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High Performance Luxury Sedans

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  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    I have purchased six Mercedes over the past four years (98 SL, 00 E430, 00 E55, 01 E55,02 CL500, 03 SL500) and over the same time frame five BMW's (98 M-3, 98 740, 00 540T, 01 330cic, 02 540).

    I have never had a single problem with any BMW. The 540 is the best overall quality vehicle I have ever owned. No Mercedes has ever been trouble free for me. The recent SL500 had so many problems, I am embarrassed for Mercedes.

    In addition BMW is consistently more fun to drive, more involving. I have not given up on Mercedes, but I am close.
  • wishnhigh1wishnhigh1 Posts: 363
    Yeah, but according to Merc1, Shiftright, and the rest of the "Heritage" lovefest, you are insignificant.

    Your personal problems with Mercedes have nothing to do with the success of the brand. They will continue to sell to thousands of people, despite quality problems that arent being addressed on either a customer service level or an engineering level.

    Personally, from what I hear, Mercedes problems are becoming more common and more embarrasing.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    But let you tell it, every single Mercedes owner has problems, and there aren't any that haven't have problems. Are you telling me that the above poster is now the norm for Mercedes ownership? How do you know MB isn't doing anything about their problems? When did any Mercedes fan, including me say that Mercedes doesn't have some issues? Tell me is the Lexus ES300 still a sporty car in your mind?

    M
  • wishnhigh1wishnhigh1 Posts: 363
    Well...honestly I have not met a single owner of a Mercedes made in the last 3 years(and I know quite a few, college town you know), who hasnt had their car in the shop for something minor within the first 15000 miles. There is always a small glitch, minor recall, or some minor irregularity that pops up.

    Im not telling you its the norm, I am telling you it is pretty common. Mercedes seems to do nothing about it. I am not saying they arent doing anything, it just seems like they arent. A true luxury car company with great customer service would do everything they could to get rid of their customers squabbles. That is why you hear complaining about Toyota sludge, but not so common is the Lexus sludge, even though it is the same engine with the same occurence of problems. Lexus has done something about it to make their owners shut up about their frustrations with the company.

    And no, the ES300 is hardly a sporty car. The E class is not one drop sportier than the ES though, regardless of its RWD. They are practically the same car, except driveline differences.
  • While I love the performance of my CLK 55, the ride is harsh and the road noise over bumps and other road glitches too noisy. My wife hates it.

    Thinking about an XJR as a potential compromise, plus more practical with fourdoors and a real back seat. Then I started looking at the new S-Type R. Pretty impressive on paper.

    Anyone had first hand exposure to one? Comparison of a 2003 S-Type R (dealer has one with 300 miles on it, bought and used one day by a rich guy, luxury tax etc... paid, can get it lower than list) to a 2001 XJR (he has one of these as well). Plan to do a side by side tomorrow.

    After a C43 AMG with numerous electrical problems and a harsh/noisy ride, and a CLK 55 with the same issues, I've got to get something with enough performance to satisfy me and enough comfort to satisfy my wife.

    What a life!
  • wishnhigh1wishnhigh1 Posts: 363
    Wanna give me your CLK55? I remember sitting around in moderate traffic in the bay area(55-60), and I looked in my rear view mirror and there was a CLK riding maybe 10 inches from my bumper. I decided to ignore him, but I looked again maybe 5 minutes later. I looked back, and couldnt see him, heard a swoosh, and looked back in front of me, and he was already in front of me. That was insane. I have always wanted one since. Just give me an expense account to deal with any "problems" that might arise:)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well guess what, it hasn't been the "norm" for people I know that have Mercedes. A few minor glitches as you put it are not enough to dim Mercedes for me and others. The trade off of driving one is great, minor glitches and all.

    "That is why you hear complaining about Toyota sludge, but not so common is the
    Lexus sludge, even though it is the same engine with the same occurence of
    problems. Lexus has done something about it to make their owners shut up
    about their frustrations with the company."

    I agree that Lexus is better at customer service than Mercedes, never said they weren't, but I would rather have a Benz and deal with it than drive something like an ES300 or LS430, and obviously many others do too.

    "The E class is not one drop sportier than the ES though, regardless of its RWD. They are practically the same car, except driveline differences. "

    I say bs, because the E with the sport package still is more engaging than a fwd, leathered up Camry. Lexus is about total isolation Mercedes isn't. Have you driven both of these back to back? Probably not. The E is no 5-Series, but an E430 for instance is more fun than ES300. Have you even read the reviews on the ES300? Things like "can't even provoke a twitch of excitement" come up. I don't recall that being said about the E, and something like that surely won't be said about the new E.

