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.
#2101 of 24726 Merc 1 - Acura Lust
Dec 19, 2002 (1:57 pm)
My sister is an Acura fan. She put 160K on her 95 Legend before giving it to her daughter. No dealer services except book maintenance. None.
She got a 2001 RL and now has 60K on it. Same story.
Her RL has the same set of options and technology as the E class in 01 when she got it. Plus it is fractionally longer, wider and lower and heavier, so it looks lithe and rides very solidly and smoothly.
But I digress. I also asked her about performance. She said, "Does fine for me. And a few seconds here or there getting started doesn't add up to much in a two or three hour drive does it?"
I asked her why she didn't look at the Mercedes and BMW. "Easy" she said, "My friends that have BMWs and Mercedes are always bitching about going to the shop. I don't have time for that. When you got the money, honey, time is the luxury."
Dec 19, 2002 (3:54 pm)
Did she trademark that little rhyme?
Dec 19, 2002 (7:05 pm)
Your sister's got some wit there!
Dec 19, 2002 (9:36 pm)
I'm not surprised, Acuras are good cars, but as that testimonial illustrates, there is nothing to lust after there, the car is an appliance. There is no way a 2001 RL offered everything that 2001 E320 offered. The E320 is faster and handles better for starters and technology wise I'd have to look up the RL's features for that year, but I doubt they match the Benz's. Of course the Acura will have all the *usual* luxury car features. The RL's biggest failing is the obvious wannabe E-Class look and the fact that it was not named a "Legend" to begin with.
The Acura Legend, escpecially the GS version was a better car from a driving and styling standpoint. The Acura Legend is one of the hardest cars to find around here on the used car market, your sister's experience is why...they run forever!
#2105 of 24726 RL vs E? Who's on first?
Dec 20, 2002 (5:37 am)
Thanks, Merc1. Here's what I think...we each have our opinions...
Let's see, both the 2001 E and RL came out in 1996 and were pretty sharp styling changes from prior models (thought the RL seemed more of an evolution from the Legend than the 96 E from its predecessors). The RL and the E were signs of the times, not unique styling icons. No copying here.
The feature list for the two is remarkably the same. Probably the biggest difference is what's standard on the Acura and optional on the E. The option list for MB goes on and on - and the already high price, goes higher still.
This is how they differed on major items: MB had one extra transmission speed, head curtains. Acura had Moonroof, Xenons, Bose, CD player, bigger engine.
Performance dynamics were similar, both had ABS, ASC, Traction, good handling and braking.
Mercedes listed about $9,000 more and went up from there. Acura came with everything but NAV, another $2K.
As has been true for about a 10 years, Mercedes had far worse reliability, dependability and durability record, and much higher cost of ownership.
MB is like a Rolex. World-class jewelry, so-so watch. Comes in lots of different styles and glitter. Looks belie its constant need for service and erratic timekeeping.
Acura is like a Seiko. Nice jewelry, world class watch. Comes in one major style, low on glitter but still black tie. Owners find out that they are the luxury car deal of the decade and keep them forever.
Enjoy the different choices we have!
2001 MB E class ( superior standard features)
Automatic 5-Speed Transmission, Automatic Dimming Rearview Mirror, Trip Computer, Wood Dash, Head Curtain Air Bag Restraints, Premium Audio System, Telematic System, Automatic Climate Control (2 Zone) -
Acura RL ( superior standard features )
6 cyl 3.5 L Engine, Bose Audio System, Digital Clock, Power Heated Mirrors, Intermittent Wipers, Overhead Console, Power Moonroof, Xenon Headlamps, AM/FM/Tape/CD Changer Audio System.
Dec 20, 2002 (5:58 am)
Question, what difference does a larger engine make when the Acura was slower that the E320? That larger engine stuff sounds like GM type advertising, it made no difference in accleration.
Your list proves the Benz had more important standard equipment. A moonroof hardly sells a car nowadays.
Their dynamics were not similar, the Benz handled better, no contest there. Yes, I've driven both. Car and Driver and Road and Track have compared the two and they agree with me.
I'll give you that the RL (being a Honda) has a better reliability record, but durability I would have object there. A Benz will still have better paint, body and interior quality longer than a Honda will once the years/miles really add up. I don't think the car would have outsold every other car in it's class if it was such this unreliable beast.
And for the record Xenons didn'tshow up on the RL until 1999, they were an option on the E-Class in 1998. Some of the other things you listed like a moonroof, overhead console are really, really minor and were also available on the E-Class. Mercedes tends to put the important things first, technology, safety etc....then add the trivial stuff, a "overhead console" come one, thats a weak defense.
