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Mercedes E-Class Wagons (E320, E500, E55 AMG)

I am considering buying a 1995 E320 wagon. This
will be my first Mercedes and have my concerns
regarding the horror stories about the cost of
maintenance. The car I'm considering has only
35,000 miles on it and I'll have it checked out by
our mechanic who specializes in Mercedes, but what
"normal" expenses should I expect. I just read
about the guy whos A/C compressor, head gasket, etc
went out to the tune of $3000.

While the cost of this car isn't a stretch for me,
I certainly don't want to be spending tons on what
I would hope would be a reliable means of

Also, I understand this uses premium fuel so what
kind of gas mileage can I realistly expect. I'm
getting rid of my Ford Expedition because of the 12
mpg (decided when gas hit $1.50+).

Am I buying this auto for the wrong reason and
expecting too much? I'm looking for a great vehicle
with room for hauling some "stuff", but with a
little comfort and isn't going to make me regret
buying it due to maintenance.


  • editjeffeditjeff Posts: 5

    European cars in general tend to undergo a "midlife crisis" that usually involves a great deal of expense. Mercedes are not immune to this phenomenon. Our 1988 Volvo 760 went through an AC compressor, AC condenser, radiator, front brakes (couple of times), fuel pumps (it has 2) transmission mount, rear Nivomat shocks ($500 parts alone), struts, oil leaks, water pump, on and on and on.

    Many people will stick it out and pay the ransom because they love the car. We stayed with our Volvo a little too long I think. A Mercedes should be somewhat better about overall durability of parts and systems. But be prepared in case it is not. It is very easy to have a single visit to the shop cost $3000 and that may happen every year.

    We now have a Subaru Outback wagon which I like, but it does not have that european feel. It is primarily my wife's car so I don't complain too much. I would love to have a Mercedes wagon even with the chance of high maintenance costs.

  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    Hi Folks, I'm thinking of getting a 2001 E-wagon around xmas time when I trade my '99 Jeep Grand Cherokee in. I've had two Jeeps in the past and would like to try something different. I like the fact that the wagon gets considerable better mileage Also, the third seat would come in handy. I had an older Mercedes in the past ('91 560SEL) that started to cost me a fortune in repairs with only 82,000 miles. So, I traded it in on a 2001 E430 sport (currently 4,000 miles).

    Happy travels, Mark
    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
  • cchow2cchow2 Posts: 1
    I've heard that Mercedes E class seats are uncomfortable on long trips. Any comments?
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    I have a 2000 E430 that I'm getting ready to take on a 1,800 mile trip. With 4,000 current miles, I find the car very comfortable. I have the optional multicontour seats that make them very adjustable. I'll let you know if there is a problem.
    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 am planning an E320 Wagon purchase next year and heard through the rumour mill that the E series would go through a major redesign for 2002. Does anyone know if this is in fact true and will that also apply to the wagon?
  • alingaling Posts: 598
    Nope, for model year 2003 (meaning that the cars should start arriving here in fall of 2002) but definitely not next year. That would be far too soon!

  • hi all --
    i would like to update my '00 e320 estate with 17" wheels. just wondering if bigger rims would deteriorate the ride. thanks --edward
  • alingaling Posts: 598
    You can expect the ride to definitely be firmer, but also expect the handling to be slightly better. With the larger wheels, you'll need tires with lower sidewalls (this is called Plus One sizing) to compensate so that the overall diameter is still the same as before (so you won't run into any speedometer or odometer errors). This lower sidewall is why the ride deteriorates - less cushioning - and handling improves - less sidewall flex in turns.

    Hope this helps!
  • hello drew -
    thanks for the great advice. i think 17" on a set of amg wheels would do nicely on my wagon. --edward
  • alingaling Posts: 598
    Yes, the AMG wheels would look nice. I recommend that you check out the AMG wheel prices at They're usually much cheaper than buying from your dealership. But, also have a look at the MB accessories catalogue since they have a wide selection and something may meet your fancy.

    Good luck!
  • hello drew --
    i have finally bought a set of 17" amg monoblock from the tirerack as suggested. they do look great and the handling is pretty fantastic on dunlop 5000. the ride is a little rougher over unsmooth roads. thanks for the great advice. oh i need now is the e55's engine :-) -ed
  • alingaling Posts: 598
    Glad that you're enjoying the ride and the wheels, Edward. LOL, the E55's engine would be nice, but not when gas prices are double what they were last year :-)

    Best of luck!
    Townhall Community Leader/Vans Conference
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    As I mentioned above, I took my E430 from TN to CA on a 1,800 mile trip. I averaged a little over 25mpg with my V-8. The car was smooth and quiet. Although I'm looking to replace my '99 Jeep GC with another SUV, I just might end up with a E wagon. I'm curious if the new E wagon will come out in 2003 with the new sedan? Mark
    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've read more than once in the past year that M/B was to offer a V8 in the "E" wagon. Does anyone know anything about this? Dealers seem to know nothing about it. Daveb
  • hello dave --
    the rest of the world has always enjoyed the power of a v8 in their mb wagons. even an amg e55 wagon! my dealer said mb does not plan to sell it in america because of the lack of interest. suvs seems to be the trend here. brabus (, a well-known tuner in europe (bigger than amg), can shoe-horn a v8 into an e320 wagon. they have just open a 'garage' in california. good luck -edward
  • i am looking for the new style amg bodykit for my 2000 wagon (just love the twist ribbon sideskirts). it would be a chore to get the '00 euro amg e55 wagon bodykit directly from germany since my dealer doesn't seem to know much (can't believe the dealer doesn't even know there's an amg wagon out there!). does anyone know if the sideskirts and the front valance of the '00 e430 sport package or '01 e320/e430 sport package would fit on my '00 e320 wagon? it would seem so since they share the same length (wheel well to wheel well) and width. much help would be appreciated. --ed
  • Like a few others noted here, I'm considering the purchase of a 2001 E320 Wagon. My questions include:

    1. Does the "Command" system really work for providing driving directions and is it easy to use?
    2. Does MB offer a roof luggage carrier for this car?
    3. I sat in a new 2000 and found the seats to feel a little hard. Are they comfortable for long-distance driving?

