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Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedans

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Comments

  • Steve500,

    I was annoyed by the brake feedback when test driving an 03 E500. However, my 04 E500 4Matic's brake feedback is perfect and performed well in emergency situation.
  • ncvol:

    For what it's worth, I bought a 96 E320 with Starmark and ended up with 3 years of coverage up to 100K miles. I ran out of time before hitting the 100K mark so you may want to explore buying an additional year or two of coverage from your dealer after figuring out how many miles per year you are likely to put on it.
    I'm in the market for another one right now and have decided that if I get another E I will probably trade it right after it hits 100K. My 96 was great until it hit 114K miles and then for 8 months it seemed like something went wrong every 6-8 weeks and I ended up spending well over 3K in repairs during that 8 months. Since then I've gotten another 8K miles of trouble free driving, now at 133K. To be fair, some of that was normal maintenance such as shock absorbers and brake rotors.
    There were two repairs under warranty that would have cost me almost $1200 so the Starmark was worth it.
    Re: price for that 2000 wagon; in Eastern MA, sedans are going for $30-32K for cars with approx. 40K miles and wagons are 3-4K higher. So that price is in line with the market up here.
    Good luck !!
  • mbnut1mbnut1 Posts: 403
    Friend at work just bought an immaculate 2000 E430 4matic with 65K for 26K
  • kevinc5kevinc5 Posts: 204
    Any reason to go to a dealer rather than an independant windshield shop?
    Thanks
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I agree w/ mbnut, $34,900 sounds like too much for a 2000 E320 4-matic Wagon w/ 41k miles. Perhaps my perspective is tainted because in June of 2001, I could have purchased a brand new 2001 E320 4-matic Wagon for $2,500 under invoice when Mercedes was offering factory to dealer incentives. As I recall, that worked out to about $46,000 on the one I had priced out - including the hard to find multi-contour seats which I really like.

    So $34,900 for a 4 year old car w/ 41k miles just seems very steep to me. I suggest you expand your shopping area to include Washington DC - there are a lot of very nice cars that get traded in or sold privately by the diplomatic group. Example, my BMW dealer is selling a 2002 E55 w/ 21k miles in mint condition for $43k. I have seen 2000 E320 Wagons for around $25,000 and a two year old 2002 E320 4-matic w/35k miles for $33,500 right before New Years. We decided to pass because the 4-matic Wagon doesn't quite have the SUV snow handling capability we need, with extended family in Pennsylvanina and Maine. But it was tempting.

    For what it's worth, even 2000 S430's and S500's are available for under $40,000 in the DC area.
  • profvhprofvh Posts: 31
    The new March issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance has an article on auto safety. They
    awarded 5 vehicles in different categories with
    their Gold Standard Award. They are Mercedes
    E Class sedan, Volkswagen Passat, Ford Freestar
    minivan, Mini Cooper and The Volvo SC90SUV.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Today's Washington Post:

    1) 2001 E320 4-Matic Wagon, Loaded, Exc. Cond., $28,999 (VOB Nissan - 301-770-6100).

    2) 2000 E320 4-Matic Wagon, Loaded - Every Option, Exc. Cond., $26,999 (VOB).

    3) 2000 E320 Wagon, Flawless Porsche Trade, Loaded, $26,995 (HBL Mercedes/Porsche - 703-442-8200)

    4) 2000 E320 Wagon, Black, Sunroof, CD, heated seats, exc. condition 52k miles, $25,800 (private sale).

    I have seen used Mercedes at both VOB and HBL and when they claim "excellent condition" they appear to mean it. The above prices seem to suggest your price on a 2000 E320 Wagon is at least $6,000 to $9,000 high, relatively low mileage notwithstanding.

    Also, for what its worth:

    5) 2003 E320 Sedan 2,000 miles, as new, $42,000 obo.
  • mbnut1mbnut1 Posts: 403
    Thanks for continuing to share the prices you are finding on the 2003 E Classes. I'm going try to decide between one, a 2k S-Class or a C320 this year. Any thoughts on the above choices are appreciated.

