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2011 E550 Sport, 2012 SLK 350, 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland
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This is going to be the toughest decision ever... Sway me either way?
Stay away from the BMW 535i.

I bought a 2011 535i in late July 2010. I had test driven a 2010 MB E350 (the 2011's were not out yet), and I could not find one equipped the way I wanted it. The BMW had all the options we were looking for. So, we went with the BMW. BIG MISTAKE! I was not happy with the BMW. It was in the shop three times - twice for recall. Anyway, we traded the BMW in on a 2011 MB E550 at the end of October. Despite taking a bad financial hit with the BMW, I have not regretted the decision. My wife and I are both extremely happy with the Mercedes. Performance, comfort, and overall appearance beat the BMW significantly.

The dealership where I purchased the MB is both a MB and BMW dealership. One of the employees told me to look in the maintenance area. He said they fix new BMW's and old MB's.

BTW, I have owned four MB and three BMW. I don't know why I went with the third BMW (the 2011 535i) when I had issues with the other BMWs and never an issue with the previous Mercedes. I guess it was just the frustration of not being able to get the MB that I was looking for at the time.

Good luck on your decision. I doubt you will get any pro-BMW advice here though.
 

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Not to pour salt on a wound but do stay away from BMW. Two years ago, we bought a brand new 2008 535i (previous E60 platform) and had major issues with the fuel pump and fortunately we got the issue resolved with BMW NA and now got ourselves a 2011 E350. I do give BMW NA two thumbs up on taking care of their customers on this one.

I am not the only one with this issue, google BMW and fuel pump issues and you will find many owners have not one but multiple issues. Finally, the news broke out and I believe Fox or some news station approached BMW about this and there is now a major recall. However, as a previous owner, the new parts don't fix the issue. The culprit I believe is the direct injection that over burdens the fuel pump and there has yet been a manufacturer that is able to provide a fuel pump that will work with BMW's TT engine. This is why the new F10 uses a new TT engine with single scroll (as opposed to double scroll on the E60). I thought BMW would have resolved this with the new F10. I guess this model is still too new on the streets to get enough feedback. scfishnman did you have the fuel pump problem with your 2011 F10 535i?

Anyhow, the E350 may not drive as well as the 535i in all honesty, but the naturally aspirated engine/port injection engine on the E350 is sure to be much more reliable. Don't get me wrong as I do like BMWs for their performance and sport styling. Unfortunately high performance turbo products require extra maintenance as the parts are overworked so chances of failure are much higher. As my friend put it....BMWs ride and look sweet but sure don't want to own one.
 

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W212 E350: AMG Sport/P2/Pano/Etc. & '09 Chevy Malibu / Sold M-B's: '06 E350 & '02 S500
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It's a tough one, between the two. IMO, this is the closest these two have been in the "war" between the two, as usually, I think one blows the other one away (catering to my tastes).

I wrote up a detailed experience when checking out an F10, and even put up some cool side by side pics of my car next to a white F10. :)

F10 VS My W212 (Side By Side Pics!) & Little "Review" - MBWorld.org Forums
 

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2011 E550 Sport, 2012 SLK 350, 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland
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scfishnman did you have the fuel pump problem with your 2011 F10 535i
The problems I experienced related to the fuel system, but not the fuel pump. I have read online where others experienced the same problem I did.

When depressing the accelerator to move from standing still into traffic there would be a delay in the car's responding. When this occurs, one's natural reaction is to depress the accelerator a bit more. Then the car reacts with an abrupt acceleration. Another owner was telling me while we both waited in line at the service desk that his 740i had the same issue and the mechanic's response was to "drive it like you stole it."

The car also had a recall for a faulty fuel guage sensor that would read that the tank had plenty of gas when in fact it was empty.

Mine also had an issue with the air supply tube at the turbo actually coming disconnected causing the car to stall in the middle of an intersection. The service manager informed me that the regional BMW representative told him that he had seen several 535i's with that issue (keep in mind that the model had only been out for 2 months at that point -- and several cars of the relatively few in the area had experienced this issue?). That was the final straw for me.

The BMW dealership where I purchased the car had no interest in addressing my disatisfaction other than bring it in so they could work on it some more. So, I traded it in at a MB/BMW dealership in the town where my other home is.

Owners online have also complained about a steering issue with the 535i that dealers have been unable to fix and, allegedly, dealers have claimed that BMW knows of the issue but does not have a fix yet. Luckily, I did not have that issue with mine.

If I were considering a BMW, I would do a lot of research online before buying one.

BTW, my MB E550 w/P2 listed for less than $3k more than my 535i, and with the USAA discount on both cars the MB cost me less than $1k more than the BMW did. For the few dollars more there is absolutely NO comparison between the two cars. The MB has the low end torque, 83 more hp, smoothness and immediate responsiveness of a non-turbo V8, a much smoother shifting transmission, a much more comfortable ride in the comfort setting, and a comparable sporty ride in the sport setting. Furthermore the dynamic seat in the MB beats the active seat in the BMW hands down. My MB V8 averages only about 3 mpg less than my 535i 6 cylinder did.
 

