Parts Catalog Accessories Catalog How To Articles Tech Forums
Call Pelican Parts at 888-280-7799
Shopping Cart Cart | Project List | Order Status | Help



Go Back   PeachParts Mercedes-Benz Forum > Regional Forums > Featured Cars

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-30-2000, 08:04 AM
LarryBible
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
I was asked in a private Email to compare these two cars. I thought that it might be of interest to others.

My 300E 5 speed manual has been down for several months now, and I just put it back on the road yesterday. In the time that it was down I drove enough different cars to sort of forget what the 124 car was like. I drove two Audi A4's, one with sport suspension and one without on the Autobahn in Germany for over 2,500 km between them. I drove my Vette a good bit, my pickup, my daughters 300D, my wife's 4runner, etc. So getting back in the 300E was almost like a new experience.

The last car that I've driven before going back to the 124 car was 4,500 miles in my C240 Six Speed.

This morning I drove the 124 car about 90 miles through winding country roads, wide two lane and freeway driving.

When I first drove the C240 (remember, it had been quite a few miles since driving the 124 car) I felt a lot of similarity and relationship to the 124 car. Other than the rattle when closing the door in the C240, it has the same "cast out of one piece" solidity. It also shares cornering precision. The cars are within 1 or 2 percent of each other in weight.

Comparing these two cars is even more difficult, because I have added a number of Sportline suspension pieces to the 124 car. The C240 has the standard suspension with the "granny going for groceries" ride. With either car, however, after they are firmly set into a corner (corners and roads that I know well) they provide absolute precision response.

I don't know if there is something not quite right with the 124 car, but it does not seem to have the same spritely acceleration as it used to. I don't know if this is because the C240 feels stronger, or if I have just forgotten what the 124 car feels like. When I used to get out of a diesel into it, it felt like a rocket ship. Like I say, this may be something wrong with the 124, or it may just be the difference between the feel of the power curve between them.

The last difference I will note has to do with the steering wheel and gearshift. Although they both respond well, until driving the C240, I never noticed that I had to reach for the gearshift in the 124 car. I actually have to lean forward out of my seat to reach fifth gear. The C240 gearshifts center position falls exactly under my hand with my arm resting naturally on the arm rest. The steering wheels shape, size and location feel like a truck compared to the C240. When putting the transmission into a gear on the C240 you don't get a feeling that the transmission went solidly into gear. The 124 gives you sort of a detent feeling that makes you feel certain that it is solidly in the gear you selected. But the C240 shifts silk smooth with a very short throw, and easy to master six speed.

I remember the first time I got into my 124. It was the first one I had ever been inside of, and it was such a drastic improvement over a 123 car. Although the improvement of the C240 car over the 124 is not as great, there is definitely an improvement. After all, the C240 is built with the latest technology. The 124 was built with much newer technology than the 123 car.

All in all, I believe that the C240 is a superior car.

------------------
Larry Bible
'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
Mercedes automobiles

Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 10-30-2000, 09:18 AM
Glen's Avatar
...auto enthusiast
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Carlsbad, CA USA
Posts: 1,187
Larry,
Great review, I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that the C240 is the better car. Technology marches on...

Thanks,
Glen

------------------
Glen Tokuhara
'86 300E (5-speed)
'87 190E 2.3-16 (5-speed)
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 11-15-2000, 07:20 AM
LarryBible
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Now that I've gone the other way, I will post my thoughts. What I mean is that the C240 sat in my shop building for a couple of weeks while I drove my 300E a couple of thousand miles.

Upon getting into the C240 after the 300E, I came to the conclusion that my 300E is down on power. On paper the 300E is supposed to be 0 to 60 MPH in 7.5 seconds, while the C240 is supposed to do it in 8.2. The C240 felt like a rocket ship. It's amazing what they do with this little engine. It is well matched to the rear gear ratio, and the ratios in the six speed.

The rear package tray of the C240 is higher, you notice it when you turn to look out the back, it's a little harder to see out of.

The C240 is more refined in road feel and handling predictability. The aspect ratio of the tires have something to do with this I'm sure.

The C240 is a little bit quieter, but not much.

As I mentioned when I went the other way into the 300E, the steering wheel and gearshift feel more like a truck in their placement, the size of the steering wheel, etc.

The C240 is much quicker on less fuel.

Hope this is helpful or interesting. Now it's time to get the power back in my 300E.

Thanks,

------------------
Larry Bible
'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
Mercedes automobiles
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11-15-2000, 11:21 AM
yal's Avatar
yal yal is offline
Benz-smart
 
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: New York, Long Island
Posts: 2,707
Great review! It makes me love my W124 even more because from what I can gather from your review...the only thing that seems to shoot the W124 in the foot is the lack of new technology (no suprise there)and modern trends like a smaller steering wheel. Not bad for 15 year old design. Thanks!
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11-16-2000, 07:57 PM
dtanesq's Avatar
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Northern California/Western Washington
Posts: 386
Larry:

I drove a C240 (5-speed auto - dealer didn't have the 6-speed) today and was pleased and dismayed at the same time. I own a 1986 300E which recently developed the dreaded "floating rear end" problem. I had the links replaced (I talk about it a Tech Help post somewhere) and while I was at it basically rebuilt the entire suspension - struts, shocks, subframe mounts, rear links, etc. The car still wiggles a little bit, which is why it's going back to the tech with a stern look. But that's just the setup to the story.

