Pros: The durability and quality of fit and finish is exemplary. Parts are readily available.
Cons: Wiring would disintigrate due to recycled plastics. The evaporator developed freon leaks. Both fixable.
I've owned many Mercedes Benz cars, several pre-owned and two new. My favorites have been the older diesel cars because of the clatter of the diesel engine, their reliability and longevity. I honestly think that Mercedes got it right in 1995 with the E300. These cars get over 30 miles per gallon and they have the power of a gasoline engine. I purchased my first 1995 in 2006 with 130k miles. It now has 172k miles and my mechanic says it will easily make 300k to 400k miles. I like it so much, I found and bought another one just like it with 86k miles. The body and interior is still in almost new condition considering it is 14 years old. 1995 was the last year Mercedes built cars in the tradition of Mercedes Benz. In 1996, they changed the body style to be a bit more trendy and they introduced a lot more electronic gadetry to compete with Japanese models. There were two main problems with these and all E class MB cars of this era. As it was explained to me, by law in Germany, the wiring harness was made using recycled plastic for the insulation. The plastic broke down over time and exposed the wire inside which then developed shorts and corrosion. This caused many malfunctions that would lead mechanics to fix or replace parts that weren't defective before they figured out the root cause of the problems. Replacing the wiring harness is not complicated, but requires removal of the intake manifold which is a time consuming project. The cost is generally around $1200. The other major problem these cars has is the evaporator core. The copper tubing developed pin-hole leaks and the freon would leak out. Replacing the core is difficult because it requires removal of the entire dash. Replacement cores are now made using tubing that will last. Once these major issues are repaired, the car is low maintenance.