Bought new in '96, an excellent package in terms of its exterior size, interior space and cargo volume. Handles well and is a pleasure to drive, especially on the freeway where it just glides along. Highway fuel economy has been as high as 27.75 mpg (Model's EPA was 20/27). IMHO, in good condition the E320 is a screaming used car bargain, but only if its in good condition.
'97 was the last year of the 217 HP smooth powerful straight six engine and first year of the electronic 5 speed automatic - 5th is an overdrive gear so at 65 mph the motor is turning only 2,250 rpm. This model has dual front airbags and side door airbags in all four doors.
The '97's single windshield wiper is OK, but has been replaced in newer models. I wish the car's heater would stay off until the motor was sufficiently warm to provide heat, something I have on an '80 model M-B!
Car had problems all after warantty period. Horn stopped $140. Outside mirror Broke $450. Left rear window fell down for no reason $300. Head gasket blew.(very common on these cars) $1950. Complained to dealer and Mercedes and got nothing. Will never buy another.
Better engineering, manufacturing and quality control. They should have fixed most of these problems no chage or at an adjusted price as they were common on the car I have since learned. Corporate attitude is poor toward customer.
Bought this '97 E320 used in early 2002. I now have 180,000 miles on it. Engine remains reliable, but that's about it. My entire instrument panel is not functioning (dealer replaced ignition switch, which did nothing!!). AC died 2 years ago (dealer replaced dash heating unit, which did nothing!!) Car is rusting badly.
Bought my 1997 Mercedes-Benz E-Class with a Certified Pre-Owned Starmark warranty. After three weeks it would "miss" or hesitate at 45 - 55 MPH. My dealer said that the fuel return hoses clogged. They would not fix this problem under warranty and said it was not part of the Starmark pre-sale inspection. I had it fixed by my independent mechanic at cost of $800. the entire mainfold was fouled with carbon buildup at only 45,000 miles. My mechanic says that this is a common problem on this non-turbo engine. It's a poor design, in his words. The glow plugs were "frozen" in place by this carbon build up. I have corresponded with my selling dealer and Mercedes-Benz USA, both wished me a happy holidays. This is my sixth and last Benz.
This is my first Mercedes and I could
not be happier. This car actually makes
me want to go and drive somewhere. It
has the perfect balance of everything I
want in a car - looks, performance,
comfort and reliabiliy. I also find it
very interesting that it has excellent
visibility while driving at night. I
assume that whatever the windshield is
made of, it does a good job of
filtering out the glare of oncoming
traffic. Keeping in mind that this is a
4 door sedan, I five the car very high
marks for the way it handles corners
and country (twists and turns) driving,
while the engine has plenty of power
(and torgue) for passing, merging or
just getting up to speed.
I find it really impossible to list
favorite features. The car as a whole
is almost perfect, so I'll just list
the few shortcommings in the Suggested
The seats should have an adjustable
lumbar support. This is the biggest
shortcoming. Radio with a cassette
player for an upscale vehicle. even in
1997 is sort of lame. Would be great if
some company made a truck mounted MP3
player that hoocks directly into the CD-