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Acura RL



  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    Thanks Lexus Guy for all the Infiniti M35/34 info - very informative.
    Is it going on sale in Spring of '06 or (hopefully) sooner?

    To you other gentle posters --

    As for the tail lights on the '06 M35, as I have not seen them, I cannot comment. I am not a big fan of the vertical Christmas tree on the Altima tail, but then again, the RL tailights and trunk hump are not exactly eye pleasing either; nor are they original or inspired. On the contrary, they are derivative and mundane.

    But as far as the M35's front end is concerned, while I agree that its kisser is no bathing beauty, I think that it does have rugged good looks -- better than the RL, especially as regards the headlight treatment. (Mercifully, the new M35 grill has been downsized, and the "Large Mouth Bass" look of the Q45 has not been revived in this new model)

    It seems like Acura wants to put their nose design through a pencil sharpener -- maybe a wood grinding planer would be more accurate. We've seen the front end of the new RL a thousand times, in every late model Accord to the last five years of Camry. At least the Infiniti's front end art is bold, not timid like the RL.

    As far as the M35's lines along its profile, I think that the car looks GREAT! Handsome, rugged, yet elegant and refined. When I first scrolled down to the photo, in that first instant I thought "WOW!, is this an RL in a different color?"

    Wishful thinking.
  • talon95talon95 Posts: 1,110
    Never claimed I was an "expert". We're both just expressing opinions. Is the attitude really necessary?

    Actually, the other things that I listed about the M45 (downscale roofline, ugly grille, really ugly tailiights and appliance-like instrument panel) are far bigger issues than its Altima inspiration, IMO. Just my opinion... no need to take it personally.
  • talon95talon95 Posts: 1,110
    "At least the Infiniti's front end art is bold, not timid like the RL."

    What you call "timid" or "mundane", others may call understated. What you call "bold", others may call overstyled and overwrought. Everyone has their own perspective... but personally, I think that understated works better on a luxury sedan than edgy. BMW could probably write a book right now on the risks of edgy design on luxury cars.

    And I'll take the RL's "mundane" taillights any day when compared to the "designed by Astro Boy" treatment on the M45. Check them out for yourself. - - _rl_2006_infiniti_m45/

    Just my opinion... no need to take it personally.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Have you seen what Infiniti's interiors looked like BEFORE the '06 M45? They've all been TERRIBLE to date, the dashes in the Q and outgoing M look like they belong in a minivan. The G35 is better, but the materials quality, (as has been with all Nissan's since Goshn took over) is woefully subpar. I think the new M is not only the first car from them to break this trend, but its the best Nissan interior in the history of Nissan. Its got Audi and BMW beaten cold, thats for sure. Oh and legendman, the Infiniti should go on sale mid '05.

  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    >I'll take the RL's "mundane" taillights any day when compared to the "designed by Astro Boy" treatment on the M45. Check them out for yourself<

    I did check them out (thanks for the link, btw!) and I think that they look fine. I see more "Q45" in those tailights than Altima, but hey, that's me. I could live with those.

    As far as the interior goes, I couldn't live with that. The pseudo-Palomino interior is way too stylized for my taste, along with the silvery metal throughout the cockpit (the silver pedals push this WAY over the top). Maybe they ought to go all the way and revive "gangster white walls and TV antennas". Yeah, I can see the GE refrigerator point of view now. Maybe you could use kitchen magnets on the dash! That would be handy.

    MEMO to INFINITI: Substitute walnut or maple wood veneer for the silver metal.

    I prefer a much more subdued and tranquil interior -- this is far too busy for me. And look where they put the CD slot -- right behind the shifter. Do you have to be in gear to load CDs in? And for what it's worth, I have always disliked their now trademark little analog clock. I hope that the production model interior will be toned down. Way down.

    (I hope I am not insulting anyone - just having a good time and a good chuckle -- God knows we need one these days)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I have to admit the M does look pretty good inside and out, but I too wonder what that interior would look like with wood in place of all that aluminum? It might look a bit less busy that it does now. Too many shapes and textures competing for attention imo. One thing Nissan needs to stop is placing those seat controls on the seat edge, absolutely can't stand that.

  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    I'm also troubled by the placement of the dash switches just below the navigation screen. It appears that in order to read what's printed on them that you have to look down on them, rather than "at them" -- if they were placed facing you, which they are not. How do you look down on them, especially when driving in busy traffic?

