Our 2000 Desert Silver E320 is great fun to drive. It is a wolf in sheep's clothing. When driven easily, it is quiet & dignified. However, stomp on the gas or use the manual-shift feature & the car takes off like a rocket. Handling is also superb. Interior design is traditional Mercedes and looks like a million bucks as does the exterior (particularly the front-end). While the powertrain & cosmetics are first- rate, the electronics need much improvement in the way of reliability. Most recently, the CD player has stopped working. The radio unit thinks that the CD magazine is empty when it is full. Result? CD player inoperative. The 2003 E-class does not look as good (inside & out). Great car.
Exterior & interior styling are great. Road performance is excellent. Interior wood is beautiful. Body is solid & robust. In fact, the sheet metal feels about twice as thick as that used in our new '05 Lexus RX330. Brand cache is good for snob appeal, if you are into that. Gas mileage is excellent.
Improve the reliability of the electronics. The problems many people experience are, I believe, due to poor component design, not problems at the assembly line. Example: make the visor vanity mirror open all the way instead of only to 90. Cover is fitted with tiny plastic tips that break off easily.