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Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedans



  • carnaughtcarnaught 'zonaPosts: 2,405
    Although you're entitled to your opinion, the E-class DOES give me my perceived status for all the categories you mention. If I simply wanted to pay less money I'd buy an Accord.

    P.S. My previous cars have included threee previous Benz's and one Volvo.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636

    You posed an interesting question. The first car that came to my mind was the G35, which I thought was going to be smaller than the E all around but bettered it inside on a number of key measures.

    Per Edmunds compare vehicles function, Infiniti G35 sedan has better interior headroom front and rear than the E, though the E hip room is better. The E is a bigger car outside, though standard wheels on the G35 are 17". The G35 performance is better than the E320, as is the reliability and initial quality. The E has about 1 cu foot more trunk space per the MB and Infiniti web site.

    All in all, the G35 is pretty close to meeting your requirements.

    The price difference is easily in the 20K range.

    Here are the keys.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I doubt anyone consdiering an E class would be swayed to a G35. I do think it is a reasonably nice car for $30k, but the overall interior quality is barely better than my 1995 Nissan Maxima. It's clearly nowhere near the league of an E class, 5 series or A6.

    I recognize aesthetics are subjective, but the G35 sedan and M45 score pretty low on my scale. Apparantly, the M45 scores pretty low on everyones scale. Infiniti is practically giving them away.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    I guess everyone has a different experience and tastes in this area.

    When I most recently sat in a new E, the plastic storage drawer under the passenger seat was either broken or off track - so that didn't ring my 'build quality' chime.

    Also, it seemed to have a 'chrome' door sill guard that looked just like something out of JCWhitney, but it seems that Mercedes has turned on the glitz these days to look luxurious.

    The Infiniti too has a metallic look and feel which I suppose is to be associated with the sport image. I kinda like the gated shifter look in the Infinit over the MB's wooden Monk in leather look. It seems like to me that MB replaced expensive gates with a piece of cowhide.

    Regarding the 5 and A6, I was a passenger in both in the last two weeks. Neither impressed me with luxuriously appointed interiors. The BMW in particular has a lot of low luster dashboard plastic that collects dust.

    All personal opinion and not really relevant to Microrepair's key points about reliability, performance and roominess.
  • mbnut1mbnut1 Posts: 403
    The reason Mercedes rank at the top of my list is that they offer refinement while simultaneously providing excellent driving qualities. The Germans are the only ones who have figured out how to do this and Mercedes does it the best.
  • microrepairmicrorepair Eastern MassachusettsPosts: 508
    The G35 is a car I got all excited about when it showed up last year. So I stopped in and tried it one for size. Yup, I'm 6'3" which is why I mentioned roominess in my prior note. It fit me pretty well except for the headroom with the sunroof. No way could I own it with a sunroof. And if I were to buy it without the sunroof I'd have to live with the downscale version that has NO options such as the leather seats, etc.. My E WITH a sunroof has plenty of headroom for me and even the W211 body with sunroof is adequate although it has maybe 1" less headroom than the W210. And even if I wanted a W211 without sunroof, I can order it that way and still get any other options I want.
    G35? Nope, thumbs down on that one..
    Any other nominations?
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Here are interior specs from Edmunds:

    G35 has a 2.5 inch taller space...and much better legroom.


    Front Headroom
    40.1 in.
    37.6 in.

    Rear Headroom
    37.9 in.
    37.2 in.

    Front Shoulder Room
    56.4 in.
    56.3 in.

    Rear Shoulder Room
    55.5 in.
    57.1 in.

    Front Hip Room
    52.2 in.
    54.9 in.

    Rear Hip Room
    54.1 in.
    55.9 in.

    Front Leg Room
    43.6 in.
    41.3 in.

    Rear Leg Room
    33.6 in.
    36.1 in.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    If those measurements are correct, your conclusion is not. The E class is substantially larger than the G35 in rear seat room. An extra 2.5" in rear leg room and nearly 2" in rear hip and shoulder room is a big difference. As I recall, that's significantly more than the relative difference between a 3-series and 5-series, the former of which is tight for our family, the latter is perfect.

