Last post on Jan 28, 2013 at 5:55 PM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ-Series, Lexus LS 460, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Volkswagen Phaeton, Maserati Quattroporte, Mercedes-Benz CL-Class, Sedan
Let's try to define this forum as being limited to luxury performance vehicles where the mainstream version in a typical configuration has an MSRP of at least $60k.
A luxury vehicle with a base price of $59k qualifies because it would typically be bought with some additional equipment, bringing the MSRP over $60k.
Vehicles like the E, 5, A6, M, or GS, even if available in certain versions over $60k, don't qualify because they are cars from companies that have higher end cars in their lineups.
#13474 of 24726 2006 Detroit Autoshow Report!
Jan 18, 2006 (11:23 pm)
Well I'm back. I see I haven't missed anything, but 325+ posts about the same stuff we've been arguing about for years now it seems!! I may or may not go back through all of those posts to respond to some of the more curious items. Anyway, down to business.
This year's NAIAS was without a doubt the best I've ever been too. The sheer number of new cars and stunning concepts took two days to fully absorb. All of the hard times we read about are all forgotten for a few hours by buyers and executives alike it seems. It also shows that when some in the automotive industry are in trouble the creative thinking (or survival skills) kicks into high gear. Since this is the luxury board I'll mainly discuss the luxury car scene at Detroit this year.
Audi - Audi is, for the first time feeling themselves in the U.S. Their model line brochures now read "Arguably The Best Cars in the World". Looking at the S8,S6,RS4, and Q7 you get the feeling that you could seriously entertain that notion. The S8 is absolutely stunning, inside and out. The B&O sound system arrives this fall for 8K! The S8 on display didn't have the system (come on Audi, why not?). The RS4 is an A4 on something powerful. The S6 is just a smaller S8 with a little less power. There was also an A8 W12 there with a 26K(!) interior package from Quattro GmBh. Stunning, but not worth that kind of money, the whole car stickered for over 150K! Despite all the performance vehicles on display, the real important intro for Audi is the Q7. It has the typical Audi high-quality, high-style interior, and it is a looker. There will be a 3.6L V6 model sometime this summer, same engine as the Passat 3.6 (276hp). I predict success for this vehicle for sure. Audi's future is as bright as it can be IMO. They're pouring on the performance this year to better compete with that other performance minded German luxury brand. There isn't an unattractive or loser car in their lineup.
Cadillac - Very impressed with the STS-V overall, but like so many GM products the interior isn't up to the price and the XLR-V at 100K is just wishful thinking. There is no way the car is worth that. The good news and all the crowd yowling took place at the Escalade stand. There they were the Escalade, Escalade EXT and Escalade ESV, all in black. I've always liked the EXT version (the one with the pickup bed). The only fly in the buttermilk is that the interior plastics look great as does the interior design, but if the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon are anything to go by, the plastics are still of the hard and cheap variety. The CTS seemed incredibly dated. Just looking around the Cadillac display I get the feeling something is missing, a true flagship vehicle to compete in the big leagues is needed.
Mercedes-Benz - Two S-Class models on display, a S550 and S65 AMG. The S-Class fender arches don't appear as big in real life as the do in photos. Now the S-Class with the AMG wear like the S65 had is stunning and very aggressive looking. The basic S without the AMG kit looked a lot better than I originally pictured it. The car is huge, but still very sleek and hides its bulk extremely well. This is no 1992 S-Class by any means when it comes to looking bulky. Interest was very high for the S, GL, SLR (of course), SL and CLS. There was a black CLS55 AMG tucked in the corner of the display. This particular one had the AMG Performance Package. Absolutely stunning! This car had people standing around with their mouths open as did the SLR. I happen to walk up at the right time because I got a chance to sit in the previously locked SL55. With all the hoopla about the S-Class and CLS, I had forgotten about how much I love the SL. The car fells custom made. Separate from Detroit, the SL facelift details have been revealed. See Article. They had two samples of the new GL there. The GL looks a lot more distinctively Benzish in person. There is even a hint of the real "G" there too, the real G (a G55) was also on display. However, the GL's interior isn't going to hold a candle to the Range Rovers I saw. No chance. MB had better not go looking for a direct confrontation on price with Land Rover on this one. Apart from having a merely "nice" interior as opposed to s stunning one, the GL is larger than it looks in pictures. The third row could actually be used by smaller humans. No CL on display, guess it is farewell to my favorite Benz design from 2000-2005, the new model will be shown in March at Geneva. The diesels start arriving this fall. First the E320, then the ML320 and R320 and then a GL320 next spring. The C-Class is showing its age for sure and the E-Class (while mobbed) is showing some age also. The biggest problem I saw here is that the interiors of the ML,R and the GL to a lesser degree aren't up Benz's car interiors. This is done on the instance of MBUSI still trying to save a buck. All three have "nice" interiors that would pass muster in lesser-named vehicles, but not in a Mercedes when the S,CLS,SL,CLK are sitting right there nearly feeling and looking like they're built by someone else. Overall, Mercedes-Benz still draws a huge crowd and all the oohs and ahhs. Crisis? What crisis?
