1981 Mercedes-Benz W123 Reviews - Page 5 of 5

1981 Mercedes-Benz W123 300D 3.0L non-turbo diesel from North America

Year of manufacture1981
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 3.0L non-turbo diesel Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.5 / 10
Distance when acquired75000 miles
Most recent distance102000 miles
Previous carMercedes-Benz W123


Comfortable reliable tank


The previous owner left the car in a garage since 1995 and rarely drove it. I had to change the sway bar linkages (both front and back) and all tie rod end components because the rubber had dry rot and was totally cracked.

I ran over some road debris, a large piece of concrete, so I had to change the oil pan and a transmission cooler line.

It had a small leak in the radiator when I got it.

Local diesel fuels are rather dirty so I have to change the fuel filters with the oil.

The original paper speakers were rotten, but easily replaced.

General Comments:

Easy to work on in most every case. It has a lot of room on either side of the engine. However, there are many sharp edges that will leave your hands and arms shredded if you aren't careful.

It handles like a dream with the new steering components. The steering wheel turns easily with one finger even on sharper curves.

It is a little sluggish as far as acceleration goes. However, I cleaned some gunk out of the oil pan and the pickup nearly doubled. It is excellent for a 2 ton diesel though and has a top speed around 120 mile per hour.

With regular maintenance I have gotten the car up to 30 miles per gallon.

The interior is roomy for a car and is extremely comfortable.

If you're lucky enough to find an original Becker radio in one, you'll get in radio stations from nearby states.

Once I finished repairing the original damages, I have only needed to perform routine maintenance. It seems to take at least ten years for anything to wear out.

I had to do some adjustments to the climate control, but it now forms ice on the windows in 90F degree weather and can make anyone sweat after about two minutes even below the freezing point.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st November, 2003

25th Jul 2005, 22:39

This review was great! I just got an 81 300D and I got a couple of ideas of how to take care of my car. I wish I could ask a couple of questions as to the a/c and the oil pan, if possible drop me a line at patches252@hotmail.


1981 Mercedes-Benz W123 280CE 2.8 from North America

Year of manufacture1981
First year of ownership1997
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 2.8 Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 4 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired123000 miles
Most recent distance136000 miles
Previous carMercedes-Benz S-Class


The only serious problem has been a head gasket, which was god-awful expensive to fix, but what can you do? Otherwise the engine (and car, for that matter) is in superb condition.

General Comments:

A very well designed car - fun to drive, solid, remarkably quick, fast, and nimble (it's a Eurospec model with 15" wheels and 205-55 Dunlop P8000s).

The seating is a bit cramped - I'm a long 6 feet, and it is just large enough for me.

But overall... a remarkable car!! With proper care I should be able to own and enjoy it forever.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th April, 2002

1981 Mercedes-Benz W123 200 2.0 from Germany

Year of manufacture1981
First year of ownership1996
Most recent year of ownership1998
Engine and transmission 2.0 Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Distance when acquired29000 kilometres
Most recent distance48000 kilometres
Previous carFiat Cinquecento


Wonderful car for people who need to see that star on their hood


Brakes broken at 34000 km.

Exhaust broken at 42000 km.

Engine needed 1 liter oil for 1500 km.

Started to rust real bad.

General Comments:

A very comfortable car with a roomy and bright interior.

Strong and fuel-efficient engine.

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

Review Date: 2nd February, 2001

2nd May 2006, 17:42

I had a model the same as this a few years ago, and am about to buy another. fantastic car, the ONLY problem I ever had with the last one was a broken fuel gauge!

Were built to last, and do, fantastic 4-pot engine, simple, effective, and deadly reliable.

Note that these models are known to handle kilometers almost no other cars can.

6th Dec 2006, 14:52

A four pot is the same as a four banger or a four cylinder.

31st Mar 2011, 06:02

Ahead 20 years than other cars! Proud while driving with star!

Average review marks: 7.2 / 10, based on 17 reviews