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Old 12th November 2014, 21:57   #1
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Default Pre-owned Luxury: Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7-Series?

I was looking at these two models with a max budget of around 25L.

I am seeing that quite a few BMW 7 and Merc S350s are coming into the used market.

I currently seeing a couple of 2006-7 BMW 750iL listed at 22 - 27L and 2007 Mercs run rather less listed at 25L as well. Having read through the forum I see a fair bit of hesitancy in looking at older high end luxury cars (mostly I guess due to the fact that these could turn into white elephants)

With that in mind, I am only looking for vehicles which have done under 50K kms.

Any caveats, suggestions as I go ahead?
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Old 13th November 2014, 02:18   #2
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Default re: Pre-owned Luxury: Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7-Series?

The earlier 7 was not the most reliable, nor were the early model W221 S classes. If you can budget about 10-12 lacs or so for 3 years maintenance then pick one up. If not then you may just be stuck with a white elephant as you said.
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Old 13th November 2014, 09:57   #3
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Default re: Pre-owned Luxury: Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7-Series?

In the case of the BMW - cooling systems ad suspension need attention

The S class is more durable but you need to regard the air suspension as a servicable part and budget for strut replacements and pump replacements. Merc charge a bomb but plenty of US supplied alternative on the net
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Old 13th November 2014, 12:46   #4
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Default re: Pre-owned Luxury: Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7-Series?

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Originally Posted by akshay1234 View Post
The earlier 7 was not the most reliable, nor were the early model W221 S classes. If you can budget about 10-12 lacs or so for 3 years maintenance then pick one up. If not then you may just be stuck with a white elephant as you said.
That should be possible. But anything specific I need to be on the lookout for on the earlier 2007 models of the BMW?

I read that the W220 wasn't terribly reliable and the W221 was better. Didn't realize that the earlier 221s were also a bit spotty.


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Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
In the case of the BMW - cooling systems ad suspension need attention

The S class is more durable but you need to regard the air suspension as a servicable part and budget for strut replacements and pump replacements. Merc charge a bomb but plenty of US supplied alternative on the net
Thanks. What do people do? Order the parts by courier and pay the duties and then get it fixed by their local garages?
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Old 13th November 2014, 17:05   #5
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Default Re: Pre-owned Luxury: Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7-Series?

Remember the golden rule: There is no such thing as a 'cheap' S-Class. Even if you get one for 20 - 25 lakhs, you're looking at big $$$ in repair & maintenance. The parts & labour cost will be in line with a 1 crore car (i.e. what the S-Class / 7-Series cost new). These cars weren't built keeping cost in mind.

The way that I see it, 25 lakhs will merely be your down payment for a 7 - 8 year old uber-luxury German. The monthly EMIs will be your upkeep bills. What kills the deal is that these cars are inherently unreliable (unlike a 1-crore Landcruiser or Lexus).

They're not fun to drive either. The wheelbase is simply too long - last time I drove a 7-series, I felt like a chauffeur!!!

Why not buy something tighter? 25 - 30 lakhs will get you a 3 year old 6-cylinder E-Class / 5-Series? They are way more fun to drive & can run rings around their longer siblings. The quality is now as good and they'll be more reliable (being newer + lesser gizmos). Look hard and you'll find an E-Class / 5-Series with some warranty left.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maverhick View Post
I read that the W220 wasn't terribly reliable and the W221 was better. Didn't realize that the earlier 221s were also a bit spotty.
Never buy a freshly launched model from Tata & Mahindra. Give them a couple of years to sort out the niggles. Ironically, it's the same story with Mercedes & BMW too.

Last edited by GTO : 13th November 2014 at 17:19.
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Old 14th November 2014, 20:28   #6
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Default Re: Pre-owned Luxury: Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7-Series?

25 lakhs will fetch you a 2005-7 S 320 cdi or a 2008 S350. The bimmers will come a bit cheaper and for this price u may get a year younger Bmw.

The things to look out for are
1) Service History
2) Previous Accidents
3) Touch up/Repaint (expect minor scratches to be touched up or even a panel or two for metallic colours but im talking major touch up or repaint
4) Engine noise and condition-whether it matches with the Odo.
5) Suspension....SHocks and self leveling mechanism...major cost. If the suspension has not been touched or if shocks have not been changed then expect that you will have to change them real quick. They are expensive as they are self leveling (approx 1L per shock and you cant change just one, it has to be done in pairs).
6) Expect the tyres need to be changed
7) Interiors. Top lining and Seats - looks for cracks, shiny edges. door handles for leather being worn out and steering wheel mounted controls and the wrap aroud leather. All have a story of use, abuse or excessive use.\
8) Check for any checklights especially brakes
9) Vibrations - mounts
10) Gear Shifts.
11) Electricals- windows, washer system, sunroof remotes, lights, etc etc.
12) rust or bubbles at tell tale areas

After you have satisfied yourself with the above, check the service history and take it for a technical evaluation from an authorized dealership. Give them 40% discount on their advise for changing stuff and if you fee thats good, go ahead and buy. The present market is so bad that you may just land up getting a swell deal.