BMW - I'll take an M6 please. Very impressive in that it can "clobber" Aston-Martins (as the BMW rep advised). This was my first time really seeing the 2006 7-Series up close. I'd only seen it on the road and/or just driving by the dealership. It looks a lot better, but it still doesn't cut it for me in the style department. I will say that the white 760Li on display had a back seat of supreme comfort. Very bold and brash, but not pretty. The M3 continues to be a favorite as does the 650i Convertible. I gave up on trying to sit in the M5, too many people and I'd already sat in the M6 long enough to get on the nerves of some folks waiting to sit in it. The BMW Coupe Concept is a peculiar item, though it looks worlds better than the previous Z3 Coupe. I've always liked the Z4, and now the M Roadster slots in for duty. Should be a real thrill ride with a 330hp version of the M3's I6. It is still MB,Audi, and BMW for me, but BMW is gaining ground and isn't so distant to Audi anymore.
Porsche - The 997 is timeless. I particularly like the C4 versions with their wider bodywork. Combine that bodywork with a Cabrio top and you have the best looking 911 in years. Of course the important introduction was the Cayman. Nice, but I want a 911. The Cayenne Turbo S is going to be a short lived model because the Cayenne is due for a facelift for 2007, to be shown at Geneva in March and on sale here this fall. Why they didn't wait until then is a mystery.
#13475 of 24726 2006 Detroit Autoshow Report (cont)
Jan 18, 2006 (11:24 pm)
Lexus - Lexus had two LS460s on display, one short and one long. The long wheelbase car looks a little unbalanced to my eye. The room and features are first rate in the LS460L. Forget about the 7-Series comparisons, it doesn't look like a 7-Series. It looks like an upsized IS350 if anything. A little slab sided and lacking any detailing just like the IS, but the overall shape is inoffensive and still conservative to me. Very plain, but sleek and a big improvement over the LS430 in every way. This will be the most successful LS in the model's history. The interest was sky high and there seemed to be talk of a smaller engined LS model for 2008 along with the LS600h. I didn't get the feeling this particular rep knew what she was talking about. I don't see a less powerful LS model being produced. No sitting in the LS, just like the S-class. Who decides this stuff? Anyway, I really like the GS until I have to look at the styling. I like the tight interior, but that whale look kills the car for me. The IS350 is the Lexus for me if I had to get one. I still find the SC430 to be interesting car. The GS450h sat at the back of the Lexus section with little or no attention. I honestly don't see the point of the GS450h since it isn't AWD and won't have more hp than the GS460 (provided the GS460 gets the full 380hp). Huge crowds at Lexus, mainly for the LS460.
Infiniti - The Coupe Concept was a letdown. I expected a new car. The concept is nothing more than a current G35 Coupe with a new interior and nose. The rear is nearly the same as before. The G35 sedan is dated. I remain a fan of the M45 Sport and FX45. None of the Infiniti reps knew anything about a Q45 replacement.
Jaguar - Unfortunately I have mixed feeling about their star of the show, the new XK. The car is gorgeous from the rear and side, but that nose isn't so hot. They didn't have a Super V8 Portfolio there either! "It was being used for the L.A. show" was the reason I got for this.
Bentley - The Bentley rep told me that the Continental GT is selling so well that they didn't feel they needed to display one this year. It and the Continental Flying Spur (brick, IMO) are nothing to look at and Bentley are supposed to be gorgeous. They did have the new convertible Azure there, pure old-school Bentley. My favorite Bentley, the Arnage was there either. Boo!
