1998 Mercedes-Benz E-Class E300 3.0 inline six turbo diesel

Summary:

Smooth, fast, economical autobahn cruiser

Faults:

Can't fault the problems considering the mileage. Mainly just wear and tear items, with the exception of the plastic fuel lines leaking. Everything electrical still works flawlessly, and it still runs and drives beautifully. W210s are known to rust badly, but this car has for the most part, escaped the tin worm.

General Comments:

Even at over 300K, the car is still reliable and extremely comfortable. All the switchgear still has a solid feel, as well as the suspension. Will comfortably do 90 all day long without fuss.

A proper Mercedes, albeit with slightly sub-par overall quality compared to W124s and W123s, but as a whole, still a fine automobile.

Highly recommended, particularly in turbo diesel form.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th November, 2013

1998 Mercedes-Benz E-Class E320 3.2L gasoline

Summary:

Best car on the road. Period

Faults:

When I purchased the car, the following were inoperative:

Both rear windows.

Sunroof (would go up but not open fully, needs new pulleys and cables).

Shifter would not go into manual mode (did not check during test drive).

Defective Light was illuminated.

Because it was winter, I could not test the A/C. It needed a new compressor, proprietary tube and recharging.

The dealer installed new Dunlop tires. Unfortunately they are the wrong size - one size too large in width and one size too large in ratio. Because of this, the speedometer reads 5% low.

Since owning I had to replace a set of rear brake pads on one wheel (other wheel was OK, the caliper was sticking).

Just recently the car was rear-ended and someone hooked the front with a trailer hitch, breaking the lower bumper cover and pulling the cover out about 3 inches (7.5 cm).

General Comments:

Most of the problems with the car were caused by previous owners not being able to afford to repair defects when they happened.

In the case of the rear windows, on the passenger side, the regulator and motor were missing; the window was held up with zip ties. The driver side rear window had the cable wrapped around the regulator. Repairs were about $400 per window.

The shifter defect was caused by spillage of a drink. It was rectified by the extremely high heat inside the car from our very hot summer last year. The heat 'melted' the sugar, allowing the shifter to be used for manual shifting.

I replaced 6 lights and finally got them all to work because of the accidents. One of the lamps, the Standing Lamp, is proprietary and was very difficult to locate. Although a Sylvania product, I could not locate locally, finally finding the match online in Arizona.

I have not replaced the tires, as I can compensate for the speedometer error.

I have been driving M-B's since 2000. My previous M-B was a 1990 300E, which my youngest totaled while learning to drive. I was without a daily driver M-B for 5 years. I found this car about 150 miles from where I live. This was the best I could find. As it was mechanically sound (I brought my mechanic to check it out), I figured I could live and repair its deficiencies.

The ride is pure Mercedes, stable and secure. Steering is tight and I do not notice any over/under steer. Brakes are firm and the car stops in a straight line. Acceleration is brisk, considering the mass of the car being moved by a 3.2L six. The seats are comfortable, especially on longer trips. The climate control works very well. M-B finally got it right.

Everything about the vehicle is well made, the fit and finish is excellent. Mileage is very good, much better than the EPA rating. I get 20 MPG combined and 30 MPG on the highway at 70 mph.

The only thing that could make this car better is if it had 4Matic.

The W210 series are now very affordable. Parts are readily available. The drivetrain is virtually bulletproof. Buy the best you can find. My car cost $5400. The repairs (not including the sunroof) have come to $3400.

In the end, is it all worth it?? A resounding yes.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd April, 2013

17th May 2013, 15:16

Since I wrote the review, I discovered the right front tire was almost completely bald. Cause was the toe-in was out of tolerance. After a 4-wheel alignment, I purchased four new tires, as the old tires were too large to just get two.

After one tank of gas, mileage is up 2 MPG.

Something to look out for: Many dealers install new tires on their used cars. If the dealer does not have the correct size tire in stock, they will install whatever they have that is close. I have seen this several times. Too large a tire can cause the front tires to rub on the suspension while making sharp turns as in parking lots, etc (this was happening with my car - it has since stopped with the correct sized tires).

20th May 2013, 13:42

I would go back to the dealer and have their guts for garters!

24th Jan 2014, 19:16

Hello. This may be a dumb question, but I really don't know. How do you know what is the right size for your tires? I am looking to purchase a 1998 Mercedes E Class E320. The miles are incredibly high & am searching the net for reviews on the longevity of these vehicles, & what to look forward to in maintenance & fuel costs. When you made the comment about the tires, I just had to ask the question. Thanks so much.

25th Jan 2014, 16:10

A car can have one of several tyre sizes fitted, depending on which wheel size (steel with hubcaps - yes, Mercedes can still have them in many parts of the world - or different alloy wheel sizes). Check the wheel size (if alloys are fitted, then it will be on the wheel itself) and then check the tyre pressure decal, often in the fuel filler flap, or the driver's door jamb of cars. They will usually have a table which shows wheel/tyre size, so it could give you a clue as to what the correct ones can be.