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High End Luxury Cars



  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I believe you have to spend over $100,000 on a Benz S just to get wood on the steering wheel. Plus, the S is extremely dated at this point, its like a '99 design that you have the "privaledge" of paying full price for. Its hardly a bargain. I agree the new LS with the sport suspension and 18" wheels might make you think twice about which car is more engaging to drive. Granted its no S55 AMG, but I'd put it at least as good as an S430. Even the XJ8 I think is a better car than the S430 at this point, but I absolutely would not recommend paying new car prices for a Jaguar.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
      What a beautiful Jaguar..I wish they still made them like that! I too have been put off by the cheap interior fittings that Ford has incorporated into the newer designs. I've thought alot about buying the last gen (98-03) XJ but those quality issues are preventing me from doing so. I've been spoiled by 3 LS400/430's so it's really hard to leave Lexus.

      It really depends on what you're looking for. I think MB still has Lexus beat on Prestige. You can't discount their 100+ yrs of heritage. Also, it most likely will handle better as well. I bet some of the other Lexus owners will scream bloody murder at that statement. But I firmly believe German cars still hold the edge on performance.

    However, I believe the Lexus will offer you a better ownership experience (especially Long term). The LS in particular are bulletproof. I can attest to this having owned a 1992 LS and experiencing minimal problems to this day. The LS430 has been nearly as good as it's predecessor. The only knock on the LS is the bland exterior..But the car has benefited from the recent refresh.

    I feel the LS is a better value for money, but it's really up to you. Sometimes the "fit" of the car to your preferences matters more than statistics.

  • topspin628topspin628 Posts: 373
    I would love to test one but I have not been successful in finding a dealer with a demo in stock. One would think if Lexus was trying to steal sales from BMW and MB they would make it convenient.
  • Topspin:

    People keep buying the darn things before the dealer can show them.

    If you talk to a lexus sales person I am sure they will call you for a test drive when a new LS comes in. I have been lucky to go to dealers that do have them in stock...At least one 04
  • topspin628topspin628 Posts: 373
    Thanks, I'll try to find one. Until then, just curious, what do you find to be the biggest difference? Is the steering a bit more responsive? That's the main thing that I think I'll miss from my BMW.

    Is the sport the same as the adjustable air suspension?
  • anthonypanthonyp Posts: 1,860
    O.K. Merc
    You having been such an advocate for Mercedes, so I baught her the clk convertable a while ago..She (not me) is now having electrical problems with the top, and side windoows..Top wouldn`t go back up and windows just suddenly dropped an inch or two for no reason..Took it to dealer--no loaner-and say they have to order a part..At least they checked the car while she waited...I really don`t have the confidence in them but we will see..She loves the car, but I can tell there is a degree of concern and a bit of doubt...Unfortunately it may end up my problem, and I`m looking to you to solve it.. Tony
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    "Note to mention your constantly changing the years we are reviewing..I provided specs for a 93 SL and a 93 Allante...AS IS YOUR CUSTOM YOU WANT TO MOVE THE BALL TO THE 90 ALLANTE AND NO DOUBT COMPARE IT TO THE 93 SL."

    You're confused. It doesn't matter which 1990+ SL you use! You can use whatever year SL from 1990 onward and it will be the same outcome since the SL was new for 1990 and had the same specs for 1990 as it had in 1993! You could compare the 1993 Allante to the 1990, 1991, 1992, or 1993 500SL and it will be same specs, showing the Cadillac to be totally outdone. I said 1990 because the car didn't change from 1990 to 1993....with 1993 being the only year the Allante got competitive. If it makes it easier for you the 1993 500SL was superior to the 1993 Allante. This is industry-wide knowledge. The R129 SL ran from the 1990 model year to the 2002 model year. Long outliving the half-baked Allante.

    "No the top was not totally unacceptable...I bought one. 6000+ people bought Allante's in 1993."

    And this means what? I'm trying to understand how a Lexus owner can constantly come up with such ridiculous excuses for a car like an Allante. People buying the car doesn't mean it was a good car or that the top was acceptable. Cadillac had enough "buy-American" fans (not you obviously since you have a Lexus too) back then to move whatever they produced no matter how crappy it is. People bought Sterlings in the U.S. during the eighties and early nineties also.

    "I do not believe the SL traction control was of the quality of the Allante."

