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E-Class (W212) 2010-present: E 350, E 550

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Old 06-24-2013, 05:22 PM   #51
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Old 06-24-2013, 07:29 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by E Classy View Post
regarding all this bmw vs. benz noise...

i'm not sure people are comparing similar setups - the optional bmw adaptive handling suspension (electronic dampers and anti-roll bars) are more akin to an E550 with the air-matic (electronically controlled bags) and 4-matic systems. those are the two setups that should go head-to-head. fwiw, i personally would have neither of these complex, failure-prone computing systems as my suspension rig.

the conventional bmw setup is really no different than the e350 with sport suspension. differences could be attributed to bushings, control arms, sways, wheel size, ride height, chassis balance, etc. bmw engineers this setup with the stiff sidewalls of the rft's in mind. they also use the bumpstops as added dampening, instead of solely for protection.

i can say that although i replaced a good chunk of my m-sport suspension components with performance bits, when i did have it all in tact, it was very blah (that's why i replaced it). i'm not saying that it was worse than the competition (it probably is much better) i'm just saying that it's not the ultimate driving anything.

please go drive a cayman or boxster (without the pasm/pdcc!) and then compare ride characteristics of these pedestrian bmw's and benzes. there is a huge difference.
4matic has nothing to do with it but you are right about comparing apples to apples.

My TSX is "sportier" than a E350 but that means little because you need to compare the complete package. Equally, you can discount the Cayman/Boxter. You "might" be able to compare the Panamera but even that is a stretch.

The E, the A6 and the 5 series were designed for middle management and the BMW always has been the "sportier" car of the group. Sportier in this segment is relative - all were designed to be Autobahn cruisers but the E focused on comfort and the A6 on innovation
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Old 06-24-2013, 07:53 PM   #53
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regarding all this bmw vs. benz noise...

i'm not sure people are comparing similar setups - the optional bmw adaptive handling suspension (electronic dampers and anti-roll bars) are more akin to an E550 with the air-matic (electronically controlled bags) and 4-matic systems. those are the two setups that should go head-to-head. fwiw, i personally would have neither of these complex, failure-prone computing systems as my suspension rig.

the conventional bmw setup is really no different than the e350 with sport suspension. differences could be attributed to bushings, control arms, sways, wheel size, ride height, chassis balance, etc. bmw engineers this setup with the stiff sidewalls of the rft's in mind. they also use the bumpstops as added dampening, instead of solely for protection.

i can say that although i replaced a good chunk of my m-sport suspension components with performance bits, when i did have it all in tact, it was very blah (that's why i replaced it). i'm not saying that it was worse than the competition (it probably is much better) i'm just saying that it's not the ultimate driving anything.

please go drive a cayman or boxster (without the pasm/pdcc!) and then compare ride characteristics of these pedestrian bmw's and benzes. there is a huge difference.
The BMW Adaptive suspension is garbage when it comes to sporting dynamics. It's great for comfort, but simply doesn't drive like a "BMW". A good suspension doesn't need fussy electronics to pull off what a great mechanical suspension is capable of.

For 2013, BMW put an ACTUAL mechanical/passive "M" suspension under the F10 and it is perhaps the best suspension I've ever experienced on a car (night and day difference from the 2011/2012 5-Series setups, even steering feel changed). It gobbles up road imperfections at a level my E Sport (also a "Sport" mechanical suspension, so exactly comparable) could never muster, and at the same time I now can have fun taking canyons home as the car handles them superbly (which I've done quite a bit recently) which I would never dare in my E's as they just exaggeratedly swayed through turns. All this says is that M-B has a very flawed fundamental suspension under the E350 SPORT (not talking Airmatic here as I have too little experience with it) as it does all the things you don't want it to do, and doesn't do the things you'd want it to do. Where it shines is over smooth, straight surfaces, where it rides like a great luxury car. Again, the BMW has 19's AND RFT's and can pull off these multiple facets far better than the E350 Sport (handling by a longshot, comfort by a decent margin).

