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Disappointed in this cars suspension qualities over rough roads.

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Disappointed in this cars suspension qualities over rough roads.

 
Old 04-21-2011, 04:22 PM
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'jarring' isn't that far off......
sometimes I think I hear things rattling and shaking loose........
you know, while goin' over bumps and what not....
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Old 04-21-2011, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by BenzE350 View Post
VERY disappointing to hear that the E550 airmatic is actually WORSE than the E350 conventional suspension on rough roads.

But on the plus side you have a significantly better engine than the anemic 268HP E350. Plus you don't have to sit on plastic seats, or suffer during night driving without the bi-xenon lights on the P1 E350 versions.
Having come from driving a 2000 e320 4matic, I did not feel that the e350 engine lacking in performance. The 320 engine had no torque what so ever!! It felt like it was going to blow up if you stepped on it at all. The engine in the e350 has tons of torque and the tranny is great as well. Don't be afraid to step on it to make it perform, it can take it. Also use the paddle shifters when appropriate to downshift. I also drive a Kleeeman modified 2001 e55 with 525hp and I was still impressed with the feel of the e350 engine for the three weeks that I had the car. Regards. Ned.
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Old 04-21-2011, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by park423 View Post
Hasn't the gripe against Mercedes for years been the lack of road feel compared to BMW, that BMW was a driver's car - more performance and better handling. I've heard numerous BMW owners/wanna be owners say "don't you like to feel the road when driving" when they compare the Mercedes to BMW. Just seems like MB listened and is trying to satisfy the consumers desire to be like a BMW when it came to driving feel, i.e. more sport oriented. Ironically, it seems that the new 5 series has gotten softer and less road feel, go figure...

I do agree that comfort mode on airmatic is not a 180 compared to the sport mode and do wish for a greater difference between the settings but the roads in L.A. are decent most of the time, potholes get fixed fairly quickly and freeways are pretty smooth. That's we pay higher gas prices.
I think that was the gripe of those who preferred the ride of the "driving machines". I always felt that one of the great, unique things about a Mercedes was the way they hit the suspension right on the head better than ALL others, good handling, decent road feel but absorbing the crap of the road. I never believed that it was a desired attribute to "feel" everything beneath the tires of my car. A good suspension is supposed to give a certain isolation from the road. I'm not getting that from my e550 airmatic suspension and I'm not happy. If I wanted a gocart, I would have bought a BMW. Regards. Ned.
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Old 04-21-2011, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by hyperion667 View Post
'jarring' isn't that far off......
sometimes I think I hear things rattling and shaking loose........
you know, while goin' over bumps and what not....
I am still in a bit of disbelief that my suspension is working the way Mercedes intended. It is just very un-Mercedes like. It's like there should be 25-50% more travel in the suspension then there is. It runs out of room too fast and bottoms out with a thud when things get moderately rough. Regards. Ned.
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Old 04-21-2011, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by BenzE350 View Post
Unfortunately the E350 is jarring over rough roads.
Are we talking about Sport or Luxury?
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Old 04-21-2011, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by ngerstman View Post
I am still in a bit of disbelief that my suspension is working the way Mercedes intended. It is just very un-Mercedes like. It's like there should be 25-50% more travel in the suspension then there is. It runs out of room too fast and bottoms out with a thud when things get moderately rough. Regards. Ned.
I have the E550 airmatic. I have mentioned this to you before, but I have never, ever felt like the suspension has bottom out as the result of hitting a pothole or rough patches. We have tons of potholes here, getting bigger by the day, with new ones appearing every day. I hit them all the time. There is nothing "jarring" about my car's suspension, and I am in sport mode nearly 100% of the time.

I am actually a big fan of the suspension. Great for a family sedan. Comfortable, accommodating, and ok road feel. Perfect for the family car. It would suck on a race car, but it's not a race car.
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Old 04-21-2011, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by ngerstman View Post
I never believed that it was a desired attribute to "feel" everything beneath the tires of my car.
Ned - this is very subjective and probably your reason for putting quotes around the word "feel" because it is so difficult to describe.

As I stated in another post, I doubt anyone wants to be able to tell if the coin they just ran over is a dime or a quarter. Most everyone wants some degree of isolation from rough patches of pavement and imperfect roads.