    Reviews please. Technical details please. What you "believe" doesn't count. I assume you've driven both also right?

    "Where the seat belts are Located? Where were the Seatbelts located in the 93 SL....Did the 93 SL even have a shoulder harness?"

    You make this too easy. The SL had it's seatbelt assembly and mounting point completely contained in the seat itself. This was done for safety. The seats were their own crash/crush structure and they were made of magnesium. What did GM offer in the Allante? Do you know what "shoulder harness" is? Are you saying the Allante had one of these? I'm dying to hear.

    You paid 60K for a car that had a manual top, which is what you'd expect on a Miata-priced car. I wasn't saying the Allante was in the Miata's class.

    Would you buy a SC430 if it had a manual top? To even suggest that this omission wasn't a flaw or an underspec'd car is totally absurd for 60K.

    My point about the oil system was that any car will tell you if it has lost oil or coolant, hardly something unique on a Allante.

    Please don't talk about credibility here. Not even the die-hard GM'ers on the other boards think an Allante was a superior to the 1990-2002 SL and I've managed to find a Lexus owner (Lexus being a perfectionist brand to you) making all sorts of excuses for one of the worst cars to ever enter the luxury roadster segment. Was the Allante superior to the 1993 Lexus SC400 too? After this unbelievable exhcange, what little you had in the way of credibility is completely Allante'd (shot) with me. I always knew you either didn't care or didn't understand some technical aspects that have been discussed here over the years, but this Allante defending is far too surreal and it the most about-face I've ever seen on these boards. You appreciate the LS430 for what is, supreme quality and engineering through and through and, yet you think the Allante is superior the SL. The SL that was made during Mercedes' better quality years at that, when Cadillac was at their absolute worst. Doesn't make sense to me.


    The 1993 Allante beat the 300SL in a comparo in 1992, but the sidebar on the 500SL clearly stated which was the better car if the buyer moved up to 500SL. Hint: it wasn't the Cadillac.


    I have nothing against the XJS, but compared to the 1990 SL it was technically 10 years behind the SL. I liked the sportier models of that body, not sure what they were called XJS-R or something like that? They had larger wheels and a subtle body kit. BTW, a wooden steering wheel is a $510 and $860 option on the E and S-Classes, respectively. Wooden steering wheels do not a BMW, MB or Audi make. BMW and Audi don't even offer them.

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Absolutely. It was more than 10 years though, the XJS foundation dates back to the mid 70s. The saddest thing of all is that the '05 XKR still shares DNA with that car. Thats partially the reason for the high dash line, cramped footwells, and complete absense of any kind of dead pedal. My point wasnt that the XJS was a superior machine, it definitely wasnt. (Though it beat the Allante, despite being 15 years old in 1990). My point was that when it came to the interior of the SL vs. XJS, it was all Jag.
  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
     Question about the current SL. Does it suffer from some of the electrical gremlins that have been mentioned on this board? It's cars like the SL that show that MB still has it. I'd buy that car any day, except that the New England weather makes it very unpractical.

    I find the stories about the S Class shocking though..If the quality issues were confined to the lower classes (C, ML, etc) I might understand, but this is too much.
      Where are all of these issues suddenly coming from? I still recall that MB was way up there in the much debated JDP rankings in the early 90's. BMW too hasn't been immune from it either..Any thoughts?

  • Topspin

    The euro tuned Sport Suspension...Uses stiffer springs, more aggressive shock absorb er damping rates, a thicker rear stabilizer bar for reduced understeer and special suspension bushings for a more immediate feel of the road..It is coupled with 17in. wheels.

    To me the car feels tighter and the steering firmer....The car feels very solid and secure on a winding road. (Even more then normal which is good)

    The Power mode changes the shift points and is very noticeable the way it pushes you back in your seat. Lots of acceleration.

    When you get a chance to drive one you want to be sure and try both modes in a place where you can really punch it.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Some have suggested that MB and BMW have rushed a bunch of new models to market to better compete, and thus quality has suffered.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I had been meaning to ask you what you thought of the facelifted 2005 XK cars? I really like what they've done to the lower body. I've seen a coupe in White and a convertible XKR this very rick looking Blue, absolutely stunning. No arguement about the interior, asthetically it was all Jaguar. The Germans then were just leather appointed board rooms in which to conduct the "business" of driving. I look for the 2007 XK to vault to the head of this class giving the SL much to worry about.


