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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am considering buying a S430 or S500. I would like honest opinions on what owners think about the W220. I like the look of the car but know nothing about them.

I am not new to Mercedes Benz.

I have owned a W126 1985 500SEL, probably the best car I have ever owned. I sold it to a guy @ work @ about 300000 miles and still see it every day.

I currently own the best W163 1998 ML320 ever made. It has 197600 miles on it now and has never given me any trouble. I have only had to do normal maintenace repairs on it. If you ever read the 163 forum you will see why I say I have the best one.

I also have a w202 1998 C230. Good car but the transmission broke @ about 100000 miles. Cost about $3000.00 for a rebuilt one. Also the milage, temp and clock no longer work. Over all I like the car but.

I also owned a 1970 diesel but I don't remember what model it was.
 

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2004 S500 4Matic, 2006 S350
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What to do

The 2004 and newer S-Class seem to be more reliable and there are some excellent deals to be had. I have an S500 4Matic and a S350. They are both fun to drive but very different cars. Have fun looking for a W220. I would look at Mercedes Certified cars if you can afford them. The extra warranty to 100,000 miles is a wonderfull thing to have. Nothing drives like an S Class Benz. Be very agressive on price negotiation it's a great time to buy.
 

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I TOTALLY agree with TeamWenz!

That being said, I am partial to the larger engined, higher horsepowered W220's. It makes ALL the difference in the enjoyment level.

As many will tell you here (and for good reason), purchase the newest, and lowest mileage, or some combination thereof, W220 you can afford. More importantly, if not a CPO vehicle as mentioned above, at least get one that is eligible for an extended Bumper to Bumper Warranty from a reputable company. My 2004 S600 only has 20,000 miles on it, and it has been in the shop (where it is AGAIN as I type this) more than I think is should have been. I am so thankful (understatement) that I have the 100K MB Warranty that pays for all the repairs it's needed of late. That being said, nothing is better than a W220 when its working/running right, but understand in or out of warranty they are not cheap to maintain (let alone repair). Also, one even not-so-major repair can make what seems like a good deal when you buy it, a horrible deal, real quick,when get the repair bill. Definitely have an it inspected by someone knowledgeable in W220's so they knew what to look for. If available (and if not, question why not) review the service and/or maintenance records to see what has and had not been done. Good Luck
 

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2001 S500 Brilliant Silver and Black Leather. 20 inch CLS AMG Rims.
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168 Posts
The w220 was my dream car for some time and i have gotten one for a pretty good price. I got a 01 s500 and its a beautiful car! From this w220 forum i have read alot about the problems with air matic, etc. but thank fully i have had none so far. I have had one or 2 instumental problems like some features such as automatic close in mirror still doesnt work. But all in all the ride of the car is simply breath taking. The car is full of luxury from the seats to the steering and handling. Just a really amazing car. I bought this older car as sort of a a trial and if i really liked it i would trade it in and get a newer 03 and up model. So i really LOVE it and will keep this one and want to get a 04 05 ish s55. The newer models have a more sleek interior design to me buttons are more flat and modern looking. The navigation screen is larger and the over all lay out of the command system seems better.
If i have the money i would go for 04-06. But as for my 2001 daily driver its pretty reliable to get from point a to point b VERY comfortably.
 

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2004 Mercedes-Benz S55 ///AMG, 2006 Mercedes-Benz E350
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685 Posts
These are generally good and reliable cars, considering the amount of technology and features you get with the W220's. The lowest mileage, well-maintained cars are your best bet. I highly recommend a CPO car or any kind of good warranty since nothing is inexpensive to repair with these cars.

I would stay away from the 430 engine and go for 500 or 55 AMG ones. 2003 or 2004's can be had at great prices since most of the depreciation has already been done on the previous owner.

Good luck and enjoy the search.
 

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2001 S430
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419 Posts
I have a S430 and the gas consumption is amazing! you have to look at who owned the car, usually everyone details there mb and they almost always look imaculate on the exterior. but the maintenance is expensive and allot of owners cut corners and drive them hard. read some of the forums in here and make a check list of things to look at. even down to the shifter feel of that click. have the suspension and have the dealer check for codes. when you have that deal spend a couple of hundred dollars to have it checked. if it turns out bad you only have lost a card game or diner. Not stuck with someone elses headache. I bought a 2001 out right for my wife and due to airmatics it had become mine, I love it now! If I weighed the price versus a newer version and mine had only 58,000 KM metric in Canada. even if my put 10.000 into the car I still got a deal. and the body style and interior has change little and my insurance is very cheap.
Make the deal and then have it checked over and then negotiate the difference if major repairs have to be done. i.e. brakes, service a or b, airmatics, suspension, ect. GOOD LUCK! and let us know how you progress in your hunt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you for all the replies. One question. What is "airmatics"? I know what 4-matic is but never heard the term airmatics.
 

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Its a great car, love my s430 and looking at picking up another s500. Nothing drives like an s-class, no matter where I go I'm always asked to bring my car, lol everyne loves riding along and getting the stares of being in a big benz.

The only thing I can say like everyone above me is look for a low mileage vehicle on warranty. I'm a mechanic so I sort of buck the trend on this one but if you're not mechanically inclined get the warranty. Once you're off warranty the repairs are much pricier than most other vehicles, but that's cost of riding in class.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Its a great car, love my s430 and looking at picking up another s500. Nothing drives like an s-class, no matter where I go I'm always asked to bring my car, lol everyne loves riding along and getting the stares of being in a big benz.

