M5 / E55 comparison -- LONG
After owning the M5 for about 8 months and the E55 for a couple of weeks now, I think I can fairly write my opinions and + & - on each.
Let me start off by saying, Iím a true car-guy and not a flag waving person of each car. Iíve owned 2 BMWís, 2001 330i and 2006 M5, and 2 MBís 1999 SLK 230 and now 2006 E55. (Iíve owned many other makes including 3 Porsche 996ís, so Iíve been all over the boardÖ no real loyalties to a brand)
I sold the M5 to save some money in the short term during a move and because I realized that while I owned the M5 I would never be able to get a track car in addition and justify it to my wife. So I bought an Acura RL and a Lotus Elise. After having the Elise for 7.5 months and never once getting the time to track or auto-x, I realized, ďOkÖ at this point, my priorities are such that I wonít be able to track it.Ē The Lotus sat for most of the time I owned it. It was a total waste unfortunately. I drove it to work on nice days, but with a 3 year old, I almost never drove it any other time. I decided, ok, back to uber-sedan! But I didnít want to buy new again, so I shopped pre-owned and for the first time looked at E55ís. After driving an E, I decided that it fit my life best right now and would make a better daily for me that Iíd enjoy. Also, on average, they were about 10K cheaper than the M5 which helped tip the scales some more.
Comparison below, but my reasoning for the E is
1) massive torque is a blast around town
2) it handled better than I expected. Not as well as an M5, but good enough for daily driving. This board had me thinking otherwise until I drove one.
3) Iíve owned and M5 before and something diff is fun
4) Fully auto is a plus with my wife and I was never fully sold on the SMG
5) Did I mention torque? (and if I want to mod, itís easy!)
Interior: Tough call over all. Iíd say for me, itís a ďtieĒ.
Love the E55 seats. The dynamic is comparable to the M5ís active seats. They donít quite grip you as well as the M5ís, but the difference is so negligible, I think most people wouldnít notice.
I think the E55 seats are slightly more comfortable, but like above, so negligible that itís a virtual tie.
The COMMAND system is weird at first, but decent when you get used to it. Just like i-drive. The navigation is equal to M5ís. The interface is faster than i-drive, but not as quick to navigate. I miss the navigation of menus from i-drive. The stereo is a virtual tie too, but if I had to pick a winner, Iíd say M5. The ease of integration to iPod, goes to E55.
E55 has no Bluetooth without an additional module. BOO MB for that! Lame on such a nice car.
(btw, the Acura and wifeís M35 blow them both away in terms of technologyÖ Germans are just not up to par w/ Japanese)
Unless I remember wrong, there is a little more legroom in the rear of the M5. Maybe an inch or 2? Anyway, I can tell when my daughter is in her car seat that she reaches the passenger seat easierÖ but then again, sheís older too. Lol, maybe she grew?
I miss the HUD. That is just a sweet @ss option.
Driving: This is the important one. Again, I feel like MotorTrend, but itís a tie over all, and depends on where you are for the winner to emerge.
Straight line acceleration and leaving a stop light, there is no question. The E55 is much quicker. Iím sorry, but these videos of the M5 beating an E55 off the line are just bogus unless either 1) the M5 has euro launch control or 2) the MB driver is seriously retarded. And even w/ euro LC, you wouldnít want to do this to your M5 too often. Yes, the M5 is faster up high, but for me, this doesnít matter much for my driving. I live in the USA. Iím lucky to get over 90 very often. And itís not like the E is a slouch up high, just not as fast as the M5. This was my thinking and as much as like the M5, this is my #1 reason why I went with an E55 over another M5.
Handling is, duh, the M5ís territory. If you need a car that you can really toss around and is still very fast, the M5 is the better choice. That being said, I had expected the E55 to just suck after being on m5board for so long, and I was pleasantly surprised that for a heavy sedan (50 lbs diff b/w it an M5) that it handles very well. Again, itís no M5, but itís not too terribly far off the mark. Itís about as far off the mark as the M5 is off low end acceleration (I define low end as 0 Ė 70 mph).
The feel of each car is different. The E55 feels heavier and more ďsolidĒ while the M5 feels lighter and more nimble. This plays into the handling of each.
I donít miss SMG at all. I wish the Benz had 6 gears or even better, 7, but I canít believe I actually like the auto better than SMG. Mainly, SMG scared for its long term durability and potential that as more cars come out with dual clutch systems (Audi, Porsche) that SMG will be seen as primitive. Also, my former M5 had to replace the whole tranny once already. I only knew because they called me instead of the current owner to tell me how it went. When I went shopping for a sedan again, this was another big factor in my mind.
Brakes: M5 wins pretty heavily. The E55 brakes arenít as good. Theyíre good for a big sedan, but the M5 brakes are just exceptional. Iíd rate the M5 brakes on par with my 996 Turbo brakes. I miss the brakes! This plays into why the M5 will out handle the E55 on a road courseÖ but I wonít be doing that anytime soon or Iíd still have the Lotus.
Looks: Completely subjective, but Iíd say the E is prettier in my book, but I miss the sweet Interlagos Blue of the M5.
Iím pretty sure there are things Iím forgetting to include in this write up, but itís already too long and I donít want to bore you guys.
Over all, I love both cars. Each are great for different things and for me right now, the E55 is the better choice all things being equal. If I were doing a lot of country driving on twisty roads, Iíd go w/ M5. If I were doing more city driving and hauling my family around, Iíd say E55, and thatís what Iím doing now.
Iím posting this on both boardsÖ m5board.com and mbworld.org