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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone.:cheers:

I just joined this forum, and love the breadth of experience and insight here. I was just about to pull the trigger on the 2012 (v6) S5 Cab, and then my wife brought me to the Benz dealer to show me the new 2012 E350 Cab. I'll admit, it's a sweet looking ride. I find myself torn between them. Now for my question(s):

I've been looking through their forum as well, and see an awful lot of complaining of quality and maintenance issues there. With the exception of one thread on the roof wear issue, I don't see a lot of maintenance issues discussed here. Is that because you're just not experiencing any?

For anyone who's owned MB, I'd love to hear from you. If you've compared the two, I'd like to hear your perspective.

I do enjoy driving, but I don't plan on becoming a track junkie, or doing a lot of mods to it. This will be my daily driver, so I'm looking for reliability and a fun drive. It will have to live outside (Mid Atlantic region - Maryland).

Thanks everyone!

Steve
 

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What are you looking for in a new car? The E350 is a badly under-powered lux coupe with lots of gadgetry that is going to fail over time. The S5 is more of a blend of exciting, but not great, performance and a classy interior. If you want the lux path and performance you are going to have to step up to the 550. And of course if you want a great motor but don't mind a marginal interior go with the 335 or M3.

To me each of the German coupe alternatives occupy a clear market position...just depends what you will find satisfying. I can't comment on MB reliability not having owned one but that info is available from JD Power and Consumer Reports if you want to dig for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the quick reply, Circle...

What are you looking for in a new car?
When it comes down to it, I'm looking for a fun driver that I can count on to get me back and forth to work and around town with a smile. I expect weekend jaunts with my wife (when not on the boat or the Harley). I like the feeling of stepping on the gas and getting shoved back into my seat. I like taking corners and feeling the g forces shoving me sideways into the bolster. I also like to feel like I'm surrounded by excellence... quality.

The E350 is a badly under-powered lux coupe with lots of gadgetry that is going to fail over time.
That's what I hear. The quality seems to have nose-dived in the past decade. That's why I'm leaning toward the S5. I don't want to spend all my time at the dealer getting it fixed.

The S5 is more of a blend of exciting, but not great, performance and a classy interior.
Interesting note. Coming from a Durango 4x4, the performance on the test drive was more than exciting/great enough for me (at least for now...). My wife and I found it most enjoyable. I like the quality of the fit and finish, and the functionality of the pass-through seating.

I'm hoping to get more opinions...

Steve
 

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Steve I love the style of the new E class and the convertible looks sharp. I have driven the 350 and the 550, if you were going to step and buy an E550 I would say get that over the S5. It has a hammer under the hood. The E350 is going to be underpowered even with the 302 hp and 272 ft lbs, the car is just overweight( like our s5's).

The S5 has a cleaner interior and the fit and finish is better. Another thing to consider is I'd venture to say the S5 will hold its value better then the MB. In the used market 3-5 years from now you be trying to sell an entry level E class vs a top tier a/s5. Consumers will be looking for the 550 preowned.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, TommyBoy. That's a great point. I could probably swing the E550, so that is a possibility. So you'd recommend that over the S5, eh? It's only on its second model year, and I've got to believe there are bugs that need to be worked out. I'm in their forum as well, trying to get the inside scoop.

There is one 2012 S5 Prestige sitting at my local dealer, with most of the options I'd like. I'm also a fan of the new facelifted style, and it seems from others here that there are other benefits to waiting (MMI improvements, etc).

One differentiator for the Benz is that voice control isn't disabled with the top down. I don't understand why Audi disables theirs. Poor microphone or processor? Does anyone have feedback on the hands-free phone operation with the top down?

Both MMI/Nav systems seem to be far inferior to a simple $150 Garmin Nuvi.

I like your thoughts on value retention, even though I plan on keeping this for quite a while (don't we always, though?)...

~Steve
 

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Don't overlook the advantages of AWD that the Audi offers. (although snow tires are a must)

That fact alone would leave the S5 as my only choice. Considering where you live I assume it's a consideration for you as well.
 

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If exclusivity and looks factor in, I gotta give the nod to the S5. Also, as an 09 S5 Coupe driver myself (and 55k miles in) I can tell you that it STILL makes me feel special when I'm behind the wheel. Does the Benz give you that?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
SandJ - Excellent points in both posts.

I'd say the AWD is an awesome, highly interesting feature, but not essential for me. I have a 4x4 Durango that will be my sloppy weather go-to. We don't really hammered with snow here that often, and when we do, I'd go with the truck.

As for exclusivity and feel... they're very different, for sure. The S5 gives me a bit of an aggressiveness feeling when I sit in it... which I like. A lot. The MB gave me a feeling of 'refinement'. I didn't drive the E550 Cabrio yet, so I don't know how much 'oomph' I'll get with it. At over 400 hp, I've got to believe it'll punch me in the mouth. A good thing.

I'm an executive, with a mechanical engineering and speed freak background, so there are features in each that resonate with me.

I'm really trying to put the emotional tugs aside, and focus on the facts/features/reliability... probably like spitting into the wind. :wall:

If only I could buy one of each...

