The most comfortable car we've ever owned.
February 24, 2019
We purchased our 2003 430S in 2014 and when we first saw this car at a friends home, we were very taken with the presentation of the interior when the passenger door was opened. The curved dash with wood grain trim said, luxury, quality, style and comfort all in one glance. It's hard to explain the feeling it created, but maybe summing up with the comments both my wife and I made as we both were presented the same view inside will help. Her comment was something like, Oh my....now THAT says rich!" and immediately, my comment, "No WAY, could we ever afford this car" Our impressions stuck, since all she could carry on about for the next couple of weeks was how nice that car would be, and me continually explaining our budget. Then, on one visit to our friends house, he just said, "Dad's selling his car for 7500.00, but the guy backed out" At the time, this was a 10,000.00 car in pristine shape, custom wheels, flawless inside and out, with only one issue. The front end sounded like a squeaky old buggy every time the heavy car hit a bump or made a turn. We bought it that weekend and drove it for about a month before the wife guilted me into a front end rebuild....Ta-Da, brand new car that's got 150,000 miles, a quiet, smooth ride, beautiful Bose sound system, quiet interior, and plenty of power, able to set this car sailing along at 100 mph without trying or noticing how fast your moving. Quiet, smooth, solid cruiser. We've enjoyed this car for 4 years, with fairly minor repairs, incredible gas mileage, and a smooth responsive ride, the best my 60 year old butt has ever had. There was a problem with the car's air ride suspension, and the temptation to convert to conventional suspension was discussed, but after all, the air ride suspension is one of the features that set this car so high in the luxury class. Our's is the 430 model, although the first owners wife had insisted the One and only identifying badge be upgraded to show the more prestigious 500 badge! Yet another potentially embarrassing issue, averted! If you find one of these beautiful examples of fine engineering, that is one owner, garage kept, BUY IT. Even though this is a heavy car with a V-8, we have been able to achieve up to 28 mpg on road trips and very acceptable mileage in town. It's 6 speed transmission and Mercedes ignition that somehow has the ability to have a secondary de-compression burning of left over fuel that keeps the mileage high. I'm not explaining this ignition feature correctly, and I'd never heard of it before, but it makes a difference. One last consideration has arisen, now that we've passed the 230k mile mark, is a little transmission shifting issue has started to peek around the corner at us, but is not getting worse, nor better as I speak. I am hoping a transmission FLUID / FILTER job will keep that transmission issue at bay. European parts and mechanics do run on the high side, and we have not had the need to take it to a Mercedes dealership, so it's stayed affordable. We would buy another, should this one ever die....which it shows no signs of. We love this car!