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High End Luxury Cars



  • boo20boo20 Posts: 85
    The 2004 S will have a new 7 speed transmission. The new model is not expected until 2005.
  • i_drivei_drive Posts: 35
    i am new to the board.

    i have a 2003 SL55AMG, Lexus GX470, and a 2002 S430. all of them are fantastic cars, except for my S-Class. It's been literally a pain in the a_s.

    i finally decided to replace it with either of the following:

    1) 2004 BMW 745LI (refreshed model)
    2) 2004/2005 MB S-Class
    3) 2003 S500
    4) 2004 Audi A8L
    5) 2004 LS430 Ultra luxury

    i have owned many BMW, MB, and Lexus products. i had a particuliarily great time with lexus, having owned 9 LS400's. i recently traded in my wife's '99 ML320 for the GX470. i loved my old 3-series from the 80's, and my MB 300E coupe.

    unfortunately, i had a terrifying experience with my '02 S430. i don't know which of the five to get. should i wait until the new models come out in a year or two, or just get a current model now and wait until the "bugs" are out of the new models?

    and also, i caught my first in-person glimpse of the new Maybach at LA. It was at the dealership where i bought the SL.

    although I really love lexus for its reliability, and performance (my LS400 was faster than my S430), i must say that lexus lost a loyal customer for the LS430. for the past few years, I always purchased an LS without a doubt, but last year, with the introduction of the new BMW 7-series, Mercedes S-Class (you really can't go wrong in terms of style with a big benz), and the upcomming Audi A8L, i suddenly realized that Lexus was lagging in avant-garde styling, interior design, and real, sporty performance. my son used to complain that he would get nausea by sitting in the rear seat of the LS400; the suspension was so mushy.

    i got the GX because that was ideal for my family, but i'll stick with the german companies until lexus redoes their styling and sportiness. and its also because of that that i got the SL55 than the SC430.
  • mb1raymb1ray Posts: 3
    The problem with - Lexus, Infinity & Acura is that the Japanese cars don't have any character. All that they try to do is copy Mercedes-Benz & BMW.
    Also, remember the Lexus slogan, "Almost as good as a Mercedes-Benz"!
  • carnaughtcarnaught 'zonaPosts: 2,327
    You own awesome cars but out of curiousity, with the way you feel, why is the 2004 LS430 Ultra on your shopping list?
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Passionate pursuit of perfection has always been the slogan. I love the lack of character and passion tags people come up with. When all else fails that is the place to go.

    Let's get real. Lexus makes great cars - every bit as good and probably better in build quality than the Germans. Reliability is far superior. Whether or not the cars appeal to an individual is up that individual. There is no such thing as a universal opinion.
  • boo20boo20 Posts: 85
    Lexus makes great cars. Yes from a mechanical standpoint. That is if you don't mind riding in a vehicle that looks more suited to store cold meat products. They should just refrigerate them and sell them to morgues and meat packing houses.
  • You should try to understand that some of us do not want to stand out and shout "HAY...LOOK AT ME"

    To me a Mercedes has too much of a "I'm a Big shot look here". A Lexus LS 430 is every bit as good a car (actually in many ways better) and it doesn't project the need to lord it over the rest, That suits me just fine, Ultra quality, dependability and luxury in a plain wrapper.

    I do understand others feel differently.
  • boo20boo20 Posts: 85
    Believe me I understand that car buyers have different criteria when purchacing a vehicle. That's why I have to laugh when the car magazines pit them against each other, total up some points and declare a 'winner.' Who's to say that I would put the same weight upon the various criteria? Maybe style and safety are more important to me. Maybe value and understatement is more important to you. That's fine. Lexus is a more reliable car. Even Toyota makes amazingly refined engines (I used to own one). But that's not enough to overcome the aesthetics of the car (for me). Maybe that's a shallow and stupid way to spend my money but (as Nietzsche said): "Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. At least I have the courage of my bad taste."
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Good points. But your refrigerator comments are your opinion for yourself. If I felt that way I wouldn't buy an LS430. Since I did I hardly share your opinion.

    Now Merc1 thinks the LS430 copied the old S-class. So if you agree you must also think the old S-class is a refrigerator. Yet many hard core MB buyers (not fans) think the old S-class was the end of the great MB's. I don't agree - by the way - but those I know think MB veered too far from their normal path with the S re-design.

