: Drove some new BMWs today



gary88
06-27-11, 10:56 PM
BMW is doing their Drive for Team USA across a number of dealerships across the nation right now, and I went to one at my local dealer this afternoon. Basically you get a talk on their design/engineering philosophy, a tech demo, then they set you loose to test drive whatever cars they brought there and BMW donates $10 to Team USA for every car you test drive. Also they had Olympic silver medalist Mike Shine there who competed in 1976 (he drives a green LS400). They had a new X3, a couple of 750Lis, some 335i sedans, a couple 535is, four new 650i convertibles, and also some S550s, E350s, an SRX, and a CTS so you could compare them to the competition as well. I drove a 650i, 535i, and 750Li, thoughts below.

First the 650i.

http://img88.imageshack.us/img88/3793/img0807x.jpg

http://img863.imageshack.us/img863/6821/img0805hf.jpg

http://img146.imageshack.us/img146/7443/img0812by.jpg

It's extremely nice inside. BMW has really stepped it up when it comes to interiors. Everything has a quality feel and look to it as it should for a $100k car. The car itself feels quite big, there's a lot of real estate in front of the windshield with that long sloping hood. The styling is a little on the conservative side, definitely not as polarizing as the E63 that came before it though.

As for driving dynamics, it is more of a boulevard cruiser than a sports car. The ride is very comfortable and it's still relatively quiet inside with the top down. It handled alright for a 4500lb (egads) car, not a ton of steering feedback, although the steering is still characteristically precise.

I'm not a fan of the new pistol grip shifters on the newer automatic cars. They're more complicated than they need to be. You have to hold a button on the side and press it up or down accordingly to select what gear you want, but the lever itself stays in one place the whole time, so you have to rely on the light next to the gear lighting up to indicate you're in gear instead of physically feeling it move through each selection which is definitely better. Also there's a special button only for park which you have to press which just makes no sense at all.

The engine and transmission combo really stood out to me though. The twin turbo N63 V8 is fantastic. 400hp and 450 lb/ft at 1750rpm will get it to 60 to in 4.9 seconds. The new 8 speed automatic is really amazing as well. The shift times are comparable to a dual clutch transmission, virtually no lag between shifts. Also the sound of the unburnt fuel in the exhaust between shifts is ridiculously addictive and awesome. Took a quick video.

_cF90zLQ8hU
(http://youtu.be/_cF90zLQ8hU)
Overall a very impressive package that makes you feel like a million bucks.

Drove the AWD F10 535i next.

http://img600.imageshack.us/img600/2881/img0816n.jpg

http://img16.imageshack.us/img16/1787/img0823xr.jpg

http://img221.imageshack.us/img221/2154/img0825qwzd.jpg

While still extremely nice, this was still a bit of a letdown for me. There really isn't much of a redeeming feature to the new AWD automatic 535i except for it being a nice car with a bunch of gadgets. Now put in a manual transmission and take away that extra differential at the front, and you would have quite a fun family sedan. The car overall felt more like a baby 7 series than a blend of the 3 and 5 though, it does feel quite big on the road. The ride is very composed and comfortable, the seats are very supportive and have a wide range of adjustments, and the interior is extremely well laid out and ergonomically sound. The twin scroll N55 I6 provides a good amount of pickup in this 4200lb car and the 8 speed auto feels like a great match for the motor. The handling was good with body roll kept well under control, but the steering was incredibly vague. Although I do attribute a lot of this to the AWD system which kills a lot of steering feel and feedback on BMWs though. All in all it's a very nice car but I wish they had a RWD version for me to compare to.

Finally, the AWD 750Li.

http://img15.imageshack.us/img15/5016/img0839ytd.jpg

http://img88.imageshack.us/img88/1669/img0842wv.jpg

http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/8113/img0844ci.jpg

http://img811.imageshack.us/img811/3752/img0833t.jpg

http://img813.imageshack.us/img813/3567/img0866n.jpg

http://img219.imageshack.us/img219/6268/img0848h.jpg

http://img33.imageshack.us/img33/1051/img0846b.jpg

http://img683.imageshack.us/img683/7704/img0850tv.jpg

This was the most impressive out of the three for me. I was originally going to drive a Mercedes E350 sedan, but one of the guys working the event said "you know you can take out the 750 if you want", and thought why not.

This car makes all the right first impressions when you get in it. Every surface is covered in leather, instead of pulling on a conventional grab handle to close the door you grab an enormous slab of contoured wood, the door makes all sorts of noises when you close it making you feel like you're airlocked into the space shuttle, and the whole size of the thing is astonishing.

Now I'm a fan of smaller cars with tight suspension and quick handling, but this did not disappoint me at all. It really handles better than any 4700lb car ever should. Part of this is thanks to the adjustable dampers (which were on the 5 and 6 as well). You can choose between comfort, normal, sport and sport +, of which I switched between comfort and sport +. In comfort mode it is as if you're riding on a cloud. I wasn't aware that a car could actually be this smooth. In this mode the suspension is at its softest setting, yet it doesn't feel floaty or wander about the road at all. That "rolling bank vault" feel that everyone always talks about became immediately apparent, the car just felt perfectly weighted over every surface. It still lets you get a good feel for the road and any imperfections on it, but in the most gentle way possible. The transmission stays under 2000rpm, and you can just enjoy the world passing you by. In sport+ mode, the suspension firms up noticeably and the transmission holds gears longer. Even with AWD the steering feedback was quite nice, I always felt like I had control of where the front end was going to go after I pointed it. The trademark balance BMW is known for came through. It really is a special car to drive.

All in all a very fun day :thumbsup:

Jesda
06-27-11, 11:05 PM
The new 7 has wonderful proportions. I just wish the details were less blobby.

I'm jealous of your day!

I~LUV~Caddys8792
06-27-11, 11:22 PM
All of the new BMW's are nice, but they don't really do "it" for me. They're a lot better looking than the stuff being made under Bangle, but they're still not as clean looking as the late '90s era stuff (E38, E39 and E46). The powertrains and luxury accoutrements are a high point for BMW however.

ben.gators
06-27-11, 11:28 PM
$97K! What are the sale figure of these car? Sometimes I think in this slow economy, production of cars with 6-digit MSRP will not be profitable for the big companies because the sales number will be so low that it may barely compensate the design, production, and sale/warranty costs of these cars....

I~LUV~Caddys8792
06-27-11, 11:30 PM
I always read that in a hard economy, those that can afford a six figure car are hardly effected.

orconn
06-27-11, 11:36 PM
Not taken with their looks, but I envy you the chance to drive the new Bimmers. I was interested to hear you take on the new 7 series. I have driven several 7 series cars over the years and was always left underwhelmed with them. As I have mentioned before, as favor to my good friend across the street in L.A., I use to drive his 7 series cars for him while he was in Europe each Summer. I just never warmed up to these cars, not really nice enough to be driven in, and not a lot of fun to drive yourself.

