Originally Posted by wacky scientist
Thank you so much for this information! I just won the bid on a 2000 S500 AMG from my husband's credit union---its my "dream car' and I have waited patiently for the right and affordable opportunity to buy. However its an "iffy" buying situation with 107,000 miles and no history on the car---its a repo and the price is right at 18K. It looks pristine, absolutely clean but we are playing it safe and having a mercedes mechanic check it out first before we sign. I'm grateful for your posting mcbear so I know what to ask him to check now and what to look out for in the future. Is there anything in particular about the AMG package that I should be wary of? The guy at the credit union said it says "AMG" but he didn't think it "performed" like an AMG, How should an AMG perform, what should I be expecting? I am an older "new" Mom who plans to drive it 120 miles a day 3 days a week in to Houston for work and am looking for a safe, reliable vehicle with a lot of comfort and mercedes style----I have been a student half my life and have always driven cheap used asian cars that I could afford on a student budget!! We have not test driven the car yet---the credit union has crazy insurance stipulations, we can drive in the car with one of their guys and the mechanic can come along... Any furthur advice you can give would be most helpful. Thank you much! P.S. It does not come with an owner's manual, where is the best place to pick up one affordably if we sign the deal?
I answered in response to the e-mail you sent, but post the reply here so that others might see the response, and offer their views as well. Plus, I added some items I didn't think of this morning.
First, the car is not a true "AMG." The W220 (S-Class) AMG for the '00 model year was designated the "S55." It had a 5.4 liter turbocharged engine. See Mercedes-Benz W220 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
for a quick rundown. Reading the charts, only cars with the "L" designation (long wheel base) were sold in the U.S. No S350s were sold in the U.S. until 2004.
: The preceding is based on what I read in the Wikipedia article. Kong9999 kindly corrects this with the following: "Some small corrections to your tutorial. Per MBUSA.com, the S55 AMG first appeared in MY 2001, and did not originally come with a turbocharger. That arrived in MY 2003, bringing another 140 bhp." Thanks, Kong!
The car you are looking at probably has an AMG body kit. It looks sportier, but the car probably has a smaller engine. One thing to watch for is whether it is a rebadged S430. If you're paying for an S500, be sure you're getting one. They have a 5.0 liter non-turbocharged engine (the S430 has a 4.3 liter non-turbo engine). The AMG trim may have been an original option on the car, or it may be aftermarket. Some vendors sell the actual AMG body kit, brakes and wheels; other sell knockoffs of the kits. However, without the engine modifications and other changes, it is not an S55 AMG.
For reliability, you're probably better off without the S55's turbocharged engine.
Advice on where to find manuals is at post #15 at Airmatic On Or Off? - MBWorld.org Forums
. If the '00 Owner's manual is no longer available online, you will be given an address or phone number at Mercedes where you can order a set. Note the free download for the COMAND manual on Paul Dick's website.
Some additional considerations: You will not be able to get a warranty with over 100K miles on the car. You should consider keeping a cash reserve for repairs.
Tele-Aid for you car will be analog; some '00 models cannot be updated with the digital replacement. Tele-Aid is a subscription service similar to GM's OnStar - you could call for assistance, and if you had an accident resulting in airbag deployment, Tele-Aid service would be notified of the deployment and your GPS location. Nice if you were knocked out. However, all analog cell service will be discontinued in the U.S. very shortly - perhaps within weeks. If you cannot upgrade to the digital Tele-Aid, you will lose that feature. Keep an authorized dealer's number handy in your cell phone in case you run into trouble.
You will like the COMAND better if the car was made after November 1999. It will have a "D" navigation system, for which you can still get updated CDs. See D-Nav? - MBWorld.org Forums
to see a good check (but it requires at least one nav CD be available). The date of the car's manufacture is on a sticker on the driver side door sill.
Also, the CD slot in the COMAND is for the nav CD only- not music CDs. Music CDs go in the 6-disc changer in the trunk. I tell you this because you don't have an owner's manual; it's the first mistake many folks make.
Do a very careful Carfax review on the car, and be sure the dealer pulls its maintenance history (an authorized dealer can do this). As a repo, it may not have been maintained well. The records will tell.
Pay attention to what the mechanic tells you. Someone who gave the car an AMG appearance may also have driven it hard. That inevitably causes premature wear. If he gives it a strong OK, then you're probably in good shape.
If it's thumbs down, look at a good pre-owned E-Class or C-Class. For the same money you can get a newer one with lower mileage than the '00 S500; and they do not have the Airmatic system concerns. Or, you might want to consider this car - 2000 S500 4Sale: Htd/Ac Front & Rear Seats, Parktronic, Starmrk Warr $20k or b/o - MBWorld.org Forums