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What makes Model S a luxury car?

Discussion in 'Model S' started by Cobos, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. Cobos

    Cobos S60 owner since 2013

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    I've seen people touch on this in another thread, but I thought we could discuss this further here.
    The Model S is sold as a luxury car as compared to other luxury/premium brands. I thought I would ask what makes the Model S a luxury car?
    I can start by saying luxury brands to me would be: BMW, Audi, Lexus, MB, Jaguar and less relevant: RR, Ferrari, Astin Martin etc.
    Not-luxury: Ford, GM, Toyota, Honda, Peugeot, Nissan, VW
    Near-Luxury: Volvo, Mini,

    So what defines luxury?
    The Nissan Leaf has the same excellent qualities as an EV for silent and comfortable drivetrain, though not the perfomance of the Model S. The Ford Focus has many of the advanced safety features that f.inst. MB has used to define their high-end models.
    Does it has to do with plasticky or non-leathery interiors? I'm pretty sure you can get leather interiors for many higher end Fords here in Norway.
    Many cars from both Ford and VW drive well and are good "driver's cars", maybe not as good as BMW but does that mean the Model S has to drive as good as a BMW 5-series or is as a Ford Mondeo good enough?

    I'm just curious here, can someone point me to the difference?

    Cobos
     
  2. Bearman

    Bearman Member

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    To me the first thing that distinguishes the Model S as a luxury vehicle is the design, i jumped out of my seat first time i saw it, I don't think bmw's and audi's look that good.
    Second its an all aluminium vehicle (only the A8 out of the Audi's are all aluminium the rest only have aluminium panels) and it is constructed to be solid and silent with air suspension as an option (premium ride quality and handling).
    Third it has a new innovative large touchscreen with unmatched capabilities, spacious comfortable interior with plenty of storage and vehicle performance that matches or exceeds other premium brands.
    Last thing, it is that its an all electric vehicle with very good range capabilities(amazing).

    In short, the combination of design, construction, interior space, performance, handling, innovation and capacity
    Quality and reliability is other important metrics but those we will have to find out.

    Dont get me wrong I like the Leaf and i think it has got a great interior and good quick charging capabilities, exterior design is good but didn't make me jump.
    Performance might not be the best but it does what its built for very well.
    Ofcourse it has a different price as well and I hope they sell as many as possible.
     
  3. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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    I my definition luxury equals extra price to get more than average.
    It can be more options -- things not available to the "basic" cars. Back in the old days these were single-wheel suspension, fuel injection, electric power windows, heated mirrors, air condition, anti-lock brakes. Check the list of technical systems introduced by premium manufacturers in their top-notch models for further examples.
    Next manifestation of luxury is abundance -- more than enough power. more than enough space. more than enough sound insulation. paired with luxury interior, this is the brand core of British manufacturers like Bentley or Rolls Royce.
    The reasons for going luxury are hard to get a grip on for me. More status? More convenience? More value? Even the simplest option can provide this, tough found in a very basic car, e.g. the "reverse" button for the cassette player. :biggrin:
     
  4. widodh

    widodh Model S R231 EU

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    I drove Audi and switched to Toyota. For me luxury is also paying that bit extra for good service at your dealer, but that was something I wasn't seeing at the Audi dealers I've had. In terms of materials my Toyota might be less better equipped then my Audi, but the service is much, much, much better. That is a luxury for me.

    For me the Model S is a luxury sedan since it's an EV with a descent range, but it also frees me from being a slave of the gas stations. And of course, all the gadgets!

    I think luxury can't be defined and has to be defined by the person who is buying the car.
     
  5. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    Interesting, this is the opposite of my personal experience. At my Audi dealership, I feel completely coddled from the moment I drive in: food, coffee, good work areas, free Audi loaners, knowledgeable and polite staff, excellent results. Nonetheless, I completely agree that great service needs to be part of a luxury brand's offering.

    +1 "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Personally, I start by closing the car door. How does it sound and feel? On the road, do you have complete confidence in the vehicle? I love Audis because (for me) the steering is completely innate--I think, the car goes. Now if I could just get rid of the lack of torque off the mark....
     
  6. WhiteKnight

    WhiteKnight _____ P85 #549 _____ Sig Red / Sig White

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    I will leave it to others to define 'luxury' (maybe dictionary.com) but the key thing to realize is that the most luxurious thing about the Model S is the fully electric powertrain.