    To me, Nissan's concept of dashboard controls pointing up at the ceiling -- a concept that Nissan is promulgating in this and other vehicles -- is counter-intuitive. When BMW first introduced the new 7 series, one of the factors that they rightly focused on was eyesight (eye-line) ergonomics. In other words, they wanted to keep your eyes up and on the road. If I have to look more than once at a switch to know I'm hitting the right one, I am looking one time too many.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Just a BTW, the inside pics Nissan has been showing the press (much like the TL) are the aluminum ones. They will offer it with wood instead of all that aluminum, but the pictures are much harder to find. I'll see if I can track one down. In the mean time, heres a look at what the competition has. First up, Lexus:
    Nice, if very dark looking in black. I rank it near or at the top. Next, Acura:
    Nice materials, but..a little strange. Next Cadillac:
    Not bad for a Cadillac, probably the best they've done yet, but it does not seem to have the quality level of the others in the class (big surprise there). Last up, Audi.
    This ranks with BMW as my absolute LEAST favorite interior in the class. What happened here? The old A6 was great.
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    >They will offer it with wood instead of all that aluminum<

    That's a relief to hear Lexusguy. That really was starting to look like a Pimp-mobile.

    Thanks for all the photos. The magazines should lay them out as well as you do!

    Curious why metal has found its way back into the cabin of cars. I'm old enough to remember metal dashboards. I thought that we had learned our lesson when the industry started putting in energy absorbing padded dashboards to stop all that head cracking that had been going on. Yeah, I know its not at the same height, but still ...

    Lexus put metal into the dash of the RX330. My folks have two of of the earlier RX300s, and we all prefer the wood over the metal. I think it's a real negative. And I think you're right, it looks a bit odd and intrusive in the RL cabin. It just stands out like a sore thumb; worse in fact, 'cuz I rarely notice sore thumbs on people. It sorta looks like a steel I-beam, but hey, why would they put one of those in the middle of a dashboard console?
  • ranaldranald Posts: 147

    Not sure why you're so bitter. You seemed to think the M would turn heads on looks, and I disagree. I explained why. Disagree if you like, but strawman arguments and condescention don't impress me. To me the M looks like a rehash of a car that is itself a rehash (yes the Altima is a Passat knock-off, and the original is better looking).


    I would agree with you that the Altima is a decently attractive car, but the car it copies from (the Passat) is even better looking so I can't give Nissan much credit there.

    >A bunch of you are saying the M35/45 looks like a gussied up Altima, but by the same token the RL can be called a gussied up Accord.

    I don't agree at all. Ironically the M doesn't share a platform with the Altima, but looks alot like it (to me it looks a cross between Altima and a G35 sedan, with which the M *does* share a platform). However the TSX, TL and RL which *are* all based on the same platform don't look alike in the least to me, aside from the silly Acura grille (the worst looking part of the TSX and TL).
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Gulp! I can't believe I'm going to say this, but out of those pics I like the Lexus' interior the best.

    The RL looks like a kid's car with all that techno-looking stuff. I just don't think buyers of 45K luxury sedans want all that flash in their interiors. They want a conservative, but rich looking interior with all the right features. The Acura's looks overdone and contrived, as if they tried to compensate for something.

    The Cadillac just looks plain blah. Ditto for the Audi. Why on earth did Audi go from having a 6-disc in-dash CD play to placing it in the glovebox is beyond me. They were the only German until the 2003 E-Class to have such a setup! Duh.

    Strangely enough the A6's interior looks like a BMW 5-Series and a Acura TL, both previous versions that is, mated with each other.

  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    Yeah, I'm not sure about the RL's interior. It's a little overdone IMO.

    The Lexus interior is nice too. I actually don't like all the wood all over the place. A little wood is OK, but Lexus doesn't need to kill a tree per car either.

    Legendman: good catch on the Infiniti M's CD opener being just in front of the shifter. What a terrible ergonomic decision.

    I wish Infiniti would just get rid of their stupid analog clock. The room it takes could be better used to space all the other controls better.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Lexus (much like Jaguar) likes to use lots of wood, they arent raw sports cars, and they dont pretend to be. The black with dark red wood is a bit too dark for me, but I think with a tan interior it would be the classiest of the bunch. The Cadillac looks dated. Its nice and all, just the layout and design look like they came from an early '90s car. The STS doesnt do much for me. I'm sure Mark is going to say the Audi's interior is great, but I just dont buy it. The old car had the best, warmest, most inviting interior in its class. This new.. thing.. looks like it came from Star Trek. The splotches of wood just look out of place.
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    Not criticizing Lexus interiors. I've never seen a bad Lexus interior.

