This hasn't happened since 1990. Actually, officially, it was January 11th, 1989, and the upsetting of apple cart I am talking about happened in Detroit. The North American International Auto Show to be exact. Cobo Hall, way in the back if I remember rightly.
Auto buffs of a certain age will know immediately I am referring to Lexus' apple cart-upsetting LS400 and how much it upset the founding fathers of the modern luxury set. Although we weren't sure until we actually tested the big V8 project the following September, we had an inkling that Toyota's "Circle-F" project was going to be a thorn in the sides of BMW and Mercedes-Benz. (I was going to make metaphor with something referring to "pole" and "up" so as to truly capture the discomforting contortions the LS was putting the Germans through, but the editor insisted I make this a PG-rated road test.) The point, in case your missing it, was that this was the first time an Asian automaker made a car better than the Germans. Not good for the money. Not cheaper, more reliable or more fuel efficient. Just plain better. Asian automakers have been chasing that same excellence ever since.
I won't try to convince you that Genesis' new G70, the car I am about to rave about, is going to have as much of an impact as the original LS400. For one thing, the Teutonic trio (now that Audi has been added to the rostrum) are not in the state of disrepair they were in the last decade of the 20th century. For another, our expectations of Asian automakers is vastly different. We expect them to be good. We expect them to be technologically au courante. Indeed, we expect them to be competitive.
But the G70, rekindling the original spirit of the Lexus, is better. Again, not better for the money (and, yes, it still has something of a price advantage). Not more reliable (which it probably will be) or more fuel efficient (oops, we may have slipped backwards a bit there). Simply better.
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