My enjoyment of BMW cars really extends to the 3 series cars. I guess I will accompanying my son to look at a new Bimmer for him (his dime of course) toward the end of the Summer. While he can now afford the higher series, I think he may also just stay with a 3 series.

Stingroo
06-28-11, 01:02 AM
Those interiors all look the same, just different faux wood accents.

Looks sterile and boring. Where's the passion? Where's the driving excitement? All I see is a shitload of buttons.

Jesda
06-28-11, 01:13 AM
I love buttons! But I do agree there's a lack of inspiration. Its not minimalistic like Volvo where it feels clean and chic, and its not overwrought like Acura. Its in a characterless dead zone.

gary88
06-28-11, 01:27 AM
This is straight from one of the reps there: BMW designs their cars with performance in mind first, luxury gets the back seat, although they make sure not to neglect the little details that matter.

orconn
06-28-11, 01:33 AM
The BMW's in the pictures above look like some popped them in the nose and it swelled up. I want to pass them a tissue!

Jesda
06-28-11, 01:56 AM
The BMW's in the pictures above look like some popped them in the nose and it swelled up. I want to pass them a tissue!

That may be the best illustration I've heard.

ben.gators
06-28-11, 02:01 AM
These BMWs do nothing to me..... BMW has lost its connection to its past. This is what I call a BMW:
http://aboutbmw.net/uploads/posts/1236963312_1.jpg

The first white BMW looks like to a Jag XK!

Jesda
06-28-11, 02:09 AM
The 6-vert looks a bit like a late 90s Sebring with a bimmer nose attached.

The current Jaguar XK is a stunning car.

ben.gators
06-28-11, 02:13 AM
Yes, the new XK is a gorgeous car. However my comment was more about this fact that the current BMWs lack the classic character and presence of the BMW.

Aron9000
06-28-11, 01:44 PM
I think BMW's newer models, especially the 5, 6, and 7 series are just too blob like and rounded. Kind of a throwback to the 90's IMO, when everything was jellybean. I'd really like to see their models with more straight lines and hard edges to them, like the old Beemers.

And does anybody else think the 5 series is encroaching on 7 series territory. The new 5 is a tank IMO, and other than more rear seat leg room, it can be equipped with all the toys of a 7 series. I speced out a loaded v8, AWD 550xi on the BMW site for $75,000!!! A base 7 series starts at $71,000, although you'll probably have a hard time finding one on a lot for under $85k with the typical options. IMO you might as well go whole hogg and get the bigger car for another $10-20k.

Jesda
06-28-11, 03:03 PM
Indeed, and the funny thing is, in the 90s BMW was known for its geometric, sharp styling.

johnny kannapo
06-28-11, 08:21 PM
I was at the BMW buying a slave cyl. for my sons M3 and I felt way out of my element just opening the door for a peek at one of these cars.

stoveguyy
06-28-11, 09:44 PM
did you notice the temp gauge was close to 250 on all cars and the max is 360? WTF? yes we know that the max is for reference and hope car never hits it but i would freak if my gauge hit 360.

gary88
06-28-11, 09:51 PM
They'll go into limp mode well before that, around 304 I believe it the cutoff.

Oil temps between 230-250 are normal for these cars. On mine the oil temp gauge is centered at 210 and it'll sit a little to the right at 230-240 under normal conditions. Around 2009 BMW changed the gauge so it doesn't look like it's reading high all the time.

ga_etc
06-28-11, 10:40 PM
The new 3,5, & 7s look like Russian nesting dolls to me.

cadillac kevin
06-28-11, 11:08 PM
the 7 series looks cool, although the nose looks a bit square (vertical) for a rounded off car. the 5 series and 3 series do nothing for me. I'd much rather have an 80's M6- they looked badass and were pretty quick.

orconn
06-28-11, 11:08 PM
The new 3,5, & 7s look like Russian nesting dolls to me.

An astute observation!

I~LUV~Caddys8792
06-29-11, 01:00 AM
Those interiors all look the same, just different faux wood accents..

That wood is as fake as your Caprice is small.

Stingroo
06-29-11, 01:09 AM
Hmmm.... regardless, they do all look the same.

Rodya234
06-29-11, 01:14 AM
I like the interior of the 7 Series the best. The wood looks sort of like the zebrano wood in the Seville, and I think the center console looks cleaner without the boot around the shifter. Plus I don't understand why they would put a boot on something that doesn't move.

stoveguyy
06-29-11, 12:32 PM
i thought gauge was coolant temp. it is oil temp? am familiar with oil pressure. not familiar with cars having oil temp gauges. we had a trans temp gauge on our gtp. was sons car. i drove it 1% of time. usually would read 170f? on a hot day i noticed it was 215f around town. did not take it out on highway to see if it would drop.

gary88
06-29-11, 12:59 PM
Yeah it's oil temp, their reasoning being it's a better indicator of engine temperature rather than coolant temp. If you put the dash into diagnostic mode though you can see it in the LCD readout between the gauges.

gdwriter
06-29-11, 02:15 PM
Aren't those flat, vertical front ends part of some European pedestrian safety mandate? Do not like. Especially on the 7-Series. Besides, unless the Bimmer is moving at parking lot speed, any pedestrian who gets hit by one of these tanks is hosed.

And I'll add my metaphor for the styling. The 7-Series looks like a 5-Series that's been inflated by an air pump. Or the 5-Series looks like a 7-Series that's been left in the dryer too long.

Impressive cars, and I like the interiors. But since they all cost more than I make in a year, I can't get too excited about them.

Lord Cadillac
06-29-11, 02:46 PM
What ever made you think BMW uses fake wood?

I'm not crazy about the front end but I like the rest of the car. The interior doesn't have the most beautiful design - but once you're in the car, you feel really good about it. Before my 335i I had a 750Li and it was a very, very well put together luxury vehicle...


Those interiors all look the same, just different faux wood accents.

Looks sterile and boring. Where's the passion? Where's the driving excitement? All I see is a shitload of buttons.

Jesda
06-29-11, 05:15 PM
I'm glad BMW hasnt changed its steering wheels much. They're perfect.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
06-29-11, 07:04 PM
I'm glad BMW hasnt changed its steering wheels much. They're perfect.

Changing their perfect steering wheels is akin to replacing a surgeon's scalpel with a butter knife. It's hard to do any precision movements with an inferior tool.

orconn
06-29-11, 07:25 PM
Changing their perfect steering wheels is akin to replacing a surgeon's scalpel with a butter knife. It's hard to do any precision movements with an inferior tool.

