: Quick Review: 2003 Mercedes-Benz E500 Sport



Playdrv4me
12-24-07, 03:04 AM
As you all may have noticed, I haven't been around much the past few days. As usual, this means I was working on car deals...

A few days ago I picked up a midnight blue 2003 E500 Sport with 61k miles on the clock, I think before taxes and fees it cost me about 21k. Car is supposed to be for my brother, but if he doesnt end up wanting it I may keep it for a while or sell it.

Here's my synopsis of it so far:

Performance: I'm starting with performance because OH MY GOD, I TOTALLY was not expecting what a kick in the pants the car is! Put your foot into the throttle, and be prepared to be swiftly moved in any direction. This car has 302hp and an amazing 339 lb ft. of torque. The thing is an absolute TORQUE MONSTER. Thanks to this, the E500 has a 0-60 time of 5.8 Seconds. And it feels even faster than that. To date, this is probably the fastest car I have owned, and that is no joke.

The power delivery is absolutely perfect, it comes on right where you need it and there is ALWAYS more on tap. If you want a true performance sedan for not alot of money, this is it before stepping up to a more visceral experience like a CTS-V, M5 or E55 AMG. I also test drove an S500 recently, a 2002 which I actually bought and then returned, and the power delivery in the larger car did not compare with the E Class.

Drive and Handling: Steering is precise, linear, and quick... as any german car should be. The car goes where you point it, and does so without any fuss. There is plenty of feel through the steering rack, though not quite as much as a comparable BMW product.

Braking is excellent, absolutely no complaints there. The pedal has good feel, although braking can come on a little abruptly when youre moving at slower speeds.

Ride Quality: This particular E is fitted with Mercedes' Airmatic suspension system. It does a fine job of mediating between a sporty, connected feeling to the road, and maintaing the compliance and supple ride you expect in a 60000.00 luxury sedan. With a couple of blips of the console mounted control button, you can stiffen the suspension to a firmer level for more aggressive handling and ride characteristics. I find that the default setting is more than sufficient for even semi-spirited driving.

Comfort/Luxury Amenities: Pretty much all the standard fare is here. Heated and Ventilated seats (optional), Sunroof, Wood and Leather steering wheel (optional) and an absolutely phenomenal Harmon-Kardon Logic-7 audio system which blows the pants off many of the other systems out there, INCLUDING the Bose system in that 2002 S500 I mentioned earlier. The seats are firm and supportive in traditional German-ese, and all of the interior materials have a quality feel to them. Unfortunately, the dashboard and door panel material leave a little to be desired.

So where does this car falter?

Without question the biggest detractor to anyone considering a W211 in the 2003 or 2004 MY is reliability and overall quality. My particular car was delivered to me with a red battery icon that warns me every time I start the car, which I found out is most likely a wonderful Mercedes Benz innovation called an AUXILIARY BATTERY which has gone bad. Basically a second smaller battery in the engine compartment, in case the main battery fails. I also have some sort of annoying whine coming from the upper drivers side area of the motor, just like an alternator whine except the alternator on these is down low on the pass. side, and an untraceable subwoofer crackle that occurs at the oddest random times. Usually when I depress and release the brake, very occasionally. (Calling CLARK_Z71! ;) ) The price was right so I expected problems at the start, but time will tell how the car behaves over the coming months.

This is the car that is responsible for alot of the negative press Mercedes received over the past few years, and rightfully so. However, the W211 E-Class was responsible for many of the innovations in alot of the other Mercedes products out today, including a vehicle communications system that was completely new.

Once you get the bugs worked out however, the E500 and to a lesser extent the E320, are among the finest luxury sport sedans your money can buy.

http://www.q45.org/gallery2/d/4258-2/E500+003.jpg

http://www.q45.org/gallery2/d/4261-2/E500+005.jpg

http://www.q45.org/gallery2/d/4264-2/E500+009.jpg

http://www.q45.org/gallery2/d/4267-2/E500+010.jpg

http://www.q45.org/gallery2/d/4270-2/E500+011.jpg

http://www.q45.org/gallery2/d/4273-2/E500+014.jpg

http://www.q45.org/gallery2/d/4276-2/E500+007.jpg

Jesda
12-24-07, 04:34 AM
Thats a LOT prettier than I had pictured in my head. Do you shop at Sears a lot?

