Sorry to hear about your poor experiences with your C230K.
My wife and I were Honda product fans going back many years, andnever thought about buying much else. Then, in 1989, we bought a 1990 Acura that turned out to be the worst car I've ever owned. Period.
Even Honda has their bad days.
That said, I still think that MB might be resting on their laurels a little right now. They do this when they are feeling successful. They get cocky, and underestimate the threats that might be on the outer edge of their radar screen.
In a rush to get products to market and fill showrooms, quality has slipped in some areas, improved in others. I am surprised to hear of the head gasket on your car needing replacement. The M111 is a pretty tight engine.
If Mercedes continues tolet cars like yours get into customer's hands, they will experience a backlash like they've never seen before. Poor quality has done in other makes...
1998 C230 "Black Betty"