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Mercedes-Benz S-Class



  • I've been considering an S430 to replace a BMW 5 Series from the early 1990's with 120,000 miles on it. The BMW is still solid as a tank, drives like a dream and is comfortable as ever. However, everybody needs a change. Is the S430's build quality as bad as my wifes ML320? Also, how is the fuel economy? Please write back.
  • paulchiupaulchiu Posts: 378
    Didn't get the chance to take the S back to the dealer. I just poke at the plastic cover and squeeze the platform in front of the instrument panel. This ended most of the vibration noise from that area. There are some very minor noise, but I am not sure if it's the car, or toys and loose things for my baby. They are not that disconcerting to me.

    I just enjoy my first S! Went shopping this morning in it with my 2 year old.

    The last 1200 miles, I averaged 17 mpg. This is pretty good, considering most of my driving's been inside New York City.

    To S430 buyer:

    I have driven the BMW 528 before. The S class is a nicer ride. Since the 5 series is a smaller vehicle; it should feel tighter and should have less noise. That's why your commuter bus will always be noisier than your car (my theory).

    The drive in the BMW will be a tad more agile and spirited than the S. But the S is more refine. I think the new 530 is quicker than the S430, but I have not read the magazines reviews.

    I did consider the 740 and 750 before buying my S500. The 5 series was just too small for my needs.
    Hope this helps.
  • I just received my s430 and I traveled from Boston to NY and back. Unfortunately, I have noticed noise. I hear a noise when I press on the gas feels like the engine is not fully attached. I will call my dealer on Monday ....but this is very disturbing for a $75.3K car
  • I've got a bridge you might be interested in too!
    Trust me.
  • I forgot to tell you that friday I went to the dealer. I got a chance to bring the s500 home for the weekend (I was surprised they even had one). This car is drop dead gourgous! Desert Silver Metalic, I will go in on Monday and find out what options it has/what this exact car will cost. The dealer told me that this perticular car was an order cancleation, and that I could purchase it if I choose. I called this morning and left a message on the dealers voice mail,I told him I want to come in and check priceing out. I LOVE THIS CAR. drives like a dream.
  • Hmm, if it were me and that "perticular" car was an order "cancleation", I would purchase it as soon as you are done "priceing" it out.

    However, if that "particular" car was an order "cancellation, I wouldn't purchase it as soon as you are done "pricing" it out.

    Seriously though, Mercedes all the way dude.
  • ... is drop dead gorgeous. I've had mine over a year. And it still is fun to run over to the dry cleaners or do other errands. It has been nothing but a dream.
  • I never make fun of anyone's spelling. They might have dyslexia. Or they could be speedy, busy people who don't waste time on a spell check. People with perfect punctuation could be anal retentive. (Except me.)


    Now then ...
  • Three posts in a row is almost unforgiveable!

    I'm just talkative tonight. A response to You. In the opinion of many people, Mercedes Benz traded off on the quality of the ML320 considerably in order to set a lower price point. I've heard many people say that the quality of the ML320 (also the 430) is definitely lower than other M-B models.

    I would expect the S- build quality to exceed BMW's.
  • The build quality of the ML-class is horrible. It is right down there with that of a Grand Cherokee. Not kidding you, I've been in both and they are equally horrible. I have no idea what Mercedes was thinking on this one. Price point? Range Rover? Lexus LX470? They shot themselves in the foot big time with that one.

    Anyways, before committing to the S-class, do yourself a favor a take a look at the 740/750 BMW. I do not want to put the S-class down, but I am on my second one, and both have been flawless. The S-class is definitely the better looking car, and probably more cushier, but if you want a great car for the money (and probably a better deal), visit the BMW dealer.

    However, you can't really go wrong with either. Now, what were you thinking with the ML320? Total garbage. Sorry.
  • alingaling Posts: 598
    Wait a second now, the M-class is not that bad. The '98s were admittedly subpar, but the MY2Ks are far better and I'd say almost as good as my E320. At least sit in, or better yet test drive a MY2K or MY01 model before making such a sweeping statement. Saying that it is "garbage" is carrying it too far.

    Townhall Community Leader/Vans Conference
  • paulchiupaulchiu Posts: 378
    In the light that someone can say the ML is garbage; I have to say that the BMW X5 is an over-hype piece of junk. It's rides rough, there is a more body and interior noises than a New York yellow cab, there is enough luggage space for 3 bowling balls, and it drives no better than the Subaru Outback.