Adam
12-24-07, 05:09 AM
Pretty sharp looking car, Ian. The seats remind me of the CTS seats for some reason :hmm:. The interior is nice but I think a traditional wood color would have looked better (for me). But that color wood is an ok touch.

96Fleetwood
12-24-07, 08:41 AM
Beautiful MB, I love the styling of the W211, especially the new E63.

... but why oh why do you always pick the worst years for reliability? Is that one out of warranty? If so... flip it to make a pretty penny ASAP. My Dad's 2004 SL55 AMG was plagued with problems, mechanical and electrical. He ended up selling it and losing $$$, but most of his ownership experience was driving the C class they gave him when it was in the shop.

I talked my brother out of a E320 sport and instead he got a 2005 Acura TL that had a few mods on it. Althought not quite the status symbol of the Benz, the Acura has far more user friendly electronics and is pretty fun to drive with the suspension and exhaust that was put on it.

Best of luck!

Cadillacboy
12-24-07, 11:06 AM
Congrats !
You were off but it was worth since you got a real gem !
Only down side if you ask me is your car don't have oil dipstick . This is another German engineering ( may be over engineering lol ) stuff .Well, an oil level sensor checks it for ya in a sense it's easier than poppin up the hood and see the level but although I love electronic gadgets I would also like to see a dipstick
Another note but again this is all preference matter , I love the elegance wood trim over that dark color one .

Florian
12-24-07, 11:18 AM
good looking Benz, lousy year choice. Dump it and move ahead.


F

clarkz71
12-24-07, 01:02 PM
I also have some sort of annoying whine coming from the upper drivers side area of the motor, just like an alternator whine except the alternator on these is down low on the pass. side, and an untraceable subwoofer crackle that occurs at the oddest random times. Usually when I depress and release the brake, very occasionally. (Calling CLARK_Z71! ;) )


Ian, let me know when I can look at it. You can come by my shop or house.
Clear your PM, it's full and I'll PM you my phone #.

Playdrv4me
12-24-07, 01:12 PM
Will do Clark, Im still trying to figure out my PM situation since they changed me over to a Supermod. It went back down to a limit of 20 for some reason where I had more as a regular mod.

clarkz71
12-24-07, 01:19 PM
I just checked my WIS service info and there's a bulletin dated 12/2/04
with the complaint "cracking and crackling noise from speakers while radio is in operation" Hmmmm.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
12-24-07, 02:41 PM
Der benz ist ihres!
The Benz is yours!

Congrats Ian, and welcome to the club. I dunno if you've been a member before, but if so....welcome again! I like the W211 a lot more than the W210...it just looks better from all angles, and from what I've heard and seen, the W211 is superior to the W210 in basically every aspect.

Now go find some FWD Northstar's to race! :lildevil: ;)

I really like how they did the guages in the W211's...very nice setup, and I kinda like that black burl walnut..it's different from most wood you see in cars.
I'd like to compare my Benz to yours....seeing as how theBy're like night and day. Mine's all old school and (fairly) simple, yours is all modern and full of electronic gadgets. I've got the classic "Bruno Sacco" design and you've got the modern Merc look....so many differences.

Glad to see you're happy with it!

Between the E Class and the cars it competed against in 2003, my top choice, based purely on exterior and interior aesthetics (because I've never driven any of these) would be either the E Class or the STS. The 5 Series got "Bangleized" in '03, and the A6 was somewhat bland on the outside, and the S-Type was ugly, the GS was on the body that dated back to 1995, the M45 looked like a brick, so what does that leave us with? The E Class.

ryannel2003
12-24-07, 02:46 PM
The car is gorgeous... I looked at a few E and C class cars but I stayed away due to reliability (but to be honest the Seville isn't much better) and the cars are still out of my price range. The color combination is beautiful; I usually don't like black interiors, but yours is amazing.

Jesda
12-24-07, 03:37 PM
I like the bricky M45. Its 80s retro goodness. Too bad its powered by the VK45.

ted tcb
12-24-07, 04:29 PM
So, I'm guessing by mid Jan. that Jesda will be driving a shiny blue Benz?

Nice car ... if you end up keeping it for yourself, what will you do with the RangeRover?

96Fleetwood
12-24-07, 04:59 PM
So, I'm guessing by mid Jan. that Jesda will be driving a shiny blue Benz?

