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Early vs Late vs Facelift W212 reliability

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E-Class (W212) 2010 - 2016: E 350, E 550

Early vs Late vs Facelift W212 reliability

 
Old 04-06-2018, 06:32 PM
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Early vs Late vs Facelift W212 reliability

After thinking about Mercedes off and on for a few years, I finally looked at one a few months ago but it was a stripped down C350 Coupe. The ride was not good, it was missing so many features I'd expect on a car like that, and in general left me really disappointed. Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I happen to be by a dealer that had a 2014 E350 4Matic, I loved everything about it. So smooth, the steering felt light and it was so quiet. Even with the V6 which I expected given my personal preference toward high performance cars to disappoint me actually surprised me with how it wound out, did not feel slow at all. But I came to read many reports of the '14-'16 E-class having lots of assorted electronic issues. I typically swear by TrueDelta and they ranked it very poorly. I saw more negative remarks on various Mercedes forums (including this one) so I sort of ruled them out of my head since the ones I was looking at were around $25k and out of warranty.

I did however see that the 2010 to 2013 E350 seems rated quite reliable and I can't see much bad about them anywhere. I have yet to actually look at one of these older ones but I divided them into early and late since the 2010-2011 had the older 268 HP engine and the 2012-2013 had the direct injection 302 HP engine. I would pretty much always pick the highest power motor possible (I'm sure I'd love an E550 and especially an AMG) but since I have owned no German cars before I'd like to stick with the simplest motor. I know for some brands, the direct injection versions have carbon buildup issues and things of that nature.

So with all that said, what is the best and worst of the reliability for the W212? Despite being a first year, the 2010 MY seems mostly problem free. Is it worth the premium to go for the '12-'13, or is the lower power older '10-'11 more reliable? I really liked the '14, but have yet to look at the older ones so perhaps most of what I liked is there as well. I fear some comments I saw about having very poor service experience with MBUSA, my domestic cars as well as the Japanese imports I've had have all been very reliable and in all the years I've owned them I barely have been to the dealers for any repairs besides for a factory recall here or there (Thanks Takata). I'd consider leasing a new E-class, but I put low miles a year on my cars so I think there's no route for that that won't be wasting lots of money on a car that might see 5,000 miles in a year of driving. I'd rather buy a cheaper older one that has depreciated quite a bit, assuming the reliability is good. Is it unrealistic on an E350 to expect the kind of reliability I've outlined?

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Old 04-06-2018, 09:30 PM
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2010 E350 4Matic
One of the reason I bought my 2010 E350 4matic is that it is a consumers reports recommended used car. They know what they are talking about mine has been pretty reliable. To me the main reason to get the 2012/13 is the engine mileage and power. Mine has enough power for me and if you are only driving it 5k miles a year then the mileage benefit isn't there, I have been able to average 24 mpg over the life of mine. The early ones have the wood faded but mine was changed out and looks like new.
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Old 04-06-2018, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by MBNUT1 View Post
One of the reason I bought my 2010 E350 4matic is that it is a consumers reports recommended used car. They know what they are talking about mine has been pretty reliable. To me the main reason to get the 2012/13 is the engine mileage and power. Mine has enough power for me and if you are only driving it 5k miles a year then the mileage benefit isn't there, I have been able to average 24 mpg over the life of mine. The early ones have the wood faded but mine was changed out and looks like new.
I do take anything Consumer Reports says with a large grain of salt. The problem is, they knock cars reliability based on the infotainment which seems really asinine to me (IIRC they rate things down if they're confusing/hard to use, not if they're crashing all the time). Also, their reliability reports are based off subscribers who receiver their survey so it's sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. CR says Fiats are junk which I would tend to agree with, but even if they got a lot better - who would pay annual fees to get Consumer Reports and then buy a Fiat anyway? So there's a lot of selection bias in that you probably get under representation from owners of cars they rank badly and over representation for cars that are ranked positively.

Not that their results are totally useless, but it does seem to not be as impartial as it might seem. I am surprised to hear CR ever would've said nice things about Mercedes or German cars in general, I thought they pretty much only ever gave the highest marks to Japanese cars?
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Old 04-06-2018, 10:02 PM
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'12 E350 Luxury, '09 Accord V6
I have a very reliable ‘12 E350. What’s astonishing is that I get a consistent 30 mpg in straight highway driving and my ‘09 Accord can’t and never did get 30 mpg on a straight highway drive.
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Old 04-06-2018, 10:07 PM
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I shopped for a year on and off, looking at W212's in four states. I have nothing to say about the reliability of individual years other than to do internet research for reputable studies, which you've already done. Individual reports from people on forums like this, good or bad, are simply much too small a sample to me to be persuasive one way or another. They're just a handful of experiences among the hundreds of thousands out there.