    More importantly, 2 of my Wall Street friends have tried (unsuccessfully) to return this piece-of-work to their dealers for something else.
    I like the ML430 and other SUVs for what they are. A high-riding stationwagon for a family of 4 with young kids. You know what the other alternative is!
  • paulchiupaulchiu Posts: 378
    In the light that someone can say the ML is garbage; I have to say that the BMW X5 is an over-hype piece of junk. It rides rough, there is a more body and interior noises than a New York yellow cab, there is enough luggage space for 3 bowling balls, and it drives no better than the Subaru Outback.

    More importantly, 2 of my Wall Street friends have tried (unsuccessfully) to return this piece-of-work to their dealers for something else.
    I like the ML430 and other SUVs for what they are. A high-riding stationwagon for a family of 4 with young kids. You know what the other alternative is!
  • BMW 540 sportwagon or a E320 wagon anyday before I would consider the ML320/430 or the X5. I personally do not like SUV's. I can get all the benefits of a SUV in a sporty wagon, and they handle much better and are a better choice all around. I don't think I'll ever go off-roading, and if I ever decided I wanted to, well then I guess I'd buy a Land Rover Discovery. I know it's a disaster on the road (my sister has one), but hey, it's for the off road.

    You said it best: "for what they are". Give me a wagon if I needed it.

    However, I have heard generally very good things about the X5. I think it looks rather strange, but I heard they were pretty decent rides. I have seen that they have VERY limited cargo space. It's a shame that two of your buddies have had such problems.
  • paulchiupaulchiu Posts: 378
    An update to my 'noise' issues.

    While driving home after dinner Sunday, I heard 'pops' from the dash area, in the dry quiet New York evening....

    I decided to take the S500 back to Rally motors Monday morning. Once I arrived, unannounced; the chief 'shop' officier went out for a ride to ascertain where to noise came from.

    We isolated that the irregular pops came from the wood panel surrounding the automatic transmission shift-stick.

    George (the head tech) took apart that wood panel and the instrument panel rubber, with the plastic cover. He then clean the edges and used a 'dry' lubriant (that stunk) to moisten the edges. He then installed everything.

    I drove about 90 miles after that, and I only heard some minor pops that did not repeat with any regularity.

    It appears that George solved the problem.

    The service was great; I would say they treated me even better than the 'legendary' care that I had years ago at Lexus.
  • For an S500 I am looking at a 48 month lease with zero down. Payments are $1497 incl. tax. Residual value is 50,129. Good deal? Also, to those that leased, are your mileage-over fees around .30? Seems kinda high. I appreciate feedback. Paul, did you lease or buy outright?

    BTW, the gross cost of this car is 85,965 + lic. heated rear seats, phone/CD (S1), and convenience package (S3)
  • paulchiupaulchiu Posts: 378

    I leased my S500. The total cost was 93,350. I have S3, rear heat/power seats, Parktronics, Distronics, and ABC.

    My lease is 36 months, taxes down, 10,000 miles a year, and $1428 a month. Residual is roughly $62,000.
  • paulchiupaulchiu Posts: 378
    Happy Turkey Day to you all!

    Mercedes lovers and admirers. Have a great day and safe driving in your shinny Benzs!

  • alingaling Posts: 598
    Same to you Paul! We celebrated Turkey day in Canada in October. Guess our harvest was earlier :-)

    Townhall Community Leader/Vans Conference

    P.S. Thanks for your detailed report on the squeaking fix. I'm glad that your car is now creak and rattle free!
  • While in 'Vegas last week, I had a chance to drive an S600 with the V12 option. I have a new respect for Mercedes Benz after 1 minute of practically free sex with a black beauty of a machine smooth as butter! It felt a like this vehicle meant business and did WHATEVER I told it to do. Pure pleasure. Now, how to muster up $120K. hmmm...
  • Sounds like a pretty good deal then, or at least par. I'm getting the car out of state so there are only a handful of banks to do business with, I'm going with Chase. Can't wait to get the car next Thursday. Will post pics.
  • paulchiupaulchiu Posts: 378
    Unless you need to drive for long periods of time over 100mph; as you would at the Autobahn, you probably can go with the V8 S500 or S55. Both will save you at least $20,000.