Ah, yes! Waxing BMW .... personally, I have to think it is the steering sytem in general that is a major part of BMW's reputation as a "Driver's Car!" And that primarily applies the 3 series and diminishes the farther you go up the price and weight scale.

gary88
06-29-11, 09:04 PM
A big part of that loss in steering feel is the switch from hydraulic to electric power steering on many of the newer cars in an effort to go green. I know all the US spec 3 and 1 series cars right now are still hydraulic, while the 5 series has made the switch to electric, but the new M5 will remain hydraulic.

Rodya234
06-29-11, 11:07 PM
I thought the M5 was getting electric? Or at least, that's what Herr Biermann told Autocar.

cadillac kevin
06-29-11, 11:31 PM
Those interiors all look the same, just different faux wood accents.

Looks sterile and boring. Where's the passion? Where's the driving excitement? All I see is a shitload of buttons.
Ray, you are thinking of pontiac, not BMW.

orconn
06-29-11, 11:34 PM
A big part of that loss in steering feel is the switch from hydraulic to electric power steering on many of the newer cars in an effort to go green. I know all the US spec 3 and 1 series cars right now are still hydraulic, while the 5 series has made the switch to electric, but the new M5 will remain hydraulic.

Actually the cars I am referring to are not the new ones (although the electric steering on the new ones is sure to take away from the feel) but BMW series 5 and 7 cars going back to the eighties. I have never been attracted to the 7 series as a personal driver (as I have said I have had extensive experience with several models of the "Big" BMW), personal experience experience also conjures up images of fat Burghers of Munich and their equally plump fraus out for a Sunday drive.

If you they keep adding to the size and weight and eliminate the steering feel of the 5 series they will reach a point (if they haven't already) when BMW is no longer a driver's car but just another over engineered, expensive German large car. The 3 series is also approaching terminal "largesse" in my opinion as that model gains pounds and looses that special feel that makes it special.

Jesda
06-29-11, 11:45 PM
Reviewers have already expressed disappointment over the new 5-series feeling much like the E-class -- exceptionally pleasant and entirely unengaging.

Still, its a more interesting choice than the Lexus GS.

orconn
06-30-11, 12:08 AM
Reviewers have already expressed disappointment over the new 5-series feeling much like the E-class -- exceptionally pleasant and entirely unengaging.

Still, its a more interesting choice than the Lexus GS.

When push comes to shove, in this price class, if the driving experience isn't there, I'll take the Mercedes ... actually I think I would take the Jaguar (much as I am not charmed with their new styling!).

I hope a really good competitor for the 5 series, from Alfa Romeo, does reach our shores vey soon!

Jesda
06-30-11, 12:23 AM
When push comes to shove, in this price class, if the driving experience isn't there, I'll take the Mercedes ... actually I think I would take the Jaguar (much as I am not charmed with their new styling!).

I have a feeling much of the market would do the same. If a BMW product doesn't have its performance edge, it still lacks the prestige of Mercedes-Benz. People will probably choose MB in that case.

The XJ has really grown on me, especially the incredible interior, but I'm still unable to "process" the new rear end. Its stunning from the side, a bit odd from the front, and incomplete in the back. If the last generation XJ was a little more forward-looking and transitional, I might have an easier time stomaching the new look.

gary88
06-30-11, 12:35 AM
There is some hope for the future though, BMW entered a joint venture with carbon fiber manufacturer SGL Group and will build their own carbon fiber manufacturing facility in Washington soon in order to produce CRFP for their upcoming electric cars. Funny, VW bought 8% of SGL back in March, which caused one of BMW AG's board members (Susanne Klatten, richest woman in Germany) to increase her stake in the company to 27.3% to keep VW at bay. Eventually I'm sure we'll see more carbon fiber applications trickle down into the rest of the models as well.

It is refreshing to see the new M5 and 1 series M weighing less than their top of the line counterparts in the model lineup though.

Playdrv4me
06-30-11, 01:06 AM
The most appealing vehicle in BMW's line-up as it stands right now *is* the 5-series, despite it's less than stellar driving characteristics. Why? Because with all of them looking damn near the same, you can rip the badges off a 535i with a Sport package (saw one in the parking lot at the movies the other day and with the right combo of color, wheels and trim it looked bad-ass), and have 99% of the public duped into thinking it's a 7. Even with as much of a BMW fan as I am, I have a hard time telling the two apart at a simple glance. Meaning, I actually have to find some detail quickly to tell them apart. Combine that with the fact that I still think the 5 is far more appealing than that blocky, ass-heavy E Class and the 5 is a no brainer to me. I have to qualify that by saying that there's no way I'd consider the M5 over the CTS-V however. The CTS owns that category for the moment (which could be 5 more minutes).

As for the full-sizers, the 7 does nothing for me in a large car. In this class, the MB S Class would still be my choice despite it being a 5 year old car already. It has a nearly endless selection of powertrain and amenity combinations, a world class interior and better materials and craftsmanship overall. Keep in mind, this is like comparing modern day Acer laptops with their Toshiba counterparts. Almost everything electronic or motorized today is less desirable and less interesting than it used to be, but comparisons must still be made (and the S has slowly grown on me since day one).

Jesda
06-30-11, 01:11 AM
What you're describing an E-class with less class.

Playdrv4me
06-30-11, 01:19 AM
What you're describing an E-class with less class.

That's fine, because the E-Class sucks.

Jesda
06-30-11, 01:29 AM
Which would mean the 5-series sucks more.

:|

Jesda
06-30-11, 01:29 AM
Ooooh zing

Jesda
06-30-11, 01:34 AM
I dont even care. I'll probably drive a 1998-2004 Seville until I'm dead.

Playdrv4me
06-30-11, 01:40 AM
Less class doesn't imply worse car. An SL500 is "classier" than a balls to the wall Z06 Convertible... but I'd still rather have the Z06.

Jesda
06-30-11, 01:42 AM
Now you're just comparing oranges to apples.

Transformers 2 is better than avocados.










Now I'm trolling.

Stingroo
06-30-11, 01:45 AM
Less class doesn't imply worse car. An SL500 is "classier" than a balls to the wall Z06 Convertible... but I'd still rather have the Z06.

I really wanted to like this post, but you messed up: the Z06 has never been offered in a convertible.


http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y157/brian_d/2uid5zo.gif

Playdrv4me
06-30-11, 01:46 AM
The point is that "class" has nothing to do with the quality or performance of the car, it doesn't matter what it is. Classy women, like LS460s, are usually boring. I'll take my trashy Seville equivalent Suicide Girl-esque chicks any day of the week.

