W210 or W211 as a daily driver - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-18-2015, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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W210 or W211 as a daily driver

New guy here, though I admit to having lurked a bit in the past. I've never owned an MB before, but I have seriously considered going for one as a daily driver, and am getting more serious about it. As my user name indicates, I am a mechanical engineer, so I like to research things (a lot, just ask my wife ). I have familiarized myself quite a bit with W210's and W211's. Those seem to suit me best, and W210's and early W211's are within my budget. So, a little bit about my situation.

I live out in the country in central MO, and have a ~45 mile (one way) commute to work in a town still well outside the metro St. Louis area. The drive is pretty much all 2 lane rural highways. Somewhat hilly and twisty in places, nice and straight in others. Not a lot of traffic at all, and that suits me fine.

For the past several years I have done well by finding a well-cared-for older vehicle that can by bought inexpensively, and taking good care of it for a few years. I do manage to put 17-19k miles on it per year. Current DD was bought for $2500 almost 4 years ago with 137k on it. I did $400 worth of front end work on it right away, and have spent another $800 or so on other PM and repairs over the years. Its still doing well at 214k miles, but I am starting to think about an E-class.

If it is to be a W210, I think an E430 would suit me well. It'd have just about the same HP and torque as my current DD, which I am happy with. The E430 would no doubt feel stronger. In a W211, I read that I really should avoid 2003-2004 MY's. That leaves really only high mileage 2005-2006 models within my budget. I have seen a couple of nice looking 2006 E350's in the $5k range, but with 170k+ miles. I am looking more at 4matic models, as we do get winter weather here, sometimes lots of it.

BTW, I do all my own maintenance, and a lot of repairs. I do have a good shop that I use for significant suspension work, or when I don't have the time to do a job. They are not experienced in MB, though. I'd have to go to the STL area to find an independent MB specialist.

What are your thoughts? Can a $5k (or less) E-class be a reliable daily driver at 18k miles/year? Is a W210 or W211 the better choice? I see no downside to a 4matic model, do you see them differently?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-21-2015, 05:54 AM
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What kind of winter weather? With rural twisty roads, I would look at E55 AMG's. You can get a nice w210 in your price range. I am not sure about the w211 E55's but I would look at their strong and weak points too. As a note, we drove our w210 E55 AMG in Michigan winters with snow tires and it did fine-not great but okay.
You could go in a completely different direction and get yourself a porsche. Quite, twisty roads sounds like an enjoyable to and from work.

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-21-2015, 08:06 AM
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With that long commute diesel would definitely make lot of sense.
The W211 E320cdi is lovely engine, but comes with higher price and higher repair cost.
I think you will love E300DT in W210 with that budget.
You can make comparison here.
Diesel will make you 32 mpg at such commute, 320 about 27 mpg.
Add amount of each fuel you will burn every year and multiply by current fuels cost.
2006 350 engines have balance shaft issues. Sure you can buy them below $5k, but shaft replacement can cost you more than car price.

Last edited by Kajtek1; 11-21-2015 at 08:11 AM.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 11-22-2015, 08:00 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your input, guys. I'm sure I would enjoy an E55 tremendously. Maybe even a little too much . As far as the winter weather, we run the gamut here, usually with less frequency than Michigan. We can go a full winter without ever really having bad roads on a work day, or we can have one storm after another, with a combination of snow, sleet, and freezing rain. I should note that I am not without other all-weather vehicles, my current DD is actually the only non-4wd or AWD vehicle we own. I just like the convenience of knowing that my daily driver is fully capable of handling the 7" of light flurries the weatherman forecast for the day while I'm at work. That's part of the attraction of the E430 4matic, it looks like a reasonable compromise between the E55's power and all weather capability.

I have seriously considered a diesel W210. About a year ago, there was one for sale in the STL area that may have been a great deal. I believe it had had a drink spilled over (into) the transmission controller, and may not have had much else wrong with it. I wasn't looking too hard at the time, and (still) wish the diesel was available with 4matic. In terms of overall cost of ownership, I like the idea of diesel, but if I can drive a nice, reliable, (maybe even fun) car that I bought for <$5K, it doesn't bother me if it gets ~25mpg, versus ~30mpg.

I do realize I'd be taking a risk with the balance shafts on an early E350. One other thing with them is that is the first year (I think) for the 7 speed auto. I haven't been able to find many concerns with it, but the 722.6 5 speed seems a better known transmission (not flawless, but better understood).
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