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  #1  
Old 12-22-2003, 01:09 PM
CJ87911
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E320 vs. S320

I have a 94 E320 and was thinking of buying an S320 in the same chassis. What did Mercedes add to the "S" over the "E"?
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  #2  
Old 12-22-2003, 02:43 PM
gstigler
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Asside from being huge, the S320 is also underpowered. If you want to get an S-class, make it a 420 or 500.
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  #3  
Old 12-23-2003, 07:44 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
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weight difference

I can attest to gstigler's comments. Have owned a 95E320 for 1-1/2 years. Really liked it, so decided to look for a good used S class. Really wanted a S500 between 92 and 99, but a 95S420 came up cheap, all records, lots of milage. Ride difference is incredible, but the 420 needs to work to move it around.

Only been two weeks and it is still not on the road legally (needs to get the mechanical fitness done today), but am looking forward to the christmas holiday to get aquainted.

Good luck in your search
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  #4  
Old 12-23-2003, 09:09 PM
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IIRC, the W140 is known for particular problems including front end shimmy and AC evaporator failure--the latter being one of MB's ridiculously expensive replacement jobs due to the need to dismantle a lot of car in the process. The E-class, both 124 and following, have fewer problems related to body and systems issues as I get the impression from the BBs. The engine situation of course is what it is for a given motor in either body. Having said that, the 140 seems to be one incredible automobile when it's properly sorted out. I'd do some significant site searching on both models.
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  #5  
Old 12-24-2003, 12:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by gstigler
Asside from being huge, the S320 is also underpowered. If you want to get an S-class, make it a 420 or 500.
Its not really that bad. No seriously. Let the revs wind up and she'll haul quick enough. I thought it would be underpowered when I first tried one out. Quite a deceiving car.

You could fall asleep driving at 130 mph. But the car is a tank to maneuver.
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  #6  
Old 12-24-2003, 10:27 AM
gstigler
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No, you're right, I don't mean to dog the S-class, not even the 320. Even the 320 is able to perform at upper and highway speeds. I had just remmebered that they aren't quick off the line. But I only test drove one car, hardly a fair sample.
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  #7  
Old 12-24-2003, 11:10 PM
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For city driving, S320 is a great car. One of the guys said its underpowered, thats a typical Detroit mentality. Most of us are used to heavy 5.0L engines that perform extremely poor.

The S320 is a well engineered machine. Its has a decent speed and its fast. Besides its easier to maintain than V8s or V12s.

Now to your question, S and E are two different animals. S is a bigger car with various different electric controlled modules that can go wrong. If you can find one with starmark warranty, great; if not then be prepared to spend extra cash every quarter on maintaninence. Best bet is a 97 plus model. There is a big leap in technology and class in E and S classes. My 1996 S320 still has its orginal invoice of $67,000. A 1999 E55 is about $50,000
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  #8  
Old 12-25-2003, 12:13 PM
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Expert input?

I'm also contemplating (possibly) the same choice. Site searching netted me a lot of info, but only in bits and pieces. Here's hoping for input from our resident gurus, in the form of The Definitive MBShop Posts On The Issue, to which we can point others forevermore.

What are the weak spots we need to know about for an E-class six, let's say latter 124 through early next-generation (210, IIRC)?

What are the same for a 140 six, let's say through '95-96 or so?

Which is more likely to hand us huge bills, and for what? Once either one is well sorted out, how well can it be kept that way?

Our collective deep thanks for any light our experts can shed.
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'97 SL500, 40th anniversary edition

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'06 Lexus ES330
'89 560SL (sold)


SL--Anything else is just a Mercedes.
(Kudos to whoever said it first)
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  #9  
Old 12-25-2003, 03:01 PM
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I'm not an expert since I have limited exposure to the 124 and 210 cars (too small ) and my 140's been well behaved... touch wood.

The summary of what I've read is that the 124 E320 is a relatively troublefree car beyond the wiring harness and head gasket issues which seem to require one time or at worst infrequent attention. Replacing the AC evaporator is a big job but not as big a job as on the 140 and without the same history of recurrence.

Little things go wrong with the early 210 E320 and there's head gasket issues as well but I don't recall reading of AC evaporator or wiring harness issues. Well worth the price premium and new model bugs if handling matters to you.

The S320 had the 5-speed transmission from day 1 (I believe) so the chassis makes more efficient use of the engine's output. It's not a match for the V8s but it can hustle when called upon to do so. I've read that a 140 can nickel and dime you to death if you're not a DIYer. It will quarter and half dollar you to death if you pick the wrong one. In general the 140's biggest bite is the AC evaporator which is a $2500-3000 job and some have indicated at least one repeat job. The door closing assist function can get flaky which is more a problem for the trunk than the doors since typical closing force will close a door properly whereas you really have to slam the trunk lid to skip the closing assist part. Rear power headrests (the fully motorized kind, not the flop over kind) can stop working, the power rear view mirror (through 95) can get loose and/or the adjustment control can quit, etc.

Sixto
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  #10  
Old 12-25-2003, 10:40 PM
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Having owned a 95 E320 for five years now, I can attest to their abilities and disabilities. As mentioned above, there is an infallible history of head gasket failures and deterioration of the engine wiring harness on these cars that is perfect..............they will all fail!! Just a matter of time.

My head gasket went out at 95,000 miles. First indication that I had a wiring harness problem was at about 100,000 miles. Since the replacement of the head gasket requires removal of the head...you might as well spend just a little more and do a total overhaul of the head while it is out of the car. Total cost for the valve job (and new head gasket) was about $1500 from an independent shop. Dealer charges could nearly double that cost if you take it to your dealer.

Replacement of the engine wiring harness is a DIY project, if you are unsuccessful in getting Mercedes to replace your harness under their good will policy. They did replace mine even though the car was 7 years old and had 150,000 miles on it. I paid for three hours labor, but Mercedes picked up the cost of the harness (about $600) and the balance of the labor.

Once you have these two items sorted out, the car is bullet proof. I love the car and feel that I have a 300,000 mile life in the vehicle.

There are very few comparisons between the S320 and the E320. As mentioned above, the only similarity is the engine. I am not certain if the S320 has suffered the same head gasket and wiring harness issues that the E320 has.

Good luck.
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  #11  
Old 12-25-2003, 10:48 PM
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I had an older S320SWB as a service loaner and LOVED it. the W140 chassis is rock solid and luxurious to a fault. The 3.2L engine is as smooth as anyone else's V-8, and the car is easier to maintain thanks to the engine. It's "light on it's feet" for such a massive car, and I didn't want to return it.

However...

It does lack the punch of the V-8 cars. It has all the foibles of the W140 cars including electrical and AC problems. S420/S500 cars are not much more used.

If I were shopping for a W140 and came across a dream-boat S320 and a less cherry S500, I'd take the S320. Equal cars, I'd probably go for the gusto and get the V-8. Go in with your eyes open as the W140 takes a bigger wallet to keep in premium condition than a W124.
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