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Infiniti M35/M45 vs BMW 5-Series

jtimagesjtimages Posts: 8
edited March 2014 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
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Comments

  • ghstudioghstudio Posts: 970
    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 antique..it's the same as the one we have in the current 530..totally knob/button driven..no 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: 211
    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: 14
    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: 970
    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: 211
    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
    Infiniti-117-57-52
    BMW-142-52-82

    That doesn't negate anyone's experience of BMW as providing the ultimate driving experience for them.
  • vsaxenavsaxena Posts: 211
    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 ;).
  • sagarchrsagarchr Posts: 23
    I totally agree with you on the fine handling and balance part, and if that is what is most important to you as a buyer then get yourself to the BMW dealer. If you have additional requirements, wishes, and are looking at the whole package, the M has it right now.
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    I'm not sure that breaking down the data from the JD Powers survey really has much to do with your main argument, which can stand on its own merits: BMW puts a great engine and transmission on a 50/50 balanced and great handling chassis. The driving experience is unique.

    Even among those of us who enjoy fine handling and balanced cars, however, the difference in balance/handling between a BMW 530 and another LPS might either not be as subjectively experienced as you find it to be (there are simply individual differences in "subjects'" perception of difference between any A and B in any "experiment") or the whole driving experience (separate from design issues) of another LPS might excite someone more than a BMW does. Ironically, it's the same kind of argument you made about the JD Powers numbers. You look at two cars, see that one has 12% more manufacturing problems than the other (and that many U.S. drivers don't like the way things were designed to operate inside the cabin) and you say 12% more problems don't matter to me (why you would expect the countries of origin of two competing products to matter to a consumer who is reading about how often the product breaks down or malfunctions is not clear to me, but that aside…) while another consumer might say "gee, 12% more trips to the service dept; that bothers me."

    Also, I've never been aware of a "U.S. drivers like the ways things work inside the car to be simple" while "European drivers like them complicated" dichotomy. The complexity of doing things while driving has only become a big issue since iDrive type controls appeared.
  • vsaxenavsaxena Posts: 211
    quote sfcharlie
    "(why you would expect the countries of origin of two competing products to matter to a consumer who is reading about how often the product breaks down or malfunctions is not clear to me, but that aside…) "

    I think our behavior is strongly influenced by the perception we have. A Japanese car is supposed to have bullet-proof reliability while a BMW is traditionally not considered as good. As a result, a person is more likely to accept a bug, as not a bug, on a Japanese car, since he/she is not expecting it to go wrong. OTOH, if the person goes in with the fear that the car might not be reliable, he/she is more likely to keep an eye open for bugs and report them. I personally expected that the difference between BMW and Infiniti to be a lot more than 12% (talk about perceptions!).

    Another thing to keep in mind is that Lexus and Infiniti are primarily brands created for the US market. BMW on the other hand has a large market in Europe. As a result, Infiniti/Lexus designs will be more focussed on the US market, compared to BMW which has a global market in mind. This might explain some of the bias when it comes to design.

    This is not to say that BMW could not have done a better job with the iDrive based system. However, for me, the design issues are not a factor, since I am computer literate and do not mind spending half an hour to understand how the car works. For my wife though, the lack of proper cup-holders is a major negative!

    12% difference in reliability is not worth it for me to give up on the Bimmer since the design issues are not a factor in my decision. Throw in the aggressive BMW leases ($450-$500 a month on an European Delivery on a $55K 530), easily swings it for me; the free maintenance is a bonus.
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    I hope it doesn't appear as if I'm arguing against people buying BMWs. There is no basis in any evaluation of 3 or 5 series BMWs that I've ever read to expect them to provide anything other than a great drive.

    Oh, I see what you are saying about country-of-origin of a car, but I believe there's a good deal of experimental psychology history to suggest that actually an expectational set of "Japanese cars are problem-free" would lead the average person to over-react to anything being the slightest bit off and rush to the dealership to have the car restored to its expected perfect state and tell anyone who would listen about how not-perfect their particular Japanese car was. By contrast, an expectational set of "German cars are great to drive but will have many problems" would lead to a higher threshold for complaining.
  • vsaxenavsaxena Posts: 211
    It will be hard to make a statistically reliable call on how the expectation of quality affects complaints about quality, without having access to a lot of experimental data. I feel that the typical BMW driver is more passionate about his/her car than the typical Infiniti driver. Just look at the number and level of activity on BMW online sites versus other brands. A more involved person is also likely to notice defects than a less involved person.