So, I decided to focus on the W212 years that I liked the look of and that had the features I was most interested in. I like the exterior look of the pre-facelift years. While I've read that the 2010-11 engine was simpler and less costly to maintain, I liked the greater power and mileage of the 2012-13 direct inject V6. So I bought a 2013 CPO last month, which fit my budget better than the facelift cars. I actually paid some extra money to have the dealer CPO the car -- mainly new brakes and reconditioning all the rims, things I would have had to pay someone to do anyway. I got 30 mpg on a recent 120 mile highway trip and get about 23 mpg around my small town.

Getting a CPO car allows me to buy two more years of MB warranty, which I'm probably going to do tomorrow -- $1845 from Jeff Jackson at Tafel Motors in Louisville. I generally don't buy warranties or insurance of any kind, and I'll only drive about 5,000 miles per year like you, but I have a perhaps unreasonable fear of big expenses with a Mercedes. The two year warranty money is fully refundable during the one year CPO warranty, but if you buy the additional two years more than 30 days after taking delivery, you will pay an additional 15% over the dealer quote.

It's all a gamble, like many things in life. But since life is now getting literally short, gambles are worth it. I love my "new" car.
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Old 04-06-2018, 10:15 PM
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I certainly wouldn't expect gas mileage, though it would be a nice bonus. I do too much short distance 10-15 mile trips with mixed driving and only partial highway so my old V6 Maxima got about 21-22 MPG. I would figure an E350 4Matic would perhaps be in a similar region if not a tad lower due to the extra weight and AWD. I'm curious though, does anyone have feedback on the '14-'16 W212? It looks like a lot of people leased them and then turned them in, but more so than the older ones they seem to get reports on reliability sites that are not favorable. I can't see how the basic E-class could rank so low especially considering its usage in Germany as a taxi. But I certainly want to keep low annual maintenance costs.

Kilt, very funny that you mention Tafel - that is my local Mercedes dealer as I live near Louisville. The '10-'13 E350s really don't look to have much of specific concern that I can see unless I'm missing some glaring flaw. I have no earthly idea what they did on the '14-'16 other than statistics do not look favorable for the reliability. TrueDelta reports Electrical/AC and Body/Trim as most common needed repairs. I guess I really need to go check out an older E350, if the driving experience is as pleasant I would be quite content.
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Old 04-07-2018, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Vistance View Post
I do take anything Consumer Reports says with a large grain of salt. The problem is, they knock cars reliability based on the infotainment which seems really asinine to me (IIRC they rate things down if they're confusing/hard to use, not if they're crashing all the time). Also, their reliability reports are based off subscribers who receiver their survey so it's sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. CR says Fiats are junk which I would tend to agree with, but even if they got a lot better - who would pay annual fees to get Consumer Reports and then buy a Fiat anyway? So there's a lot of selection bias in that you probably get under representation from owners of cars they rank badly and over representation for cars that are ranked positively.

Not that their results are totally useless, but it does seem to not be as impartial as it might seem. I am surprised to hear CR ever would've said nice things about Mercedes or German cars in general, I thought they pretty much only ever gave the highest marks to Japanese cars?

You are kind of missing the point here. CR said the 2010-2011's are reliable. They are reliable cars. Mine has 113K miles and still pretty much drives like a new car. A friend of mine had a 2011 E3504matic. Zero problems. My sister has a 2013 E3504matic. It has been a reliable car.

I have been on this board for a while and followed a number of chassis and you can tell the reliable cars from the unreliable cars. Comb through the W220's and W211's then look through the W212's. Big difference.

As far as I can tell from this board the primary complaints on the facelift models were that people didn't like the start stop and had issues with the updated transmission having hard shifts. The facelift cars are claimed to have a ton of changes. Some cosmetic, some I suspect are cost reductions and some are probably improvements but I don't recall reading someone who had pre and post facelift saying I like my post facelift so much better for this reason but you may find a post like that.

The main reasons to get the post facelift is that it's a newer car, as mentioned you can still get the extended warranty and if you prefer the styling.

If I was to get another one I think I would tend to go for a 2013 with the direct injected motor.

Last edited by MBNUT1; 04-07-2018 at 08:11 AM.
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Old 04-07-2018, 08:58 AM
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2014 E550 4Matic Designo Diamond White and loaded up
My 2010 E550 4Matic was a great and reliable car. My 2014 E550 4Matic is the best E class I have ever had. I only buy V8ís. Maybe thatís the difference in reliability. None of my E class cars have had any annoying electronic issues. I donít buy cars based on any type of report based on complaints. The complainers never service or maintain their car properly in 90% of those cases.

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Old 04-07-2018, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by MBNUT1 View Post
You are kind of missing the point here. CR said the 2010-2011's are reliable. They are reliable cars. Mine has 113K miles and still pretty much drives like a new car. A friend of mine had a 2011 E3504matic. Zero problems. My sister has a 2013 E3504matic. It has been a reliable car.