    I'm more into interior ergonomics, being able to see the rpm meter easily, being able to hit the right buttons without losing sight of the road, and having high quality plastics instead of the cheap ones that rattle all the time.

    Just my personal preference is all.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Infiniti M35/45 has the worst interior layout. Bold, and different sure it is, but logical it is not.

    I'm still a big fan of controls staring at me, rather than me having to look at them. Among all the interiors posted here, the Infiniti has the most truck-like appearance.

    The GS interior is okay, but it is nothing different from the norm.

    The way the console sits in the RL is a tamed down version of the same Honda has showcased in several concepts lately, and it is a little different, yet quite conventional. I like it the best. Looks more like Saab's than an Audi.

    Cadillac interior is nothing to brag about either, but the plastic seems to have the traditional GM feel to it.

    I'm disappointed with the A6 interior. Possibly the worst of the bunch.
  • starkystarky Posts: 7
    expect the new rl to be equipped with 255 50R 17 WRA kevlar tires.
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 676
    Nissan's new styles are completely euro influenced.. no wait, they are completely franco influenced. Just live in france for a while and you'll realize how close to the Reanults they look now.

    I've personally never been a fan of the Infinity or Nissan badges, I think their quality sux, but in today's lease driven world, i'm the fool because people really give a damn about quality, us few might disagree, but overall, the market statistics speaks for it. Why else would so many VW's and Nissan's be on the road?

    For some reason the M looks ugly in the pictures posted here, but the exterior looked better in person compared to a RL as far as the model displayed at the NY Auto show is concerned. In the end, tons of Acura loyalists might return to the RL just cuz they all think the company is roaring lately.

    Whether we like it or not, niether the Merc, nor the BMW, nor the Audi, nor the Lexus are really the pinnacle of car-dom... they are just significantly up on the ladder. They really represent the upper-middle class of the car-dom. If you were car-rich, you would be in 150K + rides. But in this upper-middle class too, there is the catching up with joneses.. and there is a definitive pecking order. The Merc reigns for whatever it's worth. The BMW is always dying to be there. The audi is a necessary third. Like it or not... and however well crafted and wonderful the LS430 or similar lexus's might be, it is a 4th in "class". If you had 120K to buy a car, you'd blindly go buy a s600. If you had 110K, you'd blindly go buy a 760iL. If you had 90K, you'd go get a loaded s500, a little less and a 745iL.. and then if you can't pull out all those wads of cash, you'll go with a LS430. That's just the reality of this upper middle class pecking order. The VW paethon, the Inifinity Q45... these are just wannabe's in this segment. Jaguar, its a niche player, but the brand is significantly watered down by the introduction of the X type. It was like a duke marrying a commoner... too sad, as shrek would say it, "they judge me before they even know me"... syndrome mires our world. I own 3. When I step out of the S-tye or the wife's 3 convertible, I have noticed how nice I get treated. When I step out of my old "drive to the station everyday" mitsubishi mirage, people give me the "yeah whatever" treatment... that's life. Acura is nowhere close to the upper middle class of car-dom. They do significantly well in our wannabe category. I think the TSX rides damn well and the TL is wonderful... lets see how much success the RL gives Acura. It surely doesn't look as appealing as a Renault influenced M, but i'd never buy an M when compared to an RL... because overnight stars are almost always fickle.
  • jeff88jeff88 Posts: 94
    The new rl in the pictures shown comaparing to the m looks pretty darn good to me. BTW, the m looks good too. Would think the parchment interior in the rl would look better than the picture shown above.

    Guess I'm not too concerned about the socio/economic aspects of the ride. if that was my bottom line, then for perception, sadly, mb would still win even to we all know their quality level is less than percieved. of the rides mentioned in this class, there are no dogs in the group, just variations of personal tastes.
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 676
    actually quality becomes moot after a certain point. you don't care either way. That's my perception based on some people I know well who own 100K +/- range cars. Their only issue is headaches and how little will this bother me. But when you drive up to a dealership in a 100K range car, and want something fixed, if you aren't being treated right, with kid gloves, champagne and the stuff, then that dealership wouldn't be in business anyways.

    but at half that price point, I think quality plays a big game. I absolutely expect the RL to be better quality, and better than the M.

