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Mercedes E Class to Model 3 - any impressions?

-DA3

Member
May 19, 2019
74
87
FL
I dumped a brand new AMG for the model 3- to me the fit and finish is fine. materials awesome. (mercedes you need and I did pay extra for leather seats) I now hate leather seats hahahha my new M3 even arrived with a few travel imperfections (didn't matter) This coming from a german ONLY vehicle owner last 35 yrs. BMW /Benz- no more. Love the new science! - truth be told I was in line for the new benz QC but it's an old design with some electronics. I wanted an original with supersharger access.

p.s. you may miss the door closing thud, but you won't miss the schedule A,B etc maintenance fees of mercedes!
 

350z

Member
May 1, 2019
32
17
Montreal
I'm looking for anyone who bought a Model 3 after owning a Mercedes E Class. What are your impressions of the overall quality of the two cars? Thanks in advance.

Top brand European cars usually have world class quality. However, when shopping for an Audi, something felt wrong knowing that the car of the future was available. It took us 3 visits and 2 test drives of the model 3 and each time we were in awe. Bottom line is Tesla checked off more boxes than any other vehicle even with my current paint flaws and minor imperfections.
 
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Octo

Member
Jun 28, 2019
386
402
Dallas
There’s a bit of FUD about Model 3 Quality out there, especially when it comes to comparisons with German premium brands.

FWIW, I don’t have a Mercedes but my other vehicles are a BMW Z4, a BMW i3 and a Porsche Macan. The Model 3 feels higher end than the BMWs but lower than the Porsche.

The lower quality feeling items (by design) are:
* seals all around. The Germans use nicer seals with a felt like material molded onto the rubber. The Tesla seals look comparatively rough and in spots downright unfinished.
* “vegan” (eye roll) leather (aka plastic). Easy fix with Katzkin.
* seats are soft (matter of taste so subjective)

And then there are the car-by-car variations that depend on I guess what shift etc. assembled the car.
Mine was virtually perfect except for a few transportation related flaws (Porsche would get these fixed before delivery, Tesla doesn’t seem to care).

IMO, the interior is very high quality (at least when new - I hope it wears well). Every surface feels quality - not like the BMWs where anything you don’t touch all the time is the cheapest plastic they could source.

The doors also close with a “thunk” and don’t rattle. Don’t understand why others think they feel flimsy !?
 
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SVL77

Member
Apr 16, 2019
47
67
Chicago
I traded in a 2015 Mercedes S Class (S63 AMG). In my humble opinion, the Mercedes has the edge in quality based primarily on three things: panel gaps, seat frame sturdiness, and road/wind noise. However, I do feel like the M3 is an overall high-quality vehicle based on it's price point.
 

rickdogg82

Member
Apr 28, 2019
289
243
Orange County, CA
Sold a '11 ML350 and replaced with the Model 3. The ML was a great car and ended up with over 125K miles and no problems, Prior to that I had a C55 which also had over 100K miles. Both were a little older tech but great reliability. The Tesla is hard to compare because the reality is that mechanically, it is a $35K car so you have to keep that in mind. The tech is what brings the price up. My Model 3 has no issues with panel gaps although some spots the paint is thin (in places you can't see but that should be painted correctly in my opinion).

I still own an '05 (997) Porsche 911. This also is a great car with no problems. Until Tesla I had not ever been concerned with panel gaps. The 911 is terrible when it comes to this and it bothers me that I notice it now.
 

SammichLover

Banned
Dec 8, 2018
2,618
1,542
Yup
and road/wind noise
That's an important difference. The Model 3 is a quiet car by nature but not a sound insulated car in the way that something like an S-Class is. One very stark example of this is the trunk and rear window shelf. The trunk bottom is basically a metal drum, which becomes even more evident if you lay down the rear seats and drive, and the shelf over top the trunk is actually more a vent that significant amount of light will pass through into the trunk. Adding a layer of DIY sound padding underneath that shelf will noticeably reduce road noise, that's how exposed to environmental sounds you are.

I kinda like it, I feel more connected to the world around outside the car because I can hear things that you don't in most cars. However it will be quite different if you are used to a rigourously sound insulated vehicle.
 

N5329K

Active Member
Aug 12, 2009
1,863
3,598
California
It’s interesting. I found the driving experience of a Model 3 very reminiscent of my E320. It had the same planted, rock-solid bank vault road feel, the sense that everything was going to be just fine, thank you, and that nothing bad could possibly happen here. The E’s controls were far more intuitive and sensible (no screen-pecking to open the glove box or set the wipers just the way I wanted them, for example). And the construction looked shoddy and quick (the doors, especially). I didn't miss the zebrano accents. But the driving experience was almost eerily the same.
Until I accelerated.
Robin
 
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ZoomsansVroom

Supporting Member
May 3, 2019
180
57
29577
It's not the same kind of car as my E550 Cabriolet was, but I think it will be more durable - MBs age poorly.

Tesla really has no excuse for the wind and road noise.
 

