By on October 19, 2009

When my dad hit middle age in the ‘70’s, his first reaction was to park a Mercedes in our garage – a ’75 450SE, which my mom nicknamed “Heinrich.” The Mercedes sedans of that era weren’t beautiful cars, but damned if Heinrich didn’t turn heads – it was obvious that someone important was driving it. By the time I learned to drive in 1979, mom had inherited Heinrich, and we had another German blitzkrieg machine – a BMW 733i. The two cars couldn’t have been more different – on the winding roads around my house, the BMW was a jock, but Heinrich was a Panzer tank of a car that sternly replied “nein” if you tried to force him into back-road calisthenics. But Heinrich always impressed the general public – only dedicated gearheads did a double-take when they saw the BMW, while Heinrich was still getting looks into the late 1980’s. Flash forward three decades, and little has changed: the BMW in this test is still an athlete with no fashion sense, while the all-new E350 is an imposing power suit of a car.

Stylistically, the 350E plays Mini-Me to the S-class; the gently-rounded (and, to this writer’s eye, far more handsome) contours of the outgoing E-Class have given way to a pronounced wedge shape, fender flares, and a stern-looking, aggressive front end treatment. The result is an expensive, imposing look, particularly in dark colors, but the E350 is clearly designed to impress, not captivate. For the Mercedes’ target audience, which is largely made up of status-seekers, that’s OK, but anyone who wants a look to fall in love with should look elsewhere.

The E350 fares better style-wise inside; entry and exit are easy, and the driver is greeted by a beautifully-detailed dashboard trimmed in chrome and gorgeous burled walnut. The air vents and door latches repeat the trapezoidal theme from the exterior, a nice touch. The only stylistic quirk is the hump on the top of the dash, which accommodates the navigation, climate control and radio displays. The BMW has a similar hump, and the E350 handles it better stylistically, but this dash would look a lot better if it had the C-class’ retractable display. The steering wheel is agreeably fat, and wrapped in particularly nice leather; the odd-looking instruments of the old E-class have been replaced by conventional dial instruments, with a large digital display in the middle of the speedometer to read out trip and vehicle data.

Rear seat passengers get first-class treatment in this new E350 – there isn’t as much space as the M35, but comfort is top-notch in this test, and the rear compartment is nicely trimmed, with contrasting leather door trim panels. Workmanship is also first-class, with conspicuously high-quality, durable-feeling materials.

The E350 may be dressed to impress, but the engine never makes a truly favorable impression. The 3.5 liter V-6 is a carryover from the previous-generation E-Class, and it makes 268 horsepower – lowest in this test, leading to the slowest acceleration (Mercedes estimates 0-60 in 6.8 seconds). The engine note is also displeasingly coarse under strong acceleration, and while the 7-speed automatic transmission helps make the most of the V-6’s limited power, it consistently vetoes runs to the redline. On the bright side, torque delivery is stout – 258 lb/ft at 2400 rpm – making the E350 feel reasonably spry enough off the line. After that, it’ll get creamed by every car in this test, particularly the ballistic BMW and Audi, and all manner of lesser cars. Mercedes clearly has some work to do underneath the hood.

Dynamically, the E350 is a mixed bag – numb and dull on twisting roads, but brilliant on the Interstate. Its suspension is classic Mercedes: tuned for comfort, even with the test car’s optional sport package (which, surprisingly, was a no-cost deal), and the steering is slightly numb and heavy. You can fling the E350 hard into a corner, and it’ll do the job, but like Heinrich, this car will take no pleasure in doing so.

But put the E350 on an Interstate, and it’s a completely different beast: the same heavy steering and overly-compliant suspension that make it such a dud in hard driving help it hunker down, track straight as an arrow, and feel remarkably stable, even at extra-legal speeds. As a long distance cruiser, no other car in this test can touch the E350 – the Lexus comes closest, but on the highway, the Lexus feels like a soulless automaton, while the Mercedes is clearly enjoying its work. Equip this car with the excellent Bluetec diesel and you may have the ultimate long-distance cruiser.

