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
#10256 of 10348 2012 Mercedes E350
Jan 13, 2012 (8:20 am)
Well, it was almost anti-climactic after the several weeks of research, test drives, posting and reading on this website. I have been driving my black exterior/almond interior 2012 E350 which I picked up last week and really like it. While the black exterior does get dirty sooner than my medium gray BMW 528i, this color combination is very rich and elegant, yet sporty at the same time. Even though the car is black, it looks bigger than it is.
My salesman was very helpful and spent about 45 minutes going through the car with me, from programing the nav system, syncing the contacts on my cell phone, adjusting the memory seats (driver and passenger) and the list goes on (even the emergency release inside the trunk). I felt that the time was sufficient, and look through the owner's manuals for more details or to find out something that I may have forgotten from his walk-through. Using the different gadgets helps me learn them.
I got the sport package with the P1 package, lane change/blind spot assist and AMG wheels. The nav system is easy to use, as is the radio. The voice control is pretty incredible and very responsive.
The cabin is beautiful: the almond seating contrasts beautifully with the black dash and black carpet and walnut burl. The adjustable seats with memory for both driver and passenger are very supportive but comfortable.
The E350 definitely feels more solid than my 2009 528i. It has a very nice ride, smooth yet sporty with good steering and handling. I think the 528 has a little more responsive handling, but that might be due to the lighter feel of the car.
I'm very happy with the E350. I've owned several Lexus (ES300 and GS 300) and two BMW's (325 and 528) and I like the E350 more than any of them. All of them are great cars and I certainly am not knocking any of them. I think the E350 has features of both the Lexus and BMW. It has creature comforts of the Lexus (all of which the BMW does not have) but more personality than the Lexus. The sport package gives it good styling and handling more akin to the BMW, but it is much finer in detail, and roomier in front and back. The BMW is what I would consider a luxury sport car, whereas the E350 is more of a sporty luxury car.
To all of you who are considering what to get, just read the comments of those who post on this site, see the cars in person and test drive them yourself, and get the car and features that suit you the best. Enjoy the experience.
#10257 of 10348 528i ? Re: 2012 Mercedes E350 [lawcar]
Jan 13, 2012 (8:55 am)
Interesting - and good luck w/the MB.
Did you test drive the new 4 cylinder 528i?
Just curious .....
#10258 of 10348 Re: 528i ? Re: 2012 Mercedes E350 [rayainsw]
Jan 13, 2012 (9:09 am)
Thanks, Yes I did drive the new 4-cylinder 528i. I liked the handling of it (more responsive than the E350) and didn't notice much of a difference with the 4-cylinder turbocharged engine compared to my 6-cylinder 2009 528i. But there were a few things I didn't care for: the keyless ignition (I like to turn the key, and all of the BMW's have the keyless ignition); the start/stop (the car vibrated slightly, but noticeably, when you came to a full stop, although this feature can be turned off); the rear cabin and trunk were smaller than my 2009 528i and the 2012 E350. These things are personal and many people wouldn't mind them at all. Because I've had 2 BMW's before and never had a MB, I decided to get the MB.
#10259 of 10348 Re: 2012 Mercedes E350 [lawcar]
Jan 15, 2012 (1:31 pm)
I could not agree more about your comments. I have never owned a BMW, but I did test drive one during our search. The BMW was like driving a sports car, great if that is what you want and the Lexus did have every creature comfort in the world, but Mercedes build the best all round car and they are designed to last for a long time. Yes, they have to go in the shop for different minor things, however for those that plan on keeping them for a long time Mercedes is hands down the best choice. I speak from experience in that we just gave our daughter our 15 year old E320 with 250K on it. We pondered and shopped around for a resale starter for her and found that it was very difficult to find anything that had a combination safety and kid appeal. Yup it is a 15 year old adult care, but as a kid she gets to drive a safe Benz and it is still rock solid. Took it on an interstate trip for a couple hours and I was able to set the cruise at 85+ mph and it did not shiver nor shake.
#10260 of 10348 Re: 2012 Mercedes E350 [pete51]
Jan 15, 2012 (2:13 pm)
Not sure where your ideas of creature comforts came from re BMW vs MB, but they match up pretty well. On some models, they're standard, but may be optional on others. Multi-zone climate control, heated seats, ventillated seats, massaging seats, seat memory, heated steering wheel, voice control, puddle lights, rain sensing wipers, lane departure warning, automatic headlights, turing headlights, fog lights, headlight washers, smart cruise control, navigation, and the list goes on...both makes have them available. But, both vehicles are nice. Any vehicle you want to keep for a long time will need regular dealer (or at least a knowledgable substitute) visits.
Any modern car should be able to sit on cruise at 85 without shivers or shakes...it they can't, it's a wheel balance or alignment component, suspension wear, or adjustment issue. If you maintain your vehicle that shouldn't be an issue, regardless of the make - luxury or economy. Now, how quiet it is or how well it goes over bumps will vary, sometimes considerably, between make and model.
#10261 of 10348 Re: 2012 Mercedes E350 [james27]
Jan 16, 2012 (9:04 am)
I meant in general that the BMW is not as "luxury" feeling as the others. For example, it is not rough but does not ride quite as smooth (that's the nature of the BMW suspension), doesn't have as many features as "standard" or as part of a single package, navigation system is more cumbersome than on the Lexus touch screen, cupholders not as user friendly, interior not as finely finished. Again, having said all of that, they are differents cars. Despite the above differences, I really liked my 2009 528i, it had enough features for me, I got used to the nav system compared to my previous Lexus as well as the cupholders, and I enjoyed the ride. By my comments, I don't want to dissuade anyone from the BMW. As I mentioned, one has to go and actually see and drive the cars to make their own decision. When I got my BMW in 2009, I test drove the E350 and definitely did not care for the car at that time (it felt clunkier), got my 528i and totally enjoyed the car.
#10262 of 10348 Re: 2012 Mercedes E350 [james27]
Jan 16, 2012 (9:35 am)
Ditto to Lawcar's statements, sounds like you are a big BMW fan. I have no knocks at BMW, but it does have a sporty feel and yes, I would advise anyone that is looking at any of these cars to find a good knowledgable independent mechanic. Also, I just did not want to state it, but the plus I was talking about was 105 mph on a car that has 250,000 miles on it for over an hour. I am sure most of the cars can do this I just would not feel safe trying it.
#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.