    "Any thoughts?"

    Yeah plenty. Truthfully no Benz has been immune from problems over the last 4-5 years. The current SL has been less than stellar also, especially the early build 2003 models. Some of the SL owners on the other boards are reporting much better goings with 2004 models. One poster in particular (Shoes) can tell you all about the current SL, I think he's owned 3 of them now! The first one he had was not so great, a 2003 model, but his 2004 SL500 has been very good so far, he also had a SL55 AMG if I'm not mistaken.

    The current S-Class (2000) was one of the biggest offenders along with the 2001 C-Class and the omg 1998 ML, which I personally detest. I'll start with the S-Class and the facts: Mercedes doesn't do "cheaper" too well. The 1992-1999 S-Class is the car Mercedes knows how to build and even that car wasn't perfect because they sought to decontent it from 1995 foward, but still it had a build the current S simply doesn't match, it was generally more reliable (read a lot less electronics) than today's S. The problem was that people complained about it being to expensive, big and heavy so Mercredes responded by making the new car cheaper, lighter, and somewhat smaller (outside), but the quality went way down. I got a chance to examine one of the last 1999 S500s next to the 2000 S500s when they first arrived. I was truly startled at the compromised they'd made in order to save a few bucks. Needless to say the body, interior, fittings and finish all went down quite a bit with the 2000 S. They addressed a lot of these things for the 2003 with the facelift, but it's like to retrofit the quality that should have been there in 2000 and it still doesn't match the LS, A8 or Phaeton in certain area where the old S wouldn't have had a problem doing so. Hopefully they've learned their lesson and the 2006 S will be built with the traditional quality in mind and less glitches like the current car. I'll say again though the 2003+ S-Classes are much better in build quality and reliability from the 2000-2002 models.

    The ML, and I'll be brief here. Mercedes sold their soul to the devil of volume. Instead of build in a true 50-70K truck like they know they wanted to (and can) they built the ML to a price point to compete with a Ford Exploreres and Jeep Grand Cherokees, at 33K in 1998. The 1998-1999 models were unbelievable cheap inside and out. I remember it like it was yesterday, me and a salesman looked at each other in disbelief at a ML unveiling at the then Loeber Motors on the near-north side of Chicago. This this is so freaking cheap! Needless to say the ML truly showed its colors after the sales boom put them in the hands of traditional MB and new customer alike. One problem after another, and I don't mean electronics. I mean fuel leaks, brakes, radiator leaks, differential failures, you name it. Now 6 years later it places in the top for initial quality. I don't buy it. The basic chassis has proven itself in various motorsport events around the world, but everything Mercedes sub'd out was of dubious quality to say the least. I've never so worried about a new Mercedes in my life as I am the new ML, R and next G, which will all be build in Alabama.

    The C-Class is basically the same as the S, much improved with it's facelift (2005) in the area of build quality and features too, but the 2001 model was far less then right.

    Industry analysts have theorized about Mercedes' quality decline and come up with many things. I think electronics, Chrysler's finanical drain, and more models all led to their quality fall. Remember in 1990 there were only the 190, 300, S-Class and SL. Today there is the SL, CL, S, E, CLK, C, ML, SLK, G, Maybach and more new models (CLS, R) on the way.

    There are signs that things are improving, especially when a Mercedes is redesigned. The CLK and E-Classes are not being knocked about their interiors like before, thought the new E has had a few initial problems. Ditto for the SL. The new SLK and CLS look to have the proper build of a Mercedes. The upmcoming Bama made vehicles worry me the most.

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    To be honest, I was curious if Jaguar would do anything with the XK to make it more competitive. Nope. A new front end air intake ooo boy! What about the wollowy suspension, numb steering, mushy brake pedal (and brakes that shouldnt be in any car with a letter "R" on it), manual tonneau cover, and certain substandard interior materials. Still there. I was not even remotely impressed by the '05 XK that I saw at the NYAS. I've been thinking of basically getting rid of my LS and having a single car for myself, and the '05 XK did nothing to sway me from planning to buy an SC430 as my daily driver\weekend car. Plus whats with the J-gate? Every magazine in the world has literally screamed at Jaguar to get rid of that damn J-gate, but they just cover their ears and try and figure out how to make the X-type sellable. Im finished with Jaguar.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    Yeah, the XK8 is definetly on its last legs. Still one of the best looking cars out on the road (in my opinion at least).

