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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 04-22-2011, 06:58 AM
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:15 AM
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LOL!!!! no doubt!!

I still reach for the knob in my volvo........to put it in park....hehe...

but yeah......drive any older car, then your benz, and it's true...

good call KA
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Old 04-22-2011, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by hyperion667 View Post
LOL!!!! no doubt!!

I still reach for the knob in my volvo........to put it in park....hehe...

but yeah......drive any older car, then your benz, and it's true...

good call KA
I did not mean to drive any older car. Go rent any high end new car and drive it for a week. Then get back into your Benz. I fly down to visit my dad in Florida and generally get a Chrysler 300, CTS, Hyundai Genesis (a very nice car BTW), or something along those lines. Keep in mind that a Chrysler 300 optioned out to the equivalent of E 350 P1 is a mid to upper 40's vehicle. The Benz is not that much more expensive, but, when you return to the Benz after a week of another "similar size" vehicle, the Benz just feel perfect. Did I mention that I love my E350 Bluetec?
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:14 AM
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I'm about to get our 3rd E-Class in 7 years but at the end of the day, it's my beautiful Teal '91 300E that I drive. None of the new cars have it's quality. Not the switch gear, not the leather, not the carpeting, not the bank vault feel of that great car that I've owned for 20 years. I've driven her all over North America and she's never let me down.

The new cars all have cheap cast wheels. The 300E came with forged wheels that look like new. The new cars are so complicated, I can't work on them. My 300E never saw a dealer until she was 13 years old. My '04 E320 sounded like a cheap GM V6. The straight six in the 300E still runs as smooth as silk at 80 MPH.

My wife will get the new E550 and I'll just add another coat of Zaino to the best looking car that ever graced a parking lot.
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by K-A View Post
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.
K-A, I think this has been an interesting thread with some excellent viewpoints. As a side note - it's seldom that a thead goes 4+ pages before it dissolves into name calling, insults and poor behavior. I'm glad that is not the case here.

I think the E Sport has decent handling for the intended market, demographic, and purpose of this car. The handling is not one of my "gripes". I think the issue of handling was discussed on this thread in context to ride quality - especially over rough stretches of pavement. I think one of the biggest challenges an automotive designer has is in balancing the need for a compliant ride over rough road surfaces, while continuing to provide inspired handling.

In this regards, I think the E Sport falls behind the class leaders in this segment in regards to quality ride - as does the E Luxury in regards to handling.

Getting this "mix" right is the subtle differene between an average and great car. Having said that, the definition of the perfect "mix" is as varied as the different expectations and desires of thousands of drivers.

Last edited by BenzE350; 04-22-2011 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by BenzE350 View Post
In this regards, I think the E Sport falls behind the class leaders in this segment in regards to quality ride - as does the E Luxury in regards to handling.
BenzE350 - Which are the class leaders?

Also, on a different point, isn't the Airmatic supposed to be able to provide great handling (sport mode) and great comfort (comfort mode)? If this isn't the case, as has been suggested by various E550 owners, there is something wrong with the set up that Benz needs to address. I for one wanted to add Airmatic to my next E-Class, but I certainly won't waste the money of there is no real comfort gain.
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Old 04-22-2011, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Wig View Post
BenzE350 - Which are the class leaders?

Also, on a different point, isn't the Airmatic supposed to be able to provide great handling (sport mode) and great comfort (comfort mode)? If this isn't the case, as has been suggested by various E550 owners, there is something wrong with the set up that Benz needs to address. I for one wanted to add Airmatic to my next E-Class, but I certainly won't waste the money of there is no real comfort gain.
Personally, I think the airmatic is good, I only wish for 3 settings instead of 2 but nevertheless does the job well. I believe BMW/Porsche has 3 settings but those comparable cars cost a lot more. Anyway, in the US, airmatic is only available on the E550 as standard equipment, not an option so really not an issue of cost or worth the money.

As KA stated earlier, given the mediocre handling of the E350 sedan, one shouldn't expect a really rough ride, also I do drive on sport mode 95% of the time and I don't think the car is overstressed on rough roads and on comfort more, do feel the car can get a little floatly.

