Mercedez reliability

gnomad

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Hello all,

first post so a little about me.

Recently been driving around in an a borrowed 206cc which is great fun and got me thinking about my next car. I would like a similar car but one that's a bit bigger so it can carry a bit more kit.

The natural choice is the SL but the problem is that the more I talk to people the more horror stories they give me about their experiences with Mercedes reliability and terrible servicing.

I drive a Toyota at the moment and so am used to a car that starts every time and never lets me down.

Lexus are about to release the is250c which could be an alternative.

Ive been doing some research and it seems that in the last decade or so Mercedes have let the legendary standards of quality and reliability slip in favour of greater profitability to the detrement of the marque.

I just thought I would ask a big group of Mercedes users what they thought?

thanks

G
 

Alex M Grieve

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B Class d200 Sport Premium Plus (66)
Recently been driving around in an a borrowed 206cc which is great fun and got me thinking about my next car. I would like a similar car but one that's a bit bigger so it can carry a bit more kit.

The natural choice is the SL Ive been doing some research and it seems that in the last decade or so Mercedes have let the legendary standards of quality and reliability slip in favour of greater profitability to the detrement of the marque.

Hi gnomad and welcome to the forum!

I hadn't thought of the SL as an obvious sequel to the Peugeot 206 before.

There is lots of opinion on the forum, and much information about people's experiences. Whenever views polarise, as might happen in response to your query, people will "speak as they find".

My own experience is of 7 cars since 1989, 3 of which I still have. They have only had very occasional attention - routine servicing and replacement of worn tyres principally. I have never had a breakdown and never failed an MOT. I have never bought any supplementary warranty and only had one item repaired under warranty (fuel tank sender, 2MY 2,000 C Class), and some rust on the same car. All without quibble.

Of the 3 I have at present, I have two contemporary cars (2004 S Class, 2007 C Class estate) and these have both been fault free.

My 1994 SL has had an intermittent ignition problem, but has always got me there It is currently running perfectly and is rust free.

So, as the man said "Accounts of the demise of the Mercedes brand may have been exaggerated", but others will tell you of their experience.
 

Micman

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I too had never considered the Merc SL as a natural progression from a 206, or any Peugeot! come to think of it! :eek:)

I'm also slightly confused by your post as you say you want something bigger than the pug 206 to carry more kit, yet see the Merc SL as the answer??? You also say the new lexus is250c is an option, so by that I assume you are buying new or almost new.

Anyway, to answer your question, I've owned two Mercedes cars, first was a 99 A-class A190, the second (and one I drive today) a 54reg C180K.

The A-class I bought as a two year old car. The C-class I purchased as a 9 month old ex-demonstrator.

Obviously I've bought fairly new models, but have to say on no occassion have they failed to start or left me stranded at the side of the road. (Unlike every other car I've owned which you can see listed on the footer of this).

Sure I've had issues, but in my opinion they've been nothing that couldn't have happed if I bought a similar car from any other manufacturer.

If you read through this forum you will probably be put off buying a Merc, simply because most posts are people seeking advice about technical isssues!! Look at any other forum and the magority of posts will be the same - i'm sure even Toyota!

The thing I would say about Mercs are they can be expensive. If you're looking at the SL then you are talking about one of the most expensive cars from the Mercedes range. That comes with bigger running costs, bigger bills and more expensive parts. Common sense really!

If you want a Mercedes then go for it!

Just use your head when it comes to choosing a model and take the age of it into account. The older the car the more likelyhood of major components needing replacing - just like with any car from any manufacturer.
 
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brandwooddixon

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CL500 Bluefficency 2012
Personally I don't think that there's any problems with MB now.
Toyota are near the top of the tree and peugeuot is nearer the bottom.

Yo have to bear in mind that by their very nature motoring forums will tend to gravitate towards people with problems and trying to help them.

I've had two E class W210s over a period of 10 years. The first an E320 never had any issues and covered 135,000 miles in 3 years. (Well it's only niggle was to require side light bulbs on a regular basis).

My current car I've had for 7 years. It had required a bit more work doing over this time (MAF, AC Compressor, gearbox). Some of this was done under warranty. The gearbox was a real pain, but it appears that other manufacturers with "sealed for life" gearboxes have suffered similar problems. It's had a few breakdowns in the past year, but I put that down to spending 4 years barely covering 8,000 miles per year to suddenly being asked to do 1,000 miles per week.

On the whole I've no complaints about my local dealer apart from the expense, but that is much the same with any dealership. A good independent is what you need and with todays cars getting more complex that's only going to get harder to find.

I certainly wouldn't be put off buying another MB, but would steer clear of certain other makes.
 