    I am not sure what is the quality of JD Power's statistical surveys, but a 12% difference is often within the margin of error, especially if the sample size is not too large, and is spread across different models.

    Anyway, at the end of the day a 12% difference was a pleasant surprise to me. I was expecting it to be significantly worse.

    And any one considering a BMW should join the BMW CCA at least one year before they are ready to buy the next car. You get a $1000 rebate on a 5 series and it is $40/year for membership.

    One open question: If the cost of ownership of a BMW 530 was the same or less than that of an Infiniti M, would you still buy the Infiniti?
  • sagarchrsagarchr Posts: 23
    Being a BMW lover myself and having one now, I would have to say that right now, today, I would pick the M even if they were the same price. I think the 5 is evolving at the moment, and I think that it will once again be the best sedan on the market. But it isn't today. I just hope they are finished making it perfect when my 24mo M lease runs out. ;)
  • vsaxenavsaxena Posts: 211
    So you feel that the first year M cars have it better than the 4 year old 5 series? That is some achievement for Infiniti! Specifically with regards to the 5 series, where does the M outshine the BMW?

    BTW, my hypothetical question was with regards to the cost of ownership and not the price. BMW leases are quite cheap, especially if you go with the European Delivery way. Plus you have the $1000 rebate from the BMW CCA and the free maintenance. So it is likely that a BMW priced the same as an Infiniti will cost less to own.
  • sagarchrsagarchr Posts: 23
    Let me turn the tables a moment and ask you, where does the 530 outshine the M?
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    Not that you have to treat this as a bible, but we're on Edmunds and this is what they predict:

    True Cost to Own a BMW 5 series (year by year for 5 years and then the total):

    Yearly Totals $23,046 $14,041 $12,597 $13,446 $13,373 $76,503

    versus True Cost to Own an M35:

    Yearly Totals $21,572 $13,335 $12,189 $11,377 $12,244 $70,717

    So, even if it didn't end up averaging $1,000 more per year for 5 years, but instead, as you hypothesize, the cost was guaranteed to be the same, I didn't find myself very interested in moving up from a BMW 3 series to a 5 series. I wanted an Audi or an M and I don't believe my interest would have been shifted by being told the BMW was being offered to me at the exact same price and lease terms or whatever. I thought the M was sexier, inside and out. It drove as well, for me, as the 3 series, which is usually said to drive better than the 5 series. Despite that, the M has 5.1 inches of ground clearance, higher I think than any other LPS, which I find more practical ... (Just to be provocative ... On April 7, 2005, BMW drivers Michael Darvin and Mark Camisioli filed the First Amended Class Action Complaint on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated in New Jersey state court against BMW of North America and its German parent corporation, BMW Aktiengesellschaft, alleging that certain BMW vehicles are equipped with a front-end spoiler that is defectively designed because it is unusally low to the ground. As a result of this alleged defect, the front-end spoilers get caught on standard-size curbs and parking stops, causing serious damage to the BMW vehicles. Repairs typically cost several hundred dollars -- I know, it's the spoiler and not BMWs in general, but couldn't resist). And the M has more front and rear leg room, which I and various members noticed right away.
  • vsaxenavsaxena Posts: 211
    sagarchr:
    BMWs in general outshine other cars in two aspects:
    -> Handling and feel for the road. The car runs as if it is on rails; the steering gives precise feedback and you can aim for a spot on the road and nail it. BMWs shine on twisties.
    -> Engine/Tranny integration: Excellent job in mating them together to give a smooth ride, and on-demand kick. And of course my favorite SMG tranny option which allows clutch haters like me to drive manuals.

    I would like to hear more about how the M compares. (and this is a serious question).

    sfcharlie:

    I am comparing the cost of ownership as measured in a lease. It is stupid to spend $50K plus on a depreciating asset where a single accident can reduce the value of the asset by $10K. BMW leases are awesome especially if you do European Delivery. The Edmund's analysis assumes a purchase with high sales tax costs because of the higher price of the BMW. It does not account for European Delivery savings (10-11% of MSRP) or BMW CCA rebates, or the high residuals and money factors offered by BMWFS.

