BMW 640i Gran Coupe versus Mercedes CLS Impressions - What Would You Buy?

by Bimmerfest.com Member - AutoUnion on July 27, 2013, 4:24 pm
Just drove the 6GC and CLS today at the driving event

Rule #1













Drove a loaded CLS550 RWD and 640i GC RWD today.

640i GC

Pros
- It looks fantastic. CLS can't touch it
- Gorgeous interior and color combo. Dash strokers dream. Love the new layout
- New full color HUD is really nice. Unlike the old one, it's not hard to see it in the daytime
- Upgraded iDrive is a lot faster than my E70
- I thought the N55 would be slow, but it's not. Sounds great and pulls all the way up to the redline well for such a heavy car
- Back seat is surprisingly not as tight as I thought it would be
- EPS isn't nearly as terrible as the F10. Quick rack with decent feel
- The steering wheel felt great in the hand
- B&O audio is amazing :thumbsup2:
- This one had the multi contour seats and they were one of the best out there.

Cons
- Overpriced
- Rear visibility is crap
- CLS has better steering
- Did I mention it's overpriced?

CLS

- stupid fast with the V8TT
- rides well
- steering was great. Better than the BMW.
- priced well
- optional HK stereo was good
- better rear visibility

Cons
- not as good looking
- hideous interior, not up to par with the 6GC
- The interior felt like a throwback to 80s. Stupid column gear shifter, cruise control stalk, etc.
- COMMAND is junk, compared to iDrive. MB is lagging behind BMW and Audi in infotainment technology
- The seats in the CLS weren't as good as the 6GCs
- back seats felt more cramped in the CLS

Overall, even with the price delta, I would get the 6GC. Better looking. Just a head turner (especially in that awesome red I got to drive). Interior is in a different league. Same with technology. I wanted to like the CLS, but felt underwhelmed by the archaic interior tech and design.

Good job BMW :thumbsup2:

now all you have to do is lower the price by $10k


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15 responses to BMW 640i Gran Coupe versus Mercedes CLS Impressions - What Would You Buy?

TopDownInFL commented:
July 27, 2013, 5:19 pm

Good comparison. Thanks.


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540gone commented:
July 28, 2013, 10:09 am

Thanks for the comparison & I totally agree about the styling of the CLS - it looks like something out of the baroque era. I drove one & didn't like it - the Command system is particularly bad.

Question about pricing of the car you drove - the post 7/1 production GC w/ the "Sport Edition" package comes in at about $10K less than a similarly optioned car produced prior to that - it sounds like it might have been a loaded up earlier production car & the pictures would indicate it did not have the sport package (base 18" wheels/tires)? The Sport Edition was apparently BMW's response to the criticism about price.

You mentioned the steering was inferior in the GC - what were the suspension/steering settings you used - comfort, sport, sport plus? The reason I ask is that I drove several different 650s extensively in a 2 day event at the BMW Performance Center recently and found the steering to be excellent under a wide range of conditions (they all had the sport package w/optional 20s).

Also, it seems interesting that the comparo had the TTV8 Benz vs. the 6 cyl BMW - almost seems like it was tilted towards MB? I also agree that the N55 in the 640 performed much better than I thought it would & the weight reduction over the front wheels vs. the 650 helps the handling.

Full disclosure - I am taking European Delivery up a new 640GC next month.
AutoUnion commented:
July 28, 2013, 11:01 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by 540gone View Post
Thanks for the comparison & I totally agree about the styling of the CLS - it looks like something out of the baroque era. I drove one & didn't like it - the Command system is particularly bad.
Yeah, I was surprised. I wanted to like the CLS, but I couldn't. Its a shame because the last CLS was such a fantastic looking car, inside and out.

Quote:
Question about pricing of the car you drove - the post 7/1 production GC w/ the "Sport Edition" package comes in at about $10K less than a similarly optioned car produced prior to that - it sounds like it might have been a loaded up earlier production car & the pictures would indicate it did not have the sport package (base 18" wheels/tires)? The Sport Edition was apparently BMW's response to the criticism about price.
Hmm. Is the sport edition the same as the M Sport? I don't see anything about it. Any more details?

