Episode 328 – Another Toyota Recall, BMW Shares Components, MyFord Touch

February 15th, 2010 at 12:00pm

Runtime 7:38

Toyota is voluntarily calling back some 8,000 Tacoma pickups, but this one’s not their fault. BMW will start using some of the same components from the 7 Series in the new 5 Series. All that and more, plus we’ll show you what this MyFord Touch is all about.

Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

Here are today’s top headlines. Yep, another Toyota recall, but this one’s not their fault. BMW makes 5 Series using parts from the 7. And we’ll show you what this MyFord Touch is all about.

Up next, we’ll be back with the news behind the headlines.

This is Autoline Daily for Monday, February 15, 2010, and now, the news.

You may be sick and tired of hearing about all these recalls at Toyota, but here’s another one. The company is voluntarily calling back some 8,000 Tacoma pickups. A small number of 2010 models with four-wheel drive may have tiny cracks on part of the front driveshaft that could cause the shaft to separate from its joint. But this one is a supplier problem. This part was manufactured by supplier Dana, which also ships the part for some Ford and Nissan models.

And amid a lot of speculation that electronic throttle controls may be at the heart of its unintended acceleration problems, Toyota submitted a letter to the U.S. Congress denying there was a fault with the electronics that led to its massive recall. According to the AFP, in the letter sent to the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is investigating the recalls, the automaker said it “is convinced that there is no problem” with the electronics in its vehicles.

Reuters reports that Mercury will get a new small car based off the company’s c-segment platform. Our guess is that it will probably be based on the new Focus. Rumor has it the company will show a redesigned Milan at the New York Auto Show. So maybe that will be it. This could finally signal that Ford truly is going to keep the Mercury brand.

Speaking of Ford, it wants to help its dealers reduce their energy costs. According to the Detroit Free Press, three of its dealers are participating in a pilot program that could reduce their energy costs by about 20 percent. Although one of the dealers participating in the pilot expects an 80-percent drop in costs by installing things like LED bulbs, light sensors and low-flow toilets. It’s a voluntary program and dealers who make the changes will also likely qualify for federal and state tax incentives.

And talking about cutting costs, BMW will start using some of the same components from the 7 Series in the new 5 Series. In fact, Bloomberg reports that 70 percent of the components in the new 5 will come from the 7. BMW is trying to cut its purchasing costs by 4 billion euros, and by sharing components it gets greater economy of scale. BMW thinks it can cut the cost of a 5 Series by 15 percent with this strategy. That would shave more than $7,000 off the manufacturing cost of a typical 5 Series. But don’t expect the price to go down that much.

A lot of people are making a lot of money off the old GM’s bankruptcy. According to the Detroit News, lawyers and consultants have billed Liquidation Motors $90 million in fees. In fact, GM’s bankruptcy estate has hired so many lawyers and consultants, that it hired a consultant to oversee them all, and that consultant hired two consultants to help him. Some say this will become the most expensive bankruptcy case in American history and the final bill could top $1 billion in professional fees and expenses, leaving very little money for creditors who are owed the money.

Coming up next, we’ll take a look at what this MyFord Touch is all about.

Several years ago Ford started a technology offensive when it introduced SYNC. Now, the company is pushing the envelope even further with a significant update to its infotainment system.

As you’d expect, the latest generation of SYNC offers all kinds of features, but the big news is its redesigned user interface. Called MyFord Touch, it features two five-way control pads on the steering wheel. Each one is tied to a multi-function LCD screen in the instrument cluster. The left display handles vehicle-related things like the odometer and safety alerts, while the right screen is dedicated to infotainment – think audio, navigation and phone.

Ford discovered that five-way buttons are the easiest controls for people to use, and by keeping things simple it’s aiming to keep drivers safe.

Emphasizing touch, the center stack on the 2011 Lincoln MKX – one of the first vehicles to get the technology – has no knobs. Instead, it uses touch-sensitive buttons and sliders for audio volume and fan speed. Don’t worry, voice control is still a big part of the system and engineers improved the speech recognition and simplified its command structure.

