Originally posted by benton C280
blackmercedes, just out of curiosity, why did get get out of the C36? what was your experience with the c36? a guy here in metro atlanta has a NICE C43 for sale at $26K. this car is really pulling at my wallet, but i would need to add about $15K to my C-280 to swing a deal. my common sense says no, but dam# if its not tempting!
We traded a 1995 C36 with 160,000 kilometers for a 1998 E300 with 41,000 kilometers. The book on the C36 was about $31,000, and the book on the E300 was $43,000. A great deal! The E300 had bags of warranty left, and the C36 did not.
Also, both cars belonged to my wife, and as much fun as the C36 was, the economy of the E300 was a much better fit for her, as she has quite a long commute. Turned out bad though, as the E300 was a terrible car. She's driving the 'ol 190E until she finally decides what next to buy.
The C36 was deadly reliable, fun to drive, and quite a bargain for the degree of performance. It's easily one of the best handling four doors I've driven, and if you find a nice example, a great car.
The one thing to think about is AMG specific parts and the prices charged for them. Brakes are one example. The rear brakes alone on the C36 cost twice what all four corners on the C230 run. Ouch! That said, there aren't too many AMG specific maintenance bits on the car. Most are run-of-the-mill C280 parts.
Plan on TONS of tires. The AMG cars MUST run Z-rated Max Performance tires, and they wear quickly. We ran a set of Pilot Sports and they were severly worn after less than 10,000 kilometers. Driven medium-hard I would expect at least one set per year.
The brakes are unbelievable, and on the street I found them fade free and akin to throwing out an anchor.
When driven with anything less than a light touch, the fuel economy nosedived fast.
The C43 suspension is stiffer than the C36 set-up, and rides a bit harsher. I personally feel the 1997 C36 with the 722.6 tranny is the best W202 performance car you can buy. It's just as quick and as fast as the C43, and has the one notch softer suspension. The C43 gets some good stuff, though. It has the SmartKey, side bags, updated interior bits, and the cache of the V-8.
For the real bargain, find a 1995 C36, and if it is a cherry car, consider it. If it's cherry and has NO ASR, BUY IT! The ASR/ESP on these cars is calibrated very agressively, and is one serious fun spoiler.