Bought an '03 320 Cabriolet on Friday -- in love with the looks of the car, but with some concern over the reputed cost of ownership (got an extended warranty for that reason). Now I am reading thru my manual and see that I have to fork out hundreds of dollars for a special booster seat for my son because otherwise the airbag will deploy in an accident and it "WILL cause serious injury or death" was how I think it read.
Good grief! My Honda Odyssey automatically senses if a small person is in the passenger seat and disengages the airbag. Even my Ford Ranger has a key switch allowing me to manually disengage the passenger airbag. This is very annoying. I know kids are safer in the back seat, but a big reason I bought a convertible was to take open-air drives with my son sitting beside me. Also, I looked at the car seat on ebay and I don't know if it will even store/fit in the trunk when the top is down.
I guess I'll buy one. I've also emailed the local salvage yard to try to find a scrap one with a good transponder. I would rather stick the transponder in a regular (small) booster seat (my son is 6). Do the transponders have batteries? Anyway, sorry for the rant, just don't think Mercedes did the right thing on this one.