I had expected that the new little Benz would be quicker, stiffer handling overall and quieter than my 300E. If it is any of those, I can't tell. It also gives the impression of being a monumental repair headache waiting to happen. It was not quicker. In fact, in order to get it to keep up on the freeway, I had the transmission dancing all over the place. My 300E just sort of moves, smoothly and with little drama, when I want it to move. From a handling standpoint, everything in the test drive was going along great until I drove over a section of highway notorious for setting off the wiggling in my E. Here's where the setup above comes into play. The C240 wiggled noticeably. I was shocked. For some odd reason, the salesman chose that moment to talk about the Sport option. Bad timing. In terms of reliability, maybe I'm old fashioned (or just old), but all the electronic stuff in the car makes me nervous. We won't be seeing any of these cars rumbling across the Australian wastelands after a nuclear holocaust (Mad Max reference) because they simply appear too maintenance intensive. Too complicated. Shade tree mechanics are a thing of the past with these cars.

Finally, the new C was not quieter than my 300E on the roads I drive. And my car is shod with V-speed rated tires.

All in all, I'd have to agree with the previous post. I'll stick with my 300E happily (even if I have to play with it to get the rear end perfect) over spending over $40K for a new C with the Sport Option. I commend MBZ for getting close to BMW with the handling generally, but that little bobble, the lack of real punch (I know - boy racers should opt for the bigger-engined C, but lose out on the 6-speed) and a trillion little electrical gadgets just waiting to go south keep me from going for it.

------------------
David
1986 300E - "Liesl"
(107K)
1978 300D - "Gunther"
(147K)
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 11-17-2000, 07:57 AM
LarryBible
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
David,

I understand your concern and comments. Since I drive one of each, both manual transmissions, I see the advantages/disadvantages to both.

First off, I believe that if you're a stick shift fan, you would have enjoyed the six speed much more.

I'm a little confused by your bad road experience though. My 300E has mostly sportline suspension added, and it handles great. I drive 20 miles of winding, hilly, fun two lane farm road just to get to the highway. Even with the sportline components in my 300E, I have to give the handling confidence on this road to the C.

My friend the MB tech warned me before I bought my C, that there would be little that I could do on the car myself. But at the same time I have confidence in the reliability of the computerized gadgetry. The car has a fiberoptic network, rather than a zillion copper signal/power wires going everywhere. The system consists of fiberoptic cables leading to intelligent devices. I believe that in the long run this will prove more reliable than copper going everywhere.

The electronic devices that fail in most any car made in the last 20 years are the sensors. Most of the "gadgetry" you see is "programmatic", it's done with software. The same sensors and such are still there, and yes will probably fail at one point, but this is no different than sensors on a 124 car.

I will grant you this, when there is a failure, it CAN be expensive, but I feel that these will be infrequent, or I would not have bought the car.

All this said, I totally understand your desire to do whatever you have to do to keep your 124 on the road. All things considered, the 124 is one of the best cars ever put on the road. I feel fortunate to have one of each.

Have a great day,

------------------
Larry Bible
'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
Mercedes automobiles
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 11-17-2000, 05:54 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 1,565
Larry,

Out of curiosity, what components did you upgrade on your 300E, and what was the difference in handling that you got from them?

thanks,
anthony
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11-18-2000, 01:02 AM
dtanesq's Avatar
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Northern California/Western Washington
Posts: 386
Larry:

A lot of people seem to agree with you and like the C240. The waiting list here in my part of the world (I'm told by the only dealer in my greater metro area) is 4 months.

I suppose if I'd thought to find out about it before I wrote, I would've known about the fiber optics, so I'll back off on the reliability comment as far as that goes.

I will say that overall, the C240 felt lighter than its actual weight and tossable and with the 6-speed, I probably would've had more fun, as you suggest. Given the choice between what was the 323i, an Audi A4 and the new C240, I'd probably opt for the C more readily than I would've in the past. I would expect that the overall build quality of the C would, over time, show its superiority over the other two makes.

After all. We're all interested in making the fun last longer, aren't we?

------------------
David
1986 300E - "Liesl"
(107K)
1978 300D - "Gunther"
(147K)

[This message has been edited by dtanesq (edited 11-18-2000).]
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11-18-2000, 12:53 PM
LarryBible
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
David,

Yes, to me the reliability and long term durability of the Benz is what makes it a better choice.

I spent several weeks with a sport suspension, manual transmission Audi A4 on the German Autobahn this summer and it was a fun car. The BMW is also obviously a great handling car. If drivability and the like is what you want most the C may not be your pick, although the new one is considered by many to be comparable to the other two cars.

Had the A4 not been a front wheel drive car, I would have considered one after coming back from Europe.