~Steve
 

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CB,
It sounds like the profile of the MB fits what you are looking for. The S5 cab is more an enthusiasts car where the MB is about prestige. I would also say there is some cross over for potential buyers between these two models specifically around price. At the risk of sounding like a douche by buying the MB for prestige getting the 350 doesn’t carry much clout. It is the car you buy for your wife to keep at the house in West Palm Beach to cruise around in. I say this with sarcasm, but I hope you get the point. The 350 is not quite a sports car or a grand tourer because MB’s drive like marshmallows on the road. You have to get the 550 if you like E, in a straight line it throws down the same numbers as the s5 and that 550 motor’s torque is wonderful. Another thing to consider is the Mb will be more comfortable. The Audi is a bit stiff. I don’t mind it but it sounds like we may be in different age groups. I am a 32 year old single software exec. You may want comfort and a cruiser….
Buy what you like though. The A5/S5 boards are filled with enthusiasts for our own car. For the most part the car has been good with the exceptions of a few warranty items. I just passed 22k and still love the car. Let me know if you have any other questions.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Awesome feedback, TommyBoy... and I completely get your points, and no, no douchiness received. To get it out there, I'm 48, but still very much a kid at heart. I've never been driven by the need for prestige (superficial external validation), so I don't think that's it. Excellent point on the 350, though. For both of these, I love the looks (even though they're so very different), the performance (good enough for me), and what seems to be a great convertible design.

As I was reading your post, I got thinking about some of my past cars...

Fiat X19 (first car)
BMW 320 (stationed in Germany in the 80s)
Camaro (in Germany)
Rabbit GTI

Then the family life took over for a couple decades... sedans, trucks, SUVs. Always had a motorcycle to keep life from getting too mundane. :moped:

Certainly no rockets in that group of cars, but definitely fun things to drive.

It may come down to how much I'm willing to shell out for fun. Maybe it'll come down to which dealer is willing to make their deal more attractive.

Thanks again for putting it all out there.

~S
 

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Welcome to the forum and hopefully to the s5 family. I have an S5cab as my daily driver so I'll offer some thoughts. There really isn't another 4season convertible out there with the S5s features. For 60ish you get a beautiful all wheel drive sports tourer. Awd. Beautiful in and out. Great top. Don't see tons on the road. The performance is great. You can tour around casually and comfortably or push it and have a real burner. I haven't driven the e350 cab. It's pretty inside and out albeit far more posh than aggressive. The 350 won't perform like the S5. And while the 550 might keep up straight line I doubt it's as much of a performance cab as the S5. Nor does it have the awd. Either way ull get a great car. Just different personalities. All I'll say is in two plus years I still get a huge smile each time I drive it! Good luck.
 

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Sorry to jack the thread....but I was just wondering how come you've never considered the rs5 CB? Why don't you put that on the table and test drive one?
Just my 2 cents...Im 43 an ophthalmologist and very much a kid at heart also..I'd get the rs5 rather than the s5 and the e350 for a more fun and exhilirating drive not to mention you still get the iconic design of the a5 heritage!
 

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Simple answer....we don't have the RS5 in the US. It's rumored to be here for the 2013 model year but on my last visit to the dealer they had no firm information on whether the car will soon be available.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yep... there was no mention of the RS5 in my discussion at the dealer.

Gotta say, I've never struggled so much with a decision in my life!

Current '12 S5 Prestige (at the dealer)
Facelift '13 S5 Prestige (in June - maybe)
MB E550 - at $6K more...

At least the E350 seems to be off the table now... one step taken care of.

<Sigh> At least it's an enjoyable process...

~Steve
 

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Steve if I we in your position I'd hold out for the 2013 with the facelift.Do I like the new headlights, taillights and interior sure. Would I trade my car in and go to the table with 20k abosultely not I like the looks of my car and even the v8 in my coupe, but if I was entering the market now I'd get the newest model. The debate in the forum on which is better looking goes on forever. You have waited this long what is another 4-6 months.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I'm thinking that's my dominant strategy... unless the dealer wants to throw me a killer deal to get rid of his last remaining '12. I'm sure my leverage goes way down with a 'build to order' car.

Thanks again,

~Steve
 

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The Benz will be softer.
The Audi will be harder.

The Benz leans "feminine" (pipe down...we all know it's true).
The Audi is masculine without saying meathead.

The Benz tries to be your friend a bit too much.
The Audi...really doesn't care what you think.

The Benz might make for a good date occasionally.
The Audi you're proud to put a ring on.

BTW, I too am an Executive, 45, by the name of Steve. :).

The engineer in you will be happy with either car; listen now to that disquieting voice of your emotion. Most of us on this board are halfway dead and have made sensible choices our whole lives. Go seemingly crazy-nuts for a change.
 

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After listening to a friend complain about his SL550 being in the shop all the time, I'm not keen at all on the Benz. Heck, even my mother's CLK and C class cars spent way too much time in the shop. Sure, you can always buy a problem car, but I've just heard too many stories about reliability (or lack thereof) on the MB side.

Bought my A5 at a MB dealer, and all the sales guys told me I was better off with the Audi ... :D
 

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Discussion Starter #20
The Benz will be softer.
The Audi will be harder.

The Benz leans "feminine" (pipe down...we all know it's true).
The Audi is masculine without saying meathead.

The Benz tries to be your friend a bit too much.
The Audi...really doesn't care what you think.

The Benz might make for a good date occasionally.
The Audi you're proud to put a ring on.
Steve, that might just be the greatest thing I've ever read. :cheers: This belongs on a poster, or on the next advertising campaign. Absolutely priceless. I dragged my wife down from her office to show her this. After laughing... her response was "I figured you would go with the Audi."

The engineer in you will be happy with either car; listen now to that disquieting voice of your emotion. Most of us on this board are halfway dead and have made sensible choices our whole lives. Go seemingly crazy-nuts for a change.
I was leaning heavily the Audi way, and your post put me over the decision edge. The discussion is over... another S5 owner... coming up!:yikes::yikes: Guess I need to go talk to the dealer and start negotiations on the 2013... or see if he'll throw me a great deal on the '12 he's sitting on.

BTW, I too am an Executive, 45, by the name of Steve. :).
Nice to meet you! We middle aged, hard-working, Steves have to stick together. It's an ugly world out there!!
 
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