What makes a "luxury" car today?
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Community Lounge, Introductions and General Discussion Discussion, What makes a "luxury" car today? in General Discussion; With all the techno tickee tackee available on virtually any car today what constitutes a "luxury" car today. Is it ...
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    orconn's Avatar
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    What makes a "luxury" car today?

    With all the techno tickee tackee available on virtually any car today what constitutes a "luxury" car today. Is it merely the price tag? Or is it its' wheel base and size? Is it a higher grade of leather (now that leather is available in just about anything over $20,000).

    There is still prestige in a car's name plate, but when setting cars with a less prestigious badge side by side with the more revered brand is the difference really that obvious?

    Have car makers run out of meaning items to make their products worthy of the luxury designation, or is this label only an advertising gimmick and affectation to draw in the socially insecure?

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    Re: What makes a "luxury" car today?

    "What makes ................ ?" ................The amount of buzzword hype stuck in the advertising propaganda.

    By ANY definition of 5 - 10 years ago a Hyundai Sonata with some performance/trim package would have been/is a "luxury car".

    Today's mass-produced $65,000 tin can is no luxury car by any stretch. Start with Bentley or Rolls Royce and go up from there.

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    Re: What makes a "luxury" car today?

    Great question. Buick is trying to redefine it with the small Verano and Encore. Mercedes-Benz wants it to be about gadgets and features. Rolls Royce wants it to be about materials and customization.

    It seems hard to define these days.

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    Re: What makes a "luxury" car today?

    Cupholders!

    Gone are the days of commercials like Chrysler's Ricardo Mantalban and "fine Corinthian leather". Commercials today tout technology.

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    Re: What makes a "luxury" car today?

    Name and price. That's it.

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    Re: What makes a "luxury" car today?

    Quote Originally Posted by 77CDV View Post
    Name and price. That's it.
    one could argue this, given that luxury cars comparatively cost very little much more to make than their 'pedetrian' countparts.

    I think that luxury these days means sporty intentions, design, and something that pleases the senses, maybe refinement as well. Your average brand new camry will still not ride as well as your average 5-7 year old S-class for example.

    I think generally though, the days of old-luxury have been absorbed by the lower marques as mentioned, given that you can have leather in your civic if you really want to, and 'pedestrian' cars could be argued as bueatiful as their luxury counter parts. The last truely sucessful 'old luxury' brand I would say is Buick(which itself is going through a 'sporty and youthful' revolution), and that's only because the Chinese love the cars for some reason. Lincoln might as well not exist, and Cadillac of course, has completly reversed it's roles.

    Luxury today I think means having your cake with old-luxury in comfort, soft-touch plastics and technology and eatting it too with fast powertrains, communicative chassis and excelent handling dynamics. I think it's far from a concidence that virtually all luxury brands rely on AWD or RWD platforms exlusively for their vehicles.


    of course, this is only applicable in north america, in europe and the rest of the world, 3 series with 150hp engines sell by the dozen .

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    Re: What makes a "luxury" car today?

    This is a very good question, and to be honest, I don't have any definite answer, as the boundaries between entry level cars and luxury cars are vanishing! Look at truckman's new Kia. It has stuff that the base ATS doesn't have! This is very confusing and it makes the task of drawing a line between different segments of the market very hard.

    Luxury used to mean too much of something, more than you need, excessive amount. But these days luxury cars are shrinking in terms of physical size, engine size, engine HP, etc, and in the other side, the entry level cars come with almost any option that used to belong to luxury cars. So that old definition is not applicable anymore.

    So I would say the name and price tag play an important role in definition of a luxury car. A high price tag creates some sort of exclusivity, and as a result not any kid on the block can go and buy one. So this exclusivity can be the definition of the new luxury cars, even though leasing makes it possible for almost any kid to lease an expensive car that he actually cannot afford to buy!

    As posted before, I think at the end of the day it is all about the name, price, heritage, and hype.

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    Re: What makes a "luxury" car today?

    77CDV and ben.gators are on to something here

    higher price brings exclusivity which is apparently the last bastion of luxury now that all the other luxurious qualities can be had by the plebes
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    Re: What makes a "luxury" car today?

    ............... but "luxury" connotes perfume trays, small wet bars, diamond tennis bracelets, rear seat desks, plush creature comforts and probably a chauffeur. (and NO "stretch limo" on earth is "luxury" - they're pure bling, nothing else.)