    M
  • wishnhigh1wishnhigh1 Posts: 363
    "I agree that Lexus is better at customer service than Mercedes, never said they weren't, but I would rather have a Benz and deal with it than drive something like an ES300 or LS430, and obviously many others do too."

    Well that is you. Honestly, there arent many Lexus or Mercedes models that strike my fancy, as far as driving experience goes. And, I would assume, most normal luxury car buyers would rather have a car that doesnt need constant attention to work like it was when they bought it. Same goes with customer satisfaction.

    "I say bs, because the E with the sport package still is more engaging than a fwd, leathered up Camry. Lexus is about total isolation Mercedes isn't. Have you driven both of these back to back? Probably not. The E is no 5-Series, but an E430 for instance is more fun than ES300. Have you even read the reviews on the ES300? Things like "can't even provoke a twitch of excitement" come up. I don't recall that being said about the E, and something like that surely won't be said about the new E."

    If you value driving excitement, why are you even interested in Benz's? Benz'z, even with the sport package, are still snore-mobiles. The ONLY excitement they have ever offered me was the engine. I can get a powerful engine in a Camaro.

    I totally understand the way you are thinking, about putting up with a Benz because you like it. I would do that with an Audi. The difference between me and you, is that I dont think Benz driving excitement is worth ANYTHING more than Lexus driving excitement(or lack thereof).

    What I dont understand about you, is how you can gloss over multiple comments from multiple owners on multiple discussion topics, and say that Mercedes quality has not gone downhill, and that they dont have reliability problems.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    For the last and final time. I have clearly, emphatically stated over and over that Mercedes-Benz has problems. I NEVER, EVER said they didn't.

    What I take issue with is people like you who constantly harp about things and totally blow them out of proportion. There are people on Edmunds who post about not being able to defog the windshield on their Benz and that is supposed to be MB's fault. That is BS. It's amazing to read that some even blame MB for the car getting hit by stones/rocks out on the open road. People who complain about hard seats, but bought a 50K car without an extensive enough test drive. Plum ridiculous.

    You and others have tried to imply that every Mercedes-Benz model is lower in quality than Korean cars. The truth of the matter is that MB has two models with problems, the ML and C-Class. There are a few links posted in other Benz - Bashing topics here that clearly point this out, yet you and others ignore that those same articles put the S and E-Class cars "right with the top cars in their classes".

    If they don't offer and excitement to you, then thats you. Excitement is not just about what corners the best. I like Mercedes-Benzes for their style, quality, features, engineering and simply for the way they drive. Make no mistake I'm not just a Benz fan, I'm a German car fan. My ideal garage would include an Audi and a BMW too, but for pure luxury I find a Benz more engaging than a Lexus. With all Lexuses, except maybe the IS300 you get nothing, no engine sound, no feel for the road, nothing. The LS430 drives like a coffin and tends to look like one compared to say a S500 Sport. The ES300 is more of the same.

    I think the best thing here is to just agree to disagree, on what exactly I'm not even sure at this point other than it being basically a preference difference between you and I.

    M
  • wishnhigh1wishnhigh1 Posts: 363
    #3325 of 3702 worn ball joints by rolands May 10, 2002 (12:52 pm)
    Has anyone heard of ball joints wearing out on a 97 E320 with 60K miles? I just got my car back from the dealership for an oil change and was told that they are worn out. They also said it would cost $1200 to replace and realign. This is freaking ridiculous.
    ----------------------------
    #3329 of 3702 michelin by jamesr88 May 11, 2002 (05:53 pm)
    just replaced the stock continentals on my e 00430sport with michelin sport a/s . what a difference in ride, handling and noise. bottom line just pay extra and get them. I also agree with caution on the purchase of the new e in first year. i have gone through 2 batteries, 2 phones, one replaced instrument cluster and dash due to loss of seal on passenger air bag , new fuel sensor will get new ash tray as lighter is stuck(never used). still love the car but am glad i purchased extended warranty (lisa lehrbaum in CA)
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    #3336 of 3702 Flickering lights by charles62 May 13, 2002 (11:13 pm)
    Has anyone had a problem with the interior lights flickering on a 1997 E320? The car has been into the dealer 4 times for this problem and they can't seem to determine what's wrong. Last September when I first noticed the problem we replaced the altinator and battery which appeared to correct the problem. However over the past couple of weeks it has started again. I had to car in for service on last week and the dealer could not find any problem the battery and altinator tested fine. Any suggestions????
    ------------------------------
    #3344 of 3702 Slight NOISE by leo23 May 18, 2002 (09:09 am)
    My 2001 MB320 which I have now driven 10.000 has developed a slight whiney noise that appears when I accelerate the engine to about 20MPH. I noticed it right after my first oil/lube and tire rotation last week. Hany ideas as to cause, before I take it back to the dealer??
    ---------------------------
    I am skeptical about the new "E" quality considering all the electronic updates. M-B had been manufacturing my "E" for 4 years before I purchased my '00E430. Yet, I have had 2 replacement radios, a new instrument cluster, a new CD changer, a ESP fuse replaced and new dash.
    Think real hard before you spend $50,000 plus on the FIRST year of a new model. Remember, the new
    "C" had a lot of problems in early production.
    I believe with the '02 model year M-B has worked
    most of the bugs out of the new "C".
    ----------------------------------
    ----------------------------------