Dosco

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Firstly welcome to THE best Forum on the web:D and I would support to a word the other replies.

I own a 1998 E240 petrol W210 which has a bad reputation for rust and yes I had the rusty wing problem but before joining this forum paid to have them replaced so you have done the right thing in coming aboard and seeking opinions.

I have had no major running issues and whilst working I did some 25K a year now it is more like 8/10K. I use an Independent for repairing/servicing the stuff I am unable to do myself, I have never had a breakdown - tempting providence now - running costs have always been (IMO) acceptable for this motor and it is comfortable, it is a barge and not a racing snake with all the toys but I just love to drive it:p:p
 

Juddian

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Gnomad, i hope you didn't try folding the roof down on that 206, good chance it would have jammed up solid.

All cars have their weaknesses, it depends a lot on how much electronic gubbins or how many toys you want.

I avoid things like climate control (they must be 'aving a 'larf' with some of these bywords) fancy electronic gearboxes and memory seats etc like the plague, the more electrics the more to go wrong.
Unfortunately many buyers actively seek these things in the used market and then complain bitterly when they go wrong, seems bizarre to me.

Strange progression from a 206cc to a SL, i'd have though a SLK would have been more obvious certainly size wise, and a lot less complicated and expensive to own than an SL, which is a big wide beast.

If you have the means to consider a new Lexus then you probably have the means to replace vehicles when the warranty runs out, if twer me in that enviable position i'd have what i wanted.
Having seen the results of the last Lexus effort at a convertible i think it would have to be something (anything) other than that.
 
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PanzerMcGrory

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Even sitting a bit lower down in an SL or SLK looking at the three pointed star on the steering wheel elevates you just enough to look down your nose at others.
 

Dosco

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Even sitting a bit lower down in an SL or SLK looking at the three pointed star on the steering wheel elevates you just enough to look down your nose at others.

Good one - forgot that (important) bit:D
 
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gnomad

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Hello again,

just a quick one as i'm at work

To clarify the 206 cc is a hard top convertable.

SL does the same job but obviously bigger all round which means more boot space which is the thing smaller hard top 'verts suffer from (SLK, Z3/4,BMW3 etc)

further clarification on question - problems I hear about time and time againare not only to do with build quality but also incompetant and expensive dealers/mechanics and general servicing.

for ex. - friend of mine had a prolonged problem with his A class window electrics - Mercedes (apologies for incorrect spelling in post title by the way) took over a thousand pounds off him in order NOT to get it fixed properly.

Such service is appaling no matter how many lattes and 'sirs' one throws into the equation don't you think.

Please don't think I'm here just to give your chosen marque a good kicking for the sake of it - I really like the cars and would love to own one but can't ignore the terrible accounts I hear

back to you

G
 

Alex M Grieve

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for ex. - friend of mine had a prolonged problem with his A class window electrics - Mercedes (apologies for incorrect spelling in post title by the way) took over a thousand pounds off him in order NOT to get it fixed properly.

Such service is appaling no matter how many lattes and 'sirs' one throws into the equation don't you think.

Please don't think I'm here just to give your chosen marque a good kicking for the sake of it - I really like the cars and would love to own one but can't ignore the terrible accounts I hear

Stick around - you will find that we are well capable of giving it a good kicking ourselves - when that is appropriate. You will also hear lurid tales of the sort you describe. But there are lots of "satisfied customers" (who tend to be less vocal) and I guess we are all keen on the marque/brand.

We look forward to hearing more of your logic and the eventual choice.
 
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jberks

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Some dealers can be apalling. Especially those within the M25 for some reason. However, many are very good.
There are some very good independant specialists out there too.
The basic rule with all these things is to get to know whoever you are trusting to sort the car and make your expectations well understood. If they want an amount of money to sort it, then within reason thats what you agree and what should happen.

There are horror stories but I suspect they are when the customer isn't well known, speaks to a different person every time, who doesn't grasp the fact that they've already paid out for a failed repair and the customer continues to dole out cash irrespective. Their first port of call is always going to be to ask for more money but thats no reason to hand it over. You wouldn't stand for it with a builder so why allow a garage to rip you off, deliberately or otherwise? Normally a quick polite 'reality adjustment' conversation and all is well, but if you behave as an annoymous doormat then that's what you'll be.
The other side of such stories quite often is that the garage has made the options and risk clear and the customer has gone for the riskier but potentially cheaper option. (Often faults are not well know and 'we can try x or y but it may not help) It hasn't worked, and now they're blaming the garage.
 

Alex M Grieve

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Normally a quick polite 'reality adjustment' conversation and all is well.

Absolutely. I have had a number of service managers who tried to patronise me by indicating, when criticized, the diplomas for "Quality" or "Service" lining their reception area walls.