Overall, very happy with the E550's combination of luxury, styling and performance
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by park423 View Post
Personally, I think the airmatic is good, I only wish for 3 settings instead of 2 but nevertheless does the job well. I believe BMW/Porsche has 3 settings but those comparable cars cost a lot more. Anyway, in the US, airmatic is only available on the E550 as standard equipment, not an option so really not an issue of cost or worth the money.

As KA stated earlier, given the mediocre handling of the E350 sedan, one shouldn't expect a really rough ride, also I do drive on sport mode 95% of the time and I don't think the car is overstressed on rough roads and on comfort more, do feel the car can get a little floatly.

Overall, very happy with the E550's combination of luxury, styling and performance
So they dropped a setting in the W212? My late build (2009) E63 has three settings (and I believe the W211 E550 also had three.) The AMG airmatic is valved differently for stiffness at the two sport settings but pretty squishy feeling at comfort. There is also the P030 option Airmatic struts for AMG which are even stiffer.

But stiffness is different than a "bottoming out" and/or "crashing" feeling. I have 2 Porsches (one with PASM and one with Bilstein PSS-10 coil overs) and while they are definitely "stiff' they go over rough roads with a secure and solid feeling. The E63 never "bottoms out"

Sounds like maybe they did some changes in Airmatic with the W212(?) It shouldn't feel sloppy or harsh at all. It should absorb the roughness in either setting with the stiffer setting being more solid and with less body roll in the twisties. The steering ratio in the E63 is different so you do get better feedback as it's more precise. That also makes it feel different I suppose. Plus it has thicker sway bars.

fwiw, the other day I drove up the Cabrillo Highway and headed into Jalama Ranch and to the Pacific Ocean. The trip was a mix of smooth and twisty roads; some rough ranch roads; and a narrow, twisty, bumpy last 10 miles to Jalama Beach. I realized how much I do appreciate the way the suspension behaves in different settings on different roads.

Tire type (not just size) can make a difference. Summer performance tires with stiffer sidewalls versus AS tires with softer sidewalls, etc.. Even between different brands....

This thread kind of reminds me of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Or the Princess and the Pea.
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by BenzE350 View Post
K-A, I think this has been an interesting thread with some excellent viewpoints. As a side note - it's seldom that a thead goes 4+ pages before it dissolves into name calling, insults and poor behavior. I'm glad that is not the case here.

I think the E Sport has decent handling for the intended market, demographic, and purpose of this car. The handling is not one of my "gripes". I think the issue of handling was discussed on this thread in context to ride quality - especially over rough stretches of pavement. I think one of the biggest challenges an automotive designer has is in balancing the need for a compliant ride over rough road surfaces, while continuing to provide inspired handling.

In this regards, I think the E Sport falls behind the class leaders in this segment in regards to quality ride - as does the E Luxury in regards to handling.

Getting this "mix" right is the subtle differene between an average and great car. Having said that, the definition of the perfect "mix" is as varied as the different expectations and desires of thousands of drivers.
I agree, and good points. I do believe that a GOOD suspension should do one of the two (Comfort/Handling) exceptionally, and do the other well enough as well.

Handling wise, I have no complaints with the W212, none at all. It handles great for my tastes, I even like the well engineered and controlled/tight subtle "float" that we get. However, of course, where it fails is how it handles harsh stuff.

I do think that even the Sport W212 leads the class in comfort over *smooth/decent roads*, but I'm not sure how it compares over rough roads. I do know that the new Audi A6 is supposed to be the noisiest and least dampening of the trio, as in order to meet it's very impressive weight goals, they did away with some sound deadening thickness, apparently.
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by 220S View Post
.... and while they are definitely "stiff' they go over rough roads with a secure and solid feeling.
I hate to say it, but this isn't always the case with the E350 Sport. The car feels more than secure and solid over most all roads, even slightly miffed roads, but over really hard stuff, the suspension seems to completely check-out, and provides the cars chassis and structure with no absorbing support, leaving the entire structural integrity of the car on its own to absorb said harshness.
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Old 04-23-2011, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by park423 View Post
Personally, I think the airmatic is good, I only wish for 3 settings instead of 2 but nevertheless does the job well. I believe BMW/Porsche has 3 settings but those comparable cars cost a lot more. Anyway, in the US, airmatic is only available on the E550 as standard equipment, not an option so really not an issue of cost or worth the money.

