Luxury Performance Sedans

jrock65jrock65 Member Posts: 1,371
With the upcoming new Acura RL, Audi A6, Infiniti M, Lexus GS, as well as mainstays MB E and BMW 5, this segment seems poised to heat up. We could use this board to talk about these and other cars in this segment.

*Moderator: I could only add this discussion to the M45, RL, and 5 Series boards. If you could add it to the MB E, Audi A6, and Lexus GS boards, that would be great.


  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    Categories added. :)
  • jrock65jrock65 Member Posts: 1,371
    Here are some official pics of the M45 Concept:
  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Member Posts: 1,289
    The new M45 concept is one sweet looking car!!
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Just like the upper segment, the middle segment is indeed poised to heat up. Upcoming info and my opinion of each player in the segment.

    Audi A6 - Not the styling knockout I had hoped for. Interior seems to be cluttered and not on the same level with the A8 design wise. New direct injection 3.2L V6 is nice, but the 4.2L V8 version seems to have lost the fender flares that make the current car so good looking. I'll have to wait until Oct to see the car in person to see if the new Audi Auto Union inspired grille really works on the smaller A6 body. I do like it on the A8L 6.0. Not sure if it will meet Audi's sales targets here. Future engines are rumored to include a version of the Lamborghini Gallardo's V10 and of course a S6/RS6 is inevitable. Reliability improvements needed.

    BMW 5-Series - It has been said many time and many ways...the styling of this car is either a love/hate thing. Surprise(!) I happen to like it. What I don't like is the interior; they went backwards (imo). The traditional cockpit feel and design has given way to a furniture or club room look. Me no like. Of particular note is how the door grab handles line up with the dash when the doors are closed, a very clumsy design detail. The car seems to still be the dynamic leader, but the design details kept it from being a Car and Driver 10Best for 2004, a big deal imo as they loved the previous car. A pair of new inline sixes are due for 2005-06' I suspect as 184 and 225hp won't cut it in this segment after all these new more powerful competitors arrive this fall. The 545i already has what is considered the best V8 in the luxury car segment so no changes needed there.

    Mercedes-Benz E-Class - the sales leader in this country and just about every other country around the world. Why? Variety. New diesel model (E320 CDI) for 2005. Eventually the E320 will become the E350 sporting the new 268hp V6 from the new SLK350. A new 4.6L 340-355hp V8 is also due to replace the 302hp E500 model sometime in 2005, probably as a 2006 model. This is the least controversial of the three German cars in this segment and I think this is an advantage, there is nothing unusual to explain or get used to here, just timeless classic styling inside and out. Reliability improvements needed! My personal favorite of this class in case you didn't know.

    Acura RL - the current model is about as dead as car can be in this segment. Anyway at least on paper the new car seems to have all the 6-cylinder cars in this segment covered: 300hp and a new type of awd system, sounds juicy. Just going by the pics released today, the car looks like a giant Accord, even more so than the new TL. As per all the Japanese cars reliability is the strong point design is the weak point. Can't wait to see the first road test! No V8 or rwd from Acura so forget it folks.

    Lexus GS - not even close to the LF-S concept shown right before its release. Typical Lexus quality and features are strong points. The styling however is nothing more than previous GS warmed over and made even more ungainly. Really interested in getting the details on the new V6 in the GS300. It is not based on any other Toyota V6 design and it only displaces 3.0 liters which tells me it will be closer to a Honda Vtec V6 in revving/power delivery characteristics, not your typical Camry/ES V6. I suspect before long the V8 GS430 will get a new more powerful V8 too. I still don't think this car will ever catch the E-Class or 5-Series.

    Infiniti M35/45 - a hot new entry, as the current car is in the 99Cents bin with the current RL, despite class-leading V8 power. The new car is a total about face in looks inside and especially out. If it doesn't fall victim to Infiniti's patchy marketing and is priced right this car should bring some upper-middle buyers into the Infiniti showroom. Being based on the FM platform expect BMW 5-Series level or better handling.

