1997 Mercedes-Benz E-Class E230 2300


Classy, solid engineering, but maintenance is needed


Water jacket plug leaked, causing overheating at 240,000km.

Front suspension and engine mountings replaced at 250,000km.

Steering rack excessive free play - replaced at 260,000km.

Transmission failure at 275,000km - overhauled.

Head gasket leak - replaced and top overhauled at 285,000km.

General Comments:

Bought the car in 2011 at a fraction of its original new purchase price. Mercs at this age, if they have a credible service history, are a seriously good buy - provided you continue with required maintenance and upkeep.

(Malaysia is one of the few places in the world where the price of a new E class is equivalent to an average urban home. Given the fact that the former depreciates rather quickly, and repair costs are reasonable, it's a no-brainer to buy these cars used).

Serial # alpha code is ADB, indicating its South African build origin. Built 1997, warehoused through the Asian Financial Crisis and registered in Malaysia 1999. It had been company maintained and chauffeur driven most of its time.

Although generally well maintained, the grey leather had cracked and was reupholstered in new leather. Becker radio volume control was unpredictable - replaced with a Sony head unit, original speaker units maintained.

Rides superbly, stable at speed, hugs the bends and handles much better than the W124. The tall 5 speed transmission and Michelin XMs on standard 15 inch alloys afford a relaxed, comfortable and quiet 2.5k RPM cruise.

Despite its age, the engine having the luxury of synthetic lube throughout, has remained tight with negligible oil consumption over the 10,000km service intervals.

The blown head gasket was a gradual age-related issue, manifesting itself in coolant consumption and lumpy starting in the morning.

This has been my second Merc that required transmission rebuilding. This 722.6 box has a lot more electronics and is trickier to sort out.

Despite these issues, I am still satisfied with the car - the solid engineering, comfort, safety and the image more than compensate. A good part of this has to do with the independent specialist I use to keep costs reasonable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th June, 2013

26th Mar 2015, 09:02

I have a 1997 Mercedes Benz that I bought from a single owner in 2010. The car has served me superbly until recently when the car battery went low and I had to change the battery. After changing the battery, the car has totally refused to start despite other items like lighting being operational. What could be the problem, for I love this car and I don't intend to sell it?

James Goro Oronge

15th May 2015, 21:32

Did you disconnect the battery with the ignition switch in the on position? If you did, then you messed up the car's computer program.

15th May 2015, 21:34

"Water jacket plug leaked, causing overheating at 240,000km"

This will have helped the head gasket to leak.

9th Sep 2015, 00:22

Maybe the garage who replaced the battery intentionally did something to your car to buy it from you at a good price. Classic trick.

2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class W212 1.8 CGI


Buy a Lexus instead


Wipers have scratched the glass badly, door squeaks even when new, broken bonnet latch.

General Comments:

After many years with Lexus, decided to switch to a Mercedes instead. Some pre registered cars were offered on sale, and the cheapest E class was as expensive as a mid range C250 CGI.

It's a hit and miss car. Some parts are nice - I like the ambient theatre style lighting, it's fast for a 1600kg+ car with a 1.8 L engine (specs indicate 0 - 100 km/h in less than 8s with the new 7 speed gearbox). Refinement is poor, too much road noise infiltrates the cabin.

Some equipment is useless - there is a PCMCIA slot for media - I have never seen these media cards on sale. You have to be careful with the media display centre - it scratches easily and replacement is $3000.

The steering wheel is offset and not in line with the seating position.

After 125 years of car making, and the E Class being a core Mercedes model, you'd expect it to be perfect. It isn't.

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

Review Date: 1st September, 2012

5th Aug 2014, 21:31

Interesting review of this middle of the line Mercedes product, among the models that once helped the most to promote the name of the brand.

However, it's sad to see the company management still didn't wake up to raise the quality standards again. The windshield that scratches easily, body rust (on older models); such details show that Mercedes still uses inferior components on their vehicles.

21st Aug 2014, 09:39

Thanks for posting this review. I have been seriously considering an E Class, but now will more than likely update to another Lexus. Agree with the prior comment that it's a pity Mercedes haven't made quality improvements from the previous series E Class.

21st Aug 2014, 20:02

The only way Mercedes will get back to where it was, is to build a Lexus. Lexus started out by building a Mercedes. Mercedes made its name by building cars you could throw off a cliff and it'll still run, cars that are used as taxis in Egypt having done 800K km. Leather and gadgets do not a great car make. It's not the badge that makes the car - it's the car that the badge was affixed to.

24th Aug 2014, 10:22

Excellent review. Mercs aren't what they used to be. Lexus is a far better choice.

30th Sep 2014, 15:59

I am sure there are many more reliable and cheaper to run luxurious cars than a Mercedes Benz. Having owned a Mercedes Benz for 4 years and having paid a lot for servicing over this period ($4800), I am still of the opinion that a Mercedes Benz is a car totally in its own class. Yes, it is expensive to run, but if you want a car that drives like no other, Mercedes Benz is the car for you.

I sold my Mercedes Benz 2 years ago and bought a cheaper to maintain luxury car. At first it was nice to get the lower servicing bills, but that has now worn off, because the cheaper bills just do not make up for that special Mercedes Benz-factor. As soon as I can afford the high maintenance bills again, I will be buying another Mercedes Benz.