Last post on Jan 28, 2013 at 6:55 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.
Jan 26, 2004 (9:53 am)
Interesting post. I'd say the LS430 is the car for you. Like you, I pay Cash and don't buy often. I have a relatively trouble free 92 LS400 (Until Recently, long story) and purchased a 2002 LS430 in Sept of 2002. Both Lexus cars have been extremely reliable and never have left me stranded. The controls are easy to understand and properly placed. Operating the Navigation System doesn't require a Ph.D. I found the Lexus Console the most practically designed of the bunch.
As for durability. The 92 LS has held up well. I've had minor issues with rattles due to some $0.10 screw missing, and a burnt out tail light at 11 years. That's about it. Of course ALL of these cars require you to follow the maintenance schedule. I've spent around $3,500 in my 12 years of ownership. I could have saved some money by sending the car to independent mechanics, but it's only seen Lexus dealers only.
Where does the Lexus lose? Aesthetics and the fun to drive category. With the exception of the first LS, the latest Lexus offerings are quite bland in design. Every new LS design seems to really make the last model look very outdated. Holding on to my LS430 for 12 years like my LS400 probably won't be possible due to this.
Their aesthetic designs age much faster than MB, due in part to their lack of originality..As for BMW, I think you've heard all the comments about the car being "Bangled." As for "Fun to Drive" the Germans have the edge. The LS430 is very comfortable to drive, and has great straight line acceleration numbers, but the German cars are far more responsive and nimble.
Finally, as for Dealers, I've always found the Lexus dealers (MA) a pleasure to work with. They've handled the extensive post accident repairs on my 1992 LS very well. The Loaner cars are always new, and the sales/service staff very professional. Everything is top notch.
My opinion is that the German cars offer a little more spice, but overall the Lexus Ownership experience cannot be beat.
Hope this helps,
Jan 26, 2004 (11:09 am)
I agree with the others, the LS wins your first 4 priorities, as I think even MB and BMW fans would admit.
#3993 of 24723 A couple other additional bits of information...
Jan 26, 2004 (12:49 pm)
I guess my age and a couple other details might help the ongoing recommendations.
By the way, thanks for all your great posts. I appreciate hearing your candid feedback.
I am 31, married with 2 kids. This is why I am looking at a full size sedan.
One other thing I have heard is that Lexus cars in general are referred to as a "poor man's Mercedes". Obviously everyone is going to have their own personal bias, but just wanted to verify that this specific perception is as real where I live as it is in your neck of the woods. (I don't think this point will play a huge factor in my decision, but for some reason this bias keeps coming up).
As an aside, I have test driven the BMW 745Li, but I haven't yet test driven the MB S500 or the Lexus LS430. Sounds by most of the posts so far that I should call my Lexus dealer first before I pick up the phone to my MB dealer.
#3994 of 24723 The poor man's Mercedes
Jan 26, 2004 (1:50 pm)
Everyone I know that has an LS430 can afford an S-600 if they wanted. Some MB lover somewhere started that rumor. There are also MB S500's and SL's in my area that sit on driveways of homes that are half the price of mine. To each his own on how people spend their money.
Jan 26, 2004 (2:54 pm)
You might want to look at the Q45 also, as it meets your most important criteria.
ljflx, you are correct about the original LS400 being priced "al-a-carte". The 90 model had a base price of $35k, and options such as leather and sunroof were optional. You won't find too many of these cloth-seat examples around, though...
Jan 26, 2004 (3:43 pm)
I know. Even in 95 when I took my first LS400 the sunroof and other goodies were still optional. I never saw an LS400 without a sunroof and I never saw one with cloth seats in the pre 95 era. They really should just make the premium edition be the base car and put the right starting MSRP.
#3997 of 24723 lenscap - Market Update Links & Info
Jan 26, 2004 (6:33 pm)
I subscribe to Automotive News and after reading your post I looked at this weeks Auto News issue on the Web. Here are some public links and info extracted from my subscription issue that were provided. The public links from AutoWeek (the Automotive News sister publication) have almost the exact language as the commensurate article in Automotive News.
1. Here is some of the key information from the 2007 Lexus article you mention -
"How high is high enough? How big is too big?"
"Those are the questions facing Lexus Division, which won the best-selling luxury brand title for the fourth straight year in 2003."
"But Denny Clements, Lexus general manager, says the brand has fallen into a predictable rhythm - and he wants to change that."
"We launch a car, then have a minor change after three years, and then a redesign two years after that," Clements said during an interview at the Detroit auto show."
"Meanwhile, the Europeans have new product news and variations coming every year, and they're always on magazine covers. Lexus needs to be like that. Lexus needs to have something always going on. It needs to have that buzz."
"Clements said Lexus and parent Toyota Motor Corp. have set this stir-things-up agenda for the next few years:
- A new distinct design specific to Lexus, to be seen first in the 2005 GS 430 and evolving from there. (Note: the article says a MY05 GS not MY06 which makes more sense like merc1 said a few days ago.)
- A redesign of each car line by spring 2007.
- All-wheel drive availability with the redesigns.
- The addition of a flagship above the LS 430.
- The creation of a factory performance division, akin to Mercedes-Benz's AMG."
"After spending the last several years bulking up in SUVs, Lexus is returning to its core strength: luxury cars. The next-generation GS 430 and GS 300 sport sedans, which will arrive in early 2005, will be followed by the replacements for the IS 300, ES 330 and LS 430, all arriving by spring 2007."
Very interesting, IMO.
