By on September 24, 2009

Baby gone brown...

I’m old enough to remember when Mercedes used the tagline “engineered like no other car in the world,” and no one questioned it. When the 1986 W124 E-Class was introduced, Car & Driver proclaimed it “the best car in the world.” In the quarter-century since, Mercedes’ position in the automotive pecking order has become less certain. Lexus came out of nowhere, and BMW has managed to successfully expand upward from the 3-Series and to become a provider of luxury as well as sport. For 2010 Mercedes has totally redesigned the E-Class. Any chance it’s 1986 all over again?

Back to basics?The styling of the 1986 W124 E-Class was timeless. Noting that the marque’s traditional virtues were no longer bringing in the buyers, Mercedes grafted four oval headlights onto the mid-1990s W210 E-Class to communicate “we’re not stodgy.” That ploy worked for a couple of years, after which many people were wishing the W124 had never been replaced. With the 2003 W211, timeless styling returned, and it hurt. Surrounded by Audiesque grilles and Bangled bodysides, no luxury sedan was easier to lose in a crowd. So, with the 2010 W212 E-Class, Mercedes has again opted for road presence and distinctive styling. Specifically, the new car’s chunkier shape is adorned with a quartet of rectangular headlights and pointless rear fender bulges. The W211 is easily the more beautiful car, but the W212 looks much more like $55,000, even if the design of the hood makes it appear misaligned.

The restyled E-Class interior resembles that of the current C-Class. The shapes are blocky rather than flowing and organic, and might appear overly basic or even cheap were it not for the obvious quality of the materials and subtle detailing. Very German.

Following BMW’s lead, the transmission shifter is an electronic stalk on the steering column, freeing up console real estate for an iDrive-like controller. While a console-mounted shifter no longer makes much functional sense, a car does seem less sporty without one.Nip-tuck, parry-thrust.

The W212 continues Mercedes’ tradition of a relatively high driving position, for better forward visibility than in an Audi or BMW. The front seats continue another Mercedes tradition: they’re much firmer than those in a Volvo or Lexus. While shaped well for support, even the lateral variety, these seats lack the plush feeling many people will expect in a luxury sedan.

The W212 E-Class’s rear seat is an improvement over that in the W211, but continues to lag those in the BMW 5-Series and Infiniti M in terms of comfort and space. The thinking at Mercedes-Benz seems to be that those seeking an adult-worthy rear seat should spring for the S-Class. One thing the rear seat does do (optionally) that those in Asian competitors don’t: fold to expand the trunk.

The great majority of buyers in the United States will opt for the base engine, a 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, and for good reason: it’s more than adequate. You can get just as much power in an Accord these days, and some competing sixes offer 300+ horsepower. But the fact of the matter is that most drivers won’t come close to tapping out the E350′s power potential in 99 percent of their driving. This wouldn’t be the case with an old-style four-speed automatic, but when there are seven ratios to select from the engine is always in its powerband. Unlike some earlier iterations of this transmission, the one in the W212 shifts smoothly and with an appropriate frequency.

Mercedes’ pricing can be baffling. In some cases an AMG body kit, sport suspension tuning, and upsized wheels can run over five grand. In other cases—including the 2010 E350—the sport treatment is no extra charge. Sport Package for free? That’s an easy choice.

KuhlThe sport-suspended chassis behaves well, with good balance, admirable composure over rough patches, and minimal lean in hard turns. Through the seat of one’s pants, the car feels tight and precise. Then there’s the steering. In a word, it’s dead. Weighting varies from overly light to artificial. Road feel is absent. The suspension might be excellent, but this steering dashes any chance of a driver connecting with this car.

The E-Class’s ride is neither as firm as in a BMW 5-Series nor as absorbent as in a Lexus GS. It doesn’t feel cushy, but there’s no harshness. Nor are there any of the untoward, indecisive jiggles that occasionally mar the ride of the upstart Hyundai Genesis. The solid, planted feel Mercedes has traditionally been known for is certainly present in this car. As in just about any luxury sedan these days (with the notable exception of the Audi A6), noise levels are low.

The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class looks and feels solid and expensive. But if Mercedes wants to regain its earlier reputation, it needs to offer more than this. Aspects of the styling will appear dated by the time the lease is over. But that’s common in the post-Bangle era. More troubling, the combination of overly firm seats with zombie steering means that the new W212 E-Class excels as neither a luxury sedan nor a sport sedan. Who is this car for? Do even luxury sedan buyers want to feel entirely disconnected from the driving experience? Mercedes has been making cars longer than anyone else has. So why can’t they provide a decent steering system?

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta.com, a provider of car reliability and real-world gas mileage information

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138 Comments on “Review: 2010 Mercedes-Benz E-Class...”


  • avatar
    slateslate

    ****While a console-mounted shifter no longer makes much functional sense, a car does seem less sporty without one.****

    So true, though I wish more automakers would offer a DB9-style in-dash push button transmission or XF-style rotary knob.

  • avatar
    nmcheese

    For those that remember the w124 fondly the new C class appears to be the most direct descendent yet from Mercedes. They’re about the same size and weight, and it seems they’re trying to bring the quality back, which is good to see.

    This new E… it’s too big, it’s not especially good looking… yawn.

  • avatar
    drifter

    Why would anyone pay $20K premium for this over Hyundai Genesis is beyond me.

    • 0 avatar
      bigmanrestless

      Let’s see what the Genesis (a shameless MB design copy) looks like after 100K. My guess is it will be a rattle trap while the ’10 E-class will be very close to new in terms of ride and comfort.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    I’m old enough to recall the days when any review of a Mercedes would mention the car’s granitic, one-of-a-piece feeling of solidity. My W124 certainly felt that way. My current W211, not so much. Is the new one any better?

  • avatar
    paul_y

    I don’t understand why any car with an automatic ever had a floor- or console-shifter (nor did column-shift manuals ever make sense). The only function they serve is to mess up those of us who can actually drive a manual-transmission car. Good on MB (and BMW) for making a logical ergonomic decision.

    If you’re driving an automatic, why would a console shifter be more “sporty?” You don’t have to touch it while you’re moving, so it should neither matter nor be in the way, as console shifters so often are in automatics.

    • 0 avatar
      Bulldog Drummond

      I always thought the column shift was so that you could get three people on the bench seat in the front. In Australia in the sixties we were hooning around in six cylinder GM Holdens with three gears that could pull out  a stump in first, take of in second and idle along in third doing about 30mph. You’re right of course it wasn’t about skilled driving, more like poking around in cold porridge with a knitting needle trying to find a small washer… if you were lucky… Talking of history there was a nice Valiant (looked a bit like a Plymouth) which had little pushbutton low drive reverse neutral and I think P? buttons… weird but sort of worked.

  • avatar
    maniceightball

    I’m not really seeing a lot of Bangle here… what exactly is Banglefied about this model?

  • avatar
    gettysburg

    I recall the Mercedes tag line as being:

    “Engineered like no other car in the world”

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I don’t understand why any car with an automatic ever had a floor- or console-shifter

    1. Cost. You get to keep the same console design and floor.

    2. Column shifters are irritating to use. it’s far too easy to overshoot your intended gear.

    I’d say that, unless you have sporting pretensions** there’s no reason not to use a Jag/7er/Prius interface. Modern powertrains rarely need to be forced to use lower gears.

    My dad used to talk about the pushbutton transmission on my grandfather’s Plymouth Fury. Interesting that it’s never really come back.

    ** and even then, there’s paddles

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Then there’s the steering. In a word, it’s dead.

    Is it electric-assist? I know a lot of makes are having trouble with the move to EPS, with Mazda being the only one who seems to get it uniformly right. If some johnny-come-lately, front-drive econobox-maker like Mazda can do it, why not the Engineers Like No Other?

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    This is a car that I would really like. You see I test drove the previous version E with blutec extensively. I really wanted to buy it, but was completely floored by the M-B warranty and service. The warranty only covers items lubricated by oil or grease. WTF? Got a broken HVAC or Nav – too bad. The dealership’s service rate was $200/hour, and they were booking two weeks in advance. This is a car for rich people who don’t care. I guess I’m neither.

  • avatar

    gettysburg,

    Thanks for putting it politely. Seems I’m also old enough to have an imprecise memory. “Best engineered” was the implication.

    maniceightball,

    Bangle’s influence is indirect here, in the imperative to complicate the bodyside styling. I blame him for the rear fender bulge which looks like something off a badly designed pickup.

    On the reliability front, I’d like TrueDelta to have quick results for the new E-Class like it did with the new C-Class.

    To help with our Car Reliability Survey:

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    The Mercedes E class has always struck me as a luxury car for those without imagination. Over the past 15 years or so the Mercedes badge has been the most compelling part of the car, as it has not been more sporting, more luxurious, or more reliable than any of its competitors.

    It seems like Mercedes is continuing to play it safe, which might not be a bad thing, as luxury car buyers are by and large image driven, and the Mercedes star still holds plenty of cache. Still, you could get a sportier experience in a BMW or Jaguar, a quieter and more luxurious ride in a Lexus, or a hell of a lot more value in a Hyundai Genesis, Lincoln MKS, or VW Phaeton (for those lucky enough to live in countries where those are still sold).

  • avatar
    maniceightball

    Michael Karesh — Hm, yeah, I sort of see it. I think that bulge could be toned down a bit, but I like it. It’d be a pretty drab design otherwise.

  • avatar
    findude

    What? No reference, however oblique, to the doors closing like a “bank vault” . . . ? This used to be required in any review of a Mercedes-Benz. Is the reviewer slipping, or do the doors no longer close with that subtle kerthunk that reminds MB buyers what they paid for every time they get in or out of the car?

    Go to a junkyard and find a ponton-bodied MB from the fifties or a fintail from the sixties. Unless the car was hit so hard it’s bent, the doors will still close that way no matter how rusty the car is.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I think my lease payment would go to the XF.

    Nothing big against the E-class, but it seems like the mid-size luxury car equivalent of a Camry LE. I guess that means it’s a decent vehicle, but there’s not a lot to desire about it.

