30 lakh budget: Exploring options for a preowned German petrol sedan

I did not want to buy a diesel because my family has owned a few diesels in the past.

BHPian holyshash recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

The W218/C218 Mercedes CLS made its debut in 2011. In India there are very few examples of the W218 which have made their way into the market. I was surfing through the internet trying to find a CLS55 or a 500 for sale but did not find any. I continued my journey to find good example of a car within the fiscal limit of 30L that met my demands, which are RWD/AWD, V6 or a V8 ‘petrol only’, mod friendly and something that can go sideways once in a while.

I found a few examples:

2014 W218 CLS350 with 37,000km on the ODO priced at 22L

  • It meets the RWD, V6 and the sideways part, but I am well aware about the scarcity of aftermarket support for this
  • model.
  • The M276 DE35 is a reliable engine and can clock many kilometres . Its a Naturally Aspirated engine as well.
  • Its a 4 door coupe which is a piece of art.
  • An ECU tune, a sports exhaust, changed headers, intake etc would help with the power gains.

2013 D4 Audi A8 4.2 FSI Quattro with 30,000km on the ODO priced at 28.5L

  • This is a V8 Twin Turbo, the same engine that powers the same generation S8.
  • The kilometre figure seems to be fishy and might be tampered with.
  • The D4 Audi had a major issue with the turbocharger oil strainer getting clogged in the 2013 models, for which Audi recalled 26,053 units.
  • These V8s are quite heavy on pockets, and can cost a limb to repair when something goes wrong.
  • A stage 1 ECU remap can throw in 74hp and 128tq, which totals to 520hp.

2010 W212 E350 with 35,000km on the ODO priced at 8.5L

  • Its a V6 again with a good mod potential.
  • A relative of mine has owned a 220d for a decade now, I have dreamed of owning a W212 since the day I saw it.
  • Due to the 1600kg weight it cant go sideways.
  • Amongst the five cars, this one is the most budget-friendly option and comes with lower maintenance costs.
  • A Wald Black Bison kit could be ordered for this which would make this a baller.

2011 W221 S500 L with 30,000km on the ODO priced at 22.5L

  • This one is not a normal 500, its a 4.7L BiTurbo V8.
  • Air suspension on these models are usually a deal breaker and there is almost no way to know if its broken beforehand. Although one can replace it with coilovers but then it defeats the purpose of the might S-Class
  • Again the S Class’ are a nightmare when a major part needs repairing and can cost a lot, as well as the scarcity of the OEM parts not being available.
  • A straight pipe would make it sound lethal with that mighty V8 roaring.
  • P.S: I have read Androdevs S-Class ownership review hence I know about the cost of maintaining and keeping one of these running!

2012 F01 740Li with 11,000km on the ODO priced at 26L

  • Compared to the S class, this seems to be a better choice.
  • Again its not a normal 740Li, the 2012 got a twin turbo with the same N55 engine.
  • It has a timeless design and with a Prior Design body kit it would look stunning.
  • There are various tunes available for it too and can have its power bumped up with an ECU tune.
  • Although the 11k kilometres look super fishy again for a decade old car.

I also looked for a BMW 530i/550i as well as C250/300 but failed to find any good examples. I did find a clean C200 but that was an inline 4 and was a little underpowered for me.

While all the cars listed above have relatively high maintenance costs, this is typically expected when it comes to German cars. I did not want to buy a diesel because my family has owned a few diesels in the past
and although it might differ for others, but for me a petrol car sounds cleaner and runs smoother compared to a diesel variant of the same car. The 530d is a very appealing option to consider buying, but its not to be opted for because of the diesel engine. Diesels to give good FE though. Is there a way to confirm if the car has legit kilometres on the ODO or if they have been tampered?

I have driven the 220d w212 a lot of times, and it always amazed me. The exterior of this E class with the split headlamps is the best to look at. The interior is very spacious, compared to a 5er. Recently a Youtuber(Horsepower Cartel) has also purchased a C207 coupe and kitted it with a Black Bison Wald kit and it looks glamorous.

Here is a list of mods that I have decided to do on the car if I do buy the specific one.

