Well, I have been reading the previous posts and I am sorry to hear that some have been experiencing some problems with their new S Classes. I must say that I have owned my 2000 S430 since July of 1999 and have experienced nothing short of the Mercedes tradition that I have always expected from Mercedes.
I have owned a '76 6.9 450 SEL (fantastic power, minor problem with the air suspension, but what a ride), '85 500 SEL (nice improvement from the previous generation and I ran it for 230,000 miles, never had a major problem), and a '96 S420 that was that ultimate teutonic ride.
But, when I saw the new S and the improvement made to the styling, safety, and technological advances, I had to have this car. IMHO, there was no comparison to the previous generation and Mercedes finally made the transition to a sporty S Class. In July of '99 you could not find this car unless you ordered it many months ahead and I just happened to be at the dealer when this S430 fell out because the guy was transfered out of the country.
I have been so happy with this car and when comparing to previous S Classes that I have owned, it is simply a joy to drive and puts a huge smile on my face everytime I drive it.
There has been a lot of negativity on this thread that I just had to relate my positive experience with the new S Class. And the positive references to the new Lexus LS430 has it's merits, but the Lexus copy cat look of the old S Class is amusing. The least Lexus could do is upgrade to the new MB S Class styling, but I guess they weren't up to speed at the time. Mercedes should be flattered about the imitation from Lexus over the years, but a MB S Class is still the most unique driving experience. There's something about that German heritage that the Japanese can't duplicate.
And one comment on MB dealerships, my dealer is House of Imports in Buena Park, CA. From the salesman to the service advisor to the service manager, they have been excellent. One problem I had early on with my 2000 S Class was with the air suspension. There was a problem with the early S Classes suspension holding air pressure. They replaced all 4 shocks, but that didn't fix the problem, it came down to the air pump was defective. Well, they felt so bad about tying up my car for this repair on 2 separate occassions, that they gave me a free Star Tac MB phone. I was going to buy one, but because of the the inconvenience of tying up the car for about a week, they gave me the phone for free. This dealership has been rated #1 for a number of years in a row and this service shows why.
Stick with Mercedes and in the long run you will appreciate what a pleasure it is to drive this car.
You have had both the p[revious and the current generation for a long time each. Can you compare them on a scale of one to ten,(one, the worst ride you have ever experienced in a car, ten absolutely the best) both of them in ride, noise insulation and built quality. I would certainly appreciate that. Although I have driven my father's 500 Sel a lot of times, I have only had the pleasure to drive the new body style a couple of times, both about twenty minutes or so, so i do not know what it is liek to live with the vehicle.
Thank you v ery much. I look forward to reading your answer
Thanks for your insight into the new S class. It is really a fantastically designed automobile..fitting for the Benz tradition.
I understand from your post that you previously owned the S 430 ...last generation.
Could you share your pros and cons of that series?
A friend is looking at one now and is interested in advice.
Did you have any service problems unique to that model.
How much mileage did you put on the car?
Did you have an extended warranty?
These are all of things which I would like to pass along.
Thanks for the help.
In answer to your questions on the previous & current S Classes, which I feel every new generation S improved over the last, here are my ratings:
RIDE NOISE BUILD QUAL.
'76 450SEL 6.9 8.5 8 9
* Under ride, the 6.9 had air suspension and the ride was great, but it handled like you would expect a car of that weight to handle. Noise insulation was very good for that year and the build quality was excellent. Everything worked like it was engineered for and this car was a screamer because of the 6.9 liter engine. Does anybody remember the 6.9's? The car was the ultimate autobahn high speed cruiser and the acceleration was a thrill. I wonder what the 0-60 times were for this car? I drove this car for over 100,000 miles with no major engine or drive train repair. In fact I never had the valve covers off. The only big repair was the air suspension due to system leak. Other than that, a great car with classic styling and of course the vault like sound when shutting the doors.
1985 500SEL 8.5 8.5 9
The ride and handling of this car improved from the previous generation. It was more nimble than the 6.9, but unfortunately lacked the power. But it was the '80's and we were fortunate to get any HP. The noise insulation was very good and the build quality was again top rate. I drove this car over 230,000 miles and had no major engine or drive train repairs! Again, never had a valve cover off. The only big repair was replacing the exhaust system complete with the catalytic coverter. This would have cost big bucks if the dealer replaced it, but they recommended an independent that did it for half the cost. Again, a great car that only lacked HP and a classic style.
'96 S420 9 10 10
The ride of this car was excellent, the only negative being the weight of the car hampered the handling a tad. However, it gave the driver the impression of being a smaller car. The noise insulation was the best yet because the windows did a great job. The build quality was second to none, no doubt about it. The materials used on the interior were top notch. The 4.2 liter engine performed very well considering the weight. I drove this car to 50,000 miles and did not experience any problems other than maintenance. Fantastic car.
2000 S430 10 10 9.5
The advances of the new S Class is well documented and I would have to say this is the best overall S Class ever. This car rides and handles like a sports coupe, very nimble for a car this size and a big improvement over the previous S. I found the noise insulation to be excellent. The build quality is very good, the only negative is the plastic on the interior. This has been some of the complaints vs. the previous S, but I will take this cars overall assets any day. Add all the technological and safety improvements and it is no wonder that many auto journalists have picked this S as the best car in the world. The new engines are fantastic (ULEV) and I get over 21 mpg with a combined city/highway conditions. The 4.3 liter engine performs better than the old 4.2 and I can only imagine the performance for the 5.0, 5.5, and 6.0 liter engines. The other thing that sold me on this car was when I saw the new S Class next to the previous generation S. It was like night and day. The new S styling was top notch and the old S looked old. And with Mercedes cutting the weight out of the car, adding all the new technology/safety and maintaining the room in the interior, for less money, I was sold. Not to mention the free maintenance! I remember very well the high costs associated with normal maintenance for the previous S Classes. This is my opinion is the best S yet.
Yeah, it seems like Web Crossing has its own idea of how to display spaces, never mind how many you might have typed. Aggravating, yes. One thing you can do is replace the spaces with periods - I think that would work.
Just a thought, maybe it would help for another time.