    I found all of these within 3 pages of looking around on the E class board. I can do the same thing on the S class board if you want. Surely you remember how V12 power got rid of his S600(purchased new), because the problems became too troublesome. These arent silly problems. Again, most people like their cars, but hate dealing with problems like these. How is stating that Mercedes has a problem with quality control "blowing it out of proportion". Do you not consider these legitimate quality problems?

    Maybe making a beef about faulty airbag seals is blowing quality problems out of proportion to you. If so, I'll shut up and go away.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Maybe you didn't read the first sentence of my previous post, I already stated that Mercedes has problems. What part of that don't you understand? I said that *some* of the things people complain about are silly. No, the things you've listed aren't silly, they're real problems.

    Naturally you'll go and find some of the worst posts possible. Tell me do you see any posts by owners that aren't having any problems? I can look through any topic here on any brand and find owners with problems. Period.

    "Surely you remember how V12 power got rid of his S600(purchased new), because the problems became too troublesome."

    I don't recall him saying that specifically, I recall him saying something about moving to the mountains and trading the S600 for a G500, and I don't recall him having but one problem with the S600.

    You can post all the posts you want you'll never convince me that MB's are junk or anything close to it. I've already stated that MB does have problems, so what you're going on about I clearly don't know or much care at this point.

    M
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    I utterly and totally agree with the fact that, in the US, quite often car buyers fail to truly assess whether certain attributes of certain European cars are right for *them*. It is *so* often that I hear people complaining about their 3 series being somewhat on the harsh side for California highways, and I amusedly tell them them "well, I doubt the sports package you ordered helped". I mean, if you know you're a sucker for voluptuous brunettes, why would you marry a model-thin blonde? Know thy likes, grasshopper.

    Yes, they are tighter (European cars, not model-thin blondes :), but there is a very good reason for that. And if it's *after* the fact of buying the car you discover the inadequacies of US roads, oh well, it truly is not the brand's fault.

    As to reliability, let us face it: *many* new cars from *many* brands will require you to go back to the dealer to get something adjusted anyway. It is mostly a matter of how the service department deals with it, and whether they iron things out at once. When I moved to the US, based on relaibility reports, I got myself a 2 year old Lexus. Guess what, the car was in the shop quite often. The car would not start 3 times when coming out of the mall. Lexus service was good, they were there immediately and got me going fast, so no major grudge there, they are good cars.

    And bringing up hyper-lucury cars like the S600, which is a low volume car, is somewhat silly. People also have to realize that low-volume $90k+ cars tend to have hick-ups, and since people that traditionally buy them have other cars it does not put them off. If you're the one-off customer that somehow wants to blow off $100k on a car, and yet absolutely and utterly need everyday driving guarantee, fact is you can't do better than Mercedes, because the other brands we're talking about here do not cater to that segment with as much choice as Mercedes does, and Mercedes does so *while* providing quite a bit of reliability. Go for a Maserati or Aston Martin or Bentley and you'll *really* learn to get to know your friendly service folk.

    And since this topic is about the XJR, E55 and M5, it should be noted these are all among the most reliable high-performance cars in existence, period. They are all day to day drivers. I know 3 people with E55s, and none of them have ever reported anything expect total satisfaction with their cars.
  • wishnhigh1wishnhigh1 Posts: 363
    Actually, I didnt seek out the worst problems. I typed in post#900(to bypass the new E class information), and searched the following 3 pages, and the following 3 pages only. Its not like I spent more than 20 minutes or so.

    The reason why I only chose E class information is because you think that the E class and S class are high up there on reliability.