Playdrv4me
06-30-11, 01:46 AM
I really wanted to like this post, but you messed up: the Z06 has never been offered in a convertible.


http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y157/brian_d/2uid5zo.gif

I realized that after I posted it, then left it alone because it should have been.

Aron9000
06-30-11, 01:47 AM
Personally I think the current S-Class is just drop dead gorgeous. The current 7 series just does nothing for me, along with the 5 series. They just seem too sterile, inoffensive, and flat out boring IMO. I'd take an Audi A6 over a 5 or E class, but then again for $60k, the CTS-V owns all even if the interior doesn't measure up to the German cars. For a $100k luxury cruiser, I think I'd go with the S-class, but the new Audi A8 is a phenomenal car as well. It would probably come down to a test drive as to which one I'd pick.

Playdrv4me
06-30-11, 01:49 AM
I get lots of haterade on the S Class, but I've driven one on an extended road trip and found it to be both thoroughly satisfying to drive and mash the throttle in (even the regular S550), as well as aesthetically pleasing over time.

Jesda
06-30-11, 02:05 AM
The point is that "class" has nothing to do with the quality or performance of the car, it doesn't matter what it is. Classy women, like LS460s, are usually boring. I'll take my trashy Seville equivalent Suicide Girl-esque chicks any day of the week.

Lie of the day.


You are a Lexus whore. You get excitement from obscure little odds, ends, and refinements. Nothing wrong with that, because details can be quite interesting and display a manufacturer's attention to detail, but you make my parents look like Ferrari people.


The Coach bag of car guys. Chic and sophisticated, but in the end still a sack of tampons.


http://blog.timesunion.com/kristi/files/2010/07/fire-and-ice1.jpg (http://ohyeahcaps.ytmnd.com/)

Playdrv4me
06-30-11, 02:16 AM
Lie of the day.


You are a Lexus whore. You get excitement from obscure little odds, ends, and refinements. Nothing wrong with that, because details can be quite interesting and display a manufacturer's attention to detail, but you make my parents look like Ferrari people.


The Coach bag of car guys. Chic and sophisticated, but in the end still a sack of tampons.


http://blog.timesunion.com/kristi/files/2010/07/fire-and-ice1.jpg (http://ohyeahcaps.ytmnd.com/)

I like the LS460 just fine, but my favorite Lexus is and always has been the LS400. That doesn't change the fact that either car is boring, I just find many of the LS400's OTHER fantastic attributes make it a car well worth owning. I also think that the LS400 has a personality that in many ways comes as close to the Seville as any of their vehicles ever could have. It's a unique combination of smoothness in the Seville, and a little bit of spice in the LS... a little bit, but it's there. I don't think you've ever heard me say I want to own an LS460, and if you say you did, that would be a fabrication. I like Sal's car a lot and I think it's the best non-Cadillac Cadillac he was ever going to find, but it would not be a car I'd own over the S Class.

Jesda
06-30-11, 02:38 AM
The LS400 was comfortable and extremely well made but its ride and handling are similar to the Deville DHS -- it doesn't approach the STS in terms of handling, steering feedback, or body control. The tug boat steering wheel and crapshift tranny conveyed "spice" on a level no more advanced than a black pepper shaker.

---

As for class, it has everything to do with comfort, refinement, envy, and prestige, things the E-class has in spades. The 5-series is a half step behind in comfort (though its rear seat is spacious), a quarter step behind in refinement, and 1.5 steps behind Mercedes-Benz in prestige. But it isn't 1.5 steps behind in price. MB wins the market.

A Rolex, for example, is a wrist clock for bros who want to sparkle like Elton John without switching teams, and its prestige and desirability elevate it to an entirely different "class" from other timepiece manufacturers. Its reputation is global and golden. Class is about hierarchy and respect. The 5-series is losing the respect of driving enthusiasts while remaining flat among luxury buyers. BMW is going to pull a Nissan by chasing niches until its head winds up in its rear, the same course GM took until its eventual demise.

The five Ps of marketing:
+ Product
+ Price
+ Promotion
+ People
+ Place
= Target Customer

MB and BMW are now pursuing the SAME target customer. They're both hoping to acquire market share recently lost by Lexus.

I wouldn't buy an E-class either, but its not because the 5-series is preferable, not for my money. I'm intending to buy myself something really nice next year (if things go as planned), and its unlikely to be a current-generation BMW of any sort (not to say that the 3-coupe isn't an impressive car).

Playdrv4me
06-30-11, 03:16 AM
FWIW, the customers at Target are effing hot.

Lord Cadillac
06-30-11, 10:45 AM
I love the S-Class and I'd have an S550 if I didn't mind getting bent over and pork'd. That and I don't like arrogant people. I feel the service would not be nearly as good at Mercedes.


I like the LS460 just fine, but my favorite Lexus is and always has been the LS400. That doesn't change the fact that either car is boring, I just find many of the LS400's OTHER fantastic attributes make it a car well worth owning. I also think that the LS400 has a personality that in many ways comes as close to the Seville as any of their vehicles ever could have. It's a unique combination of smoothness in the Seville, and a little bit of spice in the LS... a little bit, but it's there. I don't think you've ever heard me say I want to own an LS460, and if you say you did, that would be a fabrication. I like Sal's car a lot and I think it's the best non-Cadillac Cadillac he was ever going to find, but it would not be a car I'd own over the S Class.

The Tony Show
06-30-11, 11:17 AM
I wish there were more interior differentiation. With a $50k spread between the models, it's shocking how the dash, cluster, switchgear and center console look nearly identical.

http://img146.imageshack.us/img146/7443/img0812by.jpg
http://img16.imageshack.us/img16/1787/img0823xr.jpg
http://img811.imageshack.us/img811/3752/img0833t.jpg

Stingroo
06-30-11, 11:29 AM
^ That's exactly what I was saying.

Lord Cadillac
06-30-11, 11:41 AM
BMW does high quality interiors but they don't know how to do design...

orconn
06-30-11, 01:21 PM
I love the S-Class and I'd have an S550 if I didn't mind getting bent over and pork'd. That and I don't like arrogant people. I feel the service would not be nearly as good at Mercedes.

While I' m not a fan of the S class (I enjoy driving my own car!) I agree 100% with your take on the Mercedes-Benz experience in general! Beware arrogant pigs!

Playdrv4me
06-30-11, 03:04 PM
I love the S-Class and I'd have an S550 if I didn't mind getting bent over and pork'd. That and I don't like arrogant people. I feel the service would not be nearly as good at Mercedes.