Eno Deb

Active Member
Aug 17, 2018
2,604
3,158
SF Bay Area
I'm looking for anyone who bought a Model 3 after owning a Mercedes E Class. What are your impressions of the overall quality of the two cars? Thanks in advance.
It will be a bit of a culture shock. The interior feels more spartan (and, dare I say it, cheaper), the ride is harsher, and there is more road noise on rough surfaces. If your car ever needs service you'll probably have some frustrating experiences. On the other hand, the electric powertrain drives like no other, making driving feel effortless compared to ICE vehicles. That makes the downsides a lot more bearable. ;)
 
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phaheem

Member
Jul 4, 2019
112
98
Orange County, CA
The lease on my 2016 C300 was ending, which prompted me to opt for the Model 3. There’s no doubt that the Germans know how to build a car (they’ve been doing it since the 1920’s) and my Mercedes was/is solid. The doors shut with authority, the fit and finish is almost perfect, the buttons/stalks/dials move and turn with a quality “click”, and the driving experience shows that it’s meant for the autobahn. These are details that Tesla can still improve on.

That said, and in my opinion, the Tesla is pretty advanced in terms of fit/finish/quality even at its infancy stage of being a carmaker, but it still has room to get better. For example, there’s a hollow sound if you lightly stomp your foot in the rear floor; the carpeting is clearly budget; shutting the doors with the windows down almost sound like something is loose inside the door; and the seals look like they were glued on as an after thought.

Nonetheless, no regrets leaving Mercedes for Tesla. Like others have said, it’s the car of the future that’s available now. The Model 3 still feels very “premium” and is comparable to cars of its class (BMW 3, Audi A4, Mercedes C), despite being so young. Haven’t looked back
 

SammichLover

Banned
Dec 8, 2018
2,618
1,542
Yup
For example, there’s a hollow sound if you lightly stomp your foot in the rear floor
Wait until you drop something solid onto it, like a 17mm wrench. You'll jump because it sounded like you were putting a hole through to the pavement. :p There apparently is a sizable, empty gap below the floor above the battery pack, and they went with a very springy design for this. I'd guess for weight consideration. But it also might be partly to minimize heat conductance from the battery pack, which likes to get body temp warm during operation, into the cabin?

P.S. On the other hand I'm totally down with the carpet feel on the mat when driving barefoot.
 
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phaheem

Member
Jul 4, 2019
112
98
Orange County, CA
There apparently is a sizable, empty gap below the floor above the battery pack, and they went went a very springy design for this. I'd guess for weight consideration. But it also might be partly to minimize heat conductance from the battery pack, which likes to get body temp warm during operation, into the cabin?

P.S. On the other hand I'm totally down with the carpet feel on the mat when driving barefoot.

That explains it, thanks for sharing and confirming that my car isn’t defective, lol. As for the carpeting: I put a small suitcase in the trunk (haven’t received my rubber trunk mat yet), and when I pulled it out normally, it left noticeable (permanent?) streaks in the carpet. Mercedes’ definitely would not allow that to happen.
 

SammichLover

Banned
Dec 8, 2018
2,618
1,542
Yup
That explains it, thanks for sharing and confirming that my car isn’t defective, lol. As for the carpeting: I put a small suitcase in the trunk (haven’t received my rubber trunk mat yet), and when I pulled it out normally, it left noticeable (permanent?) streaks in the carpet. Mercedes’ definitely would not allow that to happen.
Those streaks will be gone shortly if you store your charging equipment bag back there. ;)
 

MountainJedi

Member
May 15, 2019
182
119
Colorado
I still have a 2013 E350. I think the interior of the Mercedes feels more "solid" than the Tesla with slightly better overall quality feel. But that's in part due to the spartan interior of the model 3, which I really enjoy. The Tesla is light years better in terms of UI/infotainment. I think the Merc seats are a little more comfortable and there is definitely more leg room in the back seat of the E350.

I find the road/tire noise on the interstate to be fairly equivalent between the two (both running on Continentals). The Merc is much quieter from wind noise.

I find the Tesla more fun to drive due to the instant torque and acceleration. I think the Merc handles better in corners and feels a bit more connected to the road.

Overall, I still enjoy both cars. I think they are relatively good comparisons and that the Tesla is far superior to a C class Mercedes and is going to provide a more fun driving experience than anything in the Mercedes line outside of the AMGs.
 

SammichLover

Banned
Dec 8, 2018
2,618
1,542
Yup
All cars have wind noise. Don't tell me you drive your car with no sound. Turn the music up
Not all wind noise is equal. :)

Not all Model 3s are equal, either. Some have noise issues around the side mirror structure, and especially early ones had windshield to roof glass mismatches that created noise of particular frequencies on that gap that bothered some people more than others. The glass gap issue is addressable with $10 of rubber foam tubing, and the side mirrors can be fixed if you can find the issue, but that's not really a "factory default" condition that this thread is talking about.

P.S. I do like to periodically turn off the music and just listen to the world go by.
 

cypho

Member
Dec 20, 2018
765
897
USA
My 2008 E320 has a larger trunk than my 3. Other than that, the model 3 feels like a significant improvement in every way.
 

Dmagyar

Member
Aug 9, 2018
332
197
Rocklin, Ca. 95765
Current two cars are 2018 model 3 and 2014 E350 sport. Handling- 3, the 3 is slot car like in turning a corner, ride E more refined, but not better. Acceleration 3, without breaking a sweat, overall our 3 gets the nod in everyday stuff, the E only goes out when my wife’s driving the 3...
We’ve on our four E’s, the E350 will be our last Mercedes, anything new, will have a Tesla brand on it...
 
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