Newbie (E320 question)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Antharro, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. Antharro

    Antharro Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Hi all,

    New member here. I've been considering buying myself a Mercedes for some time now and only just found this place. :)

    My background is mostly in Jap cars - in the family we've either had or still have an '82 Jaguar XJ6 4.2, '85 Accord, '87 Ballade, '87 (Mk2) CRX, two '87 Cavalier Estates, '92 Mitsi Pajero LWB, '92 Accord Aerodeck, '95 Civic and my daily driver is a '95 Mitsubishi FTO GPX, which I love. My father had a few Mercedes in the 80ies, I don't remember the exact models, but I believe he had an early 80ies 280SE which he kept until he mid 90ies when the rust got to it. He currently has a 1978 350SL convertable which is absolutely lovely to drive. (We also have an '87 Polo as a run-about).

    Due to a change in circumstances, I'm unfortunately looking at selling my cars (the CRX, FTO and Accord Aerodeck), and buying something sensible. I'd love to get a Merc, but I'm not having much luck finding what I'm after.

    I want:
    - Something practical. The Accord is my work car and is often used to haul a trailer or heavy stuff.
    - Something quick. The FTO is the V6 MIVEC and puts out a little under 200bhp. In a small(ish) body, it's darn quick and has superb handling. Brutal acceleration, I had enormous fun on a track day organized by the owners club! The CRX, while it doesn't handle like the FTO and isn't as fast is awesome fun and feels like a go-kart. No power assisted anything!
    - Something economical. Accord=28-30mpg, FTO=28-30mpg, CRX=35-40mpg.
    - Good sound system. I like my music loud on long journeys! (Mostly to drown out my singing. :D)
    - Budget: £2750.
    - Full (or near as damnit) service history.
    - All three of my cars have a sunroof, I'd like to keep this feature.

    I've been looking for a late 90ies (96-99) E-class 320 V6 diesel. From what I've seen looking around on Autotrader and eBay, seems like these are mostly automatic. If I have to give up my gears, I want a tiptronic box. Trim level of either Elegance or Avantgarde, and NOT in silver, white or black! The blue and green I've seen look rather nice.

    Parkers Guide says that model should get me 35mpg, so I'm thinking that's more like 30. I'm assuming stuff like cruise control and climate control are pretty standard on these?

    Annoyingly, there was one that matched my requirements PERFECTLY on eBay, listed at £2800 or somewhere around there, but it went before I could even think about getting money together for it.

    So whaddya think? Am I looking along the right lines?

    Thanks,
    Dave
     
  2. Dieselman

    Dieselman Banned

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    The 320 CDi is a good car but be aware they have arust issue so want careful checking. The engine is an inline 6, not a V6 but will give mid 30's fairly easily. The V engine is a petrol.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Antharro

    Antharro Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the reply and clarifications!

    One reason I was going for the diesel was for the fuel economy, and I figured that being the 320, it would still be pretty darn quick.

    How's handling on these cars? I'm used to having cars with relatively hard handling (excepting the Accord which leans lots on corners but still handles extremely well).
     
  4. gIzzE

    gIzzE MB Club Veteran

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    The E320cdi will give you 26-39mpg being realistic, I decided to get a V6 petrol as that gives me 24-35mpg.

    They are really, really nice cars, mine is a facelift 99 T plate in old man green and beige leather, but I like it, it is warm and cosy and suits the drive of the thing.
    The handling is the most wallowy of any car I have owned, it is an Elegance. There is a lot of body roll, but I knew this as my Dad always used to drive Mercs and even in his S Class with the suspension on the hardest setting I used to find it far, far too soft. But you just adjust your driving style accordingly, and it also makes me slow down a bit as it is not as planted at say 80mph as my BMWs are at 120mph.

    I have changed the wheels on mine from the Elegance 16" ones with 215/55/16's to 17" staggered set up with 225/45/17 fronts and 245/40/17 rears which has helped a lot without loosing any of the comfort.

    I still think that an Avantgarde would be a much better starting point though, took out a 2006 E320cdi avantgarde estate and that is still very soft compared with most of the other German marques out there.
    Think I may add some Eibachs soon, I bought this as a stop gap as we have a dog and a new baby with a big buggy and we couldn't get all that in the boot of the new 3 series touring, so the idea was buy this and sell it on in 3 - 6 months, but I am smitten with it, so I have put a Becker Traffic Pro nav head unit in it, bought a dog guard and put on some nicer wheels and now don't have a problem spending a bit of money sorting the handling.

