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  #1  
Old 12-21-2005, 11:07 PM
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Opinions of 2002-03 C240/320

I'm considering trading/selling my 98 E320 and getting a C-Class. I've read some low and some high reviews on this model. I'd like to hear from some current owners/enthusiasts as to what are some things to look for or expect on this model. I'm told some C classes are made in Germany and some are made in Brazil, the Brazilian ones being of poor quality. Any opinions/advice on this series of C class would be appreciated. I've seen prices from the high 16's to the mid 23's. I feel a reasonbly low mileage (25k to 45k) should be around 18 to 19 thou. Agree? Disagree? Thanks for any and all input.
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  #2  
Old 12-22-2005, 12:00 AM
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I do not know much about them, except for one, I think that they are beautiful little Mercedes! Also, they are extremely safe cars! Check this out:

http://www.hwysafety.org/ratings/rating.aspx?id=205
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(Prior MB's: 1974 240D, 1985 380SE, 1984 190D, 1993 400SEL)
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  #3  
Old 12-22-2005, 09:39 AM
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Wink

The newer the model the "less" bugs that can be annoying!
Owning & driving a newer MB shouldn't be filled with constant visits to repair shop!

I would drive a 2003-04 C240 with manual trans!
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  #4  
Old 12-22-2005, 01:34 PM
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I have a 2002 C240 black/oyster interior. Made in Bremen plant Germany

Lows: Some interior plastic trim is hard and brittle; door handle and map pocket, door sill, trunk trim. dash buttons have skimpy feel
ESP/BAS wiring a know issue, HVAC componenets in dash can get noisy and break ( I've read about this recently on this forum ). No dipstick for engine oil or transmission. Complaints of rattles and vibrations ( not on mine ). When I did a coolant change on mine I couldn't manage to get to the engine block coolant drain while car was on lift and trying to reach from underneath ( on my next attempt I'll make a greater effort ). Trunk size?

Highs: Body seems very solid and well made. Change over to front suspension strut and rack & pinion steering makes for better steering, but componenets aren't as cheap and easy to replace as on W202, W124.
Very little wind, engine noise until well in the eighties. Tires noise ( mine has Conti's ) very well reduced. Actually at a 100 car is very quiet nothing objectionable. Transmission shift are very subtle, I get no transmission whine.


This is the title of a thread on this forum where on the fourth response I took a shot of the C240 speedo at just about top speed. You'd probably only get one or two more mph depending on conditions.

A good W203 site is www.mbklasse.com.
I'd buy another one, great car. I wouldn't buy one without a factory warranty. Presently I would think a buyer has an upper hand on a new C230 purchase, which I read is MUCH improved from the pre 2005 version.
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  #5  
Old 12-23-2005, 10:29 PM
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Thanks for for the most in-depth response I've received on the C-Class, Ethan.
The fact that you would "buy again" is comforting. Nonetheless, any car priced over 20 grand, for me, has to be a pretty good vehicle. I can't deny that I'm looking at all prospects, (Lexus, Infiniti, Acura etc) as a replacement to our E320. Our E is a great car that has been serviced properly, but continues to have annoying and sometimes unreasonably exxpensive repair concerns. For example, a heater motor and relay for 500 bucks plus? Gimme a break! And the sunroof is still waiting for me to buy a cable and fish the damn thing through the maze.....
Anyway, the C is a helluva good looking car, the right size for what two aging (but middle class) adults might hope to motor around in could hope for, so I guess we'll see where this thread takes us. I'm hoping to drive one I've had my eye on, soon. Thanks again for your input.
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  #6  
Old 12-29-2005, 05:15 PM
jmr071880
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2001 C320

I agree with the Doc on purchasing as new as possible. I have a 2001 C320, which despite the horror stories mine has had few quirky occurrences... I cross my fingers though as the mileage increases.

My thoughts: It does not feel compact, though rear seat passengers may feel a little tight, there is no land yacht feel while driving too; The ride is comfortable and pretty quiet, the seats are a little stiff for long trips though; Electrical gremlins abound – does not impair driving, just annoying; I think the front end is pretty good looking and overall the body has very nice proportions, not squished feeling like the prior C body, which I also owned. Acceleration is good and passing gear is VERY effective; Exterior materials are great and durable, interior details as mentioned look a little cheap in places and I hate the leatherette; Gas mileage is good; Prepare to clean the rims every other day too, don’t know if you had the soft brakes with your E; In Winter it warms up quickly, summer cools quickly too (mine is black, so that is a feat); very low drag, steering is 8.5 out 10 for stiffness and very, very responsive, little play which I like a lot…

