2003 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S600 4dr Sedan (5.5L 12cyl Turbo 5A)
I always wanted a S600 Bi turbo but the 130K price it wasn't in the cards. So I oped for a 10 + year old model (2003) with about 90k miles for about $10,000. I have owned a E420 and C280 both very good vehicles and lasted well into the 250K mileage range.
Unfortunately the S600 is not well built at all. I will start with the interior: Drives side door window regulator broke lose from the door itself, cheap rivets holding it on. RR passenger door lock not working. Hood & trunk struts wore out. Rear trunk assist pump failed.
Exterior/mechanical issue; ABC system not working, bad accumulators and valve block, coil pack right side failed, valve covers leak, transmission conductor bad.
Speed and acceleration, horsepower
I honestly think there are too many problems and I wouldn't know where to start. Basically the problem is with the quality of many of the major parts. You can not depend on this car on a daily basis. I would have listed more issues but the review limited me to the above.
I have owned many fun cars to drive such as the BMW M3 M5 and M6. I have also owned a modified BMW 335i and Volvo S60R. I have a 1 year old son so I wanted something that could COMFORTABLY fit my family in the vehicle but also something I could take out to car shows and car events. If you haven't sat in the back of a W220 you should try it. PLENTY of leg room in the back seat. The car delivers plenty of power for everyday driving! Over 500lbs of tq and almost 500hp from the factory. What more would you ask for?
My favorite features of the car are the Dynamic Mode where the seats will grab you when you are make a turn or when you hit a certain mph and the pulse feature which is where the seat will massage your back/sides.
I miss the quick warm ups, the handling, and the performance of my BMW.
The Mercedes rear window defroster works very slowly, the car takes a long time to warm up.
It is strictly a luxury car.
I do like the fact that it has had fewer trips to the dealer than the BMW, but it is not as enjoyable to drive. Oh yes, the windshield washer tank keeps leaking so I always have a malfunction showing on the dash, and when that shows, you cannot access the other features of the car's computer.
It feels quality for the most part.
Needs more get up and go, better handling in the sweeping bends of the highway.
I have loved my S55 for 5 years! Perfect combo of ultra-luxury and high-end performance. I was lucky to get the car with a Starmark warranty, which covers the car for 7 yrs/100K miles - The car has had close to $10K in warranty work since the standard warranty expired. This is a VERY expensive car to maintain - the AMG parts are much more expensive than the S500 parts and many dealership service departments don't have the know-how to fix these cars properly. I found a dealership that kept mine running quite well. I will probably sell mine before the warranty expires to avoid the high cost of maintenance. It will be a sad day when I hand off the keys. It's been a GREAT car!
Luxurious interior, Best seats ever, Acceleration, Handling - It's all good!
More advanced technology would have been nice - the limited phone compatibility was disappointing - Nav CD utilized the only in-dash slot on the stereo - should have put that in the trunk...
2003 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S430 4dr Sedan (4.3L 8cyl 5A)
Owned the car for 3 yrs, bought used at 38,500 mi. Beautifully styled exterior and luxurious, comfy interior -- wonderful to look at and to ride in. However, I have never owned a more problematic Benz (this is my fifth). Most of the issues were electronic defects, most notably gear shift that jammed in "P" because of defective sensor, which took dealer months to figure out; A/C sensor needed replacement after a few yrs; the V-belt broke apart on the highway, causing loss of power; front-end vibration required new engine mount; air suspens. struts replaced; CD remote multi-changer stopped working -- and more. I bid farewell to the car today, more in sorrow than in anger.
Sleek, handsome styling, great interior room and comfort -- best appearance of any vehicle in its class. Excellent sound system. Power assist doors and trunk quiet and efficient. Wood trim surpasses in quality and appearance anything offered by the competition. Leather seats of high quality.
Engineers, electronics experts, please start over. (Actually, new version S class is much better.) Mind your suppliers' quality. Daimler used to do this so well. Hard to believe such a beautiful vehicle could cause such trouble and stress.