Saturday, July 18, 2015

Wolf im Schafspelz: 1992 Mercedes-Benz 500E W124

The W124 generation Mercedes-Benz 500E is one of those wolf in sheep's clothing sleepers that will only be recognized by the sharpest of Border Collies.  It seems, at least in SoCal, that the predominate drivers of the W124 for the past few years have been middle aged women, and while I hate to use the term "secretaries car," it is essentially what they've become.  And that is fine, because at least those drivers take good care of them with frequent maintenance, and love them in a strange way through the rose tinted glasses of age.  It's all fine and dandy for a basic inline-6 powered 300E, but where does that leave the fire breathing 500E?  Find this 1992 Mercedes-Benz 500E offered for $13,994 here on Autotrader, located at a dealer in Auburn, MA.  Tip from Brian P.

The W124 Mercedes-Benz chassis was the first Benz given the official E-Class nomenclature and one of the final pre-Daimler/Chrysler era cars to come from Stuttgart before the inevitable decline and fall of Germany's greatest automotive empire.  The 500E (and later E500) was built for the 1991-1994 model years and offered Q-Ship class that was unmatched if you could live with a slushbox.

The 500E has a 5.0 liter DOHC M117 V8 putting out 325 horsepower into a 4 speed automatic transmission.  Its not a bad automatic transmission to drive if you do indeed need to drive without a clutch, it lacks the slushy feel of most domestic iron from the same era, has surprisingly crisp up-shifts and the 4 speeds make nice work of the wide power-band available.  The chassis tuning and suspension setup was done by Porsche so the car has a sporty feel to it and drives more like a sports car than luxury sedan.  Unfortunately it still uses the steering box setup from the standard E-class and lack of rack-and-pinion steering gives a vague sense of what the tip of the hammer is doing during high speed maneuvers. 

The interior dates from a time when the guys/gals at Mercedes-Benz cared about what their product looked/felt/acted like after 10 years.  Today's throw away plastics and ever growing spiderweb of connectivity complexity might help woo sellers at the dealer, but you aren't going to want one used.  The W124, on the other hand, features some genuinely high quality materials that have stood the test of time.

See a cooler Q-ship?


  1. Unless there is some world-class flaw hiding going on here, this looks like one of those scenarios where an oblivious used car manager prices a car at kelly blue book, with zero awareness of actual market values. Now that this is out in the open, I can't see it lasting long, this should normally be a $20k+ car in the current market. I'd normally be all over this but the stable is bursting at the seams right now and divorce would be imminent.

    1. Sorry to hear that, FTB. I hope everything works out for the best. These things are never easy.

    2. Thanks for the sincere sentiments K2, but I wasn't being literal---saying that IF I brought this beauty home, I would surely need a divorce attorney on speed dial. :-) She's not ready to kick me out just yet!

    3. Phew! I apologize for taking that so literally. Glad to hear things are okay at the FTB ranch.

      If you do figure out a way to buy this car, I want to check it out! Always wondered about them. They are pretty awesome. I'm pretty sure I don't want one but I'd sure like to drive one around for a couple weeks or months.

      Is this better than a C36?

  2. I called the dealer on this one. Super helpful and friendly. I really wish I could pick it up, but its about as far away as possible from my place in SoCal. Even Hagerty says the value of this car is somewhere between $18k-$40k or so. So even as a level 4 car, it is underpriced.

  3. The W124 500E is kind of a unicorn car, it doesn't do much an E39 540i won't do but it's still special.

    I'm in the FTB situation, too much on hand and too little spousal tolerance.

  4. Ad has 108K, picture shows 121K, and Carfax says 130K...

  5. The rear emblem reads "E500" although I thought this was the 1994-only designation; all other years of production were known as 500E, weren't they?

    I know I'm probably in the minority but I was never much a fan of the monoblocks. I can't remember where I saw it BITD but a deep dish multi spoke looks very DTM-angry on this boxed body.


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