This is my first and last Mercedes. I've owned this care for maybe seven weeks. In that time it has been in for repairs on three different occasions, because the engine light was on. It is still in the shop and has been for the last 15 days with no end in sight. Told it is a gas problem, then no compression in one cylinder, then cam shaft slipped causing scoring. They have no clue. I own a Mercedes and ride the bus.
Three major problems resulting in overnite service: Emergency brake release came completely out of dashboard; could not move vehicle. Harness for seatbags defective and had to be replaced. Starter key went "dead" after 17,000 mi. Could not reset clock for daylight time, nor could three dealer service personnel! Confusing option "sets" on steering wheel. etc etc
We decided we needed seating for 6-7, but didn't want an SUV. That left the E series and the Volvo V70. The E350 is beautiful, well-appointed and comfortable/luxurious. The suspension and steering, however, are softer than they should be, especially if you are used to driving a BMW with sports suspension (or even an Audi). The Volvo V70 R was sportier in power and handling, and had WAY better front seats (the most comfortable seats I have ever sat in, in fact), but was too stark/dark in the cockpit. Probably, upgrading to the E55 Wagon solves the problem, but for $35k more, that's insane. Come on Mercedes, make it handle more like a German driving machine!
I was skeptical to buy a Mercedes, and felt it may be over priced, but it has been worth the money. Compared to other high end manufacturers, Mercedes drivers recieve the best overall performance and feel of a luxury car.