Date registered: Nov 2005
Vehicle: 2002 E320 4Matic, 107K miles as of Jan 2009
Location: Boston, MA
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The MB Badge still means those things, but MB as a company expanded its product offerings and they need to remain competitive in the global marketplace with their direct competitors - Audi and BMW. BMW went after Mini and Mercedes introduced the Smartcar and is now focusing on some smaller cars. This is natural given the way the market has been moving, with engine-sharing across platforms, etc. We might think it's unfortunate as Benz owners but Benz isn't Rolls Royce; they're not a specialized manufacturer anymore and so they depend on volume to some extent. As a result we see them doing what every car company is doing these days: increasing HP and torque and expanding product offerings.
Sold but not forgotten: 2002 E320 4matic sedan, black on beige ("sport" package - bird's eye maple trim, 17" sport rims), 108K miles upon sale.
RIP: 2000 E430 4Matic fully loaded - totaled 12/9/2006