2004 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S430 Rwd 4dr Sedan (4.3L 8cyl 7A)
After turning 40 recently, I decided to properly kick-off my mid-life crisis.
I was going to go with either a boat or a car.
A 2004 S430 won.
I found one with 114,000 miles on it on Autotrader.
I suppose I got the "base" model 430, but it is absolutely remarkable.
The suspension, coupled with the car's sheer size, makes for an airplane like ride (sport settings are also present).
I've taken it on 2 long road trips and been in very good spirits after arriving.
Tips for Buying Used:
These cars depreciate wildly.
I paid too much.
Find the KBB price and stick with it.
*Have a genuine STAR diagnostics ran.
*Beware the "stuck in park" potential
Hands-down, you cannot find a better ride.
Other impressive features: well crafted leather interior, crystal clear audio system, silky smooth 7-speed tiptronic transmission, quiet cabin and power to spare on the highway.
Some will complain about the cup holders and console (both are less than ideal).
I don't believe the Germans intended for drivers to do a lot of eating or drinking in this car.
A driver that's traveling at 130mph on the Autobahn needs to focus on driving.
The carpeting in mine was stained and dirty when I picked it up.
The carpet is so sturdy though, I was able to scrub almost all of the stains out.
Same with the leather.
With some elbow grease, it came out like new.
As an already 8 year old car, the Comand stereo system is out of date.
No auxiliary jacks for iPhone.
It has a hidden cassette player and can hold 1 CD inside and 6 in the trunk.
The display screen on mine has some dead pixels which aren't that big of a deal.
In general, the dated stereo and nav system is something I don't have a huge problem dealing with.
Overall, there is very little I can think of to improve.
Follow-Up Post: It is now March 2015 and the car has 143,000 miles. With aggressive maintenance, the only things that have been needed are new brakes and an emergency brake pedal mechanism. The next thing I may address are the motor mounts which are causing just the slightest rumble at idle. Older cars need more care, so I've made sure all of the fluids have been replaced as well as serpentine belt, idler pulley, valve cover gaskets, fuel filter, cabin filters, air filters and spark plugs. These were all elective procedures, but I plan on getting another 100K miles out of it. The car is engineered in many ways to make it easier for routine maintenance (much of which the owner can do themselves).