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.
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