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teaching my prof about the M5? - Page 2

post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joffrey View Post

I was reading an article about pedestrian safety regulation affecting the designs of cars (particularly Benz).

Cool story?
post #17 of 29
Oops forgot to link the article here. Bolded the part I was referring to.
Quote:
GOD KNOWS I love a lost cause, so let me try to defend the new Mercedes-Benz SL550's styling.

First off, for about half the time, it's dark outside. You couldn't see the car even if you wanted to. Yes, you're asleep most of the time it's dark, but is that the car's fault? I submit the answer is no.

Second, you are a philistine. You're the kind of person who likes Aston Martins and Jaguars. But those cars are so…well, obvious, as in obviously beautiful. With the sixth-generation SL—which will come to the U.S. as the SL550, powered by a twin-turbo, 4.7-liter, 435-horsepower V8 and costing $106,375 to start—beauty runs profoundly deep. Next week James Cameron is taking his submarine to see it.

Third, what you're looking at is an example of what Umberto Eco called a "closed" text: While it cannot be denied that the SL is a sweet hot mess up front, the styling is so deliberately and even joyously overdrawn (I count no fewer than 17 strakes, fins, light lines and creases from the hood center to the rear quarter panel) that it demands to be taken solely on its own terms, closed to interpretation or critique. The sheer ridiculousness of it defies dissent.

Fourth, I blame Obama. Well, not really Obama but the Department of Transportation. Well, not really DOT but the European Union's pedestrian-safety regulations, the effect of which has been to derange European cars' front-end styling with overlarge, flat-faced grilles (the better to distribute impact load) and high hood lines, which create a cushioning space above the hard points of the engine. No car company's styling has suffered from these regs more than Mercedes-Benz. The SL grille, which hosts a large and splendid Mercedes-Benz star, and the headlight instruments are fixed in two planes in such a way that they never quite cohere in profile. Between the significant front overhang—nearly 39 inches—and all the Z-axis, the SL looks, to use a technical term, schnozzy.

The SL's front end is similar to that of the smaller SLK, and that, too, posed a problem with down-the-road-graphics. In other words, how to distinguish visually the larger and pricier car from its cousin? The solution to the DRG problem was the SL's distinctively huge and squarish headlight assemblies. Alas. The right-angled inner corners of these headlamps—a physician would call them the medial canthi—make the SL look more than a little cross-eyed. And yet, the headlamps almost work stylistically: Note the sinuous LED light bars that connect the fender contours to the shoulder lines with glowing filaments. Again, nighttime is this car's friend.

You may also perceive, if you look closely, a big butt. Several factors oblige the SL to have a large booty, not the least of which is the retractable glass hardtop with optional Magic Sky Control, which sounds like a brand of hallucinogenic but is actually an electro-chromatic system that allows the roof to change from nearly transparent to opaque at the touch of a button. Cool.

This magnesium-framed roof takes up a fair amount of real estate when stowed. The designers also had to make room in the trunk for at least one golf bag, or two with the top up.

More important, the new SL is built with a lightweight aluminum monocoque and body shell. The new car weighs an astonishing 275 pounds less than the previous car (about 3,900 pounds), even though it is 2 inches longer, 2.2 inches wider and utterly packed with new safety systems and electronic amenities. The new SL550 is also almost a second quicker to 60 mph than the previous car (4.5 seconds, as compared with 5.3 seconds) and gets a whopping 22% better fuel economy. The SL's lightweight chassis exhibits 20% higher torsional rigidity than the previous car's and includes the largest cast-aluminum component ever attempted in a production car. From the driver's seat, the SL feels as solidly built as a missile silo.

The downside of aluminum construction, however, is that the material generally needs larger sectional dimensions in order to carry the same loads as steel. And thus the fluffy badonkadonk.

I've saved my best defense for last: Mercedes-Benz has always been known for its amazing engineering; the aesthetically challenged SL only sharpens that reputation. This is a car that—just incidentally and by way of aside—revolutionizes the windshield wiper. The adaptive windscreen wipe/wash system sprays wiper fluid directly onto the windscreen from the wiper blade itself, and it works beautifully, too. The SL also deploys the new Harman/Kardon Frontbass audio system, in which the woofers are built into the front bulkhead, actually in the car's foot wells. The hi-fi is well nigh amazing, regardless of whether the top is up or down. Combined with the wind management around the open cockpit (including an electrically operable wind blocker behind the seats); the optional Airscarf feature (blowing warmed air across the occupants' necks from nozzles built into the headrest); and the climate-controlled seats, the SL is absolutely the most comfortable, most weatherable, no-downside convertible on the planet. You have to love that.

