Many of us "yearn for the good old days" but with the advent of leasing and the consumer pressure for all these gadgets in cars there are fairly few customers with the foresight to pay for the great machine a 240D was/is because they are intending to keep it for twenty five years.
Leasing takes the cost of fixing stuff out of the equation. And eliminates the perspective of ownership after the warranty period. So people lease cars loaded with junk, and if you don't offer a car with all the gadgets you won't sell any cars to leasing companies. Or most of the other customers out there either as the gadgets have become the basic allure of the car, not the underlying machine. As I noted earlier, the basic underlying machine from all sources has improved drastically, and MB would be hard pressed to bring something as superior as the 240D was in its day to the market today. So they are forced to add mechanically complex cupholders and other plain junk to the cars today just to stay abreast of Toyota and Honda and the likes.
While we yearn for the good old days, MB doubts we would actually buy a $30,000 C class with no junk in it, so they don't make it available. I am not sure they are not correct on this one. It is easy to yearn, but I think relatively few of us would buy a car with the MB star on it and accept it with no electric seats, electric windows, automatic multi-zone climate control system, and bizzare cupholders anymore. Yet it is this stuff that fails over the long haul, or even the short haul as we have all experienced and complain about.
Just my next $0.02 installment. Jim
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles
1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)