230E or 300E
Many thanks for your input YAL, I am already feeling depressed even before I've bought the car. Sounds to me like these cars are similar to a minefield. Beware of hidden dangers! I really can't understand why so many things can go wrong in a car which is normally renowned for their long life, never breaks down, solid piece of German engineering and prestige. Obviously it must be very difficult to maintain strict quality control on the thousands of different parts required to put a Benz together since many of the parts are contracted out to other manufacturers. However, this is also true for all other car manufacturers and some of them seem to be able to do a good job.
I am driving a C180 and its forced me to spend quite a bit of $$$ to simply get things right. Some of the problems you mentioned for the bigger cars I have already experienced in mine. I am just thinking of going one up in the power and speed available, but preferably without so many unknowns hidden away which may pop up when you least expect it.
What is your sincere advice, YAL???