  • avatar
    IGB

    Why would anyone pay $20K premium for this over Hyundai Genesis is beyond me.

    Wow. I certainly would. It’s the reason Mercedes will sell cars to people like me and Hyundai will sell cars to people like you. Thank goodness for freedom of choice.

    Now, why anyone would spend $35k on a Hyundai is beyond me.

  • avatar
    dgduris

    A side crease from Bangle (yes, it’s diluted over how many generations of BMW’s shapes and the manufacturers whom all copied it – but it’s there)

    A rear fender flare from a Subaru STi

    And hump atop the center console that looks like it’s from a Lada.

    Meh!

  • avatar
    pariah

    “Wow. I certainly would. It’s the reason Mercedes will sell cars to people like me and Hyundai will sell cars to people like you. Thank goodness for freedom of choice.

    Now, why anyone would spend $35k on a Hyundai is beyond me.”

    Well, some people don’t think it’s worth spending twenty grand to convince themselves they’re better than everyone else.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    …or do the doors no longer close with that subtle kerthunk that reminds MB buyers what they paid for every time they get in or out of the car?

    $5000 per year in repairs and whole lot of Dynamat stuffed into the doors?

  • avatar
    wstansfi

    1st – is there any way to “fix” the novocaine steering? There must be some good aftermarket solution. Sajeev maybe?
    2nd – Honda has been making doors that make that same Mercedes Kerthunk since the mid 80′s, with a much lower cost of ownership. Glad the review is past that.

  • avatar

    Well, Hyundai is doing something right if the Genesis is even being mentioned in an E-Class review.

  • avatar

    I wanted to buy an E-AMG to replace my 2007 S-550 but there are things I perfer in my S-class that the E just doesn’t have.

    While I liked the loaded E’s technology package, the car is UGLY. The rear end looks terrible and so do the side moldings. I just wish Benz had either kept, or redesigned the W211′s rear.

    The E-class has more driver/front passenger space than most cars being released. For example, the E is more spacious than the BMW 7 up front(I was suprised about that). Its also larger than the Buick Lacrosse 2010 and the Lincoln MKS. The rear sucks but, most people buying this car aren’t planning to make it a limo. That’s what the S550 is for.

    The car feels solid and well designed but I’d have perfered an interior that flows like the expansive dash of the S550.

    I guess I won’t replace my S-class till the 2012 S class is released.

  • avatar
    Areitu

    dgduris :
    September 24th, 2009 at 10:07 pm

    A side crease from Bangle (yes, it’s diluted over how many generations of BMW’s shapes and the manufacturers whom all copied it – but it’s there)

    A rear fender flare from a Subaru STi

    And hump atop the center console that looks like it’s from a Lada.

    Meh!

    You’ve forgotten the front headlights from a Lexus GS!

  • avatar
    saponetta

    Austin Greene,

    Where are you getting your warranty info? The mercedes 4/50 is as inclusive as audi, bmw, etc.

  • avatar

    The headlights seem to be a poor imitation of the current gen Lexus GS. I’d take a Hyundai Genesis over this, or, if I needed some branding validation, an Infiniti M. When I see Mercedes, I instantly think the person should have either bought a Lexus if they wanted luxury or a BMW if they wanted sport. Or if they wanted to split the difference, suck up the service and buy the better looking Audi (although I agree the A6 is a dog in this instance).

    The C class is almost competitive. The S class is actually competitive. But the E? There are just so many good cars in the segment, from the aforementioned Hyundai and Infiniti to the new Jaguar. They really needed to stand out more.

  • avatar
    jmo

    For me it’s all about the ride quality. The ride in a BMW/Lexus/Infinity just doesn’t feel as “special”. Compare the ride quality in a Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, VW Passat with the Infinty and Lexus and Audi and it feels very similar. Compare that to the Mercedes and there is something special about their ability to filter out harshness and provide a sense of “dignity” and refinement.

  • avatar
    willamettejd

    I guess I’ve just never known to allure of buying these new (BUT depreciation is SO bad that you can get a 5 year old E-class for pennies on the dollar…that is a good value). BMW offers a better driver’s car and a more compelling maintenance and warranty plan; Lexus has more gadgetry, better reliability, plusher seats, and the “I’m a smart luxury buyer” appeal; Genesis shows that you’re ahead of the curve and want E-class luxury for C class price; Audi (in the words of Top Gear) is the new douche bag car. I just don’t get it. Now the C class seems like a respectable contender…..

  • avatar
    MikeInCanada

    Re findude :

    True that! Dad’s ’58 220SE, even when 30 years old – sporting considerable body rust – all 4 doors made the appropriately solid ‘thunk’ when closing and still took a minimal effort to open. The door handle linkages still felt quite solid too – no slack.

    That’s what you get when even the smallest parts start life as a forging and not just a stamped part.

  • avatar
    Garak

    I think the car looks pretty good, and the interior is also very well designed. Of course it’s not as beautiful as a W123 or a W124, but still very good for a modern design.

    Here in Europe the base model is a 2.1 liter, 136 horsepower Diesel with a 6 speed manual. I guess they designed the steering for that, and forgot about the quicker models.

  • avatar
    iceracer

    From the side the new E class looks like a Honda Accord and at the front the tear drop and trapezoidal lights look awkward. So the W212 is neither sporty nor luxurious nor engineered like no other car in the world. Mercedes has really lost their way with this car. They must be counting on all the people who buy a Benz simply because of the three pointed star on the hood. It was that kind of thinking that got GM into its current state.

  • avatar
    drifter

    @IGB :
    September 24th, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Why would anyone pay $20K premium for this over Hyundai Genesis is beyond me.

    Wow. I certainly would. It’s the reason Mercedes will sell cars to people like me
    Now, why anyone would spend $35k on a Hyundai is beyond me.

    Because you never driven one yet? And it precisely because of people like you MB can get away charging $20k premium.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    @ Michael Karesh:

    Mercedes has been making cars longer than anyone else has. So why can’t they provide a decent steering system?

    Nothing new there! Growing up, my family had several Mercedes cars – a ’75 450SE, an ’85 300TD, an ’85 190E, and an ’88 300E. All had that same feel the new E-class does – a too-large steering wheel, too-heavy action, and a lack of precision.

    But the flip side: that same heavy steering is an absolute BOON in high-speed highway driving. Not indecent, but definitely not sporting.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    drifter :
    September 24th, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    @IGB :
    September 24th, 2009 at 9:57 pm
    Now, why anyone would spend $35k on a Hyundai is beyond me.

    Because you never driven one yet? And it precisely because of people like you MB can get away charging $20k premium.

    True, the Genesis offers a pretty solid package for the bucks. But which one will still look good in 20 years? My money’s on the Benz.

  • avatar
    tom

    Regarding the steering/seats:

    Remember who this car is built for: It’s for businessmen who drive a lot on the Autobahn. So what you need when you drive for hours at high speeds in a straight line is
    a) firm seats to support your back so that you won’t be in pain after an hour behind the wheel, switching lanes at 200 km/h, and
    b) a somewhat detached steering wheel, because if it’s more direct, it can become extremely tiring since you need a lot more concentration. Try to drive a sports car at 200+ km/h for an hour on the Autobahn and you know what I mean. You need to readjust your steering wheel after every tiny bump, every other second, which means that you have to be extremely alert all the time. This kinda thing is very tiring and I can’t do it for too long myself. Now an E-Class on the other hand is still easily manageable at 200+ km/h and you don’t need 100% concentration but are free to let your thoughts wander about and think about the business meeting that’s about to take place.

  • avatar
    jmo

    I guess I’ve just never known to allure of buying these new

    You can get a new E350 for a little over 40k (they have 10k on the hood). In 5 years it’s worth 15. Cost per year 5k.

    If you buy a 5yo E-class for 15k and keep it for 5 years it will be worth 5k. You will loose $2,000 per year. Now, the question if it’s 5yo and 75k miles how much will it cost in maintaince to keep it on the road for 5 years and a total of 150k miles?

    $1,000 per year? More?

    If maintaince is $1,800 per year then buying the new Mercedes would only cost $100 extra a month.

    Personaly I’d rather just pay the $100 a month and not have to deal with an 8,9 or 10 yo Mercedes.

  • avatar
    jmo

    But the flip side: that same heavy steering is an absolute BOON in high-speed highway driving.

    As others have mentioned it’s all about the highspeed autobahn crusing not carving up the corners.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “Now, why anyone would spend $35k on a Hyundai is beyond me.”

    Ah, the miracle of branding at work; separating fools from their money.

  • avatar
    twotone

    I’ll take a gently used 2007 E63 sliver, panorama roof for $45,000 thank you very much.

    Twotone

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    Wow. Mercedes fails again.

    I am so disenchanted with modern German cars. They lack the DNA that the splendid iterations of the 80s had.

    I had really high hopes that the new E class would harken a return to those bank vault solid, tactile-licious, 1980ish to 1988ish versions.

    But nein.

    Not only do we not get those sensational cars of yesteryear, we get utterly complicated (unnecessarily so?) features and maddening reliability issues…

    I see a giant gaping hole for someone to dive right in and deliver a crushing blow to Deutschland’s best.

    Really, why spend so much on this vehicle, as someone else said, when a Genesis gets you 80% of the goodness at 60% of the price?

    Hell, a CTS looks mighty fine, also, and they’re blowing those out in base form for 28k where I live.

    p.s. – Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I’d like to know if there’s a single beholder that finds the E class remotely “beautiful.” Yuck.

  • avatar
    jmo

    Really, why spend so much on this vehicle, as someone else said, when a Genesis gets you 80% of the goodness at 60% of the price?

    May I introduce you to the works of one Thorstien Veblen author of “The Theory of the Leisure Class” in which he famously coined the phrase conspicuous consumption.

    He defined conspicuous consumption as the waste of money and/or resources by people to display a higher status than others. One famous example he used was the use of silver utensils at meals, even though utensils made of cheaper material worked just as well or, in some cases, better.