  • gteach26gteach26 Posts: 576
    Great pics lexusguy... your post (#1560) makes it real easy to compare the vehicles. I'll be going back to that post often. Thanks!
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    The M35 looks good, but not great. In profile, the car has a nice shape... good proportions. It's athletic without resorting to the steeply raked beltline and uber-short decklid. I prefer to have some character lines or creases, but that's just a personal preference. Although the grill reminds me a "Jaws" of Moonraker fame, I can also appreciate the front end. It's not my taste (too bold), but it catches the eye in a good way. All in all I would have to give the look a thumbs up. But you have to add me to the list of people who hate (yes, a strong word) the tail lights. That is the worst back end I've seen since the current Accord. With soft curves all over the profile and front end, there's no reason for staight lines and harsh angles in the back.

    When I compare that with the RL, I think the M35 will turn more heads, but the RL will look good longer. Nissan's stylists have been playing the flavor of the month. They do it well, but it lacks universal appeal. That is something that I think the RL has in spades. The look may not turn heads, but it looks good and will keep looking good for a long time. When I think of a car to compare it with, I think of the new Volvos. It doesn't look like any of them, but it has the same stylish-without-using-too-much-make-up appearance.

    Acura is finally developing a brand theme for their vehicles. The grill and head lamps are starting to stand out as a recognizable brand trait. The lines coming down off the hood and framing the grill are also consistent. Acura has resorted to the raked beltline and short decklid (especially with the TL), but have done so in a tasteful manner. While the whole look may not scream sporty when applied to the RL, I think that kinda underscores the role of the car. At this level of play, competitors should not be screaming.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    You know what they say about opinions and I respect yours.

    However, having said that, virtually every editor, author or automotive journalist who has put down some ink on the subject has said "Audi, always known for its jewel like interiors has outdone its current interiors and cranked the bar up several notches with this new for 05 A6" [sic].

    Not that 5 or 6 automotive journalists and the local weekend car editor for the Cincinnati Enquirer are flawless judges of character, but I, for one -- only having seen and sat in the latest A8L and having seen several mug shots like the one you posted -- rank the Audi certainly above the Cadillac and, frankly, above the Japanese interiors, but I will also add that I am NOT a fan of black interiors and that, alone, might have been the turn off for me.

    As a matter a fact, I prefer browns, ecru or camel interiors by far over the blacks, whites, greys, etc -- so, I "ought" to like the Caddy even better, but it still looks like it was put together out of pieces, unlike the other interiors, which, to a one seem to me to have been formed out of a single piece (of something).

    To me, FWIW, the Audi is the most cockpit like, the most driver oriented of the lot.

    I guess we can agree to disagree.

    And, BTW, the two Japanese cars' interiors, in Ecru, for example, would probably be great, too!

    I can't see myself with a black interior, been there, done that, hard to keep clean and talk about hot cross buns on a summer day in shorts -- ouch!!!!

    Finally, I don't like the Acura steering wheel as much as I like the others.

    I know, taste is in one's mouth. . . .
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    I've always been of the opinion that metallic accents should be used as "accents" and not cover whole surfaces. The same goes for wood, although the natural grain of wood makes it a bit less offensive to my eyes.

    Taking a look at these in order:

    I don't like the high contrast in those particular color choices. I don't like the large metallic surface around the shifter and lower dash, but it's not too bad. I've seen much worse. I don't like the dash pointing up at the roof or their attempt to make the buttons like like parts of the background dash material. The pedals under the dash are garish. Most aftermarket designs look better.

    That said, I do like the fact that they refrained from using slick wood or metal surfaces on the steering wheel. The two tone leather looks good and remains functional. The use of small chrome accents on the air vents, steering wheel, and doors is done well. I like the fact that the NAV display is high up on the dash in clear view. It does seem a bit small in the picture, though. I also like the fact that the dash is not cluttered with every button known to man. - - EHICLE/2006/Lexus/100284903/028744-E.jpg

    Don't like the wood wheel (but do like the 3 spoke design). I wish the seats had some texture. I know that's nice quality leather in there, but the flat, uncreased looks bloated. They should have taken some of the metallic accent from around the center stack and used it to highlight parts of the wheel controls. The gauge cluster looks boring in that pic.

    I like the size of the NAV screen. I'd prefer it to be higher, but it's so low that it would bother me. The soft lines they've added to the flat expanse of the upper dashboard are very nice (though breaking up the space with an accent panel would have been better). Like the Infiniti, they've positioned the transmission controls on the side of the driver. Good idea. EHICLE/2005/Acura/100197761/029699-E.jpg

    Hello big knob. Too much wood running through the middle of the dash. What's up with the cyclopian slit above the NAV. Rather have a 3 spoke wheel.