I have been on this board for a while and followed a number of chassis and you can tell the reliable cars from the unreliable cars. Comb through the W220's and W211's then look through the W212's. Big difference.

As far as I can tell from this board the primary complaints on the facelift models were that people didn't like the start stop and had issues with the updated transmission having hard shifts. The facelift cars are claimed to have a ton of changes. Some cosmetic, some I suspect are cost reductions and some are probably improvements but I don't recall reading someone who had pre and post facelift saying I like my post facelift so much better for this reason but you may find a post like that.

The main reasons to get the post facelift is that it's a newer car, as mentioned you can still get the extended warranty and if you prefer the styling.

If I was to get another one I think I would tend to go for a 2013 with the direct injected motor.
I guess I'm just naturally skeptical, admittedly no I don't know anyone with an Audi/BMW/Mercedes but the people I know always seem to warn of repairs and repair costs. On something like an E550, I can at least see the potential given the typical air ride suspension or the twin turbos and so on. I love flagship luxury cars like the S-class, the A8, and 7-series, though I know all of those are costly on the upkeep due to the complexity. I honestly do not remember who had this, but I remember seeing one of the flagship cars had something that predicted the road you were about to drive over and dynamically adjust the suspension as you drive to counteract bumps and uneven pavement. Very awesome stuff, but I can see where that can get expensive if any component fails.

Did the '14+ have changes to the transmission? From what I saw, it looked like the '10 through '16 had the same 7 speed transmission. What ultimately was/is the issue that caused those shifts? I personally like a fast and quick shift, but I partake it to mean it's unpleasant in the way it shifts.
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Old 04-07-2018, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Vistance View Post
I certainly wouldn't expect gas mileage, though it would be a nice bonus. I do too much short distance 10-15 mile trips with mixed driving and only partial highway so my old V6 Maxima got about 21-22 MPG. I would figure an E350 4Matic would perhaps be in a similar region if not a tad lower due to the extra weight and AWD. I'm curious though, does anyone have feedback on the '14-'16 W212? It looks like a lot of people leased them and then turned them in, but more so than the older ones they seem to get reports on reliability sites that are not favorable. I can't see how the basic E-class could rank so low especially considering its usage in Germany as a taxi. But I certainly want to keep low annual maintenance costs.

Kilt, very funny that you mention Tafel - that is my local Mercedes dealer as I live near Louisville. The '10-'13 E350s really don't look to have much of specific concern that I can see unless I'm missing some glaring flaw. I have no earthly idea what they did on the '14-'16 other than statistics do not look favorable for the reliability. TrueDelta reports Electrical/AC and Body/Trim as most common needed repairs. I guess I really need to go check out an older E350, if the driving experience is as pleasant I would be quite content.
The 14 is still sorta new so there's not that many reports about them in the forums. There's lots more about the 2010-2013. Some other pros about those years is that they still had bixenons available with the headlamp washers, they went to LED in 2014 and got rid of the headlamp washers. The 2010-2011 had the M272 engine which eventually had problems with the intake manifold, that's about a $450 part to replace, but that usually happens in the 120-160k range. Intake manifold is different in the 2012+, but it needs to be removed to do spark plugs as it's a 60 degree V6 direct injection engine instead of the older 90 degree V6. Not sure what body trim needed fixing in 2014+, but the 2010-2013 was well known to have faded wood trim which they didn't really fix til late 2013.

As for Tafel, you should buy a warranty from Jeff and take a picture. His name gets mentioned in this forum a lot, one of the best prices around. Maybe get a maintenance package, but there's not that much discount on them, you can only get them when the car has less than 80k.
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Old 04-07-2018, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Vistance View Post
I guess I'm just naturally skeptical, admittedly no I don't know anyone with an Audi/BMW/Mercedes but the people I know always seem to warn of repairs and repair costs. On something like an E550, I can at least see the potential given the typical air ride suspension or the twin turbos and so on. I love flagship luxury cars like the S-class, the A8, and 7-series, though I know all of those are costly on the upkeep due to the complexity. I honestly do not remember who had this, but I remember seeing one of the flagship cars had something that predicted the road you were about to drive over and dynamically adjust the suspension as you drive to counteract bumps and uneven pavement. Very awesome stuff, but I can see where that can get expensive if any component fails.

