I've been looking at cars and in Australia, a BMW 320i is just to expensive for what you get. Plus I prefer Merc. Now I have done a lot of reading an I keep reading bad reports about Mercs made in a certain Era (2000 onwards).
Now if I were to get a Merc, I was thinking of getting a late model C class (w203 05-06), one where the bugs have been ironed out. But when I did some looking, I noticed the E200 Kompressor W211 2005 runs for around the same price. When I looked up reviews of the W211 E-class, I saw a lot of red flags going up and stay-away etc. Once again, one of the reasons I started looking at BMW.
So, I am assuming the bugs have been ironed out in the 06ish model C-class cars, but is it better to get an E200 instead (I assume its the same engine)?
Acquaintance of mine swears by Mercedes, but he of course has only owned current model S-Class cars and they are in a different league.
Although the site is dominated by USA correspondents, not all members reside in North America. There are a few owners of the E 200 Kompressor on this site.
I would recommend you seriously consider the e-class over the C-class. Although the facelift version of the e-class was only relased late 2006 and the 2002-2003 models may have had some initial issues, I would rather risk having some of these glithes than the c-class. The refinement, space and extra specification is in my opinion well worth it. In SA the e-class came standard with full 4-zone climatronic (including active carbon filter), automatic transmission and elegance packaging when compared to the c-class similar engine (200 kompressor). Some owners are not happy with the SBC breaks, but I can assure you it is superior in performance and really convidence inspiring. It adds conveniencies such as SBC-hold and SBC-stop depending on country (guess AU models should have this) and model year. This feature I use daily. Remeber that the e-class is more recent engineered model than the C-class which will bring some additional benefits (lowe cd-coefficent to name one). The stock sound system (9 speakers) is better in the E than the C. The Interior noise is substantially lower in the E. The argonomics around the location of the door windows switches is rather odd in the c-class.
The 120 KW engine is not underpowered, unless you are a very aggressive driver. If you considered a normal aspirated BMW 320i, the 1,8 litre Kompressor engine would be fine.
Since you are buying second hand, I would think that the more important question would be the actual condition of the vehicle, which can vary significantly between car to car and may dictate the number of repairs you will have to undertake.
It was a narrow minded comment. I apologize. It is a puzzle as to how cars around the world are optioned. I own a pretty standard E320. Power sunroof, Logic 7 and seat heaters are the only options. To my knowledge, none here have the hill holding stop feature. That sounds practical. Probably some archaic laws that prevent it. Mine has a dummy switch instead of the button to deactivate the motion sensor, so I guess that was deleted.
We do have the "rest" button to provide some heat after shut down. That was deleted in the later cars. Frankly, I wonder if any polling is done in the different markets to see what different cultures value. It must be complicated to run an assembly line with so many laws to clear in different markets. The third stoplight we MUST have here really ruins the lines of the car. I believe our registration plates are different than the rest of the world as well. That is sometimes handled with a punched out piece of sheetmetal or in some makes, it is a completely different trunk die. Obviously left hand and right hand drive is another kink. We are still a long way away from a world car.
I would recommend you seriously consider the e-class over the C-class. Although the facelift version of the e-class was only relased late 2006 and the 2002-2003 models may have had some initial issues, I would rather risk having some of these glithes than the c-class.
Thing is, here is Australia the costs are more exuberant then in the USA. A 2006 C still runs between $35,000-$45,000 depending on model and engine. And our dollar at the moment is almost 1/1. Plus there are only two E200's in the whole state for sale and half about a dozen 2005-2007 C-Class W203s.
If something goes wrong with the car, we here in OZ can expect to pay a heck of a lot more then you guys.
To put it into perspective, I collect Omega watches. The ones I both earlier this year has a price tag of $5000US here in Australia and in the USA I can get it for $3000US (I ordered from the USA).