Aside from dressing up to drive them, I like how German luxury cars have a plethora of options and toys to play with. Our E350 was no exception, starting with the upgraded Harman Kardon stereo. I tested it with some classical music off my iPod, because classical music asks a stereo to deal with the widest variety of soft, gentle melodies and strong, booming notes. It performed well.

I was also a fan of using Mercedes' Comand system to control my iPod. I'd heard horror stories that these systems can be hard to use, but it was as easy as falling off a log.

The other thing I noticed immediately Ч and liked Ч was the optional panoramic sunroof that covers both rows of seats. It was very important for me Ч but then, I work in an area of my office building that's so devoid of light I feel like I'm in a submarine. That's parked inside a cave. At midnight.

Another nice touch was the standard ambient lighting in the cabin. It shines on cupholders, door panels and various other parts of the cabin. It's soft enough that I don't think it would bother people who prefer a perfectly dark cabin when they drive at night. I drove on a pitch-black night down country lanes and found the amount of light to be fine. It dresses up the cabin and shows off the premium materials with a soft, golden glow. A lot of cars these days have some form of ambient lighting Ч and many change color or have some other whiz-bang feature Ч but the subtle glow of this system is exactly what you'd expect in a refined luxury car.

We also had a blind spot assist that lit up a section of the side mirrors and set off an alarm if you tried to move into a lane when a car was already there. This helped on the driver's side mirror, but I didn't need it for the passenger side, probably because of how I had my mirrors set. But a word about those mirrors: They have a chopped, angular shape that looks great, but I don't think they show as much of the road as they should. I'm not sure I'd feel confident driving the E-Class without some form of blind spot help. They also don't fold completely in, leaving you more exposed to sideswipes when you're parked in urban areas.

    See also:

    Important safety notes
    WARNING Make sure the trunk lid is closed when the engine is running and while driving. Among other dangers, deadly carbon monoxide (CO) gases may enter the vehicle interior resulting in un ...

    Resetting the side windows
    You must reset each side window if a side window can no longer be closed fully. Х► Close all the doors. Х► Turn the SmartKey to position 1 or 2 in the ignition lock. Х► Pull t ...

    Vehicles with automatic transmission
    Apply the parking brake firmly. Shift the transmission to position P. Using the SmartKey Turn the SmartKey to position 0 in the ignition lock and remove it. The immobilizer is activated ...