I bought the V8 430 at five years old. I am really caught between loving the car from a driving, practical and looks point of view to hating it.
It's interesting that another reader had problems with a wheel bearing. Mine failed (front offside) at 65,000 miles. This is not what Mercedes ownership is about, surely? It seems it's a lottery whether your car will be a good one or a Friday afternoon one.
So far, (let's not forget, this car cost over £55,000 new) I have had to replace a suspension strut, a window mechanism and the front wheel assembly, as the bearing tore into the entire housing.
I'm torn because when it works, the car is awesome. Overtaking is a pleasure, and that engine is brutal. But when pottering around town, you would never know there was a V8 under the bonnet. The auto box is so smooth and the 'tip' allows you total control if you need it. Music sounds great and being the Avantgarde, it's loaded with all goodies... but what's going to fail next?
Lastly, I've realised I won't have another Mercedes. It's down to the dealers at the end of the day. They are worse than bad. I appreciate this is my experience, so is confined to my own dealer, but this shower of uselessness really do take the honour of the worst dealer I have ever come into contact with in my 19 years of buying cars.
So there you have it - great and bad, but the dealer is making my mind up for me. Where next? Honda? Volvo? Range Rover? Oh dear, pass me the aspirin.
I bought this car when the first year's depeciation cost had been suffered by the original owner. The car came with an excellent specification being one of the last of the old shaped estate vehicles manufactured.
In Avantgarde form the visual impact of the car is excellent and the way it drives is fantastic.
Being the smallest diesel engine it was quicker than I expected and in any situations where more speed was needed the tiptronic function provided a real turbo boost.
The auto box is fantastic and makes driving a pleasure particularly combined with the cruise control function.
Parktronic is essential because the car is huge being capable of accomodating masses of luggage,equipment ......
Now having 39,000 miles on the clock the car and its fitings ae still in wonderful condition.
I am trading this in for a new E220 Avantgard Auto and have been delighted at the way this car has retained its value.
All of this and around 40 mpg makes for a terrific combination.
The dealers trade on this and can take custom for granted. When pressed they did however, perform well. My new car will be my third consecutive E Class which tells its own story.
I was a little wary of actually buying a Merc with my own cash when I came off the company car scheme early this year as I had a CLK that developed several faults at around three years old.
I needed a large estate to lug all the equipment for the band I play in at the weekends. The E class has the capacity of a van with all the 7 seats folded down but it drives like the CLK did, you just forget its so big and the 2.6 petrol engine is quiet (albeit a little thirsty at 27mpg average) and willing.
Loaded with gear it drives exactly the same and it still pulls pretty well. I don't like automatic cars and therefore bought a rare (and cheaper!) manual one ( the MB dealer who sold it to me told me that they didn't offer manual in the 2001 uprated E240 but it is!), this saved me the best part of £2000 over the price of an auto.
Running costs are okay even at the very good local MB dealer in fact servicing is cheaper than for my wife's S40 volvo saloon. The dealer is helpful and friendly which is in stark contrast to the Volvo dealership and the MB used warranty gives peace of mind.
The interior is excellent and practical the only niggle I have is that the stereo is nothing short of pitifull, the Blaupunkt unit won't play CD copies and the sound is awfull - so that had to go. I can't recommend this car to highly, bottom line if you need a big Estate the E class does it all.
I bought a late model demonstrator after I found the new E Class seat simply did not go down far enough - it felt as if you were perched rather than sitting in the car.
I think I made the best choice: it has been superb and the 220 CDI only feels underpowered when fully laden and you ask it to go!
Mine has been across Europe, fully laden as my son competes in downhill mountain biking. We had no problem cruising at 120mph on the autobahns, it feels very secure and the braking is excellent.
It is very comfortable and we had no problem in driving 720 miles in a day with only one fuel stop and no aches and pains at all. The seats can sometimes feel hard, though.
The wipers and lights are fantastic and the space is just so useful.
In Avantgarde form, the suspension is firm around town, however with three people on board, it levels out very well.
I think the Avantgarde looks much better than the Elegance.
Would I have another one? Yes, definitely.
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