    I think the Lexus slogan was/is actually "the relentless pursuit of perfection" (said passionately in the ads).
  • boo20boo20 Posts: 85
    I don't see any inconsistency in claiming that Lexus tries to copy MB and yet produces less appealing designs. It's surely not an exact copy. Nobody is claiming that. They surely want to differentiate themselves in some way and yet still evoke hints at classic MB lines. But the result, although appealing to some, is not attractive to my eye.

    Anyway the whole business about Lexus copying MB syling cues does not bother me. What's more significant to me are MB innovations that don't make it into Lexus for several years (until Lexus has 'perfected' them so to speak). Yes, I've raised the dreaded and despised 'innovation' argument.

    Like I've said before: I'm grateful to Lexus for keeping MBs feet to the fire. They are less likly to take their customers for granted when facing stiff competition.
  • i_drivei_drive Posts: 35
    you know-

    i just can't help but feel overwhelmed by the comfort, and power behind the wheel of a LS430. plus, with the combined features of the ultraluxury package, which brings the total MSRP under $68,000- it's a much better overall value than a stripped MB S430 or BMW 745i. to be honest with you; the lexus is seriously the only comfortable car i feel driving. let me explain:

    the Mercedes-Benz S-Class:
    a beautiful automobile, in which i like TO BE SEEN driving, NOT DRIVING. acceleration is quite bad, and transmission jerky. power is not smooth at all. the interior (of the 2000-2002 models atleast) is filled with cheap-plastic materials. reliability is another issue; i have calculated the costs of repair for my S430 and it has totaled to approx $21,038.67 (thank goodness most of it was under warrantee). i mean, an S-Class is an S-Class. it's absolutely timeless, and is basically the best sedan you can get. but i just don't feel relaxed/comfortable behind it. sometimes, i think, well, i should have waited and have purchased a S500, or even S55 AMG. but i have driven the S500, and to be honest with you, i find the LS430 to drive just a well as a S500. i would have gotten the S55 AMG, if not for my wife, who has threatened to divorce me (she was kidding ;-) though) if i purchased one more "sporty-car". so i opted for a fully-loaded S430 instead. big mistake.

    The BMW 745i/Li:
    to be jonest with you, i wouldn't mind at all if i had gotten the 7-series instead. but when i test drive it, i always notice that the steering is way too loose; if i turn it a little, the car turns too much. i therefore do not feel in control of the vehicle. also, with the iDrive; it's a cute concept, and i like it, but after having used the MMI on the A8L, i think it is way too complicated. i finally "mastered" it after spending the ENTIRE day at my childhood friend's house (he has a drop-dead gorgeous new 760Li). but i must admit; the handling and performance truly exceed that of both the Audi and Lexus LS430. i thought i was in my SL55 (though not as fast).

    The new 2004 A8L:
    it's overall, the best car (out of the Audi, BMW, and MB) that fits me well. inside, the quality if PERFECT. i mean everywhere; take a look at the hydraullic hinge supporting the front hood. or the materials used inside; the wood, materials... although most people call it "overly-conservative" or "boring design", but to be honest with you guys; it's really quite beautiful; the lines are smooth, and there are no design areas that are controversial. on the contrary, i find that the A8L has the classic lines of a traditional luxury-sedan, with a splash of modernization. perfect balance. this was one of the major reasons why i did not decide to purchase another LS from lexus; so boxy and unimginative. but, the only reason why i am rather "iffy" on buying an Audi, is that i think that the name until recently was never as "uber-sounding" as the name 'Mercedes-Benz' 'BMW' or 'Jaguar'. Then, it made me feel, "hey! if you pay ,less than $5,000 more, you can drive a Mercedes!" or "At the same time, I can drive a BMW flagship model. Why not?"

    But, i guess seeing is truly beleiving. when i first saw the review @, i though the A8L was as borring as ever, but after seeing it in person, I was truly impressed with Audi. (my daughter has a Audi TT right now and i am quite pleased in terms of fit-n-finish, performance, safety, and reliability.)

    but then, after thinking it over, I can't help but say to myself: "Come on... i'm driving a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, essentially the most luxurious and sought-after luxury sedan on the road. A Mercedes will always be a Mercedes."

