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High Performance Luxury Sedans

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Comments

  • 4426444264 Posts: 67
    need4speed - Personally I find the ride quite acceptable. It's a Lexus ride compared to other true sports cars like the 360 Modena and 996TT! The performance is significantly better than the 540i and the GS430 I have driven in all aspects.

    ambisonx - What kind of external lumbar support have you got??
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    You'll really have to decide by yourself how important those additional 80 or so HP truly are. The E55 to me had too stiff of a ride. Great handling, yes, but roads here aren't smooth Autobahns, and I do think the ride of the E55 is too harsh and noisy for a $70k sedan. But I can see that for others it would be opposite appeal, hat it adds to the sportcar-with-4-doors character.

    The E430 is, by all rational measures, a far more than fast enough car. I do think going for the M5, XJR or E55 is ultimately an irrational decision, for you simply can't be using all the power. You can't use all the power of the E430, for that matter, and hope to keep your license for long.

    One of the reasons I choe the XJR was because it was the softer, most comfortable ride of those 3. It does sacrifice the ultimate performance envelope to achieve that, but to me that counts. I know I don't want to go for lumbar support in a 70k car... :-)
  • you know just a pad that supports the back. It came in black leather to match the two tone seats. The 99 model seats do not have lumbar support like the 2001. Do the car manafacturers deliberately parse out such luxuries like lumbar support and heated/ventilated sets in order for the customers to trade in the car year to year? Why exclude such a basic idea of lumbar support in the 99 model- trying to cut corners in a 70k car?
  • 4426444264 Posts: 67
    Yes, the lumber support became available in 2000. One thing good about your 1999 E55 however, is that you can shift the 'gated' gear selector which I personally prefer over the left/right +/- touch shift.
  • 20 months is a long time to wait, but it would be nice if it did have an effect on current prices. That time is about the same as the next generation E? So the next gen. E gets new body and larger engine?
  • 4426444264 Posts: 67
    will probably have a supercharger on the V8..
  • I also prefer the 99 sideskirt styling over the later models. The 99 version is cleaner. I also prefer no radio controls on the steering wheel. By the way, is there someone here who can translate Japanese? I need some information from a Japanese AMG website. Thanks
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    ...personally, I can not stand all those little buttons car manufacturers are placing on and around the steering wheel. They're simply not intuitive, and besides I do not need the volume control for the stereo or music source selector closer to my hand than, say, the turning signal control. I find it of very questionable ergonomic value. Cluttered steering wheels are a bad thing. I have started to use the cruise control buttons on the XJR more, but to be honest I prefered the layout on my old XJS, it was somewhat more intuitive once internalized.
  • 4426444264 Posts: 67
    I know a translation company our office uses and they can translate Japanese and Chinese, however, they charge a minimum of US$20 per job.

    Let me know if you're interested.
  • I don't know how the thread got started but try babelfish translation feature at www.altavista.com. Now, back to the E. I guess I'm going have to try and find someone who'll let me test drive the E55 and E430 back to back and see if I can justify the extra $8-10k.
  • Babel desn't do Japanese. As far as the E55 vs 430 is concerned, does the exclusivity factor mattter to you?
  • 4426444264 Posts: 67
    Not for me, I care about the value - yes Pablo : ) the performance and safety. Even if there E55s everywhere, it'll still be the car for me..
  • I have to admit that I like the exclusivity factor of the E55. While there's not all that much to distinguish it visually from other E's (a plus in my view), it's almost a cliche to drive an E in silicon valley. Seems there's tons of 320s and more than a few 430s. Special models like the E55 also seem to be better on resale, too, so that should be factored in as part of the total cost of ownership. I'm sure an E55 will more than hold it's own regarding resale value on a % basis compared to other E's. Older E500's and even 500E's seem to hold their value better than other E's of the same vintage, for example, and so do M-5s and M-3s. The other option that intrigues me is a 4matic E430, but while there aren't many of them, I'm less certain that it will return any of the 4matic option's extra cost at resale time. While the added security of the 4matic would be nice (even on just "wet" roads), that would bring its price even closer to the E55's, and the E55 already has some form of anti-wheelspin control, doesn't it? (I know it's not as good as true AWD, but better than nothing) I'm also afraid I'm going to miss the raw performance of my M-3, but maybe not, as even the E430 has 0-60 times in the low 6's (6.1, 6.3?), which would put it at about even with the current M-3, though subjectively with the manual trans, the M-3 will probably "feel" faster. OTOH, I feel certain the E55 will feel faster than the M-3 (and it is). One nice thing about the E55 vs. the M5 is that you don't pay such a fuel economy penalty with the E55. (Although it may sound a bit silly to talk fuel economy when considering a $72k+ car, it's still important to cruising range; no one wants to have to fill up every other day). Finally, with the new M-3 projected to cost around $50k (plus initially at least, who knows how much extra dealer markup), it no longer seems like such a value, even at 330 hp, as it has far less interior and trunk space, and is just a totally different vehicle (though seemingly targeted at a market perhaps not all that different? I mean, once you get into the $50k+ range, you're talking about cars that people want to buy more as a matter of personal choice/preference; no one really *needs* a $50k+ car.)
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    Both seem to hold their value equally well, according to readily available data on this website. And that is for now - over the mid term, performance cars often (though not always) tend to take a bit of a beating since the assumption is the owners like to drive aggressively and trash them somewhat. Right now, given the up until recently booming economy, the super-sedan performance segment is hot - but we have to be very aware that is quite economy dependent, and that a change in circumstances might turn them into shunned used market objects. It has happened before, and that is why I think that if value is your concern, it'd be better to simply not spend as much money on a car and go for a more rational investment. But we've been there before.