  • avatar
    stuki

    When’s the wagon coming our way, and with what engine(s)? The Asians don’t do those, and BMW insists on putting those ghastly run flats on every car they sell. Also, unless Bimmer have upped their game with respect to laser cruise from a few years ago, MB has it all over them.

  • avatar
    Tosh

    Lexus did NOT “come out of nowhere.” Acura, perhaps.

  • avatar
    sfdennis1

    I’d be interested to see how the new look translates in person…saw my first new ‘E class coupe’ today (E550 coupe in dark metallic grey) and I have to say, it was much more sleek and dynamic in person than in photos…definitely looked like big money…cuz it IS big money, I guess, but it had much more presence than the old CLK coupe.

    Agreed with other posters that Mercedes designs it’s cars for high-speed autobahn cruising over carving corners…nothing, NOTHING beats a Benz at that secure, effortless feel of high speed cruising…these cars come into their own over 80mph, like a long distance runner just beginning to hit his stride.

  • avatar
    Yuppie

    Previous model more understated and classy. That used to be the goal when spending $50K+ on a car, but I guess not since Bangle was employed at BMW.

    Why does the front of the new E class look like the front/face of a Transformer car?

  • avatar
    probert

    Thorstein Veblen! sounds like one of those durned socialists I’ve been hearing about. what’s he doing here?

    Oh yeah, Mercedes is made by Germans – another bunch of crazed socialists. Why, they’re everywhere it seems.

    Who’s next, Vance Packard?

    Anyway, why buy a Mercedes if the steering wheel isn’t white?

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    If i was looking for a big sedan, the Merc would definately be my choice.
    I remember fondly my friends W211.
    It felt like i was sitting at home in my favorite chair, looking at the world go by through a big panoramic window.
    Somewhat disconnected from the world but very relaxing.
    Hyundai???
    I don´t wear an asian made watch, just swiss time for me :)

  • avatar
    v7rmp7li

    @FreedMike :
    “True, the Genesis offers a pretty solid package for the bucks. But which one will still look good in 20 years? My money’s on the Benz.”

    >>> Wow. You drive one car for 20 years? In my town, luxury car buyers change their car in every 3 years. if you are rich person, you don’t need keep a new car for long. E-class is not a ‘rare’ car. It is a ‘mass market’ luxury car. if drive outdated 1980s benz, it looks strange.
    —————————
    ‘Luxury car’ is no more difficult to modern auto makers.
    Hyundai made Genesis, Toyota made Lexus, Chrysler made 300c.

    I’m not sure how mercedes can survive in 21 century.

  • avatar
    willamettejd

    jmo – I like your math approach, but I think the numbers are fuzzy.

    First of all, you’re brand-spankin’ new MB has 15K, 30K, 45K, 60K maintenance (which will run you about $300-600 at the dealer) plus regular oil changes. So it’s not free to own a new MB.

    Second, I’m highly skeptical you could get a new E Class for 40 grand. I’m thinking 50 easy because it’s hard to find one with no options (MSPR on the base E350 is right near at $49K). I know two people who work at MB dealers and other than occasional lease deals they aren’t budging on prices much.

    Third, I just did a quick Craigslist search for the Portland area (where I’m from) and found a 2005 E320 with options and 35K miles for $21K private party – assuming you can talk them down to $20K that’s a savings of $30K (versus new) for a car with only 35K miles. That’s serious depreciation, especially compared to your Hondas and Toyotas.

    Finally, and finally, I’m doubting $1800 a year for maintenance on a 35K mile car….maybe $800/year until it hits about 90K miles (thats when BMWs and MBs seem to really have problems).

    Again, I reiterate…I just don’t see the allure of buying these new. But that’s just me. I’ve never been a Mercedes guy and don’t see MB excelling in anything other than brand-cache (sp?)

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Two things about the E-class.

    The rear fender hump is a quote — Mercedes is trying to create a feeling of heritage by reminding us of the W120 from the fifties,
    http://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Datei:Mercedes_180_2_h_sst.jpg&filetimestamp=20050930170453

    Who knows why quoting heritage is so important that you’d do it in a way that looks like an afterthought.

    The other thing about the E-class is that it is supposed to be an unequaled high-speed cruiser. A car you can drive all day at 120mph with very little stress. I haven’t driven the W212 so I can’t tell you whether it fulfils that promise. But I can tell you that just about every Japanese (not to mention Korean) car I have taken to the autobahn feels less planted, less secure, less feedbacky, and not as easy to drive quickly, than a good E-class.

  • avatar
    willamettejd

    Martin – great point about Autobahn cruising – I just watched a documentary on the AB and you quickly learn why German cars feel so planted to 90MPH+…they’ve been designed that way since Hitler’s day! And the AB is statistically safer than American freeways. When you drive over there, you realize why – wide lanes and wide lines; beautifully maintained roads; no long, droning, sleep-inducing straightaways; and motorists who truly do pay more attention. Sorry for the thread jack.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Very good review.

    Every time I read a Mercedes review of any substance, I’m reminded of the book “The Machine that Changed The World” from MIT from about 1991.

    That was the seminal study of why Japanese lean production methods produced high quality inexpensive cars.

    Mercedes Benz was particularly damned in this book, which I’m thumbing through now. They had vast rework areas after the production line, where workers in white lab coats fixed all the assembly problems that the inspectors caught. Benz were the worst of the entire automotive world for rework. The end result was at least pretty solid, HVAC systems aside.

    The point of the book was that it was cheaper to make the assembly process error-free in the first place. This is the essential difference between fixing problems after they occur (quality control), versus designing the assembly system to be error-free which is quality assurance. Basically, anyway. Mercedes took twice as many man-hours to assemble a car as Toyota did back then.

    Anyway, Mercedes was highly embarrassed by this book, and immediately undertook reform. The cars became not-so-good, but they sure popped them out more cheaply. The design system began to lag the assembly system. Design errors were now baked in, because all those men in white lab coats tuning your new Benz were sent home to ruminate on “the good old days”, rather than running eagle eyes over the “finished” product.

    With hard work and 15 to 20 years of effort, perhaps Mercedes is starting to overcome the sea change it has made in design and production methods.

    My friend’s 1988 300E was a tank all right and drove like one. Started in second, and the controls felt like they were covered in molasses. Not my cup of tea, but solid.

    Perhaps the newer models like this 2010 E-class are finally coming good again from the overall quality and solidity point of view. If so, it’s about time.

  • avatar
    gubes

    I just bought a new six cylinder E class after previously owning a Porsche Boxster S and a BMW 3 series. After owning those cars I was exhilirated 10% of the time but didn’t find them very comfortable 90% of the time – but great cars for what they are designed to do.

    I have come to the realisation that 90% of the time you are either stuck in traffic or travelling on a motorway. In both these instances, I don’t think there is a better car than the Merc in this class. Its a car for what people need rather than what they think they want.

    I can’t believe Hyundai’s Genisis is even mentioned here. I think they miss the point entirely – a mickey mouse watch will tell the time just as well as a Rolex right? Actually, I don’t think Hyundai’s Genesis would come close to the levles of saftey in the new E and I think its steering is even more “dead” – Hyundai’s Genesis is guaranteed to be a depreciation nightmare as was the VW Phaeton – sure they are cheaper but not much when so when you consider depreciation. Motoring heritage and brand IS worth something – depreciation statistics already tell you that.

    The Audi has a flawed chassis based on its inferior weight distribution. I considered the 5 series but decided against it for 2 reasons: 1) Run flats ruin the ride and 2) New model is around the corner so current model will look dated and depreciate much faster. XF was a real contender but found the packaging woeful for its size – has just as much rear space as my 3 series and the trunk was not much bigger.

    The Merc is driven by older people – and thats what they should continue to target – the population is getting older anyway – that will be the growth market. Older people realize after owning countless cars about what matters in every day driving. But hey, I am only 34 but evidently too mature for my age :)

    While I preffered the steering feel on my old 3 series, I still think the steering on the Merc is pretty decent. But it was the interior which won me over. Only the XF Jag felt as special to me at least.

  • avatar
    tsofting

    “Following BMW’s lead, the transmission shifter is an electronic stalk on the steering column..”

    Well, that was the case with the past generation 7-series, but the new one has the “joystick” shifter conventionally located in the console. I am a little embarassed on behalf of MB that their BMW imitations seem to apper after BMW has abandoned them; “humpback” trunklid, overly expressive body sculpturing, column-shift. We are all waiting impatiently for MB’s next (abandoned) BMW-personification!

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    I drove the new E-class for couple of days.
    350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY.

    Pros:

    The engine is excellent! Wide torqueband, huge amounts of torque at low revs, acceleration is seamless and car reaches triple digit speeds very fast and with ease. Also inside the cabin no diesel noises are apparent, so the engine seems very quiet. Gearbox is also great, switches gears seamlessly and cooperation with engine is perfect.
    Engine/gearbox combo started to remind me of Lexus GS450h, MB is not that fast or not that seamless, but its starting to get close.
    And I liked the steering feel, felt very German and quite percise.

    Cons: The suspension was awful! I had the standard wheels, with fat tires 225/55 R 16. But still on bumpier back roads it felt like I was driving on 21 inch rims with 30-height tires. It was too stiff, I felt all the bumps through the suspension and steering. On good roads the suspension felt nice.
    Nav system is too complicated and seat cushion adjustment buttons were too cheap. In other places the interior looked and felt nice and expensive.

    So mixed feelings about this car.

    Biggest problem I think with this car is exterior design. I doesn’t look German anymore. Front is copied from Lexus GS and rear looks strange too. If you drive behind the new E first impression you get – is that somekind of new Hyundai? I wasn’t the only one with this kind of impression. $60K is a hard price for a car that at first glance from the rear reminds you of a $20K car.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    Pffft! I’d have a Lexus GS450h before anything Mercedes has to offer.

    No options (except moonroof in some markets), exceptional drive-train, resale right up there with the best, superb interior, low service costs, passable dynamics in it’s class, no associated S- or E-class wankerisms.

  • avatar
    v7rmp7li

    @Brock_Landers :
    “is that somekind of new Hyundai?”

