Stay away from any euro brands if you want low maintenance and troublefree. But given that you want an MB anyway, initial quality is about as bad as any company can make a car. The good news for you is many of these issues have been resolved in the first year or two. So a 2002 C230 coupe (no sedan that year) will be pretty good. Heck, I have a 1998 SLK230 with the same motor and tranny, rock solid. Throw a pulley kit on there for added performance. The 2003 was the first year for the 1.8L motor and it was a disaster, radiators that leak internally into the transmission wiping out the tranny, cam sensors that leak in wiring harness causing expensive to fix damage, and the service campaign on all the 1.8L motors for the pcv tubing, at least that's free to get fixed. They really didn't fix these issues until the 2004.5 sport sedan came out. You can tell because it has a 5 spoke wheel instead of a 7 spoke. The 2004.5 had more sophisticated AMG like brakes, nicer wheels, lower stance, better paint technology, chrome exhaust tips and a more reliability. So if I was buying one used, I would get the 2002 coupe or 2004.5 sedan. The 2004 and 2005 coupe is fairly rare as sales dropped off dramatically after the first year so dealers got stuck with a bunch in 2003 so they ordered less for 2004 and hardly any for 2005.