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Mercedes-Benz E Class

Mercedes-Benz E Class Published: 6th Feb 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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The W124 is the epitome of what you’d expect from Mercedes that took everything good about the W123 – and made it better

Going one better than the W123 took all of Mercedes’ skill and guile but it did so by taking the earlier car’s DNA combining it with the modern styling and stance of the 190. After a seven year development, the E Class became the natural choice for executives the world over, who were after a crafted, gifted long distance cruiser that could stay the distance. A car only even a Rolls can’t match in some quarters, the W124 remains remarkable value.

What makes them so special

It’s one of the last hewn-from solid Mercedes yet unlike the W123, there’s also a fair degree of sportiness in the massive range of models, the flagship being the 500E (later badged E500); a sports par excellence built by Porsche as a BMW M5 rival… although the W124’s strongest suits are always spaciousness, refinement, comfort and a feel-good factor. That’s not to say that the E Class doesn’t drive well.

Right choice

Take your pick from wide range that caters for all tastes: Saloons, estates, a coupé and a cabriolet, all radiating that understated good taste which was another hallmark of the E Class. Performance is leisurely with the lower ranking engines – the E Class is best in six-cylinder guise such as the 188bhp 3-litre (in 1990, 24 valve heads lifted power to 231bhp) or a similar turbodiesel. The vast majority are autos – it suits the car’s character far better – and there was also a 4-Matic all-wheel drive option, which made the estates wonderful upper class workhorses. In contrast, the convertibles are excellent family-sized sun-seekers with style and space to spare. The LHD only 500E/E5000 is good for 326bhp but hairier offers are available from AMG. Somewhat less exuberant are the mild makeover Sportlines.

Affordability

When you consider that this car was regarded as the best in the world by some pundits the E Class is cheap as chips. Mainstream models are yours for £5000, average condition half this although the sportier shortwheel based CE coupé and cabriolets are valued double. The 500E is the most collectible and already nudging £25,000 if you can find one, that is.

Significant dates

Replaces W123 (but still utilising much of its running gear) in late 1984 initially in saloon guise only but the estate range (five and seven-seater configurations) arrives the following year. AWD 4-Matic becomes available in 1987 along with C124 shortened CE Coupé line up, surfacing but the similar cabriolet didn’t arrive until 1991 both with select engine choices. Sportline pack with lowered suspension, wider tyres and sports interior for 1992, facelift for 1993 sees model designation swapped so ‘E’ becomes a prefix and the introduction of multi-valve engines.

Don’t get caught out…


  • Wide choice but many are neglected. And while durable, major repairs can exceed the worth of average cars due to factory supplied spare parts prices.
  • As this era signalled a decline in paint quality, rust needs watching; front wings, rear arches and if neglected underside issues as well.
  • Engines are long lasting although head gasket can weep oil and coolant or fully fail, worse on six pot units. Listing for wearing timing chains.
  • Five-speed gearboxes with their electronics are less trusty than earlier ’box – check to see if ‘top gear’ is still present and correct.
  • Suspensions break springs and wear out bushes, steering boxes wear.


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