Did the '14+ have changes to the transmission? From what I saw, it looked like the '10 through '16 had the same 7 speed transmission. What ultimately was/is the issue that caused those shifts? I personally like a fast and quick shift, but I partake it to mean it's unpleasant in the way it shifts.
I myself would prefer a 2014+ although I have a 2011 now. There's a bunch of usual stuff that may also apply to the newer model, thermostat, pulleys, motor mounts. There's also ripped MB-tex, faded wood which didn't apply to 2014+. Also the 2014+ is the newer body style so on the road, you cant' really tell if it's a 2014-2016. Also the 2014 had a bunch of changes, two that stick in my mind would be the collision avoidance which wasn't in 2010-2013 and parktronic which parked the car for you. In 2010-2013, it had guidance which basically just told you how to turn the steering wheel. I have it on my car, but have yet to use it as it's easier to just parallel park on my own. I'd just like to be able to watch it park on its own. But parktronic isn't that common an option so it may be a moot point if the car doesn't have it. If you look at the brochure, 2014+ just has a lot more goodies than 2013. Seems that 2014 has less complaints on here, but that may be because most of them are still under warranty so maybe once the bills start popping up, we'll get more complaints.

http://www.auto-brochures.com/mercedes_benz.html

Anyway, the latest you're thinking about is Magic body control, uses cameras to scan the road to adjust the suspension, that's on the S class. They had another item called ABC, which was Active body control on the older models. The problems with ABC would be that the lines would leak and there were a lot of lines so it was costly to fix.
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Old 04-07-2018, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Vistance View Post
I guess I'm just naturally skeptical, admittedly no I don't know anyone with an Audi/BMW/Mercedes but the people I know always seem to warn of repairs and repair costs. On something like an E550, I can at least see the potential given the typical air ride suspension or the twin turbos and so on. I love flagship luxury cars like the S-class, the A8, and 7-series, though I know all of those are costly on the upkeep due to the complexity. I honestly do not remember who had this, but I remember seeing one of the flagship cars had something that predicted the road you were about to drive over and dynamically adjust the suspension as you drive to counteract bumps and uneven pavement. Very awesome stuff, but I can see where that can get expensive if any component fails.

Did the '14+ have changes to the transmission? From what I saw, it looked like the '10 through '16 had the same 7 speed transmission. What ultimately was/is the issue that caused those shifts? I personally like a fast and quick shift, but I partake it to mean it's unpleasant in the way it shifts.
The folks that are warning you of repairs and repair costs are doing that with your best interests at heart. For example the dealer diagnosed my car to need engine mounts. The total bill is around $1750 if they do it. A local indy wants around $1300. In my view they are both ridiculous. They both want around $350 to do the rear mount. You can buy the OEM part for under $100 and it's an hour job tops. And oh by the way the B service that I just had performed essentially an oil change, brake fluid change and cabin filter was $554. The next service will require plugs, air filters, transmission fluid change, and will break $1K. I remember when Lynn Swan had a Porsche turbo and it required a $1k service and everyone was floored. LOL So that gives you some idea what these folks are talking about.

Its why people on the S Class boards swear up and down that they would never own one out of warranty. Lets say some guy got the hots for a 2004 SL500 and picked one that had not been maintained well because it was a "good deal" and then had to go to the dealer for service. The R203's have ABC suspension, SBC brakes (brake by wire) and an intricate folding top. All of those items plus the run of the mill repairs could easily overwhelm the market value of the car. It would not that big of a challenge to rack up $10-15k in repairs.
Take a 2007 S550 it has an engine that has a wear issue with the cam shaft mechanism, The transmission control units are prone to failure and it has the airmatic suspension.

Trust me I am probably one of the cheapest people on this board and I picked my car because it was fairly well depreciated, it was maintained by the book, and the W212's are solid cars so the risk of a big overwhelming bill is reasonably low (not nonexistent though if my transfer case goes belly up it will be a bad day and it has happened on this chassis). Some of the V8's have airmatic which will add to your risk. After market struts are about $600 a pop. Its an easy install as far as I can tell.

cetialpha5 gave you a good list of common problems I would add blower motors to that list. I have seen more that one replaced including my car.

Regarding the transmissions prior to 2014 they had the 7g tronic in 2014 they went to the 7g tronic plus . In theory the plus should be smoother shifting and more efficient. Here is the posting of one particularly unhappy owner of a 2014 E550
https://mbworld.org/forums/e-class-w...50-4matic.html

Part of the reason I believe the W212's to be more reliable is because during the early 2000's Mercedes reliability kind of sucked and they are trying to get back in the game. Having said that the introduction of the W205 wasn't very good. Years ago Mercedes were much more reliable than American cars. It's how I ended up here but that is a story for another day.

So it really comes down to your own personal financial threshold. Some people like predictable but potentially higher costs associated with depreciation and warranty's. In general the extended warranties are a good value. Others are more willing to role the dice in what they might perceive to be an educated fashion. But none of them are going to be a Honda when it comes to operating costs. But a Honda doesn't begin to offer the pleasure of driving one of these cars either.