    ..........and that leaves all the 6- and 7- figure "sports cars" out of the "luxury" definition; The beginning price for a Ferrari 458 Italia of $240,000 is chump change in the real car world - and while truly exotic, a Ferrari is NOT "luxurious". Neither is a fully tricked out six-figure Corvette.
    orconn, orconn and is3_ftw like this.

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    Re: What makes a "luxury" car today?

    1. Something inessential but conducive to pleasure and comfort.
    2. Something expensive or hard to obtain.
    3. Sumptuous living or surroundings.
    4. indulgence in and enjoyment of rich, comfortable, and sumptuous living
    5. Something that is considered an indulgence rather than a necessity
    6. something pleasant and satisfying

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    Re: What makes a "luxury" car today?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger View Post
    1. Something inessential but conducive to pleasure and comfort.
    2. Something expensive or hard to obtain.
    3. Sumptuous living or surroundings.
    4. indulgence in and enjoyment of rich, comfortable, and sumptuous living
    5. Something that is considered an indulgence rather than a necessity
    6. something pleasant and satisfying
    I'd say all but #3 and #4 are going into the top end packages of most cars today. These two might separate luxury from 'loaded'.

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    Luxury, to me, is all about me being content behind the wheel.

    My Town Car has some with the ride(not as good as my '04 TC) and sense of relief when sinking into the seat. However, the seats can irritate on long drives and I have very little in options on the Executive Series. People in the back, though, are happy and that's what I care about.

    My V had Recaros. Many complained of them being firm. The support was truly amazing. 27 hours from San Antonio to NJ, 20 hours from Ottawa to St Cloud, MN or 30 hours from Charlotte to Worcester, MA(with a side trip to Tail of the Dragon for a few runs, the Cherahola Skyway, Pigeon Forge, a couple hours on the Blue Ridge Parkway starting at 1AM and then sleeping in the car for 3 hours in a Sheetz parking lot in Staunton, VA until sunrise) all didn't matter. Those seats were all day, every day comfortable. Add the magnetic ride control. The V would still be firm to most standards today. But, to do what it could do in terms of power, speed, stopping and handling? And with comfort? That, to me, is luxury.
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    Re: What makes a "luxury" car today?

    Luxury to me is about excess. Something like a Bentley or Rolls is wretched excess, nobody needs 500+hp, wood trim from an old growth rain forrest, lambs wool for rugs, and 10 dead cows to sit on. The more excessive your car, the more luxurious it is.

    Which is why I don't think entry level $35,000 executive sedans are luxury cars. Take a C250 Mercedes, its $35,000, the back seat is tight, the trunk is small, the seats are vinyl, and it has a 200hp 1.8 turbo 4 that gets similar mileage to a v6 Altima or Camry(which are way faster and have a lot more room).

    Really you don't start getting into what I consider a luxury car until you option up some of these base cars up past 45k with the 300+hp six cylinder engines.
    talismandave and talismandave like this.

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    Re: What makes a "luxury" car today?

    If exclusivity is the deciding factor in what constitutes a true "luxury" product then nothing you can do to a C class or a # series or a CTS, or even any of these cars more exalted and more expensive brethren. I agree with Sub that today real "luxury" class automobiles start north of $150,000. This was born out a few years ago when even Mercedes had to reinvent the old subsidiary to have a product in the true "Luxury" class.

    Let's face it most salaried members of the top 5% of American wage earners can, it doesn't take capital wealth and the income (and tax benefits) from same, to afford an S class or even a Bentley these days, maybe a few sacrifices (for the Bentley) to lease a $100,000. (or more) car. An hour standing on a corner of Rodeo and Wilshire in Beverly Hills will confirm this assertion.

    So if Cadillac wants to have something more than "executive" transportation in their lineup they had better be having plans to produce the Ciel or the Sixteen!
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    Re: What makes a "luxury" car today?

    True luxury begins with weight and wheelbase. Room and ride comfort should come first, and handling second. This is the reason Rolls Royce still builds long and heavy cars. Yesterday's luxury included long lasting drive trains that were able to be serviced and provide reliability for many years. Today's luxury drive train is focused more on power and economy. Of course technology, options, and features have always been a staple of a luxury vehicle; they should never be relied upon to distinguish luxury vehicles from the rest.

    This way of modern thinking has lead to nothing more than domestic automakers building rough riding, sporty cars with excessive power. It is a shame, and I hope things change soon.
    77CDV likes this.

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