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E-Class (W212) 2010-present: E 350, E 550

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Old 06-16-2009, 01:28 AM   #1
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Drove a Sedan extensively today, here's a positive review by me:

Looks like I've confirmed my thoughts that M-B's designers may be lacking these days IMO, but their Engineers are the BEST out there, period.

I drove the gorgeously color-coded "Demo model" today, here's my take:

First off I must say this was like the 3rd Dealership Staff/Salesman I talked to who do not like the car at all (many comments of "looks like other cars/Japanese cars", seem to be a trend), which is funny (and commendable) as you'd think they'd want to grease me up with compliments toward the car.

Exterior wise everyone here knows my take as I've said it a bajillion times. It was parked next to a W211 again, and we were all just standing there saying how it does not make the W211 look dated at all, it just looks like a whole different car. Also, to add once again, I can't get over how those headlights are the ugliest most disproportionate things (they don't make any sense together and have no flow) I've seen on an M-B's face IMO.

Interior had a BEAUTIFUL color combo (are they going to sell these Demo models?). As I've said before, IMO it lacks a bit of the elegance and refinement of the W211's interior, and just seems like there's more plastic overall, and feels "harder", and some of the little tid-bits a weirdo like me would notice look downgraded and cost cut. But all in all it's still a nice interior, and feels a tad stronger, and more bomb-proof than the W211's.

As for the drive: WOW WOW. Like I guessed, it feels exactly like a W211 (any owners of the 211 will feel right at home when they start moving it), but does about everything better. The handling is precise and feels perfect, it is completely responsive. The ride is actually a bit floatier and less stiff/bouncy than my E (with the AMG Package/Suspension), and it seems to have a bit more body roll I think, but due to the steering and great chassis, it feels more confident in the handling department. The Tests done on it seem to show the W211 and W212 putting down the same slalom speeds and lateral G's it seems though.

It was an E350, but felt like it had a bit more pick-up than my car (Salesman said it is geared differently?), and the Braking had a better feel and seemed more confident than mine (it is a new car VS used car though), although tests seem to show both cars stop at the exact same distance.

The interior makes for a nice environment, it doesn't feel like your driving as "fancy" as you are in a W211 IMO, and again, it does feel a bit "harder" here and there IMO, but it feels a bit more solid, confident, etc. and does the job perfectly.

To close, I just can't stress how amazing this car drives, I love how the W211 drives, and this just capitalizes further on what that is. It's just as quiet, if not a teeny bit more, I could have driven the car for 10 hours straight and felt great. NO vibrations or rattles (can't say the same about the 211, which has a couple here or there) but I'll withhold judgment until the W212's break in and get some miles on them. M-B might have IMO messed up the styling of the E, but they proved that no one can touch them in how to Engineer a car. It does exactly what it's supposed, and takes care of you perfectly, it doesn't overstep its bounds or give you any big "wow" factor, but the fact that it does what it does so flawlessly, is worth more than any "wow" you might get with fancier cars, when it comes to living with it daily.

When I saw it sitting next to the W211 I think the term "Beauty And The Beast" summed it up nicely. The W211 is such a svelte and pretty car, and the W212 is such a broad, simple/plain jane, clunky, ungraceful, sharp-edged and relatively aggressive, strong, brute look of a car.... I know some of those descriptions don't go together, but somehow the car fits all of them. I think that pretty much sums up what both are going after. Although when you get behind the wheel of the new E, that's where it really dazzles you.

They weren't Selling the car so no Lease Rates or anything like that yet.

Oh, BTW, they had a Coupe there, it looked AWFUL IMO, I actually started to like it before, but it just doesn't look good IMO, pretty boring all in all. I guess I now like the Sedan better than it.
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Old 06-16-2009, 02:45 PM   #2
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Good write up, thanks!

In reference to the ride, when I went from my E350 to my E63, I noticed a big difference in handling. Esp the steering. In the E63 it's much tighter and precise, no over boosting like in the E350.

I'm now curious in comparison with the W212. But I still just can't get over the overall design 'flaw.' (interestingly, when I went to a W212 preview, the staff was saying the same thing as your salesperson said; "the Asian car response")

Hopefully in a few years they will a major facelift. Then I'll consider it. In the meantime I'm happy with my decision to pick up one the last of the W211s.
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Old 06-16-2009, 03:19 PM   #3
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Good write up, thanks!

