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  #1  
Old 10-09-2003, 01:05 PM
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Compare rides: 300E vs C230

Considering a newer model.
Currently own excellent condition '92 300E, looking at a 2000 C230
Any thoughts on the difference in quality of the ride? Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 10-09-2003, 01:54 PM
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The W124 is an older design with strut style suspension, but rides and handles exceptionally well for a car designed in the late 1970's.

The W202 has an a-arm style front suspension which is more precise, but only when pushed do the benefits become obvious.

You'll need to drive the W202 to assess it's fit with you. It's a smaller car and interior space is tighter. There are some nice features that come along with the later model:

1. SmartKey has keyless entry, trunk release, and security built into the key.
2. Side bags standard on the W202 beginning 1998, if that matters to you.
3. Five speed autobox (sorted out by 2000) has overdrive fifth for good highway mileage and relaxed cruising.
4. Strong and cold AC.
5. ESP standard - again, if that is important to you. I personally don't care, but lots of people do.

The W202 in 1996- form is a very relaible and well built little sedan. The M111 four banger is turning out to be very reliable, though there are some concerns about supercharger longevity. On that, we'll have to wait and see.
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John Shellenberg
1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K

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  #3  
Old 10-09-2003, 02:52 PM
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I have one of each and echo what John said. Both are very nice rides.

To me, the 202 C230 is a economy car that rides like a mid-size, luxury car. It absolutely feels like a Mercedes. The fuel economy is phenomenal. It's balanced (but certainly not sporty) around town and very long-legged and relaxed on the highway. Other than the transmission issue John mentioned, the known problems are minor (mass air meter, AC evaporator temperature sensor, and a few others I can't think of).

Best regards,
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1988 300 SL (5 Speed)
1994 E320 Wagon
1997 C230
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  #4  
Old 10-09-2003, 03:08 PM
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For what it's worth, anybody who ever had a ride in my 2000 C 230, has always praised the ride ( comfortable, but sporty & controlled ).
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  #5  
Old 10-09-2003, 03:14 PM
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I agree with the comments on the W202 chassis.

I've driven in several, and they feel as solid as a bank vault. Classic Mercedes ride quality.

My mom had a 1995 C220, and put 150,000 nearly trouble-free miles on it. The only repair she had to make was a faulty idle control valve, or something similar.

I have been a passenger in the newer C class - a C240 with the 6 speed manual - Larry Bible's car, in fact, and I am sorry to report that it no longer feels like a Mercedes.

Larry slammed the door shut, and it sounded tinny and hollow, and rattled. The ride quality is more similar to a Honda Civic or Infiniti G20 than a Mercedes.

My 10 year old 1993 "E320" is still rattle free after 148,000 miles.
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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
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1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #6  
Old 10-09-2003, 03:22 PM
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Location: Boise, Idaho
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1998 C230

In recognizing the compact character of the C230, I found its ride to be fine. I found the oem tires (Eagle LS) to be poor when related to handling and noise - replaced them with Dunlop Sport 5000's and am very satisfied. This model is not the "Kompressor" and the acceleration is adequate, but not spirited. My highway mileage runs in the 33-35mpg range, city about 29mpg. Oil is Redline 10-40, gas is Chevron or Texaco 89 octane, Redline SI additive and NPG coolant from Evans Cooling. Hope this helps!
Roger
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1983 300CD 246k sold
1998 C230 52k
1980 450SL 75k needs AC
1999 Subaru Outback Ltd 43k
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  #7  
Old 10-09-2003, 03:30 PM
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Got an offline question about ESP. It's the traction control/stability control program. Our E300D had ESP, and it didn't do much for me. ESP cannot preclude the laws of physics, and that includes traction. The best tires are the real answer.

The W202 cars had some early problems, but they're minor. The 94-95 cars have the wiring harness issues that afflict the W202 and W124 cars. Once replaced, it's fine.

The 1996- cars have the variable pressure AC systems that work very well, and component life seems long. There are some evap temp issues that are MB wide (W140, W202, W210), but thankfully it's a simple and fairly inexpensive repair.

Air Mass Meters are problematic on all OBD-II cars, and that includes non-MB cars. Tough to find a maker these days that isn't struggling with AMM problems, MB included. The W202 part for 1997 cars is expensive for an MB AMM, but cheap compared to Toyota or other makes.

W202's driven on bad roads can wear lower front ball joints quickly. W210's do this too.

The 1997 and 1998 722.6 equipped cars have some transmission issues, but in many cases, easily solved. Conductive plates, valve bodies and pressure control springs are common failures. Electronic Tranny Controls also should be updated. My own tranny suffered from pressure control spring failure, which causes a hesitation of idle. The dealer talked MB into a whole new tranny and software.

Final drive seals can sweat, common to W202 models.

Cruise control seems to finally be sorted out by VDO, and works very well. It even downshifts on hills (up and down) to maintain the set speed. Very precise. On my W201 cars the cruise was broken long before this point.

