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Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedans



  • aggie76aggie76 Posts: 266
    I don't think we disagree at all here - to each their own desires, wants, satisfactions.

    I would expect that the engineering is very similar in the Mercedes line-up from low to high end also. If not, if I was paying the price that C-Class folks do for the low end and not receiving the similar attention to engineering quality I think I'd be just a little annoyed to think that way. That Toyota has decided to provide a unique marketing solution to a market is just a creative way of distinguished its products.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I would NEVER suggest anyone is stupid for preferring Lexus reliability over Mercedes driving dynamics. And if my previous post sounded that way, I sincerely apologize.

    Neither was my analogy to polyester to suggest that I thought Lexus was a cheap imitation. I was referring to the fact that there are a lot of products out there - polyester in clothes, vinyl siding on houses, etc.. - that are low maintenance but do not necessarily satisfy the senses. In the case of premium automobiles, I tend to be a bit more concerned about how the car "drives" than the average buyer. I don't think that makes me more sophisticated than most Americans, perhaps just more discerning of my preferences.

    For every Consumer Reports or JD Powers rating placing Lexus on the top of the reliability rankings, there is a road test report placing them well below BMW in terms of handling and performance. It's up to you and me to determine our individual preferences and pick the one that best suits them.

    As for your blondes vs. brunettes analogy, for me its more of a preference for an fit, athletic build over, shall we say, a "plush" body. Either way it's a preference and neither of us is stupid for our differences.

    By the way, I don't own a Mercedes. Although I came pretty close to getting an E320 CDI, I opted for a 2004 Acura TL 6-speed. It gives me a reasonably sporty ride, lots of creature comforts and according to reports by Consumer Reports even higher brand reliability than Lexus (#1 and #2 out of 33 respectively).
  • microrepairmicrorepair Eastern MassachusettsPosts: 508
    The last 10 or so notes comparing the LS to the E class are very interesting. However, in my case I can't even begin to attempt a direct comparison. I cannot physically fit into a Lexus or the Accura TL (2004). They just don't give me the headroom or allow ordering without a sunroof. So I'm stuck with far fewer options than most folks. Fortunately, MB makes a lot of models that have adequate headroom for me even with a sunroof. That's why I'm on my second E-class (2001 E320). I've purchased both as Starmarked cars with under 40K miles and about 2 years old. This way I get a terrific warranty and I've let the original owner put up with all of the little issues that crop up in the first two years.

    This spring when looking for a replacement for my 1996 E320, I got fairly serious about a BMW 530, Maxima, a Chrysler 300, and an Avalon. Not much else was a good fit for me, literally. All would have been new, not used, except for the BMW. And all would have cost a little more than the 2001 E320 I ended up buying (except for the BMW at roughly the same price). I could have gone with the BMW for performance, Avalon for reliability, the Maxima for features, or the 300 for uniqueness and power. But I can't get past the small trunk and rear seat of the BMW, stodginess of the Avalon, the strange styling of the Maxima, and the unknown reliability/issues with the 300. As was pointed out in prior notes, each of us has priorities in what we want in an auto. Mine were performance, handling, interior space, and a luxury ride and decent trunk for long distance trips. My 2001 E-class delivers on all counts as well as having an attractive look to it.

    I'm sure as I age a few more years, my need for performance/handling will swing more to quietness and reliability and I may look at Lexus/Infiniti/Accura again. In the meantime, if only Mazda made a large luxury sedan; Zoom, Zoom...!
  • I believe the reason Lexus sells so well is Price. They simply give you more than MB does for the money. The usual MB E class on a dealers lot contains nothing more than a sun roof & premium sound. No wood wheel, no xenon lights, nothing. When you buy a Benz the base price is just that BASE. Lexus includes more than MB.

