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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,551
    Interesting - and good luck w/the MB.
    Did you test drive the new 4 cylinder 528i?
    - Ray
    Just curious .....
  • lawcarlawcar Posts: 81
    edited January 2012
    Thanks, Yes I did drive the new 4-cylinder 528i. I liked the handling of it (more responsive than the E350) and didn't notice much of a difference with the 4-cylinder turbocharged engine compared to my 6-cylinder 2009 528i. But there were a few things I didn't care for: the keyless ignition (I like to turn the key, and all of the BMW's have the keyless ignition); the start/stop (the car vibrated slightly, but noticeably, when you came to a full stop, although this feature can be turned off); the rear cabin and trunk were smaller than my 2009 528i and the 2012 E350. These things are personal and many people wouldn't mind them at all. Because I've had 2 BMW's before and never had a MB, I decided to get the MB.
  • pete51pete51 Posts: 20
    I could not agree more about your comments. I have never owned a BMW, but I did test drive one during our search. The BMW was like driving a sports car, great if that is what you want and the Lexus did have every creature comfort in the world, but Mercedes build the best all round car and they are designed to last for a long time. Yes, they have to go in the shop for different minor things, however for those that plan on keeping them for a long time Mercedes is hands down the best choice. I speak from experience in that we just gave our daughter our 15 year old E320 with 250K on it. We pondered and shopped around for a resale starter for her and found that it was very difficult to find anything that had a combination safety and kid appeal. Yup it is a 15 year old adult care, but as a kid she gets to drive a safe Benz and it is still rock solid. Took it on an interstate trip for a couple hours and I was able to set the cruise at 85+ mph and it did not shiver nor shake.
  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    Not sure where your ideas of creature comforts came from re BMW vs MB, but they match up pretty well. On some models, they're standard, but may be optional on others. Multi-zone climate control, heated seats, ventillated seats, massaging seats, seat memory, heated steering wheel, voice control, puddle lights, rain sensing wipers, lane departure warning, automatic headlights, turing headlights, fog lights, headlight washers, smart cruise control, navigation, and the list goes on...both makes have them available. But, both vehicles are nice. Any vehicle you want to keep for a long time will need regular dealer (or at least a knowledgable substitute) visits.

    Any modern car should be able to sit on cruise at 85 without shivers or shakes...it they can't, it's a wheel balance or alignment component, suspension wear, or adjustment issue. If you maintain your vehicle that shouldn't be an issue, regardless of the make - luxury or economy. Now, how quiet it is or how well it goes over bumps will vary, sometimes considerably, between make and model.
  • lawcarlawcar Posts: 81
    edited January 2012
    I meant in general that the BMW is not as "luxury" feeling as the others. For example, it is not rough but does not ride quite as smooth (that's the nature of the BMW suspension), doesn't have as many features as "standard" or as part of a single package, navigation system is more cumbersome than on the Lexus touch screen, cupholders not as user friendly, interior not as finely finished. Again, having said all of that, they are differents cars. Despite the above differences, I really liked my 2009 528i, it had enough features for me, I got used to the nav system compared to my previous Lexus as well as the cupholders, and I enjoyed the ride. By my comments, I don't want to dissuade anyone from the BMW. As I mentioned, one has to go and actually see and drive the cars to make their own decision. When I got my BMW in 2009, I test drove the E350 and definitely did not care for the car at that time (it felt clunkier), got my 528i and totally enjoyed the car.
  • pete51pete51 Posts: 20
    edited January 2012
    Ditto to Lawcar's statements, sounds like you are a big BMW fan. I have no knocks at BMW, but it does have a sporty feel and yes, I would advise anyone that is looking at any of these cars to find a good knowledgable independent mechanic. Also, I just did not want to state it, but the plus I was talking about was 105 mph on a car that has 250,000 miles on it for over an hour. I am sure most of the cars can do this I just would not feel safe trying it.
  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    I lived in Germany a long time ago for awhile...rode down the autobahn at 200km/h lots of times in various vehicles...if you keep up on the maintenance (and the Germans pretty much require it - their vehicle inspections would put 80% of our cars out of commission!), they work.

