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High Performance Luxury Sedans



  • Well, it think I narrowed it down to the E55 and now the E430. My wife likes the E430 and it's a few $$$ cheaper. Still not sure if I want to take on a huge lease payment. Anyone have any thoughts on the E430.

  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    No doubt about it, great car, too. A lot of what can be said about the Beemer 540 can also be said about the 430 when you compare it to the E55. Less exhilarating, less exciting - but still more than plenty fast, really. Financially, it certainly makes more sense, in my opinion, but then again, passion is a very satisfying element when purchasing a car...

    You have narrowed it down to cars that are all very competent, even if they scale differently on the fire and passion scale. Personally, I find the normal E-class very corporate-PC-correct, and somewhat dull. But there is no doubt it is a great car, and probably you can spice it up some with Merc special parts and accs.

    Buy what's right for you!
  • shoesshoes Posts: 131
    I have owned both a 2000 E430 and a 2001 E55. They are completely different cars. The E-430 has a wonderful soft ride, almost like a Lexus. The handling is also soft and mushy. The acceleration is more than adequate, but this is not an enthusiasts car. Your wife may like it better because the ride is so compliant and the interior has the warm looking wood, unlike the black stained wood in the E55 (why do they think this makes the car look better? For my money I like wood to look like wood , not like cheap painted wood. My wife forced me to order the designo edition E-55 and dump my silver one for this very reason).

    The E-55 has incredible performance, much more than an E-430 and the trade off is that the ride can be stiff. My wife never complained about this, but I feel it is noticeably stiffer than a BMW 540 (I also have a 540 touring and I love the ride quality).
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I'm currently #2 on the waiting list for an M5 and my dealer expects I'll get my call within the next 60 to 90 days (delivery another 6-8 weeks thereafter). I'm having second thoughts - not at all about the M5, it's phenomenal. But with 2 kids, my wife and I are thinking of getting a Mercedes E320 Wagon, in which case, I may opt for the new M3 (a longer wait, but I'm not in a hurry). Anybody out there possibly interested in my spot for an M5? I'm in with the dealer at MSRP and would be reasonable in what I would give it up for (assuming the dealer agrees, which I think they will).
  • Shoes,Pablo

    Thanks for the reply back. I am really itching for the E55. I didn't like the way the E430 was very easy to move around with a less than stiff steering. My wife like it. I think we will make our final decision by Friday. So I hope to be a part of the Elite E55 AMG group.

    To be continued...

    Thanks again
  • 4426444264 Posts: 67
    kcsupratt, one advantage of the E55 over the E430 is its excellent brakes - a safety feature of course (!) And your will will obviously be much more nimble on the road and can get away from big nasty SUVs with minimal fuss.

    However, you'll probably have to concentrate more when driving the E55 as it tends to follow the road imperfections (more than the E430) as the car has rather stiff suspension and low profile tires.

    Good luck.
  • I, too, agonized between cars, but in my case, an E55 vs. an M5. A manual transmission was not an issue for me. Both my wife and I can drive a stick. I found myself weighing exactly the things people said on this board. Both are about equally fast. The M5 has more horsepower, but the E55 has better torque and a bigger engine, so it comes out a draw. The E55 has more rear leg room and a bigger trunk. It gets better fuel economy. The M5 has more driver control, a lot better ride, and better or at least equal handling. In the end, I realized that the things the M5 had going for it were driver enthusiast type traits and the things the E55 had going for it were, well, utilitarian type traits. One big issue was price and waiting. The E55 could be had for MSRP, and a few months wait. The M5 was in such high demand, I thought I had to go out of the state (California) to get one because dealers were asking (not sure if they were getting, but probably something close) $20k over MSRP and the wait was into 2002. Anyway, being a driving enthusiast and not ready to give up shifting for myself, I opted for the M5. I solved (or rather it was solved for me) the wait/$$ issue by being in the right place/right time to pick one up on the showroom floor for MSRP, in my home town no less. I can't tell you how you should decide, but in the end, it's your money, and a lot of it. The 540i and E430 are comparably priced, and I'd bet that despite its higher price, the E55 would be close in overall value, too, since I would guess it would hold its resale value better. Given that it's truly a matter of preference, you should buy what your heart says is the right car for you. Do try and take a ride in an E55, however, as you might find the ride to be hard to live with day in and day out. An E430 with the sport package (bigger tires, same springs/shocks as in a regular E430) might be a better compromise in ride/handling than the E55, but the E55 is way faster (but this is a plus only if the added acceleration is important to you). And if you're really into luxury, give the new Lexus LS430 with Euro suspension option a look. The Mark Levinson stereo is home quality (though the M5's M-Audio is pretty terrific, too), and the interior is much more luxurious than either German car. All the best to you.
  • You guys make it hard for me to not choose the E55 AMG. I am having the dealer get me another one to test drive again hopefully early next week.
    I just have a few more questions. I live in NJ and I was wondering can the E55 drive OK in a few inches of snow ? This will be my main car because my second car is a Supra TT and they can't can not be driven in anything but Sunny weather.
    Next Question, when I test drove the E55 and I thought it rode very well. But what I've been reading everyone is saying it's a hard ride. Right now I have a Maxima SE and I find the ride ok. I know I am not comparing apples to apples but how hard is the ride. If I drove it 3 hours would my arms be stiff and my rear sore. I don't want my wife to complain. She has sat in my Supra for about 2 hours and no complaints except getting out of the car :)

