Mercedes-Benz E Class Saloon 1995 - 2002

Mercedes-Benz E Class Saloon 1995 - 2002

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • Plenty of space for 5 people and their luggage
  • Comfortable and well-equipped
  • One of the best Mercedes ever built

Cons:

  • The suspension is not refined enough to match the over-200bhp engines

Overview

The E-Class replaced the long-serving W124 in 1995 and became an instant hit with customers interested in medium size executive cars. For the mid-90s it was an innovative car and it tried and succeeded in breaking away from the utilitarian image of the W124.

Exterior and Interior

The interior of the E-Class is spacious and comfortable. Being an executive car, only the best quality materials have been used. The cabin has got a lot of space both at the front and rear. It was quite a novel design when it appeared in 1995, a far jump from the old W124 style. The Mercedes designers did a great job retaining the classic Mercedes look with the signature grille and at the same time bringing the car to the standards of the 21st century. The new century hadn't quite touched the exterior design which remained classic and ascetic, yet many customers found it appealing.

Performance and Economy

If somebody is looking for a used E-Class Mercedes, they're usually looking either for a diesel version or one of the sportier petrol engines. The democratic 2.2-litre diesel can offer around 46mpg. The basic 2.0-litre petrol engine is characterless, it's too weak for a car like E-Class. If you're looking for an economical sports car, you should consider one of the top diesels that were offered with the E-Class. The 3.2-litre V6 diesel with 194bhp can accelerate the car to 143mph ‐ at the time of production this was officially the fastest diesel in the world. Despite the sporty character it was still a reasonably efficient engine averaging on 36mpg, but able to achieve over 40mpg if driven carefully. Overall, the E-Class is not an economical car. Its more powerful petrol engines rarely deliver more than 30mpg. Insuring an E-Class is not as expensive as one may expect of an executive car. Most modifications fall within groups 27 and 31.

Like to Drive

The E-Class was created to compete with the BMW 5-Series, although it might be more elegant and serious, the BMW is still sportier and more stable on high-speed bends. However, the E-Class has achieved a very high level of comfort in long journeys. It is a very pleasant car to drive. The Avantgarde trim offers a slightly better suspension that makes cornering easier.

Faults and Repairs

Surprisingly one of the problems that Mercedes didn't manage to solve on the E-class is rust. Its not as rusty as the 70s models, but the pre-2000 models are more often than not, affected by rust issues. The main points of inspection are the wheel arches and the floor. If possible it is worth lifting the car up and exploring the underfloor to check for any signs of water damage or rust. Any uneven tyre wear can suggest a faulty suspension which is not at all rare on E-Class cars. It is known that the E-Class' suspension doesn't last as long as the engines. You are lucky if the previous owner has already repaired suspension for you, so seeing a full service history would be really helpful. Overall, the E-Class is a reliable car. The V6 petrol engines are especially refined, the new generation of common rail diesels are good too.