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Infiniti M35/M45 vs BMW 5-Series

jtimagesjtimages Posts: 8
edited March 10 in BMW
Having trouble deciding between Infinity M35 sport with tech and nav and 2007 BMW 530 with premium package.I`ve gone back and forth between the smooth ride but understated interior of the BMW vs. the technologically advanced M35.Anyone with similar dilemma please help


  • ghstudioghstudio Posts: 930
    We have a 530 coming off lease next month. We were going to get a new 530 but found that BMW has fixed seat belt mounts on the door pillar and it cuts across my wife's neck..she found the car undriveable. I found the navigation system somewhat of an's the same as the one we have in the current 530..totally knob/button voice controls. Looked at the M35 and found that for about $10K less, I got a much more technologically current car. My M35 is on order to replace the 530. To me, the M35 sport is only a personal taste "looks" option...I found it had a little harsher ride, but I did like the aluminum dash. Living in Sarasota, I don't think I'll ever need AWD or the steerable rear to go around those sharp country corners or up the hills in the snow :) One final note, I'm a realtor and the M35 has much more room and easier back seat access than the BMW 5's.
  • vsaxenavsaxena Posts: 201
    The Infiniti's drivetrain and suspension do not have the refinements of the inline BMW engines. However, the Japanese lux mobiles are typically better when it comes to electronics.

    The price difference is not relevant if you are leasing. BMW cars have high residuals and invariably the lease payments for a $50K BMW and a $40K competition will come out in the same ball park. If you really want to save on a lease, do European Delivery! And BMW has free maintenance for the first four years.

    Infiniti shares a lot of stuff with its corporate cousin, Nissan. It is not designed to be a performance car from the bottom-up like the BMW is.
  • jdmassjdmass Posts: 11
    Agreed! The technie features of the Infiniti have an edge over the BMW -- better NAV, rear-view camera, and the Infiniti is probably a better ride overall for passengers. BMW, on the other hand, continues to be more of a true drivers car. They seem to me to be less willing to compromise on the driving experience sometimes at the expense of other comforts. They certainly don't do everything right (e.g. iDrive was a mistake, their cupholders STILL suck) and they are priced higher than Infiniti, but their engines are superior, they still offer a stick, and their handling is very well refined.

    That said, the Infiniti is not far off and you won't go too far wrong with either -- it is just a matter of what appeals most to you.
  • jtimagesjtimages Posts: 8
    Thanx for the message, it seems every day I`m changing my mind.I am very concerned about the low gas mileage everyone seems to report on the M. That may in itself be the deciding factor.
  • blov8rblov8r Posts: 567
    JT: For me it was a no-brainer. IMO, the Infiniti's overall quality bumper-to-bumper is substantially superior to the Bimmer. Reliability is better, and that goes for MB as well. Furthermore, every article written since introduction a year ago comparing cars in this category found the M35 and M45 superior to all it's competitors ... and for less money. I know you're not looking at Lexus, but for the first time last month the M has passed the Lexus GS in sales ... and that says a mouthful. Bart :shades:
  • blov8rblov8r Posts: 567
    JT: 1) How much difference is there REALLY between the mileage delivered in the M v. the 530? I don't know the answer, but I doubt it's material. 2) Looking at cars in this price range gas mileage shouldn't be a factor. Bart :shades:
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    I've liked reviews by the guy who writes for USA Today. About the M35, he wrote: "In rare, wonderful moments, a car shows up that is exactly what it's supposed to be, does just what it's supposed to do and delights well beyond expectation ...The new M is the best thing Infiniti's done and comes close to making BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Cadillac irrelevant. It offers as much panache and performance as those do with fewer privations, at sometimes-lower prices."
  • bargamonbargamon Posts: 302
    For me, the electronics are not important to me. I won't get NAV, I don't care about that Rear View camera thing.

    No $2500 cruise control (have it on another car and can live without it), and no night vision, heads up display, or other toys.

    Its about the heart and soul of the car. First its the engine, then the transmisson, thent he suspension feel.

    THe BMW trumps the poser infiniti. Where do you want the technology? In the radio or in the engine?

    Looks are subjective. The BMW is daring, the Infiniti is very average. Looks like an Impala to me. THe G35, expecially the new version due this fall is a nicer looking design.

    The debate ends at the transmission where I like to shift my own gears and the M does not offer this choice.

    Is the M alot of car for the money? sure it is. It offers alot of "technology" for the money. Many folks like amenities which can add to the enjoyment of having a vehicle.

