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View Full Version : Drove a 2003 MB 500E today


Dan
09-15-2002, 04:14 PM
I was invited to the MB E "event", where they had numerous 2003 model 500E's and 320E's to test drive, lots of good food and drink, free massages (kudos to MB for that one), a Sony 60" WEGA LCD widescreen hdtv (best tv I have ever seen- I'd get one if I had the room, but I don't - it is enormous), and some kind of fashion show (always a marketing tie in these days).

The 500E looks great on the outside, and the interior is not bad. It is very fast, and has excellent brakes. Unfortunately, it was not fun to drive at all. The steering, while not overly light, feels very artificial. Handling is competent, but not inspiring. Ride comfort is ok. Problems: 1. this car was not engineered for an enthusiast - it is not having any fun while being pushed - it doesn't complain, but it fails to encourage enthusiastic driving. The link between driver and machine just doesn't feel anywhere near as direct as in a 3 or 5 series. 2. the interior quality, both in materials and execution, was lacking. The console rattled the entire time, the cupholder is an overly-engineered joke that looks like it will break after the second week of ownership, the radio and climate controls are anything but intuitive.

Bottom Line: For most non-enthusiasts, the new E would be a nice car if it was priced in the mid-40's. Unfortunately, the 500E with popular options is over $60,000, and it doesn't feel like it is worth the asking price. I remember when Mercedes Benz built their cars to a true quality standard, and their products felt like they were carved out of a single block of stone - incredibly solid automobiles that truly were engineered like no other cars. Sadly, that day is long gone - the traditional MB feel is no longer present in their 2002 and 2003 models.

nate
09-15-2002, 04:33 PM
Originally posted by Dan
The link between driver and machine just doesn't feel anywhere near as direct as in a 3 or 5 series.

Wose than the E46!?!?!

It must be undriveable! :yikes:

Dan
09-15-2002, 04:46 PM
Personally, I find the E46 to have better feel (except for the 2001 models with the overboosted steering), and a more direct linkage between driver and machine than any of its competitors, save the IS300. I've driven a few E36's and an E36M3, and there is more direct linkage in the E36 than in the e46, but for my purposes, the E46 is fine. By the way, I'd take an E46 over a MB 320E - the MB is not as much fun to drive as the E46 is.

AF
09-15-2002, 05:04 PM
Originally posted by Dan
(except for the 2001 models with the overboosted steering),

My 2001 has THE BEST steering feel of ANY E46 I ever drove . . . BTW it's retrofitted so whatever they did, they did a Damn good job.

I've driven 99',2000's, 2001's and 2002's and while I maintaint that the 2002 is 'the best' of them all due to other contributing factors, my 2001 has the best 'feel' when turning . . .

ashecnc
09-15-2002, 05:33 PM
Originally posted by Alan F


My 2001 has THE BEST steering feel of ANY E46 I ever drove . . . BTW it's retrofitted so whatever they did, they did a Damn good job.

I've driven 99',2000's, 2001's and 2002's and while I maintaint that the 2002 is 'the best' of them all due to other contributing factors, my 2001 has the best 'feel' when turning . . .

take that back..my steering is great in my 2000, the one before the screw up....the loaners I have had in the past purely suck big ***** for sure :thumbup:

rost12
09-15-2002, 07:26 PM
Originally posted by Dan

Bottom Line: For most non-enthusiasts, the new E would be a nice car if it was priced in the mid-40's. Unfortunately, the 500E with popular options is over $60,000, and it doesn't feel like it is worth the asking price. I remember when Mercedes Benz built their cars to a true quality standard, and their products felt like they were carved out of a single block of stone - incredibly solid automobiles that truly were engineered like no other cars. Sadly, that day is long gone - the traditional MB feel is no longer present in their 2002 and 2003 models.

Wow, from MBWorld.org responses you'd think that new E classe was pretty good. I guess noone there ever drove a bimmer ;)

fuz
09-15-2002, 07:58 PM
MB makes good luxury cars. However, when pushed, they push back. They are highly resistant to all that is not smooth. Their cars feel capable, but are designed with this highly annoying (to me) invisible wall, that you hit every time you want to let the car loose. It just puts a very firm grip on anything that you try to do, and it feels very suffocating. :thumbdwn:

If all you care about is a smooth ride, it's fine, but I prefer to have a little more fun.

toshweir27
09-15-2002, 08:45 PM
You have to respect MB for what they are trying to reach. They produce some of the greatest engines known throughout the automotive world. Their cars are just tuned to a different audience. If you are in that audience you would be amazed. My father loves MB. I myself love BMW. The E55 (500E) is a great car in it's own right.

rost12
09-16-2002, 04:50 AM
Originally posted by toshweir27
They produce some of the greatest engines known throughout the automotive world.

Maybe my memory is off, but AFAIK MB did not get any awards for best engines at last year awards. BMW did get a couple :) I think Honda got one too. Don't remeber and MB engines there.

toshweir27
09-16-2002, 07:37 AM
Merecedes has made great engines for a long long time. One year being off some list means nothing.

TopazTim325
09-16-2002, 10:16 AM
Hey Dan,

I got invited to this event too and will be attending in October (Golden Gate Fields, San Francisco). How was the course layout? Was there actually enough drive time to get a feel for the car?

I remember last year I was invited to a similar event just after MB launched the C Coupe. They had an IS 300, an A4 (previous gen), a couple of C coupes, a couple of C sedans and a 325i Premium. The event that was supposed to convince me to buy an MB actually convinced me that my 325i was the best choice! :)

Dan
09-16-2002, 07:11 PM
Tim: The course was laid out pretty well - a long straight (they called it the acceleration run), some S turns, a few 90 degree turns. It was similar to the C event course. There was not that much drive time on the course. I've been to many of these ride and drives, and this was the first one where I drove the course one time and didn't get back in line for more. The car is very uninspiring for enthusiastic driving - I simply had no desire to take any more hot laps. Also, they had no comparison cars there. Had there been a 540i, I certainly would have driven the course many more times (but in the BMW, not the MB).