Used 2003 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Consumer Reviews - 74 Car Reviews | Edmunds

2003 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Consumer Reviews

View reviews for a specific S-Class model:

sort by

Most Recent|
Most Recent Most Helpful Highest Rating Lowest Rating
A comfortable ride, a safe car to be riding in.
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Donald
on

Vehicle

2003 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S430 4dr Sedan (4.3L 8cyl 5A)


Review

This car would be very safe in a collision,haven't experienced it . Mileage on the open road driving 72 miles per hour is reasonable at 27 miles a gallon. You will need to use a premium fuel no less than 89 octane. Using the recommended oil in the engine I change it every 6000 miles the oil consumption is zero at that rate. Excellent engine, lot of smooth power. A nice car that you need to maintain to last a long time. I only have 86000 miles on this 2003 S-430. I hope get much more from this car.


Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Supercar performance, with heated leather seats
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Yagotta B. Kidding
on

Vehicle

2003 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S600 4dr Sedan (5.5L 12cyl Turbo 5A)


Review

The S600 twin turbo is heck of a value, albeit a surprising and even strange one. On one hand, you have a $150,000 car with every top-shelf feature of 2003. On the other hand, the car now costs less than $10,000 if you shop well. I bought mine, a fixer-upper in some ways, for considerably less than that.

As you'd expect of a car in this category, it's sumptuously comfortable, both in front and in back. Its power is almost scary; drop the hammer and you launch. Turbo lag is minimal because M-B used the right size turbos for this engine. Even off the line, the car can throw you back in your seat. Floor it at 30 mph, and it will definitely do so. That's what a performance car is supposed to do.

This is one of the very few V-12 cars that I would consider as a daily driver. In good repair, an S600 twin turbo is reliable enough to trust going coast to coast. This is in contrast to its immediate predecessor, the 5.8L naturally-aspirated engine, which anyone should stay FAR AWAY from. That problematic engine is why Mercedes came out with this new 5.5L turbocharged engine. Unlike the older one, *this* one is quite reliable. Mine has done several long road trips with no problem. It also comes with the excellent and reliable 5-speed transmission. This is one of the few car transmissions that was ever designed to handle that much torque and more, all day, every day.

However, certain parts for an S600 are not cheap. Remember, this car originally cost $150,000, and the maintenance can reflect that. Getting an S600 to a state of good repair, if it has not been treated properly, can be several thousand dollars. Here are the potential trouble areas.

1.) The ABC (Active Body Control) hydraulic suspension feels great when it works. But when (not if) it breaks, you're looking at a very expensive repair, up to $12,000. The S55 AMG also has this issue, so be aware of it. Mine did fail on me. So, I replaced it totally with a very good coil-spring conversion and added an anti-sway bar, for a *lot* less money. The car continues to handle very well, without the high maintenance problems of the stock suspension.

2.) Igition coil packs are $1,400 for each side if they go bad. There are some out there who can repair them for (at present) $750/side, but that's still some money. The ignition transformer, if it goes bad, isn't cheap either, at $700.

3.) Valve cover gaskets are somewhat labor-intensive. Also, the vacuum hoses do eventually need replacing due to the heat the engine generates. Likewise, engine mounts are best done at a shop with a lift. Fortunately, all this only needs doing every 12-15 years or so.

4.) Fuel economy is what you'd expect from a 4,500 lb supercar with 500 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque. It *is* a supercar, and any car like this will be a bit thirsty. For what it is, though, the fuel mileage is not bad. It's like Rolls Royce buyers: "if you have to ask about gas mileage, you can't afford the car."

This car is best owned by someone willing to do at least some of his or her own car maintenance. I consider having access to a STAR Diagnostics System pretty much mandatory for owning one of these cars.

I do all of my own maintenance. Therefore, I saved a lot of money getting my car to a state of good repair. Now that it's there, though...this car needs...basically nothing. Seriously, the only thing I have to do now is the same regular fluid/filter and brake pad maintenance that any other car needs. A well-maintained S600 is not only great to drive, it's also surprisingly inexpensive to maintain. But you *MUST* do the proper maintenance! This is not a car to cheap-out on the maintenance with; don't do that.

After I got through with everything, I spent about $14,500. For that price, I have a car that outruns Porsches, Ferraris, and even certain Lamborghinis, for thousands less than a new Honda Accord. And it does so with heated *or* cooled leather seats...both front and back. The power delivery is deliciously smooth at *any* RPM, thanks to those 12 cylinders. The engine is so naturally torquey at low RPM that sometimes you forget that it's turbocharged.

At this point, I just get in the car and drive it. And believe me, this car is *fun* to drive.

Is it what I'd call, "Honda reliable"? No, not quite that level; that'd be the V-8 versions of this car, the S430 and S500. But it's not far from it; I'd say it's close enough. It's better than most American cars, that's for sure.


Was this review helpful? Yes | No

why theres is no recall on 2003 mercedes
2 of 5 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By kishor baran
on

Vehicle

2003 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S500 4dr Sedan (5.0L 8cyl 5A)


Review

I was driving on freeway and front body went to ground almost 90persent 2003 Mercedes s500 have same problem and dealer should fix this problem


Was this review helpful? Yes | No

2003 S430 purchased 2006; good overall value
6 of 8 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Chris Hudson
on

Vehicle

2003 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S430 4dr Sedan (4.3L 8cyl 5A)


Review

Driving this car a routine number of miles (in my case about 130,000 mi over 10 years), the residual value of around $2000 in casual-sale value is very thin for what the value actually represents. No news flash here: at that valuation, the car is of far more use and value to me than a sale could bring and I will maintain and hold it so long as that is true.


Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Mercedes= quality- Not anymore sadly
13 of 16 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By budrow2
on

Vehicle

2003 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S600 4dr Sedan (5.5L 12cyl Turbo 5A)


Review

I always wanted a S600 Bi turbo but the 130K price it wasn't in the cards. So I oped for a 10 + year old model (2003) with about 90k miles for about $10,000. I have owned a E420 and C280 both very good vehicles and lasted well into the 250K mileage range.
Unfortunately the S600 is not well built at all. I will start with the interior: Drives side door window regulator broke lose from the door itself, cheap rivets holding it on. RR passenger door lock not working. Hood & trunk struts wore out. Rear trunk assist pump failed.
Exterior/mechanical issue; ABC system not working, bad accumulators and valve block, coil pack right side failed, valve covers leak, transmission conductor bad.


Best Features

Speed and acceleration, horsepower


Worst Features

I honestly think there are too many problems and I wouldn't know where to start. Basically the problem is with the quality of many of the major parts. You can not depend on this car on a daily basis. I would have listed more issues but the review limited me to the above.


Was this review helpful? Yes | No

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT