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Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedans



  • 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.
  • Thanks for info. How much does it cost you to repair head gasket? Does it have to be done by a dealer or any good master mechanic would do?
  • I'm considering ordering a 2004 E320 4Matic with the Airmatic suspension. In order to get that suspension I'll need to order the Appearance Package, which means that the car will come with 17 inch wheels and 245/45 W rated low profile tires.

    I've assumed that I'll want to switch tires for winter driving. Would I also need to change wheels in order to get a smaller wheel that will properly accomodate the snow tires? Put another way, can you just switch out low profile tires and replace them with tires that are not low profile tires? Wouldn't that increase the total diameter of the wheel + tire combination? Shouldn't total diameter be held constant in order for the car to function properly?

    -- Rich

    What tires can I put on those wheels without messing up the car?
  • rowlandjrowlandj Posts: 254
    Get a set of 16 inch rims dedicated for snow tires. I have done this for years and it generally costs the same as removing/remounting tires twice a year. I have used the site and have been happy with the packages they have there.

    Good Luck
  • microrepairmicrorepair Eastern MassachusettsPosts: 508
    I had 3 estimates rangin from $1350 to $2000 (or more if valves needed to be done). The expensive one was an independent mechanic. I ended up going to the cheapest one, my selling dealer! And they included a loaner car. The other dealer ($1650) and the indie did not include a loaner..

    My dealer charged me $1340 and had it done in just under 2 full days. But I also had to spring for a water pump and they gave me a 30% discount on that work.
  • microrepairmicrorepair Eastern MassachusettsPosts: 508
    of snow tires is the way to go if you plan on keeping the car for more than 3 years. To swap out 4 tires twice a year and balance them is going to cost you at least $120 per year, more likely about $144 per year.

    I bought a set of alloys and four snows 4 years ago (from TireRack) and the best part is I mounted the summer tires on the new alloys, which have a very sporting look and get to enjoy driving my E that looks just a little different and more sporting than most of the E's on the road. Plus I figure the MB wheels will hold up better with all the road salt, etc. used around here. I swap them out myself in my own garage for a total annual cost of maybe $1 for the cost of the electricity to run my compressor.
  • vicvvicv Posts: 41
    microrepair is correct in my book: go to Tirerack and ask. They're very knowledgeable about fit and sell complete winter tire/wheel combinations ready to mount. You can probably go down to 16" rims because you'll have an E-320 and they'll go over the brake calipers. But if you do, go with the 225/55R16's to keep your speedometer correct. BTW, the speed rating has nothing to do with the aspect ratio. The two digit number in a tire size is the ratio between the height and width of a tire. 45 means the height is 45% of the width. Tirerack has a good tutorial on this on their website: H-rated tires will be just fine on a 320 because it's limited to 131 mph which is the H speed rating.

    BTW, my wife has an 04 E-320 with the standard suspension and 225/55R16H Continentals. It feel great - responsive, confident and tied to the road. I've never driven an E with the uprated suspension, but I have driven several BMW's with and without it. And my daily driver is a 2001 Corvette. I've very impressed with the E's standard suspension. Didn't want the road noise of an extra 20mm on the ground either.
  • I'm supposed to be able to get my hands on a 2004 E320 with standard suspension in a few days for an extended test drive.

    I'm hoping that it will prove to be suitable without the need for the suspension upgrade.

    I've been driving a 530i for the last three years and before that a 528i for three years -- in each case with BMW's standard suspension and tires. I don't expect the E320 to match what I'm used to but am hopeful that it will be good enough.

    If I'm not satisfied with the handling then I'll need to go to the upgraded E320 suspension -- which is why I've been fretting about the low profile tires.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Any comments on how standard setup 04 E320 compares with the BMWs you've driven would be greatly appreciated.

    -- Rich
  • mbdrivermbdriver Posts: 426
    I have a 2000 E320 with upgraded 17" wheels and 235/45ZR-17 tires. The car's handling characteristics were greatly improved with minimal sacrifice of ride comfort. The only problem has been noise -- despite having Yoko AVS dB tires mounted. Soon I'll be switching to 235/45-17 ZR Speed Rated Bridgestone Turanza LS-Z tires (Grand Touring All Season). Check Tire Rack -- the Turanza tires are rated by the experts and consumers as being superior to anything else (including low noise, traction, tire wear and handling/ride comfort/drivability). But they cost $204 each.

