1992 Mercedes-Benz W124 260E 2.6L 6-cylinders 12 valve


One of masterpieces in Mercedes-Benz's story, eventually became lemon!


At 95000km, wiper motor became weakened.

At 102000km, water pump and alternator became bad, and were exchanged.

At 120000km, oil pump and brake hoses were exchanged.

At 138000km, wiper motor was dead.

At 139000km, air conditioner was broken.

General Comments:

Generally speaking, this car was tough and beautifully engineered. In fact, before 95000km, there had been no trouble except power windows starting to work slower.

But at 95000km, wiper motor became bad and had to be replaced with new motor, it would be a sign of fatigue.

Its mechanical element was largely built to last and heavy-duty. For example, after the repair of several troubles, she cruised as fast and smoothly as when it had been new. Even at more than 100000km, it could reach its manufacturer-quoted top speed of 210km/h (131mph) with no slightest hint of strain and stress. Thus its true top speed proved to be 224km/h (139mph), far more than manufacturer data.

Along with it, it reached 241km/h (150mph)! @6500rpm (well into redline) on chassis dyno, with recording 177.5bhp (more than quoted horsepower) at 120000km! I think such astonishing data for its catalogue data of 166bhp (124kW) /5800rpm were results of 0W-50 engine oil (higher in grade than its manufacturer recommended 5W-40 oil) and carbon removing chemical mixed into fuel.

Above all, the mechanical precision of Mercedes'2599cc 6-cylinder unit with 12 valves proved to be excellent through that performance data!

One major defect of my Mercedes 260E was poor fuel economy, as average fuel consumption of 8.7km/l far behind those of the Lexus LS460 with 4606cc/385bhp engine and Mercedes' own S500L with 5461cc displacement, to today's standard. But it is sure that this data was commendable enough in early 1990s, compared with the likes of Peugeot 605 SV3.0 and BMW525i with similar performance.

And its noisiness was barely tolerable. I think it was largely owing to low-gearing with final ratio of 3.27:1. As a result, my 260E was as noisy as today's Corollas and VW Golfs.

Considering several troubles and towering service costs, the total running cost of my 260E could be very abusive, roughly as much as the price of new Mercedes' small car as B-class! So I traded her for a brand-new Lexus IS350 late 2008 (last year).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 10th May, 2009

10th May 2009, 14:44

At that age and mileage, of course you'll have problems -- with ANY car. You haven't mentioned an automatic gearbox rebuild, nor a top overhaul, no brake master cylinder rebuild either. Everything you experienced is just normal. Even on a Toyota.

11th May 2009, 06:45

Thank you for your response! I replaced my brake pads and master cylinders at 105000km and 130000km. After exchange of those elements for brake system, my 260E Mercedes stopped well and safely as when it had been new. But it is also sure that the service costs become more and more expensive, as its mileage increases.

As a whole, my Mercedes 260E was a reliable and economical car considering its mileage and age. Handling? It was somewhat dull and feelless, but basically it was safe as well as predictable I think. On S-line corner, it didn't lose any traction, so I could control the form of the car rather freely. Its suspension was somewhat soft but stable. So I feel the 260E is more comfortable and has more controllable handling, compared with a brand-new Nissan Teana and a Chrysler Sebring (these are 2009 new-models)!

Its ergonomics are superior to today's most cars of this class; from the BMW 5-series to the Chinese Brilliance BS6.

I predict my Mercedes 260E would have been exported to the country such as Iraq or Somalia, and used as a reliable transportation for some VIPs there now.