RIDE – 8.5
MECHANICAL RELIABILITY – 9.0
ELECTRICAL RELIABILITY – 6.5
SAFETY – 10 (My last C was involved in a T-bone which should have killed me. The C320 has even more airbags!)
LOOKS – 9.5
INTERIOR MATERIALS – 7.5
EXTERIOR MATERIALS – 9.0
REPAIR COST – MID
GAS MILEAGE – 8.0

OVERALL: (8.5) I like it a lot. I would do it again. This time I’d have xenon lamps and leather.
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  #7  
Old 12-29-2005, 11:06 PM
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I appreciate the feedback. Since my post was getting so little feedback, I was beginning to think nobody owned a late model C-class.....at least nobody that visits this MB site. I had no idea that MB would use leatherette on their products. Does that explain some of the differences in the prices of this model Benz? You also mentioned a lack of long distance driving comfort. For me, that is important because I consider the Benz to be a "road" car. 500+ mile trips, while are not common for me, are the most fun. I find our E to be less than forgiving on such a trip. So while I enjoy a responsive car, I also don't want to crawl out of the cockpit at the end of a journey and be "down-in-the-back", so to speak. Is that asking too much from the Benz marque? Do I have to buy an S-class (which incidently, I can't afford now, or will ever likely be able to) to have a great marque?
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  #8  
Old 12-30-2005, 01:13 AM
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I have no idea if there's any truth to these recurring stories of MBs being manufactured in South American or Central America or whereever, but seriously, all things considered, how could manufacture in Germany be considered a positive thing today? Anyone who thinks Germany equals production excellence, or even engineering excellence, hasn't been paying attention. If you get rid of your 98 get something that's older than that.
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  #9  
Old 12-30-2005, 01:28 AM
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Location: Southern California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave M
I'm considering trading/selling my 98 E320 and getting a C-Class. I've read some low and some high reviews on this model. I'd like to hear from some current owners/enthusiasts as to what are some things to look for or expect on this model. I'm told some C classes are made in Germany and some are made in Brazil, the Brazilian ones being of poor quality. Any opinions/advice on this series of C class would be appreciated. I've seen prices from the high 16's to the mid 23's. I feel a reasonbly low mileage (25k to 45k) should be around 18 to 19 thou. Agree? Disagree? Thanks for any and all input.

You are in luck. I own a 1998 E320 and I also own a 2002 C320 (which I bought for one of my daughters). So I can speak as to both cars.

The E series and the C series are two completely different cars. The E is bigger inside and so the ride quality is more "luxurious." The C feels more like a sports car (I bought her the wagon).

I like driving both cars, but for different reasons.

Incidentally I have driven my E320 1800 miles (round trip) to Santa Fe New Mexico and the car was extrremely comfortable. I have not taken the C320 on a long trip (my daughter won't let go of it) but it is still a very comfortable car. My former 1991 420SEL and 1984 300SD were both very comfortable on long trips. But for sheer comfort, none of my Benzes can beat the comfortable seats in my other daughter's 2002 Volvo V70 wagon (my kids love wagons and I am only too happy to indulge them). I have owned Volvos in the past and their seats are consistently more comfortable than any other car's seats.

Whether you get a C class or an E class will largely depend on what you want to get from your car. Both cars are good cars and excellent machines. Both are fun to drive and both are great in their own right.

The E rides light and handles nicely. The C wagon feels like a sports car with a huge trunk attached to it!!!! The steering in the C wagon is tighter than in the E sedan.

I've not had major problems with either car. The C wagon is still covered by the Starmark warranty.

I think either car will be a great choice. Let me kow if you have more specific questions.

Good luck....
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Last edited by BENZ-LGB; 12-30-2005 at 01:34 AM.
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  #10  
Old 12-30-2005, 03:21 AM
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If you're looking for a highway cruiser, you might want to go older, and look for a W124 or a W126. Unfortunately, they're all getting on in miles and years, but they have a better reputation for bombing down long stretches of highway than the newer models.

FWIW, I've been looking (longingly) at an 05-06 sport sedan to eventually replace my 300E, and driven a couple as loaners. They're fun city cars, smaller than a W210, but not too much smaller than a W124. The non-sport models are more softly sprung, and wouldn't be a bad choice for cruising. I remember thinking as much after doing a 100-mile round trip in a C240. You might see if there is a dealer around you that offers these up for loaners, and take your W210 for some service.

