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Old 10-04-2001, 12:48 PM
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500E Original Road Test Index <v. long>

Hi Folks. Since I acquired my 500E last Spring, I’ve been on a quest to obtain as many original magazine road test reports as I could. I’m finally reasonably satisfied with what I’ve collected. So far, I’ve only tackled the US magazine market, but perhaps next I’ll go for the European magazines. I thought others might like to have this list, and perhaps collect their own copies.

For the record, here’s the list of the particular issues of various magazines, with some editorial comment by yours truly.

Car and Driver, December 1990, page 101, “Mercedes-Benz 500E – The factory builds a Hammer of its own.” This is a nice article by Pete Lyons which actually reviews the prototype 500E. Notable quote: “What the M-B engineers have perpetrated here is a Stuttgart factory hot rod.” Other notable quote: “In pouring, streaming, swishing rain (at Hockenheim) it felt as solid and comfy as hurtling along inside a rocket-assisted, leather lined gun safe.”

Car and Driver, April 1992, page 47, “Magnum Force – The three most powerful sports sedans in America trip our triggers.” This is a comparison of the 500E with the M5 and the Audi S4. The 500E came second to the M5 in the evaluation – due to its price, not performance. Notable quote: “No way the 500E is going to be outgunned. No sir. Everything about this machine is Magnum impressive.” And “There is but one blemish in the 500E experience: the price of admission.”

And there is a bonus one page quick review of the 400E “The rich man’s bargain Benz.”

Motor Trend, August 1993, page 64, “Souls of Fire – Into the valley of death with the best sport sedans on earth.” This is another comparo of the 500E, M5, and S4. The 500E wins, but again, price is criticized. Notable quote: In fact the entire demeanor of the bad-boy Benz is one of broad-shouldered confidence cloaked in the visage of a normal luxury sedan. A better super sleeper than anything produced by Serta.”

Road & Track, February 1991, page77, “Mercedes Benz 500E – A fitting performance from the Sindelfingen / Zuffenhausen connection.” A rather boring 2 pager, actually. Reviewed prior to actual delivery of cars, so it was probably a short drive of the prototype. Quote: “Stretches of road are simply gulped up by the big V8, it’s muted roar through the firewall adding further to the sensation of speed.”

Road & Track, May 1992, page 88, “Mercedes Benz 500E – The Terminator of luxury sedans.” This is a nice, pithy article by Joe Rusz with a good shot of a car in a massive oversteer drift (in the wet). Notable quote: “the 500E speaks with a Teutonic accent and is a muscular hulk that can pulverize the opposition - in this case a variety of high performance sports coupes, sedans, and GT’s.” and several other good lines.

Sports Car International, May 1992, page 74, “Mercedes Benz 500E Track Test.” Rather boring report, actually, with some comparison to the M5. Interesting quote which is similar to above, “Think of a jet propelled safe and you have the basic idea behind the 500E.”

And then we have the cream of the crop, Automobile, April 1992, the Cover Article, page 64. This article just plain GUSHES about the car. It’s nice and long at 5 pages, and the whole article is one gigantic Notable Quote. Some choice ones: “The 500E’s ability to deliver speed and comfort with complete safety makes it a standard by which we will measure all automobiles.” And how about “Ah, the speed, the incredible speed. We are utterly intoxicated by the 500E’s speed. We are besotted by it, unmanned, and unwomaned by it.” (!) Or how about “I was going down the autobahn toward Geneva in the 500E, and I was thinking about my friends who are always telling me how great it must be to work at a car magazine and then asking which car is the best I’ve ever driven. And I thought: This is it. This is the best car in the world. This is the reason I work at a car magazine.”

Can’t get much better than that, eh?

And in my research I stumbled on some “supporting articles” which might be of interest.

Motor Trend, June 1993, page 63. “The V8 Luxury Sedan Challenge” which is a comparo of the LS 400, 740I, Audi V8 Quattro, MB 400E, Q45.

Road & Track, June 1992, page 79. “Cadillac STS Takes on the Best” which is a comparo of the STS, 535I, LS400, Q45, and MB 300E (with a sidebar on the 400E).

Road & Track, July 1992, page 134. Long term test of the 400E. This was the initial report on the long term test of the 400E. (I have not looked for the follow-ups).

