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  #1  
Old 09-17-2003, 11:22 AM
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Mercedes vs. BMW Quality

Any current or former BMW owners out here? I would like to get an idea of BMW's new car quality and reliability as compared to the new Mercedes'.

Yes I'm a big fan of my Mercedes', but the new 5 Series has really caught my eye (except for Idrive).

Thanks.
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1998 E320
2001 SLK320
2000 Lexus RX300

Last edited by DaveJ; 09-18-2003 at 01:05 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-17-2003, 11:45 AM
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Location: Oakville, Ontario, Canada
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Stick with MB if possible

I don't have any new MB's (my "newest" car is an '86 300SDL) but my wife just bought an '01 325i sedan. We have put less than 15,000km on it (about 9000 miles) in the last 10 months and have made more than 5 trips to the dealer. They have replaced parts of the drivetrain and ended up replacing the entire differential to stop a clunking noise. Check engine light came on twice because of bad sensors. Now the ABS and Traction control lights are on.

The car is under warranty, but it's a huge hassle taking this thing in every month or two. It scares me to think how much these things are going to cost once it's out of warranty! I have no idea what a differential costs for this car, but I'm sure it's VERY expensive!

We bought the car with 40,000km (about 24,000mi) and it now has 55,000km (about 33,000mi). The dealer doesn't seem to think ours is out of the ordinary. Not to say all of the other 325's are like this one, but they don't act like there is anything wrong with replacing a differential at 30,000miles! This was a one owner car and passed BMW's "certified pre-owned" inspection. Car burns oil at a rate of 1 quart per 2000-3000km which the dealer says is "normal". Yeah, right.

Stick with MB if you can. I know the newer ones aren't as good as the old, but I'm *certain* the new E320 and E500 won't have the problems this new 5 series is going to have. There are a TON of new 745i's in the shop at the dealer every time I go...

Just for reference, my wife has decided her next car is going to be a '93-95 E300D (W124). We thought we'd keep this BMW for 2-3 years, but she's "shopping" for a Benz just 10 months into ownership of this one.
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'83 300SD 335,000km (207k) mi SOLD
'87 560SL 163,000km (101k mi) SOLD
'86 300SDL 356,000km (220k mi) SOLD
'92 500SEL 250,000km (155k mi) SOLD
'90 300SL 140,000km (87k mi) SOLD
'01 S430 260,000km (161k mi) SOLD
'03 SL500 167,000km (104k mi)
'07 GL320 CDI 4MATIC 289,000km (162k mi)
'07 S550 4MATIC 170,000km (105k mi)
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  #3  
Old 09-17-2003, 12:16 PM
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I agree. My friend bought a 02 325xi or was it 323xi i forget but it was a 4 wheel drive 3 series. two months into the ownership and he had already made 4 trips to the dealer. it was declared lemon and they gave him a choice to choose another one. he decided to stay away from the 4 wheel drive option given it was too troublesome and even the dealers couldnt figure out the clunks in the read drive axle. numerous software upgrades and yet no luck. he now drives the 02 328. already the car has had a software upgrade, transmission problem, and rear axle problem as well. He used to drive the 97E320 before that and his conclusion is to stay away from the new bimmers.
Another friend owns a 02 Z3. just to mention a few problems : convertible top stuck, oil leak, break problems, A/C not working, overheated. He's made more than 2 trips every month to the dealer. and mind you that the dealer in central jersey are nothing but uptight. service is nowhere close to that of lexus or mercedes quality. but then again that's just the review from the people i know. i'm sure others would have had better experience with the bmw's.
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  #4  
Old 09-17-2003, 02:01 PM
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Lots of BMWs in my past. Some good stuff was made.

I don't do new cars, but I am always trolling for a newer 'old' car.

Based upon first hand reports from owners of various recent models and other data, the 2 marques would appear to be roughly equivalent in reliability. Results are not promising. In a mad competition to outdo each other with complicated features, it would appear that they have both overlooked the basics.

Have not looked at sales data recently, but I suspect the market will eventually punish them both.
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  #5  
Old 09-17-2003, 03:12 PM
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I just retired my '86 300E in favor of a new (2003) 325i - actually an "executive car" with 5000 miles. So far, so good. I am very impressed by the handling and ergonomics, and the level of fit and finish is very high.

The car was built in South Africa.

The engine/automatic transmission control is awesome. In normal driving, you really cannot feel the trans shift.

To some extent this was an impulse buy but I have lost faith in the newer Mercedes because of the quality problems. From a styling perspective, I thought the 325 had it all over the C-class.

