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High End Luxury Cars



  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    They are limited competitively. They don't have the same resources to compete head-to-head with Toyota because the cost basis of their cars is driven by their production system.

    Their production system isn't the best. And it's not close.

    They pay up front in terms of capital required to operate. The pay during production since they are less efficient. They pay afterwards for higher warranty work because defect levels are higher.

    This reduces the capital they have to invest in R&D and improving their operations.

    Why do you think that the first four years service is 'free'. It isn't of course. You pay for it in the price of the car.

    This doesn't mean that Benz doesn't make good cars, they do. They just aren't as good as they would be if Toyota made them.
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Lexus had the 6 disc in-dash cd player since 98. Maybe you thought it was only introduced in 2001 but that's not the case. Before that - in 95 - it was in the upper glove box. Even then it was easily accessible to the driver or passenger. Don't know about you but I consider the ability to change CD's at anytime I want a must have luxury item. I also consider great stereo systems part of the luxury panache. It may not be automotive technology but its another key luxury item.
  • "I've never read so much ranting about nothing. When are you going to realize that the Japanese idea of luxury isn't everybody's. You admit that it's not an issue with a Porsche, but yet you can't understand that Mercedes (across the street) from Porsche was also under the same thinking at the time. If you're going to harp about CD players with cars as basically good as BMW, MB and Audi then they're definitely not for you. You and this CD player thing is about the most ridiculous thing you've come up with yet. For your information (stay current) Mercedes, BMW and Audi are all switching to DVD based Nav systems during 2003."

    Porsche makes SPORTS CARS! Mercedes makes LUXURY CARS! Big difference there, one caters to sportiness, and the other caters to luxury. If you cant understand the fundamental difference between the two, there is no point explaining why standard equipment should be different. All of the most up to date technology should be in a high end luxury car. You say I BS too much, where the hell did you pull this "Mercedes doesnt do CD players cause of their corporate culture" crap?


    Are you speaking of trunk mounted CD changers? I hope not, because if you are you know not of what you speak. Who uses them? Lexus, Infiniti, Acura, Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, Audi, Cadillac, and just about every other luxury car going. Lexus, just like Mercedes didn't even offer and in-dash unit on their top LS model until recently, they too used CD changers before offering the in-dash unit with the LS430, ditto for the ES300. In-dash CD players/changers were not popular or offered up until the last few years, on any Japanese or European luxury car. So now what?"

    Im talking about the consumers. I dont know a single consumer who has used a trunk mounted CD changer more than once. And Lexus has had in dash CD players for a while, and they have started to offer in dash CD changers now. In dash CD players have been popular since the early 90s...I dont know where you were this whole time.

    ""And I am not saying they didn’t have the technology, of course they did. BUT THEY DONT IMPLEMENT IT!!!!!!"

    Really? Mercedes didn't implement electro-hydraulic brakes or active rollover protection either huh? Mercedes crumple zone technology is blueprint that every single car on the road today uses, and they (Mercedes-Benz) did it first! Do you really think Acura compares to a Benz in safety engineering? Please."

    Once again, twisting my words around. I was talking specifically about CD players and Nav systems. You mentioned that Mercedes was capable of putting those in their cars earlier, and I dont deny that, BUT THEY DIDNT.

    Merc1, you like to paint a portrait of me, twisting around my words and claiming that I hate Mercedes, which is very far from the truth. I have told you numerous times about my possible intentions to buy an used C280. I really enjoy the S class, the new E class, and the new C class...and I can agree that the SL is pretty cool, although I dont lust after it.

    However, I am quite different from you, as I:
    a)realize Mercedes has problems, and I dont just say that I realize it.
    b)am capable of seeing superiority in other aspects of other cars
    c)dont think Mercedes is invulnerable to failure because of some hoo-haw Heritage idea
    d)think Mercedes, and Daimler Chrysler in general, has some of the absolute worst buisnessmen, CEOs, and managers in the Car Business.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Thats a bunch of bs for the most part because you aren't really telling me anything.