    To me, the inline 6 of the BMW is superior as is the road feel.

    The M's "jewel box" like interior is also not to my taste. I like a quality feel but low key appearence.

    For the money, I would take the M over the E-class mercedes, put it just ahead of the GS Lexus in value and drive, but not looks or interior. I would rate the M just behind the Audi A6 and the BMW.

    None of the above is a bad choice.
  • lovemyclklovemyclk Posts: 351
    "she found the car undriveable"... You may be the 1st human to utter those words!
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    "Infiniti shares a lot of stuff with its corporate cousin, Nissan. It is not designed to be a performance car from the bottom-up like the BMW is."

    In the Wards Automotive test of the Infiniti M, they wrote: "the new M35/M45 are the first models from the second generation of the company's lauded FM (front midship) rear-drive platform...The new M's real story is the sinuous FM chassis, the chesty engines and a tremendously crafted interior that's sure to spend a few long weekends in Audi's teardown shop." A related comment from another website points out that "It uses a much more rigid version of the G35/350Z/FX Nissan FM platform." I guess the assertion "not designed to be a performance car from the bottom-up like the BMW is" can be interpreted various ways, but a car whose platform evolved out of one originally designed for the 350Z fits my interpretation of "built from the ground up for performance.
  • ghstudioghstudio Posts: 930
    Actually, when you are "height challenged" otherwise known as a short 5' 0", there are a fair number of cars that are just hard, if not almost impossible to drive. Some cars have pedals so far away that to reach them you have to adjust the seat so far forward that you have the steering wheel rubbing your stomach. In other cases, the dash is designed very high and if you want to reach the pedals, you can't raise the seat high enough to see (well) over the dash...the 350z comes to mind here. In the case of the BMW's with the fixed seatbelt pivots, the seatbelt cuts into my wife's neck and it's incredibly uncomfortable having that belt continually rubbing on your neck. Sure, we could buy one of those clip on belt deals or maybe a cushion but in a $50K car, one should not have to do that. No the comfort seats don't help a bit...

    The net of this is that while she could drive the car in a pinch, she would not ever drive the car regularly because the seatbelt makes it too uncomfortable. Same problem, of course, when she rides in the passenger seat.

    My wife, by the way, is 5' and under 100 pounds. The BMW's are just not comfortably driveable by someone who is petite. I guess this another design feature courtesy of Bangle....way to go BMW. Our M35 should arrive this week.
  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    One reason I bought my M35x is that it was the only car I had enough headroom in...the insistance that this class of car MUST have a sunroof really cuts into that component. Only one offers it (well not really since nobody stocks them) and that is Audi. BUT, if you order it without a sunroof, you can't get most of the nice 'extras'. The BMW is just too small for me.
  • sagarchrsagarchr Posts: 23
    Having driven both and had my mind set on the 530, the thing that pushed me over to the Infiniti camp, was the April issue of that famous consumer magazine - they rate first year quality of the M35 as outstanding. The bimmer, only average. As a current BMW owner (Z4) I love that BMW feeling. But, not at the expense of visiting the dealer more often. My neighbors have a 6 month old 525, the service loaner is in their driveway at least once a month! I have had NO problems with my Z4 and that's how I want my next car to be.
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    CR report influenced me as well, but it wasn't only the prediction of greater reliability. In fact, when I read CR a second time, I saw (p. 14) that the survey was conducted in the spring of 2005. CR expects 2005 models to come out in the fall of 2004 and then CR will predict what we should expect from 2006 models (expected to arrive fall 2005) and not, therefore, survey-able in spring 2005. The M35 went on sale, I believe, in February 2005, so the 95% of of the owners of the M35 who reported having no problems during the survey period probably only had the cars for a few months. That's still relevant, but it's not the same as "first year" reliability.

