The W210 Mercedes E320 was first introduced back in 1996 and Mercedes came out with a new W211 E320 model that was in production between 2003 and 2009. After this, the E320 badge was replaced with the E350 for the W212 model and it was pushed into a more expensive category.
The W210 E320 is known to suffer from suspension issues, engine cooling issues, and electrical issues. All of these are common these days as the W210 E320 is a fairly old car. Many people believe that the E320 is able to last hundreds of thousands of miles, but only if you maintain it tirelessly as it is not as reliable as Mercedes 1980s cars.
The W211 E320 seems to be a bit less problematic and people also believe that it can also easily last hundreds of thousands of miles without any major overhauls. However, it seems like the W211 E320 is actually a lot more problematic.
The most common W211 E320 issues include fuel system issues, electrical issues, and airbag issues. All in all, these can indeed last a long time, but they are not the most reliable Mercedes E-Class models of all time, quite the contrary.
W210 E320 suspension issues
The most common issue with the W210 E320 is down to front coil spring problems. Many owners reported that the front coil springs were actually prone to breaking which resulted in the car suddenly losing ride height, even while driving at relatively high speeds.
This issue can easily be identified if your car starts drifting to one side or the other. It is a really serious issue that can result in catastrophic consequences. Issues such as these can unsettle the car which can ultimately lead to complete loss of control. All in all, be sure to inspect the coils on any W210 model, no matter the model designation.
W210 E320 engine issues
Water pump issues, excessive oil consumption, engine belt, and pulley issues are all common with W210 E320 models. All of these need to be addressed asap as they can lead to expensive repairs or potentially even a complete engine rebuild or replacement.
This is a huge expense and many W210 E320 models were retired because of them. The harmonic balancer is also a relatively common issue with the W210 and it can easily be noticed if you suddenly start losing power. Repairs such as these can easily cost upwards of $2,000 which is incredibly stressful to experience.
W210 E320 electrical issues
The W210 E320 is a fairly old car now which means that the E320 suffers from classic old car tiredness. This also often leads to a myriad of electrical issues that include power windows going blank, slow or unresponsive sunroof mechanism, or faulty exterior lighting.
The power locks are also prone to similar issues and so are many in-car accessories such as dome lights and A/C switches.
W211 E320 fuel system issues
The W211 E320 is known to have lots of fuel system-related issues such as a strong gasoline odor penetrating the car. These are commonly being caused by lots of fuel leaks which can end up catastrophically in some instances. Many E320 owners complained that the fuel tank in the W211 E320 leaked fuel underneath the rear seats.
Mercedes even issued a nationwide recall in 2005 because of all these fuel leaks and many E320 models out there still experience these.
W211 E320 electrical issues
The W211 E320 is also known to experience many electrical issues such as battery and alternator problems, instrument panel issues, trunk wiring problems, and problems with the airbag sensors, especially for the front passenger seat.
Issues such as these can typically be resolved fairly easily, but many potential electrical issues tend to plague these models.
W211 E320 airbag issues
The airbag sensors found in the W211 E320 are known to cause issues from time to time. However, the airbag on and off switch is also problematic and the W211 airbag deployment sensors are also known to sometimes deploy the airbag without any reasonable cause.
A few owners complained that the front passenger airbag was deployed while going over an aggressive pothole. This is obviously a huge safety hazard which means that you should inspect your airbags whenever you take your car for a service.
Is the Mercedes E320 a safe car?
The Mercedes E320 is not the safest car on the planet, both because it is old and because it has many potentially catastrophic design flaws such as front coils, airbags, and fuel leaks. All of these can lead to deadly consequences, and it is better to avoid the E320 if all of these systems are not addressed adequately.
Both the W210 and the W211 are relatively old which means that they don’t benefit from state-of-the-art active software safety features. They don’t even come with a rearview camera as these were first introduced a few years after the W211 ceased production.
Is the W211 better than the W210?
In a perfect world, the W211 is a better car, but both of these are prone to issues so it always depends on the two specific cars you are looking at. The number of miles on the odometer plays a large role, but many issues listed in this article are known to happen with both low and high mileage examples.
All in all, the W211 is indeed a more advanced car, but you should focus on the W212 as it is a more modern and safer car overall.
Are old Mercedes cars reliable?
The 1980s Mercedes cars are often known to be the most reliable cars ever built, and that is a fact. Early 1990s Mercedes models are also superiorly reliable, but later 1990s models are some of the worst Mercedes models ever made. Until this point Mercedes was focused on making the best cars on the planet, no matter the cost.
After the 1990s Mercedes started focusing on different priorities, and this is rather obvious the moment you take a look at the W220 S-Class which was the flagship Mercedes of the time but is now considered as one of the worst Mercedes cars of all time.