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Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedans



  • In 2001 both my friend and I leased new vehicles. His was a Ford SUV and mine an MB E-320. His lease is up in April and he is getting all kinds of offers to turn in his vehicle early and get a new lease for which they will forgive up to SEVEN (7) monthly payments!

    My MB lease is not up until September. Should I expect any similar treatment or will Santa Claus together with the Tooth Fairy arrive at my house first?
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,666
    of mine about the possibility of buying a used E320/430, or even an older mid-90s model, and the first words he blurted out were: "you want to spend all your time hurting your back sitting in a wooden church pew, you go right ahead and do it."...while I realize that a 15-30 minute test drive can be deceiving, are these MB seats like wooden church pews after 3,4,5 hours driving??? ...even before possibly owning one, I thought that a Benz would have fully supportive seats, with a multi-dimension lumbar support (absolutely necessary for my lower spine), similar to a Deville or Seville...what's the verdict from owners???...comfy support with lumbar support after 5 hours, or wooden church pews to cripple and materially harm one's weak lower back???...thanks...
  • jfz219jfz219 Posts: 63
    The opinions about the seats are all over the map. I have driven 950 miles in one sitting and was very impressed with the support of the seats. I have to admit that careful adjustment of the seat cushion and back is very important. I also admit that I change the position periodically.

    Friends of mine who also have the E-class have not been happy with the seats. The most consistent praise of seat design comes from Volvo and Lexus LS drivers.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I think yours is a classic example of needing to experience the cars for yourself, instead of listening to everyone else.

    If you like Cadillacs seats, chances are you won't like a Mercedes' seats. They, especially back during the years of the models you're looking at, were as different in design and theory as possible.

  • I have a 2001 BMW 530i that is coming off lease. As with many others, I am really put-off by the appearance of the new BMW 5 series. I am giving very serious consideration to the 2004 E320. I have spent only a few minutes behind the wheel of a 2004 RWD E320 -- not enough yet. I should have an opportunity for a more extensive test ride in the near future.

    I'd like to ask a few questions -- especially for those of you who have experience with both cars.

    First, tell me your views on the sport suspension which is only available as part of the appearance package. I've never found it necessary to get the sport package on my BMW sedans. One issue that I have with these packages (both the BMW and Mercedes) is that they include high performance tires that are most certainly not intended for winter driving. If I go with the Mercedes sport package in order to improve the handling to something that gets closer to what I am used to, have I just assured myself of the need to change my tires to handle the winter in Chicago?

    The BMW has a near 50-50 weight distribution and it has been easy for me to handle in all but the worst winter weather in Chicago. I've never bothered with snow tires. My neighbor, with a 1999 or 2000 E320 complains about how his car handles in the snow. Maybe this difference is attributable to different expectations or driving style and not the cars. How is the RWD E320 in the snow? What is the weight distribution? Can you compare the snow handling of the E320 to the 530i?

    I am intrigued by the availability of 4Matic on the E320. Years ago, when I lived in the northeast, I had an Audi 4000 Quattro. The all wheel drive was great and the car handled like a champ year-round. What effect should I expect the 4Matic to have on acceleration, braking and fair weather handling. I have no doubt that it will make the car much easier to handle in foul weather. Because the 4Matic is in limited supply, I may not have an opportunity to drive one in the near future. If the RWD and 4Matic versions of the car have a similar feel but for the ability of the 4Matic to handle foul weather better, I might consider ordering it without driving first (although I'd really need to be confident).

    The timing of my lease is really complicating matters for me!


    -- Rich
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    Marsha7-- After four years of ownership and 23,000 miles, my seats are great. I've driven the car 1,800 miles on a 3 day trip once and I found that the "multi-contour" seats with the airbag system were wonderful.

    Rich-- My E430 has the sport suspension and I wouldn't buy it again. The car has a tight/rough ride. Of course, you can probably go a around a corner at 60 MPH and not lose control because the car hugs the ground. I like the look of the trim work around the car but the ride is rough.

  • Traded an S430 for an 03' E500. Seats were a problem but after 3 wks found the correct setting for me. Interestingly, my wife's E320 wagon was just fine(seats) but her new Volvo xc90 is superior in comfort. Bottom line is that you really do need to sit in the car for at least the amount of time you commute to work.
    Hey rerobbins, was in your boat if you have been reading posts. E320 with sport really gets you the air matic suspension which is why I went E500(standard). It's really nice.Comfort setting is Lexus plush and tight setting is close to BMW. $ for $ you may get more MB now. By the way 4 matic feels the same.
  • What do you mean by 4Matic feels the same? Are you saying that it doesn't really detract from the handling characteristics you described?