Hopefully, those long distance cruisers will have a friendly banker. The E350’s base price is a reasonable $48,600, but with the options you expect in this class of car – leather, sunroof, upgraded sound system and navigation and all-wheel-drive – the test car weighed in at $58,585. To be fair, that’s not unreasonable for this class, in which price is often an afterthought.  Given the E350’s lackluster engine and handling though, it’s unreasonable for this car, particularly when the ballistic Audi and BMW are similarly priced.

For the status seekers, Interstate warriors and Panzer tank fans out there, the E350 is a worthy steed. Since status is a buying consideration in this class, the E350 won’t be alone at the bottom of the heap. Still, the luxury sport sedan game has moved on since Heinrich’s day. Too bad the E-Class hasn’t really.

Performance: 3/5
Acceleration is tepid for this class, but the E350 earns two stars for its unmatched highway cruising ability

Ride: 5/5
Not just comfortable – this car seems to will bumps into submission

Handling: 1/5
You practically need a court order to convince this car to be driven hard

Exterior: 3/5
If you’re out to impress the neighbors, this is the best looking car in its class. Otherwise, there are better designs out there.

Interior: 4/5
Sumptuous, comfortable, and spacious; control-knob silliness costs one point

Fit and finish: 4/5
Workmanship is impressive, and Mercedes still builds cars to last as long as your repair budget holds out, but those body panel gaps are so 1980.

Toys: 1/5
Suffers from the same problem the BMW does: everything is optional, and all the options are expensive. Couldn’t Mercedes have used the money it saved carrying over the lame old-gen engine to make leather seats standard?

Desirability: 3/5
It’s not great to drive, but the E350 has snob appeal to burn, and that’s worth three stars

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55 Comments on “Import Sport Sedan Comparison: Fifth Place: Mercedes E350...”


  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    problem with this car is that it is completely non sexy

    sex sells luxury cars and this car just doesn’t move me

    the old 211 and even 210 were relatively sexy

    BMW have a similar issue… even the M5 doesn’t hold a candle to the old e39 m5

    however the Jaguar XF… now there’s a car that moves me

    it’s so pretty i could even overlook the fact it’s owned by indians and built by indolent englishmen

  • avatar
    sean362880

    “Mercedes E350: a car for snobs and regional salespeople.”

    Somehow I don’t think, as an advertising slogan, it’s going to catch on…

  • avatar
    jmo

    As a long distance cruiser, no other car in this test can touch the E350

    Well… if 90% of its life of any sedan is going to be spent cruising on the highway and at most 10% spent on spirited backroads driving, I don’t understand why spirited driving counts for so much.

  • avatar

    In my review I went easier on the engine–it might be slower, but still easily sufficient for how this car will be driven–but was at least as critical of the handling. I’m not sure how often the missing horsepower will be missed, but dull handling is all the time.

    I wasn’t as impressed with rear seat comfort. It’s okay, and better than in the W211, but I prefer the rear seats in the BMW and Infiniti. If memory, serves they’re higher off the floor.

    One other thing I’m not sure about: price isn’t an object for few people, even those with money. After all, there’s a reason they still have money.

    TrueDelta had reliability stats for the C204 C-Class fairly quickly–that car had a strong owner base soon after launch. W212 E-Class owners are not signing up for the survey nearly as quickly, leading me to suspect that this car is receiving a lukewarm response from the market. Of course, the economic environment isn’t what it was two years ago.

    To participate in the Car Reliability Survey:

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

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    As a BMW owner who never owned a Merc, I appreciate its virtues but I am not a fan.

    Still, I find your rating of the E350′s Handling: 1/5 (SIC!) UNbelievable!

    It may well be worse or much worse than a 5/5 Bimmer or even VW/Audi, but 1/5?

    Especially when that land-whale cow-catcher grilled Lincoln MKS got 2/5?

    Is the Lincoln’s handling twice as good as the Merc’s?

    I will believe it when i see it!

    ALSO, the reason the poor Merc ended last (fifth in six, was there a sixth I missed, or did you have two contenders for the last place?), is that, nobody in his or her right mind would buy the uninspiring GAS E350. Instead, and staying within the E-class family, I would buy, EYES CLOSED, the BLUETEC DIESEL misnamed as E-350 too although the engine is NOT a 3.5 lt one.

    The Diesel is a far, far, far , more impressive car, and on the highway in CT couple years ago, with a full load of 4 or 5 people, a E diesel kept pace with my 740iL, no matter how fast I drove it.

