ex W124 owner considering W211

RGubbioli

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Hi there,

I've used to own a W124 200TE which unfortunately got moved on about a year ago. What I loved about that car was the build quality, the ride and the relatively inexpensive maintenance (due to its engineering). It started my passion for older Mercedeses, of which I subsequently owned also a W123 and another W124.

Things have now moved on and I am looking for my next car. I am sort of set on someting a bit more modern this time, which is why I am looking at either the W211 or the BMW E60 (current 5 series). Main requirements are a smooth 6 cylinder engine, must be petrol, automatic and comfortable for wafting around town and on the motorways.

Still haven't ruled out the W124, but the price difference between a good one of those (if it can be found) and a W211 isn't much these days which is making it difficult to justify the W124.

My questions are:

- Has ayone here gone from W124 to W211? What do you miss on the W124 and what is better on the W211?

- How reliable a proposition are the W211s? I thought they were still part of the 'terrible years' at Mercedes but some investigations on the usual sites reveals they're quite solid. Do the interiors hold up the high miles (I loved my W124 as it had no creaks or rattles even at 150k mi)?
- On the offchance, anyone here know the E60 BMW (petrol)?

Thank for any views!

Regards,
 

Alex M Grieve

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I am sort of set on something a bit more modern this time, which is why I am looking at either the W211 or the BMW E60 (current 5 series). Main requirements are a smooth 6 cylinder engine, must be petrol, automatic and comfortable for wafting around town and on the motorways.

- Has anyone here gone from W124 to W211? What do you miss on the W124 and what is better on the W211?

- How reliable a proposition are the W211s?

I had a W124 Estate for 2 years (280TE) which was excellent. I subsequently had a W211 (October 2003) which was absolutely tip top too - moved more readily and more urgently, zero faults in 3 1/2 years - body work galvanized with nano paint had 2 stone chips on the bonnet but zero other marks on it when I sold it.

I had none of the problems that were reported in that era with batteries going flat if left for a couple of weeks.

I had the 320CDI and it was smooth, quiet and very quick. Mid range acceleration was superb and fuel economy really good too - high 30s overall, and 44 mpg on the autobahn @ 85 mph.

If you are considering a W211, don't write the diesel off before trying it.

Hawk20 has the most recent (170ps) 220 CDI and that would be equally good, but thriftier.

The 124 was good, but the 211 is a newer generation of car and just that much sharper in everything it does. The hush when cruising, quickly sets it apart from comparators from AUDI and B*W.
 
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RGubbioli

RGubbioli

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Alex, thats just the feedback I was after, thanks! Slightly concerned on batteries going flat potential as this car would be used only occasionally. This is also why I'm only interested in the petrol engine, they sound nicer (to me) and driving less than 5k mi per year as I do it makes more sense to get a petrol, although there are so few for sale compared to diesels...

Now I'll go back on what I said in my original post and ask, is the W211 worth the extra money over the W124?

Yesterday I drove the E60 (525i, petrol estate) and this morning I was a passenger in a W211 220CDI 08 reg. The Mercedes seemed nosier, but maybe that was just a factor of where I was sitting in the car (rear in Merc, driver in BM)?
 

st4

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Alex, thats just the feedback I was after, thanks! Slightly concerned on batteries going flat potential as this car would be used only occasionally. This is also why I'm only interested in the petrol engine, they sound nicer (to me) and driving less than 5k mi per year as I do it makes more sense to get a petrol, although there are so few for sale compared to diesels...

Now I'll go back on what I said in my original post and ask, is the W211 worth the extra money over the W124?

Yesterday I drove the E60 (525i, petrol estate) and this morning I was a passenger in a W211 220CDI 08 reg. The Mercedes seemed nosier, but maybe that was just a factor of where I was sitting in the car (rear in Merc, driver in BM)?

Hi. The 211 is nothing short of fantastic. A worthy successor to a 124. Its IMHO nicer to be in than an E60 (a model I considered) and dynamics wise very close and probably better in AG from than an E60.

Engine wise you should look at E320, E350 and E500 models given your milliage. Go for as new a one as you can afford, 2004 onwards and preferable a facelifted car (2006 if you can stretch). Main dealers have the best of them and will cut you a decent deal on a petrol model.
 

gre1591

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I had a Mercedes salesman apologies to me for the early poor quality of these 211s. I was actually asking about the quality of the new c class at the time.
He admitted they can be a whole boat load of trouble compared with the old 124s and had lost Mercedes a lot of customers.
Reference your quote
“Build quality, the ride and the relatively inexpensive maintenance (due to its engineering)” of the 124s
Is unfortunately not the same on the later 211 models, although it must be said the ride is exceptional.
There is some talk that quality has recently improved but not many people have run the new ones a quarter of a million miles to see if they stand up to it like the old ones.
Be very careful in your choice seems to be de rigueur if you have to have one!
 

anisamy1

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You can go for W211. It is a nice car and I am sure you will not miss anything in it.
 
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RGubbioli

RGubbioli

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Thanks for the comments. I have been looking at W211s for sale, the main issue seems that there is a dearth of smaller capacity 6 cylinder petrol engine. The vast majority of post 06 cars are 200Ks and then there are 320/50s which go beyond my pricepoint.

That leaves the 240, which compares with the 525i I've been looking at, but then they're only 2003 and 04 as far as I can see, very rare too.
 

st4

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Thanks for the comments. I have been looking at W211s for sale, the main issue seems that there is a dearth of smaller capacity 6 cylinder petrol engine. The vast majority of post 06 cars are 200Ks and then there are 320/50s which go beyond my pricepoint.