    I'm a bit concerned that in order to get the airmatic suspension in the E320 I will need to order the appearance package, which includes some sort of high performance tire that is designed primarily for dry pavement. My fear is that I'll end up with a car that's not as reliable on wet or snowy pavement and that I'd need to invest in another set of tires for the winter -- even if I go with the 4Matic. What do you think?

    -- Rich

    -- Rich
  • Can't tell 4matic is on car I test drove but I don't have it.If you are concerned with weather as I was, sport package is a pain. Did you consider an E500 2003. I got mine $6k under sticker . Sounds close to a built up E320. I have no issues in snow so far here in Cleveland. Slip diff works great.
  • I'm confused.

    I thought that the E320 sport package included the airmatic suspension and high performance tires and that both of these are standard on the E500.

    Are you saying that the E500 includes the airmatic suspension but tires more suitable for all season driving?

    -- Rich
  • Talk to dealer about it but yes airmatic standard in E500 and year round tires are standard. I believe sport tires are an option. Unfortunatly E320 does not offer airmatic as stand alone option. Sport is just appearance(more agressive look) and airmatic.By the way, you should be able to at least test a C with 4matic to check it out.
  • I wonder if a dealer would swap the high performance tires included in the E320 appearance package for year round tires.

    Is there a strong reason why I should avoid that approach?

    -- Rich
  • This is my 3rd MB. Some dealers are good some bad. Some sales guys are reasonable but most want to see you go for the extra charge of another tire set and the twice a year charge to swap. Worth a try.
  • The tires that come on the E320 with the airmatic suspension are 245/45R17 95W rated tires.

    Can you just replace them with 245/45R17 95H rated tires?

    I assume that the W rated tires are lower profile tires as compared to the H rated tires.

    Is there enough room in the wheel well once you mount the H rated tires on the 17 inch wheels?

    -- Rich
  • I have heard so many terrible stories about problems related to this subject. Does anyone know which models are related to this?. I have a 96 E320 in-line 6. So many people with ML320/ML430 have this problem, if not detected and replaced early, the repair cost could be over $2500. Any info on '96 E-320 will be appreciated. Thanks
  • mbnut1mbnut1 Posts: 403
    If you are asking should you be concrned about your car the answer is no. The harmonic balancer problem is restricted to the 98+ V engines. You'll get the pleasure of replacing your head gasket instead.
  • mbnut1: Thanks for info. How do we know when to replace the head gasket? what are the symtoms? what are we looking for? Does it happen slowly or all of the sudden...? My '96 E320 has only 59,000 miles and I switched to Mobil-1 about 1.5 yrs ago. I enjoy driving my MB but with all the quality problems with MB that I have heard, my next car, for sure, will be a Lexus... I will trade everything for reliability, period
  • microrepairmicrorepair Eastern MassachusettsPosts: 508
    the head gaskets on the straight six usually don't fail until over 100K miles. Mine started dripping oil from the front passenger side corner of the block at about 113K miles. I had the head gasket replaced at 116K miles. And the water pump crapped out 2 days before the scheduled head gasket repair..! Great timing.. At least some of the same labor wasn't charged twice..!
  • khicekhice Posts: 13
    I've been looking at C's for my wife and tested a 4matic at Orland Park in Chicago. Couldn't tell the difference between it and rwd on dry pavement.I just got the Blizzaks on my rwd E320 wagon and would never consider trusting to the Michelin MXV's on a rwd in a big snow. I got stuck twice during one particularly nasty afternoon rush-hour storm driving the all-weathers. Does anyone have an opinion on the Dunlop M2 Winter Sport? I'm close to making a deal for my wife on a 2002 C230 Kompressor w/17" wheels and am considering the Dunlops for winter use.
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    It is one of the highly rated winter tires in a recent German auto magazine test, which compared more than a dozen winter tires. I have been running them for 2 seasons on my 5-series and they are VERY quiet on dry, and handles well. For heavy snow, you may want something with more aggressive thread pattern with Q-rating, though.

    Some German taxi drivers run them year around.
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