S Class W220/221 Buying advice for friend

Conor

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Hey guys

So a friend of mine has decided that he would like to experience S Class ownership (the nice parts at least).

He has expressed interest in early 221 and also a 220 (04 plate), and while I haven't gotten an exact budget from him, I would assume it's about the £5-6,000 mark.

I have told him diesel is fantasy, living in London so petrol it is... but here is the clanger for me. He has told me he could do up to 20k miles a year :shock:. I thought it would be a handy 5/6k like me, but he says he likes to go on a drive most weekends.

Obviously, and like us all he doesn't want to be spending mad money on repairs etc and is a little bit hesitant about MB ownership due to stories of open wallet surgery etc...

Now, before we go any further I would say the above points are near mutually exclusive. My thoughts are that doing 20k miles per year in an S Class, especially of the above vintage is going to be a costly exercise. Simple as that, and I don't think it will end well.

My thoughts are that he should probably drop down to a W211 E class and go for a more conservative 4 cylinder engine. That way, fuel costs could be lowered a little and won't have the extra cost associated with a V engine. Also, conventional suspension with springs as opposed to ABC/AIRMatic.

A nice 211 is a great place to be and I personally love that car (albeit in estate form) - I prefer the aesthetics to my 212 if I am honest.

What you guys think?
 

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Best thing you can do with a car is drive it... S320 petrol could achieve low 30’s
 
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Conor

Conor

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Best thing you can do with a car is drive it... S320 petrol could achieve low 30’s

Fair enough, but there is a difference between driving a couple of times a week and doing 5k per year which is good, no? And then doing 20k miles per year, your going to be into the garage a lot more frequently, no?
 

Craiglxviii

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An S500 petrol can achieve low 30s on a run, never mind a 320..!!

A 211 can be plenty as expensive as a 220 or 221 to fix, if the wrong things go wrong.

If your friend wishes to experience something more than a rather sedate drive, then urge him to break out of the mould of 4 pot ownership.
 
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Conor

Conor

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An S500 petrol can achieve low 30s on a run, never mind a 320..!!

A 211 can be plenty as expensive as a 220 or 221 to fix, if the wrong things go wrong.

If your friend wishes to experience something more than a rather sedate drive, then urge him to break out of the mould of 4 pot ownership.

Fair enough.

But the AIRMatic on the S Class could be pricey if it goes wrong. Also, many components in a V engine exist twice, meaning an increased chance of problems?

It's more about reducing the risk.
 

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Best thing you can do with a car is drive it... S320 petrol could achieve low 30’s

Exactly, buy the car you desire after giving it a thorough going over.
Drive it, look after it and enjoy the ownership.

At some point something may go bang, no matter how diligently you checked it. If something goes bang, this is the time to begin worrying, not until... so enjoy it and look after it.
It may never go bang if looked after.


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s5tuart

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I actively sought out Airmatic for my Shooting Brake.
The ride is hard to beat and, on mine at least, I think I'm right in saying it comes as standard on the rear anyway.
As above, all cars have a propensity to break but that can be mitigated and minimised by taking good care of it :geek:
 

Craiglxviii

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Fair enough.

But the AIRMatic on the S Class could be pricey if it goes wrong. Also, many components in a V engine exist twice, meaning an increased chance of problems?

It's more about reducing the risk.
Get outta town. What do you think the mean time between breakdowns is across the range for a manufacturer’s engine offerings? Hint, the M113 V8 is well known for being utterly bulletproof and will easily hit 300k miles.

The cost of servicing on these older MBs has dropped way down in no small part due to fora like this one. ABC included, my CL500 (2000 model year) has cost the same to run as my Mk.4 Golf GT TDi did- around 47ppm all costs included.
 

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Exactly, buy the car you desire after giving it a thorough going over.
Drive it, look after it and enjoy the ownership.

At some point something may go bang, no matter how diligently you checked it. If something goes bang, this is the time to begin worrying, not until... so enjoy it and look after it.
It may never go bang if looked after.


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I’ve been toying with the idea of a V8 4.7ltr twin turbo for commuting... :cool::p:D
 

Craiglxviii

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I’ve been toying with the idea of a V8 4.7ltr twin turbo for commuting... :cool::p:D
I actually am toying with this idea. Maybe a V8 5.5 NA, with either Airmatic or ABC.
 

mioba

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w220, great cars, can be expensive to maintain if the unexpected occurs, at this age its mostly electrical (ecu, sensors) and the odd rubber joint - which is regular.

I have my w220 from new, only 70k on the clock. rust appered on the lower doors and the wings, keep on top if it, had mine resprayed 5 years ago in those areas and it needs doing again, the rust will always return.

My ABS module died and that was replaced, 2K from the dealer, needs reprogamming to the car.

It has full MBSH (I provide the oil - mobil 1) and never had a bill above 300. I do this mobilo.

Other non service things are done by my indy. make sure your buddy gets a reputable MB indy.

I think like all cars, if you keep on top on of issues and are handy with a tool set, you can circumvent big bills.

post 2004 is the facelift and generally nicer inside, more sweeping design and not so clunky.

The W221 - I will let someone else answer.
 

Malcolm Johnson

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Hi all, W220 or W221 good Question. I'll give you my history and you decide, bought a 52 plate in early 2005 to do 25-28k a year up and down the motorways/airport with work. Had it for three years then got T boned, car was a write off. In the time i had it 3 new injectors, torque converter replaced, two suspension sensors, drivers side window motor failed,repainted at Boston Mercedes around the wheel arches and doors at merc costs. + usual service costs,oil,pads,discs
2008 took the insurance money and bought another S320 cdi 54 plate low mileage. Ran this for 7 years to till 2015 when the front suspension collapsed and i decided to call it a day as we were at 217k and i felt i had had my moneys worth, new turbo at 150k. glow plugs 180k. + usual service costs,oil,pads,discs. The latter was the better car. They may have been other minor failures but you tend to remember only most expensive bits. I concluded that it is better to buy the model just before the new model came out.

ie i then bought a 62 plate W221 which i bought 5 or so years ago when it was 2 years 7 months old, which has cost me offside front suspension arm, a pressure sensor and a mechanical part of electrical handbrake +usual service costs,oil,pads,discs.

If i could put my w221 engine in my second W220 that would be a good option maybe.

W221 are bigger than W220 and it is noticeable.

Pays your money and you pick your car
 
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Conor

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Thanks guys.. some good advice here.

Quick question - do you guys know if the W220 has the ability to show the speed in both MPH/KPH via electronic display in the instrument cluster?
 

Timeandleisure

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As said above, for that amount get what you can’t wait to get into drive.. you mention your friend likes to go on drives... so get what excites. At the end of the day, it has to drive on road and with some of the pot caves around something’s bound to come up... Enjoy...
 

Craiglxviii

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Pot cave- too true!!!
 
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Conor

Conor

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Agreed guys.

Had a chat about budget etc and also it needs to be a W221.

I did come across a decent looking one in Ireland that would have made for a good deal after the VRT refund on export. Unfortunately it was a 2006 S350, and the M272 engine number was within the range for balance shaft problems. I wonder is it worth enquiring to see if the work had been done, only 80k miles.

Currently looking at this
https://www.autotrader.co.uk/car-details/202008222818298
 

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