did earlier with the IS-F, I will be the FIRST to bash Lexus, if it is warranted.

    The LS deserves better treatment here. :(

  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    So why Lexus-F models? I guess Toyota is continuing its tradition of imitating Germans again by offering special limited editions.

    What would you have Lexus do, not produce competitive vehicles?

    Lexus' strategy from now on is to move upmarket, take advantage of the name they've built, and charge more for it.

    Mercedes has been around for over a century. The question is not will Lexus do what Mercedes has done.

    The question is will they do it better?

    You act like you really don't want to know the answer.

    I hear Toyota is entering NASCAR....... :blush:

  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    I'm not sure if I misunderstood you or not...

    Do you think the LS460 or LS460L is the better comparison to the S550? Or doesn't it matter.

  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    That's not for me to answer.

    Many feel the LS is not competitive with the S regardless!

    The cars are 7 inches apart.

    Would MT editors pay the extra $28k for those 7"?

    C&D editors might, but the last time a SWB was compared, to anything, it won, and won, and won.

    Is price the most important criterion? Mission? Target audience? Performance? Amenities? Looks? Resale? Reputation? Image? Or the total package?

    Look at it this way. If the SWB LS460 were the same price as the S550, and matched it step for step in performance, like it did in MT, how would it be perceived? As better? Worse?

    The S550 has more features than a $67k LS460. But MT didn't really like the extra features it provided. And it didn't prove superior in testing, but had an "intangible" quality. Fair enough.

    The LS460 is $25k-30k less. How is it perceived now? Would Lexus shy away from a comparison? I don't think so.

  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaPosts: 8,441
    OK, Doc... I 'm good with all that. Makes sense.

    In some regard, I suppose anything could be compared with anything else.

    But now that the LS is available in the long wheelbase, I just feel that it serves as a better comp. That's all I've been saying.

    I understand you can theoretically compare anything with anything if you want, but the relevancy diminishes, IMO, if the models chosen are not as close as truly possible.

    But, I get your point nonetheless.


  • guestguest Posts: 770
    It really bugs Dewey and Hemi. :P

  • drfilldrfill Posts: 2,484
    Merc and Hp.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The A8 driver's seat was better than the S or LS-comfortable but firmer. If I was shopping for a HELC (instead of a 335i coupe), it would come down to the BMW 7 vs the Audi A8.

    Yes I can see that. The A8's seats are firmer for sure.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The S easily bested the LS on breaking, but it probably was equiped with the right tires for the test (see break comment).

    Same tires as the C&D test. Didn't you read the article before posting it?

    One place that the tested LS blown the S out of the water is the Price as tested category.

    It should have, the car tested was a tweener SWB model still clinging to the entry-level rung.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Those LS brakes still do look disappointing. I wish the car mags would put identical brand/model tires on each car in a comparo.

    Never going to happen. Each make comes with the tires specified by the manufacturer.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Anything to make up for that C&D thrashing huh? Too bad the MT artcle wasn't a formal comparo and the LS model used was a SWB model. Did you bother to read what they said about the LS overall? It doesn't doesn't beat the Benz to become the luxury car champion or something like that. Try again doc.

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