I just thought I would toss my $.02 in. A diesel is a horse of another color. The driving characteristics are different than any car I have ever driven. The acceleration from stop is snail slow and a hard acceleration will tend to pour out some soot. The eighties vintage cars also make more noise at idle than a gas car. This being said; I love mine. The cars have great throttle response once you are in the rpm curve where the boost is with you, somewhere at and above 2,000 rpm. While driving above 50 mph there isn't a 4 door out there that I cannot jump all over and when passing…I leave em all in the dust. These driving characteristics are something one just needs to get used to. I have driven both the turbo as well as the non-turbo Benzes and there is no comparison in acceleration. Another point is that Mercedes diesels were designed to run on better grades of diesel not found here in the states so it is advisable to add a diesel cetane booster to the fuel, although they will run ok without it. I find I get a mile or two more per gallon fuel and a quieter idle on the cetane booster.
I went searching for a diesel because I wanted what a diesel offers; an uncomplicated combustion system, reliability, fuel economy and the fact that a diesel is very content running day and night and day non-stop. I purchased a 1982 300D turbo with 158,00 miles. I have spent a fair amount of time doing various repairs to the car to bring it up to the level of maintenance I want it to be at. I, in all the repairs, have only needed to do two engine related procedures and they were to change the oil and adjust the valves all other items were non-engine related.
The only down side I have experienced in buying my car is that I let my girlfriend drive it a few times and now I have to find another one so I can again get to drive one.
1982 300D turbo