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Majestic Dominance of the Three-Pointed Star is apparent.

By Manjunath Janakiram on 14 August 2013

Car's Age: more than 10 years

Summary

Overall Rating 4
Exterior 4
Interior 4
Ride Quality 5
Maintenance 2000/ month
Mileage (city) 9 KMPL
Mileage (highway) 12 KMPL

Detailed Mercedes Benz E Class Review

What's Good?

The Build Quality of the body ! It is more than 17 years old and has covered over 107000 kilometers and age is showing only in very few of the perishable rubber parts. Metal parts like door latches and hinges do not show any signs of having been used over Indian roads as they are free from rattle or squeak. The doors and boot close with a reassuring thump of solidity, and the hood is very well counterbalanced with a facility to open it upright. There is adequate legroom for the rear seat passengers even if there is a tall person in the front seat who has pushed the bucket seat to its rear limits. The rear seat has an arm rest and the headrests can be dropped at the flick of a switch on the dashboard to increase the rear view visibility. All the windows are electrically operated and the rear switches have a child lock provision up in the front console, which has a generous dose of wood panelling. Instrumentation is comprehensive and flawless, there are numerous warning lights which all come on when the switch key is turned on and shut off after the engine comes to life indicating that all systems are fine, particularly interesting is the failed lamp indication which tell you if an exterior lamp has failed. The park lamps can be switched on for the side which is away from the kerb depending on which side of the road the car you have parked the car. The large single wiper has an eccentric gearing mechanism so that the wiper blade moves in a fashion where it extends to reach the corners and retracts as it passes the roof line, providing a very large sweep of the blade.

What can improve?

As the car is out of production, I do not think anything can improve. However I had two electrical failures, one a failure of power supply to the air-conditioner blower due to a breakage in the conducting wire within the harness. The second was a light switch failure, due to just one of the internal plastic components crumbling to bits - more reliable material alternatives may not have caused an age related failure. This I consider a negative for the reliability factor - causing a potential safety hazard - whereas the entire design of the same car has passenger safety and reliability as the prime concerns of the the Three-Pointed Star Brand.

Exteriors (4/5)

4

Interiors (4/5)

4

Ride Quality (5/5)

5

Overall Comments

The front of the car is most unmistakable with stylish and delightful lines on a sedan car. Minimal chrome on the exteriors and minimal creases to ensure the stiffness in the solid body panels. The gills (air intake for the air cleaner) on the front right fender are really attractive. The stance of the front being lower than the rear has been instrumental in reducing the coefficient of drag and this is a design of the mid-eighties and is prevalent even today ! The rear tail lamp lenses have a deep external ribbing which is very effective in keeping them free from dust. The telescopic external antenna mounted on the rear fender extends and retracts automatically when the radio is turned on or off. The doors and boot lid is unlocked and locked at the same time from any of the locations, right door, left door or boot, while a provision exists to keep boot alone locked and operate only the doors. External door mirrors can be electrically adjusted from within the cabin only with a single joystick on the central console.

Air conditioning is very well laid out and the duct controls are easy to operate and also lit at night. The rear screen can be electrically heated for demisting and the fresh air inlet operates every 15 minutes except when the outside temperature is below the desired interior temperature. The interiors are luxurious and very well executed and has not shown signs of age. Seats are very well shaped and contoured, has all round support and firmness.The fabric is showing wear only at the waist pocket area of the drivers backrest, probably caused by abrasion at the time of exiting the vehicle. The multiple adjustments for seat rake, seat height, backrest inclination, height adjustable headrest, and fore and aft distance, ensures that the driver is at a comfortable position in relation to the steering wheel and the control pedals, and ease of handling the sedan is assured with the hydraulic power steering and power brakes provided. The steering wheel is masculine and has an airbag, co passenger in the front also has an airbag from the dashboard at the cost of a glove compartment, though a small oddments locker is available on the central console. A third passenger can be accommodated comfortably in the middle of the rear seat with the armrest folded back, but the transmission tunnel is a hindrance.

The ride quality is a very soothing and placid one, even over the potholed roads of Bangalore. I feel that weight and rigidity of the body shell is more than adequate to ensure that the noise, vibration and harshness levels are low. I have had occasion to maintain 120 km/h without so much as a whimper from the 5 cylinder engine as it seemed to be lazily turning over at about 2250 RPM or so on the fifth gear, with further travel on the accelerator pedal available, but not enough road length ahead to venture further opening the throttle. I was able to take the bends at speed with power and a high degree of confidence and really minimal body roll. Braking is very sharp and effective thanks to ABS and all round disc brakes. Being a diesel version without a turbocharger this car is not very peppy in spite of the 2497 cc displacement, thanks to the weight of the car.

I would consider this car a timeless beauty. The fact that the shape and outline emerged in the mid-eighties and lasted over a decade before being replaced due to a compulsive need to bring out a newer shape though unwarranted. If any enthusiast is contemplating acquiring a Classic Mercedes -Benz, I would wholeheartedly recommend scouting for a W124 and not any other model even if it is a quarter of a century old and needs to be restored. The car is a value for money proposition !

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