As KA stated earlier, given the mediocre handling of the E350 sedan, one shouldn't expect a really rough ride, also I do drive on sport mode 95% of the time and I don't think the car is overstressed on rough roads and on comfort more, do feel the car can get a little floatly.

Overall, very happy with the E550's combination of luxury, styling and performance
I seem to see more defense of the airmatic suspension from people who live in geographies with no or less harsh winters. As many have pointed out, there is always going to be trade offs and the issue of balance when one designs a suspension. I always felt that Mercedes had nailed the issue of suspension balance long ago way better than all of the competition with good handling, good road feel yet the appropriate isolation from road imperfections to give you a very comfortable drive in most to all driving conditions. When I purchased the 212 e350 luxury in December, it seemed like a classic Mercedes suspension to me, only a tad softer than ideal, but comfortable. When I did my buyers remorse trade up to the e550 three weeks later, I fully expected a better "Mercedes" suspension. After driving the e550 for almost four months, I unfortunately have to say that the airmatic fails to live up to what I expect from a Mercedes suspension. It is hard and unforgiving on rough to bad road surfaces, uncomfortable, un-Mercedes. Many of the highways that we deal with in the Northeast are rough with patches that make it seem like there is a speed bump every 1/4 mile. Even the local roads are not great. As far as I'm concerned, the airmatic is not what I expect in a Mercedes suspension and I consider it a failure. If I lived in parts of the country where bad roads were the exception rather than the rule, I would probably feel differently. Regards. Ned.

Last edited by ngerstman; 04-23-2011 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 04-23-2011, 07:30 PM
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Don't know why Mercedes doesn't know how to make a comfortable sport suspension. My 13 yo A4 with sport suspension rides better than any C-Class with sport suspension and I'm pretty sure I could take one on the track.

My '06 E3504matic rear suspension seemed very uncoordinated with the chassis clumsy on bumpy roads and would feedback unseen disturbances through the steering.

An '08 E320 Bluetec that I drove later was much better in both regards.

Last edited by MBNUT1; 04-23-2011 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 04-23-2011, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by BudC View Post
I'm about to get our 3rd E-Class in 7 years but at the end of the day, it's my beautiful Teal '91 300E that I drive. None of the new cars have it's quality. Not the switch gear, not the leather, not the carpeting, not the bank vault feel of that great car that I've owned for 20 years. I've driven her all over North America and she's never let me down.

The new cars all have cheap cast wheels. The 300E came with forged wheels that look like new. The new cars are so complicated, I can't work on them. My 300E never saw a dealer until she was 13 years old. My '04 E320 sounded like a cheap GM V6. The straight six in the 300E still runs as smooth as silk at 80 MPH.

My wife will get the new E550 and I'll just add another coat of Zaino to the best looking car that ever graced a parking lot.
Those of us who have been around these cars forever know exactly of which you speak....
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Old 04-24-2011, 01:31 AM
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I agree completely! The fault here in my opinion is with people who accept the "free" "Sport Package." When I bought my car, I went out of my way (had to wait longer) to get a car without a sport package that comes with the obligatory fragile wheels. I don't care what kind of a car it is but if it can't be driven comfortably on imperfect roads and occasionally handle a pothole or two without stranding you on the middle of the road I really don't get the point of buying it. Face it, these are NOT sport cars no matter how many wannabee decorations you add to them. IMHO these are meant to be serious cars for driving in day-to-day life. I completely agree with everything you said but the next time you might want to not opt for the harsher ride and the fragile tires that come with the sport package. If enough people vote with their checkbook, Mercedes will start offering these cars equipped for everyday life, like the should be.

