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.
#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.
Dec 21, 2002 (8:48 am)
"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."
Do you realize how rediculus those two paragraphs sound? "Yeah, whatever everybody else does good is not technology and doesnt matter, but what mercedes does do matters, because other cars dont have it" Brand Culture is no excuse for not offering modern and common and demanded technology as standard equipment. Nobody even owns cassette players, yet Mercedes did not offer standard CD players until a few years ago. That is rediculus.
Im not denying that Mercedes has good technology, but they lag in some areas that consumers demand, mostly electronics. You cant deny that. Even Maybach, supposedly the worlds most technologically advanced car, still has one of the most technologically unadvanced navigation systems. Come on Merc, I know you are capable of recognizing Mercedes's problems, why cant you recognize them here. All you have given is a lame excuse.
#2112 of 24726 wishnhigh1
Dec 21, 2002 (9:44 am)
"Im not denying that Mercedes has good technology, but they lag in some areas that consumers demand, mostly electronics. You cant deny that."
Pay attention! It's equally ridiculous to consider a CD player as technology. Do you buy your cars based on CD players? I hope not, mr Porsche fan. In case you missed it I have stated it many times that the Germans are not leaders in electronics. Your constant harping about the same tired issue of CD players and navigation systems is equally lame and is really just bs at this point. I gave you the reason why Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Porsche, yes Porsche took their time on these items. You mean to tell me your that naive to believe that with all the engineering might these companies have they COULDN'T or didn't know how to put a CD player in their cars! They didn't deem these things important and it was only after consumers demanded, they responded. Porsche still has the world's worst cupholder, but do think a enthusiast really cares? For all they lag according to you they're still more popular than ever, so obviously it's not as big a problem as you constantly try to state.
I have listed Mercedes' faults a many times (you and I have had this conversation before), but you're one of those people who make something out of nothing every chance you get when it comes to Mercedes. So I say now who the hell cares about a CD player when the rest of the car is so right to start with, and it's not like you CAN'T get a CD player on a Benz anyway.
This conversation started out as being about Acura and Mercedes and their technology. Does Acura even compare to Mercedes in technology? No. Not even close. So again tell me what startling technology Acura has brought to the table, or is this another one of your the world vs. Mercedes rants.
"Even Maybach, supposedly the worlds most technologically advanced car, still has one of the most technologically unadvanced navigation systems. "
Oh really, explain that one. Before you even say it, it's DVD based. So I'm listening as to how it's so behind the times.
Another incorrect statement:
"Nobody even owns cassette players, yet Mercedes did not offer standard CD players until a few years ago. That is rediculus. "
It's ridiculously amazing how little knowledge you have on the car you love to talk so negatively about. Mercedes' have had CD players (trunk mounted CD changers) since the late 1980's. The in-dash variety is where all the controversy is, of which BMW, Porsche, Audi and Mercedes were all late in doing. Research before you post next time.
Anyone can see the whole CD player issue was a German car thing, and not just exclusive to Mercedes.
#2113 of 24726 Those Badboy Japanese
Dec 21, 2002 (10:37 am)
Not to burst your bubble, but ah the 95' Q45t was the only car in the world at the time to offer fully active suspsension be it as complex and expensive as it was around $59k. Secondly, Mercedes was not the 1st to offer the retrac. hardtop SLK, that would be the 94' Mitsu. 3000 Spyder, again another low volume expensive model around $65k for the VR4. I know that the Japanese are woking on steer-by-wire but they won't released it till it's been fully developed and tested unlike BMW's gimmicky and complicated I-drive. Lastly, who brought hybrid engine technology to market first?
Footie- I own a 95' Legend GS and it's one hellva of good, solid, reliable, well-made car. Have 76K on it so it's pretty much not even broken in. Again, the sheetmetal is heavy gauge and solid just like the Benz. and LS400, better be for $44k. Zero sqeeks or rattles to report and the quality of materials and durablity is top-notch. Reported as of the 20 best Japanese cars in Forbes.
Mercedes doesn't wipe out anybody. Their electricals and interiors are not up to Japan's best Lexi and they rush to market new technology that should spend more time in testing. Brake-by-wire is still unproven. Lexus will bring this to market when it's been thoroughly tweeked and tested. The 90's Benz's are durable but there electricals are anything but. The 90's LS400 is also one the best built cars of the time and will easliy last well past 300K but will do so with fewer problems and cost. And besides to be fair, the RL is a 7 year old design which is no one's fault but Acura but the new model will dazzle with all new technology for certain. Spring 03' release I'm told.
Mercedes quality issues of today are a major concern and their decontenting of successive models isn't helping them while they face stiff competition from Japan's best. Which I believe had a lot to do with their rushing to launch all these new models and repricing. Their in reactive mode since the LS400 debuted. The ML SUV is nothing short of a shame. Compare this to the new GX470, no comparison.
A local family friend who owns blocks of rental property and can drive about anything just bought a stunning black LS430 ultra for wifey. I asked why no Benz? He said, laughing thier not built like they used to be and besides I want the best built, most reliable luxury car in the business.
Dec 21, 2002 (10:41 am)
Here's a link to Q45t.