The service part wouldn't bother me too much, so long as I didn't have to be there all that often. And if I did, then we'd have bigger problems. However, your car was certainly a fantastic deal, and that might make me stop and reconsider if it really came down to it. I'd ultimately probably still pay the premium though, I really like that car.

ryannel2003
06-30-11, 07:51 PM
I don't get what the big deal with the LS400 is? Sure it's an elegant and well built vehicle but other than that the model I drove didn't feel all that special other than the fact it's a cheaper and more reliable version of the W140. I actually remember thinking that it was very similar in a few ways to my first car, a 2000 Camry LE. The leather had a very stiff feel, and alot of the materials and knobs were of similar style. Now I really can't complain considering some of the materials in the Seville feel as if they were lifted out of a Cavalier; but they look rich (but don't feel rich) if you know what I'm saying. On the other hand, I feel the LS430 was a superior car in almost every way except the way it looked. I personally feel that is remedied by ordering the sport package on that model.

I can actually understand Jesda's reasoning about owning a Seville for life; I'm considering an '03 as my next car. It's obvious that I enjoy a painfully expensive automotive experience... but it's so worth it.

Jesda
06-30-11, 08:00 PM
This BMW/MB rivalry is interesting as they've both quietly moved into each other's core markets for the past two decades. BMW got more luxurious, Mercedes got sportier.

This ad is one of my all-time favorites:
http://smashad.com/img/warofautomativebrands-41.jpg

Playdrv4me
06-30-11, 09:31 PM
I don't get what the big deal with the LS400 is? Sure it's an elegant and well built vehicle but other than that the model I drove didn't feel all that special other than the fact it's a cheaper and more reliable version of the W140. I actually remember thinking that it was very similar in a few ways to my first car, a 2000 Camry LE. The leather had a very stiff feel, and alot of the materials and knobs were of similar style. Now I really can't complain considering some of the materials in the Seville feel as if they were lifted out of a Cavalier; but they look rich (but don't feel rich) if you know what I'm saying. On the other hand, I feel the LS430 was a superior car in almost every way except the way it looked. I personally feel that is remedied by ordering the sport package on that model.

I can actually understand Jesda's reasoning about owning a Seville for life; I'm considering an '03 as my next car. It's obvious that I enjoy a painfully expensive automotive experience... but it's so worth it.

The LS430 is a good car. In fact, my brother really wants to go back to one. It's understated without being flashy, has a lot of really nice features and some great interior color and material combos, and some of the finest automotive paint I've ever witnessed. However, what the LS400 lacked in razzle dazzle luxury, it made up for with substance and quality. The older LS400s like my Mom's 1991 DID have some leather that got a little tough after several years (though it still looked brand new), but no 1998-2000 model I've ever sat in has had anything but buttery soft *and supportive* leather.

Some changes under the skin that make the LS430 ring slightly hollow:
*LS400 had fantastic springy seats, because just like the W124 E Class, there were ACTUALLY springs IN the seats, this was dropped in the LS430, and the base leather package was of inferior quality to the leather in the LS400.

*LS400 had a uniform interior across the entire model line, whereas Toyota chose to cheapen the base LS430 interior in an effort to get more money for upgraded leather packages in the LS430. As a result, materials in the base LS430 are less substantial, and the materials quality overall is more hollow with more plastic surfaces than the LS400.

*This is a BIG one... The LS400 was the last Lexus sedan to utilize the genuine Nakamichi audio system which was actually MADE BY Nak in Japan. The base system used the same head unit, but was made instead by Pioneer. The LS430 switched to that godawful Mark Levinson crap that is just barely "OK". In fact, in some facets I preferred the base Pioneer system in our old LS430 to the ML.

*Exterior fit and finish on the LS400 is a little sharper than the 430, and ESPECIALLY the 2001-2003 430s.

For me, the 1998-2004 Seville, and the 1998-2000 LS400 are two cars that are constantly vying for my attention, like a sibling rivalry. They both serve a similar market in their own unique way and with their own special touches. Ultimately, I'd just like to have both.

As for your comparison to the older Camrys... Well that isn't a surprise at all, considering that taking a seat in a 1990s Camry, even a base model, revealed remarkably similar materials and construction quality to the ES and LS. That's not a bad thing, they were GOOD cars all the way up to the generation you owned. Hell, you can take that analogy even further back to the Cressida, which I consider the "LS400 Beta" (despite technically being replaced by the Avalon, which is not up the LS's standards in my opinion).

ryannel2003
06-30-11, 09:54 PM
What I was disappointed by with the LS400 was just the feeling I was driving something that somebody could confuse with an older ES300 or any other car on the road. That's fine for some people but for me I want something I want to turn around and look at when I walk away (I still do that to my Seville every day). I guess more people spend time inside cars and in that case the LS400 I drove (which was a '96 btw) had a very high quality interior and was extremely well put together. My 2000 Camry was a good car but as it started to age it began to rattle more, the sunroof track broke and in general started degrading quickly once my mom and brother starting driving it when I bought the Seville. The Camry also had the *WORST* set of seats ever put in a car. No lateral support, too short cushions, and power adjustments that were useless. I've sat in plastic lawn chairs that were more comfortable.

Lord Cadillac
06-30-11, 10:07 PM
Just adding my two cents in regards to the LS400 vs LS430. I had the base package in my 2005 and the non-upgraded leather was worlds better than any of the years of the LS400. In fact, it was so close to the semi-aniline that I almost couldn't tell the difference. I know there were some updates in 2004 so maybe I had a better vehicle than the one you experienced.

I see you don't like Mark Levinson but it sounds unbelievable in the LS460. There's no way on God's Earth any of the Nakamichi LS's in the past sound as good as the Mark Levinson in the LS460.

The last few models of LS400 were really nice but in my personal opinion, they were lesser cars than the LS430. I don't see any way that the build quality in an LS400 was better than that of the LS430. Though the quality of the LS460 is not on par with the LS430 either.

For years you're been stating your feelings on this and in my personal opinion, I think you inadvertently have some fascination with the LS400 that makes you feel this way. Unless I'm mistaken, I believe Jesda feels this way as well. But he doesn't talk about it as much as you do. :p

If the Lexus LS400 was a human being, I'd think you two had something more personal going on... :)


The LS430 is a good car. In fact, my brother really wants to go back to one. It's understated without being flashy, has a lot of really nice features and some great interior color and material combos, and some of the finest automotive paint I've ever witnessed. However, what the LS400 lacked in razzle dazzle luxury, it made up for with substance and quality. The older LS400s like my Mom's 1991 DID have some leather that got a little tough after several years (though it still looked brand new), but no 1998-2000 model I've ever sat in has had anything but buttery soft *and supportive* leather.

