Common problems with Mercedes W218

Mercedes W218 Problems

The Mercedes Benz W218 is a four-door coupe based on the Mercedes Benz E-Class (W212). The W218 was in production between 2011 and 2018 and was later replaced by the C257 which is still in production. The CLS shares most of its parts with the W212 which means that these two are similar when it comes to maintenance and reliability.

Therefore, the W219 is reliable as a whole and it should last a fairly long time. The most common W218 issues are associated with the air suspension, the engine, oil leaks, the electrics, and the transmission. Most of these can be solved with good old preventive maintenance as is the case with most German premium cars.

If you don’t maintain it in due time, the car is going to suffer from a variety of issues throughout its lifetime. For example, air suspension issues are expensive to fix and you sometimes have to cash out a few thousand dollars to fix them.  

All in all, the W218 is a really good car that is likely going to stand the test of time. The CLS-Class is one of the most stylish Mercedes CLS models, and the W218 facelift AMG model is still the most powerful and most exciting CLS there is.

 Mercedes W218 air suspension issues

Mercedes AIRMATIC is the name for the Mercedes proprietary air suspension system. Early iterations of the system are known to experience issues a lot more frequently while later models seem to fare much better. The reality is that these systems are complex, they need constant maintenance.

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The most common W218 air suspension issues are related to the air compressor, the airbags, and the air struts. When these fail, the best course of action would be to replace them. However, there are some specialists out there that are able to fix some of these for only a fraction of the cost, but these fixes are not nearly as good as replacement parts are.

 Mercedes W218 engine issues

W218 Mercedes petrol engines are generally reliable, but they do sometimes suffer from rattling noises and uneven idle. Make sure to check if the engine has had timely oil replacement schedules because these are known to consume a lot of oil, even if not used all that much.

W218 Mercedes diesel engines are also generally reliable, except for the 4-cylinder entry-level engine which often seems to experience fuel injector issues. The CLS250d is the entry-level diesel engine for the CLS, but most people decide to skip it as it is a bit too small for such a large car.

 Mercedes W218 leaks

The W218 Mercedes CLS is a true German luxury car which means that it offers an extremely pleasant experience on a day-to-day basis while also leaking oil from time to time. If you are in the market for a used W218, be sure to go through all the seals and hoses as these do sometimes leak oil.

Oil leaks don’t seem like too big of an issue for most people, but the reality is that an oil leak can cause lots of trouble, especially if it comes in contact with wiring harnesses or some hot components under the hood. Be sure to also check the cooling system hoses as they are sometimes prone to leaking as well.

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Mercedes W218 electrical issues

The very first W218 Mercedes models are now more than 10 years old which means that have seen better days. Electrical issues are a common trait of older complex luxury cars and the W218 is one of them. These issues typically include faulty power seats, faulty power windows, and a faulty power sunroof.

The in-car infotainment system is generally reliable, but be sure to update the system to its latest generation which often seems to solve a bunch of issues. All in all, go through all of the car’s interior electrical switches and features as they are a known sore point of both the W218 and the W212.

Mercedes W218 transmission issues

The W218 comes in two different gearbox variants, a 7-speed 7G Tronic automatic box or a 9G-Tronic 9-speed automatic box. Between the two, the 7G is able to withstand higher amounts of torque which is why Mercedes mostly uses it for older higher-torque models.

The most common transmission issues are delayed shifts, jittery shifts, and strange noises. Be sure to check if the car has had its transmission oil replaced in correct intervals as issues caused by lack of transmission oil tend to add up over time and cause a myriad of issues.

FAQ Section

Is the Mercedes W218 a good car?

The Mercedes W218 is indeed a really good car, both because it represents great value, and because it is not too old enough. The W218 exterior design is still considered by many as simply jaw-dropping, especially the post-facelift model which arguably looks better than the current generation of the CLS.

The interior is showing its age a little bit more, but it is packed with lots of high-quality materials and cleverly placed switches. All in all, the W218 is a really good car because it looks great inside and out, it comes with lots of powerful engines, is comfortable, quiet, and still fairly reliable.

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How long can a Mercedes W218 last?

The Mercedes W218 is able to last a few hundred thousand miles without needing major overhauls. In this instance, the W218 is more or less the same as the W212. If you ask any taxi driver in Europe which car they think is best for such purposes, they will likely tell you that it’s the W212.

The good thing is that the CLS uses the same underpinnings, chassis, engine, and transmission as the W212 which ensures reliability and longevity. However, the W218 looks a lot more premium and virtually all models come with loads of equipment from the factory.

Which W218 Mercedes is the best?

The 2018 Mercedes W218 CLS 63 AMG is the best W218 there is and the very best Mercedes CLS model of all time. The ’18 CLS 63 AMG comes with a 5.5L V8 BiTurbo engine with 577hp and 590lb-ft of torque which enables the car to reach 60mph from a standstill in about 3.5 seconds.

Sure, a car with a 5.5L V8 is never going to be cheap to maintain, but this model of the CLS is still the very best one there is which means that the value of these should stay strong for a while.

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    Marko Mikulic

    Why do you love writing about cars? I love writing about cars as cars are a huge personal interest of mine. I was raised in a car enthusiast community and ever since I was young, I always wanted to do car-related work.

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