Thanks for the response. I did not go into excruciating detail with the dealer regarding their "alignment check"- I assume from their response to me was that the car was put on the alignment rack, the values checked vs. the appropriate values, and the determination made that no adjustments were required. They also did not charge me for anything relating to the alignment check. From past experience with MB dealers, I'm sure that HAD there been any adjustments needed, they wouldn't have hesitated in making the adjustments, and then promptly charge me handsomely for the work.
The "etc" in the suspension componentry refers to sway bar bushings, brackets, and new spring pads to adjust the ride height to the same value as the E55-(distance between bottom of wheel arch lip to the center of the wheel center caps) I did not change control arms or bushings. Also, not scientific, but (I have a good eye)- eyeballing the wheels, I don't notice much in the way of negative camber beyond the wat the wheel angle looked like prior to the suspension installation.
As for my "destroying what the best automotive engineers in the business built".... I ask you why then was there a company called AMG at all? And why in the world would a company such as Mercedes have ultimately BOUGHT that company? Because, I submit, there are always improvements that can be made to an existing mass-market platform. Factory cars for the most part are designed with many compromises in mind, so as to be palatable to the largest group of potential buyers.
I do realize that my parts replacement will be a compromise.
Am I am willing to accept the stiffer ride, and increased tire wear? Yes. Will I have to dodge potholes more actively so as to avoid bending expensive rims? Yes. Does the buyer of a FACTORY ORIGINAL E55 have to accept the same compromises? Yes. We all have different priorities. I happen to enjoy carving through twisty roads while ALSO getting anywhere from 26 to 40 miles per gallon! Call it having my cake, and eating it too.
I would also submit that overall, Mercedes has been making more compromises to reach a bigger audience (and make more money)in recent years. My '99 E300 (prior to suspension change) didn't have that "utterly unflappable" feel that my old 123 body car had- the E class was considerably more bouncy and soft feeling. Part of this may be due to factory shock choices- I found the stock shocks on my E300 were Sachs- (I guess they COST less than Bilsteins that came on my 123.) They sure as heck ride alot differently (read poorly) in comparison. I would also submit that the quality and "texture" of materials isn't what it used to be either.
I appreciate your opinion Steve, but given the nature of this website and the forums, I think there may be alot more people like me out there who feel, while still producing a GREAT car, the Mercedes of the 90's and beyond is going TOO mass market and diluting an otherwise fine product.