    And you know what? Even after flipping through pages and pages of receipts from my dealership, showing problems that were fixed, issues that at first couldn't be resolved, that needed 1-3 months to be fixed, i then stare at the front of my car, then at the silver, star-

    i chuckle to myself, smile, and then can't help but to take the S-Class out for a spin around town.
  • boo20boo20 Posts: 85
    If you're concerned about the reliability of MB you should not even consider an Audi. I would prefer a Lexus any day of the week even with its Amana refrigerator styling. Its not as if the styling of the big Audi is all that compelling anyway to justify the maintenance nightmares I have been reading about on this car.

    The big BMW may be the 'ultimate driving machine' but its got a rear end that looks like an ethnic joke. Haven't sat in a 7 series lately but they have always made me feel clautrophobic and don't 'age' nearly as well as MBs do. Compare a 10 year old MB with a 10 year old BMW and you'll see what I mean. MB has always had the knack (as far as I'm concerned) of designing cars with lasting appeal. Even when I don't like the original design it usually 'grows' on me. ALthough the ML and SLK have been an exception to that rule.

    I'll be trading in my E this fall for an S 500 4 matic. Audi, BMW and Lexus are not even on the horizon in my opinion.
  • i_drivei_drive Posts: 35
    this morning i took my son to his friend's house and while driving back, i got hit in the rear of the SL55 (only 3 weeks old). we pulled over immediately and inspected the damage:

    1) Rear bumper dented in/out 2-3 centimeters on right/left side.
    2) Paint damage/chip on trunk lid/lip
    3) Trunk lid lip dented in approx. 1-1.5 centimeters
    4) Undercarriage lopsided (right side collapsed, while left side still attached)
    5) Cracked rear right taillight.
    6) Don't think that power roof will close as the roof was open while driving, and the rear lid won't open.
    7) slight ripple at the back of the trunk, and exhaust pipe damaged.

    You will not believe what I was hit by:
    a HUGE black Hummer H2. and what a coincidence: i happen to know his guy as he is one of the parents at my child's school.

    overall, i was extremely surprised how much damage there as on the SL.

    well he was extrememly apologetic about it. although the rear of my car was quite sad looking, the front of the Hummer was basically not-affected at all (you can see small scratches and paint chips here and there).

    i was able to drive it to a nearby dealership and they have told me that i will have to wait approx. 1 month for new parts to come in, as well as an insurance agent to inspect the damage.

    at first they offered me a C240 kompressor, but at the end, i got an ML320 loaner. a far cry from an SL, but i'm grateful that i did not sustain any injuries as we were going through stop-and-go traffic on a local street, and he accelerated and hit me at around 15-20 MPH.

    my wife already told me, "hahaha. told you not to get it. serve you right."
  • boo20boo20 Posts: 85
    MBs seem to sustain substantial damage on crash tests in minor 5 mph collisions. The engineers say that it is designed that way to absorb rather than transmit the shock to the cabin. I don't know. Good luck with your car.
  • carnaughtcarnaught 'zonaPosts: 2,327
    My deepest sympathies. Glad you're all right. Shame on your wife for the comment. That's like hitting you when your down.
  • I am sorry to hear about your accident. You are very fortunate to own such a vast array of automobiles. If you had major problems with your s430, stay away from the Audi. It is a shame the car is junk, because it is so beautiful in and out imo. When are you planning to replace your S?

     And lastly, I wouldn't call the S430 slow, by any means. But if you just got out of your SL, I would imagine anything would feel slow though.
  • i know. of all people, i happened to marry a woman who has absolutely no interest whatsoever in cars. (she always gets the new GX confused with the ML500, or the new Accord coupe with my SL. i am not joking at all). i had to fool (or trick) her into getting the Lexus on our anniversary by going to the dealership, asking to drive a demo GX, and at the end, i arranged the manager to offer my wife to bring it home for the weekend. when she bluntly said "no", he said "too bad, here's the keys. it's yours." (she was so attached to her Mercedes ML that seconds later, she was crying at the Lexus dealership, and everyone was staring at us)

    is Audi really that bad? i guess seeing can be deceiving. i was truly impressed by the overall fit-in-finish of the A8L, TT, allroad...i knew that the older models of audi suffered significant reliability issues, but i thought that audi changed. my daughter's audi TT is working beautifully for her. i guess not.

