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After driving a 2001 BMW 540i for 3 years, I have decided to get my first mercedes benz. I am looking at the S430 because I am not that much into performace so the S500, though nice, is too big of an engine for me. I chose the Sclass for its sleek elegant timeless looks. I have been eyeing 2000-2002 model S430's. Can you guys tell me:

-major differences between S430 and S500 besides the larger displacement engine

-How the years are split up. By that I mean what years did they make exterior/interior changes (tailights, bumpers, etc)

-which years/models come with xenon/HID

-Any recalls, defects, complaints

thanks alot! I hope to get one soon so I can join you guys in more conversations in this forum!
 

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500's have a couple more standard options, not a huge difference.

New headlights/tailights and revised styling cues came around in '02

Xenon lights were available all model years. '02 and up models have optional bi-xenon lights and projector beams.

This is a broad topic. Basically, get an extended warranty. The car was at least 75K new and will cost what a vehicle in that price point does to maintain (which is to say a lot). Lots of complicated, expensive things to go wrong as the vehicles start to age. Not to say they are unreliable or poorly built, mind you, but an airmatic suspesion failure or navi failure can cost you thousands. If you can just afford an S class you can't afford an S class. Don't stretch your budget to get the car. Get it inspected at an MB dealer BEFORE you purchase. If you buy it from one dealer, take it to the other to have them go over it. Be picky. You may find a couple cars you like that you should not purchase. Starmark is a pretty big plus. Try to get one that is still under factory warranty at least for a little bit, as extnded warranty purchases will be much less expensive that way. Good luck and happy shopping.
 

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S 430

I agree - a certified warranty is worth EVERY penny especially if the car is out of warranty. I would recommend a 2001 or 2002 as 2000 was the first year for that body. In 2003 the dash was freshened, clear headlamps standard, and 4matic was optional.
 

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