BMW 530i more reliable than Mercedes 450SE

BMW 530i more reliable than Mercedes 450SE

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axlon

Original Poster:

62 posts

189 months

Wednesday 3rd March
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It seems that in the 1970s the BMW 5 series was more reliable than the Mercedes W116 & R107 in Road & Track’s owner surveys. And as the burnout video shows, the BMW single row timing chain was stronger than the Mercedes chain in the 380SE/SL V8.

1977 BMW 530i burnout

Between 1970 and 1980 the Mercedes W113 Pagoda Roof SL and the BMW e12 530i were the 1st and 2nd most reliable cars Road & Track surveyed. They even gave fewer problems than any Japanese car!

Road & Track March 1979 BMW 530i (1975-78)

Problem areas 6 / Reliability areas 0 average for all cars 12/7

R&T Owner Survey BMW 530i

Road & Track August 1977 Mercedes 450SE/SEL/SL/SLC(1972-76)

Problem areas 9 / Reliability areas 0 average for all cars 12/7

R&T Owner Survey Mercedes 450 series

RiccardoG

1,310 posts

236 months

Thursday 4th March
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Thats interesting reading in a nostalgic way. How times have changed! Although I do think BMW still rates relatively well these days?

Touring442

2,111 posts

173 months

Thursday 4th March
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E12 530i's had a Duplex timing chain though - the M10 and M30 went to a single row chain in mid-late 1980.

axlon

Original Poster:

62 posts

189 months

Thursday 4th March
quotequote all

Remember when Mercedes were only owned by Doctors?!

This BMW video also shows a doctor owning a 525. The yuppies hadn't come yet.

Up to 2.20 on the test track, and then the doctor and his family. Of course back then only professional men owned these cars, lol.

1973 BMW promotional film

I suppose they would have shown these on projectors at dealerships?

There was a great 1980 comedy film with James Coburn and Shirley MacLaine. Both were doctors, he had a silver Mercedes 450SEL and she had a red 450SL. The days when Hollywood movies were worth watching. What the heck happened?!

Touring442

2,111 posts

173 months

Thursday 4th March
quotequote all
Very good! The original E12 was such a handsome car, I prefer them to the 1976 facelift version. The first one here was Turkis (turquoise), the second Pastelblau and the last one is ultra rare Bristol grey.

helix402

6,059 posts

146 months

Friday 5th March
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Talking of doctors and BMWs. We stayed with German friends in the 70s. Most of them were doctors. The head of household had an E12, I think it was a 528i or 535i (it was a long time ago!). He ordered it with badge delete and steel wheels so his customers wouldn’t think he was doing too well.

Edited by helix402 on Friday 5th March 10:03

BFleming

2,787 posts

107 months

Friday 5th March
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helix402 said:
Talking of doctors and BMWs. We stayed with German friends in the 70s. Most of them were doctors. The head of household had an E21, I think it was a 528i or 535i (it was a long time ago!). He ordered it with badge delete and steel wheels so his customers wouldn’t think he was doing too well.
The German way. They debadge top end models, but leave badges on the low end models. Pretty much the opposite of the UK.

That first video is painful to watch for anyone with any mechanical sympathy. Yee and indeed haw.

Edited by BFleming on Friday 5th March 09:49

helix402

6,059 posts

146 months

Friday 5th March
quotequote all
BFleming said:
The German way. They debadge top end models, but leave badges on the low end models. Pretty much the opposite of the UK.

That first video is painful to watch for anyone with any mechanical sympathy. Yee and indeed haw.

Edited by BFleming on Friday 5th March 09:49
E12 not E21!

RiccardoG

1,310 posts

236 months

Friday 5th March
quotequote all
axlon said:
This BMW video also shows a doctor owning a 525. The yuppies hadn't come yet.

Up to 2.20 on the test track, and then the doctor and his family. Of course back then only professional men owned these cars, lol.

1973 BMW promotional film
Thanks for sharing that video too. So nice to see things from a time when they were for purpose, rather than show.


axlon

Original Poster:

62 posts

189 months

Saturday 6th March
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Here's Mercedes promotional video for the W116 S Class. Both the 5 series and S class came out in 1972. Both have a sort of double bumper rubber look.

1974 Mercedes W116 Video

Clause Luthe oversaw the 5 series' restyle for 1977, and is also credited with the e28 5 series and e32 7 series. Looking back at the old reports it was often said the e12 5 series drove like a small W116 S class! Starting with the 1968 six cylinder BMWs, the two companies were looking at each others cars very closely. That continues to this day, with Audi joining in too as the years went by.