    And, all I have ever heard you say is "I never said Mercedes didnt have its problems". Okay, here is your chance to say it...What do you think are Mercedes's problems?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The S-Class and E-Class are up there in reliablity as a whole, even one of your precious surveys says so. Why don't you read some of the links posted in some of the other MB-bashing topics. A few owners on a mesg board aren't going to convince me that the E or the S-Class are bad cars, because I personally know people with both who haven't had anywhere near the problems listed above. People who hang out here are more likely to post about problems anyway, hence one reason why people hang around sites like these..........to get help. The ML and C-Class have been MB's problems cars as of late.

    I agree as a whole MB has slipped in quality, but the E and S-Class cars are hardly lemons. I wish I could find a link because for 2002 the S-Class was second only to the LS430 in initial quality, for many (and me) that's fine because a S500 is so much more desirable than a LS430.

    Did you read the post after yours? Does it make any sense to you?

    Lastly, I've listed before what I think MB's problems are. I also stated what I would change at MB. I could turn this whole thing around in 2 years tops.

    M
  • wishnhigh1wishnhigh1 Posts: 363
    Fair enough. I think the E class is a fairly reliable car for the most part...but the problems that I do hear of are either serious or seriously annoying. Not something I care to deal with. Not to mention the cost of repairs...especially at dealers.

    Which post after mine? Care to point me to a number?

    Also, where have you talked about MBs problems and what you would change? Could you give me a link?
  • wishnhigh1wishnhigh1 Posts: 363
    BTW, you asked about me considering a C280 in another board. In an effort to not get the post lost in the million daily posts, I'll explain here.

    The compacts have always been my favorite Mercedes'. I liked the 190E, the previous C, and the current C. However I do not like Benz 4 cylinder engines. The inline6 is a sweet engine...the tranny(although automatic...blah) is pretty much bulletproof. It is also 4 door and can fit my friends.

    The big seller though is the bodystyle. Ive always liked the C class(check the E class board. I was ecstatic they changed the style to more of a C class style, while others were pissed off cause it looked cheaper). The fit and finish is pretty damn good, and the paint is very durable. Basically, this car still looks like it is new.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Ok you asked, this could be lengthy (lol).

    First of all I would, at the objection of every DCX board member, cut production down to a set number of units for each model. Mercedes is trying to do the impossible by producing 1.5 million cars with the same quality they did back when they were a building 800K cars a year.
    This would go a long way towards ensuring reliabilty and trouble-free operation. In addition to cutting production I would slow down the model introductions, Mercedes is rushing now. For example, there is nothing wrong with the 1998-2002 CLK where it needs replacing for 2003. I have read that MB has stopped their million mile testing of their cars, a big mistake. Only the Maybach has undergone such testing in recent years. I can't believe that!

    Next would be sheer build quality. There is no reason for a Mercedes NOT to be built like a tank. They were never out to be the lightest, best handling cars in the world, just the best built. The previous S-Class and SL were the most solidly constructed cars on the road. This needs to be brought back, but with lightweight materials, and less complexity. Mercedes-Benz was undisputed in chassis rigidity and now I read about squeaks, body-flex and rattles, unheard of on previous generation Benzes. I don't see how better plastics, and just overall tighter fittings are going to add THAT much to the price of a car that is already thousands more than it's direct compeition in most cases.

    VW and Audi do a great job here, but their profit margins are very thin and I think MB feels such thin margins are too risky, especially if you're selling LESS cars. That's a tough business case to make. The thing that really pisses me off about Mercedes' new policy is that with all of their cost cutting they're cars are still thousands more than the competition. Before nobody even questioned why a Benz costed more, because you could see why the minute you opened the door or sat down in one.

    Yet people by the thousands are still willing to pay a premium to have a Benz. If they ever loose this blessed position/status it'll be the hardest thing trying to get it back.

    Reliability and build are the biggest problems I see. Easily curable with the next generation cars. The new E-Class is the first new Benz that I've seen the writers say MB is getting back on track reguarding it's build. The SL has been mixed, some say it is up to MB's old standard some say it isn't. Pretty hard thing to do considering the previous SL was a tank.

    Mercedes IMO is still the leader in technology and innovation. Other cars have caught up with them on the safety front, though they still are first to market new ideas in that area. PreSafe being one of them.

    On less critical issues would be some equipment changes. For the life of me I can't understand what Mercedes-Benz has against offering a standard in-dash CD player in their cars over here. The 2003 E-Class is the only model so far I know that will so equipped. I just looked at the new CLK500 a few days ago and nope, it doesn't have one. Completely and utterly ridiculous. I haven't see the 2003 C-Class yet, but I have read that the S-Class will have a standard in-dash CD player.