    But I do not like the styling of this E class, the previous one was far more graceful, and even better were the tanks they made until 1995. So I’d go used, where the diesel commands a far higher price than a used gas E class, for obvious reasons, (and not just its stellar range and MPG, but for its heroic 398 lbs or so TORQUE!), and thus it would be a far more difficult decision.

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    Not too big on the styling of this new E Class, however, it does have a “presence” in that unmistakable Mercedes way (something I think was lost on the C Class).

    I don’t really understand the handling assessment either. 1/5? Like Heinrich it will do the work on back roads, but just because it doesn’t take pleasure doing it shouldn’t be reason enough to give it 1 star. At least it CAN do the job, unlike some other cars that I imagine will fall apart at the slightest turn of the wheel.

  • avatar
    John R

    Mercedes does absolutely nothing for me. I think TonyJZX hit the nail on the head. It is non-sexy.

    I would, however, lump all of the brands products into that category. C-class? blah. E-class? huh? what’d you say? S-class? Do I look that old? Maybach? YEECCHHH!

    For everyone of their products I could think of I can think of an Audi,BMW, or Infiniti (yes, really, I would take a G37 over a C-class in a heartbeat) I would rather have.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    The styling of the new E has really become rather plain and uninspiring. Interesting to see that the performance is in the same league.

  • avatar
    Autosavant

    And actually, the “heavy steering” is a PLUS, not a minus, I hate these obese land barges with way too much power steering, so lil old arthritic ladies can steer the whale too! These belong on BUICKS, not on peformance sedans! And so are the Trademark mercedes big steering wheels, hopefully they have not made them as small as in the Miata yet.

  • avatar
    tande1n5

    As a long distance cruiser, no other car in this test can touch the E350

    So instead of E-Class buyers only being status-seekers, perhaps they’re a logical lot that want a luxury car that excels where they’re going to be all the time (on the freeway going to/from work), not where they want to be or will be some of the time (on the twisties).

    As far as the styling, I think that ditching the swoopy look is a good thing. Although the W211 E was handsome, the soft contours reek of their (losing) battle with Lexus. Returning to the harsh, Teutonic, Panzer tank look tells me they’re looking back to their roots and core competencies. At least it isn’t bangled.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Am I the only one wondering why no car tests include a section on how well laser cruise works on a given car? It’s one technology where there are still (at least last time I checked, 2 years ago) marked differences between makes. Back then MB was tops, Lexus (and Toyotas Avalon and Sienna) great, only missing the stop and go that the Benz had. BMW had no stop and go, and was more erratic in turns and lane changes than the Toyotas. Audi didn’t even have a car with it, and neither did Infiniti.

    Once you get tired of constantly Pavlov reinforcing the revenue raisers’ tendencies to prefer playing radar gun Cowboy and Indian to actually protecting and serving anyone, nothing beats laser cruise. The only real alternative using old school, constant speed cruise, is going a tiny bit slower than the guy in front, which doesn’t really scale well.

    Try testing how well a given laser cruise implementation handles people cutting you off, and how sharp a turn it takes for it to lose the car in front. Also, see how smooth braking and acceleration is, including in Stop and Go “mode”, if offered. Or am I just getting old, and this sort of thing has no place on an “enthusiasts’ site?” The way I see it, this is a technology which affects a dynamic aspect of a car, unlike, say, Bluetooth integration or other pure gadgets.

  • avatar
    iceracer

    This review of the E350 is almost identical to the one in Car And Driver. CD gave the steering 2/5 while the A6 got 5/5. CD also liked the E350′s highway ride and disliked the engine.

  • avatar
    DearS

    I’m glad to hear its good on the highway. It may be enough to pick it over good handling cars. I say that with 4 BMWs in my house. Most of my driving is in a straight line, although my favorite is of course taking turns. Still I’m willing to sit some out for a more luxuries life.

  • avatar
    bwell

    Like others, I don’t understand the infatuation with “sports sedans” (at least anything bigger than an M3.) Large sports sedans are like an NFL lineman trying to play soccer.

    If you want handling, then buy a proper sportscar. Luxury sedans are not made for track days. They are for moving several people from place to place at speed and in comfort.

