I drive a 93 190 2.6 - it's a great car, but feels more like an upscale VW/Audi than a big Benz. However, it all depends on how you look at it. It's a relatively heavy, drum-tight and very solid car. The suspension is great. I can't speak for the 2.3, but the 2.6 engine is smoooooth and has really good legs at highway speeds. It handles well - the rwd adds to that. The materials and build are top-notch. Mine has been totally and completely reliable. I hear the 2.3s handle even better because they're lighter up front and have the meat of their power ability between 50-75mph, which sounds great for everyday driving versus the 2.6, which is in its element at 65-105. As a daily commuter, I think it's a fabulous car - much more fun than my 70's and 80's diesels. As a long-distance tourer it might feel a little cramped - we opt to take the SUV as I'm 6'2". If the car is a jewel, I'd definately buy it for $5600.
The only consistent things I've heard about the 2.3 is that they're slow on takeoff when coupled to the auto tranny and that the engine gets a lot warmer than the 2.6 which can lead to cooked electrical components (rare) and more-frequent hose changes (they go brittle faster). I heard that from two MB techs at dealer - who knows how good they are... With a 4-cyl moving that much mass I might use a little water wetter, change the oil at 3k on the dot and keep occasional tabs on how well my thermostat is working (as it kicks on the supplemental fans).
$5600 seems like a great price - did you mention mileage though?
[This message has been edited by makakio (edited 08-25-2000).]