Just this afternoon I had coffee with a friend with a 1997 Lexus ES300 with 166,000 kilometers (103K-miles). He just got it back from the dealer after spending $3000 on "routine" work that consisted of replacing leaking cam seals, two struts that were totally shot, various other seals, a service (filters/fluids) and some $1300 for sludge problems. If you go through his time with the car, he's spent WAY more than I have on my 1998 C230 in both $$ and time keeping the car in perfect shape.
Now, he won't say a bad thing about the car. If you were to "survey" him, he'd tell you that his Lexus is the paragon of reliability and perfection. He simply pays the service tab at the end of the day and drives off in his seven year old "perfect" car.
Maybe we MB owners are just too picky?
1998 C230 "Black Betty"