    To me, the biggest problem with the E350 is that it doesn’t have the right engine. This car should either have the diesel or the V-8.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    So instead of E-Class buyers only being status-seekers, perhaps they’re a logical lot that want a luxury car that excels where they’re going to be all the time (on the freeway going to/from work), not where they want to be or will be some of the time (on the twisties).

    In which case they should be Lexus GS buyers, because that car will do most of what the E does with the added bonus of being more reliable and better equipped. About the only reason I could see for buying an E instead of a GS is the somewhat cramped rear seat. Heck, you could make a case for the ES and pocket the difference!

    I like the way this car looks, but it’s just not competitive, especially in the “little ways” that count for a lot in this price bracket. That’s bad, and it’s yet another example of how Mercedes is really off it’s game as of late.

  • avatar
    Cougar Red

    My nearest Mercedes dealer has a ton of these sedans on the lot, even though the salesman said the new E-Class is their biggest seller.

    They decided to put AMG body side molding and front fascia on most of their E350s. Looks horrible. Unless you like to wear gold chains.

    The best looking version of this car is the coupe with clean lines (no AMG body kit).

    They say a diesel E-Class should be out in a few months.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Like others, I don’t understand the infatuation with “sports sedans” (at least anything bigger than an M3.) Large sports sedans are like an NFL lineman trying to play soccer.

    I think we’re talking about “sports sedans” in the same manner we’d talk about “sport coats”, where the “sport” in question is polo, horseback riding or skeet shooting.

    This would be where the “black tie” is the S-Class, Bentley, etc.

  • avatar

    The design disparity between the E class and the E-coupe is about the same as between the Accord and the Accord coupe.

    The coupes look much better proportioned.

    Furthermore, the E class is NOT A SPORTS SEDAN AT ALL.

    Its a SHOWY, technologicaly loaded car designed to show everyone how much money you make being able to afford one.

    Its the same difference between the Sclass and the 750

    I will never downrank the e-class for lack of sport handling.

    http://www.epinions.com/review/2010_Mercedes_Benz_E_Class_epi/content_474159746692

    YES, the buy-in price is ridiculously high for a 3.5L V6, but it already comes standard with Navigation among things – but the only options you really need are the multicontour seats. The Distronic and Blind spot assist aren’t neccessary I think.

    The E550 is the better car, despite the higher price… but for this money, you’d be best just buying a certified Pre-owned S550.

    I’m just dissapointed MB didn’t just make the E-class a smaller/cheaper S-class. They tried – but they screwed up.

  • avatar

    I want to know in what universe 0-60 in 6.8 seconds is “tepid.” Not in the modern sports car league, sure. Slower than its comparably priced competitors, or than its lofty price ($58K?! pardon me while I scrabble around for the nitroglycerin tablets) suggests, granted. But tepid? Give me a break.

    In this class, the lack of engine refinement is harder to swallow. Also, is Mercedes still clinging to the languorous throttle response that blighted previous E-Class generations? A lot of past Benzs had mushy throttle response, even after Mercedes finally gave up the irritating strategy of starting in second unless you floored it, creating a sensation not unlike turbo lag. If you have to cane it hard — producing unhappy sounds and roughness — to get it to perform, and then still get outrun by BMWs and Audis, that would vex more than the actual acceleration times.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    This car in fifth place???
    Could 4 cars be better?
    Interesting.
    Maybe if you compare “import SPORT sedans”, because it´s not sporty at all.
    It´s more like the european equivalent of Cadillac.
    A long distance cruiser.

  • avatar
    beken

    I agree with others here regarding 1/5 in the handling department. I might give 1/5 to a Buick or a Toyota (and I have driven both). Maybe a 3.

    At some of the nation’s highest speed highways, at far over the speed limit, this car, along with the BMW, feels like it hasn’t even reached cruising speed yet, even on the sweeping turns. I would say that warrants higher than a 1/5.

  • avatar
    Waaghals

    I have never driven this car, and I’m not trying to go into defense force mode here, but is the E-class really a sports sedan? I guess the coupe could qualify, but as far as I’m aware this car has no sporting aspirations whatsoever. So I don’t understand why it is included in this comparison.