    An apples to apples comparison would be to calculate the lease payments and the appropriate maintenance cost for the M (it is free for a BMW). I noticed that you are paying $725 for an M35 with an MSRP of $48,520 . I am paying $420 for a 2006 525 with an MSRP of $51770 (Sports Package, Premium Package, Navigation, Xenon, Park Distance Control) :D . I did not pay anything down for cap reduction though I did buy down the MF with multiple security deposits. Could have a 530 for another $40pm. And I am getting $1000 back for being a BMW CCA member :P . This was with the December lease specials and European Delivery (cost of travel is less than $1K in off-peak season). Even without the lease specials you can easily get one in the $500-$550 range. Add in $40/month for maintenance and you are paying about 75% more than me for the pleasure of driving a less expensive car :shades:. Even without the lease specials, you are still paying about 50% more! For $700s you can get a nicely loaded 550.

    And that lawsuit is stupid. Can you give me the specification of standard-size curbs and parking stops? In the 4 BMWs I have owned I only had to bother with the curb with the 2004 Z4 3.0 SMG with Sports Package (18" wheels). But the car is small enough for me to park it well away from the parking stop. God bless America and lawyers for the lawsuit :mad: .
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    vsaxena ... yes, I understood you to be asking me if, being offered either a BMW 5-series or an Infiniti M35 and exactly the same lease terms, would I pick the BMW then. I honestly answered "no." I wanted the M35. I listed the reasons.

    When I said "just to be provocative" I meant you to know I also thought the lawsuit article has no relevance to our discussion and I was just teasingly highlighting my point that one minor preference I had for the M35 was the higher minimum ground clearance. That was really minor. The other reasons were sincere, but subjective, and not meant to imply that I didn't agree how terrific BMW's drive. I've been driving one for two years. It was great.

    Just fell in love with the total M35 experience for now and (hopefully) duration of two-year lease.
  • vsaxenavsaxena Posts: 211
    Could you please articulate the reasons again?

    The ones I remember are:
    -> JDPower Initial Quality
    -> Leg Room.
    -> Higher Ground Clearance.

    Anything I missed?

    I did point out some of issues related to the interpretation of the JDPower numbers.

    M has more room headroom & legroom but less rear sholder room than the 5. If you will be travelling a lot with full-sized adults in the back seat then the extra leg room in the rear is definitely a factor. However, often the rear seats have kids/car-seats where the extra sholder room is perhaps more useful.

    Not many people realize that the BMWs 530s can be had at a lower cost of ownership than an M35.

    For me at least, the above reasons, do not justify the M35 alone, especially with the Cost Of Ownership difference. Of course you might need the extra rear space, and may not enjoy the drivertrain refinement of the Bimmer and hence may want the M more.

    I might be wrong, but I feel that for a significant numbers of M leasors, awareness about the lower cost of ownership factor might swing the deal towards the 530. The general perception is that BMWs cost a lot more to own, though that is not necessarily true.
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    I'm not in any way disagreeing with you that for many people a BMW lease means a terrific car at a very (more than they expect) reasonable cost. My choice was emotional, not JD Powered. I just wanted a different car. loved the look and feel of the M35, and enjoyed the drives I took in it. That's all.
  • bargamonbargamon Posts: 302
    My wife who does not even care what I get thought the M was an impala. Ouch.

    My mother-law thing the M interior is much "fancier" and the clock adds "a touch of class". Her dream car is still the town car.

    If my mother-in-law thinks the M interior is a chick car, then that about settles it for me.

    In fact, the whole 0-60 thing is so over cooked. The 525 in manaual form is excellent and with premium and xenon a lease under $600 or close would a bargain. Give me the sweet smooth power, a clutch, some crisp tunes and a nice day and I am done! No Nav, no whiz bang gadget knobs to play.

    If I want a luxury car that handles, Im going with an A6 Audi.

    The poser M exaust tones are just too much!
  • pg48477pg48477 Posts: 309
    Like you said, BMW does provide unique driving experience. IMO no other LPS come even close to the feel of BMW. I can understand that some drivers out there can not tell the difference, just like I can’t tell the difference between $10,000 and $500 audio system. However if you consider yourself “enthusiast”, you have to admit that only BMW can offer a product to fulfill your needs.

