I considered dust shields at one time, but figured the dust would just accumulate in places behind it, i.e. the caliper. Plus, the 15 holes in my rims serve somewhat to cool the brakes and I would not want to block them.
The pads I have now -- Axxis Metal Masters -- are actually very good. I have been driving a lot this morning and afternoon, on highway, city and country roads, and they performed magnificently. What was great was getting out of the car after 100 miles or so to find my wheels as clean and shiny as they were after I washed them! Not a trace of dust. :sigh:
Having dirty wheels is the same as wearing a fine suit with a big gravy stain on the lapel. It simply does not look good, and makes the wearer look even worse -- particularly when there are easy solutions, i.e. eating more conscientiously in the case of the gravy stain, or driving more conscientiously in the case of the low-dust brakes.
Thing is, I am not having to adjust my driving style as I originally thought I would. Actually, I tell a lie; I am adjusting my style. Instead of braking harder into traffic lights, as I originally thought I would need to do, I am instead softening my touch. As I break the pads in, it seems I am slowing more quickly and stopping sooner than before. This was an unexpected, but very welcome surprise, and I am really becoming sold on these Axxis pads, despite my initial fears and concerns.
When I went on my first test drives after putting these pads on, I thought I had made a bad choice in buying them. After letting the pads settle in a while, during which time I imagine they had a chance to score the surface of the rotor, my opinion has changed and now I love them. Think of how you have to break in a new electric shaver, i.e. if you switch from a rotary to a linear type. For the first couple of days the new shaver does not work as well as the old one. But once your face gets used to it, it works very well. I would bet good money that a lot of people who dump their aftermarket pads do so before they have a chance to break in.
2001 E430 4matic
Gone but not Forgotten:
1995 E320, 252,xxx miles, Black/Grey
1989 260E, 223,00 miles, Black/Black