Road "feel" means different things to different people. IMO, a perfect car is very communicative and provides feedback from the tires, suspension and steering wheel. Especially at the limits of the car. At the same time I don't want a jarring ride over rough pavement.

And I do agree with you that the E350 and E550 can be jarring over rough pavement. However, I disagree with your comment that a BMW is like a "gocart". Test drive an F10 and let me know what you think.
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by BudC View Post
Are we talking about Sport or Luxury?
Sport.

I only drove the luxury during my test drives at the dealership. I found the luxury to have poor handling.
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by BenzE350 View Post
Ned - this is very subjective and probably your reason for putting quotes around the word "feel" because it is so difficult to describe.

As I stated in another post, I doubt anyone wants to be able to tell if the coin they just ran over is a dime or a quarter. Most everyone wants some degree of isolation from rough patches of pavement and imperfect roads.

Road "feel" means different things to different people. IMO, a perfect car is very communicative and provides feedback from the tires, suspension and steering wheel. Especially at the limits of the car. At the same time I don't want a jarring ride over rough pavement.

And I do agree with you that the E350 and E550 can be jarring over rough pavement. However, I disagree with your comment that a BMW is like a "gocart". Test drive an F10 and let me know what you think.
I've read and been told that the BMW suspensions are much more forgiving than they used to be. I would love to try one, but at this point, it would be pointless because I just bought the e550 and will live with it and its compromises for the foreseeable future. I'll struggle through it!! Regards. Ned.
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by BenzE350 View Post
Road "feel" means different things to different people. IMO, a perfect car is very communicative and provides feedback from the tires, suspension and steering wheel. Especially at the limits of the car.
You've mentioned the "limits of the car" a few times. What do you mean by this? I can't think of any normal daily driving (in the US, let's say) that would put you at the limits of the car long enough to care how the suspension behaves there. If you mean at the racetrack, then these cars weren't built for being on a track.
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:50 PM
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I only test drove an E350 on streets near my dealer (BH Benz), mainly residential streets, didn't notice a harsh suspension but I was more concerned about the power as I wanted much more power than what my C300 could provide. Can anyone provide some insight or differences between the E350 and E550 suspension, meaning is the airmatic sport setting on the E550 the same feel/harshness/road feel as the E350 sport or is the E550 sport setting another level of firmness. I also don't think it's the 18" wheels, most other competitors come with 19" (BMW/Jag) or 20" (Infiniti) on their sport models.

I drove my sister-in-law's E350 coupe and felt that it drove and handled great, quick and firm, much better than the sedan.
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ttoE550 View Post
You've mentioned the "limits of the car" a few times. What do you mean by this? I can't think of any normal daily driving (in the US, let's say) that would put you at the limits of the car long enough to care how the suspension behaves there. If you mean at the racetrack, then these cars weren't built for being on a track.
Good question. And somewhat difficult to answer.

My 80 year old mother always said her caddies had excellent handling. However, her definition of good handling meant that the power steering had enough boost so that she could easily maneuver the barge-like car around the parking lot at church.

Message is that everyone defines good handling differently. I define good handling in that the car does exactly what the driver requests and provides communication and feedback. A car shoud respond in a linear fashion to inputs, and should be neutral and predictable in it's behavior when it exceeds it's traction limits.

You can have good handling at low speeds but it becomes increasingly more difficult at higher speeds - as you approach the limits of traction -and will understeer or oversteer.

It is not difficult to exceed the limits of traction especially around tight corners at higher speeds or accident avoidance.

I think a lot of folks confuse handling with how smooth the car feels - especially over rough roads. My response to this is always that the suspension should idealy be as soft as possible, and only as stiff as necessary.

Last edited by BenzE350; 04-21-2011 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by park423 View Post
I only test drove an E350 on streets near my dealer (BH Benz), mainly residential streets, didn't notice a harsh suspension but I was more concerned about the power as I wanted much more power than what my C300 could provide. Can anyone provide some insight or differences between the E350 and E550 suspension, meaning is the airmatic sport setting on the E550 the same feel/harshness/road feel as the E350 sport or is the E550 sport setting another level of firmness. I also don't think it's the 18" wheels, most other competitors come with 19" (BMW/Jag) or 20" (Infiniti) on their sport models.

