Hi Mark, my wife is the main driver of this car. I only drive it on the weekend. She accelerates and brakes hard, we live on a hill, that is another reason that why front pads last on average only 12k miles. From 2000 on, all E430s have high performance 234/45-17 tires, they do not last very long but the performance they provided is worth it. Brake pads and rotors are not too expensive, but I hate brake dust and the current front pad is ATE and it is so dusty, the front wheels are black after 1 week driving while the rear wheels are still clean, I am ordering PBR Deluxe front pad since many on this forum had good experience with Axxis/PBR and they recommended it for low dust. I am thinking about Sumitomo HTR+ for ride confort and low noise, also it has tread life rating at 360 and I hope that it will last more than 20k miles.
I still love the car today as much as the first day I bought it. It is expensive to maintain the high performance car like E430, but buy parts online save me a lot of money, also by fixing and maintain car at an indy shop save me some money too, compares with astronomical price charged by MB dealer.
Have a nice weekend.