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.
#4121 of 24726 mfullmer
Feb 12, 2004 (11:11 pm)
Well you've assumed wrong. I've examined both cars over and over and time and time again. The reason I asked him about such a thing is because it's funny to me that one would be able to gauge how well a car is built bodywise but can't tell the difference in the drive....thats very interesting to say the least. When I think about "body build" I'm talking about the solidity of the body, how the doors close etc, and yes paint and body panel fits, not lots of wood and leather than anyone can have in a car.
No Mercedes doesn't build them as tank-like anymore, the last such Benz was the 1992-1999 W140 S-Class and ironically your (R129) SL. Any of these cars, LS, S, 7, XJ, A8 or Pheaton would be hard pressed to be as rigid as the W126 (1981-1991) S-Class. If you built a car with steel and sheet metal that thick and pack on the features today's car require you'd wind up with a car of Maybach heft. That particular S-Class was engineered to take a direct hit front or rear at 65 mph and still allow the doors to open and close freely.
Another reason I asked because on this board especially you'd read these post and think a Mercedes doesn't even compare, and at times it's a little ridiculous.
I think the S-Class is a about the best balance product out there considering all the optional features coupled with arguably the best safety engineering around. They had to come down from the previous car, add way more features and lower the price at the same time, so yes a few trim pieces might not on the same level as before, but again on this board the Benz (according to some, not all) is so terrible and that is what I find to be downright ridiculous. Lexus on the other hand starts with one car and then covers two segments, smart yes...but I find the LS430 to be the most boring car in the segment, quality or not. It's a yawn box.
About your car, I agree your dealer is awful and such behavior is equally ridiculous. So they've never been able to fix your car?
#4122 of 24726 and around and around we go...
Feb 12, 2004 (11:26 pm)
Circling the wagon (a la Chris Berman, ESPN), so to speak.
I have been gone from reading this thread for months. Came back to find over 200 posts in a spate of 2 months. Couldn't bare to read through ALL, but the *few* I read shows we haven't moved much. The old Merc_vs_LS argument still persists. Granted it is entertaining, but for how long ?
I mentioned this quite a while ago on the LS board that a friend of mine, a die-hard MB fan for over 20 years, is finally making the move from his S500 to the 2004 LS. He waited out the 2003 model bcos he found out about the changes to the 2004, especially the 18" wheels and the much improved sport-tuned (Euro) model. Well, he is now waiting for his to arrive at the dealership. He got exactly what he wanted, and for a whole lot less than the MB sales guy quoted him for a comparable S500. Along with the S500 he currently owned, he also had a 760iL which he literary gave away to charity a couple years back. One more LS owner, and one LESS MB owner. Personally, I cannot wait to take it for a spin. Would be fun comparing the 2004 LS430 Euro to my *decrepit* 1999 LS400 with the oh so soft suspension....
Me, I wait for the 2007 re-do. Will do whatever it takes to buy one in 3 years from now, trading in my current 1999 model. Which, btw, continues its spotless work with narry a problem to report.
Feb 13, 2004 (5:56 am)
No, they've never been able to fix it. Because it is intermittent, they have only seen it inoperable once. Every time I bring it in, inlcluding that time, all they can say is that it is NOW working "within specifications".
The time it was inoperable when it got there (I had to have it brought in on a truck, after backing it onto the truck and covering it with a heavy painters tarp (that I had to buy) because it was stuck in about the 1/3 way up position.) it "miraculously" began working after the first day it was there. They even told me they didn't even have a chance to look at it, except for when it was first brought in and I made them try to operate it. Of course, when they went to work on it it was working so they just called me and said it was "fixed".
They were so unethical that when I asked them what the problem was the Service guy told me that the mechanic must have found something because it's now working but when I got the paperwork they had written it up as "Convertible top operating to manufacturer specifications. Called customer and advised that technician could not duplicate problem." Of course I was livid and made them change it.
Regarding your statement about the "balance" of the S class with it's options I'd have to differ. How can these "options" make the car "balanced"? Many of these are standard on the LS430 and, even with the Ultra Pkg on the LS, the price is still $7k more than the base S430.
Feb 13, 2004 (6:33 am)
Just experience and contacts are what tell me the Lexus has the better build. One of the guys who swapped out told me the LS is built better than his prior S-class. In fact his view is Lexus builds the bullet proof car that MB used to build. I'll also never forget shutting the door of my buddies 1999 S320 and seeing the mirror fall out. He told me that was the least of his problems with the car. Then there are the numerous posts I have read about rattles and things that drove some people crazy on the S-class board. I read these things and hear about people's problems first hand, see things for myself, read the Wall Street Journal story of MB's quality decline and come to a subjective conclussion. I do it in business everyday as well. Maybe I'm wrong but I don't think so.
I don't doubt you that MB built a car as well as you stated in that time frame. I've heard those legendary stories as well. Do you not think that I also said to myself that in time I'll buy an MB because it's the best? But why did they stop building them that way? Obviously it was due to gas mileage issues or the market got far too competitive or it moved from those types of safety concerns or they misjudged how long they could build a car of that quality at a price people would pay. Maybe people just aren't willing to pay that kind of money for a car that can take a 65mph hit in the rear the way you describe. I wouldn't.
#4125 of 24726 jahncalifornia
Feb 13, 2004 (7:17 am)
Indeed, I do not ever recall calling the XJR a bad car. It's a great car, beautiful, gorgeous interior, grand tourer mentality - it just was a bad fit for *me* for a variety of reasons.
