My priority on braking are: performance, noise, dust and scorching rotors. The 2000 E430 had the front pad replaced as follow:
OE pad: Good performance, no noise, dusty and easy on rotors.
10K miles with Pagid: similar performance as OE, no noise, a little less dust and easy on rotors.
22K miles with ATE: similar performance as OE, no noise, a lot more dust and very hard on rotors.
I bought 2 set of front rotors: PBR Deluxe and Textar. I will try PBR first next month at about 35K miles to see how it works. If the stopping performance is getting worse, I will replace it with Textar. I am trying to find the best compromise in braking performance for W210 E430 according to my priority. So far, Pagid is better than the other two and ATE is the worse.
I bought all parts online and have my trusty mechanic install them, the labor for replacing brake pad is only $30 USD, resurface or change rotors is another $10 USD. Rotors is inexpensive, I rather replace it when the lips show significant wear than risk rotors cracking and/or wrapping.
I agree with William about anticipate traffic flow in acceleration and braking, but my wife just likes to drive her way, there is not much I can do other than buying the right brake pad for the car.
After all these pads replacement, the total cost of 3 years: 3 set front pads, 1 set rear pad and 1 set of front rotors includes labor will be about $400 USD compares with $3200 for gasoline (35K miles with 19 MPG at $1.75 in California).
In summary, even I get less than 15K miles front brake pad, its cost is only 1/8 the cost of gas, which is not expensive at all. The other high cost are: depreciation and insurance which are much more than maintaining the car.