Almost new. Looking to buy MB #2. Need advice - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 03-17-2010, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
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Almost new. Looking to buy MB #2. Need advice

I bought my wife a 2001 E320 Wagon to replace our minivan (glad those days are behind us). This was the first MB for us and I am very impressed. After replacing a few sensors that I'm sure drove the previous owner crazy it has been great.

I will be giving my "Ol reliable" Ford Taurus to my daughter in a few months and want to replace it with a used, high performance 4 seater. I have been researching the CLK55 / 500, E55 and the CL's. I am looking to spend no more than $25k US. So I can use some advice. FYI - I am competent with a wrench and have no problem servicing my own vehicles... oil changes, brakes, MB recommended service items - head gaskets, timing belts... I also have the basic computer skills and equipment to pull error codes and research/troubleshoot. There is not much I would not be willing to do myself to try to keep my cars out of the dealer. Based on my research I have the following questions/concerns.

•Is the E55 engines/supercharger reliable? I have read complaints about belt/clutch noise. I can live with a little noise given the performance you get but would not want to be looking at a several thousand dollar bill to replace the unit.
•Air suspension? Not sure if this comes on all models but is it reliable? Are there any components that would cost and arm/leg that are known to be troublesome?
•Brakes. I understand certain model years used “Brake by wire” and many people did not like it. I think that would worry me, not having direct input to the brakes. What years did they have this feature and do you think I should stay clear of it?

•An older CLK55 or a newer CLK500, that is the question. I like the idea of having AMG badges on my car but would a 2006 CLK500 sport be faster than a 2004 CLK55?
•Quality – I have read several reviews where people have not been pleased with the overall quality of the interior and electrical components. It seems like MB had some struggles in this area for a time frame but it is not clear to me what that range is. (2000 – 2005?)

•So this is the one I want the most. Luxury, performance, high tech, prestige and fairly inexpensive to buy for an 03 / 04.
•ABC – I have read horror stories about the active body control and the cost to get it fixed. (Pumps cost several thousand dollars, leak down problems...) Is this a wide spread issue for these cars or is it more of a case where you only hear about the 1% of really bad experiences?
•55 vs 600. This seems to be a matter of personal choice. The biggest factor for me is reliability. Is the 55 engine more complex and thus more prone to expensive problems down the road?

Any other model to look at? I'm not interested in SUV or 2 seaters.

Gas mileage? I don't expect much given the category I'm looking in but every little bit helps.

I realize that buying a high end vehicle requires a commitment in time and money to keep it working as designed and nothing comes with a guarantee. On the other hand, if I end up with annual parts cost of several thousand dollars I will have made the wrong decision. I would like to have this next car for at leat ten years so all advice is welcome. I have about two months to make a decision.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 03-17-2010, 10:23 PM
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