Last post on Nov 05, 2013 at 12:08 PM
You are in the Acura RL
What is this discussion about?
Acura RL, Sedan
Jun 30, 2004 (6:11 am)
I do not dispute that Lexus (or most of them anyway) has joined the premium class of automobiles. However, any notion that Audi has somehow slipped backwards out of the premium class is, according to "independent" surveys just the opposite of what has been happening.
Audi, through 1997, was a notch below premium, somehow always bubbling under the premium class (at that time basically BMW and Mercedes and perhaps another Euro car were in that class). The Japanese lux divisions had, by that time, already made huge strides up the ladder and were often considered as "bargain" premium cars. As was sometimes written about the Lexus cars, they were said to be derivative and they often made the top ten lists of many of the auto magazines. Sometimes Audi made it, sometimes not.
The Japanese were on a tear.
Along came the 1998 A6 -- lauded for its style and its interior. But, what an underachiever in virtually every other way you could think of.
By 2000, the 4.2 and 2.7T were brought to the market and Audi finally started, again, to make some of the top 10 lists (or Automobiles of the year, bla bla bla). Lexus and the other high zoot Japanese were NOT displaced, but clearly Audi was in ascension (reliability issues plagued Audi and were widely and wildly publicized -- but, the car magazines continued to fawn over the Audis by praising the cars style, interiors and ultimately performance.) They had entered the "honorable mention" in the premium class.
The Japanese did not sleep, but their cars began to be viewed -- slowly at first -- as less exciting, but still nearly perfect. Quality issues further crept into the public's vision for virtually all European cars. Mercedes quality, most notably, began to plummet at least in terms of the "issues" that increasingly became associated with Merc cars as far as reliability and frequency of repair were concerned.
The Japanese, on the other hand, continued to build the image and reputation of nearly bullet proof cars -- but to a certain extent they were still derivative of European cars.
Audi, to this day, struggled to not slip from the premium class, but if the scale of premium class was measured from 1 - 10, I would assume that Audi would still be near the bottom of the class.
VW decided to "take on" Mercedes and that adventure has yet to play out, but I think it is safe to say that there are no VW's that are in the Premium Class (by the way Premium class as the survey I read terms it, is below "ultra luxury" or some other term that further differentiates cars, in part, by MSRP).
Today, Audi is "committed" to advancing within the Premium Class -- the "new look" A8, A6, upcoming A4 and TT represent the transition (no, I am not putting the $100K A8 in the Premium Class).
The apparent march up [for Audi] the Premium rank is not proceeding without some push-back from Acura (probably to be the newest inductee into the Premium Class with the new RL), Cadillac, Infinity and Lexus. And, Lexus to be certain is playing in the Premium class and is apparently in no jeopardy of moving out of that class (however, there certainly could be some movement within the class).
At the moment, despite reliability ratings that belie their positions, Audi, BMW and Mercedes are still Premium Players.
The rankings change from time to time, and it may even be accurate to suggest that Lexus leads these three Germans. However, I suspect that the perception that Mercedes is a leader in this segment is fundamentally unchanged. The Japanese are respected but I find it difficult to believe that Lexus is on par with the Merc in terms of image.
The Japanese brands Acura, Infinity and Lexus (and perhaps even some of the lesser Japanese brands) are "poised" to change this. The recent auto shows are clearly indicating a move away from the Euro look (in the high buck Japanese cars, especially Lexus) -- the derivative look -- toward a more distinct look.
The Europeans perhaps should, for a variety of reasons, be concerned that the Japanese no longer feel they have to "suggest" a Euro look as much as they used to.
Now I know that the Acura is currently being accused of attempting to imitate (especially at the rear) the BMW's "Bangle Look." But this, after all, is an evolution.
The competition is heating up, the gloves are off, so to speak. The Japanese have, once again, declared war, styling war this time, on the Europeans (and maybe even the Americans).
At this time, however, Audi is hardly out of the game, and the upcoming A6, hot on the heels of the A8L and preceding some 1/2 dozen new offerings, has just upped the ante.
