MotorTrend just published your favorite comparison: new 2011 BMW 535i vs. 2010 Mercedes-Benz E350. Ever since its launch back in November, the new BMW 5 Series has been automatically measured against its counterpart in the Mercedes line-up: E-Class.
The comparison has already heated up conversations among the fans of the two brands and automotive publications continue to add fuel on the fire. While some are praising the new 5 Series from all stand points, there are still plenty of journalists that are more conservative and ready to embrace the new 5er. In our humble opinion, this is not a “winner takes all” case, both cars have their strengths and demographic, and while there will be an overlap in the customer base, in the end, the final decision might come down to personal preferences.
Without any further ado, let’s have a look at some things as reported by MotorTrend.
On the performance front, there is no contest at all. The turbo-Bimmer sprints to 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds, outrunning the U.S. E350 by a full second-a lead that quadruples by 120 mph. It essentially runs neck and neck with its lighter predecessor too, thanks largely to the BMW’s 7000-rpm redline and eight closely spaced gear ratios. This transmission also serves the BMW much better in the hills, being slightly quicker to respond to throttle kick-downs (both have steering-wheel paddles that summon gear changes swiftly).
It must be noted here too that there probably isn’t a V-6 on earth-and certainly not a 90-degree one-that can match the sweet, sonorous music of a proper straight-six-even when it’s partially muzzled by a turbo. We were unable to conduct any limit handling tests, but a four-foot advantage in braking from 60 mph went to the BMW (at 109 feet, comparing the two summer-tired cars).
The Mercedes distinguished itself in the hills by hanging right with the BMW through the tightest twisties, routing impressive levels of road feel up through the wheel and maintaining reasonable body-motion control with its fully passive suspension (only the E550 V-8s get ride-adjustable AirMatic suspenders). Its transmission is slower reacting (except when manually shifted), however, and rough undulating corners occasionally flummox the chassis and send the body bounding around disconcertingly.
The extensive review can be found at MotorTrend
So which one wins? Each is so well-tailored to its own target owner groups that neither seems likely to lure away the faithful of the other brand, but if you’re reading this publication with an open mind that’s not swayed by intangibles like brand cachet, we expect you’re going to prefer the lighter-feeling, livelier-driving BMW, so that one gets the nod this time around.
1ST PLACE: BMW 535i
A physics-defying technological wonder that no longer flaunts its electronics.
2ND PLACE: MERCEDES-BENZ E350
Feels as strong, solid, and capable as we used to think our banks were.