    Great use of colors. I love the gauge clusters that I've seen in recent Acuras. The blue tone is well matched from display to display. (Audi sucks with their 50 shades of red.) The use of metal surfaces in the center stack is borderline obnoxious, but it makes more sense because they repeated that texture in other areas (door handles, steering wheel emblem, etc.). Good placement of the NAV. I like the split armrest design. It gives the illusion of personal space.

    I've run out of time, so I can't comment on them all (you folks got lucky this time). But the others appeal the least to me.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    The 2006 M is the best looking car in the bunch. Interior-wise, I like the RL.

    I don't see much of the Passat in the Altima, to the extent that they're both 4 door family sedans.

    Does the M resemble the Altima? Sure, in the same way that...

    The S-class resembles the C-class
    The 5 resembles the 3
    The Phaeton resembles the Passat
    The LS resembles the Avalon

    And the list goes on.

    Honda and Nissan just have different design philosophies. Nissan designs are polarizing, either you really like 'em or you really dislike 'em. Honda designs tend to be neutral to most people.
  • starkystarky Posts: 7
    Here are some colour combos for the 2005 model:
    Celestial Silver with Black
    Magnum Grey with Black
    Champagne with Parchment
    Black with Black or Parchment
    Premium Pearl White with Black or Parchment
    Deep Blue Pearl with Black or Parchment
  • gteach26gteach26 Posts: 576
    I prefer the Acura four spoke steering wheel over the three spoke found on other cars. My hand tends to sit on the bottom of the steering wheel on longer drives and with the three spoke design (like my wife's RX300) I just can't find a comfy spot.

    Just a little annoyance that I can adjust to though.

    I WISH there was a non-black interior shot of the RL out there. Like some poster from above, I do not like black interiors in cars either and feel that while "sporty-looking" they make the vehicle look smaller and almost claustrophobic. The beige caddy interior shot from above seems like a breath of fresh air -- even though it does seem like the interior was pasted together from different parts.

    If anyone has spotted a non-black interior pic of the RL please chime in with the link.

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    You're just plain wrong, all over the place. I know several people with A LOT more money than me, and not one of them has "blindly bought an S600". One of them drives an LS430, one has a ton of cars, including a CLK430, a Porsche 911 Turbo, a Range Rover, and a BMW Z8. Another drives an XJR cause he's big Jag guy. I also hate to burst your "Germans are best" bubble, but in this market Lexus beats Audi bub. Just look at the residual value. If the Audi badge meant anything to anybody, a 3 year old A6 4.2 wouldnt be quite so worthless.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    I second the opinion that Lexus has supplanted Audi in the prestige ladder the general public's eye. Lexus has almost become synonymous with quality. For example, it's to the point where people would refer to a high quality lawn mower as "the Lexus of lawn mowers."

    I'd say:

    1) MB. Previously thought untouchable, but BMW and Lexus have gained in the past decade. More and more people beginning to realize that reliability in MB leaves a lot to be desired. Still number one though.

    2) BMW. Overall, still considered ahead of Lexus due to ultra upper-level cars such as the 760Li and the Z8, as well as ultimate sports sedan/coupes such as the M5 and M3.

    3) Lexus. Near impeccable quality, refinement, reliability and interiors. People aren't swept off their feet by their styling or performance, however.

    4) Audi. Nice interiors. Lexus has clearly supplanted them in brand cache.

    5) Acura and Infiniti. Still trying to gain recognition. Infiniti has more promise in the future due to their willingness to branch out in the upper-level lux category.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Lexus may not be in 3rd for long. There are supposed to be IS350GT, GS350GT, and LS500GTs to compete with the likes of BMW and M-Bs in house tuner cars and V12s, with WAAAAY better gas mileage. The LS500GT is also supposed to be reaching the $100K mark as well, which may help establish them as a world player among the best of the best. Rumors are as much as 600hp for the 500GT. We all know it takes more than horsepower to make a true performance sedan, so how much stiffness they are willing to dial into the suspension remians to be seen.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    These three:

    The S-class resembles the C-class
    The 5 resembles the 3
    The Phaeton resembles the Passat

    are supposed to resemble each other. They're the same brand of car.

    This one:

    The LS resembles the Avalon

    shouldn't and isn't supposed too, they're not the same "brand". Lexi will tell you that Lexuses are totally different from Toyotas in every way, but..........

    I agree totally with your brand assessment in your last post, and while Lexus may have more clout or prestige than Audi (not to me personally, but anyway), Audi is seen as a far more "cooler" more "hip" choice. The A4's buyers are lot younger the ES330's, but probably the same as the few IS300 buyers that actual exists.