I drive my cars to ridiculously high miles, that's how I justify a Benz, so the handling is only part of the equation for me.

Anthony,

I put the sway bars and performance shocks/struts on my 300E. The difference is subtle, but certainly noticable, the 300E is a decent handling car to start with. What I also plan on doing is using 205/60's when it comes tire time again. I believe that this will be another subtle improvement.

I did not use the springs because of the alignment differences. Maybe I will take that step again.

BTW. Changing the rear sway bar is not a job for the timid. You have to loosen the rear suspension mounts and lower the entire rear suspension system considerably to snake the old one out and the new one in. While doing this you have to watch the brake hoses very carefully to see that you don't tension them.

Have a great day,

------------------
Larry Bible
'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
Mercedes automobiles
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11-18-2000, 10:39 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 1,565
Thanks for the info. I'd think that the sway bars would help with the body roll, which I generally don't mind. Maybe the only time it comes up is when I'm entering a turn or swapping directions - there's a feedback deadspot in that brief moment when the weight is shifting around and the tires haven't started to bite. Otherwise, though, these cars handle wonderfully.

anthony
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 11-19-2000, 02:51 AM
dtanesq's Avatar
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Northern California/Western Washington
Posts: 386
Larry:

Handling, et.al. is important to me, but there's simply something about a Benz that I can't describe. I owned and loved an Audi quattro in the 80s. One of my friends collects Bimmers, and I get to drive them some. I hesitate to call them "cheap," but the thing that drives me back to Benz is that the other two makes just don't feel as solid. They simply don't exude the kind of quality the Benz does. The 300E is the perfect car for 90% of my driving. So much of the time there's another human in the car, sometimes not very old or not interested in being tossed around like a rag. So often there's at least one golf bag in the trunk. For the 5% balls to the wall driving, well, it's not too shabby there, either. Were the proportions reversed, I'd be more interested in a Bimmer. In a few years, when the 2001 Cs start coming off of lease returns and I've funded my kids' college trusts and my practice is doing well, I'll go searching for a C-Sportline. Or maybe by that time, someone will have talked Benz into sending over the bigger C with a 6-speed.

Maybe you'll be tired of yours and want to sell it to someone like me.

Later,



------------------
David
1986 300E - "Liesl"
(107K)
1978 300D - "Gunther"
(147K)
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 11-19-2000, 10:16 AM
LarryBible
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
David,

There is a possibility that they will make the 320 available with the six speed. If they do that, I may throw in the towel on a sport with the six speed. I don't like the interior of the sport, but I might compromise to have the suspension along with the power and the six speed.

The way things are going where I work, I may not have my C long enough to sell it to you later. We had a massive layoff last Monday. It was very depressing.

Have a great day,

------------------
Larry Bible
'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
Mercedes automobiles
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 11-20-2000, 12:58 PM
dtanesq's Avatar
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Northern California/Western Washington
Posts: 386
Larry:

Ouch - keep your aim up and your head down.

------------------
David
1986 300E - "Liesl"
(107K)
1978 300D - "Gunther"
(147K)
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 01-24-2001, 02:44 PM
LarryBible
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
An additional real world comment about the new C which probably applies to many of the new generation MB's.

I am so accustomed to the absolute simplicity and convenience of most all of my previous MB's locking system. You lock the drivers door and everything locks, more importantly, you unlock the car and everything unlocks. I don't know how many times I have grabbed the trunk or a non drivers door to find it locked. I have to fish out the key and press a button to get it unlocked.

I am going to see if this is a programmable feature, I don't believe it is.

Just one of those small idiosynchrosies that is inconvenient and against all keenly developed MB habits. What makes it worse for me is that I constantly switch back and forth between the C and my 300E.

My $0.02 on lock arrangements,
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 01-24-2001, 06:58 PM
Eric
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Central locking

Larry, good news, you can most likely program the traditional one-door-opened-all-unlocked set up (also known as one-press-of-the-button-unlocks-all).

My 2001 E-class was programmed this way per my request during PDI but if I remember correctly, the manual explains how you can do it yourself.

It's so much more convenient!! I also disabled the night illumination feature (mister-you-left-your-lights-on) and the speed-sensitive-volume control..

Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Rebadging '87 300e emr0591 Detailing and Interior 6 09-04-2007 09:12 AM
'86 300E vs '91 300E... Any opinions out there??? pjtib Tech Help 23 05-04-2005 09:26 PM
300E FIRST-gear start brewtoo Tech Help 16 03-11-2005 05:27 PM
*CLEAN* W124 Gray MB-Tex Front Seats / 300E 260D 300D (300E 2.8) and (W124 Wagons) FA22 Mercedes-Benz Used Parts For Sale & Wanted 5 03-01-2004 08:40 PM
Transmission Question 1988 300E (Need Technical help)n china beach Tech Help 4 03-26-2002 10:25 AM



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:56 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2018 Pelican Parts, LLC - Posts may be archived for display on the Peach Parts or Pelican Parts Website -    DMCA Registered Agent Contact Page