Last post on Nov 25, 2013 at 11:27 AM
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Lexus GS 430, Acura RL, BMW 5 Series, Volvo S80, Audi A6, Infiniti M35, Infiniti M45, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Cadillac STS, Sedan
#10263 of 10348 Re: 2012 Mercedes E350 [pete51]
Jan 16, 2012 (12:36 pm)
I lived in Germany a long time ago for awhile...rode down the autobahn at 200km/h lots of times in various vehicles...if you keep up on the maintenance (and the Germans pretty much require it - their vehicle inspections would put 80% of our cars out of commission!), they work.
FWIW, at the time, to pass inspection, they put the vehicle on a test rig that checked front/rear and left/right braking for balance and stopping power, ran the vehicle over a calibrated bump at speed to check the shocks and springs, and numerous other checks to verify that that vehicle was safe, intact (no rust holes were allowed), and ready to face their autobahn at whatever speed was available. Our typical vehicle inspection is a joke in comparison, but we don't, or at least aren't supposed to, travel at max speed for distance like they can in some parts of their country.
MB went through a period where their design and quality was pretty dismal, but the newer vehicles seem to have come back. I think their stint with Chrysler helped Chrysler more than it helped MB - think they somewhat lost focus.
This was awhile ago, I went with a co-worker from Boston to Syracuse on a business trip and we drove in his MB because it would end up about the same travel time, and it gave us more flexibility. At the time, MB's nav system used CDs. It wouldn't let us create a route the distance (barely 300-miles) because it required your start and destination points to be on the same disk, and the data was partitioned at the MA/NY border! Talk about stupid design! Then, that model didn't have dual-zone climate control, and he liked it cold. The seat heater wouldn't stay on...it was connected to a timer, so I had to keep turning the silly thing back on to keep comfortable. Little design decisions, very inconvenient results, not something I expect from a vehicle costing that much. Once you drive a vehicle for awhile, it's likely you'll find quirks like these on anything...it's just that I didn't expect them on the MB.
#10264 of 10348 Nav systems
Jan 16, 2012 (2:43 pm)
Some Japanese cars have touchscreen Nav systems which are much easier to use than the joystick on the console that the MB and BMW have. Although now the cars have voice control, which improve them.
#10265 of 10348 Re: 2012 Mercedes E350 [james27]
Jan 17, 2012 (12:32 pm)
Merger with Chrysler was not a cause, but symptom of Benz's troubles. I think at some point they started chasing revenue (sales) by all means possible - Chrysler was one, lowering quality to maintain pricing levels was another. MB were a some point beta-versions of their cars sold as fully developed. The attitude was "let the consumer come to the dealer for a free fix". Also, long-term quality idea was abandoned, as they decided they wanted to take care of the first buyer (two-three year lease), not second or third. It was simply irresistible to replace a 10,000 hr rated $10 relay with one rated for 3,000 hrs costing $2.50. Nobody can see it and if it fails before warranty, we'll replace it. But it bit them back big time.
Those press releases or interviews with corporate execs from MB, VW, Audi, even BMW etc. swear their quality problems are things of the past. Then you pick up consumer magazines and there you go - not yet, still same gremlins in electronics, sensors, etc.
#10266 of 10348 Re: 2012 Mercedes E350 [james27]
Jan 17, 2012 (2:03 pm)
I was in the car business just before retiring a couple of years ago as a manager of a high end new car dealership. In fact, I just helped lawcar with the purchase of his new E350 sport sedan, a vehicle I also just bought in October when the new 2012's hit the showrooms.
I can't agree more with your comments about Mercedes back in the early 2000's - more problems with manufacturer buy-backs and Lemon Law claims due to a serious reduction in the build quality of Mercedes vehicles when they had purchased Chrysler. But, since 2008, there has been steady improvement throughout the line. I have owned a new Mercedes every year since 2008, and can attest to the build quality and trouble-free ownership experiences with them. This new 2012 is the best E class sedan they have ever built!
I had a new BMW 528 (2005), 530 (2006 and 2007) and 2-2008 535's, so I can speak from experience regarding BMW and Mercedes. The 5 series BMW's were truly sport luxury vehicles. Had to lemon law the 2 535i's due to electrical and computer problems that they could not fix - and that is when I went back to Mercedes. The Mercedes E 350's since 2010 are truly magnificent LUXURY SPORT cars, which I agree completely with lawcar's assessment.