Besides UI advances, the company is expanding in-car connectivity so you never have to be out of the loop. Ford has built a media center right in the car. It offers two USB ports, an SD-card reader and three RCA jacks. User Interface Engineer Jason Johnson explains what you can do with all of those inputs.

Beyond infotainment, Ford found another clever use for the USB jacks. You can export all of your personal settings to a jump drive and transfer them to another vehicle equipped with MyTouch. That way if your lease is up or your spouse gets a new car you don’t have to reconfigure everything.

Look for Ford’s brand-new user interface to debut on the 2011 Edge and Lincoln MKX.

And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

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51 Comments to “Episode 328 – Another Toyota Recall, BMW Shares Components, MyFord Touch”

  1. Nick Stevens Says:

    John,

    Nice of you to do a show today, despite the holiday.

    Why would BMW reduce the prices of the new 5, when it uses the far more expensive SEVEN series components on it? It may claim it saves 15%, but imagine how much more it would save if it used the cheaper 3 series components!

    BMW does NOT do this just to save $! It has purposely designed the new 5 to look very similar to the new 7 up front especially. I don’t know if this strategy will succeed, because Audi A6s and A8s used to also look too similar, and their sales have been MISERABLY LOW, most audis sold ar cheaper than either A6 or A8s.

    MEcrury has NO reason in the world to exist. It should be either FOCUSED on a particular segment (Mercurys used to be “chick cars”, not long ago, when males bought the Ford Thunderbird and Women bought the ugly-a$$ wierd looking Merc Cougar..)

    But Lincoln may have the most problems of any Ford designs, they are REALLY blioated, inefficient and wasteful, and the Feb 2010 comparison test at Cons Reports between the new E class and the Lincoln MKZ shows why, if you look at the SPECS.

  2. John Says:

    Hey Pedro,

    I bet you just can’t wait to get :

    “the latest generation of SYNC offers all kinds of features, but the big news is its redesigned user interface. Called MyFord Touch”

    :)

  3. Nick Stevens Says:

    Pedro (jokingly or not) claimed he lost faith in Toyota and would go get a Hyundai.

    There is probably not a better time than NOW to wait to see what incentives Toyota will offer, I hear even 100,000 mile warranties and deep discounts are about to be offered.

    I still think one can do MUCH better buying used and from the owner, never from a dealer, no matter how high your budget is, especially if you do less than average miles every year (avg =10-12,000) but there may be good opportunities for new or almost new cars, if one does many miles every year.

  4. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Too many gizmos and gadgets in the newer vehicles. Quite a few people can’t drive (as it is); more distractions, no matter how well integrated, can be safe.

  5. Dan busch Says:

    “Toyota recall, but this one’s not their fault”? I thought that all manufactures spec’d then tested subcontractor’s parts.

  6. Salvador G. Says:

    1- JohnMc, isn’t using old or used proven technology and components of luxury cars such as the 7 series to lower class cars such as the 5 series something Mercedez does and being doing for a long time?? I mean technology that started on the Merc. S class ends up making it to the C and A class Mercs.

    2- Also, Ford seems to have the right idea with the Sync technology, that being making it more simple… Now can someone at Ford explain WHY of WHY the Lincoln MKS/and Z have such a huge console with more buttons than my laptop.

    3- And why not actually make something good from Mercury, A Muscle car, use the mustang platform and make a brand new Mercury muscle car, I think that would truly save that company.

    -

  7. Ivan Sears Says:

    Toyota’s issue with defective parts from Dana is still Toyota’s issue. I find it interesting that they are very quick to “share” their issues with other manufacturers. GM tried to do this back in the 1990′s but it was brought to a halt very quickly. In the end, the car manufacturer buys off on every part. Ford and Nissan need to do their own recalls, and not let Toyota drive the bus. It looks to me like Toyota is trying to deflect increased criticism by mentioning others who use parts from the same supplier. You folks in the automotive press need to keep the heat on Toyota just like you did to the American car manufacturers. You need to reveal some of the silent recalls Toyota used to handle some dandy quality issues dating back int o the 1990′s. You folks would have editorially creamed GM, Ford or Chrysler for that behavior. You should therefore, pull no punches now. After all, Toyota has done their best to set themselves up as an “American Car Company” – which we all know they are not. Their profits still go back to Japan, and their losses are recorded in Japan as well. In my book, that makes them a Japanese car company.

