Solid build and longevity aside, if there’s something that makes the old Mercedes Benz cars special, it has to be the charm. For a brand that epitomises luxury (not outright but in a more attainable way), Mercs fared well amidst competition that was more often than not better to drive. In comparison to Audi and BMW (the two major rivals), the Mercs from the past were available in abundance, and even now, if you look at the used car market, there are more Merc future classics waiting for their time than cars from rivals. We look at three pre-owned Mercs under Rs 5 lakhs that one must have in his/her garage.
If there’s a car on this list that has properly attained its modern classic status, then it is the W123. The prices are steadily rising, and if you want to make an investment in a car, then this is easily the safest bet. Hugely comfortable to travel in, the W123 offers the best of both worlds – it’s neither as modern-looking as say a W124 (the model that followed) nor is it as antiquated (or certified classics, depending on how you see it) as the predecessors. Smaller than an S-Class but spacious enough on the inside, the car was available both in petrol and diesel versions. A stock, well-kept example can be yours for around Rs 4-5 lakhs, which is not really a lot of money for a car that commands as much attention as a classic but runs like a fairly modern luxury saloon.
Cheapest example available for Rs 2.45 lakhs on Carwale.
So you want something more modern than the 123 but don’t necessarily want to go for one of the circular light examples? Well, then consider yourself lucky, but act quick. The W124, often said to be over-engineered for its time, was a huge step forward from the W123. The car was officially given the E-Class name, was appreciated for its handling, and was even offered in a Porsche-developed, enthusiast-oriented 500E flavour. Unlike the W123 which looks best stock, the W124 can be enhanced with some modifications. AMG alloys and a lowered stance can’t go wrong, but refrain from overdoing it by adding projector headlamps and chrome alloys because that certainly spoils the look. Prices for mint examples can touch Rs 5 lakh mark, but decent ones come for about Rs 3 lakh.
It might be rarer than the above mentioned cars, but what’s the point of talking about Mercs if we can’t include the S-Class. The W116 came before the revered W124 but you can still find a few examples if you try hard enough. Expect to pay upwards of Rs 4.5 lakhs, but sadly unlike in case of the other two, your choices will be pretty limited. But with that said, it should also be noted that we are talking about the S-Class here, so it’s all about the rear seat comfort and ride quality. The cars are said to be more susceptible to corrosion, so it’s always wise to get it checked thoroughly before making the deposit.
Cheapest example available for Rs 4.55 lakhs on Carwale.
And the cars that followed…
Also in our budget is the set of cars (C-, E-, and S-Class models) that followed but can’t be recommended wholeheartedly.
The second ever C-Class, the W203, officially came to India. There are a lot of these around, but not close to the any of the ones mentioned on the list in terms of pure appeal. The W205 (previous generation) C-Class is a much better alternative, although they are valued real high.
W210 and W211 E-Class
Rust and electronics issues deter their chances to be in the must-have list. The competition also looked and drove better. As far as problems go, the repairs can be expensive, which is why these successors to the W124 weren’t as appreciated as the W212.
The magnificence of a long saloon like the S-Class is beyond belief, and the W220 is no different in that aspect. What’s worrying though is that it wasn’t made during the brand’s best years. Issues related to rust, electronics, and build quality meant the W220 couldn’t quite be the best car in the world of its time.
There are a handful of these available, with prices in the vicinity of Rs 6.5 – 7 lakhs, like the one on CarTrade, while a high mileage example is available on Carwale for Rs 2.5 lakhs, but that’s way too less than the market rate.