  • avatar
    DearS

    I think the 1/5 handling score is based more on how the car reacts to been taken for a spirited drive. I think the reviewer means to say that the car refuses to get into a rhythm. I can understand why this is a big problem. Usually when the cars I’m driving don’t feel in “rhythm”, I don’t want to drive them. This happens in most regular cars, unlike my E30, E36, 240SX and past Integra, which say “please play with me”. Its a pretty significant part of the driving experience every time I need to move the steering wheel.

  • avatar
    mhadi

    @ Micheal Karesh:

    Perhaps owners of the new E class are not signing up for True Delta because as people with money, they are not interested in filling out surveys. Hardly lukewarm. More disinterest or simply no time.

    Once these cars start going to the second-hand market, reponses will be more common.

    The C-class caters to the young, hence more reponses and a fan-base.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    argentla :
    October 19th, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    I want to know in what universe 0-60 in 6.8 seconds is “tepid.”

    It is compared with the other cars in this test, particularly the Audi and BMW, which can turn 0-60 in the low five second range.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Autosavant :
    October 19th, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    As a BMW owner who never owned a Merc, I appreciate its virtues but I am not a fan.

    Still, I find your rating of the E350’s Handling: 1/5 (SIC!) UNbelievable!

    It may well be worse or much worse than a 5/5 Bimmer or even VW/Audi, but 1/5?

    Especially when that land-whale cow-catcher grilled Lincoln MKS got 2/5?

    Good question. First, the MKS isn’t in this test, so there’s no direct comparison between it and the Benz.

    I actually gave the numerical ratings some thought here. My rationale is that the 1-5 is for cars in this class, with 1 being lousy, and 5 being excellent. Therefore, if the MKS were in this test, it’d be possible for it to be the one with the lousy score, and the Benz could score a little better.

    IMHO, the Benz is a lousy handling car for this class. It just hates being driven hard. Since this is a test of sports sedans, that explains the score.

    Hope that makes sense…

  • avatar

    0-60 in 6.8 sucks.

    This car should have had no less than a twin turbo V6 engine – especially at the price.

    The SHO actually offers more for less money – except for the crappy interior quality.

    • 0 avatar

      This is where I really have a problem with someone’s opinion that obviously has no clue what the differences are between an “American” vehicle and a German one. I had a Cadillac car salesman tell me the same thing. Only someone that has owned both can honestly tell you why they are willing to pay more for German engineering. I could probably name 30 items not available on an SHO or ANY American made car. Just because one can not see the immediate differences does not mean that they are not there. I suggest more research before making such foolish statements.

  • avatar
    Tummy

    If you think this is slow, then just get a E550 for 10% more. It gets 0-60 in 5.3 seconds. If still too slow, get the E63 AMG which gets 0-60 in 4.2 seconds. For a lot of people buying this car, they don’t care about performance, other than it’s adequate.

    Being an E500 owner, I did an extensive test drive in an E550 4matic and like the changes a lot. It does comfortable, long distance really well. When I want to be sporty, I drive my SLK.

  • avatar

    The e-class’ navigation is standard.

    The PREMIUM 2 package adds about $7000 for keyless go, electric trunk closer, hard drive for music, rear view camera, power sunshade and heated front seats.

    http://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/#/byoAppearance/?yr=2010&vmf=E350W&vc=E

    The only things you need to add after Premium2 is the driverdynamic seats (if you must) and the parktronic system (if you must).

    I’d be happier if the dynamic seats, parktronic and the driver assistance package (blind spot warning mirrors, lane keeping, attention) were included but, the E350 comes with nothing cause they are trying to shave the price down.

    With the stuff imentioned, this car is close to $64,000

    The E550 comes with most of the stuff the 350 doesn’t.

    Might as well justspring the extra cash and buy the 550.

    OR…buy a used S550 and get the best.

  • avatar
    NickR

    “Mercedes E350: a car for snobs and regional salespeople.”

    No, no, no. Not just ‘snobs, but ‘snobs who discard a vehicle the second the lease is up’.
    That’s usually when Mercedes hits the transmission, electrical system, suspension failure wall.

  • avatar
    jacksonbart

    This E350 is the Dabney Coleman of sport sedans. They both bring an air of credibity to their respective roles but both are very outdated.