  8. Jerry Bee Says:

    Amen, Ivan!
    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    I’ll add my two cents:

    This SHOULD show everyone that not only are the Japanese companies capable of mistakes, but are also capable of blame-placing and cover-ups.

    Japanese cars have not always been great just as the domestics have not always been junk. We statistically have caught up with the worlds best in quality.

    Someone on here said last week that Toyota has been building goodwill here for three decades. Ford has been doing that for over a CENTURY. And not just through building cars we want-it also includes creating many times the spinoff jobs of the Japanese brands and philanthropic efforts as well.

  9. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Mr Pedro Fernandez is a smart man if he does that.

    I TOLD you guys so, but no you didnt want to listen. You thought that Toyota’s Golden Era would just continue for eternity. I knew the second after they became number 1 and the useless GM juggernaut was finally was emasculated (Deservedly), the hawks would get them.

    Toyota is arrogant, and Americans hate Asian Arrogance. You can say what you want, but America is Racist; lets be real. The Japan Bashing claims are partly correct (20%), but Toyota asked for it (80%).

    Just look at their cars. Why does a 2010 Camry interior look and feel like 1995 Camry interior. Lexus is the same too.

    If Hyundai/KIA had a non-changing interior scheme for 10 years, you guys would have ran us out of America; but that goes back to my Racism Arguement. America is more Racist towards Koreans and Korean cars than they are towards the Japanese.

    Sure Im a Hyundai/KIA guy to the very end (when they screw it all up like Toyota in 2030-2040; everybody screws it up in the car business eventually), but in a way (15%) of it is Korea’s fault as it keeps its culture secret from everybody else, and Americans hate when another group of people keep their culture/society from us.

    Its 85% of our fault, however. We do nothing to learn about Korea, or Korean cars. We stll have too many 70 something old guys walking around who remember the fact that there never was a concrete solution to the Korean War. We dont even know Koreans enough to know not to, take what they say or do personally enough to start a conflict when you go into a store. People think a Korean American store merchant is being confrontational with them (or being Racist towards us Americans), but they arent being confrontational or racist. That’s how they talk to people normally. Its a culture thing.

    This is the 4th largest auto company in the world, but they cant even sell more than Honda or Nissan (companies that are NOTHING MORE than niche makes in most of the civilized world) in America. Yeah Americans have an obvious problem, Racism or something else. Whatever it is, theres a problem.

    Believe it or not, I dont think Koreans will ever get true acceptance here. I think they will be treated like the German makes in the long run.

    I think they might have to build all of their cars here to gain wide acceptance.

  10. Andrew Charles Says:

    Salvador, it’s one thing to use technology from higher-end models in cheaper models once the price comes down, quite another to do what BMW has done and base the new 5-series directly on the new 7-series. The relationship here is more like that between the CTS and STS. They’re not only saving on shared components, but on shared development costs of the overall vehicle. The 5-Series GT shares even more with the 7-Series, since it isn’t even any smaller than a standard 7-Series sedan (same width, same wheelbase).

    Nick, Audi may have trouble selling the A6 and A8 in North America, but they don’t elsewhere. Worldwide Audi is close to being the biggest luxury manufacturer and is a major contributor to VWs profits. They couldn’t keep supporting unique new model development if they weren’t. Only the A3 and Q7 share platforms with other models in the VAG group—even the TT gets a unique aluminum version of the Golf platform.

  11. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    I dont care what you guys say, on this I feel Im right and your wrong.

  12. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    It burns a lot of people up that they cant sell more than ALSO-RAN BABY BOOMER COMPANIES like Honda/Acura or Nissan/Infiniti here, yet they are the 4th largest make on the planet.

  13. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Andrew you have a point my Friend, and on top of that, most of those global A6 and A8 sales are diesels at that.