    And the E appears quite a bit larger than the G in the front as well - same shoulder room but the E has nearly 3" more front hip room. Seems like the shape of the interior on one or the other must be odd.

    The only two measurements that the G is bigger than the E on is front head room and front leg room, both of which I have found the Edmunds measurements often to be misrepresentative. Front head room for the E is including a sunroof since virtually all have it, on the G35 is not since it is optional. I suspect this to be the case because a friend who is 6'4" owns an E430 that fits him very well was out measuring other cars as a possible replacement. He found the E class to have more interior and head room than the M45. I assume the M45 doesn't have less headroom than the G35. He also pointed out that, even on the E, he does not need to put the seat all the way back. Front leg room is measured with the seat all the way back. An extra 2" of seat travel may be great for the 6'6" and above set, but not most others.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Since the input was for microrepair, who at 6' 3", needs head and leg room where he drives, I thought the Edmund's info was useful. It wasn't a 'family' comparison. If you want that were looking to get good performance, reliability and save $20K, my choice is the Toyota Avalon, but I stray.

    The G also has better shoulder room than the E, where the E does win on the "hip" room accomodations. So if you are tall and broad shouldered the G might fit better, while if you are no proportioned that way, perhaps the E is a better sit.

    You are right. The E has more rear leg room. The E is 4+ inches longer than the G and 2.5" of that is in the back seat.

    The moonroof issue needs a little more investigation. I noticed there's no spec differentiator on the Infiniti site, so I'll track this down.
  • boo20boo20 Posts: 85
    Yeah, nobody cares about safety, aesthetics, resale value, innovation or anything else. The only important thing for the average 5'10" male or 5'3" female is how much head and leg room there is.
  • microrepairmicrorepair Eastern MassachusettsPosts: 508
    is VERY important to those of us over 6'2". It makes the difference in our purchasing decisions and prevents us from owning (or even riding in) some very nice automobiles.

    I just saw an episode of American Motorcycle on Discovery where Jesse James ( the builder and descendant of the real Jesse) built a motorcycle for Shaq O'Neal. Shaq drove up in a highly modified S-class. I couldn't believe he fit in it because I have a problem with the headroom in the S-class. But the drivers seat is up against the rear seat and for Shaq to see out the driver's side window, he must lean forward about 6 inches. In his normal seating position, he is looking out the rear passenger window. The steering wheel is about 8 inches forward of his kneecaps. And I'm sure the seat itself has been modified to sit directly on the floor. He has turned the 5 passenger S-class into a 2 passenger..!

    If you're under 6 foot tall, count your blessings and your lack of head bashings from low doorways, light fixtures, and car door openings. I can't count the number of times I wished I were 3 inches shorter..!!

    I owned an MG1100 back in the 70's that had tons of room and yet when I tried a Jag XJ6 3 years ago I could only get my right arm, right buttock, and right leg into the drivers side.! And it is TWICE the size of the MG1100 (new version is the BMW Mini). Not all cars are created equal.!! Or measured equally either.. My E-class is about the same size as the XJ6 yet I fit fine in the E-class. With a sunroof..!!!

    Oh yeah, and I DO care about safety, aesthetics, performance, etc. which is why I ended up with the E-class, not the Pontiac Aztec..
  • I noticed that you were very persistent in pointing out room. Both cars are very good, but you just can't compare a Mercedes-Benz E-Class to a G35. You have an overall package with the E-Class. You have status, elegance, reputation, and well known relabilaty. Besides that when you drive, not sit in, but drive a Mercedes-Benz E-Class you get this feeling of wow what a car. $20K more? Well take into account that Mercedes-Benz invested nearly 2 Billion dollars into designing the 2003 E-Class. They spend the money to make sure your getting a good car that will not go obsolete. Take for example the SL-Class they started selling that Body style in 1989 and just stopped in 2002. Now look at that 13 years and they still sold like crazy. Ten years from now the 2003 E-Class won't be a outdated car with no appeal. It will still be a Mercedes-Benz. Try to say that about infinity. Microrepair you with me?
  • microrepairmicrorepair Eastern MassachusettsPosts: 508
    with you sdautoreview, but the order of priority is somewhat different for me. I sprung for the E-class for ride/handling/performance, luxury, solidity, durability (not reliability of components per se), and then the status thing. I've never owned a car with this many miles on it before (122K) and am amazed every time I get behind the wheel at how much it still feels like new and still looks so good. Course I did spend some money on shocks tires, etc in the last year, but most cars I've owned have felt like trucks by 70K miles even with new shocks and tires and have had worn out upholstery, etc..