    I REALLY LOVE driving a C320 but I prefer the styling and size of the new E. I haven't driven one yet and I'm afraid that the that steering is significantly lighter than the C320 which I really like.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I can't comment too much on the C class as the only one I have driven in the past 2-3 years is the C32. I was actually on a list to get one back in late 2001 and got the call right after I had just decided to keep my current sedan and get an S2000. My impression of the C32 was quite favorable. However, it was just enough smaller than our current Nissan Maxima to not be able to do double duty as a family hauler for long weekend trips (2 kids). Same goes for the BMW 3-series/M3, although the C32's 4 doors help somewhat.

    Like you, I tend to prefer the handling and driving dynamics of the C class and 3 series. The BMW 5-series with sport package is about as good as it gets for a mid size sedan, but BMW mucked up the redesign, IMO. In considering the new upcoming E320 CDI, I am prepared to give up a bit of smaller car driving dynamics for size, comfort and, hopefully, a car that will last a long, long time. Plus I'll have bragging rights for 30+ mpg.

    The S class and 7 series don't hold their values as well as the smaller and less expensive models, so getting a used S class makes a lot of financial sense if you need the size. I have a friend who bought a new 2000 S500 when they first came out for over $90k fully loaded. To think I could pick up a 3-4 year old one with 50k miles for about $40k is tempting. But it's more car than I need and I still am more comfortable buying new, assuming I can get a good deal on the E320 CDI.

    I have yet to drive the new E class, so I'll post my thoughts on that later. Please do so as well, especially any comparisons between the E and C.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    I did this analysis not long ago for a friend interested in a C-class sedan. The styling is amazing. It appears to be MUCH bigger than it actually is from the outside.

    Using Edmund's info, I compared the C-sedan to a Toyota Corolla and a Nissan Maxima.

    Here's the highlights:

    The C is the shortest of the three, has the least cargo carrying capacity, the lowest headroom, and rear leg room.

    The C is 1/10th of an inch shorter than the Corolla and 15.3" shorter than the Max. The C is HEAVY, weighing almost exactly the same as the Max but over 900 lbs heavier than the Corolla.

    The C is most expensive, $8K more than the Maxima, $21K more than the Corolla.
  • mbnut1mbnut1 Posts: 403
    I'm aware the the C-Class is smaller than the Corolla and have driven both. My girlfriend drives a 95 Corolla with over 200K miles on it. It is a car that does the basics well. Consequently I was predisposed to being favorable to the Corolla for the reasons you mentioned. However there is absolutely no comparison in the driving. I know one of the board members here (whom I have the utmost respect for)has owned one and may disagree but the NVH of that car was inferior to my girlfriend's '95. Furthermore the driving experience between a C Class and a Corolla are worlds apart. The highway ride of the Corolla sucks. Every expansion joint is met with the rear end jumping over it. I have a 5 hour drive to my family back home. I wouldn't be able to take it. My current car is a A4 with a sport suspension that I am not even able to feel the same aforementioned expansion joints in it.

    The C-Class drives flawlessly and feels like a much bigger car (the extra weight is good for something). IMHO Mercedes strikes the perfect balance between handling and ride. The only other car I have ever driven that did the same, was a 5 series with sport as Habitat mentioned. I am the biggest cheap skate and am past the ego thing and would gladly have picked the Corolla for the very reasons you mentioned if it made the grade but it doesn't. As for the Maxima, I have never driven one but torquesteerers don't do it for me either.

    Cars are like stereo equipment. There is a real law of diminishing returns on improved performance and if you doesn't have the ear for the difference then it is senseless to spend the extra money. However if you become acclimated to superior performance then it becomes difficult to settle for less.

