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Mercedes-Benz S-Class

1202123252699

Comments

  • paulchiupaulchiu Posts: 378
    Summary:

    1. Great car for 123K

    2. A bit rough on the ride due to ABC. I don't agree with this, since I have ABC with my 2001 S500.

    3. 5.4 sec in 0-60 vs. 6.1 sec for S500

    4. ABC improves lateral G to .82 vs. "non-ABC" S500 of .75. I had always wanted to know the ABC differences! YES!

    5. S500 has a little better subjective comfort rating than the S600

    6. C&D seems to like the Audio S8 sports sedan more than the E55, S55, or even the BMW M5.

    It's nice to have a V12, but I am very happy so far with my S500 + distronics+ABC. Still impresses me after 7 months! Biggest 4-door Porsche I'd ever owned.

    Paul
  • Paulchiu,

    Wait until you try the S55 if you think the S500 is a 4-door Porsche. It's not quite as blindlingly fast as the E55 and CLK55, but it's close. It just leaps away from other cars on the highway -- that's the sign of a truly fast car, in my judgment, and something the S500 can't quite accomplish.

    Still, the S500 is very satisfying, and since the dealer gave me $3500 off on a Silver AMG Sports Package, ABC equipped S500, vs only $1000 off on the much more expensive S55, and since I know I'll put 80K or 90K miles on this car and I worried that the S55, mighty as it is, might not hold up as well, that's the way I went, too.

    With regard to the previous tire pressure discussion, I'd like to add one more comment: The manufacturers recommended settings are really what manufacturers feel to be the best compromise between performance and ride quality. If you're a hard charging autocrosser, higher pressure settings than spec are certainly the way to go. But, if like George3 and I, the Cross Bronx or some other woefully pockmarked thoroughfare is a familiar route, then softer than spec will not only save your backside and sanity, it'll help reduce the rattles to a minimum, and may even keep various and sundry suspension and engine parts from prematurely wearing, loosening, and eventually failing.

    The rear tires are the most important tires when it comes to ride quality, so that's what most people reduce a bit to get some added suppleness.

    As for overheating, that can certainly happen at high speed if you take the tire pressures too far down. But a 16 percent reduction from say, 36 lbs. to 30 lbs. at the rear, shouldn't create any problems and will make a noticeable difference in the car's ride.

    If a rear tire does blow whether from overheating or other factors, any M-Benz is far less likely to flip than an Explorer or Expedition obviously, even in the hands of the truly ham-fisted. And if it somehow does go end over end, the odds of survival in a Benz, even in a roll over, are extraordinarily good, something that can't be said for any domestic SUV (save perhaps an ML class!).
  • paulchiupaulchiu Posts: 378
    You right about the S55's performance over the S500. I had the luck to have driven the E55 numerous times, and the 2001 E55 was on my purchase order for almost a year before I changed my mind toward the bigger, more comfortable S500. The E55 was a blast to drive, it felt like a cacoon that hugs your torso as it catapults with minimal effort into hyperspeeds. In an E55; you feel much faster at 80mph than in a S500. For one thing, it's a smaller vehicle, and another is the grippier tires and tighter suspension in the E. It was a tough decision for me, but the S won out at the end when ABC and distronics became available. The roomier rear seats won my wife's heart; so I'll probably look forward to the SLR coupe in 4-5 years as the next dream car.
  • I agree with your assessment of the relative merits and comfort levels of the two cars. In addition, the E55 felt like a much older design to me when driving it, even in comparison to the CLK55, let alone the S500. I find that the entire E Class line, including the E55 AMG, has styling that is starting to look a bit dated. In that respect the E55 reminds me alot of the E500 that I bought in 1994, which also was at the end of its product life cycle.

    Still, it's a great car. I can certainly see why many covet it even as it approaches its dotage.

    I'm also torn by the small car/big car comparison. On the one hand, nothing approaches the ride, comfort, interior luxury, and utility of a big car like the S Class. But something about smaller, relatively compact cars has always attracted me. They're easier to park, easier to manoeuver in traffic and when backing up, and usually are far more responsive in their handling -- in general they're easier to manage which counts for a lot when your litterly in a car every single day, day after day.

    Then again, maybe the essence of the E55's problem for me is that it's neither fish nor fowl. It's not a truly small, responsive car, like CLK55 or the SL500 which replaced my E500 after just 8 months and which I enjoyed far more, and it's not the big, comfortable, luxurious, yet still relatively fast car that the S Class is.