Maserati - Is it me or do the Italians have an unmatched sense of style? Their display was just the most tasteful setup and the cars aren't bad either. The Quattroporte has only one 4-door rival from a styling and interior point of view. This car was shown in two forms, the Sport GT and Executive GT. I like the Executive version better. The paint (dark blue) and interior (deeper than life tan leather and dark wood) were very sheek looking. As much as a like the Spider, it is time for a replacement, though it looks as gorgeous as ever in Gransport trim.
Ferrari - The favorite Ferrari is the F430 Spider. On hand and stunning. The 612 Scagletti is too long and looks unbalanced. To bad the recently announced 575M replacement - the 599 GTB won't be shown in public until March/Geneva. unlike last years, there wasn't any F1 news to be found anywhere and for good reason.
Maybach - A surprise with the 57S. Another brand using L.A. as an excuse as to why they didn't have more cars on display. The Maybach 57S looks so much better than the standard versions with its black paint and whitish leather. I'll take one of these over the Rolls Phantom any day.
#13476 of 24726 2006 Detroit Autoshow Report (cont)
Jan 19, 2006 (12:03 am)
Rolls-Royce - Two Phantoms on display. One short, one long. The LWB model is a big as a Peterbuilt. I'm still not a fan of this car, but its presence is undeniable. I guess beauty and grace aren't part of the Rolls-Royce theme anymore because the Phantom is neither. Why the better looking (at least in photos) 100EX (future Corniche) hasn't been shown outside of L.A. yet is beyond me.
Land-Rover - A winning lineup of SUVs. The best luxury SUVs going IMO. My favorite is the Range Rover Sport of course. Ford had Land Rover and Jaguar next to each other and they compliment each other nicely. Nothing new here, but a few people seemed to be shocked at the nearly 100K sticker on the Range Rover Supercharged.
Acura - Acura has long since been replaced by Infiniti as my favorite of the Japanese luxury three. There is nothing exciting to look at when it comes to Acura. Just nice, reliable, vehicles...no spice. The TSX and TL are nice cars, as is the RL, but they simply don't excite any way style wise. The RDX I'm sure will be a hit. Now bring on that new NSX and we'll have something to talk about here.
Notes, Trends and Details:
BMW, Maserati and Bentley all had their sedans in Dark Blue with either cream or tan leather. This just happens to be my favorite color combination for big luxury 4-doors. Some type of dark Blue or Green are my favs on these type of cars. Everyone has a Black or Silver MB/BMW etc.
My favorite concepts this year:
1. Chevy Camaro - without a doubt the best concept of the show and the best one GM has ever shown. They finally had a concept to rival the Concept Car King - Chrysler. The Camaro manages to pay tribute to the past while brining the classic ponycar theme into the future. It isn't a complete duplicate of the past like the Mustang and Challenger. That puts it ahead of those two with me.
2. Mazda Kabura - small, light, sleek and shaped just right. Built on the Miata chassis and very doable. There is something about the side profile and stance of this car that makes it a winner with me.
3. Dodge Challenger - Retro taken to far? Unlike the Camaro, the Challenger is a exact duplicate of the original. Still stunning, but not as much so in person after seeing the futuristic Camaro.
4. Chrysler Imperial - This car had folks mesmerized. Heavy, big, large, etc. etc. The sentiment seemed to be that since the 300 is seen as a knockoff Bentley, why not build this as a knockoff Rolls. I agree. Priced right (40-50K) this would be a hit for Chrysler. Make the 340hp Hemi standard and the 425hp version standard on the top line version.
5. Mini Concept - A natural follow up to the current hit. Mini should offer a hybrid IMO. That would go real well with their imagine and marketing slant on small cars.
6. Volvo C30 - Very Golf-like. I doubt if we'll see it here, but it will undoubtedly do well in Europe.
The crowds for Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Aston-Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati were as thick as ever. These cars draw attention no matter what they have on display.
Overall you get the sense the GM and Ford are really trying. Ford seems to be serious about giving Lincoln some actual cars to sell besides the age/livery cast Town Car. The MKS seems like a step in the right direction as is the MKX crossover. While Ford seems to be concentrating on more mainstream products with the Ford and Lincoln brands, GM seems to still be concentrating in niche products like the Camaro and Solstice GXP. These products won't save them. The need a mainstream hit like the Chrysler 300.