Nice car ... if you end up keeping it for yourself, what will you do with the RangeRover?

What are the details of that arrangement? Do you make money once you guys sell the cars or is it just for the experience of driving? How do you get away with owning that many cars/year without a dealers license?

Jesda
12-24-07, 05:05 PM
So, I'm guessing by mid Jan. that Jesda will be driving a shiny blue Benz?

Hell no!

I mean uh, no thanks Ian. ;)


What are the details of that arrangement? Do you make money once you guys sell the cars or is it just for the experience of driving? How do you get away with owning that many cars/year without a dealers license?

I can't speak for him, but I will anyway. :) Its an odd arrangement he devised that requires a LOT of trust and serves our needs perfectly. I pay into his pool of cars. This gets around my proof of income and income history requirement for the banks (I've been *officially* in business for less than a year, so despite a credit rating that suffices, I cant yet get a car loan), and since I intend to pay it off early, it looks great on his credit history. There are only one or two other people on this earth I would ever get into an arrangement like this with.


Its crazy but I now see the appeal in swapping and trying new cars. But even before all this, I still bought/sold my cash cars every 4-12 months (except one Q45 I held on to for two years, which proceeded to bleed me dry). However, the Navigator (I say this aloud to myself as reassurance) is the end of the line. Its perfect and shall not be traded! I really do love this truck.

clarkz71
12-24-07, 06:37 PM
That E500 is sweet. Ian came by my house this afternoon so I could check
out a few problems which turned out to be minor. It was cool to meet a
forum member in person. I look foward to working on his (brothers?) Benz.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
12-24-07, 08:08 PM
Hell, if I ever make it down to FL, I'll be sure to meet up with you!

clarkz71
12-24-07, 08:27 PM
Sounds good.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
12-24-07, 08:30 PM
Question for you Clark...Z71....do you have that in your username because you own one?

Destroyer
12-24-07, 10:33 PM
Nice ride at a nice price!. I dont know much about these cars but I'll bet its quick and I'm very confident it has that awesome Mercedes ride. The reliablility probs are a big let down from a company that made its reputation by building damn well near bullet proof cars in the past. My last Mercedes was a W140 I sold a year ago. I wont buy another Benz till I start hearing good things about them again. I have been known to eat my words though and if a clean well priced E55 or S55 comes along I know I'll probably get it. Good luck with it till Jesda gets it!. ;)

Destroyer
12-24-07, 10:34 PM
That E500 is sweet. Ian came by my house this afternoon so I could check
out a few problems which turned out to be minor. It was cool to meet a
forum member in person. I look foward to working on his (brothers?) Benz.Damn you and Ian are so close (Palm Harbor). I dont drive a Caddy anymore though so a "meet" wouldn't work out too well. :p

Destroyer
12-24-07, 10:52 PM
I can't speak for him, but I will anyway. :) Its an odd arrangement he devised that requires a LOT of trust and serves our needs perfectly. I pay into his pool of cars.
:wtf:, If that was an explanation of the "arrangement", I dont get it. Ok, you "pay into his pool of cars" <- What does that mean?.


This gets around my proof of income and income history requirement for the banks (I've been *officially* in business for less than a year, so despite a credit rating that suffices, I cant yet get a car loan), and since I intend to pay it off early, it looks great on his credit history.Huh?

Playdrv4me
12-24-07, 10:57 PM
Destroyer,

Since youre in this thread anyway, I am going to hijack my own thread for a sec and ask you point blank...

What was the deal with that comment you made in the Headgasket leak and repair thread saying that I was a crook and assuming that poster was the guy who bought my car? This was brought to my attention earlier and I wasnt sure why you would say that knowing I tried to do the right thing...

Normally id PM you about this privately but it has been bugging me all day that you threw that out there publicly. I could get in alot of trouble over those kinds of comments.

ted tcb
12-24-07, 11:19 PM
I'm guessing that the comment was a poor joke in bad taste.
We all know how bad you feel about your STS sale ... I wouldn't
hesitate to buy a car from you.l

Will you eventually post the resolution for those of us who followed
the thread?