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Old 04-07-2018, 07:53 PM
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^That is an excellent and comprehensive post. Iím sure the OP is learning a lot here from real users who drive and maintain these fine machines.
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Old 04-07-2018, 08:59 PM
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Thanks all for the thoughts, I used the day to look at a few different cars. I'll summarize each one briefly so I can get a better feel for whats good/bad and what to look for and avoid.

2010 E350 4Matic with around 67k miles for $16,750. I liked the low price on this one (weeks ago I looked at a '14 E350 4Matic that was $25k) and it looked good and had a decent service history. It was at a Lexus dealer known for good customer service, so I checked it out. Everything worked well on it, but at idle it vibrated quite a lot. About like I'd expect from a lower end car with a 4 cylinder. As it got going, it was smooth on the road and no issues. Come to a stop again, the vibration comes back and this is noticeably the engine vibrating. The sales person I worked with suggested opening it up to clear out any gunk, I happily obliged. I was rolling at a lower speed and the kickdown felt pretty good from there. Later on the highway I was going maybe 35-40 and nailed it again and this time it was pretty underwhelming. By this I mean I like a powerful car and at this moment it felt a bit sluggish. It climbed no problem but felt like it didn't kickdown mostly due to only being 268 HP in a car that size. I don't think it had an issue there, just that's all the oomph it has. It did idle smoother after that, but still vibrating more than I'd expect. Another sales person tried to tell me "it is a used car..." which I scoff at, I'm pretty sure that motor should be very smooth even with 100k miles more on it...

They recommended me look at a GS350, it was a few years newer maybe a '13 or '14. The manual mode was great on it unlike the Mercedes, though I admit it's not critical to me for how I want to drive the E350. Heated/cooled seats, all seemed pretty good. It was much smoother idling than the '10 E350, but it had more road noise and was not as refined feeling (It was also an F Sport). I liked a lot about it, the power was great but the price was a good bit more than the Mercedes and I don't care for the exterior looks nearly as much.

Lastly, I looked at a 2012 E350 4Matic for $21k and around 47k miles. Oddest of all, I saw BlueEfficiency badges on the fenders. In my head I'm thinking "Is this a diesel? I swore it was just a normal E350" and then saw it was a gasoline engine. I have never seen that badge before on an E-class, not sure if I'm just not observant or if only some have that. The power felt good on this one, I was pretty pleased with it. It had pretty warped front rotors and they made a lot of noise as I braked. Unlike the 2010, this one was very smooth at idle. I turned the blower fan down and genuinely thought "Does this have auto start stop?" and looked down and saw about 600 RPM idle. Lovely! This is what I would expect from a Mercedes. It also had the active assist stuff (Lane departure, driver awakeness, and blindspot monitoring), normally I don't care about that stuff as I'm an enthusiast when it comes to driving but unlike some I won't complain to have those cool features. I felt it do its job as I slightly drifted in a lane, very cool.

One negative of both E-class though, no fold down rear seats. I could swear the '14 I looked at had that, and I assumed all E-class had fold down rear seats. Is this not the case? As silly as it may seem, that's a big one for me so I can haul larger items in the car. I'm giving up a truck which I don't need due to its large size and gas thirst, but I still need a car that can haul a fair amount of bulky large things. I hate SUVs so that is completely ruled out. A wagon would be fine, but those are hard to come by in general and especially in E-class (Plus they are always more expensive). I like to be at a lower price point since this is a second car for me (I intend to sell my Maxima and truck, so I would have my Z06 and the Mercedes only). Were fold down rear seats an option on the 2010-2013 E350 or is that something that was only available on '14+ E-classes?

Also, is there a way when using the paddles to actually force manual mode? The only way I saw to do anything was to pull down and I'd see D6, D5, etc. and if I just went up it would go D5, D6, D. Is there no M mode to force manual shifts only? Also is there no way to manually shift into 7th gear via the paddles? I agree with sentiments about Honda reliability and their excitement. To be honest, I like Lexus quite a bit but their styling doesn't speak to me as much otherwise I respect them a great deal. The Lexus sales person suggested a late model Avalon, I've seen their interior they are surprisingly nice. But the design language again does not speak to me at all. Speaking of design language, I actually normally really like Audi A8's (as well as most flagship luxury sedans) but I saw what had to be a very new one today and genuinely thought "That's a weird looking A4". Though me personally, I have a harder time telling the newest C, E, and S classes apart. The older ones where much more distinct.