    All in all probably one of the motoring bargains out there at the moment. But consider a facelift E320 petrol instead of the diesel. ;)
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Antharro

    Antharro Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Thanks, gIzzE.

    26-39 sounds quite reasonable to me. Heck, if it stays above 30 for most of the time I'll be happy. I'm amazed that you're returning 24-35 from the petrol... do you have a particularly light right foot?!

    How planted does it feel on corners? I can throw the FTO around virtually any corner and it feels absolutely confident, but it has uprated suspension , is lowered and is wearing decent rubber. I can throw the Accord around the same corners and while it leans a lot, the back end doesn't step out and I don't feel that it's going to "let go" at any point. Stock suspension, fairly new Michelins.

    Being a Mercedes, I really would expect the handling to be good, without having to spend money uprating the suspension etc. That's not to say I throw my cars around abusively, but I do like to know that they can corner quickly if I need them to. (And frankly, it's fun in the FTO!)

    I've been looking at at pics of the Avantgarde interior, but I'm really starting to prefer the leather/wood combination of the Elegance. There's something about that black/grey dash of the Avantgarde that doesn't do it for me. Tho, that's just from pictures. I'm sure I'd think differently if I actually got to see one "in the flesh".
     
  6. gIzzE

    gIzzE MB Club Veteran

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    Not really, my consumption is usually at the crap end of the scale!! :)

    Last cars and their consumption...

    320d sport touring 57 plate efficient dynamics 39.7mpg
    335i sport touring auto 56 plate 25.9mpg
    530i auto sport auto 27mpg
    S4 avant manual 17mpg
    535d sport touring auto 25.9mpg
    120d msport auto 34mpg
    A6 1.9tdi sport avant multitronic 33mpg
    A4 2.5tdi multi 33mpg
    A3 DSG 2.0tdi 39mpg


    I can only get about 3-4mpg more in an E320cdi over the petrol, but then I use this car mainly for short journeys of less than 10 miles and diesels seem to take longer to get to temp.

    I have been amazed with the consumption on this car, was expecting 18mpg if I am honest, even round town in heavy traffic only it is always at 24mpg.

    It doesn't feel that plented on corners, but then I don't know what you are used to??

    I have come from BMWs which are far more planted, my other car is this...

    [​IMG]

    So compared to the M3 it feels like a boat!! :)
    But it never feels scary or like there is too much understeer like you get on Audis. Put it like this, there is a long sweeping corner near me that I can take in the M3 at 72mph before the back end starts to move, the E320 struggles at 45mph. haha.

    I wouldn't worry about the handling, it is a massive 5m 2 tonne mile muncher, enjoy it for that!!
     
  7. Adam230K

    Adam230K Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    You have to realise that you are comparing an M3 (which is about 1450kgs in weight? 1500 max) to an E320 which is almost 2 tonnes and has a relatively heavy V6 in the front AND its not a sports car (will have shocks which are designed for comfort NOT handling! Not a very good comparison! :)

    But on saying that, Antharro - you cant expect the E320 to be exactly like your uprated FTO, but it'll be good enough for its league of car, if you know what i mean.
     
  8. gIzzE

    gIzzE MB Club Veteran

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    haha, yeah I know that, but I have also owned A4 SE's and BMW SE's and it is completely set up for comfort.
    The suspension has serious amounts of movement in it.

    The guy is hoping that being a Merc it will handle well on corners, I think he needs to drive a couple.

    Even the E55 is pretty smooth compared to say a 320d in M-Sport guise, and an FTO will probably be at least as stiff as a 320d. The Mercs are completely different, in a good way.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Antharro

    Antharro Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    @Rage - Sure, I appreciate it won't handle like the FTO, but I wouldn't expect it to. I would expect it to handle better than my '92 Accord Aerodeck, which has surprisingly good handling. It goes exactly where I put it, it just wallows a bit! I can't throw it around corners as hard as I can the FTO, but again, I wouldn't expect to - estate car vs. sports car with uprated suspension!

    Yeah, that's about it. I think taking one or two out would be a good thing. Problem is, even being 26, most of the car dealerships around here laugh when I tell them I want to take out a Mercedes.

    gIzzE - I take it from what you've been saying here that 36mpg would be the best possible figure I could get, ie, crusing on a motorway at 70-80. Town driving would get me sub-30?
     