    Jaguar S-Type - a car that has aged a lot considering it was just introduced for 2000. The 2003 facelift was a revelation and for 2005 there is nothing really "new" except for a few cosmetic changes. The next S-Type is still a few years off it seems. A stylish car that doesn't seem to be that competitive with this segment.

    I can't wait to see a comparo with all these cars!

  • buddhabmanbuddhabman Member Posts: 252
    These are the rides for the new VP's or Directors or junior partners, etc. Whatever. ;-)

    Thanks to Merc1 for the nice overview I just added one model the Cadillac STS and my impressions.

    Audi A6 - The new face/grille is interesting. It will probably look better in person. IMHO the interior style leader bar none. Sheding some Lb's,upgraded power and suspension will help.
    Wagons are nice but the MB E-500 sedan and wagon are something else. RS6 should be kept nad RS8 needs to come down in price. Hope reliability improves.

    BMW 5-Series - No BMW hate here. Nice cars but you pay dearly. The 530i power specs seem low in comparison to others in segment, but thats what the 545i is for. The increase in size for the wagons is welcome.

    Cadillac STS - The just announced base engine is too small 3.6L V6 - 255hp/252trq. I am sure the Northsar V8 either 275hp or 325hp DTS will be nice. Hope the handling is in line with the CTS, reports are that it will be a good handler. Nice sized just above E-Class and 5 series. If build quality is =/> the recent Deville than it should be nice. Before you dog BQ I have a 99 Deville that has never spent one day in the shop except for oil changes, bet you coudln't say that for the other luxury makes.

    Mercedes-Benz E-Class - Nice styling on the new E-Class. Like Merc1 says every concievable model, plus the AMG models. The E-500 is awesome, the wagon, the AMG wow. Junior Exec about to get the boards big nod type car. Overall super nice, but need a liitle more sport in the models outside the AMG's.

    Acura RL - Upgrade is needed and welcome. Honda can put together a winner whenever it decides to. I am sure the RL with the new new V6 300hp engine & AWD system and other Hi-Tech gear will be sweet. Like merc1 says "the car looks like a giant Accord, even more so than the new TL. As per all the Japanese cars reliability is the strong point design is the weak point. Can't wait to see the first road test! No V8 or rwd from Acura so forget it folks."

    Lexus GS - Nice but not my style. If the driving dynamics are tuned to the sporty side these could be super nice cars. I don't mind the looks but it is the numbing driver experience that fails it for me.

    Infiniti M35/45 - The New York Autoshow concept looks hot. If upgraded interior & handling mathes already top notch engine, then wow. The threat of the AWD GT-R added to the lineup will be something. Infiniti needs to market this car as the Grand tourer as capable as the German makes.

    Jaguar S-Type - IMHO a great looking car, particularly with sport package of lowered stance and larger wheels. The S-Type R is sweet, the perfect grand tourer for me. I flat like the Jaguar aesthetic though. Needs an upgrade to more sport tuned handling (Broken record) and I think this car could be tops. It's generally priced right though.
  • jrock65jrock65 Member Posts: 1,371
    Never thought I'd say this, but from pictures, I like the design of the M interior over those of the 2006 GS, 2005 RL, 2005 A6, 5 series, and E-class. They finally got the interior right this time.

    The quality of the interior seems promising as well, although we'd have to see the production car in person.
  • pen101pen101 Member Posts: 238
    On my list for a replacement for my 2002 530i next year are the above cars as well as the Cad CTS-V and the BMW E90 (3-series). The competition is strong!

    So far, I guess my favorites in the $40K range is the E90, at $50K is the CTS-V and at $60K the 545i.

    It is too bad that the upcoming M45 and GS do not come with a manual. Otherwise I'd be more interested in them.
  • golfgti47golfgti47 Member Posts: 13
    dude, its no question really, go for the caddy. When was the last time you saw a 3-serries with a 400-hp v-8? Besides, bmw's are very nice, despite their horrible pricing for their vehicles. Besides, i think the cadillac looks better over the 3-serries. The CTS-V is unique, unlike every bmw 3-series you see on every street you turn on.
  • manybmwsmanybmws Member Posts: 347
    I have had 2 90's Acura Legends and then two 5-series in the last 5 years. Depending on the handling dynamics of the new RL, it might be competition for the 5-series. Especially if pricing starts in the mid 40s.
  • 280hp280hp Member Posts: 36
    i dont think the Audi A6 should be in this category. It may be luxurious, but its also too much of a gutless boat.