    It’s ironic that journalists and many BMW haters keep going after I-Drive and Bangled design; 5 series is the best selling car in the segment, together with E class, and it has never been more popular. I’m not going to get into the design as it’s subjective, but BMW design is unique and it’s good unique as so many people buy it. As for the I-Drive, I think it’s great and it is very easy to use; many other manufacturer adapting it too. With so many options available in the car today, one has to use I-drive like controls or have hundreds of buttons on the dashboard. Many people, this day, still write checks and they keep complaining that it is to complicated to use computer to pay bills, same people hate I-Drive.
  • vsaxenavsaxena Posts: 211
    "I just wanted a different car. loved the look and feel of the M35, and enjoyed the drives"

    That is a good enough justification IMHO. :)

    The problem with me is that I start planning for the next car within a week or two of getting my current one.. :blush:
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    I might be reading correctly (or misinterpreting) the last couple of posts, but it seems as if we've moved into deeper waters, where the issue is "could anyone who knows anything about driving, themselves, or cars actually (except during a brief psychotic episode) choose anything else except a BMW?" That's not a conversation that could, so far as I can see, go anywhere. I love BMWs, Audi A6 and the M35. I had to pick one and chose the one I wanted for this episode of my many chaptered driving life. I have bought cars before and during my two or three years with them, regretted my decision. So next time I lease a different one. I'll report on my likes and dislikes of the M35 as I go along.
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    I know what you mean. I saw somewhere that the next Audi A6 series would probably be the 2009 model year and immediately started scheming in my mind "Now let's see, so the lease on the M35 will be up in June of 2008 and the 2009 A6 should be showing up early fall of 2008, so how will I get through the summer of 2008, until my new A6 arrives?" :)
  • tshaheentshaheen Posts: 1
    vsaxena: I don't mean this to sound condescending, but have you even test drove an M35? I mean, I'm having a hard time understanding how you can say half the things you say after having test driven an M. And this goes for everything - lease costs, drivability, usability (i.e., electronics). I'm right in the middle of deciding between a 530 and a M35 Sport. I was about an hour away from buying a 530 when I thought it would be good to "just" give the M35 a test drive. Well, now I'm stuck trying to figure out how I could justify buying a 530 when the M gives you sooooo much more bang for the buck.

    I'm a former 330ci owner so I understand the beauty of driving a good car, but sometimes you have to let go of the legend and face reality. The reality is the difference in drivability between the bimmer and the infinity is almost imperceptible (and I've driven both multiple times trying to convince myself the bimmer is worth it) and the value difference is very real (e.g., residuals on the infinity greater than for the bimmer) with a lower base cost and a lower total cost of ownership. What bimmer does having going for it is the ego factor. However that's just not enough for me choose the 530 over the M.
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    tshaheen ... I had a bit of the same reaction ... having gone through what you're going through (but with the Audi A6 and the M35, as my two finalist choices for 2006 car purchase) after having driven a BMW for two years, one suggestion I have is not to let your head get too caught up in trying to figure out why anyone else doesn't share your thoughts and feelings on how to assess your finalist contenders. It can even backfire to get caught up in fending off what you believe to be extreme views that run contrary to yours (sometimes pushes you toward what the other person seems, to you, irrationally to dislike, and as would be the case here, to get the M35, which is what I ended up leasing). In other words, I suggest trying hard not to be swayed toward or away from your own sensations (in your hands and feet) and feelings (in your gut) while driving the cars one or two more times, byt what anyone else thinks.

    I leased the M35 and it's a delight, but it doesn't have the same steering/handling feel (to me) as the BMW or the Audi (they are "tighter" -- only adjective that comes to mind), but (to me, subjectively, again) it has a wonderful feeling in your foot and into your body as you sense that particular V6 and transmission work together.
  • warthogwarthog Posts: 216
    I understand and respect everyone's various preferences in these cars. However, I do find it hard to understand how, at this price level, a cost of ownership difference of $1,000/year or so plays into anyone's decision. That looks to me like a rationalization for a choice made on other grounds. After all, we're not talking about buying Yugos.
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    I didn't re-read all the posts, so I'm not sure to whose post you are responding. In know that last week, in an exchange about whether I'd take the BMW over the M35, if costs were identical in every way, I copied over the "True Cost to Own" stats from Edmunds and said, in passing, that, even if the BMW wasn't $1,000 or so more per year in total ownership cost, but was the same price, I didn't want another BMW right now. My point was not that the estimated $1000+ greater cost of the BMW was actually a factor in my preference but, quite the opposite, that I was (to the seeming astonishment of the other forum member with whom I was exchanging posts) genuinely not more in love with the BMW 5-series. I really had more fun being in and driving both the Audi A6 and the Infiniti M35 and I thought both looked sexier -- and that’s why I wasn’t considering the BMW this time around. So, if you were responding to that June 14 posting of mine, we are ultimately, in agreement on the point that I wanted the not-BMW cars for reasons having nothing to do with one or the other car costing $100/month more than another.