In short the E-Class was the better car, the market has proven which one was preferred. The RL didn't compare, even by your own post.
Dec 20, 2002 (6:36 am)
On this one, I agree (God help me) with merc1. The RL may make more sense for a lot of people given the price differential, and one could forcefully -- maybe even compellingly -- argue that the law of diminishing returns sets in with a vengence once one gets above the RL's sticker, but you can't really say that the RL is actually competitive w/the E in a price-blind comparison. Which makes the LS/S/E comparisons all the more amazing. The E (IMHO) can't compare with the LS (isn't supposed to) and the LS, at a minimum, is competitive with the S, even though there is a huge price differential.
#2108 of 24726 RL / E - Difference in priorities
Dec 20, 2002 (3:22 pm)
Well, I guess there's just a difference in priorities that constitutes value. And of course, individual experiences vary.
Performance didn't seem very different to me and I've driven both, my sister's and a friend's E320. They feel a little different in the driver's seat, but both felt very stable, surefooted, in every driving situation I had them in.
I also don't look at Mercedes as a technology leader anymore. I would be scared to death to rely on any drive by wire, brake by wire system in a Benz. They have a very spotty record with electricals and have generally been behind in electronics and microprocessors technology. That's why the new SL500 comes with a complete back-up mechanical brake system.
Leadership in electrical technology is in the U.S. and Japan.
Take common technology, like an in-dash CD, 6 CD changer that has been in Toyota/Lexus, Honda/Acura for some time. It's been in the trunk of Benz's forever and has finally made it to the dash this year ( 1 CD )
Production technology leadership is in Japan followed by the U.S. Germany is a distant third and not catching up. The best automobile factories quality-wise are in Japan, next are Japanese owned factories in the U.S., the Japan-US co-owned factories in the U.S.
The Japanese production systems, transplanted here, just work better and are car line independent. The Germans haven't figured this out yet and can't get their head around the fact that you can build almost ANY car at a very low defect level. The Toyota Corolla is the best high volume production car line every produced.
Durability of paint? The original paint on my sister's 1995 Legend is still gorgeous. And so is the leather interior. It spent 6 years in Georgia and now two in New York.
The only Acura interior I saw that was suffering was in my mother-in-law's 1990 Legend Coupe. She gave it to her grandson last year when she bought her Lexus.
It had 260K on it and after spending 10 years baking on the tarmac during work hours at an Air Force base in San Antonio, it had developed some cracks on the dash and the top of the back seats had to be replaced.
However, the original engine and transmission were still singing. I do remember that it got a set of motor mounts back in the nineties, so it wasn't perfect.
That's durable to me, and I wouldn't have expected a MB interior to have done any better or worse - they are good. The mechancials -- I don't think that the MB would have gotten that far without significant service and expenses.
To top that, the 1990 Acura Legend cost 1/2 of the 1990 E Mercedes.
On the E and LS 430 - no opinions here at all, either :==)
The E doesn't compare with the LS430. Surprisingly, neither does the S. The LS430 is simply the best car that money can buy, not the S. The S quality was 'POOR' for the first year reported in CR. The LS is not the fastest, but its quicker than many cars it's size, not the best handling but remarkably agile, or even the best style - it looks like the S Class successor that never happened.
But it is the most reliable, dependable, available and therefore durable car ever made. It has an incredible array of technologies, all of which work from the get go. The 1990 ones are still working just fine thank you. It does insulate you more than some people like in their driving experience, but it does deliver you where you want to go, as safely as possible, every time, all the time.
To me that's value. MB (BMW and Audi) have to radically change the way they make cars, and therefore design and source them, to be competitive in this day and age. Until they do, it's a Rolex vs. Seiko comparison. One is jewelry, one is a timepiece.
#2109 of 24726 Japanese quality
Dec 20, 2002 (7:00 pm)
Why is it that the Japanese can make such high quality reliable cars - whether in the US or Japan - that just put everyone else to shame? It's not just Toyota but Honda and Nissan as well on every model they make. Any one of the three can be the leader in any given year. If this were a betting room no one would bet against Japanese car makers being the reliability leader for the next 5+ years. So what gives. Why do they build such near perfect cars regardless of what country they are built in. The Americans have improved but are still way behind and the Germans are going south pretty fast.
Footie - I'm with you on most of the issues. Technology development that is not reliable will prove to be a house of cards. When you have to read a book to change a radio station or leave instructions for a valet to start the car you have gone over the top and made complexity out of simplicity. It's worse still when it doesn't work (have you read the 7 series board lately) That is not staying ahead of the curve. That is dumb. I also have no faith in MB's drive by wire. The should fix their existing reliability problems before moving ahead with new technologies. If they did I might look at an S-class a year from now when my lease is up. But in all honesty I can't even think of walking away from the perfection of the LS430.
