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slk230red

Lexus Vs Mercedes

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Hello everyone,

First of all, this is a GREAT site! Lot's of posts, replies, and good information. A couple of months ago my wife and I attended a GM car show in Tampa. GM had their new 2004 cars there to test drive along with competitors models. We have been driving MB's for twenty years and are looking to replace my wife's 93 mercedes. There was a 2004 ES330 and a 2004 MB C240 at the car show. When my wife got into the ES330, she was pleasantly surprised at the luxurious feel of the car and the performance of the car was equally impressive. When she got out of the ES330, I had her go directly to the MB C240 for a test drive. Well, there was no comparison. Interior, comfort, handling, performance, and overall feel did not compare to the ES330. What happened to Mercedes Benz? I have always felt good about purchasing a new MB, but now I'm not sure. The ratings have continued dropping over the past several years, but Lexus automobiles have remained high. Are Lexus cars surperior or is it the Service Department that makes them appear better? I would also like to replace my 2001 SLK230 soon and the only cars that look appealing are the Lexus models. I have never considered owning a Japanese made car, but it looks like it is the only alternative for reliability and customer satisfaction. Could any ex Mercedes owners give me some feedback about their switch to Lexus?

Thanks,

Dave

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I am not a former MB owner, but I have owned mostly German cars (3 BMW's, 2 VW's and 1 Porsche). I purchased a 2000 ES300 about a month ago, and I don't think I'll ever buy German again.

Don't get me wrong, the german cars are a blast to drive, but at this point in my life and career (I'm 37, a CPA), the Lexus is THE car for me. It is a great car for the same price of a German car, if not less. The ride is much smoother and incredibly quiet, the sound system is great, and it gets really good gas mileage.

I also did my homework. I was looking to buy a C-Class or a BMW. I had never even considered a Lexus, but every magazine or website I went to showed them to be head and shoulders above all the German cars as far as reliability and satisfaction. I finally decided to test drive a couple, and fell in love with them within one hour. No problems so far. If things continue as they have, I think I'll be a Lexus owner for many years to come.

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The problem with Mercedes, and to a far lesser extent BMW is that they're not willing to spend what they need to spend on the material content of their cars. IMHO Mercedes has become the Chrysler of the luxury world (which is no surprise). The cars are visually beautiful, but the tactile feel of the interior just isn't there. The plastic feels thin, grainy, and cheap. The swithgear the same way. They just don't have the same heft and soft quality materials that Lexus has. To me, even a Lincoln feels higher quality than a Mercedes. The Mercedes is all about the look.

BMW is far better, and Audi is even better than BMW if you like german. In fact I would say Audi interiors are just as high quality as those from Lexus, and have a little more flair.

If I were to buy a german car I would buy an Audi or BMW, I wouldn't even really consider a Mercedes. You pay 20% more and what do you get? A car that doesn't feel as high quality.

IMHO to get a Mercedes that equals the quality of a entry level Lexus interior you have to get a designo S class or a AMG or 600 model. My fiance and I sat in a brand new E500 and then got back in my car, and she definately noticed a difference, and my car cost $25,000 less...

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SW03ES,

I agree with you from the interior quality, How about safety rating? MB are supposed to be better in safety rating than Lexus. Right ?

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No, if you look at the crash test ratings Lexus is every bit as safe as Mercedes.

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When I started looking for cars last spring, I was looking at proteges, civics, accords, camrys, and many other cars. I never dreamed that I would be able to get a Lexus (I am 19). I test drove a 97 ES (which is what I ended up buying) and I fell in love with it. The quiet engine, the smooth ride, the quality fit and finish, everything! I ended up buying one with 86,000 miles on it. Almost a year later, it has about 92,000 and I have only had to do regular maintenance.

I replaced the tires and the brakes when I first got it. Then, all I had to do was scheduled oil changes. About a week ago, I brought it in for the 90,000 mile maintenance, which was a little spendy, but it was worth it to know that I was doing the proper maintenance. I did notice that the car felt stronger, more responsive after I got it back from the shop.

The point is that I test drove many cars, and researched for months. I kept on seeing that Lexus was at the top of the reliability charts. Everything was positive about them. I was unsure about buying a Japanese car (I had two Grand Prixs before this) but I am SO glad that I got a Lexus. Several of my friends have fallen in love with it, and they would also like to get Lexus vehicles. I decided that Japanese was the way to go because of their great fit and finish and their high reliability standards. German cars looked great and had some nice power, but they just didn't feel as good as the Toyotas/Lexuses. Their reliability is not as high (and keeps falling) and that concerned me.

I recommend Lexus to everyone, regardless of their age/gender/race, whatever. They are great for everyone and they are best vehicle out there (IMHO). :-)

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Lexus is da bomb, as my youngest cousin would say...although I did test drive the new E320 and I was pleasantly surprised. No power, but fun to drive, and felt really planted at extra-legal speeds. I liked the interior of the MB, too. Yes, I think Audi does a better (probably the best) job with interiors, though. From a financial standpoint, MB does not make sense. Lexus has many standard features that would cost you an arm & a leg as options on MB & BMW cars.