The only thing I can say like everyone above me is look for a low mileage vehicle on warranty. I'm a mechanic so I sort of buck the trend on this one but if you're not mechanically inclined get the warranty. Once you're off warranty the repairs are much pricier than most other vehicles, but that's cost of riding in class.
I'm a mechanic too. I really don't consider warranties to be a factor when buying a vehicle. I would rather fix it myself than have it at the dealer for a week and not know if it was fixed right. I always consider the overall condition of the vehicle. I do all my own work on my vehicles. I have the most modded ML I have ever seen. I do know about the cost of owning an S class. When my 500SEL needed spark plug wires they were over $500.00, but that was many years ago before I knew about the online parts suppliers. But then if you are a mechanic you know I can afford an S class...
 

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2000 S430
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I would not buy another MB

I'm a mechanic too. I really don't consider warranties to be a factor when buying a vehicle. I would rather fix it myself than have it at the dealer for a week and not know if it was fixed right. I always consider the overall condition of the vehicle. I do all my own work on my vehicles. I have the most modded ML I have ever seen. I do know about the cost of owning an S class. When my 500SEL needed spark plug wires they were over $500.00, but that was many years ago before I knew about the online parts suppliers. But then if you are a mechanic you know I can afford an S class...
I would not buy another MB. I have a 2000 S430 and it'd one problem after the next. Not only are they a lemon, try getting the dealer to fix anything on it. The price is out of this world. I had a seal leak. the part cost me less than three bucks, labor was $300. I have had, airmatic problems (front & back), leaking front strut, navigation system issues, car wont start sometimes (2 different dealers cant tell me why), but they charge for 3 hrs diagnostic time. Whenever you take it to the dealer they always charge diags time even when they cant fix it. Now I am finding out the everyone that I know with a 2000 - 2002 S class has multuple issues. Advice stay away from that model year.
 

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2001 S430
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I would not buy another MB. I have a 2000 S430 and it'd one problem after the next. Not only are they a lemon, try getting the dealer to fix anything on it. The price is out of this world. I had a seal leak. the part cost me less than three bucks, labor was $300. I have had, airmatic problems (front & back), leaking front strut, navigation system issues, car wont start sometimes (2 different dealers cant tell me why), but they charge for 3 hrs diagnostic time. Whenever you take it to the dealer they always charge diags time even when they cant fix it. Now I am finding out the everyone that I know with a 2000 - 2002 S class has multuple issues. Advice stay away from that model year.
I beg the differ on that, and if the dealer can not find your problem you should not pay diagnostics because it was not diagnosed! One thing is you must have a good mechanic if you are buying an older car of this caliber and level. otherwise buy a honda, most people buy for the comfort and the prestige level, If you owned a ferrari or Lamborgini what do you think the cost of fixing them are. I had a Ferrari many years ago, it was a fortune to fix.
 

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W126 is one of the best auto platforms on the planet.A 420 SEL I used to have still rolls at 510K miles; a 300CD saved my life when I got t-boned into a streetlight pole by a red light runner; the wife has an '89 560SL and my daughter rolls a '91 560 SEC I gave her when I got an '05 S55 AMG. Yes, the S55 is more complex, it is costly to repair (so was the 126 in its day) but it is flat out exhilarating.
 

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2004 W220 (S430) ; 2001 R129 (SL500) Sport
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My '04 S430 was my "reward" to myself. I have owned a W108 ('72 280 SEL 4.5) and a W124 ('94 E320) before this one, so I had two of Mercedes' best and prettiest (IMO) post-war cars before I had the third. I bought my W220 with several months of factory warranty remaining. In the 15k miles I have owned it, nothing has gone wrong; it has been as stone reliable as my two previous ones although it is infinitely more complicated.

When I first joined this forum, I was convinced I had made a mistake because of the horror stories you read here. It may well be the case that the early ('00-'02/'03) versions have more problems than the later ones. The '04 began the 7-speed transmission so I have all the luxury in the world and I'm averaging 22 mpg+ in mixed driving. The '04 was also the beginning of the DVD-based nav system, so I have one rather than 12 discs for my nav system.

I think there are few vehicles that combine luxury and performance quite as well as the W220. In today's economy, they are relative bargains.

Stay away from the early versions, the 12-cylinder models (unless you have a hankering for one and are willing to deal with the extra complications they have), and individual vehicles that have not been properly maintained. After you find the one you want, buckle up and get ready to smile. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
W126 is one of the best auto platforms on the planet.A 420 SEL I used to have still rolls at 510K miles; a 300CD saved my life when I got t-boned into a streetlight pole by a red light runner; the wife has an '89 560SL and my daughter rolls a '91 560 SEC I gave her when I got an '05 S55 AMG. Yes, the S55 is more complex, it is costly to repair (so was the 126 in its day) but it is flat out exhilarating.
I know what you mean the 126 I had never had any problems. I just put gas in it, and did regular maintenance. I bought it with about 100000 miles on it and sold it with 300000 miles on it. Never broke down and always had the same performance, even got relatively good milage for a heavy car. It was a timeless beauty. Even as old as it was it still got looks and complements all the time. I still see it every day at work...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Well I appreciate all the candid remarks about the 220. I love the look of the car and miss owning an S class but I think I will heed the advice given by some and hold off until I find a later model (2004 on) and avoid the problems. It's sad that Mercedes Benz has produced some of the best looking vehicles but they don't back them up.

I'll never forget when the transmission broke on my 1998 C230 the dealer wanted over $5000.00 for the transmission and would only give a 12 month 12000 mile warranty. I ended up getting an updated transmission from an indy for $2500.00 with a 2 year unlimited milage warranty.
Over the years when I bought parts from the dealer I got the attitude that they just don't care and some of the prices are out of control...
 
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