    "This doesn't mean that Benz doesn't make good cars, they do."

    Case closed. For Toyota's all conquering might, Lexus will never win over the enthusiast who cares more about cars than CD changers and Nav systems.

    Daimler-Chyrsler does too have the money and resources to compete with Toyota, what in the world gave you the idea that they don't? That is plum ridiculous.

    "Why do you think that the first four years service is 'free'. It isn't of course. You pay for it in
    the price of the car."

    Why do you think that Lexus' cars need servicing more often and it cost more for servicing. Why do their dealers nickel and dime people over nav system updates. Quit acting like Toyotaworld is all roses and they don't charge you for things also. Wake up. You don't get something for nothing from anyone.


    "Lexus had the 6 disc in-dash cd player since 98." Not on every model the didn't. Not in the center stack. They may have been in the glovebox since then, but per my friend every car on the earth had them in the center stack since the early 90's. So not true. Ahh even you see that a CD player isn't "technology", merely a feature.


    Dude if you can't understand the way certain car companies think than we need to stop here. It's the same reason why the Japanese don't see doing small volume expensive cars like the Europeans do with brands like AMG, M and S/RS. They don't "see" doing cars like those because the return is so small. Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Porsche didn't see CD players as being important because they spent so much time and effort on the aspects of car design. You know yourself that a stereo in a Benz or any high-end German car was just and afterthought up until a few years ago. I'm not saying that this excusable, I'm just telling you why it was the case.

    "Im talking about the consumers. I dont know a single consumer who has used a trunk
    mounted CD changer more than once. And Lexus has had in dash CD players for a while,
    and they have started to offer in dash CD changers now. In dash CD players have been
    popular since the early 90s...I dont know where you were this whole time."

    Did you not read what I just wrote. I said in LUXURY CARS! Your average American or Japanese car did have an in-dash CD player, but luxury cars usually didn't. Why is that so hard for you to understand? If you don't know anyone that has a CD changer in the trunk then you don't know anybody. You're talking about consumers? Who the hell else buys these cars?

    I don't have to paint a portrait of your, your posts speak for themselves. I don't know you'd buy a C280, they didn't have an in-dash CD players, or a Nav system, the two most important features you're looking for. They have cheap dash plastics, downright pitiful handling and won't last past 100K.

    "However, I am quite different from you, as I:
    a)realize Mercedes has problems, and I dont just say that I realize it.
    b)am capable of seeing superiority in other aspects of other cars
    c)dont think Mercedes is invulnerable to failure because of some hoo-haw Heritage idea
    d)think Mercedes, and Daimler Chrysler in general, has some of the absolute worst
    buisnessmen, CEOs, and managers in the Car Business."

    No it's more like:

    a) I bash Mercedes every chance I get, all negative things, never able to see any of their accomplishments.
    b) I think every other car is superior.
    c) Mercedes is vulnerable because they don't have the best CD players setup or Nav system.
    d) Yep they're idiots.

    I'm not twisting anything around. You came into the conversation and took it there, and really didn't even know what you were talking about, especially when it comes to the CD player issue. This started out as Acura vs Mercedes, technology wise, of which there is no comparison, but like everything conversation about Mercedes it turns into this type of bs session with you.

  • maxhonda99maxhonda99 Posts: 1,289

    10-month waiting list? wake-up and walk down to a Benz dealer. One of the biggest markets for luxury cars(Connecticut) has virtually no wait for the new E-class. To put it in perspective, my cousin recently purchased a brand new 2003 E320 and drove it home the same day. He also got about $2.5K off MSRP. On top of that, the dealer he bought his car from said, he could have gotten him a E320 just about any way he wanted in about 1-2 months, and he still would have gotten a discount.