    I still get the sense that BMW lovers (and I have loved the 3-series for many years and the 5-series through 2003) have a hard time believing that someone whose post indicates a preference for an Audi or an Infiniti, etc., really means that they like the other car better. I really do like both the M35 and the A6 exterior design, interior design and driving experience better than the current 5-series. Not that the following reference makes me right (my point being that in an aesthetic and experiential comparison there is no right and wrong choice), but the new issue of “Automobile” (which often idealizes BMWs) the rank order of super-powered LPS was MB E63 AMG, Audi S6, and BMW M5, the rank order of the editors preferences was MB first, Audi a close second, and BMW third.
  • pete_l_ppete_l_p Posts: 322
    I just thought I'd chime in on this and give a slightly different perspective.

    I own an M45 premium, and I would have bought this car over the others even if it cost 20,000 more.

    I care a lot about prestige, and would actually prefer to get a car with a higher cost (and more prestige) if I didn't have to give up all of the other things about the M that I so much prefer. The fact is, I got the infiniti not BECAUSE of the lower price but DESPITE its lower price.

    From my POV its handling and performance are absolutely great, and give up nothing to the BMW. But it's everything else that really make the difference for me.

    I really love the M's Nav (by far the best IMO), voice command with destination entry, incredibly bright rear view monitor, wonderful 5.1 audio system with XM and FM in the same preset groups, brilliantly smooth intelligent cruise, LDW (which has really cured my bad driving habits), and wonderful, ready access dashboard and steering wheel controls.

    I also love the M's reliability. I own a CLK, and it's been an absolute pain with visits to the shop. The same is true with BMW's for a good number of my friends. My M has been a perfect car for the year I've owned it, as was my 2003 Q45 for the two years I had it.

    There's no car on the market right now that I find more appealing.

    Pete
  • vsaxenavsaxena Posts: 211
    I admit I did not drive the specific model (M35) in question but have owned and driven different Nissan MoCo products before. I have asked folks who have driven them both to give me specific pluses of the M over the Bimmer but have not received very convincing answers but for personal choice (which is fine) and comfort factors (larger rear space, no iDrive etc.).

    As an developmental engineer by trade, I do understand and appreciate the concepts of legacy, platform sharing, and innovation quite well. A full-sized car which is derived from a platform shared by as a mid-sized car (the G35) and an SUV (FX) will have some subtle compromises. An engineer makes design trade-offs everyday and sharing the platform will eventually lead to corners which would not have been cut if it was being designed from a scratch. That is where the slight extra which the BMWs offer comes in.

    To me the biggest fun is not in the fastest acceleration but in the cornering. Can I take an exit without ever having to touch the brake pedal? When I go the hills, how does the car behave? Let me share the experience of my first BMW, a relatively underpowered E39 2003 525 with the Sports Package on a trip to Tahoe. On the straights many other cars on the road would gradually pull ahead (no race here but just during cruising). However NONE of them could keep the same speed on the curves. The bimmer feels nice, secure and tied to the road on the curves; as if it is on rails. The car encouraged me to push down on the pedal during the turns. Other cars on the other hand have never inspired this level of confidence during cornering.

    Plus BMWs being focussed on the driving experience tends to invest in technologies which help that. One of my favorite is active roll stabilization which reduces the body roll on curves. Not only that, the way it works, even on straights, it de-couples a part of the suspension, reducing the amount of road shocks which travel up. So the ride with the Sports tuned Run-Flats is not as harsh as could have been, while offering great cornering abilities.

    The Bimmer's 6 gears vs the M's 5 are also a plus especially when driving in Sports/Manual modes. You end up with better gas mileage also. I dont care about the cash, but do car about the environment, and funding undesirables. The SMG of course is a BMW only thing; I enjoyed it immensely on my Z4.

    Even when it comes to electronics, the bimmer is more driver oriented compared to many Japanese cars. For example, iDrive can be operated while the car is being driven. Accessing touch screen menus in many Japanese is not safe when you are driving. On the M, the main controller is on the center console and hard to access while driving(apart from being too prominent). Further the iDrive screen is further away from the driver compared to the touch screens (the M is fine in this regard). This means that you have to move your eyes less to focus on the iDrive. You have to take your eyes completely off the road with the touch-screen setups where the screen is closer to the driver.

