I bought this car when gas prices were $4 a gallon in Texas. It looked nice, drove well, got good gas mileage and had very low mileage. I thought it would be a great little car for my 75 mile daily round trip. I paid what I thought was a fair price, and my bank even offered to finance more. Since my purchaser, I have replaced or repaired the following (at 29,000 mi): brakes, alternator, radiator, blinker (and not just bulbs-housing), had major electrical problems, automatic rear passenger door, front passenger seat module (drained battery), CD player no longer works, sunroof just went out last week,drivers seat no longer works, steering control no longer works, another blinker went out . .
This car is an absolute mess. 3 Months and thousands of dollars later I couldn't have bought a bigger lemon. Its falling apart. Supercharger out. ECU out. Having a legal battle with Mercedes over warranty work that should be done, but its not. I'm not so much mad at the car. The Mercedes corporation is awful. What a bunch of no good tightwads. Its has been nothing but an absolute nightmare dealing with them. They refuse to honor their warranty. The car rattles, electronics go out. Oh and to fix ALL the problems they have the audacity to ask for ten thousand dollars. No way. I hope everyone else has a better experience.
This rocket ship has been nothing but trouble. Turbo chirping, replace torque converter, replace trannie (68000), replace trannie computer, replace motor on driver's seat. This car has had factory service and was never abused, just driven. Would never own another Benz. Look forward to turning it in at lease end. It's in the shop now. Maybe they should just keep it !
I ended up selecting a near-mint '02 C32 over an equally pristine '04 M3 SMG after driving both back-to- back...twice. The C32 is such an interesting car. It's interior space is very functional seating 4 easily and comfortably. It's styling. Just technical enough and different enough to set it apart. And finally, it's performance is eye opening if you pay attention - what I mean by that is the super-charged 3.2 is sooooo much smoother than the M powerplant in the M3, that unless you are truly aware of what's going on, you almost take it for granted. I would have given it a 10 in every category except it's features are almost overwhelming. The fuel economy scores low - that's my foot.
I needed a car that could get me to work in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and also handle periodic days at the race track. I cross-shopped the Audi S4 and the BMW M3. It was a close call, but I have no regrets picking the C32. Very, very fast, but not very flashy. Good MB quality and reliability.
We got our best number on the second attempt with the traction control switched off while trying to use a torque-brake start. We could not get the transmission to stall because just above 2,100 rpm, the passenger side tire started to spin so that the tranmission never did stall. We decided to get the rpm up to 1,500 which was the point at which you could hear the supercharger come up on boost and then back off 100 rpm and try to soft-launch it. Even with a softer launch we were not able to get the times as well as when we spun the tires noticably coming off the line on the second run. The transmission shifted just above red line with solid, crisp shifts but did not allow manual shifting, as it would just shift for you ignoring your desires to shift at a higher rpm. Still with shifting this good, who needs a manual shifter? Our only disappointment was not matching Mercedes' published times.
Our shortest braking distance came on the fifth run, and it took until the sixth run for the number to increase, showing that not only was fade not an issue, but that the brakes worked better after repeated use. Under braking, you would get a very slight rumble noise from the ABS system accompanied by a slight vibration in the steering wheel and pedal, but nothing to cause concern. We experienced no noticable nose dive, which in turn contributed to the arrow-straight stablity, and excellent overall system feel.
We had nothing but praise for the C32 AMG on our handling course. Notes included statements like "excellent balance, no body roll, awesome tire stick and an excellent rack-and-pinion steering system." The steering showed the difference between the C32 and the SLK32, which proved that the SLK32 could really use the upgrade to this type of steering. The torque-enhanced supercharged engine was able to take full advantage of the wonderful chassis balance, which in turn allowed us to use a very controlled point-and-squeeze technique for driving the car through the cones. This car produced some of the fastest times through the cones we have ever generated. Who would have ever thought that a Mercedes-Benz could have equal or better balance than a BMW M3? It does! Neil G. Chirico