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Luxury Performance Sedans

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  • richcreamrichcream Posts: 205
    "Yeah. But we got the Devil Rays."

    LOL. You got me there. Sadly.
    $200 million for last place....arrgh :sick:

    Like having an SL65 AMG that for whatever reason can't outrun....well, much of anything. Torre's flaws are beginning to show. Good thing we got rid of that bum Leiber (5-1 with Philly.) :(
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    Raising my hand too as someone that does change to winter tires.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Sounds like you guys got off pretty fortunate with your All-roads. Though I suppose that even if 15% or more of owners are reporting problems in several areas, I suppose that leaves 85% who arent.
  • shivanshivan Posts: 30
    So can an m35 sport with a good set of 19" winter tires provide grip in snow and rain similar to the m35x with all season tires? Can anyone in the Northeast who puts a lot of miles on in the winter with a luxury RWD car and snow tires comment on their experience.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,092
    I hope I am not guilty of bashing Audi, BMW or Mercedes -- even though I did not select a German for this next cycle. I also hope all those who seem to "dis" the Germans for their reliability issues understand that -- speaking personally -- the reliability legends (and I assume they are true) are good to know and if I experience the reliability will be "icing on the cake." Yet, I would have not selected the Infinti over the Audi (or perhaps another German if there had been one on my radar) solely on reliability ratings. Indeed, reliability [ratings, history, etc]would not have been an attribute that would have influenced my decision in any substantive way.

    Yet the German reliability bashing -- even though it appears that it is far more subtle and civil than in prior years -- continues. Those of us with German cars -- even though we did move away from German cars -- who have had positive experiences with them sometimes are hammered by the "I'll pass you sitting at the dealer in my fill-in-the-blank Japanese LPS."

    Finally, some information that may suggest that you might not have to exclude German cars from your LPS shopping list after all (unless your decisions, like mine, were based on what I keep calling the "value proposition.")

    Here goes:

    "According to a survey from German auto breakdown company ADAC, the most reliable cars in five out of seven categories are either Audis or Mercedes, with the former taking top bragging rights with three first places."

    Cliky here, boys and girls:

    link title
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    One thing I'd say is that 19's are a little wide for winter. I have 18's on my 545 in the summer, but switch them to 17 inch winter tires. Generally, wider is worse in the snow.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,092
    As a practical matter, the M35 sport would probably need to have the tires and wheels minus sized (less than 19" wheels and skinnier tires, but still in appropriate proportion to keep the speedo and computer happy).

    I would also venture that you would need to use "winter tires" on all four wheels, in the minus size as noted above to improve upon the AWD w/all seasons. Now if you live where there is heavy snow (I know the Northeast almost certainly does)and not great road management and snow clearing (can't comment on this, but I assume the NE is pretty good in this regard) -- you might need winter tires on the M35X, too.

    I only know where I live (SW Ohio) and drive -- as far east as Pittsburgh and as far north as Cleveland. I took my A/S equipped allroad to Cleveland several times during the winter and never had a problem even during some pretty nasty lake effect snowfalls (but the Cleveland road management is very good, generally speaking).

    I would -- but you should know I am biased -- only accept AWD. If you want the look of the sport wheel/tire equipped M35, there are coming to market now some pretty glintzy (made up word) wheels that could make the M35X have "the look" -- and with 19" UHP tires you would get pretty close to the handling of the M35 sport and have your AWD to boot.

    Of course, you almost certainly would still have to change to the factory AWD wheels and tires during winter (if you have any more than moderate snow and if you have very low temps -- summer rubber doesn't like the cold, either).
  • bw45sportbw45sport Posts: 151
    "According to a survey from German auto breakdown company ADAC, the most reliable cars in five out of seven categories are either Audis or Mercedes, with the former taking top bragging rights with three first places."

    Unfortunately Mark, if I recall, the survey was looking at breakdowns, instances where aid is required to move the vehicle. I'm not as familiar with Audi as I am with Mercedes and BMW but I'm sure that Audi is like the other two in that tow trucks are rarely required.

