Help! 2002 C320 or 1999 E55 - Mercedes-Benz Forum

View Poll Results: 1999 E55 or 2002 C320
1999 E55 w/ 49K miles for $24000 16 84.21%
2002 C320 w/ 59K miles for $20000 3 15.79%
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-07-2007, 11:05 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Help! 2002 C320 or 1999 E55

My wife and I are in the process of purchasing a used vehicle and have a decision to make. We looking at two MB's, the first is a 2002 C320 w/ about 59000 miles on it for round $20K, the second is a 1999 E55 with about 49,000 mile for around $24K.

I really want the E55 but am concerned with the potential repair cost and problems with the older vehicle (although it has less miles on it). My wife want the C320 because of the updates in the interior and the "bling" inside, but she prefers the exterior of the E55.

Our concerns right now are reliability, long term values and maintenance.

We wanted to solicit some honest opinions from everyone on which way they would go and why.

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-07-2007, 11:51 AM
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Because of MB poor reliability and resale paying anywhere near retail is not wise. I would start with the black book auction price and work down. You need to save money on the front end to pay for repairs later. Which model? I am pretty sure the '99 E55 does NOT have window curtain airbags and may have ESP. The C I think has both. I would not buy any car without window curtain airbags. I can provide links if you need convincing.

My 00 S430 has been great for 8 months, at the first sign of a major repair it will be traded in a micromillisecond.

Unfortunately the MB star is very tarnished. How long do you plan to keep this used car. Assuming no repairs (can't be serious), maintainence is still pricey unless you do your own like me. If your time frame is 3 years don't waste your money, lease a new one if you must have an MB. You will likely lose less.

To answer your question, among the cars you list, the C with a 7/100 warranty would IMO be the way to go. You want the E55 but reading your post you already know the E55 will be more troublesome and very costly. $20K for the C seems high, last Summer I was looking at 02 Es for the same money.

Last edited by II kings 920; 01-07-2007 at 12:27 PM.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-07-2007, 01:27 PM
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Welcome to BenzWorld, celsoboy! There are more than just two cars out there, you know. Personally, I have a strong preference toward an E over a C class, but an E55 does sort of land in the "toy" category. For the same money, you should be able to find a newer non-AMG E Class. Just a thought...

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-07-2007, 03:02 PM
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The E55 and C320 are at opposite ends of the spectrum. One ride in an E55 and a C320 will feel like it's broken. I would recommend you follow Ron's advice and expand your search. For example, I entered E320 in a search engine and came up with two certified pre-owned 2002 E320's on MB dealer lots. Both cars had 58K miles and each dealer wanted $22K. I'd take an E320 over a C320. Go sit in a W210 and I think you’ll see what I mean. An E430 may be a good compromise between a 320 and a 55.

If you're concerned about maintenance, a CPO is the answer to that problem. A CPO warrantee covers everything.

If your wife likes the upgraded interior, you may want to consider a W211 E class. A search on those turned up two a number of 2003 CPO E320's on MB dealer lots for under $30K; 51K miles for $28K, 38K miles for $29K, 59K miles for $29K, 38K miles for $29.8K, and 43K miles for $29.8K, 40K miles for $29.9K, and 60K for $29.9.

I'd take my time and find the car in the best condition with the features I think are important.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-08-2007, 01:02 AM
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The E55 W210 is a thrill to drive and comfortable and good looking too, you would love it.

But first click the MB shop forum section
MercedesShop - Mercedes Benz Parts and Technical Information
and read the recent thread in "tech help" called ""Is 1997 E320 a good car to buy?" and then search for and read the thread on the W210 entitled "Spring Perch Failure"

The more I learn about the W210, I am beginning to think these might be the nadir of Mercedes Benz quality control, I honestly wouldn't consider one. I REALLY hate to have to say that, too.

I'd rather go for the C class, but ONLY if it had books and records, and was a CPO car from a Mercedes dealer with a WARRANTY, which I would never buy a car like this without, if I could help it, these cars also have quality issues too I think

Last edited by cascade; 01-08-2007 at 01:07 AM.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-08-2007, 05:43 AM
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C320 or E55?

I believe the comparison is not fair, like comparing orange to apple, you should compare apple to apple that's one, the E55 is a high performance car, the C320 is a family car with excellent power from a 3.2 litre engine, you might need to look for E320 of 2000+.

To choose it depends on your family size, but to be honest I would go for the C320, although driving an E55 is something else, but the 99 model does not have the steering controls and the cluster display (it's pre-face lift), while the C320 2002 has steering controls and cluster display of fuel tank capacity and fuel consumption etc.

Good Luck
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-08-2007, 05:58 AM
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I favor E-class over C-class but if those 2 cars were my only two possibilities, I would buy the C320. As was already metioned, there are a lot of used MBs for sale.

I have that engine in mine, and with 59000 on it, it runs well. I would love to have any of the AMGs, but I'd advise having a warranty on those. By the way, have you seen the CLK55 AMG? To me, that might be a compromise for you and your wife between the 2 styles. I have a neighrbor who bought a used one on eBay and he loves it.

Good luck and welcome to the forum,


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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-08-2007, 04:41 PM
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I own a 1999 E55 with 137,000 miles. Car has been trouble free and a real pleasure to drive. I would buy the E55. It is high performance and has a sleeper look. It is a rare car and will probably hold its value better than the C320. Just be ready to spend more money on oil changes and tires. I would not worry about major problems, you won't have any with a low mileage E55. Good luck with your purchase.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-08-2007, 08:23 PM
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I have a 2002 C320 and it has been problem free and runs great! Its quick but not uncomfortabley fast, but at the same time can handle all that you can throw at it. Mines a 4matic which runs great in the snow, almost as good as my Range Rover!! Seriously you couldn't go wrong with a C320!!
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-09-2007, 07:47 AM
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If you are still shopping around, try the Pre-Owned section at

If for no other reason, you can see what other cars are selling for, and in specified areas of the country, prices ranges, and approximate mileage.

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