99 E420 or 96 BMW 740iL? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
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99 E420 or 96 BMW 740iL?

Hey guys,

I currently own a 1993 BMW 740iL, and was looking at the newer 96 740iL; the 96 has the upgraded 4.4L V8 and newer body style.

However my dilemma is that I just came across an 1999 E420 at a pretty good price, and I have always loved that car!

I asked around at the BMW forums, but I guess not surprisingly, the responses I got seemed a little biased. I fully understand that both of these cars are amazing machines and there is really no 'wrong' choice here -- I just wanted to get some hopefully unbiased insight from current/previous owners of this generation E Class, and opinions on which car I should go with.

As for what I need from the vehicle: simply to transport myself and three young sons with reasonable cargo space, performance, amenities and not too hard on fuel.

The price difference isn't too big, the E420's asking price is about $600 higher.

Thanks for any input!
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-02-2012, 11:55 AM
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Not to quibble but the only year MB made an E420 was 1997; a 1999 would be an E430 which is a superior engine. We are biased here too but since you are familiar with the 7-series BMW you know what to expect. But I have read when they get a few years on them they are quite expensive to maintain properly.

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-13-2012, 04:14 PM
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not sure if it still is of interest...

I actually own both of the cars, and they are totally different concepts all together. The BMW is "better" in my eyes, because I just love the seats in that car. I travel a lot by car, and the beamer fits like a glove. The "Comfort Seats with ventilation" my E430 has, just does´t cut it. They are ok, but compared with the bmw comfort seats (which are much more adjustable..) they are not really good. I´d except a lot more from a benz to be honest. The drive is also completely different. Both are "old people cars" but the beamer is a bit more sporty, everything is a tad more direct, a bit more aggressive. The E430 is like a sofa on wheels, everything is more muffled, not as direct, and a lot more laid back. The ride is great in both cars! You just notice the different approaches the engineers took.

The engineering on the E38 is one matter to consider - the front axle is a laugh compared to what the E430 (4matic..) has installed. thats built like a tank, and the beamer has toothpicks for struts. The front is ready for replacement about every 100 000 km or so, and most used E38 (..in germany..) are in desperate need of replacement.. The rear axle isn´t as bad, but also needs attention. The cooling system is also another sore... the plastic breaks with age.. the exhaust on the Beamer is better - almost 500 000 k on the beamer, and the stainless steel from front to back is still the first. I just replaced that on the Benz right after buying it.

The interior on the other hand, Mercedes really bit the bullet with that.. I hate about almost everything about it.. the comand is to low, the switches for everything else is there where the comand should have been, and look soooo cheep. The E38 has a more quality feeling to it.
No upgrade to DVD based navigation on the merc, no larger screen and so on. updates on the E38 are more plug and play! Sound system on the E38 sucks (even with the Top end DSP..)

Rust is a problem with both, but on the E38 more cosmetic nature (Doors Trunklid, Hood)

I think with 3 boys, you´d be looking into a wagon Eclass, because of the space! One Thing I hate about the E38: no folding rear seats, just a Ski Sack (optional, but easily retrofitted..) And if you are not looking into the LONG version (iL) of the E38, the space in the rear is "o.k." but not "great" It´s basically the same as on the Eclass. Everybody like the seats in the E38 better, they are just soooo comfy and fit perfectly. The seats on the benz are more like a bench..

I bought the E430 because of the boot, 2 dogs just required a car with lugging space The E class is more of a "needed it" the beamer was "hell, I WANT it.."

So bottom line in my eyes:

E38: Great car, has a "tighter" feel to it while driving, way better seats, better insides.
W210: Good car, but not really "great" in anything. Driving is a more muffled experience. Everything is more "distant". The E430 doesn´t feel more powerful then the bmw (even though it is..). If you drive the bmw, its more like "yeah, come on, cooooooommmeee onnnnnnn, whats next, a curve? LET ME AT ITTTTTT, that a 78degree curve, 50m long.." where as the merc is more like "you want power.. yeah o.k. *yawn* here you have it.. oh a corner? Yeah I´ll give you north by north east in a few *yawn*

for hauling kids along - I´d go with the merc. For a great car to enjoy driving, I´d take the bmw

Last edited by MeMySelfundIch; 03-13-2012 at 04:17 PM. Reason: spehlink
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