2003 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Consumer Review: Luxury no verve, but kudos in

2003 Mercedes-Benz S-Class - Consumer Review

Average Consumer Rating

70 Total Reviews

S430 4MATIC Sedan (4.3L V8 AWD 5-speed Automatic)

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Luxury no verve, but kudos in the snow
By Daniel W. on


2003 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S430 4MATIC AWD 4dr Sedan (4.3L 8cyl 5A)


The car is heavy, very heavy and the drive lags with the 4.3 liter V8. The interior luxury appointments are what you would expect from an S-Class, top notch, especially the optional Bose entertainment system. Particularly impressive is the car's handling and poise in the snow. Three inches of fresh powder could do nothing the upset or throw off the ride, and the car tracks as well in the snow as it does on dry pavement. The optional airmatic suspension does well to firm up the ride and limit body roll on the first of the two settings, but the sport setting provides a rude ride not fit for even the liveliest drivers. I would recommend the S500 4m, or for more sport and fun a 7 series BMW.

Favorite Features

Airmatic suspension is wonderful on 1st of two firm settings for driving, and the normal setting provides legendary mercedes benz comfort. however, it still cant capture the uncanny balance of my previous 740IL. The 4 matic is beyond expectation in the snow/ice.

Suggested Improvements

Lacks power for the weight of the vehicle. Much needed power increase in 2004. Opt for the s500, or dont expect to dominate on ramps or the left lane. Fuel economy suffers as a result of the engine having to work so hard. Reliability is a huge problem. 3 visits minimum per year to the dealer.
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