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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW: Mercedes Benz W123 E-class

In this blog entry, I'll be covering Mercedes W123 E-class, specifically 230E/230CE/230TE.  Why?

It's because of popular demand (5 readers) requested me to review this Mercedes W123 series.

Above: W123, 230CE with Pillarless side windows.
Below: W123 Sedan. Below below, W123 Touring wagon.

Above: RARE Cabriolet model.

Here are the used prices of W123 230E/230CE/230T in Malaysia:

Price (RM):......6k/12k....8k/16k........11k/21k...15k/26k

As you can see, 2xxCE and 2xxT (Wagon) costs from 50% more to DOUBLE to buy compared to Sedan versions. This is rough indications.  Actual price might vary depending on mileage, Locally assembled or Imported, Specifications, Body conditions...

The Mercedes-Benz W123 cars were produced from 1976 through 1986.

The W123 models surpassed their predecessor, the W114 "slash-8" models, as the most successful Mercedes, selling over 2,5 million cars, before being replaced by the W124 after 1985. Also, the additional, smaller range of Mercedes-Benz W201 models was introduced in 1982.


As usual, model names were related to engine sizes, type of engine and chassis type

+ D for Diesel,
+ E for Einspritzung (fuel injection)
+ T for Transport and Tourism (estate/station wagon)

+ C for Coupé


The W123 was the first Mercedes to have a factory-offered station wagon version designated as T-model, as earlier models were converted to station wagons, and long-wheelbase ambulances and hearses only by private companies. The W123 300 TD turbodiesel was one of the first turbodiesel cars on the European market. Because of the peculiar power band, the turbodiesel cars were only available with 4 speed automatic transmission.

Long wheel base models of the 250, 280E and 240D were also available, with 7 seats, intended primarily for use as taxi cabs.

Other innovations that its predecessor lacked, included ABS (Not available on Diesel models), a retractable steering column, self-levelling suspension (station wagon only), a safety dashboard and airbag for driver (after 1982/09).

Petrol Engine option:
i) 200 carb 4 speed manual
ii) 230E injection 4 speed manual/4 speed automatic
iii) 280E injection with 4 speed automatic.

The 3-litre diesel engine was actually a 5-cylinder derivate of the 2.4 litre engine from the 240 D.

Available options included leather upholstery, wooden linings, 5-speed manual transmission (European market only), 4-speed automatic transmission, 4-speed manual transmission, rear-facing extra seats (station wagon only), Standheizung, airconditioning, automatic airconditioning, power windows (front and rear), headlamp wipers (European market only), Tempomat (cruise control), power steering (standard after 1982/08), seat heating, CO converter (available from 1984).

Power assisted braking was standard on all W123's.

American version

The American W123's differ from the European W123's, due to U.S.-legislation. Notable differences:

+ Much larger bumpers
+ Sealed-beam headlights

As usual, I don't have a test car to drive/brag about it...  All is not lost...  I DISHED OUT 1 Buyers guide, 12 owner's review from ALL OVER THE WORLD and 1 Technical specifications.

Here's the buyer's guide:

W123 Buying Guide

After checking under the hood you are ready to take a road test, 123 style. You want to check for all the normal things that you would on any test drive but pay particular attention to the transmission shifting and the feel of the suspension as you hit large bumps and potholes. This is when you will hear clunks associated with front or rear suspension bushings. Don't expect blistering acceleration but check for excessive smoke in the rearview mirror which could indicate injection problems.

Without further ado, let's proceed to owner's review
(surf to

The trunk is almost big enough to swallow a dinosaur... (500L)

Above and below: North American specs/models.

Above: Example of how USA Spec W123 E-class looks like. Note Bigger front and rear bumpers and different headlights.



Why only 2.3 petrol engine specifications?
Because in Malaysia only 200 and 230E were popular.  280E, 250 and 240D were RARE.

Mercedes 230E / 230CE / 230TE

Carbody type: sedan/coupe/wagon
Transmission: 4 speed, automatic (4 speed manual)
Fuel: petrol


Cylinders: 4, in line
Valves per cylinder: 2
Capacity: 2299 cc
Bore x stroke: 95,0 x 80,25 mm
Compression: 9,0:1

Max power: 100 kW (136 hp) @ 5100 rpm
Max torque: 205 Nm @ 3500 rpm
Fuel system: multipoint injection
Engine type: sohc


Front Suspension: Independent, Wishbone, Coil-springs
Rear Suspension: Independent Semi-Trailing Arm, coil-springs
Front brakes: discs
Rear brakes: discs

Tire: 175HR14
TWO Types, Above: Pre-1981 model. Below: 1981 onwards model.

Turning circle: 11,3 m


Top speed: 180 km/h
Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 12.3s (11.5 s manual)

Average comsumption: 10,4 l/100km
Average comsumption kms: (9.6km/L)


Length: 4,72 m
Width: 1,79 m
Height: 1,44 m
Wheelbase: 2,80 m
Front track: 1,49 m
Rear track: 1,45 m


Luggage space: 500L
Fuel tank: 65L
Empty mass: 1370 kg
Maximum permisible mass: 1890 kg
Maximum playload: 520 kg

Parting Shots. Other photos:

 LASTLY, saving the best for last; I got a VIDEO on W123.  Wheelers Dealers (UK) S01E10.


  1. Anonymous1:00 AM

    thanks for your informative blog. it was really helpful. i just purchased a lovely W123 230E today and i am quite sure i am going to enjoy it for a long time to come. all i need to do is get the air conditioning repaired.

  2. Nice review on the W123!
    I just rescued a 280CE and I love it!
    you can find all the infos to my car here: