Date registered: Aug 2002
Vehicle: 350SLC, 500SLC, 300TE, 190E2.3 Sportline
Location: Sydney, Australia
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
The Best MB Engine Ever?
Following my request for everyone's opinions as to the best car to replace my wife's parent's W123 230E, it would appear that their preference for a 4 cylinder may be a wise choice. Their M102 in the 230E has been virtually trouble free. The replacement will probably be either a 4 cylinder W202 or a late W124, both with the M111 engine which also seems to be very trouble free.
This brings me to the question that should result in some lively discussion. WHAT IS THE BEST ENGINE MERCEDES-BENZ HAVE EVER MADE? I love the 3 litre M103 in our 300TE for its smoothness and quietness, but they are not the most reliable with their head gasket and oil leak problems. The multi-valve M104 decendant of the M103 gained power and torque but perhaps lost some of the quietness and certainly did not improve on reliability. The OM617 in our previous 300TD being a diesel had a reputation for longevity but was uninspiring.
My vote is for the 3.5 iron block V8 M116 in my '73 350SLC that I have owned now for 20 years (non emission controlled, high compression). This engine was powerful in its day and with its large bore and short stroke had a delightful top end with peak power of 147kW (200 BHP DIN, 230 HP SAE) at 5800 RPM and a 6500 redline. It has also proven to last forever (500,000km is not uncommon). Only cylinder heads (valves, guides, seals, etc.) require occasional attention. The bottom ends just keep going. The stroked 4.5 M117 gained little in power over the 3.5 (and some emission controlled versions actually lost power). They also lost the smooth revvy top end and may have even lost some of the longevity. The all alloy M116 and M117 that followed lost weight but gained nothing and dont't appear to offer the reliability or longevity of the iron versions.
So which engine is best? Let's hear what everyone thinks.
107.023: 350SLC, 3-speed auto, icon gold, parchment MBtex, (sold 2012 after 29 years ownership).
107.026: 500SLC, 4-speed auto, thistle green, green velour.
124.090: 300TE, 4-speed auto, arctic white, cream-beige MBtex.
201.028: 190E 2.3 Sportline, 5-speed manual, arctic white, blue leather.
201.028: 190E 2.3, 4-speed auto, blue-black, grey MBtex.
201.034: 190E 2.3-16, 5-speed manual, blue-black, black leather.