    thanks everyone again.

    To be continued again...
  • If you've driven the E55 and think the ride is OK, then maybe that's your car. I didn't find it that bad, either, but the M5's ride is just, well, better. I seriously doubt that you'd have sore arms or a sore any other part of the body after 3 hrs. of driving either car. If you drove the M5 for 3hrs., however, I think you'd have a permanent grin on your face.
  • 4426444264 Posts: 67
    I read an Australian magazine where they rated the E55's ride better than the M5. Well, I haven't been in the M5 long enough to tell the difference but I find the E55's ride totally acceptable as a luxury car. It's the lack of squeaks and rattles which makes this car feel so civilized.

    The M5 on the other hand seems to have quite a lot of tiny problems which you can read about on Some mentioned about the rear deck rattling and some warned us not to order the rear fold-down seats as they tend to squeak.

    However, either car will be very comfortable for your wife. The M5 may have a superior seat for the passenger if you can get the comfort seats with the adjustable seat back, however, the E55's seats will hold you better as they have inflatable side bolsters holding you tightly as you corner.

    The benefit of the automatic transmission is that if you are just an average driver, with the E55 in the winter mode, you should have less problem controlling the car in the snow compared to the M5. However, I would not like to take any car with summer tires in the snow at all, including the E430. With winter tires on, the E55, E430, M5 would both do really well but those performance summer tires, while good in the wet, would not be very safe in the snow (and I wonder if your insurance will cover you if you get into an accident?)

    Happy shopping!
  • I drive the E55's younger, cheaper cousin, the C43. I absolutely love the car, but it ABSOLUTELY THE WORST CAR IN THE SNOW I HAVE EVER DRIVEN. It is really, really bad. Big engine with lots of power, coupled with all the weight up front and big wide low profile tires make the car literally undriveable in the snow. I have driven a lot of sports cars in the snow, and none are as bad as the C43. Using the winter mode and turning off the traction control makes a little improvement, but not enough so that I would be comfortable actually trying to go anywhere in the snow.

    I have to assume that the E55 would be basically the same - maybe worse since I think the weight distribution is even more forward in the E55 than my car. The M5 might be better - since I think the weight distribution is closer to equal in the BMW

    - mclaus
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    ...don't worry. All these cars have traction control, and it works very well. Switch it off in the rain, and it's a nasty surprise. You pretty quickly figure out why only hard-core enthusiast sport cars had engines with far more than 200HP+ before traction control started happening. You can get yourself into trouble quickly. It *is* fun to have a nice luxury 4-door and still be able to perform burn-outs just by turning off traction control. It is far less fun in the rain, when you're accelerating off a turn. Unless you're Mario Andretti, you're smart to leave the traction control buttons alone when the conditions worsen.

    The XJR is my first car ever with traction control. I had powerful cars before, and I very much remember a few scares in the rain, and a pretty scary (albeit funny) snow experience. The XJR, despite the 370HP, is an utter darling to drive in the rain. You can try to get it to do mischief, and it'll go "Sir, I would love to comply, and yet I am not entirely convinced you truly intended us to drive off the road." while seemingly thinking "Phht. Stupid lead-footed sucidal fool. I'll show you how this is done."
  • If snow operation is a concern, then consider the E430 with 4matic instead of either the E55 or M5.
  • Well here is the latest. Not much of an update but I did get a chance to test drive the E55 again. I liked it even more. My wife's complaints are, She doesn't like the contour seats and the Exhaust is too load at WOT. (She really hammered it this time !). Loves the braking.
    Is there anything I can do about both items ?
    Also, if I don't get the Command Center can I still get the Voice package ? Can I upgrade later when they finally get DVD GPS system ? Or I was thinking about getting the Alpine GPS System. Any comments on that ?

    Thanks again

  • 4426444264 Posts: 67
    Yes, voice package can be bought separately (without COMAND) as long as you have their integrated cell phone. I don't think you can easily upgrade the GPS to their DVD system when it becomes available.