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Think about that statement. Phaeton resembles Passat (I'd say it alot more than resembles it) is ok, but Avalon and LS is not ok? Because of the badge? So if there was no difference, and the LS was a $65K+ Toyota, that would be completely fine?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "Phaeton resembles Passat (I'd say it alot more than resembles it) is ok, but Avalon and LS is not ok?

    NO it isn't ok because every Lexi fan I've ever debated harps about Lexues being completely different cars from Toyotas. If that is the case (which it isn't in all cases) they shouldn't look alike. I remember when all the Lexi were harping about Benzes looking alike, saying that how a S-Class buyer doesn't want to see a C-Class that looks just like their 90K S500, but boy when the 2004 Toyota Solara came out looking like the 64K SC430 all that talk dried up quicker than you can say "branding". BTW, I'd agree that the Phaeton does more than "resemble" the Passat, it is a giant Passat style wise.

    "So if there was no difference, and the LS was a $65K+ Toyota, that would be completely fine?"

    Yes, if Toyota had marketed Lexuses as uplevel Toyotas over here, like they do in Japan. My first response to this was that the LS is a 65K Toyota anyway, regardless of how they badge it...but that is an old argument.

    Let me preface this by saying I don't necessarily agree with this.

    VW's purpose for the Phaeton was to provide a halo effect for VW, in other words it would help them sell more Passats and Jettas. I went round and round with VWGuild on the sedans board about how flawed this part of and the entire Phaeton strategy is. Nevertheless this is what they intended the car to be, a large, upmarket luxury Volkswagen, as nutty as that sounds. It's a VW so it should look like a VW or other VWs.

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Right, and the Phaeton is the perfect example of why that kind of thinking doesnt work. The LS430 IS a $65K Toyota. Just as the Beetle and Phaeton can co-exist, so can the Corolla and LS430. The L badge is used to help badge concious people such as us here in NA feel that we got something on a level above the average Toyota product, even though Lexus themselves are Toyota products. Most of that has to do with the "experience" and "feeling" of buying the car. We want private offices, not cubicles, leather chairs, and someone to bring us coffee while we go over the details. With the amount of sales and people a Toyota dealership deals with every day, thats hardly something they can do. We dont want to be in the same space with a bunch of kids ooing over a Sienna. Toyota obviously understands our market very well, and they created the Lexus line as a creme de la creme, here's the best we've got. People in this market wont pony up $65K+ for a Toyota, even though they are effectively doing exactly that. Its all about the badge. VW already has the 4 rings, and they should've let them handle that market.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    I do not dispute that Lexus (or most of them anyway) has joined the premium class of automobiles. However, any notion that Audi has somehow slipped backwards out of the premium class is, according to "independent" surveys just the opposite of what has been happening.

    Audi, through 1997, was a notch below premium, somehow always bubbling under the premium class (at that time basically BMW and Mercedes and perhaps another Euro car were in that class). The Japanese lux divisions had, by that time, already made huge strides up the ladder and were often considered as "bargain" premium cars. As was sometimes written about the Lexus cars, they were said to be derivative and they often made the top ten lists of many of the auto magazines. Sometimes Audi made it, sometimes not.

    The Japanese were on a tear.

    Along came the 1998 A6 -- lauded for its style and its interior. But, what an underachiever in virtually every other way you could think of.

    By 2000, the 4.2 and 2.7T were brought to the market and Audi finally started, again, to make some of the top 10 lists (or Automobiles of the year, bla bla bla). Lexus and the other high zoot Japanese were NOT displaced, but clearly Audi was in ascension (reliability issues plagued Audi and were widely and wildly publicized -- but, the car magazines continued to fawn over the Audis by praising the cars style, interiors and ultimately performance.) They had entered the "honorable mention" in the premium class.

    The Japanese did not sleep, but their cars began to be viewed -- slowly at first -- as less exciting, but still nearly perfect. Quality issues further crept into the public's vision for virtually all European cars. Mercedes quality, most notably, began to plummet at least in terms of the "issues" that increasingly became associated with Merc cars as far as reliability and frequency of repair were concerned.

    The Japanese, on the other hand, continued to build the image and reputation of nearly bullet proof cars -- but to a certain extent they were still derivative of European cars.

    Audi, to this day, struggled to not slip from the premium class, but if the scale of premium class was measured from 1 - 10, I would assume that Audi would still be near the bottom of the class.

    VW decided to "take on" Mercedes and that adventure has yet to play out, but I think it is safe to say that there are no VW's that are in the Premium Class (by the way Premium class as the survey I read terms it, is below "ultra luxury" or some other term that further differentiates cars, in part, by MSRP).

