Any advice for a first timer?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by iliria, Mar 25, 2014.

  1. iliria

    iliria Active Member

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    Hi all. New to the forum. I have been wanting (and saving) for a while to get an MB and now that I have the money I need some advice.

    First things first. I dont do finance (only buy when I have all the cash needed) and dont like to buy brand new cars (2-3 years old are the perfect ones in my opinion since that is the time when they lose the biggest chunk of their value). :doh: And I dont change cars every few years (I like to keep a car for around 10 years):ban: :dk:.

    My first and only car I have had so far is a Vauxhall Corsa 1.4 petrol. Lovely car (if you like riding on a turtle that is:D).

    I'm planning to get a 200 or 220 C or E class, diesel engine, manual. Wanted to ask some advice and a few questions (well, quite a few) if I may:

    What is the difference between a C and E class?
    I do around 10000 miles per year (although this may increase in the future). Is diesel the right choice?
    A lot of people have said to me that MB are the king of automatic however I am quite keen on manual (have always been a bit weary of automatics). Is my weariness not justified in the case of MB cars?
    Another common bit of info I keep hearing is that Mercs are expensive in parts and that you can only buy parts and get the repaired at a MB approved place. Is this correct or just a myth? If Mercs are more expensive in parts than other cars, to what degree are we talking about?

    Sorry for innundating you with all the questions :eek: and hope you can give me some advice.
     
  2. artyman

    artyman Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    The E class is a slightly larger car than the C class, but utilise the same engines. If you carry large passengers regularly they may find the rear legroom slightly cramped. I have a C200cdi and it is my first automatic after 45 years of manuals. I would recommend an auto as most buyers will be looking for an auto box when it comes to selling time. At 10,000 a year diesel may be the right choice provided you don't do a lot of stop start town driving, when DPF filter clogging may be an issue, (usually avoided by a 30 minute thrash down the local motorway every 300 miles or so) I'm fortunate in that mine doesn't have a DPF, I find the W204 very comfortable and average 40mpg, or 50mpg on longer runs.

    There are plenty of Independent garages that can service your car, just ask around the forum for a good one near you.
     
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  3. markjay

    markjay MB Club Veteran

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    As said, the C Class will be uncomfortable for three adults in the back on a long journey. If you mostly drive with the rear seat empty, or occupied by kids, the C-Class will be fine. And being a smaller car it is more economic and easier to park.

    Also, the E-Class is more expensive than the C-Class, so if buying a C-Class you will get a newer or higher-spec or bigger-engined car for the same price.

    Manuals are not much liked on Mercs, some say this is because the manual gearbox is slightly sluggish. This means that you will get a very good deal on a manual car, and if you intend to keep it for 10 years then you should not worry too much about it being difficult to sell on.

    Re Diesel... you will be paying a premium for a Diesel car, because they are in great demand. In comparison, the best deal would be when buying a second hand small petrol engined car with manual shift, simply because they are not in demand.

    And given that Diesel oil is currently more expensive than petrol, and the potential cost of putting right any DPF issues, together with the higher initial purchase price, I doubt that Diesel will actually work out more economic over a 10k miles a year run, unless perhaps you will be doing most of it while cruising on motorways.
     
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  4. markjay

    markjay MB Club Veteran

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    As for servicing and parts, as said there are quite a few good indies out there and parts are reasonably priced, so this should not be a worry. Sadly however most MB dealers are neither friendly nor helpful - so go straight for a good indie and you will be fine.
     
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  5. WOODYTHEWISE

    WOODYTHEWISE Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Hello and welcome to you.

    Sent from my GT-I9300 using MBClub UK
     
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  6. ItalianTuneUp

    ItalianTuneUp Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Hello and welcome.

    As said above, look for a good independent Mercedes specialist to save heavily on labour charges, and to receive a more personal service.

    Regarding parts, often Mercedes parts are made by other manufacturers, so if you can find out who the original manufacturer of a part is, you can often purchase the part from somewhere like eurocarparts much cheaper. As an example, Mercedes wanted £450 for a new heater blower motor. I discovered Hella was the original manufacturer of the part and it was available from eurocarparts for £250! The same part. No guesses for where I bought the part from.
     
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  7. OP
    OP
    iliria

    iliria Active Member

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    Thank you everyone for welcoming me in the forum.

    In that case a C200 or C220 would be fine for me since, on average, 60% of the time it will carry just me 25% of the time me and 2 young kids and the other 15% will be myself, me and my partner and our three young kids. Most of my driving is done in town however I do get to drive once or twice a month on the motorway where I would be able to thrash it (within speed limits of course:D).