In reference to the ride, when I went from my E350 to my E63, I noticed a big difference in handling. Esp the steering. In the E63 it's much tighter and precise, no over boosting like in the E350.

I'm now curious in comparison with the W212. But I still just can't get over the overall design 'flaw.' (interestingly, when I went to a W212 preview, the staff was saying the same thing as your salesperson said; "the Asian car response")

Hopefully in a few years they will a major facelift. Then I'll consider it. In the meantime I'm happy with my decision to pick up one the last of the W211s.
Dude, no doubt you made the right choice. Looks are subjective, but as long as you're not one of those "I need the newest thing to look cool to everyone", and are a true car enthusiast, and genuinely don't like the look of the new car, you bought the car that will keep you happier through and through.

Yeah, I've heard AMG did extensive work to the handling of the E63, I definitely doubt a non AMG W212 handles better by any means, also again, the Mags show the same numbers for both cars (regular models). I think the biggest difference between the regular 211 and 212 is steering "feel" over everything else, along with the more solid chassis.

Thanks though. And yeah, EVERY person I've talked to (at Dealerships) seems pretty upset and bored by it. The Japanese thing always comes up. I tend to study lines and looks of cars extensively, and I really think there are a lot of "flaws" with it. I think it's made to look striking to some people ("bang" factor) who don't really take the time nor care to appreciate a great design, hence it being a great departure from the M-B design traditions of yore, which were the opposite really. At the same time though, they seemed to go far in making it look blended in and very conservative. Just seems like it's at odds with itself.

I really think this Rick Wagener guy is going to be the end to great and timeless M-B designs personally, but we'll see. I agree though about the F.L, I'm sure it will look a lot better.
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Old 06-16-2009, 04:17 PM   #4
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Looks are subjective, but as long as you're not one of those "I need the newest thing to look cool to everyone", and are a true car enthusiast, and genuinely don't like the look of the new car, you bought the car that will keep you happier through and through.
I think we're certainly similar in that respect. We buy cars to please ourselves and not for attention from somebody else.

I prefer smart, classy and curvaceous women. And I like my cars that way, too
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Old 06-16-2009, 04:26 PM   #5
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I think we're certainly similar in that respect. We buy cars to please ourselves and not for attention from somebody else.

I prefer smart, classy and curvaceous women. And I like my cars that way, too
EXACTLY!

I've always said the same thing, haha. I like my cars pretty, graceful, classy, timeless, and coherent. Resembling a more feminine beauty than masculine. If you look at the 211 and 212 next to each other, one looks like the pretty, sexy and graceful girl, and the other looks like the bulky and suit-and-tie wearing man.

I've never liked sharp edged cars, they just don't do it for me, I can't stare at and marvel at their lines.

As for girls, I like mine soft, lean yet just-right-curvy, feminine and graceful as well.

Oh, and that also applies to the term "grow on you". I never understood that. Sure, we will all be forced to accept this car, and we'll settle down and it'll "grow" on us, and many people's brains will play the trick on them as thinking since it's "newer", it must be nicer (also going back to that "I gotta have the newest thing" mentality) but fact is, I never want to look at someone I'm interested in and say "naa, not hot but I'm sure they'll grow on me". I need to be stunned from first site. I appreciate nice cars enough to require the same effect from them. Even if I end up warming up to a car later, as history has shown me, I'll never truly like it if I didn't like it when I first saw it.
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Old 06-16-2009, 06:23 PM   #6
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Even if I end up warming up to a car later, as history has shown me, I'll never truly like it if I didn't like it when I first saw it.
Amen. Ain't that the truth....
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Old 06-16-2009, 09:00 PM   #7
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Droool. Nice eye candy there.
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Old 06-16-2009, 09:09 PM   #8
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I really think this Rick Wagener guy is going to be the end to great and timeless M-B designs personally, but we'll see. I agree though about the F.L, I'm sure it will look a lot better.
lol I think you mean Gorden Wagener. Rick was GM's CEO.
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Old 06-16-2009, 09:21 PM   #9
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LOL, yeah I always get them confused. Yeah, Gorden, I'm not a fan of his.
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Old 06-17-2009, 09:56 AM   #10
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Mercedes Benz is masculine noun in German and many other languages. If anything, BMW has always been a "she" car and MB has ALWAYS been a "he" car.

