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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, I currently have an E46 330Ci and I'm interested in selling it so I can get something with more power, but keeping the luxury and looks. I'm thinking either a C32, a W210 E55, a W211 E500 or even a Merc CLK500 or CLK55, an Audi S4 B6 or BMW E34 M3. I've noticed that most M3's have most likely been thrashed and are a little older looking. The W210 E55 also looks its age, but I drove one and it feels and goes great! Want a car that is also reliable and not expensive with problems. The C32 looks more modern but I'm not sure, as It's supercharged if it will likely cost me a fortune in repairs etc. I was told by a Mercedes dealership that the supercharger alone costs $15,000. Can people please advice me on the cars I have mentioned including reliability. Also if I went for the CLK500 or W211 E500, if there any performance improvements that can be done such as ECU re-mapping that won't cost a fortune. I won't have much $ after I sell my BMW 330ci so that's why I have mentioned the cars that aren't from AMG.
Your advice will be much appreciated.
Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
GOT SOME GREAT INFO FROM ANOTHER FORUM to help me and anyone else with a choice of car:

w210 E55 is a solid car. probably don't have any problem except it just looks old, but you can mod it some and make it look pretty classic. the last year is the best.

02-04 C32. supercharger won't be the problem with this car. i don't think anyone on the board has actually blown their supercharger. the thing that will need replaced is the supercharger clutch bearings and those are cheap. the crank position sensor which is cheap as well and then there are the common problems with the w203 such as powerseat draining the battery. all the problems are pretty much all listed in the forum and most of them can easily be DIYed.

w209 clk500 or 55. again, solid car. the later year the better. some common issue shared with the 203.

the crank position sensor are a problem common on all MBs.

B6 S4, from what i have seen. some people seems to have electric issues for ignition wirings. other than that...good car is you want a decent power V8 with 4wd. but the interior room is crap.

E36 M3, clean ones are hard to come by. unless you want a project car. it's not worth the hassle.

E46 M3, you have a 330Ci. i'm pretty sure you are aware of E46s' problems.

MB depreciation is ****, but the CLK500 and w211 E500 in same condition as the C32 will actually cost more. all depends on what year and $$ you are looking for.
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I understand the 4.2L Audi motors are quite the pain when it comes to timing chain and tensioner issues. Motor out procedure. But arguably the nicest interiors of the three mainstream German manufacturers.

I would suggest the c32 or e55, why? they got good brakes and engines that can take some punishment. Take a look at the 210 e55 picture threat they can look pretty badass. love the v8 from the E55amg handles pretty good for a big car and it sounds amazing, for the more sharp cornering and maybe track driving? c32. the w211 is a nice car to, but it's a whole different kind of car it's more like the grown up man's car, still got plenty of power. Test drive a c32 and try an e55 again, and decide everyone has a different opinion on how a car should feel like driving it's up to you.

Sweet! Great info from you guys! Thanks! Yes, ill take a c32 for a drive. Regarding the W210 e55, I know the 2000-2002 is a better version than pre-2000. But I prefer the pre-2000 side skirts better. It looks more slick / smooth / flush. What I also realized is that the e55 doesnt have a limited slip dif. Wtf. When I drove one the other day, in the dry, I noticed the traction control light kept flickering to aorox 100kms. If it had LSD, is imagine it would pull even harder.
agree the lack of lsd sucks, but do you really need it for street use? I'll post some pics of sweet e55's. myself I prefer the before face lift look also, they are pretty reliable make sure transmission has been serviced right.
 

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Hey Simon.

Picking a car is very subjective. Some look awesome on paper, yet are totally tedious to drive. It also depends on where you live, road conditions and so forth.
It also depends on your driving style, ride comfort, visibility, etc, etc.

Getting a "performance" version of any car comes with inherent characteristics that, just by it's nature, are going to be exaggerated and less refined.

I'll only comment on cars I've actually had experience with.

E36 M3. An awesome car for sure. Great handling. My brother had a '93 E36 that we did some slight mods to the suspension, and man, this car drove like it was on rails. Spectacular handling.
The interior is fairly plain but nice with very comfortable and form fitting seats. Nothing to really say about it except that I have seen a lot of the factory electronic displays fail in these cars. Not only on the dash but the radio and climate control units.
Most parts aren't prohibitively expensive usually and can be found readily. For instance rear shock mounts can be had for <$30 each.
They're very reliable mechanically. My brother sold his car with ~180k on it. The only issues he's ever had under the hood was his radiator, and the throw-out bearing.
The only real downside to the e36 is it's lack of power/torque. I'm sure finding a nice one could prove to be difficult for a reasonable price.

