I picked up my new wagon on Saturday, and drove it from Philly to Baltimore and back on Sunday. Overall, a very good ride. Incredibly comfortable and great stereo. Decent cornering, but the engine could use another 40 hp.
Late August pick-up (2k miles so far) - luxury, obsidian black, almond/mocha leather, P1, wood steering wheel. Beautifully built, highly refined. Standout interior w/ excellent stereo, very comfortable seats, good noise insulation. Very smooth at highway speeds, yet holds well on sharp on/off ramps. However, MB misses in two areas. 1st, engine is a bit underpowered for car's size. 2nd, mediocre 7-speed trans. Specifically, shifting keeps RPMs too low when accelerating unless peddle to the floor (so much for 2 overdrives), sport mode does nothing, does not adapt to driving style (contrary to advertising). A very good car, but needs some work. A shame BMW no longer makes the 5 wagon.
We were happy to welcome the 2011 wagon into our family. We owned a 2000 wagon, and contemplated purchasing the body style that came in between, but found it too small for our taste. The 2011 wagon, while not as quite as large as its predecessor 2 generations ago, is much roomier inside than the model that launched in 2004. Wagons seem to attract a dedicated audience, and deservedly so. This model is beautiful to look inside and out. It offers the utility of an SUV and the drive of a car. The third row remains one of our favorite features, not only for its ability to carry two (small)l people but also for its ability to hold grocery bags upright. More luxurious, more powerful. Winner.
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.