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  #1  
Old 01-14-2002, 08:13 PM
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1996 E320 vs, 1993 300E

I am in the market for a 1996 or 1997 E320 and was wondering if there is such a big difference between this car and a 1993 300E. The major obstacle holding me back is the price difference about $ 9000 ! I know I love the look and interior of the E320 better but what about the performance, reliability, etc. Is it really a much more substantial car ? Thanks in advance for your input.

Regards,
Bob

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  #2  
Old 01-14-2002, 10:18 PM
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I have a 1993 300 E, and have driven a 1996 E320, which shares the same engine, and a 1999 E320 which has the V6. MB went to the V6 starting from 1998, so if your looking at 1996-1997, your getting the same engine as 93 300E and 94-94 E320's.

I found little difference in the performance between the 1993 and 1996. The 1996 felt a little quieter, but not much. While I like the styling of mine, I do prefer the current body style. The interior of the current model is also nicer in ways, but the dash material feels cheaper, even though it is more modern. Car critics also share this opinion as MB was castigated in the press for taking too much quality and cost out of their interiors. In fact, VW and Audi are widely regarded as having the highest quality interiors among all car makers and are now frequently benchmarked by their competitors.

The 1996 and newer cars use rack and pinion steering, not recirculating ball. It feels less solid as a rock, but has better on center feel, and is much lighter to use due to greater power assistance. I don't think rack and pinion is as durable or stable at high speeds as the recirculating ball.

The V6's don't idle as smoothly as the straight 6's do, but have greater performance numbers. They are nearly 1.0 second quicker from 0-60, and you can feel it. The throttle tip-in is real quick on these, so there is an even greater feeling of instant acceleration, and very light to the touch. The 1995-1994 E320 and 1993 300E have very gradual throttle tip-in and a heavy feeling to the accelerator peddle. It takes much more effort pressing on the accelerator compared to a Japanese or American car. It takes a little getting used to.

Time will tell if the W210 body style will hold up as well as the W124, but if I was a betting man (and I'm not), I'd bet that they'll hold up nicely.

An interesting aside, my next door neighbors is a salesman at a local Mercedes dealer, and he and his co-workers strongly believe the W210 was cheapened compared to the W124. Mercedes took out nearly $10,000 in costs, and it shows. They took out a lot of structural elements that you cannot see. Further, he claims that you can open the door of a 300E, open the window, and you can stand on the window sill and the door won't buckle. You can't do this on a W210 he claims, nor on a Lexus.

I wanted to buy a 1996 E320, as well, but prices hadn't dropped below the low $20k range, and 1993 300E's and 1994-1995 E320's were available in the middle teens. I pay cash for my cars and could spend 12k-13k. Too much of a price difference for me, anyway. And if you are buying a 1996-1997, you arer getting the same engine. I also found that there was a sweet spot by buying a 1993. Because MB didn't change the name to E320 as they should have, there was a price drop from the 94-95's that it didn't deserve. Most people have no clue it shares the E320 engine, even owners of these cars. I felt I could pick one up for around 12k if I looked hard enough, and bought one from a guy who was moving back east for $9,500.

That is my humble and slightly educated decision. Better yet, it's all free. That's right, there is no charge to the reader for my advice.

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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #3  
Old 01-14-2002, 10:28 PM
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Thanks for that well thought out reply ! Lots of info here. I wouldnt even consider a 94 or 95 model the exterior is horrible. Looks too much like the C class especially the front end . I have a 300 TE right now and it is a wonderful car. I feel too that Mercedes quality is not the same I had Benz from the 70s and 80s and I think that period of time they were at their peak in terms of build quality. My boss has the new CLK 320 and I have a 2001 GTI and guess what my car is just as solidly built as his !! Anyway it is getting harder to find a nice clean 93 300e whereas the the 96-98 E Class are all over the place. All those leased cars gotta end up somewhere !! Thanks again.
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  #4  
Old 01-14-2002, 10:49 PM
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I wonder what it is about the 94-95's that you don't like? The biggest noticeable change are the headlights, which are a plastic version of the European style, and everyone seems to agree that the European version is much more visually appealing. The hood and grill are redesigned, but the change is very subtle. The front are rear bumpers are completely color coded, whereas on the 1993, the middle bolster portion is still black.
Last, the trunk lid has a chrome strip below the star, whereas the 93 has the black plastic strip.
Their interiors are exactly the same.
If you look at the production numbers on the mbusa.com website, they didn't sell much of the 93. They sold nearly 15,000 units both in 94 and 95, and in 93 they sold less than half that amount if I recall.
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2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #5  
Old 01-15-2002, 07:16 AM
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I think the biggest change made with the '94 redesign involved making the grille less prominent, and integrating it into the hood.

I like both about the same, FWIW
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  #6  
Old 01-15-2002, 08:42 AM
LarryBible
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I am really surprised that the 3.2 V6 does not idle as smoothly as the M104 engine. My 2.6 litre version of this engine idles absolutely silk smooth. Smoother than ANY inline six MB I've ever driven. Are you sure the one you drove was running right?

I had a '96 210 diesel car and loved it. If I were to buy one of these cars with a gas engine, it would definitely be a V6 or V8, same engines with different number of holes in the block. The M104 is a great engine, but there is a chance of head gasket failure in these engines.

I believe that the 210 car is preferable to a 124 car. They are both great automobiles, but I prefer the handling and smoothness of the 210.