    I really could not find that much difference between a S500 and S600 except the visuals of extra leather...
  • najminajmi Posts: 1
    I'm selling an imported s500 directly from Germany, practically brand new: less then 10,000 miles. This baby has never touched US soil. asking price : $68,000. I'm negotiable, e-mail me for inquiries if you are interested in purchasing. Very professional, very reliable.

    [email protected]

  • We were looking at the C-Class and the salesmans told us we have to wait 4 months. So we thought the more expensive S-Class is easily to get. Wrong. One dealer in Silicon Valley, California said 12 months queue. We called around and locate a S430, desert silver and we ran down right away and bought it. You can forget about any discount but on the other hand, there are no dealer markup. Have it for 2 days and we loved it. It does not have the rich old man look anymore. Now, the image is that the driver is an educated rich CEO in his 40's.
  • How about 30? You're making me feel old.
  • I just received my 2001 S430 and living in Boston...I am in need of snow tires. Does anyone have any reco on which brand works best on a S430/500. Also is there a need to recalibrate the Nav. System since it works in part on tire rotation.

    Thanks in advance
  • You're right. There are not many places in the US that allow the V12 to stretch it's legs and the E430 is a realistic car for my everyday driving needs. The S600 would be nice to have though, wouldn't it? Excuse me while I wipe the slobber off my face.
  • I have a 2000 S430, and last year I installed 4 Michelin Pilot Alpin snow tires - size P225 60r 16.They were great in the ice and snow, and have very little road noise (even considering they are snow tires). There is no need to recalibrate the Nav system, as that is the OEM tire size, unless of course, like myself, you installed 17" summer wheels and tires (Dunlop SP9000's).
  • ejerodejerod Posts: 86
    Ok guys.. I admit it, I had a temporary lapse in judgement about the LS430, try as I might I just can't get myself to like the body. The interior is gorgeous and can hold it's own against anything made regardless of price, but the body is totally uninspiring. After careful consideration, and many sleepness nights (read sitting on the toilet and looking at brochures from both manufacturers over and over Today ( drumroll please ) I ordered the S500 with 18 inch wheels, wood steering wheel and shifter, phone/cd package, ventilated seats, and the illuminated door seals that are dealer installed option. just under 90k. Told the Lexus guy sorry, give me my money back.. besides, we already drive a 99 Lexus GS300 that I'm thrilled with and I'm going to keep. The GS is gold, the Benz will be silver with charcoal interior. I'm a private banker... and I prefer precious metals to paper any day..:).. thanks for enduring my rantings and confusion in these postings guys...Eric
  • paulchiupaulchiu Posts: 378
    Hey, this is America, you're entitled to your 'rantings'. Although, I'll have to say (for all of us S lovers) that your musings regarding the LS was getting rather on bizarre. Just as I cannot imagine what is going inside Gore's head right now, I was puzzled that anyone with the brains (to have the resources) to ever consider an S would even consider the, rather pedestrian style that is the LS430.

    An applause to you to have found the inner wisdom to admit that you were 'fooled' by the creature comforts inside the LS. And congrats to you in finding what really matters in an automobile.

    I am sure that you will be as happy as I am with my silver/charcoal S500!
  • Eric, congrats on your choice. You made the right one. AND, I have to applaud you on your choice of charcoal for the interior. The interior of the S looks much richer in charcoal imho. Silver is an excellent choice for the exterior, but you may want to consider the Horizon Blue. My CL is Horizon Blue/Charcoal. I LOVE that combo. Also, the massage option is nice.
  • Hi,

    I'm looking to purchase either a 500 or 600SEL, probably a 92-94. Are these nice vehicles to own and are they reliable? What are the problems with them that I should consider. It seems that the 500SEL is everything the 600 is, except for the engine. Is that correct and is the 12 that much better or will it cost more to maintain than it's worth? Any other info regarding these would be very appreciated!

