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High Performance Luxury Sedans

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  • 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.)
  • I also have a hard time believing that demand is that strong for the M5. After all, how many people can afford one, and also be interested in all that performance and be willing to shift gears?
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    You can get the M5 and E55 for MSRP, but you'll have to wait a long time for it to arrive, then. It's the instant gratification that will cost you - those models they claim to have bought themselves very expensively somewhere. And don't forget that thos ethat discover they want an M5, E55 and to a lesser extent the XJR *really* want one. It's more of an entusiast crowd, and the cars are kept in short supply. Again, one of the things that rub me the wrong way about the E55 and the M5 is that they represent such a blatant marketing move at creating a very high profit margin product out of a platform that in its base form ain't all that luxury-market. Sure, it's backed up with ultra-competent technology, but I don't like the idea of the $35k price stretch. Jag will get there when they supercharge the S-type, and I'll be unmoved by that car. Once I am there with the E55, I might as well look at the S-class, and be persuaded by its smoothness and interior materials and execution.
  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    I live in the SF Bay area and it looks to me that prices are falling on these cars. If you look at the first ten ads in the Chronicle under Mercedes, they are all AMG cars, and the laws of supply and demand will prevail.

    If you have any connections at a dealer, I'll bet you can get one of these cars for MSRP and not have to wait too long. Remember, the current run of E-55's ends this Spring and we will have to wait until the new E-class model reaches the US, so the next AMG E-class could be more than two years off and the price game will begin all over again.
  • Hello I am new here and just wanted to give my $.2 on the issue. I think that although the jaguar is not quite as powerful and maybe has a different ride feel, it's styling makes it more than better than the other two. Although I was considering taking an order for an M5, to wate the long for a 540 on steroids seems pointless to me (especially since I want an automatic any way). My friend has an e55 and he let me drive it, not only dose it not seem like a 70k car, I don't really like the e-class lines (although the 2002 ones look awesome). That leaves me with he Jag, but I dont really no if I want that either. I might just wate until the beamer m7 comes out (I already have a 740i sport, and would like to replace one of my other cars, why not kill two birds with one stone?), or maybe i will get the Jag afterall.
  • I think waiting's the key. Wait a bit while the Bay Area economy slows a bit, but not so long that the current run evaporates. I really won't pay more than MSRP, as much as I want/like these cars. Even when M3s were hot in '94-'95, I didn't have to pay above sticker for that. I'm willing to wait if that's what it takes. There's nothing wrong with my current ride. Now, if could only get a test drive out of one of these guys so I could decide....
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    Particularly, if you already have an established relationship with a dealer (meaning you already bought a car there), you should never have to pay over MSRP, I feel. My wife drives a Merc, thus I did get an offer for an E55 at MSRP last summer. They were somewhat disappointed when I got the Jaguar XJR, but hey, I have no doubts it is the better product for my particular taste and needs. I am more happy with it as the weeks go by, even when taller people jokingly complain about the rear seat, they do so exclaiming the interior is out of thisd world, and that's exactly why I got it. The XJR is also *more* powerful than the E55 (just to set coolmatt right :-), even though I must say I don't care about that - each of these cars has way more power than any of us will really ever remotely find use for on the road, really. They have so much power that in most cases acceleration will be a case of who has the better traction control system. Your turn it off, and all of these babies will burn rubber. As I was telling a friend I was driving yesterday, the car has a *stupid* amount of power, really. I have actually switched to driving it all smooth instead of driving around like an adolescent shooting off every traffic light. Particularly since my wife hates all the neck-snapping action... and anyway, each and every one of these cars feels slow compared to my motorcycle off a traffic light. :-)
  • noriknorik Posts: 2
    I went between the E55 and M5 for a while and took delivery of a silver 2001 E55 on 12/26. What a Christmas present. Well, actually its the wife's car.

    I can compare it to a 1999 328i:
    The E55 is much, much smoother and quieter and waaay faster. The instrument cluster and driver convenience options are much better. I love the voice recognition system, the SOS and tele-aid features. The seats are very comfortable, but don't feel like a Buick's. The whole car just feels right.

    I can also compare it to a 1997 911 twin turbo
    (my baby):
    The E55 is not even close in handling and accelleration. But, I'd rather take the E55 on trips lasting several hours.

    So, in my humble opinion, it falls right in between.

    Was going to get an M5, but the dealer markup of $10K to $20K just didn't sit right with me. I paid MSRP for the E55. I am glad I went with Benz, it looks better and feels better. Just my .02c worth.
  • Which dealer did you choose for your E55? My experience in looking at M5s has been the same. All ask for $10-25k over msrp (though I don't know if they really get it). The one dealer I've visited re an E55 told me they were asking msrp +$10k.
  • noriknorik Posts: 2
    I have been to two local BMW dealers (Irvine BMW, Irvine Ca and Crevier BMW, Costa Mesa Ca.) both wanted $10K over if I ordered the car and waited the 6 to 12 months to get it. If a car came available earlier it was $15K to $20K over sticker. This really left me with a bad feeling towards those dealers and towards BMW as a corporation. They should prohibit their dealers from doins this, especially if one orders the car. I was a BMW guy, owned a 318is (new) and a 328i (new). No more BMW for me.

    The two Mercedes dealers I went to were Mercedes Benz of Laguna and Caliber Motors of Anaheim Hills. Both did not charge over MSRP if the was ordered through them, even if one became available earlier.

    I got mine from Caliber Motors.

    Norik
  • Thanks for the info. I'm in Nor. Cal. and the one BMW dealer I've been to so far on this (BMW of SF) up here is asking similar markups for M5s (+$25k on a new one; they had a used one that they were asking "only" +$10k over MSRP!). I've only been to one MBZ dlr. in silicon valley (Autobahn Mtrs.) and they were asking +$20k for a USED '01 E55. Looks like even a first class ticket on the United Shuttle will pay for itself many times over. Dlrs. can't be forced into charging what the mfr. wants; that's called price fixing even tho in this case, it would result in lower prices to the consumer. Oh well... may be letting my fingers do the walking...
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