Comfort out-weights poor reliability
The comfort closing functions for all 4 doors and boot cover failed at different times, I brought it back for repair and that failed shortly afterward, this repeated 3 times and ended up with both (two) vacuum pumps that operated the comfort closing feature replaced at over NZ$2,500 (US$1 = NZ$1.72).
Rear right seat belt couldn't be retracted and needed to be replaced at NZ$700.
The recirculating air feature with air conditioning stopped working. Took three times going back to the dealer to be fixed.
The engine revs fluctuates widely right after a service with engine nearly stalled. Fixed in 5 minutes.
Loud rattle under the bonnet when the car went over bumps. A screw was missing at the engine tray.
Full throttle acceleration switch malfunctioned, had to be ordered in from Germany and replaced at NZ$500.
Automatic gear wouldn't start in P position. A sensor switch was said to have water corrosion and needed again to be ordered in from Germany. I gave up fixing this one since the car can still start in N position.
The easy closing feature for right front window stopped working.
Oil leaks at various point at the engine, but they were fixed easily.
This car has a stability that no other cars gave me. The ride comfort is excellent and the power is quite sufficient for New Zealand city and country drives.
If not for the poor reliability record, it could have been quite an excellent car. My S320L has been to the garage 3 more times often than I have been to the doctor over the past 2 years.
I suppose anything that could go wrong has gone wrong and I can enjoy driving it with some peace of mind now, but it seems to me that some new faults would develop immediately after it has been to the dealer to be fixed.
I quite like the Blaupaunt CD player/ GSM phone combo that comes with the car.
The dealer is very helpful, but it seems to have a permanent queue of S class waiting to be fixed with a two-week waiting list.
My next car would definitely be a new model S class The feeling of safety and stability out-weight all the little inconvenience of it not being so reliable.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 16th August, 2003