  • avatar
    netman124


    I moved from W211 E550 to W212 E550; prior to moving I test drove BMW 550i, Jaguar XF Supercharged and Audi A6 4.2
    Not sure what your driving skills are, Mr. Freed, but from my perspective, and I have been racing cars for the past 20 years, there is very little to NO difference between the current BMW 5 series and W212 MBZ.
    I can see how 6 cylinder W212 can feel a bit underpowered but it should be even BETTER balanced as compared to the 8 cylinder model (lighter engine – less weight in the front).

    [Comment edited by Staff]

  • avatar
    V6

    considering the MB has only just been released and all the other models in this test are nearing the end of their life before being replaced, coming last is quite a worry.

    i think it’s really just a decent engine away from being much more competitive tho

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @jmo :
    Well… if 90% of its life of any sedan is going to be spent cruising on the highway

    Anybody who spends 90% of his time on the highway and wants an E-Class would have to be clinically insane to not take the diesel version instead.

  • avatar
    Tummy

    The Euro E350 uses the new 3.5l with direct injection, getting 292 HP and better fuel economy. Maybe when they bring that over, it will be a bit more competitive.

  • avatar
    oms

    argentla :
    October 19th, 2009 at 5:01 pm
    I want to know in what universe 0-60 in 6.8 seconds is “tepid.”

    In a universe where a Camry V-6 does the same in about 6.5, this is a $58k status symbol “not doing its job.” ;)

  • avatar
    Tummy

    Camry V6 weighs about 500lbs less than the E350 or about 3300lbs vs 3800lbs. Another comparison could be that the E weighs about the same as a Toyota Highlander, but is way faster.

  • avatar
    oms

    C’mon, nobody gets passed by a Camry and then tells himself that’s ok, I don’t mind ’cause that Camry is 500 lbs lighter than my M-B, and besides which I wouda beat him if he were driving a Highlander. :D

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    V6 :
    October 20th, 2009 at 5:04 am

    considering the MB has only just been released and all the other models in this test are nearing the end of their life before being replaced, coming last is quite a worry.

    i think it’s really just a decent engine away from being much more competitive tho

    +1 on that. I was really disappointed that the old engine was carried over in this clean-sheet design. I was more disappointed that the carryover engine was underpowered and sounded rough.

    A better engine and more involving suspension setup would make a world of difference with this car.

  • avatar
    Tummy

    I can’t imagine people buying the V6 E would be racing a Camry. People who want a fast version will just buy the V8 or E63. I don’t see the problem?

  • avatar

    “I can’t imagine people buying the V6 E would be racing a Camry.”

    I don’t think anyone who buys a Mercedes Benz luxury car is trying to race ANYONE.

    when I’m at the light in my S550 – sure you get some asshole who will pull up to the light and then start inching away as it prepares to turn green – basically threatening to race me..but I just let him go.

    #1 My car handles HORRIBLY if you try to race since I’ve got rims on it.

    #2 if I got in an accident I’d be distraught for weeks.

    #3 I’d need an S63 to show these punks what for.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Tummy :
    October 20th, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    I can’t imagine people buying the V6 E would be racing a Camry. People who want a fast version will just buy the V8 or E63. I don’t see the problem?

    The problem is that those cars cost about $70,000 and $100,000, respectively.

  • avatar
    saponetta

    95% of the people coming in to look at and drive the E class don’t even ask about the E550. Most don’t even care about equipment short of P1. Most just want to know what the lease is with zero down.

  • avatar
    Tummy

    @FreedMike Going up to a E550 costs $6k more if similarly equipped. It includes leather standard ($1590 on E350), plus Airmatic ($1600 on other models) which you can’t get on the V6, and larger brakes. If you include airmatic value the cost is about $4,500 more.

    If you value performance and want an E, you will probably pay the extra cost to upgrade to the 550.

  • avatar

    95% of the people coming in to look at and drive the E class don’t even ask about the E550. Most don’t even care about equipment short of P1. Most just want to know what the lease is with zero down.

    YES, I BELIEVE THAT.

    And that’s one of my biggest problems being a Benz owner. Even though I LOVE MY CAR enough to want to keep it 10 years or more…the sad truth is, MB gives you more incentive to lease it and then trade it in for the new one.

    People don’t take care of their MB’s and when they trade them in, they are junk (Yes I said it).