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My best friend just bought a MB (c-class) and she is rubbing it in my face. But listen up LEXUS owners, she doesn't have a CD player or CD changer (don't you at least get that in a Ford car), pre-set station scan, heated seats and her insurance went way up. Plus when I talked to her today, she was taking her car to the shop. And she spends a boat load on gas!!

I'm not jealous anymore. Mercedes is still a Mercedes and I grew up driving one but I wouldn't trade in my LEXUS for a MB. If you want a good MB you have to get the s-class.

Happy Lexus 97 Es Owner

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Thanks for the informative replies everyone. Apparently I am on track concerning my comparisons of the ES300/330 and the C class MB. Although I have only driven one new 1998 ES300 and one new 2004 ES330, I came to the conclusion that Lexus offers more car for the money compared to the C classes from '94 to 2004. I have driven several C class loaners when I took my SLK230 in for sevice/repairs and I just don't see the MB quality of years past. The interior is inferior, not to mention just plain cheap and uncomfortable compared to Lexus. The things that I observed when looking closely at the ES class have been supported in the replies to my post.

Littlerock, I don't know why your friend would rub her new C class in your face. She just bought a mass produced car that has no flare, comfort, or high customer satisfaction and reliability ratings. She just bought the Mercedes name. I don't know what happened to Mercedes, but I don't see them getting any more of my money. When I purchased my new SLK the salesman told me that in the Daimler Chrysler name, Chrysler is silent, ha ha. Well, it's not...you hear it when you drive. I don't want to sound like a disgruntled Mercedes owner, but I don't feel that Mercedes offers the quality of years past. Something happened and Mercedes needs to fix it to compete with other luxury cars, and yes, I agree that you have to get an S class to get a good MB. But that's a LOT of money to spend AND lose. I have always preferred German made cars, but now I am leaning towards a Lexus ES330.

I can still remember that stunned look on my wife's face when she started up the ES330 for the test drive and she asked me if I thought the engine was running. I said, put it in drive and see if it moves. Now talk about quiet AND smooth! :rolleyes:

Thanks again everyone,

Dave

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One thing I really like about the ES vs the 3 series, C class, A4 is its size and proportions. Those three cars are in the ES' price class, but the ES is the size of a 5 series, E class, or A6. The C, 3, and A4 have what I call an "economy car look", they have little trunks and hoods, high roofs with lots of tall glass, they look like they were built around the passenger compartment like a Honda civic does. The ES looks much more upscale and expensive simply because it is proportioned like the bigger car that it is. So when talking about space, features, and size the ES really competes with the mid-luxury cars yet its priced like a entry luxury car.

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I have to agree. I'm a big guy and the 325i, C230 and A4 were all too tight for me. But, the ES300/330 is juuuuuuuuuuuusssssstttttttttttt right. :)

The 5 series, A6 and E class are just a little too much money, about $15,000 too much.

The 7 series, A8 and S class....well Donald Trump didn't pick me.

steviej

for my money $ to $, amenity to amenity, the ES was the only way to go.

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I know the service manager for Mercedes at the dealer closest to my home, and he told me (off the record, of course!) he had a few customers who had traded in their 190E's for a then new C class and then came back a few days/weeks later only to want their old 190E's back because of the lack of quality in the C.

MB & BMW used to build great cars (635i/M6/300E coupe, anyone?) until Acura/Lexus/Infiniti came along with comparable products at more than comparable prices. In a nutshell, what used to happen, was that the engineers at MB/BMW would build the car, then hand it over to the accountants to put a price on it. Now, it's the bean counters who tell the engineers the price point to build the car. This has resulted in a lot of corners being cut. It's all Acura/Lexus/Infiniti's fault! :lol: Lexus has become the marque most feared by the big three German makers, with Acura a distant second. In my opinion, Infiniti is a big failure (sadly), with the G35 their saviour for now. I wish Lexus cars had an anologue clock like Infiniti, though...very classy.

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My experience is that German cars are an utter blast to drive--but they're poorly made and poorly engineered, AND poorly supported in this country.

Japanese engineering is, for the everyday driver, heads above anything the Germans are doing.

And, from what I can tell the Germans should be utterly embarrassed about their electrical systems.

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SLK230RED,

I am a current and previous MB Owner as well as a Lexus owner. I had a '90 E Class and loved the car. It had plenty of power, all the bells & whistles (available at the time) and best of all it had the Mercedes Benz Relaibility. That car was never in the shop. I wish I still had it.

I currently own a '99 C Class (old body style) and it is fairly reliable overall, but not as reliable as my '95 ES300 or the old E Class. I choose to log more miles in the ES for that reason.