    The people griping about the lack of this luxury feature or that luxury feature (saying things like "if it doesn't have X, I'm not buying it") are missing the KEY luxury feature - it's all electric.

    Electric is the ultimate luxury because:
    (1) it is nearly silent
    (2) it is incredibly powerful with gobs of torque
    (3) it accelerates instantly no matter what speed you are traveling at
    (4) it requires very little maintenance
    (5) it has greater reliability and longevity
    (6) it is much more convenient (plug it in like a cell phone - no smelly trips to gas station)
    (7) it enables killer features like:
    (a) one pedal driving - little need for the brake
    (b) climate control system that maintains temps even when you're not in the car
    (c) world beating traction control system
    (d) even more innovative features coming on the Model X

    The Model S also has an advantage over other EVs because of its design that translates into luxury like:
    (1) The luxury of dramatically more passenger space due to skateboard design
    (2) Seating for 5+2 in a sedan
    (3) Tremendous cargo capacity with two trunks
    (4) Low center of gravity and superior handling

    I could go on but you get the picture. This seems like a lot to give up just because you have to have adaptive cruise control (standard cruise control won't cut it). But to each his own and for every person that buys Model S there will be 49 luxury car buyers that don't buy it and the company will still be a raging success.
     
  7. efusco

    efusco Moderator - Model S & X forums

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    A car can look pretty, have a cool design and cost a lot of money and not be luxurious. I am assuming that the Model S will have superior fit, finish and refinement. That the service provided with the car will exceed "joe" the service guy trying to sell me a cabin air filter for $60 and charge me an extra $250 for unnecessary maintenance items. The silent bit--the Nissan Leaf gives you that. Don't figure standard EV features into the luxury any more than you would an internal combustion engine into a luxury conventional car. But if there is extra noise reduction material to reduce road noise and top end seating that provides "lazy boy" comfort, and suspension and ride that give a driver the experience far beyond a Toyota Camry, then I consider that luxury. Appointments in the vehicle should be top notch--Nappa leather is a great start there, certainly I'd expect the other materials to be particularly rich and refined as well.
     
  8. Lyon

    Lyon 2016 S P100DL, 2016 X P90D

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    For me it's the sense that the vehicle is more than adequate. I'm not talking about simple transportation, but more than the average. For instance, we have a Land Rover LR3 and a Chevy Suburban. They're within about $2000 in terms of price but the Land Rover is clearly a Luxury car while the Suburban is clearly not. The fit, finish quality of materials, ride quality, power delivery, etc. is just better in the LR3. The Suburban does have some features that the LR3 doesn't (like AC in the seats, which is awesome) and it is certainly adequate in terms of basic transportation.

    IMHO one can go to a Honda/Acura or Toyota/Lexus dealer and go back and forth between the brands for a while, it's possible to feel the differences.
     
  9. Trnsl8r

    Trnsl8r Blue 85kwh since 12/8/12

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    I probably shouldn't reply to this thread since I don't really care whether it's a luxury car or not. To me the luxury aspect and features are only there to justify the higher price point.

    If you look at the basic structure of an ICE car it really hasn't changed since the Ford Model T. I want to buy Model S because it's so damn smart. Because of how it threw out basically everything inside the car and started over.
    - A battery can really be any shape we want. Great, we'll get it out of the way, put it in the floor panel, have better center of gravity and added rigidity all at the same time.
    - The engine is tiny and doesn't require gears. Great, let's slap it right on top of the rear axel and skip transmission axels and all that.
    - No gas, no oil, one moving part. Enough said.

    I couldn't care less about leather seats, touch-screens and flush door handles. I want the Model S because it is an EV with the size, the cargo space, the seating, and the range. I want it because it's a great family car. I want it because I want to support the industry heading in the EV direction. I want to promote EVs because I have kids. I want it because I'm too impatient to wait for Bluestar.

    For me the price tag is fairly prohibitive, but I'll save and strive to get it anyway. I want the Model S.
     
  10. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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  11. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    For me, luxury car means superior quality, fit and finish and good performance. I think the Model S will have all of that and in addition, be an EV. Tesla just can't compete with Lexus and some of the others with every single gadget on the market until they're more established I think. Being an EV adds one feature that would make it win over things like ACC for me: being able to heat up or cool your car remotely, even while it's in the garage with the door closed. For someone living in cold climates (especially if they had to park outside), I think this one feature along would make it worth it.
     
  12. Bearman

    Bearman Member

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    I agree
     
  13. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

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    A good definition of luxury. Something hard to obtain (for most) and incredibly desirable.
     
