Clash of the Germans


Lets first get your second guesses out of the way.

Sports reporters often do not play the sport.

Political analysts, fortunately or unfortunately, are not politicians.

Is the construction review written by an architect, engineer or contractor? I think not, but I may be proven wrong on this one.

My point? I do not need to own a car to write about one. Hell, I do not know everything about them, but I know a whole lot, & I will keep learning. So indulge me in this quest to know more while making fun of, sometimes even ridiculing, the object of (Almost) all there is to life today. Cars.

And where better to begin than the much worshipped cradle of motoring. Not Great Britain. Those eccentric self-centered (self here meaning as a nation) people think they invented everything. The issue as to who invented the motor car is a thorny one, so I shall stick my neck out for Karl Benz.

Back to the point. The cradle land of motoring. The one question that will yield a different answer every time you ask is, which is the better car? BMW or Mercedes Benz. Don’t think for a moment we will be objective here. This is a blog for heaven’s sake, not a parliamentary report on motoring. And do not bring up Audi, that will just complicate further an already muddled up topic. Let’s deal with these two first. (The way Audi are going, they need to be discussed at length, on their own)

Let’s highlight their models, of course drawing parallels to classes (or series if you sit on the Bavaria side of the compound)

S-Class vs. 7 series. (S500 Vs. 760Li)

On a totally unrelated note, I heard there used to be an 8 series, what happened to that? Never seen one or even read about it, I hope I was not having my leg pulled.

I have read a lot of material on this. And they are as subjective as mine will be. The best was this one. You would not be wrong to call it subjective (It’s a BMW blog, sheesh!), but you cant argue with their analysis.

Based on a point system analyzing exterior and interior design, power, size and performance, the ultimate 7 series (760Li) takes it. Makes me wonder why we all ogle at our politicians’ & other overpaid personalities’ S-Class Benzes but barely notice a 7series when it drives by. Silent killer is what I call it. Anyone who has stepped into the 2010 7series model and an s500/600 (I insist, only those who have stepped into one) will agree the S-class beats the 7 series.

Go back out & sit your behind in the 2011 7series, and you will know why Chris Bangle (the 7 series 2010 designer) was fired/quit (no one knows for sure) and the 2011 designer Karim Habib now works for Mercedes. Sounds like a soccer in England tale. Let’s see what Karim will do this year, besides steal the i-drive mode that has become acceptable loot from the BMW camp for most manufacturers.

Makes me wonder, what did Mercedes do to deserve such a high status? I get this feeling Mercedes buyers would buy the 3 pointed star if it was put on a wheelbarrow.

E-Class Vs 5  series. (E350 vs. 535i)

It’s only fair to let in the new models from both camps decide this one. The new E-class is a styling masterpiece. Anyone with a good brain will agree. (Emphasis on good). But don’t be fooled, the rest of the car cannot stand up to its older brother, the previous e-class. Reason? Recession. The standard e-class would blush at the sight of the standard e-class of old. Wise from BMW to let the recession die down before making a new model of what could be argued to be their 2nd most popular brand. But for this article lets pick the best vs. the best.

As for the BMW, Chris Bangles left with the curvaceous headlights or crocodile eyes as my father once referred to them. But rather than make it look boring, in comparison to its predecessor, as we would expect, it gets more interesting by becoming simpler. Do I hear someone say less is more? I would agree.

When it comes to performance, the new e-class is smoother, more graceful. The BMW tries to be, with great effect, which will offend many BMW lovers. But still remains the more powerful of the two. Some would call it more of a driver’s car & the Mercedes more of a boss’ car.

I am sure BMW enthusiasts will take that to the bank any day, most of those I have met want to drive, not plant their backsides in the back seat while another underpaid fellow enjoys the car. This despite paying an arm and a leg for the car as well as the fuel, & the driver’s salary of course.

The same story goes for the interiors. You want to spend your time mooshing & savoring the interior finish? Get an E-class. Would you rather concentrate on driving & not care whether your steering gleams or not, get a 5 series. Don’t get me wrong, the 5 series is not that bad by any standards, but by Mercedes standards, that is another story altogether. If you ask me, I would have the old 5 series rather than the new one. But that’s just me.


C class Vs. 3 Series

Sadly (For Mercedes), the story continues here. Even with the 2012 3 series release date having just passed (11th Feb 2012), the C-class is already playing second fiddle to its main competitor in this market segment. The C-class carries on the same principle the E-class propagates. Driving pleasure, smoother ride, quieter engine.. while the BMW continues with its main trump card; POWER!

When you read about car that is not available in manual transmission, the assumption is that it’s not built to be a driver’s car. And your assumption is correct. You cannot get a 2012 C-class in manual transmission. It’s hard to say if the BMW will continue to be the car of choice in this segment (even with the Audi A4 included). Only time will tell. My bet? BMW will continue to sell more 3 Series units than Mercedes do C class. And I know some people will not like that.

But look at it this way. The more common a car is, the less luxurious its deemed to be. Mercedes enthusiasts can rest easy on that thought. Or can they? I can barely make it to the local kiosk without seeing a Range Rover. The proper Range Rover, the Vogue, not the Sport which non-level headed drivers think is better…Does this make the Range Rover any less glamorous? Yes, the answer is no.

The SUVs. (Or is it SAVs?)

This is where the two companies make a mess of everything. They should probably stop making these. I might have to write a separate article for this. Why? Mercedes makes 2 SUVs, The M-class & The G-class. Nothing wrong with that. Just that the M Class looks (& feels) more of an overfed E-class than an SUV. The G-class makes a better case but has been grossly overpriced over the years, making it difficult to acquire a sizeable market range to make an informed judgment. Or maybe that’s just my opinion. I will revise that when I get around writing an article about both these cars.

Onto the BMW. X5, X3, X6 and of late the X1. Is it just me, or did they completely lose the plot after the X5? What happens to your sweater when you wash it in the wrong temperature water? The X5 is your sweater, the X3 the result. The X6 is magnificent to look at, but that’s all. The X1.. I dint pay much attention to that.

You can deduce they might not know what they’re doing when they don’t know how to categorize their cars. The X5 they call an SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle – What happened to Utility?) The X3 a crossover SAV, The X6 a sports activity coupe and the X1 an urban crossover. Urban What?

As I said earlier, I will reserve this section for another article. Honestly, I need a lot more time, physical & mental strength for it.


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