  14. Slandy Says:

    HyundaiSmoke, get your head out of your butt. Your “point” that Americans must be racist because Hyundai doesn’t sell more in the US than Honda or Nissan is stupid. If that were the case, then where does that place Koreans or Japanese people? How many cars does GM or Ford sell there? They sell MORE than Hyundai worldwide, yet Hyundai sells WAY more here than GM and Ford combined sell in Korea? Where’s your logic now?

  15. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    And to think just 20 years ago Audi’s were like Hyundai’s today, These wannabe Near luxury cars. So dont underestimate Hyundai. We could be another Audi in the long run.

  16. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Doesnt Dana stil make Drive shaft components for Jeep?

    Anyway, with Hyundai around I think its a very smart Idea for Ford to just keep Mercury and totally revamp the brand. Make Lincoln the traditional Benz/Audi/Lexus fighter brand. Its like Lincoln is selling products to 50 year olds with commercials catered to 30-40 year olds. Cater Mercury to younger professionals as a small car niche brand. Make it MINI larger. Never sell a car larger than a Milan. Never sell a SUV larger than a Mariner. Add some CUVs, Hot hatches, etc…

    Give them a newer edgier look, like that new “Hyundai/KIA we have something to prove” without going overboard look. Do a Fusion/Edge look but refined of course since we are talking about Mercury. Ford should use Mercury to fight Hyundai. Id like to see Hyundai VS Mercury, and Ford VS KIA.

    I have do have to admit as a Hyundai guy, Fusion and Edge look just as bit sweet as Sportage and What they got going for Optima.

  17. dcars Says:

    Bring back the Cougar, but not the Tracer. Concerning parts sharing, GM did that for years in cars from Pontiac and Saturn.

  18. C-tech Says:

    The bad driveshafts may be Dana’s fault, but the rusting frames on Tacoma’s are Toyota’s fault. I hope BMW learns from GM’s mistakes in too much parts and styling sharing in their higher end cars in the early 90′s.

  19. C-tech Says:

    Hey DCARS, which Cougar? the early Mustang – based style or the later T-Bird based style?

  20. Mark Says:

    It may be true that Toyota’s electronics are fine. However, that does not give them a pass on faulty Electronic Throttle Control. Just because the electronics are complaint does not mean that the software is not faulty or have missing functions and or features. It would take sifting through a Software DFMEA to better understand how complaint they are and that is not a small task.

  21. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Mercury would be back in business if they sold an Accent, Elantra, Sonata and Santa Fe. Make a Mercury Fiesta, but Modify the look so it would look very different from the Ford version, and apply the same Strategy to The Mercury Focus aad the Mercury Milan.

    Hyundai/KIA may make cars on the same platforms, but at least they know beter now not to make them so much of damm carbon copy of each other. That’s going to be Ford’s long term Enemy=Model Cannibaiztion.

    Fusion looks like Milan, looks like MKZ. Running a program like that is still the old Ford. They really have to stop it.

  22. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    You’re right Nick, they need to make Mercury a Chick brand again.

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    Just came back from 3 day 1300 mile round trip and I had a choice between a Sebring (oh, no Mr Bill)and a 32k mile Sonata. Needless to say the Sonata was as good as a 94 Camry I rented back when new, and almost as good as a Civic from 2 years ago. Impressive from a company that hasn’t been around long to make a car that puts to shame a competitor that has been in the business for close to a century. Sorry Mr Chrysler, wherever you are. Despite its mileage and being a rental, the car was whisper quiet and composed at 80 mph and came back with 31.5 mpg for the loop.

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    First long car trip in a couple of years, a couple of observations: people are driving fast as hell, these new cars can really go w/o much effort. I was being passed doing 80; folks trust their old Hondas on long trips, on the Orlando bound interstate I saw quite a lot of Accords that were from 3 and 4 generations ago.. And a BMW 3 had to swerve to hit a pothole in the rain, doing about 75,no sweat. Holy crap those things have incredible handling.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “But Lincoln may have the most problems of any Ford designs, they are REALLY blioated, inefficient and wasteful, and the Feb 2010 comparison test at Cons Reports between the new E class and the Lincoln MKZ shows why, if you look at the SPECS”

    The E-Class costs at least $15K more than the MKZ. I’d much rather have an E-Class, but by the numbers, there isn’t a huge difference in the cars. The E-Class is quicker by .5 seconds 0-60 and the quarter mile, but the MKZ gets a little better gas mileage, and on regular. The comfort and cabin space are similar, according to CR, and the MKZ has a bigger trunk.