    The A4 S4 i think, is a good M3 equivalent...
  • mariner7mariner7 Member Posts: 509
    I agree that Infiniti seemed to give the interior a lot of thought and tried to come up with something new. Whereas every else of the new batch (A6/GS/RL/STS) seems to be satisfied with rehashed stuff.
  • andy71andy71 Member Posts: 96
    Why is Acura trying to look retro? The 05 RL looks exactly like the 1998-2002 Accords. Lack of V8 is disappointing. People want the low rpm torque in luxury cars more than the high rpm horsepower. 300 Hp is certainly enough but that Hp should have been backed up by 340 ft-lb of torque at no higher than 4000rpm.
  • dwongswongdwongswong Member Posts: 62
    Even though I own a 2003 Audi A6, my pick for the performance sedan among the cars listed is the Mercedes E320 CDI. Why? Simple.

    The exterior is beautiful and classic looking. The interior is not simple or overdone like the ones I've seen. The diesel engine will last longer as well as get great gas mileage. I'm sure it will run with the others fine.

    I was hoping that the new A6 would keep me with Audi, but too many things I saw I did not like.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    I've ridden in an E320CDI taxi in Paris, I was stunned at how fast it accelerated from about 20mph to 100mph, in a similar league to my 530i 5-Speed. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • mariner7mariner7 Member Posts: 509
    I agree with andy. New RL shows its Accord/Honda DNA all over the exterior, and it's the previous Accord, not current one or TSX/TL.
  • pg48477pg48477 Member Posts: 309
    Honda and Acura are the same company and I dont think there is anything wrong with that, after all honda makes grate vehicles. You can say the same for Nissan and Infiniti, Toyota and Lexus, Cadillac and Opel.
  • saugataksaugatak Member Posts: 488
    nice summary of impressions.

    My take:

    RL - Classic, understated Honda styling, best v6 engine out there. If the SH-AWD lives up to the marketing, this should be a hit. I'm not so crazy about the interior, looks a little busy and crowded to me, location of the nav screen is too high IMO.

    M45 - looks great interior and exterior. I just wish Nissan would smooth out their VQ engine. It's too loud and throaty for my tastes, although I understand some people like that. I think Infiniti has another hit on its hands like G35 and FX.

    BMW 525 and 530 - I agree with Merc's assessments 100%. BMW needs to beef up its inline 6's with the Vanos technology from its v8. BMW has gotten on too long with the same i6 just increasing displacement ever 5 years or so by .2L. I really dislike the new 5 interior as well. The exterior is actually growing on me, but I only like the new 5 in dark colors, it looks bloated to me in lighter colors.

    E class - the standard and just keeps ageing gracefully like fine wine.

    GS300 - I liked the concept car look better but the actual car itself looks OK, nothing too exciting. Hopefully the v6 on this will be more powerful and it'll have better driving dynamics. If not, I'd put this car last in class. A car in this class has to have more than just reliability going for it. There's gotta be some sex appeal or fun factor.
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    We're on the same exact page reguarding the E-Class and 5-Series. I agree the 5-Series is only right in certain colors (which is my excuse for liking the car), but more importantly it needs the big wheels and tires. I keep seeing silver 525/530s with those little wheels...yuck.

    The RL and M45 I'll have to see in person.

  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    I drive a 2002 530i, and its engine is fully VANOS, as was my 1999 328i (the first year for fully VANOS engines). What the I6 engines are lacking are the new ValveTronic valve trains that no longer require a throttle body with a conventional butterfly. With the ValveTronic, throttling is achieved by varying the rise and duration of valve openings. By using the valve train as the only means of throttling the engine, I have seen estimates that engine efficiency can jump by as much as 30%, although in practice, I've never seen anything anywhere near that number.