    I'm not taking anything away from the E-class and I'm not trying to bash it in any way, as the new E320 is a great automobile and a big improvement over the lame 96-02 E-class. And personally, the new E320 is by far better than the Lexus GS-series, Audi A6, Jaguar S-type, and a bit better than the 5-series BMW.
  • Im not going to get into this argument with you. But I will say one thing, regarding this paragraph:

    "I don't have to paint a portrait of your, your posts speak for themselves. I don't know you'd buy a C280, they didn't have an in-dash CD players, or a Nav system, the two most important features you're looking for. They have cheap dash plastics, downright pitiful handling and won't last past 100K."

    I like Mercedes for what they are. They have a great ride, a solid design, and are possibly the most safe vehicles on the road. At this point in my life, I dont need expensive luxurious plastics or leather, I dont need a standard CD player(I will probably replace with an aftermarket Blaupunkt SF), I dont need a NAV system, I dont need a sports car. I need an used, solid vehicle that will last a while and will be safe, both actively and passively. When I am more well off, and possibly looking at higher end luxury cars, I will consider Benz, just as much as I will consider Audi and Lexus. And I will hold all of them to the same standards, regardless of stupid "corporate culture" BS. I dont need to justify faults of any car.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    There was no "justification" given, there was a reason given. A big difference. I clearly stated in that post that I was not excusing them of anything.

  • I'm sorry. I tend to over-exagerrate sometimes. Looking at that post now makes me feel somewhat dumbfounded by what I wrote. I got caught in the moment. :)
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    I think that you have a good point that right now there is a difference in the feel of cars in this class: Lexus the most smooth ( aka boring ), BMW the most sporting/firm and MB in the middle.

    What's interesting to think about is where this will be in three or four years.

    Today's vehicles are offering the ability for us to set sport, highway and soft settings in the ride and handling.

    The new 745 from BMW doesn't have 'hydraulic' power steering. It's actually assisted by an electric motor instead.

    The current 2003 Corvette has the most advanced adjustable on the road suspension system available. It uses an electromagnetic coil to alter fluid consistency within the shock absorbers to instantly adjust damping for road surfaces and conditions. With wheel sensors at each wheel adjusting damping force, the electromagnetic system responds five times faster than previous mechanical systems.

    Magnetic Selective Ride Control is driver-adjustable, with two settings (Tour and Sport). Tour provides an amazingly controlled, smooth ride while Sport lets the driver "feel" the contour of the road to a greater degree.

    What's going to happen in the future? Instead of just sport systems and tour, there'll be stops in between. There'll be adaptive versions that sense a significant change in road surface ( if you want it to ) and change the settings to match the new surface... like hitting a section where the pavement is getting redone.

    I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Lexus (shamelessly) calibrate what the feel of a BMW or Benz is like. They'll have the settings like we see today: tour, highway and probably Euro 1 and Euro 2. Guess what they will be.

    Lexus could have a strong selling proposition to current MB and BMW owners looking for the ride and feel they like, in a virtually defect free car, delivered and serviced by a dealership that generally treats you as customer they'd like to keep.

    If they use the new audio technology that Bose has to cancel outside sounds they can make a car very quiet. If they can do that they can also make the 'roar' or rumble that you hear selective too. You like the roar that the E500 or sweet song of a 745, dial it right in. You won't be able to tell the difference. They'll even make the seats buzz, just 'so'.

    With superior electronics, great software and active, dynamic suspensions, steering and sound components, you will be able to you pretty much dial in the experience you want, be it enthusiast 1, enthusiast 2, highway glide or shopping center cruise.

    Smart sensors will monitor the effective wear of some components over time and have the software compensate so that the 'feel' remains approximately constant over an extneded life. You won't know if the car loosens up and the dash monitor will tell you if it's out of tolerance before normal servicing. Those same sensors will monitor external and operating temperatures so that shocks for example, aren't 'hard' when you first hit the street on a frosty morning.