We'll have to wait to see what the future holds, but for now, life is good.
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'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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  #6  
Old 09-17-2003, 03:35 PM
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Unsure as to the statistics behind this, but my uncle in Germany states flatly "in a Mercedes you have an accident, in a BMW you die".
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  #7  
Old 09-17-2003, 03:46 PM
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Mercedes G-Wagen vs 7 series Bimmer.




"Frontal attack: Jörg Nicolaus (right) wanted to stop the fuel thief with his Mercedes G-model. The gas thief attacked frontally in his 7-series BMW - and fled."
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  #8  
Old 09-17-2003, 04:16 PM
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I have owned both Mercedes and BMWs. Here is my two cents.

With respect the big models, Mercedes is by far the better car because they produce more cars.

I had a 1995 740 that needed a new engine at 60,000 miles. The aluminum alloy that was used in the engine blocks (that were not sleeved) was corroding. BMW quietly replaced the engine on many of those new V8s. I feel sorry for the guy that didn't complain.

Same car also had transmission replaced at about 70,000 miles.

And I baby my cars!

This is unheard of for Mercedes. The difference was the number of S class sold versus 7 series.

With all that said, the BMW 3 series, which is produced in high quantities, is a great automobile.

However, I will never buy another BMW V8 again.

Mike


1992 500 SL

1998 E430

2002 Mini Cooper

2003 Harley Electra Glide
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  #9  
Old 09-17-2003, 09:56 PM
dtf dtf is offline
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I personaly don't understand why people compare MB and BMW. Isn't it like comparing a Lincoln LS and a Corvette for American cars? They attract different drivers and the main deliverable and expectations of the cars are different. A BMW should be compared to a Porsche and not to most MBs.
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  #10  
Old 09-17-2003, 11:19 PM
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My problem with Bimmers has always been the lack of space to store items.

Bimmers are just too small inside. I suppose if you're into handling, acceleration, and outright sporty fun, then a Bimmer's for you.

Mercedes has always been a balance of ride, handling, and quality. In quality, I mean space, and supreme body construction, and excellent reliability.

Unfortunately, Mercedes is trying to attract younger buyers to its brand. Mercedes main focus, lately has been on performance, PERFORMANCE, PERFORMANCE!

I do not care for Bangle's designs myself, though, so I would buy a new Merc instead. At least it looks gorgeous!
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  #11  
Old 09-17-2003, 11:44 PM
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I've owned both and think MBZ is way better.

I asked a tech that does MBZ and BMW and he said he thinks BMW is a piece of junk. Although, he likes the fact they keep him busy.
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  #12  
Old 09-18-2003, 03:00 AM
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My wife's 97 740il had more repairs done than my 95 MB coupe.
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  #13  
Old 09-18-2003, 11:18 AM
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dtf, in my post I was asking only about the quality and reliability of Mercedes and BMW. I agree 100% with you that the two company's target a different audience, although Mercedes is now trying to go after younger audience as well as its traditional customers.

From a quality and reliability persepective, Mercedes and BMW should be compared. They are both high end automobiles with comparable prices that target the affluent auto enthusiast.

I've edited the subject so it now says "Mercedes vs. BMW Quality".
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  #14  
Old 09-18-2003, 11:44 AM
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We're seriously considering trading in the '01 325i for a '95 W124 E300 diesel.

I have an '86 300SDL and do 90% of the work on it myself. Can't touch a thing on the 325i until it's out of warranty, and even then I'll probably be limited to tuneups and brakes unless I want to buy scanners, books, etc.

Can anyone think of a reason why I *shouldn't* trade this thing in and buy an E300? Other than the fact that the 325i has four airbags, and "express-down" one touch power windows, I can't think of one single thing that makes it any better than an E300.. can anyone think of a reason for me before I get into full-fledged E300 buying mode?

Neal
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'83 300SD 335,000km (207k) mi SOLD
'87 560SL 163,000km (101k mi) SOLD
'86 300SDL 356,000km (220k mi) SOLD
'92 500SEL 250,000km (155k mi) SOLD
'90 300SL 140,000km (87k mi) SOLD
'01 S430 260,000km (161k mi) SOLD
'03 SL500 167,000km (104k mi)
'07 GL320 CDI 4MATIC 289,000km (162k mi)
'07 S550 4MATIC 170,000km (105k mi)
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  #15  
Old 09-18-2003, 12:57 PM
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I still don't see a manual gearbox available for the new E-class, nor was one available for the W210. That alone would/will send me looking for an E39.

I own both marques, albeit in the late 80's/early 90's time frame. Both marques are awesome, they're similar and different if you know what I mean. The engineering on the W124 is just in a league of its own. I don't know if it's just their stupid North America marketing arms forcing all this luxo-complexity on us but I do hope the quality problems (seemingly resulting mostly from luxo-doodads) are resolved within 5-10 years when I'll be looking to buy another used one 8^().

Brian
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