MB has produced an exceptional car with the near perfect ingredients of sport, luxury, comfort, convenience, and versatility. I have admittedly drank the cool aide on top down motoring. This is my sixth convertible (1964 Corvair Monza Spyder, 1966 Corvair Corsa, 1978 Fiat 124 Spider, 2001 SLK350, 2006 SC430). My assessment is based on those and other driving experiences (I've driven many other great convertibles: Mustangs, Corvettes, Porsches, BMWs, Audis). I have less than 10k miles on the car and yet I find myself inordinately happier with each passing mile (a first for someone who is considered a total car [violative content deleted], buying more than 30 new car over the last 25 years, yes my wife is encouraging me to get therapy).
This is my 6th Benz since '88, and my 4th convertible. It is a major step up from the 2 CLK's I owned (03 and 05), and it is, naturally, much more car than the 07 SLK I traded in for this one. The quality of all the interior materials and finishes is excellent, the top works smoothly and quickly, and when closed it rides extremely quietly for a soft-top. The navigation system is vastly improved over the horrible SLK system I endured for 3+ years (which was an insult at over $2K), and, surprise!, the Germans have figured out cup-holders finally! But seriously, it is a solid, extremely well built car.
We purchased a certified MB from a Benz dealer in NY. The car had 40k after 2 months engine ticking when starting. Bring it in oh we can't hear it. OK 6 months later now it's louder. Bring it in, leave it 2 weeks ok we hear it and it's a known Tech bulletin. Service advisor says 2 months we need to order a new motor from the assembly line. Then calls back and says your VIN # does not fall into this category so we will rebuild yours here. Replaced all main engine bearings. A month later pick it up no more noise but now it has a vibration at 4200 rpm. Dealer says can find it. A year and a half go by now 70k. The trim on the driver's door falls off, license plate light goes out, its a hid bulb and 3hrs labor. Battery goes dead, you can only get this battery at MB it's 300$. The last straw for us was the airbag recall. We get the notice, I call MB they say we don't know when where getting the bags just be patient. OK ,a month later it hits the news and we get a call from MB saying don't drive or drive at your own risk. I was happy to tell them we sold it. Funny thing they never even asked who purchased it. Not bitter just wanted to pass our experience along, make your own decisions. I own 5 cars at the moment and had always wanted a Benz. So that's why it's the 2 happiest days of my life, the day you get it and the day you sell it.
We picked up this little jewel in June and, to date, have already clocked on 10K. The wife complains about getting in and out of the vehicle but I think it is just right. The car corners and brakes excellent but somewhat sluggish in Comfort Drive or whatever you call it. Should of opted to the V8 version. The interior is well designed and easy to maintain. The body style and appeal is a killer, a real head turner on the road. We are surprised with the lack of road noise especially being a convertible. Great sound system.
By far the most comprehensive car I have ever owned. Love the engineering in the car. Large enough to fit my family of four and luggage as well with top down. Very impressed with the interior style and electronics are state of the art.
There's an optimal wisp of spin that gets the E350 off the line smartly, but ultimately it makes little difference. Consistent runs across the board. Upshifts at redline whether in Comfort or Sport mode.
Belt-cinching with each full-ABS panic stop from 60 mph. Acceptable amount of fade without pedal effort change. Short distance for a 2-ton convertible.
Slalom: Good balance and crisp turn-in had me smacking cones with the rear wheels, forcing me to take what felt like a wide line. Eventually, understeer became the limiting factor. However, having the ESC on eliminated the understeer and improved the ultimate speed through the cones. Skid pad: Remarkable amount of grip here -- more even than E550 coupe. Easy to balance with the throttle to maintain smooth, consistent arc with ESC off. Steering is a little "distant" but has the precision and feel of a sports car. With ESC on, it subtly keeps the car dead on the painted line with no steering.