I drove my sister-in-law's E350 coupe and felt that it drove and handled great, quick and firm, much better than the sedan.
I think that the e350 has more than adequate power, the engine has lots of torque and the tranny is great. The car can be stepped on. The e550 suspension is meaningfully stiffer and controlled than the e350 luxury. I never drove an e350 sport but I hear that it is meaningfully firmer than the luxury. The e550 would most definitely have much more power than the c300, needless to say. The e350 luxury is a very comfortable ride, like a junior s class. I personally think that Mercedes made the e550 suspension to hard for rough roads but if the roads a good where you are, that should not be an issue. Regards. Ned.

Last edited by ngerstman; 04-21-2011 at 06:31 PM.
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by BenzE350 View Post
VERY disappointing to hear that the E550 airmatic is actually WORSE than the E350 conventional suspension on rough roads.

But on the plus side you have a significantly better engine than the anemic 268HP E350. Plus you don't have to sit on plastic seats, or suffer during night driving without the bi-xenon lights on the P1 E350 versions.
You and I have very different views on suffering. If driving ANY E class is considered suffering, then may I be eternally damned.
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:11 PM
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I guess it is all in perspective and expectations. After driving my other cars, my E 350 ("Sport") feels acceptably smooth on roads both rough and smooth. In fact, if it were any softer, I feel it would be Cadillac territory, which I have no desire to own. Do I sometimes feel bumps? Of course, and I can certainly feel the marginal imperfections of pavement that I can SEE before encountering them.

I might be satisfied simply because I didn't have any special expectations because "this is a Mercedes, it should be near perfection." I really don't think of it as a true luxury car, and I certainly don't think of it as a true sport sedan, regarless of V6 or V8 configuration, due to the sum total of all characteristics and attributes. I do, however, think of this as a good overall sedan, much in the tradition of E's that preceeded it. I can't remember ever looking at any of the pre-212 E iterations and thinking of them as the plush of luxury or the performance of sport (except in AMG form), but always thought of them as cars of substance built for the long-haul, and that was what I was looking for, and feel I got, when I purchased mine.
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:20 PM
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Hopefully M-B is reading this.

Interesting to hear about the E550! Wow. I gotta say, the extra power or cylinders doesn't mean nearly as much to me as the perceived added comfort over harsh roads, and it's sad to see that doesn't exist!
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Old 04-21-2011, 08:42 PM
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Recently briefly read a 4 car comparo with the E350cdi (avantgarde) in the Swedish version of Auto Motor & Sport. Their final words about the E was.. choose the Elegance version! They didn't think the suspension in the Avantgarde suited the E.
I think Avantgarde and Elegance in Europe compare to the Sport and Luxury in the US.

The E still shared first place with the new Audi A6 though, both ahead of the F10.
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by BenzE350 View Post
A car shoud respond in a linear fashion to inputs, and should be neutral and predictable in it's behavior when it exceeds it's traction limits.

You can have good handling at low speeds but it becomes increasingly more difficult at higher speeds - as you approach the limits of traction -and will understeer or oversteer.
My experience is that the car is predictable. On snow and ice, it has performed admirably for me. And while hydroplaning in a corner -- where ESP was not helping me -- I was able to keep it in my lane with feathering of the throttle and some sawing at the wheel.

My understanding -- I've discussed this with several race car drivers and a NA BMW exec -- is that street cars are typically and purposely set up to favor understeer rather than neutrality. This is because the typical driver's response to "being in trouble" is to lift off of the gas and jam on the brakes. This is (done correctly) the correct response for understeer. It is the wrong response in an oversteer situation because the weight transfer "pins" the front wheels, making the car rotate around them -- that is, it makes oversteer worse.

A tendency to understeer or oversteer is not necessarily a sign of bad handling. In Formula 1, my understanding is that some drivers (e.g., Jenson Button) prefer the car to understeer. Other drivers (I think, e.g., Michael Shumacher) prefer oversteer. I am personally much happier with oversteer.
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:20 PM
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I should drive a Luxury W212 and feel the difference over rough spots.

One job of the suspension is to absorb impacts from rough roads, so it doesn't rattle your spine, or put pressure on the cars structural integrity.

