When i bought my 97' c230 benz it was the best decision ive ever made. This car has never put any extra stupid maintanance cost no matter what. DO NOT LISTEN TO THE NAY SAYERS! Car is great in value perfect for a nice first luxury or retirement car.
8 months ago I purchased my 1997 C280 with 138,000 miles on it and I love this car. Since then I've driven 10,000 miles and have enjoyed every one of them. Everyone who drives it says how fast it is at any speed, and even my wife enjoys driving it. Drives and handles like a dream.
Good Reliability but expensive maintenance. Beyond 180,000 mileage expect to pay lots of money maintaining this car. Between 185,000 miles and 200,000 mileage I spent nearly $3,500 in replacement parts such as tie rod assembly, oxygen sensors, Drive shaft flex joint, water pump, radiator, AC compressor, brakes, ball joints and etc.. Very smooth ride and handling.
I found the car to be three times as expensive to maintain. Brakes, shocks wore out prematurely. Transmission needed rebuilding at 125,000 miles. It was costing me $3,000 a year to keep the car on the road. Dealer service was at best, equal to other dealers.
First off, I love this car. My mom owned it for ~7 years then gave it to me and it looks good, feels great to drive, and has a very luxurious interior with tons of wood trim and ruffled leather. In addition the engine powers the car effortlessly with very little noise until you get to the upper end of the tachometer. I've never broken the wheels loose in a turn like front wheel drive cars do all the time. The gas mileage is reasonable BUT I have had to replace the head gasket ($1000), the antenna doesn't go up and down, I had the AC fixed a few months ago for $500 and it's broken again. Also the camshaft sensor broke and cost $800. Not impressed with the reliability.