Last post on Apr 29, 2013 at 4:47 PM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Jaguar XJR, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW M5, Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG, Audi S6, Maserati Quattroporte, Audi S8, Sedan
Aug 29, 2002 (9:51 pm)
Ok you asked, this could be lengthy (lol).
First of all I would, at the objection of every DCX board member, cut production down to a set number of units for each model. Mercedes is trying to do the impossible by producing 1.5 million cars with the same quality they did back when they were a building 800K cars a year.
This would go a long way towards ensuring reliabilty and trouble-free operation. In addition to cutting production I would slow down the model introductions, Mercedes is rushing now. For example, there is nothing wrong with the 1998-2002 CLK where it needs replacing for 2003. I have read that MB has stopped their million mile testing of their cars, a big mistake. Only the Maybach has undergone such testing in recent years. I can't believe that!
Next would be sheer build quality. There is no reason for a Mercedes NOT to be built like a tank. They were never out to be the lightest, best handling cars in the world, just the best built. The previous S-Class and SL were the most solidly constructed cars on the road. This needs to be brought back, but with lightweight materials, and less complexity. Mercedes-Benz was undisputed in chassis rigidity and now I read about squeaks, body-flex and rattles, unheard of on previous generation Benzes. I don't see how better plastics, and just overall tighter fittings are going to add THAT much to the price of a car that is already thousands more than it's direct compeition in most cases.
VW and Audi do a great job here, but their profit margins are very thin and I think MB feels such thin margins are too risky, especially if you're selling LESS cars. That's a tough business case to make. The thing that really pisses me off about Mercedes' new policy is that with all of their cost cutting they're cars are still thousands more than the competition. Before nobody even questioned why a Benz costed more, because you could see why the minute you opened the door or sat down in one.
Yet people by the thousands are still willing to pay a premium to have a Benz. If they ever loose this blessed position/status it'll be the hardest thing trying to get it back.
Reliability and build are the biggest problems I see. Easily curable with the next generation cars. The new E-Class is the first new Benz that I've seen the writers say MB is getting back on track reguarding it's build. The SL has been mixed, some say it is up to MB's old standard some say it isn't. Pretty hard thing to do considering the previous SL was a tank.
Mercedes IMO is still the leader in technology and innovation. Other cars have caught up with them on the safety front, though they still are first to market new ideas in that area. PreSafe being one of them.
On less critical issues would be some equipment changes. For the life of me I can't understand what Mercedes-Benz has against offering a standard in-dash CD player in their cars over here. The 2003 E-Class is the only model so far I know that will so equipped. I just looked at the new CLK500 a few days ago and nope, it doesn't have one. Completely and utterly ridiculous. I haven't see the 2003 C-Class yet, but I have read that the S-Class will have a standard in-dash CD player.
As far as handling goes, I'm satisfied if a Benz handles better than a Lexus if not as good as a BMW. I'm talking about their basic models or sport equipped models not AMG products. Benzes have never been handlers in the same sense as BMW.
All said I still think they make a hell of a car.
The previous C-Class was a good car. I too have toyed with the idea of a 2000 C280, but the oomph is missing compared the 1997 C280, it being the last year to use the inline 6.
Aug 30, 2002 (10:24 am)
While we're moving away from the strict topic header, the subject about perceived brand quality is an intriguing one, and I'll add my 2c.
I already mentioned the fact I bought a Lexus upon moving to the US for the perceived reliability. It was in the shop far more often than any of the 3-series Beemers I had before. But while getting service for the Beemer was a hassle (long wait, service with attitude), my Lexus service experience was quite good. You felt treated very well. That goes a *huge* way in making you overlook whatever whimsicalities any car might have at any point in time.
I then got myself a '96 Jaguar XJS convertible. People were appalled, they told me I'd need a second car etc. That was the best car I have ever owned. Not one issue in 45k miles. Just regular service. Utter darling. I should have never sold it. But then I went an got a '01 Jaguar XJR (the reason why I freuquent this board). Several things had happened:
(1) Jaguar had come out with the S class. The service department, which had been basically just catering to a few customers while I owned the XJS, now had far more stuff to do. By the time the X-type came out, the initial utter correctness and knowing *you* I had valued had given way to an ananoymous, hurried and far less customer friendly attitude.
(2) The XJR had some quirks. Normal for new cars, nothing major, just annoyances. But in a $70k car, those become quite annoying when the service department becomes less thorough, and when they -for example- do things like breaking the loudspeaker as they fix a door-panel that seemed somewhat loose, and hand you the car back like that and tell you it is an 8 week wait for the louspeaker part. The issues the XJR had: an occasiuonal first gear hick-up in acceleration they were never ever able to figure out (it's like it totally cut off for a half-second when cold and you had to push it a little, which combined with the power provided a neck-snapping action), and a tendency for the rear tires to misalign themselves and eat through $400 tires within a few thousand miles. They claimed it was normal to go through $2,000 or tires every 7,000 miles.