Quote:
You mentioned the steering was inferior in the GC - what were the suspension/steering settings you used - comfort, sport, sport plus? The reason I ask is that I drove several different 650s extensively in a 2 day event at the BMW Performance Center recently and found the steering to be excellent under a wide range of conditions (they all had the sport package w/optional 20s).
Left it in sport plus the entire time. I mostly drove it around the city at "normal" speeds. Nothing too twisty. I'm sure it's not terrible. I just miss the traditional BMW heft, even at low speeds. That is gone in the EPS F series cars.

Quote:
Also, it seems interesting that the comparo had the TTV8 Benz vs. the 6 cyl BMW - almost seems like it was tilted towards MB? I also agree that the N55 in the 640 performed much better than I thought it would & the weight reduction over the front wheels vs. the 650 helps the handling.
They had a 650i GC too. I really wanted to drive the 640i though because it is something I was actually interested in for the future.

Quote:
Full disclosure - I am taking European Delivery up a new 640GC next month.
Congrats!

Where can I find out more about this Sport pkg? Order guide? I've been looking all over the internet for CPO 640i GC xDrive and there were none.
- Sent from Galaxy S4
540gone commented:
July 28, 2013, 3:37 pm

Auto Union,

Thanks again for your feedback. A few answers to some of your follow up questions:

The current Ordering Guide & Retail Pricing Guide are in PDF files at the top of this forum - the first post as a "sticky". These are the current (as of 7/1). The last I looked, bmwconfig.com which gives actual invoice pricing has not yet been updated to reflect the new ordering guide configurations, but if you use the average % delta, you can get within a few dollars.

The "Sport Edition" is new as of 7/1/13 production and starts with the former M Sport package, but includes what used to be several other packages and options. It also reduces the price of full Nappa leather option. All in it results in a saving of ~ $10,000 vs. an identical previous build. See the Ordering Guide for the full details.

These things are really beautiful cars, and I'm totally looking forward to getting my hands on it - just hope my wife (whose car it will be) let's me drive it from time to time.
AutoUnion commented:
July 28, 2013, 4:00 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by 540gone View Post

The "Sport Edition" is new as of 7/1/13 production and starts with the former M Sport package, but includes what used to be several other packages and options. It also reduces the price of full Nappa leather option. All in it results in a saving of ~ $10,000 vs. an identical previous build. See the Ordering Guide for the full details.
Wow, I just looked in there. The M Sport Edition 6GC is a fantastic value. Almost $14k of options for only ~$5,400. BMW seems to have listened

I originally skipped the M Sport and built a normal 640i GC xDrive and it was MORE expensive than the M Sport Edition with all the options. It's a no brainer option now, plus the MSport makes it look even better


Quote:
Originally Posted by 540gone View Post
A
These things are really beautiful cars, and I'm totally looking forward to getting my hands on it - just hope my wife (whose car it will be) let's me drive it from time to time.
I agree 100x. A complete head turner.

If you don't mind sharing, what sort of deal were you able to work out on the ED? You can PM me if you want to keep it private
540gone commented:
July 28, 2013, 4:30 pm

PM sent, but I can't tell whether it went thru or not.
OBP commented:
July 29, 2013, 10:48 pm

My first post here and I might be flamed for this but here goes:

Studied the 650i X GC and the CLS 550 4matic in great detail. Test drove both a number of times. And test drove a 640i GC once. Ended up going for the CLS for a number of reasons:

