'96 and '97 have the straight 6. '98 forward has the V6. Coming from many 5-series BMWs, I kind of wanted the straight 6. Some say it's more of a performance motor. Problem with the straight 6, I'm told, is the head gasket. If that's been done, you can get an awesome car for not very much $$. I ended up with the '98; got a good deal on it, and the engine is silky smooth. Only problem is crank shaft seal or something can go bad....usually not more than $500 including labor, but look out for that.
NO, just different. The 3.2L V6 was designed for several reasons but you can't call it better.
It will fit in more bodys in the MB lineup from the C-Class, CLK, SLK, E-Class, M-Class.
It was designed to have lower emmission standards and a second set of spark plugs were added to burn unused fuel. So maintenance cost are higher and it is not as easy to work on.
It uses the same internal parts as the redesigned 4.3L V8 so it is cheaper to manufacture. It shares a lot of the design with the V8 that are not ideal for a V6 such as the crank angle. So it has to have a balancing damper on the flywheel that came apart and takes the front of the engine with it. There is an updated damper so make sure you 98 and 99 models are updated to the 2000+ type.
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