2. Here is the Acura RL article on the AutoWeek Web site on the new RL - http://www.autoweek.com/cat_content.mv?port_code=autoweek&cat- - - - - _code=carnews&loc_code=index&content_code=01990871
3. Here is a link from AutoWeek (the Automotive News sister pub) on the ultra-luxury Cadillac that I believe we have basically seen before - http://www.autoweek.com/cat_content.mv?port_code=autoweek&cat- _code=carnews&loc_code=index&content_code=00165382
4. ON the Cadillac SUV engine initial statement from the article it goes on the say -
"The move is in keeping with General Motors' plans to create a series of exclusive high-performance cars and SUVs for Cadillac called the V Series. The first of those models, the CTS-V sports sedan, is in showrooms. The CTS-V is powered by a V-8 derived from the engine used in the Chevrolet Corvette."
"You will find Cadillacs running around with higher-output V-8s, running around with V-10s (and) V-12s," Stephens says, "and you will find even one variant with even more cylinders."
Let me know if you want more info and I will e-mail it to you.
Jan 26, 2004 (11:08 pm)
Well thats what I basically meant, they're pricing the Phaeton below its main rival from Germany, not the actual dollar amount. Nobody can sell a car like a Phaeton or LS for 35K anymore, but for 76K pretty loaded/awd the Phaeton undercuts VW's main rival the S-Class by a huge amount. I know the numbers aren't the same when Lexus was willing to take a loss those first few years, VW isn't (and probably can't) do that.
In your other post you say that a Mercedes "lover" originally stated that a Lexus is a poor mans Mercedes. It's no rumor, nor does it matter who stated it, it's said because Lexus keeps making their flagship (best premier etc) car in the shadow of Mercedes' S-Class, hence the distinction. It will be denied by some until the end of time, but the LS' whole reason for being is the S-Class. No other cars in this class look alike and pattern themselves after each other like the LS does the S-Class. Lexus and only Lexus keeps imitating their nearest competitor in just about every way. BMW, Jaguar, Audi and now VW all have cars in this class, but they're very different from one another.
I know you (a LSx2 owner) and your circle can afford a S600 with no sweat, but the *average* LS430 buyer can't, especially if someone is paying cash. Doesn't the average LS sell for about 60-63k? The S600 is double that. Nothing is etched in stone here, I'm just speaking in general. The "poor man's Mercedes" saying probably came up too when looking at the price spread between the two cars, one starts at 55K and goes to 72K, the other starts at 73K and goes to 125K, thats a huge difference.
#3999 of 24723 Market Outlook..........
Jan 26, 2004 (11:39 pm)
I must say I find Lexus' plans impressive on paper, but if the GS is any indication then I'm not so sure. The LF-S to GS was sort of a letdown. The LF-S is supposed to be the next IS, per autospies (I know right).
I also read where Lexus wants to sell 350K cars a year in the U.S. That would be some feat, every dealer would be able to use money to keep their fireplaces lit. Lexus has what 200 dealers, Mercedes around 300 and Cadillac has over 1200. Lexus can start printing their own money if they push 350K units out of such a small dealership body. This may be possible if the next IS has a sedan/coupe/convertible/wagon lineup like it's target 3-Series. The HPX would have to take off also. I'm not convinced the next GS will be all that more popular than the current car.
Thought I'm not so sure if the GS lineup is done just yet. They've released some detailed info on the next GS300, but I don't think the GS430 is set in stone, I can't see them NOT increasing the horsepower on the V8 GS. It could be possible that they haven't said anything yet because they don't want the current LS430 to be affected. I mean spring 2005 is quite a ways away. I also can't see them not offering awd on the V8 model, I mean Mercedes and Audi (to a lesser degree) sell a good number of awd V8 cars in snowy places where rwd is too big of a pain. Last summer when visiting Minnesota, every Mercedes I saw was a 4Matic, I mean every single one. I'm sure Florida is quite different and I've never seen a 4Matic Benz when I visit Texas so awd seems to make a difference depending on location.
Cadillac will have to put up or shut up in my book. The XLR and CTS are not the world beaters Lutz promised. The XLR while competitive, at the end of the day is still a few rungs below the SL and the CTS hasn't come close to beating the 3 or 5-Series. The V-Series cars will be good for image and those who can afford them, but what Cadillac, Acura and Infiniti for that matter needs is a attention grabbing flagship car. The new STS *so far* doesn't look like anything the E, or 5-Series should worry about. The next RL if a hybrid could be that car for Acura. The next Infiniti Q45 could be a few years off since the current model just came out for 2002.
Jan 27, 2004 (7:36 am)
I enjoyed reading these posts. I thought Merc1's comments were right on. I've owned MB, BMWs and Lexus. The S600 is not in my price range. The LS ultra is $70K and has more features than the S500 at $80K. I've warranty problems with both MB and BMW, but never with the LS. The Lexus experience is real. There is no going back.
Yes, MB has better styling, but only on the outside. Nothing beats the interior of an LS and that's what I see the most of. Also, the 04 LS has greatly improved the bland exterior problem.
LS is a poor man's MB. Yeah, I've heard that said, but not by those who have really studied the cars and owned them. I don't think anyone has ever thought I bought my LS because I could not afford the S. I've also heard MB is for those seeking image over value.
Slicer_3729: Everyone agrees, the LS easily is the winner in your first 4 categories, and the interior wins for your 5th. I equate fun to drive with smooth and quiet, so for me it wins that, too.