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.
This is my mercedes car No 5. Leased on 2-27-12. Ondrive home from dealership open hood signal was on It took some effort by 3 people to shut hood. next week A/C was not working, took it to dealership they fixed it. Some leaky valve I was told. on 3-21-12 dead battery.Car was towed to dealership on 3-22-12 new battery installed. Car is still at dealership we are trying to work with them. Road side service is overloaded with calls asking to call back unless it is an emergency. Looks like Lots of lemons on road. One review on cars.com is very alarming.
Always love Mercedes This one has some serious Problems
If you have high call volume for Road side assist, hire more people to answer phone and take care of customers.Nobody calling roadside assist without an emergency.