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Hi guys,

I am 16 and will be getting my license in a couple months once I turn 17 so the time has come to look for a car.

First let me tell you that I am diehard Mercedes fan and do not want anything else. I live in NY where we get a bit of snow, but nothing a rwd S can;t handle. So my dad drives an 08 S550 and has had an 00 S500, 03 S500 and 05 S500 before hand so I am pretty familiar with these cars and I really do love them. While many of my friends are upsessed with Ferraris and Lambs, I for some reason has a passion for 10 year old luxury sedans (I even love the 740il though I am a Merc fan). So what I really want is either a W220 or C215. I have my sight set on a fairly decent state college hence my father agreed in getting me a nice car.

So heres where I am at, I prefer the styling of the w220 to the c215, but would prefer to be seen by my friends in a c215 as the w220 can look like my parents car. I also protest that the c215 maybe more enjoyable to drive? (with the pillar less windows, maybe more sporty). So here is sounds like the c215 is the car for me, however, I am fully aware of the ABC issue and it is really the only thing stopping me, and boy is it making me mad. All of our w220s had regular airmatic and I do remember having problems with the 03 (two leaks, pump failed), but I am pretty sure the abc is much more costly then the airmatic to fix, correct?

So please do not suggest any other cars its between 03+ w220 (S500) or a 03+ c215. I like both of these cars, but one I feel looks too much like my parents car while the other has costly problems. Do you think I would look stupid in the w220 as a young kid? I would taken off the stand up emblem, maybe black out the front grill (not the lights) and I would have to get the amg pack, so do you think with those appearance traits considered it would work okay for my car? I guess its just the sole length of the thing that will make me look stupid. As far as the c215, I was thinking of putting my own money into a warranty for it? What do you think of that? The only thing I do not like is that fact that then in years I have to buy another warranty or I'm screwed.

So what do you think I should do? Which choice? Am I wrong to think that abc problems are bound to happen in a cl? If you find a car with flushed out hydraulics is that a safe bet?

Here are three cars I am interested in, the CL is cool cause it talks about how the abc has been flushed and pump replaced, but I guess that still doesn't mean there will be problems down the road. Also, as far as handling, would the airmatic disappoint me as a 17 y/o (too soft?), maybe I should go for the abc?

Mercedes-Benz : S-Class - eBay (item 290513346629 end time Dec-26-10 15:30:20 PST)

Mercedes-Benz : S-Class - eBay (item 120661620350 end time Dec-24-10 10:58:32 PST)

2004 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class CL500, $23,900 - Cars.com

let me know what you think

steven
 

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steven, theres nothing wrong with having a passion for luxury cars at your age. like you i myself have a passion for luxury cars. im in my early 20's now but my first car was a lexus couple in high school. currently have w220 in family , i wanted 215 as well. i think ill get one next year. but theres nothing to be in a w220 at your age. 220 with sports package and few cosmetics makes a very classy ride. 220 or 215 ....both very good cars ..goodluck
 

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W215 with the updated ABC stuff... I'd aim for an AMG because they aren't much more.

I'm 20 now and I've had a shit load of cars in my life but I always came back to Mercedes and drive an older then my previous one W220. I'll probably end up picking up a supercharged CL55 when this recession is over. The cars look good and it's better for me as opposed to paying depreciation on a 335 or something. Stay smart and buy used!
 

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w220 is your choice. I am 19 (actually, everybody I have met thinks I am 25 at least, lol ), I am driving a 2000 S320 ALMONDINE BLACK. Someone could think that I am talking rubbish now, but people actually will take you more seriously if you are driving s-class.
 

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W221 & Audio Moderator
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Welcome to the forum and congratulations on approaching the choice in an analytical fashion.

Regarding the suspensions, Airmatic is adjustable, as you probably know. On its sportiest setting, it's not "soft." The difference with ABC is that in addition to being hydraulic rather than pneumatic, it is computer controlled to eliminate ANY "nosedive" while braking, or roll while turning. It is not notably stiffer than Airmatic.

