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Old 07-30-2003, 09:32 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 123
mercedes a disappointment

I do not wish to start a major rift but -

I have to say that I have been less than impressed with the cars MB has produced in recent years -- I have a couple of old MB's -- my first car was a MB.

I was out looking for a new car the last two weeks -- my e320 was a total disappointment I had so many problems with that car -- major -- not squeaks and rattles. I did not replace that with another MB a few years back,

I was looking at the new SL - I loved the car until I looked close at the build -- the quality of the parts upset me, not to mention the new roofs of all the conv MBs have been a problem -- I just did not look at the car and say "I must have you" for the price one should feel that way. The dealers are cocky with the new SL now also.

I felt the same way looking at the CLK -- How do they make the leather in that car look like plastic!! -- The new S was out, as I do not like the style (same, same, same) and I wanted a two door car! Am I the only one who feels this way.

I love my 560sl -- I love my old 108 -- the are so Mercedes -- so German!!

I was driving my sisters 1992 400e last week -- another great car!

I hate to say it but my 1997 Jaguar VDP gives me the same feeling -- wonderfull interior -- great motor -- I have had no problems with it (thanks to Ford of Europe electrical systems) - I do not feel the same way about the "X" or "S" types.

I just do not get it -- maybe all the electrical stuff is a turn off to me -- The 90s S class was also a nightmare -- I would rather not go into that -- lets just say that many of the parts on that car have not held up as they should. It was an S class not the 60s 70s 600 grosser! I have herd the comments that it was not designed to be cheap to operate -- This I agree, but most of the people I know, who bought them new, felt they had way too much trouble with them - even the dealers warn good customers to stay away from the used ones.

They are selling a lot of C class MBs and all the offspring -- and the dealers are making tons of money -- so I must be in the minority.

Just my thinking.
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Old 07-31-2003, 07:06 AM
Posts: n/a
I personally feel that it would be somewhere between difficult and impossible to compare older models to newer models without having one in your stable to drive often.

Although I could do without all the gadgetry of my 203 car, it has proven to be every bit the Mercedes of any other that I've ever owned. Had I not bought it and driven it, I would not attempt to compare it to the other MB's that I have owned and driven. I think that would be an assessment made based on incomplete data.

Have a great day,
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Old 07-31-2003, 11:37 AM
Thomaspin's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: CA
Posts: 531
Look for a low mileage 1990 or 1991 (the latter has ASR, both have ABS and air bags) 560SEC if you want the best build quality and reasonable maintenance costs in a modern MB coupe without nightmarish electronic complexity. specializes in these.

By 1990 the 10 year old W126 design was pretty thoroughly debugged and the few problems are well known and addessed extensively on this board.

Sadly, the American Muscle Car derivative styling of the SEC does not compare with the earlier SLC, but it is a much more modern and reliable vehicle.

You can buy six or seven of these for one new SL.
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Old 07-31-2003, 12:02 PM
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 1,562
Yeld I share your sentiments exactly.

(I have spent significant seat time with '00-'01-'02: E Class, C280, C230K, ML320, C240 Sedan, C320 Sport Wagon, CLK55, and others)

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Old 07-31-2003, 12:19 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 123
I also liked the SEC -- the 90 /91 being the best in my opinion -- dito the sel's of the same years

I am looking for a new car -- at the rate I am going it will be a 2004.

I am going to keep my Jaguar 4 door - as it is in wonderful shape with just about 80K - and it is a great car.

88 560 SL -- not to drive every day at this point -- and I do not like the soft top on the highway - great with the hard top -- plus it is now 15 years old. (same the 108 -- even older -- just to lube that baby is an event)

I am in a position where I often I drive alone or with only one person -- I really only need a coupe -- that is why I looked at the new SL/ CLK -- SLK is a little small.

I will keep looking -- Love the forum
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Old 07-31-2003, 12:20 PM
UK 2.3-16v
Posts: n/a

Bought my 2.3-16v into work... Now I view the 190e as the last of the 'Weltmeister' Mercs - built like a Bavarian Outhouse, and it feels like it'll go four times round the planet on an oil change..

The CLKs, C-Coupes, C-Class etc we on the company fleet here feel so cheap in comparison I was shocked! Built to a budget.

My Boss's ML270 Cdi is 18months old and has been into the dealership 12 times for issues other than servicing. Plus it has RUST under the bonnet!!!!! 18months old!! I have less rust on the Cosworth, and thats 16 years old!
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Old 07-31-2003, 12:22 PM
DR.DIESEL's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Puget Sound, Washington St.
Posts: 522
let's try to remember what older MB's cost too. In 1992, a well
equipped 4cyl 190E could cost upwards of $45K and a SL500
would run you over $100k. Here we are over 10 years later and
these cars are sporting the latest in technology for way less than
what MB's of yore cost. Heck, my 76' 240D cost 13 grand when it was new. I could have gotten 4 Ford's for that same money.
If MB's were built today, like they were 20-15 years ago,
no one could buy them because they would be massive money.
I will say in MB's quest for worldwide mass production, quality
of product may have dropped a bit, but in their defense MB is
trying to figure out how to sell record numbers of cars per year
with old school build quality.
I can tell you that the 2003/2004 models are beginning to show
some huge improvements in quality control and better materials.
Plus after driving a Jag X-type and Infinity G35, other companies seem to be cutting costs as well. Not just us.