    The build quality in a Lexus is an included bonus right now, as MB build quality has slipped as it rushed good looking product to market. (They were never head turning beautiful cars like the W211 E class is now), and they ARE painfully aware of the slip up in quality/accessory reliability & are working on it. It has cost them, but Lexus will always be a "less expensive Mercedes", unless MB drops the ball repeatedly and stupidly. (I doubt they will because, you don't have to be a genius to see what MB & Lexus did to Cadillac).

    Even the once mighty Cadillac which fell to "also ran" status, is on its way back simply by concentrating in beauty, brains & build quality, proving that you can resurect the dead.

    There's also a different build philosphy at MB. The cars are designed like tanks, and as such will last 20 years if given average care. No Lexus or Caddy could do that given better than average care. That's just their design philosophy, being a car widely sold around the world in all kinds of markets... a Luxury car buyer in America doesn't care about the car past 39 months...
  • benz4ibenz4i Posts: 2
    Thanks for the info, I wound up getting a 99 E320 with 66K miles from a non MB dealer. This car was originally purchased from ParkPlace Motorcars (an MB Dealer) on 59 south & Edloe, this location is now owned by Autonation and is called MB of Houston - Greenway.

    I will check with them if there is a chance to extend warranty although as u said, it is unlikely. I still would like to know which independent shops right here in Houston to take it to for repairs? any thoughts are welcome..

  • EdsotoEdsoto Posts: 42
    If you follow the saying that there is an [non-permissible content removed] for every driver's seat, then every driver will drive a car differently and NO matter what anyone (neighbor, wife, dealership, car magazine, tv show) says about a car, it all depends on how you, the driver, likes it - and you can like it, or not, for whatever reason that you want.

    Price, performance, features, heritage, newness, and a bazillion other things... It is all personal... with 50% of the population on one side of any one topic at a time...

    Get your car, be happy with it, if not, sell it and try again...

  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Your statement "There's also a different build philosphy at MB. The cars are designed like tanks, and as such will last 20 years if given average care. No Lexus or Caddy could do that given better than average care. That's just their design philosophy, being a car widely sold around the world in all kinds of markets... a Luxury car buyer in America doesn't care about the car past 39 months... "

    Dear barry45rpm

    You forgot to use the IMHO when drawing these conclusions instead of blasting away as if your commentary were fact.

    The JDPower 5 year surveys surveys show the Lexus line has fewer problems in 3 - 4 years than a new MB in the first 90 days. And the MB problems aren't just little electrical issues. This forum is peppered with failed window risers, door jambs, etc. etc. At MB six sigma is a distant dream.

    Like most MB fans here that love to pan Lexus, I think you are full of baloney about Lexus long term reliability.

    The same is true for other Lexus/Acura branded cars. If well taken care of, they too go many miles. Our family has had several Acuras with 250K+ miles with just 'normal' maintenance and no warranty issues.

    As my sister from Savannah says "We got the money, honey, but we ain't got the time to deal with them Mercedes".

    This is why they are getting jettisoned by anyone not trying to reproduce the British car ownership experience from the 1970's.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282

    I think you forgot to say, "IMHO" as well.

    I drive an 2004 Acura TL and elected to relocate my 1995 Nissan Maxima with 153,000 miles to our second home rather than sell or trade it for a nominal amount. So you will get no argument from me regarding Japanese reliability.

    However, IMHO, the German makes - specifically BMW and Mercedes - are not as far behind as you imply with your quotes of JD Powers. I only have a hardcopy, no link, but in 1998, Lexus was #1 in reliability, but with MORE reported problems per 100 vehicles than Mercedes or BMW for 2003. So there has been substantial improvement, especially for BMW in the 3 series and 5 series. Again, BMW (5-series), not Lexus, Acura or Infiniti, got the highest score ever awarded by Consumer Reports.

    And, since someone else quoted sales figures as an indication of initial quality, I'll throw in resale values as a truer test of long term durability. Check Edmunds used car values of a 1999 E300 Turbodiesel against anything made by Lexus, Infiniti or Acura. This is a vehicle that cost $43,000 brand new (I still have my order that I cancelled) and has a current market value in the low to mid $20's. That's as much or more than a LS400 that sold for closer to $60,000 in 1999. If you look out 6-7+ years, Mercedes are still in high demand. Lexus are not nearly so.

