I’ve always been quite partial to the W202 C class, as I used to own a 1998 C230 and my mother is still running a 2000 C280 with almost 90,000 miles and winces at the thought of giving it up for a lesser vehicle (read: any new mid-sized luxury or near luxury sedan on the market today). These were some of the last over-engineered Mercedes, along with the Geländewagen and R129 SL roadster. With their demise came a new era of Mercedes-Benz cars and trucks that, good vehicles as they are, don’t quite capture the classic essence of the marque. Here’s a very tidy C280 sport in Florida with a set of tasty AMG wheels that are thankfully not oversized and period correct.
1999 Mercedes-Benz C280 Sport on eBay
You are viewing a stunning, low mile 1999 Mercedes C280 Sport. Only 55k actual miles. No accidents, only two owners. Loaded with AMG wheels with new tires, sport package (sport seats, sport steering wheel, carbon fiber look trim, sport exterior trim, sport suspension). Also loaded with moonroof, 6 CD changer, Bose audio, telephone, dual power seats and much more. Florida owned and rust free. Drives as if new. Looks as if new. No dents or dings. Excellent condition. It will not be easy to find another one like this.
With a little over three days in the auction to go, there’s been a fair amount of bids and the price has reached just under $6,500. With low mileage, a desirable color and the sport package, I could see this C280 fetching maybe between $8,000 and $10,000, at the high end. Clean, low mileage W203s are not much more, but then, they don’t carry the cache of these first generation C class sedans. This isn’t the fastest or most exclusive piece we’ve featured on GCFSB lately, but this is a tasty piece that could serve someone very well as a daily driver for several years to come. Just ask the family (mine) who have owned two.
So the sport package was primarily interior and exterior bits with a suspension upgrade. Any other performance mods like a reflash of the transmission or engine software? Nice looking but kind of a shame that (as with many other Benz models) you fall into silver and black color combo.
It seems to be Mercedes day on GCFSB, and in my opinion, this is one gives the nicest presentation. Clean, not overdone.
Silver over black may be common, but it’s also classic and conservative. Not polarizing like the previous gold and blackberry examples.
Then again, the black holds the Florida heat. It appears the front seat back material has already started melting away from their frames.
This would be a nice daily driver – especially at the current $6370 with only 3 days remaining.
I believe the “sport package” on the 1999 C280 was limited to exterior/interior details – no performance upgrades beyond the suspension and wheels.
This particular sport package was purely suspension and trim items. No engine/transmission performance upgrades.
Looks like the perfect daily driver.
Your mother can buy a new vehicle with quality, luxury, and performance that surpasses her M-B… but it won’t be German. 🙁
True Wes. Recently my parents were contemplating a replacement for the C280, after it started to stall out at stop signs/traffic lights. Turns out it was a relatively inexpensive fix (crank positioning sensor). The problem is there is just nothing out there that nails it. I’ll run down the list:
1. 2008 Acura TSX: Didn’t even consider the current generation as it looks as if someone hit the front end of it with an axe (read: ungainly as sin). Plus, it’s front wheel drive.
2. 2011 Buick Regal: Nice car, German built, but a bit pricey and unknown resale value.
3. 2011 Cadillac CTS: Mother won’t drive a Cadillac because she equates them with the blue rinse/canasta set.
4. 2011 BMW 3 series: The new design language of BMWs is meh.
5. 2011 Mercedes C Class: Everyone in town has a C300. Boring.
6. 2011 Audi A4: Volkswagen product, which means unwelcome in the Henriques household.
7. Any new Lexus/Infiniti/Lincoln: Need I get into specifics.
I’m thinking the C280 is going to soldier on for quite some time, since it is in good shape mechanically and cosmetically and has that good old Mercedes-Benz build quality. If anyone has any other ideas, though, shoot.
OK, Paul, what’s the story with the anti-VW/Audi sentiment at the Henriques household?
BTW, you’ve pretty much ruled-out all the newest mainstream brand near-luxury smaller sedan offerings. Your mom probably needs to consider late-model used or CPO cars.
Why the concern with what other people are driving though? Unless they go with something other people their age wouldn’t consider (for various reasons), it’ll be tough maintaining that “different-ness.”
The MkIV GTI I’ve referenced before was a royal pain in the a**. Ever seen the Fawlty Towers episode where John Cleese beats the ever living **** out of his Austin Maxi with a tree branch? That was about the point I was at when I traded the damn thing in for my CPO 1998 MB C230. I won’t even get into the list of issues I had with that thing. So goes the story with so many other MkIV Golf, Jetta and GTI owners I’ve spoken too. My parents had a new Jetta for a loaner when the C280 was in the shop and said it was crap. But this has been established, since the new Jetta has been heavily decontented over the previous model to maintain a cheap cost of entry. Compared to an 11 year old, broken in Mercedes, though, there is no comparison.
We’ve thrown around the idea of a 2003 E39 5 series, if one could be found with about 20-30k miles. The E46 3 series had cooling issues, so we’d probably stay away from that. Ideally, a low mileage 1994 500E would be the ideal ride for their retirement, but the costs are astronomical. A similarly mint W124 E320 would do just nicely. They may buy a second MINI Cooper, this time an S version. My father’s ’02 Cooper has been strong since he bought it new.
