I used to own BMW's and even some "Jap" cars.
I now have 3 MB's in my garage. Never have I been left stranded on the road. None of my MB's have ever put up a fuss.
The Mercedes dealers that I have patronised are courteous, respecful, and affordable. These Mercedes products are backed by roadside assistance for LIFE.
Get into an accident with one and you will certainly understand how much of a tank these cars are. http://www.wreckedexotics.com
I once had a dead battery at my home and called roadside assistance. MB sent a new battery, had the driver install it and take away the old dead one, and reset all the electronics. The Mercedes-Benz battery was $107. No delivery fee, no installation charge, no BS. And they sent a local dealer to handle problem.
The BMW was a PIG on my wallet. A battery alone was $200+, and I had to pick one up from the dealer. Nevermind the styling of those Bavarian roaches these days anyway, 'cause they're numbered.
There is no such thing as Japanese luxury... they're minimalists! One week in a Jap car and you'll start to notice how they make their money.
When it comes to the media and reports, WTF do they know? Watch some Top Gear reviews to understand how a proper car test should be done. Drive the car to hell and back, then let me know what you think. Don't just read some rubbish that the marketing department put together for the press. CNN, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, Consumer Reports... that nonsense is for the COMMON MAN.
Mercedes owners are usually a higher class of individuals and can be picky, but it's nothing that can't get fixed if something does go wrong.
This is 2007, the only thing that isn't disposable these days in the US are my MB's from Germany.
Don't even get me started on resale value, because your SLK will probably sink less than your home in FL or CA over the next 3 years. That alone should be an idicator of quality.