It has long intrigued me to know how the costs of owning an older Mercedes compare with the costs of a new one, so I thought I would do a little research.

Personally I don't like the ownership model whereby you pay for the car monthly and then pay a lump sum to own the car at the end of a set period. Each to their own, but I don't like being in debt and having to find monthly payments - especially as I am a contractor and therefore if I am between clients I can't invoice and therefore I pay myself less. My preferred ownership model is just that - outright ownership of the car from day one and that is it.

If you want to run a brand new car for whatever reason, that is fine by me: but I really enjoy driving something a bit different - and I am not particularly materialistic (I don't think!). My friends may disagree... I certainly don't feel the need to have a brand new car to 'keep up with the Joneses next door'.

If anyone looks at my car and thinks 'Oh he can only afford to run an old car'

  1. They don't know what an older Mercedes costs to run(!) and
  2. I don't care what they think anyway as they obviously don't appreciate a lovely car when they see one.

In truth, I actually probably couldn't afford to buy a new Mercedes anyway, but since I don't want to the point is moot - and I certainly wouldn't want to drive something boring that I didn't like even if it were much cheaper than a new Mercedes.

Enough of the justifications etc. and on to the figures. I have not included road tax in these figures and I appreciate that all of the cars that I have used for comparison will use significantly less fuel than Clara does.

Purchase and running costs of Clara over 26 months:

Clara Costs

I wanted to compare like with like as far as possible, but I couldn't find figures for anything other than an E-Class 220 d AMG Line, so I used those. I think that it is safe to say that anything with a bigger engine is going to cost rather more!

E-Class 220 d AMG Line Costs

Imagine for a minute (hard, I know) that I wanted to drive a brand new car but was happy with a Ford Mondeo or Focus. This is NEVER going to happen, by the way! What are the costs of a Personal Contract Plan on one of these?


Focus Personal Contract Plan


Mondeo Personal Contract Plan

I have tried to make these as representative as possible by putting down the same deposit as the purchase price of Clara - and I have calculated the costs of the Fords at 15,000 miles per year (as I have done nearly 30,000 miles in Clara in my 26 month love affair with her).

In order to try to make sense of this data I have summed it up as follows:

Clara Vs The Rest

From this it can be seen that the total cost of Clara - purchase price, repair and running costs - is less than half of that of even a basic Ford and less than a fifth of that of a Mercedes Coupé. What I have not been able to do of course is to compare the cost of buying a Focus or a Mondeo for £1625 and running that for 26 months - but that wasn't really the point of this post (and I'm pretty sure that I shouldn't have wanted to drive either of those to Eastern Germany and back - twice!). The point that I am making is that running an older Mercedes Benz is cheaper than even a new Ford and MUCH cheaper than a new Merc.

The other bonus of running Clara as opposed to any of the others referred to above is that (hopefully) I have increased her value and that as 300CEs become rarer they will rise in value. This is purely a bonus and not really the point of the exercise for me, though: I just love driving her and trying to bring her back to her former glory.

Farewell to Thilde