    I love my Acura TL 6-speed, with its great interior, sporty handling and numerous features. But I came pretty close to going for the E320 CDI as a car that I could have comfortably driven for the next 10-12 years. Oddly, I know very few Lexus owners in our circles that keep their cars past 4-5 years. They are still very good cars, with a lot of life left in them, but the typical response to "why did you get a new car" is "we got bored".

    So I'll end my final post on this by conceding that I probably value reliability and hassle free ownership as much as you, as evidenced by my purchase decisions over the last 10+ years. I just wish Lexus would get off it's fat duff of "relying" upon utensil like reliability (and fine Corinthian leather) as its excuse for building cars that offer absolutely nothing for even a mild driving enthusiast like me. IMHO of course.
  • tomotomotomotomo Posts: 57
    Since 1995 my wife and I have owned or currently own 4 Mercedes Benz autos. The first C280 was very good with only front brake pads and a fuel pump (at about 50000 mi) required. The next 2001 E320 with only one problem, temperature display requiring new instrument cluster (under warranty) traded for a 2005 E320 CDI recently (no problems yet). My wife has a 2002 C320 with about 12000 miles and no problems yet. Prior to the C320, my wife's auto was a 1996 Caddilac STL which had many, many problems, mostly electronic.

    "IMHO" one can find problems with almost any new auto if they look enough!

    In 1991, we drove a Lexus but my wife liked the MB more.
  • retnavretnav Posts: 25
    In Falls Church Va there is a private MB service and repair shop---- Don Pool Service. The facility is well kept and sports a multitude of MB's new and old for service or repair.
          I am curious, does anyone know of this facility and its reputation? Are his prices cheaper ? his work better than HBL or American Service Center in the NOVA area ? I have had excellent service from HBL at Tysons's, but when I run out of warranty, is Don Pool the place to go?
  • footiefootie Posts: 636

    The 1999 300TD was an anomaly since it was the last year of the diesels until the new 320CDI. It kept a much higher resale value due to its low volume and high popularity with the legions of MB fans that love diesels. With the new CDI, the 300TD will converge on the gas E320's of it's respective years resale-wise.

    You can't compare that to the LS400. Besides the right comp for the LS is the S class, not the E. (IMHO). If you think the LS resale % looks low, try the 1999 S on for size. The 1999 S was the last of the 'big' S class that exhibited the traditional MB styling.

    Now, regarding your JDP data. The JDP web site doesn't go back to 1998 but it does cover 2000. For the JDP VDS (their vehicle dependability survey based on four to five years of ownership )

    Problems reported for Lexus ( per 100 vehicles )

    2004: 162
    2000: 216

    Problems reported for MB ( per 100 vehicles )

    2004: 327
    2000: 308

    Note that MB improved to 296 in 2001, but was worse than the industry average of 355 in 2002, and was 318 in 2003.

    Industry average ( per 100 vehicles )

    2004: 269
    2003: 273
    2002: 355
    2001: 382
    2000: 448

    Lexus continues to improve as does the industry as a whole. MB unfortunately is still osciallating around the their 2000 levels.

    IMHO, your friends that are dumping their Lexus because they are 'bored' and go buy a MB indeed won't have a boring ownership experience. They'll get to know loaners and service writers and waiting rooms at their friendly MB dealership.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282

    Interesting. I ventured over to the Lexus LS board for the first time ever to see if you (and others) were as enthusiastic about promoting your beloved Lexux to each others as to readers of the E class forum.

    Apparantly not. There are more complaints in the last 40+/- posts than here on the E class forum, capped off by the most recent post as of this morning:

    "6252 of 6252 Re: 2004 LS Transmission Recall [milsuperdoc] by jj655 Aug 21, 2004 (6:13 pm)"

    Transmission Recall is not a joke. Ironically, I was driving my 04 to the dealer for the recall and on the freeway it died on me and lost all power. This caused me to drive off the roadway and I almost crashed into the guard rail. I wish LEXUS would have taken this issue more seriously and had tow trucks sent to all owners.