    Including the M3 into this equation seems somewhat out of place. It is a great car, but nowhere near any of these if comfort and luxury is high up your priority list, which seemingly it is.

    And comfort and luxury to me is where the E55 implements a somewhat odd combination of harshness with pretentions of luxury. I find the ride too noisy and harsh, but then again, if you buy into their value proposition it certainly is one of the most satisfying cars around. You just have to check whether it fits *you*. The E430, on the other hand, is undoubedly an extremely capable car, albeit somewhat bland. I guess the sports package can spice it up some. Performance wise, again, I think no one can really claim to be truly pushing the performance envelopes of any of these cars, including the E430, consistently. It is oddly satisfying knowing such reserve is there, though, but to be honest, I did not primary buy the XJR for the performance, but rather for the design. Different strokes for different folks. :-)

    Of course, there still is the M5. yeah, it's manual, but BMW knows how to make manuals buttery smooth. Your right hand and left foot seamlessly implement a semi-automatic.
  • Hmmmnnn. Pablo_1, you could well be right about the E55 in a down economy, and one might just be around the corner. In that case, the E430 is a far more rational choice. And I do agree that the M3 is a bit out of place compared to the XJR, M5 and E55. I am looking for more refinement but the boy-racer deep inside me has a hard time letting go of my M3, so it will be hard to give up performance, too. The E430 could well be "fast enough," so I think it may be time to start test driving and stop bemusing potentialities.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    ...come to think about it, how about the Audi A6 with the 8 cyl engine? A colleague in our sales team has one, and I must say it is an impressive machine. Knowing about my car, he tried to impress me, and I must say he succeeded, the car packs a wallop. The interior is also very well done, seems -at least to me- warmer than the E-class.

    And well, I hate the idea about a down economy, but even a slight slow down renders the luxury car market very lackluster and sends prices down. Luxury cars are luxury items - they are not investments, since if the economy slows down in most cases their value immediately plummets. In fact, I have heard from several different sources that all luxury car brands in the valley are experiencing a slow-down as it is. I bought my car like I buy Lorenzo Banfi shoes, knowing its sybaritically wasted, yet well enjoyed, money.
  • Audi A6 v8? Don't think so. They drive nice when new and I agree the interior is very nice and warmer than the MBZ's. But I had two Audis in the recent past (not at the same time; why I bought the 2nd one after my experience with the first is still a mystery) and they both got me to know my service dept. VERY well. Warranty coverage was pretty good, but it was still a hassle to take it in a lot. You are absolutely right about luxury items in a down economy. While I'm hopeful of a 2001 rebound, there does seem to be a slowdown happening now, and it may be even worse in a few months, so I think since I don't really *need* a new car right now, the prudent thing to do is see if the luxo car market softens a bit. I doubt prices will go up much at all, and waiting could let me get a decent discount off MSRP, esp. if I wait until the last day of the month, etc. (OTOH, in the last few days it seems I've seen a LOT of new cars on the road with paper plates; must be people spending year end bonuses.)
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    ...Audi has a reputation for bomb-proof reliability in Germany, more so than BMW (I lived in Germany for about 10 years, most of those as a student, thus my exposure to luxury cars while there was minimal :-). It's odd to hear a different story here in the US, sometimes makes me wonder whether it's dealerships not having a really good handle on their cars' technology. I have been told here in the Bay Area that reliability with Mercedes and BMW is very dependent on where you service the cars - some dealerships have spotty service depts, and the cars consequently run into more trouble over time. It's a shame, for it's obvious that during the good times dealers forget about the fact that the service factor is crucial in promoting loyalty. One of the reasons why I stayed with a Jaguar product. I kind of wonder whether the sales success of the S-type and even more the soon to be released X-type will lead to the servicxe department being overwhelmed and impact things some. I do think that's what might happen in some Audi and Benz dealerships, particularly since Audi here in the US shares stuff with Volkswagen - which is not the case in Germany, where brand identity is seemingly kept far more separate: different dealerhips and service, mostly.

