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.
#7309 of 24726 2005 Detroit Autoshow Report!
Jan 19, 2005 (2:22 am)
Fear not! Your annual Detroit Autoshow Report is here!
First off I'll say that the show is getting to crowded. There simply isn't enough space for every maker to display all their products. Only the luxury brands will be elaborated on here.
Audi - Each and every vehicle seemed to be a winner to everyone there. I personally love the new A6, grille and all. Ditto for the updated 2006 A4, and A8 W12. Speaking of the A8 W12, they had a special version present with a 17K Quattro GmBh "Special Build" package that contained special leathers, wood and a 4-seat package with the best interior of any car this side of a Maybach or Rolls-Royce. Stunning overall presentation. The new A3 Sportback is a very interesting car, it should do well if priced right. The A8 or Phaeton are my picks in their segment, not the S-Class anymore. Everything was very upbeat at Audi.
BMW - Not much new this year as far as styling or products, just updates to current models. The new 530ix models and of course the 500hp V10 M5. What a car! Now watch as it inhales the segment. Of the current BMW family on the M3 and 5-Series are lookers to me, with the 6-Series being on the fence.
Mercedes-Benz - It seems they didn't have enough space to display one of each model because my favorite Benz (the CL) wasn't present. Everyone was going ga ga over the CLS, a CLS55 AMG to be exact. Now a bit of catch-up here: I got a chance to see the CLS at a "Love Mercedes" event this past summer so Detroit wasn't my first time seeing it. Anyway, the CLS is a stunner and is the most expressively styled Mercedes sedan ever. I predict this car will easily sell the 8K units allocated for the U.S. Now for the not so good news, the M-Class. The new M-Class while improved over the current vehicle (how could it not be) didn't get the attention that a new Mercedes-Benz should get. The CLS, CLK, SL, SLR, E, and even the aged S-Class all got way more attention. Having the new ML's locked (at least on this day) probably didn't help matters any. Either way I wasn't really too impressed by it. I predict a lukewarm response in the marketplace for it. There is something missing compared to MB's cars. The two "Sport Tourer" concepts were talked about too, with the larger R-Class (as it will be called come Geneva) getting most of the attention. I think the smaller fwd B-Class is a mistake in the U.S.
The SL65 and G-Class were in a corner of the display causing major problems for people trying to cram in that space to see them. As usual the foot traffic at Mercedes was the heaviest of the lot.
Jaguar - Another example of a cramped display space. You can't get a decent picture or profile of any of their cars because of the space provided and the way they are arranged within said space. Anyway, the "Advanced Lightweight Coupe" concept is the next Jaguar XK. While a good looking car for sure, it comes off as a junior Aston-Martin. I was kinda hoping for more daring from Jaguar. Love the XJR and current XK models, classics. The X-Type needs to be thrown away, imo.
Lexus - Finally a Lexus badged vehicle (production or concept) that looks like something you'd actually want to drive. The LF-A is almost there, sleek and all but the nose and details need work. That said the basic shape and stance is the best of any Lexus concept vehicle yet. The rear end with its cooling fans exposed is pure aggression and the interior is sports car correct. As for the production cars, still all yawners to me. The new GS didn't impress either, it actually manages to look worse than the 1998-2005 model. The big news is that the hybrid GS (GS450h) will be shown at the New York autoshow in April and judging by the repsonse to the RX400h in Detroit it should be a hit.
Infiniti - Well it is official. Infiniti has joined the list of luxury car brands in favor with me. It goes Mercedes, Audi, BMW and then you guessed it a Japanese upstart named Infiniti. The M35/45 are the best products from any Japanese maker yet to challenge the E/5-Series dominated middle segment. I predict that the M twins are going to be a hit just like the G. One thing though, in the recent roadtest of the M45 in Car and Driver, they mention an "ATM" like dasboard. I sat in the car thinking they were exactly right..it really does look like an ATM machine. Didn't like that at all, and the rear end will take some getting used to, but those are minor things and shouldn't hinder the car in the market. The G35 Coupe has gotten expensive at 40K loaded. Youch! Infiniti has all likeable cars except one, the unloved and very little attention getting Q45. It is as ugly as ever for 2005. The FX35/45 are still unique in the market and continue to excite.
Bentley - I continue to be the only person I know that doesn't like their darling Continental GT Coupe. Three years on and I still don't like it. Give me an Arnage. I see that the sedan version of the Continental GT, the Continental Flying Spur was shown today and will debut at Geneva in March. I'm still thinking its ugly, but we'll see. As usual all oohs and ahhs from behind the rails that always seperate the Bentleys from the masses.
Maybach - For some reason this year people were behaving like they've never seen these cars before. I didn't understand it. Anyway, they had the car's doors open with a live jazz performance playing on the dual DVD screens and the sound was amazing. The Maybach 62 is still mis-proportioned to my eye, the 57 is the model to have if you must.
