Buying an M-class or C-class around the Boston area - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-06-2007, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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Buying an M-class or C-class around the Boston area

Hello,

I've lurked around the benzworld forums for about a year now, but now that I'm potentially ready to soon purchase my first Merc, I have some questions.

Firstly, a little background about me. I'm in my early 20s, live in the Boston area, and just reveived my Masters Degree. I have always loved Mercedes-Benz as my favorite car (that and Porsches) since I was very very young.

A new position that I've been hired for will be about a 50min->1hour straight drive (from West Roxbury to Worchester for those who know the Boston area) to work and back home (so about 2 hours to and back from work every day).

With that said, I'm interested in either buying about a 2002-2003-2004 M-class or C-class Benz. Are there specifics I should watch out for regarding either an M-class or C-class within these specified model years?

Firstly, for the type of drive and distance I'll be going to work every day, will the M-class be better, or should I go with a C-class? AWD will be important, I think, especially since there can be quite a bit of snow between Boston and Worchester in the winter. The M-class will have this, but for the C-class, I'll have to get 4matic, right?

Secondly, which is more comfortable to drive over a 1 hour distance every day? I haven't driven either the M-class or C-class before. One thing that initially pushed me towards a C-class is the better Mpg rating, but I'm not sure, since the M-class will have a better tank.

Since the C-class is a sedan, will it be more comfortable to drive over a short-to-long distance than the M-class?

Regarding the M-class: If I went with this, should I look into getting an ML-320, ML-350, or ML-500? I want whichever will give me the best mpg rating, so I'm guessing the ML-320 (3.2 liter) or ML-350 (3.7liter) would.

Lastly, is there a prefered place to buy a used Benz in the Boston area? I'm using autotrader and cars.com as of now. I know Herb-Chambers Benz is pretty nice, but they tend to sell only later model Benzs as far as I know.

Anyone know any deals as of now? By the way, my prefered color for either an M-class or C-class is black on black leather.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-06-2007, 02:22 AM
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I have owned both a 2002 C-class and a 2002 M-class (my current car) and I recommend you buy an '02 or '03 ML320. That will give you the best fuel economy and range for 2 hours of driving daily.

The C-class offers better ride comfort for distance driving, and better fuel economy, but the tank is significantly smaller so you'll find yourself at the gas station a lot more often. If you weren't driving so far so frequently, and didn't need 4WD that would be a better choice.

I drove the C-class for 2 years, then upgraded to the ML, and I'd never go back. I like the higher driving position, which offers superior visibility and therefore safety, and the incredible versatility of a vehicle that can go anywhere, has a cavernous load compartment, and anything that can't fit inside it can be put on the roof or towed. Plus you can sleep in the back of it (I have).
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-06-2007, 06:33 AM
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Hi Bio,

I have only borrowed a C-class and I liked it (especially the Xenon headlights). It was a loaner vehicle and just after I bought my ML, so what I really wanted was my ML back.

As for my experience with the ML. I absolutely love it. I drove from North Carolina to Boston one weekend and after arriving Boston at 9pm on Saturday night, I got out of bed at 2am and drove to Montreal, Canada (nearly 800 miles in a weekend!). That was a crazy weekend, but the thing that amazed me was that I never got tired through the whole trip. The ML is, in my opinion, an amazing vehicle for long trips.

I have never driven a 320 or 350 (or ML55, for that matter), but I really love the power of the 500. The truck is made to cruise effortlessly at more than 90 mph (which you can do on 128, 93 and the Mass Pike in Boston... Not so much in North Carolina ). Even at 90mph, the truck can accelerate like mad. It has a lot of torque! I can't compare the feeling I have with my ML to any car I've every driven. There are not many cars that can catch it pulling off at a stop light. With that said, I don't recommend any hard acceleration anywhere without checking for unmarked cars first. If you've never owned a car with real power, this will take some getting used to.

The other thing I love is that I can work on the ML easily. So far, I have replaced my brake pads (and will do the rotors soon), spark plugs, changed my oil (really easy... I wasn't even there for the most of it! That requires explanation, but later), and some minor things. I think it's well designed and a pleasure to DIY. Very much a money saver!

The down side is the gas mileage. Now that fuel prices are so high, I'm spending a lot on gas. I fill up on Mondays and Fridays and get something less than 300 miles to the tank. On the highway, I get much better, but in town it sucks. Of course, the 320 and 350 will be a little better. Because of the high price of gas, I don't race off at lights so much now, but I like to think that it's better to have and not use than to not have at all!.

I found mine on Autotrader. We are lucky in Boston that there are so many MLs on the market... you really have your choice. In North Carolina, not only was I the only ML, but one of 2 Mercedes in my small home town. I bet I could get a mint for it there. Oops! I digressed. Take advantage of your position and don't look for a best place to buy. Look at every ML and determine the best deal for you. I recommend buying with less than 60k miles (mine at 59k) and purchasing a warranty. I bought AAA for ~$3200. A month later, the warranty paid $2000+ to fix my air conditioning flap (mostly labor... they had to remove the whole dash to reach the 10 cent part.) With that said, happy hunting!