    Starting to hear some rumblings that the Jaguar F-type may be coming back around. (For those that remember, this was a smaller, more Porsche Boxster sized roadster that was axed a few years ag while in developement.) I think it would do Jaguar a lot of good to get a smaller roadster more like the orginal XK's and E-types back on the market.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    That would be nice, but what platform is it going to go on? Ford doesnt have anything good enough to go up against the likes of Z4, Boxster, SLK350, etc.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    I suppose it could be a new platform as was originally planned.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Yikes! No waiting for the 2007 model I guess huh. I too think its still one of the best looking cars around, but the design/mechanicals are outdated. Though I am surprised about the SC430. What happened to the Maserati Coupe Cambiocorsa or 911 (I think that was you?).

  • oacoac Posts: 1,594
    I am currently in Japan on a business trip and plan to learn as much about Lexus' plan for their launch. Maybe their are some hidden stuff out here..... I plan to poke around some in-between meetings here in Tokyo.

    BTW, around my hotel here in Akasaka (Chiyoda-ku), and most of the places I visited (including the Tokyo-American Club) there are just way too many MBs and Celsiors (newer models or LS430 trims) everywhere. In the past, I find so few MBs in Tokyo, but I must confess the number of MBs just keeps increasing. And I'm seeing mostly the high-end S500/S600 sedans. In fact, I have never seen a C-class MB here in all of my 5 years of business travels to Japan. They must be out here, I just haven't seen them yet. I asked a couple of colleagues here and they confirm that MBs have a higher prestige status than Toyota here in Japan, at the luxury level. Maybe the introduction of the Lexus line will change this. Time shall tell....
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Yeah I like the Maserati, but after talking to owners of the car, apparently they had a lot of bugs in the '01 and '02 versions, so I would have to get an '03 at the earliest, and I don really have $100K+ to drop at the moment. Plus, if I do decide to drive a convertible to work, I dont think Im ready to trust them yet. The SC430 Id have nothing to worry about.
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  • sv7887sv7887 Posts: 351
     I've noticed you've had alot to say about Jaguar. Having experienced both a Lexus and Jaguar, how would you compare them? I'm still wondering whether I can deal with a Jaguar's issues after 12+ yrs of driving a Lexus. Like most LS owners, I'm not very tolerant of repair issues. that's the only sticking point for me..Otherwise I thought that the last gen XJ was a fantastic looking car.

    As for the debate about the SL, I still think the SL is the benchmark in the industry. So far I've seen nothing close to it. Mercedes has always built a superb two seater. I'd like Lexus to make a more determined effort to develop something similar.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Ok gotcha. I was amazed by the level of customization available on all Maseratis. You can have any and everything colored to your personal specs. I've seen a few Spyders on the road, simply gorgeous.

    What are your thoughts on the new XJ?

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The spyder actually doesnt do that much for me, I really dont like the short wheelbase\chopped rear end look. I think the coupe is very sexy though. The leather customization is impressive, they are like Rolls in that respect.

    sv7887, I loved the racing D and E-types as a kid, and have been a Jag fan for a long time. The '80s and early '90s were not good years for them, but at least some of the soul of the classic Sir William Jaguar was still in there. The Ford buy out basically killed all that. The classic Jag 12s are gone, in favor of run of the mill Ford V8s. Manual transmitions in almost all cars are gone, and Jags automatics arent even remotely good. While quality has improved since the early '90s, I've still had significant mechanical problems with both my '98 XK8 and '00XKR, and interior fit and finish have absolutely plummeted through the floor. Then theres the residual...