Just my 3 cents worth.
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Old 07-31-2003, 01:00 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Southern California
Posts: 2,055
Originally posted by DR.DIESEL
let's try to remember what older MB's cost too. In 1992, a well
equipped 4cyl 190E could cost upwards of $45K and a SL500
would run you over $100k.

Uhhh... according to my NADA Older Car Price Guide the MSRP of a base 1992 190E 2.3 was $29,850, and even if you added every available option it would probably not exceed $35K. It's also noteworthy that '91 marked the reintroduction of a four-cylinder 190 after a two year hiatus in order of advertise a new Mercedes for "under thirty thousand dollars" - competitive pressure at work!

You're close on the '92 SL500. It's base MSRP was $97.5K.

MBs were overpriced prior to the advent of the Japanese luxury car competitors and MB price increases have lagged behind inflation in the last ten years due to competitive pressure. Back in the eighties MB owned the market and charged what the market would bear. They made so much money in North America that they bought most of the German aerospace industry, then saw the value of those holdings fall down with the Berlin wall.

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Old 07-31-2003, 02:39 PM
DR.DIESEL's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Puget Sound, Washington St.
Posts: 522
Sorry. Not to doubt your NADA but, I have this 92' 190e 2.3
right in front of me with it's original window sticker in the glove box. dated 11.91, this car MSRP'ed with every available option
for $44,782.00 shiped throught SanFran PDC.
This thing could be a freak or a misprint but, it is original.
I really like how old S600s sold for around $135k in their day and now you can get a 03' bi-turbo S600 with 500hp for $121k.
How times have changed.
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Old 07-31-2003, 07:33 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Southern California
Posts: 2,055
Can you post the prices on this 190E - base and options? Does it include "additional dealer markup"? The NADA Guide gives the original base price for each model, and the 190E options of that era would have included leather interior, metallic paint, power seats, heated seats, and orthopedic seats. I can't think of any other OEM options options.

I can't imagine anyone paying $45K for a four-cylinder 190E in '92. The base price of a Lexus LS400 was $42,200.

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Old 07-31-2003, 08:09 PM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
Posts: 3,596
Duke 2.6,

I think you are getting hung up on a detail. My 190E 2.3-16, a mere 4 cylinder 190E cost $47,000 fully equipped in 1986! I think the point DR.DIESEL made was the price in actual dollars for a similar car has not changed in more than ten years, and in most cases has come down about 10% or more. If you invested that money for the last 10 or 15 years, it would surely be worth a hell of lot more today, even considering the present market conditions. And other vehicles, like Honda Accords and Nissan's and Toyota's similar offerings, which used to be under $7,000 fifteen years ago are now at the $25,000 and higher level.

If you take a different perspective, Mercedes-Benz is now building cars to challenge the low priced imports as well as their luxury offerings, on price as well as deliver all that is Mercedes. It is proving perhaps to be a little more difficult than it may have originally seemed, but it is good to hear that the new cars are coming in better sorted out and using better quality materials in response to valid criticisms like those from yeldogt and others here.

So, rather than wonder what the actual cost of an actual car might have been with specific set of options (because what it sold for is likely not available, and we all know that in the days of those list prices there were much better discounts provided to buyers than today), focus on the point. Had you invested the money for that SL in the mid 80's in say, Microsoft, you could buy a dozen or more of today's SL55's. The new products are offering a lot more machine, with all kinds of electronics, for much less actual money.

If you want to give the Japanese automakers credit, it is for pushing all this electronic stuff on us. They drove the thrust to make it all standard stuff for a luxury car, and we accepted, even endorsed the idea. Luxury no longer means "lasts forever" or "bulletproof mechanical design and manufacturing" or "exceptional handling" or any other aspect of what a great car was before it became a place to stash electrical and electronic doodads that you couldn't sell by themselves. Electric seats and windows drive me nuts. They should not be standard, as you should be forced to understand how much of the car's cost and then price is made up of this junk. When I bought my Euro cars, I had the option price lists for all this stuff. Electric seats cost and extra $1700 each in 1985. The automatic climate control system you all hate to repair cost $3400 extra, over the manual air conditioning system. Who the hell needs this stuff? If I am cold, I can push a lever in the "not so cold" direction, or, if I am too close to the dashboard I can manually change my seating position. No one would buy this junk if they had to pay for it item by item. I am going to stop before I get on a rant and set a new record for the length of these things.

The bottom line is if you could just buy the car, an SL55 would probably cost under 60,000. But because of us, you can't. Good luck, Jim
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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Old 07-31-2003, 09:53 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Southern California
Posts: 2,055
A 1992 190E 2.3 was the lowest priced model offered to the US market and is not a 16V.

I'm curious how one could have a list price of $45K when the base price was under $30K and there were very few options.

That's the only detail I was curious about. I understand the economic and competitive issues behind MB pricing over the last 15-20 years.

List price of a base 16V in '86 was $34,400, so I don't see how you could get to $47K unless it had a bunch of dealer add-ons and included local taxes and license fees. For '87 they jacked up the 16V list price to $40,300 - same basic car as '86 with only minor changes. Why? Probably because they thought they could and still sell the planned US allotment at that price.

When my '87 special order 190E 2.6 five-speed fell through in about September '86 after initially being accepted my dealer offer me a 16V at a substantial discount. I turned them down and finally ordered a '88 2.6 five-speed a year later when MB finally said they would be available for the '88 model year. List was $34K and change. I paid $31K, plus tax and license.

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