    Note that many of the functions addressed by buttons can now be handled by the voice activated controls so you do not have to fiddle with the iDrive or buttons on the Bimmer for selecting presets etc.

    Another thing is the BMW's Park Distance Control vs the rear view camera: A camera forces you to look at the screen while you are in reverse. The PDC gives you audible clues. Further the audio cues are direction sensitive (the sound comes from different speakers) which tells you where the obstruction is without looking in that direction. It is a much more convenient, safer, and driver-friendly implementation compared to the rear-view camera. You are unlikely to miss on something just because it was out of the view of the camera when you looked, or just came into the view after you started looking back.

    This is a personal preference but the styling of the M is too bland. This is coming from a person who rushed to buy one of the last of the 2003 5 series cars after I saw the pictures of the new car. However the new style has gradually grown on me, and now looks quite distinct and aggressive. I finally bought one. It has a presence of its own very different from the rest. And gradually others have started copying that style (the Flagship Lexus' rear-end), and it is becoming more mainstream.

    I admit I am a bimmer fanatic. But that is because I feel they offer the best bang for the buck. As I have posted here, many Bimmer drivers are paying significantly less for their cars then what the M drivers are paying. Please check some earlier posts in this thread. An ED 530 lease is significantly less than 530 leases. For my 2006 525 stickered at $51,770, I am paying $420 (with CA tax); 530 would have been ($460). sfcharlie is paying significantly more for his M. The TCO of a Bimmer for short-term leases is much lower than the M.

    If that is not a factor for you, good for you (I am envious :blush: ). It is for most of the driving public.
  • pete_l_ppete_l_p Posts: 322
    The PDC gives you audible clues. Further the audio cues are direction sensitive (the sound comes from different speakers) which tells you where the obstruction is without looking in that direction. It is a much more convenient, safer, and driver-friendly implementation compared to the rear-view camera. You are unlikely to miss on something just because it was out of the view of the camera when you looked, or just came into the view after you started looking back.

    Having used both, I can't help but feel that this statement is similar to arguing that a blind person with beeping sensors can get along more easily and more safely than a person with two good eyes.

    Sorry, but I really believe this is a fair analogy.

    The M's rear view monitor let's you see an incredibly wide field of view (including the bottom edge of your bumper) with perfect clarity even on a pitch black night. Colored tracks precisely indicate your path as you change the steering wheel rotation. Parking is an amazing pleasure. As is driving backwards down very steep, long driveways, surrounded by close bushes, in the black of night, (when it would be otherwise impossible to see that driveway with the M or a BMW). It's also a snap to park a half inch away from the car behind, without ever touching his bumper.

    You really have no idea how great this stuff is.

    Pete
  • james27james27 Posts: 433
    Drive an M35, then decide. Making generalizations doesn't compare with the personal experience. Nissan spent a lot of money optimizing the M, and the compromises you might expect are pretty well hidden.
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    I find you all over the place in your somewhat, as you say, fanatic arguing.

    As with aesthetic preferences, I don't think any one of us could argue with another saying "I bought the LPS with lease terms that worked for me financially. It was a key factor for me. Right now, if I go the BMW wesbite and construct a 2007 525i (which is a 215 hp car) that totals $50,670, tell the website I live in California, and ask the monthly payment on a 24 month, 15k mile-per-year lease, I'm told it will cost $891, with no money down. If you were offered that exact lease on a 2006 525i last year with tax in California, that's a great lease. If getting that lease requires that everyone take European delivery, it’s possible that requirement would eliminate as many potential buyers as a higher monthly payment would.

    A discussion of the merits of European Delivery leases seems to me to a very specific argument. The BMW website indicates a savings of $3,045 off MSRP for European delivery on a 2005 525i. When the Edmunds team did a test run of BMW ED purchase of a 3-series, their original savings of $3,000 was reduced to $1800 by cost of plane and hotel. Not sure how that guarantees cutting the advertised BMW lease price by almost half, but if you got 15k/yr for 24 months, with no money down, you personally got a deal that I'm pessimistic I could get here (after call to dealer from whom I previously leased a 325i). Another detail is that leases on ED start 14 days prior to pick up. BMW pays the second month of the lease. Transit time is dependent on your location. Buyers on the east coast usually get their cars within 6 weeks. West coast can take up to 10 weeks. Further, Edmunds, in its article on ED BMW purchase (which is quite favorable to the idea) cautions that "The unique set of circumstances surrounding European Delivery makes it particularly suited for bargain hunters. Perhaps for that reason, we found that not all BMW dealers in our area were motivated to sell us a car through the European Delivery program. After some searching, however, we found a Los Angeles-area dealer who was willing to sell us the car for $750 over the European Delivery wholesale price plus destination charge."