    Of course, anyone who really thinks they might want an MKZ should look at a Milan or Fusion. They are the same car, and can be bought well equipped for at least $5K less than the MKZ and $25K less than the Benz.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Looking at the data from Consumer Reports, the Lincoln MKS is the one that’s the real loser. It’s big, heavy, expensive, and doesn’t appear to have that much more room than the Fusion/Milan based MKZ. It is within a few thousand of the price of the E-Class, and there is no comparison in the desirability of the two cars, even though the new E-Class is not as good as the old one (according to CR).

  27. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Pedro, get the 2011. I like the 2006-2010 model, but 2011 is your future. If you’re looking for used, then yeah get the 2006-2010.

    Good Shopping!!

  28. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Pedro, I told you Hyundai= Newer, hiper, fresher, better, Chrysler.

  29. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    dcars, they should go by the M naming scheme, just change. Im in the Alpha numeric Camp

    M1=maybe badge a KA as a Mercury since they are supposed to be this small car brand now.

    M2=Fiesta

    M3=Focus

    M4=Milan

    Lincoln should be:

    L5
    L6
    L7
    L8

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Reading about such things as MyFord Touch is really making me appreciate certain things about the 80′s GM cars I’ve had. You had a radio with an easy to read digital readout and clock. There was a volume knob, a tuning knob, some buttons for presets, a cassette slot, and buttons for seek and scan. It was all so easy to use and so intuitive.

    All of this complex electronic crap going into new cars is a rare case where I hope it brings out the lawyers when the data accumulates about people crashing while they are trying to use all of this complicated stuff that doesn’t belong in a car, except maybe in the third row of a minivan.

  31. Nick Stevens Says:

    Andrew Wrote: “Nick, Audi may have trouble selling the A6 and A8 in North America, but they don’t elsewhere. Worldwide Audi is close to being the biggest luxury manufacturer and is a major contributor to VWs profits. They couldn’t keep supporting unique new model development if they weren’t. Only the A3 and Q7 share platforms with other models in the VAG group—even the TT gets a unique aluminum version of the Golf platform.”

    You may know the international numbers better than I do, but the A8 is not really a car for any but the US market, and the same is true for the S and the 7, being big, heavy V8s. In Europe there are a few of these, but most people prefer the much more affordable 5 series, E class or A6 and esp. A4. The big guns are for the very rich, or for government bureaucrats in Brussels.

    Both BMW and Audi sell a ton of cars, but few of them are luxcury cars. My cousin in Amsterdam drives a 320 wagon, I rode in it, there is nothing luxurious about it. Likewise with the A4, and the A3 and 1 series are even less luxurious.

    Gas being two to three times the price there makes the biggest models not practical. Not to mention the narrow streets in most old towns.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I would think that making the 5 series more like the 7 would tend to diminish the 7, if it shows. It should make the 5 better, though, and it is already pretty good.

    The 7 has never been considered quite in the league with the S-Class anyway, or even the “upstart” LS. The 7 is more of a sporty luxo barge, while the Mercedes and Lexus are luxo barges that are truly luxury oriented.

  33. Nick Stevens Says:

    # Kit Gerhart Says:
    February 15th, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    “But Lincoln may have the most problems of any Ford designs, they are REALLY blioated, inefficient and wasteful, and the Feb 2010 comparison test at Cons Reports between the new E class and the Lincoln MKZ shows why, if you look at the SPECS”

    “The E-Class costs at least $15K more than the MKZ. I’d much rather have an E-Class, but by the numbers, there isn’t a huge difference in the cars.”

    Actually I thought you would have seen the above Feb 2010 issue of Cons Reports when they test a new E vs the MKS with the excellent 355 HP Ecoboost, then the difference is oly $3k !!!

