I have been monitoring this thread and viewed others that were initiated by owners of the late model E-class (and others).
It may be that those who have been happy with their purchase (and subsequent reliability issues) probably haven't posted any "feel good" threads lately. Kinda like the utility company...no one gripes until there is a power outage.
Who knows? There may be scores of dissatisfied E-class owners who just don't happen to be forum members. I also surf the SL and ML threads, and see a mixed-bag reaction from members in those forums too.
I'm not sure what I would constitute an overabundance of service-related issues on a warranted vehicle, as I have owned other makes that have had to come in for issues as well when new.
I saw the website of one longtime owner of Mercedes-Benz vehicles who was pretty happy with the products until his purchase of an ML320. The "lemon" affixed to the vehicle points out his sentiment. I too, own an ML and have not experienced anything near his repair incidents!
I will contend as others have, that the introduction of complex integrated systems that have not run its course through other models or several model year spans is probably the main downfall of reliability issues with the marque. Their haste to satisfy the consumers insatiable desire for the newest gimmick, forces early introduction of "green" products.
As a software developer of new products, I get to see the results first hand as people scramble to be the first to put the product out on the market, only to have the customers complain about reliability issues.
2009 ML350 (84K) - Family vehicle
2001 CLK430 Cabriolet (71K) - Wife's car
2005 BMW 645CI (124K) - My daily driver
2012 Mustang V6 (60K) - Daughter's car