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Old 04-07-2018, 09:24 PM
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Fold down seats have always been an option. What is your budget? Look at 2014 E550ís. The face lift model is a one year only version and then the TTV8 was dropped. If you have a ZO6 this is a car you will appreciate. It can be tuned to close to 600 HP for $2,500 and is a rocket ship. The 550 cars come with standard options as well, like leather interior. You know the 350 is not leather, right?
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Old 04-07-2018, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by KEY08 View Post
Fold down seats have always been an option. What is your budget? Look at 2014 E550ís. The face lift model is a one year only version and then the TTV8 was dropped. If you have a ZO6 this is a car you will appreciate. It can be tuned to close to 600 HP for $2,500 and is a rocket ship. The 550 cars come with standard options as well, like leather interior. You know the 350 is not leather, right?
I'm really trying to be around $20k or less and just sticking with an E350 4Matic. I'd consider a RWD one, but it snows here and I really don't want to chance it on all seasons with RWD or buy winter/summer tires (I have that problem on my Z06, however I just put summer tires on it and don't drive it when it's cold out). If I wanted to sell my Z06, I'm sure I could be content with one of the V8 powered Mercedes though I'd lean more towards AMG (but now there go those reasonable repair costs and reliability thanks to the extra power and suspension stuff). I enjoy having a raw noisy 6-speed manual experience in the Corvette when I want to, so I would like my other car to be the opposite while still retaining just a tad of sportiness. But more than anything I just don't want something too slow. The older AMGs I could afford would only be RWD anyway which would kinda rule them out unless I want to buy some awful cheap beater car for peanuts to drive in the winter. I'd prefer to have two decent cars than one really nice one and one really cheap/crap one.

Practicality speaking, a GTI would probably be a good fit since it can haul a decent amount, fair on gas, and pretty fun to drive without being too pricey. But GTIs and hatchbacks in general look so juvenile, I like the more grown up look of the E350. I'm nearing 30, so most my age would go for the fun car and "Who cares" on the luxury but I hate to look like all the other fools my age when I have always since I started driving liked big cushy comfortable cars. Ha, I would consider a flagship luxury car (under warranty) if it wouldn't make me look like a drug dealer or someone borrowing my parent's car. I appreciate comfort and luxury quite a lot, and after looking at Mercedes and Lexus today it seems even harder to ever look at things like Nissans and Hondas and such. They're good dependable cars, but they just lack that certain je ne sais quoi of a luxury marquee.
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Old 04-07-2018, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Vistance View Post
I'm really trying to be around $20k or less and just sticking with an E350 4Matic. I'd consider a RWD one, but it snows here and I really don't want to chance it on all seasons with RWD or buy winter/summer tires (I have that problem on my Z06, however I just put summer tires on it and don't drive it when it's cold out). If I wanted to sell my Z06, I'm sure I could be content with one of the V8 powered Mercedes though I'd lean more towards AMG (but now there go those reasonable repair costs and reliability thanks to the extra power and suspension stuff). I enjoy having a raw noisy 6-speed manual experience in the Corvette when I want to, so I would like my other car to be the opposite while still retaining just a tad of sportiness. But more than anything I just don't want something too slow. The older AMGs I could afford would only be RWD anyway which would kinda rule them out unless I want to buy some awful cheap beater car for peanuts to drive in the winter. I'd prefer to have two decent cars than one really nice one and one really cheap/crap one.

Practicality speaking, a GTI would probably be a good fit since it can haul a decent amount, fair on gas, and pretty fun to drive without being too pricey. But GTIs and hatchbacks in general look so juvenile, I like the more grown up look of the E350. I'm nearing 30, so most my age would go for the fun car and "Who cares" on the luxury but I hate to look like all the other fools my age when I have always since I started driving liked big cushy comfortable cars. Ha, I would consider a flagship luxury car (under warranty) if it wouldn't make me look like a drug dealer or someone borrowing my parent's car. I appreciate comfort and luxury quite a lot, and after looking at Mercedes and Lexus today it seems even harder to ever look at things like Nissans and Hondas and such. They're good dependable cars, but they just lack that certain je ne sais quoi of a luxury marquee.

You don't even want to know what it costs to put brakes on an AMG E Class. If you can be happy with a Lexus I would recommend that. For me Mercedes are my drug of choice.

Last edited by MBNUT1; 04-07-2018 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 04-07-2018, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by MBNUT1 View Post
You don't even want to know what it costs to put brakes on an AMG E Class. If you can be happy with a Lexus I would recommend that. For me Mercedes are my drug of choice.
This is the one cost aspect that I guess never made sense to me. What do luxury sport cars do that makes brakes/rotors so expensive? Do they make some proprietary rotor or brake pad that there is literally no alternative other than buying from the OEM? I believe I can get Brembo blanks for like $80 a piece, OEM for just a tad more, or if I want to go crazy and put some upgraded drilled/slotted rotors they're $190/ea front and $170/ea rear. What on earth do they do to make them cost so much? Edit: Oops, forgot to mention the brake prices were for my Z06 which I assume would be more costly than just a normal car).

I get it to avoid costly things like the AMG or an S-class (If you can't afford the price nearly new, don't buy one used for a lot less), but would an E350 really have that much higher running costs than a GS350? Still, my biggest negative with Lexus is just they don't look as good. They're not bad looking cars, but I just don't know about that trapezoid thing they have going on in the newer ones. The interior did not feel as nice as the Mercedes, but it wasn't far off IMO.

