The Mercedes W211 was in production between 2002 and 2009, with a refresh that significantly upgraded the W211 back in 2006. 20 years later, the W211 seems to be one of the best value for money options if you are after a used Mercedes luxury sedan. The W211 is comfortable, spacious, and serene while costing next to nothing.
The W211 range is available with a plethora of different engine options such as 4-cylinder engines, 6-cylinder engines, and the range-topping V8s. A manual gearbox was the standard for entry-level W211s while ones with more powerful engines sport a torque converter automatic.
Design-wise, the W211 seems to have aged well. It offers great proportions and an interior that seems to bridge the gap between Mercedes old school design and Mercedes new school design. The W211 is able to last hundreds of thousands of miles without needing major overhauls, yet it is not free of its share of issues.
Value-wise, the W211 is indeed a great option, especially the post-facelift model which is a level above the pre-facelift model in almost every aspect. The W211 comfortably seats up to four adult passengers while the cargo space on offer is more than adequate.
Mercedes W211 – The powertrain
The W211 range kicks off with the 1.8L inline 4-cylinder in the E200 Kompressor that makes 163hp or 184hp in the case of the post-facelift W200 Kompressor. The E240 comes with a 2.6L V6 with 177hp while the E280 comes with a 231hp 3.0L V6 engine. The W320 gets a 3.2L V6 with 224hp while the E350 gets a 3.5L V6 with 272hp.
The V8 range kicks off with the E500 and its 5.0L naturally aspirated V8 with 306hp for the pre-facelift model or a 5.5L naturally aspirated V8 with 388hp for the post-facelift model. The pre-facelift range-topping AMG model is called the E55 AMG and it uses a 5.5L V8 with 476hp while the post-facelift E63 AMG uses the glorious 6.2L naturally aspired V8 with 514hp.
The W211 comes with either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed automatic for the higher-end models while 4MATIC AWD is available for a few more powerful engine options. The W211 is not the most efficient Mercedes out there because the weaker models are only able to return up to 30MPG while the E63 AMG drinks petrol with two straws.
Mercedes W211 – Design and chassis
The Mercedes W211 comes from a different Mercedes design era in which Mercedes utilized the double front headlight design. The W211 looks and feels like a true luxury car should because almost all models come with the three-pointed emblem on the hood which was extremely popular back in the day.
The W211 looks even better with the post-facelift model and is considered by many as one of the best-designed Mercedes E-Class models to date. The W212 E-Class is not nearly as good-looking as the W211 while the W213 is also one of the best E-Class models out there.
Interior-wise, the W211 looks stately, elegant, but fairly dated. The post-facelift model does spruce the interior up a bit, but there is no getting around the fact that the W211 is now a 20-year old car. The chassis and the suspension are obviously tuned for comfort, but the AMG models are a lot stiffer and more dynamic.
Mercedes W211 reliability and common issues
The W211 Mercedes E-Class is a relatively reliable Mercedes which means that it should last a long time if maintained correctly. There are many owners out there who are proud to showcase to the world that their W211s managed to cross the one million mark which is impressive for any car.
However, the W211 is not without faults which means that you should focus your attention on the camshaft adjuster sensors, the SBC pump, the air suspension system, the electronics, and the seals around the oil radiator.
Mercedes W211 value and practicality
The W211 can now be had for next to nothing, especially if you want a pre-facelift version. However, you should focus your attention on the post-facelift versions as it is a lot more reliable and it offers many benefits over the pre-facelift one. Thankfully, the price difference between the two is rather minimal.
Practicality-wise, the W211 is more than adequate for up to four adults while the cargo area is also what you expect from this class of car. The W211 is indeed a practical car with lots of interior cubby spaces and storage spaces while also offering decent all-around visibility.
Should I buy the Mercedes W211?
If you want a cheap, yet reliable used luxury sedan that can easily sit up to four people, the W211 is a good choice. The W211 is also comfortable, luxurious, and packed with high-end wood and leather trim. As such, the W211 should be at the top of your list because it offers amazing value these days.
The AMG models are an absolute blast to drive because they are so large and powered by naturally aspirated V8s. The power delivery is incredibly linear which makes the car predictable and confidence-inspiring.
What is the best Mercedes W211 to buy?
As mentioned, the W211 comes in a variety of different models and engine choices so it’s not easy to understand which one of these is the best one to go for. You should focus your attention on the post-facelift versions as they are a lot more reliable while also being not nearly as old.
The E500 post-facelift might as well be the best W211 to go for because it offers lots of power without being absolutely crazy like the 63 AMG. The E500 also offers a fairly reliable Mercedes engine, so you should not worry about longevity, but only if you maintain it correctly.
What is the best Mercedes E-Class generation?
The Mercedes W211 and the Mercedes W213 are the two best Mercedes Benz E-Class generations of all time because both of them are huge upgrades from previous models while also looking the part. Between the two, it’s probably the W213 that takes the cake as the best E-Class of all time as it introduced the current Mercedes interior design language.
All in all, it’s almost neck and neck between the W211 and the W213 which means that both of these are amazing in their own rights.