W210 won't start - any suggestions ?? :(

Thanks in advance for any help. I know more about PCs than cars, so this may all be blindingly obvious:
W210 - 320CDi - bought new in 2000. On Sunday - found it wouldn't start :(
assumed it was a flat battery so, the car spent Monday with the battery being recharged
but as of Monday evening - it still won't start :(
On turning the ignition key, the car won't start, but: dashboard lights *do* come on and the cabin lights *can* be switched on.
I would *assume* that if the battery had expired, none of the electrics would work.
Is it simply that a battery can have "died" in the sense of not being able to start the ignition, but still be able to power the various lights ?
If it is not the battery at fault, what would be a reasonable cause ??
Is there any fault that is a "known cause" for this type of symptom on the W210 ??
Thanks for any suggestions :)
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You bought this car new in 2000, my calendar reads October 2006 so its battery is about SIX YEARS OLD!
That's about 90 years in battery years.
Last year I replaced a purchased M-B branded battery that was 4 years and one week old.
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Can't go just by age. One of my vehicles is a 97 Ranger bought new in June of 1997 - it's still on its original battery. It has spent its whole life in New England, winters and summers.
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You're living on borrowed time. While you've got away with it you've done just that. The point is if you replace the battery every 5 years you'll never have to worry about it, ever.
When (not if) your battery fails it will either be on a very very cold day or a very very hot day, neither of which are particularly fun days to replace batteries.
Optimas tend to last a bit longer and mine is 7 years old but I know one of these days (and I KNOW it's gonna be -44 out) I'll be heading down to Wal Mart to get a new one like he rest of you retards.
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If the gear lever is not in park position, you will get that symptom.
So, perhaps the gear lever swicth is failing.
BritMerc wrote:

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I have a 2001 W210 320 wagon. Same problem happened over night.
In the right rear section of the engine compartment the box housing the
computer modules and some fuses also. Bottom of the box is a cooling fan.
The brushless type has some built-in electronic to convert the 12VDC to AC.
The filter capacitor chip in the fan shorted out blowing the 7A fuse for the
computer box disabled some of the computers. No cranking - no start.
Yours is a CDi , so it could be different problem.
The shorted cooling fan is a known problem whit the 210 models.
Good luck.
Pete

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to cut a long story short:
it *was* the battery after all
now replaced and all seems to be fine :)
thanks to all who replied :)
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