Even as a base model - fantastic!
Mass air flow sensor needed replacement.
Catalytic converter got plugged and had to be replaced.
Outside of that, normal stuff - oil changes, spark plug change (there are 12!) etc. I did have the tie rods changed at about 150K.
This was the first year for the ML320 and we got the base model. It was quirky to say the least. On a trip through a blizzard, it drove through like a champ. Other cars, trucks etc were on the side of the road and the w163 plowed though with ease. Of course, the BAS/ESP light went on the next time I started it up, but went away soon after.
The drive was rough. This is really a light truck. The newer models are more refined. I liked this vehicle so much I bought a newer ML320 when I sold it.
Overall, great vehicle. OUTSTANDING in the winter. I sold it before the prices bottomed out on them.
Would I buy another -yes, I did. Would I buy a 1998 again... only if there was not a newer model available at a good price.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 7th August, 2009