The Audi A6 rides harsher than the F10 and less comfortable, but is even sportier (though I think the 2013 M Sport with the new suspension has narrowed the gap if not tied it), therefore is much sportier than the W212 Sport and I found the A6 to handle bumps even better than the much floatier W212 Sport.

M-B simply has no excuses on this front. The W212 has some awesome merits that can certainly be considered ahead of the competition to many, but the suspension is the cars biggest weakness, by far, talking E350 Sport at least.

The Luxury will be considered Lexus-like sterile and probably way too floaty/cushy/disconnected to many of us, but from what I understand is at least it is executed properly. It does exactly what it's supposed to and has no reservations about what it is. The "Sport" suspension on the other hand is comparably highly confused and frankly very messy.
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:42 PM   #54
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Old 06-24-2013, 09:35 PM   #55
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That makes sense and I agree with you except for the last part. Yeah the Cayman is gonna run circles around these big barges, however the definition of a "Sports Sedan" is something that BMW truly introduced to the market decades ago, and is a very real thing. The "prize" for the Premium Sports Sedan segment is making a supremely comfortable and luxurious Sedan which will coast over bumps, and then turn into a relative scalpel ("shrink around you") which can be fun through turns and such when desired. All three candidates here are very different in those regards.

Regarding the E, it is still inherently a supreme Luxury Sedan. Where it's gone "wrong" in terms of suspension is when M-B marketing felt the need to force engineers to pander to the "Sporty Sedan" market. Now you have a Sedan on a chassis and base that is very floaty all over, but this "sports" suspension has made it not handle tight, but instead simply jar bones over rough roads and transmit tons of interior noise when doing so.

I wish M-B just stayed true to their "Luxury Sedan" roots as it wouldn't allow them to be judged like this in the sense that they clearly are in the awkward phase when it comes to applying their marketing term "Sport" on what is inherently a fundamentally sound Luxury Sedan.
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:44 PM   #56
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:54 PM   #57
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Yeah the 528i with Active suspension (DHP) is gonna be pretty smooth overall. DHP will help keep it more taut but really any F10 with the Active suspension is gonna be softer and sit higher off the ground.

The computerized stuff can definitely suck the soul out of a car I agree (but apparently is what sells cars these days), but on a sportier 5-Series setup it's more welcome. For example, a M Sport especially 535i (with NO Active suspension, i.e the mechanical and lowered "M" suspension) the suspension is "fixed" so it rides pretty sportily especially when pushed but is still always smooth and absorbing even on rougher roads (it takes pretty harsh surfaces to really upset the ride and send shock through the chassis).

In this case, IMO the drastic changes between Eco Pro/Comfort/Sport/Sport + (Sport + exclusive to M Sport and/or cars with Sport Auto Transmissions) add a great deal of dynamism to the car as it doesn't make it a "necessity" as much as a complete character change, going stronger on various aspects of the car which may be more dormant when in another setting.

They basically very aggressively control the shift points, throttle response/mapping, shifting speed and urgency, and steering weight. When I go from Eco Pro to Comfort, I feel like my car gained 80 HP. When I go from Comfort to Sport/Sport+, I literally feel like my car turns into a Herculean scalpel.

Basically my point is I think the 2013+ M Sport suspension would be more to your liking in the regard of your last sentences as the suspension is engineered one way, to be both sport and comfortable with no gizmo gimmicks to "enhance or diminish". Then the settings just either calm the drivetrain down or make it aggressive and urgent.
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Old 06-25-2013, 11:59 PM   #58
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KA - awaiting your thorough review of e350 or e550 sport over rough roads compared to your m suspension!
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Old 06-26-2013, 12:04 AM   #59
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KA - awaiting your thorough review of e350 or e550 sport over rough roads compared to your m suspension!
I will get to it for sure! I have the perfect canyon roads which I took my "M Sport" suspension through recently, there was a hell of a pothole that really was the only point of that broken-road that actually really sent shockwaves into the chassis. The car was able to really take turns stiffly and smoothly whilst eating up most of the other numerous road imperfections on this drive.

If I can find a dealer who will let me do this with a 2014 W212 Sport I can have a perfect drive to really see what's what with it (I took my 2011 W212 through this same canyon once and it wasn't pretty).