    Best Regards,
  • loslobos71loslobos71 Member Posts: 28
    i have an 2001 A6 2.7T and really like it, and my wife has a 2001 Volvo S80, and i like it. Is the 2004 model any different from the 2001 one? Also, which enigine do you think is faster and more fun? i think that the A6 is a slightly nicer car, although with some options (and standard stuff on the premier) the S80 can be equally as nice. So simply, which would you reccomend? thanks.
  • lexusguylexusguy Member Posts: 6,419
    The S80 is a nice car, but its not something I would recommend that anyone buy new. The front end got a slight face lift for '04, and there are some new gagues, but otherwise its the same car. The reason I wouldnt recommend a new one is that the value of the S80 tanks immediately after it is driven off the lot. Of course.. the A6 is exactly the same way. I wonder if A6 4.2 buyers kick themselves when they find out their 2 year old $50K car is worth $30K.

    That said, the S80 is infinitely more reliable than the A6, which is one of the worst cars mechancally Audi has ever made, and they make a lot of bad cars.
  • spaldingspalding Member Posts: 1
    S80 depreciation can be bad the first year, but w. $5000 manuf. to dealer incentive in April, L.A. dealers are offering $10k off of a new T-6, bringing price down to about $38,000. Very attractive at that price, given that a 2-3 year old BMW 530 costs about the same or more. Any opinions on the S80 at that price?
  • lexusguylexusguy Member Posts: 6,419
    Why was your own name your subject? Anyway, even at $38,000, I just dont think the S80 is that strong of a value. The interior is kind of bland, and its not all that much fun to drive. For a FWD car, the new Acura TL is more reliable, has a much nicer interior, and the engine has more power than even the T6. All for maybe $34,000, and it will retain its value, especially considering how high demand is for the TL at this point. Another option would be like an '02 Lexus GS430, which would be around $38K. It has MUCH more power than the T6, and is much nicer and more fun to drive as well.
  • jrock65jrock65 Member Posts: 1,371
    Motortrend (June):

    "From Here to Infiniti

    Nissan's luxury division is developing a coupe and convertible off the upcoming 2005 M45 sedan. The new M45 is based on the Nissan Fuga concept unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show last fall. The Fuga is, in turrn based on the Nissan FM (G35) architecture, but it's longer and bigger than the Skyline (G35). Indications are that the Infiniti flagship coupe and convertible both will be four-seat cars and won't be ready before the 2006 model year."

    I guess they're not going to waste any time going after the 6 series and CLK. Wonder if they'll make a G35 convertible as well. Bet that car will look sweet.
  • lexusguylexusguy Member Posts: 6,419
    I assume that this mystery Infinti is our Skyline GT-R. The timeframe would make sense, as that car is supposed to hit in the '07 model year, and its logical that it would be built off of the FM-L V8 RWD platform. I really hope that they get it right, it would be nice to have another sports car to compete against Corvette at the $50,000 range.
  • jrock65jrock65 Member Posts: 1,371
    I'm not sure about that. Apparently, the GTR has been pushed back until MY 2008. Plus, the GTR will be a high-performance machine to go against the likes of the NSX. This M based coupe/convertible sounds more like a luxo-cruiser to compete with the BMW 6 and the MB CLK.

    Guess we'll just have to wait and see.
  • lexusguylexusguy Member Posts: 6,419
    I dunno, I think the FM-L could be adapted to sports car duty. The 350Z and the Alitma share the same platform, but they are hardly similar cars. I'm just not sure that Infiniti would want three coupes in their lineup.
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    The 350Z and Altima don't share the same platform. The FM (Front-Midship) platform is the basis for the 350Z, G35 Sedan & Coupe and the FX35/45, as well as the upcoming M35/45. All these cars have a rwd bias.

    The Altima is on a totally different fwd-biased platform (FLL??), which includes the Murano, Maxima, and Quest.

    That would have to be one great platform to do both rwd (350Z) and fwd (Altima) duty at the same time.