Tip: dont be afraid to get the car checked and bargain hard. Dont believe things like this has just cropped up today and is nothing.... especially if its a dealer Its your hard earned money. Dont think a sweet deal is always dubious, sometimes need for liquidity on the part of the seller can turn things in your favour.
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Old 14th November 2014, 20:47   #7
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Default Re: Pre-owned Luxury: Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7-Series?

Quote:
Originally Posted by V-16 View Post

2) Previous Accidents
What would be a good way to determine this?

Quote:
they are self leveling (approx 1L per shock and you cant change just one, it has to be done in pairs).

Does the BMW too have issues similar to the documented Merc ones about the Airmatic suspensions?


Quote:
Give them 40% discount on their advise for changing stuff and if you fee thats good, go ahead and buy.
I didn't get this.
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Old 14th November 2014, 21:13   #8
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Default Re: Pre-owned Luxury: Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7-Series?

Quote:
Originally Posted by maverhick View Post
What would be a good way to determine this?
.
Best way to determine if a car had been in an accident is call up the insurance firms under which the car was insured for each year and ask them whether there was an insurance claim. Also you could physically check the cars body and engine bay and search for overspray or anything like that. Also buying from someone through mutual friends or family would be best.
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Old 14th November 2014, 21:33   #9
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Default Re: Pre-owned Luxury: Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7-Series?

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Originally Posted by Y@SH View Post
Best way to determine if a car had been in an accident is call up the insurance firms under which the car was insured for each year and ask them whether there was an insurance claim. Also you could physically check the cars body and engine bay and search for overspray or anything like that. Also buying from someone through mutual friends or family would be best.
Thanks - this is what I was looking for. The tip of calling up the insurance firms for each year is a super cool idea.

The body check is part of many a checklist - but this idea wasn't
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Old 15th November 2014, 19:35   #10
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Default Re: Pre-owned Luxury: Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7-Series?

Maverhick, the BMW is not that prone to airmatic failures as the Merc. Especially on the 2008-2012 ML series this is very regular but still a car run for more than 8 years is bound to need a suspension change anyways.

What i meant when i said give them about 40% discount is that they will tell you to change everything, at least approximately 30-40% of the quoted must changes as per the company can either be repaired or left unchanged without any issues.
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Old 15th November 2014, 21:24   #11
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Default Re: Pre-owned Luxury: Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7-Series?

Ask yourself one question. Do you want to be always looking for the right and competent garages, online parts, worrying about something breaking down. Do you have that much time bandwidth with you. With these limos, you will always need to be ultra careful, cautious about the car while driving, parking.

Isnt a luxo barge also about ownership experience and satisfaction.

As GTO suggested, look for a younger E, 5 or 6. Between these rather than which is the better than the other, pick the one which is in the best of condition with respect to overall maintenance, service records, mileage and test drive. The overall character between all these is not way different than the other. Its just a matter of preference for the first buyer.
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Old 5th December 2014, 12:40   #12
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Red face 2009 Mercedes S320 CDI Reliability.

Hi all,

I am considering a well maintained (June 2009 Model) S 320 CDI that i have seen and test driven in New Delhi.

The car has done 70,000 kms and is in an extremely good condition inside and outside as well. Im buying through a independent Dealer from the first owner.

I have seen about 4 cars and this one is in the best condition of the rest.

As such no red flags have gone up in my inspection and test drive of the car.

I have read some negative reports on the MB Forum and on the net regarding the reliability of the S320CDI.

These issues include:

1) Engine Failure
2) Airmatic Suspension Failure
3) Various sensors etc malfunctioning.

Now i am well aware of the astronomical cost it takes to maintain these cars and i don't mind paying for the regular servicing etc but RELIABILITY is a big factor for me and i most definitely don't want to be throwing money down an endless drain.

What i would like advice on is

1) What should be the price for a well maintained 2009 Model S320cdi in New Delhi?

2) Is the timing chain and Engine failure a common failure in the 320cdi engines?

3) Does the Airmatic suspension fail at some time or the other on every S class? How much does it cost to repair?

4) What would be the cost of a normal service which usually includes a Oil and filter change?

Your inputs would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers!

