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.
#5472 of 24726 lexusguy
Jun 24, 2004 (2:51 am)
Good points. This Japanese onslaught happened 20+ years ago with regular cars and Detroit survived, barely. The British as a whole had their entire automotive industry collaspe and wind up in German (VW, BMW) or American (Ford) hands. Think about it, Jaguar, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, and Aston-Martin....some of the most prestigious names in the history of the automobile are no longer British owned. The difference is that Germany is the driving automotive force in Europe and they aren't going to just roll over, they'll at some point re-invent themselves to deal with all these new challenges.
The one I'm the most worried about overall is BMW. This styling is going to catch up with them at some point. So far they have stood by their design department's (Chris Bangle didn't even personally draw the 6-Series or X3 people, only the 7-Series was truly "his") new styling direction. The real test will be the 2006 3-Series. Will they destroy the most critically acclaimed car in the 30-40K bracket just for the sake of change? We'll find out in Sept of 2005. The 2005 Frankfurt autoshow will also reveal the next S-Class, which certain people are desperately hoping turns out to be an ugly car.
You're right about Acura. They're limited not by talent, but by Honda's smaller is better thinking and smaller budget compared to Nissan and Toyota. A shame really because a big rwd Acura with a Vtec V8 sounds really nice. In theory they could do to Lexus what Lexus did to Mercedes, but to execute this will require a fundamental shift in Honda thinking, that isn't going to happen.
I think the brands to watch with varying degrees are Audi, Cadillac, Infiniti, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. BMW has a new 3-Series coming, but after that things will cool down for them somewhat.
Audi will introduce a new model every year from now until 2008! A new TT, A6, A6-based Coupe (think Novoluari Concept), S8, RS6, updated 2005.5 A4, RS4, and a production version of the LeMans Quattro. All Audi needs to do is improve reliability because unlike BMW their designs make all Japanese and some European cars look like toasters and refrigerators.
Cadillac is working on a 100K+ car to compete with the S600s of the world. They'll have performance variants of the CTS, STS, XLR, and possibly the SRX. There is a new smaller Cadillac on the drawing board for Europe. Naturally the car I'm most interested in seeing is this 100K car they keep talking about. Unfortunately I don't see Cadillac becoming the "Standard of the World" again though. The XLR and CTS just aren't the worldbeaters they promised. Cadillac will gain a lot of attention with all the new product, but unless it is executed right....
Lexus has a new LS, GS, HPX (don't think for one moment this crossover won't be built), and most importantly a new IS. I think the next IS is the most important upcoming product launch for them, not the LS, GS or the hybrids. Why? Because this is type of car that BMW sells over 100K of each year. Lexus currently stands at 12-15K a year. They want to desperately crank up those numbers. A new IS Coupe, Sedan, Convertible and Wagon are very critical to Lexus' 350K a year sales goal.
After Lexus, Cadillac and Audi...there is Infiniti on the watch list. The new M35/45 should do better than the current car. How could it not? Infiniti's biggest problem is Lexus. When people go looking for a truly upscale Japanese car, Lexus' LS is the one on their list, not the Q45. How does Infiniti turn that around? The next generation Skyline is coming here in 2007 as a Infiniti. If Infiniti is smart they'll do a G35 convertible and a hi-po version....a G45 Sedan with the 4.5L V8 tweaked for at least 350hp to take on the M3/S4/C55 etc.
On a different note I predict the Koreans will introduce a luxury division complete with a real rwd V8 luxury car in about 10 years at the rate they're going.
Jun 24, 2004 (3:57 am)
"The real test will be the 2006 3-Series. Will they destroy the most critically acclaimed car in the 30-40K bracket just for the sake of change? We'll find out in Sept of 2005. The 2005 Frankfurt autoshow will also reveal the next S-Class, which certain people are desperately hoping turns out to be an ugly car."
I think the 3 is as good as destroyed. I read somewhere that iDrive will be applied only for nav. I think this is a sign that they perceive iDrive to be the problem with their sales, not style. Me, I'll take a thousand iDrives with great styling.
On the other hand, I am desperately hoping all Mercedes turn out to be gorgeous. I root for all cars to be lookers… makes the pickins better. Unfortunately, I think the S we see in those spy pics is basically the one we are getting. It looks bloated and homely. The spy pics of test horses have been pretty accurate except for minor trim details. No?
Jun 24, 2004 (5:25 am)
Without much negotiation, I have been quoted about 1K under invoice on an S430 4 Matic. I realize that there is 3K coming back to the dealer from the company so they will still net 1K.
Do you think this is a fair price?
They are also offering a 39 month residual of 53% and a money factor of .00255 on a lease. I think both of these may also be factory subsidized as well.
Better to lease or buy on this deal?
As posted earlier I am down to S Class vs LS and think both are great cars but the drive of the S and the 4 matic give an edge to the MB in my opinion. I am assuming that a well equipped LS can be had for around 65K that makes it "only" about a 5k difference.
Any thoughts on the price of the MB? Can I do better?