    The problems that are currently haunting MB and BMW and turning customers off are more of an electrical nature. The cars run but features, some of them critical to the operation and safety of the car, e.g. - Sensotronic braking on some MB's, fail. Don't I feel comfortable knowing that my electronic nightmare relies on brake-by-wire?

    Mercedes has been publicly stating how they recognize that reliability is important and a return to quality is now, pardon the Ford phrase, "Job One". Their results don't match their proclamations however. After suffering an embarrassing 25 problems per 100 new vehicles in MY2003 they've stepped up their quality control and are now averaging ONLY29 problems per vehicle in MY2004. BMW has followed suit with their MY2004 vehicles averaging more problems than their MY2003. If they keep working at it they may join Mercedes at the bottom of the pack.

    Mark, as an Audi loyalist, you'll see that Audi has "walked the walk" in regards to improving initial quality. I believe they are near the top of the initial quality rankings with only 11 problems per 100 vehicles.

    Reliability has never been the single most important factor when I've purchased new cars but I think you would have a slightly different opinion of the importance of this factor if you were to experience what I have with my last two Benzes and last BMW.

    My BP tends to rise when I think of the pitiful quality of the SL500 I have. Since this car continues to be on the Edmunds Editors Most Wanted List I'd be happy to unload it on any Edmunds editor that wants one.

    For now, I'll enjoy my M45 Sport that some feel may not be as "elegant" as the German cars. Prestige? The three-pointed star and roundel carry little prestige when they're in the shop.

    The Japanese bashers can continue to throw their barbs about owning a $50k Nissan but I'll be smiling ear to ear because they actually make a car that's worth it regardless of the badge that adorns it.
  • bartalk3bartalk3 Posts: 692
    The Road and Track comparo of the Infiniti M45, BMW 545, and Lexus GS430 (June issue) is, I think, the best, fairest, and most balanced review of these cars to appear in print. They've got the strengths and weakneses of each car down pat. I think after reading this review you could buy any one of these cars and know exactly what you're getting, with no surprises.
  • nmdrivernmdriver Posts: 23
    "Can an M35 sport with 19" winter tires provide grip similar to the M35X with all season tires?"
    Very good question. There are really two things you need to look at: traction and turning/stopping. With regard to traction, there is no comparison. On a number of occasions I have moved from a RWD or FWD car with winter tires and traction control to an Audi or Subaru with AS tires. There is no contest. AWD wins hands down! In fact, there are times when no RWD or FWD car with any sort of tires can make it up (or down) the hill near our house in Santa Fe.
    The same thing is true when you hit an ice patch or standing water at speed. Full time AWD will pull you right through. RWD or FWD -- even with the best traction control -- can still get you in trouble.
    The second thing is turning and stopping. Here, good winter tires make a big difference on ANY car.
    In addition, the other posts are right on about tire size. A Cayenne S or a BMW X5 with their big wide tires are helpless beasts in snow. Switching to winter tires tames them, but does not cure them.
    My recommendation: if I lived in the mid-Atlantic states (as I did for years), I would go for the M35x and leave the AS tires on year round. The extra traction and stability may save your life, not only in snow but in rain and other kinds of slippery conditions as well.
    If I lived in New England, I would swap the AS tires for summer performance tires when I took delivery of the car and spend $1000 or so at the Tire Rack for a second set of wheels with Blizzaks for winter use. It is not as expensive as you think. If you keep your car for some time, every mile you drive on the winter tires is a mile you are not driving on the summer tires. And, when you go to sell your car, you can always sell the winter wheels and tires on ebay and recoup part of your investment. (I have done this twice.)
    What I would NOT do us to put wide 19" winter tires on the M35 sport. As the guys tell you: narrower is better for winter.
  • warthogwarthog Posts: 216
    nmdriver wrote: " What I would NOT do us to put wide 19" winter tires on the M35 sport. As the guys tell you: narrower is better for winter."

