Further Update: 01st November 2005.
Following the new engine things settled down. However, the steering column issue has raised its head once again and I'm now looking at another replacement, but this time out of warranty. At this rate the A-class requires a new steering column every 20,000 mile or so at a cost of £700. This is VERY expensive motoring and a known fault.
So, the verdict 3 years on is: I will never, ever buy another Mercedes Benz. I've completely lost confidence in the product. Whilst MB's service and dealerships have always been good, I need to drive a reliable car. My experience of Mercedes' products is that they are simply not fit for the purpose for which they were sold - namely driving rather that sitting in the garage broken!
You have been warned!!
I loved my mercedes, it met all my needs, except it's costing too much now. First it was the radius arm, shocks, steering pump and now it seems the head gasket is gone. Not sure though. It keeps cutting out, like stalling anyone have a idea? (can't afford mercedes garage)
2005 New A-Class 180 CDi Avantgarde. £24,000.
2006: Recall indicator/wiper stalk on steering column. Warranty.
2007: 2 broken road wheels, no Warranty?
2008: Broken road spring passenger front (UK). Warranty.
2010 Sept: MOT advise steering rack worn.
2011 April: Rust inside bonnet, tailgate and both o/s doors, (Mercedes Mobilo Warranty). I'm on my second visit for photos with no returned calls and no records of my visits.
2011 May: C service: oil, oil filter, fuel filter, pollen filter, 2 wiper blades, broken rear spring. £558.
2011 June: Broken passenger front road spring again + top strut mount: £228.
I love driving this car when it works and have had it serviced at around £250 a time every time, it has just done over 50k easy miles on decent tar mack roads.
I reckon it's a case of Not Fit For Purpose!
Thanks for reading and you have been warned!