Originally Posted by Crisis3
After talking cars with folks I know, the subject of the "next car" came up. From the A8 they assumed my next logical step would be a Mercedes. I've found the A8 to be an exceptional car warts and all, so I was curious why others did not go the S Class route, or maybe moved to Audi after owning a Mercedes.
Long-time Mercedes fan, but having owned all of the German high-end makes over time, I do not look at the S-Class as a logical next step. The S550 strikes me as a non-enthusiast's aspirational vehicle, and, by way of execution (some quality control issues notwithstanding) a fine and sensible example of just that.
The AMG versions, in turn, seem misguided, perhaps out of necessity. It is difficult for Mercedes to position them as ultra versions of the S550, as that diminishes the aspirational nature of the company's standard bearer luxury sedan. Little room, then, to define them (a la Maybach) as an hyperpowered ultra car like Rolls Royce or Bentley. So they slot in (or up) as more flat-out, quixotic, performance vehicles. I guess I miss the appeal of such absurdly powered, staid vehicles where the accent is not on the luxury aspects (like the S600s, Rolls, Bentley and Maybach).
A hyperpowered Lexus LS (if such a thing were developed, which I doubt) would strike a similar discordant tone. The older S55 struck a better balance, as it seemed a bit more lythe like an A8/S8 and left room for the then contemporaneous S600s and even fully-loaded S500s (such as they were -- that vintage S-class otherwise seemed wanting as a luxury line compared to most of those that came before and after).
The Audi A8 (including the W12) and S8 cars seem more comfortable in their skin, and, save for the occasional bland exterior impression (more a D4 issue) better combine performance (engineering) and flagship luxury. We just bought an S8 V10, and the short wheelbase proportions, sport suspension, aluminum frame and body, and "Lamboghaudi" power plant just all seem to work harmoniously and put a huge smile on my face. Among all the other vehicles we considered, the S-class never entered the conversation, and given our youthful affect (delusional or not) likely never will.
As a Merceds fan, I always had aspired to an AMG model, but, at least since the S55, leaned toward the CL series in that vein. I still like those, but the AMG versions drink fuel like water and we have a sweet 911 for that duty in any event. The S8 quenches my thirst for the tuner-Teutonic, in any event, so I probably will keep it for as long as it runs and then replace it with another spiffed-up Audi.
The A8 class seems to stake out a spot somewhere between the MB/BMW realm and the Porsche Panamera, residing a bit closer in spirit to the latter. I also treasure the under-the-radar nature of the car. I know the 7series cars have lots of fans and do many things well, but the bangled and bulbous styling cues and movement way from the call of the original (stick shift-offered) 735's all have left me cold on that car line.