CLS W219 Audio / Harman Kardon quality

DominoD7

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Hello All,

Long time reader, first time poster......

I have finally managed to get myself in a position to buy my first mercedes. (i Can't wait) and am currently in the market for a facelift Cls- maybe a grand edition if the price is right. I am waiting for one to appear with my desired spec of Obsidian Black with cashmere beige interior and possibly Airmatic but have a question about the audio quality. Some Cls have the Harman Kardon option which some say gives a much better sound but it seems to be quite rare.
I enjoy a decent sound system- not subs or anything like that but more about quality and clarity without distortion.

I would be looking to add a high quality 4 channel amplifier and possibly change front speakers although I hear the HK speakers are actually very good just underpowered by the HK amp.

So....... My question is:

is it a simple procedure to add an amp to the standard system and still keep the comand system and display?
or...... if I can get a HK system spec can this also have an amp added to boost the power but still keep the logic surround modes?

I am happy to drop £600 or so on an Audio upgrade once I get the CLS but am trying to work out if its better to get a HK system or if that would just complicate things?

If anyone has any knowledge on this then I would be most grateful as my research has not turned up any decent answers.

Thanks.

D7
 

V12

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Airmatic is worth every penny over the steel spring setup but HK isn't very good and not worth the additional cost.
 
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DominoD7

DominoD7

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Thanks for advice- I'm just hoping a decent Airmatic model pops up soon- have you had a vehicle with Airmatic? Did you have any reliability issues with it- I hear its expensive if something goes wrong.
The Audio looks fairly easy to upgrade with or without HK so that's not so much of an issue. The Alpine amp option in the linked thread looks like a perfect solution.
 

Gollom

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How would I tell if my car has HK? I must say this W211 sounds a lot better than other MB systems I have had.

(The COMAND was an aftermarket install by a doctor owner so guess he could have installed HK at the same tiime?)
 

V12

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I use an s class on a daily basis with airmatic. This is my third and 2 have not had any issues with airmatic but I did have to replace a pump on one of them.

It's one of the options that I'll happily pay the additional maintenance costs for the advantages it brings in ride and handling.
 
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DominoD7

DominoD7

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Gollom said:
How would I tell if my car has HK? I must say this W211 sounds a lot better than other MB systems I have had.

(The COMAND was an aftermarket install by a doctor owner so guess he could have installed HK at the same tiime?)
I believe there should be Harman Kardon badges on the speaker grill and also a surround option in the menu on the comand system.
 
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DominoD7

DominoD7

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V12 said:
I use an s class on a daily basis with airmatic. This is my third and 2 have not had any issues with airmatic but I did have to replace a pump on one of them.

It's one of the options that I'll happily pay the additional maintenance costs for the advantages it brings in ride and handling.
Sounds like I should make Airmatic a priority- do you often switch modes or leave it on comfort? I assume it gives a much smoother ride than the non Airmatic s-class you had?
 

kit17

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I've got the HK system in my 59 plate C320 and it's pretty Awesome, way better than the standard set-up. Well worth it if you can get a car with it, you won't worry about upgrading it once you hear it :)
 

V12

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I leave it in comfort a lot of the time but I do use sports 2 occasionally and it vastly improved the handling and body control.

All s class vehicles have had airmatic since 1999.
 
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DominoD7

DominoD7

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Thanks Chaps,
looks like I need to keep waiting until one appears in the right colour, with Airmatic and HK. There are currently none in the used mercedes network but one should appear eventually.
 

clk208

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I'm sure airmatic is lovely, but the ride and handling on standard springs is excellent. The car corners superbly and feels rock solid.

The reviews at the time said that the CLS drives as good as it looks and I would agree.

Worth trying both setups to see what you think I guess. At £1k a corner if things go wrong, airmatic was something I actively did not want when selecting a used CLS. Each to their own though!
 

V12

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Worth trying both setups to see what you think I guess. At £1k a corner if things go wrong, airmatic was something I actively did not want when selecting a used CLS. Each to their own though!
Totally agree that trying both is the way to go.

£1k a corner is not realistic anymore as more seal and repair kits have become available. It's no longer always a case of replacing whole struts.
 

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