    i am planning on trading in the S-Class anytime now if i can get a good deal on a new good car. i used to own a '89 300E 2.6 Black Pearl metallic that was truly dear to me (actually my wife). that was my favorite MB that i ever purchased. it never failed her for the 10 year that we owned it, and boy, you should have seen her the day we traded it in for the ML320 (i thought our 14-year old family dog died).
    it had 100,000 miles on it when the mileage ticker stopped working, so i estimate that it had about 115,000 miles when we sold it.
    i am trying to find more pictures of the official refresh for the 2004 7-series. so far, based on what i have seen, i am not impressed. i actually think that the front headlamps do not look as dramatic as before; i liked the "eagle-like" look of the original headlamps more. the rear looks just the same. i don't know if the sources i went to were lousy, though.

    my SL is in the body shop right now. i was informed that it would take a little over a month for new parts to come in. i told them to go a good job this time, as last time when my S430 was hit in the rear again, it took 2 months, and the entire lining of the trunk was loose, and a loud metal-against-metal sound could be heard in the rear seats. they have been unable to find the "noise" at the back.

    I am also considering replacing the radio antannae. i don't know about other fellow 2000-2003 S-Class owners, but the FM, particularily AM reception stinks. all i really hear is static. the dealership (i have complained constantly to MB USA, and the dealership itself) apparently does not know what is wrong. they said the sameting when my gas gauge fluctuated between FULL and 1/4 within 2 minutes. they took out the entire dashboard, rear gas tank sensor, and all i know is that it still moves up and down (though not as badly), and as a result, there are more rattling noises BOTH near the instrument cluster and behind the rear headrests.
  • Ah, yes the good old 300e. I have 150 thousandish miles on mine. Such a wonderful car to drive. I can't imagine trading it in for an M though! What a difference in those two cars.

    I am sure you could get a good deal on a 2003 S. But, you might want to wait for the 2004. It gets the 7 speed tranny. But if that isn't important to you, just go for the 2003. Are you considering the 430 or the 500?

    Audi and VW just aren't reliable. Audi has made the A8 attractive to more customers. But, they will never keep them if they can't grasp some quality control. It is a shame, really, because they make beautiful cars. Their interiors are top notch. And I wish that were reason enough to buy a car.

    And, BMW. The 2004 7, should be changed in some areas. But I am not expecting anything durastic. Hopefully they will make the rear more attractive. Chris Bangle is walking on very thin ice right now. The 5 will be the true test of his fate with BMW.
  • My dealership has a 2003 Alpina Z8 available. Has anyone had any experience with a Z8? The car is a beauty, but I am hesitant as I know that they were never very popular.
  • carnaughtcarnaught 'zonaPosts: 2,327
    Nice car! Mucho dinero!
  • fennfenn Posts: 197
    I have a good friend with a Z8. I love his car, and have asked to have the first tight of refusal whenever he decides to sell it. They are very nice cars, but some folks do not know that they are are more of a grand touring roadster, than a true high performance sports car.

    The Alpina (with automatic tranny only)is the last incarnation of the low production Z8, so it seems that they will always retain some collectability and value.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I dig the Crossfire, it provides some eye-candy for the road, something different to look at. I see boo20 corrected you about the opinion on the previous S-Class and the LS430. Basically you keep leaving out one very important word when that argument is raised..."poor". The LS430 is a poor copy or imitation of the previous S-Class. Speaking of which, it isn't a mere coincidence that 04' LS430 has nearly the same tailamps as the 03' S-Class, wheels similiar to any number of Mercedes models and the front end has been reshaped to look like the current S, you know the car they couldn't copy back in 01' due to having set the design in stone to copy the previous S. I find this relentless copying or mimicing (insert the synonym of choice here) to be the most ridiculous spectical on the automotive landscape. BMW, Audi, Cadillac, Infiniti, Jaguar, and MB are able to do so much without looking like their nearest competitor.