  • I'd say go for a 95 if you can. The difference between the S500 and S600 besides engines are higher level of equipment, e.g. S600 had ASR I believe before the smaller engined cars did. Yes, I believe the 12 cyls will be much more expensive to maintain. But remember, these cars are jampacked with electronics and they can and often do go on the blink. I think the hydraulics that control the self-closing doors and trunk are most likeley to have problems on an older car. But, if you can keep these cars in good condition, they are THE pinnacle in MB engineering. The new vehicles, even with all their fancy electronics, just can't compare to the sheer over-engineered wondrousness (is that even a word!) of the W140-body S-Class.
  • ejerodejerod Posts: 86
    A funny thing happened on the way to the office... I got a call from the MB salesman that I placed my order for my S500 with. He told me about a car that a gentleman that happens to own a majority stake in Nextel turned in. He had the car for 6 weeks, it had 2800 miles on it and he brouht it back to get the SL500. ( He traded one in for the S500, and just was accustomed to the SL500) Anyway, I bought the car.. AMG package, powered trunk, ventilated seats, wood/leather trim steering wheel and shifter, all the bells and whistles. Priced out at 102k. I stole it for 83,750 + TTL.I avoided luxury tax as well as gas guzzler tax too saved nearly 20 k. God is good.. the only bad news is that now I'm a permanent member on these boards.. oh yeah, I'm having the lighted door sills installed while I'm in Cali next week. Now that I own it, I don't know what came over me to want to buy the Lexus. Nice car, but it's not a Benz...Thanks people.. :)
  • I said all along you'd be happier. Not that it's for everyone, but stuck between the two, and the rationale you were trying to apply, there was no way you were going to be happy with the Lexi. In the meantime, I'm trying to get my car. I'm having it shipped halfway across the country. The dealer is telling me that all new S500s that were in port are on hold for emissions recertification. Does this sound like a stall, or has anyone else heard this? On a separate note, MBZ inventories are starting to build up now I've noticed. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the markets! If my portfolio losses were reversed this year I could have been on the Bentley Continental T board instead.
  • bbraybbray Posts: 2
    With the euro down about 30% this past year, is it possible to buy this car in germany and convert it here. Does anyone know any websites that provide info ?....Thanks bbray
  • paulchiupaulchiu Posts: 378
    This morning's drive to the Mall was my best yet! Try setting the 'drive height' adjustment to '1 light' on the LED. I believe this is to set the suspension 3 inches higher. And 2 lights would set it 6 inches higher. Then, if you have ABC, turn it on.

    At this mode, I find the S500 to be at it's best. It feels a lot more solid, tank-like, noise-free, and best of all; drives very much like a sports car. I prefer the ride under this mode over the ride on a CL500.

    Try it out, guys!
  • alingaling Posts: 598
    Glad to hear that you're enjoying the car! You're a little optimistic about the height adjustment. :-)

    It's an S-class you know, not a Range Rover. I don't remember it precisely, but the high adjustment 2-3 inches maximum at the 2nd second. At 6 inches higher, the S-class would have more ground clearance than the M-class ;-)

    Townhall Community Leader/Vans Conference
  • paulchiupaulchiu Posts: 378
    Sorry, that was ".3" and ".6". At least you're reading my nonsense....
  • Does anyone know if MB going to introduce
    S430 4Matic, I have heard a lot about in
    model year 2003 S500 will get a 4matic,
    but how about S430?
  • Qusetion form response #144 scargo160 quick or anyone. Could you please say more about Inventories. Does this mean there will so be some DISCOUNTS OUT THERE SOON?
  • alingaling Posts: 598
    Always glad to read your "nonsense". Same goes for you and my posts, BTW. ;-)

    Townhall Community Leader/Vans Conference
  • alingaling Posts: 598
    Yes, I'm pretty sure that there will be an S430 4-matic, afterall, even the C240 (at least in Canada and Europe) will be offered with the 4-matic option. Expect these vehicles only around fall of 2002 though.
  • First off – many thanks to those who post on this board and help people such as myself with major decision making! It’s been 3 weeks since I took delivery of my 2001 S500 with ABC, Sport Package, Wood Steering/Shifter, Timeport Phone/CD Change, etc. Here are a few observations beyond that its’ a magnificent vehicle:

    The learning curve for the Command System is not as bad as what I had feared. I love technology and once you understand how it works – it’s powerful, easy and a great asset. Using the steering wheel controls is easy and really eliminates having to distract yourself.

    The clock is automatic and reads the Atomic Clock signals – never have to change it.

    The Navigation system is not as good as on my wife’s 2001 ML430. The screen is smaller, and the system (when not guiding you to a destination) always points North – which makes it confusing. The NAVI content is better on the ML430, where you can more easily find major more classification of potential destination categories. Programming a destination is slow – takes longer than my wife’s system.

