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  #1  
Old 02-28-2010, 12:25 AM
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Considering W210 wagon to replace 300SDL

Hello good people. I'm considering retiring my wonderful '87 300SDL in favor of a W210 wagon. I'm attracted to greater safety and more carrying capacity. I'm worried about reliability and greater mechanical/electrical complexity.

Please feel free to challenge any of these assumptions. I've just today started researching, and I know I have a lot to learn.

I'm searching the forums for specifics, but meanwhile will folks tell me: what's your general impression of these cars?

Thanks! Hope to have more educated questions soon.

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2003 E320 wagon, ~80k, "Sputnik"
1987 300 SDL, ~160k, "The Pimp Daddy" (sold April 2010)
1984 300 TD, ~200k, "Das Boot" (Demised March 2008)
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  #2  
Old 02-28-2010, 11:46 AM
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Randall, before spending too much time researching the W210 wagons be sure that you are satisfied with the way they drive/handle. With the rack & pinion steering the W210 wagons will feel quite different from your 300SDL. Certain W210 automobiles had rust issues under the door seals so inspect for that. Have a PPI (pre-purchase inspection) performed by a MB-trained tech on any automobile that appeals to you.
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  #3  
Old 02-28-2010, 02:12 PM
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Thanks, Fred. I've read about the steering differences and am looking forward to trying one out. I don't expect I'll ever own another car that drives like the SDL
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2003 E320 wagon, ~80k, "Sputnik"
1987 300 SDL, ~160k, "The Pimp Daddy" (sold April 2010)
1984 300 TD, ~200k, "Das Boot" (Demised March 2008)
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  #4  
Old 02-28-2010, 02:32 PM
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My 210 sedan drives quite well. The road vibration through the steering wheel is quite acceptable. The rack in the 210 acts as a damper, and it seems to do a pretty good job of it. Try one, you'll probably like it.
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  #5  
Old 02-28-2010, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferdman View Post
Randall, before spending too much time researching the W210 wagons be sure that you are satisfied with the way they drive/handle. With the rack & pinion steering the W210 wagons will feel quite different from your 300SDL. Certain W210 automobiles had rust issues under the door seals so inspect for that.
What exactly are you talking about in your assessment of; "how a W210 wagon drives/handles?" I don't find that the case of how my W210 "handles/drives" to be problematic whatsoever.

What I find with my W210 is that it drives/handles 'spot-on.' It's the first car (Mercedes-Benz) I've owned that literally does everything well.

As for "rust issues" to a car, any Mercedes-Benz will rust-out if exposed too long to adverse chemical/salts driving conditions.

What I experienced in driving my W126 212K miles, was that they suffered from severe understeer - which in itself is potentially hazardous when driving.

Last edited by Skid Row Joe; 02-28-2010 at 03:47 PM.
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  #6  
Old 02-28-2010, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Matt L View Post
My 210 sedan drives quite well. The road vibration through the steering wheel is quite acceptable. The rack in the 210 acts as a damper, and it seems to do a pretty good job of it. Try one, you'll probably like it.
My experience as well - sans "road vibration through the steering wheel." My W210 drives very well.
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  #7  
Old 03-01-2010, 02:15 PM
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You may know that every Mercedes model gets a "facelift" about 1/2-2/3 the way through its life. In the case of the W210 you for sure want the later version, which means a 2000-2003 model.

When you get your W210 you simply won't believe how much the 5-speed transmission makes the car so much better than the older 4-speed models. You'll be getting similar fuel mileage, although of course premium gasoline is more expensive than diesel fuel.
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Old 03-01-2010, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
<>although of course premium gasoline is more expensive than diesel fuel.
Not in some areas.
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  #9  
Old 03-01-2010, 06:55 PM
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In terms of "the way it drives" a 210 leaves a 126 for dead. The 210 is a responsive, comfortable almost-a-sport-sedan. A 126 is big and ponderous in comparison.

Yeah, the rack and pinion steering has a different feel than the old recirculating ball boxes, but nonetheless it is very, very good. Steering on a 210 has good feel to tell you how hard the tires are working and is very accurate on center with almost no play.

Fuel economy on a 210 wagon should be about the same as a 126 diesel, maybe a little better on the highway.

I'm thinking the reliability of a 2000+ 210 isn't going to have much trouble matching the reliabilty of an '87 SDL.

One thing to be aware of with wagons is they have a bit more road noise than sedans. It's not bothersome, but is noticeable. Be sure to drive any candidate cars at highway speeds.