    Or, maybe it really just all comes down to a shallow matter of looks. The AMG equipped S500 is far prettier to my eye than the E55 AMG, and so is the CLK55. From some angles, the E55 looks very frumpy to my eye, just as my previous E500 looked dowdy in comparison to my much more modern (at that time) SL500.

    Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I'm certain there are many who find the E55 perfect in just about every respect.
  • rexconde1rexconde1 Posts: 278
    What do you mean frumpy....?

    Thats a new one to me

    Robert
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I still get watery-eyed when I hear someone mention the one of the best if not the best mid-size Benz ever made...the E500. Why did you get rid of it so soon?

    M
  • benznutbenznut Posts: 104
    You Drive bothe the S600 and the S500?
    what do you mean the 600 has less of a subjective rating than S500?
    Is that harshness in the ride of the 600 maybe due to the radials which come as standard?
    5.4 sec. from 0-60 mph? Wow, your benz must have been warmed up really well. New, they may hopefully break 5.9 s. What was your method of testing? you might have overlooked a half a second there. However I sure am glad to hear a 600 benz can do that eventually
    please keep us posted
  • keshankeshan Posts: 1
    just picked up the above with 37 k miles.
    Where can I get the manual explaining all
    the bells and whistles on it?
  • paulchiupaulchiu Posts: 378
    I test drove both the S500 and S600. But the results I quoted were done by Car & Driver magazine, the May 2001 edition. I compared the report carefully with the S500 report back in May 1999. In conclusion; the magazine editors reported that the S600's ride was a bit harsher than the ride in the S500. The S600 is meant to be driven in; as in the back seat, where there is zero harshness.
  • Merc1,

    I hope I don't burst your bubble, but my E500 was a pain. Yes, it had incredible acceleration, a great ride, and the best high beam headlights I've ever had to this point, but frankly, everything else about it was wanting.

    It was assembled by Porsche rather than M-Benz, and at least on mine, you could tell. That thing spent more time in the shop than it did on the road. It got so bad, the MB rep offered to pick up one of my payments as compensation (I'm not kidding).

    The last straw was when the traction control module failed coming out of DQ parking lot, leaving me with the acceleration of one of MBs diesel models -- while a large dump truck was bearing down on me. After getting over the scare, I limped home at 15 or 20 MPH (all it would do!) and put it up for sale (once MB had towed it away and repaired it, of course).

    Even without the problems, I would have been happy to see it go. While the acceleration was great, the handling was poor compared to my previous SL and 911 (an unfair comparison, I know -- I suppose I just wasn't ready for a sedan at that time in my life). It felt like the modest sedan it really was, not the thoroughbred it looked like. And little things like the climate control system were dated and didn't work well which is most impractical if you intend to use the car every day as I did (not to mention that the HVAC smelled like gas all the time).

    Fortunately, the car that followed, a 1995 navy blue SL500 was the best car I ever had. No problems, plenty of power, a reasonably supple ride, great handling, and never a rattle, even after almost 80K miles. I'd have kept it had it had a modest back seat for children (which I need now that I'm married).

    I have high hopes that my new S500 will be as good a car.
  • mlbarnesmlbarnes Posts: 48
    Why is the chat a read only and observers can not participate in the chat?
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    You have to log into Town Hall before you can participate in the chat. Did you not see the messages saying "OBSERVERS, if you do not notice a text box below that chat room. Please go to Town Hall and login (http://townhall.edmunds.com). Then come back and participate in the discussion."

    I hope you can join us in next week's MB Tuesdays chat!

    Drew
    Host
    Vans, SUVs, and Aftermarket & Accessories message boards
  • ggengeggenge Posts: 5
    I bought a brand new S430 Loaded which arrived May2000. I was told at that time that the Navigation CD for Calgary Canada would be available in August 2000, as well as a new phone to be able to use voice command, Dash keypad, etc. etc. Well it's now April 2001 and I don't have either, I just keep being told 2 months, 2 months, etc. I am really ticked off that for what I paid for that car that I can't get 2 important features, Navigation, and a decent phone. Isn't there a generic NAV CD, Or some way I can use it without the specific CD for my area (Calgary, Canada). I know you can get them for Toronto, and Vancouver and anywhere practically in the US, BUT NOT CALGARY.