    On a very different level of argument, you assert: " On the straights many other cars on the road would gradually pull ahead (no race here but just during cruising). However NONE of them could keep the same speed on the curves. The bimmer feels nice, secure and tied to the road on the curves; as if it is on rails. The car encouraged me to push down on the pedal during the turns. Other cars on the other hand have never inspired this level of confidence during cornering." While it's reassuring that you were not racing, it's difficult to assess your all-caps assertion that no other car could keep up with you on the curves. Similarly, while no other car you have driven has inspired you to accelerate through curves, it's not any more clear what relevance that would have for others (who, I am sure, have accelerated their M35 or Audi A6 through similar curves). It’s just you saying that you love driving that car, but using a style of rhetoric that makes it seem as if we're being presented a scientific fact.

    Again, on a completely different level of argument, you make the claim that only a car platform designed specifically for that model (and not a modified version of a platform built for another model) can produce the best possible driving experience. The M35/M45 uses an enhanced, “next generation” FM (Front Mid-ship) platform with 60 percent of the platform design and components enhanced for use with the M. Does every BMW have platform designed specifically for it? As one example, in late 2003, the 6-Series was reborn. It was derived from the 5-Series platform and components. Is the 6-series inherently flawed, as a result? Every year Canadian journalists gather to test all cars in one long event. In "steering" they rated the BMW 5 an 8.3 and the Infiniti M an 8.1. In handling, they rated the Infiniti over the BMW by 8.2 to 8.0. No real difference due to BMW having been built "from ground up."
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    Pete:

    Here, from the (relatively) new online magazine, Winding Road, is a sentiment/opinion similar to what are are suggesting: someone might actually drive a BMW and not find it to be the most engaging drive of their lives. That wouldn't mean that they don't understand automotive engineering or that they cannot distinguish a great handling/steering car from a just-good-enough one:

    "We came into this comparison with
    the sense that the 350Z was a singleminded
    sports car that would be great
    on tight back roads and slightly out of
    place everywhere else. In contrast,
    we thought the 650i would epitomize
    GT balance: pleasant in town, enjoyable
    in the curves, and dominating on
    long highway runs. In the humbling
    real world of science, the 650i is more
    like the coupe version of a powerful
    luxury sedan: fast, quiet, well-mannered,
    but not too involving. And the
    350Z is about a close to the driver’s
    Swiss Army knife as we’ve found."

    The BMW 5-series, the M35/M45 and the Audi A6, in this category of LPS cars, all took highway and backroad curves, when I test drove them, as well as I need a car to do in oredr to have maximum fun driving it. I couldn't budge any of them off-track. I drove a 325i every day for two years. It is generally reported to be even more quintessentially BMW than the 5 but kids in TSX's passed me on curves, even when I was taking them as fast as I can take them, If someone else on the forum can drive these cars around curves better than anyone else they have been on any road with, I admire that skill, but I don't know anyone who has driven any car for two years (including Porsches) and claims never to have been passed by anyone on a curve.
  • vsaxenavsaxena Posts: 211
    Camera vs PDC: A camera is cool. But you should be looking over the shoulder when you are reversing not looking at the screen. This is basic driving 101. The issue is not of the coolness factor or how nice it looks but a fundamental rule. American in general receive very poor drivers education, so I am not surprised that not looking back when in Reverse is fine with some folks. :surprise:. To each its own, but it again brings the focus down towards a driver oriented design approach.

    From the engineering perspective adding a camera is no big deal. The path shown by Infinit is nice but again nothing extra-ordinary from the engineering point of view. Your traction control/DSC/Airbag sensors and other dynamic safety systems are doing the same calculations all the time. I have not used the system, but your projected path is going to change as you turn the steering while moving. So you have to keep looking back at the screen? I am sure there are places where the guidlelines and the picture help, especially the infra-red picture which allows you to see in the dark. But racing on a dark driveway in reverse, is not my idea of safe driving. :surprise:

    And what about the front and the side of the cars where a camera is not present but the PDC cues you on? This feature is a life-saver for us since it allows us to park a 745Li and a 525 in the typical small Bay Area 2 car garage.