    While I live in a warm climate and have no experience with summer vs. winter tires, the quoted statement seems to be at odds with the laws of physics. Can someone explain or refute?
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 590
    I didn't mean to imply AWD is useless, I just think AWD alone means little if you live in the snow belt...
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 590
    i dont remember saying awd cars, i just said AWD, but if I did say AWD cars, i apologize...

    ksso
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Hey Bartalk3.
    Do you by chance know when the June Road and Track hits the stores?
  • bartalk3bartalk3 Posts: 692
    hpowders,

    When R&T is available probably depends where in the country you live. I'm in the midwest and got my copy today in the mail and noticed also that it was available at the local Borders. Actually, you should be able to get it any day now, wherever you live. They tested just those three cars (excluding the RL, the STS, Jag, and others), but did a really good job with all three.
  • jjacurajjacura Posts: 808
    take a minute or 2 to read this....it is the best description I've read on the RL's AWD system.
    http://www.vtec.net/articles/view-article?article_id=264589&page_number=3
  • rich545rich545 Posts: 386
    The larger surface area allows the tire to plane more on snow. Think of a toboggan vs. those sleds with the thin blades on them for steering. The toboggan is fine if you're going straight down the hill, but the thinner blades on the other sled steer a lot better if you have to turn at all. Same is true of wider tires in rain. They hydroplane much easier than thinner tires. The opposite is obviously true in clear weather. The larger surface are offered by wider tires means you have more rubber in contact with the pavement so the car handles better.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,092
    This street shoes vs snow shoes.

    If you are attempting to go in the snow on street shoes you may sink. However, snow shoes will allow you to walk on the snow.

    You want to have as much traction as possible.

    You do not want to walk on top of the snow.

    Wide tires are like snow shoes.

    Skinnier tires allow you to move forward by sinking.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,092
    My personal experiences with my Audis have been overall very positive.

    I brought the article to the attention of this erudite group to generate conversation.

    It worked.

    I could have terrible experiences with my new M35X, I will be very pleased if I have reliability equal to my Audi.

    I am sorry your MB is a problem.
  • drtraveldrtravel Posts: 395
    Once again....how about a V6 comparison? Considering that both Lexus and Infiniti expect to sell over 75% of their GS's and M's with V6s - don't know about projected 5 series sales but I have to believe most will not be buying the 545. Why not compare what their readers will actually be buying?

    Just my two cents worth...
  • nmdrivernmdriver Posts: 23
    I, too, am waiting for a 6 cyl. comparison. (5, E, A6, GS, M, RL). That is what most people will be buying.
    However, I would throw in one more thing to make it interesting: since most people who are considering the 6's have also at least considered the 300C, this should be included as well.

    While I am at it, let me ask for something I really do not expect to see: since all the major players (Including Chrysler) now offer at least the option of AWD, I would love to see this be an AWD test.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I dont know about Audi, but the article seems to conflict with Mercedes recent quality reports. Perhaps the other poster was correct in that this article was referencing only cars that needed towing? The article specifically lists the M-class as a reliable vehicle, where as CR lists it as one of 5 or so "least reliable" cars for 3 years in a row. Mercedes definitely wouldnt be sending out "quality squads" to their suppliers and spending $600 million in recalls and repairs if their cars were as good as the article claims.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,092
    I posted the URL without any vetting of the article -- for all I know it was a paid political announcement.

    It is just that it seems there is a lot of German reliability bashing (not just here). When something like this comes along, I thought it would merit our review.

    I too wondered what the remarks about Toyota were about -- they seemed somewhat implausible.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,092
    . . .article 4 Feet Forward -- for those considering (debating?) the arguments relating to AWD (quattro is the focus) and LPS cars, this article may provide data points and viewpoints for the decision making process.

    Most of the LPS offerings now offer AWD (mostly with the 6 cylinder version) and their manufacturers and marketing/brand managers are finding they underestimated demand.

    When picking up my wife's new X3 a couple of days ago, I asked about the 525 and 530xi inbound inventory -- "every 5x we have coming in is already sold and we have already ordered our allocation of 5x's for the next delivery."