Even if not, I'm sure finding crap roads out here to feel the capabilities of a suspension/chassis won't be difficult, unfortunately.
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Old 06-26-2013, 01:19 PM   #60
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Hey K-A, after you take the E for the test drive thru some twisty canyon roads, maybe you can also explain to a couple of the other posters on here why it would be better if the E had a center console shifter (instead of the thing on the column). Sometimes you need more control of your car than just putting it in "D" and forgetting. I'm sure your BMW M-Sport has a center console shifter and lots of shift modes!
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:42 PM   #61
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Hey K-A, after you take the E for the test drive thru some twisty canyon roads, maybe you can also explain to a couple of the other posters on here why it would be better if the E had a center console shifter (instead of the thing on the column). Sometimes you need more control of your car than just putting it in "D" and forgetting. I'm sure your BMW M-Sport has a center console shifter and lots of shift modes!
K-A's car has no shifter, just a stalk that has P, D, R, F (fly mode). It also has a CVT transmission. ANd because of this setup his car is the sportiest of them all.
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:44 PM   #62
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2014 Luxury vs Sport Suspension difference-img_0946.jpg  

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Old 06-26-2013, 02:48 PM   #63
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LOL - I do know a few people who think just having their hand on the shifter and driving with one hand on steering wheel makes it a "sporty" experience for them! GMBZ are you one of them
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:59 PM   #64
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Don't many (most?) race cars now have paddle shifters?
Regardless, the automatic shift on the floor was a gimmick created by Detroit/Dearborn in the 60's and 70's to make automatics seem sportier.
Even with the "manual" shift features, the automatic still does it better and the computer will override manual if it decides too.
Shift on the column is so much better than floor shift.
Floor shift is only good for pure manual transmission.
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Old 06-27-2013, 02:41 AM   #65
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I do think the center column shifter does have a "place" in a Mercedes as it is a very logistical move, and is pretty unique in this day and age (take that as you will.... clinging to a pre-70's or 90's American Sedan mindframe or moving away from redundant console-gear-selectors).

I always thought the E's shifter gave it the Luxury-Sedan vibe it was going for (a vibe again which was hampered by the suspension characteristics over rough roads.... which is why it bothers me so much). However will admit after some time, the whole package made me want something sportier. The column shifter has a psychological effect of a "lazy boy" type of drive, and after a while I wanted something that felt a little more red-blooded.... part of that I guess was getting the "gear stick" back, even if it is all in the mind.

As for the functionality of it on a Bimmer, on MY car with the SAT (Sport Auto Tranny option... a MUST on these cars, very impressive programming) it actually *does* serve a purpose and is not redundant. Along with the paddles on the steering wheel (which are extremely fast, truly race-inspired-feeling and WILL NOT get overriden by the computer unlike the Merc paddles which take their sweet time to shift, are not very usable other than calculated downshifts for passing, and will never let you use them liberally, i.e not for "fun" at all.... not to mention are made of a dainty kind of cheap plastic to boot), the center shifter provides a *second form* of Sport Mode.

So in that sense you are right GMBZ. There are truly more shift modes than you know what to do with. For example, if I'm driving in "Comfort" and press the console button to "Sport" the car now downshifts and gives you a feeling of a growling feline with its claws out, THEN if you want even more boost, you can click the console shifter to the left which is called "DS Mode", and it downshifts AGAIN now pretty much redlining every gear. The center console shifter gives you a secondary Sport Mode which can also be used on its own as well (therefore meaning you have two separate Sport modes thanks to the shifter).

The shifter also allows you to go into a full-on "Manual Mode" when you click it to the left, something that couldn't be done with just a column shifter (so far at least). When you manually shift in "regular Drive" the computer will eventually take over and assist you. However if you put the shifter to the left into "DS" then the computer let's you drive the car like a true stick-shift once you've activated manual shifting via the paddles or shifter (again, the former an option on only SAT cars).

Another perk is that on cars with SAT (Sport Auto Trans) where you have paddles, you can ALSO shift with the center shifter. It comes in handy when doing some aggressive turning where the paddles can get hard to "find", so just keep one hand on the "stick" and shift that way, then return to the paddles.

