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2003 E-Class

Overall rating:  Product Rating: 3.0

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Reviews written: 2
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E320 Sport - Exciting - at first!

by srein:      May 13, 2009

Product Rating: 3.0 Recommended: No 

Pros: Beautiful styling, comfortable and roomy interior.  Awesome stereo.
Cons: Electrical and mechanical problems.  Too many bells and whistles.  Expensive to buy.  Poor resale value.
The Bottom Line: Purchase dealer certified pre-owned with some warranty left.  If you want gadgets, buy Japanese instead.   Expensive.

The 2003 E320 was the first year of this body style.  I purchased mine new in the Sport version with the panoramic sunroof (a new feature for MB in 2003).  The car also has air-matic suspension which allows you to change the ride from "comfort" to "sport 1" to "sport 2".  This was an expensive option and the difference in the ride is barely perceptable to me.  The car automatically adjusts its height above the road depending on speed to reduce wind resistance and improve fuel economy.  All of this sophisticated suspension is a bit over the top in my opinion when I consider that I don't really feel much difference.  I also thinks it's kind of crazy that the car actually lowers itself when shut off to make it easier to get in and out.  Within the first two years, the airmatic shocks on the front had to be replaced because they quit working.  This system is a lot of gadetry and maintenance for not much in return.  The 3.2L engine seems underpowered for this car.  My 2000 E320 seemed to have more power than this newer generation.  I like the body style of the 2003 more than the 2000 and the Harmon-Karden stereo system is awesome.  The computer menu on the dash takes a lot of getting used to and unless you use it frequently, you won't remember how to get to whatever function you want to change without going through a lot of searching.  The smart key function does not work consistently.  The two keys are supposed to "remember" the individual driver's settings for seat and mirror positions, but half the time, my key does not change the positions from the other driver's.  The panoramic sunroof is a cool feature.  Mine has solar panels that power an auxiliary fan inside the car to help keep it cool inside when parked in hot weather.  In Florida, this is a very nice feature.  The sunshade to close off the roof windows does not function smoothly and would actually bind sometimes.  The dealer took 3 times to get it to work properly.  The electronic trunk closer also malfunctioned a couple of times.  In summary, I've had several mechanical and electrical malfunctions that have caused me to loose the initial thrill of owning the car.  It is a beautiful car and the fit and finish is perfect.  It definitely turns heads and it is very comfortable for short or long trips.  Fuel economy is o.k. at 17 or 18 mpg on average.  I probably drove the car more miles per year than the average owner, yet the flexible service system indicator only had me bringing the car in to the dealer about once a year.  Synthetic oil permits long intervals between oil changes.  If it wasn't for all the warranty work to correct mechanical and electrical malfunctions, I would have hardly been back to the dealer.     
Amount Paid (US$): 59000
Condition: New
Model Year: 2003
Model and Options: 2003 E320 Sport with Panoramic Sunroof
Product Rating: 3.0
Recommended: No 
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