W210 vs W220, which better to own/most reliable? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-15-2014, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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W210 vs W220, which better to own/most reliable?

Hello Benzworld,

Been a while since I've been here, feels good to be back!

Well, I have gotten an "adult" job (Shameless plug, I sell real estate if anyone in Atlanta needs a Realtor.) and I feel it's time I get a new car.

I'm interested in the 2001-2002 E320, E430, S430, and S500.

The TL;DR version of this is basically, in you opinion, which of these cars do you think I will have the least problems with/is the best to buy?

I have heard and read that this isn't really the best generation of Mercedes they've made. My family had a 1997 E420, a 2002 E320 (both bought new), and a friend of mine has a 1999 E320, so I am somewhat familiar with the W210 series.

I was young when we had the E420, but I only remember it really being in the shop maybe twice. My cousin had the 2002 E320 which he never complained about, and the only reason he got rid of it was when he totaled it. My friend with the '99 E320 doesn't take the best care of it, and it has a few electrical problems (mostly stuff he could easily fix. Lights out, front windows don't work.) but the engine is sound.

I have no experience with the W220 series, and not really any with V8 Mercedes engines other than the E420. My family also had a 2002 C240 which was a really good car, so I wonder if the early 2000's Mercedes are as bad as people make them seem?

Are there any red flags I should look out for when shopping for these cars?

I'm sure there's buyers guides on this site somewhere, but I just wanted to see what people would say about these two cars specifically pinned against each other.

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-15-2014, 06:43 PM
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I rode in a 2014 E class last week. The ride was every bit as good, maybe even better than my W220. But, a comparable model year like a 2002 E Class isn't going to ride quite as well as the W220. Reliability wise, I'd say the W210 has the edge. If you're going to get a W220, I'd get a 2003 and up. But be aware the 2004 was the first year of the problematic 722.9 transmission. If you get a 2005 or 2006 4matic, those will have the more reliable 722.6 transmissions.

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Bells and whistles are thorns and thistles.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-16-2014, 03:39 PM Thread Starter
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Bump, anyone else have any opinions?
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-16-2014, 03:48 PM
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Read through the stickies atop each of those respective forums.

The extra bells and whistles on the W220 are a thorn waiting to pop the balloon of your enjoyment.

The W210 is by no means trouble-free, and for the most part the bugaboos it has are shared by the W220. But the W220 has a whole host of other issues, mostly comfort and convenience features, and the cost to repair many of them exceeds the car's value.

I do most of the work on my W210, but if you offered me a W220 with half the miles of my car and half the miles, in pristine condition, I wouldn't take it.

That said, the newer W210s are more reliable than the earlier ones, so I'd be looking at the 01 and 02s.

But really, read through those stickies and you'll get an idea of what's going on.

Good luck and happy shopping.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-17-2014, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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So, ideally, a 2002 E320 would be my best bet?
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-17-2014, 07:07 PM
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Well, I bought replacement for our 1998 E300DT almost a year ago and still can't part with it. Low ball offers are 1 thing, but the diesel sedan cost 1/2 to drive than newer gasoline wagon and while we did not have anything to fix on W210 in last 3 year (a can of refrigerant), the W211 is high expense waiting to happen.
You have to weight lot of aspects. I think the $3000 "maintenance" items on W211 like SBC pump or airbags are well too much
Sure they are nice when they work.

Last edited by Kajtek1; 09-17-2014 at 07:10 PM.
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