With either car you are buying into the luxury market, and with that comes the expense of maintenance. I don't know that ABC breaks more often than Airmatic - but with Arnott now marketing its superb replacement and remo struts for Airmatic, the cost of maintenance has come down significantly. Arnott new replacements are half the cost of OE, and have a lifetime warranty. The remanufactured struts are 1/4 the cost of new OE. Because of the better seals and air bags, either is a superior strut to the OE. Strut seal or bag failure is a common cause of burning the pump out, so many of those headaches are reduced with Arnott. Thus, the cost and frequency of maintaining Airmatic is likely to be lower than ABC.

Without doubt the W215 is sportier in appearance than the W220, even the W220 AMG packages.

One thing you might give some consideration to is a 4Matic. I have one and love its command of the road. It is stiffer than my '00 RWD was, and I like that. Even if RWD has done OK in New York, 4Matic will handle snow better; it is even useful in Florida during our occasional torrential downpours. The feel is different from any RWD, so it's something to consider.

Your questions are full of what other people will think. I believe you should drive both types of cars, close together, and make the choice you want based on your own assessment of what you like best. To heck with what your contemporaries think. Let them know that as a young man coming into his own you will make your own choices to please yourself, not them. I know that's not as easy as it sounds - but it is the next step.

You have already made the choice of a luxury car over a pure sports car (in my personal opinion, a wise choice). The question confronting you is how "sporty" do you want to go? There is no valid criticism of your choice. Make it, and make yourself happy.
 

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Couple of ????????? you need to ask yourself. Who's paying, you or dad? How much do you have for repairs? If you answer you and not much $$$$ then buy a Toyota under warranty, drive it 3 years and then see how your pockets look after that. If you feel you can afford a Mercedes (including repairs) then by all means jump the gun. Remember, its one thing to afford the note, its another to afford the repairs.

Better yet, just put that money to your college fund and stay in school. You'll love your decission later. Just my 2cents.
 

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excellent points.

Your dad may buy you the car, but who pays for repairs? I'm assuming he will, but if not, you may want to reconsider.

A few $800 sensors later, and you may be reconsidering your decision.

Also, consider insurance...as a new driver, with an expensive car, you will be paying a large amount of insurance.

Finally, I think your decision is a poor one. Firstly, its tough to start out with a S or CL class. Whats there to look forward to if you get your "dream" car when you're 16? Also, while I love my car, I wouldn't have wanted it when I was 16. When happens when you bang it up? Pretty tough to deal with at 16.

I can appreciate your interest, but I'd suggest a different vehicle as your starter car.
 

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If you're planning on just hauling 1 friend around the 2 door has a nice, sporty silhouette. Otherwise, the 4 door really outshines as a nice group hauler.
 

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2002 S500, 1999 C230 Kompressor, 1997 C230
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Well, I sort of did what you are considering. I was 19 in 1979 and had a really good job, and purchased a 1972 280SEL 4.5, for $4300.00. It was a great car and it had me hooked on Mercedes for the rest of my life. I held on to that car through the purchase of a new Benz in 1993.

The cars have definitely changed over the years and in my opinion they are not as reliable as they once were and the electrical systems make them a real nightmare to diagnose and repair. I really wish that the Benz engineers would stop putting all the gadgetry in the cars, would downgrade all the electrical tomfoolery, and focus on producing a vehicle that is rock solid reliable. That being said, they are wonderful to drive and very practical if you keep them for long periods of time and perform the repairs yourself.
 

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As others have said get which car you like better. I am 40 years old and my co-workers (most of them older than me) think that I do not drive the "right" car. If you are very concerned about what you will look like, then yes, you will look like you are driving your parents car, or that you somehow acquired the car without merit. But that applies to both of the cars you are looking at. I am not sure what part of New York you are in, but with lake effect snow, and the like, I would definitely look at the 4-Matic.

G.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Thats for the responses everyone!

