With the youngest W124 now at 15 years old, you'll have to be picky and discerning when buying on. I found a 95 with only 78,000 miles on the odo. The car has been a joy to drive & own. Try to find one where the previous owner has already done the major repairs: trans rebuild, head gasket replacement, wiring harness replacement. Mine had all those items already done. The looks of the W124 has aged very well, looking neither vintage or new though. The engine performance is still good by today's standard, but not as peppy as cars all seem to accelerate with more pep. My E320 has been reliable and starts up with just one turn of the key every time.
I purchased my 95 in 2013. I believe it was reliable the first 17 years but then everything needed to be replaced within 2 years of my owning. At purchase it had 136,000 miles.
2 days after purchase I had to replace the smog pump. Thereafter was the water pump, rebuilt trans, heater blower, radiator, brakes.
This car is very nice but understand that the cost of a part isn't bad but the labor will be outrageous. The water pump for instance wasn't too expensive, the issue was it took 10 hours labor to dismantle one side of the engine to get to it.
Minus normal things going wrong and it just so happened to be after I owned it, it's very well built. Analog clock still works. Everything still works and it's not 20 years old. As of now I have essentially replaced everything but the alternator and battery and it's solid.
Keep this in mind.. My understanding is there are 2 common issues with this model.. 1). The reverse tends to go out and thus a rebuild is necessary.
2). The gel in the motor mounts will solidify and the car when at a stop light will cause the car to shimmy a bit due to the mounts no longer sustaining the shock.
Hey, I "acquired" this fine vehicle back in 1995 and it has been a wonder. I've driven it everywhere and have had no mechanical issues. Example: I had to mysteriously travel from Florida to NY numerous times, stopping only for gas and the occasional White Castle. I put 9K on the car during one such trip, and she was running like new when I got back. Talk about reliability! I wish other things in my life were this reliable. My wife, girlfriend, son, and mother could all stand to learn something from this car. Hey, unlike my son, this car is a winner. If you have to evade people and institutions via long-term, interstate travel, you can't go wrong with the 95 E-Class
This car is my first real luxury car, and I can honestly say you get what you pay for. The car is now 15 years old and I love driving it more and more each day. It is a classy, well built, dependable vehicle. Have put maybe $700 worth or repairs into it in a year for front struts and tension pulley, that's it. Oil changes are a little more pricey, but only need to be done every 7500 miles. Have learned to do a lot of minor repairs myself with the help of manuals and internet. Trust me if you ever ride in one you will see why I am so in love with my baby. Rode in a 2003 Benz and my car's ride is definitely smoother.