    Given the trend towards mass market appeal and even brand bastardization most luxury car brands seem to have these days, I do think they do compromise the luxury experience, since the overwhelmed service departments are shared by expensive and cheaper cars. If that trend continues and affects my experience, my next car probably will be a more utilitarian and rational choice.
  • Pablo_1 I agree that part of the luxury car ownership experience is the level of service/treatment you get when you do need service or things go wrong. That is probably at least part of the reason Lexus has done so well since intro. Their cars may not be as interesting as Benzes or Jags, but their service is almost uniformly top notch; I have yet to hear of a serious complaint about any Lexus dealer though I'm sure they have their share, too.

    As for my Audis, things would break or wear out, I thought, prematurely. Lots of them were little things like electric switches, relays, etc. I don't think this has to do with poor service/maintenance, but lack of quality suppliers or poor design. Maybe the Euro experience is different b/c they don't buy all those gadgets over there? Hubs, bearings would also wear out and make noise, though this could be service/maint. related. Let's see, what else? Trans cooler leaking trans fluid into coolant and vice versa, water pump failure at 52k miles, leaky gaskets.... It's almost enough to want me to forget Euro cars and go w/ an Acura or Lexus.
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    I was just reading the last posts, since I am thinking about buying an Audi A8 and noticed your comment about going into a Lexus or Acura which to me is of no consequence other than they too break down, the friend of a friend of mine bought a preowned Lexus from the Lexus dealer with about 50 some K miles, all check out and with full warranty, to make the story short I heard he is having some serious problems with the car, left him stranded on the Interstate twice and the car has been in the shop several times for days at the time, I hear thinks like, not covered by warranty, waiting for parts, can't find the problem and so far he paid over two thousands for repairs, I guess the point that I am trying to make is that they are not infallible
  • I guess everyone makes a lemon now and then, even Lexus! Hopefully, the A8 being their flagship car won't have any problems. The issue for me there would be resale. I haven't checked recently, but top of line V8 Audis' values tend to plunge rather rapidly compared to MBs.
  • kiwi8kiwi8 Posts: 2
    any one out there paid at or below msrp for their e55 amg?
  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    Some comments on the discussion between pablo and need4speed.

    I took euro delivery of a 2000 E430 sport a little more than a year ago and I was really disappointed with the vehicle. The ride quality was very nice, but the cornering capabilities left me cold. I started investigating the possibility of buying the E-55 anti-sway bars and shocks and ultimately realized what a bargain the E-55 was, so I dumped my E-430 and waited six months for a 2001 E-55 which solved all problems. I too found the ride quite harsh at first, but after a couple thousand miles on the odometer it begin to soften up (or maybe I got used to it). There is nothing like its acceleration and handling.