    BTW my sister has a new Lexus ES300 and while I think that the interior in it is the nicest in the business and really is a nice car. I'm afraid it would literally bore me out of my mind on my ride back home.
  • ncvolncvol Posts: 196
    Habitat

    Thanks for the prices, I've been keeping an eye on the ones in the VA/DC area, but hadn't seen any priced that low. HBL's website doesn't list prices or options, and VOB didn't have either of the wagons you got from the Wash Post listed on their website at all. I guess the biggest difference is the Starmark aspect, which you can't get from a non-Mercedes dealer, that's probably worth about $2k itself. With the M-B reliability concerns, that has some real appeal for me, I like the idea of getting basically a three year/60k dealer warranty, and you just can't get that from outside the MB network.

    I went and took a test drive in it Saturday, and it was in great shape, although one of the headlamp washers and surrounding plastic had gotten cracked somehow after the Starmark process while it sat on the lot. That would definitely have to be fixed. Otherwise, the car had absolutely every conceivable option that you could ever ask for (Xenons, headlamp washers, heated/multicontour seats, sunroof, premium sound with CD player, rainsensing winshield wiper). It's impossible for me to tell whether the classified ad vehicles have those (or what the mileage is). Still, those listings are very nice to have for negotiating. I'm not married to getting this car right now, but it does have all the options I want, so I'd like to make a run at it. If I can't get the right price, I'll wait for the next one to come around.

    Thanks so much for all the help
  • mbnut1mbnut1 Posts: 403
    Thanks for the feedback. As you say the real attraction to the S is the value but I don't need the room. It's mainly just me in the car. Sometimes my son or girlfriend, very rarely 4 people. I do like the idea of the E320 CDI. It's a car I could imagine buying and keeping forever. I will give you my feedback after I drive an E. BTW what did you think of the C32's ride? Was is harsh at all?
  • ncvolncvol Posts: 196
    Habitat

    Thanks for the prices, I've been keeping an eye on the ones in the VA/DC area, but hadn't seen any priced that low. HBL's website doesn't list prices or options, and VOB didn't have either of the wagons you got from the Wash Post listed on their website at all. I guess the biggest difference is the Starmark aspect, which you can't get from a non-Mercedes dealer, that's probably worth about $2k itself. With the M-B reliability concerns, that has some real appeal for me, I like the idea of getting basically a three year/60k dealer warranty, and you just can't get that from outside the MB network.

    I went and took a test drive in it Saturday, and it was in great shape, although one of the headlamp washers and surrounding plastic had gotten cracked somehow after the Starmark process while it sat on the lot. That would definitely have to be fixed. Otherwise, the car had absolutely every conceivable option that you could ever ask for (Xenons, headlamp washers, heated/multicontour seats, sunroof, premium sound with CD player, rainsensing winshield wiper). It's impossible for me to tell whether the classified ad vehicles have those (or what the mileage is). Still, those listings are very nice to have for negotiating. I'm not married to getting this car right now, but it does have all the options I want, so I'd like to make a run at it. If I can't get the right price, I'll wait for the next one to come around.

    Thanks so much for all the help, if you can find a link to those listings, I'd love to print it out. The Wash Post website's classified section just uses Cars.com, and it didn't turn up any of those listings. I'd love to take those in with me to negotiate with.
  • ncvolncvol Posts: 196
    Edmunds lists the expected maintenance costs for a 2000 MY wagon to be anywhere from $1000-2000 a year over the next five years. Does that sound right? It seems on the high side, but I'd like to know if that's really what to expect. If that's what it will really cost for maintenance, which won't even be covered by the Starmark warranty, then I may need to rethink all this. Even my problem prone Explorer in its worst year (from about 130,000 to 155,000 miles) only cost me around $2k in repairs and maintenance combined, and I thought that was high.
  • tomjavatomjava Posts: 136
    Just go to MB dealer. Never go to independent dealers, they use third party windshield.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Mercedes routine dealership service after the car is past the 4 year 50,000 mile free maintenace becomes fairly expensive. Add to that any significant repairs, like transmission, ABS system, etc. and I think $7,500 for 5 years worth (midpoint of your range) would be a bargain.