It's hard to argue with a 210 wagon; they are a great blend of competent driving, comfort, safety, utility, and even decent economy.
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  #10  
Old 03-02-2010, 01:06 AM
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Originally Posted by jcyuhn View Post
In terms of "the way it drives" a 210 leaves a 126 for dead. The 210 is a responsive, comfortable almost-a-sport-sedan. A 126 is big and ponderous in comparison.

Yeah, the rack and pinion steering has a different feel than the old recirculating ball boxes, but nonetheless it is very, very good. Steering on a 210 has good feel to tell you how hard the tires are working and is very accurate on center with almost no play.

Fuel economy on a 210 wagon should be about the same as a 126 diesel, maybe a little better on the highway.

I'm thinking the reliability of a 2000+ 210 isn't going to have much trouble matching the reliabilty of an '87 SDL.

One thing to be aware of with wagons is they have a bit more road noise than sedans. It's not bothersome, but is noticeable. Be sure to drive any candidate cars at highway speeds.

It's hard to argue with a 210 wagon; they are a great blend of competent driving, comfort, safety, utility, and even decent economy.
Precisely.

I have no idea where that above poster Ferdman came up with his beliefs on W210's handling. All eroneous from my 11 years and 120K miles driving and owning one.

The W210 (mine anyway) is a precise rocket sled of a car that does everything well. It's fast, quick, handles perfectly, stops on a dime, and feels like a tuned sports car is how it feels in your hands.

If an SDL feels anything like my mid '80s SD did - they're apples and zebras apart from the W210 in the performance and overall ride aspects of the two cars. I much prefer the W210's precision.
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  #11  
Old 03-02-2010, 07:10 AM
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Rack & pinion steering gives an entirely different feel than the recirculating ball steering, at least to me. I own a 1995 E320 and a 1998 E320 and the ride/handling is noticeably different. I was simply suggesting to Randall that he drive W210 wagons to determine if he is satisfied with their ride/handling because it will vary from a 300SDL. Not saying it's good or bad, just that it's different.
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  #12  
Old 04-11-2010, 03:14 AM
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Thanks for the information, everyone. I've owned the W210 for about a month now and am posting back here for edification of previous repliers and future searches on similar topics.

The short of it: my 2003 E320 wagon is the closest thing to a perfect car I've ever driven, but I still love and miss the 300SDL.

The W210 feels smaller inside, and is more nimble. The throttle is amazingly fine-grained and responsive compared with an old diesel. The steering is very different: more confident around corners, but seeming to require a little more touch maintaining a straight line. It's very solid; it feels better at 110 than the SDL did at 80.

One thing I've always loved about the SDL (and the '84 300TD before it) was that it felt like it was working. Something happens when you put the throttle down, but it's not effortless or automatic. These 80s models still feel very mechanical and analog, and for me this makes them approachable and gives them more character.

The E320 drives so perfectly it's almost arrogant, but it still feels like a Mercedes. I was worried that something so new would drive like my mom's Camry (that is, like a go-cart), completely disconnecting me from the road. Not at all. Through the steering wheel and my butt in the seat I feel exactly what's going on at all times.

But it doesn't pretend to be a sports sedan, either. The transmission shifts into high gear more slowly than the SDL, which surprised me quite a bit, but the shifts are usually so perfect that I don't notice. The 5-speed helps.

Of the SDL I miss the long hood, the big steering wheel, the lower and more reclined driving position. I miss the sound and the smell and the simpler controls. I miss the size, and the trunk space.

I wouldn't consider going back, though. The SDL has one 24-year-old airbag while the E320 has 8. The E320 has heated seats and all-wheel drive. Hot damn, what a car.
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2003 E320 wagon, ~80k, "Sputnik"
1987 300 SDL, ~160k, "The Pimp Daddy" (sold April 2010)
1984 300 TD, ~200k, "Das Boot" (Demised March 2008)
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  #13  
Old 04-11-2010, 03:21 AM
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Nice update. Do you have any pictures of your new ride?
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  #14  
Old 04-11-2010, 03:36 AM
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Nice update. Glad it's working out well for you.

On reading your assessments of your W210, it occured to me that my W210 drives almost as well as a BMW. That's a spot on compliment too!
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  #15  
Old 04-11-2010, 06:30 AM
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W126 steering

"The steering is very different: more confident around corners, but seeming to require a little more touch maintaining a straight line."

When I read this I remembered how my 380SEL tracked on a straight line. The car seemed to drive itself. Perfect tracking down the interstate. But I do like my 2001 E320 wagon.

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