During the press introduction in southern Spain in March, I drove an SL500—for branding reasons, the car is known as SL500 in Europe and SL550 in the States—and, let me say now, by any other name, this car is a torque monster: 516 pound-feet of torque comes fully online at a mere 1,800 rpm. If you have the car in Sport mode, the SL is capable of respectable and nicely edgy sporting violence. Paddle-shifting the automatic transmission as you enter the corner, you'll hear the engine automatically rev to match the selected gear ratio—blipping, it's called—and the SL just rips along in a way no luxurious grand touring car has a right to. Yes, it does have an electrically assisted rack-and-pinion steering, and no, the steering isn't the telepathic rudder that the Porsche 911's is, but still, it's pretty awesome. MB's Active Body Control suspension system is standard on the SL550, and the degree to which ABC negates body pitch, roll and squat is almost eerie. She's big, she's kind of a morning-after mess, but she sure is light and fast.

Out on the highway, with the switches set to "C"—for "controlled efficiency," if you can believe it—the car is a spectacular flume ride down Mount Glycerin. Like the chassis, the suspension components have been revised, in lightweight aluminum, reducing ride harshness and improving roadholding. Aluminum, being less dense than steel, has greater sound radiation, and yet the alloy-bodied SL summons a lush, refined quiet in the cabin to rival a fixed-roof car.

The stitched-leather cabin appointments are wonderful and the seats couldn't be any more comfortable. Mercedes has transferred much of the hefty, serious switchgear from the SLS into the SL to good effect. There is one huge glitch in the cabin, however: The left-central air vent is situated asymmetrically in the dash, crowded to the right by the instrument binnacle. This is the sort of put-it-where-it-fits one might expect of a Mosler Consulier.

I didn't get a lot of kilometers in before it was time to bring the car back, so I'm looking forward to another go at it. Fast, elegant, swimming in technical comforts and refinements, the SL is a world-class piece of machinery. It would be nice if the outside reflected the soulful beauties inside. Oh well. There's always night.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304444604577339603822083844.html?mod=WSJ_Autos_LS_Autos_4
post #18 of 29
Oops forgot to link the article here.
Quote:
GOD KNOWS I love a lost cause, so let me try to defend the new Mercedes-Benz SL550's styling.

First off, for about half the time, it's dark outside. You couldn't see the car even if you wanted to. Yes, you're asleep most of the time it's dark, but is that the car's fault? I submit the answer is no.

Second, you are a philistine. You're the kind of person who likes Aston Martins and Jaguars. But those cars are so…well, obvious, as in obviously beautiful. With the sixth-generation SL—which will come to the U.S. as the SL550, powered by a twin-turbo, 4.7-liter, 435-horsepower V8 and costing $106,375 to start—beauty runs profoundly deep. Next week James Cameron is taking his submarine to see it.

Third, what you're looking at is an example of what Umberto Eco called a "closed" text: While it cannot be denied that the SL is a sweet hot mess up front, the styling is so deliberately and even joyously overdrawn (I count no fewer than 17 strakes, fins, light lines and creases from the hood center to the rear quarter panel) that it demands to be taken solely on its own terms, closed to interpretation or critique. The sheer ridiculousness of it defies dissent.

Fourth, I blame Obama. Well, not really Obama but the Department of Transportation. Well, not really DOT but the European Union's pedestrian-safety regulations, the effect of which has been to derange European cars' front-end styling with overlarge, flat-faced grilles (the better to distribute impact load) and high hood lines, which create a cushioning space above the hard points of the engine. No car company's styling has suffered from these regs more than Mercedes-Benz. The SL grille, which hosts a large and splendid Mercedes-Benz star, and the headlight instruments are fixed in two planes in such a way that they never quite cohere in profile. Between the significant front overhang—nearly 39 inches—and all the Z-axis, the SL looks, to use a technical term, schnozzy.

The SL's front end is similar to that of the smaller SLK, and that, too, posed a problem with down-the-road-graphics. In other words, how to distinguish visually the larger and pricier car from its cousin? The solution to the DRG problem was the SL's distinctively huge and squarish headlight assemblies. Alas. The right-angled inner corners of these headlamps—a physician would call them the medial canthi—make the SL look more than a little cross-eyed. And yet, the headlamps almost work stylistically: Note the sinuous LED light bars that connect the fender contours to the shoulder lines with glowing filaments. Again, nighttime is this car's friend.

You may also perceive, if you look closely, a big butt. Several factors oblige the SL to have a large booty, not the least of which is the retractable glass hardtop with optional Magic Sky Control, which sounds like a brand of hallucinogenic but is actually an electro-chromatic system that allows the roof to change from nearly transparent to opaque at the touch of a button. Cool.

This magnesium-framed roof takes up a fair amount of real estate when stowed. The designers also had to make room in the trunk for at least one golf bag, or two with the top up.