    Now you can see why I think you should be shopping harder for a better purchase deal. Buying a 4 year old 41k E320 Wagon for $34,900 when the vehicle only cost $46k-$49k new means your giving up the best and cheapest 4 years of ownership and paying a damn high price for a Mercedes hood ornament. At least if you got it for $26k, you'd have a little war chest for those future maintenance and repair bills.

    I do think you need to rethink the deal.
  • ncvolncvol Posts: 196
    The deal is not done yet, we haven't even talked numbers yet, but I really don't think there is anyway on God's Green Earth that I'll get their price down to $26k. I got the record of all the reconditioning they did for the Starmark process, and it was extensive. Replaced all brakes and rotors, all four tires, power window switches, belt tensioner, spark plugs, fuel filter, crankshaft pulley, several pieces of wood trim, flushed brake system and replaced brake fluid.

    I spent a couple hours trying to find some deals on similar vehicles (4matic, MY 2000 or 2001 w/under 50k miles) that I could print out to bring with me, and couldn't find anything approaching the listings you quoted from the Washington Post. The best I could find was a private seller somewhere 600 miles away at $30,500 for a 2000 with 32k miles. Maybe those listings from the Post had mileage of 60 or 75k to explain the low price, typically that's the "catch" when mileage isn't listed. And they certainly weren't Starmarked. I'm going to run by a book store tomorrow and try to see if they have the Sunday Post so I can find those listings, but I don't think I can find any deals in those price ranges on the web. If you find any, slide some links my way.

    Of course, if I buy, I'm going to get the extended warranty that gives 3 yrs or up to 100k miles, so that should cover me for any big repairs like transmission. I've got an independent mechanic here in town that I trust to do the scheduled maintenance and who won't cost as much as the dealership.
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    Barry, you mentioned a few posts back that you didn't like the way the steering wheel radio control would not scan. I have a 2000 E430 sport with the steering wheel controls and noticed the same problem.

    If you go into the computer, the part where you can change things like the temp reading from celius to fahrenheit, you can also change the steering wheel selection to change from memory stations to "scan" stations.

    Give it a try. Mark156
  • We have a 560 SEC that we purchased new and are now looking at S class and E class Benz's as a replacement as the 560 now has 160,000 miles. I will say it has been a rather uneventful 160,000 miles with no problems except for a couple of climate control modules and 2 air conditioning compressors and fixing the normal Mercedes engine and other sundry oil leaks(Why can they not figure this out like the Japanese have is beyond me).

    What distresses me most about the new Mercedes models verses our 560 is the general lowering of quality of the interior components and fabrics, and the horrible exterior finish. Take a look at a darker color such as black or blue and the orange peel in the paint would make the Rockies blush in shame.

    We also have a new black Jaguar and a Silver Lexus and the differences in paint between these autos and Mercedes it night and day.

    Either Lexus and Jag have learned to apply paint properly(or heaven forbid they may actually color sand their finishes as in the old days) and Mercedes has not(and assume that most buyers will not notice or they are using different paint products.

    I have seen paint from Miracle that has more depth in the finish then I see on the Benz's. The lighter colors are as poor but does not show as badly. I asked my dealer about this and he says that looks ok to him until we set my Jag next to a black S class and he said I see what you mean.

    If I do buy it will be off to the detail shop for a good sanding with 1000 to 3000 grit and then a good buffing and polish and the finish will be up to the quality of our 18 year old SEC when it was new(and still looks beautiful in Pearl Black).

    I sent an email to Mercedes requesting information on this topic and never received a response but I assume that if I did, it would be something along the line that orange peel paint is better as it withstands the elements better or some such BS. I suppose that I will somehow void my warranty if I do color sand the finish but I could not come out daily and look at the finish and not be somewhat distressed.

    Wonder why Car and Driver, Motor Trend or Road and Track ever note this stuff in their reviews.
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