S212 3 Year Review – the story so far.

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Active Member
Mar 14, 2010
S212 E220CDI BE Avantgarde Estate
Apologies for the long post but I thought other owners and prospective owners may find this feedback useful.

I had planned on writing a review when I reached the milestone of 100k miles, however recently issues have arisen which have prompted me to provide feedback a little earlier than planned.

The car is a 2010 E Class Estate (S212) 220BE Diesel Auto Avantgarde bought new in Sept 2010 and has now done just over 91.5k miles.

During this time the car has produced good economy at around 47mpg, having only the 5 speed auto, and tyres last around 40k miles for fronts and 30k miles for rears. The car had received no other parts, other than routine servicing.

The car feels very well screwed together with no creaks or rattles evident during its life so far. It’s comfortable, practical, refined and has been a pleasure to own and drive. The general condition of the car is excellent, looking more or less new other than a couple of inevitable chips in the paintwork here and there.

The car is fitted with the Driver Assistance Pack coupled to the NAV50 headunit. The Distronic works well, and I really enjoy this feature, it can be a little slow to react and brakes slightly more heavily than I would naturally, but by adapting your driving style, using the distance adjustment and taking control where appropriate, the system works very well. The stopping power of the car is immense, the active brake assist is impressive when it detects a potential for impact it really does react with some force. Luckily this is not a common occurrence but is reassuring to know it is there when circumstances arise.

I find the blind spot assist is also good and this came in useful when, after checking and indicating to move into the outside lane on a motorway a motorbike came past. The system saw the bike, I didn’t, it wasn’t there when I looked and was travelling at a very illegal speed.

As has been mentioned elsewhere the OE Sat Nav is pretty poor. However, it does do the job, but not as well as a £100 off the shelf unit. The NAV50 only has 5 digit postcodes, this is a pain, but can be advantageous as it ensures you always check the road names, which is a good way of ensuring the end point is correct whether you have full post code entry or not.

Living in a semi-rural area I don’t use lane assist as it tends to constantly buzz as you travel down narrow roads and having experienced the attention assist activating 5 minutes into a journey, I don’t use this either.

Contrary to many reviews I find the DAB works well, it occasionally switches between FM and digital, although this causes a slight time shift it isn’t significant. The digital radio is infinitely better than the FM/AM reception alternative.

Other features, the 7 seats have proved very useful and the kids enjoy the novelty, the boot is capacious but still isn’t big enough for everything we want to take with us on our travels, though this is more to do with our desire to take the kitchen sink rather than any shortcomings of the car.

The car has full MB service history, but this does benefit from having an official MB workshop nearby enabling me to avoid the prices charged by the dealerships while maintaining the FMBSH.

Despite the ‘sealed for life’ claim, I have had the ATF changed and would recommend that others do the same. Mine was done at 80k miles, and the fluid was a little discoloured, I would suggest 60k intervals would be more suitable in future.

During this time I had no major issues with the car, the front parking sensors can activate in wet weather braking and I had a blind spot inoperative message which cleared on its own and a check coolant level warning that did the same. Nothing else.

The total running costs of the car, excluding depreciation, have been a little under 19p per mile (fuel, road tax, insurance, servicing and tyres). The car is still on the original discs and pads with plenty of wear left in them.

One benefit of the MB servicing is the provision of the Mobilo assistance. I hadn’t ever planned on using this, but have experienced it twice in 2 months.

My first experience of Mobilo was just 2 months ago and the result of locking the keys in the boot! I was packing the car whilst doing another job and put my jacket in the car whilst I finished things off, pressed the close button and then realised my mistake. My call to Mobilo was dealt with promptly and courteously and a technician arrived within an hour. He was able to dismantle the car, access the computer and open the car without any damage and put it all back together in just over an hour. It wasn’t an easy process and didn’t cause me concern that the car is not secure, I was grateful that they could get in and get me back on the road.

