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Re: Lexus vs Audi - fair?

On Mon, 5 Feb 1996, Graydon D. Stuckey wrote:

> On Mon, 5 Feb 1996, Eliot Lim wrote:
> > i found that perfection does not equal nirvana.  i never liked the
> > "perfect" LS400 from day 1 and it's only now with sagging sales
> > that one is finally starting to see criticism for its antiseptic
> > character.

> 	(agreeing with everything you said, just a little urqed by your 
> Lexus slam, being an engineer...)

> 	I don't think that sagging sales have as much to do with its 
> anti-septic character (which I'll admit exists) as they do with Lexus' 
> failure to produce another unique automobile like they did the first time 
> around.

nor did i imply that.  i am saying that the rags are like vultures.
they go for the kill when they see something weak.  they never
have the nerve to go after something strong (like trucks) or
to defend something weak that is good.  as long as lexus was
selling by the billions, all criticism was hushed... when they
are stumbling now, we finally see them mention its weaknesses.
weaknesses that were there since day 1.  

do you know how intense the hate mail was when i said i didn't like
the LS400 back in 1990?  it was comparable to john lennon's "we're
better than jesus" statement.  no, i'm exaggerating of course, but
that was how it felt like.  today nobody even bats an eye....
and all i said then was that *i* didn't like it.

> > the a4 is a wonderful example of a car doing everything right and
> > yet can still be delightful to drive....

> 	Yes, from a totally different viewpoint.  A lexus buyer wouldn't
> even think of driving an A4, and if he were forced to drive one, he
> certainly wouldn't buy it for himself.

i wasn't trying to connect the two....

i am saying that the a4 proves that you can make a car that is
quantifiably good (i.e. numbers) and yet still appeal to the
intangibles of good taste and emotional appeal...

> They are meant for two distinctly
> different drivers, and hence, their engineering content reflects this. 

> 	The Lexus has levels of refinement in NVH that are unsurpassed in 
> the industry.  The interior noise level is the lowest by a significant 
> margin, the vibration levels are the lowest by a huge margin, and the 
> luxury is achieved in an effortless manner.

no disputing that. i have to ask if its low NVH is a direct
contributor to its soulessness (sp?) or it was simply something that
was deliberately engineered out?

i suspect the former, because isolation is very much a part of low
NVH... e.g. soft, compliant bushings and such...  and too much
isolation leads to boredom and emotional disconnection.  this is
something that the crays would not be able to understand.

>  It's also a very good 
> handling car,  and a joy to drive. 

i did not enjoy its handling nor its driving experience.  very
detached from the proceedings, very cold and sterile, even offensively

>  The A4 is not really spoken 
> of in these terms - it's a sport sedan.  Sports sedans are expected to 
> have character.  The Lexus is expected to coddle its passengers without 
> ever complaining, or breaking.

i think that the a4 plays both roles really well, which is why i
mentioned it.  it is a car where you can have luxury, low NVH etc and
still enjoy driving it.  i don't think it is an outright overt sports
sedan (certainly doesn't have blistering acceleration), its ride was
terrific and so was its NVH.  it did everything well, not some things
extremely well at the expense of others.  and it was great to look at
too... :)  and it sounds like the a8 is every bit as terrific...

there's no doubt in my mind that the ls400 (or perhaps even the lesser
models) has lower levels of NVH than the a4.  but if low NVH is a
universal good, then why isn't the ls400 continuing its sales blitz?
i think that its sterility has caught up with it.  and i believe that
low NVH leads to sterility.... (unless you enlighten me otherwise)
(yes, i know about the MSRP..) 

> 	Even having not driven the V-8, I would tend to agree with you and
> Mr. Setright, because I have driven the 5KCSTQ enough to appreciate where
> Audi was when these cars were developed.  I have also driven the A8, so
> that certainly is a good comparison. 

i really don't think that the audi v8 is better than the ls400 in
quantifiable terms such as NVH etc... the v8 has flaws, but i think
setright was very turned off by the ls400's overall philosophy, and he
very bravely said so against the tide of lexus lust.  the a8 has a
much better chance of being better overall than the ls400.  what
do you think?

> The problem with Audi is still the
> fact that they are a high maintenance car, and that is where the Lexus
> excells. 

you are welcome to examine my v8 service records and draw your own
conclusions!  as i have been saying here, my v8 expenses have been
nothing like its reputation would make it out to be.

my v8 is not perfect but it certainly has NOT been expensive to own.