The BMW 5 Series (535i) is more of a vehicle for sport enthusiasts who want luxury goodies as well whereby the E350 sport sedan (sport option) is a luxury sedan that has a more luxurious interior and ergonomics with sporty handling and styling.
Both cars are great, but attract different kinds of drivers. Lexus (I've had 2 GS models in the early 2000's) is strictly a luxury brand with very little attraction for sport enthusiasts.
That's why there are manufacturers who produce Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Jaguar, Rolls, Bently , etc. if there was little or no demand for these cars, they would go the way of DeSoto, Olds, Pontiac, Studebaker, Packard, to name a few.
#10267 of 10348 Re: 2012 Mercedes E350 [abacomike]
Jan 17, 2012 (4:16 pm)
My biggest gripe with (almost) all luxury vehicles is that with my long torso, to get a comfortable position, I'm either having to crawl around the door pillar (on MB) to get out, or stuffing my head into the mandatory sunroof. While a few of the brands have occasionally allowed you to order one without the sunroof, lately that generally isn't the case. It's distressing when looking in their (German) home market, reviewing the available headroom, and find that that is without the sunroof, and the US (or anywhere) version with a sunroof has anywhere from 2.5-4" less headroom! All for something I personally don't use, don't want, and definately could use the extra room. I had an A6 a long time ago that I was able to special order without the sunroof, and it had (per the manufacturer's specs) 2.85" more headroom for the driver than one with the sunroof. That was a pleasure...I could actually get the seat up off the floor and move it around on a trip. Sitting, I'm a bit over 38" when sitting to the top of my skull, not counting hair. The headroom on the last MB E-series in the US had less than 38" of headroom. Without a sunroof, it was like 41". Can't get them here. BMW, similar, Audi, similar. I ended up with a BMW GT, mostly because it had enough headroom, not because it was the one I wanted. Decent car, but I'm not a great fan of RFT, which most (all?) BMWs come with these days, and no place for a compact or conventional spare. They're okay, just not great.
#10268 of 10348 Re: 2012 Mercedes E350 [james27]
Jan 18, 2012 (1:54 pm)
Great point! Moon/sunroofs were optional for many years and then manufacturers thought they were doing us a favor making them standard. You are correct - headroom is tight in the Benz. Nor only that, I only use the moonroof only 10 - 20 times a year. Too hot here in Florida and sun too strong most months. Why not make them optional and make leather standard?
#10269 of 10348 Re: 2012 Mercedes E350 [abacomike]
Jan 18, 2012 (3:59 pm)
Last I looked at the MB, I had the dealer make a plea to corporate, but no joy. He told me that when it was optional, people would complain that it was standard on other brands they were looking at and said, why should we have to pay extra for it? To satisfy the typical lazy US consumer, they just relented. There is some economy of scale to just build them all the same, but my point is that they already build them without...it's not a big deal, especially with the computerized JIT manufacturing process that is pretty much universal with the manufacturers these days. FWIW, that 'standard' sunroof in my GT is a 1700 Euro option in Germany! I'd much rather spend that money on something else! So much for 'free' - people, it isn't free, compare apples to apples and you'd see.
#10270 of 10348 Re: 2012 Mercedes E350 [james27]
Jan 18, 2012 (4:55 pm)
If you look at the consumer ratings here on Edmunds and other sites, a common thread that is frequently mentioned is the lack of standard leather. For a luxury brand, one would think that US marketing tests would have brought this to the attention of corporate (limited head room and leather). As lawcar mentioned in one of these forums, power retractable side mirrors are standard on many luxury brands - but not Mercedes. Interesting, to say the least
#10271 of 10348 Re: 2012 Mercedes E350 [abacomike]
Jan 18, 2012 (7:58 pm)
Blame the marketing department...it's not the engineers that come up with all the things.
#10272 of 10348 Re: 2012 Mercedes E350 [james27]
Jan 19, 2012 (4:00 am)
Market analysts find out perceived consumer desires, wants and or Preferences and then engineering and designers create solutions. At least that has been the usual flow of ideas and advances. I guess engineering and designers can "create" and then marketing can "sell", but meeting needs seems to
Be more logical.