Playdrv4me
12-24-07, 11:51 PM
Ted, here's the original thread:
http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/northstar-performance-technical-discussion/126198-headgasket-leaks-repairs-2.html

Yes I will let you know regarding the resolution.

btw... thank you to Clark for being so gracious in accepting me at his pad today. He offered me a quick drink and we took a look at the Merc. Im not a motorcycle guy but Clark's Harley is one bad ass piece of mechanical art. It is absolutely gorgeous. His Mercedes knowledge is right up there with any dealership technician, if not more. I used to be afraid of them because of the horror stories Ive heard and because taking a Merc to the dealer for every issue that comes up will bleed you dry in labor and parts costs, but I might be more apt to try more of them in the future so long as both me and him are both in the Tampa bay area. Ive got to take the E to him here in the next few days.

As far as the arrangement between me and Jesda is concerned, Jesda has his own business but hasnt had it running long enough to establish the history a bank would require to give him a loan based on that alone. Therefore, I let him take over the payments on a given car when Im ready to move on to the next thing. Thats pretty much all there is to it. Its actually really neat to see he gets such a kick out of the cars.

96Fleetwood
12-25-07, 12:26 AM
Ah, I get it. So your credit score gets boosted and he gets to drive the nice cars without a credit check & your interest rate. Not a bad deal for both of you!

Enjoy the Benz. Did you ever drive that CTS-V? If so, how did the power compare to the Benz?

I am saving my pennies to buy something newer and nice with cash in the next year or so, so all the info I can gather helps.

Playdrv4me
12-25-07, 12:35 AM
Ah, I get it. So your credit score gets boosted and he gets to drive the nice cars without a credit check & your interest rate. Not a bad deal for both of you!

Enjoy the Benz. Did you ever drive that CTS-V? If so, how did the power compare to the Benz?

I am saving my pennies to buy something newer and nice with cash in the next year or so, so all the info I can gather helps.

You know, unfortunately I didnt ever get to drive the V. I have a sneaking suspicion someone on the forum located it after I posted my thread because the very next day the saleslady called and told me someone from far away called, bought the car and had it put on a truck in no time flat. She said she was really sorry but it happened so quickly she could not do anything about it.

Cash is definitely the way to go when youre ready for your big purchase. My interests rates vary widely because I dont have great credit, but my car disease/hobby is the only thing I truly enjoy, it is part of the price I pay to be part of it.

Destroyer
12-25-07, 12:54 AM
Destroyer,

Since youre in this thread anyway, I am going to hijack my own thread for a sec and ask you point blank...

What was the deal with that comment you made in the Headgasket leak and repair thread saying that I was a crook and assuming that poster was the guy who bought my car? This was brought to my attention earlier and I wasnt sure why you would say that knowing I tried to do the right thing...

Normally id PM you about this privately but it has been bugging me all day that you threw that out there publicly. I could get in alot of trouble over those kinds of comments.I didn't say you were a crook, the poster did, I used the term "crook" sarcastically, at least I thought I did, Mimicking the poster. I know you were trying to do the right thing and I thought that was the guy you sold the car too. Strange coincidence that its not right?. I'm assuming you read the thread, I mean, I expected you would. Read it again, dont you detect sarcasm in the "the crook" remark?. I was just repeating what the poster said. I'm sorry if you took offense to that, my humor sometimes goes over everyones head but it would have been real good popcorn material if that was the guy you sold the car too. ;)

Playdrv4me
12-25-07, 01:03 AM
I didn't say you were a crook, the poster did, I used the term "crook" sarcastically, at least I thought I did, Mimicking the poster. I know you were trying to do the right thing and I thought that was the guy you sold the car too. Strange coincidence that its not right?. I'm assuming you read the thread, I mean, I expected you would. Read it again, dont you detect sarcasm in the "the crook" remark?. I was just repeating what the poster said. I'm sorry if you took offense to that, my humor sometimes goes over everyones head but it would have been real good popcorn material if that was the guy you sold the car too. ;)

I understand that it was meant in jest, but that isnt the point. The point is that to someone who is untrained and doesnt know the situation (say the ACTUAL guy who bought my car), your comments might lead him to believe that I am KNOWN for pulling the wool over people's eyes.

The guy who bought the car doesnt speak great english and your sarcasm could easily be lost on him and Id just be in a world of shit all over again.

I did not mean to over-react, and I dont have any problem with you at all... but its a sensitive situation, no matter how much the law is on my side.

Destroyer
12-25-07, 01:23 AM
I understand that it was meant in jest, but that isnt the point. The point is that to someone who is untrained and doesnt know the situation (say the ACTUAL guy who bought my car), your comments might lead him to believe that I am KNOWN for pulling the wool over people's eyes.