Another thing to consider is whether your issue with the W210 is as much to do with the chassis as it is to do with the seats in the car.
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  #11  
Old 12-30-2005, 04:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anthonyb
If you're looking for a highway cruiser, you might want to go older, and look for a W124 or a W126. Unfortunately, they're all getting on in miles and years, but they have a better reputation for bombing down long stretches of highway than the newer models.
I agree about the W126 but I disagree about the W124. I also own a 300TE and both my 1998 E320 and the 2002 C320 wagon are as comfortable, or even more comfortable, than the 300TE for a long trip.
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Current Benzes

1989 300TE "Alice"
1990 300CE "Sam Spade"
1991 300CE "Beowulf" RIP (06.1991 - 10.10.2007)
1998 E320 "Orson"
2002 C320 Wagon "Molly Fox"

Res non semper sunt quae esse videntur

My Gallery

Not in this weather!
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  #12  
Old 12-30-2005, 11:28 AM
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I am sure I read that (think 2005 model year) Mercedes had made some improvements on the c-class seats.That could be an issue. I usually take high speed one hour journeys in my C240 and the seats are perfect, but the times I spend three hours at a go in the seat, I need to readjust or get out and stretch. I am into long distance running and deadlifting and often have lower back and leg soreness.
I would GUESS that an S-class would be MUCH more comfortable on a 500 mile romp.

As far as leather seating surfaces, on base 2002 SEDANS, the outer non perforated fabric which takes the abrasive wear of sliding into position is not leather, while the inner perforated seating surface is leather.
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  #13  
Old 12-31-2005, 10:15 PM
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Today, my wife and I went to a local (and new) Benz dealer to test drive an '02 C-240. The car was Black/Black (not my favorite combo, but a helluva good looking Benz) and had a CD and heated seats as options. Seats were mechanical (back and forth) and electric otherwise. The car had 47K on the odometer. Asking price was $22,900. We drove it a short distance and upon return to the dealership asked the salesman what kind of deal we could make on a trade for my 98 E-320. My wife liked the C. Here is the best deal they would give (keep in mind, this is the last day of the year and the salesman, so he said, was within 2 sales of a bonus, or so he said). They wanted to give me $7600 for my E, (clean as a pin and serviced as it should be, 112K) and sell me the C for $15,300 plus tax and fees. Tax for me means 6.5% and fees were $95. I offered them my car and $13,500 out-the-door for the C. The car was not a CPO car and had but 4K left on any warranty. They reciprocated with something like, $14,500 plus tax, etc. I walked, having been underwhelmed by the car, and the deal. I felt like I was pretty fair, and might have moved on my offer some, but the salesman's manager said (you know, the guy they bring in after the first guy you talk to says he's gone as far as he can without talking to God) with his final offer "I'm all in". Having had this experience, a C-class still could be a contender to replace the E. There were many things I liked about the car, but his great forum made me aware of some of the intricacies that I might have otherwise overlooked (the "cheap feel" of some controls, for example. What are your opinions on this "deal"? I felt my offer was pretty fair. Thanks again for all the great input.
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  #14  
Old 12-31-2005, 10:41 PM
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Posts: 1,255
you have to learn how to inspect a used car, dealers have tons of tricks to make a used car look perfect.

For body panel straightness need to inspect under flourescent lights.

For paint quality, swirl marks, touch ups, have to inspect in bright sunlight.

Interior plastics and leathers can be dyed and patched, so in bright sunlight inspect and use your sense of touch to feel for repairs on seat surfaces and and steering wheel etc.
.
Check and make sure all tires are the same.

You need to look at many C-classes to get a feel for what is correct.
Learn to inspect the fuse box in the engine compartment and side of dash to see what is proper, or what may have been a botched repair.

Lift trunk carpet and activate all devices to make sure everything works.
Listen for noise from vents in dash and learn how to use the multifuction steering wheel to check for stored malfunctions.

Key is to test drive and inspect numerous C-classes just like the one your interested in to learn what to expect.

You can also take the VIN number and attempt to ask the service department for a dealership repair history.
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  #15  
Old 12-31-2005, 11:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave M
What are your opinions on this "deal"? I felt my offer was pretty fair. Thanks again for all the great input.
I checked KBB.com and they give a trade-in price of 7,425 for your car. So that part was fair.

Having said that, I'd hold out for a C320. As you can see from my sig, that's what we have. An '01 C320 with about 23K miles. We bought it 2 years ago with only 6K on the odo!!! (Hell, we stole it off a local Toyota dealer's lot -- it was a trade-in and we walked in the door on the last day of the month.) Sweet car...and the dealer knocked out the electronic bugs near the end of the warranty period (after we'd owned the car a while)...and even a few weeks out of warranty!

We've had a C240 wagon as a loaner during the above-mentioned repairs. That's why I speak with a qualified voice -- you want the C320! Be patient. Your E-class isn't depreciating like a rock, so don't worry.
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