    FWIW, at the time, to pass inspection, they put the vehicle on a test rig that checked front/rear and left/right braking for balance and stopping power, ran the vehicle over a calibrated bump at speed to check the shocks and springs, and numerous other checks to verify that that vehicle was safe, intact (no rust holes were allowed), and ready to face their autobahn at whatever speed was available. Our typical vehicle inspection is a joke in comparison, but we don't, or at least aren't supposed to, travel at max speed for distance like they can in some parts of their country.

    MB went through a period where their design and quality was pretty dismal, but the newer vehicles seem to have come back. I think their stint with Chrysler helped Chrysler more than it helped MB - think they somewhat lost focus.

    This was awhile ago, I went with a co-worker from Boston to Syracuse on a business trip and we drove in his MB because it would end up about the same travel time, and it gave us more flexibility. At the time, MB's nav system used CDs. It wouldn't let us create a route the distance (barely 300-miles) because it required your start and destination points to be on the same disk, and the data was partitioned at the MA/NY border! Talk about stupid design! Then, that model didn't have dual-zone climate control, and he liked it cold. The seat heater wouldn't stay on...it was connected to a timer, so I had to keep turning the silly thing back on to keep comfortable. Little design decisions, very inconvenient results, not something I expect from a vehicle costing that much. Once you drive a vehicle for awhile, it's likely you'll find quirks like these on anything...it's just that I didn't expect them on the MB.
  • lawcarlawcar Posts: 81
    edited January 2012
    Some Japanese cars have touchscreen Nav systems which are much easier to use than the joystick on the console that the MB and BMW have. Although now the cars have voice control, which improve them.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 3,510
    Merger with Chrysler was not a cause, but symptom of Benz's troubles. I think at some point they started chasing revenue (sales) by all means possible - Chrysler was one, lowering quality to maintain pricing levels was another. MB were a some point beta-versions of their cars sold as fully developed. The attitude was "let the consumer come to the dealer for a free fix". Also, long-term quality idea was abandoned, as they decided they wanted to take care of the first buyer (two-three year lease), not second or third. It was simply irresistible to replace a 10,000 hr rated $10 relay with one rated for 3,000 hrs costing $2.50. Nobody can see it and if it fails before warranty, we'll replace it. But it bit them back big time.

    Those press releases or interviews with corporate execs from MB, VW, Audi, even BMW etc. swear their quality problems are things of the past. Then you pick up consumer magazines and there you go - not yet, still same gremlins in electronics, sensors, etc.

    2012 BMW 328i wagon, manual and sports package. No. sold in the US: 1. Probably.

  • abacomikeabacomike South FloridaPosts: 3,894
    edited January 2012
    I was in the car business just before retiring a couple of years ago as a manager of a high end new car dealership. In fact, I just helped lawcar with the purchase of his new E350 sport sedan, a vehicle I also just bought in October when the new 2012's hit the showrooms.

    I can't agree more with your comments about Mercedes back in the early 2000's - more problems with manufacturer buy-backs and Lemon Law claims due to a serious reduction in the build quality of Mercedes vehicles when they had purchased Chrysler. But, since 2008, there has been steady improvement throughout the line. I have owned a new Mercedes every year since 2008, and can attest to the build quality and trouble-free ownership experiences with them. This new 2012 is the best E class sedan they have ever built!

    I had a new BMW 528 (2005), 530 (2006 and 2007) and 2-2008 535's, so I can speak from experience regarding BMW and Mercedes. The 5 series BMW's were truly sport luxury vehicles. Had to lemon law the 2 535i's due to electrical and computer problems that they could not fix - and that is when I went back to Mercedes. The Mercedes E 350's since 2010 are truly magnificent LUXURY SPORT cars, which I agree completely with lawcar's assessment.