Last edited by Vistance; 04-07-2018 at 11:09 PM.
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Old 04-07-2018, 10:52 PM
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Use datamb.com to see what options the car has. The fold down rear seat was option code 287. The active curve lights are 640 and those come with auto high beams on 2014+. Standard seats are MB-tex on E350's, it was an extra cost option to get real leather but it was standard on E550's. E550's also had cooled seats in addition to heated seats, but it became an option in certain years on the E350. The holy grail for an E350 would be parktronic, lighting package, driver assistance package, keyless go, power trunk closer, rear entertainment package, pano roof, real leather, active seats. A car with two or three of those missing is really hard to find.
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Old 04-07-2018, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Vistance View Post
This is the one cost aspect that I guess never made sense to me. What do luxury sport cars do that makes brakes/rotors so expensive? Do they make some proprietary rotor or brake pad that there is literally no alternative other than buying from the OEM? I believe I can get Brembo blanks for like $80 a piece, OEM for just a tad more, or if I want to go crazy and put some upgraded drilled/slotted rotors they're $190/ea front and $170/ea rear. What on earth do they do to make them cost so much?
I believe it's the calipers, regular E350 is single piston, E550 I think is 4 piston and AMG might be 6 piston. They go up in cost as you go from E550 to AMG. I guess it boils down to needing to be able stop a car at really high speeds the further you go up the line. You're better off with an E350, brakes are relatively cheap compared to the E550/AMG. You can even do a pad slap which is what I did for my rears. E550 has lots of warped rotors OEM although people had better luck with aftermarket. AMG ones are more like 2k for rotors and pads, at least OEM, slightly cheaper with aftermarket.
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Old 04-07-2018, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by cetialpha5 View Post
Use datamb.com to see what options the car has. The fold down rear seat was option code 287. The active curve lights are 640 and those come with auto high beams on 2014+. Standard seats are MB-tex on E350's, it was an extra cost option to get real leather but it was standard on E550's. E550's also had cooled seats in addition to heated seats, but it became an option in certain years on the E350. The holy grail for an E350 would be parktronic, lighting package, driver assistance package, keyless go, power trunk closer, rear entertainment package, pano roof, real leather, active seats. A car with two or three of those missing is really hard to find.
Thanks, that's a pretty handy site. Is there somewhere that breaks down the major options to look for using that? Only the 2012 did not have keyless go, does that mean you have to manually unlock the doors as you get in it or can you do it by touching the door handle and you just have to stick the key in instead of the push button?

Darn. I just looked at another '14 that the dealer that showed me the other '14 I looked at was wanting to show me. Has the genuine leather, forward collision warning, active park assist, lane recognition, the fold down rear seats, keyless go, surround view, lighting package, and heated + air conditioned seats. That has plenty of features I'd like to have, but I'm scared of the '14-'16s...sigh, I do really like the way they look too. The older ones look great but I don't think the newer one looks worse like I know some do. I'd happily take either if it had the things I wanted if reliability were the same...

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Old 04-07-2018, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Vistance View Post
Thanks, that's a pretty handy site. Is there somewhere that breaks down the major options to look for using that? Only the 2012 did not have keyless go, does that mean you have to manually unlock the doors as you get in it or can you do it by touching the door handle and you just have to stick the key in instead of the push button?

Darn. I just looked at another '14 that the dealer that showed me the other '14 I looked at was wanting to show me. Has the genuine leather, forward collision warning, active park assist, lane recognition, the fold down rear seats, keyless go, surround view, lighting package, and heated + air conditioned seats. That has plenty of features I'd like to have, but I'm scared of the '14-'16s...sigh, I do really like the way they look too. The older ones look great but I don't think the newer one looks worse like I know some do. I'd happily take either if it had the things I wanted if reliability were the same...
They always had keyless go, 2012 was probably part of the P2 package which was bixenons and keyless go. The button on the ignition comes off, lots of cars with keyless go are missing the button, but you can just buy it on eBay for like $15, but it only works if the car itself has keyless go as an option. I think either the dealers steal them to sell on eBay or some buyer steal them when test driving to sell on eBay. Or they put them away and put them on when they sell the car.