The W212 has what has been awarded, and what is known to be possibly the strongest and best/most advanced structure in automobile history.

When I go over rough roads, my suspension CHECKS OUT, and ALL the pressure goes into testing that phenomenal structural integrity. It's like I can hear my cars structure loosening and weakening up every time it trembles because the suspension is too incompetent over rough patches. This makes me curious/concerned as to how well the structure of these cars will hold up to their 100% ability, once the miles keep racking up.
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:25 PM
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It's funny to hear handling debates going on through this as well. This car handles great for what it is, and for its Class, it handles GREAT for a car that rides as smoothly and plushly/tightly as it does *on smooth roads*. It handles like crap for a car that rides like a race car over rough roads.

I find the handling to be excellent considering I wanted a Sedan with a stately and Luxurious/weighty feel. However, if any of you care THAT much about handling, you bough the wrong car, and your money was ill spent. Drive an Audi A7 and your E will feel like getting into a floaty Truck, while the Audi will feel like a go-cart (and it's a bigger car to boot). I loved getting back into my E after getting out of the Audi, but that's because I want my car to ride like a solid Sedan, and the driving position and interior ambiance felt so much more calming and open/luxurious, however, I was upset in the fact that although it rides smoother on solid roads, it rode even more roughly on rough roads, and didn't have the handling benefits to boot.
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:27 PM
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NOW I really regret getting a Luxury after reading this thread......our roads in Houston are riddled with horrible roads that have rattled loose three door panels and something in the dash in my 2007 Chevy Tahoe. Drive same roads in the Luxury and don't feel a single bump and not a single rattle in the Benz.
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:30 PM
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I think what this Thread has proved is that if you want a Mercedes Benz quality ride, avoid the Sport option, and get the Luxury option. Now what do we have to do to get MBUSA to understand that owners will be happier in the long term when their cars perform properly, with the proper suspension.

Then let us vanity freaks have what-would-be the more rare and putting-up-with-roughness of the Sport Package.
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by K-A View Post
I think what this Thread has proved is that if you want a Mercedes Benz quality ride, avoid the Sport option, and get the Luxury option. Now what do we have to do to get MBUSA to understand that owners will be happier in the long term when their cars perform properly, with the proper suspension.

Then let us vanity freaks have what-would-be the more rare and putting-up-with-roughness of the Sport Package.
K-A, I think you are being a bit hard on yourself here. Having been around since dirt was invented, I can tell you that in my experience, sometimes, when the "new" wears off, it is easy to notice "flaws" in any vehicle. My suggestion is to go rent a higher end car and drive it for a week. Then, get back into your Benz. My guess is that you will once again realize how good it really is. Absence does make the heart grow fonder.
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ImInPA View Post
K-A, I think you are being a bit hard on yourself here. Having been around since dirt was invented, I can tell you that in my experience, sometimes, when the "new" wears off, it is easy to notice "flaws" in any vehicle. My suggestion is to go rent a higher end car and drive it for a week. Then, get back into your Benz. My guess is that you will once again realize how good it really is. Absence does make the heart grow fonder.
LOL @ the dirt invented comment.

I want to make this clear, I am ABSOLUTELY IN LOVE with my car. It's kind of sick really. I want to keep it 'till the wheels fall off, that's how much I love it. I'm just I guess being hard on the one aspect that is bothering me. Aside from that, this car is a dream, truly.

It's funny, because I went to go check out the new Dodge Charger (not to buy, or replace my E with of course, maybe to replace my Chevy with in a year or two), which my Muscle-Car side was hoping would be a truer testament to the original, and I keep hearing about the improved interior.

Well, I saw it, and it was nice.... kinda, and the interior was.... uh.... nice, for a Dodge? It actually felt like hell in there, and I almost wanted to vomit. Walking over to my E, immediately the sculpted and immaculate sheet-metal lines told me that it "isn't that Dodge", and the interior confirmed to me that it is absolutely worth the price of two Chargers, lol.

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Old 04-22-2011, 06:51 AM
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agree!!!! while it has slight disadvantages......I still love my car too.....

and that was a good point made by IMinPA about the 'new' wearing off....hehe....
very well put....
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