    Personally, I'm waiting to see what Alpine comes up with..
  • mfanmfan Posts: 1
    Finally, I got my 2001 M5 quota after 18 months of waiting. Anyone interested in my spot? I am willing to give it up for reasonable price.
  • MFAN, if you're still offering your spot, let me know the details. You can contact me at
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    ...high tech stocks tank, discussion here utterly dies out. :-) It must be ugly in luxury car dealerships... :-)
  • need4spdneed4spd Posts: 92
    Yeah, quite interesting. But I think it has more to do with the initial quirks to this board going to new software. I kept trying to make it work and it was just too buggy, so I gave up. Have been back only sporadically and while S/W seems to work now, all the users are gone. Some (maybe all of the M5 fans) have gone to the BWM M5 board, like me. (Yes, Pablo, I finally decided on an M5. If I waited a few more months, maybe I could have got it for less than MSRP, but at MSRP and no waiting, felt it was an OK deal. I know some people who have been and still are waiting months for theirs.)
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    It is an absolutely awesome car! And yeah, the fun part is now you can get any of these cars for MSRP, or even less if willing to wait. I know all of a sudden the Merc dealer called me with a "deal", several months and one attitude display too late... :-)
  • mac2002mac2002 Posts: 17
    Just curious what was the deal the dealer had for you and for which model?

    I paid sticker for an '01 E55. Put $2,000 down November 8th (ordered it 2 weeks previous), and will be picking it up at Sindelfingen on May 2nd. Included in the price is 15 days insurance for driving in Europe, and 2 nights at one of the hotels chosen for the European Delivery (or two different hotels)

    Anyone on the board here done the Euro Delivery deal? Would love to hear about it. Mac
  • shehzadshehzad Posts: 52
    I did the Euro-delivery plan back in 1990 when I had just bought a new 300sl. It was, in a word, fantastic. I picked the car up from the factory and was given a tour of the factory the day I picked it up. I was then given some temporary type tags, and I was then free to drive as I wished for a good two weeks, and I went through germany, switz-land, belgium, and france. As I recall it, MB only paid for some of my hotels, but they did help me book via recommendation the others, but it's been so many years that I can't remember which, although I do recall that the hotels were pretty decent. The only problem is that after the vacation it took a damn long time for the car to be shipped-I think it was two months or something, and at the time, as the 300sl was a new model with a rather long waiting list, I was really disappointed in the turnaround time. But overall, a great way to buy a car, and you get a slight discount on it too.
  • mac2002mac2002 Posts: 17
    I can't wait to tour the factory. After arriving from the U.S., and making the connecting flight in Frankfurt to Stuttgart, then having lunch, taking delivery of the car, then the factory tour, there will not be much time left to drive on the first day. So, the plan is to stay in the Stuutgart Hotel Inter-Continental the first night, then on the following day make the 2 hour drive to Baden-Baden and stay at the Schlosshotel Buhlerhohe, so that will be the 2 free nights. After that, will probably visit Austria, Switzerland, then France. Plan is to drop car off in Paris.

    I bet it will be tough waiting for the car to arrive at my dealer. 2 months? Seriously?

    Discount? The only thing I save was the $645 destination charge.

    Thanks for your reply, Mac
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    What ever happened to the 300SL?

  • shehzadshehzad Posts: 52
    I had bought it primarily for my wife as a "fun car" for her, but she never cared to drive it. In about a year and a half of owning it, I think we only took the hardtop off once. Moreover, I regretted cheaping out and buying it and not a 500sl b/c the engine was a little weak for the weight of the car. I really should have gotten the 500. Anyhow, since it was still in pretty high demand when I sold it, I didn't lose too much money on it and bought a 911 c4, for myself and not the wife this time, which I still own.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Just curious thanks. Yep the 6-cylinder SL was a little lacking in go power.

  • Does anyone have experience or insight regarding performance modifications to a 1998/99 Jaguar XJR?

    Essentially, I am looking to get the car from 370 HP to ~425 HP. I have contacted an outfit in Bronxville, NY called Eurotek Designs ( who indicate that the following things must be done to acheive such a goal:

    1. Under drive pulley and exhaust: ~ $5000. This will get the car to about 450BHp w/ 423lb/ft. torque

    Additional modifications:
    2. Brakes (Brembo): ~ $3,500
    3. Suspension: ~ $900
    4. Gear ratio: $2,300

    These are parts prices, not installed prices. It was explained to me that a reputable Jaguar dealer (Seattle has no such thing) would likely charge $1,200 for installation of the exhaust, underdrive pully and maybe brakes. The suspension and gear ratio are not factored into the costs.

    The brakes, suspension and gear ratio are not necessary for the Horsepower gains but brakes and suspension are recommended.

