Modern luxury cars aren't luxurious

Modern luxury cars don't have the build quality or feel of older luxury cars.

2y ago

When you hear the word luxury, what do you think of? Do you think of what software you have on your latest iPhone or how well your jacket is made? In the past 15 years car manufacturers have changed their view of what makes a luxury car luxurious. Companies have been switching from spending money on well made interiors that feel solid and won't fall apart to spending money on software to make sure your phone works with your car and you have the latest technology in it. But that's not what luxury is. A luxury item is made to last and be feel solid.

Old Mercedes are a great example of actual luxury. The leather on the seats have the soft and rich feel of a $1000 leather jacket. The seats will last ages and take the any abuse that comes. The wood trim on the dash and center console is actual wood. Finished to a high standard and then coated in order to take the same abuse as the seats. When you get in an old Mercedes and close the door, it is like closing the door to a castle. It has mass and every part in the door is bolted together in such a way that it feels like it is all one piece. When you slam the door to close it, it feels right; it feels proper. The use of plastics is at a minimum. Plastic is used in many places, but it isn't used in many places where leather or wood could easily be used. The whole interior of old Mercedes, although lacking technology, is very luxurious because of the quality of all the parts used and how they are bolted together.

Modern Mercedes on the other hand are focused on technology. The infotainment system on their new cars is very good. But I don't care and you shouldn't either. The leather is not real leather, and you can tell. It has a vinyl, plastic feel to it. It is not very nice to feel, and feels very cheap. Much a faux leather jacket, you might look good but the moment someone gets up close they realize it's cheap and poorly made. There is also no wood, and if there is it is usually as fake as a blonde sorority girl. Then there is the amount of plastic used. It's like a Brita water filter, lots of plastic and all not very nice. But lastly, what is the biggest disappointment, is how when you close the door it feels like a door to a bedroom. Not bolted together well and not solid. These cars are not built to last.

Bring back actual luxury. The kind that involves proper materials and attention to detail. Not the fake luxury that involves the most attention on how well your phone and car work together. Luxury cars should be built to last and make you feel like you're on top of the world. Not built to last 10 years and make you feel like you are in a nicer version of a normal car. I'm not saying manufacturers should get rid of their infotainment systems, but I am saying they need to put more money and thought into the rest of the interior and look more towards the past to see how to build an interior.

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Comments (21)

  • As a W123 owner, I'm in full agreement. Fab article :)

      2 years ago
    • I have 2 w126s and I agree so much, although they arent in the greatest shape, they're still more comfortable than almost all others cars on the road.

        2 years ago
  • RR Phantom 😍

      2 years ago
  • Matt mentions some stuff that Frank Falco debates in the comments section but I see Nostalgia in his writing which I understand on a certain level. On specifics, the leather aspect comes to discussion.

    Some of us can agree the leather used in old Mercedes versus newer ones indeed felt softer to the touch, even smelled different. The thing is, this comparison is not easy anymore because of the options in materials then and now.

    When the base old Merc came stuffed with soft, real grained leather, the new base ones (A,C,E at least) come with MB-Tex. Then, on the current models when you upgrade to actual leather it does not feel that “luxurious” either, being harsher to the touch and firmer than expected, not to mention the holy grail of nostalgia for leather: the “smell” is not intoxicating enough. This does not mean this newer leather is of lower quality than before, it may be the contrary but it “feels” that way, it presents itself as less “luxurious”, if you will. Then, there is an upgraded leather, the Nappa hide (and others depending on the brand), one may argue it compares better with the old stuff. Again, this may not be true but for me, it “feels” that way and is the leather upgrade I believe reminds me more of the “old” stuff.

    Nostalgia they call it, I prefer the term “collective memory”. I hope Matt had this noble cause in mind when writing so we guys could understand, if not agree, on his manifesto.

      2 years ago
  • True, i can agree, the first thing that imma do when I get license I to buy and good old MERC or Audi, while my non car friends just want the new c63 wich still is cool and all, but eeh?

      2 years ago
  • New base model BMWs and Audis Feel like VWs. Rock hard seats, bland interiors, disconnected driving feel (BMWs are a bit better in this sense). I would rather have a top trim of a cheaper brand.

      2 years ago