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2015 S550, 2011 S550, 2010 Range Rover HSE Supercharged, 2012 Porsche Panamera S, 2010 E-class
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No doubt that Mercedes Benz makes the better looking cars. You see a Mercedes coming from a distance and your heart drops by its beauty and by its big thrilling looks as it drives by. It stands out from all other cars on the road. Ive been around many luxury high end cars since I was a kid. Ive had sat in and drove many cars and nothing beats the way a Mercedes Benz drives. BMW rides are more sporty and stiff with a boring interior and exterior design. But quality of both cars are excellent, its just a matter of personal opinion and taste.
As it comes to safety, nothing beats Mercedes Benz. I was involved in a serious accident once driving a Mercedes Benz and the car really handled well and saved my life.
 

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06 ML350, 08 C300, 07 BMW 335i Convertiable, 96 31 Blackfin Combi with twin Cummins 6BTA 370 diesels
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OK, BMW vs MB.

I'll say this. My wife and I own a 2008 MB C300 with 18.5K miles, a 2006 MB ML with 51K miles and a 2007 BMW 335i convertible with 26.5K miles.

I just ordered a new 2011 MB R350 Bluetec diesel.

OK, I have ALWAYS owned MBs, the BMW 335i convertible is my 1st.

So far the BMW has NOT been in the repair shop for ANY defects, NONE! Just 3 annual routine maintenance services ALL covered by BMW. And remember, the metal retractable convertiable top is an extremely complicated piece of work. No issues yet. The convertible top is what convinced me to take out a 6 year 72K mile bumper to bumper warranty plan.

The 2008 MB C300 has been problem free so far.

The 2006 ML had a front differential replaced at 25K under warranty.

All & all, both MB and BMW have been VERY good to us.

We are looking forward to the new R350. Our 2006 ML will be "handed down to a duaghter".
 

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Strange how so many are saying stay away from bmw. I absolutely loved the bmw's I've owned, and have never had any issues with them mechanically speaking. I'm in the same boat you are. My lease on my 09 w211 is up in July. I'm choosing between the E350 and 535i. I've yet to test drive the 535i, I will once i get closer to my lease date. But, i'm assuming with the twin turbo motor, it's a fun drive.
 

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You can get the E350 and E550 (but not the Bluetec) with normal tires, i.e. NOT runflats.

You can't get ANY 5-series without runflats.
 

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I also looked at both the 2011 E350 and 535i. Both were great cars, but I felt the BMW had a bit sportier edge. I found the ride a little firmer, the steering tighter, and the responses a little better. Also that Nav system with the supersized screen and all the other LCD things were pluses. That said, I have a sports car that gives me the same feelings. What I wanted was something that had some power, but made my commute enjoyable. I found the balance with the E350, it just felt right. So now I have a 2011 E350 and love it.

Also it did not help that the BMW dealer near me was living up to the car dealer sterotype. He had me worked out in a 535i at one price with all the options I wanted, saying this was the only one he had, others looking at it, etc, etc. Then he went to pull around the 535i and wanted to excitedly show me what I would get. I got to the car and the sticker price was 9K less than what he quoted me with the exact same options listed. Naturally, his face dropped when I mentioned this to him. He said sheepishly "whoops, I grabbed the wrong car keys" and I walked away right there. MB dealer was a breeze to deal with.
 

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I posted about my test driving a 535i and an E550. I experienced the lag in accelleration when hitting the gas hard from a stop in the 535i which was a major flaw for me, albeit the only one I found in my test drive of the Bimmer. I would check out the BMW forums, as I found out later that the issue of this lag in accelleration from a dead stop is a very common issue in the new 5-series.
 

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Strange how so many are saying stay away from bmw. I absolutely loved the bmw's I've owned, and have never had any issues with them mechanically speaking. I'm in the same boat you are. My lease on my 09 w211 is up in July. I'm choosing between the E350 and 535i. I've yet to test drive the 535i, I will once i get closer to my lease date. But, i'm assuming with the twin turbo motor, it's a fun drive.
I also know many BMW owners that have had no issues. They are both good cars. Unfortunately for BMW the new 5 has some first year gremlins. That so few gremlins are making such news is a testament to the popularity of BMW. I had a 2005 Passat Diesel that everyone warned me about. I never had a single issue with that car for the 130K+ miles I kept it. I think that folks need to keep in mind that most posters on the internet are having a problem, so, there is a built in statistical bias on complaints. From a number of problems per number of vehicles sold, BMWs are likely no worse than anything else out there. That said, I love my BlueTEC.
 

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BMW instrument cluster has limited display of key engine status. MBZ has pretty much all you need. Battery registeration and cost to replace is a big thing hated by many on BMW. Nothing like that in MBZ. No oil dispstick in BMW or engine temperture gauge! I own both but feel more reliable with my new 2012 BlueTec.
 

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We just went through looking at the bmw and the benz. I went with the benz (but a used one). I found both cars great, however on a test drive of a new 5 I actually blew up the tranny. Did a few fast starts and hard stops and the friggin thing goes into limp mode. We had to drive a few miles back to the dealer in 2nd gear. So needless to say I crossed the bimmer off the list.....
 
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