Personally, I just can’t stand driving something ubiquitous on the road. This is why I hate mainstream SUVs, most Japanese vehicles, etc. If “Freedom of Automobile Ownership” existed in this here republic of ours, there would most likely be an Alfa Romeo 159 sedan in my parents’ garage. Not because it’s rational, but because it’s gorgeous. Sometimes that trumps the whole driving dynamics thing.
7. Yeah, I’d like to get into specifics. The G37 isn’t a 3-series but it’s a good approximation and more reliable. I like the looks of the Lexus IS but haven’t taken the opportunity to drive one.
The I6 e39 has the same “cooling issues” as the e46. The V8 e39 has amazing performance and more issues than we can adequately discuss in this forum. That stated, the e39/e46 cooling issues are easily fixed provided that the engine hasn’t been allowed to overheat. If you want to perform preventive maintenance you can buy an overhaul kit from ECS tuning that addresses the major faults (expansion tank, water pump, hoses, t-stat, etc).
If reliability is in sole possession of the top spot on your priority list, then honestly, there are very few German cars you’d choose (to spend your own money on) over most of comparable Japanese.
(Then again, if that’s the case, you’re probably not reading GCFSB with any great enthusiasm.)
And yes, of course there tend to be various “typical trouble spots” on any model or platform. The question is whether there’s a solution for it, or if not, whether you can live with it.
By the way, Paul, nothing about wanting an Alfa 159 is logical. But I still do.
Specifics Wes: I don’t like the looks of the Lexus IS. The front end isn’t bad, but it appears as if the designers fell asleep when working on the rear three quarter section. This car also attracts the “Fast and the Furious” crowd. I’ve never liked any Lexus save for the original SC/Soarer coupe.
The Infiniti G’s exhaust note sounds like a cow in labor. Too artifical. I drove one too, and, well, it just didn’t move me. Many Japanese cars just have this lack of substance which I have a hard time putting a finger on. It’s a feeling you get from the steering, in the seat of your pants, through suspension reactions, etc. Japanese cars anymore, well, most just aren’t from me.
And this is coming from a person who grew up with three different Honda Accords in the house. Granted we’re talking about a 1983 hatchback, 1989 LX-i and 1997 EX-L. Now look at the Accord. A huge caricature not even closely resembling how great they used to be. Disgusting.
Larry, I’m a glutton for punishment. I’ve owned 5 vehicles in my life. Two Fords (a Mustang and an F150), a VW, and two BMWs.
In an ideal world I’d have a Japanese daily driver and 4 or 5 German toys in the garage. Fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it I have children who put a major damper in my available funds.
But anyway, the G37 is a nice car. It’s on the heavy side but so is almost everything coming out of Germany these days. I can’t afford a Lotus. 🙂
I have to agree with Paul – there’s something about driving (most) German cars that I find missing from any Japanese or Korean cars I’ve driven.
Call it “driving feel” perhaps, but for me, it’s definitely there. Every once in a while, an American or some other European car comes close – but usually with a dramatically different feel.
I accept (and even embrace) this affliction, recognizing that it’s going to mean a lifetime of economic sacrifices, and I will probably never be able to place reliability above all else.
Fine. I’ll die poor and happy. I’m OK with that.
Wes, I have a wife, kids and a mortgage also. And yes, it certainly puts a damper on my car enthusiasm too.
But I still can’t live with driving some ultra-reliable, soul-sucking, zero-personality, plastic-filled interior, Japanese transportation appliance every day. I’m pretty sure it would kill me.
Perhaps my expectations are unreasonable, but I don’t want to “just” drive the fun cars on the weekends.
Oh, and your car history? Not bad at all.
Thanks. I know t hat I’m conflating two threads but my wife has owned a 1987 Ford Thunderbird (yeah, baby!), Nissan Sentra, Nissan Altima, Toyota Corolla, another Nissan Sentra, and most recently the X3. The Altima was a decent car but the X3 is the only car that I have been willing to drive on a regular basis. I mention this because it puts her X3 ownership in perspective.
One more thing that I forgot to mention and then I promise that I’ll stop. My children are both in daycare at a total cost of $18k per year. I’m crossing my fingers that my wife gives up this private school kick and if so I’m getting a Porsche when they start public school. 😉
Wes, my wife was driving a Renault Alliance when we met, so I was pretty much working with a blank slate. No where to go but up!
By the way, please don’t think I’m anti-Japanese cars in general. I am often asked to assist people with selecting and buying a vehicle – usually they are not car enthusiasts. More often than not, I point them towards Japanese brands.
Why? Because it ultimately benefits everyone when drivers are paired up with a car that’s right for them. Convincing someone who dislikes driving (or has an allergic reaction to dealing with car ownership issues) to buy a VW – just because you think they’re fun – is pointless.
Two hours to go and still under $7k. Someone is going to get a heckuva deal on this car.
It took a lot of willpower not to bid on this…but but my wife is already pissed off at me this week.
It generated 32 bids from 17 bidders, and sold for only $7301.
You’re right, Wes. Someone got a deal on this car.
I bid $6,570 for kicks. I was very tempted to up my bid but I have a lot going on right now. Not sure whether you’ve taken a look at the seller’s other auctions including his closed listings but this sale is not that unusual. I’m going to keep an eye on his inventory.
Thanks for the tip, Wes. I’ll keep an eye out for his other auctions.
I’m still kicking myself on this one though…sure, I didn’t need this car, but I hate passing on such an appealing deal…
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