Date registered: Feb 2005
Vehicle: 1989 W201.029/M103 3.0
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
At the higher mileage the C240 is most likely going to be cheaper to maintain for circumstantial reasons. The 2.6-18v engine is very robust v6 and designed for broad, docile performance with excellent economy at around 170hp.
The C230 kompressor uses a high output version of its i4, 1.8-16v engine with a bigger supercharger and lower compression for more boost across a bigger range than the C180 and C200. Firstly this engine type has a reputation for timing chain problems, which might be expected considering you're really dealing with a 140hp engine that's being boosted to around 190hp, it's a lot of boost which means through the range torque on the timing chain varies dramatically, through every gear, up and down, you definitely want a very smooth electronic automatic transmission control for longevity. I'd say a manual would go through a timing chain more frequently, and have read people complaining about gears slipping the chain around the web, I'm guessing manuals.
Between the two I think you're likely to find a C230 has been driven harder and stands up to it not so well, whilst a C240 would seem only slightly shy in performance but doesn't have to work anywhere near as hard to do it, plus has never really been worked hard in its life. If you're going to be driving both hard all the time, the C230 will undoubtedly outperform the C240, but in normal driving you'll probably find the C240 doesn't work nearly as hard to go just as quick.
But as they're so very different engines, one a strongly supercharged small i4 and the other an exhaustively tuned small v6, you simply might prefer how one drives to the other. On top of this, with used cars it is the market that tells you which car is in good or bad condition, it's by availability, it's not by any general rule or technical assessment. Different people look after their cars differently, so you might find a pearl that's a C200 kompressor and it's better than any C230 or C240 you find, or you might find a terrific C230 and a horrible C240, or vice versa. It just depends what cars are for sale at the time.
It's only really with brand new cars that you can truly say, this model is like this and that one is like that. With used cars 80,000 bad miles can be worse than 180,000 good ones.
driving a fast car should feel like falling off a building.