    I wasnt really all that impressed by the new XJ. The car is larger and much less claustrophobic than the old car, and the aluminum shell makes it feel a little lighter and more agile, but there still isnt much steering feel, there's significant body roll, and there's still ZERO brake feel, plus the usual Jaguar last place braking performance. And the wonderful J-gate and sluggish automatic transmition makes a return once again. Aside from all those great things, Ford just cant keep up with the majors on electronics, so the Jag offers almost none of what you can get in an S class, LS430, or 745i.
  • billp8billp8 Posts: 56
    ...since you were talking about MB quality a few posts back, how do you think the 1990-2002 SL compares to the 1993-95 E-class cabriolet? Would you currently favor one over the other from a reliability standpoint? I can't remember whether or not the 1990 SL was a shortened version of the very complex 1992 S-class. I'm hoping that either of these could be my next car in a year or two. Most likely the mileage would be 2-3 thousand per year, as it would be a "fun" car. Probably my main concern with the E would be oil leaks, and power top problems with the SL. Just wanted the benefit of your expertise. My thanks--
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well from a reliability standpoint I'd say they are about the same. You basically stated the known problems for each. The old W124 300CE/E320 Cabriolet had the last of Mercedes I6s and yes it usually developed a head gasket problem around 120K or so, but it is an easy fix. I've heard about a few problems with the top on the R129 SL, but more importantly the air conditioning system needs to be checked because they are very expensive to repair if they crap out.

    Overall I liked both cars about equally because as special as the SL was the W124 E-Class and all of its many variants is still probably my favorite Mercedes-Benz of all time.

  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129


    The one I really aspired to own was W123. Could never afford it back then. It was so close but so far. I had two colleagues who had them. Man was I envious. Plus this was a time when both MB and BMW fought for my affection with equal intensity.

    And the most refined, balanced, elegant and stately was C/W 126. With the latter, the presence and distinction between Mercedes and everything else was never so apparent in my mind.

    So I guess the years 65 - 91, with the exception of R129, which ran much later are the years that forged my positive image of Mercedes. (Wouldn't mind finding a bargain on a R129. This one's a keeper. Smooth, easy contours and lines, limited topography.)

    The turning point IMO was 190E in what... '84?. What a turnoff. Baby Benz? Anti Benz!!

    Flash forward… just ain't the same today. The only Benzes I would consider today are S55 and E55, Even then, I don't know if I could get passionate about them when it would come time to sign. That's a lot of dough to cough up sans passion. Anyway, there are always the next generations to look forward to. Real strength lies in the ability to recover.

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Though I know the chassis codes, most of those are before my time.

    You didn't like the W124 (1995-1995) E-Class? That car was the essence of Mercedes-Benz imo. The 500E/E500 and the 300CE/E320 Coupe/Cabriolet variants are so timeless to me.

    I too liked the W126 S-Class. That was another Benz that defined an era and ruled the market. The 560SEC was such a stately coupe for the period yes....

    A friend of mine's mom had a 1990 190E 2.6 that we rode to school in. I just loved the ride of that car. True the 1984-1988 models weren't that hot at all. Too small wheels and the 190E was always too small in the back seat. There was a color that Mercedes had called Desert Taupe that looked so good on those two-tone Benzes of that day. They have a color called Pewter now, but it just isn't the same. The Desert Taupe was so much richer and darker.

  • billp8billp8 Posts: 56
    ...there was also a silver blue color that I thought looked especially nice. I think it was around in the late 80's and early 90's. I also liked the Desert Taupe, and of course Astral Silver! Finally, some of the old enamel paints of the 60's were nice--one that I remember was a robin's egg blue. I will be going back home July 17-18 to see the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. There is always a nice collection of classic Benzes there, so I am hoping to be in "color nirvana." Merc1--thanks for your thoughts. I think that the mid-90's E cabrio will begin to spike upward in value--and of course, the E Coupes from 1988-95 are even more rare, though not quite as $$$$.
  • deadeye5deadeye5 Posts: 93
    Greetings..In the process of buying a MB 560 SEL 1987 model. I know nothing about MB. Just was wondering about MPG etc. it has 94,000 on it. My son told me about it..A real "Cream Puff" says he. Will appreciate any comments.advice from you MB experienced types..

                                 Tks, Deadeye
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    With today’s perspective W124 looks good to me. I didn’t dislike W124 back then, but I was really attached to W123. In my mind it was a tough act to follow. In addition, I think C/W123 and CW126 were the evolutionary peak for everything that came before, similar to the E39 5-series and E46 3-series. As disappointed as I am now with BMW, this was sort of my feeling with MB in 84. They were starting to lose the majestic style and 190E looked as out of place as the Queen at MacDonalds, as does the C now twenty years later. The difference is that MBs change was slower and not linear across platforms (I’m not sure that’s the right description). BMW’s change has hit like a ton of bricks.
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