1997 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 300DT Elegance 3.0 litre diesel straight 6 from UK and Ireland


Superb. Highly recommended


3 glow plugs dead (1 welded into the head!) - replacements £7 each, but tricky to remove.

Signs of rust - check behind the door rubber seals. Mine has been resprayed at some point in the past. A few bubbles here and there, especially around the wheel arches. Nothing major though, just keep on top of it and you'll be fine.

Corroded coolant pipe to rear of engine (feeds heater matrix for cabin warm air) - fixed for now with coolant additive, but will need attention soon. Not a big job really, but difficult to get to. The car has a massive coolant reservoir with an electronic 'low coolant' warning so its easy to keep an eye on.

Front suspension bushes split (tyre wear and faint knocking)

Wheel nuts stuck (poor servicing by last owner, no copperslip used, I warmed the wheels up to remove them)

Leaky diesel spill pipe in head (cheap to replace)

Oil black as ink (7 litres to refill, £15 ish)

Changed all the filters (not expensive, air filter was a fiver)

Power steering fluid slightly low (only available from Mercedes dealers, they won't say which type it is - about £8 a litre)

General Comments:

Its beautiful to drive, really quiet and refined. At speed, you can barely hear the engine which at 75mph is only turning at about 2500 rpm.

Acceleration is brisk, although traction isn't great when the road is greasy. The traction control cuts in a little too enthusiastically for my liking.

Autobox is nice although a little jerky when accelerating hard.

Seats could do with lumbar support, but they're OK.

Headlights are poor - I recommend upgrading the bulbs, as the reach is very limited.

Steering wheel has no height/reach adjustment that I can find.

Window wiper is quite clever, it detects when the car is stationary and automatically changes to intermittent operation, until you move again.

Aside from the above though, I think the car is excellent. It feels very well built, hardly any rattles or squeaks at all. Plenty of cubby-holes to put your things in, although it could do with a better cup holder.

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

Review Date: 29th November, 2005

1997 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Avantgarde Kombi/Estate 2.8 V6 4-Matic from Germany


Comfortable family cruiser


Eats tail-light brake bulbs. On average a replacement is due every couple of months. Irritating, but easy and cheap to change yourself.

Left-rear electric window failure at 140,000 Km. Fixed by dealer.

Instrument panel bulb failures at various times. Fixed by dealer.

Apart from the bulb issues, this car has never been a problem (touch wood). Still going strong and is a comfortable cruiser for long journeys. Very large load-carrying capacity.

General Comments:

Car is pretty quick, but is heavy.

Fuel consumption not bad.

4-matic helps in slippery conditions.

Standard equipment not very generous, but true for most German prestige models.

Generous internal room for driver and passengers.

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

Review Date: 8th August, 2005

1997 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 300TD 3.0 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Still the best estate car in the world


Air getting into diesel line causing occasional starting roughness - fixed with new O-rings.

Front lower suspension bushes split (common problem). Wears tires, but not a handling issue.

Driver's window motor sometimes fails for a few seconds.

General Comments:

Mercedes 300TE's with 7 seats are possibly the best vehicle to own, with the best spread of benefits: comfort, economy, safety, longevity, performance and reliability.

This 1997 3 liter turbo diesel feels as punchy as a previous 3 liter petrol 12v, yet gives 35+ mpg.

Comfort is amazing. MPVs and SUVs make me sick and often have a very choppy ride. This Mercedes is firm (Avantgarde model) but composed. Easily capable of 300 miles in one go (both in fuel and for driver).

There have been some paint issues with this year, and there are some paint bubbles forming on the bonnet underside edge, but for me it is the mechanicals that are the most important, and the massively under-stressed six cylinder in-line turbo diesel feels only just run in at 115,000 miles.

Indeed a taxi driver in Greece recently had a new Mercedes bought for him by Mercedes (Germany) in exchange for his 4,600,000Km 30 year old 240D. And no, those numbers are not a typing error.

I think this says it all.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th January, 2005

16th Feb 2006, 17:27

Update: 135,000 miles. Front lower suspension bushes replaced which made a good improvement on steering feel. Had the car professionally cavity treated to slow the rot (which despite being the worst paint job vintage by Mercedes it's not too bad), replaced all tyres with Pirelli P6000 now loose suspension fixed (this chewed up tyres).

Overall, despite build of the W210 not as good as the W124s I have owned, this is still a great car. At motorway speeds I am getting about 38mpg, but hitting 40mpg seems too difficult!

Often carries 3 children and 4 adults no problem, and sometimes pulling 750kg of horse manure! That works out to be around 2,625kg all up, which it handles no problem. Apart from the Audi A6 Avant with special 7 seater modification, there is no other vehicle like the Mercedes 7 seater estates, and second-hand with 80,000 miles on the clock they are really great value.

I expect to still be using this car at 200,000 miles, it really is that good.

27th Sep 2006, 09:36

What a truly spiffing car I own one myself and it really is fantastic.

16th Oct 2006, 14:28


160,000 miles. Had fuel pump valve crack - still ran fine, but not ultra-smooth, but cost £700 to get fixed! Ouch. Rest of fuel pump almost indestructible. Still going strong, now our only car. Looks about 3 years old, not 10 years old.

28th Feb 2011, 15:01

Update: Now at 220,000 miles.

Rust on bodywork is a real shame, and some welding maybe required. Has been from Cambridge UK to South of France and French Alps on 1,200 mile round trips - no problem.

Buried under a metre of snow and in -20C, cycled the glow plugs 4 times and it started (I did clear the snow from the exhaust first!). With winter tyres and snow chains, amazing for rear wheel drive car.

Still does 0-60 in under 10 seconds with ease and will cruise at 120 MPH (in Germany) but I can see about 20 MPG (imperial)!

With UK diesel now GBP 1.30 a litre, the 30 MPG is not so good. Have been looking to replace it, but can't find a good mix like this - maybe a newer one?

RIP W124.

1997 Mercedes-Benz E-Class E290 Turbodiesel T-Model 2.9 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Oil loss after 500 km.

General Comments:

Needs only 7 litres diesel per 100 km!!!

Not a lot for a 1700 kg car with automatic transmission and full options.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th June, 1998

15th Sep 2007, 02:58

Hi Just for purposes of education and clarity of mind. When did MB produce a 2.9 litre turbocharged diesel engine in the W210 E-Clas? I rather thought it was a 2.5/3/0 litre diesel and 3.0 turbodiesel. Also a 2.5TD in the C-Class (W202). Please correct me if I am wrong.

11th Nov 2008, 07:34

I have a E class Mercedes 290 SW TD automatic, 1998, and what a car it is::::::

16th Apr 2010, 05:07

Mercedes only sold in the e290 in France, Spain, Germany and Holland. I got my e290 in 1999 from Germany brand new; since then I've done 750,000 km on it and it has not set a foot wrong. The MOT guy in Guildford said he had never seen a car with this mileage and in a such a good state.