    Today, Audi is "committed" to advancing within the Premium Class -- the "new look" A8, A6, upcoming A4 and TT represent the transition (no, I am not putting the $100K A8 in the Premium Class).

    The apparent march up [for Audi] the Premium rank is not proceeding without some push-back from Acura (probably to be the newest inductee into the Premium Class with the new RL), Cadillac, Infinity and Lexus. And, Lexus to be certain is playing in the Premium class and is apparently in no jeopardy of moving out of that class (however, there certainly could be some movement within the class).

    At the moment, despite reliability ratings that belie their positions, Audi, BMW and Mercedes are still Premium Players.

    The rankings change from time to time, and it may even be accurate to suggest that Lexus leads these three Germans. However, I suspect that the perception that Mercedes is a leader in this segment is fundamentally unchanged. The Japanese are respected but I find it difficult to believe that Lexus is on par with the Merc in terms of image.

    The Japanese brands Acura, Infinity and Lexus (and perhaps even some of the lesser Japanese brands) are "poised" to change this. The recent auto shows are clearly indicating a move away from the Euro look (in the high buck Japanese cars, especially Lexus) -- the derivative look -- toward a more distinct look.

    The Europeans perhaps should, for a variety of reasons, be concerned that the Japanese no longer feel they have to "suggest" a Euro look as much as they used to.

    Now I know that the Acura is currently being accused of attempting to imitate (especially at the rear) the BMW's "Bangle Look." But this, after all, is an evolution.

    The competition is heating up, the gloves are off, so to speak. The Japanese have, once again, declared war, styling war this time, on the Europeans (and maybe even the Americans).

    At this time, however, Audi is hardly out of the game, and the upcoming A6, hot on the heels of the A8L and preceding some 1/2 dozen new offerings, has just upped the ante.

    The statement I think might be apt is: "the Japanese are coming, the Japanese are coming."

    But that is just because, in spite of the reliability quotient that the Japanese clearly win, the European cars (most notably German) still receive the adoration of the press and buying public. There, to this day, is some unspent cache in the Mercedes (and other Germans too) brand, that is.

    The tide appears to be turning (in favor of the Japanese), but don't count either the Americans or the Europeans out, just yet.
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    >When I compare that with the RL, I think the M35 will turn more heads, but the RL will look good longer.<

    That's an interesting point of view Varmint. I thought about that yesterday when a silver Mercedes S class sidled up along side me in traffic then accelererated ahead of me.

    Three years ago I was convinced that the S class body style was easily near the apex of elegant and classic looking luxury cars. But now when I looked at I saw that it is dated. No doubt about it, in my mind.

    On the other hand, I still thank that a clean and shiny metallic silver 740iL is hanging in there just fine. A classic automonile with a style and elegance worthy of Cary Grant.
  • jeff88jeff88 Posts: 94
    Just announced their results for 3 year ownership quality & ownership experience and Lexus finished 1st. While agree that MB, then BMW, then Lexus are 1st, 2nd, 3rd from the perspective of the general public, the perspective from the actual owners proved to be different.

    So who cares what the general public thinks? Not me. They pick movies like "Dodgeball" over much better films. It's not often that general tastes match what we might call "educated or sophisticated" tastes.

    Many moons ago I wrote that the rl will age better with understated looks than those cars with radical departures. The new/old 7 series is a great example of that one as legendman astutely just wrote.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    O/T - Just throwing this out. BMW seems to be doing much better in long term dependability. Merc and Volvo are in the pits.

    Legendman - I think that classic looks often require some degree of blandness. A good looking non-flashy car will look good for a long time. A flashy design can end up being "here today, gone tomorrow". Worse yet, the design might be successful and so well accepted that it is copied by everyone else... which leads to looking dated when the designers get bored with that look.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Woops, Jeff beat me to the JD Powers info.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    As Ive said previously, I think BMWs rank is mostly thanks to its 3 series sales. X5s and 7s are rated as awful for long term dependability.
  • l943973l943973 Posts: 197
    This is the only pic that I've seen with the grey interior for the 05 RL on the Acura Website. Its a nice touch to see leather below the console.

  • l943973l943973 Posts: 197
    I was reading some of the tech info on the 04 RL and noticed that it supports up to 130 voice commands. The Lexus LS430 isn't far behind at 100 voice commands.

    Also, the 03 RL had 3.7 million pts of interest where as the 04 has 7 million pts of interest. I'm guessing a DVD upgrade would solve this problem.

    It seems each Acura model runs different version of the software.