    For other 2004 LS430 owners.. Be careful.. this is a real recall & safety issue. I don't want to see anyone get killed or injured.

    Lexus is getting a nasty letter from me. The way I found out about the recall is this forum, rather than a letter in the mail from Lexus.

    Good luck to other owners.


    Well, Footie??? Maybe you should respond to Jeff with all of your propaganda about Lexus superior reliability and customer service? Or you could go over to the GX470 board and explain to me, and about 100 others, why about 70% of the GX 470's made have a "vibration problem" at 60-65 mph which is readily apparant to owners and service technicians, but yet to be formally acknowledged and corrected at the manufacturing plant by Lexus? My wife and I were seriously considering a GX470 as an SUV replacement this fall, but so far, every other GX owner we've talked to has experienced the vibration and/or "transmission clunk" issue. One of my wife's friends is now submitting a lemon law claim over this annoyance for which they have been back to the dealership no less than 4 times since December.

    Now I'm sure you are tempted to respond with some claim that these experiences are anecdotal and JD Powers is gospel. Don't bother. That is B.S. The J.D. Powers "scientific" methodology for gathering complaints, regardless of seriousness, and lopping them together for an overall rating is pretty damn suspect. Acura ranked #1 this year in spite of plaguing automatic transmission problems and major disgruntlement from a large number of previous TL buyers. Of course, that only counts as "one problem" to JD Powers and gets the same weight as a sunroof rattle. I still bought a 2004 TL with a MANUAL transmission, but I'm not running around telling Mercedes or Lexus owners that Acura is a better brand. I am much more inclined to put value in HOW Lexus, Nonda/Acura, MB, BMW, etc. deal with problems. And from what I can tell, neither Lexus nor Acura are at the top of their game in this department. It appears Jeff would agree with me, but why don't you try to convince HIM otherwise?
  • ray hray h Posts: 120
    1st re-visit in over a year. Amazing amount of inter and intra-make bashing on a forum populated by genteel folk discussing upscale cars... Trouble in paradise or just bored? I guess being wannabe middle class has its rewards after all.
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Right. (IMHO of course)

    Given the stakes of the JDP ratings to their customers, the automobile companies, if it were suspect, the Ford, Chevy, MB legal teams would be in high gear.

    Instead, not a word to the contrary.

    Stats is stats, my friend. What matters is the stakes and stakeholders and this ain't Texas Holdem.

    There was a wonderful BBC broadcast today about the German automobile industry having to finally deal with grossly overpaid workers and lip-service attention to 'lean manufacturing' and TPS style manufacturing methods. German autoworkers get 34 Euros/hr, while France is 21 and the UK is 18. Their productivity is in the tank, the product poorly executed.

    VW, Audi, MB and BMW all face on-going market share erosion until they get turned around. They can't differentiate their cars on the basis of historical brand value when problem rates are down with Kia and Mitsubishi while equivalent or better vehicles in virtually every market segment, work better, cost less And increasingly more importantly to an aging generation of buyers, cars from Lexus, Infiniti, Acura are much more hassle free.

    Sure the faithful, in love with the 'driving' experience, show up to plunk down their money for what they think is the product of old. But unfortunately, that's just what they get. Everyone else has moved on.