    Lincoln: $52,770 as tested, E350: $55,245! LESS than $3k!

    But the specs are amazing: With the exception of its Engine, I have never seen as IDIOTIC and WASTEFUL a design as this stupid Lincoln:

    I give Length-Wheelbase-Width-Height-Weight:

    E350: 192/113/72/58/4,020 lbs!
    MKS: 204/113(!!!)/76/62 (!!)/4,515 lbs!

    Look at the MKS’s numbers and weep! ANY serious designer would NOT have such a laughably small wheelbase when the length is 204″! This is S class and 7 series territory, with 204 ” length you can have 120-125″ WB!! The overhangs look really terrible, and also give an impression that they may come off any minute.. LOL.

    ALSo, despite the huge exterior bulk, thhe interior is as cramped as in the E class! Only the trunk can fit one more small suitcase (4+1 vs 3+1 for the 350)

    And don’t get me started about the MKS’s ugly as hell styling, a bloated whale…

    “Of course, anyone who really thinks they might want an MKZ should look at a Milan or Fusion. They are the same car, and can be bought well equipped for at least $5K less than the MKZ and $25K less than the Benz.”

    Why bother with the stupid Milan? I’d go get an Accord V6 if I was them and wanted to save a few $10,000s.

    Also look at the CADDY, the STS got a far more favorable review than the Lincoln.

  34. Nick Stevens Says:

    I meant the CTS, not the STS, of course.

    Also, I think it is not worth for Ford to keep Mercury, either as a chick car, or as a performance car, they got the Ford subdivision for that.

    In this environment when GM lost half of its divisions, Ford can easily lose one. And GM has some really good product, i will not be surprised if the tables will not be turned soon, and Ford and Toyota decline.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick,

    I think you meant MKS when you said MKZ in this post:

    “But Lincoln may have the most problems of any Ford designs, they are REALLY blioated, inefficient and wasteful, and the Feb 2010 comparison test at Cons Reports between the new E class and the Lincoln MKZ shows why, if you look at the SPECS”

    Yes, I read the CR article with the E-Class, MKS, CTS, and RL. Somehow, I can’t get very excited about any of the Acuras, even though CR liked this one. They seem too much like Honda Accords that cost half as much.

  36. Nick Stevens Says:

    Kit: it is not the MKZ, which is a Fusion clone, it is the MKS, which is based on the new Taurus, but much more bloated, and that car is only $3k less than the mercedes in the CR test, see it again.

  37. Nick Stevens Says:

    Sorry I had it wrong originally.. stupid Lincoln alphanumeric names..

    The Acura RL was a terrible failure sales wise, I wonder why Honda has not killed it years ago, they should also have killed the Ridgeline and the Element,m slow, low sellers, but the Acura RL is something else, miniscule sales and probably tens of millions of $ in losses for Honda.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I know. Your typo said MKZ rather then MKS, which prompted my first post.

    I was surprised at how little extra room the MKS has over much smaller cars. The short wheelbase always hurts rear seat room, but, as you pointed out, the MKS doesn’t even have much more trunk space than the E-Class.

  39. Nick Stevens Says:

    “# Kit Gerhart Says:
    February 16th, 2010 at 7:40 am

    I would think that making the 5 series more like the 7 would tend to diminish the 7, if it shows. It should make the 5 better, though, and it is already pretty good.

    The 7 has never been considered quite in the league with the S-Class anyway, or even the “upstart” LS.”

    You can’t be serious. Many consider the 7 the best luxury performance car, a true decathlete that does everything right, and got it all. In contrast, the LS was never really up there, it always competed price-wise and also size-wise with the E class and even the 5 series rather than the far bigger, heavier and more pwoerful S and 7 V8s and V12s. And its handling was atrocious until recently, when they offered the “Sports” version for an extra $6k in the LS 460.

    The S class is a little more luxurious inside and has a bit more aristocratic feeling, but the 7 is also quite luxurious, esp. the new 7 with hand-stitched leather where old 7 and Ss had plastics!

