I don't think the turbo came until '98.
Yes, I did have trouble with my '96 E300D, mine was the car from hell. In fact some would examine my sanity after having the trouble that I had with it and then return to buy another new Benz.
Had the dealer handled the problems better, it would have eased the pain greatly.
The particular problem that I had was an intermittent surging. Everything would be fine, then while cruising it would just start acting like you were pressing the throttle then backing off repeatedly about once a second.
One of the things that made this so bad was that they would drive the car and it would be fine. They more or less told my I didn't know what I was talking about.
I was going through another city, which I won't name because there's only one dealer there, and it was doing it pretty regular. They drove it for two hours, used my fuel to do it, and charged me over $100 and told me there was nothing wrong with it. I never got that money back. This was within a few thousand miles of the warranty expiring.
I finally raised enough cane with MBUSA and the dealer that they took it and started driving it. They had their diagnostic laptops connected and several people were in the car, the regional MB rep, the Service Manager and a tech, when it started surging. They said they all cheered. When it started doing it for them, it didn't stop, the problem was solid at that point.
They replaced the valves that do the variable length intake runner control, and all was well.
The most frustrating thing was that they had a customer telling them that there was a problem, and they wouldn't believe me.
Other problems that I had with the car were: rear window risers, transmission drain plug must have been welded in at factory, and as it turned out the car had been damaged at the port before I received it.
When I went to try to sell the car it was pointed out that it had been wrecked.
If you can find one of these cars in good condition though, I wouldn't expect you to experience any of the problems that I did. I would check it closely for crash damage. Look at the bolts under the hood along the inner top edge of the fenders. If it looks like the have been repositioned be leary.
Also, if you are buying it from a dealer, they can call up the VIN on their computer system and show complete repair records. INSIST THAT THEY SHOW YOU THESE RECORDS. These records are available regardless of which dealer serviced the car.
The car itself as far as it's driving and handling is excellent. If you could get one with a manual transmission, like you can in Europe, it would be close to the ideal car.
'01 C Class, Six Speed
'84 Euro 240D, manual, 533K miles
'88 300E 5 Speed
'81 300D Daughter's Car
Over 800,000 miles in