    It's mind boggling. I am sure that all of the car companies will excel in this new era, but the sense of feel and handling that the Europeans have prided themselves on won't be something that they will alone own. Nor will Lexus's super smooth ride be theirs alone. MB and BMW will have the same capability to deliver that if they invest in the same smart technology.
  • Electro-sensitive paint that can change color on demand, and real-time tunable aerodynamics (beyond height adjustments).
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well all that is impressive, but I've heard mixed reviews about GM's shock technology. I think cars in general are going to hit a wall sooner or later when it comes to technology. At the rate their going, cars will drive themselves in about 10 years.

  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    I think as long as we have individual choices about personal transportation, we'll have advances in automobile technology.

    I think that a lot of external economic factors could have more to do with the directions that cars go technology-wise than we usually recognize.

    The price of gas, the cost of money and the underlying wants and desires of the younger generations all come to mind.

    The hard thing for all of us luxury technology car purchasers to get their heads around is that the technologies in their cars aren't unique or exclusive any more - at least not for more than a few months.

    A friend who just spent $75K on a new 745i proudly told me about the new electric motor technology for his power steering instead of the old hydraulics.

    My son and I were looking at 'energy efficient' cars yesterday. The new Honda Civic Hybrid ($20K) has the same set up.

    My guess is that it will become unfashionable and increasingly expensive to drive around by ourselves in 5 -iter, 300 hp, 5-passenger ego boxes long before cars guide themselves without our hands on the wheels.
  • Im curious as to what mixed reviews have been given and where for the GM suspension. I have heard nothing but good about them, including reliability(it lessens moving parts a good percentage), and speed of adaption. What else is there that can go wrong?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    A few reviews have stated that it doesn't do much other than switch the ride from hard to soft in a very fast manner. MotorWeek and Autoweek are the two that come to mind right away. They both doubted if the system was worth anything.

  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Merry Christmas Merry Christmas -

    It is fast enought to recalculate and change the damping every time the Corvette travels 1 inch at 60 mph.

    It works by changing the effective vicscosity of the fluid in the shocks.

    What's really cool is that they can change it differently on opposite sides of the car to improve handling, not just ride.

    I'm sure BMW and MB will be able to get this advanced technology since the system is produced by Delphi, an independent supplier of automobile parts and systems to companies all over the world.

    Here's an article from Autoweek back in June. It indicates that the new C6 Vette will have this ride technology standard.

    " Magnetic Ride Control uses new Delphi “valveless” shocks, which are designed to have better damping and ultra-quick response rates. The quick-acting shocks use a liquid called magneto-rheological fluid. The fluid, combined with computer-controlled coils, provides continuously variable, real-time damping. The fluid contains iron particles, which in the presence of a magnetic field, can align themselves into a thicker state. If the magnetic field isn’t present, the fluid takes on a thinner state. The tuning levels are nearly unlimited, depending on programming and adjusting the algorithms controlling the damping responses.

    The benefits, based on brief drives we’ve done in the 50th Anniversary car and some Sevilles equipped with the system, are fantastic: The ride is better, there’s less body roll, less dive under hard braking and squat under hard acceleration, and faster body and wheel control.

    From Detroit News Columnist John McCormick:
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    That is the initial review, there was a later one in which they didn't. AFTER they lived with a car that has it, the 2003 STS.

    Naturally "Detroit" News would, hardly going to get a bad review there.

    In short it's no big deal to me, GM has played the shock game before and until they engineer the rest of the to same standard it's really pointless.

    How much you wanna bet BMW and MB DON'T "get" this technology?

  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Hi Merc1, Happy New Year.

    Can you share the link for the Autoweek review where they didn't like it. I looked hard throughout their site and couldn't find any negative comments. It's always helpful to be able to read the original reviews to get the complete story.

    In terms of your conclusions about who will or won't use this over time, I am staying open to the idea and learning a bit more. It seems to me that the days of 'pure mechanical' systems that constituted technology where German companies like BMW and MB had a lead in the 60's and 70's, are long gone.

