Pro: This is THE safest car we have ever owned. Our two daughters were both hit at speed at freeway speeds and walked away. I was rear ended in LA traffic at 50 mph and walked away, with zero damage to the car, even the bumper. This is an excellent freeway long distance car. 3000 lb. curb weight, so lots of German steel here. 3.0 Liter, 24 valve engine. Top speed when new was 147 mph (the speedometer goes to 160). This is a real autobahn flyer, made for long high speed runs. Quiet and smooth. Can carry 5 people with a full trunk of large luggage no problem. VERY reliable IF you keep up the maintenance 100%. You can do the oil changes on this car yourself. The tires can be rotated so we get 50-60 k miles out of our Michelins. We have 300k miles on the care now and its driven daily. Con: acceleration is slow 0-50 compared with modern light cars. Over 50 mph it really goes. It uses premium fuel only. You have to keep up the all the regular maintenance and any problems right away or they compound. This is a precision German car, which means only people who know how to work on a Mercedes should touch it. It uses the old pneumatic line system, so one has to know that system or they will really mess up the car. If it breaks down on the road, tow it however far it takes to get to the correct mechanic. Some people don't like it because it is "old" and has analog instruments, and few computer readouts for service. For me that makes it more usable and friendly to drive and one just needs to find the right mechanic. You can keep this car as long as you wish and as long as you can find a good Mercedes mechanic who likes the car. Taking this car to the dealer is far too expensive. This car has character.
The main problem with these older Mercedes is people who cannot afford to maintain them get them because of the cheap price.
These cars can take allot of abuse and you will not see many cars from 80s and 90s still on the road.
But everything requires up keep, even new cars.
I have a new BMW that I like, but it's not the same love affair as with my 300e.
I drove 2011 E-class before I bought my BMW and still think my 300e is a better car than the new Mercedes E-class. The new E-class is heavy and tiring to drive around town.
The smoothness of the transmission and engine is legendary. Even after 18 years, car rides like a dream.
If you can find one that has been well maintained you will be very happy.
I've owned 3 Benzes, all bought with some miles on them. Our W124 300E 2.8 is the remaining Benz in our garage and though it has 189k on its clock, it is still the most solid car of anything I've driven or ridden in, new or old. Safety is #1 in my book, as it saved the life of our daughter who was hit in the rear by a car doing 50mph. The Benz was properly repaired. I will always own a Benz. Every year, I put money in it to keep it going, but it soldiers on with class and style and is a blast to drive. Absolutely, it is one of the best Benzes ever made and one of the easiest to maintain. Great mileage, as well, as it still gets 28-30mpg on the i-state at 70mph.
Safety, Style, Mileage, Performance & sound of the DOHC 6 is very nice. Easy to maintain.
A 2 car family and wife doesn't drive much so drove about 3k per year. Problems began after warranty expired. Over the years Had to replace Ignition wiring, fuel pump, key lock that required replace steering wheel & air bags, cylinder head, ignition wiring harness. This should not happen to a Mercedes. Maintaining car expensive (is that what they mean by luxury car.Had much fewer problems with my Celica. 2nd car now Infinity.
Car handles beautifully and comfortable on long rides. Drove twice to Florida from Maryland and did not tire after hours on road
Pay as much attention to producing car as done to design
The W124 (google or wikipedia about it) is considered the "last true" Mercedes that had went through a LOT of crash/safety test, VERY solid build. After 17 years, my car still looks like new (both interior and exterior). It's amazing! If you look at YouTube and search for "Fifth Gear's W124 Built Quality" you will truly be amazed! Maintenance can be a bit costly, but if you know of a good mechanic you should be fine. Highly recommended!!
Solid build, exterior paint quality (feel like last forever), interior (simply luxurious), ride comfort,
a bit better acceleration maybe? better AM/FM factory radio