  • proeproe Member Posts: 157
    If GT-R does hit the US market, then a lot of tuners will be very happy as GT-R has the nick name Battle God in Japan because it just beats any car that you put against it with or without mods on track. And, I am not sure even 911 turbo will come out on top if you put it against GT-R on the track. People have tuned the car to produce 1000 hps or more easily. Man, I wish we will see all the Japanese sports cars in US markets someday.
  • lexusguylexusguy Member Posts: 6,419
    What I'm really interested to see is a car from Japan in the $50K range that can compete with Corvette. For the moment, the Vette is pretty much in a segment by itself. Sure you can get a Boxster for similar money, but a Z06 would wax it easily. I want a far eastern that can finally take the Vette down a notch on its own turf.
  • jrock65jrock65 Member Posts: 1,371
    Autoweek tests a pre-production 2006 M45. e=reviews&loc_code=index&content_code=03145214

    Looks like Infiniti is really going for tight handling.
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    There is a very interesting comparo in the June issue of Road and Track. The cars: CTS, E320, 530i, S-Type 3.0, S80 T-6, Chrysler 300 3.5 (not the "C" Hemi model") and A6 3.0.

    This is one of those controversial comparos Road and Track loves to do every once in a while.

    The CTS won based on price and performance. Impressive. I'm still not impressed with the interior, but for the money against these cars they see it as a performance bargain.

    The E320 came in second, but more importantly Road and Track's review of the car reads like a Mercedes-Benz product should behave. Unflappable road composure and more importantly quality of assembly inside and out, especially inside. They also remarked that for once the E320 is actually somewhat fun to drive!

    The shocker has to be that the BMW 530i placed next to last. This is unprecedented with a BMW in just about any comparo in any magazine anywhere! Idrive, styling and price did the car in. They did remark that were only 2 performance cars in the test, the CTS 3.6 and 530i. However the 530i's road prowess couldn't overcome the cars' more glaring faults.

    The new 5 didn't make C&D's 10Best list either this year. BMW is slipping here.

    I think Road and Track has a subtle but distinct bias for Jaguars. The put the outdated XK8 over the SL500 a few months ago and now they put the S-Type over the 5-Series and A6. I don't think so.

    I think they should have tested the A6 2.7t instead of the very pedestrian 3.0L model. The new A6's interior may have more features and even better build quality, but the current model has a better looking interior with much less clutter and confusion of Acura and BMW themes, like the 2005 model has.

    Leave it to Road and Track to mix things up a bit. I don't think any other magazine would have tested such a diverse group of cars.

    The test I'm waiting to see is when the new STS V8, E500, M45, GS430, 545i, new A6 4.2. Ditto for all the 6 cylinder versions of these cars which would include the new RL. The RL will probably win the 6-cylinder contest on price/power/performance.

  • saugataksaugatak Member Posts: 488
    Road and Track must have received a silver 5-series and thought it was too ugly.

    On a serious note, BMW has to stop the cost cutting with their interiors and beef up their I6 if they're going to compete. It's still the best handling, but at some point its lack of power is going to be a problem.

    Hopefully zey vil vinally bhut ze valvetronic technology from zeir v8 into zeir zstraight seex undt inclease displacement wizout incleasing zeir alvredy redikulus purayceez.
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Actually the car was black I think, and they still knocked the styling! I think it looks best (if that is possible) in darker colors. This is of course a grand excuse, because a good looking car should be able to wear any reasonable color well.

  • mariner7mariner7 Member Posts: 509
    "The RL will probably win the 6-cylinder contest on price/power/performance."

    I think it will be hard for RL to come close to new M35. Reason: G has the better chassis than TL. Yes, Acura fans may argue over that, but for most people there's little argument over this. RL probably will have pretty much the same chassis as TL, with fwd. From AW review, looks like M chassis is significantly improved from G.

    Another reason TL and RL are close in ability: they're introduced one year apart. Whereas Z/G were introduced 3, 4 years ago, now it's time for a much improved platform from Nissan.
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Good point, we'll just have to see.