    Today, the innovation starts with advanced electronics as a major degree of freedom in design. Shocks are no different, and have been integrated into the electronically controlled suspension and braking systems. They've just been pretty passive up to now. The big difference with MR and why it's such an improvement over even air-damping and cushioning systems, is that the working fluid in the shock is active and controllable in real time by microelectronics. Air doesn't respond to high speed electromagnetics very well.

    I like MR's chances! I hope that Toyota/Lexus adopt it. It will be a stepping stone to dial-a-ride with the European Profiles I mentioned in an earlier post.

    The underlying technology wasn't developed by GM or Delphi as it turns out. But Delphi is productizing the MR in the 50th Anniversary Vette and STS.

    MR is also being used in bus and heavy equipment seats (Class 8 machinery) to reduce vibration and increase operator safety. It's being used in sesmic mitigation. prosthetics, and consumer product vibration reduction applications (washing machines). It's protected by numerous U.S. patents held by a U.S. company. Take a look at

    Enjoy...and Happy New Year.

  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    One thing I do know about Cadillac's computer controlled suspension (magnetic or otherwise) is that it is expensive to maintain. The shocks do wear out and will need replaced as they age. For the STS and the Corvette, the shocks will provide both a good ride and good handling (but perhaps not at the same time).
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    I think all shocks wear out and require replacement. I would tend to think that both replacement parts and labor are high in general for cars that qualify for this forum.

    I feel that one of the advantages of the magnetic technology is that the shock control system can measure the shock's performance versus expected results and compensate, both for temperature and wear. This should aid the components life.

    I think if you read some of the MR links you might conclude that they provide a system for both good ride and good handling. The reason being that the need for 'good handling' arises very quickly even though you might only be out for a 'comfortable' ride. I can happen when you take evasive maneuvers or just get overzealous on a challenging back road. A system like the one in the 50th Anniversary Vette and STS, can give you the 'comfort' when you want it, but be programmed to respond to 'emergencies' much like ABS/EBD/VSC does in a Lexus today. The MR suspension plays an active role in emergency handling, limiting body roll and its effects on lateral weight distribution. This tends to keep the inside tires firmly in contact with the roadway and more weight on them.
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    I am fairly sure that my SLS's shocks are cheaper to replace than the STS's. My handling is probably not quite as good and probably the ride is not quite as good as the STS can manage, but overall I think the SLS's ride and handling are good, and the cost of keeping it up should be reasonable.
  • footie is correct, the days of mechanical innovation is over, its all about electronics and materials now. MR is a great innovation, and I havent heard anything bad about it, but I do realize its shortcomings.

    First of all, it only modifies damping rates, it does not control release rates, IIRC. Also, it does not modify spring rates, only the shock absorbers. The spring rates, in combination with the damping factors, are really what gives that "European Ride" so I dont see how the shocks alone are going to help too much.

    You also have to consider that suspension geometry, car weight distrobution, torque to the wheels, etc all affect handling to a great degree, and there is no one single fix that will dramatically change a cars dynamics on the fly.

    Its a good innovation, but the rest of it needs to be there before we get to your idealogical car utopia, footie.

  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    You are of course, right. There's much room for improvement in many areas of handling.

    Without going to far into la-la land, I would expect that almost everything in a suspension that is 'fixed' today, like link lengths and geometry, gets a good hard look for becoming variable and smart.

    On the MR shocks, if I understand your comment correctly, they do control both jounce (compression) and rebound (expansion).

    It's also the case that in the Vette and STS, the roll, dive and pitch are controlled better by the use of these shocks. For example in the case of pitch, you can stiffen both ends of the vehicle at the same time having the front resist nosediving and the rear resist uplift. You can carefully control the ratio of these two to get the desired effect.