    FYI... I am not in 'love' with Lexus. I just don't care for companies that pretend that their products are the best, when they aren't.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "FYI... I am not in 'love' with Lexus. I just don't care for companies that pretend that their products are the best, when they aren't".
    You referring to Mercedes or Lexus? Hooked up with Jeff yet? Seriously, your services are needed in other forums more than they are needed, or apprecaited, here:

    2084 of 2090 Vibration Lemon Lawsuit by nbfc260 Aug 23, 2004 (12:36 pm)

    I just recieved my ruling on the lemon lawsuit that i brought agianst Lexus for the vibration, and they ruled against me. According to Lexus they admitted that my GX470 has the vibration but ALL the GX470 have the vibration to some degree, some more than others. So since all the trucks have this problem the abritrator felt that it doesn't impair the value of the truck and it is not a safety issue. If anybody else has a lemon lawsuit I would like to hear how yours went. I guess im stuck with mine. Glad I spent $50,000 for a vibration.


    That's an interesting response. Since Lexus screwed up on ALL the GX470's, no one buyer is affected more adversly than another. That's the "passionate pursuit" of something, but it sure as hell isn't quality in my book.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Let's bring this conversation to a close in this discussion. Lexus is not on topic here.

  • pathdocpathdoc Posts: 126
    My wife is considering replacing her 1998 E320 wagon with an E500 wagon. Does anyone know of what changes have been made between the 2004 and 2005 models besides the deletion of free maintenance on the 2005's? Are there sig. discounts on the 2004's vs 2005's? What kind of deals are out there?

  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    Pathdoc, I heard that the interior space has been decreased from the previous style E (2002 and earlier). I was disappointed by that because I was "halfway" thinking of an E wagon on my next purchase if I didn't go for a larger SUV. I have a ML500 that was $10,000 cheaper than the E wagon at the time I purchased my ML with more options. I have a larger, more powerful SUV with the third seat that faces forward. In 2002, the E wagon only offered the 6 cylinder engine (E320).

    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
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I am also considering an E320 4-matic Wagon in lieu of another SUV this fall.

    Since you have a ML with a third row seat, how useful is it? The Mercedes dealer I've talked to also sells Acura and indicated that if we think we are going to use the 3rd row on any kind of regular basis, the ML's is far inferior to the MDX in terms of room and comfort.

    Also, is the thrid row of the E320 Wagon used by anybody here and if so, comments?
  • pathdocpathdoc Posts: 126
    I recently read that the reduction of interior volume on the new vs old wagon was due to an error in calculating the volume on the old model which was released by Mercedes and never checked for accuracy. The rear seating seat in our current E320 is popular with kids assuming it doesn't bother them to ride backwards. Some it bothers and others love it.
  • Hey guys, what would happen if I use 87 gas in my 2003 E320? I've heard some people using regular and no difference in the car.
  • Ok,folks,here's the deal. I have some sad news for you all. The Mercedes Benz name has been resting on its laurels for quite some time now. Perhaps at one time MB was actually living up to its reputation, but that was a long time ago and, sadly, things have changed dramatically. First of all, let's get one thing straight: the "prestige" of the MB mark is quite unjustifiably exaggerated in the US, much like the "Cadillac" name was once synonymous with luxury in the 40s and 50s. In fact, if you drive a MB in the US, you probably (amusingly) think you're impressing your neighbors. In Europe, every Tom, Dick and Harry drives a MB and many of them are used as Taxi cabs. Secondly, MB is woefully inadequate in the area of amenities. Let's take the 1997 E420 (which I own): cheap running boards that keep popping off, cheap plastic used for the glove box which seems as if it is something one would expect to find on a Honda Civic, no illuminated ring surrounding the ignition keyhole to assist in low-light conditions, no volume or tuning controls on the steering wheel, cheap plastic trim around the "first-aid kit" mounted in the rear arm rest which pops off every time one attempts to open it, cheaply made directional signal/headlight arm which breaks easily, cheap vinyl dashboard material which develops cracks due to sun exposure...need I go on? Even the Honda Prelude I had ten years ago didn't have those problems (and still doesn' daughter now drives that gem back and forth to college)!
    The final straw for me was the right front spring mount which apparently has "collapsed" due to "corrosion" even though the car has been garage-kept and well maintained. One MB mechanic tells me that it's a "manufacture defect" and is irreparable since the body metal the spring mount was attached to is "no longer there" and that my only option now is to hope that MB will make good on it...otherwise, too bad. In my opinion, MB is taking us all for the ultimate "ride"..charging exorbitant prices for a piece of junk. You can keep your Mercedes Benz if you wish...but you'll be seeing a lot more of your mechanic than your wife. Good luck to all you die-hards...and good riddance to Mercedes Benz.
  • You want to spend more time with your wife than with your mechanic?
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    Habitat1, I find the third row very useful when needed and have used my ML many times to carry 6-7 adults. The people who sit back there say it's quite comfortable. I've never sat in the MDX so I can't really compare the two. Once you get the hang of the folding second row seat, it's very easy to maneuver. The second row seats slide forward about 6 inches to allow more leg room for the third row. It would be nice if the third seats were under the floor because it does take up space when they are hanging on the side. I like the fact that they have full 3 point seatbelts and "real" headrests.

