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      02-26-2009, 04:44 PM   #1
jetblk328i
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which one of these cheap older German sedans would you have?

As some of you may know i was shopping for a car for my son. This was a little while back and now i think it is time he gets a car(i decided to let him drive the 99 RX while learning) he actually wants. So far, after 2 years, no traffic violations or accidents, i think he should be rewarded.

So i gave him a price range and he quickly came up with all of these cars...

2000-2001 A4

2002-2002 A4

1999-2002 A6

1998-2000 Mercedes C class

1998-2002 E class

1999-2002 3 series

Any of these can be had for not too much and they all seem pretty safe to me. However, i have never owned any of these cars so i have very little information on these.

Any insight on which is the best car in here?

I am looking for safety, reliability(which i know, they are all not great), service costs, size(son is 6'2) and haggling ability price-wise
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      02-26-2009, 04:48 PM   #2
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prolly the 3er

or the E, actually the 210 chassis was a great model
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      02-26-2009, 05:30 PM   #3
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same^

either the e46 or the e class
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      02-26-2009, 06:30 PM   #4
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E class
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      02-26-2009, 06:52 PM   #5
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E-class is pretty solid and probably more comfortable for your son since he's kinda tall.
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      02-26-2009, 07:08 PM   #6
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hmm i hear the e class was pretty unsafe 1997ish, would 1999 or so be a good place to start?

also would the e class be the most expensive for service and repair?
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      02-26-2009, 07:17 PM   #7
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3er.
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      02-26-2009, 07:29 PM   #8
nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
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Look for a 94 MB 500E. They are bullet proof, and you can get one for relatively cheap.
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      02-26-2009, 07:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferrari355fi View Post
Look for a 94 MB 500E. They are bullet proof, and you can get one for relatively cheap.
They look great, but i am worried about the safety found in a 15 year old car.
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      02-26-2009, 07:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetblk328i View Post
They look great, but i am worried about the safety found in a 15 year old car.
They are tanks. Seriously, you cannot destroy them... Well unless you drive off a cliff.

Search on youtube for Fifth Gear E-class. You'll see how durable, and safe they are.
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      02-27-2009, 12:51 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crimson92 View Post
or the E, actually the 210 chassis was a great model
STAY AWAY FROM THE E CLASS OR C CLASS PLEASE!

Everyone is recommending the E Class Mercedes...but the W210 chassis was a very unreliable car (in production 1995-2002).

People this is the 1998-2002 E class:



What everyone is thinking of...is the W124 (in production 1984 - 1995)...which is the AMAZINGLY durable car:



I think a 1990-1995 E Class would be a WAY better bet.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about the W210:
Quote:
The W210 E-class has a reputation of being unreliable and expensive to maintain. This can be attributed to the cutting of production costs of Daimler division, which marked the end of a long line of design overengineering which brought to Mercedes the fame of reliability.

Some known problems include the front spring perch has corroded and tearing away from the inner fender(wing), causing the front suspension to collapse[citation required]. (4Matic models are not believed to be affected.) Other minor problems include defective harmonic balancer pulleys (recall), rust on trunk lid near latch, rust on door frames under window seals (recall), defective mass airflow meter, melted rear light bulb sockets, defective blower motor regulators, and rear window regulator failures.

Harmonic Balancer - If the rubber insert of the harmonic balancer pulley, or main crankshaft pulley, delaminates at high velocity, the pulley may grind through the timing chain cover and oil pan, causing several thousand dollars of damage. Owners should inspect the harmonic balancer pulley regularly for signs of rubber deterioration.

Blower Motor Regulator - If this part fails, the climate control fan will not operate faster than approximately 50% power. Mercedes updated the regulator to improve its reliability, but the redesigned regulator requires the installation of a new blower motor -- about $1,000 in parts. The old-style regulator, which is compatible with the existing blower motor, is no longer manufactured. The blower motor regulator may be replaced with the much less expensive W140 S-class blower regulator, provided that the E-class wiring harness is re-attached to the S-class regulator.

Front Sway Bar Drop Links - While not a serious concern, most E-classes end up with a sub 35 mph (56 km/h) clicking or rattling sound from the front end. This is usually due to worn out front-end sway-bar drop links. These can easily be replaced by anybody with minor knowledge of vehicle DIY, for no more than around 20.

Front Spring Perches - Some owners have reported rust problems on the front spring perches - the top perches, which hold the tops of the springs for the front suspension. The perches are spot welded to the chassis, and factory coated in a weatherproof mastic to stop them rusting, however in some rare occurrences, water gets behind the mastic causing the perches to rust, and eventually to fail - leading to collapse of the suspension. The car remains controllable. This is a problem that Mercedes USA have acknowledged. The issue is not identifiable without first removing the mastic to check.