    Their upcomming new sonata is more luxurious than Lexus ES.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    Push button automatics were eliminated as of 1965 by the Feds who wanted a standardized set up. They were considered a safety “hazard”. One of the first of many decrees starting in the mid 60s and continuing to this day.

    That’s why they haven’t come back.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    psarhjinian : “is it electrical steering”.

    No, it is hydraulic steering most likely with the MBL variable assist feature.

  • avatar
    Tummy

    It doesn’t sound like there are many MB owners who posted.

    I’ve owned a Nissan Maxima, Honda Civic, ’00 BMW 323i, ’04 Audi TT. Currently own a ’04 Infiniti FX45, MB ’04 E500 4-matic, and a ’05 MB SLK350. Of all the different brands and cars I like my two Mercedes the best and I’m only 31 years old. The E is very comfortable for long distances and the SLK is pretty fun while having both a coupe and cabrio in one.

    Close to my favorite was the BMW, but the dealer experience was a let down and so was the straight line performance. I had lots of trouble with my BMW with suspension parts always breaking and lots of bent rims. I don’t think it was made to handle the NYC potholes and generally bad roads around here.

    Infiniti service is just low rent in comparison to the Germans. You can see that in their dealerships and the clientele. I like my FX, but some of the materials are very low quality for a $54,000 car. It had a lot of leading edge technology when it came out, but tech ages very fast and you can tell that my car’s nav is really out of date (MB nav pre ’09 is worse though).

    I really like the MB air suspension and the Active Body Control suspension in their more expensive cars. BMW has something similar with the Dynamic Active Suspension, but it is not as good at smoothing out the ride. I test drove a 2010 E550 recently and really liked it. Everything was improved over my 04.

    I also recently test drove a Hyundai Genesis and the materials didn’t feel as rich and it wasn’t as solid. Some of the switches felt very plasticy. I can’t compare the ride because the Genesis had conventional springs and felt like it. The dealers and sales people suck. Why would they try to sell a world class luxury car at dealers like that. The sales people feel slimy. If I’m spending “big” money on a luxury car, I want the experience to be like that throughout.

    German car design overall, doesn’t age well, with a few exceptions like the Audi TT.

  • avatar

    The structure does feel very solid (thought I had that in there, must have cut it in my final edit) and the ride does have a “special” feeling.

    This isn’t the first German car I’ve driven where the steering has no feel until 40-50 MPH, and it won’t be the last. I get the whole “designed for high-speed driving on the Autobahn” thing. But where does that leave those of us who do most of our driving at lower speeds?

    And yet I don’t have the same problem with the steering in the S-Class. Either they do a better job with the S-Class than with the C and E, or my handling expectations are different with a large car. But I liked the steering and handling of both the current S-Class and the generation before it.

  • avatar

    If you find a leftover NEW 2009 E class, there is a chunk of money sitting on the trunk. ($10,000 as of last week.)

    Heck, they are even showing up on Overstock.com in the “clearance” section.

    http://cars.overstock.com/clearance-lot-main.html

  • avatar
    european

    ohsnapback : +1
    v7rmp7li : +1

    the new E class looks hideous, something i would expect from a korean automaker but not from MB.
    while the genesis looks more like the new MB should look like.
    i am noticing huge resemblance between MBs and
    Cadillacs, sharp lines in the design. While cadillac is doing it right, MB not so.

    having said that, the new E coupe looks better than the sedan, so i would consider buying it.

    anyhow, adding to what v7rmp7li said: many of you problably arent aware of it, but the last E class
    was being heavily used as a taxicab car in Europe. not so anymore. i see more & more new Mazda6s as taxis around.

    the new MB wont have an easy time selling.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I don’t know. I’m sure it’s a nice car overall, but there is just nothing that strikes me. I feel like I haven’t hit the age group yet to appreciate this car. Just seems like a car for my parents. Oh wait….they own one.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Now that I can easily afford a Mercedes, I find that 1) they’re ugly, 2) they’re unreliable, and 3) they look like any other of N car brands out there.

    Further, as you mentioned, Lexus blows them out of the water when it comes to reliability. I’ll stick with the Japanese.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Surely a technological marvel, and I truly wanted to like the new E (well, the coupe certainly is nice)…but it doesn’t grab me anymore. When I see a W123 floating down the road, I think “now there goes a well-engineered Mercedes!” The news stuff?? Not so much. I guess in their zeal for technology, they’ve lost their soul. And that’s just sad…

  • avatar
    Ed S.

    RE: The fender bulge

    Good design strikes us as such because it is great on the macro and micro level. IMO, the trick to accomplishing this is largely one of scale. Bangle’s contribution to automotive design was to bring micro design elements and extend them into the macro design of the vehicle. We can argue all day about the level of success he achieved but the design trend has now been solidified. The fender bulge in the new E-class is too insignificant on a macro level to really contribute heavily to the overall shape of the car. But it is also not elemental enough to contribute on a micro level in the same way a bumper or head/tail light treatment would be. That’s my theory anyway…

  • avatar
    redshift.flipgear

    I wonder if a few years from now, while exiting an airport in Berlin, you’ll find a long row of E-class taxis…

  • avatar
    jmo

    I know two people who work at MB dealers and other than occasional lease deals they aren’t budging on prices much.

    From Edmunds.com on the 2009 E-Class:

    Marketing Support
    $8000 Cash to Dealer start: 09/01/2009 end: 09/30/2009 Get Dealer Pricing
    Restrictions Dealer Cash may be combined with Special Lease Rates, Special Retail Rates or Cash. Please see your local dealer for details.
    Comments Dealer participation may vary. Incentives and Rebates are provided subject to the terms of our Visitor Agreement.

    Also, invoice on a 2009 is $49,476. So, $49,476 – 8000 = $41,476….

  • avatar

    Ed S.,

    You’ve lost me. Are you saying that the bulge simply isn’t insignificant?

    It’s the first thing I see when I look at either the coupe or the convertible, and I dislike this element in both cases. I didn’t care for it on past Chevrolet’s either. Or on the Aston that had a similarly retro bulge. In none of these cases has the bulge seemed an intrinsic, essential part of the overall design. Which might be what you’re saying.

    Some people have said they like the look of the coupe.

    Simple question for you: does the coupe look as good as an Audi A5?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Every time I read a Mercedes review of any substance, I’m reminded of the book “The Machine that Changed The World” from MIT from about 1991.

    That is a wonderful book, and Mercedes is not the only one who gets deservedly tarred for the practices you describe. Much of the vaunted German quality** came about as a combination ridiculous over-engineering and a hideous amount of post-assembly tweaking.

    That they took exactly the wrong lesson away (stop the tweaking) instead of the right one (design for ground-up quality) is largely the reason why, when they had to start fighting real competitors (eg, not Cadillac or Lincoln) on cost and perfomance, that they started their downhill slide. The cause, I think, is arrogance on the part of the engineers who staff and run these companies: they can’t admit to being wrong (because engineers are never wrong, old German ones least of all ), and the whole tweak-based quality-assurance process existed to keep their egos afloat.***

    ** for the record, the British were even worse about this. The Americans were better about post-assembly dicking around, but tended to under-engineer so badly that it evened out.

    *** for all the kicking the Americans take for being run by accountants, the German automakers (and Honda) are a testament to what happens when you let engineers run amok. Toyota is what happens when you let operations people run amok.

  • avatar
    carve

    @ Gubes [i]I don’t think Hyundai’s Genesis would come close to the levles of saftey in the new E [/i]

    There’s no need to speculate on these things- we have crash tests and can measure them. Check out http://www.informedforlife.org. It aggregrates all the safety data available and weights that data on the risks of certain types of collisions and vehicle mass to come up with an overall safety number. The Genesis scores 46 (46% of the risk of an “average” car made from 2003-2010). That’s the second best score of ANY car (Acura RL scores 44, and A4 is next best at 47). They haven’t tested the E yet, but the previous generation E scored 60, which still puts it in the top 6% of cars, but not as good as the Genesis. Hopefully the new E will come closer.

    informedforlife is a great site and I’ll never get a new car that isn’t on or near the top 10% of that list.

  • avatar
    jmo

    ** for all the kicking the Americans take for being run by accountants, the German automakers (and Honda) are a testament to what happens when you let engineers run amok. Toyota is what happens when you let operations people run amok.

    Now that is a brilliant analysis!!

  • avatar
    wsn

    At least MB is starting to building good looking cars again, after the hideous quad-oval age.

    I think the new C is the best looking compact luxury car. The new E is the second best looking mid-size luxury car (after Lexus GS).

  • avatar
    NickR

    a) it’s unattractive from the side, and hideous from the front,
    b) brown? What, the 70s LTD didn’t amply demonstrate it’s a bad choice for a car?
    c) Mercedes quality sucks, and their dealers and customer relations department sucks crap. Anyone would be a fool to buy their cars, at any price.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Michael K, I agree with you about the relative merit of autobahn cruising ability — I feel it has made many a German car unwieldy and unfriendly.

    And it’s not only a problem for the driver. Seldom do I get out of a Mercedes taxi feeling that I have been sitting in something special.

    But still, I don’t know anything I’d rather take for a one-day 800-mile drive, except maybe an Audi A8 or a Citroen C6.

  • avatar
    talkstoanimals

    What’s with the German car manufacturers’ fascination with brown cars of late? Blech.

    I’ve seen a few of these new E-Clsses in more attractive hues and it’s not a bad looking car. Nor is it a particularly attractive car. It’s pretty meh.

  • avatar
    wsn

    carve :
    September 25th, 2009 at 10:48 am

    There’s no need to speculate on these things- we have crash tests and can measure them. Check out http://www.informedforlife.org.

    ——————-

    I highly doubt the accuracy. It lists my Legacy as 6 points safer than a Lexus LS460. Something must be wrong.

  • avatar
    carve

    Wsn: Why don’t you look at their data and formulation and see for your self? Again- no need to speculate. You’re arguing your gut feeling against data. The Lexus was slightly better in most crash scenerios, but SIGNIFICANTLY worse in side-impact rating.

