Last post on Jan 28, 2013 at 5:55 PM
You are in the Sedans
What is this discussion about?
Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ-Series, Lexus LS 460, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Volkswagen Phaeton, Maserati Quattroporte, Mercedes-Benz CL-Class, Sedan
Let's try to define this forum as being limited to luxury performance vehicles where the mainstream version in a typical configuration has an MSRP of at least $60k.
A luxury vehicle with a base price of $59k qualifies because it would typically be bought with some additional equipment, bringing the MSRP over $60k.
Vehicles like the E, 5, A6, M, or GS, even if available in certain versions over $60k, don't qualify because they are cars from companies that have higher end cars in their lineups.
Apr 17, 2002 (5:00 pm)
While I was in the process of buying a C320 I spent most of my time on the C class board here on Edmunds. I will try and paste a link here:
sysop "Mercedes-Benz C-Class (Sedans Board)" Apr 17, 2002 3:09pm
Before I decided to buy I read every post on that board from the beginning (there are now over 5000 posts). I saw there were some problems but I too assumed that they were teething problems and would go away. When they continued I pushed my order out to the second production year. Then, after waiting for three more months for delivery I had enough time to see that the problems were still far too frequent for me so I bailed.
The problem posts started to appear around Nov 2000 and continue to today. I am amazed that so few appear on the MBZ site now as they were there last October when I last spent any time there.
There have been problems with (purge valves, electronic keys, seats breaking, trim falling off, trunks-doors-sunroofs not opening, engines stalling, doors not sealing and others). And these are not one offs, many posters had the same problem.
Now not all the posts are negative but I think a conservative estimate is that 1 in 5 (while I was active)deals with a problem. And this is well into the second year of production. I waited through the first year for the problems to go away but they are still occurring.
And if you read a recent post of mine you will see I ended up buying a 2001 LS430 (first year of production) and the only problem I have had is that the Automatic Sound Level control had to be corrected. So I don't accept that poor quality is a given on a new production vehicle - Lexus has proven otherwise.
I was at first very disappointed in having to pass on the C320. I think it has great styling, handling and a lot of potential. But my experience has made me believe the news articles I read that state MB has fallen recently from 3rd to 10th in automotive quality control.
And some may say that all those who post their C problems are over-represented on the site because they want to solve/share their problem. But I think you would be hard pressed to read about so many problems with one model on any other board.
Apr 17, 2002 (6:16 pm)
Read some of those posts. You made a great move. My car is fabulous and letter perfect after 25k miles so far. Go to the LS board and you'll see the main issue is nav system updates. The cars are as close to perfect as can be. Now if I can only get Lexus to stop sending me maintenance reminders in the mail. I always go 10k miles and if you lease the notices are timed to the lease miles you chose and of course are on a 7,500 mile basis.
Apr 17, 2002 (9:26 pm)
Ok, I guess....I still don't see what the two cars have to do with each other. There seems to be this attitude on here about Mercedes-Benz's problems being the norm for everyone that owns one, which I think is being overstated by some in order to justify purchasing something else, the thing is, I wonder if a Benz ever really had a chance with some from the start. A C320 could be the best built car in the world, it still wouldn't compare with a LS430, nor is it supposed to. One is much larger, has a V8 and way more features. It would be like test driving a S500 and C320, no comparison.
Apr 18, 2002 (4:58 pm)
But in my case I started and had committed to the MB C320. I really liked the car. But there were (and still are) too many problems with it for me. So then after rejecting the C320 I started to shop around and eventually went with the LS430.
I am not saying they are in similar types of cars. The C320 being a very sporty, entry level low-end luxury car. The LS is much bigger, not as sporty, high end luxury car (IMO). But the LS gave me much more than I started out looking for in most areas (and a little less in the sport area). But the relatively small difference in cost was worth it.
And the original purpose of my post was to respond to the person (who I believe is a MB fan) who did not think any other car company would introduce a new model with as many problems as BMW has done with the recent 7. I think the C situation disproves this.
It is true, considering the price differences, one should not expect the same level of refinement in a C320 as a 7 series. However, I think MB has a problem on its hands if the C is an attempt to win over customers who will go on to buy other, more expensive models. While the C looks great (IMO) it continues to be plagued with problems - turning off future buyers.
Apr 18, 2002 (10:03 pm)
I truly believe that Mercedes has their problems, but I can't see every single car they make as being this problematic. There about 10 or so people in the C topic that post quite regularly about problems. The C-Class can't be that bad, I think it's being overblown now.
Apr 19, 2002 (4:20 am)
I went back and read through the last 60 or so posts on the C-class topic. Part of the discussion was about how the cars are not nearly as bad as the board makes them sound. I think Merc1 is right, there are a few vocal posters with problems. They all sounded like resolvable issues. I have to wonder if as C-class buyers they were coming from Japanese brands? There is undoubtably a gap between the two. The difference is with the MB you get a better driving car, a better looking car, a safer car, and without a doubt in my mind a car that will hold up better in the long run. If you want to minimize your dealer visits, the Lexus is better. Consider that the MB maint is paid for 3-4 years, at Lexus you pay for everything.