    So far, only one problem. The “Active Body Control –Drive Carefully” red warning display comes on occasionally when the car is first started in the morning. The car doesn’t leave any malfunction codes in memory. Believe it or not, my MB dealer said a service bulletin came out and requires replacement of the Ignition Switch device (and reprogramming). Bizarre – but they’re confident that once the part comes in, it will do the trick. So the ABC is fine… it’s the ignition switch.

    Active Body Control is AWESOME. You quickly forget it’s a 4500 lb road machine. The handling is tight, crisp and road hugging. The Sport Package probably adds some road hugging due to the 18” tires. The tires are a big noisier than the stock wheels (I negotiated a set of 4 stock wheels and tires at no charge in the purchase price…which was MSRP).

    Fit and finish is superior. I have no objections to the plastic materials used (Black interior). I've read other comments that the plastic is cheap..but i don't see it.

    It’s VERY easy to hit the cruise control activate switch when hitting the turn signal lever. It takes getting used to. My wife says the same thing about her ML.

    Glove box is extremely tight for a luxo cruiser of this size.

    You can’t activate the fog lamps when you’re in Daytime Running Lamp or Auto modes. I’m not happy about this.

    Voice recognition system (with Timeport phone) is amazing, and fairly consistent. You can verbally tell it what AM or FM station (ie. 95.5) you want to listen to, which CD to play, and which track. Very cool.

    Much like the window control lock out switch, MB should have put in a driver controlled lock out switch for the rear heated seats. Kids like to play with it, and heat the seats unnecessarily.

    That’s it for now.. Let’s hope nothing changes and it’s smooth sailing from here on!.
  • In response to sigmabos S430 comments, my feelings have been the same on many points you mention, but especially about the seats. Although fine for around town, after a hour or so they can get uncomfortable - as you say, disappointing in a $75K car. If you push on the seat with your hand the rear section seems thinner than it should be. Also being 6'4" I've had difficulty finding an optimum cruising position despite the seemingly endless possibilities. the rear seat leg-room is wonderful.

    I was also somewhat alarmed by the outside engine noise the first time I heard it, thinking something was not right. I'm glad my experience is not unique.

    All that aside, it is a truly amazing car technically and aesthetically. It really settles in around the 80mph range, a true autobahn cruiser. I haven't gotten on it yet as it's still running in, but it seems very responsive despite the smaller displacement engine.

    Also any tips from anyone regarding keeping the car clean between washings - i.e. post commute.

    My compliments to all involved with the Conference - It's been very informative pre-purchase as well as entertaining since.

    Best Regards!
  • You can order the wood steering wheel and shift knob for the S430 from the dealer parts.
  • is4b2rd,

    Thanks for the advice...unfortunately it is partially wrong. You can order a wood steering wheel and knob from the parts department...but it will not match your S430 interior. The reason is the S430 has Calyptus wood interior. However, the S500 has Burl Walnut and the S600 has Chestnut wood. They only make the wood steering wheel and knob in Chestnut (s600) or Burl Walnut (s500). I guess if you don't mind having mismatch wood in a $75k car it is ok...but not me. If this is incorrect and they do make a Calyptus wheel/knob...please let me know. But I have investigated this extensively
  • I am almost positive that you can get the optional wood wheel and knob for the S430, which tells me it is made in calyptus. Check with MB at their 800 number 1-800-FORMERC. They should be able to help you, maybe more than your dealer.
  • First time I have posted--Can someone give me a clue if a 1996 S320 SWB that I am looking at will be predictable handling in the snow--

    I assume that there is a different handling/steering system on MBs from year to year--but since this is the car I am currently looking at--I would appreciate it someone could give me some guidance as to what I should look for in a car like this
    (ie tires, steering system, LWB vs SWB, etc ) so I can use this car all year up here in Wisc. Thanks
  • A couple of posts above indicated that the seats seemed hard and would get uncomfortable quickly on a long trip.

    I drove 850 miles in one day in my S500 and I found the seats and the car overall exceptionally comfortable. We all arrived much less fatigued than after much shorter journeys in other cars.

    My own humble opinion is that firm seats are more comfortable in the long run. I think the S- class seats are very comfortable, AFTER you have adjusted them to your body. And actually it is quite difficult to adjust them. Some adjustments (e.g. to lift) move in somewhat different directions than you expected. So it takes much trial and error to make adjustments.

    Fortunately seat position memory is present, so one can approach seating nirvana asymptotically.
This discussion has been closed.