The statement I think might be apt is: "the Japanese are coming, the Japanese are coming."
But that is just because, in spite of the reliability quotient that the Japanese clearly win, the European cars (most notably German) still receive the adoration of the press and buying public. There, to this day, is some unspent cache in the Mercedes (and other Germans too) brand, that is.
The tide appears to be turning (in favor of the Japanese), but don't count either the Americans or the Europeans out, just yet.
#3029 of 7386 Re: Exteriors [varmint #1573]
Jun 30, 2004 (8:23 am)
>When I compare that with the RL, I think the M35 will turn more heads, but the RL will look good longer.<
That's an interesting point of view Varmint. I thought about that yesterday when a silver Mercedes S class sidled up along side me in traffic then accelererated ahead of me.
Three years ago I was convinced that the S class body style was easily near the apex of elegant and classic looking luxury cars. But now when I looked at I saw that it is dated. No doubt about it, in my mind.
On the other hand, I still thank that a clean and shiny metallic silver 740iL is hanging in there just fine. A classic automonile with a style and elegance worthy of Cary Grant.
Jun 30, 2004 (8:53 am)
Just announced their results for 3 year ownership quality & ownership experience and Lexus finished 1st. While agree that MB, then BMW, then Lexus are 1st, 2nd, 3rd from the perspective of the general public, the perspective from the actual owners proved to be different.
So who cares what the general public thinks? Not me. They pick movies like "Dodgeball" over much better films. It's not often that general tastes match what we might call "educated or sophisticated" tastes.
Many moons ago I wrote that the rl will age better with understated looks than those cars with radical departures. The new/old 7 series is a great example of that one as legendman astutely just wrote.
Jun 30, 2004 (8:55 am)
O/T - Just throwing this out. BMW seems to be doing much better in long term dependability. Merc and Volvo are in the pits.
Legendman - I think that classic looks often require some degree of blandness. A good looking non-flashy car will look good for a long time. A flashy design can end up being "here today, gone tomorrow". Worse yet, the design might be successful and so well accepted that it is copied by everyone else... which leads to looking dated when the designers get bored with that look.
Jun 30, 2004 (8:56 am)
Woops, Jeff beat me to the JD Powers info.
Jun 30, 2004 (10:14 am)
As Ive said previously, I think BMWs rank is mostly thanks to its 3 series sales. X5s and 7s are rated as awful for long term dependability.
Jun 30, 2004 (11:10 am)
This is the only pic that I've seen with the grey interior for the 05 RL on the Acura Website. Its a nice touch to see leather below the console.
Jun 30, 2004 (6:17 pm)
"The LS resembles the Avalon
shouldn't and isn't supposed too, they're not the same "brand". Lexi will tell you that Lexuses are totally different from Toyotas in every way, but.........."
Sure, in an ideal world, Lexus would look entirely different from Toyota and Nissan would look entirely different from Infiniti, but that probably won't happen, at least not for a while, if ever.
But the Japanese aren't the only ones who are guilty of this. The Maybach definitely shares many design cues with the Mercedes S-class. I can definitely see the common "bar of soap" design theme in both the VW Phaeton and Audi A8, as well as between the Passat and the A4.
I'm interested to see how the 2005 RL would shape up against the E320 4matic. Handling should now be more equal, possibly even better in the RL b/c of "Super-Handling". The RL would have a significant power advantage, although MB will probably close the gap with a 3.5L V6 soon.
I'm thinking that quality of interior materials should be similar as well. Similarly equipped, the E320 4matic would probably be about $10,000 more. Then, one begins to ask the question, what are you really getting for that extra $10k?
Of course, this is all hypothetical, since no one has driven the 2005 RL yet.
#3036 of 7386 Re: 05 RL grey [l943973 #1594]
Jun 30, 2004 (8:02 pm)
>This is the only pic that I've seen with the grey interior for the 05 RL on the Acura Website. Its a nice touch to see leather below the console.<
Where's the pic? I would love to see it.
Jun 30, 2004 (10:40 pm)
Looks like someone needs to brush up on their HTML skills.