That leaves the 240, which compares with the 525i I've been looking at, but then they're only 2003 and 04 as far as I can see, very rare too.

Hold out a little longer. An E350 petrol will only get cheaper whilst in the same time your 124 will not. Nice idea, buy hold out for a larger engine (even a 500), as it will be worth it, especially with an estate.
 

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I love my 211 & I had a 123 for awhile, I've driven a few 124's but never owned one. The 123 & 124 are very very different cars to a 211 so I would try one for an extended test drive before commiting. I would also go for a late one to get the galvanised body and avoid the Valeo radiator issue, I like the 7G box in operation (apart from the very occasional harsh downshift) although the valve pack died on mine at 50K which would have been ~£950 for parts plus labour if it hadn't been a warranty repair.
I don't think you could run a 211 for as little as a 124 as the electronics and shear number of expensive bits on all add up.
 

turbopete

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a friend of mine has an 04 plate bmw 530d (with sport pack). i drove it back to back with my current car last year and i wouldnt have wished his car on anyone! the ride quality is appalling compared to my car! going over a cats eye in the road in his car is how id imagine hitting a brick in the road would feel in my car!
 

jibcl500

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Ricco

Nice to see you on here again, Im suprised your not in the mood for another 964 !!! I am currently looking for a 3.3 Turbo!!! in black.


Answer to your question. I service and repair mercedes 50% of the cars that come to me are W211's and personally I dont think they are a great car just another euro box, but thats just my opion. Yes they drive nice but tha faults ive seen with suspension parts, broken springs, door modules, sam units SBC pumps blah blah blah.

Get a nice W124.

jib
 
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RGubbioli

RGubbioli

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a friend of mine has an 04 plate bmw 530d (with sport pack). i drove it back to back with my current car last year and i wouldnt have wished his car on anyone! the ride quality is appalling compared to my car! going over a cats eye in the road in his car is how id imagine hitting a brick in the road would feel in my car!

I'm aware of the poor ride on the 'sport' versions, which is why I'm only looking for SEs. Having said that, modern BMWs are not that great in terms of waftability. ACtually, few modern cars seem to be.

Ricco

Nice to see you on here again, Im suprised your not in the mood for another 964 !!! I am currently looking for a 3.3 Turbo!!! in black.


Answer to your question. I service and repair mercedes 50% of the cars that come to me are W211's and personally I dont think they are a great car just another euro box, but thats just my opion. Yes they drive nice but tha faults ive seen with suspension parts, broken springs, door modules, sam units SBC pumps blah blah blah.

Get a nice W124.

jib

Hey Jibbo, good to hear from you!

The only issue with the W124 is that the missus doesn't like it and the whole idea behind this purchase is to have a 'sensible' car so that I can then indulge in the sports cars for myself.

Currently running an S2000, very pleased with it so will hold onto it a bit longer. Only 911s I'd look out for are the 993 and the metal bumper 911s (70's) but they're so expensive these days that other tempting offers make more sense (Morgan Aero8, Maserati 4200, Aston DB7 all in the same price range or even a 997).
 

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RGubbioli. We had a 520d SE on hire for a days wedding. We all agreed its suspension was too soft to contain the roll of the car. Its a lardy thing and the SE is too soft and on rural twisty roads with minimal effort I left it for dead in my AG E class.

The one we had was a 58 plate and only had 9k miles on it and mine got 42mpg that weekend (E220cdi) and the BMW a miserable 38mpg. It also was slower too. If going the BMW route, get a nice 530d M sport as you'll need it.
 

teddycatkin

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100 per- cent right Jib ? Contrary to the other posts --do not waste your money on a quickly depreciating w211 .--A good W124 should set you back 2/3k and still be worth that in 12 months time --buy a W211- say 4k now it will only be worth 1/2 that in 12 months---Do not be tempted to fork out ridiculous prices 5/6k some te dealers think they are worth and advertise them for--buy private.
 

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For build quality and running costs, no the 211 isn't a 124. Too many expensive things to go wrong. You never hear of MAFs, electronic throttle bodys, O2 sensors or SAMs going down on a 124, but thats because it doesn't have them. Just plain old simple engineering.

For ride and handling, the 211 is vastly better. Waftability its probably not quite as good but then conversely a 124 never went round corners or stopped that well.
I agree it is less 'different' to euroboxes than 124s are. You have to live with one for a few days before you apprecate its character. The dfferences don't smack you in the head like they do on a 124.
Personally I wouldn't go back to a 124. Sure, they're fabulous, but they're also getting on now. If you could get a new one then it would be an interesting consideration but buying a 14 year old car...no thanks. They were excellent in their day but everything has a shelf life. Rubber, plastic so seals and electrical components are going to give problems as time goes on. If you're happy tinkering or happy to spend a few quid minting it then it's a very interesting propositon mind.
That said, the other way of looking at this would be on a budget basis. A 211 is going to set you back, what, at least £10k? A 124, maybe £2500. So in your position I'd consider an E320 24v, then look at the 'saved' £7500 as restore money and go off and utterly mint it. You can do a lot of fixing up for £7500!! New vacuum pipes, new suspension bushes, new injectors, awheel recon, paintwork fixup etc. Then you have a 'new' 124 :)
 

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The 190 is currently the best budget car you can buy --a really good one can be had at around 1k mark and is vastly underated and often overlooked as being a bit old looking but the build quality is superb!
 


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