Some changes under the skin that make the LS430 ring slightly hollow:
*LS400 had fantastic springy seats, because just like the W124 E Class, there were ACTUALLY springs IN the seats, this was dropped in the LS430, and the base leather package was of inferior quality to the leather in the LS400.

*LS400 had a uniform interior across the entire model line, whereas Toyota chose to cheapen the base LS430 interior in an effort to get more money for upgraded leather packages in the LS430. As a result, materials in the base LS430 are less substantial, and the materials quality overall is more hollow with more plastic surfaces than the LS400.

*This is a BIG one... The LS400 was the last Lexus sedan to utilize the genuine Nakamichi audio system which was actually MADE BY Nak in Japan. The base system used the same head unit, but was made instead by Pioneer. The LS430 switched to that godawful Mark Levinson crap that is just barely "OK". In fact, in some facets I preferred the base Pioneer system in our old LS430 to the ML.

*Exterior fit and finish on the LS400 is a little sharper than the 430, and ESPECIALLY the 2001-2003 430s.

For me, the 1998-2004 Seville, and the 1998-2000 LS400 are two cars that are constantly vying for my attention, like a sibling rivalry. They both serve a similar market in their own unique way and with their own special touches. Ultimately, I'd just like to have both.

As for your comparison to the older Camrys... Well that isn't a surprise at all, considering that taking a seat in a 1990s Camry, even a base model, revealed remarkably similar materials and construction quality to the ES and LS. That's not a bad thing, they were GOOD cars all the way up to the generation you owned. Hell, you can take that analogy even further back to the Cressida, which I consider the "LS400 Beta" (despite technically being replaced by the Avalon, which is not up the LS's standards in my opinion).

Playdrv4me
06-30-11, 10:07 PM
What I was disappointed by with the LS400 was just the feeling I was driving something that somebody could confuse with an older ES300 or any other car on the road. That's fine for some people but for me I want something I want to turn around and look at when I walk away (I still do that to my Seville every day). I guess more people spend time inside cars and in that case the LS400 I drove (which was a '96 btw) had a very high quality interior and was extremely well put together. My 2000 Camry was a good car but as it started to age it began to rattle more, the sunroof track broke and in general started degrading quickly once my mom and brother starting driving it when I bought the Seville. The Camry also had the *WORST* set of seats ever put in a car. No lateral support, too short cushions, and power adjustments that were useless. I've sat in plastic lawn chairs that were more comfortable.

Hmm, I've never known anyone to confuse an LS400 with an ES, except for MAYBE the ES250 in 1990. In fact, I'd say the LS400 has more in common with the round mid-'90s Camry generation (dog leg rear pillar for instance), than the more arrow-shaped ES300. I guess from the rear the horizontal lights are sort of... similar, though the LS400 went to short width lamps in 1995. I do the look back thing with the Seville too (although silver doesn't do this car any favors in my opinion), but I'm one of the few who also liked the design of the 1998 LS400. Sure, it was a semi-rip of the W140, but it was still a little more chiseled and trim. I'd say the LS430 was a more shameless copy of the W140 due to its bigger taller greenhouse, just like the W140.

And on that note, I find it odd that as much as I like and appreciate the E38, as well as the W140 and A8 of that era... The Seville and the LS400 would still be my top two picks out of all them. They just have the right formula of goodness for me.

Jesda
06-30-11, 10:11 PM
The LS400 is the ultimate older physician's car. Very nice, very quiet. Not a bad thing for people seeking understated luxury.

They tried to get stylish with the LS430 and holy HELL did that turn out poorly, like an Acura RL and a Deville DHS that had a defective child. Its tall, awkward, and characterless without being understated. It was the beginning of the decline of styling for all Toyota products.

The LS460, however, is a move forward, especially in darker colors, even if the interior isn't quite as nice as past generations.

Jesda
06-30-11, 10:12 PM
Hmm, I've never known anyone to confuse an LS400 with an ES, except for MAYBE the ES250 in 1990. In fact, I'd say the LS400 has more in common with the round mid-'90s Camry generation (dog leg rear pillar for instance), than the more arrow-shaped ES300.

That's the problem with characterless design. The general public has to squint to tell the difference.

Playdrv4me
06-30-11, 10:13 PM
Just adding my two cents in regards to the LS400 vs LS430. I had the base package in my 2005 and the non-upgraded leather was worlds better than any of the years of the LS400. In fact, it was so close to the semi-aniline that I almost couldn't tell the difference. I know there were some updates in 2004 so maybe I had a better vehicle than the one you experienced.

I see you don't like Mark Levinson but it sounds unbelievable in the LS460. There's no way on God's Earth any of the Nakamichi LS's in the past sound as good as the Mark Levinson in the LS460.

The last few models of LS400 were really nice but in my personal opinion, they were lesser cars than the LS430. I don't see any way that the build quality in an LS400 was better than that of the LS430. Though the quality of the LS460 is not on par with the LS430 either.

For years you're been stating your feelings on this and in my personal opinion, I think you inadvertently have some fascination with the LS400 that makes you feel this way. Unless I'm mistaken, I believe Jesda feels this way as well. But he doesn't talk about it as much as you do. :p

If the Lexus LS400 was a human being, I'd think you two had something more personal going on... :)

I typically respect your opinion (highly), but I just don't see it.

I can name a number of key areas where the LS400 was a better vehicle than the 430. For example, in the 400 the reverse side of the interior door handle... i.e. the part no one sees, was lined with glove soft leather. In the 2004 LS430 this part is shitty PLASTIC and it sounds hollow when you tap on it. Plus there's already the springs in the seats I mentioned. I have not auditioned the Mark Levinson system in the 460 so I will take your word for it on that, but there's no possible way the 430's ML was anywhere *near* the quality of the Nak, unless all you care about is thumping bass (and even then it lacked in that department anyway).

Also, the LS430 fit and finish situation isn't just something I observed, there are numerous reviews of early LS430 review units having misaligned interior panel gaps and even EXTERIOR panel gaps, which is unheard of for a Toyota, or at least it was back then.

This wasn't an issue for you because you had an '03, but the 6 speed automatic on the 2004-2006 LS, at least in '04 and early '05 is rubbish. Not that the 5 speed in the 98-2000 was spectacular, but our '04 would clunk when coming to a stop and just generally do strange things. In fact, it behaved almost identically to the 6 speed in the Escalade, which I also can't stand.

You hang out at Clublexus just as much as I did, and I know plenty of the 430 guys over there either switched back to 400s, or agreed with me that it was a better built car. That doesn't mean it was a BETTER car OVERALL for everyone's needs (the 430 has a lot of size, comfort and amenity that blows the 400 out of the water), but for me the 400 is the W140 without the headaches.

