An all-around performer
The front shock absorbers were faulty (sounded loose in rough terrains) and were replaced (at 5000 km) at no cost. Nevertheless, the problem is still there, but sounds tighter than before. Now the dealer says there's nothing wrong with it.
The left side view mirror does not return (2 out of 5 times) to its original position. A quick remedy is to unfold it by hand and press the button twice to fold and unfold again.
When using the supplied car phone system (the car did not come with the required Nokia 6310i, the driver can hear the person on the other end very clearly, sounds come out of all speakers. However, the other person hears loud static/pink noise, which seems to be continuous. 'Everyone' I talked to on that phone gives the same comment.
Even though passengers and driver cannot hear very much of the noise from outside the car, when talking on the phone, people standing around the car can hear every word spoken through the sound system.
The parktronic system sounds unexpectedly when driving above 20 km/h. This happens once in a while, but when it happens, it repeats itself several times, until you turn off the parktronic system. Sometimes a wet leaf will block the sensors, but this is not the case. The led shows errors not proximity.
The E240-2.6 W211 in Thailand (assembled in Thailand) comes with a 3-year parts and labor warranty when buying from an authorized Mercedes Benz dealer. Nevertheless, the warranty is void if an owner make any modifications to his/her car. This is quite frustrating for owners with a lead foot. The car's suspension is adequate for average speed, but when pushed close to its limit, the suspension as well as the 16 inch wheels and tires cannot cope with harsh driving. The modifications can be made to the car however, but only AMG products are allowed and must be bought from the dealer. Therefore, upgrading wheels and tires, or the suspension, that are not AMGs will void the warranty. Usually, any AMG products sold by the dealers are more expensive than acquiring them from gray-market dealers.
The sound system is very good for a factory system.
The space for the rear passengers is tighter than the predecessor, the W210, nevertheless quite roomy and comfortable.
On smooth roads, the car rides very smoothly.
The 4th gear red-lines to 5th around 200 km/h. Once the 5th is engaged, torque is very low and drivers are discouraged from going any faster. At 200 km/h however, the car is amazingly stable for a non-performance sedan.
The interior design is world-class. smooth lines everywhere.
I find the tiptronic gearing awkward. Instead of the logical ups and downs (plus and minus), it is left for downshifts, and right for upshifts. With the mileage 11000 kilometers under the foot, it still feels awkward.
When trouble comes, I would rather be driving a W124, where not everything is electrical. With the W211, it is almost all electrical, which can be quite expensive to fix.
In conclusion, this W211 is far better in all aspects (except repair costs) than the W210 (E230) and the W124 (E280). A good all-around car, with enough power for an average driver. For fast drivers, go for the E500 or the E55 AMG. Otherwise, the E220 or 270 CDi is also a very good choice.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 2nd March, 2004