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Mercedes W210: Despite the shortcomings, a car for connoisseurs

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B ei Ford you must have been very happy about the new E-Class. Because for the bulging-eyed Scorpio, the Cologne had received a lot of malice shortly before. And then Mercedes dared to do something in 1995, giving the middle class four round headlights. Can these eyes lie?

Of course, a story about the W210 must also include the W124, this model series that is now glorified by many as the last real Mercedes. So a quick look back at the start of this car in 1984: bonanza rodeo, streaking single-arm wiper, rough quality problems. Not only the most loyal customers, the taxi drivers, went on the barricades. But then everything went well until the end, when nobody suspected that the switch to water-based paints would take the W124 from the last years of construction a little shine.

The W210, somehow so plump and then with two different ones equipped with large pairs of round headlights (for which Mercedes had deliberately prepared in the introductory campaign), in 1995 at least led to foreign reactions in many. The fact that Ford had previously operated eyes in the bow of the Scorpio, which reminded some of Marty Feldman and others of a sad carp, didn't make things any better.

Mercedes E-Class W210 with numerous innovations

The engineering achievement was nevertheless respectfully recognized. Best Cd value ever, particularly bright gas discharge lamps in the headlights, parking assistance front and rear, automatic air conditioning with smog sensor, traction control ETS, deformation paths in the front that are 25 percent longer, side airbags, rain sensor, belt tensioners as in the S-Class, navigation system and so on. Mercedes had dug deep into its box of innovations, and marketing was also moving in new directions for this model, which, like its predecessor, which had sold 2.7 million times, was to become the mainstay of the company. Had to.

As with the C-Class, the customer could configure his E-Class as Classic, Elegance or Avantgarde, with Avantgarde not only having the slightly lowered, taut sports suspension but also a selection of designs and wood grains which were very daring by Daimler standards.

'More car for less money'

In addition, there were tons of options, as in the house. Even in the basic model there were power windows at the rear, height adjustment for the front passenger seat, heat protection glass and oneOutside temperature display: a clear increase in the standard equipment level and thus, according to Mercedes, “more car for less money” than its predecessor.

The new one is 4.2 to 6.7 percent cheaper than a comparable W124 the manufacturer calculated. He just forgot to mention that he had increased the W124 prices by around 1.6 percent shortly before the sales of the four-eye E-Class started.

The statement from the management board sounded like mockery in the ears of many the W124, the W210 is 30 percent cheaper to produce. When the inner wheel arch liners and underbody panels came loose on some of the first W124s delivered, things got tricky. Was that still a real Mercedes? As comfortable as it was driving, as agile as it was steering, because instead of the recirculating ball steering system of the predecessor, a more precise rack and pinion steering was installed?

Mercedes E-Class W210 with partly massive rust problem

Well if it had only been that. Soon, however, brown spots appeared on the shiny paint. From then on, rust became a constant issue, and that gnaws at the reputation of the W210 to this day, although it turned out to be technically sound all round after the start-up problems were eliminated.

Why did this Mercedes rust like nothing good? And in places where it was hardly thought possible, even on the Mercedes star on the trunk lid with the small spoiler lip, which was supposed to give the sedan “a coupé-like appearance”, as the Mercedes advertisers put it? During the grace period, Mercedes repainted entire roofs, both on the sedan and on the large estate, the T-model, which has been sold since 1996. Less obvious, but all the more insidious: The strut mounts were bumbling away at the welds and involuntarily lowered many E's on the front axle.

What happened there? The explanations ranged from inadequate protection of the cavities and the sub-floor to inferior metal sheets, blunt punching tools, faulty work processes and the use of water-based paints. The student Ina Katrin Gühring had an educational effect here. In 2000, when the drama was obvious, she presented her doctoral thesis at the University of Stuttgart on the subject of 'Microbial infestation by electrocoating in the automotive industry'. A_-headline v-A_-headline__article - beta '> The drama with bacterial infestation

With the support of Daimler-Benz, she found out that the excretion of a bacterial strain can change the properties of the paint. Depending on when new paint was delivered and when which body part was painted, corrosion could not be prevented - or not an issue.

A look at today's W210 inventory confirms this: There are numerous E- Classes that do not rust, or at most only as much and rust there as a car of this age can allow. A few who have not yet embarked on the route of just getting rid of ithave gone, rusty brown in the most impossible places towards their near end - perfect winter slurries for motorcyclists or consumption cars for those who only want to be cheap mobile or build a house with 14 months of residual MOT.

Mercedes W210 is convincing thanks to solid and silky motors

natural selection, although there is still enough choice. If you are looking for a golden future for your Benz with stable, perhaps even slightly increasing prices, choose a pre-facelift model with one of the indestructible pre-chamber diesels or, better still, one of the silky straight six-cylinder of the legendary M-104, regardless of the rust issue. Family. The three-valve V6, which started with the E 240 in 1997, also run very smoothly.

For long-distance drivers and connoisseurs, the V8 colossi from the E 420 upwards are recommended. At 200,000 kilometers you could change the guide rails of the timing chains, before that you could change the transmission oil and oil filter - and then, with good care, you could easily go around the world ten times with drive comfort that is still top class today.

The 'Mopf' from 1999 - the all-wheel drive versions 4Matic had already been presented before - then watered down the idiosyncratic original line a little, brought innovations such as multifunction steering wheel or six-speed gearshift, new expansion stages of the CDI diesel (which are less durable but more economical than the old pre-chamber diesel) and even more comfort. However, this facelift did not affect the core of the E-Class W210 and the T-Model S 210, which makes up for its clumsy rear with an immensely large trunk.

The W210 is suitable for pragmatists as well as for connoisseurs

A 210 was and is a wonderfully calm automobile, which in the interior shows the high quality of the workmanship and the stamina of the driver encourages instead of demanding action. The 'welcome home' feeling quickly sets in behind this classic cockpit with the large central speedometer - lolling into the comfortable seats, which can be perfectly adjusted using the miniature seat in the door panel, when the first buyer has really taken the money. Two-tone leather in tones that sometimes take getting used to? Oho, a Designo copy or an AMG. You should dare to breathe this zeitgeist.

If you want the E-Class W210, like many first-time buyers, as a diesel, in most cases you don't need to worry about the environmental zones. The green badge is either possible as standard or through retrofitting. Even the tired 220 D from 1995, whose 95 hp seem a little sparse today, is a future-proof purchase if the body is still well together.

So little has changed. As it was then, the W210 is suitable for the cost-conscious pragmatist as well as for the connoisseur. Basicallyit is even better today. Because if a W210 has survived in good condition, it will not get worse

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