The second occasion was a more serious event when travelling back home after visiting family over New Year. During the visit the Active Blind Spot Inoperative message had reappeared. I put this down to the wet weather, as it was in similar conditions that the error had previously appeared. I was intending to wash the car and dry things out when we got home, but we didn’t make it that far. A series of error messages and warnings appeared during the journey home, eventually the electrics failed and the car became unresponsive. It was a struggle to steer the car to a safe spot without the power steering but we managed to pull into a layby and I made my second call to Mobilo.

The call was dealt with promptly, although they failed to check they had fully understood my location and as a result sent the recovery truck in the wrong direction resulting in a 2 hour wait!. Due to the nature of the fault there was no intention to fix by the roadside and the car was recovered on a low loader to my usual garage. We were dropped off home on the way, and an hour or later we were provided with a hire car.

The diagnosis was a seized water pump, causing belts to fail and subsequent electrical issues. While this explained the breakdown, I suspected this did not explain the blind spot assist message and that this issue would remain after the inital repair.

The garage put a claim into MB for the repairs and despite the car being a little under 4 months out of warranty, MB immediately agreed to pay for the repairs in full. The next day I received the call I was expecting to say that there was also a faulty sensor on the blind spot assist and that although they had put in another claim for repairs to MB they hadn’t received a response and that they needed my authorisation to proceed if the car was to be ready the next day. I needed the car, so authorised the repair.

When the workshop called the next day, they informed me that MB had agreed to pay for all repairs and we made arrangements for the car to be collected.

All in all it was estimated that the repairs would have been around £600-700 had I had to pay myself. The service from Mobilo, MB and the service workshop were impeccable (apart from the issues with the original recovery).

So would I recommend MB? Well although I was disappointed when the car broke down at just over 3 years old, I cannot fault the way in which the problem was handled and resolved and on that basis, along with the overall quality of the car, I would not hesitate to recommend anyone thinking of buying to do so.

These cars are extremely complex and I would be more than happy if repairs were in the region of £600-700 every 100k miles or so. I intend to keep the car for many years to come, but I have thoroughly enjoyed the first 3 years and look forward to the next.

Hope you find this review and feedback useful.

Kind Regards, Neil
Nice and honest review... . Its good to hear how the handle the repairs on a car with hight millage...


ATF is now recommended to be changed at 38k miles btw.

Great review!
The car is a 2010 E Class Estate (S212) 220BE Diesel Auto Avantgarde bought new in Sept 2010 and has now done just over 91.5k miles.

Hope you find this review and feedback useful.

Kind Regards, Neil

Thanks for the write up, I have a 2012 version of the same car and found it very useful. I am a high mileage user (35k added in 11 and a half months so far) so long term reliability and quality is really important to me.

Gizze - interesting point about the ATF as I deliberately rang the dealers and asked about that and was told not needed before 100k.

Recommended at 38k miles now and then nothing again, but well worth doing every 50k miles imho, makes such a difference.
There was a difference between the service requirements of the 5sp and 7sp box. IIRC the 5sp was originally 'sealed for life' while the 7sp was a one off ATF change.

Neither recommendations make sense to me, and having had the job done, I would recommend getting the job done regularly. I'm planning on doing mine again after 60k (so 140k total). Car is used on mix of motorways and country roads but not driven agressively (don't see the point of hustling 2 tons pretending it's a sports car). I'll make a judgement on whether to reduce to 40k intervals based on what comes out the box next time.

Interestingly, I remember MB doing a similar thing with the W210 and W211, originally saying SFL then stating regular changes. Go figure!

Regards, Neil
I think 40K is the correct interval for any box... Its just not worth risking the consequences.
I find the blind spot assist is also good and this came in useful when, after checking and indicating to move into the outside lane on a motorway a motorbike came past. The system saw the bike, I didn’t,

Isn't that what the central reservation barrier is for?
Just found this - thanks for the review, it's super helpful. My W211 doesn't have Isofix, so I'm looking for a newer replacement.
My airport taxi driver has a e220 cdi (2012) S212 with over 100K on the clock. Apart from a binding rear brake he's had no problems at all. Although everytime I get in (about 1-2 a month to the airport) he seems to have 1000's more on the clock.

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