1) 650i X GC vs CLS 550 was the most appropriate comp - I just really wanted a V8 and the twin turbos were a plus. Did not really want a straight 6 so the 640 was out.
2) The GC definitely has a better looking interior AND exterior than the CLS. And the 650 iX GC was faster than the CLS too. And I agree that the CLS "stalk" in place of a regular gear shifter is a little silly. But I had to make a call on whether the 650i X GC was going to be somewhere between $15-20k better than the CLS and my conclusion was no.
3) The driver's rear view for the 6GC is quite poor as highlighted above.
4) I dislike RFTs and BMWs only come with RFTs.
5) My use of the car will likely be as a long range cruiser and the larger fuel tank capacity in the CLS vs the 650i X GC will be better for long range cruising.
6) I will be having little kids in the rear seats and MB allows an OEM DVD system in the seat headrest back whereas BMW did not have that feature for the 6 GC ( when I was looking at them last year ).
7) I tend to keep my cars for a long time - 7-8 years. MB's zero deductible extended warranty and zero deductible wheel and tire/dents and dings protection looked better than the BMW offering with $50-100 deductible.
8) Got a little scared about the motor oil consumption and "tranny going into limp mode" reports regarding the 650 GC on BMW enthusiast sites like this and a few others.
9) I managed to get a pretty solid deal on the CLS accessories package and the Euro Delivery deal for MB was a little more generous than the BMW Euro Delivery deal.
10) I eventually came to like the "alien spacecraft" look of the CLS 550 from the front, especially with the LED headlamps on. Real futuristic - nothing out there quite looks like it. Maybe even a little menacing.

So, with respect to all the great 6GC owners here, I went the other way and will be taking Euro Delivery of my CLS550 4matic in about two weeks. Yes, I compromised but for me, it seemed like the rational choice. Decision made with the head and the check book, not the heart. But I think it will feel great when I am on the Autobahn with that 4.7 twin turbo rumbling away. Knowing that I can get a Renntech mod when I come back to the US which can boost that engine to 500+ hp and 500+lbs ...

And yes, I will be respectful and admiring of any 6GC that I see along the way.

Had two BMWs in my past - E36 and E39. Maybe in future I might return to the marque but for now, I am headed over to the other side to see what it is like.

Good luck and happy driving to all the 6GC drivers here.
lexvectigal commented:
July 30, 2013, 7:06 pm

One important note that I did not see in any of the other comments (forgive me if I missed it) is that the 640xi and 650xi have "old fashioned" hydraulic steering, which is much better (in my opinion) than the EPS in the non-xDrive variants. It was the primary reason I opted for xDrive over RWD - the better steering was far more important to me and worth the price premium.
AutoUnion commented:
July 30, 2013, 7:22 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by lexvectigal View Post
One important note that I did not see in any of the other comments (forgive me if I missed it) is that the 640xi and 650xi have "old fashioned" hydraulic steering, which is much better (in my opinion) than the EPS in the non-xDrive variants. It was the primary reason I opted for xDrive over RWD - the better steering was far more important to me and worth the price premium.
Is this confirmed? If so, that would be awesome. xDrive is a needed option around here.

- Sent from Galaxy S4
lexvectigal commented:
August 1, 2013, 9:29 am

Quote:
Originally Posted by AutoUnion View Post
Is this confirmed? If so, that would be awesome. xDrive is a needed option around here.
For the 650xi GC, it's more than confirmed - I have it in my car ('14) and I understand it was available for '13 as well. xDrive is available in the 640 as of '14, and I believe the hydraulic steering rack as well (because of the xDrive system).
PackerFan commented:
August 13, 2013, 12:54 pm

I'm really happy with the engine in my wife's 2012 740i,it gets up and goes when you need it to, gets great MPG too. I really don't like the looks of the new Benz. Also agree with your assessment of cost/interior/etc. If you're going to lease the vehicle, or only keep it for 3-5 years, the difference in depreciation or lease cost may not be much overall. I just sold (and ran away from my '07 Benz E550, over $9k in repairs after 50k miles, including gas tank, instrument cluster, air suspension 2x, panaramic roof motor 2x, engine main seal leak, and door handle chrome began peeling on the passenger front door).
silicon commented:
August 18, 2013, 1:58 pm

Hey AutoUnion... I think I test drove the exact same 640 series you did during the ultimate drive event. Fell in love with it! If I remember correctly, it was a merino leather of some type. Do you remember exactly? I was hoping to order cinn brown to duplicate the look.. and hoping the steering wheel will feel the same.