  • saugataksaugatak Member Posts: 488
    just went back and read that article from the link you posted.

    wow, if nissan has already improved the FM platform that much, the new M45 might be a 5-series killer.

    and once they make the next generation G35 off of the improved FM platform, we might have a true 3-series killer on our hands.

    you gotta love the competition.

    now if honda would only make a RWD platform, sigh.
  • pg48477pg48477 Member Posts: 309
    Honda does not need a RWD platform, if new AWD system is 75% of what thay say it is, it should be equal or better than any RWD including M and 5. If Acura can build FWD (TL) which can perform almost as good as RWD G and 3, they can sertanly build an AWD (RL) that would performs as good or better than RWD M and 5. There is no doubt in my mind that Honda/Acura is capable of building great handling AWD, we'll just have to wait and see.
  • lexusguylexusguy Member Posts: 6,419
    If Honda needed RWD, Nissan and Toyota would not be putting AWD in their RL competition. You have to realize there is a rather large portion of North America that given the choice, would go AWD over RWD in a heartbeat. Hell they are even willing to drive crap like the Deville just for the winter traction. As I've said before, RWD is not the end all be all performance killer and everything else can go home. Take a 330i, and a Lancer Evolution out on a track. Guess which one is going to pull the fastest lap times. Its not the BMW. And no, the Evo would NOT be faster if it lost the weight of AWD. It needs that traction to be able to take the hairpins that the BMW would have to hit the brakes for. Do you know that Audi was banned from using Quattro in races because it was an unfair advantage?

    Merc, mostly agreed there. I dont think the CTS should win out over an E320. It's "bargain" price is only half the story, leasing a E class would probably be cheaper considering how horrid Cadillac residual value is. I'm not impressed with the 5 series whatsoever. I liked the old 5 series. While I wouldnt buy one for myself, the old 540i was a fun car to take for a spin. The new car is not. C&D also slammed the 6 series in a recent comparo against a CLK55. I definitely agree though that R&T gives Jaguar more credit than they should. The XK8 shouldnt be beating ANYTHING, and I drive an XKR! This car is not just outdated, its ancient. Its underpinnings date back 30 years to the first XJS. I would've traded my '98 XK for an SL500 over my '00 XKR in a second if it wasnt for the fact that used SLs are still actually worth money. The S Type also is one of the weakest cars in the segment. In a C&D comparo, it came in like 9th or 10th place, just above a Lincoln LS (shocker there). I believe an XJ8 has also beaten the A8L in R&T, unless I'm mistaken. I generally dont like R&T that much. Sometimes there comparos are based purely on performance, with price and luxury as completely unimportant, and sometimes on supposed "value" as with this CTS winner. Which is it? I think C&D, though they are certainly not perfect, is at least more consistent.
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Interesting points especially since you own a Jaguar. Road and Track definitely likes Jaguars.

    Road and Track has somewhat of a history of far-out comparos. I don't think anyone looking at a E320 is going to buy a CTS and vice versa. One is clearly a sports sedan and the other is much more of a luxury car. I hardly think anyone looking the 300 is going to buy an 530i either. These cars are really all over the map, which is exactly the reason they picked this group I guess.

    Road and Track I think likes to stir things up a little bit every now and then. Remember in 1990 the LS400 did not make their 10 Best Cars in the World list. That had everyone talking.

  • riezriez Member Posts: 2,361
    merc1... I've subscribed to R&T for almost 25 years and been reading it for over 30 years. Don't remember anyone really talking about the LS400 not making a 10-best list in 1990. R&T tends to focus on sports cars, roadsters, high performance cars, etc. The LS400 was and still is a pretty sedate sedan. Very well built and offering a lot for the money, but nothing too sporty or high performance about it. Heck, Lexus doesn't even offer a Sport Pkg!

    R&T likes all different cars. They've liked Jags going back to the XK-120 and earlier. Jag is a truly historic marque for R&T, having built a ton of great cars (e.g., the E-type).
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Yikes thats a long time...I've only been reading them since 1986. I remember the press talking about how they didn't put the LS400 on their 10 Best list back in 1990. No big deal to me either, but I do remember other magazines and certain tv programs mentioning it like it was some big mistake or omission.