    When I spoke with the Infiniti dealers (two bricks and one clicks) they said that the M35X and the M45 were both selling above expectations. It does make me wonder if the M45X is possible (unless gasoline prices kill or slow the V8's popularity).

    As we may all know, Audi currently sells more than 25% of its cars with AWD -- and at this time, the A2 isn't even offered with AWD, so when the A2 model is dropped, it is only logical to assume the percentage will be higher and all evidence suggests that the new 40/60% F/R bias coming in the next AWD Audis will only super-charge this trend.

    IF BMW offers the 7 series in AWD and Jaguar (if it can afford to) expands their AWD (X) program, the transformation to "all AWD, all the time" will have taken another big step forward. Then if Cadillac gets its head out of its nose and kills Pontiac and Buick and offers more AWD across the entire line of some new Chevvies and Cadillacs (probably excluding the Corvette, of course) -- we may even save GM (for although the health care costs may be onerous for GM, I do believe a lot of GM's problems would minimize if they had products customers wanted -- increasingly AWD CARS -- not just AWD Trucks and SUVs).

    Perhaps Lexus has the right idea incorporating AWD and hybrid technologies in their Lux-ute -- where is GM in this regard?

    Anyway, I started suggesting that you check out the new Automobile Magazine (6/2005 issue) for a write up of "how AWD revolutionized the high-performance car," and that's where I'll conclude.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I dont know if an M45x is even possible. There are two stories as to why Infiniti didnt do one. The first is that Infiniti didnt think the demand would be enough to justify the costs, same reason (according to Honda) they decided against a V8 for the RL. The second is that packaging simply doesnt allow for the AWD gear to fit with the 4.5L engine. If thats true, I think you can pretty much rule out an M45x.

    I also wouldnt expect to see anymore AWD Jags, except possibly the "non-SUV cross-over" that they are working on. Its pretty clear that Jag is very nervous about this car, and they definitely do not want the Jag name associated with a traditional SUV. The XJ, XK, and the next S-type definitely wont have AWD (though the 500 derived Lincoln LS probably will), not until at the very least this aluminum platform is redesigned, and considering this is Jaguar, who knows when that will be. Jag was forced into AWD because of the constraints of the Mondeo platform. If they could've used RWD with it, they would have.