Quote:
Originally Posted by AutoUnion View Post
Just drove the 6GC and CLS today at the driving event

Rule #1













Drove a loaded CLS550 RWD and 640i GC RWD today.

640i GC

Pros
- It looks fantastic. CLS can't touch it
- Gorgeous interior and color combo. Dash strokers dream. Love the new layout
- New full color HUD is really nice. Unlike the old one, it's not hard to see it in the daytime
- Upgraded iDrive is a lot faster than my E70
- I thought the N55 would be slow, but it's not. Sounds great and pulls all the way up to the redline well for such a heavy car
- Back seat is surprisingly not as tight as I thought it would be
- EPS isn't nearly as terrible as the F10. Quick rack with decent feel
- The steering wheel felt great in the hand
- B&O audio is amazing :thumbsup2:
- This one had the multi contour seats and they were one of the best out there.

Cons
- Overpriced
- Rear visibility is crap
- CLS has better steering
- Did I mention it's overpriced?

CLS

- stupid fast with the V8TT
- rides well
- steering was great. Better than the BMW.
- priced well
- optional HK stereo was good
- better rear visibility

Cons
- not as good looking
- hideous interior, not up to par with the 6GC
- The interior felt like a throwback to 80s. Stupid column gear shifter, cruise control stalk, etc.
- COMMAND is junk, compared to iDrive. MB is lagging behind BMW and Audi in infotainment technology
- The seats in the CLS weren't as good as the 6GCs
- back seats felt more cramped in the CLS

Overall, even with the price delta, I would get the 6GC. Better looking. Just a head turner (especially in that awesome red I got to drive). Interior is in a different league. Same with technology. I wanted to like the CLS, but felt underwhelmed by the archaic interior tech and design.

Good job BMW :thumbsup2:

now all you have to do is lower the price by $10k
famaash commented:
August 20, 2013, 2:08 pm

Bought a 650 2013 over a CLS 550.

I'm not as technical as you guys and since both these cars go fast, my decision was on to following things:-

- interior : CLS's interior is so bad that I felt that if I buy this car I'd definitely be ashamed when people sit in the car and comment that how their accord interior feels just like this ( true story).
Not only cockpit is a fail but the Comand thing is a joke and I actually felt the cheapness on the roof opening while it moved up and down on touch.

Now sit in a grand coupe and you will just start complementing about its material, beauty and aesthetics. It's basically at par with the likes of Bentley, Aston Martin etc. that's how good it is.

Lets not get started with the back seat. CLS here is really congested while GC is pretty darn good compared to its exterior dimensions. But GC back seat is definitely not as comfortable as 7 and almost as same as 5 if not a little less.

Oh CLS is pretty cheap in Comand too when compared to iDrive. I guess I mentioned it twice now.

At the end, if I'm spending > 100k on a car I'd want to feel good when sitting into one.

- exterior: it's subjective I know but I personally like exterior of both cars. They both are pretty awesome to me from outside.

My 650 does 13m / gallon in city. CLS I guess is better than that. But It doesn't bother when you buy such a car.

I personally think that this GC should be compared to an Aston Martin Rapid S. have a look at it at their website and you'll know how closely these two resemble.


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AutoUnion commented:
August 20, 2013, 2:25 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by silicon View Post
Hey AutoUnion... I think I test drove the exact same 640 series you did during the ultimate drive event. Fell in love with it! If I remember correctly, it was a merino leather of some type. Do you remember exactly? I was hoping to order cinn brown to duplicate the look.. and hoping the steering wheel will feel the same.
Hey. Don't think that had merino leather. I think it was all Nappa.

Everything was cinnamon brown.

- Sent from Galaxy S4
kssod commented:
August 23, 2013, 1:32 pm

Drove the GC vs A7 at our drive event. The #1 gripe I have regarding the GC is how the center arm rest cuts away from the driver"s right side. This leaves nothing but hard plastic to rest right elbow. Much prefer the design in my F10.