Funny, I've heard of almost nothing but nightmares (maintenance and $$$-wise) from the early 4-matic system. This is what discouraged me from looking at them. Not sure of the nuts-and-bolts functionality of the new 4-matic system, but I understand they are considerable less proble-matic, but very effective.
It (the older system) may well indeed have been more sophisticated, but being sophisticated for sophisticated's-sake is useless imho.
I loved MB's as much as anyone at these forums but remember, the saying is: 'engineered like no other car in the world' not 'engineered better.....'
'95 E420 - 'Shadowfax
'92 Volvo 740Turbo Bard
'74 240D - 'Ol' Green
' 4spd Manual 104kmi. (sold
'77 300D - 'Red
' 223kmi (sold)
'75 240D - 'Bianca the Blue Bomber