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.
I bought this car with just under 15K on the clock and it now has approximately 151K on it. It has been extremely reliable and is my 4th MB in 25 years. I current own a 2003 E430 as well. I perform most repairs myself so dealer labor costs are not usually an issue. Parts are pricey but that is to be expected for Mercedes.