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.
While your at it, try this one...
In regards to interior it says "...The displays are quite classy, though surprisingly simple in design, especially compared to the flashy lights and graphics Japanese luxury marques have adapted. But functionally, the E-Class instrumentation is a lot easier to read." The Japanese brands do get remarks about their interior finsih still being tighter than MB, but the article concludes with "...With the new E-Class, Mercedes has pulled out all the stops. It is difficult to understate just how much of an improvement has been made in an already strong product. The 2003 E-Class clearly shows that Mercedes can build a driver’s car. In performance and handling terms, it’s still not quite a BMW, but the E-Class has plenty of other advantages that will help it maintain its edge in a tightly competitive luxury segment."
Check out this one on the new CLK...
One of the notable quotes on interior design states, "Inside, it’s luxury all the way. Leather in generous helpings adorn the seats, the door interiors, and just about everything else you look at. Handsome without glitz or gloss, the soft surfaces are waiting to be touched. In fact the entire interior-designer decor proclaims: “This is as good as it gets.” "
Here is a quote on the Lexus ES300, "...One other thing—fully kitted out as our tester was, the ES 300 becomes dang close to a $40,000 proposition—nearly BMW 5-Series territory (the base price is $31,505). At that price, in this segment, you need something more enthusiast-oriented than a dressed-up Camry. The ES 300, Lexus’ biggest seller, has always been outsold by the sportier Acura 3.2 TL by nearly a 2-1 margin. And if I were a Lexus marketer, I’d be losing sleep over the Infiniti G35."
And another on the flagship LS430 from Edmunds, "So nearly perfect is this vehicle that the few nits I have to pick seem silly, save one. For example, the plastic parking brake release exhibits too much gloss. The front passenger airbag isn't seamlessly integrated into the dash or hidden behind the lovely rosewood decorating the panel above the dual-tiered glovebox. Some climate and stereo functions are bundled with the navigation screen, ridiculous given the amount of space gone underutilized on the center stack. And the remote keyless entry fob for this premium car provides poorly marked buttons that are difficult to see in dim light.
The big surprise, however, was how much creaking, rattling and buzzing the cabin of our test vehicle exhibited. Idling at a light, I detected a barely discernable buzz from the rear headliner area. On a rough side street near our office, the interior emitted damped and low-frequency, but still evident, rattles and squeaks. A couple of sharper bumps resulted in creaking from the dash. Considering how well Lexus nailed the rest of the car, this apparent build-quality problem was truly surprising.
Derivative best describes the styling, which to my eye incorporates a combination of past and present Mercedes-Benz cues. The overall effect is pleasing, if unremarkable. I prefer the more forceful appearance of a BMW 7 Series, sleek look of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, classic image of a Jaguar XJ8 or refined visage of an Audi A8. ...
© Edmunds.com, Inc. "
"What Edmunds.com Says
Provides equal (or better) refinement levels as German uber-sedans, only without the holier-than-thou attitude."
And the 'first drive' of the 2001 LS 430
It isn't perfect, just better.
I don't understand why you think the MB interior is so superb, considering its use of COMAND, "optional" single CD in dash, etc. Anyway, since you seem to respect EDMUNDS reviews, here's a link you should check out:
The article states:
"We had to settle for the regular old Mark Levinson/navigation package. The single-disc DVD-based navigation system is notable for its excellence in ease of operation, thanks to its touchscreen and expedited processing. An interesting feature is the voice activation system."
"Ah yes, the Mark Levinson stereo system. We practically had to wipe the slobber off the dash, so enthused was our stereo evaluator. He claimed that it's the best OEM sound he's ever had the pleasure to listen to, bar none."
"Other gadgetphile lures that you don't have to pay extra for include side mirrors that not only provide puddle lamps, but also can be set to fold in automatically when you park your Lexus. The mirrors themselves tilt down when you're backing up. The center air vent can be set to automatically undulate, and we felt as if we were in a tropical locale being fanned with a giant palm frond when trying this feature out. You get xenon headlamps as standard equipment, and the wipers are rain-sensing, not merely speed-sensitive, as on the 2002 Q45."
"The LS will provide the same refinement levels as the German uber-sedans, only without the holier-than-thou attitude. And if your ingrained Puritan is nibbling upon your conscience for your flagrant disregard of your upbringing, quell it by telling it that you're driving an ultra-low emissions vehicle."
"Lexus was most thoughtful about storage space in the LS 430. There's a dual glovebox, each of which are sizeable. Expanding door bins allow for easy access to your things. The center console is dual-tiered, but you'll still have access to the upper tier when you open the second deeper bin. There's a sunglasses holder overhead, and a convenient 5-minute voice recorder. A double sunshade prevents the sun from unduly causing a glare."
"The incredibly comfortable driver seat offers 14-way power adjustment with lumbar control and a power height-adjustor seatbelt, which is easy to insert into its slot thanks to the illuminated buckles. Beautiful Optitron gauges provide great gauge cluster visibility, and the premium-quality California walnut wood trim and delectable leather will mollify even the most discerning of tastes. The tilt/telescoping steering wheel and the seat move out of the way for easy ingress/egress."