i would opt for the more current engine. i believe it's the older I6 in the '96 vs the V6 which is now used on all their platforms. nothing wrong with the I6 (check the head gasket) although i would think hard about the $9k difference...
1993 300e-2.8 - gone now <sigh>
"Do not adjust your mind, it's reality that's malfunctioning"