W218 CLS350:

  • The W218 CSL 350 has a Naturally Aspirated V6 which makes 302hp with 370nm torque. The same engine can be found in the CLS400 with 2 turbos attached to it, which makes 329hp and 480nm torque.
  • With a stage 1 tune from RS Tronic will add 24hp and 30nm torque which will make the total horsepower
  • gained to 330. That tune should roughly cost around 50,000rs.
  • A Fi-Exhaust, model number MB-2126-CBV, will be used to change the stock exhaust. This should make the car breathe better and also make it louder. That should cost 2.5L approximately.
  • K&N air intake could be added which could cost around 28,000.
  • I am not sure how a catalytic converter could work but I did a little research and it could help the engine eject more air. I found NAP converter for 50,000. I have 0 clue if thats needed or not but
  • it does help with FE too.
  • I have found a wide body body kit in japan from a company called Prior Designs and got myself a quote if i want the kit to be delivered in India. It should cost around 5.24L.

W221 S500 4.7:

  • The S500 has a 4.7 twin turbo engine which makes 429hp and 700nm torque.
  • With an ECU stage 1 tune it could crank up the power to 498hp and 779nm, whereas a stage 2 could crank could crank it up to 508hp and 809nm torque. This could cost aproximately 1.5L
  • I dont have a quote on the straight pipe but I guess it could cost roughly 50-80k?
  • Rest the turbos could be upgraded to a bigger size but that would become too extreme for a S class.
  • Same wide body kit could be delivered to India for the same amount as the CLS, as both the kits are sourced from the same company. The price may differ according to the parts.

F01 740li:

  • The 740li came with 2 different engines depending on the make year. The models from 2008-2012 came with a twin turbo 3.0L N54, the 2012-2015 models came with a single turbo 3.0L N55. One which is for sale is a 2012 model and somehow it is the twin turbo variant. The N54 engine is a tuner-friendly engine and can be easy to tune.
  • ECU tune for the N54 can bump up the stock 320hp/450nm torque to 380hp/550nm torque. Theres even a stage 3 kit available for the N54 but sadly it cant be done in India. The ECU tune is priced at 31,000. There is an exhaust available for the N54 740i from Remus, but I have yet to receive the quote for that.
  • Theres also headlight upgrade available for the F01, a company called Z-WORKS which costs around 30,000 per piece. But in order to get the upgrade, we have to send our stock headlamps to the country where the company is located and then they ship it back to us after upgrading it.

I did not find much for the Audi A8L 4.0TFSI, but I did see a few videos and it looks like there are mods available for it too. It already has enough power packed inside it, no need for any tuning is required I guess.

The E350 is a very popular car and almost all mods are available online and can also be done by a tuner based in Ahmedabad called Autokrafte. The M272-DE35 is one of the best mercedes engines and is easy to work with too.

Here’s what BHPian lamborghini had to say on the matter:

Are you sure the A8 and S500 have the turbo / bi-turbo engines?

Personally, I would look for an Audi RS5 if the intent is to do it up and have fun. A luxo-barge isn’t something you would want to push side-ways and tune beyond a certain point unless you’re ok spending on maintenance.

Instead of the E350 – find a 535i, a Z4.35i, etc.

Here’s what BHPian vredesbyrd had to say on the matter:

CLS 350/E350/740Li personally seem like the best options. I’d want to be more inclined towards the 740 due to BMW’s reliability record and the ZF8.

Why not look at some 750s while you’re at it?

Here’s what BHPian androdev had to say on the matter:

Make sure you check the VIN data sheet or scan report to confirm that type of the engine. Used car dealers get very creative with engine badging, etc.

As much as I like an S Class (or cars of this category), it can be overwhelming when it comes to maintenance. Definitely worth it if you are willing to finance the Endeavour.

Large engine in a sporty car (like RS5) might be a better bet without the liability of fancy suspension and tons of features. In terms of road presence and cool factor, you will be better off with an old “sports” vs cars of W221 era. People will think your 4.7L W221 is a badge job 🙂

E Class won’t do it – having come this far, you deserve more pain and joy!

Here’s what BHPian Tvk1991 had to say on the matter:

The AUDI A8 was on sale for 2+ years. I have seen photos of its air-suspension completely slammed.

The best options I would consider are: RS5, E89 Z4, E90 M3s, CLA/GLA 45 AMG, C43 AMG and W222 S500.

640D is a good option as well.

Here’s what BHPian Arnav612 had to say on the matter:

I wouldn’t recommend going for a full size luxury limousine with the intent of tuning and going slideways. If you’re anyways investing in mods, go for a tame mainstream variant like the C200/E200 of the last generation and go all out. Barges like the S-Class/7-Series will be consuming enough moolah for their own mechanicals in due course, let alone the mods.

Although, If this is your supposed to be your recreational project, don’t block out diesels. Merc E350 and BMW 530d are droolworthy sedans with fantastic luxury value and mod potential. And you will now find dime a dozen of these well within your budget.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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