I think a few of you have really hit the nail on the head when comparing cost of ownership between a Mercedes and a Lexus (or other Japenese vehicle) Here's my take.
The problem is that most everyone on this board strives to maintain their cars to perfection. MOST of you feel the car is worth putting money into it to replace the motor mounts or door seals or other minor things. These items do not necessarily have to be replaced however in the interest of keeping the car looking and feeling new you do it! This is added into cost of ownership all the time.
Now most Japanese car owners me included (02 CRV, 00 V6 Honda) could care less if the car vibrates a little more or has increased sound at highway speeds after 75K miles. They just drive the car as a utility to get from point A to Point B and when the car dies.......SO WHAT......you move on and get another. I can say from experience that when my V6 Accord Coupe hit 65K it started rattling and wind noise increase substantially. I also noticed a rougher idle and deteriorating handling characteristics. Instead of trying to source the problems I traded the car in. It was the only car I ever purchased and didn't have some emotional attachment too. All other cars I've had were German and each had a place in my heart....even the crappy VW!
Now I can't say I've had experience with the newer MB's but I sure am curious. My dad is considering the purchase of a 2000 E320 and I'm wondering if I should talk him out of it. What's your take, is my dad going to make a huge mistake buying a W210?
Sorry for the rant, but I think everything I've stated is important to me. BTW in 10K miles and 1.5 years of ownership my 500E has cost me $750 in maintenance, that includes the 60K service.
Also note that those are not your typical drive to work and back miles, those are on the brakes/gas backroad miles.