I personally didn't see anything in the C topic that would have stopped me from buying one. Consider this, I pulled a service history on my 45k mile '98 BMW. How about 19 visits to the dealer for service work since new. Only five of those are scheduled events, the rest are repairs. My '95 had that many in the year I owned it. I love the way they drive, I love the way they look. I could have bought Lexus, but I wouldn't enjoy the car. Others get the most enjoyment from not having to see their dealers at all. Different strokes.
Apr 19, 2002 (6:57 pm)
I accept that it is possible that recently the problems on the C are being reduced, I have not taken the time to examine this. If they are reduced, I think this should have happened by the end of the first production year. We are talking abut MB here not Kia or some other low cost brand. (The C may be low cost by MB standards but it is not low cost compared to most cars.)
But back in October 2001 if you were considering the C, as I was, you would have seen that there were problems serious enough to have many of the same cars in the shop multiple times in a month. And this was into the second year of production.
There were theories going around that, because many of the Cs were being asembled in Brazil and other places, maybe the quality was dropping.
But for me, "coming from a Japanese brand" (i.e., accustomed to reliability) I did not want to pay more money for a car that, granted, had good style and handling,(safer is debatable and only time will tell if MB continues to last longer) but spent too much time in the shop; so I stayed with Lexus.
And I could have bought a MB but I would not have enjoyed the "lack of a car".
And I, like I suspect, many Lexus owners, could have bought much more expensive MB models - we just don't necessarily equate more expensive with better (even if it does give you the opportunity to become very close friends with your dealer service manager).
It appears to be true that you don't see your dealer as much with a Lexus but that is only one of its many virtues.
Yes, some of the posters claim that the cars are not as bad as the other posts make them appear. It is true it is hard to get a representative sample form these posts. My point is that "relative to other boards" there is a disproportionate number of negative posts. And for a car manufactured by a company that has a (past, at least) reputation of high quality.
I suppose you can consider all the C problems as resolvable - if you read the posts you will see that some of these "resolved problems" involved the customer swapping their C for an E model!
Again, my original reason for posting was to challenge the comment that no other car company would introduce a new model with as many problems as BMW's new 7 series - I suggest that MB may be just as guilty, or worse with the C.
I have rambled enough on this topic so I will stop now and let you have the last word.
Apr 19, 2002 (8:25 pm)
Edarte - great post.
V-12power - The Lexus is very safe and given the 90-95 models I see on the road probably holds up as well if not better than the S-class of the same period. The car is extremely satisfying, at the top of the shelf in luxury, has the best service by far from dealers and the company and dealer network make you feel like royalty. It has a great ride and more than adequate handling. I could easily have written a check for an S-600. But I don't prefer to spend that much money on a car. Seriously considered the S-500 (as did many of us on the LS board) but found the LS430 better for my tastes. Money was not the issue. I prefer the LS430 for its virtues which are many and all of which are important to me. The fact that it rarely needs service is wonderful and important to me but the primnary reason to buy are its luxury appointments, phenomenal ride and serene quiet cabin. You seem to live in a surburban area where you may find yourself alone at the wheel and can get a bit free on empty highways. In the big city areas that is very rare. And it is in the big cities where 80% of these cars are sold. Besides the LS430 makes 0-60 in 6.3 seconds so it is hardly a slouch. I always see a high proportion of 7, S-class and LS owners driving conservatively. A few, like me drive pretty fast but they brake pretty quickly on turns - so as I've said many times before - the handling may be there, particularly on the 7 but it doesn't seem to be used by this class of buyers. Nothing personal or mischevious intended here - I just don't think you really know the reasons LS people choose their cars.
Apr 20, 2002 (12:36 am)
These are types of post I like to read at Edmunds. Informed, but different opinions from the actual owners. Thought I'd have to take exception to that ljflx, I think the 1992-1999 S-Class is the most durable car built. Maybe not the most reliable, but the build of this car was unbelievable.
Apr 20, 2002 (6:27 am)
I had an interesting return drive home from JFK last week went I went to London. It was a first for me. The limo driver who picked me up had an S-430 that he just picked up two weeks earlier. Never had an S-class limo before but the guy who owned it said the superlux cars are starting to sell as limos particularly MB and Lexus because of reliability and durability. Anyway I got to experience the ride for about an hour and a half from the back seat. Very good ride but definitely not as smooth or quiet as an LS430. But by no means is it not quiet or smooth. One major advantage the S has is the extra rear seat stretch room. From a driver standpoint it's irrelevant but for someone who has to get a child out of a baby seat the extra space is nice. Now I can sit very comfortably in the rear of the LS430 (I'm 6ft) with the front seat at its maximum depth. Plenty of space for my legs even if it was possible to move the front seat even further back. But I can't stretch the way you do in an S. I would think at some point Lexus has to go to 199-202 inches.
By the way the driver lives in the next town over from me. Needless to say I'll use him whenever I travel which thankfully is a lot less than in the past. Without question a great car but I still prefer the LS430.
Last thing - I noticed many more LS400/430's on the road in London than in the past. They must be penetrating the market there now. I also see that they still make the S-320 in the new style in Europe. I've also come to appreciate that an S-class with tinted glass is much more striking than one without it. I think as DVD players become standard or part of option packages in the future we'll see cars all such cars have the tinted windows direct from the factory, which is the only way I would want them.