The 140 was a technoligical marvel when introduced, find a lexus of the same vintage with the convience features and technology of the 140. Yep, it had problems but, what do you expect from loads of new tech in one car?
I've been a toyota tech, replaced a bunch of v6 short blocks, headgaskets, transmissions and so on. I've been a Benz tech, did a lot of electrical work, some engine work, headgaskets on 103's & 104's, blocks fitted with pistons on 112's, some tranny work, freewheels, valvebodys etc...
There also are signifcant differences in suspension, brake and SRS technology, most Lexus suspensions for example are nothing more than Macpherson strut technology that has been around since the days of air cooled VW's. Whereas Benz's tends to push this tecnolgy further in their unequal lenght control arm suspensions that are more stabile(spl?) and provide better road manners. (ever looped a front drive car, yehhaaaaaa, all you can do is wait for the ride to end)
3 major differences in Jap versus German engineering.
1) the japs have no clue of body tuning and rigidity, their bodys tend to move down the harmonic range as they age and get progessivly more noisey.
2) the germans have no clue of how to real world r&d technology prior to turning it loose on the general public. However, they do a wonderful job of body tuning.
3) no manufactors, german, jap, american, european or otherwise avioded the plague of OBD2 check engine lights very well. However, in my experience, the germans made it easier to repair.
Now, here is a challenge for you, find me a ES300 with over 200k miles on it, compare it to my Moms 300te with 200k on it, notice several things, interior quality, smoothness, noise level, trim fit and finish and most of all overall feling of quality. (the TE has had a few relays, top end overhaul and tranny rebuild otherwise no issues)
Also compare service costs, most lexus/toyota motors require timing belt replacement every 60k, all benz mills are chains, some require replacement more often than others, the average would be about 120k. This was 15 years ago but, a v6 camry 60k was 600.00, where as the 300e's was 300.00. (the v6 camry is the platform for the es300, same driveline and body pan)
1 other thing to think about, front drive cars are cheaper to build in a assemly line enviroment which means most lexus cars are cheaper to build therefore should cost significantly less than the rear drive benz cars. However, this savings is not reflected in the price of the cars, not to mention the features and technology just isn't there.
Personally, I'd rather own the benz over the lexus (nope, cant afford either right now) due to the MAJOR differences in ride quality, road manners, forgivness and safety.
I heard something once that I liked, there is a ass for every seat, buy what you want.