You may be correct on servicing costs, especially because you are in Japan. I am in NZ, and we get many of the used Japanese cars too, including European cars. But we have many non-dealer mechanics who are very good. So, even if normal working people can only afford to buy second-hand Japanese-import European cars, if it was well looked after, we can still afford to run them.
I consider your Mercedes to be one of the last "real" Mercedeses, over-engineered, very durable if serviced well. That is why they are used as taxis in many countries. But Mercedeses these days from mid-1990s, are not as good.
I hope that Mercedes quality improves again, especially after they sold Chrysler, so they are not bleeding money anymore. In the meantime, I hope your new Lexus serves you well, and you are as happy with it for the same long time as you had the Mercedes.
Thank you! My Lexus IS350 serves for me very well, and its fuel consumption is about 10km/l average, obviously better than my previous car, Mercedes 260E. Above all, my Lexus IS350 cruises smoothly and powerfully as a silky bomb! It accelerates as fast as the Mercedes E550 and the BMW 750iL, with well loosen-up engine and powertrain.
By the way, my Mercedes 260E made in 1992 is superior to the likes of Chrysler Sebring, Chevrolet Impala, and Kia Magentis or other crappy American and Korean newer offerings to this class in the elements of active safety. Thus I feel very proud of my departed 260E Mercedes could be still working and serving for people as a faithful transportation in other countries, such as New Zealand!
I believe my quasi-20 years old Mercedes 260E would corner and stop more safely than a Ford Falcon or a Holden Commodore of 5-7 years old.
I'm happy to have come across this review. I'm on the verge of purchasing a 300TE with high mileage from Japan. Having procured two vehicles from the Japanese used car market (Golf & Nissan) with great satisfaction. I think I will never walk into our local dealer/showrooms to get ripped off. "Kenya" where you get punished for owning a car. I've handled several GD series so I assume toughness "cuts" across siblings. I was taken in by the review of the 124 and having experienced the effortless speed, safety and comfort of a 200E I'm throwing in all my chips into the 300TE. However, I'm getting different information concerning the fuel economy i.e. km/lt. The manual puts it at about 10 and I see this review puts the 2.6 "smaller engine" at about 8 - it does not add up. Can anyone out there give me a factual figure? Automatic four speed transmission.