    The BMW 5 Series (535i) is more of a vehicle for sport enthusiasts who want luxury goodies as well whereby the E350 sport sedan (sport option) is a luxury sedan that has a more luxurious interior and ergonomics with sporty handling and styling.

    Both cars are great, but attract different kinds of drivers. Lexus (I've had 2 GS models in the early 2000's) is strictly a luxury brand with very little attraction for sport enthusiasts.

    That's why there are manufacturers who produce Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Jaguar, Rolls, Bently , etc. if there was little or no demand for these cars, they would go the way of DeSoto, Olds, Pontiac, Studebaker, Packard, to name a few.

    2014 Mercedes Benz CLS 550 - best car ever! 2nd best car ever, my 1967 Corvette Stingray Coupe with 435 hp.

  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    My biggest gripe with (almost) all luxury vehicles is that with my long torso, to get a comfortable position, I'm either having to crawl around the door pillar (on MB) to get out, or stuffing my head into the mandatory sunroof. While a few of the brands have occasionally allowed you to order one without the sunroof, lately that generally isn't the case. It's distressing when looking in their (German) home market, reviewing the available headroom, and find that that is without the sunroof, and the US (or anywhere) version with a sunroof has anywhere from 2.5-4" less headroom! All for something I personally don't use, don't want, and definately could use the extra room. I had an A6 a long time ago that I was able to special order without the sunroof, and it had (per the manufacturer's specs) 2.85" more headroom for the driver than one with the sunroof. That was a pleasure...I could actually get the seat up off the floor and move it around on a trip. Sitting, I'm a bit over 38" when sitting to the top of my skull, not counting hair. The headroom on the last MB E-series in the US had less than 38" of headroom. Without a sunroof, it was like 41". Can't get them here. BMW, similar, Audi, similar. I ended up with a BMW GT, mostly because it had enough headroom, not because it was the one I wanted. Decent car, but I'm not a great fan of RFT, which most (all?) BMWs come with these days, and no place for a compact or conventional spare. They're okay, just not great.
  • abacomikeabacomike South FloridaPosts: 3,894
    Great point! Moon/sunroofs were optional for many years and then manufacturers thought they were doing us a favor making them standard. You are correct - headroom is tight in the Benz. Nor only that, I only use the moonroof only 10 - 20 times a year. Too hot here in Florida and sun too strong most months. Why not make them optional and make leather standard?

    2014 Mercedes Benz CLS 550 - best car ever! 2nd best car ever, my 1967 Corvette Stingray Coupe with 435 hp.

  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    Last I looked at the MB, I had the dealer make a plea to corporate, but no joy. He told me that when it was optional, people would complain that it was standard on other brands they were looking at and said, why should we have to pay extra for it? To satisfy the typical lazy US consumer, they just relented. There is some economy of scale to just build them all the same, but my point is that they already build them without...it's not a big deal, especially with the computerized JIT manufacturing process that is pretty much universal with the manufacturers these days. FWIW, that 'standard' sunroof in my GT is a 1700 Euro option in Germany! I'd much rather spend that money on something else! So much for 'free' - people, it isn't free, compare apples to apples and you'd see.
  • abacomikeabacomike South FloridaPosts: 3,894
    If you look at the consumer ratings here on Edmunds and other sites, a common thread that is frequently mentioned is the lack of standard leather. For a luxury brand, one would think that US marketing tests would have brought this to the attention of corporate (limited head room and leather). As lawcar mentioned in one of these forums, power retractable side mirrors are standard on many luxury brands - but not Mercedes. Interesting, to say the least

    2014 Mercedes Benz CLS 550 - best car ever! 2nd best car ever, my 1967 Corvette Stingray Coupe with 435 hp.

  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    Blame the marketing department...it's not the engineers that come up with all the things.
  • abacomikeabacomike South FloridaPosts: 3,894
    Market analysts find out perceived consumer desires, wants and or Preferences and then engineering and designers create solutions. At least that has been the usual flow of ideas and advances. I guess engineering and designers can "create" and then marketing can "sell", but meeting needs seems to
    Be more logical.