Last edited by Bogie; 06-06-2007 at 06:44 AM.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-06-2007, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your opinions so far guys. Bogie, how much does it cost to fill up your ML-500's tank? Also, does the ML-500 have the same size tank as the 320, 350, and 430?

Also Bogie: Do you have an MB extended warrenty, or a third party warrenty? What dealer in boston did you go to?

I know you said I shouldn't worry as much about the dealer, but I would rather go to a reputable dealer than a lesser known one.

An official MB extended bumper-to-bumper warrenty would be preferred, especially with some of the issue I've been reading about regarding the M-class.

I know Mercs are 'heavy' vehicles in general (which I like a lot; my sisters Volvo is heavy and nice to drive), but do you really feel that 'weight' behind the wheel?

Also, at first, I wanted the Command Nav system in either a C-class or an M-class (whichever I get), but I've been reading that they are not up to part with those of, say, Lexus or Acura (maybe minus the new 2008 C-class and 2007 S-class). Is this true? Basically, if I get a C or M-class which I like that happens to also have a Nav system, that's fine, but if not, then I'll just buy a separate third party Nav system later.

Last edited by Bio Analyst; 06-06-2007 at 10:06 AM.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-06-2007, 12:07 PM
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I don't have the MB warranty, but when I checked, it didn't cover very much. They are all called "bumper to bumper" but you have to read the warranty. They exclude everything between the bumpers. There is no substituting for reading. If you can get a copy of the warranty from a few companies before signing, you can make the best decision. Try AAA, Warranty Direct and any others that people here mention.

I use Chamber Motor Cars in Somerville for service. I am learning that it is easy to do things myself, and the feeling that I know my truck is priceless.

This week, it was $62 to fill up. I really hope gas comes down soon, but it's more likely that I'm dreaming.

In the ML, I do know the weight is there, but the 500 is very fast. I feel the weight when I turn. The suspension is very soft and lets the vehicle sway. I pulled up beside a Mustang and Audi just as they decided to drag race down route 2, so I joined them. We cruised together at 85 for a while then I sensed that the Mustang was going to make a move. I floored it in anticipation. Sure enough, the Mustang did and the Audi fell back. The Mustang held around 95 and I continued beyond 100 leaving both of them. It felt like I was doing 40. I would give anything to know what those guys were thinking.

Of course, I admit to being an idiot for doing that and the day that I'm pulled over is not going to be a pleasant one. In the meantime, however, I love my truck!

Also... get the Nav system. There are many better ones, but it's not horrible. If you don't, you'll always feel that you're missing out on something and with so many MLs on the market, it won't cost you anymore to get it.

I'm very excited about my truck as you can see, but you need to decide what is best for you, whether it's an ML or C class or other. Good luck!

Last edited by Bogie; 06-06-2007 at 12:11 PM.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-06-2007, 04:15 PM
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Welcome Bio. First of all, there is no H in "Wustah" They will eat you up and spit you out if they see you spell it that way.

Now that that is out of the way....if the gas mileage issue is really a concern consider an '05 E320 CDI. May be a little newer than you were looking for, but at 38 mpg and a 700 mile range you will be loving life. Traction control and ESP works awesome in the snow and the car FLIES!

I like command Nav better than those touch screens. Some of them can be very dicey if your finger is not perfectly lined up. I like the buttons.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 06-06-2007, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
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Roch207: Thanks for the suggestion. I would personally like an 03 or later E-class the most, but the cost is higher, especially with all my bills, I think, unless I can get a deal.

Also, with an 05 CDI, I'm not sure I want a Diesel...Yet.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-04-2007, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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To follow-up:

I think I've decided on a C-class (unless someone can convince me otherwise), mainly because I think I want to drive a sedan, and also because I think it will save me a lot on weekly fuel costs. Again, as noted in my above post, driving to and from work will be at least 73 miles a day.

Secondly, am I correct to assume that reliability wise, a w203 C-class is more reliable than a w163 M-class (specifically, 2002-2005)?

Size wise, I feel a C-class would also be more maneuverable in the Boston area (especially when parallel parking).

Now, regarding the w203 model years: Are there any I should avoid? I will be purchasing my C-class at the end of this year (Dec 07), and would like to get the 2008 w204 Avantguard, but don't want to spend that much on my first Merc just yet (I would have to buy it, since I don't like/believe in leasing an automobile).

Am I correct in stating that the w203 C230 Kompressor Sports sedan doesn't come have the 4matic option? I haven't seen a single one with 4matic. 4matic is kind of important to me, due to the distance I drive every day to work, and winter months.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-04-2007, 07:21 PM
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For the 2008 model year, the U.S. spec W204 sedan will be offered in the Luxury and Sport models. Avantguard is a European specification.

If you have concerns about reliability and used vehicles, you may wish to consider a CPO. CPO coverage can extend to 7 years/100,000 miles. www.MBUSA.com has a CPO section where you can search on model availability in your area. One thing to keep in mind, the 4MATIC system for the W204 is different than the earlier versions. The new version weighs less and has better fuel economy. For the 2007 model year, 4MATIC was only available on the C280 and C350 luxury models. For the 2008 model year, it’s available on either the C300 Sport or C300 Luxury models.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-04-2007, 09:39 PM
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Keep in mind that the M class does excellent in the winters.

Mike
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