    I think a large part of GM's problem is that its cars suck, not that they dont have AWD. Altima, Camry, and Accord all continue to do well despite being FWD. Camry in particular is the poster-boy for how to design a car for this market. I think eventually there are going to be a lot more AWD cars, but its going to take a long time. Look at Subaru. In a way they push AWD even more than Audi does. Subaru doesnt sell a car without AWD, you cant say that about Audi. If AWD cars was what the mass-market wanted right this minute, Impreza and Legacy would be dominating Corolla and Camry, but it isnt quite working out that way.
  • I leased a 2004 E320 just over two years ago and I only wish I had taken the time to review forums such as this 29 months ago. I see the same aggravated customer complaints that I have experienced and I see the same lousy treatment by Mercedes and the Mercedes dealers reported on, by many unhappy customers.
    I have had numerous electrical issues including a defective stereo, headlights shorting out when I go through a carwash, mirror signal lights shorting out, front signal lights shorting out when the car goes through the carwash. The moonroof sticks open occasionally and just keeps opening up over and over again on its own.
    The rear struts both broke at between 10,000 and 20,000 miles. ( at separate times because they never fix anything even though they know it is defective). The front control arm on the drivers side was the last thing to just "break". Upon inspection they determined that the front coil springs were also defective. Upon tearing it apart further on my insistance they finally determined that the entire passenger side was shot also and they reluctantly replaced that also. The front end of this piece of crap car now clunks every time my wheel drops slightly into a road dip.
    The attitude of my dealer in Massapequa, New York has been one that would shame any legitimate dealer. They told me the problems with the radio was unusual which I since found out was very common for the series of malfunctions. The service manager told me that the electrical issues were unusual but my service advisor pulls a bag of blown bulbs out of his desk drawer showing me what a common problem it is. He also tells me he never saw these type of "minor" problems at a different manufacturing company that he used to work at. (Starts with L). The service manager tried to tell me that the bulbs did not short out but rather were just worn out. Upon my continued screaming in the middle of the dealership that THREE LIGHT BULBS (that is $274 by the way) cannot short out at the same instant as they pass through a car wash they finally sent me home with my three lights replaced under warranty. A couple of months later the service manager then tells me that the shorting problem was my fault because the car had body work (which it never had) and that the seals were not properly done. Once again they sent me home with my free light bulbs replaced because I refused to leave the showroom floor to discuss the issue. Amazing how many customers AND MANAGERS listen when you do this in the showroom!!!!
    The strut problems the same service manager tried to blame on excessive mileage (first at 10k, second at 20k, third and fourth at 70k).
    I almost forgot to mention the funny hydraulic sounding noise my breaking system has decided to start doing. Seems to be from the front and sort of sounds like hydraulics releasing slowly or sort of stuck and then beginning to release. Just another thing for me to mumble about for the next 6 months until I can dump my beloved first and last Mercedes.
    To my amusement and pleasure this service manager was dumped the last time I went in and I spent a few minutes talking to the new service manager. He confirmed the issues that I referred to and told me that they were not that unusual, unfortunately, for my year and model car.
    The unfortunate thing for Mercedes is that it was obvious that no one cares. I got through to regional managers who just send you back to the local dealer. I got through to a corporate manager who only referred me back to my local service manager. What they do not seem to care about is that customers like me (54 year old married professional) buy two new cars every 2 to 3 years.) I have owned Corvettes, Nissan 340Z, Saab Aero, Audi's, Dodge Stealth, Misubishi Diamante. Mitsubishi 3000GT, Subaru's, Mazda Millenia, etc over just the last few years and I have never had such a miserable experience, IN GRAND TOTAL, from all of those other cars and dealers combined.
    I now go out of my way to be sure that I tell my story to anyone who is interested as to what a lousy car Mercedes has made and most importantly what a LOUSY COMPANY MERCEDES has proven to me to be. Problems can happen, especially in a redesigned car, but the lousy attention to customer needs and problems, have to be deep seated in Mercedes, right from the top.

    NEVER EVER AGAIN. Buy any other car but don't get sucked and treated as if you are the problem. The repeated stories about Mercedes quality dropping fast are not exagerated.
  • I leased a 2004 E320 just over two years ago and I only wish I had taken the time to review forums such as this 29 months ago. I see the same aggravated customer complaints that I have experienced and I see the same lousy treatment by Mercedes and the Mercedes dealers reported on, by many unhappy customers.
    I have had numerous electrical issues including a defective stereo, headlights shorting out when I go through a carwash, mirror signal lights shorting out, front signal lights shorting out when the car goes through the carwash. The moonroof sticks open occasionally and just keeps opening up over and over again on its own.
    The rear struts both broke at between 10,000 and 20,000 miles. ( at separate times because they never fix anything even though they know it is defective). The front control arm on the drivers side was the last thing to just "break". Upon inspection they determined that the front coil springs were also defective. Upon tearing it apart further on my insistance they finally determined that the entire passenger side was shot also and they reluctantly replaced that also. The front end of this piece of crap car now clunks every time my wheel drops slightly into a road dip.
    The attitude of my dealer in Massapequa, New York has been one that would shame any legitimate dealer. They told me the problems with the radio was unusual which I since found out was very common for the series of malfunctions. The service manager told me that the electrical issues were unusual but my service advisor pulls a bag of blown bulbs out of his desk drawer showing me what a common problem it is. He also tells me he never saw these type of "minor" problems at a different manufacturing company that he used to work at. (Starts with L). The service manager tried to tell me that the bulbs did not short out but rather were just worn out. Upon my continued screaming in the middle of the dealership that THREE LIGHT BULBS (that is $274 by the way) cannot short out at the same instant as they pass through a car wash they finally sent me home with my three lights replaced under warranty. A couple of months later the service manager then tells me that the shorting problem was my fault because the car had body work (which it never had) and that the seals were not properly done. Once again they sent me home with my free light bulbs replaced because I refused to leave the showroom floor to discuss the issue. Amazing how many customers AND MANAGERS listen when you do this in the showroom!!!!
    The strut problems the same service manager tried to blame on excessive mileage (first at 10k, second at 20k, third and fourth at 70k).
    To my amusement and pleasure this service manager was dumped the last time I went in and I spent a few minutes talking to the new service manager. He confirmed the issues that I referred to and told me that they were not that unusual, unfortunately, for my year and model car.
    The unfortunate thing for Mercedes is that it was obvious that no one cares. I got through to regional managers who just send you back to the local dealer. I got through to a corporate manager who only referred me back to my local service manager. What they do not seem to care about is that customers like me (54 year old married professional) buy two new cars every 2 to 3 years.) I have owned Corvettes, Nissan 340Z, Saab Aero, Audi's, Dodge Stealth, Misubishi Diamante. Mitsubishi 3000GT, Subaru's, Mazda Millenia, etc over just the last few years and I have never had such a miserable experience, IN GRAND TOTAL, from all of those other cars and dealers combined.
    I now go out of my way to be sure that I tell my story to anyone who is interested as to what a lousy car Mercedes has made and most importantly what a LOUSY COMPANY MERCEDES has proven to me to be. Problems can happen, especially in a redesigned car, but the lousy attention to customer needs and problems, have to be deep seated in Mercedes, right from the top.

