1991 MERCEDES 300E-24V (3)

NZ-spec W124s all had an upmarket air about them but not the aura of this special-order Sportline.

The sturdy W124 has a reputation for going the distance that puts an awful lot of modern family cars to shame. It’s often referred to as the last ‘over-engineered’ Mercedes saloon. And it did a decade of big business for Mercedes with 2.2 million units built between 1985 and 1995. A couple of facelifts took place during this period; our car benefits from the first but misses out on the smaller grille and clear front and rear lamp clusters that came with the second. That’s no bad thing because the early grille with the three-pointed star on top has more of a classic look and the orange indicator lenses add character.

Speaking of character, the cabin is a classic with its superb mix of wood and leather. There’s the usual oversized steering wheel and a springiness to the seats. Switchgear isn’t just beautifully made, it’s cleverly arranged and the great-looking instrument cluster includes (for the final time) an oil pressure gauge.

Benz boffins will be aware that AMG developed a 200kW E36 model in the early nineties but it’s extremely rare in RHD and it’s unlikely that more than one or two made it Downunder. For New Zealanders visiting their Benz dealer about 1990, the 300E-24V was the W124 with the most elevated status and the pricey Sportline treatment was the best means to achieve a subtly aggressive stance. The result is a best of both worlds scenario – a traditional Mercedes look and high-quality cabin that blends with comfort and performance more in line with contemporary saloons.

Own one? Driven one? Email: 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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