    This car has every gadget known to man, and I want the last 2. Any suggestions. Regards, Greg
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Actually I kinda suspsected you must have had problems with it to get rid of it so early. I must say though that is the first time I heard a former owner of an E500 go through so much grief. All the 500E/E500 owners I have spoken with loved their cars, guess there is always an exception to everything. I have toyed with the idea of buying a 1994 E500 ever since they went out of production. However if I ever decide to do that I hope you're still on here so I can make sure I don't get the car you had. Anyway, good luck with the S500, its a fabulous car.

    M
  • Merc1

    I strongly suggest that you get a '94 as those final model year cars had the better designed, integrated bumpers, giant headlights and more menacing spoiler (to the benefit of the all-important DRG, as all you aspiring automotive designers know), and bigger disc brakes, I believe.

    Mine was Black Pearl with a grey interior and I still have the service records and vin number, so I can definitely "protect" you down the road.

    But who knows; maybe the subsequent owner ironed out my teething problems.

    ggenge,

    I'd be ticked, too. But more about the Nav disk than the phone. The phone is ludicrously expensive and from what I've read on this very forum is not seamless in its voice activation. I was going to order one, too, but changed my mine when I read some posts here, and spent the money on the more worthwhile ABC suspension set up.

    In my personal opinion, a much more tricked out phone set up would be to get one of the new Motorola V series phones, and one of the car kits specifically for that phone which will give you a hands-free speaker and re-charging. I saw one in a quarter of a million dollar (US!) Aston Martin the other day, and it looked absolutely perfect in its cradle next to the center console.

    It's a great phone (I just got one and like it much better than my digital StarTAC), and it's less than half the size of the bulky M-Benz Motorola OEM phones. The M-Benz Motorla also sits inside the center arm rest which is most inconvenient for access, in my opinion. Oh, and you'll save yourself 3/4 of the cost which you'd never in a million years recoup at resale time. Not to mention that with the pace of change of these phones, there will be something else new and highly desirable in a year or two. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather be able to treat myself to the latest greatest cell toy rather than being locked into the M-Benz phone which is going to seem awfully dated by then.

    Bell Canada also offers a very neat, tiny, voice activated portable phone by Samsung, if I'm not mistaken. That's the ultimate phone, right now, in terms of convenience. You can voice dial numbers with this phone not just in the car, but anywhere. Here in the U.S., that phone is only available with Sprint service plans as far as I know, so it's not practical for me because Sprint service coverage is not as good as my current carrier.

    Good luck.
  • mrman_3k1mrman_3k1 Posts: 52
    I have a 2001 S600 which came with the phone and voice recognition. I would not purchase it for that amount of money. The only reason I have it for those who do not know the specs, it comes with the S600. I have been able to work it a little, but not much. There is also a little delay. If you are patient and want it, get it, otherwise skip it.
  • georget3georget3 Posts: 53
    When I purchased my S500 in Dec., I went through similar reasoning on the phone option. I finally decided to spend the $2160 or so for it. I think the option should be looked at as phone/CD changer combination. If you were to purchase the CD changer only, it would cost you around $850. So, the incremental cost for the phone is $1310.

    Yes, the voice recognition system has a lot to be desired. However, I still would recommend purchasing the phone/CD changer option. For most part, the system works pretty well after some playing and practicing. I also believe the future software update by MB will greatly improve the system performance.

    For a car costing more than $80k, I think the option is a worthwhile and desirable.
  • ggengeggenge Posts: 5
    Thanks for your replies, I have a Startac with an ear piece/mic and lighter charger, That way I can use in either of my 3 vehicles, I wasn't going to pay $2000+ for a CRAPPY motorola/Mercedes phone which I know worked poorly, especially for that kind of money.

    So now my only concern is that BLANK SCREEN on my NAV system that I shelled out $20K more than E320 to get. Gadget guy needs GPS now!! Who makes those CD's for Canada. I'm sure it's not mercedes??

    Looks like I'll be waiting some more. I hear it works great. Siiiigggh...!!!

    Regards, Greg
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Thanks, I'll look you up if I decide to get one. I don't think they changed the brakes in 1994, but I do think the cosmetic changes made the car look a lot better. What year was your car?

    M
  • mlbarnesmlbarnes Posts: 48
    Will the navigational system tell you when to change CDs for a different region?

    Thanks
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