    One error though might be that the Lexus has “3.1″ for rear impact, which is the median score. If a car isn’t crash tested for certain impact scenerios, informedforlife puts in the median as a space filler rather than just removing the car from the list. Of course, rear impact is only fatal in 3.1% of wrecks so isn’t that important anyway. It still wouldn’t be enough for it to catch up to the Subaru’s superior side-impact rating.

  • avatar
    carguy

    I’m with drifter on the Hyundai question – exactly how much more car is the E class? While some may want to buy into the Mercedes brand, I prefer to buy product rather than brand aura.

    I fail to see what the Mercs special sauce is – it’s not BMW like sporty handling or a Lexus like interior (or both) and safety is now good on all big sedans so what sets it apart?

    If all you want is a full size sedan with an OK interior and dead over boosted steering then you may as well save yourself $20K and the buy the Hyundai. You may even find the SHO a better buy.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    What’s with the German car manufacturers’ fascination with brown cars of late? Blech.

    Brown is the new black. Or rather the new burnt orange, which was the new aquamarine, which was the new sea-foam.

    They are doing some nice browns, though. We’re not talking the flat, baby-shit shade of the 1970s and early 80s: very rich, chocolatey shades.

  • avatar
    jmo

    I fail to see what the Mercs special sauce is

    For me it’s the ride quality. Lexus and BMW just don’t have it…

    YMMV

  • avatar
    v7rmp7li

    @gubes
    “I don’t think Hyundai’s Genesis would come close to the levles of saftey in the new E”

    >> Unlike E-class, Genesis is top safety vehicle in its class.
    http://sev.prnewswire.com/auto/20090226/LA7613026022009-1.html

    >> Genesis earns maximum five star scores in all category by NHTSA.
    http://www.carsdirect.com/hyundai/genesis_sedan/safety
    But, E-class is not.
    http://www.carsdirect.com/mercedesbenz/eclass/safety
    ——————————–
    “and I think its steering is even more “dead””

    >>0-60, QUARTER MILE, LATERAL ACCELERATION, FIGURE EIGHT , 60-0
    Genesis outperforms Lexus GS
    http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/sedans/112_0810_2009_hyundai_genesis_first_test/specs_fuel_economy_performance.html
    ——————————–
    – Hyundai’s Genesis is guaranteed to be a depreciation nightmare as was the VW Phaeton
    >> The Genesis was assessed as having the highest residual value by the Automotive Lease Guide
    http://www.egmcartech.com/2008/07/14/strong-residual-value-allows-for-attractive-hyundai-genesis-lease-deals/

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    Paging Davey G… we have a brown car discussion on aisle 9.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    v7rmp7li :
    September 25th, 2009 at 2:58 am

    >>> Wow. You drive one car for 20 years? In my town, luxury car buyers change their car in every 3 years.

    Many Mercedes drivers DO keep their cars that long. We had a ’75 450SE in our family from new until 1988 – the thing still looked great and drove new.

    I doubt that Hyundai would build in that kind of long-term durability.

  • avatar
    v7rmp7li

    @FreedMike
    “I doubt that Hyundai would build in that kind of long-term durability.”
    —————————
    Man, You are outdated.

    In 2003, According to Consumer Reports, Hyundai’s reliability rankings tied Hondas.
    http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2003-03-11-cr-picks_x.htm
    Hyundai’s reliability already same level with Honda 6 years ago.

    According to JD Power Vehicle Dependability(long term quality), Hyundai long-term durability ranking is above than Mercedes.

    http://www.jdpower.com/corporate/news/releases/pdf/2009043.pdf

    Mercedes’ reliability is below than industry average.

  • avatar
    jmo

    If I were the VP of Marketing at Hyundai I’d try to find out who v7rmp7li is and try and bring him on board. He’s making a very convincing case!

  • avatar
    PennSt8

    “Many Mercedes drivers DO keep their cars that long. We had a ‘75 450SE in our family from new until 1988 – the thing still looked great and drove new.

    I doubt that Hyundai would build in that kind of long-term durability.”

    I highly doubt that is the case with M-B latest and greatest products. Airmatic and complex electronics coupled with a high mileage late model Merc would send me straight to the nearest Hyundai dealership. As much as I love German cars, if reliability and durability were major concerns they would be at the bottom of my list.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    I’ve heard lots of bad things about the Mercedes dealer service experience. Not just expense, but even worse, arrogance and unavailability of parts.

    If the car isn’t reliable (they haven’t been), the dealer experience afterward is miserable, the car isn’t beautiful, and it isn’t a subjective treat in most ordinary American driving situations, it’s hard to see why you’d pay an extra $20,000 during depressionary times for the experience.

  • avatar
    snsr

    Ugly exterior – and not the grows-on-you type.

    Wrong angles everywhere – the GS headlights, slanted trim down the side. Why are the taillights slanted up towards the outside like that? Gimmicky fog lights and plastic mesh surrounds? meh.

    Previous gen E class was beautifully balanced from a design perspective – one of the most sophisticated looking cars ever.

    I give this an aesthetic fail.

  • avatar
    Ed S.

    “In none of these cases has the bulge seemed an intrinsic, essential part of the overall design. Which might be what you’re saying.

    Simple question for you: does the coupe look as good as an Audi A5?” -Michael Karesh

    Michael, to clarify I am saying that the bulge is not significant on a macro level; as you put it does not contribute to the overall design (macro). As a micro detail it is too large and does not have the desired impact of say a low, sculpted front air dam (imparts a sporting intention) or LED tail light treatment (high tech, luxury).

    I think the E-class coupe is a fine looking car. I have always had the impression that MB coupes are cars to be seen in and are pretty much completely relieved of any sporting pretentions (a la Lexus SC430). From this perspective I think it’s a fine coupe; big, commanding, comfy back seat.

    Would I buy the A5 instead? The A5 serves a slightly different market in my mind so it would really come down to my priorities as far as handling/room/comfort was concerned.

  • avatar
    european

    now coming to think of it, MB is doomed just like
    GM & Chrysler. MB also needed a cash infusion
    (from some Sheiks) to stay afloat.

    my guess is, they will get into real trouble when
    the second wave of the depression hits.

  • avatar
    wsn

    FreedMike :
    September 24th, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    True, the Genesis offers a pretty solid package for the bucks. But which one will still look good in 20 years? My money’s on the Benz.

    ——————————————

    Hmmm, which one?

    I bet it’s the $20k that grew into $100k in 20 years that looks the best.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    I’m late to the party, but just had to chime in about the informedforlife safety ratings. The above post was the first I’d heard of the site and when I opened the PDF containing all of the scores I was fascinated.

    I am now decidedly less impressed. I wondered how the scores are tallied and found what I consider to be major deficiencies. The frontal impact score, for example, combines NTSA and IIHS ratings and then multiplies them by a ratio of historical death rates by vehicle weight to the reported vehicle weight. OK, on the surface this sounds fine, but both the NTSA and IIHS ratings are distillations of about two dozen or so actual impact measurements which are published and available.

    The discussion above mentions the inability to compare the E-Class to the Genesis, so I decided to compare it to the Volvo S80 – an equivalently-sized vehicle from a brand that is highly regarded for safety. Informed for life gives the Genesis a frontal impact rating of 14.8 vs 22.1 for the S80 (lower is better). Tool on over to the IIHS data page (http://www.iihs.org/ratings/datatables.aspx?class=10&type=f) and compare the Genesis to the S80. Footwell intrusion averages around 10cm vs 3-4cm for the S80. Driver injury measurements show significantly higher forces on the crash dummy on the Genesis vs. the S80. However, all measurements for both vehicles were within the ranges set by IIHS to give both cars 5 stars. Informedforlife takes the 5 stars and multiplies it by the weight ratio. The Genesis is 160 pounds heavier than the S80 so the 5-star rating is more favorable to the Genesis!

    Go ahead and think the Genesis is safer, but I’d rather be in the S80 in a crash!

  • avatar
    ceipower

    The styling looks dated already.from the rear is it a Camry or a Kia? The sides look very Bangle and I hate that. The front???Not as bad , but it’s not very classic. IMO. After owning two Benz’s in the 1990′s , I’m over it.There are better cars for less money.Has Mercedes got it’s groove back? I don’t think I care.

  • avatar
    klossfam

    Holy crap! There sure are a lot of comments on this review! Good point about saving the $20K and what it’ll be worth in 20 years should you go with the Hyundai (well, what the $20K will MOST LIKELY be worth)…The Genny is such a better decision in this class. Drive a Genny Sedan and people view you as successful but smart with your money. Buy an E-Class and most people view you as a douche bag with more money than sense.

    The REAL choice, however, will be here in 6 months – the 2011 Infiniti M. That would be my choice without even driving it (I have driven the Genny and a recent E-Class plus the current C350). I drive an 08 G35xS – some I’m partial to Infiniti…but I do love the Genesis.

  • avatar
    drifter

    If you owned a E class for 20 years, you mechanic’s son/daughter would have graduated from collage with the money spend on maintenece.

  • avatar
    speedbump47

    jmo/willamettejd:

    One other form of savings to buying the used vehicle would be in annual registration fees and insurance costs.

    Also, as started earlier, a 5 year old car might not illustrate the argument as a bit newer one might. the biggest hit to price (absolute dollar-wise) would be in the first 2-3 years, so scoring a 3 year old car at $20-$30K savings definitely throws the math in the favor of buying used.

  • avatar
    Galaxy Flyer

    To those willing to buy Hyundai, I offer this from a friend which turned out to be very true. Go look at a wrecked Toyota, Hyundai and then go look at a wrecked MB. HUGE difference, you don’t see the engineering until post-impact at high speed. Much stronger, much better safety, etc. Or look at the YouTube video of a guy rolling a MB SL about 8 times at 150+mph and walk away lighting a cigarette.

    That is why one spends an extra 20K

    GF

  • avatar
    jmo

    speedbump47,

    Also, as started earlier, a 5 year old car might not illustrate the argument as a bit newer one might.

    That’s certainly true – you just need to run the numbers.