  10. hawk20

    hawk20 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    As a general rule you will get at least 20% more mpg from a diesel than from petrol.

    It is not hard to get over 40mpg from the 320cdi at 70 ish. Even from the 320cdi S class I regularly got 37-39 mpg on a run.

    A straight 6 is more economical than a V6 normally. The torque is awesome and there is a good shove in the back when needed.

    Avantgarde has firmer suspension. Elegance will soak up the bumps, ridges and potholes of UK roads better than any competitor and you will arrive fresh after long journeys. But it is not designed for chucking round corners. Corners well at 'normal' speeds but its forte is as a long range cruiser.

    Diesels are much easier to sell on when you need to. Large petrols are becoming almost unsaleable.
     
  11. OP
    OP
    Antharro

    Antharro Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I'm definitely leaning toward the diesel. How does it compare with the petrol in terms of straight line performance?

    Spec-wise, whatever I'd get, I definitely want the tiptronic box, climate control and sunroof. I've been looking for a while now and have only seen one or two. Was this a particularly rare combination?
     
  12. gIzzE

    gIzzE MB Club Veteran

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    Not really, one of my customers came in last night and he sells Mercs, BMWs and Audis, all under 5 years old and with between 40-70k miles, so 2 years old with 60k or 5 year old locally owned cars with maybe 40k miles.
    He does very well as he always has the cars that look extremely good value for money.

    He said that the main difference for him at the moment is the move back to petrol, for the last 10 years he said people have slowly been swapping to diesel, even the die hard petrol heads had gone over to derv, however he has sold nearly as many petrols in the last 3 months than he sold in the whole of last year.
    To put that in perspective, last year he sold only 16 petrols compared with over 80 diesels and throughout July, August and September this year he has sold 14 petrols already, plus he had someone coming to collect a 2003 CLK320 today.

    I got 409 miles out of my last tankful in our E320 petrol, that is a facelift V6 engine, and it is showing 28.9 mpg, that was a mixture of driving, and I am not sure how much better a diesel would have done??
    It would have to be returning 33mpg to break even cost wise.
    Plus a diesel car would have either cost me 50% more or it would have had maybe 50k miles more on it which brings on more expense.

    I guess I will probably end up with a diesel W211 as that is what most of them are, a much bigger choice out there. Although I am looking into maybe getting an E320 petrol one, been offered a 2006 avantgarde with comand and only 38k miles for £13k, a bit more than I wanted to spend but seems a lot of car for the money?
    How much would the E320cdi be with 38k miles on an 06 plate?? £18-20k??

    Finance is £260 vs £360, so £100 a month difference. Even if the car averaged 37mpg constantly you would need to be doing 45k miles a year to justify the extra.
    Plus in 3 years I would expect the E320 petrol with 80k miles on it to be worth about £8k, and the diesel to be worth about £12k at best, so the diesel will probably loose more money as more people realise the cost savings are not as hot as you first think.


    However, having said all that, some people prefer the torque of a diesel, and I admit diesel does suit the bigger Mercs a treat, which makes the money side of it irrelevant.
     
  13. Dieselman

    Dieselman Banned

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    No it wouldn't. Diesel is about 7% more expensive at present than unleaded, so it would have to achieve 30.9mpg to break even.

    Even an old clunker 300 turbo will better that easily, a 320 CDi will make 38mpg easily which is 31% improvement.

    Of course there is the VED to factor in as well, which is a saving for diesels.
     
  14. davidjpowell

    davidjpowell Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I used to have a 320cdi. Car was very quick in a straight line, and did not do too badly in corners! - used to get about 37/38 mpg with a fairly heavy right foot. My father could get it up to 45 mpg. It used to hate town driving, particuarly when cold, and could get down to 25 MPG, if there is no open road to make it back up.

    David
     
  15. gIzzE

    gIzzE MB Club Veteran

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    Look, I don't want to get into a pissing match over diesel vs petrol, I was just pointing out to the OP that he may not want to limit his searches to just the 320cdi, they are commanding a premium that makes them a non starter from a money saving angle. If you prefer the way the diesel delivers the power over petrol then that is great, but to try and convince yourself it is going to save you money is crap imho. On a new car yeah, but on one that is a couple of years old you have to seriously weigh it up, get to 6 years old and the petrol starts to make far more sense, at 10 years old diesel makes even less sense.

