So, after the drama with the far away, dead-battery Mercedes ML400 I continued to look at other options. Another ML400 (white seats, high price), an ML350 (the base V6 just didn’t do it for me, as I’m used to the V8 Touareg and I’ve now driven three of the bi-turbo V6's). After driving a few sedans I’m convinced I want another SUV to balance out the Boxster. I looked at an ML550 but it was quite worn with high miles and no real maintenance history.  There’s a nice ML550 on Ebay, but it’s in Texas.

Other random thoughts:

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - I really like this but it’s It’s not supposed to be even remotely fast, but for the same money as an ML400, I would sadly prefer to burn some more oil. (I don’t drive many miles per year).


Newer Touaregs - Not many out there with less than 100k miles. I missed out on a well-priced 2013 Lux model, it seems that was the last one on the east coast that interested me.

If I was going the sedan route, I really liked the PHEV Kia Optima as well.

In the meantime, I heard back from the awful dealership that had the 2015 ML. Turns out someone had ‘bought’ it but the sale fell through because the buyer couldn’t get financing. Hmmm....sounds shady. Anyway, I told them ‘thanks but no thanks’ after the first long-distance relationship didn’t work out. I was a bit curious so I found it again listing, new (higher!) price. They kept calling and emailing, so over the phone I finally talked to them again, and got them back to the original price minus a few hundred bucks. And against all better judgement, I went back out AGAIN to finally drive the truck.

This time it was parked right out front, next to a new 2020 911 ($114,860), not buried in the lot like it was last time. I took that as a good sign, as someone had learned some customer service skills. They asked me if I had any questions, and then happily threw me the keys for the test drive.

Illustration for article titled Just when you think youre out, they suck you right back in.

It drove perfectly, and everything was in great condition, other than the scuffed AMG wheels. New brakes and Pirelli Scorpion tires in the last ~5000 miles. After cruising around for a while, I went back to the dealership. We talked price a bit more, with me coming down another $1000. They were not happy, but they were going to pay for my first pointless trip out to the island!!! After also knocking down some other BS dealership add-on costs, we came to a good number. And just when I was ready to sign, I remember to tell them that no....I was having a PPI done first. “I though you were ready to buy today!!!??” they said. I smiled, dangled the check in front of them, and then told them the address of the indy mechanic.

So.....up it goes on the lift, and then a full diagnostics scan. I should know in a day or two. Also, I was able to observe the original owners info from some paperwork sitting on the desk. A fine gentleman who traded the ML for a new Cayenne S which was north of $90k. I also have friend who is working on getting me the service history detail from the original Benz dealer down the block.


I really like the truck. It’s a nice balance between the old ML550 V8 and the base engine. And, if I feel the need, it’s easily tune-able for a few more ponies and torques. I have to think about how to sell the Touareg.

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