Luxury Sedans – Audi A8L…Mercedes S550…Lexus ES350
By Joe Russo on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 in General.
The Audi A8 is a four-door, full-size, luxury sedan manufactured and marketed by the German automaker Audi since 1994. Succeeding the Audi V8, and now in its third generation, the A8 has been offered with both front- or permanent all-wheel drive—and in short- and long-wheelbase variants. The first two generations employed the Volkswagen Group D platform, with the current generation deriving from the MLB platform. After the original model’s 1994 release, Audi released the second generation in late 2002, and the third and current iteration in late 2009.
Notable for being the first mass-market car with an aluminium chassis, all A8 models have used this construction method co-developed with Alcoa and marketed as the Audi Space Frame.
A mechanically-upgraded, high-performance version of the A8 debuted in 1996 as the Audi S8. Produced exclusively at Audi’s Neckarsulm plant, unlike the donor A8 model, the S8 has been available only in short-wheelbase form and is fitted standard with Audi’s quattro all-wheel drive system.
The Lexus ES is a series of compact, then mid-size, and later full-size luxury sedans sold by Lexus since 1989. Six generations of the sedan have been introduced to date, each offering V6 engines and the front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout. The first five generations of the ES were built on the Toyota Camry platform, with the sixth generation more closely related to the Avalon. Manual transmissions were offered until 1993, a lower-displacement inline-four engine became an option in Asian markets in 2010, and a gasoline-electric hybrid version was introduced in 2012. The ES was Lexus’ only front-wheel drive vehicle until 1998, when the related Lexus RX was introduced, and the sedan occupied the entry-level luxury car segment of the Lexus lineup in North America and other regions until the debut of the Lexus IS in 1999. The ES name stands for “Executive Sedan”. However, some Lexus importers use the backronymic name, “Elegant Sedan”.
Introduced in 1989, the first-generation ES 250 was one of two vehicles in Lexus’ debut lineup, the other being the flagship LS 400. The second-generation ES 300 debuted in 1991, followed by the third-generation ES 300 in 1996, and the fourth-generation ES 300/330 in 2001. The first- through fourth-generation sedans shared body styling elements with Japan-market Toyota sedans, and a domestic market equivalent, the Toyota Windom, was sold until the launch of the fifth-generation ES in 2006. The word “Windom” is a combination of “win” and the suffix “dom” expresses a state of perpetual victory. The fifth-generation ES, featuring Lexus’ own L-finesse body styling, debuted in early 2006 as a 2007 model. The sixth-generation ES debuted in the first half of 2012 as a 2013 model, and features increased cabin dimensions due to a longer wheelbasewhich is shared with the full-size Toyota Avalon.