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.
#20961 of 24726 Re: Quality is Job One Again for MB [tagman]
Nov 13, 2006 (9:06 pm)
Yeah they're holding back on the GL320 CDI, but it will be here in late Jan/early Feb. Buyers on MBWorld already have production dates and specs from their dealers. The 4L V8 diesel engine I would imagine isn't clean enough for U.S. duty. On the GL550 I'd always read that if the GL450 is a hit (which it is) then they'd sell a GL550 here the following year. Fingers crossed for the GL550 as a fully loaded, nappa leathered, very few options, 70K or so, true Range Rover fighter for the 2008 model year. The GL550 is going to be a beast with the GL450 already matching the acceleration of way more powerful trucks already, i.e. the Caddy Slade. A 382hp GL550 is going to be a hoot.
Yes the issues at the Bama plant go back to day one. I guess they're too deep to correct this time around. A shame really. One plant in Germany spits out the SL, S and CL, all shimmering in build quality and the Bama plant isn't anywhere close except for maybe the GL450. Hell if this new S proves to be reliable there will be no excuse as to why the ML, GL and R aren't. Mercedes knows how to build a reliable car, they did it for years. Someone, somewhere forgot that, but they seem to have remembered how to do so with the S (fingers crossed), but no one told the folks in Bama how to or showed them the best materials to assemble the ML and R with.
#20963 of 24726 Re: Quality is Job One Again for MB [tagman]
Nov 13, 2006 (9:37 pm)
My theory has always been that they're purchasing a lot of things from the same suppliers that do business with Ford, GM and Chrysler. I've read where a lot of German suppliers opened up shop here back in 1998, but my nose told me otherwise when I sat in the first ML. The same smell and feel you get in a German made Benz simply wasn't there. Now the new generation Bama vehicles seem to be a mix of American and German suppliers by my nose. On thing I truly hate is that steering wheel. It screams cheap when you order it with wood and only one half of it is made of wood in contrast to every other Benz. I couldn't care two lugnuts about a wooden steering wheel in general, but if they're going to do one they could at least do it right. That 1/2 wood stuff was for Cadillacs and the like. Then there are the huge gaps between the buttons and the steering wheel hub, it reeks of American supplierism. See the gaps in this photo:
#20965 of 24726 Re: Quality is Job One Again for MB [merc1]
Nov 14, 2006 (9:50 am)
I actually believe them when the MB executives claim that they are building cars more reliable than they ever did. The problem is that staying at the top (or bottom in this case) in the reliability rankings is a moving target. MB's reputation for reliability was built at a time when annual tune-up for cars was expected. Hardly anyone does that any more. Most people don't even do 30k, 60k or even 90k service any more . . . they just change oil every 5k and change tires every 40k, and expect their brakes to last 60k! and hardly any change of brake fluid in the life of the car! MB never engineered the kind of tight tolerance for that kind of, what would have been considered "neglect" in old days, operational demand. The quality expectations today are quite different from what were two decades ago.
#20966 of 24726 Re: Quality is Job One Again for MB [merc1]
Nov 14, 2006 (10:14 am)
Then there are the huge gaps between the buttons and the steering wheel hub
We've all seen this before, when the steering wheel's hub uses the center axis as a pivot point, and therefore needs the "space" to move (push on side to side) the hub in order to honk the horn. The gap is by design, but there are alternatives that other manufacturers have clearly proven are less unsightly.
#20967 of 24726 Re: Quality is Job One Again for MB [merc1]
Nov 14, 2006 (12:31 pm)
I guess as a personal opinion that the wood steering wheel looks great, but after now having the leather I sure wouldn`t go back...On my next car if the pictured wheel were to be all leather on the bottom--no metal--I would be happy....The wood gets slippery and sort of a light greasy feel if not wiped off regularly Tony
#20968 of 24726 Re: Quality is Job One Again for MB [merc1]
Nov 14, 2006 (1:28 pm)
Merc, it's good to know that I wasn't the only one to find that steering wheel unsightly.
It just doesn't belong in a vehicle starting slightly south of $60k. It's hard to say this, but the Escalade's(altho tilt only-MANUAL AT THAT!!) is more nicely wrought out.
The whole IP is a bit uninspired to my eyes, but the use of materials and assembly are first rate.
But as Tag eluded to, the steering wheel gaps are part of the function of the wheel, not a design flaw. But it is a cheapened way to get a better wheel to fully integrate the wheel controls and hub, like on most other high end cars.
#20969 of 24726 Re: Quality is Job One Again for MB [anthonyp]
Nov 14, 2006 (1:30 pm)
Tony P: Wood is good, leather is clever, but I sure wouldn't trade my Alcantara suede-lined wheel rim on my Audi's for nothing, altho the wood wheel on my S600 is pretty cool.
#20970 of 24726 Re: Quality is Job One Again for MB [tagman]
Nov 14, 2006 (2:58 pm)
The gap is by design, but there are alternatives that other manufacturers have clearly proven are less unsightly.
Well I think it is just plain poor (i.e. cheap) design. Mercedes does much better on their other models so there is no excuse for the R/M/GL steering wheel to look that way.