    Many thanks.
  • hello harleybob --
    the command system is difficult to use. one has to thoroughly read to owner's manual but once mastered, it is very nice to have.
    mb dealer does offer a lugguage carrier for the e-wagon but it is expensive. just ask the dealer for the accesories catalogue. but you're better off getting it from yakima or thule.
    and the seats seem hard but are comfortable in long trips. i drove from dc to detroit in 11-12 hrs and had no problem. my wagon is very quiet at high speed and alot better than my trade-in lexus rx300. although my lexus looked nicer.
    good luck with the purchase.
  • hhm1644hhm1644 Posts: 13
    Can anyone suggest alternatives to the classifieds for finding a super nice, low mileage E320 wagon with all the options, like leather, htd seats and traction? I'd love a starmarked car, but finding one without tex is hard enough, much less with those other options.

    Thanks in advance.
  • bobs5bobs5 Posts: 557
    I suppose you could try some of the online search engines as found in Edmunds or
  • rockypaulrockypaul Posts: 104
    Anyone with history on 4-matic e wagons?

    Would like to trade my ML when 02 e's are announced.
  • Since I'm one of those gear geeks that likes to work on my own car, I called the Mercedes 800 numbers to see if a workshop manual was available for my 2001 E320. Imagine my surprise when I was told that it would not be available for another 5 years (this time to correspond with the warranty period during which all expenses were to be paid, so she said). Moreover the factory rep implied that I shouldn't work on my own car as it was too complicated and intended for authorized persons only.

    I also own a 1988 BMW 735. It has 160,000 miles on it and with rare exception, hasn't been touched by anyone other than myself. Even if the E320 needs zero maintenance, I want to know about the internal workings.

    Can anyone out there shed any light on the availability of a workshop manual?
  • jjmcgjjmcg Posts: 2
    While my 2000 e320 4-matic wagon is a truly impressive vehicle, I am seriously looking at a BOW 540 with sports package which has more muscle.

    Before I do, if anyone has suggestions for tweaking the handling/performance of the e320 wagon (AMG?) do let me know. If not I will sell it.
  • jwbontjwbont Posts: 2
    faced the same decision that you are. I decided to select the 2001 320E for the following reasons:
    1. The MB was not that less powerful. If you want a wagon with real performance, look at the Volvo T5 with 5-speed box. Real fast.
    2. The MB was 49K$ as opposed to 54K.
    3. For overall similar size and weight, the BMW has an appalling lack of carrying room compared to the MB, the Volvo, and even the Saturn L wagon.
    4. The BWM is a gas hog.
    5. Most importantly, the wagon ergonomics for the MB is clearly at the head of the pack.
  • I own a 91 4-Matic wagon with 57k. The car has been terrific and I am enjoying it as much as any car I've owned. Is anyone aware of problems with the early 4-Matics? I've heard that two types of differental fluid was used in these models and when the seal/gasket between the two goes, it causes a failure and the differental has to be replaced. This was supposedly corrected in later models. Any thoughts or comments?
  • taratara Posts: 30
    Hello! I just wanted to introduce myself, my name is Tara and I've just started working for I'll be your new host for Station Wagons:)
  • john --

      consider an engine makeover? try .. they have experience on tunning mercedes since the owner worked for amg in the past.

       enz wagon has more room than the bmw's ... also the 4 wheel drive can't be beat

       last resort, if you can import one ... spring for an amg wagon :-)

    good luck

  • After going through the alternatives, I will be buying a new E320 Wagon with 4-matic. I live in NY, and from the forums and sniffing around it looks like the going rate is basically the list price with no discount (or premium). Am I correct in this ?

    A dealer offered me a floor model which "a customer had ordered but did not want", and I think there were 17 miles on the clock. He offered to give me the CD changer free, which I think he would not do on another stock car. It wasn't the color my wife wanted, so it was a no-go, but I feel I'm "missing something" on why he would offer the free CD on one car and not another - can someone tell me what it may be ?

    I looked at European Delivery, but it doesn't seem particularly worthwhile. If I'm missing something, please tell me.

    Also, at this point, is it worth waiting for 2002 model year, which presumably will start coming in this summer/fall - are there any significant differences in price/spec ? (I read the re design would not be out till 2003 model year).

    If I can get this info elsewhere in the Town Hall, please point me, and thanks in advance for your help.
  • david --
    don't let the salesman scare you off ... all prices are negotiable especially on wagons. they don't sell many of them. when we purchase our '00 4-matic wagon, i did the research and gave them $5000.00 under invoice, he came back with $3000.00 under invoice. at that time, the price was still pretty good but i wanted more. i accepted the offer but also wanted a cd changer and a roof rack. i told them a car this expensive should have a built-in cd changer! he gave me the go-around that the benz clientele overwhelmingly listens to tapes because of the book-on-tape deal. however, they accepted and now i have a 4-matic with almost every option except for the nav system.
    good luck
  • Ed, thanks for the encouragement on dealing with the dealers.

    Anyone else manage to get a good discount recently ? Ed's experience runs contrary to what friends who have dealt with Mercedes dealers recently have said, and what one of the town halls from a while ago said, that they were basically sticking to invoice, but obviously I'll have the numbers and try anyway.

    Anyone got any comments on whether it is worth waiting for the 2002 models, or if European Delivery is worthwhile ?

    Thanks again.
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