Someone commented the 'maybe we benz owners are just too picky...'
I HAVE put a lot more time and money into our 190E than the Accord, and much of it has been stuff other than just to keep it running down the road. Fact is, the Accord needs new motor mounts, the injectors are probably not well balanced anymore, steering is a bit notchy, and the driver's door seal is noisier than it used to be. I'm fine with all that, because the difference in this car due to those shortcomings is not that much.
I replaced lots of stuff like that in the Benz, because it makes a real difference. At its best, this is a much more refined and pleasant car than the Accord, and there is the incentive. As a bonus - whatever you think about design issues - function for function the parts for this Benz have been much cheaper than those for the Honda. Double incentive.
Now, this may only peripherally apply to the original concern about new Benzes. Sorry, I'm not one who spends $60k+ on cars - my priorities are different. Still, ten years down the line, if I can pick up an '02 E320 for about the same price as an '04 Accord V6 (thank YOU depreciation), I know whatever I put into it will compensate me with an enjoyable car to drive for another decade or so.
'91 MB 190E 2.3
'08 RAV4 Ltd 3.5
'83 Lazy Daze m'home 5.7