    With older technology, the shocks are dumb and can't tell the difference between the wheels falling in a pothole or the front of the car nosediving. The systems based on (electro) or standard mechanical valving reacts the same way to both events. It doesn't matter whether they are air or liquid based.
  • sysadbsysadb Posts: 83
    An impressive innovation, Footie. When you made the original post describing that the oil changed thickness properties in order to control damping, I was puzzled as to how the oil could continuously change "real time" in the milliseconds needed to manage the system. Now I see - the oil doesn't actually change; it blends with an iron particle "additive" regulated by computer controlled coils. Slick...

  • What are some of the opinions regarding Audis A8 air suspension efforts (presumably on the upcoming A8 and S8 a couple years later?)

    I now have 3500 miles on a new allroad and I assume that the allroad was a bit of a mule for Audi to test some of the air suspension technologies on. Of course the allroad does not have a dynamic suspension -- it IS active but it does not act except when told to -- and never rapidly (other than the ride height reductions that happen "automatically" at certain speeds -- the faster you go the lower it goes, that is).

    I would assume that if an air suspension could be made to be both active and truly dynamic -- in real time (or close -- perhaps 10 times per second) it would be (or perhaps could be) "better" than other suspensions, e.g., fluid filled, etc.

    Anyway, what do you anticipate Audi will do with their S8 (in 2005 perhaps) with respect to the suspension systems.

    I bought a new 1997 A8 and ordered an S8 suspension for it from Joe Hoppen -- and even though it was a "conventional" suspension, the A8 with S8 underpinnings (and tires and wheels, too) was one of the best riding and handling cars I have ever had, even to this day.

    Thoughts, dreams?
  • do you still have it? Can I have it?:)
  • Traded the 97 A8 in on a 99 A6 2.8, traded that on a 2000 A6 4.2, then on a 2001 A6 4.2 and November of this year traded the A6 4.2 in on an 03 allroad.

    The 2001 A6 4.2 -- all possible options except CD changer IS still avail at my dealership (36K miles on it).

    e-mail me and I'll give you the salespersons name, etc.

    Generally I get rid of my cars before 40K miles -- the allroad MAY make me change my mind, especially if they cancel the car as of 2004.

    I got the allroad with a 36 month lease, most of the other cars were 30 months or less (the 99 A6 had a 12 month lease).

    The A8 was a very nice car, but it had a 5spd NON-tiptronic transmission, pearl white, all options (at the time) and Plus tires (245 45 17 PZeros) -- hard to believe a car as big as an A8 could run (in my opinion) pretty well with my 2001 A6 4.2 with sport suspension option. Of course the 2001 A6 did in many ways rival the 1997 A8 (remember the 97 A8 was NOT the long wheelbase).
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    There is no "link" to those coments on the GM's suspension technology at Autoweek the negative coments they had were about the STS in one of these "Car Board" sections that they have every week. They (and Motorweek) were saying that ride goes from hard/soft too fast with little ground in between. Motorweek said that about the 2003 Aniv Corvette during a recent roadtest.

  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Boy - these cars couldn't be more different. The new Rolls is so-oooo tall and classic looking and the Maybach so sleek and low profiled. I like both but have a prefernce for the Rolls. It's the more classic high-end upper crust style but regardless MB will have no problems at all selling out the Maybach's.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Funny thing is that neither the Rolls or the Maybach look as good as the current Bentley Arnage. I like the Maybach better than the new Phantom. This new "Roller" is ugly from the front and the interior is a busy mess.

  • I think the new Rolls reminds me of a Mack truck, and the lines are too heavy-handed to be graceful. The grille is straight off of those new big-rigs you see on the freeway all of the time. If you replaced the gille bars with the Dodge cross-hair grille, it might resemble a Dodge Ram pickup. It seems tall enough. And the headlights are right off of an 80's Cadillac. Did I mention it had iDRIVE... At least there's no "flame" styling. Looks like Rolls will have to put up with the shipping crate jokes that Volvo used to have to take.
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