    A 2009 would be $41,476 and in 3 years it would be worth $21,848. Cost per month = $545 plus excise tax and insurance.*

    2006 21,848** in 3 years it would be worth $13,996 cost per month $218 plus taxes and insurance.

    * Obviously if you can lease it for $499 0 down that’s a deal you might want to go for.

    ** Unless you want to go with CPO in which case the price is higher and the cost difference per month vs. new isn’t as big. If you don’t go CPO you run the risk of needing a new 5-speed auto or similar and rapidly eating up your savings.

    Again, just run the numbers.

  • avatar
    drifter

    Galaxy Flyer :
    September 25th, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    To those willing to buy Hyundai, I offer this from a friend which turned out to be very true. Go look at a wrecked Toyota, Hyundai and then go look at a wrecked MB.

    Go look at IIHS vehicles rating, Genesis is top rated car, E-class is not.
    After paying $20k more, you are left with less safe, less reliable and uglier (second only to Acura TL in this class) vee-hickle. As someone said earlier, a fool and his money…

  • avatar
    jmo

    Go look at IIHS vehicles rating, Genesis is top rated car, E-class is not.
    After paying $20k more, you are left with less safe, less reliable and uglier (second only to Acura TL in this class) vee-hickle. As someone said earlier, a fool and his money…

    I’d have to think this is acutally happening at Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, Audi etc.

  • avatar
    speedbump47

    jmo,

    Yup, the numbers definitely can sway wildly, so running them for each situation makes sense. I was just trying to point out that your initial example of it providing only a $100/month benefit (5 year old Benz, $1800/year maintenance), might be very conservative; a point willamettejd made, to which I just wanted to add additional savings factors of insurance and registration.

    Also, your examples of needing a new transmission, etc., can be something that is minimized through being a bit picky about the used car you buy; it’s not always a crapshoot playing the pure probabilities. You can alter the odds a bit in your favor. Lemons always occur, even on brand new stuff; but hopefully low mileage (with corresponding factory warranty still intact) plus buying with proper maintenance records can help to reduce getting shafted with a bad used car.

    To each their own, so long as the pocketbook can support their decision and they are happy with their purchase at the end of the day.

  • avatar
    DisturbedDriver

    Galaxy Flyer :
    September 25th, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    “To those willing to buy Hyundai, I offer this from a friend which turned out to be very true. Go look at a wrecked Toyota, Hyundai and then go look at a wrecked MB. “

    I love anecdotal evidence. When people report it, it’s very much like watching a bunch of elementary school kids play a game of telephone. What gets told along the line changes and eventually the first story at was told by kid 1 gets distorted and altered completely. One can never know whether kid 2 was ever so reliable.

    The same goes to what your “friend” told you. Tell me, sir. Have you ever driven a Hyundai? Have you see the quality ratings released by JD Powers and other magazines that release crash test reports? Which Toyota and which Hyundai are you comparing? If you’re comparing a 1986 Hyundai car with a 2009 Toyota car, you’re comparing a rotten apple with a fresh orange.

    Just so you know.

  • avatar
    DisturbedDriver

    jmo :
    September 25th, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    “I’d have to think this is acutally happening at Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, Audi etc.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr-wISyGSW0&feature=fvw

    LOL. I love that commercial.

  • avatar

    I agree with Galaxy Flyer. I believe more real world data than a specific sterile lab experiment (aka NHTSA).
    A device can be intentionally designed to pass certain known tests, while failing considerably in real-world situations. It is very likely that in real-world crash the “test” car is not going to stand still or move in a smooth manner; it might be bouncing up and down or be sliding/turning along its vertical axes or be rolling over when it gets hit. NHTSA and other similar dudes don’t test for that. I remember seeing a C-class mercedes at a local wrecker – the passenger-side front and back were very badly crumpled, as if it had an frontal offset collision, then bounced off and hit something with the rear (or got hit in the butt by another car), the air bags deployed, the dash was cracked, but the passenger space was intact. I was extremely impressed. And that was in a lowly C class. I know from a certain documentary on TV that MB also design their front seats to be extremely sturdy and not to collapse in rear-end collisions. At the time of the documentary Asian car companies didn’t design their seats like that. I don’t know how it’s now. German cars are, must be, designed well safety-wise due to their Autobahn driving. If they were death traps, Germans would quickly abandon them. Again, it’s relatively easy with today’s technology to design cars (and any other machines) for specific tests when it’s known what and how it’s tested. However, to design something to withstand real-world unpredictable challenges, the whole design
    has to be sound, otherwise it would fail. I definitely trust MB more than Hyundai or even Lexus when it comes to solidity of the design and the safety. It’s too bad Germans can’t get the reliability right. BTW, I do like the look of the Merc, especially from the front (I’ll take mine in blue, though).

  • avatar
    drifter

    C-class has excellent crash ratings unlike the E.

  • avatar
    IGB

    The Genny is such a better decision in this class. Drive a Genny Sedan and people view you as successful but smart with your money. Buy an E-Class and most people view you as a douche bag with more money than sense.

    Oy Vey. Drive a Genny sedan and people view you as a successful middle manager, salesman or accountant. Buy an E-class and Hyundai owners will view you as a douche bag with more money than sense.

    It’s all about perspective and ultimately choice. I’ve driven the Genesis. It’s good for what it is. To support the above, it crashes just fine too.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    willbodine :
    September 24th, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    I’m old enough to recall the days when any review of a Mercedes would mention the car’s granitic, one-of-a-piece feeling of solidity. My W124 certainly felt that way. My current W211, not so much. Is the new one any better?

    The old W124 not only felt solid, but also looked the part. ANd its lines (exterior) were simple, clean and powerful. This JUNK’s lines are AWFUL, worse even than the previous gen E class.

    However, the problem with the Old E class the W 124 is that it was as overpriced as it was underpowered (esp. the old 177 HP v6 and the even weaker 2.6). WAY overpriced. Lexus forced Merc to change all that, but it may also have forced it to cheapen its products.

    The slogan “Engineered Like No Other Card in the WOrld” was a HUGE HOME RUN, and, predictable, some TOTAL EFFING MORON at Management DROPPED it in favor of touchy-feely images palatable only for those lame-o losers that watch the Lifetime channel the Oscars.

  • avatar
    v7rmp7li

    @Micheal Blue
    “At the time of the documentary Asian car companies didn’t design their seats like that. ”
    ——————————–
    Look, this Kia Soul Crash test picture.
    Even if Kia Soul is a small car, it archieved…

    *Euro NCAP maximum five star safety rating.
    http://www.euroncap.com/results/kia/soul/360.aspx

    *maximum five star safety rating by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).
    http://www.ancap.com.au/results/328/

    *’Top Safety Pick’ from Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the US.
    http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2009/08/13/474102.html

    I never heard Mercedes made their small car like this.
    http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2009/08/iihs-small-car-crash_0003.jpg
    See this photo. It keep driver space ‘perfectly’. Even if small car, the passenger space was intact.

  • avatar
    v7rmp7li

    Oh, I find wracked Hyundai Genesis photo.

    http://fp.images.autos.msn.com/merismus/IIHS%5Cgallery%5C1094_2.jpg

    Look, the passenger space was intact.

  • avatar
    jmo

    However, the problem with the Old E class the W 124 is that it was as overpriced as it was underpowered (esp. the old 177 HP v6 and the even weaker 2.6).

    Keep in mind it was 1986 – at that time the 4.1L V-8 in a Caddy made 135bhp.

  • avatar

    v7rmp7li , with my remark about the sturdy seats I was referring to rear-end collision – being rear-ended. Sorry, I should have made it clear. Your link shows a pic of a frontal collision. Again, the photos you linked show “sterile lab” tests, not necessarily real-world collisions. How would a picture of a Kia or even Genesis that rolled over and hit a tree look?

  • avatar
    scrutineer

    I’d like to state that while the Mercedes seats maybe a little firmer than the offerings from their competition, they feel great after a long drive.

    I’ve driven all sorts of cars for long journeys (I define that as over 5 hour one way) and the Mercedes is the one I would prefer to be driving if I was driving more than 5 hours. My acid test is how to I feel when I reach my destination. BMWs, Cadillacs, big SUVs, Audi’s all left me tired and sore after a long drive. Mercedes, get out, stretch, do whatever you need to do.

    And I do love the way they feel on the road. They are no BMW, but on the long haul a Benz is easier to drive.

    As the proud owner of 2 W124s I am glad that Mercedes seems to be back on the path towards quality. However, until they make a comparably engineered model, I think I will stick to my old faithfuls..

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    “jmo :
    September 26th, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    However, the problem with the Old E class the W 124 is that it was as overpriced as it was underpowered (esp. the old 177 HP v6 and the even weaker 2.6).

    Keep in mind it was 1986 – at that time the 4.1L V-8 in a Caddy made 135bhp.”

    First, HP is half the story, the torque waS MUCH higher in domestics with puny HP, and TOrque is what matters in acceleration. Also, the Caddy was FAR FAR Cheaper than the ridiculously overpriced Merc.

    Second, 1986 or 87 was also the year that 300 HP BMW 750iL made its debut.

    We should compare apples to apples and not apples to cheap domestics, especially if we do not mention the all-important TORQUE.

  • avatar

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who finds the current Mercedes styling idiom ugly. I realize tastes vary, but I’m alarmed by how many reviewers seem to think these cars are gorgeous. Or maybe it’s just a reflection of the power of Mercedes PR.

    @ psarhjinian: 1. Cost. You get to keep the same console design and floor.

    2. Column shifters are irritating to use. it’s far too easy to overshoot your intended gear.

    The first is not historically true, in American cars, at least. Except for the Corvette and the Mustang, the large majority of American cars from 1939 to 1969 had column shifters, automatic or manual. You paid extra for a console or bucket seats, and you sometimes paid extra for a floor shifter, as well. Until the seventies, European cars rarely had automatics and seldom had consoles in the modern sense. I think the popularity of consoles and console shifters has been primarily because they looked “sporty” — for American buyers, you could look like you had a four-on-the-floor and still have an automatic.