I don't feel that the interiors are cheap (just stark and minimalist in the European way). I actually prefer the Benz (or other European) interior to that of newer Lexus models - I like their control layout better. From a stylistic standpoint, I think the current lineup of Mercedes blows away the competition. They are sleek, stylish and well built. I don't know anyone that wouldn't want to bee seen in one. The only problem is their complete lack of reliability. The build quality is excellent, but the reliability has gone way downhill.

I think it started in the mid to late 1990's with the introduction of the new E & S Class models. For those who have never owned an older Benz, most of their functions used to be controlled with a vaccuum system. Even as late as '99 in my C Class the door locks, climate control, headlight aim, etc. are all vaccuum controlled (with pumps and hoses). Mercedes needed to switch to electric controls to incorporate some of the more modern automotive technologies in their cars. When they did this, things started going downhill. The only problems I have had in the C Class have all been electronic (fuel gague sending unit, radio head unit, climate control unit)

Lets face it. The Japanese have electronics down pat. They have been the world's leader since the 1960's so it has been much easier for them to integrate this technology into their cars. It is a shame that a company like Mercedes that has built their reputation on quality, design, and reliability is letting one of the three pillars crumble. I hope that they can get their act together because I would love to own another Mercedes some day.

On the same note, BMW and Audi & VW have been suffering from reliability issues as well. 2003 was the first year ever that American car reliability surpassed that of the European brands. I will give credit to BMW though since they have recently started an initiative to hire more than 500 engineers to address the reliability and integration of electronics into their automobiles. (Based on the look of the new 5, 6, & 7 series, they also need some help in the styling department.)

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I disagree about the build quality, I consistently see new Mercedes with uneven door panels, cheap thin interior plastics, and poor quality paint full of orange peel.

In my opinion, Infiniti is a big failure (sadly), with the G35 their saviour for now

I think you better watch out for Infiniti, they're gearing up to have some awesome vehicles. The G35 is a fantasic sedan/coupe that is stylish and is well built, the FX models of SUV are well built, a blast to drive, and look like nothing on the road. I think 3-4 years down the line Infiniti is going to have a great model lineup.

Whether that will be good enough to fix their image problem I don't know. Thats the problem with Acura too. They're great cars, but they aren't taken seriously.

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The best value that will be available will be a two year old 05 Infiniti M45. It will be the same style as today's car (which I love), it will be an "old style" model, the last year before the 06 model changeover, and it is and will be an entirely unappreciated car--which will drive the price down even further.

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I too like the M45, the style has grown on me.

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The best value that will be available will be a two year old 05 Infiniti M45. It will be the same style as today's car (which I love), it will be an "old style" model, the last year before the 06 model changeover, and it is and will be an entirely unappreciated car--which will drive the price down even further.

I think the JDM version called the Nissan Gloria looks better. You guys are right in that it is a vastly underappreciated car. I thnk it looks a bit ugly, though...but not as ugly as I used to think it was. They should have kept it the way it is in Japan. All the really good cars are in Japan & Europe. :angry:

http://www.nissan.co.jp/GLORIA/Y34/0404/EXTER/index.html

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... the FX models of SUV are well built, a blast to drive, and look like nothing on the road. I think 3-4 years down the line Infiniti is going to have a great model lineup.

It's good that nothing else on the road looks like the FX 45. That thing is hideous. It looks like someone squashed a Murano and made the front bulge out under pressure. The Armada's not too bad, but there's something about the rearward slant of the back two doors that looks wierd IMO.

The G35 is the best thing that Infiniti has going right now. The M45 could and should have been so much more. Had the styling not looked so much like a large GM sedan (Impala, Caprice, Roadmaster) or the old Q45 it would have been a big hit for them, and a better contender against the GS.

I agree. If Infiniti gives their styling department a good whack in the head :chairshot: then they may be able to come out with something great.

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In my opinion, Infiniti is poised to whack other luxury automakers on the head with their new model lineup. With the release of the new M Concept, they'll have a car with quality, performance, and reliability, wrapped in a stunning package...

Infiniti M Concept

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Some people may think the FX is ugly, but at least they have an opinion. Thats been the problem even Lexus has struggled with, indifference. When you have people that dislike a design then that means you're taking chances, which is good. You don't succeed unless you take chances. Lexus is JUST NOW starting to take some chances with their cars and I think its great.

Personally I think the FX is one of if not the best looking vehicles on the road. Its totally unique, which is such a rare thing nowadays. Cookie cutter designs like those put out by Acura and Lexus in the past generate the sales, but they don't create an image for the company.

I don't think Infiniti needs to hit anyone in their styling department over the head, they can't keep the FX or the G series on the lots. They get nothing but praise from the press. Their main problem is marketing. The M and Q don't sell well because they aren't advertised, no one knows they exist. You see ads all over the place for the FX and the G.

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Agree with SW03ES about Infiniti. The other model they don't advertise (at least not in Canada) is the I series (although that's due for a change along the lines of the new Maxima, which is another stunner). In general, Nissan has been leading the pack in design over the last few years, witness the Altima, Maxima, Murano, as well as FX and G series.

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