THos isn't a BMW Ultimate driving machine. Once you get past that and recognize that the M-B and BMW have different missions, each can be judged on its own merits.
I was once a BMW guy. 3 series, 5 series, all great drivers cars. The 5, an E39, was also a supremely comfortable car as well. But all that was a while ago, and I just want to be really comfortable, and in a car that handles well (I'm not going to track the car). Given that portfolio, the E350 does quite well. The engine is smooth and powerful. The transmission is very smooth and the steering, while not the most tactile (uh, neither is a 5 series' anymore), is competent. The car is quiet and rides well.
Lots of controls which could be daunting but I figured everything out by 2nd day I had the car. Surprisingly, I get better highway MPG than I do on my other car, a 2009 Honda Accord V6. navi has not sent me he wrong way yet, Bluetooth works well, and music register is a hoot. Back seat is very roomy. Gauges are clear and easy to read. MB-Tex is a convincing simulation. Audio system is good.
Cons? Seat bolster are fairly aggressive- but that's been my experience with 4 other German cars I've previously owned. Controls are generally firmer than on a Honda- but that's just a matter of getting used to things. As is the location of he cruise control stalk vs. the turn signal stalk.
Rear seat legroom tight for adults, but great for kids. Shoulder room in front is better than my 550SL. Otherwise this is one fantastic ride. Had ours four (4) years now, and only two small trim details needed dealer attention/repair. Went through front tires @ 25K miles, but rear tires ok to 35K.+ Replacing the P-zero's with Michelin tires for extended wear. I'm sure the original sticky Pirelli's were on there for performance and ride comfort. Lastly, NO Wind noise at 105 mph in west TX. Never had a convertible that was tomb quiet. Overall great value for the money, and sharp looking ride to boot. We got every option and only complaint is nav. system is hard to get used to for a tech. luddite, and methinks nav. sys. is better on my phone.
Our first Mercedes was a 2008 R350 which we really like. It has lots more room on the inside than it looks and is really comfortable on long trips. Our second Mercedes was a 2012 C250. I opted for this because there was about a $35,000 difference in it and the E350 Cabriolet that we actually wanted. Well now that the prices on the 2012 E350 Cabriolets have depreciated we made the jump and obtained our third Mercedes. AND WE LOVE IT.... It is a GREAT car. It is EVERYTHING we hoped it would be and more. We are looking forward to enjoying this car for years to come...... UPDATE--- it is now March 29, 2016---- Summer 2016 is going to be GREAT with the E Cabriolet.... In the process of searching for a GL450 to replace our aging 2008 R350.
2012 Mercedes-Benz E-Class E350 Luxury 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl 7A)
The car oozes style. Nice trim, sleek interior...it's definitely a head turner. I love the fact that I can cruise at 85 and it feels like 65. Also, it has some power when you need it. Handling is nice and smooth and can turn on a dime. Sunroof adds a little sporty look to the classy feel.
*update* Just a few cons - The rear view doesn't auto adjust when memory is set. - Temperature control via voice command. I had a 2007 Lexus IS350 and I could lower and raise the temperature settings via voice control. Not sure why this wasn't added.