    2 is true, although many floor shifters aren’t very accurate, either. I’ve seen some Powerglide floor shifters, for instance, where the quadrant position either wasn’t lighted or where the lever didn’t line up with the indicators. There’s a reason why the old Hurst Dual-Gate became popular in the late sixties, and why Mercedes had their ratchet shifter.

    The old Chrysler pushbutton approach was positive, certainly, but stabbing buttons with your left hand wasn’t necessarily convenient, either. Manual shifting took deliberation, lest you accidentally punch N or R. (Racers would put blocking plates over those buttons so they wouldn’t hit them by accident.) The reason Chrysler dropped it is that they started hearing from dealers that buyers who hadn’t driven a Chrysler product before were wary of the buttons. (They were reliable enough, since they were just mechanical; it wasn’t like the Edsel “Teletouch” electric shifter, which was disastrous.)

  • avatar

    I disagree with your overall dissapointment with this car.

    The E class is spacious, has high grade materials, is definitely georgeous and its cost is fair considering what you’re getting.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    The sad & harsh reality new Mercs do have a lot more Gremlins.
    A friend had been driving new cars since 71.
    He started off with Buick Electra, Chebbys, Vettes then graduated to Porsche & Benz.

    Last few yrs being on the upper end of Motoring, he said these newer cars doesnot instill enough confidence to hop in & drive 5-600 miles trip.
    His 88 E320 had refused to run one time in midle of the trip, he called the ” Warranty ” they were more than happy to dispatch a flat deck on his behalf and the cost would be bear by Merc too. But when u get all excited to go for a trip u dont wanna to end up in a Budget rent a car?

    With a few mths old Porsche his water cooled engine gave up his Ghost prematurely, something jammed inside the engine, just like when Indiana Jones jam to spear into the Front wheel of the German Wermacht bike that was pursuing him unrelentlessly. All comes to a grinding halt.
    The dealer didnt question him much at all, they kind of had the voluntary assumption of guilt.
    Normally they kind of wont admit anything until the Supreme Court Judge ruled out of their favour!

    His new SL500, one day decided to behave like a wet dog, and move the the beat of ” A whole lot of shakin going on ” by Jerry Lewis ( correct me if wong ” Or the engine was shaking just as wildly as Elvis the Pelvis.

    So what is the incentive to buy one of these?

    And then one of these educated buyer think my 90 300se with 180,000 miles is ready for the junk yard. I told him 180 is nothing for a Merc.They should last for a million miles. If not 1/2 mil. He didnt think so. I thought atleast the older Mercs were suppose to built as strong /tough as the Panzer wagen.
    Is kind of looking like Merc had been under sieged badly kind of sounds like Barbarians were inside the gate. Buzzards had been circling hard from above.

  • avatar
    carve

    Chicago Dude: The reason the geneis did better than the S80 is because the Genesis had good NHTSA crash test ratings. The S80 was not tested by NHTSA, so median NHTSA ratings were filled in as a place holder.

    I too have mixed feelings about this- it can really screw the ratings up. But, the site author thought doing it this way was better than basing the score on one data point.

    Also, the 09 E-class didn’t do as well as the Genesis on side-impact IIHS crash, although it did a bit better on the IIHS frontal. Being only “acceptable” in side impact kept if out of the top safety pic catagory. In NHTSA, which uses different kinds of barriers, the Genesis significantly beat the E on frontal, but slightly lost on side.

  • avatar
    Power6

    Column shifters are irritating to use. it’s far too easy to overshoot your intended gear.

    I am surprised how many people do not understand how the average automatic transmission is gated, whether it is a floor shift or a column. Now before I get started explaining such, lets throw out the button-less euro shifters with the obvious shift gating, if you can’t see what is in front of your eyes I can’t help you there. Also anyone in their early 20′s or younger gets a pass here since manumatics and 5/6-speed autos have caused a lot of divergence in shifter operation.

    With that said…first of all the button push (or the pull-forward release of the column shifter, I will use both interchangably from here forward) is not a release that opens all gears and locks out all gears when you let go of the button. If you hold down the button it is, but not all gates need the “release” to shift between. If you pay attention you will notice some general rules:

    1. You can shift between D and N freely. This is a sort of safety feature, if something goes wrong, stuck throttle, racing engine, etc. netural is only a tap of the shifter away.

    2. The button push needed to shift in and out of P is the deepest button push. When shifting from D to say, R, you do not need to push the button(or pull the lever) as far as you need to when you shift from D to P. Hmm this might be useful…

    3. Now you might be imaginging that the gates are “stepped” and you would be right. Hence the last rule, you can shift from R into N, and hence to D, without pushing the button. Furthermore, you need to push the button to shift below D, say to 3-2-1 etc.

    So now that you know some rules, you can put that together into the most common shift actions, which you can do quickly, without the “push, fiddle, release” action of your less mechanically inclined brethren:

    1. P to D – Pull the lever down to get out of park but then immediately release it forward while you keep on yanking that lever down…wow look at that it magically stops on D!! It’s like the engineers knew I would be using that one alot

    2. R to D – Can’t mess this one up, just yank that lever down.

    3. D to R – OK this is where it gets more difficult, you might need to practice this one a bit. What you do is push the button just a bit, not quite enough to get you into P. When you get this one right, you’ll know, you will go smoothly from D through N and into R, an magically stop at R. This one is very useful if you get stuck in some mud.

    4. P to R – This is the hardest of all, you have to push the button deep to get out of park, but it is easy to overshoot to N and if you release the button you’ve missed it. You can either release the button early, and take it slow to R, or you can learn push the button with less force, so it sort of “pops up” to the R button height as you pass R. Then if you overshoot to N you just push back the other way and you are in!

    5. D/R to P – There is not trick here, just go for it.

    The last is worth mentioning though, because these 5 actions have to be 99.9% of what anyone ever does with their shifter, whether column or console. Everythig else isn’t as easy, but not a daily occurence either.

    It is true the advent of 4-speed automatics did change the landscape of shifter operation, especially electronic automatics where the mechanism could remain the same, and locking out 4th could be then accomplished by a button, as Ford, Chrysler and the Japanese Imports generally did. GM went their own way and just added an “OD” to replace what used to be D, no change in technique needed there.

    Then you have Honda…they decided to make a D4 and D3, which you could move between openly just as you could from D to N per my shifter rules. I found that my Dad, who had simply intuitively learned the rules of shifter gates over the years, was driving around in D3 with his Acura for some time before I showed him what had happened.

    Modern shifters seem to be losing this logic. I went to a wedding this weekend, and a out of town guest was describing how she drove her Subaru Legacy rental in manual mode all the way from Logan to Cape Cod because she couldn’t figure out how to get to normal automatic mode. I looked at the shifter, just a subtle push to the right would have done it.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    Carve:
    Thank you for the response. I see now that not being tested by NHTSA did hurt the S80.

    I still have bad feelings about that wesite. Both the NHTSA and IIHS publish the actual measurements from the frontal crash tests in addition to their star rating system. When you are developing a complicated formula based on test data from other sources, you should not use their summary. You should use their actual data.

    In the end, however, I feel that their rating system can be further simplified – buy the heaviest 5-star rated car you can afford. So many cars in lots of price categories get 5 star safety ratings, so that should work for pretty much anyone that puts a high enough priority on safety.

    I am a bit shocked that manufacturers are still having difficulty getting good side impact scores, especially a company like Mercedes.

  • avatar
    carve

    Chicago Dude: you should write the site author about your suggestions. They’re good. You should also read the though-process behind his site, which is also very good.

    Basically, the least safe 5-star car can have close to 3x the risk as the most safe, so stars on their own really don’t tell you much (but makes it all the more confusing as to why he doesn’t use the raw data from IIHS but does use it from NHTSA). Neither NHTSA or IIHS consider mass, so that was another of his goals. He also gives weight to having features like ESC.

    The most important thing he does, IMHO, is to weight the different tests by how dangerous that type of scenerio is. Most people would like at front, rear, and side impact scores and give them equal consideration. However, frontal impacs cause 38% of fatalities, rollover 33%, side 26% and rear impacts only 3% of fatalities, so something can have great front and rear impact ratings and still be unsafe. His formula is the best I’ve yet seen for combining all these variables and expressing them as one safety number.

    It’s just one guy who does this with his free time as a service, and the system needs improvement, but I think overall it’s very good. He just needs an alternative to plugging in median scores to areas where the car wasn’t tested, and needs to use the IIHS raw data (I think the IIHS raw data wasn’t availabe when he started, so he might not be aware of it).

    What do you know…he replied to me just as I was writing. I’ll post his reply, but I suggest you contact him as well at infor@informedforlife.org

    Here’s part of his reply, regarding substituting average values for areas where a vehicle wasn’t tested…

    [i]The probelm of incomplete data is a fundamental issue when trying to compare vehicles with different levels of completeness. The approach I have adopted is a conservative one where using “average” values tends to drive overall SCORES with missing data towards the value = 100. Since I recommend that you only consider vehicles with SCOREs less than 65 the only way a vehcile can achieve this is to have sufficent data to “earn” a reduction in SCORE. In other words, I am more concerned that consumers pick a “safe” vehicle than in comparing vehicle A vs. Vehcile B. Also, the approach I have taken is simple to implement and understand, and is objective. Any contrived way of filling in blanks, no matter how well intended, would result in complaints of some sort of bias. My primary objective is to provide a means for the average consumer to identify vehicles that are safe!

    Sincerely,

    Michael D. Dulberger
    Founder and President
    Informed For Life, Inc.
    a Connecticut nonprofit organization
    email: info@InformedForLife.org
    website: http://www.InformedForLife.org
    [/i]

    I disagree with him, but he does make a thought-out case. It would be a mess if ifs, ands, or buts if he had a complex forumla of how to fill in blank areas.

  • avatar
    Porsche986

    drifter :
    September 25th, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    If you owned a E class for 20 years, you mechanic’s son/daughter would have graduated from collage with the money spend on maintenece.