More important, the new SL is built with a lightweight aluminum monocoque and body shell. The new car weighs an astonishing 275 pounds less than the previous car (about 3,900 pounds), even though it is 2 inches longer, 2.2 inches wider and utterly packed with new safety systems and electronic amenities. The new SL550 is also almost a second quicker to 60 mph than the previous car (4.5 seconds, as compared with 5.3 seconds) and gets a whopping 22% better fuel economy. The SL's lightweight chassis exhibits 20% higher torsional rigidity than the previous car's and includes the largest cast-aluminum component ever attempted in a production car. From the driver's seat, the SL feels as solidly built as a missile silo.

The downside of aluminum construction, however, is that the material generally needs larger sectional dimensions in order to carry the same loads as steel. And thus the fluffy badonkadonk.

I've saved my best defense for last: Mercedes-Benz has always been known for its amazing engineering; the aesthetically challenged SL only sharpens that reputation. This is a car that—just incidentally and by way of aside—revolutionizes the windshield wiper. The adaptive windscreen wipe/wash system sprays wiper fluid directly onto the windscreen from the wiper blade itself, and it works beautifully, too. The SL also deploys the new Harman/Kardon Frontbass audio system, in which the woofers are built into the front bulkhead, actually in the car's foot wells. The hi-fi is well nigh amazing, regardless of whether the top is up or down. Combined with the wind management around the open cockpit (including an electrically operable wind blocker behind the seats); the optional Airscarf feature (blowing warmed air across the occupants' necks from nozzles built into the headrest); and the climate-controlled seats, the SL is absolutely the most comfortable, most weatherable, no-downside convertible on the planet. You have to love that.

During the press introduction in southern Spain in March, I drove an SL500—for branding reasons, the car is known as SL500 in Europe and SL550 in the States—and, let me say now, by any other name, this car is a torque monster: 516 pound-feet of torque comes fully online at a mere 1,800 rpm. If you have the car in Sport mode, the SL is capable of respectable and nicely edgy sporting violence. Paddle-shifting the automatic transmission as you enter the corner, you'll hear the engine automatically rev to match the selected gear ratio—blipping, it's called—and the SL just rips along in a way no luxurious grand touring car has a right to. Yes, it does have an electrically assisted rack-and-pinion steering, and no, the steering isn't the telepathic rudder that the Porsche 911's is, but still, it's pretty awesome. MB's Active Body Control suspension system is standard on the SL550, and the degree to which ABC negates body pitch, roll and squat is almost eerie. She's big, she's kind of a morning-after mess, but she sure is light and fast.

Out on the highway, with the switches set to "C"—for "controlled efficiency," if you can believe it—the car is a spectacular flume ride down Mount Glycerin. Like the chassis, the suspension components have been revised, in lightweight aluminum, reducing ride harshness and improving roadholding. Aluminum, being less dense than steel, has greater sound radiation, and yet the alloy-bodied SL summons a lush, refined quiet in the cabin to rival a fixed-roof car.

The stitched-leather cabin appointments are wonderful and the seats couldn't be any more comfortable. Mercedes has transferred much of the hefty, serious switchgear from the SLS into the SL to good effect. There is one huge glitch in the cabin, however: The left-central air vent is situated asymmetrically in the dash, crowded to the right by the instrument binnacle. This is the sort of put-it-where-it-fits one might expect of a Mosler Consulier.

I didn't get a lot of kilometers in before it was time to bring the car back, so I'm looking forward to another go at it. Fast, elegant, swimming in technical comforts and refinements, the SL is a world-class piece of machinery. It would be nice if the outside reflected the soulful beauties inside. Oh well. There's always night.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304444604577339603822083844.html?mod=WSJ_Autos_LS_Autos_4
post #19 of 29
That is true --- there are a bunch of pedestrian safety standards coming to effect in the EU. You can see it in many of the new EU cars coming out, like all the new BMWs, too. They have a more upright front face. Some other cars will have hoods that pop up with explosive actuators to protect pedestrians they hit, so repair costs will be higher, too --- an added incentive to drive more carefully?

I'm not sure I'd blame the new schnozzy M-B look on this regulation, though. It seems more like they're overeager to extend the halo of the SLS downstream, and they think putting the SLS's giant nose on everything is the way to do it. The new BMW 5 series looks great, but also complies with the new regs.
post #20 of 29

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by junior varsity View Post

well realistically, if you buy an M5, E63AMG or Audi RS6, Porsche Panameras, Ferrari FF, Maserati Quattroporte...
you dont really give a shit about
1. money - you spent $100,000 or more on a daily driver
2. MPG/global warming - you are driving a 400-550hp daily driver that gets basically no miles per gallon (i just drove my old m5 around town earlier today - averaged 12mpg- fuck you environment!)

basically the potential clients of the markets are rich men who arent affected by economy, dont give a fuck about polar bears (probably they go out of their way to club baby seals), and probably own companies that actively destroy the earth..

also.. if you dont have big engine sports car, you kill off the highest gross margin products for every company...
porsche's cost per unit manufacturered is nearly the same on a boxster as a GT2RS... so the higher end the model, the more money the company makes.
legislation will never pass because you'll kill off an entire segment of the economy and society

thats what im saying
 

 

A few points:

 

1. YOU have an M5. I presume that you did not pay $100k for it, so fuel efficiency effects you. You are not a primary-line purchaser, but resale price is something that is considered by car buyers. Reducing resale price reduces the value to your customer, so fuel efficiency is a consideration for the M5.