    Regarding the platforms: What is the difference between the size of a 5 series and the 6 series? And how does it compare to the difference size of a mid-sized sedan (G35), an SUV(FX) and the M? And the official BMW line is that BMW does not share platforms. If you feel that a mid-sized car and a full-sized car can share the same platform and each be tuned, good luck.

    Comparing 350Z to 6 series: You have to be really desperate to to quote a comparison between these two cars. These cars are in completely different class. You need to compare a 350Z with a Z4. And having shopped for a Z4 (multiple cars in the family) and test driven a 350Z multiple times before buying the Z4s, the cars display the inherent differences in BMW vs Nissan quite well. According to my brother's company's CEO who had a 350Z Convertible, "I did not know I could have a Z4 at the same price", after he drove my brother's Z4.

    ED: If you plan well an ED can be easily be done for less than $1000. Plane tickets on off-peaks season (Nov-April) are $500-700 from the West Coast. 4 Star Munich Hotels in the off season are $60 on Priceline. You need one day off (President's day anyone) and can be back after a two night's trip and well under $1000 spent. If you are in a business trip to Europe, you can easily combine the two. You do pay for 23 months for driving the car for 21.5, but that is a 7% difference and not a 50% difference (comparing our leases). There is the $1000 BMW CCA rebate check I get for my efforts which I just deposited. Of course, if you want to have a real vacation you can also have one. The BMW Lufthanse 2 for 1 deal is great for peak periods, especially if you fly via London on United Metal.

    And ED deals are cool ($1000-$1500) over ED invoice (which is 7% less than US invoice), since the car does not come out of dealer's allocation. It is a bonus sale for them. People I know do EDs at $500 over ED invoice which is almost a 13% savings over US MSRP. And to top it all off, the window sticker has your name on it since the car was specifically imported for you. :D

    And redelivery time is typically less than 6 weeks on the East Coast and 8 weeks on West Coast. The only time cars get delayed longer is when there is some damage to the car which has to be fixed (BMW makes the car new again at their insurance even if there is an accident, a dent etc.). Get your number corrects mate and go to bimmerfest ED forums to check stuff out.

    Cornering: Just because a TSX passed you does not take anything away from the Bimmer. The TSX driver might be a better driver than you are. The point was that having driven the same route in many different cars, the confidence which the Bimmer inspired on the high-speed curvy driving was amazing. It showed up in the fact that I was very comfortable pushing the car more, and as a result pulling ahead of everyone. There was no race, but while the other cars naturally slow down, the Bimmer begs for more. The twisties of course are even better :D

    sfcharlie: I can appreciate the difference between the driving characteristics of an Audi and a BMW. They are similar but not the same. Audi has excellent interiors, but the Bimmer driving experience is better to me. Maybe you can not appreciate the difference. Again to each their own. I am just glad we are lucky enough to have these choices. :)
  • sfcharliesfcharlie Posts: 402
    The only thing I object to in your style of discussion is highlighted in your "Maybe you can not appreciate the difference." I don't think you realize that you subtly cross over a line in a way not typical for these discussions by implying that the only way someone could end up not agreeing with you is to somehow wrong-headedly miss "the" point.

    Example: cornering ... we are not saying anything different ... of course, you and others who have passed me on corners in my BMW 325i might have been better drivers. The issue is that you mix in together your feeling inspired, your never having been passed by any non-Bimmer on a curve, and the conclusion that no well-driven bimmer could be passed by another type of car in its category on a curve.

    ED: Maybe I'm the only one on this forum who isn't going to hop a plane to Munich to get my next car, but I'm not. I'm guessing that most people looking to lease a new LPS aren't going to do that either. You appear to insist that since it can be done at some savings, everyone in their right mind will do. My facts simply came off the Edmunds site discussion of their experience ED purchase of a BMW.

    I believe this discussion has come down to two points: (1) You assert that there is no more financially sensible LPS lease than a BMW ED. Your logic leads you from there to: "the BMW ED lease is the best buy out there; so BMW wins on the $$$ side over all other LPS cars avaialble for lease." Case closed. (2) You have established beyond any further discussion that a combination of BMW's not sharing platforms and your personal driving experiences adds up to irrefutable evidence, applicable to everyone, that anyone driving an M35 is depriving themselves of your confident and self-assured cornering.

    OK
This discussion has been closed.