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  #1  
Old 03-05-2002, 05:45 PM
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528 vs e420

I know that this is a MB board..and I presently own two. I am in the future looking for another and would like to know your opinion..I am interested in a 96 or 97 BMW 528 vs a 94 or 97 e420. What do you guys think?
Thanks in advance..
rob
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  #2  
Old 03-05-2002, 07:34 PM
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I briefly owned a 97 528. Nice car. Sold it to my neighbour, and she loves it.

It's a very different animal than an E420. It's a nice six cylinder sedan, but is pretty tame compared to the V-8 Mercedes.

One thing I really found odd in the BMW was the ACC that required a manual engagement of the compressor. Weird. Maybe I was doing something wrong, but that seemed to be the way it worked.

As to W124 (92-95) vs. W210 (97+) V-8 MB's, personal preference is the key. The 97 has the "four-eye" front end, which I find very attractive. The 97- also has a steeper final drive and five-speed automatic. The W210 E420 is a pretty quick car, right on top of the 540i.

The W124 has a little more dated look, but looks "MB" in the classic sense. It also suffers the 2.24 final drive that saps alot of it's get up and go, but makes it a superb highway cruiser. The interior materials are a bit better in the older cars, but they do lack some modern touches, including side-airbags, keyless entry, and ESP. The AC in the later cars also blows colder.

The BMW will not hold it's value as good as any of the MB's. I didn't own the car long enough to even do an oil change, but I think the six has a timing belt as opposed to MB's double row chain drive. The belt requires more frequent service.

But, the BMW will be much less expensive to buy compared to a 97 E420. I don't know about your home market, but in my neck-o-da-woods, a 97 E420 sells in the $45-48K range, and a 97 528 in the $30-35K range.

With any year E420, you'll probably be happy...
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  #3  
Old 03-06-2002, 10:05 AM
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"I briefly owned a 97 528. Nice car. Sold it to my neighbour, and she loves it."

That about says it all for me, "she loves it".
Comparing a BMW 528 to a MB E420 is like comparing apples and oranges. 528 vs. E320 or the 540 vs. E420 would be like comparing apples to apples. I test drove a 528 and it just didn't have the get up and go like I wanted. I've maintained BMW's in the past and I'll guarentee you that you won't find tech support like this Forum, and I think that the prices for maintainance parts are higher for BMW (beleive it or not). I've had some priced on BMW parts that make me scratch my head and wonder if it was worth it, not so with MB yet (knock on wood). I can't say enough about this Forum, it is a big reason that I'm not looking for a 540. I'm currently drooling over a 1997 E420 Sport...
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1998 BMW 540i Sport
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1980 BMW 320i (Sold)
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  #4  
Old 03-06-2002, 11:48 AM
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The BMW 5 series is not in the same class as a Mercedes E class. The 7 series is closer, but still different. I would consider a 735, 750, or 740. The 735 has a timing chain and is a very reliable motor. The 750 is very reliable and amazing motor, but expensive to work on, not much worse than a Mercedes V8. The 750 V12 is also hard to find someone to work on it. Good for the advanced DIY'er. Just avoid the 1993 to 1995 540, 740, or 840 as there are serious problems with cylinder wall erosion. Other than that they are strong runners. The BMW is more "sporty" and less luxurious. That said the 7 series is still very luxurious. My 1980 W126 still rides better than my 1989 735 even though it has more miles and was not nearly as well maintained. But give me a twisty road and the BMW can run circles around the Mercedes. I also prefer the firmer seats of the BMW. Given the same year and level of options I would think the BMW should be quite a bit cheaper than the Mercedes. It is really a matter of choice as they are very different cars. The 5 series is really more competion for Volvos, Audis, and the C class Mercedes. I would say the 7 series is closer, but still more to the sporty side. Both should be long runners and reliable.
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  #5  
Old 03-06-2002, 12:18 PM
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Well I agree with Silver Boat on most of his assessment other than the part about an E being compared to a 7 and a 5 being compared to a C. The C's and 3 series, the E's and 5s and the S's and 7s are competition respectively. Yes, they do have a different focus, the Benzs are more luxurious while the BMWs are more sporty, but this holds more true for the older models. The newer ones are getting closer in electronic gadgets, luxo and such. Also, the older S's I would say were a step up fron the 7s. The 7s have always played second fiddle to the S, but that is changing with their brand new 7. Now they will be closer than ever while still keeping their different focus (flashy cruiser vs sporty). So as far as your question...what do you want? Do you want a flashy luxo car? Or do you want a "young" sporty yet practical car? Also, if you are shopping for a V8 E420, why not look at a more powerful V8 540i? And if you jump for a 5, I think it was 97 or 98 they changed all their suspension components to aluminum. I am thinking of this off the top of my head, you may want to confirm the year, but I think it was 97 or 98. Happy shopping!
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  #6  
Old 03-06-2002, 04:16 PM
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American Fuel

"Good for the advanced DIY'er. Just avoid the 1993 to 1995 540, 740, or 840 as there are serious problems with cylinder wall erosion."

