I'm sorry, but the new BMW's are complete ass. The new body shape is the worst. Those cars are rediculously wide and huge for absolutely no reason. And its even worse when you get in one. Sure, its got all the doo-dahs and gadgets inside, but its actually sort of cramped. The dashboard is huge, for no reason at all. Theres no room to move about or anything in there, and all the seats feel oversized or something. There doesnt need to be that much "car" in a BMW. I definently like the older ones better.
The M series is a little better, as they've shed the weight and knick-knacks so the car can actually drive like its supposed to.
Now about Mercedes. I used to hate them. I really did. They looked like poop, were expensive to buy, and were even more expensive to maintain. Most mercedes saw the inside of a mechanics shop instead of the owners garage. But Mercedes has listened to the market, and slowly have come around. Now their customer service is the best in the biz, and they have great cars that actually look pretty good. Their relationship the their special tuning division, AMG, has also made me take a second look as well. AMG models are simply works of art, taking an already fabulous luxury car and somehow making it better. Take a look at the Mercedes G55, and then see what AMG did to it. Astounding!
You really have to give Mercedes credit, they really have turned their image around and are now making great cars. I would take a CLK over an M almost any day.