When I point out to them that the certificates are all b****it, and that I the customer am the soul and only important judge of their performance .............

One dealer (not MB) even got as far as saying "if you did not have this car, we would not have this problem". Exit customer - forever.
 
A

Ashley H

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I've run three so far: my current '02 E320 CDi, a '98 C180 (used by Mrs H) and a 250TD of 1986 vintage.

There are several tried & tested cliches about Mercedes:

1. They are either expensive or very expensive when they go wrong (true, in my experence - both parts & labour)
2. The period from, say '98 to '04, was the nadir for manufacturing quality - depending on the model, I would say also true. My E320 was not well made, poor quality components/materials were used & it has rusted horrendously
3. Dealers are a very mixed bunch - as true of Mercedes as any other marque (probably exacerbated by the extent & complexity of the model range)
4. Despite the issues, they are great cars

My E320 is a fantastic drive - I threw the family & a pile of luggage into the back on Friday afternoon and we tootled down from Ayr to Windsor without stopping & without feeling it the way you would in most other cars.

Mrs H won't consider anything without a three-pointed star to replace her C180 which is getting past the point of being economically viable to repair.

The 250TD was fantastic - built like a tank and drove like one too :)

Basic advice:

Get a good car with a full service history, be ready for the high(ish) running costs and enjoy it!

Good luck
 

hawk20

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People love to run down other makes. Especially anything regarded as best in the world (and most motoring experts all round the world have placed the S class as the best saloon car in the world. (For example see What car).

To get a real view you need samples of large numbers of people. The biggest is JD Power survey. Go to the What Car website and have a look at the JD Power survey of Customer Satisfaction and you will see detailed comments on all makes. Mercedes models all come out in the top half. And the E class comes out in the top ten of all the cars sold in the UK (actually came eighth while the BMW 5 series came 45th and the previous year it came 54th).

Peugeot is one of the most unreliable cars sold; so coming from one of those you should be very happy with a Mercedes.

Then look at the Warranty Direct survey where Mercedes E class is again in the top ten for reliability.

Then try AutoExpress who did another major survey of owners and the E class was the top executive car.
 
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hawk20

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Note that the E class missed top exec car by a whisker in the J D Power 2008 survey, and finished in the top 10 of all cars for customer satisfaction.

Worth noting too that in the AutoExpress Driver Power 2008 survey it finished top executive car and finished 3rd overall of all the 100 cars in the survey.
http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/carreviews/driver_power_2008/

For JD Power see: -
http://mbclub.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=55259

and: -
http://www.whatcar.co.uk/news-specia...612&EL=3243769


See also this thread: -
http://mbclub.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=55483

Here is what JD Power say about Lexus: -
"The Lexus IS is second in class and third overall.

Owners reported very good interior build quality, loved the way the car drives and looks, and rated Lexus dealers as among the best.

There are chinks in its armour, though. Mechanical reliability was only average; a number of owners reported engine faults. Running costs were so-so, with relatively steep fuel bills."
 

psmart

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To get a real view you need samples of large numbers of people. The biggest is JD Power survey.
Toyota Prius is the #1 :) .... Their being used as Taxi's here in Stuttgart now :)

This topic comes up as regular as clockwork, and depending upon your personal time of month or year will depend on how you answer this topic.

My ML270 and A140 cost a bomb to keep running, the C220 less so. I think I accidently ticked the Option: 'Steal my cash [x]' when I ordered them, so they added the unreliability feature 871 :) ... Apart from the A140, I love them to bits, so what price can you put on that? Now, in the depressed market, the savings you make can more than adequately (with good management) be put towards any unforseen bills so it keeps the overall running costs in check.

Regarding other Marques I've owned, non have escaped the high cost and unreliable tag and certainly the Mercedes have cost me no more for a better car.

On the brighter side, my new ML500 is the bee's knees, cant say one thing wrong about it at the moment. 160mph on the clock last night and Im still buzzing :)
 

simon_wall69

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Note that the E class missed top exec car by a whisker in the J D Power 2008 survey, and finished in the top 10 of all cars for customer satisfaction.

Worth noting too that in the AutoExpress Driver Power 2008 survey it finished top executive car and finished 3rd overall of all the 100 cars in the survey.
http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/carreviews/driver_power_2008/
."

Also bear in mind expectation.

If you buy a Merc, you expect it to be better than other brands; therefore, you require much higher standards to be satisfied.

Brands such as Skoda tend to become higher because of lower expectations of the product. And people often have high opinions of things such as a Prius as a way of justifying owning such a car.

Thus, for something such as an e class, where you would expect it to be the best in class, to come so high in a customer satisfaction survey shows what a quality product it is.
 