Have had only a couple experiences with the E46. Also a spectacular car. Increased HP/torque considerably over the E36. Arguably, nicer looking than the chassis previous. Interior upgrades and so on.
However, one important thing to note is that crash test standards were changed in 2000. They are a lot stricter and most 90's cars didn't pass the new rigorous standard. So the E46 should also be a lot safer.

Regarding the Mercedes, haven't had too much experience with them except when I bought my w210 E55.
Out of all the cars listed, this is probably the largest car. However, it's also the most functional, practical car. You can take friends, family, kids, even your grandma in this car and everyone can ride in absolute comfort. I've taken an 8 hour road trip in this car and it just drove beautifully. With air inflated seats, there is almost no fatigue. Easy to drive and really safe. 8 airbags. My insurance cost for this car is $67/month (full coverage).
But we haven't even gotten to the best part. The power! These cars have 400ft/lbs of torque so the traction control light does come on very often. I've had my traction control light come on at 70MPH before when I'd punch it. They're damn quick. 0-60 anywhere from 4.3-5.3 seconds reported and running anywhere from 13.0-13.8 in the quarter. Obviously the time discrepancies account for the driver.
I raced an i-drive twin turbo 3.0 Z4 the other day and stomped it. I easily had 2 car lengths on him in an 1/8th mile.
The car is factory equipped with huge factory sway bars, performance springs, and Bilstein suspension stock. Obviously, great cornering.
Awesome huge brakes will quickly stop you from any speed. Just be careful of the people behind you, their cars, more than likely, cannot stop as fast as you.
As far as i can tell, parts for this car aren't crazy expensive either. Depending. Sometimes the dealer has good prices on parts, other times, it's cheaper to find good aftermarket parts online. Brakes you'd want to get online, however, no matter which way you slice it, rotors are going to be expensive as hell ($250/ea for the front and they're directional).
A bonus though, the car has shocks front and rear. So replacing them won't cost a lot when you need to do it. You can also replace every single bushing in every control arm on the car and the bushings are fairly inexpensive and readily available. Which is really nice.
This car is most likely the quietest ride out of all of the cars you've listed. The loudest thing on my car are the tires.

Of course tons of safety features on this thing: Traction control, stability control, anti-lock Brake assistance (ABS and BAS), and some others I've forgotten about. IT has a tow-away alarm on it. If the alarm is not deactivated the car will call the police,

From a lot of stuff I've read, they're VERY reliable with relatively low maintenance costs. Typically no problems for 200k+ if regular maintenance is performed.

Obviously I'm partial to the E55, but it's definitely a great vehicle. They're a very rare vehicle. Less than 12k total were built in the world and only 500 were imported yearly to the US. So it's HIGHLY unlikely you'll run across another E55.

You mentioned the looks of the W210. I like them because they're reminiscent of one of the greatest cars ever the CLK-GTR.



As with any car listed on your list, certain regular maintenance costs are going to be higher than on a Toyota, Honda or a Ford.

Hope that helps. FWIW, I'm not a fan of the CLK's they look very effeminate to me (with the exception the W208).


All in all it just depends on your criteria. Good luck in your search. :thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks heaps blackomega! Very informative! I think it's down to an E55 W210 or a C32. If I had a little extra $, I'd def consider the CLK55 W208. Should be driving a C32 tomorrow. Im interested to see how it drives.
Thanks again!
 

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Thanks heaps blackomega! Very informative! I think it's down to an E55 W210 or a C32. If I had a little extra $, I'd def consider the CLK55 W208. Should be driving a C32 tomorrow. Im interested to see how it drives.
Thanks again!
No worries. :thumbsup:
Hope you find a decent car.

One thing I forgot to mention about the E55's, I'm not sure if the '99 models have airbags in the doors like the 2000-2002 models. I'm fairly certain that most E series in '99 did not have door bags, but the 2000+ models did.

Can anyone verify that?
 
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