    The ten year thing probably doesn't mean much to me; I figure mine will have 150K about 1 year from now and I will have had it just 6 years. (I bought it exactly 2 years old with 38K on it.) It will be time for something else and since I'm now retired I'm not sure I'll be able to afford another E-class. So a G35 type of car is very appealing and if it runs well for 6-7 years I'll be happy. BUT, it has to be a good driver, as you suggest.
    Now, if I were to hit the lottery, I'd be in an E55 before a week was up and my own Gulfstream with pilot for long distance trips..!!! And an SL55 or 911 Turbo waiting for me at my vacation villa!!
  • r1_97r1_97 Posts: 181
    There's little to compare - The quality of materials and finish of the E are much superior. The drive is more refined. No contest, buy the E if you can afford it.
  • For the feel, handling, style, and charm of an E-class at $20,000 less, look for a 2001-2002 Starmark E-Class. I doubt that any other brand will seem as fresh after 3-4 years of driving.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I am probably going to offend both camps.

    First, regarding the Infiniti. A few months ago, I went car shopping with my niece who wanted to take me along for a second opinion of the G35 coupe, 330ci and a few other alternatives. She ended up with the 330ci, without any prodding from me, but simply because it was better executed than the G35 coupe. Better from both a precise handling and performance standpoint; much better from an interior aesthetics standpoint. The G35 sedan, in my opinion, is a step below the G35 coupe in overall design and interior quality. To compare it to the E class, when the G35 coupe loses in most comparisons to the 3 series is more than a stretch, it's absurd. The M45 and Q45 aren't even stealing sales from Mercedes (or anybody else for that matter). Would I take a G35 over a Buick - I mean Toyota - Avalon? Probably. But over an E? In Infiniti's dreams.

    That said, I have to take some issue with the claim that with the E-class, "You have status, elegance, reputation, and well known relabilaty (sic)". I am a previous owner of one of the most advanced cars made by Mercedes/AMG for its day, the 300SEL 6.3. Although my sporting tendencies are better satisfied by BMW, I have great respect for the engineering heritage of Mercedes.

    Unfortunately, "relability", or reliability, as I prefer to spell it, is not a current stong suit of Mercedes. If it gets any worse, it may become its Achilles heel. I have many friends and associates who have handed down 240D's, 300D's, old SELs and the original E's through their family trees. The old joke was, "what's the difference between another car with 120,000 miles and a Mercedes with 120,000 miles?" The car is likely "broken" the Mercedes is "broken-in".

    That history is not repeating itself, at least not without a lot of frustration among newer Mercedes buyers. Whereas BMW seems to have exorcised itself of electronic bugs that afflicted older models, some of those demons have settled within the Mercedes factory. The number of times my neighbor took back his 2000 E55 and now 2003 E500 to the dealership for problems is very discouraging.

    I hope Mercedes hears these concerns load and clear. If my circle of friends is any indication, Mercedes can not afford not to rectify the poor reliability that has diminished their reputation over the past several years. One associate even indicated he is consdiering an Audi S8. That would have been inconceivable a few years back.
  • boo20boo20 Posts: 85
    You just have to love these comments from the peanut gallery predicting the demise of the MB line. This has been predicted for, what now, 15 years? When MB did it the 'old fashioned way' (in the early 90's) they were getting their rear ends kicked by Lexus and were losing 600 million dollars per year. Since they changed their strategy they have consistently been posting record sales and profits. (Epn2 you don't seem to know the difference between a typo and a misspelled word but, whatever).
  • Perhaps, perhaps, but count me amongst the peanut gallery. We have a '99 C280 that has been in the shop more often per year of ownership than our (former) Chrysler Town and Country minivan, and that's saying something. This past weekend the driver's side headrest went to the top of limit of travel and is now stuck there 'cause the motor won't work anymore. Last week it was an AC evaporator sensor (350), in June it was the condenser and lines (700) then before that it was brakes and pads (600) before that the rear speakers failed (under warranty) before that an engine pulley separated from its housing (under warranty) before that stereo failed (under warranty) and on and on and on. (I am getting a little tired of it you can tell:). Lately service writer told me I need new front end bushings soon and a re-align, another 700 or so.