Jesda
06-30-11, 10:16 PM
I don't see any way that the build quality in an LS400 was better than that of the LS430.

Its in the details. The 430 has more orange peel in the paint on some surfaces. Manufacturers had to switch to water-based paints, and to compensate for the difference, more expensive paint and a longer process was required to achieve the same level of quality (Cadillac and Infiniti were particularly bad about this on the 03 CTS and 03 G35). The backs of the seat controls and door handles on the 430 aren't lined in soft leather unless you pay a premium, which is silly for a premium car. The headliner is a very slight downgrade, and the dashboard and center stack aren't quite as soft.

Toyota knew it had a hit product and wanted to eek out a few more dollars from each car. I don't think the general public noticed the difference, but I did.

ryannel2003
06-30-11, 10:25 PM
As a car guy it's pretty easy to tell the difference between the ES and LS. To a normal person though I'm sure most wouldn't recognize the difference unless they were put up close to it. I've just come to accept that I really don't like Lexus that much, even though they do make a great car. The thing with the Seville is that even though you know you can't get the car perfect, you enjoy it so much it doesn't matter. It just looks great, and to be quite honest I feel like a million bucks driving it. I can't put my finger on it, but my guess is the styling is just so simple its beautiful. Today's luxury cars have gone so over the top with design and features it's really gotten out of hand. Today I was cleaning out a beautiful late 90's Audi A6 and I just kept realizing how much i love the 90's era when it comes to luxury cars. The A6 was (and still is ) a beautifully executed car that is elegant and simple... much like the Seville. As a matter of fact the only 90's midsize luxury car that hasn't aged well is the W210 E-Class. It's still just as ugly as it was in the 90's.

As I've gotten to know more and more about Audi's the less I would ever want to own one, but they are such beautiful cars. The only mid-level luxury sedan that grabs my interest these days is the A6. 10 years ago I could've chosen between Seville STS, E39 540i, GS430 or A6.

Playdrv4me
06-30-11, 10:28 PM
As a car guy it's pretty easy to tell the difference between the ES and LS. To a normal person though I'm sure most wouldn't recognize the difference unless they were put up close to it. I've just come to accept that I really don't like Lexus that much, even though they do make a great car. The thing with the Seville is that even though you know you can't get the car perfect, you enjoy it so much it doesn't matter. It just looks great, and to be quite honest I feel like a million bucks driving it. I can't put my finger on it, but my guess is the styling is just so simple its beautiful. Today's luxury cars have gone so over the top with design and features it's really gotten out of hand. Today I was cleaning out a beautiful late 90's Audi A6 and I just kept realizing how much i love the 90's era when it comes to luxury cars. The A6 was (and still is ) a beautifully executed car that is elegant and simple... much like the Seville. As a matter of fact the only 90's midsize luxury car that hasn't aged well is the W210 E-Class. It's still just as ugly as it was in the 90's.

As I've gotten to know more and more about Audi's the less I would ever want to own one, but they are such beautiful cars. The only mid-level luxury sedan that grabs my interest these days is the A6. 10 years ago I could've chosen between Seville STS, E39 540i, GS430 or A6.

lol, I think you evangelize about the Seville as much as I do about that damn LS. And that's OK because like I said, I think they're both incredible cars. I've waxed and waned on interest for both of them over the years, but eventually I always come back to them. For the moment however, I've definitely owned more Sevilles than LS's.

Jesda
06-30-11, 10:29 PM
Oh yeah, the A6.

My cousin's owned two and loved them, but he's now looking to buy an E-class just for the change.

Anyone here owned one? The only Audi owner I remotely know is JD's aunt. She has a new A4.

Stingroo
06-30-11, 10:34 PM
Dad had a 1st gen A6 as a demo car when he was parts manager at the VW/Audi dealership. I was like, 8?

It was cool. I didn't know what Audi was. I called it "the four circle car".

Playdrv4me
06-30-11, 10:37 PM
My dad had one of those :suspect: Audi 5000s when I was a kid. I was all like "olympics car!".

ryannel2003
06-30-11, 10:41 PM
I think it just happened to be the Seville was one of the first Cadillac's I ever drove and that offered everything I wanted in a luxury car. The only new Cadillac that comes close is the DTS Performance, and unfortunately Cadillac let that model die out with little changes over it's 6 year run other than new paint colors and wheel design. Oh wait, that kinda sounds like the Seville too. Damn.

I happen to like the new E-Class, but I really don't want a computer on wheels (which is what I don't like about the new Audi's). I'd say i'm a pretty tech savvy guy but all of this new technology in cars just makes it harder to operate them. I'd actually venture to say of all the automotive systems the latest iDrive is definitely one of the easiest to use. I haven't had any experience with a new Lexus so I can't comment on those but between Audi, BMW and Mercedes I do prefer iDrive.

Lord Cadillac
06-30-11, 10:57 PM
I typically respect your opinion (highly), but I just don't see it.

I can name a number of key areas where the LS400 was a better vehicle than the 430. For example, in the 400 the reverse side of the interior door handle... i.e. the part no one sees, was lined with glove soft leather. In the 2004 LS430 this part is shitty PLASTIC and it sounds hollow when you tap on it. Plus there's already the springs in the seats I mentioned. I have not auditioned the Mark Levinson system in the 460 so I will take your word for it on that, but there's no possible way the 430's ML was anywhere *near* the quality of the Nak, unless all you care about is thumping bass (and even then it lacked in that department anyway).

Also, the LS430 fit and finish situation isn't just something I observed, there are numerous reviews of early LS430 review units having misaligned interior panel gaps and even EXTERIOR panel gaps, which is unheard of for a Toyota, or at least it was back then.

This wasn't an issue for you because you had an '03, but the 6 speed automatic on the 2004-2006 LS, at least in '04 and early '05 is rubbish. Not that the 5 speed in the 98-2000 was spectacular, but our '04 would clunk when coming to a stop and just generally do strange things. In fact, it behaved almost identically to the 6 speed in the Escalade, which I also can't stand.

You hang out at Clublexus just as much as I did, and I know plenty of the 430 guys over there either switched back to 400s, or agreed with me that it was a better built car. That doesn't mean it was a BETTER car OVERALL for everyone's needs (the 430 has a lot of size, comfort and amenity that blows the 400 out of the water), but for me the 400 is the W140 without the headaches.

