Maybe I'm a bit too conservative (lol I'm just 19) but these new BMWs and Mercedes models aren't good-looking for me. W124, W201, W202, E39, E38, E34 were way better. The only positive thing is BMW still uses Inline 6 engines not cr#p V6 engines.
I have to agree on the most part of your comment. Those cars you mentioned all are legendary classics and I am a huge fan of these. For many reasons. They did not have annoying electronic aids and "safety" features that numb the driving experience and add so much weight to modern cars. They are proven to be great in quality and long lasting. And, most importantly, - they are cheap nowadays, even to the extent that I can actually afford to buy them.
I could talk to considerable lengths about how much I love old Mercedes, and BMW E39 and E38 happen to be my favourite types of 5-series and 7-series. But I really don't want to become short-sighted in my admiration of cars from the past. It always takes some getting-used-to when something new comes out and I want to be open minded and really hope that the new generations of cars will become as legendary as some of those mentioned above. After all - through the history cars do have a tendency to improve. Place a Benz Motorwagen and the new S-class side by side and you'll see what I mean.