At the moment I on on the side of the S500 as opposed to the CL500. It really just excites me more. I should of said it in a better way, the reason I sometimes think of the CL500 instead is because I think it is overall better fit for a young kid like my self

But anyways, still I'm really into the S500 right now. It will HAVE to be the Brilliant Silver over charcoal with AMG package and yes, if I can find 4matic, great, because it will come in handy, but while on the topic of 4matic, (skylaw in particular) you mentioned you can feel the difference with the AWD, how does it compare with RWD? Is it fair to say it is less fun to drive? As far as driving is concerned, as a 17 y/o (when I own the car), I will want it to be able to be fun to drive at times (handling), how well do you guys think the car can do this? I remember with the airmatic there was sports II mode which made it very stiff, however does it make it fun to thrash through the corners? Do you think that after all I may want ABC if I desire such a car? Is ABC worth it?

Just to be certain, am I correct in saying that strictly the costs (not how often it breaks) of repairing ABC is more then airmatic? Because that is the only reason I would prefer airmatic, otherwise I would like the ABC cornering abilities. Or are they sort of the same?

Here are the things I think I would do to the S500:

-These lights, we had them on our 05 S500 for the last few months with it, we had the ones with the silver stripes to match the car whereas here I want the deviating black stripes with the silver body, I think will look awesome!:

00-05 MERCEDES BENZ W220 LED TAIL LIGHTS S430/S500/S600 - eBay (item 130467091695 end time Dec-23-10 14:09:35 PST)

-maybe these lights, just to stay up to date, LEDs seem to be "in," I just don't know if these in particular are xenons:

00-06 MERCEDES BENZ W220 PROJECTOR HEAD LIGHTS 01 02 03 - eBay (item 170580851980 end time Dec-22-10 22:30:37 PST)

-I want to paint the grill all flat or glossy black, I do not like the look of a grill on a w220 with the big emblem in the middle, but I think a black regular grill would look awesome!

-take off the front stand up emblem and save it for when I turn 25 (ahaha), just put the flat Merc emblem on. The only thing that worries me is if there is no big emblem on the grill or a standup one, people won't be able to tell it is a Merc.

-Possibly paint the thin chrome body trims black, I don't know though, this may look bad if it is a silver car, maybe have them painted silver?.

-lastly quad or dual tips, the only problem I have is I absolutely hate how it looks when people put exhaust tips on these cars and there are no notches, I may have to get a S55 bumper.

What do you guys think of this?


Also about the airmatic, skylaw you mentioned the new improved parts, would it be crazy (and too costly) to go around replacing the all air hoses with he new improved ones? are there too many? Anyone have a link that can specifically detail the airmatic system and how it works and all the parts that fail (what is there other then the pump and hoses)?

thanks everyone
 

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Please for the love of whomever you believe in, do not do that to an s500 AMG body package. Keep it classy! Especially those cheap ebay headlight...

Otherwise, I myself have an 04 S430 4m and I gotta tell you that it is amazing in the winter. It is trully a great awd system, and it still maintains a sporty driving feel with 60/40 split. But if you do not live in an area where you get much snow (unlike Canada), the 4matic system is a tad useless, and just added weight.
 

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Thats for the responses everyone!

At the moment I on on the side of the S500 as opposed to the CL500. It really just excites me more. I should of said it in a better way, the reason I sometimes think of the CL500 instead is because I think it is overall better fit for a young kid like my self

But anyways, still I'm really into the S500 right now. It will HAVE to be the Brilliant Silver over charcoal with AMG package and yes, if I can find 4matic, great, because it will come in handy, but while on the topic of 4matic, (skylaw in particular) you mentioned you can feel the difference with the AWD, how does it compare with RWD? Is it fair to say it is less fun to drive? As far as driving is concerned, as a 17 y/o (when I own the car), I will want it to be able to be fun to drive at times (handling), how well do you guys think the car can do this? I remember with the airmatic there was sports II mode which made it very stiff, however does it make it fun to thrash through the corners? Do you think that after all I may want ABC if I desire such a car? Is ABC worth it?

