My dad got me this car as a graduation gift 3 years ago. The only major issue I had was a belt replacement so far. I just recently took it on a trip from south east GA to Orlando Florida, a nearly 5 hour drive and the comfort level was just amazing. I think this car was the perfect Suprise gift for me because of the fuel economy and the durability of the car itself. I'm a college student and I drive the hell out of my car but for the most part it takes a lickin and keeps on tickin.
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.
Have owned a 1997 C280 for 10 years now, bought it used in 2005. In that time 3 engine coils have gone bad, had to replace CATS, spark plugs, brake pads, repair a dry rotted fuel line, the headliner is peeling off, but it drives like a dream! Crazy how much I love driving this car. To help save on inevitable repair costs I have started to do my own maintenance. Expect to spend 1K a year in maintenance costs (but heck... it's paid off and much cheaper than a car payment) and buy a OBD2 unit... you'll need it. This is the only money-pit I have ever loved... if it only drove like crap I would have junked it years ago.
Handling, safety features.
It seems the plastics on this car are cheaply made and love to break (oil cap broke, wiper fluid container cracked, oil dipstick handle broke, interior plastic piece broke off, and the headliner is coming off).
It also seems that the hoses are cheaply made (three fuel lines rotted and began leaking fuel).
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.