Forward collision warning is kinda standard on 2014+. I think the 2014+ seem pretty reliable, most of the stuff posted so far is mostly minor or one off stuff that's probably rare. Like the aux battery for eco start/stop failing is pretty common. Check this site for options or read the brochure. Just change the year in the URL for different years. Once you select a model, click on features further down to see the options list.

http://www.motortrend.com/cars/merce.../e-class/2014/

http://www.auto-brochures.com/mercedes_benz.html
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Old 04-07-2018, 11:39 PM
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I see you own an 2003 Z06. I've owned a couple Vettes, a 1996 LT4 and 2005 C6 that I upgraded cam, heads, headers, 4:11 rearend, tune, etc. But, I have to say of all the cars I've owned the one that continues to bring me the most fun is my 2011 E550 4matic. Fantastic car with tons of power. The car gets 26 mpg on the freeway at 80 mph. I would highly recommend driving the E550 before you settle on an E350. I purchased mine as a CPO and upgraded to the four year bumper to bumper warranty. I have just under a year left on it. The only real warranty items have been the rear suspension and command center mouse. It started dropping over night so MB replaced everything. They also replaced the mouse. My only complaint is the warping front rotors. The dealer replaced the first set and I replaced them the next time. I've put about 40k miles on the car in three years and hope to keep it for a while.
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Old 04-08-2018, 01:14 AM
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+1 for the 550 and the V8.
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Old 04-08-2018, 02:11 AM
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Originally Posted by cetialpha5 View Post
They always had keyless go, 2012 was probably part of the P2 package which was bixenons and keyless go. The button on the ignition comes off, lots of cars with keyless go are missing the button, but you can just buy it on eBay for like $15, but it only works if the car itself has keyless go as an option. I think either the dealers steal them to sell on eBay or some buyer steal them when test driving to sell on eBay. Or they put them away and put them on when they sell the car.

Forward collision warning is kinda standard on 2014+. I think the 2014+ seem pretty reliable, most of the stuff posted so far is mostly minor or one off stuff that's probably rare. Like the aux battery for eco start/stop failing is pretty common. Check this site for options or read the brochure. Just change the year in the URL for different years. Once you select a model, click on features further down to see the options list.

http://www.motortrend.com/cars/merce.../e-class/2014/

http://www.auto-brochures.com/mercedes_benz.html
Oh, so all the ones with that big silver push button that just pulls off? Like if you just grab it with a fingernail and pull will it pop off? That is so bizarre, but does answer the question I had of why the key is shaped like it should fit into a keyhole yet there is none to be found. All the ones I looked at had it save the last 2012 I looked at. If I just pushed on that ignition "button" without the cover, would it have still started? I instinctively just thought to stick the key in it and turn to start it. I have been googling the brochures for each model year to check the available features, but the mbdata site seems like it will be helpful to me since I really want the fold down rear seats. Still not sure why this would not be standard on most cars, I cannot think of any typical non-luxury cars that don't have this in the last 15 years or so. Maybe not super necessary, but conversely I don't think anyone has ever said "I hate that my backseats can lay down for more cargo space!" I guess most people just buy an SUV or something now for hauling...ugh, I dread the thought.

Originally Posted by ilovemaui1 View Post
I see you own an 2003 Z06. I've owned a couple Vettes, a 1996 LT4 and 2005 C6 that I upgraded cam, heads, headers, 4:11 rearend, tune, etc. But, I have to say of all the cars I've owned the one that continues to bring me the most fun is my 2011 E550 4matic. Fantastic car with tons of power. The car gets 26 mpg on the freeway at 80 mph. I would highly recommend driving the E550 before you settle on an E350. I purchased mine as a CPO and upgraded to the four year bumper to bumper warranty. I have just under a year left on it. The only real warranty items have been the rear suspension and command center mouse. It started dropping over night so MB replaced everything. They also replaced the mouse. My only complaint is the warping front rotors. The dealer replaced the first set and I replaced them the next time. I've put about 40k miles on the car in three years and hope to keep it for a while.
Don't get me wrong, I personally love luxury cars with V8s. I looked at an LS430 a few years ago and while a different kind of car (I know, it's an "old man car") there is something so right IMO about luxury sedans and a nice smooth V8. I looked at a 328i with the 4 cylinder turbo after I convinced myself to check it out (It was a wagon which I really liked the idea of), I was impressed with the power for such a small motor. But at idle, it vibrated and buzzed and I'm not so sure that's not just because it's a 4 cylinder...I wish there was an NA V8 option on the E-Class in W212 trim, I just worry about turbos and the like with more maintenance costs on a car that will definitely cost more to maintain than a more run of the mill one. Also isn't it much harder to find an E550 without the Airmatic suspension? I know for maximum reliability, air suspensions should be avoided on basically all cars since it's a weak point and a high cost repair item.

From my searching too, the E550 seems far harder to find then E350s. I question the ability to find one for a price that's around $20k without getting much higher miles. I can be convinced to be ridiculous, but the rational part of me is thinking it would probably be stupid to have a V8 sports car via my Z06 and then a V8 luxury sedan as my two methods of transportation. I will have nothing capable of better gas mileage, not that that is a major concern of mine but still I'd hate to pigeonhole myself like that. I'm sure I'd very much like an E550, save for any possible extra repairs needed. The E350 is pretty basic by comparison, no?
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