Originally Posted by K-A View Post
I am aware that I have the Sport Package (and thanks to MBUSA, even if I wanted a Luxury Package, it's almost impossible to find), and I will pick a Sport every time, for its aesthetic qualities to my eyes.

But it shouldn't be unheard of to engineer an *E-Class*'s suspension to sit slightly low, and ride relatively firm, yet still absorb bumps and ride well when the going gets rough (yes I know, "Airmatic" is probably the cure, but you shouldn't have to go Air-Ride to get those qualities).

On smooth roads, this car rides brilliantly. Strong as an Ox, and has just enough "float" to keep things nice and smooth, but firm and tight as well, so you know it can handle some pushing, if need be. However, when the roads get bumpy and rough (and they do, in todays ravaged roads era), it rides like crap. Completely bumpy, lots of road chatter, lots of putting the structure to the test. It's unbefitting of an E-Class when you have to cringe when rough roads are on the way. My Chevy Malibu absorbs rough roads much better.

I'm under 30, and not too long ago, had a slammed Mustang GT with a 15" subwoofer and a no-muffler exhaust setup, so I can imagine that the general E demographic won't find this too kindly either. I think that MBUSA is shoving out the Sport Package as a free option to get the popping-smoke factor going, and gain sales, but I have a feeling that this may diminish Sales in the long run, as much of the E demographic will want something less fussy over rough patches, and something that won't bend rims so commonly, etc.

I will say, this is the #1 and virtually only thing that I am unhappy with about my car (aside from an annoying chatter/squeak at idle, which I need to get the Dealer to hopefully find and fix), enough so that it makes me question whether I'd want to keep it for the long haul (if I did buy it out after the Lease).

Note to M-B: The concept of a Sport suspension is to make a car handle like a Sports Car, which an E-Class appropriately doesn't do. Engineering a suspension TO RIDE HARSHLY ONLY FOR THE SAKE OF RIDING HARSHLY does *NOT* make a car "Sporty".

Sorry for the long post, had to rant!

Oh, and I will add: My AMG Sport Packaged W211 rode similar, but worse (the W212 keeps the same "Sport" concept, but improves it all around pretty well). The only thing the W212 does worse is I hear slightly more wheel-chatter when going over rough patches, but minimal.
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Old 04-24-2011, 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by K-A View Post
It REALLY helps to have a "grounding" car, so you can appreciate your nice car. After a day in my trusty and lovely Chevy, the Benzes sense of occasion only grows.
Good point I thought My Volvo S80 was nice and I still have it but whenever I drive it after driving the E550 I realize just just how good of a car the E550 is. The power, precision, and build quality compared to the Volvo is so much better with the E550. Even the click of the turn signal seems more solid with the E550. It definitely helps to have another car to appreciate some of what the Mercedes delivers.