    I had the same experience with Audio as others- great design and poor build quality. Worse yet, the dealers were not up to the task. Audio made a reputation in this country by offering German cars at 2/3 the price of BOW and Mercedes and at that price they could be forgiven their sins, but that price advantage is gone and the build quality is not much better.
  • By any chance have you ever driven a recent M3? (That's not a typo; I meant M Three not M5) How does the ride of the E55 compare? The M3 is my daily ride, and thus my only reference point. I think I'm willing to trade some raw cornering power for ride, but I'm afraid if I get a "regular" E, I'll drive it as hard as my M3 and crash it. OTOH, if I get an E55, for all that money it'd better not ride worse than my M3.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    While I haven't been in the new 300hp+ M3, the M3 in my experience is softer than the E55. I don't know many cars other than true-to-the-bone sports cars that have as hard a suspension setup as the E55. The E55 of course has a ton more horsepower than the M3, and thus to exploit the performance envelope requires that. In a German magazine, they rode the E55 versus the M5 versus the XJR and a Porsche on the Nuernburgring, a tricky closed circuit. The E55 was the fastest... with a quirky and seemingly defect automatic to boot. So that tells you the design philosophy it has. To me, it is too harsh - but if you are into its no-compromise sports value proposition, I don't think it has a true competitor.
  • Pablo_1, I appreciate your input. I have to say I'm a bit surprised that the E55 is actually harsher than the M3. I have read that the M5 manages to handle about as well as the E55 (if not better), while also giving a rather supple ride. I thought for sure both would be better riding than the lighter M3, but I guessed wrong. Given that the M5 has about the same performance as the E55, I'm not so sure that a hard ride and high performance go hand in hand. I do think that for whatever reasons, the E55 chassis may not ride as well when tuned to the same level of performance as the M5, or maybe it's just differences in the ways in which the handling is achieved (stiffer springs vs. bigger sway bars? I'm just guessing.). Since I'm looking for as good or better ride than my M3, and comparable or near comparable performance in a bigger package, it looks like I may be heading down the E430 route. At that level of money, I suppose I may also consider the new Lexus LS430, which offers S class interior room at E class prices (so long as it has the Euro susp. package). But the LS430 looks awfully bland on the outside compared to the others, and I suppose there is still that German mystique. (Gee, I may also have *saved* myself $15k given that the E430 is less $$ than the E55. Still, I have to get over the idea that even at these stratospheric prices, the E430 is still not all that *special*. I mean, yes, it's expensive and all, but I still have the image that a *plain* E430 is something bought by someone well-to-do who doesn't particularly know or care all that much about cars or their performance. More of a status symbol if you will. OTOH, in my (admittedly twisted) mind, special cars like M5s, E55s and even M3s are cars bought by people who really know or are interested in outstanding performance and high quality engineering in their daily rides. That these cars are also expensive or are perceived as status symbols is not really the point.)
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    ...really. You sound like you might be the type of person that would love the E55, and some people here have stated the car loses its harshness after a while... My opinion is just a layman's, and I have not lived for a long time with either the M3 or M5 or E55. Truly, I think you should build yourself an opinion by taking these cars for a ride. The E430 might truly be too bland for you, and all I can say is you don't want to wind up second-guessing a $50k car purchase - you should make sure your every wish is made true vehicle-wise, and the best way to do that is expose yourself to the cars, sleep over it, and then make up your mind. Truly, it's odd how clear the choice becomes sometimes after driving the cars.
  • 4426444264 Posts: 67
    It's interesting some believe that the E55 gives a better ride than the M5:

    http://www.netspace.net.au/~pandalais/jrobbo/Articles/WheelsSeptember1999/Comparison.htm

    Personally, I find it much more comfortable in the E55 than the previous generation European M3. The E55 feels much more solid with better insulation somehow cushions my back side better filtering out general the NVH (Noise Vibration Harshness).

    I have test driven the LS430 and the ride is too floaty for my taste..
  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    I owned a 1996 M-3 and found the ride to be relentlessly harsh. I love BMW's and own a 540 wagon now and the ride quality is superb. I think if I had to choose between the E-55 ride quality and the M-3, I would choose the E-55. I drove a used E-55 with around 10,000 miles on the odometer and the ride was quite acceptable. My E-55 started out very very stiff and began to soften around 3,000 miles. The E-55 is the best all around compromise of practicality and performance I can think of and if BMW put the steptronic in the M-5, it would give Mercedes a run for the money. As long as I live in the city, I couldn't imagine living with a manual transmission. The steptronic on the BMW's are very aggressive and yield terrible gas mileage. I am getting 15 around town in my 540 steptronic and more than 20 in the E-55. Now if I could just blend the ride quality from the 540 onto the E-55, there would be perfection.

    The new M-3 is supposed to be very supple but with those 19 inch wheels I have a hard time believing it.

    In the final analysis only your own backside can be your guide.
  • I'm going to test drive the E55 and M5 and decide. There is a strong pull towards the E55 if only for the automatic, since I'm not sure I want to shift in bumper to bumper traffic anymore. But if the ride is too harsh, well, that could push me back to an M5, despite it's *shortcomings* (less room, poorer fuel economy). Meanwhile, before I get my hopes up too much, any idea whether either of these can be had for MSRP or anywhere near it? A local dealer in the SF Bay Area wants $25K over list for the M5. I could buy a nice Honda Accord for my kids for that money, and of course, that's pure profit that drops directly into the dealer's pocket. I like my dealer and all, but not that much! The M5 is nice (as is the E55, for which dealers are asking similar markups), but paying that much more than what the mfr. has put into it in terms of content doesn't make sense. Finally, you'd think that with that kind of margin and demand, they could afford to allow a test drive before buying, but so far, no one's offered me one. *Bench racing* can be fun, but not when the consequence is $75-100k car that I have to pay for and live with. I might just buy the Lexus just for spite! (with the Euro handling package, of course, though I'll bet it will still be more floaty than even a *regular* E class or 5 series. When I'm stuck in traffic, it'll be no slower than the E55 or M5 in the lane next to me, and the Mark Levinson stereo is better.)
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