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  #1  
Old 02-10-2004, 08:14 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Flyover State
Posts: 1,363
Thoughts about 300E 2.8?

I'm thinking this would be a nice compromise between fuel efficiency and performance.
I know the mpg gets better as the 124 line progresses with the 3.2 M104 in 1993 having the best mileage ratings.

But I haven't seen any feedback on the mpg returns on a 2.8. I don't want a 2.6, I think that would be too meager a performer.

Any owners out there have any comments about this car?

Thanks
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63 220S W111
76 300D W115
2013 VW JSW TDI M6

previously-
73 280 SEL 4.5
86 300E 5 speed
2010 VW Jetta TDI M6
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  #2  
Old 02-10-2004, 10:06 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Plano, TX
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I've had one of these for about a year now. There are several others well represented here; I'm sure they will be chiming in soon.

The 2.8 liter engine is of the M104 family; obviously it's very closely related to the 3.2 liter version. The EPA ratings for the car are 19 city/25 highway. I think the 3.2 version scores perhaps 1 lower in each measure - there's very little fuel milage difference between the two.

I'm of two minds on the 2.8. During the winter I find it adequately powerful, but no more. During the summer (what with less dense air to breath and the drag of an air conditioning compressor) I find it to be underpowered. Not badly so mind you, but the little engine just doesn't have much torque, despite it's 195 horsepower. I like torque.

Not that the 2.8 is slow, mind you. It's more a matter of driving style. To move the car briskly along you need to open the throttle wide, get a downshift or two out of the transmission, and let the little beastie rev pretty hard.

Both my spouse and I prefer the om603 turbodiesel in our 1987 wagon. Ultimately it's not as fast as the 2.8, but it has a big fat midrange torque curve that hauls the wagon around without requiring a downshift or any high reving antics. Oh, and it gets about 30% better fuel mileage too.

Between the 2.8 and 3.2 liter versions of the M104 I would prefer the larger engine. The slight economy tradeoff is well worth the more flexible power curve. That said, I recommend (and did) buy the cleanest car with the best maintenance history. In my case that was the 2.8...

- JimY
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  #3  
Old 02-10-2004, 11:28 PM
volosong
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Great reply, Jim. I was wondering about those 2.8 engines. Thanks.
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  #4  
Old 02-11-2004, 10:57 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Plano, TX
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I should followup a bit.

My wife is the primary driver of the 2.8 liter car, and absolutely loves it. I don't want to sound down on the car; it's been a good car so far. Total repairs in the first year of ownership (11 year old car purchased with 88K miles) consist of a water pump.

There are a couple of things MB changed on the later 124s that cause me to like them less well than the earlier models. The suspension on the 2.8 is notably softer than on earlier cars. It doesn't really feel German, though it's not American soft either. With a full load, the dampers feel a bit worn out. Also, the car is somewhat softly sprung, somewhat softly damped, but is wearing Michelin Pilot sport tires. These rather firm, moderatly high performance tires just don't feel right working with that suspension. When they wear, I'm going to mount up some plain-old luxury car tires; I suspect they will suit the character of the car somewhat better.

Also, the seats on the '93 are wider and flatter than in earlier cars - again more like an American car. They are definately comfortable, and still very firm, but have essentially no lateral support. The earlier 124 cars have well defined thigh bolsters built into the seats, which I like.

Of course, there are many things about the later 124 cars that I think are tremendous improvements over the earlier versions. I like the m104 much better than the m103 six. (But give me an M119 any day!) The air conditioning in the later cars is much improved - it's quite effective against our Texas summers, even in stop and go traffic. The later cars have automatic transmissions which start out in first gear.

As with so many things, it's better in some ways, it's worse in some ways.

My random $.02

- JimY
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  #5  
Old 02-11-2004, 12:29 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Flyover State
Posts: 1,363
Thanks for the excellent reply.
It definitely seems that given the nearly identical mpg's, the extra power is well worth it.
I haven't driven any 300E's yet as I'm not ready to buy, except for my friends '93 300E (3.2) which is a fabulous driving machine.
I actually liked the newer seats as they were very supportive but haven't sat in the older 300E seats yet. I do like the first gear start and the fact that the newer ones start in first, but I like the lighter weight and less complicated nature of the older ones.
Even so, with the increase in weight, mpg's managed to go up too.
The hardest part about getting into a 300E will be selling my fintail.
__________________
63 220S W111
76 300D W115
2013 VW JSW TDI M6

previously-
73 280 SEL 4.5
86 300E 5 speed
2010 VW Jetta TDI M6
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  #6  
Old 02-11-2004, 12:31 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Maryland
Posts: 8
Thumbs up Review from a Newbie

I have one and absolutely love it. I bought it two years ago with 150K miles and have 170K so far. This is my first MBZ so I don't have much to compare it with other than a bunch of Japanese imports and my wife's VW Passat V-6 4motion. I think I was fortunate in that it has had a new wire harness, blower, HVAC controller, head gasket installed (I bought the car before I found this forum). Aside from difficulty starting below 15F (there is a TSB on the HFI-SFM module causing an over-rich condition), it has been trouble-free. I am foregoing the replacement module ($$$) for now by depressing the accelerator at startup when the temp is really low. You may want to check if the previous owner has had the updated Bosch module (dated 8/94 I think) installed.

Acceleration is adequate to good, a tad slow off the line (compared to the VW and probably due to the weight difference) but with nice, steady power as it gets up to speed. A earlier post was right about your driving style dictating whether or not the performance is adequate. I perfer not to race away at stoplights and let those go who have an absolute need to get one car ahead. So it fits my driving style perfectly. Handles/rides terrific at moderate to highway speeds. Gas mileage is about 20 mpg with a 60/40 mix of highway/city driving. Smoke silver paint is crazing so I gathering information on this site to best address it.

Steve
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