W211 was the model I truly never came close to buying precisely because it came out too feminine.

As to what sex of car you would want to have a "love affair" with....well what can I say: Do not judge perhaps?
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:06 PM   #11
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If anything, BMW has always been a "she" car and MB has ALWAYS been a "he" car.
Ha, that's interesting. In the US it's the complete opposite (in respect to who's driving them on the roads here)

And according to the Brits (ie, Top Gear) the Old Codgers drive the 'Mercs' and the young Cocksters drive the 'BM'........
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Old 06-17-2009, 02:59 PM   #12
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Ha, that's interesting. In the US it's the complete opposite (in respect to who's driving them on the roads here)

And according to the Brits (ie, Top Gear) the Old Codgers drive the 'Mercs' and the young Cocksters drive the 'BM'........
The cocksters drive the BM's and the Audi's...LOL! They always mention this when they're reviewing the two aforementioned brands. LOL! I just don't like how either of them feel for some reason...it's something about a Mercedes. Porsche is different
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Old 06-17-2009, 04:31 PM   #13
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Mercedes Benz is masculine noun in German and many other languages. If anything, BMW has always been a "she" car and MB has ALWAYS been a "he" car.

W211 was the model I truly never came close to buying precisely because it came out too feminine.

As to what sex of car you would want to have a "love affair" with....well what can I say: Do not judge perhaps?
I agree that the W211 has a more feminine beauty. I guess that's why in the 90's I always liked BMW more, because they looked a bit sleeker and sportier, then when M-B's "Pfeiffer" generations came out, I jumped to M-B and didn't look back. I've always liked femininely beautified cars, which to me consist of: Porsche, certain BMW's, my favourite of Classic M-B's (pre 70's for the most part), my favourite Ferrari's, Aston Martin's, some classic Jags, and the cars 220S posted .

I've never had much of a lasting affinity toward masculine cars, I usually might think they're cool or appreciate them for what they are for a while, but they're usually a bit too jarring for my eyes, and I get over them fast.

I think the W212 would be the PERFECT DD, at least for me. It's not pretty enough IMO to care to keep it pristine or baby it, but you'll know you're driving in one of the best engineered, calming, and safest cars in the world to rack the hard miles on, and give a beating to. I think this was M-B's point with this car, just "abuse the hell out of me and watch me take it", which is much different than the W211's approach.
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Old 06-17-2009, 08:28 PM   #14
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KA - I've been enjoying your commentary on the W212 for the last few weeks. Finally you are warming to this car. I think you secretly really want to buy a W212, and I'll be delighted when you do.
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Old 06-18-2009, 01:31 AM   #15
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KA - I've been enjoying your commentary on the W212 for the last few weeks. Finally you are warming to this car. I think you secretly really want to buy a W212, and I'll be delighted when you do.
Haha, thanks I really want to like it, so that's why I've come across as kicking and screaming about it. I am really happy with my W211 and honestly don't think I'll ever warm up to the W212 to surpass my feelings for the W211, but I have this sickness.... I can't keep my nose out of the damn Autotrader, and I keep gauging what other cars I'd be interested in buying.

But yeah, I think in time I'll appreciate and understand it more and more for what it is and settle down on my thoughts over its look. As for me buying one who knows, crazier things have happened, haha. I'm hoping to keep my W211 for a long time and keep it pampered for as long as I enjoy it as much as I do now, but if for whatever reason I'm in the market for a new Luxo Mid-Size in the next couple of years or so (regardless of whether I keep the W211 alongside it or trade it), I'll obviously be considering it. Although I hate to say it, but the next 5-Series might be speaking my language a bit more-so this time around, I guess we'll see.

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Old 06-18-2009, 06:20 AM   #16
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Just wanted to add that I drove my W211 today for the first time in a week, I must say I really do enjoy the driving environment in my car a bit more than the newer one (again the whole "fancy" and refinement thing), and I think they are about equally quiet, however mine has a little interior trim rattle/vibration here and there, but again, the W212 was brand new so I don't think it's a fair comparison (although I'll wager you won't hear much of any rattles/vibrations in it).