Just to be certain, am I correct in saying that strictly the costs (not how often it breaks) of repairing ABC is more then airmatic? Because that is the only reason I would prefer airmatic, otherwise I would like the ABC cornering abilities. Or are they sort of the same?

Here are the things I think I would do to the S500:

-These lights, we had them on our 05 S500 for the last few months with it, we had the ones with the silver stripes to match the car whereas here I want the deviating black stripes with the silver body, I think will look awesome!:

00-05 MERCEDES BENZ W220 LED TAIL LIGHTS S430/S500/S600 - eBay (item 130467091695 end time Dec-23-10 14:09:35 PST)

-maybe these lights, just to stay up to date, LEDs seem to be "in," I just don't know if these in particular are xenons:

00-06 MERCEDES BENZ W220 PROJECTOR HEAD LIGHTS 01 02 03 - eBay (item 170580851980 end time Dec-22-10 22:30:37 PST)

-I want to paint the grill all flat or glossy black, I do not like the look of a grill on a w220 with the big emblem in the middle, but I think a black regular grill would look awesome!

-take off the front stand up emblem and save it for when I turn 25 (ahaha), just put the flat Merc emblem on. The only thing that worries me is if there is no big emblem on the grill or a standup one, people won't be able to tell it is a Merc.

-Possibly paint the thin chrome body trims black, I don't know though, this may look bad if it is a silver car, maybe have them painted silver?.

-lastly quad or dual tips, the only problem I have is I absolutely hate how it looks when people put exhaust tips on these cars and there are no notches, I may have to get a S55 bumper.

What do you guys think of this?


Also about the airmatic, skylaw you mentioned the new improved parts, would it be crazy (and too costly) to go around replacing the all air hoses with he new improved ones? are there too many? Anyone have a link that can specifically detail the airmatic system and how it works and all the parts that fail (what is there other then the pump and hoses)?

thanks everyone
Sigh, you seem to be relatively intelligent and have some degree of sense, but then you go being 17 and start talking about "thrashing" it and handling.

You are looking at a 4400lb sedan with air suspension. No, it doesn't handle well...at all. The CL is slightly better. Your friends with M3s and EVOs/STIS will absolutely embarrass your S-class in a straight line and in turns.

Then you say: "If I take the hood emblem off, I'm not sure people will know its a benz".

It seems to me that you are buying this car solely for the image...to look like a "baller"...to pick up chicks...whatever.

Finally, you haven't addressed who will pay to fix the car or pay insurance, but are already talking about mods. What you may be forgetting is that your vehicle will be miles out of warranty and 7 years old. The car cost $100k new. If you can't comfortably spend $2000 on this car AT ANY MOMENT, you are looking at the wrong car.

Obviously you don't want to hear it, but get yourself a nice C320 4matic until you get some miles under your belt. Cheaper, still a benz, better handling, and more age appropriate.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Sigh, you seem to be relatively intelligent and have some degree of sense, but then you go being 17 and start talking about "thrashing" it and handling.

You are looking at a 4400lb sedan with air suspension. No, it doesn't handle well...at all. The CL is slightly better. Your friends with M3s and EVOs/STIS will absolutely embarrass your S-class in a straight line and in turns.

Then you say: "If I take the hood emblem off, I'm not sure people will know its a benz".

It seems to me that you are buying this car solely for the image...to look like a "baller"...to pick up chicks...whatever.

Finally, you haven't addressed who will pay to fix the car or pay insurance, but are already talking about mods. What you may be forgetting is that your vehicle will be miles out of warranty and 7 years old. The car cost $100k new. If you can't comfortably spend $2000 on this car AT ANY MOMENT, you are looking at the wrong car.

Obviously you don't want to hear it, but get yourself a nice C320 4matic until you get some miles under your belt. Cheaper, still a benz, better handling, and more age appropriate.
Well, thrash may of been overkill. Regardless, I still want something that can still at times be a bit fun to drive. Then again I will be going to college in South Carolina and at times traveling up to NY hence the comfort of the S is very beneficial. But again, this is where I think the CL is better for me along with its ABC.

