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The Car in 2009

This E500 is not going anywhere, its early 2009, and we start doing reviews of new vehicles for this publication. The car is spending an inordinate amount of time parked, here, and there, its surely not driven on a daily basis. 

While reviewing new vehicles, this older car still compares favorably, and at times very favorably to numerous new vehicles. It might be an older car (7 years old), but the sound system is strong, or it might be an older car, but the V8 is strong. 

Yes we have a preference for V8's...with waftability ("Waftability means quiet perfection, bags of torque, accelerating quickly without fuss").

As usual the car is used for road trips, its always a cool highway cruiser.

Totally uneventful year, a few road trips, spends time parked here and there, runs well, with a lot of kilometers remaining prior to another service as per the display.

How boring is that...

Did we mention that its not a 4 Matic...we prefer non 4 Matic cars.

On the last few days of 2009 the display turns bright red, there is something wrong with the electric consumable, visit workshop. You have to love it when a car thinks for you, tries to tell you what to do, during the last few days of the year when workshop are closed. 

Is it the battery? Does not seem to be the battery. Is it the alternator? Does not seem to be the alternator either, its probably the small battery under the hood (the main battery is in the trunk). Lets check out the car to ensure what it is...its the small battery (size of a motorcycle battery) that is acting up, and now it seems OK for the time being. 

It never fails that if lights start blinking in a car, they will do so at inopportune times, to aggravate you momentarily...never fails. 

Yes...2009 was uneventful...with approximately 90,000 kms on the car.






Why Keep the Car

Of all the cars on the planet why keep this particular E500?

Excellent question, and easy to find all the reasons in the world not to keep the car. With the habitual urban legends of its got an air suspension, it will at some point require additional maintenance, it will get expensive, and so on.

Must have been serendipity of late 2008, that at that point in time, in the middle of a financial melt down the car is here, and for some reason its not going anywhere...perhaps it was just a multitude of reasons. Who are we to question what the future will bring!

At the same time, the other thought is that of all the cars on the planet, why an early production E Class with such an erratic track record of reliability, and the recipient of excessive cost cutting in who knows how many areas.

The excessive cost cutting is not a secret, Mercedes-Benz having admitted that they presumably had a brain fade with reliability. Which really meant we sliced and diced the cost of so many components, with the most obvious having caught everyone's attention in the first few years, and generated warranty claims.

The less obvious cost cutting...we will discover in due course.

In the meantime we have spent no money on this car besides the scheduled service, the car runs well, and whatever electronic glitches everyone is talking about, this car does not have far.

To give you an impression from back in the day a review of the 2003 E500.

Its understood that:

> We have been around these cars for enough years to have our own knowledge base.

> Our expectations on overall performance are high.

> We have the flexibility of "alternatives" for service, and maintenance.

Prior to keeping an older vehicle for an extended period of time, especially a Mercedes-Benz having the flexibility to service and maintain this car is an absolute requirement.





2003 E500 - The History

A while back the thought crossed our radar "What would happen if we try to reach 200,000 kms with this car?". Its almost 10 years old, built in October 2002, it has 117,000 klms we should be able to reach 200,000 in the next few years.

Its a doable project...we are optimistic. What do you think? 

It would be fun, especially to document our experiences with the car. Its cool to review new vehicles, how about reviewing one of our cars that is a little older, and requires maintenance on regular intervals. 

Here is the car....

2003 Mercedes-Benz E500

How did we get this car? 

Its June 2007 we are offered a 2003 E500, a 2 owner car with 63,000 kms, panorama roof, folding rear seat those 2 options were an immediate give away to an early production 2003 when one knows these cars from their launch. 

This car was over $ 80,000 new, at the time we paid around 30K for the car. Yes, the colour, and the fact that its an E500 did not make it more desirable, or expensive.

A few days after doing the deal, the car arrives on a car hauler (never saw the car prior to buying), on closer inspection its in good condition with the usual stone chips, a minor scrape on the front bumper (its still there), a small dent at the bottom of the right front door (still there too), the factory alloy wheels the clear coat is starting to peel with some corrosion (factory cost savings). 

The car performs as expected, with 20,000 km intervals it was serviced about 3 times, its not accidented supported by a clean CarProof report, yes its Canadian. There is no factory warranty remaining. 

The pitted 17 inch factory alloys, were immediately replaced with 18 inch wheels and tires, the factory alloys were used for the winter tires. 

In late 2008 after owning the car for 18 months and driving approximately 15,000 kms the question arises? Do we want to continue owning an early production model year 2003, with an air suspension, SBC brakes, and a left rear shock absorber that is starting to leak. 

Urban legends on 2003 E Classes from the "infamous" Daimler Chrysler days, would urge you to immediately dispose of the car for something more reliable...but why go with the flow of urban legends, and the myriad of hard drives full of stories. In the interim having also fooled around with a 2003 S600 (on our quest for 600 HP) which scared even franchised dealers, how scary can an E500 be...perhaps we should find out.

Yes...yes lets keep the car for the foreseeable future.

In the meantime all we have done so far is perform a service as per the maintenance schedule (appears in the dash display) at a franchised dealer. 

Why keep the car? 

> Its a different colour, and looks good with the 18 inch wheels.

> The interior is grey..we do not appreciate cars with dark (black) interiors. 

> Its a V8 with 302 HP and a good level of low end torque. 

> Impressive Bose sound system.

> Great highway cruiser ( 9.6 L per 100 kms) which is the majority of its use. 

> The folding rear seat is very useful, turning the sedan almost into a wagon.

Yes...we know that at some point it will require "some maintenance" and Daimler Chrysler will rear its head.

With winter tires...

Mercedes-Benz E500




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