Either way, again, I can't say enough good things about the way the W212 drives. "Drives exactly like W211 but does everything just that little bit better" describes it perfectly. It's not night and day by any means, but they further perfected an already winning driving formula, with the steering feel being the biggest difference. The W211 has a bit of a delicate touch to its nature, which I like, although it drives strong, the W212 does away with any delicacy and just gives you a "beat the hell out of me and watch me take it" vibe. Both cars have strong chassis', but the W212's 30% improved torsional rigidity is no joke, I was very curious if you would be able to feel that difference because improving an already strong and rigid car like the W211 by that much is just pretty amazing. The way I see it, less intuitive people might not notice a difference, as again they feel very similar, but I think that slight added "confidence" you feel when driving mainly lies in that added rigidity that most people might not every pay attention to or wouldn't be able to put their finger on.
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Old 06-18-2009, 09:51 PM   #17
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Saw and sat in it today. As has been said here the front isn't as bad in person as the pictures especially in the launch colors. The back is so boring I couldn't focus on it. The interior is ok relative to the w211. KA pretty well captured it. The absolutely most outstanding difference is the door closed finally like a Mercedes should. That vault like quality that the W126's had. I came home and tried my W211. You can't fault it but you can't admire it either. My number one complaint about the W211 is the lack of solidity particularly in the steering. If the W212 returns the entire chassis to Mercedes solidity then I might be willing to consider it warts and all.
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Old 06-19-2009, 05:46 AM   #18
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Saw and sat in it today. As has been said here the front isn't as bad in person as the pictures especially in the launch colors. The back is so boring I couldn't focus on it. The interior is ok relative to the w211. KA pretty well captured it. The absolutely most outstanding difference is the door closed finally like a Mercedes should. That vault like quality that the W126's had. I came home and tried my W211. You can't fault it but you can't admire it either. My number one complaint about the W211 is the lack of solidity particularly in the steering. If the W212 returns the entire chassis to Mercedes solidity then I might be willing to consider it warts and all.
Definitely agreed on all comments.

The doors do close like an M-B's should. The W211's close pretty good, I mean I guess when I'm used to closing the doors of a Malibu they come across as great, but the W212's just have that extra little solidity which helps. You don't hear as much flex in the sheet-metal when closing the front ones (for some reason I feel my car has a much better sound and feel when closing the rear doors).

I'll bet M-B will do an EXTENSIVE change in the rear end/rear lights when the face-lift comes out.

The front is definitely the best part of the car, I just think those headlights are amateur-ish in their design and flow with each other, and I don't like how low and sloping the front grille is compared to the higher rising one on the W211. I've heard this is due to new European pedestrian-safety regulations? Some Mag editors pointed is out saying how it's affecting the design (negatively) of the newer Euro cars, which is why they're all compromising by bringing the grilles much lower into the bumpers.

If you see them together you'll know what I mean. I noticed this with the new A4 as well (very low and hunched front end). It may be safer for pedestrians, but you don't want to hit an SUV or high-bumpered car with that! Doesn't seem tailor-made for American roads.
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Old 06-19-2009, 01:04 PM   #19
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Finally had a chance to see the W212 350 with AMG package yesterday and kudos to all for their accurate descriptions and comments!

A few thoughts:

I'm a bit at a loss with the exterior design though it does look better in person. This car no longer distinguishes itself visually from the Japanese rivals. I'm sure somewhere in the MB hierarchy the design team caved to the marketing folks... After all, Asia is the largest developing market. What I liked about the W211 was that the design went off in an entirely unique direction for the genre which was subsequently emulated by others, unlike this version which seems to have done the opposite.

There is more plastic all round on this vehicle, I think we're to see more of this in car designs as a cost and weight savings measure.

Overall, I really did like the interior and find this to be superior to the W211.

Bottom line IMO this car does not excite me enough to trade-in though in all fairness I've hadn't had a chance to drive it. The C-class and S-class just seem to be cleaner designs.
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Old 06-19-2009, 04:11 PM   #20
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Finally had a chance to see the W212 350 with AMG package yesterday and kudos to all for their accurate descriptions and comments!

A few thoughts:

I'm a bit at a loss with the exterior design though it does look better in person. This car no longer distinguishes itself visually from the Japanese rivals. I'm sure somewhere in the MB hierarchy the design team caved to the marketing folks... After all, Asia is the largest developing market. What I liked about the W211 was that the design went off in an entirely unique direction for the genre which was subsequently emulated by others, unlike this version which seems to have done the opposite.

There is more plastic all round on this vehicle, I think we're to see more of this in car designs as a cost and weight savings measure.