Gt Russell

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hi , I now have a CLK200 komp haveng part exed an Audi TT and I thought it would be hard to find a car i liked as much as the TT , I believe I have not once looked back and let me tell you the audi was not reliable at all ! having said that it never let me down it was just it seemed to go thru lots of items and they were not cheap i can tell you, Every time i opened the bonnet it cost £150 on average :(and in the end i was scared to look at it the wrong way encase it cost another £150
I must stress that I was jocking there but you can see my point
I am not slagging off the TT as it was a good design and good chassi and it served me reasonably well
Any car can develop a problem and mercs are no different but they doo tend to be more reliable than other marques
Also as Micman said earlier that if you go on a forum you could be putt off ! wel that is true as most people who use forums are asking for help with problems
Its like reading a medical book , you will soon find that you have every disease in the book :D
 
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gnomad

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Thank you all for your considered replies.

Just to clear things up on my 'logic'...


I normally drive a V6 3.4L Toyota Landcruiser but have been running around in this little 206cc (cabriolet convertible) and have come to appreciate the handling and freedom that this sort of car can offer - a top-down, wind in the hair (or scalp in my follically challenged case), responsive, goes round corners without barrelling all over the place etc.

The problem with the 206 cc is that it simply isn't well, big enough. When one looks around at what is available as far as a larger hard top convertible (soft tops being out of the question I'm afraid otherwise it would have been an A4 cabriolet) were looking at a Volvo, the 306 cc, the forthcoming is250c, (the 430 simply being too ugly to contemplate) and the ubiquitous SL.

As far as price is concerned the forthcoming 250c will come in new at around the same price as a 3 year old SL500 - something in the order of £30k and fully if not almost fully loaded.

Make no mistake, this is no off-the-cuff purchase. It will be my 'one major car of a lifetime' having spent my previous driving career in a clapped out Metro, a clapped out Vauxhall, a clapped out Volve 440 (for which I will never forgive Volvo) and laterly my ever-reliable Toyota. It will be a lot of money to me.(Although it has to be said that running costs such as servicing and MPG that many complain of make me laugh- I budget £500 a year for a service and expect no more than 19 to the gallon- so what? I feel like a king when I turn the ignition switch)

I'm essentially looking for the reliability of the Toyo. with the freedom of a hard -top convertible.

I hope this is clear enough. If it isn't - call it a mid-life crisis and move on.

Your responses have been thoughtful, honest and forthright for which I thank you. Reading here and elsewhere it seems that the production quality issues surrounding MB have largely been overcome while the frankly appalling service/dealer experience has sadly not.

Overall the profusion of models in the current MB line-up remains bewildering and overly diversified IMHO and perhaps they might have been more prudent in sticking to what they know i.e. the C, E , S and SL classes but that's quite another issue.

Intuitively I remain somewhat cautious of buying into the MB marque at this point but quite understand and respect those that do so.

Where reliability and durability remain important I'm afraid I remain unconvinced. Perhaps a test drive may change me.

current verdict:

Lexus - boringly reliable if somewhat bland and slightly plasticy

MB- provenance, style, class, undermined by a protracted period of sub-par build quailty that it may struggle to regain the initiative with in an age of increasingly savvy luxury buyers?

The heart and head both say Lexus at the moment I'm afraid.

To be continued...

many thanks G
 

hawk20

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Where reliability and durability remain important I'm afraid I remain unconvinced. Perhaps a test drive may change me.

current verdict:

Lexus - boringly reliable if somewhat bland and slightly plasticy

The heart and head both say Lexus at the moment I'm afraid.

To be continued...

many thanks G

It is absurd to think you can test reliability on a test drive. Read the reliabilty surveys; they will tell you far more. For example that Mercedes finished ahead of Lexus in the luxury saloon class (E class).

Also note that owners of Lexus reported that they were no more than average on reliabilty. See my quote from JD Power above.

Have a good look at JD Power. Lots of Toyota models figure quite well down the table. See the thread on this forum, 4 years with the humble A class- faultless.

As for dealers, even Clarkson has said how much they have improved. My local MB dealer is truly excellent -one reason I'm a happy owner. Don't believe all the myths.

If you do buy an SL (though you sound pretty committed elsewhere), remeber they are complex cars. I would search for one with fullMBSH (only way you know all the recalls and updates have been done), and if you buy from an MB dealer you will get a full 12 month warranty giving you plenty of time to sort any niggles you may find. They are very competitive at the moment and there is a useful search engine on the MB website.

This is worth a read: -
http://www.topgear.com/uk/mercedes-benz/e-class/road-test/e250cdi
 
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