Join Date: Jan 2007
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When I did the European Delivery this Spring in my 55, I got it up to 145+ when I put on about 800 miles. Up to that point, I was on the autobahn driving from Stuttgart to Amsterdam over a period of 3 days. I had a lot of varied driving in that trip in "C" mode. Then at the last moment of my trip, I gave it 80% and didn't go to the limiter at 155. I was satisfied.
I had been advised of the same break-in "rules" and chose to adhere to them up to a lower point. But my main concern of break-in was not for the key sake of the engine, it was for the rear differential and the tranny, then the engine. The tires also come into play, because they are pretty slippery when new and took about 1200 miles to really grip the road surface.
I also leased an E350 two years ago, and I still have it. I was hard on that car since day 1 and it has used the least amount of oil compared to all the other E350's out there (only 3 additional qts in 47,000 miles). So being "hard" on the engine during the break-in is good to seat the rings in the long-run. Just don't do doughnuts or burn-outs and you will be okay.
By the way, for the E350 oil consumption problem... dealers were instructed to run the cars at 6k rpm for 2 straight hours. And this was their official procedure for fairly new, youthful cars. After knowing that, the 3.5l engine will be around for a VERY long time.