James Rup­pert

New year, new car? Nope. Older car

Autocar - - CONTENTS -

❝ How can a 14-year-old Merc give bet­ter mpg than a trick hy­brid? ❞

Ido some­times won­der whether it is just me. You know, be­com­ing old and grumpy and go­ing on about how great things used to be and that mod­ern life, or at least mod­ern cars, are rub­bish. Luck­ily, a lot of you are on the same wave­length and I am in­debted to Steve for telling me his story.

Steve had to re­turn his com­pany car, a Mercedes-benz C350e AMG Line Es­tate, af­ter a year. It was a plug-in hy­brid that was fully loaded with the AMG Premium Plus pack and the Night pack. All that sta­teof-the-art good­ness cost a fairly whop­ping £46,000. In re­turn, though, Steve was get­ting 280bhp and more than 100mpg.

Well, that was the the­ory, any­way. What Steve found was that over a not in­con­sid­er­able 35,000 miles, the best he could man­age was a lessthan-im­pres­sive 42.5mpg. He didn’t think that the ex­tra 200kg worth of bat­ter­ies were help­ing, ei­ther the han­dling or the prac­ti­cal­ity, be­cause there wasn’t so much boot space, the boot lip was high, things would roll about and the car ate tyres. In­cred­i­bly, Steve got through three sets of tyres and was not far off need­ing an­other, af­ter 35,000 miles. More to the point, Steve made it clear: “I didn’t drive it like I stole it. These were mainly 80-mile-plus mo­tor­way jour­neys at be­low the max­i­mum speed limit.”

Steve did the only sen­si­ble thing and bought a 2004 Mercedes C270 CDI, with 90,000 miles, ser­vice his­tory and lots of re­ceipts. He did not hang about, though, and re­placed the ther­mo­stat, gave the car an oil and fil­ters ser­vice and an EGR clean and cor­rected the tyre pres­sures. It’s ef­fec­tively a gruff old Sprinter en­gine but it has done the job, with an av­er­age over 3000 miles of 44.5mpg and a best fig­ure of 62mpg.

“How is it that a 14-year-old, rather agri­cul­tur­ally en­gined Merc can re­turn bet­ter mpg than one of the most tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced hy­brid ve­hi­cles in the Mercedes range?” he says. “Only Lewis and Valt­teri have a slightly more ad­vanced hy­brid. Is progress go­ing back­wards?”

Steve is a com­plete hero be­cause he has also re­cently changed his Porsche, from a 2016 Boxster 981-se­ries Black Edi­tion to a 2005 997-gen­er­a­tion 911 Car­rera S. He says: “Not quite the same drop down but, for half the price of the Boxster, I have a lot of car, and again it does ev­ery­thing the newer car did but will hope­fully lose a lot less money in de­pre­ci­a­tion.”

Steve says it isn’t Banger­nomics, but re­ally it is. He’s mak­ing his money go fur­ther and not short-chang­ing him­self when it comes to per­for­mance or prac­ti­cal­ity. Be like Steve: sell your mod­ern car and buy an old one.

A 2004 C270 CDI is still ca­pa­ble of easy and fru­gal cruis­ing

Reader Steve got an older 911 in place of his newer Boxster

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