The quote above is very true. BMW used Al-Si cyclinder walls that deteriorated due to the higher content of sulfur in American fuels. Don't be surprised to see that an engine replacement was performed on any of the above models by a BMW dealer. I've looked at many that had this service done. I'll still stick with MB over BMW any day after owning both.
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1998 BMW 540i Sport
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  #7  
Old 03-06-2002, 08:20 PM
Lucky
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I own a '97 E420 and I am not 100% happy with it. the quality is just not the same as the W124's. It's a fast car and has plenty of power. Interior looks very plastic but has a lot more room than the 5 series. The trunk space of the E420 beats the 5 series hands down. Will I buy another E420? No. Will I buy a 5 series? May be. Will I buy another W124? Oh yeah!
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  #8  
Old 03-06-2002, 10:29 PM
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Silver Boat says it all. Do you want to drive or do you want to ride?
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  #9  
Old 03-07-2002, 08:48 AM
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Lucky, what's the scoop on the 1997 E420?

I'm going to look at a 1997 E420 Sport this weekend, please tell me about your W210 E420 problems.

PS: How can I get the "e-mail" button below my signature? I've looked inthe User CP, but didn't find anything obvious.
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Dave

1998 BMW 540i Sport
1995 E320
1992 400E
1989 BMW M3
1979 Triumph TR7 (1st car)
1986 BMW 735i (Sold)
1980 BMW 320i (Sold)
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  #10  
Old 03-07-2002, 12:05 PM
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under edit options
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  #11  
Old 03-08-2002, 09:31 PM
Lucky
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Corrosion is a big problem in my case. There was a recall last year and had something to do with the front suspension. Apparently when they fixed the recall, they found out that corrosion had started in the area. MB painted it under warranty but still, left a bad taste in my mouth. Just after the warranty expired, corrosion started in my trunk but they wouldn't fix it.

The E420 does not drive like a Mercedes. It doesn't give me the same feel as the W124 gave me. It just feels like driving a Camry or Honda. The interior looks too plastic IMHO. I wish I didn't sell my W124.

Hope it helps.
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  #12  
Old 03-09-2002, 02:15 AM
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I could not agree more with Lucky.
The W124 beats the W210 in all departments other than gas mileage.
I have been playing with the thought of getting a W210 for years, but whenever I test drive one I go: Nah, the 400E is a lot better, so I just had it upgraded to 94-95 looks and am now flirting with a 94 E500. Now the 400E looks timeless and in my opinion beats the W210 in looks hands down. I also agree about the statements made about the quality of interior components and the overall quality as well. The W124 feels solid whatever you do to it and looks expensive and quality inside and out. No plasticy look here. No dissapointments here.These are the last E-Class build to meet a standard rather than a price.
In regards to the BMW comparison, it really is a matter of choice for the average consumer. If you're a DIY'er the Benzes are a lot easier to work on and as preveiously stated cheaper in parts, even the V8's. Personally I would not go with a BMW as it does not really give you the 'King of teh Road" feel the way a Mercedes does. Then again a matter of personal preference as they are still very nice cars.
Good luck!
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  #13  
Old 03-09-2002, 11:15 PM
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The test drive...

Well I drove 2 hours to test drive a 1997 E420 Sport (77K mi) this morning. The "Contour" seat wasn't. Corrosion around the "security light sensor" next to the trunk key hole was... I had great expectations from the rack & pinion steering coupled with the Sportline suspension that were not met, but the trip was worth every mile! There was a 1998 BMW 540i with 72K miles on it there as well and I was able to drive them back to back. What a difference, the BMW took the cake hands down. Now do I look for a W124 E420 with the Sportline suspension, or just go with the BMW? Heavy thinking to do here...
I still can't believe the difference, I wonder if the MB that I drove was just a bad example.
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  #14  
Old 03-10-2002, 01:43 PM
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It could have been a bad example.

As a car guy who subscribes to 5 car magazines monthly and one weekly for the past ten years, I routinely notice that BMW's have, according to those who test cars, superior chasis / handling / suspension dynamics. The drivers who test cars for the magazines routinely rave about how communicative BMW's are. BMW's seem to win every test.

A buddy of mine just bought a 1995 W124 E420, and put in Eibach springs and Bilstein HD shocks with 17" wheels and it apparently has done wonders for the car.

Check out the posts from Cris or try e-mailing.

My mom has a 1999 E430, and I have a W124, and I prefer the W124 chasis. If just feels like what I expect in a Mercedes.

It may be so hard to find a sportline W210 MB, that you may buy a 92-95 400E / E420 (same engine, same displacement) and do your own suspension modifications.

You may also find that you have expectations that are better answered by BMW's, and there's nothing wrong with that.
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  #15  
Old 03-10-2002, 02:03 PM
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It sounds like the BMW is the winner here. Strange to say this on a Mercedes forum but it sounds like the BMW more what you are looking for. All the springs and shocks in the world is not going to make a Mercedes handle like a BMW. You would spend a lot of money and still not be happy. Not trying to say one is better than the other, they are just designed differently from the get go. You can try to "re-engineer" all you want but you are better off if you start where you want to be in the beginning. I still think you may want to try out a 7 series as they are available at surprisingly close prices to the 5 and it is a lot more car. IMHO

Car magazine writers do not usually spend enough time in the cars to be able to truly appreciate many of the features of a car. Like maintain-ability (is that a word?) and long distance comfort. This is why some times the results are surprising.
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got rid of:
1984 VW Vanagon 195,000
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1989 BMW 735iL 119000 (good riddance)
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