Whenever I see a 1998 Acura Integra with a cursive decal on the front window saying “Daily Driven,” my reaction is a curt “Yeah, no shit.” However, if you own a heavily depreciated and insanely complex luxury car like I do, the prospect of driving it daily on a shoestring budget becomes exponentially more interesting, if only to outline how many things have gone wrong over the years.
For the last two years, I’ve owned a 2000 Mercedes-Benz S500. When it was new and Y2K was deemed a legitimate threat for people who didn’t understand how computers worked, it cost more than $100,000 in today’s money. It had more than 200 patents filed in its development, had a fiber optic audio system, double-paned windows, massaging seats, and it served as the flagship for the Mercedes-Benz brand, taking over the mantle of the tank-like W140 chassis.
Fourteen short years after its build date, I purchased it for a miserly sum of $3000.
In that time, I put about 20,000 miles on it, never once parked it in an overnight garage, and fixed its issues myself using nothing but hand tools and the power of Google and eBay. I changed out the entire interior because I didn’t like the color, and also managed to get stranded on a highway, but only once, not the 500 times you’d expect from a car of this vintage.
While the S500 was technically made before the disastrous merger between Daimler-Benz and Chrysler that led to such golden nuggets as the Chrysler Crossfire, the W220 S-Class still got a notorious reputation for being unrelentingly unreliable due to expensive electrical issues, to which I promptly replied “Bullshit.”
However, no car is perfect, and to illustrate that, I have compiled, in video form, an exhaustive list of every single thing wrong with my super cheap German luxury liner.