1991 MERCEDES 300E-24V (5)

Marque experts have strong opinions about which engines and transmissions are ideally matched in certain models.

Should you take on a quartet of carbs in an early 308 GTB or go for fuel injection on a later Quattrovalvole? Do you restrict your 350Z search to manual cars and target later examples with the heavily revised V6? Is a V8 really the default choice for the modern Mustang and should you give further thought (or any thought?) to a manual gearbox?

You can safely forget about manual boxes in the vast majority of Mercedes, we’re advised, and you’re certainly unlikely to find a manual W124 model in New Zealand anyway. Mercedes’ in-house automatics do an admirable job. The four-speed 1980s ’box has a bullet-proof reputation; the five-speed possibly requires more servicing care but its extra ratio is welcome on the quicker six-cylinder cars from this era.

The Sportline’s optional five-speed gets our Smoke Silver exec underway smartly in second. Sometimes you find yourself manually working the transmission lever to retain third or fourth on inclines because the 300E-24v motor is noted for the strength of its top end rather than its abundant low- to mid-range torque. After comparing our car with a superb four-speed 300E with the 12-valve engine, we noted clear differences but concluded that both deserve plenty of respect. As 30-year-old occasional drivers, these spacious saloons with their fantastic build and great visibility are old-school, analogue delights. Their core Benz values are substantial and more obvious here than in some later Mercedes models.

Driven one? Own one? Share your experience: keepers@kiwigarage.co.nz

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MERCEDES-BENZ 300E-24v

VARIANT W124 Sportline saloon

COLOUR Smoke Silver

UPHOLSTERY Bone leather

ENGINE 2,960cc straight-six

POWER 172kW (231bhp)

TORQUE 265Nm @ 4600rpm

TRANSMISSION 5-speed auto, RWD

0-100km/h 7.8 secs

WHEELS 17-inch alloy

LENGTH 4.8m

WEIGHT 1480kg

EMAIL keepers@kiwigarage.co.nz

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