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.
Ordered in June after driving 2005 demo. 2006 arrived with no arm rest; roll top desk top instead. After 5 weeks, driven it only about 100 miles. When I go to use it I think "sore elbow," and use a different car. I have a C240 wagon and until recently a CL600. Both had a plastic runner at the bottom of the door opening. This one has fabric - great for attracting stains. Mercedes appears to consider its customers incompetent when it comes to lowering the back seats. An interlock moves the passenger seat forward, after which it might just accommodate a five- year-old. All kinds of hassle to overide this interlock so as to be able to use the seat. Wonderful vehicle spoiled by dumb design.
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!