Review 2 of 63|
from Luxury for Less / Ri
Year / Model Reviewed:
2003 CLK 500
Motor, Handling, Comfort, Quiet, SMoooothness, Features, Flexibility, Style, and Class leading saftey
Electronic concerns; of which a longer warranty grately make more tollerable, slightly higher maintanence costs over the long term than similar products
This MAY BE THE BEST REVIEW EVER... You get what you pay for. My current CLK 500 makes my 3rd Mercedes. The first being a 1985 190e (read 'a legend') which gave more than 200 thousand origional miles without fault. This is a typical tale of a 190e. My second Mercedes was a 2001 C240 sedan (read 'mixed blessing'). After buying my first mercedes, I discovered a world where $5000 bought Rolls-Royce quality and Lexus reliability. Like many great sequels, however, when I came upon my C240 I found that this was not a like the smash-hit Mercedes-Benz of old, but rather a product of the new 21st century corporation of the same name. Gone now was the obvious robustness; replaced by near-futuristic computer-aged style and engineering which only lately is Mercedes blending successfully with old world traditions of dignity and comfort. Also unfortunate was the fact that in Mercedes' efforts to make more with less (typical of any company operating in an increasingly expensive, yet energy-conscious Europe) led to a finished product that sometimes comes across as "corner-cut". In short, I could see that some of the same materials that seemed to reek of quality in my 1985 car now lacked that same edge of precision when applied to the 2001 car; precision that the Japanese have since become so famous for. Additionaly, with the entire developement approach being reinvented, it seemd that the final product suffered, mechanically speaking. Namely the electronics. Like any smart consumer, I read all the reviews and follow Mercedes news closely and knew what I might be getting into. It was therefore no surprise when my C240 spoke up ime and agin for unscheduled visits to my dealership for 'minor issues'. Most of them were covered under warranty, and I always recieved a brand new car on loan until mine was ready. Perhaps the perks masked the reality that by the time I parted with my flawed beauty, she'd been in some 37 times for seatbelt sensors, faded information screens, a faulty trunk latch and the list went on. All in all, usual 'issues' cost between $100 to $500 which, althouh not always impossible, was always frustating. I shudder to think of how much I paid beyond the inital sales price. So you might be asking "why did anyone buy yet another one?" The truth is, it's all about priorities. Dispite the constant issues I experienced, my car never truly broke down. In fact, I can't recall anyone I've ever know who had one saying it left them stranded somewhere. I often tell people that if all they need is a reliable car, they should just buy Japanese (Toyota) and worry about other things. But I know better. I know that cars are more than just a box with wheels and a motor; and how one utilizes a car makes all the difference in their percieved value of it. In short, after having an old Mercedes, I bacame accustomed to having it all. Top-shelf ride quality, predictably superior handling, and a car that seemed to do every job asked of it without ever batting an eyelash. That was and always will be a Mercedes. I have driven numerous Lexus, Infinity, BMWs and the like and always found that at the end of the day, only two companies offer cars that seem made for life in the real world; they are Audi(read Volkswagen AG) and Mercedes. The BMW (any of them, really) will always shine on a track, but put 3 people in a bmw and hit the highway. Unless you drive a 7 series, no one will want to ride back ith you. BMW's just can't unwind enough to be truly at home on the Autobahn. And while one might argue that high speed is all that mercedes do well, they would be mistaken. the truth is that once you get all the gadgetry swithed off (there IS a way, mind you) a mercedes performs as brilliantly as any BMW but never punishes it's occupants in the proccess. Ask anyone who's traveled an L.A. freeway at 90mph. The harder you push a Benz, the better it responds. Seemingly indeifferent handling gives way to superior 100mph-plus stability and a highly forgiving nature. It's just sad that most reviews come from those who have only driven one, and only for a few hours at that. In reality, these cars truly shine when you consider the diverse rnge of situations thay accomodate and the ease with which they do it. And I'm sure that as you read this the 9000 plus Engineers in Stuttgart continue to fine-tune and integrate cutting edge science and technology with standards and traditions of yore and will inevitably regain the title of most reliable cars on the road. It's just a shame that I had to buy one (but hopefully not two) of the inbetween cars that seems to have tarnished the illustrious history of this great company.
Similar Products Used:
Mercedes: all classes, BMW: all series, Lexus: all models, Infinity: most of their range, Jaguar: all models, Range rover: all, Bently: Coupe and Sedan, Porsche: Various, Volvo; all, American cars, Korean cars and Japanese cars: Numerous assorted. I know them ALL very well.