My $0.02,
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  #7  
Old 01-15-2002, 09:33 AM
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Thanks for all the info. I really learn alot here ! In terms of higher mileage E320s (96-98) with about 80 - 120 k are they as durable and long lasting as the older E Class ? My 88 300TE has 190k and it is as smooth as silk. I 've notice big price differences for these higher mileage cars.
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  #8  
Old 01-15-2002, 10:33 AM
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my '94 E320 Coupe has (OEM) Euro-look single pane flat face 'glass' head light lense

my '94 E500 has (OEM) Euro-look single pane flat face 'glass' head light lenses too

(vs. plastic)

most of the newer cars appear to have plastic or lexan type front headlight lense/cover ..incle MB E-class and BMW M's

-fad
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  #9  
Old 01-15-2002, 02:05 PM
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Larry, you may be right about the car not running properly, but I think the point may still be argued about a straight 6 running smoother than a V6 (or any other engine for that matter).

A straight 6 is a perfectly balanced engine. V6's, straight 4's, are inherently unbalanced by design. Counter rotating balance shafts are used in these engines to even out the roughness. Some engines don't use these, but when they don't you can tell. That is why you rarely ever see large displacement 4 cylinder engines. Those that have used them (or still do), like Porshce and Subaru can take advantage of large displacement because they are the only two guys that use boxster style engines, where the cylinders are horizontally opposed. (Another advantage to this engine design is it sits lower therefore lower center of gravity, but I digress).

I keep on bringing up stories that my next door neighbor tells me about his job selling Mercedes at Caliber Motors, Anaheim Hills. He says you can't find a salesman yet who will admit that the V6 is better than the straight 6. They all believe MB made a mistake. He says they would display the smoothness of the inline 6 by placing a full glass of water or balancing a dime on the engine and revving the engine real high. The water would not spill and the dime would stay balanced. He says you can't do that with the V6.

I do acknowledge, however, that with the use of advanced motor mounts, subframes, counterbalancing shafts, etc. that V6's can be made to run so smooth that you can't even feel them. I've driven in my boss's Infiniti and my wife's friends Toyota Avalon, and the level of refinement and isolation was astonishing.

Last, on balance, I think I'd probably be driving a W210 if I could've afforded one. I do sincerely believe that the car was cheapened a bit, though. The W124 is also the last of the hand built Mercedes.
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Paul S.

2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #10  
Old 01-15-2002, 11:32 PM
Saguaro2000
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What about the W124 is hand-made?

Paul, I am curious what about the W124 is hand-made? I think that I have heard this in the past. If this is so, it is pretty remarkable. Especially in view of the quite large volume of these cars MB produced. Appreciate any information on this.

Mike
'90 300CE
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  #11  
Old 01-15-2002, 11:50 PM
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Kind of funny, but I don't know what exactly is hand made about the 1995 and earlier MB's. My next door who works at the dealer always uses this phrase, as well as the fellow who owns the Auto Gallery in Glendora, who owns a 95 E320 convertible, a very limited edition car.

If anyone finds out exactly what this means, let me know so that I don't sound like an idiot...
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Paul S.

2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #12  
Old 01-16-2002, 07:45 AM
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One thing I'm aware of is that the W124s had hand-fitted interior upholstery, like the seat coverings, etc.
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  #13  
Old 01-16-2002, 08:01 AM
LarryBible
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Paul S.

It means the guy's a salesmen. Most all MB's have been built on an assembly line like most other cars. Most all cars are put together by hand, you know, the guy puts on the fender with his hands, the next guy puts the bolts in the fender with his hands.

Also, I agree totally that an inline six is inherently smoother than a V6, but in this case that is an apples to oranges comparison. The new 2.6 and 3.2 V6's are so engulfed with technology, they are a smoooooth engine.

My tech at Becker Imports is a 25 year friend of mine and called me when he had a V8 version of this engine apart. He invited me to come and see it apart. It seems that the car was in a wreck that punctured the oil filter housing causing engine damage.

This engine is an absolute masterpiece with crossbolted mains, open deck construction, three valve with roller cam, machined and cracked connecting rods, etc., etc., and etc.,

The V6 configuration is forced by the downsizing of the modern cars for fuel conservation reasons. A V6 allows a shorter, lower hood line and saves a skosh of weight. I remember seeing a link here that reached a website that had the top ten engines(at least in their opinion) in the world laid out and evaluated. This new V6 was at the top of the list.

Have a great day,
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  #14  
Old 01-17-2002, 03:16 PM
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Wow, the way you describe the internals of the new V6's makes me want to go out and buy one.

I think I'll have to go out and buy the new Auto Trader, which is kind of dangerous. Whenever my wife sees me looking at cars, she gets kind of scared, like "oh, nooooo, not again!"
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Paul S.

2001 E430, Bourdeaux Red, Oyster interior.
79,200 miles.

1973 280SE 4.5, 170,000 miles. 568 Signal Red, Black MB Tex. "The Red Baron".
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  #15  
Old 01-17-2002, 03:37 PM
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The M112 was on Ward's list four years running. This year the winners are...

-- BMW AG 3L DOHC I-6 (330 Ci)
-- BMW AG 3.2L DOHC I-6 (M3)
-- DaimlerChrysler AG 5L SOHC V-8 (Mercedes-Benz ML500)
-- Ford Motor Co. 5.4L SOHC V-8/5.4L sprchg SOHC V-8 (F-150/F-150 Lightning)
-- General Motors Corp. 4.2L DOHC I-6 (GMC Envoy)
-- General Motors Corp. Duramax 6.6L OHV trbdisl. V-8 (Chev. Silverado HD)
-- Honda Motor Co. Ltd. 2L DOHC I-4 (Acura RSX Type S)
-- Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. 3.5L DOHC V-6 (Altima 3.5 SE)
-- Porsche AG 2.7L DOHC H-6 (Boxster)
-- Volkswagen AG 1.8L turbocharged DOHC I-4 (Jetta 1.8T)

More if you follow this link

http://www.industryclick.com/microsites/index.asp?srid=10430&pageid=1794&siteid=26&magazineid=50&srtype=1

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