Body rust - Some early model year versions of the W210 displayed body rust, notably on European-sold cars. Rust would sometimes appear spontaneously on panels such as doors and roofs on cars less than a year old. In response to this problem, the manufacturer would normally change or repair the affected panels under warranty. Mercedes-Benz has been criticized in the European press for not officially acknowledging this problem. This was due to problems introducing water based paint technology.

Window regulators - The power window regulator, essentially the mechanism that transfers power from the electric motor to the window, has a few plastic parts that can fail after several years causing the power window to stop operating. DIY replacement of a window regulator can be done in about 1-2 hours at a cost of somewhere between $60 and $120 for the part.
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      02-27-2009, 12:59 AM   #12
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Personally I would get a E36 M3, E36 328 or E36 325. In that order. Either in coupe or sedan form. Although the E36 isn't the most reliable car...it can be bought for reasonable money. Also there are parts a plenty for these cars. And they are fun to drive! And your son will have fun learning to fix his car up.

I heart a black E36 with manual tranny in good shape.

(Dreaming of the mods...full suspension kit, Wilwood BBK, a Vortech supercharger kit...pushing 350 to 400hp...in a car that weighs about 500 lbs less than a 335i). Hubba hubba!



Random pic stolen off the interwebz.


E46 is a good choice too...
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      02-27-2009, 01:02 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferrari355fi View Post
Look for a 94 MB 500E. They are bullet proof, and you can get one for relatively cheap.
please tell me where to find a 94 500E for '02 e46 pricing (non M)...
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      02-27-2009, 01:06 AM   #14
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Go 2003 330 zhp
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      02-27-2009, 01:10 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AutoCouture View Post
please tell me where to find a 94 500E for '02 e46 pricing (non M)...
Hehe.

Maybe he meant a S500.

Or a 300E.

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      02-27-2009, 02:08 AM   #16
nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AutoCouture View Post
please tell me where to find a 94 500E for '02 e46 pricing (non M)...
where did I say you could buy one for the same price as an 02 e46?
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      02-27-2009, 02:50 AM   #17
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As spacedogg says: W124 FTW
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      02-27-2009, 07:49 AM   #18
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I love Benzes, and if it's a W124, I would say go for the 124 without a doubt. it's sedate, SMOOTh, solid and looks totally classic.

I recommend the silky smooth straight six E320 as long as: A/C evaporator, head gasket and engine wiring harness have been taken care of. The rest are rather minor. I think the w124 is one of the best cars ever...

The 500E is quite a car but maintenance is horrendous especially as the awesome M119 starts aging. I had an E420 (similar engine but smaller), which developed weird stalling issues that nobody could diagnose..

I've also had a W208 CLK55, which has the same chassis as the W202 c class on your list... I personally recommend that you look at the E46 BMW instead. the w208 is a very uninspiring chassis (even in clk55 form). BUT, it was fairly reliable to be fair.

I'm personally not a fan of the W210 e-class for one reason - it's .. not very pleasant to look at... not to mention the problems that it comes with. A good friend's parents had an E320 4matic and they were trying to give the car away...

regarding the audis: i know too many people with those older audis you listed and they always talk about what to fix on weekends

My preference:

E46
W202 c class (look at C36 AMG)
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      02-27-2009, 10:24 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferrari355fi View Post
where did I say you could buy one for the same price as an 02 e46?
the OP says he gave his son a particular price range and asked people what they thought of the cars he listed (02 e46 on the list). You posted that he should look into a a 94 500E, which is no where near the price of any of the cars on the list.
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      02-27-2009, 10:26 AM   #20
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OP- you may be able to find a nice B5 S4 around $7-8k as well as an E36 M3, both of which (once common defects are handled) are awesome cars
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      02-27-2009, 12:39 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AutoCouture View Post
OP- you may be able to find a nice B5 S4 around $7-8k as well as an E36 M3, both of which (once common defects are handled) are awesome cars
What he said.
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      02-27-2009, 02:04 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spacedogg View Post
STAY AWAY FROM THE E CLASS OR C CLASS PLEASE!

Everyone is recommending the E Class Mercedes...but the W210 chassis was a very unreliable car (in production 1995-2002).

.....:
i used to work for mercedes...first hand i can tell you that the w210 is one of the best cars merc has ever put out.


i know people who have these cars for over 200k miles and the worst thing theyve replaced was the spark plugs
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Last edited by Crimson92; 02-27-2009 at 02:46 PM.
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