1990 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 300 SE 3.0 straight six cylinder
The world's best car - but count mine out
Fuel pump relay overheated, and caused the fuel pump to cut out regularly, which was a dangerous thing to happen where I live, and took weeks and a painful amount of dollars to find.
Distributor cap went soon after purchase.
Suspension was never right, and I kept fixing niggles and replacing bushings pretty much weekly.
Brakes tended to catch little stones, and required surgical removal by a shop.
Water pump died on me.
Air conditioning stopped working soon after purchase.
Climate control started acting erratically after a few months.
Oil loss turned out to come from leaking block, horrendously expensive to fix.
Transmission noise started to develop after one year of purchase.
This car was an eye-opener for me, teaching me that Mercedes-longevity can indeed be a myth. I have not had this much frustration and aggravation with a car since owning a very troublesome Citroen CX 15 years ago.
This came doubly unwelcome, as I had purchased the car specifically because I was in need of a reliable, solid car at the time, and this Mercedes turned out to be anything but. Sadly, I can't even say it's my first bad Mercedes; I just keep believing in them, who knows why.
As a car though, it was a delight. Beautiful, poised, timeless, amazing ride comfort, and guaranteed to get you the attention of anyone, at least where I live.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 25th June, 2007
26th Jun 2007, 09:12
Hi, I was considering a 300 SE as a possible replacement for my present car, (volvo 240) but after reading this I don't know anymore.
You said your previous car was a Volvo 850- I am also looking at them. Was that any better?
27th Jun 2007, 13:58
When you buy a 16 year old car it either has been well maintained or you need to get it up to a certain operational level. My experience, MB of this vintage takes about US$ 2000/year to maintain once you get it to that level. Odd as it may sound, it's a philosophical decision on how well and for how long you intend to maintain the car. For me, a car that originally sold for 65,000 can be kept for the rest of your life, if you are so inclined. I ask myself if I'd want to be driving a pristine 20 year old Honda or MB.