  14. Brian H

    Brian H Banned

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    For some "value" comparisons, here's a great resource:
    Teslanomics-Menu

    You can dial up any maker, and all its models are shown, with comparisons to all the flavors of "S". The emphasis is on TCO, with 5 and 10-yr horizons. But you'll be surprised how much less it costs to be an "S" owner that long!
     
  15. EVNow

    EVNow Active Member

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    Interesting.

    BTW, they are using full MSRP for Leaf - but (MSRP - $7500) as the MSRP for Tesla S.
     
  16. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    I believe he's used the $7500 rebate on all PEV, including the Leaf.
     
  17. EVNow

    EVNow Active Member

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    #17 EVNow, Jan 5, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012
    No. Though, MSRP may not matter, since TCO depends on depreciation. (depreciation should actually consider tax credit, since it affects the resale value)

    But they have assumed that S depreciates by 25k - even though Leaf depreciates by 21k. Using RAV4EV to estimate depreciation of S instead of Leaf is perplexing.

    Financing & taxes are not considered, that makes S cheaper than camry.
     
  18. mcornwell

    mcornwell Active Member

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  19. Waverider

    Waverider Member

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    My last car purchase we were looking for a hybrid SUV. The choice was between a Toyota Highlander Hybrid and the Lexus Rx400h. With all the options on the Highlander, the price was within $2,000. However, getting into the Lexus felt as if you were entering a spaceship. The Highlander felt like a normal, yet very nice car. We ended up going with the Highlander based on the extra cargo room and 3rd row, but it was a tough decision. I still want my spaceship!
     
  20. Blastphemy

    Blastphemy Member

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    Hello - I'm new to the forum! Nice to meet youall.

    I currently drive a 2011 Infiniti M56, and that prejudices me towards several features that I consider essential for a luxury car. Before buying the M56, I test drove a Lexus LS460, BMW 550i, and Mercedes-Benz E550 & CLS550. Since my previous car was a 2000 Oldsmobile Alero, all the extra features and comfort of those cars impressed me quite a bit.

    I originally felt that a luxury car should have a powerful engine and provide advanced features that less-expensive cars don't have. That's why I wound up with the Infiniti, because it had a 420HP V8, adaptive cruise control, cooled front seats, blind spot warning/intervention, iPod integration, distance control assist, a voice-activated nav, XM NavTraffic, and a backup camera. (My wife's FX50 has an Around-View Monitor for parking that is just amazing, and my friend's Hyundai Equus has corner cameras on the front bumpers to help when pulling forward out of a driveway onto a street with poor visibility due to walls, trees, or parked cars.)

    That all having been said, after driving my M56 for almost two years, I now feel that a luxury car should have two main features: a silent cabin and luxurious, comfortable seats. Those are the two things I miss in my car that I remember so vividly from my Lexus LS460 test drive. The Lexus 19-speaker Martin Levinson sound system is just aural icing on the cake! (I wonder if Tesla's Dolby 12-speaker ProLogic 7.1 system even comes close?)

    When I called Tesla recently to inquire about a $5,000 reservation for the Performance 85kWh (w/$5,000 "additional standard equipment," $750 "metallic blue paint," $3,750 "tech package," $950 "sound studio package," $1,500 "twin chargers," and $1,200 "high-power wall connector"), I asked about the cabin noise since Elon Musk had made some comments in an online video about a very low drag coefficient and well-insulated quiet cabin. The representative to whom I spoke stated that the cabin was quieter than even a Lexus LS460 - one of the quietest cars I've ever driven. If that's the case, and the seats are comfortable, this may be an easy decision.

    However, the Model S as currently shown on the website makes no mention of cooled seats (essential for California!), adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning, around-view monitor, valet mode (like the Roadster has), head's-up display (like BMW has), lane departure warning (like Mercedes-Benz has), or night vision (again, like Mercedes). I would expect a cutting-edge $93,050 car (before the $7,500 tax credit but also before 8.75% sales tax) to have features that are already starting to be considered standard on competing luxury cars.

    The benefit of the Tesla is saving $50-80 per week on gas, which is about $4,000 per year, and that's quite luxurious IMHO! But is that worth the $30,000 premium over the 2013 Infiniti M56 or $15,000 premium over the 2013 Lexus LS that I'd also be considering at the time? Guess we'll have to see just how much that road noise bugs me for the next year or so!
     

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