1997 Mercedes-Benz E-Class E230 2300 from Malaysia


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.

1997 Mercedes-Benz E-Class E320 from North America


Comfortable elegant cruiser


Nothing so far.

General Comments:

I have only owned this car for 1 month, so I can't comment on reliability or repair costs, as I haven't had any yet. I can just say that for a 15 year old car, it still feels very solid, and it is fun to drive.

It has a lot more power than I would have expected - when you step hard on the gas, it really moves. It's a rather mild mannered car, but in aggressive driving, it sort of takes on a different persona. It cruises down the highway smoothly, and it's a pleasure to drive around town as well.

I find the seats to be quite comfortable - they are adjustable in many different ways, and are rather firm, which I appreciate.

The interior is roomy, as is the trunk. I know it's an old car, but the interior trim doesn't seem as high quality as the older Mercedes vehicles I have owned (1983 300D, 1987 300D Turbo, and 1984 190E). After 1994, Mercedes started cutting some corners, and it shows in the slightly less durable leather of the seats, as well as the cracks in the dash. But every feature is functional, and all the trim pieces are intact, and still looks very pleasant.

Considering I didn't pay too much for the car, if I get a year or two out of it, I will be happy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th January, 2013