And finally, from Road & Track, October 1992, page 16, a letter to the Editor from Frederick R. Heiler, Manager Public Relations of MBNA, trying to clear up a bit of inaccuracy/confusion on the Porsche thing. I quote:

I enjoyed your Mercedes-Benz 500E road test (May 1992) but there was a mis-statement about the assembly process. For the record, the body is built at Porsche. A few stamping parts from the 300E are shipped across town for m Sindelfingen, but the remaining pieces are either bought from suppliers or made at Porsche, where the body is welded together. The body in white is shipped to Sindelfingen for painting because Porsche cannot duplicate Mercedes-Benz colors. The painted body goes back to Porsche for final assembly and then returns to Sindelfingen for checking and delivery. Considering the complication it’s no wonder that there was some confusion about the process.”

End quote. Perhaps this is another piece to settle the “AMG 500E” debate.

Hope you enjoyed, and if you have some other articles, let me know.
Rgds,
Chris Whitney
'93 500E
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  #2  
Old 10-04-2001, 01:03 PM
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Thanks for sharing your research Chris!

There's also the "European Car" June 1999 Ultra Buy series which featured the 500E.

I believe Dean's website has most of these articles. Check out http://www.need2speed.web.com
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Old 10-04-2001, 01:13 PM
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Thumbs up Thanks, Chris

Chris,

Thanks so much for the great archive of 500E tests. In fact, that Automobile review completely bears the blame for my purchase of my 1992 500E, more than 8 years after I read the original magazine. As you know, the cover headline is "Like A Drug!" and I have yet to read a more concise and accurate summing up of the car. I must have read this article 100 times, and in fact, that April 1992 issue is sitting on my desk at this moment. It's a great piece of writing.

Kirk
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Old 10-04-2001, 01:18 PM
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Thanks you guys- now I'm on a hunt to acquire these mags too

-fad
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Old 10-04-2001, 01:51 PM
EAAM
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Smile

Thanks Chris; it really clears up the AMG question thing for me. Now to find those articles!
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Old 10-04-2001, 03:33 PM
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FYI, just picked up a British magazine called Evo issue Sep 2001 with a "Supersaloon Buying Guide" comparing the Lotus Carlton and the 500E. Great pictures spanning the article with 8 pages total coverage.

Other cars featured were high-end limited prod cars like Pagani Zonda S (220mph), TVR Tuscan S (194), Aston Martin Vanquish, etc.

The new SL was also mentioned in the News section.
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Old 10-04-2001, 08:41 PM
Clauser1
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500e articles

Guys,
I have a couple of articles for 500e as
well.
Automobile,Dec.1990.500E:Blitzen Benz!
Motor Trend September 1991.
Best of Both Worlds(The four-seat supercar
Sedans)MBenz vs.BMW M5 VS.Opel Lotus Omega.
I have been keeping this and keep reading it
for maybe someday I'll have a 500E.
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  #8  
Old 10-05-2001, 02:57 PM
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I have two Brit magazines on the 500E. A copy of Performance car and a copy of Autocar, the Autocar article is quite long, with lots of indepth analysis, the Performance car article is jsut a couple of pages of driving impressions.

David Hendy
'92 500E
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  #9  
Old 10-05-2001, 06:25 PM
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Hi Dave- can you scan your Brit articles and/or maybe send over to me at fulgence.dulay@uboc.com?

I'd be thrilled to see these write-ups.

tks-fad
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Old 10-06-2001, 12:37 PM
roas
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Thanks Chris, great stuff!

Any chance you have a scanner and can shot these articles over to Dean at his site? I am sure he could find the time to add them to his growing collection of 500E/E500 articles.

Question for everyone, has anyone ever seen a road report of a 600E/E60? As you all may know, when the miles have just taken their toll and the engine is in need of a rebuild, a 6.0 upgrade is one choice that could be taken if extra power is needed.

I am also curious is anyone has any information on what is required of the engine to perform such a conversion, for instance new crank/rods/pistons.
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Old 10-09-2001, 06:34 PM
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500E/E500 Articles

Ross, as usual, has a great idea: consolidate all the articles on Dean's site where we can all have access. Those with articles and scanners please coordinate with Dean.

Unfortunately, I don't have a scanner, but I know of one other article of interest: AutoWeek May 13, 1996 "A Nearly Perfect Equation" which reviews the E50. The author clearly prefers the 500E: "However, when it comes to the US, it will fall short of the 500E in the category of lacking an edge. The 500E was something special, a brutish, beastly Mercedes-Porsche, perhaps the ultimate tuner sedan. Maybe it was the influence of Mercedes' cross-town partner. Porsche didn't just assemble the car. It breathed in life, and there was a thrilling wildness, an edge to the car, just as there was to a 911 Turbo of the same generation."

If anyone has a decent copy of this article (Vol. 46, Iss. 20 Pg. 18), please post to Dean. Thank you.
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