Aston-Martin - Nothing new this year except the hi-po Vanquish S. It takes an expert to spot the differences between it and the "regular" Vanquish. Crowds the same a Bentley.
Cadillac - I'll try to boil this one down a little. For those of you that have never been to Detroit, it is still an American car town by far. Cadillac like the rest of GM seems to really trying to compete at every level, or at least that was the feeling I got at the Cadillac display. The 440hp Supercharged STS-V is a car after my own heart. While I don't care for the looks of any of these new Cadillac it seems that they are really on their way. The same engine/6-speed automatic combo will be available in the XLR-V to be shown in New York in April. These two cars while not world beaters will go a long way towards giving Cadillac the boost they've needed for the last 30 years. I applaud their effort.
Rolls-Royce - The most reserved display. Just one Phantom and I didn't see the 100EX concept there either. Very quiet.
Jan 19, 2005 (2:35 am)
Acura - Nice cars for sure, but lacking compared to MB,BMW,Lexus and now Infiniti once you get past the entry level class in which the TL competes. There is no way the RL is worth 50K. The new M45 cost the same money and will outperform it: read V8. I like Acuras but they're loosing the plot in my book. The RD-X concept is just luxury Honda CR-V and not very convincing. Acura needs something to spice up their lineup.
Just some overall thoughts about the show.
Styling as always with me is a big deal and two cars stand out in very dubious ways. First the new Toyota Avalon. This has to be the ugliest car I've seen a quite some time. I mean they actually managed to make it look worse than the current model, something I didn't think was possible. Next up is VW. The new Jetta is a Toyota Corolla in stance, shape and rear end, only the front with its VW grile is VW original. I couldn't believe it.
I have totally fallen for the VW Phaeton. Love this car! Between the Phaeton and the A8, Mercedes better better do a SLK-like transformation with the next S-Class otherwise it is going to be a long 8 years.
GM seems to be really trying to keep Toyota from inhaling them in the next few years. Cadillac, Pontiac and to a lesser degree Chevy all seem to finally seeing the light. Saturn also has a lot of new products on the board, and wisely they'are all Opel based products. These cars will be unique in the U.S. market, something Saturn has always promised but never delivered, well at least in a favorable way.
Something I noticed at MB: build quality. The new SLK and CLS are built better than any other current Mercedes products. The new ML was locked so I didn't get a chance to judge it. All the others fall either in the middle (CLK,E) or last (current ML,S) in the family. Seems someone is paying attention to the bad press.
There you have it.
#7311 of 24726 Am I the only one?...
by kyfdx@Edmunds HOST
Jan 19, 2005 (7:49 am)
Who thought that merc1 was dead?
#7312 of 24726 Return of the prodigal son
Jan 19, 2005 (9:00 am)
Word! The lone M signature appeared on my screen first and I managed a double take. Servants… come hither! Slaughter my best pig, prepare my table, pour my finest wine… my son has returned!
Merc… not so sure about the M5 inhaling the segment. That high-revving engine is not for the street. Mercedes has a better formula with point-and-shoot, low-end, flat, monstrous torque curves. Must-have buyers will no doubt kick it off but I don’t think it will run away with sales. E55 is tough to beat in a straight line and there is nothing to indicate that the M5 does it yet. And if it does, it will be done only by skilled drivers. If anyone knows otherwise, please educate me. And the new SMG had better be smooth in auto mode for the businessmen who will represent most of the sales. That said, I have no doubt that it will be the best handling sedan that was ever made. Nice to hear from you. Can we look forward to those Monday morning breakfasts with Merc again?
Jan 19, 2005 (9:29 am)
You hit the nail on the head with the S and the SLK-like transformation.
Jan 19, 2005 (12:21 pm)
Thank you for your show review. Very insightful. I would have liked to attend, but my Florida blood is way too thin. I am looking forward to seeing the CLS. I believe it is arriving at dealers now.
Jan 19, 2005 (6:25 pm)
Welcome back! Some of us were worried about you...why the long absence?
imho I can't understand why the ML doesn't have a third-row option, especially given that it is so much longer than the old model. Lack of a third row will rule it out for many a potential buyer, including me. I also think the R should be offered in a 7/8 seat optional configuration.
Hear any rumors as to when the GS450h might ship?
Do you like the M35/45's exterior styling, other than the rear? Many people think the car is kind of bland.
Jan 19, 2005 (7:44 pm)
Welcome Back, I too thought you packed your bags and left for good.
I'm mixed with the ML. I feel like while the interior is way better than the outgoing model, I don't find it to be outstanding... As for the exterior, I think the front looks way too much like the Kia Sorento... The rear looks good though IMO
#7317 of 24726 designman
Jan 19, 2005 (9:30 pm)
"The lone M signature appeared on my screen first and I managed a double take. Servants… come hither! Slaughter my best pig, prepare my table, pour my finest wine… my son has returned!"
