Porsche ranked the most prestigious brand in the luxury segment, according to the latest survey from the New York, NY-based Luxury Institute. Porsche and Mercedes distinguished themselves as the two strongest luxury auto brands in the 2005 Luxury Brand Status Index survey. "According to the consumers who are most likely to be the initial and heavy buyers over a lifetime, wealthy consumers, Porsche earned an overall rating of 78 vs. 76 for Mercedes and 72 for BMW,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. The study said Mercedes edged out Porsche as the brand that delivers consistently superior quality, with BMW earning third place. The study states that the wealthy identify themselves by the collection of brands they consume--and whom they perceive is consuming them as well. Mercedes and Porsche tied for top honors as brands that "that are used by people who are admired and respected," a measure of the social status and respectability that a true luxury brand possesses. Jaguar and BMW tied for second place. Porsche and Mercedes rated a close first and second, respectively, in "making the car buyer feel special." Jaguar rated third in a field of twelve. The Institute also asked wealthy consumers to rate the change in each brand's status as a luxury brand over the past twelve months. Lexus and Porsche earned top honors as most improved, followed by BMW. The Institute surveys wealthy consumers with household incomes above $200K and average net worth of at least $2 million. Twelve luxury automobile brands were rated overall including Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes, Porsche, and Saab.