S class reliability?

Discussion in 'Motorized Vehicles' started by AmazingGracePlayer, Jun 15, 2014.

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  1. AmazingGracePlayer

    AmazingGracePlayer Notebook Deity

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    I've read some horror stories about the reliability issues of MB S class... but those may just be lemons. Has anyone here owned one? What are they like? I am thinking about picking one up. Maybe 2009 or 2010.
     
  2. Syndrome

    Syndrome Torque Matters

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    I know a few guys who have had a few of them. They ended up switching over to Lexus and say they like them more.
     
  3. Tsunade_Hime

    Tsunade_Hime such bacon. wow

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    Most S class owners tend to lease the S class for like 1-3 years then trade up to the newest one so reliability for them isn't a huge deal (as anything that breaks is covered under the base 3 year warranty). On the long run? I think the S class is average, it's all going to boil down to what engine and how many electronics you get. The more electronics you get, the more points of failure that is possible (which is ALOT considering its a top tier luxury sedan).
     
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  4. AmazingGracePlayer

    AmazingGracePlayer Notebook Deity

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    I was thinking the S550, and whatever electronics that came with. Since I was getting used, I'd just find one with the right price and mileage, electronics-wise... well, they're all more than I used to so I don't have a strong preference.
     
  5. booboo12

    booboo12 Notebook Prophet

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  6. allfiredup

    allfiredup Notebook Virtuoso

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    The previous-generation S-class was sold from 2007-2013. Most late-model M-B's tend to have issues for the first few model years, especially as they age and accumulate miles. In this case, I would definitely avoid 2007-2008 models. I would also look for one with relatively low mileage- under 80-90k, for example.

    Unfortunately, the larger and most expensive models when they were new tend to be the most expensive to maintain and repair! For example, my best friend bought a 2009 M-B GL450 (which is their 3-row SUV) last year. It originally cost $78k when it was new. He paid $31,500 for it in 2013 with 78k miles on the clock. He had it inspected by a reputable, independent M-B specialty shop (just to shut me up) and they found no problems. It was also sold new here in Atlanta and had all the service records from the dealership.

    It is a gorgeous vehicle and it drives unlike anything else on the road. But despite his diligence in having it inspected and reviewing all of the service records, he has spent over $8,500 in repairs in just 10 months and 17k miles!!! The transmission required major repairs (it didn't fail, but had several electronic issues that cost over $3k), the Airmatic suspension failed and had to be replaced, the power window motor on the driver's side door had to be replaced (almost $1k installed) and the power-adjustable steering column (tilt/telescope) also stopped working and cost around $700 to get it fixed. Several electronic gremlins still persist but he doesn't want to sink more money into more repairs- currently the Navigation System and the Rear.A/C system do not work and will cost at least $2,300 to fix!

    He and I spent last weekend test driving several new (or Certified Pre-Owned w/ Warranty) luxury SUVs to replace the GL450. He has it narrowed down to a 2009 Lexus GX470, 2011 Acura MDX and 2010 Chevy Tahoe LTZ. Carmax has offered to buy his MB GL450 for very close to the loan payoff, so I think he's going to get rid of it in the next week or so.

    The point of sharing all of that was to point out that buying such a complex and technologically advanced German luxury vehicle is always a gamble. Doing so after the car has spent five or six years on the road and covered 80k, 90k or even 100k or more miles is even more risky.

    To be honest, I can't help but wonder why Mercedes and BMW (and Audi) haven't figured out how Lexus manages to build equally advanced cars capable of 200k miles with nothing more than routine maintenance!?!? The Lexus LS460 is pretty much as "dull as dishwater" in terms of driving dynamics, but they do last forever....
     
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  7. houstoned

    houstoned Yoga Pants Connoisseur.

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    i have a 2010 S550. i would never trade my S550 for a Lexus because that's a downgrade. i'm also a car enthusiast that researches what i buy -- before i buy it.

    @AGP: look for a 2010+ because that's when the exterior refresh was. try to buy from a reputable dealership so that u will have less headaches when dealing with repairs. it's just like any other used car. u'll look for the same criteria such as: low mileage, accident history, maintenance history, etc. just make sure u get some kind of warranty to cover yourself because this is a premium vehicle so repairs won't be cheap.

    it's just like owning a super computer with watercooling and all the latest features. of course there will be more chances of failure compared to a cheap E-machine because the E-machine simply doesn't have as many capabilities. if u take the time to learn and respect your super computer, it'll provide a much more satisfying experience during it's time of service to u than 5 E-machines put together. if u are able to comfortably afford a premium car then u've worked hard to earn it. go out and test drive a few different cars > pick what YOU like > get some kind of warranty > ENJOY IT!

    some people are fine with settling for less. u don't have to.
     
  8. Tsunade_Hime

    Tsunade_Hime such bacon. wow

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    I think OP is more concerned about buying a lemon car. Unfortunately there's honestly no way to know if you are going to buy a lemon, I've heard people owning Benz vehicles with no major headaches outside routine maintenance, and I've heard the horror stories allfiredup has stated above. But with the S class and in general top tier luxury cars having the newest technologies you can assume repairs are more than likely to pop up and they WILL be expensive if you don't have some sort of warranty. See if you can get a CPO one and get the max warranty and trade it in before that warrant expires.
     
  9. triturbo

    triturbo Long live 16:10 and MXM-B

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    As a rule of thumb, save at least 150% of the cost of the car before buying it. Those 50% would go for the car one way or the other, and depending on how fast, you can guess if it's a lemon, or not. The good thing - you'll be prepared, and you'll have more time to decide whether or not you like it, and all of the hassle is worth it. As stated, those things are EXPENSIVE to fix. Good luck!

    BTW I never lease, so this might not apply for you.
     
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  10. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    I would never buy any pre-owned German luxury car unless it came with an iron-clad extended warranty. Porsche's CPO program is actually very generous in this regard. I believe it's 6 years/100,000 miles and is essentially an extension of the standard bumper-to-bumper warranty.

    A former acquaintance of mine is/was a BMW tech, and he posted pictures of some of the things he had to do to customer cars in order to repair seemingly simple things. I'll never forget a shot of an X5 that had the entire dashboard torn apart to fix some electrical problem. Part of the problem, IMO, is that the Germans offer so many permutations and combinations of options on their cars that consistent build quality is next to impossible to achieve. Some models have features that are part of option packages. Items that are part of those packages can often be ordered a la carte. While it allows for a high degree of personalization, it has to wreak havoc on the supply chain.

    When you take a look at a company such as Acura, they only offer 2-4 trim levels of each car, a small sampling of paint colors, and no factory options. Infiniti and Lexus do fixed option packages with almost no standalone extras. With such low variances, the cars can be built to tighter standards.
     
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