    2014 Mercedes Benz CLS 550 - best car ever! 2nd best car ever, my 1967 Corvette Stingray Coupe with 435 hp.

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,902
    A reporter is working on a story about car technology and is looking for recent or current car shoppers for whom technology was a critical factor. Were you looking to pack your car with as much new technology as possible? Are there special technologies and systems that you care about more than others? And are you at all concerned about the role technology plays with distracted driving? Please send an email with contact information and a brief description of your experience by no later than Sunday, February 5, 2012.

    MODERATOR
    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

  • carolinabobcarolinabob Posts: 522
    The problem with MB and most European cars is that quality, reliability and dependability are far too inconsistent. This is especially so when you consider how long they have been in the business and how much they charge for the cars. The BEST German cars only rate an average on reliability and very few of them.
    In truth, MB probably never has been the reliability/dependability icon it is supposed to be. Their maintenance plans also call for replacement of many parts every 24,000 miles that other manufacturers expect to last 100,000 miles or more.
    Within 5,000 miles my 2010 E350 was recalled, the tilt component of steering wheel had to be replaced (2.5 days! after part came in), leather on $850 optional steering wheel shredded, etc.

    As for Chrysler fiasco, it could have worked but MB management in Germany tried to run the company to supplement MB products and make money for DAG. Sent Germans over here to run it. Fiat is letting the American automobile professionals run the company with input, assistance, money and products that complement Chrysler.

    BTW, a major factor in why people buy Lexus, BMW, MB, Audi, etc. is for the badge/name. They may deny it, but's its true. No star on front and back of my car and I would not have purchased it. Same thing for Lexus, Audi, Acura and Infinitis that I looked at.
  • We bought a 2008 RL used in March 2011 with 18,700 miles on it from an Acura dealer in Tucson, AZ for $26,000. It was not certified - we got an extended warranty. We have had it over a year and it is a GREAT car. Bought it after our son bought a used '05 with 28K on it in January 2010. We were so impressed - the AWD, sound system, Navi, back up camera, power rear window shade(great if you have little ones in car seats - especially backward facing ones), adaptive xenon headhlights, etc etc. - there is nothing missing on this car in terms of luxury. Performance? My husband had a guy in a Dodge Hemi Pick Up challenge him at about 35MPH. The Acura blew his doors off - the VTEC kicked in and the guy's jaw dropped! LOL! This car is no performance slouch - and we get 29-30 MPG at 75-80 on long trips. Styling?? Look at a 2005 - a 7 YEAR OLD CAR - and then look at a 2012 ES350 or a Hyundai Genesis - see any resemblance?? I do not understand maligning the RL. IT IS A GREAT CAR. Looked at a BMW 5 series lately? 4 cylinder engine standard??? Pulllease. We have had 3 1st Series Legends, a '94 6 speed Coupe, then a couple of Accords(kids were in college) and now back to Acura. The legends all went 175K plus without any drivetrain problems whatsoever. This car is the Legend all over again - but better in SO many ways. Buy one - you'll love it!
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,536
    I don't like to do this normally, but since you brought it up...

    Racing a pickup truck? Really??

    TL SH-AWD 0-60 = 6.4s; 1/4-mile = 14.9s; mileage = 16/24
    4-cyl 528i 0-60 = 6.0s; 1/4-mile = ?; mileage 20/30

    The 528i is still estimated, but the reality won't be far off. Clearly, the 4-cyl is not a hindrance if you want to compare to the Acura.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • michael0137michael0137 Posts: 58
    edited July 2012
    I am Michael's wife posting under his account - so don't anyone get confused when I said "my husband"! :P It was a bit juvenile, but hey it was a recently new Dodge HEMI V8 - 0-60 in 6.8 according to road tests.