    About the Toyota Camry Solara. I find it most interesting that all the Lexus fans knocked Mercedes for making the CLK, SL and C-Coupe similiar looking from the front, yet Toyota goes and makes a Camry of all things look just like a 60K Lexus, which is supposed to be different "brand" unlike the C, CLK and SL which *should* look alike because their all "Mercedes-Benzes".

    About Lexus detracters saying that Lexus cars have no character or emotion, it's pretty much true anytime you read any review of their cars, that is a "universal" opinion. See the SC430 comparo in the Oct issue of C&D. True, these are about the only major criticisms the Euro crowd can level at Lexus' cars...boring styling and uninvolving driving experience. The only reason Lexus fans find issue with Mercedes', or any other Euro brand's styling "shouting" anything is because Lexus' doesn't. What would be so terrible if Lexus made the LS430's styling match its other attributes? As far as Mercedes' image and what not, that surely isn't their fault if Lexus can't attain the same rub with people.

  • "Another Lexus demonstration of auto perfection based on a sterile driving experience!"

    Ouch! This from the most conservative of all mainstream auto magazines!

    It was comparing SC with SL500, 911, XLR & XK8. It says SC is the anti-Porsche: one never lets you forget you're in a car, one makes you forget you're in a car!
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    You and I will simply have to disagree on a number of things. The 2004 LS430 has - in my opinion - only modest facelift changes over the 2003. The front headlights look - to me - very much like the old LS400 headlights and not at all like the new S. The taillight change is simply a stripe in the middle with no design change at all from the previous edition. Lastly I have always thought the LS was a classy elegant car from day one. I also think that now that the LS430 went back to a bit more LS400 front end look that it is even better looking than the 2001-2003 years. We just see different things. I don't see any copying whatsoever to the new S.

    I think MB has made the Crossfire too much like a clk. It looks like an MB rather than a Chrysler. It was inevitable that the brands would mix at some point. The problem is that if they go too far in the mixing they may lose the more expensive MB buyers or entry buyers. If they do not go far enough Chrysler stays in a downward spiral. It's a daunting challenge and it won't be easy. I see that the Pacifica is already a rebate car.

    Toyota should have made the Solara its own car. A stupid mistake in my opinion. On the other hand they may be planning changes for the SC so who knows. I can't argue with their great success.

    As for passion it seems hard for people that read mags to understand that Lexus drivers have plenty of passion for driving hard. The cars they make are bred to be what they are though - silky smooth effortless cars to meet the driving needs of the road - not the racetrack. The guys who rate cars in magazines feel the same way about cars today as I did in my teens and early 20's. They have never changed so they simply don't see the desires people have moved on to. Once you get married and have an infant in that back seat you quickly change your perspectives about what is important in a car. We still like good handling as we get older (Lexus gives you plenty of it) and go through changes in our lives but a great ride, quiet interior and that silky smooth engine become equally if not more important. Lexus hits that spot better than any auto manufacturer which is exactly what they set out to do.
  • SC430 supposedly has backseats. Would anyone subject even a baby to it? I hope not, those backseats have zero legroom. SC is supposed to be a sporty coupe, and it wants the driver to feel as in a living room?

    I heard many times Camry is a car for people who don't want to drive. Evidently Lexus is the Camry of luxury cars!
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Careful, please.

    We are here to *enjoy* the luxury marques, not to bash them. Talk about what you like and let others do the same. Save the arguments for one of our specific comparisons.

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    In the hopes of keeping this discussion at the level in which it was intended, I'm moving it off of the Comparisons board and back to the main Sedans board.

    Hope everyone arrives safely!

  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Let's get real here - please. The SC has back seats so people get into a certain insurance bracket. It was never intended for anyone to live back there. Besides the insurance benefit it gives its buyers, it makes a nice place to throw a bag of groceries or some other item. I don't know of anyone in their right mind who would put an infant in the backseat of an SC430 - do you?
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289

    To back up your argument, I have never seen anyone in the back seats of a SC430. And I have seen many SC430's this past summer and last summer in NJ with the top down. I don't remember one of them having anyone in the backseat.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Thanks. There is a big difference between being a fan and believing what one wants to vs. committing the capital to buy expensive cars. It's rather significant that many bashers did not opt to buy the more affordable A-4, C-class or 3 series cars.

    Did you make your decision yet on your Q replacement or are you waiting for the 2004's to arrive?
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