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Old 02-05-2005, 11:35 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Alameda, CA
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Question Turbo versus non-Turbo: which is better?

I saw someone comment that people without turbos assume that turbos would be better, but he didn't think so. I am really curious why. He didn't explain.

Could those of you who have driven both provide some insights on this? I am shopping for MB diesel right and have been assuming that the turbo would be better, but I don't want to waste a lot time looking at cars I really don't want.

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Old 02-05-2005, 12:47 PM
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Location: Wakefield, RI
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Depends on the driving you do and the performance you are willing to live with. For an around town car that doesn't see much highway use and if you can live with slower acceleration the non-turbo will do you fine. They are generally a little louder but are also easier to maintain/work on. If you drive mostly on the highway or with lots of stop-n-go traffic a turbo will keep up with traffic easier. It also depends on where you live. If you live at or near sea level with mostly flat terrain then the non-turbo will be adequate. If you live at higher altitudes, live or drive in the mountains often then the turbo will be a better candidate. It really depends on what you can live with. RT
When all else fails, vote from the rooftops!
84' Mercedes Benz 300D Anthracite/black, 171K
03' Volkswagen Jetta TDI blue/black, 93K
93' Chevrolet C2500HD ExCab 6.5TD, Two-tone blue, 252K
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Old 02-05-2005, 12:52 PM
lietuviai's Avatar
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There's no question here. Turbo is the only way to go. Turbos need no extra maintenance and everything else is about the same on the engines. The nearly extra 50 HP is well worth having regardless what your driving situations may be. Also as far as what I've read, there isn't much difference in the mileage you can expect.
GO for a turbo.

84 300D Turbodiesel 190K with 4 speed manual sold in 03/2012
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Old 02-05-2005, 01:22 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Southeast Wisconsin
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I have one of each, 1978 300 D and 1985 300D. The non-turbo is geared for better off the line to 35mph, so for in town driving it is good. For the metered expressway on ramps we have in milwaukee the non turbo makes for a very stressfull entry. Try merging into 65 to 70 mph traffic at 40. The turbo will get to 55 on these ramps if i manually shift and wind it up to 4000 at the shifts. My 78 is my show piece, my 85 my daily driver.
1959 Gravely LI, 1963 Gravely L8, 1973 Gravely C12
1982 380SL
1978 450 SEL 6.9 euro restoration at 63% and climbing
1987 300 D
2005 CDI European Delivery
2006 CDI Handed down to daughter
2007 GL CDI. Wifes

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Old 02-05-2005, 02:58 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Holland, MI
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96 & 97 OM 606 non-turbo models are quite acceptable!

Best Regards,
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Old 02-05-2005, 03:02 PM
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Join Date: May 2000
Location: Soperton, Ga. USA
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For two lane blacktop commute to work (3 redlights, 18 miles, 55 mph speed limit) I like the non turbo. If I need to get on the interstate I take the turbo model.
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Old 02-05-2005, 03:14 PM
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Diesels are great, and turbos make them better.

As RT said, it depends on where you live, the type of driving that you're going to do, and the amount performance that you're willing to accept.
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Old 02-05-2005, 03:55 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Reno/Sparks, NV
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I have both and that includes one of the slowest MB diesels (my 240D) and one of the fastest (my 87 300D). I find the 240D to have adequate power even up here at 5000 ft. Sure I usually have the pedal to the floor while accelerating, but then again this keeps all the pipes clean. One place I wouldn't take my 240D is up to Mt. Rose at 9000 ft if I had more than one passenger, but other than that I wouldn't hesitate to take it anywhere. The bottom line is the non-turbos will make it to most places, but they are significantly weaker in acceleration compared to the turbos. The turbos are especially great for mountain driving.
2004 VW Jetta TDI (manual)

Past MB's: '96 E300D, '83 240D, '82 300D, '87 300D, '87 420SEL
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Old 02-05-2005, 04:06 PM
Benster Tom
Posts: n/a
It's not a question which is best, but which is best suited for you and your particular needs. If your always traveling in short distances and not in a hurry then non-Turbo. However, the Turbo is good for short or long distances. I've driven both and I pefer the Turbo.
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Old 02-05-2005, 08:31 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Geographically challenged on the S.W shores of Lake Michigan in S,E Wisconsin
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we like

our cars. turbo offers the chance to be on the radar.
[1981 300 td tdidi 165500 dark brown/palamino-Brownie-mine-3k miles of ownership
1983 240d 162+++ Anthricite grey w/ henna red interior and hella lights-wifes car-Red

the above two cars are for sale
and can be seen on the cars for sale thread here. pix also available.

240d-144+ Manilla Yellow w/ palmino interior-greasecar kit-Blondie-the college kids car

23" gt 21 speed still on original tires-still got the nubs
21" khs tandem
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Old 02-05-2005, 10:38 PM
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Just fix it
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Varies
Posts: 3,389
If you are looking for performance you need the turbo. If you are looking for transportation then buy the car that is in the best condition with or without a turbo. If you see a creampuff at a real good price either buy it or post it here.
And that's the way it is. Sorry if this is not what you wanted to hear. I reserve the right to be wrong, others take the liberty. My posts are not intended to be complete, just enough to help you find your own answers. Don't let the Relevance Paradox get you.
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Old 02-06-2005, 07:11 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Alameda, CA
Posts: 8

I appreciate all the feedback. From what I had read earlier, it sounded like maybe there might be some drawbacks to having a turbo, such as heavier, louder, more maintenance, but from you guys said, it doesn't sound like it.

Thanks again.
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