    Incidentally, the owner's manual states that the new wheel/tire size needs to be entered into the computer so the speedo and odometer remain accurate.
  • r1_97r1_97 Posts: 181
    After such a long history driving BMWs why switch to an E320? Is it that you don't like the appearance of the new 5?
  • mbdrivermbdriver Posts: 426
    I have a new 2003 530i (Premium Pkg, Auto, but not the Sport Pkg) and the 2000 E320 w/17" wheels/tires. Both cars drive and handle beautifully, and it would be a difficult choice if I could keep only one.

    Ideally, I'd like to combine the virtues of both into one car and eliminate the quirks of each. But I find very little difference in their drivability, handling and ride comfort. Actually, I have what I consider to be an ideal situation!
  • To say that I don't like the appearance of the new 5 would be an understatement. On the flip side, I have had an opportunity to drive one and I really enjoyed it. If I was indifferent about the car's appearance, I'd remain with the BMW.

    I'm hoping that the E320 will handle well enough for me. I suspect that the standard setup will be fine. On the other hand, I've been spoiled. If the E320 is too soft, then I'll look for the airmatic suspension.

    It's really irritating to discover that the E500 is delivered with the airmatic and all-season tires whereas the E320 with the airmatic is delivered with low profile tires. I don't really want the low profile tires because then I'll end up switching wheels/tires twice a year.

    I like the idea of the 4matic as well, but I'm not wed to it. I suspect that I'll end up with an E320 4matic either with or without the airmatic suspension. On the other hand, if the E320 isn't peppy enough for my taste, I'd consider the E500. The E500 w/ 4matic will likely prove to be too expensive for me though. Decisions, decisions.

    I wonder if I'd even like the E500. I always enjoyed the BMW 530i more than the BMW 540i. The BMW with the six cylinder engine just seemed like a more balanced car than the eight cylinder variant. Perhaps I'll find that the same thing is true of the E320 and E500. Anyone care to comment on that?
  • clemboclembo Posts: 253
    I owned a 1998 528 which was the best balanced car I've ever driven, I wish it had more power - the upgrade to the 530 solved that problem. I still love BMW's, I have a 2001 330cic that I drive when the weather is nice. Last year I bought a MB E500, I was going to get a 745i but I couldn't stand the design. The new 5 is just as bad if not worse due to the awful interior. The E500 is a great car, it does not have the same feel as the 5 but it does many other things better.

    If you can swing it, get the E500 over the E320, I don't think that you need a 4Matic, my car does fine in the snow. The power is great, the airmatic suspension is very good, the settings for the Sport mode don't make a big difference on the newer cars, but it is nice. Overall the car is great. Good luck with your choice.
  • I agree completely with your thoughts on the 1998 528 and the 530 that replaced it.

    I also agree with your comments on the 745i and the new 5.

    I'll give serious consideration to the E500 -- as you suggest. If you don't mind me asking, where do you live? I'm trying to get a sense as to how your winter compares to what I experience in Chicago.

    -- Rich
  • clemboclembo Posts: 253
    Rich, I live in Boston, I drove the E500 to work this morning on icy, slushy roads after another storm yesterday, it was fine. The regular E is not as good as the 4Matic but the few days that you would really need it due to the weather are not worth paying the penalty for the extra cost and weight for the other 98% of the time. My wife has an MDX that I use on the really bad days.

    I spent a few years in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, I bought the 528 at Anderson BMW in Crystal Lake. Your weather is not fun in the winter but the amount of snowfall is not enough to justify the 4Matic in my mind, I hope that I didn't jinx your upcoming weather patterns.

    It sounds as if BMW is losing you as a customer as it did with me due to the terrible design direction that they've chosen. I hope that they get their act back together soon, I was thinking of replacing my 330cic with a 645 convertible but I don't think I can do it due to the strange look of the car(although it seems better than the 5 & 7).