    I have heard from a lot of people that Mercedes' automatic technology is really top notch. I did test drive a C250 CDI BlueEfficiency Sport not long ago which was an automatic with Tiptronic (not sure what that last name means). I must admit that it was quite a nice drive however I did feel the need to tie my left leg somewhere out of the way:D. It did have a button to press and you got the option of driving it in manual mode but I didnt really try that one.

    The reason that I am focusing on the diesel is because of the fuel efficiency. If Mercedes does make petrol cars that are quite efficient in fuel consuption (looking at a 50mpg level) then I would consider getting a petrol one too. Although i am not exactly sure what advantages a diesel engine has over a petrol one. I have heard a lot of people say that diesel engines are workhorses and built to last. I have also heard that a diesel is more economic than a petrol, however a petrol is faster than a diesel.

    My parents live in Albania and over there the ratio of Mercs per capita is higher than even Germany. They have heard stories of people using diesel Mercs for years doing around 500000miles and then they change the engine and carry on:eek:.

    One thing that put me off the C250 (60 number plate) that I test drove was that the road tax was £175. Considering that my girlfriend's 1.6 diesel Ford Focus (2011) is only £20 per year road tax that seemed a bit too high for me. Is that road tax figure something that I should expect to pay for a C220 nowadays?

    Also I have seen a lot of users here refer to MBs as W204, W205, etc. What do those mean?
     
  8. markjay

    markjay MB Club Veteran

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    W203/S203 - C-Class 1999-2007 (Saloon/Estate)

    W204/S204 - C-Class 2007-2014 (Saloon/Estate)

    W205/S205 - C-Class 2014- (Saloon/Estate)
     
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  9. tacho d

    tacho d Active Member

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    Hiya and welcome to the community. Just joined today myself. This is my first automatic for 25 years. and I wonder why I ever drove a manual! How primitive. The auto makes even more sense when you drive in town. You will allways be in the right gear so economy should be better, and you will allways have both hands on the wheel where they belong. The tiptronic feature means that you can change gears up and down manually by moving the gear lever sideways a little while in D. I rarely find the need to use this. I will use a mercedes specialist rather than a main dealer, cheaper labour rates and they can stamp your service book if you want to keep up with service history.
     
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  10. stevieb15

    stevieb15 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Haven't read all the thread and I may have missed the answer already but why a manual.
    If fuel is your issue buy a Honda/Toyota/VW with a sewing machine motor.
    Turbo diesels and automatics are made for each other.
    You've made the right decision in selecting a 2-3 year car if you're going go to change frequently, if not get something much older replace the bits necessary to pass the MOT and keep it running otherwise don't bother, it's very much the best and cheapest way.
     
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  11. IanMSpencer

    IanMSpencer Active Member

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    The big nasty for those unfamiliar with Mercs is the footbrake - not something that ever bothers us auto drivers but it does require a knack on a manual hill start, and you might go slightly deaf from the bang of releasing it on some of the older cars!

    I think the diesel vs petrol is tricky to answer on a relatively new second hand Merc. My very recent experience was that a petrol should be cheaper to buy and 10k miles is in between on mileage, but there are so few petrol models about in some versions that the price difference doesn't seem to be there.

    There are lots of subtleties to driving a Merc, and to a certain extent other premium brands, my favourite being the speedtronic cruise control and speed limiter. The later is really useful on a powerful car, I've been using it for 15 years on an old C240, the up-to-date version takes even more control to contain the speed using the braking system.

    Most Merc drivers will probably have a tale of some safety feature saving their bacon, brake assist has saved me rear-ending someone and it seems to me after a weak patch 10 years ago the current Mercs are back to the build quality you'd expect.

    The letter/number thing is a version thing, so a W202 is an original C class, W203 is an early 2000s C class, the W204 the current C class, and an S204 is a current C class estate.

    Whether the C Class is big enough depends on the size of the driver. Front seats right back cramp the rear, though the newer versions are better than the original, especially the estate.

    There is not a massive difference between the Audi, BMW and Merc for the main models of saloon and estate, personal preference is probably more of a factor than a fundamental difference.
     
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  12. d w124

    d w124 MB Club Veteran

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    Like your username,welcome to the forum
     
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  13. OP
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    iliria

    iliria Active Member

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    Not sure why I am biased towards a manual. Mainly influence from general opinion though. Most people tend to drive manual cars (unless I am mistaken) and I've often heard it said that you have more control with a manual. I suppose on a manual the gearbox reminds you how fast you're going whereas with an automatic it is easy to put your foot down and forget how fast you're going.

    Plus having been brought up in Albania has also had a big effect since people there are not very keen on automatics (or at least they werent until 15years ago). I suppose in a way the reason I started this thread is to separate myth from reality.