Dec 20, 2002 (10:07 pm)
If Mercedes isn't THE technology leader, then they certainly are among the top 2. The other being BMW.
Electronics, such as CD changers are hardly "technology" as most people understand the word. It's the brand culture that keeps/kept Mercedes/Porsche and other German makes from installing these things, not that they couldn't. I know you realize that. Lexus doesn't make it's own stereos, neither does Acura. In short if Mercedes felt that these things were so important they would have done it years ago. You have to remember these are German companies and they're still a little stubborn. European companies have never place emphasis on things like stereos, cupholders etc, and it hasn't hurt them nearly as some would like you to believe.
Technology is electro-hydraulic brakes, active suspension, radar-based cruise control, folding hardtops, all of which Mercedes did first, all of which Acura doesn't even offer. Acura only compares to Mercedes in two areas, quality and reliabilty. Other than that Mercedes wipes out Acura with the first turn of the key.
"That's why the new SL500 comes with a complete back-up mechanical brake system."
Do you think BMW, Lexus or any other company that will introduce this technolgy (BMW is next) won't have a backup system in place? It would be foolish and totally un-Mercedes for Mercedes not too. Electronics are not perfect in any car, including the Japanese ones. Yes they are better at it, but they too have problems....admittedly not as often. About Mercedes' SBC I haven't heard about it failing on the SL or the E-Class as of yet. The ABC active suspension technology works brilliantly too, as advertised.
I see you're going off into the best factories and the best this and that. Well, our initial conversation was about which cars have the most advanced technology. That would be Mercedes-Benz or BMW. Specifically, the SL, CL or 7-Series. Period. For better of for worse they are miles ahead of anything produced in Japan. America has nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing worth mentioning.
A 1995 Legend was a good car, no doubt, but I can find plenty of cars from just about any brand in good shape that spent most of their life in Georgia. Now lets talk about all the E-Classes I see around here (Chicago) that look brand new. Now just the 1996-2002 models either, I'm talking about the 1986-1995 E also. Ever noticed which cars don't have damage after a hail storm? It's usually Volvo and Mercedes, thicker sheetmetal and better paint will do the trick everytime. Acura doesn't "build" a car the same way Mercedes does.
If you don't believe me about Mercedes' longevity, just take a look at a used car lot that sells foreign cars. You'll find the Mercedes there in better shape than all the rest. A Mercedes can be driven to hell and back and return for more. Hondas suspension is usually shot much earlier as is the intergrity of the body.
I'm not knocking Acura at all, but Mercedes is just more car. A 1990 Legend was a good car, but a 1990 300E was better still, no matter which way you want to look at it. I seem to remember a C&D comparo in 1986 between the Legend, 300E, and Seville, needless to say the 300E won that test hands down.
The Japanese do not lead the Germans when it comes to in-car technology, only quality and production methods. I'll readily admit that the Japanese as a whole produce the highest quality cars on earth, yet for all of that European cars are more popular than ever in this country. That would lead me to believe that either the Japanese quailty/reliability arguement is loosing steam (i.e. isn't *always* what its cracked up to be) or that all these European cars aren't so bad after all.
I'm not going to get into the E vs LS, LS vs S debate again, we've done that a many times before in this thread and others. All I'll say to that is the CR doesn't mean squat to the enthusiast who isn't about to buy something they don't want because they say it's more reliable. "But it is the most reliable, dependable, available and therefore durable car ever made." That remains to be seen, sure it's relaible and dependable, but durable, that will be determined years from now. From what I've seen 1990s S-Classes are the most durable cars made. Pure reliabilty will always be the domain of the Japanese.
A few exceptions to your post. Have you not read about all the transmission problems Acura/Honda owners are having as of late? Have you not seen the cheapish interiors on the newer Nissan products? From the Altima, G35 to 350Z, all cheap, hardly the pillar of quality. Have you not seen some of the more recent surveys, they indicate that cars like the Toyota Camry has "gone south" as you say. The Americans are doing much better, again going by surveys as most Japanese car fans like to do.
You're giving the Japanese as a whole too much credit. The only company I'm convinced that really does have a superior quality reputation is Toyota, and they aren't perfect. Read some of the Honda and Nissan topics here and tell me they are head an shoulders above all the European brands. Only VW comes to mind as being any worse.
"I also have no faith in MB's drive by wire." Care to explain that one to me? Drive by wire?
Throttle, steering, brakes what? Drive by wire has been on various German cars since 1990. Your lack of faith is sorely unfounded.