Date registered: Oct 2004
Vehicle: 2013 S550
Location: Tampa, Florida
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Quoted: 250 Post(s)
RE: Considering an S-class (used)
My post at http://forums.mbworld.org/forums/showthread.php?t=124317, which discusses features and the progress of the W220 from 2000 to 2005, and a bit of comparison to Audis (which I drove for 20 years) may shed just a little light, aside from horsepower.
I drove an '05 and an '06 A8L and several '05 A6 versions to compare when I bought my 2005 S500 4-Matic (all wheel drive). In my view, the '05 S500 topped the '05 and '06 A8L. I drove Audis for over 20 years before buying my first Mercedes, and all since my '86 S5000 turbo Quattro were AWD. I loved the later Audis - nearly trouble free (not entirely, but huge improvements over earlier ones). The last one I owned was a 2000 A6 2.7T (all of those were AWD - it was a great car). I missed the AWD in my '00 S500; the standard Mercedes traction control just didn't compare to the control I felt on the road with Audi AWD, wet or dry and definitely not in snow. However, the '05 4-Matic is the best. The AWD is every bit as good as Audi's, and I like the styling and interior of the S-class better. The COMAND system is a bit easier to use in the '05 S class than Audi's system in the A6 and A8. The '05 S500 is also nearly trouble free so far.
I also drove an '04 S430 4-Matic. It too handled marvelously - made me certain my next S500 would be a 4-Matic. The S430 has plenty of power, but not quite as much as the S500; and options I would have ordered on an S430 were standard on the S500.
An E-class is entirely different from an S-class. The Mercedes 4-Matic (all-wheel drive) has been around for years, but was only offered on the S-class beginning in 2004.
2005 S500 4-Matic