Jun 24, 2004 (6:50 am)
The write-up with one of the S-class spy shots photo said they would have a 600hp V8 as well as a V12. I don't understand the logic or see any need for both (unless they push the V12 up to 700hp) but that is what was stated. My "paying attention" point was simple - Lexus says they are coming with a 600hp V8 hybrid and right afterward you hear MB mentioned as coming with a 600hp V8. How they bring that in - base car availability or special order AMG is not noted. I'm sure the Lexus 600hp will be a special order car (though they probably will ship a bunch un-ordered that will probably be snapped right up the way the ultra was in 2001 - its the way they do things). But that mid level hybrid - which will probably be their $75K bread and butter car will likely be in the mid 4's on hp. What I'm wondering is what happens to the base 290hp gas engine. I think you see three trims - the gas engine probably moving up to 340-360hp and a $65-$70k car, the mid-level hybrid ($75 - $85K range) and the high-end hybrid ($100-$110k range). This probably carries through to whatever the SC becomes and to the big engine GS as well but without the 600hp option. When it is new lease time for me there will be no hesitation on my part to taking the $75K-$85k car. Its just going to be weird getting better mileage in the city than on the highway.
Funny thing - the hybids were hardly mentioned anywhere a year ago. Now they are popping up in stories everywhere as the "hot" item. They will be badly needed to sustain the SUV bull market. Newsweek or Time had a story on this just this week. I read a few days ago that the Google owners drive Prius'. Believe me - hybrids will be the rage. The momemtum is alraedy too far gone to stop it. Diesels may end up dominating in Europe but they have no chance here. This is a lot more predictable then the bust we knew the idrive was going to be on the 7-series and that one was pretty easy to see.
Maybe I missed it but what's your take on those S-class photos. The ones Pablo posted look good to me though the back-end looks more like what you'd expect on a C-class. The other ones are a big drop-off in looks from the current car - if they are the real thing.
Jun 24, 2004 (9:22 am)
I think it's a big improvement. I like the front, looks like a Mercedes. They should put those lights on the sedans. A little too much topography on the flares around the wheel wells but it sure beats the midriff bulge on the X5. I see Nissan influence. Would like to see the back though. I wouldn't be surprised if that part of it looks like an elephant that raided the pizza store. Getting both ends to complement each other is rare these days. And I think all SUVs could use slimmer C columns. However this one has a nice shape.
Jun 24, 2004 (10:52 am)
The 3 series is definitely going to be a VERY important car. BMW has held on to its "better than all your cars" image with basically that car (and some help from the 5 of course.) But the new 5 is not that great. If the 3 is also not that great, G35 will jump on it like a wolf on a frightened bunny, with TL stepping in to mop up the left overs.
The British auto industry's problem was it was all too high end for its own good. You cant survive in the modern age without being a volume player. What happened to Jag, Aston, etc, would've happened to Porsche without the Cayenne. It would be like if M-B was a company that just sold SL500s and SLRs. They'd get killed in seconds. The Germans arent invincible though. If sales trends just keep going down and down as they are now, they wont dissappear completely, but they may go the route of Alfa Romeo, Peugot, and Renault and leave the American market. Not that Im saying that is going to happen any time soon.
The IS is definitely going to be a very interesting car for Lexus. The Altezza rebadge that we have now is absolutely nothing like the new car is going to be, but it will face competition from G35 and TSX\TL, which most of the rest of their line up does not. What would be nice is if the IS convinces Acura to fill out its line up some more.
The new ML still doesnt do anything for me styling wise. I think its rather bland generic-asia in the front, while trying to retain some styling cues from the old car around the back. What makes it a M-B? It could have a KIA badge on it.
Jun 24, 2004 (11:16 am)
“What happened to Jag, Aston, etc, would've happened to Porsche without the Cayenne. It would be like if M-B was a company that just sold SL500s and SLRs. They'd get killed in seconds.”
Well the last time I looked Porsche only has three model platforms plus the supercar Carrera GT. Theyre not dead yet. Cayenne is a prostitute… it’s about staying alive. No one has survival instincts like Porsche. They’ve been on the brink quite often. Tells you something about passion, the mission and not selling the soul. They are the only production manufacturer with a truly artistic personality.
Porsche. There is no substitute.
(I think their internal corporate slogan is “Business Shmizness.” I don't think they would have even considered Cayenne if a couple of accountants didn't sit them down and give them a lecture.)
Jun 24, 2004 (11:40 am)
You and lexusguy had some excellent posts about 8 or 10 posts back. His points about cheaper MB's and BMW's for the american market are so right on and you've always said MB would be nuts to go any cheaper. So enter business 101 logic. Why not introduce the cheaper MB's as Chryslers. Solves every possible American problem but maybe opens up a can of worms in Europe. If that's the case just re-work the grill or something on the front-end for the American versions. Just like I don't want to see a Lexus "corolla", no MB S500 or higher buyer will want to see an $18K car with the three pointed star on it. But business logic says why cut-off the whole American market because of prestige. Just re-badge those cars. Plus look at the box it puts BMW in. Lexus, Infiniti, Acura, MB, Jaguar and Audi all have outlets for cheaper cars. BMW is stuck without one. What am I missing?