Buyer guide MercedesBenz W124News & ReviewsUnique Cars

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Mercedes-Benz W124

25 Oct 2012 | Bulletproof? Yep,

by Cliff Chambers

T he W124 was developed to fill a gap between ‘compact’ cars that had with minimal alteration 1968, and the big, technically-complex S Australia’s first exposure to the new came in 1986 via the 230/300E and a 300D diesel with 80kW but plentiful torque.

The entered the market at a value-priced but soon surged beyond due to exchange rate pressures. that jump was nothing compared with the ‘sticker affecting high-end petrol

The 300E was initially priced at than $80,000 but came a huge options list. two years the base car had soared to including leather seat and standard ABS.

That M-B to slot the less powerful but less expensive 260E a range that, by 1988, with the insanely costly 230E.

The 300CE coupe ’88) took the W124 a new arena of the prestige market. that time, buyers of a Benz had been forced to the short-wheelbase 560SL or spend on a 560SEC coupe.

At $130,000, the packed its compact shape features including ABS, a power front seat and leather trim.

Whether you a four-door version, the TE station that joined the range in or the elegant coupe, W124s aerodynamics bettered in their only by Audi’s 100. were lighter than looked, too, with the pared down to a surprising and the 300CE weighing 1560kg.

Safety was a major benefit as The German brand pioneered ABS and it was installed on all but the earliest 230E From February ’93, a side airbag became on 320E models and the 300D.

for improved performance without engine capacity led M-B to launch a M104 version of the 3.0-litre six in 1990. The extra breathing and valve timing lifted to 167kW at a rowdy 6400rpm and improved torque delivery at rpm.

There was also a new automatic transmission that use of a lower final-drive ratio.

next move was to increase the of its in-line six to 3.2 litres and fit the enlarged – which developed slightly power than the 24V – to the last of its range.

Overseas markets had Cabriolet versions of the 300CE but had to wait until 1993 for the brief appearance of a 3.2-litre and cabrio. These – and a 320E – sold here for only six during 1993.

From the range expanded to include and 2.8-litre versions. An E220 and wagon cut entry costs to a reasonable level but the Coupes and attracted much more than the costly 3.2-litre equivalents.

The E280 was available as a sedan or but the wagon and very scarce diesel remained available until 1994. Revamped of the E320 sedan were built in 1995.

Although the 230E offers decent six-cylinder sedans are no more and deliver a significant edge in and driveability.

Versions with the 24V are a revelation and require more a routine five-minute test to appreciate. These engines be worked to deliver their and puttering at suburban speeds give you an indication of its potential.

The new – with four usable plus an ‘overdrive’ fifth – was to use than preceding Benz Kickdown should deliver an surge or you can flick the shifter to sport mode and change to achieve the same result.

In tests it was able to register 8.6 for the 0-100km/h dash and did not run out of puff showing a very illegal on the speedo. Fuel consumption for the car averaged a reasonable 12L/100km and cruising can drop that 10L/100km.

Handling isn’t but the mid-size Benz rides even on rough surfaces, and the steering should deliver feel. The steering wheel is a large for the size of the car but most should be comfortable sitting it.

A car that bounces over bumps and has free-play at the steering is due for some costly suspension All-wheel disc brakes ABS are well up to the task of stopping a but make sure that the system hasn’t succumbed to old

Sitting up front in a coupe is a experience and even those to the tailored rear seats suffer from more moderate cramping. The pillarless and big rear windows ensure all-’round vision and the boot is for a car of the 300CE’s size.

The leather may feel less comforting those in other luxury but Benz maintained that firmer seats were to combat fatigue on long-distance Avoid cars with leather and make sure the seat adjusters still

Although not the prettiest car, the wagon will carry an amount of cargo or seven Check that the ‘hideaway’ seat is easy to operate.

buy a Mercedes-Benz without a comprehensive and service history and invoices show which invariably-expensive have recently been or need attention.

A car that’s driven less than and properly serviced should be no to run than lesser brands.

quality and sympathetic original have contributed to high survival rates but the majority are ridiculously cheap.

Well-preserved and six-cylinder sedans from the rarely exceed $10,000, a lot of usable cars at $4000-7000. may have faded paint and seats but need minimal work. Diesels and the scarce wagon cost only more than petrol-fed

Moving into the two-door prices do increase but only Early 300CEs with engines and documented history fetch more than and most will be below The 24V cars are more difficult to and very good ones cost $18-20,000.

That only the scarce 320CE as illustrated by our immaculate feature It is an Australian-delivery model – one of about 30 in 1993 – and cars of this are rarely found for less $25,000.

THE CHECKLIST

Body

Mercedes-Benz W124

Benz bodies are well-protected rust but those that been poorly rust-proofed panel repairs or neglected can be to fix. Most significant be rot around the rear sub-frame which must be checked on a More obvious will be arches and sills that been filled, bubbles the windscreen and sunroof aperture, tailgates on station wagons and the boot lip. Ensure the electric top on Cabriolets operates shuddering and that it can be secured to the without excessive force. panels are available new or second-hand and something like a replacement costs less than

Engine Transmission

These can cover more than kilometres before needing work but a full rebuild can exceed the value of a low-cost Exhaust smoke at start-up is due to worn valve stem but a constant stream of blue serious internal wear. is a known problem, especially if the is clogged and the clutch-activated fan isn’t properly. The fan should rotate when the system is hot and stop one revolution once the engine has switched off. Check for oil and coolant which can entail head replacement to fix. Oil from the rear of the rocker and timing case aren’t a problem.

Suspension Brakes

Excessive roll is due to weakened coil worn shock absorbers or Look for cars with suspension. Rear sub-frame that are worn will the wheels to deflect rearwards hard acceleration – have an watch for wheel movement as you the car from rest. Edge-worn front or rear indicate wear. Test, on an empty that ABS-equipped cars straight and without locking any of the

Interior Electrics

Air-conditioning in these cars are very to fix so make sure that air is from all vents and feels Feel around the footwells for from a leaking evaporator. seats to ensure the adjusters jammed. Look at the hood in cars with a sunroof for of water leaking through seals. If the sunroof doesn’t easily, the channels may be warped or Check electric windows without shuddering and that the speakers’ paper cones disintegrated.

Mercedes-Benz W124 Series

Number built: 2.58m 33,952 Cabriolets)

Body: integrated body/chassis 4-door 2-door coupe cabriolet, station wagon

Engine: 4cyl, OHC, 8v; 2.6-, and 3.2-litre 6cyl, OHC, 12 or 24v 167kW @ 6400rpm*

Torque: @ 4600rpm* Gearbox 4- or 5-speed

Suspension: independent with coil springs and anti-roll bar independent with multi-link coil springs and anti-roll bar (r)

discs, power-assisted, most ABS


Tyres: 195/65VR15 radial

0-100km/h – 8.6sec, 0-400m –

Price range: $1500-30,000

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