My LS430 was an 05 but I never had any issues with the six speed transmission or the way it shifted. It was seamless and most of the time I didn't even feel the car shift at all. I didn't know about the back of the interior door handle. I just don't remember that in the LS400. Same goes for the seat controls. So I can definitely give that to the LS400. I love the oscillating vents in the LS430.. I miss them.. I had the standard sound system in my LS430 but the LS460 is just amazing. And, yes - I do like bass - and that, too, is amazing. I'll bring this car to our next Tampa meet so you can get a good feel for what's going on with it. It's slow as F'ing shit.. I can tell you that much. Faster than my LS430 - but slow as shit anyway.

Otherwise, the fit and finish in my 05 was perfect - inside and out. I eventually traded the LS430 for my Escalade ESV. :)


Its in the details. The 430 has more orange peel in the paint on some surfaces. Manufacturers had to switch to water-based paints, and to compensate for the difference, more expensive paint and a longer process was required to achieve the same level of quality (Cadillac and Infiniti were particularly bad about this on the 03 CTS and 03 G35). The backs of the seat controls and door handles on the 430 aren't lined in soft leather unless you pay a premium, which is silly for a premium car. The headliner is a very slight downgrade, and the dashboard and center stack aren't quite as soft.

Toyota knew it had a hit product and wanted to eek out a few more dollars from each car. I don't think the general public noticed the difference, but I did.

I never noticed any problems with my paint - but maybe I didn't look hard enough. The car was such a pleasure to drive that I probably subconsciously overlooked certain things...

Jesda
06-30-11, 11:09 PM
The LS430 doesn't have a significant orange peel problem, not by any reasonable standard for modern cars, but the 400's incredibly deep finish shames it a bit. The hood of the 400 was so perfectly painted that the mirror-like reflection of the sun was sometimes obnoxious.

I cant think of another car that's as neutral down the highway as the LS430 (maybe the LS460?). It was numb, but neutral, like they went to great pains to make it that way. They weeded out every little bit of communication, good or bad, and turned the driver's seat into a rolling zen garden. For the luxo crowd, that probably makes up for the missing bits of leather and niceness that were in the 400.

Lord Cadillac
06-30-11, 11:15 PM
I loved my rolling Zen garden. I wish the LS460 was more like it. I even bought the L for the extended wheel base and softer ride. :p And I hear the adjustable suspension allows for a softer ride than the standard. All good Zen stuff. :)

orconn
06-30-11, 11:20 PM
Oh yeah, the A6.

My cousin's owned two and loved them, but he's now looking to buy an E-class just for the change.

Anyone here owned one? The only Audi owner I remotely know is JD's aunt. She has a new A4.

I won't bore everyone here with an iteration of all the problems I had with my Audi 5000S Avant, suffice it to say it was the worse car I have ever owned. I had sever friends that also had Audi 5000S's and we all swore never again. This from crowd that had plenty of executive car experience!

I~LUV~Caddys8792
07-01-11, 12:13 AM
I know I'm late to the game, but Audi is the only luxury brand who currently offers a lineup that I like through and through. I think that all of their offerings are beautiful for their segments. Their philosophy, for the last 15 or so years, has been offering designs that are clean cut, fluid and without lots of flair.

Mercedes has some models that I really like looking at inside and out, and some that aren't my cup of tea.

Most of BMW's current line up (save the 3 Series Coupe) I don't find appealing at all.

Love the CTS and Escalade, but the rest of Cadillac's lineup leaves me wanting.

Lexuses current lineup is a direct knock off of BMW under Bangle's reign. Too complicated looking.

I actually really like the current Jaguar lineup. XF, XJ and XK are all very appealing inside and out, but unlike everyone except for Audi, their brand doesn't have a distinctive flavor that's widespread across their entire lineup. Cadillac almost has a universal look across their lines, but the DTS lags behind.

Jesda
07-01-11, 03:57 AM
http://i.imgur.com/0Z3gX.jpg

Stingroo
07-01-11, 06:56 AM
That is AMAZING.

Night Wolf
07-03-11, 12:04 PM
I understand I am by no means the "new BMW owner" targeted guy, but these things do absolutely nothing for me.

I can honestly say the last 3 series that really grabs my attention is the e46. Heck even the e36 has been looking fairly more appealing as a daily driver after all this nonsense.

The last 5-series that even makes me look is the e39, though I am liking the e34 more.

While I don't think I'd own one, if I was in the market for a 7-series, I would be unable to pass up an e38 for anything made since, I would never be able to live with that decision.

As for the new 3-series. I never gave them a second look until Gary was posting his excellent pictures. I do like the outside styling of the Coupe. The sedan does nothing for me and the hardtop convertible is one messed up looking overweight complicated mess, no thanks.

I still, however like the 1-series because it to me is what a BMW is about. The interior looks "ok" too... I say that because while I'm sure they are of excellent quality, the interiors in the new 3, 5 and 7 look like barf. Maybe that would change if I spent a lot of time in them, but I just do not like the designs at all.

At least for me, it looks like my window of BMW interests ends shortly after model year 2000. That is ok though as there are simply amazing cars made up to that point in large production numbers that will ensure nice examples (or those needing to be rebuilt...) are around for a very long time. After year 2000? Well I was looking at the brand new Kia Optima SX last night and that car actually grabs my attention on a high level. Maybe by then I wouldn't care about driving dynamics.

With each generation past the models I currently own brings a whole extra slew of quirks and problem areas where things went from rock solid reliability to being more delicate, but I can fix stuff and deal with that so long as the car looks fantastic, performs excellent and actually has passion/soul. Sadly after the e46, e39 and e38 I don't see that anymore, perhaps the 1-series squeeking by, just barely.

But, none of that matters to BMW because I am not their targeted new car buyer.

Aron9000
07-04-11, 05:56 PM
^ I'm with Rick, BMW has been dead to me since 2002 except for the 3 series sedans and coupes.

As for the LS400, its a fabolous car, but its a tad bland. I almost bought one, a 95, but it would've been the same price as my 95 Fleetwood with 60k more miles on it. My Caddy was a cleaner car with much softer leather anyways.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
07-04-11, 09:46 PM
Yeah, that Lexus leather doesn't stay soft over time. I've ridden a few times in a friend's dad's '94 LS400, and that leather is quite stiff. The car was always taken care of, so it's not like it's lived a hard life or anything, but it doesn't age as well as domestic leather.

Playdrv4me
07-05-11, 02:01 AM
I've never been in a '98-2000 with anything but soft leather, but I suppose those aren't old enough yet. There are compounds like Lexol and Connolly Hide Care that will keep it soft for the long term if used regularly though.

As for the E9x 3 series, I have to agree about the sedans. They are pretty ugly. Making the convertible a hard-top was also a mistake in my opinion, and a mistake BMW has since rectified with the next 6 after receiving customer input that rag-tops were actually preferred.