    ” The 7 is more of a sporty luxo barge,”

    HAve you ever driven any 7? The words Barge and BMW are mutually exclusive, and this is true even for the 7, which has AMAZING handling that its size may not imply.

    while the Mercedes and Lexus are luxo barges that are truly luxury oriented.

    Only the Buick LS460 (aka lexus LS460 comes close to a barge. Even the S class handles well and composed under any circumstances. If people wanted a barge, they would spend h alf as much and get a Buick, Caddilac DTS or a Lexus.

  40. Nick Stevens Says:

    And before you insist that the 7 is not a true luxury car, the currtent 7 platform and some mechanicals are used for the new Highest-performance ever ROLLS ROYCE Ghost, with an amazing 500++ HP V12 and much longer than the 7 L or the S Long, at 212 inches and with a more than adequate 130 in wheelbase. A truly amazing car, and the reviews are glowing..

  41. dcars Says:

    Hi C-Tech,
    A friend of mine had a 68 cougar, I’m not sure what it was based on, but it was a nice car for two sixteen year kids to drive around in.
    here’s a picture of one.
    http://www.conceptcarz.com/view/photo/158291,7962/1968-Mercury-Cougar_photo.aspx

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick,

    Sorry if you find the word “barge” offensive.

    I haven’t drive a 7 in a long time, but I’m sure I’d like the new one a lot, except for the controls. The only 7 I have driven was back when they still used the old 3.5 liter six, so that car would be totally different from the new ones. Still, I really liked that old one a friend had.

    To many buyers of luxury cars, suspension like that of the LS460 is what they want, or at least they don’t mind it. These people are looking for soft ride, quietness, maybe lots of gadgets, but handling is not a high priority.

    Actually, the current LS and 7 series are the same length within 2 inches, and the same weight within 50 pounds. The S-Class is a little longer and lighter.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    dcars Says:
    February 16th, 2010 at 8:42 am

    “A friend of mine had a 68 cougar, I’m not sure what it was based on, but it was a nice car for two sixteen year kids to drive around in.”

    That Cougar would have been based on the Mustang.

  44. Nick Stevens Says:

    “# Kit Gerhart Says:
    February 16th, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Nick,

    Sorry if you find the word “barge” offensive.”

    You know I do not. I use it myself where it is appropriate (buicks, lincolns, some caddilacs, and the lexus LS460 and its predecessors. or Buick 460..LOL)

    I only object when you use it where it does not at all apply, on the 7 and even on the S class.

    Just wanted to set the record straight.

    “I haven’t drive a 7 in a long time, but I’m sure I’d like the new one a lot, except for the controls. The only 7 I have driven was back when they still used the old 3.5 liter six, so that car would be totally different from the new ones. Still, I really liked that old one a friend had.”

    I also have a friend who bought the 3.5 six from a dealer with low miles, and had to replace both engine and transmission (a total of $14,000, of which the warranty covered half) soon thereafter, but then drive the car for more than a decade (has it still!) and put more than 100,000 additional miles on it. That 7 was almost as small as today’s 5, and had even less weight, so the 3.5 allowed it to drive spiritedly and handle excellently, as all BMWs do. Their perfect 50-50 weight distribution is one of many reasons why.

    “To many buyers of luxury cars, suspension like that of the LS460 is what they want, or at least they don’t mind it. ”

    These buyers are dead or in nursing homes, for the most part, so few cars will be sold to them, regardless if they are alive or not.

    These buyers used to be happy with Buicks and Caddys and lincolns and recently Toyota Avalons and LS lexuses.

    baby Boomers and younger affluent groups have gone beyond this, and given the huge prices, $100k for an S or a 7 and even $150k for the V12 versions, they demand excellence in everything, NOT just a nice interior!

    “These people are looking for soft ride, quietness, maybe lots of gadgets, but handling is not a high priority.”

    again, these people, alive or dead, do not drive any more, and consist of a tiny segment of the market. BMW and others are courting the older drivers too, by offering vehicles such as the 5 GT, with the very high seating position and height for a sedan.

    Actually, the current LS and 7 series are the same length within 2 inches, and the same weight within 50 pounds. The S-Class is a little longer and lighter.

