Mercedez Benz: Up to what year were they good?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by hapaboy, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. As I'm sure many of you know, Mercedes Benz vehicles have had abominable reliability ratings for several years.

    The web is awash with sites from disgrunteld MB owners, some of whom have paid close to 100K for their S and SLK models and then seen them promptly breakdown.

    If you were in the market for a "good" used Mercedez Benz, up to what year do you believe they were manufactured with the quality and built-in reliability that MB was famous for earlier? Until the merger with Chrysler in '98? Were they good up until the merger, or had the deterioration in quality begun earlier?

    Also, is there any particular model that stands out as being particularly reliable?


  2. Good question. Dont know about the newer ones, but i know they turned to crap when they started bringing in the 190 series, the budget end baby models to compete with the little budget beemers that were selling like hot cakes.

    The early 190's were dreadfull little cars.

    For reliabilty and bulletproofness, i can only say we (family etc) had an old '74 230se, you still see them around occasionally with half a million+ k's on them-contrasted with a '78 450 sel, which while it was a beast of a car, wasnt so reliable without a merc mechanic in your pocket. Peice of junk actually, maybe it was a lemon, maybe a bad model?

    Also, i think it was a - an early 80's 230 se, which was actually very good too, reliability wise, IIRC it had 340,000 K's on it before it gave up the ghost and wasnt worth rejuvinating.
    So thats some second hand experience, anyway-hadn't heard of the new ones being junk.
  3. *Ahem*, that mightnt have been what hap was looking for, i forgot the standard mode of transport in hawaii is a dugout canoe:D

    I should mention, the reason for so many (second hand) mercs, was the safety, and ride quality.
    Compared to anything on the road, up to 85, they won hands down, they drove beautifully, all of them.
    In a '93 bmw 325i, it was LAME, most jap cars had caught up by then or were better, plus some-and even they couldnt compare to a late 70's merc, for ride quality, imo.

    They used to build cars, good ones, thats all i know.
  4. sim03


    Check out old Consumer Reports Annual Auto (April) issues for: Used cars reliability ratings; Reliable vehicles; Vehicles to avoid; CR Good Bets; CR Bad Bets, each covering the last 7 model years or so. Most public libraries will have CR back issues going back many years and even decades.

    For example, here's an excerpt from the reliability ratings, adjusted for mileage, in April 2007 issue, p. 90 (to save, click on the thumbnail, then right-click on the image):


    That's a shame. Trade your Merc for a different kind of Merc, anyone? (Mercedes for Mercury.) Right.

    Reliable vehicles: no M-B listed in any price range, from "less than $4,000" to "more than $30,000".

    Vehicles to avoid: M-B C-Class (4-cyl.) '02, C-Class (V-6) '01-03, '06; CLK '01-06; CLS '06; E-Class '00-06; M-Class (V6) '00-03, '06; M-Class (V8) '99-00, '02, '06; R-Class '06; S-Class (V8) '01-04; SL '03-05; SLK (V6) '05.

    CR Good Bets: no M-B.

    CR Bad Bets: M-B CLK, M-Class (V8), S-Class (V8), SL.
  5. I used to have an '05 500SL, and it was a lot less reliable than my old Camry. However, people who buy cars over 100k generally dont care as much about reliability as performance, sex-appeal and exclusivity. If reliability is your concern, go for a high-end Lexus. It has the reliability of a Toyota with the comforts of a Benz.
  6. Only a total pea-brain would pay 100k for an SLK. The most expensive SLK goes for $65k. Are you talking about the SL?
  7. My mistake. Yes, SL....
  8. Thanks, Sim. Yes, I have a subscription to Consumer Reports online but they don't go as far back as I would like. I'm basically trying to find the cut-off point for when the vaunted MB reliability, quality, and durability all went to shit.
  9. I believe they were still good, reliable cars up until sometime in the 90's. When exactly they stopped being good is what I'm trying to find out.

    And yeah, I'm trying to find an alternative to the dugout. Are you still getting around in a kangaroo pouch? :D
  10. Before I bought an old M-B or any european car, I would check the cost of replacement parts and repairs. No matter how good they are, things wear out and have to be replaced. Like automatic transmissions, water pumps, exhaust systems, brakes, ec. Unless you are a collector or just are dying to have a particular model M-B, I think it would be very tough to justify financially.
    #10     Jun 5, 2007