  • lexusguylexusguy Member Posts: 6,419
    I dont really remember it, though I was reading C&D at the time. That's kind of the reason I dont like Motortrend, instead of a 10 best list, they have "xx of the year" which is quite often NOT the best car in its respective segment, but something that is "most significant" or just grabs a lot of media hype for a short moment, and then drops off the map. The new Thunderbird got car of the year. The SSR I'm sure will get truck of the year, and most likely it will go the road Prowler and Thunderbird as an expensive, underperforming thing that is sold purely on being "different".

    Whether or not the LS400 deserved to be on a list of 10 best is arguable, but it was a very significant car, and probably got MT's import car of the year (back when they used to have that). I do remember M-B acting rather nonchalantly in those days about the presence of Lexus in the market, that they could never hope to hold a candle to M-B. Wrong.
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    There has been a lot written and said about MB's position on Toyota entering the luxury car market.

    Some say that Mercedes-Benz was scared to death and thus responded just 2 years later with their first-ever V8 powered E-Class, the 400E. They did respond a year before BMW did with their V8 powered 540i. Neither BMW or Mercedes was in a position to offer their full size cars with a V8 at LS400 prices. The 300SE of the day was a 52K car! Ditto for the 735i. Mercedes was however the only V8 game in town prior to Lexus with their 420 and 560SEL models, but the 560SEL in particular was twice the base price of a LS400 in 1990! Even more shocking was the LS400 sticker within a few hundred dollars of a 190E 2.6! Imagine a LS430's base price being that of a C320 today! The Germans clearly were doing whatever they pleased with the market.

    Other say Mercedes laughed at the thought of Toyota doing a luxury car. I don't buy this theory now because they changed the course (pricing) of their cars dramatically from 1990-1994. For the first time ever Mercedes actually lowered prices in 1994. This was unheard of from a German luxury car maker who regularly priced their cars however they please. Reality check.

    Either way the luxury car biz was forever changed. BMW had to do a V8 for the first time in years. Mercedes had to lower prices and they temporarily ran up market with the bigger and pricer than everything 1992 S-Class, with mixed results depending on who you ask. Jaguar would not be here post Lexus if it weren't for Ford. They were just like BMW, a I6 and V12 shop only. Funny thing is Acura did the same thing in 1986 and the Euros didn't even blink. Pretty fascinating when you look back at it all.

  • jrock65jrock65 Member Posts: 1,371
    The original LS400 definitely had a revolutionizing impact on the luxury sedan market with its combination of comfort, attention to detail, and value.

    But the way I remember it, and the way it was reported in the press, the Q45 was the car that caused the Germans to put a V8 in their cars.

    Of course, the LS400 had a much larger overall impact, but the Q45 was the one that had a larger "engine" impact.
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Well actually the Q45 being the sportier of the two probably caused BMW to offer a V8 and the LS400 caused Mercedes to offer a V8. Maybe???

  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Member Posts: 1,289
    From what I remember, Mercedes didn't laugh off the concept of Toyota building a luxury carline(at least not publicly) nor were they scared to death.

    I remember reading articles about Mercedes basically having a "whatever" attitude towards Lexus, as in "they're going to effect us one bit". That was the typical German arrogance of that day. That and Mercedes probably figured Toyota would go more the Acura route with basically a Legend type of car, which personally I didn't think was much of a competitor to mercedes products except to the 190 of the day.


    I don't buy this theory now because they changed the course (pricing) of their cars dramatically from 1990-1994. For the first time ever Mercedes actually lowered prices in 1994."

    They didn't change course in 1990. It took 4 years for them to lower prices. Why? I think originally when the LS400 came out in 1990, they thought it wouldn't make a big sales impact and that it wouldn't take sales from their E-class/S-class. They may have also thought that the LS400 would have some initial sales success and then would die off. But they probably took notice when LS400 sales continued strong past '90 into'91, '92, '93, even though prices on the LS400 skyrocketed upwards.
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