    As far as handling goes, I'm satisfied if a Benz handles better than a Lexus if not as good as a BMW. I'm talking about their basic models or sport equipped models not AMG products. Benzes have never been handlers in the same sense as BMW.

    All said I still think they make a hell of a car.

    The previous C-Class was a good car. I too have toyed with the idea of a 2000 C280, but the oomph is missing compared the 1997 C280, it being the last year to use the inline 6.

    M
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    While we're moving away from the strict topic header, the subject about perceived brand quality is an intriguing one, and I'll add my 2c.

    I already mentioned the fact I bought a Lexus upon moving to the US for the perceived reliability. It was in the shop far more often than any of the 3-series Beemers I had before. But while getting service for the Beemer was a hassle (long wait, service with attitude), my Lexus service experience was quite good. You felt treated very well. That goes a *huge* way in making you overlook whatever whimsicalities any car might have at any point in time.

    I then got myself a '96 Jaguar XJS convertible. People were appalled, they told me I'd need a second car etc. That was the best car I have ever owned. Not one issue in 45k miles. Just regular service. Utter darling. I should have never sold it. But then I went an got a '01 Jaguar XJR (the reason why I freuquent this board). Several things had happened:

    (1) Jaguar had come out with the S class. The service department, which had been basically just catering to a few customers while I owned the XJS, now had far more stuff to do. By the time the X-type came out, the initial utter correctness and knowing *you* I had valued had given way to an ananoymous, hurried and far less customer friendly attitude.

    (2) The XJR had some quirks. Normal for new cars, nothing major, just annoyances. But in a $70k car, those become quite annoying when the service department becomes less thorough, and when they -for example- do things like breaking the loudspeaker as they fix a door-panel that seemed somewhat loose, and hand you the car back like that and tell you it is an 8 week wait for the louspeaker part. The issues the XJR had: an occasiuonal first gear hick-up in acceleration they were never ever able to figure out (it's like it totally cut off for a half-second when cold and you had to push it a little, which combined with the power provided a neck-snapping action), and a tendency for the rear tires to misalign themselves and eat through $400 tires within a few thousand miles. They claimed it was normal to go through $2,000 or tires every 7,000 miles.

    (3) I decided a sedan just wasn't me. I decided I liked convertibles. And decided I wanted an image change.

    Due to (1) and (2), Jaguar was not considered again.

    Not that I think anything bad about Jaguar, they are wonderful cars, and I would wholeheartedly recommend them on their own merits. I just think Jaguar, like every other successful and volume ambitious car brand, struggles with its own success. As it builds reputation and cranks out higher volume models, more people buy them, overwhelm the service infrastructure, change the brand's perception in its original owners' minds, and has to sacrifice some "values" for success. Welcome to the altar of market economy, where ritual sacrifice of core philosophies mostly goes hand in hand with success.

    Mercedes is a clear example of a brand where roaring success and more ambitious volume goals compromise some of the things that lead to the success originally. And we can't talk out of both sides of our mouths, denouncing this as car enthusiats, yet demanding it when we happen to own the stock of a company. It's one of the paradox aspects of market economy. Mercedes used to be a car nut company, and for a long time it build cars to a standard. But under market pressure, it has had to change and now builds things to a price. But does so while still being a major technology innovator in the car world. There is no doubt that Mercedes is a great car brand.

    I have always liked their cars. Never owned one, mind you, (I have an ML320, but that doesn't count as a car, in my mind) but that is for entirely different reasons.

    For now, I decided to check out of the brand bandwaggon and got myself a new Saab and a used Rolls. The Saab is quirky enough to allow for the relaxed, personalized service experience all over again. The Rolls appeals to the aristocrat in me.

    And I also learned that US roads suck. I got tired of front spoiler damage, and of doing 65mph on a car designed and set up to be driven at 155mph+. That is why I also have the ML.

    That's the car brand stuff in my mind, and how it has influenced my car choice path over the last few years.
  • paulchiupaulchiu Posts: 378
    Anyone with info on the schedule releases for these 2 cars. My lease on 2001 S500 is over 9/2003.

    Thanks.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    From www.autobild.de: The new E55 with its 475HP, 4.6s 0-60 and so on is supposed to arrive this autumn in Germany. I say put your name down *now* if you want to stand a chance to get it fall next year... :-) They say very late 2003 or even late 2004 for the BMW superperformance models.
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