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Black/charcoal, appearance, HK, sunroof, NAV. It is just amazing to look at and even more amazing to drive.

Question: the speed sensitive steering feels very stiff to turn after 20 mph. Is that normal (for this car)?

Other than that, and not having figured out how to coordinate the homelink with my garage door, even though I've done it with my Passat, everything else is simply...well, amazing...

[:D]
 

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2005 E500
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It IS a great car and you will love it [:D]. I have almost the same setup as you (mine is silver though).

As for the steering, "stiff" is one of those subjective things....what you think is "stiff" I or another might think is "loose".

I find that the steering gets noticeably firmer at higher speeds, which is definitely how I like it. It allows much finer steering inputs at higher speeds which is a good/safe thing. This is a car that can comfortably cruise at over 100 mph (which I am not advocating). A major steering input at that kind of speed would land you in the morgue (or at least the hospital) so I suspect that is MB's reasoning for the steering to tighten up substantially at higher speeds.

The wheel still has plenty of "give" to it above 20 mph but below freeway speeds which allows for rapid steering when cornering on curvy roads in the 30 to 40 mph range. I like the amount of resistance at these speeds, which, although stiffer than below 20 mph, still allows quick steering, but "encourages" you to use both hands on the wheel, which is really where they should be during this type of driving activity. Take the exact same curves at a slower speed and you can comfortably navigate them with one hand.

Also, at parking lot speeds, I observe plenty of power assist, but the wheel is still substantially stiffer than in the 2004 Lexus LS430 I traded for the MB or than in the BMW 5-Series that I also test drove. The Lexus's power assist made the steering so soft that it reminded me of the power assist in something more like a large Buick sedan. Perhaps it is a preference issue, but I just like stiffer steering throughout the entire range. I think it just feels more solid and definitely improves my sense of the car's interaction with the pavement outside.

My guess is that you will get accustomed to the E500 steering feel in just a few days and quickly come to prefer it over the steering on most other cars that you end up driving.

Enjoy the new E500!!
 
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