I would agree with those who say that the best Lexus models (LS and the big LX) have a better interior built than the Mercedes models they stack up against. Not that I've ever felt the comments about "cheap" Mercedes interiors are accurate - Mercs tend to stick to the clinical, highly functional German philosophy that sometimes comes across as borderline austerity. But indeed the Lexus build for the LS430 and LX470 sets standards, and I am someone who appreciates excellence in crafting mechanicals. It's simply superb. There are very few cars out there to rival it: the new Range Rover (but it's a $#! to keep clean, a friend complains), and then you have to basically look for a Bentley's incredible oppulence. Jags I find somewhat overrated - my XJS was leather and wood almost everywhere (but endearingly creaky), the XJR had seen some Ford cost cutting and had some cheap material exposed to the touch (door armrests and wells, middle armrest the most blatant ones).
#4126 of 24726 MB Quality
Feb 13, 2004 (2:26 pm)
Maybe they are drinking "beer" as their beverage of choice while assembling the MB?
Feb 13, 2004 (4:22 pm)
You're closer to the truth than you might think. When I was working from MB-USA in Stuttgart, we had beer in the office once or twice a week.
Feb 13, 2004 (5:11 pm)
Fridays at 3:00 in my old (parent) company in Amsterdam the beer always came out. It's custom but somehow I think it's an executive office thing.
#4129 of 24726 mfullmer
Feb 13, 2004 (6:09 pm)
I'm sorry to hear that, honestly. I know how annoying an intermittent problem can be with a car.....especially when the dealer is not helpful. Don't scream at me when I suggest this...lol. Have you ever thought about letting them keep the car for a few days to see if they can duplicate the problem? Of course mileage and some other details would need to be worked out so they don't just have a field day with your car.
What I meant by the S-Class being balanced is that you can get whatever you want on it, and whatever you don't want. That level of customization combined with a lighter car than the previous edition was quite a feat imo. Yes the old car had the build, but on features it wouldn't have survived once all these newer cars came along.
I don't think you're "wrong" overall, but its the panic like talk on this board that gets me. You and others (at times) act like a Lexus has never, ever had a single problem. Seeing a mirror fall out of a door is not a normal thing on any car, especially a Benz. Not by a long shot. Once you hear certain things over and over about quality declining you'll believe it and look for every little thing you can find to underline this point. Yes there has been a quality decline at Mercedes-Benz, no argument from me there, but this hysteria about Benzes constantly being on the side of the road has gotten ridiculous. If someone tells you a story about a house being haunted, you'll be convinced of that the minute something happens in that house. Things that could happen in any house, or car for that matter. This talk like no one with a Benz or any other "European" car as you put it, having a good ownership experience has just really gotten as tired as all the raving about leather/wood/sound systems to me.
Mercedes stop building cars that way because basically their traditional "overbuilt" or over engineered way of doing things weren't appreciated by enough people to make the business plan viable anymore. Mercedes made all types of advances in their cars, things that other makers, save except Volvo, were still "researching". To really appreciate a Mercedes you have to see the guts or "saw it in half" as they say. The company has had to go through a many changes and change priorities due to the Japanese entering the market and secondly the need to sell more cars. When cars like Lexus come along with a fancy wooded interior and killer sound system people could care less about the engineering aspect of the car, as long as it works. This is what Mercedes must either make reliable or change. A very tough spot to be in.
I personally am not impressed with all the wood/leather/sound systems that Lexus partially makes their case with. I like the more technical aspects of a car. A car like a ES330 or LS430 are no different in theme (not execution) from a Avalon or Camry.
#4130 of 24726 merc1 - Lexus Platform Statement & S600 Query
Feb 14, 2004 (7:54 am)
I respect your dialog and insight but your statement "car like a ES330 and LS430 are no different in theme (not execution) from a Avalon or Camry" is a bit much. The Camry, Avalon and ES330 are all engineered off of the same Toyota front-wheel drive platform. The only Lexus vehicle that is possibly comparable to the rear-wheel drive LS430 is the Lexus GS - at least from a basic platform.
Like you, I still love MB cars (and German car driving dynamics in general). I own a MB SL (R129), in addition to a Lexus LS, 4x4 Suburban and some other vehicles. I own different vehicles because of different needs and desires plus for multiple home locations that dictate unique recreational or diving situations. I plan on keeping our SL for ages but am somewhat waiting for the new S-Class (2005) and new LS (2006) and will then most likely make a purchase decision between the two.
I have by far owned more German cars then any others and still keep looking at the current MB S600. I just love the torque and power of the supercharged V12 and the amazing handling of a car of its size. Unlike others, if I was to purchase another S-Class it would almost certainly be the S600 not a S-Class V8 offering. Unfortunately, I have just hear and known of too many electronic and other issues with the current S-class but keep trying to convince myself that maybe they have finally fixed them. I still long for the days when MB engineering was more mechanical instead of electronic. Also, I am somewhat put off by the spy photos of the new S-Class since I just love the looks of the current generation.
Anyway, keep up the MB information coming - I really appreciate your posts. Like you I love their driving dynamics and beautiful designs. And if you know any current generation S600 owners I would love to talk to them. Quite a while back I posted a query on the S-Class board for S600 owners and got zero replies.