    Jmatone, you should tell us like it is and not sugar coat anything!

    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
  • I have some NEWs for you too! I own a 2002 C320 and a 2005 E320 CDI and have no problems with either. Previously I owned a 1995 C280 and a 2001 E320 and had only two problems with the C280, replaced front brake pads, failed fuel pump after about 5 years and one problem with the E320, replacement under warranty of the instrument cluster due to a defective outside temperature display. Do you suppose the taxi drivers in Euorpe have MBs because the need them on the road instead of in the shop? Anyway, who cares what Euorpeans drive?
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    I have been to Europe a few times and I like it when I get the "Mercedes" cab. When chatting with the drivers, they buy them because they can get way over 200,000 miles on them with little trouble. I was in Spain this year and the driver had a 2000 E-class diesel but the odometer was in kilometers which showed 407,000 kilometers. That's about 250,000 miles right? This car was SO clean I was shocked and had to look at the odometer again to make sure.

    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
  • microrepairmicrorepair Eastern MassachusettsPosts: 508

    I just sold a 96 E320 4 months ago with 140,000 miles on the odometer. Until it hit 115,000 there was only one problem: the rubber bushings in the front end sway bars and tie rod ends had to be replaced. It was done under the Starmark warranty. At 115K it needed shocks, serpentine belt, and brake rotors and pads, none of which are failures; but wear items.. It did need some serious repairs around 120K; head gasket and water pump. But after all that work it ran and felt like a brand new car. And it looked great for a 7 year old car; people were amazed it was so old when they saw it. That's one of the major features of a Mercedes; they look good for far longer than any other car.

    tomotomo mentioned brake pads as a problem. I beg to differ. All cars need brake pads on a fairly regular basis; MB a little sooner than most. But they are a WEAR item, not a problem. So tomotomo's cars were even better than he thought.!

    When I sold the 96 I bought a lightly used 2001 that is so much better in every way. It's got the ESP, ASR, radio controls on the steering wheel (I am not sure that many cars offered that feature back in 96 and 97?), it rides smoother, handles better, and is much quieter. And the V6 seems stronger, but it could be the 5-speed tranny vs. the 4-speed in the 96. And I hear that the 2003/4 model is even better yet..! I can hardly wait to buy a 2005 in 2007..!

    Either you got one of their rare lemons or it was a Chevy with the MB logo on it..?
  • Better check this out and see who's building more reliable cars.. Big, big shame for the has been germans.
  • mbnut1mbnut1 Posts: 403
    That after years of building pure crap that the American manufacturers are building some cars that have decent reliability. In general the American manufacturers have singinicantly improved their reliability while the Germans have added significant complexity (particularly in the area of electronics) without the maintaining previous standards of quality control over the additional complexity. The bottom line is they still drive better than anything else on the road and yes unfortunatly there is a greater likelyhood of visiting the shop than some American cars.
  • i drove my beloved e320 over a curb and cracked the panel below the passenger side door.(it is flimsy plastic, to my surprise). is this a costly item to replace? thanks
This discussion has been closed.