Small cosmetic upgrades, check. Base unit price increase, check. Console upgrade price increase, check. Customer getting screwed, absolutely. For this kind of money you should absolutely buy the Club or Platinum Club series machines.
LifeFItness basically decided to do a small cosmetic upgrade to their premium elliptical lineup this year. These are very good ellipticals but don't really stand up well when compared to Precor and True Fitness. LifeFitness is a commercial fitness company that pays at home fitness. Maybe they should just stay with what they excel at - Commercial Fitness.