    Fuel is not an issue as such however it is something that i do take into consideration. I am a father of 3 after all. I am not buying a car to thrash everytime I get a chance (although now and again would be nice):D. I am instead trying to chose the right Mercedes to meet all my needs (speed, efficiency, comfort, power) as best as possible within a certain budget. In this day and age every car manufacturer tries to and produces fuel efficient cars. Dont get me wrong, I'm not expecting to get 80mpg from a Merc but 50mpg from a 200 or 220 diesel engine is not a lot to ask for.

    Not sure about Toyota or Honda but I'm sure you're being a bit unfair saying VW have a sewing machine motor (especially when the brand includes classics such as GTD).

    The reason for choosing a 2-3 year old car is simpy because from what I have seen so far, in the first 2 years cars (of all brands) tend to lose most of their value. I'm not rich enough to waste money like that. After all, in my opinion a diesel Mercedes with 20k-30k on the clock is near enough brand new.

    I am fairly certain that the C class will definitely be the right size for my needs. None in the family are XXlarge in size and full family long trips are not going to happen that often anyway. I am definitely certain that I want a saloon though. My girlfriend's previous car was an estate and everytime I drove it, it felt like driving a tank (despite it being sport version).

    Thank you and nice to see another red and black. I suppose I should have expected that. We Albanians are drawn to Mercs like bears to honey. :D
     
  14. elisetype25

    elisetype25 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Welcome to the forum.

    I am what is commonly referred to as a petrolhead (others may use other terminologies, but lets keep it civil).

    As a result I was always of the opinion that I would never own an automatic, certainly never a diesel, and as for the concept of an automatic diesel (the only crime worse than these is the concept of a diesel Alfa Romeo!).

    My preconceptions had some basis in fact. Automatics were unreliable, expensive, inefficient and dim witted, diesels were sluggish, noisy, smelly. Both systems were not condusive to spirited driving.

    While these aspects were relevant 30+ years ago, times have changed, and technologies have moved on.

    My first revelation came 15 years ago. My father bought an E240 Estate. The car was purchased while on a busmans holiday to Germany (as car prices were much lower in continental Europe at the time), and as a result we would be collecting the car from the factory.

    The day started very early and we arrived in Stuttgart in plenty of time. We enjoyed a factory tour, trip round the museum and lunch before the car was ready to collect mid afternoon.

    My father drive the first few miles from Stuttart to the French border, before handing me the keys so he could have a snooze. I drove the entirety of the journey, with two short breaks, one to fill up with refreshments from the a supermarket in Champagne (just to trial the load capacity as it was an estate after all), and the other while we were whisked under the sea on a train.

    My over-riding memory of the journey was that when we arrived home, I was relaxed, alert and would have been quite happy to do it all over again. The primary reason for this was the automatic gearbox. Ever since that day, all the cars I have purchased have been automatics (except one), and I will never go back to a manual in a family car.

    As you have mentioned, Mercedes do excel in this area. Modern automatics are more economical than their manual counterparts, extremely reliable, swift, smooth and a pleasure to drive.

    Everytime I changed cars, I would try a few diesels. Each time i tried I could see the improvement but they never quite hit the mark, until the current generation. the mixture of economy, power, responsiveness and cleanliness has won me over. I now drive a diesel auto.

    Hope this helps, happy hunting.

    I still can't reconcile the idea of a diesel Alfa!

    Regards, Neil
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2014
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  15. d w124

    d w124 MB Club Veteran

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    I'm drawn to honey too though,I must be an Albanian Bear :D

    As for the advice on the car,all I can give is go for a 350 :D
     
  16. IanMSpencer

    IanMSpencer Active Member

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    Just to add that Mercedes automatics have been far better than run of the mill cars for a long time. If you've driven an old fashioned basic auto which were sloppy and reluctant.

    My 1999 C240 had quite a nice box aide from it would go to sleep if it thought it had learned you were being economical, but even then the road speed was well related to the revs. My 2013 C Class has a gearbox where you couldn't spot the changes aside from you occasionally notice a change in engine note and the car responds instantly to throttle, my old C240 needed anticipation to get it to work at its best.

    However, a different experience from my Ford Explorer which had a classic American sloppy box - it would allow the engine to sit at 3000 revs (Max torque of the 4 litre engine) and let the gearbox oil do all the work. It did have an overdrive button. On smaller engined cars with cheap auto boxes they can be quite deadening.

    On a Merc C class, apparently 80% are sold as autos (where did I read that?). The way I look at is most of mileage is on the motorway and long straight trunk roads so gearbox is irrelevant, then in town, grinding along in traffic, a manual is effort without the fun, which leaves country roads every now and again where in the UK you are limited by visibility rather than performance, so there aren't many times you really can enjoy driving with the gear box. So I reckon the amount of time a manual is a nuisance far outweighs the number of times a manual might be better or fun.
     
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  17. Smithy53

    Smithy53 Member

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    Can someone please confirm that the C250 is tax band E which is currently £130 per year?
     
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