    If you get 38mpg in an E320cdi then you will get 32+mpg in an E320 V6, I reset the thing last night after filling up and did 22 miles over the back roads and the petrol was showing 38.1 by the time I got home, but that isn't going to happen again, it was raining hard and I had my kids in the back.

    Driving the way I do I just can't get those sort of figures you get in the diesel, the E320cdi I had for the day returned just a smidge over 30mpg, our E270cdi over 2 years and 46k miles returned 33mpg and the 2005 S320cdi over 2 years and 40k miles returned 31mpg, the last two were my old mans cars and he drives pretty steady.

    And I paid £1.07 for unleaded last night and the diesel was £1.18, I quickly did the sums in my head, so they are rough. ;)

    I will however say that when I said you would need to do 45k miles a year to get a benefit from the diesel I got that wrong, you need to do 45k miles a year to get the diesel to equal the petrol in running costs, well I would with the figures I can get from both, others may be different. I guess I would need to do another 20k+ miles to see proper benefits.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2008
  16. Dieselman

    Dieselman Banned

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  17. hawk20

    hawk20 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Her are a couple of things to ponder when choosing petrol or diesel.

    First the govt here in UK. Are the VED increases we have had just the precursor of worse to come. Not while the polls are so bad but later maybe. Petrols have higher emissions for a given level of performance and will be worse hit than diesels.

    Second, the price of fuel may well go way back up again when the recession is over and then the problem for large petrols may be not so much bad depreciation as difficulty in getting anyone to take them in part ex. Happening already with some petrol 4x4's.
     
  18. gIzzE

    gIzzE MB Club Veteran

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    Look, by that I meant I understand that some people prefer petrol and some prefer diesel, and by that I mean the way it delivers the power.

    I just buy what I think is the better car, and by that I mean it has to be a combination of power, comfort and cost to run.

    Diesel for me is a compromise, yeah they are getting better, and the latest BMW diesels are just incredible, but it is still a diesel and you have to start to appreciate different things, for example I enjoy the torque that a diesel provides, and when I first got into them I was going from a 1.8T to a 1.9tdi and was seeing 55mpg versus 27mpg so it was very impressive, plus the fact petrol was 70p a litre and diesel was only 60p a litre, so there was a real saving to be had.

    Now I have been out and about today, down the dual carrigeway, into town, out to the retail park on the other side and then back along the ring road, done 55 odd miles I think it was and the E320 returned 31.7mpg, if in an E320cdi I might have seen 38mpg?? At a push.
    So those savings just aren't there anymore.

    So all I am saying is buy the car you enjoy driving most, when the diesels were costing me half what the equivilent petrol was I really enjoyed them, there was a certain smugness knowing I was paying half as much as the next guy to run my car, now they are costing me about the same, or more if you factor in total cost, they haven't got the same thrill going for them as far as I am concerned.


    The poor guy has come on here asking for advice on buying a W210, just giving my view on it, with some real life figures as I have just been through the same thing as he, looking for E320cdi's.
    Just after working it all out properly realised there were other options, I have ended up with a petrol and I am chuffed to bits with it, 80k miles car for half the price of the cdi's I was looking at and consumption figures I am thrilled with, if I had bought the cdi I am sure I would have been well chuffed with the car, but not sure I would have been that chuffed with the consumption, I know loads of poeple with them and they all seem to get around 26-38mpg being realistic. Yeah they can get 40+ if they reset the mpg readout on a run while sat at 80mph, but leave it for a month and is it still at 40+?? is it hell. ;)
     
  19. hawk20

    hawk20 Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    gIzzE, help me: you are the guy who didn't want to turn this into yet another diesel v petrol thread aren't you?:D
     
  20. gIzzE

    gIzzE MB Club Veteran

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    I agree that the VED is not helping matters, but at the same time it is also making the petrols a steal at 2 years old plus. If you can save £100 a month on finance going petrol another £100-200 a year in road tax is easy to swallow.

    Also dealers are seeing a return to petrol, so alot of people are not letting it put them off.
    We should have gone for it in a big way if we really want it green, charge £5k on cars outputting over 300g/km, £2k on cars outputting over 200g/km even and reduced the duty on fuel considerably. That way it doesn't hit those that need to move stuff around and keep the country going, but does stop people from buying polluting cars as a second or third toy.
     

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