    So I am not looking for a new Merc, just can't deal with the headaches, and from I've read the new C is not any better.

    We are now looking at a BMW 325i as a replacement. Sure, maybe MB is making record profits but are they making decent cars? Not sure anymore...
  • (microrepair)-Our family currently owns 4 Mercedes-Benz vehicle. My primary car is a 1984 300CD. Has 285,890 miles and still runs like new! I agree with what you said about how you "get behind the wheel at how much it still feels like new and still looks so good" I agree! I was simply trying to make a point.
    I'm waiting for the new E-Class 320 CDI (diesel) to come out in the spring of 2004.

    (epn2)-I made a typo like boo20 mentioned. I guess you did too look below.

    "I hope Mercedes hears these concerns ->"load"<- and clear.

    (boo20)-Thanks! For backing me up!
  • OK my 1996 C-220 has been trouble free for 122,000 miles and all I have done is regular maintenance. Mercedes is having trouble with some electronics (I agree they need to be fixed), but as I have said before in other Boards, Mercedes has some of the best engines and transmissions and build quality I have ever seen and durability. I ought to know we have owned a lot of Mercedes. Mercedes cars will still go Thousands upon thousands of miles Ect…
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I too am waiting for Mercedes to reintroduce their diesel line-up to the US. Is the spring of 2004 date official? Any other sources of information you can provide or refer me to would be appreciated.

    Your 300CD with 284,000 miles exemplifies the reason I would consider a Mercedes Wagon to replace our SUV at some point. Unfortunately, I am concerned that, based upon my empiracal and anecdotal research, the current Mercedes E class is not as troubleproof and reliable as some of the older Mercedes models or the BMW 5-series. This fact seems to be documented by Consumer Reports, JD Powers, and even the information coming out of these Edmunds boards.

    I almost bought a E300 turbodiesel in 1999 before they were discontinued. Maybe I'm doing some wishful thinking, but I'm hoping that by the time Mercedes reintroduces the new diesels, they will have fixed the bugs and problems that would otherwise make 284,000 miles of ownership less pleasant than yours has been. If that happens, a 320CDI 4-matic Wagon would be high on my wish list.

    Please post any sources for CDI information that you might have. Thanks.
  • microrepairmicrorepair Eastern MassachusettsPosts: 508
    in the BMW camp, at least for the 5 series, may be an issue if you have the Steptronic tranny. I've been reading that discussion (5 series) for a month or so and am getting the distinct impression that many owners are seeing failures in the 100K mile range. But the manual Getrag owners just don't ever see a failure. Doesn't appear to be much else going wrong with them, so maybe they really are more reliable than MB these days.

    benzowner: for the record, my 1996 E320 engine (straight six) isn't bulletproof. I had to have a head gasket replaced at 118K miles.. And there are many others who have experienced the same, well before 150K miles. Checkbook deflated a LOT !!!

    sdautoreview: 285K miles on your 1984 300CD is awesome. That's the kind of life I had hoped to get from my E320, but it already is falling short of that kind of durability with the head gasket issue. I'm told that the gasket may go south again at some point; it is an inherent flaw in the engine/head design on that engine. I certainly don't want to pay for it twice just to say I got to 300K miles on one car..! I'm surprised C280 owners haven't seen the same issue. It's basically the same block and head as the 320. so I'm told..

