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Car opinion please

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by hornet, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. As I hurtle towards retirement I'm seriously thinking of selling the Magna and buying a convertible for us to enjoy as well as transport ourselves.
    I'm drawn to the Mercedes SLK320, which was a $98,000 car new but 150,000 km examples are plentiful at around $10,000.
    Trouble is there's a lot of negative review of this car on the 'net. So does anyone have real-time experience with this car?

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  2. Why? As someone who has just started motorcycling in the past year, I now know that I would have to spend exorbitant sums of money to have the same amount of fun on four wheels as I can comparatively cheaply on two. My Mazda 3 will do for the forseeable future.
  3. Hi Hornet.

    Strangely enough I, too, have been looking at cars.

    I have no great knowledge of the SLK320, of which you ask, but I do remember the time when my wife had a Merc, a 280 SE.

    It was a lovely car to drive, but servicing and the odd repair costs were astronomical.

    One comment, tho.......why the rag top?

    While they almost made sense in the UK, here, having the hood down only promotes sunburn.

    All the cars I have been looking at have been either hard top coupes or converts fitted with hard tops.

    That way you can park them and lock them up.

    I did, once, have a Mini Moke, and that was the ultimate in soft top motoring, but we found we pretty much all the time had the hood up, and most of the time had the side curtains, well, the back ones, up too, and it was a bloody nuisance to buy the cheapest possible car stereo, on the basis that, if I fitted a decent one, someone would steal it.
  4. There is a reason they are cheap Hornet, they can be expensive to repair if something breaks.I had a 1982 380SL and it was a peach and as tough as nails. In the five years I had it I spent $1000 on bits so you can be lucky and I sold it last year for 25k with 200k on the clock.
    I don't know what you will get for 10k other than something that is stuffed or which will be horrendously expensive to fix if something goes wrong.
    Recently I got offered a merc convertible SL500 5 years old for nearly 250k new, for 35k, no one wants it and that;s all the dealer would give them for the same reason.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Thank you for your patronising reply. I'm keeping my bike, I need a car for transport for myself and my wife, who doesn't drive, and a convertible is the same sort of open air fun as riding... I should point out that I've been driving since 1968 and riding since 1974, so I think I know what I'm talking about...
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  6. Hornet, ever considered the mx5? Reliable, cheap, well balanced, retractable roof, a hoot to drive in the twisties/track, and the gunmetal grey ones don't scream 'girl's car' as much as the yellow ones.
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  7. I'm afraid I'd be with Lionz on that, much as I like the idea of a Merc. The Mazda has a good reputation for reliability, and that old saying, "if you can't afford a new European car, you can't afford an old one."

    Though they're not that old, maybe 10-15 years, so a properly cared for one might be ok. But all you need is one repair bill that's a small thing on an mx5 but $1000s on the Merc to really sour your fun. But - you only live once.

    Source: bought a 1985 Jag. Never, ever, buy a 1985 Jag. I'm not allowed to buy a proper car now, ever.
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  8. I have, in fact a good mate has one, but you've got to pay a fair bit for one with reasonably low mileage. The Merc has an electrically retractable roof too, some reviewers complain that it takes up a lot of room in the boot...
  9. Mercedes used to be built from granite. Then they chased profits and their reputation took a huge hit, and rightly so.
    Mercedes got the message and started building them well again in about 2008.

    So before 1995 = good but old
    1995-2007 = expensive shite
    After 2008 = good but expensive
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. C-series seem more abundant (possibly better for parts), but I'm not sure about soft tops. You do see them as Taxis in some movies set in that part of the world, which if the case, might suggest the durability they were traditionally known for. Less pricier and likely less complex than the higher series can get you down to just about no-frills level with the C-class model range. My long-time mechanic says they're pretty good for not being problematic, but the potential for expensive fix is still there somewhat.

    BMW Z3 is good, comes in choices of different 4 & 6cyl engines, and were made in the U.S. (whether that's better or not). They ride nicely. Arguably even worse than the Mercs for absurdly costly things, if not more likelihood, depending on the vintage.