    As for the BMW?? I don't care WHAT they do to the engine with turbo charging - it is a 4 banger. Acura has been constantly criticized for having a V6 versus a V8 - standard - and now BMW has a twin turbocharged 4??? Why aren't they being destroyed in the press? Advertising $$$$$$$ - that's why.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,536
    As for the BMW?? I don't care WHAT they do to the engine with turbo charging - it is a 4 banger. Acura has been constantly criticized for having a V6 versus a V8 - standard - and now BMW has a twin turbocharged 4??? Why aren't they being destroyed in the press? Advertising $$$$$$$ - that's why.

    That's not completely true. Acura has been criticized for not having a V8 as an option. All the competitors had 6-cyls in the base models, so that was never a criticism toward Acura.

    In other words, the competitors had optional models that were significantly faster than the Acura. So someone wanting more power had to look elsewhere. It has definitely cost them those sales.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 5,960
    Does BMW have 6-cyl options for the 3 and 5 series? I have just never liked 4 cyl engines, turbo or not, especially in upscale cars. Just too harsh and rough at idle and at start up.

    Love the BMW 6 cyl. I think BMW is making a mistake. Also interesting to note that Acura is doing the opposite in their RDX by going from a turbo 4 to a 6 cyl.

    Maybe BMW is trying to meet mpg goals?

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • ghstudioghstudio Posts: 968
    You might want to test drive a lotus....makes you think about 4 cylinder cars a bit differently :)
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,536
    Maybe BMW is trying to meet mpg goals?

    Oh, absolutely. That's why everyone is scaling down and adding turbos.

    Interestingly, I don't find my twin-turbo BMW I6 to be any smoother than my VW 2.0T was.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    Certainly...BMW makes both 6 and 8-cylinder versions of the 5-series, as well as the 3 and 7 series. So, you get to determine the amount of power you want available. But, with the turbocharger making so much torque at low RPM's (and it is torque that gets you moving), it makes most of the other engines look like porkers off the line. The BMW make max torque at around 1200rpm. Do you know where the Acura needs to turn to achieve its max torque? That's what allows it to go up a hill without downshifting, not Hp. That's what allows it to accellerate at low rpm, not Hp. And, with all that torque, it can cruise at really low rpm, saving fuel and lowering noise. How fast is your engine turning at 80mph? The BMW (6) turns less than 2K. That saves wear and tear and makes for a much more comfortable cruise.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,551
    'now BMW has a twin turbocharged 4??? '
    Actually the new BMW 4 has a single 'twin-scroll' turbo charger.
    'At 240 bhp, the 528i’s 2.0-liter inline-4 with a twin-scroll turbo'
    - from R&T
    http://www.roadandtrack.com/tests/drives/2012-bmw-528i
    - Ray
    Odd wording....
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 5,960
    How about the non turbo in-line 6? Has it gone away?

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    I think so, but not sure (at least in the USA). The EPA rules require some significant fleet fuel economy increases, and smaller is better. But to retain the same power, turbochargers are being added. The new 4 has more power AND torque than the I-6 it replaces and gets significantly better mileage. Things will continue to get tighter and tighter, and you'll see more tweaks to improve economy whether we like it or not.

    Many of the engines have what they call twin-scroll turbo, but it is just one turbo (while some models do have multiple actual turbochargers). There's a valve that adjusts to bring the turbo up to speed quicker so it can add power at much lower engine rpm than a typical single unit. This is less complicated than using multiple real turbos where often, one was smaller to get up to speed quicker, but the other one was larger to provide max boost at higher engine speeds. The timing on that type is messier, and you can have a hole in the middle of the power band. Things are much more linear with the twin-scroll design.
  • txscotxsco Posts: 4
    If this needs to be a separate thread, just let me know. Currently own a 2011 MB E350; I like the car very much, but would like to have a bit more power. Have a chance to purchase a 2011 E63; I've read everyting I can on this vehicle, taken a test drive, etc, but was seeking some advice from owners. It's a lot more money-is it worth it? I really liked the car, but any and all advice is appreciated.
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