 

2. You are mistakenly assuming that those who can afford a $100k car are not financially limited. This is not correct. Someone making $250k a year can buy an M5, and that person must consider its fuel efficiency to see if that is a viable purchase given their miles/year, especially if it is a DD as you pose. Its a factor a potential buyer (who is not merely a fanboy) will consider. Why not an XFR or an S7?

 

3. You mistakenly assume that performance car buyers have no care about the environment, but if you are actually trying to sell something, that is a market segement. The people buying Teslas and the (achingly beautiful) Fisker Karmas are not too poor for an M5, they are making a different choice.

 

IOW, your argument is too narrowly focused for a marketing class, because you are not considering the things that an actual marketing executive would. Listen to your Prof.

 

~ H

 

post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by A Y View Post

That is true --- there are a bunch of pedestrian safety standards coming to effect in the EU. You can see it in many of the new EU cars coming out, like all the new BMWs, too. They have a more upright front face. Some other cars will have hoods that pop up with explosive actuators to protect pedestrians they hit, so repair costs will be higher, too --- an added incentive to drive more carefully?
I'm not sure I'd blame the new schnozzy M-B look on this regulation, though. It seems more like they're overeager to extend the halo of the SLS downstream, and they think putting the SLS's giant nose on everything is the way to do it. The new BMW 5 series looks great, but also complies with the new regs.

You can ad.

1. Emission standards like Euro 5, Euro 6 etc. the current Civic Type-R has already failed and can't be sold due to emission standards.

2. Also all manufactures are required to cut there cars emissions to an average of 130g/km by 2015, so they have to sell more econo boxes, to be able to sell cars like the M5 and these requirements are only getting stricter.

3. Homogenisation BMW isn't going to bring out a car, that isn't legal in every country in the world.
post #22 of 29
Undergrad profs must be very patient and diplomatic people.
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire View Post

Undergrad profs must be very patient and diplomatic people.

No, we just drink a lot to cope.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire View Post

Undergrad profs must be very patient and diplomatic people.

Sadly, I think he is a grad student. I hope not.
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by erictheobscure View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Piobaire View Post

Undergrad profs must be very patient and diplomatic people.

No, we just drink a lot to cope.

Oddly enough that's what I do.
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by junior varsity View Post

well realistically, if you buy an M5, E63AMG or Audi RS6, Porsche Panameras, Ferrari FF, Maserati Quattroporte...
you dont really give a shit about
1. money - you spent $100,000 or more on a daily driver
2. MPG/global warming - you are driving a 400-550hp daily driver that gets basically no miles per gallon (i just drove my old m5 around town earlier today - averaged 12mpg- fuck you environment!)
basically the potential clients of the markets are rich men who arent affected by economy, dont give a fuck about polar bears (probably they go out of their way to club baby seals), and probably own companies that actively destroy the earth..
also.. if you dont have big engine sports car, you kill off the highest gross margin products for every company...
porsche's cost per unit manufacturered is nearly the same on a boxster as a GT2RS... so the higher end the model, the more money the company makes.
legislation will never pass because you'll kill off an entire segment of the economy and society
thats what im saying

doesnt the fact that you own an m5 contradict everything you say here?
post #27 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trompe le Monde View Post

doesnt the fact that you own an m5 contradict everything you say here?

wai?
post #28 of 29
Two problems:

1) Talking about your M5 is just a great way for your professor to say, "what a douchebag--he's a college kid with an M5." That probably can't do anything but hurt you.
2) Trying to "educate" your professor is a bad idea. Your professor isn't going to take the time to understand your POV unless it's fully contained in your paper and compellingly presented. Anything else and you're just asking for a C.
post #29 of 29

1) I actually wrote an economic analysis of car ownership for a course, comparing the car you have vs any other car, and I compared my Jag to a more reliable and fuel efficient car that could be bought for the same money. You can do it if your work is good and lacks attitude.

 

2) So true. Profs are looking to the quality of your argument as expressed through your work. Meeting with Profs on issues like this is at most to see why your points in your work are not sufficiently well-articulated.

 

~ H
 

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