    An online search of particular models/series should help get a better idea of known issues of general nusiance value.

    Conversely, the Euro-built Holden Astra convertible is a surprisingly good package, a looker, and there are a few around for decent prices. I'd seriously look into those as well - http://www.drive.com.au/used-car-reviews/holden-astra-convertible-20051005-14s8d.html
  11. +1 for the astra convertible guy at work has one says its been very reliable
  12. hornethornet, have a look at the JDpower reliability ratings for the year and car you're interested in, it's not 100% accurate but it may help you come to a decision.
  13. I've heard similar, though I'd hoped it was a little before 2008 that they got their act together.

    Life's too short for a Magna, Hornet, but the Merc may shorten your life I fear. Everything is dearer in Jag world, and the same for Mercs I think. I think a nice MX 5 would be a better proposition even if they are extra dollars. They're a cult car, well loved by many, and there 's a ready market. But you're asking for real life experience, not speculation, so I can't help more than that.

    I will say that in my experience owners of cars write rose-tinted reviews, so if they are negative then theres a kernel of truth at the core of the issues. But... Merc. Brand name still worth something, even if not as once it were.
  14. 1995-2007.. where the wiring loom insulation would crumble, wires would short out and you kill the $X000 ECU :(
  15. CrazyCamCrazyCam have you seen the mad money those mokes are making now??

    I have owned an mx5 and would get another one in a heartbeat if the circumstances were right. Currently drive a mazda 6 luxury sports, had it 5 years, drives great. No issues, no big money - 4 tyres, one service, I'm not an out and out mazda bloke by any means - it's just the way things have panned out.
    Ultimately Hornet do a shortlist, get your finances in order, make a decision and hit the seller hard. So long as you and Mrs Hornet are happy, all good.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  16. Sorry Hornet, I had no intention of being patronising or causing offence. I've been driving only one year less than you but as fairly recent convert to two wheels, I can suddenly see where the fun is.
  17. Having been in the motor industry for nearly 20 years, buying and selling these vehicles, Womble is pretty much spot-on.

    Although, I would expand those years and stay away from Benzes between about '92 and 2010. On top of that, the SLKs are really not very nice to drive, all boaty but not in a good way. If your heart is set on a Benz, try to get an SL, but that will be much, much more than $10k.

    Have to agree with others here, an MX-5 is a great choice, cheap to repair. They're not bullet-proof, they do suffer from the old Japan-built stereotype of falling apart after 100,000 km. A bit harsh, but you'll find that second-gear synchro rings ( definitely not an exclusive MX-5 problem ), air conditioning compressors, power steering pumps, power window switches fail early and the driveline is generally noisy. Don't argue, I own one !

    Don't know if you've ever had a soft-top before, but they're great. You'll not have the top down on a sunny summer day, but the evenings are magic and winter in Australia is great, too. You'll get used to wearing a beanie and having the heater cranked to full, but you'll be having fun !

    Or, you could get a Wrangler. My two favourite ( attainable ) cars of all time, an MX-5 and a Wrangler.
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  18. Mate of mine has just bought a '05 SLK350 but his budget was more than twice what you are looking at. He is well informed about cars and reckons it's the sweet spot of the range.
    As a guide, his other options were a NC MX5 or a Honda S2000, models of which might fall into your range. Me, I'd have chosen the Honda.
  19. sorry StrokerStroker, the jeep comment made me chuckle. I pulled up alongside a jeep at the lights a little while back, and informed the driver his rear offside brake light was out. He said "Mate, is that all?? This farking thing's been back to the garage 4 times in the 8 months i've owned it from new"!

    Now every time i see the jeep ad when the next door neighbour's grass has overgrown and the husband asks where are they........... I have to inform Mrs Lionz they're not likely to make it back.
    • Funny Funny x 1
  20. Mercs get made in different countries too, for how much difference that might make. I had an idea mine is South Africa built, but didn't dig any further at the time.

    MX-5 looks a bit tiny to me, though no doubt fun. The Astra looks like it makes a pretty handy daily drive two-door with the roof up.