    Not in my experience, nor the experience of two friends. All of us were long term, high mileage drivers of the W123, W124, and W201 (190e for those that don’t remember) and combined we have easily driven these cars (both diesel and gas) around 1 million miles.

    My W124 E300D, for example, died an early and untimely death at just under 500K miles. (flooded street = flooded parked Benz). During it’s life, the brakes were replaced twice, shocks once, the steering mechanism needed a shock absorber (who would have thought to design something like this in?) and the rear suspension had it’s bushings replaced at 400K. So, about $4000 in repairs, plus routine maintenance over 12 years and 500K miles.

    This isn’t expensive at all. How many cars on the road can even GET to 500K miles?

    As a side note, at 500K my car still looked new, and the interior still fresh if slightly square.

    Sure, the new E-Class is ugly. Really ugly. OK, REALLY REALLY ugly. But I bet it will be on the road longer than most of the competition, including the Genesis mentioned by so many.

    Side observation: Today I defended Hyundai in a long post about 4-cyl family cars, and now I am sort of bashing the Genesis for not being a Benz. I hope it does not come across as hypocritical, but they are two very different beasts at two very different price points.;

  • avatar
    jmo

    irst, HP is half the story, the torque waS MUCH higher in domestics with puny HP, and TOrque is what matters in acceleration

    The Caddy had 190 lb-ft of torque the Mercedes had 188 lb-ft.

  • avatar
    skor

    The reason the old time cars mounted the shifter on the column was so you could get 3 people across the sofa-like front bench seat.

    The Feds may have killed the old time push button shifters, but fact is that they were notoriously unreliable when compared to more conventional shifter designs.

    Yes, a floor mounted shifter doesn’t make sense in luxury cars with automatic trans.

  • avatar
    Power6

    Yes, a floor mounted shifter doesn’t make sense in luxury cars with automatic trans.

    Why not? Bench seats were never much good for comfort and support anyways, bucket seats are much better. Most cars have some sort of hump in the floor so the middle position was never comfortable for people with legs. If you have 2 buckets seats you might as well have a console, and what better place to put the shifter?

  • avatar
    wsn

    # Flashpoint :
    September 27th, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    I disagree with your overall dissapointment with this car.

    The E class is spacious, has high grade materials, is definitely georgeous and its cost is fair considering what you’re getting.
    ———

    As compared to your S550, yes. As compared to some of the better cars out there, no.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    If you have 2 buckets seats you might as well have a console, and what better place to put the shifter?

    I am afraid that my only answer is that the shifter should be there because that is what I’m used to.

    Really, you could use that space for more storage or a fancy interface device. You could move some controls from a less accessible area to the console. I’m sure that designers could come up with a lot of things to put there, some of which may actually be a good idea.

    If Hertz gave me a car with the shifter somewhere else, it would take some time getting used to the new location. But as long as the new location and/or method didn’t suck, I would be fine with it.

  • avatar
    Enthusiast1

    Due to a particularly boring afternoon, I read some of the comments posted after the review on TTAC. What I find interesting is that a couple of posters felt that because a Hyundai Genesis got 5 star crash ratings that it’s every bit as safe as a Mercedes. I wish people could understand that Mercedes, and BMWs too are engineered to withstand high speed crash tests, as could occur on the Autobahn. Yes, many cars do well on the IIHS, and NHTSA crash testing, as these are relatively low speed tests (subpar American standardized testing much like EPA fuel ratings) and now even the scariest tin cans can pass these tests, like a Honda Fit. But when it comes right down to it, if I’m involved in a crash, I hope it’s in a German car. I have a 3-series and a big ‘ol Highlander, and if I knew I was going to crash, I hope I’m in my 3 series.

  • avatar
    kevnsd

    Thirty years of car ownership has seen me, the wives (2) and kids (2) at the wheel of many brands (Audi (1), Chevrolet (1), Chrysler (1), Dodge (2), Ford (3), Mazda (1), Mercedes (7), Renault (1), Saab (2), Toyota (3), Volkswagen (2) and Volvo (1). While a Mercedes might not be for everyone for a variety of reasons (value, design, driving dynamics, country of origin) it’s my opinion that the German SOB’s who design, engineer, and build these vehicles are as serious and dedicated at doing a good job as they’ve ever been. I’m not sure that there are to many other companies who have so consistently tried to produce good products… especially when the global breadth, depth and technical complexity of the entire line is considered.

    While it might be comfortable for some to long for the good old days of cars like my ’67 250SL, ’79 300D, ’84 190E 2.3 16 or ’93 500SL I’ve got to tell you that while they were all good cars so to was my son’s ’02 C230 Kompressor and the ’05 CLK55 AMG Cabriolet and ’07 E350 (Sport) that the wife and I drive today. In fact beyond just routine service (yes it is more expensive than most) I’ve had only a couple small items on the CLK that needed to be taken care of under warranty. The E350 has been the most reliable car we’ve ever owned period… it’s only been to the dealer 3 times in 3 years and only then for scheduled maintenance.

    With regards to the new W212 seems to me to be another good Mercedes… lots to like with no particularly awful flaws. OK it doesn’t have the steering precision of a Black Series car so maybe that should be an option. While a new one isn’t priced like a Genesis, GS350 or LaCrosse if you’re looking for an E and don’t want to pay sticker than the ’07′s and ’08′s are good values.

    So, what do I like about my ’07 E350… overall balanced driveability (acceleration, handling, braking, and comfort), quality of the materials and workmanship (paint and interior fit / finish are particularly nice), gas mileage (22 average, high teens city, high twenty’s highway), and it’s traditionally styled good looks (many nice comments from friends and acquaintances over the last 3 years).

  • avatar
    wsn

    Enthusiast1 :
    September 29th, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    What I find interesting is that a couple of posters felt that because a Hyundai Genesis got 5 star crash ratings that it’s every bit as safe as a Mercedes.
    ——————-

    Why not? Just because MB is built by Caucasians?

    Sure, IIHS may not have been the ultimate source for car safety. But if you want to refute its results, at least give us something more concrete. Such as “IIHS said this, but research papers showed otherwise”, or Germans use “XX” as their preferred source for auto safety. Instead, you gave us something you imagined.

    Since the Genesis beats/matches the E in low speed collision, and beats the E in reliability. It’s obvious that the Genesis is better engineered. Chances are, until further data is provided, the Genesis can beat the E in high speed collision as well.

  • avatar
    wsn

    kevnsd :
    September 29th, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    While a new one isn’t priced like a Genesis, GS350 or LaCrosse if you’re looking for an E and don’t want to pay sticker than the ’07’s and ’08’s are good values.

    ———————————–

    Whenever I hear “slightly used car A is better than brand new car B”, I know car A is junk (or at least crappy value for the price).

    How about a comparison between a slightly used Genesis vs. brand new E?

  • avatar
    kevnsd

    wsn, When it comes to cars I’m always careful not to judge one better than another. I’ve had an interest in cars my whole life and do enjoy reading about them, talking about them, driving them and properly caring for them.

    If I could wave a magic wand I’d have my Renault R12, Saab 99 Turbo, Audi Quattro Coupe, Dasher Diesel Coupe, Dodge GLH Turbo, Volvo 960 sedan and in fact all my cars come back into my life.

    Quite a list of imperfect vehicles but somehow they all appealed to me :-) I’ve super memories of each and most of these are good…

    Only totaled one, a 1st gen Rabbit Champagne Edition. Going to work early one rainy NH morning, on a beautiful downhill sweeper I drifted, classic fwd full lock understeer, nose first into a really BIG oak tree. Half in a daze I watched the VW’s vital fluids carried away by the roads watery runoff in a blaze of color.

    And have only once seen German Shepards barking at my driver side window… 106 MPH (radar confirmed) in my GLH Turbo coming back from skiing late one night on a mostly deserted Vermont Rt 91… oh yeah, the state troopers (3 cars) weren’t amused).

    Let’s celebrate all cars… every last one ever made and let’s hope that warts and all, our choices are more numerous in the future then in our past.

  • avatar
    mhadi

    I cannot agree with you kevnsd; I agree that cars, or any machines are not perfect, and that cost often factors into how good a product can be (hence the absurdity of this site that strives to find fault), but you say that we should celebrate all cars, and with that statement I cannot agree.

    Cars, like other products were flawed due to technical limitations, but recent American cars (and even lower priced Japanese ones) are built very cheaply. I was amazed how bad a new Ford Focus was that I rented. There is not even an attempt for craftsmanship, quality in materials used, or to manufacture technical excellence.

    That is why European cars will always be the best because they strive to be the best that they can. A Volvo or VW is designed to be good. An American Ford or GM is designed to be mediocre.

  • avatar
    Avatar1

    I spent 6 months shopping for my next car. I drove the BMW 5 series, the Genesis, the M35x and the Acura RL, the noisiest of the lot, in my opinion. I need a 4 wheel drive car living in MA.

    I bought a new 2010 E350 4matic for one reason; it was a more pleasurable, more responsive, more fun driving than anything else I drove. Yes, the RL was “faster” and the BMW transmitted more road “feel” through the steering wheel, but that was not important to me. Power, stability, handling and awesome breaks, along with flawless 4 wheel drive makes this an amazing car. I think the stereo is the best in the business, it connects and shows the ipod contents on the main screen, the bluetooth is great, so is the nav system.

    The seats are not leather, which was a real disconnect for me, the dealer said “try them” if you don’t like you can bring the car back and upgrade with no cost. I Love them. They look and feel like leather, no one realizes they aren’t but they are cooler in the sun and warm up quicker in the winter.

    That’s another thing; the car warms up really fast in cold weather. I mean REALLY fast.

    So what are the down sides? The one big downside is that it doesn’t come with gas discharge lighting or keyless entry, unless you pay a few thousand more. That’s not cool. I guess in the big picture I can live with that, but it’s something that should be included in a car of this price range and class.

    On my wish list from the S class would be those awesome ventilated seats. Other than that, I am very happy with my purchase and would recommend a test drive to anyone.

    By the way, I negotiated free maintenance for 39 months and a full tire/wheel insurance package as part of the price. So that makes it even better a deal.


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