1988 Mercedes-Benz 190 E Sport 2.0 8v gas 4-cylinder from North America
Built like a bomb shelter. And surprise! It handles great!
A/C Compressor replaced 3 times so far since the car was new. No surprise there.
Shocks replaced at 110,000 miles.
Throttle position switch replaced at 130,000 miles. Decel fuel-cutoff had stopped working, and idle was surging.
Rear brake disc caliper seized at 140,000 miles.
Electro-hydraulic actuator replaced at 150,000 miles (part of fuel system that controls mixture, began to leak fuel).
At 155,000 miles at 13 years old, the car looks and feels brand new inside and out. There is no visible wear on the leather-and-cloth sport seats, which are incredibly comfortable.
The steering is starting to become loose now, and the car is leaking oil and transmission fluid slowly from several seals that are failing.
In typical MB style, the car uses about 1 to 1.5qt of oil per 1000 miles and smokes slightly under hard acceleration.
My car is a 2.0 Euro model originally purchased in Berlin (It's in the US now).
Built like a bomb shelter. No chassis flex, no rattles, no squeaks. Incredibly solid.
No visible signs of wear on the body or interior after 13 years and 155k miles.
Surprise! It handles incredibly well! It leans horribly through curves, but hangs on providing copious amounts of grip. And there's nothing you can do to unsettle this chassis in corners - no matter how much gas, brakes, or steering you apply, it stays smooth, composed, and balanced.
2.0 engine is 6-cylinder, smooth and quiet as a sewing machine. It lacks in low-end torque but pulls strongly to the redline, and can get to 60mph in 9.7s with the 4-speed automatic (G-Tech Pro results for my car... YMMV).
The transmissions on these cars shift unusually harshly - so you'll be disappointed if you're used to butter-smooth GM Automatics. They're made to shift fast and hard... not neck-snapping, but very firm.
The heavy flywheel weight and long, progressive gas pedal travel makes for a car that is reluctant to dart around or make quick downshifts. If you learn how to make the transmission and engine do what you them want to do, you can get the car to keep up with the best of them... but you'll always feel like you're "fighting with it" to go fast.
Gas mileage is ~22mpg overall. 60-0 braking is an insanely short 120 feet (with ABS), and you can't seem to get the brakes to fade.
All in all, a safe, well-handling car that should last a long, long time and make you very happy in the meantime.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 3rd May, 2001