    jfz219: My 1996 was a 2 year old Starmark car when I bought it and I thought I was getting a bargain; a beautiful Benz at a big discount.. And I was seriously thinking about a 2001 or 2002 Starmark for next year. But after hearing of all the things going wrong with those model years, I am having second thoughts about it. Even though the warranty may cover most of that stuff, the warranty only goes to 100K miles; then what? So it becomes a trade-in at 100K ?? Have all the MB's since the mid-90's lost the durability that made them famous?
  • My '96 E320 has been perfect up to now. Yesterday while driving all of the sudden the can ran very rough as if it ran with only 5 cylinders and the check engine light came on. I turned off the engine for 5-10 minutes and turned it back on again and it ran smooth again, but the check engine light is still on. I guess it has something to do with spark plugs since it has 56,000 miles (spark plugs replaced at 30,000). Any thought on this ? How can I override the check engine light so that it does not stay on constantly. By the way, I gave the car to an independent MB service guy to look at this morning. Your opinions are greatly appreciated.Thanks
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    cduong, the engine light on my E-class came on a few months ago but the engine didn't run rough. It was an oxygen sensor that went bad and was replaced under warranty.

    The dealer will reset your "check engine" light when you take it in for service. Were you saying you wanted to turn the light off without finding out the reason it was on?

    Happy Motoring! Mark156
    2010 Land Rover LR4, 2013 Honda CR-V, 2009 Bentley GTC, 1990 MB 500SL, 2001 MB S500, 2007 Lincoln TC, 1964 RR Silver Cloud III, 1995 MB E320 Cab., 2015 Prevost Liberty Coach
  • Mark156: Thanks for your quick response. Based on what I am reading on internet it may have something to do with oxygen sensor, I don't know how much it will cost me from the independent MB service guy. I wonder if I should get extended warranty for my MB. Question : how much does it cost and do you have to take it to MB dealer everytime or it will cover with independent MB guys as well. Should I buy Lexus in the first place due to its reliability in a long run? Thanks
  • boo20boo20 Posts: 85
    Happened to my E recently at 44 K miles. Replaced the 'air mass sensor' under warrantee.

    If you've been driving an MB you won't be happy with the Lexus.
  • Boo20: Thanks for your response. I will let you all know what went wrong and its cost so that we all can learn from each others
  • My independent MB service guy just called and informed me that the diagnose machine told him that it's related to spark plugs & ignition wires. Total cost: $310 parts and labor. It seems to be excessive for plugs & ignition wire... But what can you do. Just hope that this will correct problem
  • microrepairmicrorepair Eastern MassachusettsPosts: 508
    Can I be your mechanic?? That would be one way for me to be able to buy another E-class..! Yes, that price is definitely on the high side. The wire set costs about $80 retail (for just three wires!) and the plugs are about $3 each. So he's getting about $200 for labor for about one hours work??? Ooops, I forgot to throw in the diagnostic fee which must have been around $150..!!

    I did it myself last year for a total of about $80. I have a friend who got me the wires at the distributor pricing of about $60.. Took me about 1.5 hours because I had to figure out the setup. It is far different from most cars. MB claims you only need to do the plugs every 100K miles. I did mine at 80K and they were in dire need of replacement. A more realistic interval is probably 60K miles for the plugs. I've now got over 40K on the replacement plugs and wires with no problems.

    I had a non-mfg service center screw me over many years ago when I had replaced the wires and plugs in an american car and it ran rough as hell. They claimed it was a bad plug and charged me for diagnosis, a plug, and labor. Two days later, while on vacation at the beach, the car wouldn't even start unless cranked for about 2 minutes. Once running, I saw the problem that was accentuated because of the high humidity. The wires were so poorly made that they were shorting out to the block wherever they came near the metal. I replaced the wires with good ones that day and it ran great for years..!

    I hope your mechanic is right about the diagnosis; you don't want to be replacing the sensors next week in addition to an un-needed set of wires and plugs..!
  • microrepair: Thanks for your input. I check with where it sells parts for MB and I am told that a set of ignition wires (6) for 96 E320 is $140, spark plugs are $3 each... So total part is $158. So the rest is labor and the charge for diagnosis. I am with you when you said "hope that the mechanic is right...". Since my car was running rough as if it's on 5 cylinders yesterday, it may have something to do with plugs & wires. Lets hope so. Thanks.
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