The guy who bought the car doesnt speak great english and your sarcasm could easily be lost on him and Id just be in a world of shit all over again.

I did not mean to over-react, and I dont have any problem with you at all... but its a sensitive situation, no matter how much the law is on my side.
i didn't know the guy didn't speak good English and once again, I want to say I'm sorry. It definately came out the wrong way. Sometimes these Captain and Cokes get the better of me at nights. I realize its a sensitive situation and I shouldn't have made that mistake. I know you tried your best and I commended you for offering $1k towards repairs. My apologies.

Jesda
12-25-07, 04:52 AM
http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x84/dj_onomatopoeia/llama.jpg

Llamas are incredibly cute.

clarkz71
12-25-07, 06:35 AM
Question for you Clark...Z71....do you have that in your username because you own one?

Yes, my previous ride, it was loaded. LT, Z71, pretty much optioned out.
Last year of the 2 door. (1999)

http://i86.photobucket.com/albums/k120/clarkz71/TahoeFL.jpg

clarkz71
12-25-07, 06:49 AM
btw... thank you to Clark for being so gracious in accepting me at his pad today. He offered me a quick drink and we took a look at the Merc. Im not a motorcycle guy but Clark's Harley is one bad ass piece of mechanical art. It is absolutely gorgeous. His Mercedes knowledge is right up there with any dealership technician, if not more. I used to be afraid of them because of the horror stories Ive heard and because taking a Merc to the dealer for every issue that comes up will bleed you dry in labor and parts costs, but I might be more apt to try more of them in the future so long as both me and him are both in the Tampa bay area. Ive got to take the E to him here in the next few days.


Thank you for the kind words. Ian & I had a great conversation about cars and some forum talk of course.
I enjoyed meeting him and look foward to fixing the issues with the E500. I'll post a pic of the Harley soon.

danbuc
12-25-07, 04:27 PM
The whine is most likely the idler pulley, they have a tendency to go bad.

Those fancy airmatic struts are also known for blowing out, causing one corner of the car to drop suddenly and without warning.

They were also known for issues with the rear defrost wiring int he window having small breaks causing rf interference in the radio.

Transmission fluid leaks from the pilot bushing (connector housing if you will)- chronic problem on every 722.6 tranny.

That secondary battery in the engine compartment is the starter battery. If that is the problem, the battery is only about 80 bucks, not too expensive.

Numerous small issues abound with the 211 chassis, but they have proven to be one of the most reliable late model Mercedes to date. The 220 can't hold a candle to it as far as reliability goes, nor the 203 for the matter. The only other half decent one that might have been more reliable and better over is the coupe 209 chassis.

They've all got small problems here and there, but mechanically...the majority of them are sound for the most part.

clarkz71
12-25-07, 05:18 PM
The whine is most likely the idler pulley, they have a tendency to go bad.
.


Checked it out yesterday, noise is from p/s. I believe the filter just needs
replacement. I've done a few already.

On his radio noise I found a bulletin on WIS #AF82.62-P-1009AG. AGW module housing to body ground.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
12-26-07, 12:23 AM
Clark....nice truck. I've got a soft spot for the 92-99 Tahoes and Full Size Blazers...some of GM's best trucks,and I know how much rarer the two doors are too. Is the 722.6 the same tranny used in my car? The name sounds familiar, and if so, I've had that leak from the connector housing, but I had them resolve that for the tune of $12 when they did my tranny flush, so all is good now.

96Fleetwood
12-26-07, 12:26 AM
. Is the 722.6 the same tranny used in my car? .

And isn't that the 5 speed tranny used in the Chrysler LH cars?

I~LUV~Caddys8792
12-26-07, 12:27 AM
Yeah, probably is...I didn't think of that until now.

clarkz71
12-26-07, 06:12 AM
Clark....nice truck. I've got a soft spot for the 92-99 Tahoes and Full Size Blazers...some of GM's best trucks,and I know how much rarer the two doors are too. Is the 722.6 the same tranny used in my car? The name sounds familiar, and if so, I've had that leak from the connector housing, but I had them resolve that for the tune of $12 when they did my tranny flush, so all is good now.

Yes, 722.605, they started using the 722.6 in 1996 in the W140.
In 97 the W210 got it as well.