    I was more impressed that 92% of owners said they'd definitely buy or lease the M35/M45 again, while there was not a single BMW for which 80% (CR's loyalty cut-off) or more of owners said they'd buy it again. 73% of V8 5-series owners said they'd buy one again and only 69% of owners of 5-series cars with the fabled inline-6 said they'd buy it again. 7 out of 10 saying they'd repeat might sound good, but the baseline is 50%, that is, about 50% of owners of any new car claim they'd do it again and the median for luxury cars was 73% in the CR survey.
  • sagarchrsagarchr Posts: 23
    Great analysis, thanks for the additional info. Did you get yours yet? I am getting quotes (not even pushing) of 599.00 on a M35sport with Journey for 24 months. 2200. down. Have you tried Carmax to unload your BMW?
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    What I did ... saw, on Edmunds that dealer has $4000 - $5000 profit to "play with". We agreed on a figure that was a bit over $3000 off MSRP. Then I asked if they'd just take the amount equal to the last three payments left on my BMW lease and pay it off for me. They not only did that, but also drove over with me to a nearby BMW dealer and walked me through (held my hand through) the turning in of the BMW. That amounted to about half of the $3000 off MSRP, so I really only got about $1700 or $1800 (I think -- don't have papers in front of me) off MSRP. I think the MSRP was $48,520 and the "selling price") what do they call it here ("Cap Cost"?) was really $46,800 (because about $1500 went to BMW -- I had reached the allotted miles and so would have incurred about $700 in excess mileage costs had I kept it).

    Not "clever-auto-buyer-of-the-week" material for Financial Times, but felt OK to me and covered the emotional bases.
  • vsaxenavsaxena Posts: 201
    The very fact that the car's platform has evolved from the one used for G35/350Z/FX makes my point. In the BMW line-up, each series (3,5,7) gets its own platform. In the case of Infiniti the G35 and the M35/M45 share the same lineage. However the size of the cars is very different. It is hard to get it perfect both for the mid-size G and the full-size M on the same basic platform.

    OTOH, the BMW 5 series (E60) and the 3 series (E90) have completely different chassis. They might share some of the electronics and other doo-dahs but the under the skin construction is unique to the car-class. That is where the "ground up" difference comes from.

    If you are looking for a the best driving experience the BMW is the one to get. If you are looking for off-the line power, electrical doo-dahs, get the M. Frankly the M styling is very dated compared to the styling of the E60 which is now being copied by a number of manufacturers.

    I also feel that the number of complaints about the initial quality of BMWs is exaggerated The recent J.D.Powers survey actually highlighted the fact that in the case of BMWs, a significant reason for lower initial quality was not real errors but users who were not sure how to use the product. Perhaps BMW over estimated the average intelligence of American drivers ;).

    The iDrive interface requires some learning to get used to, but is quite intuitive after that. It is designed to be operated while the car is in motion, unlike the touch screen versions in various Japanese models which require you to bend forward (another reason why the BMW is a driver's car).

    Finally BMW leases especially if you do European Delivery are very competitive. You also have to account for the free maintenance (everything but tires) which BMW includes. It is great to have Infiniti around to keep BMW honest. But at the end of the day, the BMW continues to be the ultimate driver's car.
  • jtimagesjtimages Posts: 8
    Well,finally made my decision.Picked up my M45 sport completely loaded.This car is a dream.Toys are awesome and so is drive.I`m totally happy with my decision.Got a great deal and look forward to driving every time I get in the car.
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    vsaxena wrote: "I also feel that the number of complaints about the initial quality of BMWs is exaggerated The recent J.D.Powers survey actually highlighted the fact that in the case of BMWs, a significant reason for lower initial quality was not real errors but users who were not sure how to use the product. Perhaps BMW over estimated the average intelligence of American drivers"

    JD Powers broke owners complaints into three categories: defects, malfunctions, and design. It's been assumed that iDrive design complaints account for BMW not appearing to offer higher level of initial quality. Breakdown I found doesn't support that defense of BMW:

    Brand-Defects-Malfunctions-Design Problems

    That doesn't negate anyone's experience of BMW as providing the ultimate driving experience for them.
  • vsaxenavsaxena Posts: 201
    Actually your data reinforces what I had said earlier.

    I am not sure how JD Power is distinguishing between Defects and Malfunctions. If you group these together the Infiniti score is 174 and BMW is 194. Though BMW is about 12% higher than Infiniti it is not a huge difference especially if you consider the "Made in Japan" factor.

    The biggest issue is in design problems where at 82 versus 52, BMW is almost 60% higher! The design problems point to some feature which the user did not fully understand (iDrive) or found inadequate (cup holders). Hence my earlier statement about different expectations of US drivers when it comes to the simplicity of the interface.

    BMW's first priority is the driving experience so any design trade-off tends to favor that. That means that an oddly placed window button or poor cup-holder, will be selected over the other design choices which might compromise the driving ergonomics.

    This is not to say that BMW can not improve the other aspects of the design. I am glad that Infiniti is around to keep BMW honest. But if you really enjoy fine handling and balanced cars, it is tough go back once you go Bavarian ;).
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