    NEVER EVER AGAIN. Buy any other car but don't get sucked and treated as if you are the problem. The repeated stories about Mercedes quality dropping fast are not exagerated.
  • drtraveldrtravel Posts: 395
    Here's my E320 tale of woe:

    Fixed under warranty:

    8.2K Replaced trunk lock assembly
    22.4K Replaced rear tail light lamp unit
    27.6K Replaced front windshield (cracked because the car's shell flexed)
    29.9K Replaced cylinder head front cover
    29.9K Replaced rear axle center piece (not sure what this was)
    29.9K Replaced auxillary fan belt
    38.7K Rebuilt automatic transmission
    38.7K Replaced automatic transmission shifter
    38.8K Replaced cylinder head gasket
    39.0K Replaced sunroof motor
    44.6K Replaced air mass something or other - adjusted a bunch of engine electrical sensors
    51.8K Replaced electrical wiring harness
    51.8K Replaced propeller shaft flex disc

    Paid for these:

    67.3K Replaced dashboard cluster bulbs
    67.3K Replaced turn signal (broke when they did preceeding repair - free)
    67.3K Replaced transmission shifter bushings
    71.9K Replaced stop lamp switch
    71.9K Replaced coolant pump and hoses
    Haven't fixed yet - rear view mirror is loose (need a new one), lower control arm bushings are cracked

    Plus replacing brake pads 8 times and rotors 3 times.

    I did write MB a letter complaining about all the problems up to 52K miles hoping that they might want to stand behind their products and offer me an extended warranty. Lexus fixed things beyond the warranty period as a show of goodwill. Their reply was that they couldn't do this (why not?). My reply was that they just guaranteed that I would never buy another MB car in my life. Had similar issues with my previously owned Porsche. The wife wants a BMW - understandably I'm leary of buying another high quality German vehicle.
  • nmdrivernmdriver Posts: 23
    If it is any consolation, you are not alone. Mercedes quality problems run across the entire product line and are world-wide. Most of my friends who have purchased Mercedes in the past three years have tales of woe. And, most of them say that they are not going to buy another.
    The problems appear to have started when Mercedes decided that it had to pay attention to costs. Unfortunately, a company with a tradition of engineering the "best", then charging whatever it cost to build the "best" did not know how to build a quality product to a target cost.
    What is surprising is that it has taken so long for this to catch up with them in the market. It is still true that if you are buying a car to impress other people, there is no substitute for a Mercedes or a BMW.
  • Sounds like I should quit complaining about my piece of crap 2004 Mercedes.... sounds like I got the "GOOD" one!!!!!!!!!!
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