I know my MB's trust me on this. The 96-99 E class is by far the best years of the E class. DO NOT buy a 2000 or newer. I have 215k on mine. Paint is starting to fade a bit, a little rattle in the Cat Conv other than that, it drives and runs like new. Chrysler ruined the name from 2000 to like 2007 or roughly around there. They tried to infuse their technology into the E class at this time and failed miserably. A 2000 E class is a K car with a MB star on the hood. The 99 is heavy, solid, and feels German. It's a little underpowered, and don't buy a 4matic if you are worried about gas. If you value your family's safety, want to to stay out of trouble, and want to look cool, buy a 99
This car is an amazing piece of machinery and is the last year of the reliable Mercedes. This car having a 4.3 liter V8 just made the car a sleeper, especially considering that it had no badging anywhere. The transmission shifts almost seemlessly. It has great power and good handling, but this particular car stood out from the pack because of the real Brabus exhaust, and the replica Brabus 19" wheels. The car sounds fantastic and it isn't overly loud. The interior of this car doesn't have the flare of Mercedes of old, but it's simple and functional, and that's all you should need. The exterior is much like the interior, simple but nice to look at, especially in the white color mine was in.
Couldn't be a happier owner. Purchased a formerly leased car with 43,000 miles and have just crossed 275,000 miles with zero problems of any significance. Of course have had some things wear out that are normal, but the car remains powerful and absolutely dependable. Much better car than the 1990 Lexus 400 it replaced in 2003.
I purchased my 1999 MB-320 when it was 3 years old with 12,500 miles. I have since driven is 217,000 miles. It is reliable, dependable and I get reasonable gas mileage. Mind you, this is the year when the Germans came to America to fix the MB American plant. The 1998 model was assembled by the Americans and was a total piece of crap. It broke. The 1999 had the same problems up to about April 1999. Then the Germans came in and straightened things out. So if you buy this used, carefully look at the date of manufacture. If it is prior to April, run! If it is after April, you have a good truck. Two problems to watch out for. The check Engine light comes on and the dealer wants $450-$700 to fix. This is a total rip off. The MB Bosch Mass Air Flow Sensor retails for $350. However, a cheap British Car uses the exact same Bosch Mass Air Flow Sensor as the ML and it can be purchased for $150. Twenty minutes with a screw driver and reset the computer and your Check Engine LIght problems are solved. One time I was traveling and the my car dies. Only one occurance. Wait a while and it was fine. Limped to my mechanic (car dies and then drives) and he replaced a $5 ignition part. End of Story. Buying a used ML I would talk to a good MB mechanic and id that part. He will know the culprit off the top of his head. Just replace it immediately. If you treat this car nice, it will treat you nice. Get good tires (Michelin). You can use cheap gas. The computer adjusts. You sacrifice some power, but you will catch everybody at the next light. This care likes to do 80. It hates doing 60. It can do 90 to 100 without any problem. So if you are out west, it is good on those long lonely highways. Take care!
Bought my 99 e320 4matic in 02 with 78K miles. A tree fell on it in a hurricane in year 2 and creased it down the middle. I thought it would be declared as totalled. It was repaired by the insurance company at a cost of $7,000. Had the transmission replaced 2 years ago. This vehicle lgets excellent gas mileage. On the highway I get 470+ miles to a tank of gas which I believe holds 18.5 gallons (about 25 mpg highway). I absolutely love to drive this car. The header is falling down a little in the back from where the tree creased it. Otherwise, it is pretty enough. I am presently at 256,000 miles and look forward to my next road trip