I have owned several new cars that I have driven to 150,000km's. None were as durable and as "like new" as the C230 at the same age/mileage. The M111 2.3 aspro engine continues to amaze me. We went to the Rockies and back in September and I averaged 6.8L/100km's on the trip. That's about 37mpgUS. At 150K-km's (about 95K-miles) it has yet to use a drop of oil, and runs like brand new. With the exception of a panel of MB Tex on the driver's seat cushion (now repaired, and looks new) the interior looks like new. It's tight and the car drives perfectly.

My car is a Canadian model and lacks some of the gadgets of the US versions. I have no traction control at all, and don't miss it. I use premium snow tires (going to Hakka 2's this year) and drive through some really tough conditions. I also have fully-manual seats, no power driver's controls. Suits me fine.

Since we're coming to the end of my warranty (160K-km's) the dealer ran a compression test last month and found all four cylinders at 11.5bar (167psi) which is exactly the same as found at 60,000kms. Right on "new" spec. The M111 is a DOHC design and uses a double-row timing chain that should be very long-lived since it has a short, direct, path. I know a few M111 owners that are at 300K+ and their engines are tight and strong.

If the AC system holds up and the new tranny is as sorted out as some claim, I see no reason why I can't make 400,000 plus kilometers. It will cost some cash in routine maintenance, and I know some repairs will crop up, but overall the C-Class is the cheapest cost-per-mile car we've owned, and I expect that to continue as the odo rolls on.

Things I don't like? Well, the mono-wiper is not to my liking. Just not enough clearing ability in the rain at night. The shifter gate has 4-3-2 on one plane, not like older MB designs and discourages manual shifting. All the windows have "one touch" up and down, but the sunroof does not. The glove box is tiny, but that's thanks to the airbag. The console storage is a decent size. By 1998, it was pretty much accepted that high-end cars had CD players. I HATE trunk mounted changers, and there's no OE in dash CD.
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1998 C230 "Black Betty" 240K

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  #8  
Old 10-09-2003, 05:21 PM
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Very good descriptoin of W202 model run, John.

I think the non-Kompressored C230's with the sorted-out 5-speed transmission might be the most robust and trouble-free cars Mercedes has ever built. To date.

I see them as the near perfect car.

For the last two years or so, I've been trying to convince my wife to let me sell her 1994 Infinit G20 and buy a '98 or '99 C230.
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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
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1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #9  
Old 10-09-2003, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by suginami

For the last two years or so, I've been trying to convince my wife to let me sell her 1994 Infinit G20 and buy a '98 or '99 C230.
suginami

Your persuasive powers need major improvement.
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  #10  
Old 10-14-2003, 02:12 AM
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Just my 2 cents...

I have both a 124 and a 202. No contest. The 124 is a MUCH stouter, better handling car. It's fun to drive, yet gives you supreme confidence. The 202 is a nice car, but just NOT a 124.
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  #11  
Old 10-14-2003, 06:34 AM
JetForeman
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I've got both as well and they are 2 totally different cars. My 95 E320 is solid and rides excellent, even with 172k miles on it. My wifes 00 C230 has been very reliable as well, rides nice with the sport package, and is holding up great. The engine sounds nasty, gritty, truckish, basically aweful, but if you can get over that the good things are it's very powerful with the kompressor and great on gas. Can't go wrong with either in my opinion.
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  #12  
Old 10-14-2003, 06:51 AM
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Talking C class Benz

I agree with jetforeman's description on the smaller engined C class. Mine is a C180, also a 4 banger and it does have this loud so-called agricultural sound like a tractor or something like that. Doesn't at all sound like a luxury car. The 6 bangers are better sounding and smoother. Mine is totally under powered, but since I have it, I will bear with this until I find a better car.
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  #13  
Old 10-14-2003, 11:55 AM
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The M111 and M104 are very different in nature... seems to me the better comparison is the M112 vs. the M104. Anyway, between the 111 and 104, the 104 is MUCH smoother. I disagree with the description of the 111 being tractor-rough, though. After warm-up, it seems pretty smooth to me.
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1988 300 SL (5 Speed)
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1997 C230
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  #14  
Old 10-14-2003, 01:01 PM
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I've driven both a C220 and a C230 Kompressor model.

I didn't find the engine note of a C220 or C230 thrashy sounding at all.

However (comma space) every road test review of every Kompressor model has included comments on how rough sounding the compressors are.
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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #15  
Old 10-14-2003, 06:41 PM
JetForeman
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Maybe I was a little too harsh on how the C230 sounds, not much but a little, perhaps a better way to describe it is an uneven firing impulse sound. Something like the way a V-8 sounds when you remove a plug wire. And no there isn't anything wrong with her car, I've compared it to other Kompressor engines and they all sound the same to me. Maybe that is a better description. I have no idea what the non-kompressor engines sound like, never driven one or even been close to one.

BUT, turn the ESP off, apply just a little brake pressure with left foot, slowly feed the gas with the right and watch those babies burn!!
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