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lemmyb 01-24-2004 07:25 AM

W124 230E or 260E
I have been toying with the idea of buying a 260E (1987-89) or a 230E. I've only just started thinking about this after a deal to buy a 300D flopped. As a result i am looking at going to South Africa to look for a vehicle - they have a much wider selection there.

I am looking for an automatic W124 with reasonable fuel economy but with a bit of grunt. After saying this, i can almost here some of you saying "go for the 260E..." (or "why dont you go for the 300E...")I must say, i am inclined to go for the 260E (300E is too thirsty).
However, i would like to make an informed choice, and have the following questions:

1. What have been your experiences with your 230E or 260E in terms of fuel consumption, performance, & maintenance. (I will be doing a lot of town/urban driving). I am told that the fuel consumption for these vehicles is almost identical - is this true for urban driving?

2. Would anyone be able to furnish me with the actual performance statistics as claimed by MB. I have looked all over the net and havent found anything satisfactory.

3. Did these cars have electronic fuel injection? I remember having the impression as a young teenager that in the 1980's Merc were not very keen on electronics in the engine area.

4. I noticed that in our market (Southern Africa) the 230E (or E230, E220, E240 in later models) were the most popular models. Was this the case in Europe/USA? And if so, why? I also noticed that the 260E was not that popular - is it because it had a comparatively short production life? I read somewhere in this forum that MB rebadged it the 300E 2.6 - is this true?

Your help will be greatly appreciated


neanderthal 01-24-2004 11:06 AM

RE: W124 230E or 260E
if youre gonna go to south may as well get a 300D there anyway, dont you think? or a 250D.

performance you want the 260E, its got more power than the 230E. the 230E was a lot more popular due ito its reasonable power vs the aenemic 200E. also it has better fuel milage than the 6 cylinder benzes. though in town they may be closer. the milage differences between a 300E and a 260E are slight, but the power difference is noticable, so the 300E was a lot more popular than the 260E.

ideally you want one of the latter (twincam) models. 220E or 280E. they have more power than the single cam models they replaced, and get similar milage.

as for actual fuel economy you can check the economy of us models by typing in "fuel economy, 1990 mercedes 260e" (example) in google and it should take you to the US govt site. i think its for the EPA. i dont know about non US models.

the 230E did not sell in the US although it did in europe.

if the model designation does not include an "E" then it was a carburettor model. i did see many 200 and 230 models while working at zimoco.

lemmyb 01-26-2004 02:55 AM

RE: W124 230E or 260E

Thanks for the info.
I am now thinking of a 230E or 260E instead of a 300D coz they are quite pricey in RSA, and I may not be able to afford it. I am basically keeping my options open.

Where are you based now?


neanderthal 01-26-2004 04:35 PM

RE: W124 230E or 260E
im in los angeles.

its worth it to get the diesel. unless the price is ridiculously out of your range. id say about a 15-20% premium for a diesel would be about right. but the running costs should be lower, fuel cost lower, fuel milage higher.

and then you have to consider that when its time to sell that sucker, its gonna get more of a premium than a regular petrol version. especially a 300D.

JOHNNYBOY 01-28-2004 01:27 PM

RE: W124 230E or 260E
Hello Matey,
The diesel 250/300 model will be more expensive to maintain and need servicing a lot more often than the petrol models. This will be especially true in S.Africa, were I imagine it's pretty dusty. I have one of the newer twin cam 16V 200 engines in an E200T, and there's not much in it between the 220 & 260. Whichever you decide to buy, make sure it's been well serviced. At least had regular oil and filter changes. Don't forget if it's an Auto, as all good MB's are, that the transmission fluid and filter should be change every 60,000 Km. Good luck, the 124 is the last of the over engineered Mercs and if looked after will outlast any of the new lifestyley ones.

neanderthal 01-28-2004 09:59 PM

RE: W124 230E or 260E
speaking from experience as a mercedes mechanic (well, years ago!!!) you only need to perform oil changes and servicing of the injectors on diesel models vs tuneups etc on the petrol models. so im not sure where you get the higher maintenance costs from. oil and filter are common to both. spark plugs and all that other stuff are not.

kggkgg 01-30-2004 08:36 AM

diesel vs petrol maint costs
I have 320 petrol and 300 Diesel both 6 potters and the diesel seems to cost less. Very occassioal glow plug - have replaced them once in 100k miles (probably never need to in warm countries) and cheaper filters so it seems. It certainly uses much less fuel 34mpg vs 25mpg but maybe a non issue in other countries. Plus if you cant find fuel you can run the diesel on cooking oil or house heating oil, might be useful you never know and yes I have tried it no problems.

On other hand 320 much more fun of course

jaidex 01-03-2009 10:32 PM

i had e230 1989 very nice car and most of modern car hardly to compare with it

augapfel 01-04-2009 11:28 AM

As neanderthal said, the 230E was never sold here in the USA. In fact there were NO 4-cylinder 124s sold here ever. Mercedes cultivates a strong luxury image here and most models sold here have standard equipment that is sold as optional in other markets. Auto transmission, air conditioning, electric window lifts, central locking, electric sunroof, alloy wheels, vinyl or leather upholstery, cruise control, electric seat adjusters, etc. are found on just about every model here from at least the mid-1980s.
If your primary concern is city fuel economy I don't see how you can go wrong with a 230E. The auto transmission will hurt you though.
I own an 88 260E and 88 300Es and there's a surprisingly large difference in performance between the two despite a hp difference of less than 20 hp. When my 260 hit about 160k miles and got pretty tired (especially with the a/c on) I pulled the whole 2.6 drivetrain and installed one from a wrecked 300E. MUCH better performance.
But you're in a different market and competing traffic will be different. I need to compete with 5.0 L and larger trucks and SUVs that can really roll.
As for fuel injection, all the 124 models sold here had it. I know that BMW was exclusively fuel injection here by 1987 so Benz was probably the same.
The system on 124s is kind of primitive (but durable and easy to work on). It's a Bosch CIS with a fuel distributor and low pressure pipes to mechanical spray nozzles, not pulsewidth modulated electrically actuated injectors.

oliverb 01-05-2009 06:51 AM

My '90 300E 2.6 averages from a low of 22 mpg (Winter, around town) to 28 mpg (Summer, trip) in U.S. gallons. It is true that the 2.8 and 3.0 versions of this engine deliver more low end torque so off the line performance, especially with the A/C on, will be better. I have had mine for many years and originally lusted for a 3.2 because of the increased torque and HP. I now have decided that I am pleased with the 2.6 because it is actually easier to work on and has a simpler F.I. system as well as less electronics. No 4 cyl. versions in the U.S. unless private imported Euro-spec.

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