Overall, I really did like the interior and find this to be superior to the W211.

Bottom line IMO this car does not excite me enough to trade-in though in all fairness I've hadn't had a chance to drive it. The C-class and S-class just seem to be cleaner designs.
Thanks for that and I agree! I agree as well about the "them caving into the Japanese" thing indeed. It might suck to say, but people have started to equate ultimate quality with Japanese car products nowadays, and other makes (M-B included) are seeming to try and give people that mental likeness to a Japanese car in a way, obviously to try and gain that image of "durability" and lasting value. It's too bad, and I know when I buy an M-B, I don't need it to resemble the next Japanese (or Korean now) car next to it to tell me it'll last a while.

And indeed the W211 went in a direction un-influenced by anyone but M-B themselves, I do think during those years (under Pfeiffers direction), M-B were at a design peak, in terms of modern years at least. I agree too that the W221 and W204 are more coherent and "relaxed" (i.e less fussy and at-odds) than the design of the W212.

Nice fleet you've got there BTW! Looks like you know your nice cars.
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Old 06-20-2009, 12:42 PM   #21
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Saw a white one in person today on the road (in Los Angeles) and I have to say it doesn't look bad at all.
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Old 06-20-2009, 03:07 PM   #22
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That's just it! The car dosen't look bad, by the same token it is no standout either. Someone wisely pointed out that given the multiple angles/ reflections the car will look better (softer) in a non-metallic color. Of course, it isn't fair for me to judge on looks alone, we'll have to post feedback once we get a shot at testing one...


Thx for the compliment, my wife would say I have an addiction rather than a collection, such is my vise!
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Old 06-20-2009, 04:36 PM   #23
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That's just it! The car dosen't look bad, by the same token it is no standout either. Someone wisely pointed out that given the multiple angles/ reflections the car will look better (softer) in a non-metallic color. Of course, it isn't fair for me to judge on looks alone, we'll have to post feedback once we get a shot at testing one...


Thx for the compliment, my wife would say I have an addiction rather than a collection, such is my vise!
Haha, nice. That's quite a fulfilling addiction, I must say I definitely understand where you're coming from and am becoming an "addict" more and more myself everyday.

Yeah, you'll like the way it drives, that's where the car shines. This car is truly function>form.

I just started realizing how right you are in the fact that we'll be seeing more and more plastics in cars, not like we haven't had them for years already, but if the W212 has more relatively "harder" plastics where the W211 didn't, imagine how the next E will be, then the E after that, etc. etc.

If I were to give my own personal advice on this matter to anyone in the market for the new E, I'd say wait a few months until the new F10 5-Series pics start surfacing (as I heard they will), I'm very hopeful about the new 5 and the design direction BMW is going in. If they can at least get near M-B quality/comfort in the interior department, I'll be gushing. I think the new 5 is going to make the current (IMO kinda ugly) E60 look like a big old mess, very much unlike what the 212 is doing to the 211 IMO.
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Old 06-20-2009, 04:42 PM   #24
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Saw a white one in person today on the road (in Los Angeles) and I have to say it doesn't look bad at all.
Nice. Was this a car driven by a new owner? I'm actually surprised I have yet to see any on the road (as I think some have been delivered to select Dealers already?), and I'm also surprised we haven't seen any U.S owners on the Boards yet, if that is the case.
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Old 06-20-2009, 05:09 PM   #25
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I'm very hopeful about the new 5 and the design direction BMW is going in. If they can at least get near M-B quality/comfort in the interior department, I'll be gushing. I think the new 5 is going to make the current (IMO kinda ugly) E60 look like a big old mess, very much unlike what the 212 is doing to the 211 IMO.
I agree with how the current gen 5 series looks (terrible). Supposedly BMW is going to have the 2011 5 series look like a smaller version of the current 7 series. While I'm not to crazy about that new look it does look OK and if the rumors are true and the 5 will look like a smaller 7 then it will be a big set up from the current gen.

I'm really hoping that the 5 GT and the regular 5 series will have the same interior because the 5 GT's interior looks very warm and welcoming. I really wish the W212's interior looked like this. Pay special attention to the dashboard because it has the 7 series style Black LED technology which, in my opinion, looks gorgeous.

http://www.bmwblog.com/2009/05/21/bmw-5-gt-interior-best-we-have-seen-to-date/
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