Last edited by Manuuj : 5th December 2014 at 12:42.
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Old 5th December 2014, 13:25   #13
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Default Re: 2009 Mercedes S320 CDI Reliability.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manuuj View Post
Hi all,

What i would like advice on is

1) What should be the price for a well maintained 2009 Model S320cdi in New Delhi?
No idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manuuj View Post
2) Is the timing chain and Engine failure a common failure in the 320cdi engines?
No.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manuuj View Post

3) Does the Airmatic suspension fail at some time or the other on every S class? How much does it cost to repair?
Yes. Cost: keep 5L as a ballpark figure. I am sure the prices of the parts have gone up.

Actually it's lesser than that, but this is the figure you should keep in mind if you are going to get this done at A.S.S. (and that too if you are dealing with dishonest ones).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manuuj View Post
4) What would be the cost of a normal service which usually includes a Oil and filter change?
Absolutely dependent on the A.S.S. where you service. Best get thiis info from local owners of MB in your city. I have seen bills which vary from as less as 25k to as high as 55k in different cities in the south and west India (and this is only for a routine service with normal filter and oll changes).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manuuj View Post
Hi all,

These issues include:

3) Various sensors etc malfunctioning.
Although the complaints on this front have decreased, but they keep on popping up in these gen cars at varying intervals. If you have access to a good independent garage, get these problems solved via them. Most of the time, it's very trivial.


I would like to point out two more things, which I wish to convey via personal experience:

1. I don't know how the dealer in your area conducts his business, but please do check out whether all jobs on the vehicle have been performed as per manual recommendations (and by which I specifically mean gearbox oil change).
2. Dealer and MB India margins on parts is F-A-T. The same parts if you can procure it via Germany/Singapore/Dubai will cost you less by a significant amount (except for certain wear and tear items).

Happy shopping.

Thanks,
Simple_car
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Old 5th December 2014, 16:46   #14
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Default Re: Pre-owned Luxury: Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7-Series?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manuuj View Post
I am considering a well maintained (June 2009 Model) S 320 CDI that i have seen and test driven in New Delhi.
Manuuj,

Merged your thread with this related discussion.

2009 means 3 years into the generation. A good number of original niggles would've been ironed out. However, with an S-Class, the later the model year (of the same generation), the better. See if you can stretch a bit more for a later model.

Quote:
RELIABILITY is a big factor for me and i most definitely don't want to be throwing money down an endless drain.
All depends on luck. There are good cars & there are bad cars.

A sure fire way to know is to procure the entire service history of this car directly from the Merc dealer. Take a look at the repairs & replacements and you'll know whether it's a lemon or not.

Quote:
Is the timing chain and Engine failure a common failure in the 320cdi engines?
Nope.

Quote:
Does the Airmatic suspension fail at some time or the other on every S class? How much does it cost to repair?
Every suspension fails . And yes, it's big big money to replace. You better have a good independent mechanic in your phone book before even thinking of this car.

You seem to have done your research but haven't stated the intended running for this car, or how long you want to keep it. Owning an S-Class is an exhilarating experience...yet one that comes at a price. As long as you know what you're getting into and have budgeted for the same, it's fine. Just know it won't be a cheap ownership experience. If you stay in a suite at the Taj, will you worry about the price of food & beverages in the room refrigerator
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Old 5th December 2014, 17:15   #15
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Default Re: Pre-owned Luxury: Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7-Series?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Manuuj,

Merged your thread with this related discussion.

2009 means 3 years into the generation. A good number of original niggles....
... You seem to have done your research but haven't stated the intended running for this car, or how long you want to keep it. Owning an S-Class is an exhilarating experience...yet one that comes at a price. As long as you know what you're getting into and have budgeted for the same, it's fine. Just know it won't be a cheap ownership experience. If you stay in a suite at the Taj, will you worry about the price of food & beverages in the room refrigerator
Thank you for your inputs Sir,

Since im quite car crazy i do have a few contacts in independent with showrooms workshops and mechanics.

High cost of ownership is a well accepted fact when it comes to these barges. Our Bentley and Range Rover are a testament to that but are still reliable.

Its the reliability issue that nags me. I had just heard some bad stuff on the S320 cdi engines as a whole. Hence was a bit concerned. I wonder why Mercedes is sticking with this Airmatic suspension even though they know of the failure rate. Its a bit puzzling.

The car will be for my father primarily for use on outstation visits and for light driving around Delhi at night probably on weekends and such.

I foresee no more than 1000 to 1500 kms per month.

He was thinking of the Santa Fe and at 33 Lac (on road) it got me thinking of my options so i checked around for a while and found 3 good examples of W221 S 320 cdi's which this June 2009 model was the best.

The "facelifted" W221's are still advertised at over 45L which in my opinion is way to much in this market. Plus it just takes a couple of lacs to "upgrade the tail lamps and headlights of the 2006-2009 models to the 2010-2013 spec.

Last edited by Manuuj : 5th December 2014 at 17:37. Reason: spellings*
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