That is too much! Thanks! Good to be back. So nice to be missed.
The M5 and E55: I meant that the M5 will beat the E55/CLS55 in the comparos and anything else upcoming like the Cadillac STS-V. It is now up to the next Audi RS6 to defeat the new M5. I agree totally about the M5 and the street, as I've always said that BMW builds better track cars (M) and Mercedes builds better road (AMG) cars. All the early reviews still say the M5's SMG transmission is no match for a conventional automatic in day to day (automatic mode) driving. Maybe the next generation SMG trans will finally be as smooth, but I doubt it. Saleswise AMG and M cars both sell well and will continue to do so. Mercedes was aware of the hoopla the M5 would get, hence the slightly different tuned CLS55 AMG. In a Auto, Motor und Sport TV comparo the CLS55 was the equal to the M5 in speed and actually won the comparo becuase the M5 is so uncompromsing on the street, as you noted.
As for the 2007 S-Class it had better wow the critics like the SLK has done. Have you seen the praise for this car? Its even built like a Mercedes should be to boot. It even made the oh so important Car and Driver 10 Best list.
"Can we look forward to those Monday morning breakfasts with Merc again?"
But of course.
Yes the CLS500 has just arrived at dealers with a price of $65,620. It is a stunning car, a complete about face from when I first saw the concept car in 2003.
Thanks again, good to be back on the boards. I have a lot to catch up on here, but I suspect I haven't missed much considering the last few pages about the A8 and LS430. Anyway, I like the M35/45 a good deal, better than the RL or GS. With that said it does kinda have that familar Nissan (Japanese) look about it, kinda like a big Altima or something, and that center console is a little in-your-face-but-plain so its no E-Class or A6 as far as styling goes in my book. It does however look better than the new GS. The Acura RL actually a handsome car from the side and back, but the front is pure Accord. None of the three Japanese midsizers are a complete piece when it comes to styling, imo...but the M does come closest.
I've been told over and over that the M-Class won't offer a third row because the upcoming R-Class and G-Glass replacement will both have a third row.
That the Lexus GS450h is a 2007 model year car is all I heard.
Thanks. I'm just not impressed by the ML though I agree it is an all around better truck than before.
Jan 20, 2005 (11:38 am)
The new ML is better than the seriously mediocre current one but I'm not easily inpressed or swayed that M.B. is doing better interior wise. The one shown on the Spies site is done in that cheap, drab grey that looks straight out of a 20K Chevy or Pontiac. Materials and execution still look 18K economy car to me Will be tough to be a class leader here, there's so many good alternatives today in this class. The Hybrid Lexi RX400 will be the techno. leader. 15K pre-sold already and long waiting list. Toyota may even overtake GM as the number 1 car maker in the world. Wowzer!
The little SLK is so much better than the old one but this 2-seater market is still soft and very niche, always has been. Too bad they don't offer this level of execution and effort on their bread and butter sedans that pay the bills. S2000 still a sharper handler. Z4 is a bad dream become reality.
The CLS is just a stretched out E class with swoppy rear end Jaguar curves. What's the market purpose of this car I still haven't figured? Another low volume niche car I guess. Sharp racked rear must be real pleasant for the passenger heads. A 4 door billed as a coupe nice try marketing.
The new S class had better be good because new LS will be a show-stopper and they are punching way further up pricewise and performance/technology wise. The apparent finalzed one shown here does not look good. Ugly trunk detailing ridiculed on the 7 series show up here toned down.
The RL could be more dynamic style wise but its the most techno. advanced car of the group as of today. Tuner Mugen just dropped in a 590 hp V8 soley RWD, details on Temple of Vtec. Wicked performance and future potential. Bet Honda is eyeing the upcoming Infiniti Skyline super car in 07 and BMW M models. RL selling very well since Nov. intro. I see zero Accord on the front maybe A pillar similarity but same can be said of the lowly C class to the S. The A-Spec version looks tight.
The VW Phaeton could be the biggest blunder at VW as of late not counting others. Even one of the CEO's said it's destined to failure. Wrong car at the wrong time auto anaylists say. The ultimate lease car of the group. The Jetta might as well have the Toyota logo on front/back. The interior looks nice though. Mazda 3 still the segemnt leader till the all new Civic rolls out this fall.
The new Infiniti duos are going to be segment defining leaders. They are pulling out all the cards. Their getting very postive press and reviews already for the M35/45. A Japanese BMW 5 killer could be? Interiors look way dialed up quality wise and feature wise. The new GS should be interesting, richer interior materials and new direct injection engines coming and AWD should make for much improved driving and new sport suspension chassis. Caddy asking $60K for the STS get real!