  • Jim,

    I spent ten years in Boston and agree with your comments re foul weather road conditions there. I had a Camaro back in the mid-80s when I lived in Marlborough and had to do a fair amount of driving at night in the winter to get to skating rinks. That experience motivated me to get an Audi 4000 Quattro.

    As for the 4matic on the E320, I don't really mind the added weight in view of the considerable weight of the car to begin with. As for the additional cost, that's another matter. I've not yet made up my mind on this topic. It will be fun to ponder over the next few weeks.

    How do you like your E500? I've read that some think the V8 is a bit too much for the car and that the V6 in the E320 is a better match. I understand that view as I always preferred the BMW 530 to the 540 for that very reason.

    I rather like the look of the new 645 (other than the trunk) but that car is clearly priced out of my range.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    -- Rich
  • Rich, I agree with Jim. Since my last post there has been plenty of bad weather here in Cleveland. My E500 has been great. Better than my last 2000 S430 and some how better than my wife's 2000 E320 wagon. Bottom line is that I would test drive an E500. Power and drive are better than E320. Obviously money is an issue. Snow driving should not be. Good luck.
  • clemboclembo Posts: 253

    Your point about the 6cyl vs. the 8cyl is valid for the BMW's, they make the best 6-cylinder engines in the world. But my experience with the E500 is that it is perfect with the 8cyl. It is not overpowered, it has the proper blend of torque, horsepower, and fuel efficiency (22mpg). The E320 is a great car, it has plenty of power but the 500 adds just enough more to justify the expense in my mind. The car that I have now is actually my second E500. the first car was replaced by MBUSA because they couldn't retrofit a NAV system in the car. Both cars have been flawless, I've read stories about declining quality scores for MB lately but these two cars over the past 14 months have been great.

    If you were able to get through Rt 495 in an old Camaro, you'll do great in an E. Use the holiday break to do a few test drives, enjoy the choice that you have to make.
  • Jim,

    Do you have winter wheels and tires for your E500? I just realized today that the E500 ships with low profile tires standard.

    I drove the E320 and E500 today. Very nice. I'm sure I'd be happy with either. I will spend more time testing each in the weeks ahead.

    The E320 is sedate compared to the 530i. The E500 is anything but sedate. Both cars handle well. I like the idea of AWD even if it's not a necessity. If I get the E320 I'll probably go with the 4Matic. If I get the E500 I won't be able to get the 4Matic (too expensive).

    -- Rich
  • clemboclembo Posts: 253
    My first car came with Conti Sport all-season tires and my current car came with Michelin Pilot all-season tires. I never thought that I'd feel a difference but the Pilots are a lot smoother than the Conti's. My BMW has the regular Pilot Sports, they are completely undrivable in snow although great in the summer. I did not order the Sport package with either E. You should check with your dealer, I believe that these are the tires that come standard on most cars, maybe they changed in 2004. If you get the 4Matic you'll be fine with these tires because the AWD system is terrific.

    The Logic 7 audio system is great, I can't remember how much it cost but it's worth it, so is the in-dash 6-CD changer. The heated wheel and seats are a must, I also have the wood wheel, it looks good. The special seats are not worth the price in my opinion. My first car had the Stone interior, it was very light and got dirty very easily, I ordered Charcoal(black)in my current car, it looks good.

    If you can swing the cost, you should check out the new Audi A8L, it has the best interior of any car on the market today. Good luck shopping.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    A while back several people asked about when the E-Class would get a new engine, specifically if the E320 would become an "E350" to reflect the engine in the ML350. Just as I guessed, that was a stopgap engine for an outgoing model, as Mercedes hardly ever just increases displacement and then call it a day, they loved to redesign things. Then E320 will eventually become the E350, but it will feature this engine, a totally new design: -benz/1.html

    The new 3.5L V6 is a big improvement over the current 3.2L V6, at 272hp, which will translate to 265hp from DIN to SAE figures. Now the question is when does the E320 change over, 2005, 2006? I would also guess again, that this will happen after Mercedes unveils the new V8s, so the new E350 won't be too close to the current E500 (302hp).

    I suspect some info will be released at Detroit and the rest at Geneva (March 04').

This discussion has been closed.