    The modifications can be done at Eurotek (if you want to pay to ship the car) or at an approved local Jaguar dealer who is willing to do the work (Eurotek will ship the parts). I live in the Seattle area so I would probably find a dealer in California since the Jaguar establishments in my area are such avaricious swine!

    So basically it is possible to add an additional 50-60 HP to the vehicle for under $10,000. If the brakes weren't included it would be around $7,000.

    My question is for the 'real' user community out there to determine if this is realistic and/or recommended activity. Your perspective on this is appreciated...
  • These are all good points: "why would I want more horsepower?". What, with a vehicle that already produces 370 HP. Really, why would I want a car with 370 HP in the first place, the 290 HP XJ8 would probaly suit me just fine - or for that matter my Acura Legend does the job. But no, I want the XJR because I am interested in an automobile that does more than just get me from point A to point B. If I were interested in merely transportation I likely would not be changing automobiles. I want an XJR for the same reason that anyone in the market wants one: very high cool factor, takes the mundane out of daily driving, sporty, yet semi-practical (it has 4 doors, right). Performance improvements stand to enhance the driving experience, further individualize the car and finally, possess the ability to let any BMW M5 know that he is about to be sorely embarrassed if he attempts a confrontation.

    Regarding the warranty, that is a question that I asked Eurotek. Based on their explanation, the changes do not void or otherwise compromise existing warranty on the car. I will be hooking up with a local Jaguar dealer to flat out ask the question. I will post the answer I get. Exhaust modifications would be the most obvious change, doing so does not invalidate warranty. The only other mechanical change is the underdrive pulley which would be undetectable unless a mechanic were looking specifically at or for it.

    Visual modifications - I don't know. I am interested in making changes for a reason. In other words what benefit will I derive if I make this change. Horsepower improvements are clear, suspension makes sense, brakes make sense. But just asthetic changes. I am concerned that it will make the car look too 'pimpy' or 'high school'. The car has such an elegant and understated look to it deserves to be preserved. The only change that I am planning in this regard may be wheel/tire change. Perhaps a 19" Arden/Oz 2-piece wheel. No body modifications are necessary to compensate for this larger wheel. This would be visually striking yet subtle enough to maintain the original character of the car.

    Good observations, thanks for you input...
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,784
    If you want a recommendation for a dealer to do your modifications or tell you why it's not a good idea, and are willing to take the car to (Southern) California, I would recommend Silver Star (yes, they handle Jags too) in Thousand Oaks. We have bought two Jags from them (the first one got stuffed) and I am very happy with their service and their knowledge of the marque. In fact, ask for Ray Marcuse. What he doesn't know about Jags isn't true. The dealership's number is (805) 371-5400 (Ray's direct number is 5483).

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • As far as interior modifications to the XJR are concerned – none necessary as far as I am concerned. The interior of the XJR is posh and one of the biggest selling points over the E55 and M5 right out of the factory. As far as ‘peakier’ torque, I called Phil at Eurotek ( and asked him what to expect if a new rear-end were installed (gear ratio). He said this is the most dramatic improvement for this car and will likely shave about a second off the 0-60 time – indicating that the low-end torque is greatly improved. I visited a new Jaguar dealer in my area that has just opened to introduce myself and took the opportunity to drive a new XJR. Maybe it’s me (and maybe its due to the traction control being on) but the car doesn’t get off the line quite like the M5 – or the E55 for that matter. The new gear ratio (at $2,300 parts/$800 install) will improve this.

    Both Paramount Performance ( and Arden ( have wheel/tire packages that include 19” wheels with 255/40 – ZR 19 tires and maintain the 8J wheel width that do not require any body modifications on the XJR. While the Arden/Oz Opera 2-piece wheels are striking, Phil suggested HRE wheels due to their strength and light weight. However, these wheels are pricey at ~$1,200/ea.

    Bhill2 – Thanks for the referral to Silver Star Motors in Thousand Oaks. I gave Ray Marcuse a call yesterday but was only able to leave a message. Hopefully I will hear from him today and can discuss his experience with doing aftermarket modifications to Jaguars to see if the things that I want to do are reasonable or if I am insane. I know that I am not the first to pursue Jaguar tuning (just looking at Arden and Paramount proves this). If the modifications are AMG or Dinan quality I will do them. By the way, what do you mean by "the first one got stuffed" when referring to one of the Jaguars you purchased at Silver Star?

    Warranty issues are still a minor concern and I asked the Jaguar dealer to confirm/deny any issues with this. The service manager wasn’t around to talk to but they suggested that they would find out for certain. I guess what I really want to know is if I do these changes and the engine or tranny explode, am I out of pocket because I put a new exhaust or gear ratio in. Hmmm.... Stand by for an answer.
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