For the record, a BMW without SAT I feel isn't a great setup as you don't get paddles (if you care about having them) and get a more lethargically tuned tranny than the SAT.

I will admit there's something "sexier" and "sportier feeling" about having a cockpit that's kind of cocooning you with a shifter at your fingertips. At the same time for such a massive Sedan the storage space in my BMW is a JOKE. Absolutely horrible use of storage space. Me being a single guy who doesn't have a Sedan for its utility finds it okay and fit for me, as I don't have much to store, but it would **** off many who would find such lousy logistical use of space from BMW.

Anyway, this is O/T from the suspension talk of the Luxury/Sport suspension dynamics of the E and how it compares especially to rivals. The stalk shifter is definitely a subjective thing more or less, but IMO the E350 "Sport" suspension is really where Mercedes needs to get a message sent to them ("fix it").
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Old 06-27-2013, 01:13 PM   #66
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Thanks K-A. Let me just say I agree with everything you said. Personally I prefer how your BMW is set up. It is much more a drivers car (as most automotive reviews also state). Others may prefer something different!
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Old 06-27-2013, 03:35 PM   #67
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Bluetec Sport here:

Took mine into the Lake Hughes canyon roads, slight understeer but everyone in the group were impressed that I had Turanzas EL400-02 ECO tires
The car handling is very linear but the steering feel is light as usual.

Note: Bluetec comes with run-flat non-staggered tires so we have harsh ride by default.
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:20 PM   #68
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Test Drive

I test drove both suspensions. I thought the difference was pretty large.

Going over rail road tracks, both were very good - and AMAZING. Driving on suburban Chicago roads with freeze cracks and what not is where the difference was noticeable. The luxury suspension masked them much more than the sport set up.

I personally would only consider the luxury set up. It reminds me of the solid comfortable ride of my past 2006 E-Class.
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:19 PM   #69
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Coming from a 13 sport to a 14 sport, I do feel a difference in the suspension and it isn't as harsh as MY13 which is a great thing. As for the sport vs luxury there is a large difference when I compared the driving feel of them.
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:49 AM   #70
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I test drove both suspensions. I thought the difference was pretty large.

Going over rail road tracks, both were very good - and AMAZING. Driving on suburban Chicago roads with freeze cracks and what not is where the difference was noticeable. The luxury suspension masked them much more than the sport set up.

I personally would only consider the luxury set up. It reminds me of the solid comfortable ride of my past 2006 E-Class.
That is why the Airmatic suspension is so nice as you can select between the Comfort for rough roads and sports for the smoother and faster ways.
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Old 09-01-2013, 05:22 PM   #71
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Lux vs. Sport

Have had 2005 lux, 2008 sport, 2011 sport and now 2014 sport.
All 4matics, lux a little softer but the sports way more agressive.
Go with sports.
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:06 AM   #72
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I test drove both a 2014 sport and luxury E350 on Saturday and compared them to my 2011 luxury e350 BT. The 2014 luxury runs softer than my current car....same size tires, but I have run-flats and the non run-flats make the ride even softer. The sport was a completely different car...much tighter...much more engaging to drive. Although I like the ride on my current car, I would not buy a 2014 luxury...just too soft. I'll be getting a sport to replace the current car (end of lease)...just trying to decide on 350 or 550.
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:57 AM   #73
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I've driven 2 facelift Sports now and will say the drive is nearly identical to my 10/11 Sports and literally identical to the 2012 I drove. Same feeling on turns and similar over bumps.
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:46 PM   #74
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Get the 550. It's a fantastic car
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Old 09-03-2013, 11:47 AM   #75
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I know this thread drifted to airmatic, but I wanted to post my experience with test driving both sport and luxury suspension of the E350, 2014. Both are very good and feel the same on the highway and over rail road tracks. But the luxury is softer over road imperfections between 25-50 mph. I much preferred it as it reminded me of E-Classes back before they started getting sportier to compete with BMW.
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Old 09-03-2013, 11:47 AM
 
 
 
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