As far as the insurance, (I guess I am ashamed to say) my father will be paying for it along with the car. As far as repairs, it is not something we have talked about.

Here's the thing about the point that $2000 can pop up anytime. We bought a used 03 S500 in late 04 with I believe around 60,000 miles. My father clocked it up to 200,000 before getting the 05 in 07. I am again ashamed to say the only thing he ever did to that car was change the oil once in a while, period. Never serviced it. (we did change the air filter at around 160,000 and maybe the fuel filter once). But the car gave us a total of three problems: Air leak, air pump and a bad squeak in the wheel well somewhere. I remember the air pump and leak each being <$500. So, I read and hear people warning that these cars are extremely spontaneous with costly repairs and unreliable but at the same time I have lived through an amazing experience with one that has demonstrated 1980s mercedes type quality.

At my high school, the most looked up to rides are LR2s, GLKs, C300s, A4s, Q5s, Cayennes, and 3 series. There is one 328i with an M3 badge on the back, ahahaha. But I will admit while I am in 12th grade, I want to be respected for my ride, I know it sound immature, but that's how it is. I still desire a 220/215 for many other reasons.

And my heart is set on either a CL or S, no C And I ask again, overall, ABC vs Airmatic, which is more costly to maintain, I know some people may answer that it depends, but assuming the are both just as unreliable, which parts and labor will be more expensive and has more parts to go wrong? I have actually read that ABC is more reliable, but more costly when it breaks, what do you think of this?


Again considering my want for better handling, competition (looks wise) between 3 series and modded C300s, it seems the CL500 with the ABC is better for me, but the only thing stopping me is the hunch abc is much costlier then airmatic to fix.

Steven
 

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steven , airmatic parts are amazingly cheaper now that arnotts rebuilds them. the rebuild units are actually way better than oem because arnotts uses top quality parts . they are actually remanufacturing abc shocks now as well. When the abc system breaks it is way more costly then airmatic in my opinion. abc pump,fluid,etc... is very costly . but dont get me wrong abc and airmatic are both comfortable rides. goodluck
 

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Airmatic is less expensive to repair than ABC, but I do not know which breaks more often. As I said, when strut replacement becomes necessary, use Arnotts. The hoses in the system do not leak often; mainly, it is either the top seals of the front struts or an air bag within the strut. Another problem is a bad Airmatic relay - if it sticks off, the car will not rise; if it sticks on, the pump can run until it burns out.

See the W220 S-Class Encyclopedia sticky at the top of this forum for more than you ever wanted to know about the W220.

I think that 4Matic is far superior to RWD. I loved the Quattro drive in the Audis I drove for 20 years before buying my first S500; and the only reason I traded my '00 S-Class, which was RWD, was to get back into an all-wheel drive. AWD (4Matic) simply offers a feel of being more in control of the road conditions - even on dry pavement. And in less than ideal conditions it is definitely more in control. Just drive it - it won't take you 30 seconds to recognize the difference.

Please do not treat any Benz you buy the way you described the one your dad had. They do require maintenance. Take care of your cars; they will take care of you. In my area, "A" service is about $250; "B" service is about $350; and the interval is 10,000 to 13,000 miles or annually, whichever comes first. Then, there is additional service at specified intervals, such as at 30K and 60K.
 

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Go with the S 500 RWD, bigger car, maybe a little bit safer in a crash than the shorter CL, longer wheel base more comfortable, and you will only get older, not younger, so eventually your image will catch up with the one of your car.
 

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Consider this version?

If image matters, and young & sporty is what you want, then check out this Mercedes Benz on Ebay item # 180603788260

It is the W220 chassis with low miles and clean...

photos http://www.ecarlist.com/showroom/1757/photos/946610

With its much sportier package from AMG and the ability to out pace
most Porsches & Vettes with almost 500 HP from its supercharger.

You Might want to put this on your short list
 
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