(3) I decided a sedan just wasn't me. I decided I liked convertibles. And decided I wanted an image change.
Due to (1) and (2), Jaguar was not considered again.
Not that I think anything bad about Jaguar, they are wonderful cars, and I would wholeheartedly recommend them on their own merits. I just think Jaguar, like every other successful and volume ambitious car brand, struggles with its own success. As it builds reputation and cranks out higher volume models, more people buy them, overwhelm the service infrastructure, change the brand's perception in its original owners' minds, and has to sacrifice some "values" for success. Welcome to the altar of market economy, where ritual sacrifice of core philosophies mostly goes hand in hand with success.
Mercedes is a clear example of a brand where roaring success and more ambitious volume goals compromise some of the things that lead to the success originally. And we can't talk out of both sides of our mouths, denouncing this as car enthusiats, yet demanding it when we happen to own the stock of a company. It's one of the paradox aspects of market economy. Mercedes used to be a car nut company, and for a long time it build cars to a standard. But under market pressure, it has had to change and now builds things to a price. But does so while still being a major technology innovator in the car world. There is no doubt that Mercedes is a great car brand.
I have always liked their cars. Never owned one, mind you, (I have an ML320, but that doesn't count as a car, in my mind) but that is for entirely different reasons.
For now, I decided to check out of the brand bandwaggon and got myself a new Saab and a used Rolls. The Saab is quirky enough to allow for the relaxed, personalized service experience all over again. The Rolls appeals to the aristocrat in me.
And I also learned that US roads suck. I got tired of front spoiler damage, and of doing 65mph on a car designed and set up to be driven at 155mph+. That is why I also have the ML.
That's the car brand stuff in my mind, and how it has influenced my car choice path over the last few years.
#566 of 1045 2004 E55 or 2004 M5
Aug 31, 2002 (12:47 pm)
Anyone with info on the schedule releases for these 2 cars. My lease on 2001 S500 is over 9/2003.
Aug 31, 2002 (10:22 pm)
From www.autobild.de: The new E55 with its 475HP, 4.6s 0-60 and so on is supposed to arrive this autumn in Germany. I say put your name down *now* if you want to stand a chance to get it fall next year... They say very late 2003 or even late 2004 for the BMW superperformance models.
Sep 29, 2002 (9:38 am)
I love the M5, E55 and XJR. I have never owned any of them but I know they are very fast. Personally I would like to own a E55 for some reason but I know the M5 is better, so the M5. The E55 has a 5-Speed Automatic that dulls accelaration when the BMW M5 has a wonderful 6-Speed. The M5 is also much better for it's purpose. I would leave the XJR out of choice because it's not as fast as the E55 mor M5, is just as expensive, can't handle like the E55 or M5 and is less reliable than even the E55. Overall, the M5.
Oct 07, 2002 (2:44 pm)
Does anyone know if BMW's going to do anything with the M5, now that the competition is cranking out 400plus horsepower? I've looked around, but haven't seen anything about any HP increase.
#570 of 1045 Next M5: Reportedly 500 HP V-10
Oct 07, 2002 (4:35 pm)
rumc3... Automotive press has been reporting for many months now that the next generation M5 will likely have an approximately 500 HP V-10. There has also been reporting on a turbocharged I6 for the new 5 Series; thinking 3.5L. I've seen this type reporting in a ton of automotive publications. For example, see p. 69 of latest issue of Road & Track (11/02). Small article on the brewing horsepower wars that were started by the M5 just a couple short years ago. Discusses the reported 500 HP V-10. BMW isn't going to sit back in a war it helped start!
#571 of 1045 New E-55
Oct 12, 2002 (5:25 am)
I am on the list for a new E-55 but have some trepidation about getting it. Of the last five Mercedes I have owned- 2- 2001 E-55's, a 2002 CL500, a 2003 SL500 and a 2003 CLK500, I can safely say that the build quality left me cold on all of them except for the CLK (believe it or not) and this may just be the law of averages.
My other concern is with the technical complexity which both BMW and Mercedes seemed infatuated with, at the expense of the driving experience. The new brakes on the SL500 and E500 are unplesant and difficult to modulate. This along with all the rattles was the reason I sold my SL500 after only two months (it also weighed too much and wasn't much fun to drive). The new reports on the airmatic suspension on the E500 don't sound promising either. We don't have to mention the I-drive disaster from the BMW.
Is Mercedes trying to distract us with gadgets so we don't notice how much they charge and how poorly they build them???
Oct 12, 2002 (8:36 pm)
What negative reports about the E500's Airmatic have you seen? I've seen nothing but priaise for the E500's suspension setup, even Car and Driver (BMW central) "liked" the car.
Oct 13, 2002 (7:52 am)
Why 2 2001 E55's ? One for the lover ?
I also loved the CLK55, but I sometimes need to put a baby in the back, need 2 more doors..
Did you get any schedule for the 2004 E55 from your dealership?