I purchased a 94â€™ E420 a couple of months ago. This is my first MB, so I canâ€™t speak for them overall, but so far I REALLY like this car. It drives great, handles decent for what it is and has a nice quiet ride for my 90 mile per day highway commute. So far I am getting pretty decent fuel mileage too, about 22-24 mpg, mostly highway at 85 mph.
I have not experienced any major problem, except for a finicky sunroof. My car came with relatively complete maintenance records up to about 87k miles then a gap from then until I bought it at 101k. I decided to change all fluids, belts, filters, etc. A little bit of sticker shock on a couple of parts (like a $90 lower radiator hose) and most of the stuff I had to order. Also put four dedicated snow tires on it --- I will probably go to 17â€? tires and wheels for the summer.
As far as advice, make sure everything in the car works, the car drives good, no leaks, etc. Check out the sunroof carefully, big bucks to fix them. Donâ€™t pay anywhere near retail for one of these cars, the prices are very soft at dealer auctions, I paid under wholesale for mine.
if you have any questions, take it to a certified Mercedes Repair shop. they can do a pre-purchase evaluation. mine cost me $108.00. it was worth the money for the piece of mind i got in exchange. they will give you a list of things that are problems that need to be addressed right away, and things that will eventually need to be repaired, along with an estimate of repairs for the listed items.
it is the only way to go. it is the only way of knowing what you are getting.
BUUUUUUT, once you get the car, you may never want to drive any other car again!!! and that aint NO BULLS**T!!! 
I will agree with Moner, since having purchased the Benz, my other toy, a heavily modified Miata and our new Turbo Outback have been languishing in the garageâ€¦â€¦..I have thoroughly enjoyed driving my E420. Itâ€™s not new like the Subaru, nor does handle anything like my Miata, I just really enjoy this car
Fantastic motor car by any standard.
Very impressive power from only 4.2 Litres
I have seen an indicated 150 plus mph. on numerous occasions. Only major problem or repair was main engine wiring harness at 115K miles. Also make sure ALL cooling system hoses are in good shape. M119 tends to run warm and puts a lot of demand on cooling system.
I would agree with what the others have to say. I bought my 95 E420 about 6 months ago and have not had any problems yet. I did replace the antenna when I bought it, but that was $20 off ebay. I had it inspected after I bought it, which was risky, but it checked out ok. I had a local shop do the 75K service, because it was due. My drivers side window got sticky, but I was able to fix that with some silicone spray. It really is a joy to drive, very smooth and quiet. I love the heated seats in the winter. The wiring harness is the main engine issue, but I am hoping it wheres out faster in hot climates.
What out for price. I bought mine for 8,400 with 78000 miles, and I think prices have dropped since then. Also look very closely for rust, it is sometimes hard to see on first look. I looked at a few that looked very clean until closer inspection, of course the seller always called them rust free on the phone. For the price I just don't think you can beat these cars right now.
These were $50k+ cars when they were new, and I would argue that the engineering then was worth more than today since this is one of the last great benzes made as far as reliability and how easy they are to maintain. I love my E400, and after driving my first 5series BMW today(95 530 with the small displacement v8) I can't imagine driving anything else in it's class. A superb value and a design that is clean and stately, these cars still turn heads.
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