    04 TSX accepts 150 voice commands
    04 MDX accepts 217 voice commands
    04 TL accepts 293 voice commands

    Last time I checked, I'm now getting 23.5 MPG with 80% highway/20% suburbs. I was suprised to see that I travelled 378 miles before refilling.

    We just purchased an 04 MDX Touring w/NAV and RES, and the voice commands seem to respond to my commands as well as my wife's command on the first try.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    "The LS resembles the Avalon

    shouldn't and isn't supposed too, they're not the same "brand". Lexi will tell you that Lexuses are totally different from Toyotas in every way, but.........."

    Sure, in an ideal world, Lexus would look entirely different from Toyota and Nissan would look entirely different from Infiniti, but that probably won't happen, at least not for a while, if ever.

    But the Japanese aren't the only ones who are guilty of this. The Maybach definitely shares many design cues with the Mercedes S-class. I can definitely see the common "bar of soap" design theme in both the VW Phaeton and Audi A8, as well as between the Passat and the A4.


    I'm interested to see how the 2005 RL would shape up against the E320 4matic. Handling should now be more equal, possibly even better in the RL b/c of "Super-Handling". The RL would have a significant power advantage, although MB will probably close the gap with a 3.5L V6 soon.

    I'm thinking that quality of interior materials should be similar as well. Similarly equipped, the E320 4matic would probably be about $10,000 more. Then, one begins to ask the question, what are you really getting for that extra $10k?

    Of course, this is all hypothetical, since no one has driven the 2005 RL yet.
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    >This is the only pic that I've seen with the grey interior for the 05 RL on the Acura Website. Its a nice touch to see leather below the console.<

    Where's the pic? I would love to see it.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Looks like someone needs to brush up on their HTML skills.
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    >Here are some colour combos for the 2005 model:
    Celestial Silver with Black
    Magnum Grey with Black
    Champagne with Parchment
    Black with Black or Parchment
    Premium Pearl White with Black or Parchment
    Deep Blue Pearl with Black or Parchment <


    Very interesting! Where did you find this out? Is there a web page we can visit?
  • l943973l943973 Posts: 197
    I don't have any problems seeing the image I posted.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I cant, and I dont think anyone else can. Perhaps its cached on your machine. Use this code, and substitute "image_url" for the proper one, and make the brackets into carrots

    [DIV ALIGN=CENTER][IMG SRC='image_url.jpg' BORDER='0'][/DIV]
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 676
    i know i'm plain wrong, but numbers speak for themselves.
  • jeff88jeff88 Posts: 94
    The wsj had a pretty good article yesterday about the JD Powers findings for auto quality. This survey is unlike their initial ownership experience -- yesterday's findings are for those cars that are 3 years old. M-B got slammed as well as VW. Both makes are said to be running hard to get the quality levels up. The neat part of the survey was the finding for incidents per 100 cars -- some like one of the kia's had over 400! The ls400 was something like 129.

    That kind of survey is important to folks like me. (Even though I currently drive a company car, that may not last forever and one day I could be back in the market.) The reason I appreciate this kind of survey, and folks like consumer reports for tracking reliability, is that I never will buy a new car for myself again. From now on, it will be 3 y.o.-just-off-a-lease rides with low mileage and clean service records. For that reason, classic, understated looks combined with strong performance and good reliability record are impportant. I'd plan on keeping these cars for another 4-5 years.

    Just sold the '96 rl that i bought in '99 w/16k miles on it. At the time I compared it to '96 E's, 5's, es300's, Q's, audi's, volvo's and LS400's. The price performance ratio pointed to the rl. Also compared it at the time to the '99 tl and '99 Passat GLX. Am glad I went with the rl and never regretted the decision. My average cost to drive the rl for 50 months came out to $3-400 depending on how you measure tco. That puts one into accord/camry/taurus level pricing for what may be arguably a much better ride. Oh yeah, picked up a great warranty from acura too at no additional charge.

    Would be curious to read if others share the same logic since there were recent discussions around the "spend" factor for upscale cars. I say let the other driver run the depreciation cycle at it's worst return period then drive the proven performer during the period of slowest decline in price. If I were in the market right now, I'd be looking at the ls400 or the 5 series from '01/'02 or possibly the '02 tl/s. The new tl has probably really driven down the prices for the older tl/s.

    So go ahead and call me cheap, miserly or even unamerican as we approach the 4th. Am a firm believer that the true definition of a "luxury" car is one that is paid for. BTW, I only buy new rides for the family car.
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 676
    That's cuz you posted it and its cached on your box.
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