I have to say though that the ONLY aspect of the Volvo S80 I appreciate more than the Mercedes are the seats. The Volvo S80 seats are so much more comfortable and I especially like how the headrests are sloped to support your upper neck/lower head area.
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Old 04-24-2011, 07:21 AM
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I have to say though that the ONLY aspect of the Volvo S80 I appreciate more than the Mercedes are the seats. The Volvo S80 seats are so much more comfortable and I especially like how the headrests are sloped to support your upper neck/lower head area.
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couldn't agree more......my 2001 s40 has got amazing seats......very comfortable...
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Old 04-24-2011, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by WEBSRFR View Post
I agree completely! The fault here in my opinion is with people who accept the "free" "Sport Package." When I bought my car, I went out of my way (had to wait longer) to get a car without a sport package that comes with the obligatory fragile wheels. I don't care what kind of a car it is but if it can't be driven comfortably on imperfect roads and occasionally handle a pothole or two without stranding you on the middle of the road I really don't get the point of buying it. Face it, these are NOT sport cars no matter how many wannabee decorations you add to them. IMHO these are meant to be serious cars for driving in day-to-day life. I completely agree with everything you said but the next time you might want to not opt for the harsher ride and the fragile tires that come with the sport package. If enough people vote with their checkbook, Mercedes will start offering these cars equipped for everyday life, like the should be.
Well said sir....well said.
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Old 04-24-2011, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by hyperion667 View Post
I have to say though that the ONLY aspect of the Volvo S80 I appreciate more than the Mercedes are the seats. The Volvo S80 seats are so much more comfortable and I especially like how the headrests are sloped to support your upper neck/lower head area.
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couldn't agree more......my 2001 s40 has got amazing seats......very comfortable...
I had and S80 T6. I have to agree with you about the seats. Simply the best seats I have ever experienced in a car. I also liked that the S80 kept power to the Homelink controls after shutting off the car. The Volvo had a very strong structure as well.
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Old 04-24-2011, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by ImInPA View Post
I also liked that the S80 kept power to the Homelink controls after shutting off the car.
When my garage guy programmed my wife's and my MBs, he told us we were lucky because MB requires a key for Homelink to work. Added safety and theft protection.
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Old 04-24-2011, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ttoE550 View Post
When my garage guy programmed my wife's and my MBs, he told us we were lucky because MB requires a key for Homelink to work. Added safety and theft protection.
In the S80 the Homelink controls were not always powered, only during the time that power windows, etc. are still powered after turning the engine off. In the Benz, before you open the door, if you remove the key, you can still roll up windows, but the Homelink is off.
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Old 04-24-2011, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by BudC View Post
I'm about to get our 3rd E-Class in 7 years but at the end of the day, it's my beautiful Teal '91 300E that I drive. None of the new cars have it's quality.
+1. Our family had a 1990 diamond blue 300E. My parents graciously let me use it during the latter part of undergrad and during most of grad school. My friends said it was the most "ghetto benz" b/c the A/C threatened to overheat the engine and the leather over the seat bolsters were ripped, but I absolutely loved the car. There was a bit of a learning curve w/ the heavy, numb steering, but once you learned how to drive it, everything else (including newer MBs, of which we've had several) simply felt like cheap pieces of tin, especially on the highway. MBs are meant to be a little soft, a little slow, and little plain, and they're just great that way. ::sigh::

Hoping that the E350 Bluetec Luxury I plan to get at the year's end (if business goes well.... ::knock on wood: recaptures some of that glory....
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by alsyli View Post
Hoping that the E350 Bluetec Luxury I plan to get at the year's end (if business goes well.... ::knock on wood: recaptures some of that glory....
I think you will be extremely surprised (in a good way) in the Bluetec. I think it captured the feeling of earlier models. I have the Bluetec Luxury and love it.
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Old 04-24-2011, 08:46 PM
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I know what everyone is saying about the older models. However, a lot of the "cheap light" stuff that you note is actually lightweight, probably more expensive materials, that are required on cars.

I think the W212 captures bears the soul of earlier 70's and 80's Benzes, I really felt that it had that classic Benz solidity (and the Design reminisces to them as well) and charm from the moment I got and drove it.
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Old 04-25-2011, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by MBNUT1 View Post
Don't know why Mercedes doesn't know how to make a comfortable sport suspension. My 13 yo A4 with sport suspension rides better than any C-Class with sport suspension and I'm pretty sure I could take one on the track.
I'm afraid I'm gonna have to question this one. Unless you have replaced the shocks and all suspension bushings your 13 year old suspension is probably in need of a rebuild. There is no way that the performance has not degenerated in 13 years. In this case mileage doesn't matter...age is the enemy of both shocks and bushings. Your better ride of a sport tuned suspension is not indicative of better handling just age. There has also been a vast improvement in suspensions over the last 13 years. The technology is much improved. I would caution you about taking the Audi on the track with a new C Class. You may end up with a crumpled A4.

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Old 04-25-2011, 01:48 PM
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Well Said also

Originally Posted by MCF View Post
Well said sir....well said.
Add my well said to that. I think one problem M-B has is they are offering too many models with too many "sub-models." Focus on fewer models with fewer varieties and do each better. Some for luxury and some for sport.
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