  45. Nick Stevens Says:

    “Actually, the current LS and 7 series are the same length within 2 inches, and the same weight within 50 pounds. The S-Class is a little longer and lighter.”

    So what? I can add that the god-awful Lincoln MKS is also within 2 in of the LONG versions of the 7 and the S, and also within 50 lbs with its unnecessarily ridiculously heavy 4,515 lbs! Does that mean that the MKS has anything in common with the composed, competent or excellent handling S class and 7 series respectively?

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Nick Stevens Says:
    February 16th, 2010 at 10:38 am

    “Actually, the current LS and 7 series are the same length within 2 inches, and the same weight within 50 pounds. The S-Class is a little longer and lighter.”

    So what?”

    Nick, you said in an earlier post:

    “the LS was never really up there, it always competed price-wise and also size-wise with the E class and even the 5 series”

    That is “so what?” The current LS is about the same size and weight as the S-Class and 7 series, and has similar cabin space. The LS competes with the S and 7, but at a bargain price for those who don’t care that much about chassis performance. I wouldn’t buy any of them, at least new, and would more likely buy and S used than the others. The fact remains that the LS460 is a very good car for its intended market. Consumer Reports rates it best-in-class by a wide margin. Other testers also rate it very highly. Road and Track would not rate it so highly, but their writers are not the typical drivers of luxury cars.

  47. Nick Stevens Says:

    My “SO WHAT?” means that JUST because two cars (like the 7 and the Lincoln MKS) have the same LENGTH and WEIGHT within a few pounds and a couple inches, does not in the least mean that they are even remotely comparable.

    I thought that this was clear.

    The LS WAS bargain priced ONLY when it was introduced and was $35k, when even the SMALLER, Less powerful E300- was … $57 k and the E 400 even more!

    Even then, the LS was NOT a direct competitor to the S and the 7, since even size-wise it was much smaller, shorter and lighter than either of these.

    MANY people that bought the LS would have bought the E class instead. MUCH FEWER people would have bought the S class, since only a few could afford it.

    In the 1990s, the contrast was HUGE between the S class, which weighed from 4,600 lbs to over 5,100 lbs for the S500 V8 and the S600V12s, was much wider and longer and esp. taller than the LS, and had much, much more luxury inside than the then LS400.

  48. Nick Stevens Says:

    Auto Enthusiasts have NOT the same criteria as COnsumer Reports, which is obsessed with alleged reliability (but NOT Longevity, which is far superior for the german cars than even the Japanese!) and PERFORMANCE. It used to rank the LS400 as the best car they evert tested, which today it sounds RIDICULOUS to me, given the competitors at the time. Only in its artificially LOW price range of 1990 ($35,000, maybe $42,000 with all options). Let’s get real here. I have ridden in the intermediate LS430 as well, it was far more luxurious inside than the LS400, but still rode like a Buick, with little feel for the road, which is DANGEROUS, as cars need to have plenty of BOTH active and passive safety, not all cars are Buicks driven to church on a sunny traffic-free Sunday Morning! Cars driven daily and intensively need far higher standards!

  49. Nick Stevens Says:

    BMW and maybe Merc will counter the cheaper versions of the LS 460 not only with 3.0 turbo 7 (a far better idea than the expensive S400 Hybrid), but also with excellent new models like the new 5 series, whose weight and dimensions are pretty close to those of the LS sport (not L version).

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m talking about NOW, not 1992. The LS, S-Class, and 7 series now directly compete with each other. The MKS does not, even though it is about the same size and weight, for various reasons. The back seat isn’t as roomy or comfortable, it is noisier (according to CR), and, maybe most importantly, it doesn’t have the CLASS of the others. As far as class, the S is still the top dog IMHO.

    The cheapest LS460 is still $22K cheaper than the cheapest S-Class, but is certainly not “cheap,” and is not the bargain it was when introduced.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Addition/correction:

    It takes the long LS to compete with the S and 7. The specs I got for the the cars from CR were for an LS460L, S550, and 750i. The long LS has a 122 inch wheelbase, while the short one is only 117, with the associated loss of rear legroom.