Don't think for a minute that the Dodge Challenger won't be in a showroom near you in summer 2007 as a 2008 model. I'd even wager that the Imperial will be built also.
Now the one GM concept that I saw that held the most promise (besides the Camaro) is the Buick Enclave. This is what GM needs, a good looking, modern mainstream product, not niche vehicles.
Some disappointments were the Bentley Continental Flying Spur, Infiniti Coupe Concept, the Chevy Tahoe's interior material quality. I expected more with all three of these considering how they each have been represented in pictures.
Pics to follow in a few days. There you have it, the "Merc1" 2006 NAIAS report!
#13477 of 24726 Re: 2006 Detroit Autoshow Report (cont) [merc1]
Jan 19, 2006 (3:36 am)
#13478 of 24726 Re: 2006 Detroit Autoshow Report (cont) [merc1]
Jan 19, 2006 (3:48 am)
Super write-up, merc1, thanks!
#13479 of 24726 Once again, Merc1
Jan 19, 2006 (5:01 am)
we owe you. Thanks for the first person report.
I too wonder why the delay on the 100EX (Corniche). It is a stunner in pictures.
Concur on the Imperial: a huge seller if DC builds it.
Glad the S class looks better in the metal than in pics. What color were the S classes on display? What was it about the GL interior you didn't like?
On interiors: the Brits and Italians do interiors so much better than the Germans, Japanese and Americans. I concur: cream/ivory interiors look great.
Challenger and Camaro: best sellers in the making.
Time for a new CTS. Sales increased again last year: get the new model on the fast track to keep it moving. I also think the Escalade trio will bring Cadillac SUV sales back to life.
You mention a sense that Cadillac is missing a model. Obviously it is the Sixteen - Caddy should build it!
#13480 of 24726 Re: Once again, Merc1 [scott1256]
Jan 19, 2006 (5:37 am)
The S-Class models on display were Black (S550) and Silver (S65 AMG). The GL, R and ML interiors just don't have the same material quality as say CLS, CLK or new S-Class. They're much better than the original ML, but still aren't among the top of their repsective classes. Mercedes really needs to examine a Range Rover to see how a proper luxury SUV interior is done. Either that or spend the same amount of money on the Bama Benzes as they do on the German built ones.
Yes the British and Italians do interior better imo. They have a way of working the wood and leather in a way that the rest of the world hasn't figured out. Only Audi gets close the same "way" of doing it.
Just think if Chrysler can score a hit with the Challenger, Imperial and the next generation mid-size sedans! Their new found success will definitely be sustainable.
Yeah I want to see a true flagship car from Cadillac. The DTS ain't it.
#13481 of 24726 Re: 2006 Detroit Autoshow Report! [merc1]
Jan 19, 2006 (5:38 am)
Merc1-Allow me to add my thanks for the comprehensive report on the auto show.
The Audi Q7 has really piqued my interest.
Should be a big hit in the $50-60K luxury SUV category.
Jan 19, 2006 (5:40 am)
I'm glad you all enjoyed it.
HD - The Q7 is a nice vehicle for sure. Now if gas prices don't spike to high the spring/summer Audi, Mercedes and Cadillac should all find plenty of buyers for their new SUVs.
A few other things:
Bugatti wasn't there. I was looking foward to seeing this million dollar, 16-cylinder car in person. Of course it was being shown in L.A. which will likely be its biggest market. I can understand that I guess.
VW has two displays, one on the upper level and one on the lower level. The Phaeton was on the lower level and locked up tight. It is a goodbye for this car for sure though people seemed interested in it.
OMG Geely, the Chinese brand! I predict utter failure for this venture. I wouldn't be so sure the Chinese brand that come over after Geely will fail however. I think they'll know better than to bring over such a dated, forgettable car.
#13483 of 24726 Re: Century V-12 engine age [rayng]
Jan 19, 2006 (6:32 am)
Japanese collector cars are currently few and far between. The only ones really right now are the original Toyota FJ-40 Land Cruisers, and of course the Toyota 2000GT sports car.
The S8 and S65 are nice cars, but not collector cars. They certainly arent something you should buy as an investment. I also shudder to think how expensive it would be to try and maintain a 30 or 40 year old Audi MMI or Mercedes COMAND system.