2000 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 500 Sport 5.0 V8 from North America

Summary:

Beautiful, powerful, and comfortable an absolute joy to drive

Faults:

Speedometer/Odometer failure right after purchase, which was a 1000k repair.

Minor oil leak coming from valve gasket. This is an inherent weakness in this automobile. My independent MBZ mechanic says that the right side usually fails more than the left. I've had both right and left gaskets replaced.

Rear tires need frequent replacement. This is normal for this type of car. Alignments etc should be done by a certified MBZ mechanic.

Most repairs for this car have been routine, and were caught during routine service. I really recommend keeping these cars maintained and finding a good certified independent MBZ mechanic.

General Comments:

These are beautiful automobiles who command a great deal of attention and comments. I am routinely told what a beautiful Benz I have.

The car is powerful, sporty and a lot of fun to drive. When the suspension is placed in sport mode, the ride can be a bit stiff, but very responsive.

The COMMAND system is outdated, and cumbersome to use, but the stereo is an 18 speaker Bose which sounds impeccable. It has several sound settings that help make the listening experience more enjoyable.

I love having the shiftronic transmission. Often the car has a lag in downshifting if I allow the car to do it on it's own. With shiftronic, a simple tap to the stick brings an immediate downshift or upshift. The car will not allow you to downshift if the RPMs are too high so you won't damage the engine.

Excellent brakes, especially on wet pavement.

Built like a tank, although I wish the interior were just a bit quieter (a little road noise can intrude into the cabin).

The leather is a disappointment, I have placed custom sheepskin pelts on the front bucket seats to limit wear to the leather.

There are a few rattles and squeaks here and there, but no more than I would expect from any 11 year old car.

I would advise that the cars need to be maintained religiously for best performance. Do your homework and find a good independent mechanic you can trust, and who won't rip you off. These cars ARE expensive to maintain. This is something you need to keep in mind before purchasing. They are imports, parts are not cheap, and labor to repair will not be cheap.

Gas mileage is decent for a car of this weight, and engine size (18 mixed driving, 23 to 26 highway. I've gotten as much as 28 on long road trips).

Overall, great value for the money, I think it will last a long time. I am sold on the Mercedes Benz nameplate, and am currently looking for a used convertible to add to my stable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th January, 2011

2000 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S430 4.3 V8 from North America

Summary:

This is a 10 year old car with style and grace; driving it, I feel like an upstanding citizen

Faults:

Rear passenger window will not operate; it's stuck in the closed position. This problem arose during the previous ownership.

General Comments:

Purchased this car only 3 months ago, and so far am very satisfied. Seems to be great value for the money.

My mechanic, a MBZ independent, tells me it is a well built car, with a drivetrain durable to 300,000 miles or so. However the car has many complex systems that will be costly to repair when they fail. Apart from oil, brakes and tires, it seems I should expect to spend $1000 or so every 20,000 miles on these repairs - about 10% more than my Volvo S80. But, no expenses so far (6000 miles).

I test drove an '04 LS430, an '01 740i, an '03 530i, and a 2010 Lincoln MKS, but preferred the Benz.

The S430 feels very safe and solid. It's a great car for our California freeways, an excellent cruiser. The few times I've pushed the car in curves, it feels controlled and tight, but in general I'm not a real aggressive driver.

Fuel use: 26/27 mpg freeway at 75 mph avg. 22 mpg suburbs/freeway mix.

As for comfort, I can find a good driving position, and the seat feels great except after 2 or 3 hours of driving. Either my S80 had better seats, or I'm just getting old. My wife loves the Merc's comfort, however.

The Nav system is outdated and I don't use it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th October, 2010

3rd Mar 2011, 23:15

It's me again, I wrote the review above. I've now had the S430 for 7 or 8 months and 13000 miles, so I thought I'd give an update.

I'm still quite happy with the car - no unexpected repairs, just one l/o/f done by my indie MBZ mechanic, $130 with full synthetic oil, including a complete check of the car.

Wiper blade replacements were pricey - $105 - ouch! They are Bosch, maybe longer lasting than others, I'll see.

The bad news - there is rust at the bottom edge of the two front doors, in each case an inch or two long, and 1/4 inch wide. The rust is under the paint. I was aware of the rust when I bought the car, and negotiated the price accordingly. I had hope that MBZ would repair the rust at their expense, but two trips to the dealer proved otherwise, so I will spend $1000 to have the rust repaired. If you are a potential buyer of 2000 to 2002 S class, research at the MB World forum will tell you all you need to know about this rust issue.

9th Mar 2013, 11:51

I would love to know if you still have your 2000 MBZ S-Class? If you do, please let me know how it is running? What repairs have been needed and the cost? I am very interested in buying the 2000 S-Class this coming up week at a local auto auction. The miles are at 184,500; what repairs can I expect and how soon? How much longer do you believe I have with the car before it "clunks out"?

Thank you.