    The S500 was a horror show.

  • avatar
    saponetta

    flashpoint

    Yea they had pretty aggressive “pull ahead” programs this past summer too. We were getting people in S550 and SL500 leases who were almost a year out into brand new ones with identical terms/condition for the same payments.

    There is a lot of talk on this site by the internet warriors about X amount of dollars on the hood. What they don’t know is about the money in the trunk.

    Back when I was selling Porsche and audi, I was not a sales manager, I was a finance manager. I loved VW credit. They let you get so creative. I had the guy at the desk signing every 5th customer up for VW credit cards to put the 5k@ 0% down on their purchase. Ohh and the open leases…. Those days are long gone sadly.

  • avatar

    I’d have to sell my entire family into slavery to afford a CL63. That car literally costs $2 per mile.

    In fact, a CL63 costs half what the house I just bought in Queens costs.

    …and the 6 year cost is the other half.

  • avatar
    Nicodemus

    @psarhjinian,

    “In which case they should be Lexus GS buyers, because that car will do most of what the E does with the added bonus of being more reliable and better equipped.”

    I’d be interested in knowing the empirical measurement you’ve used to make the more the ‘more reliable’ call.

    Like most Toyota’s range, much smoke and mirror action is employed implying Lexus’ never go wrong.

    To my knowledge there have been at least 3 product safety recalls on the Lexus GS range. I am not aware of any for the MB W212 E-Class

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Tummy :
    October 20th, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    @FreedMike Going up to a E550 costs $6k more if similarly equipped. It includes leather standard ($1590 on E350), plus Airmatic ($1600 on other models) which you can’t get on the V6, and larger brakes. If you include airmatic value the cost is about $4,500 more.

    If you value performance and want an E, you will probably pay the extra cost to upgrade to the 550.

    No doubt, but keep in mind that the E350 I tested had AWD, so if you equip an E550 similarly, you’re up to a little under $69,000. The price limit here was the very low 60s.

  • avatar
    Canucknucklehead

    This evening, I drove a friend’s new E350 4Matic. I was less than impressed. The first thing I noticed was the steering: totally lifeless. Not a grain of road feel. Compared to my lowly Honda Fit, it was like a dead dog. The Fit’s steering is alive with road feel, the MB dead!

    The car is deceptively fast but not overly so. It handles well and drives nicely, except for the steering of course. I did not much care for the video game instrument panel, either.

    My overwhelming opinion of the car is that is was simply not worth $80,000. My 2009 4 banger Accord manual(my other Honda) is a much more rewarding drive at one third the cost.

  • avatar
    Thinx

    I recently drove my friend’s E350 (previous model) from Folsom to Pebble Beach for a memorial service for another friend, and back again (very late night) from PB to Folsom the same night. Totally about 450 miles of mostly hard driving; in mixed, windy weather; with some stretches of heavy traffic; and somewhat distracted because of the occasion. And it was an unfamiliar car, since it wasn’t my own.

    In almost any other car, I would have been fatigued. Not in this one. Effortless, smooth and absolutely unflappable under all conditions. Neither myself nor my three passengers were the least bit tired from the travel. IMHO, _that_ is what these cars are about.

    And while I agree there are some status seeking buyers, specially at the blingy end of the range, the reality is that most Mercedes owners that I know could hardly care LESS about what anyone else thought of their car! :-)

  • avatar

    Aha, but who says E350 is a sports sedan? Mercedes doesn’t claim that on their website and in their brochure. The only kinda relevant reference I found was this sentence: The E350 4MATIC™, for example, has a V-6 engine that produces 258 hp
    and 221 lb-ft of torque, giving you plenty of power to get the most out of
    everyday driving. I’m not trying to defend Merc, just pointing out that it’s the writer’s opinion, not a factual thing. Mike, I do like your writing style, though.

  • avatar

    The base E350 is the car you buy for your wife. It has everything she needs or cares about, gets her where she needs to go safely, and still makes her feel special. The E550 is for those who like HP, a more aggressive look, a MUCH better and lower suspension with the AMG Sports package, AMG tuned exhaust, and better tires and wheels. It took Mercedes a bit long to bump the V6 up to 300HP but new owners will enjoy the increase in power in the 2011 E350.


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