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2003-2009 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Pre-Owned

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Justin Pritchard
Last-generation E-Class best purchased with an extended warranty from a Certified Used Vehicle program at a Mercedes-Benz dealer
Faces of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and its competition from Audi and BMW keep evolving, but even the model’s 2010 revision ultimately remains one-third of a German sport sedan battle that’s been raging for years.

2003 Mercedes-Benz E-Class (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)

Last-generation (W211) E-Class models were on sale to us Canadians for the 2003 through 2009 model years. The range started with a 3.2 litre, 221-horsepower V6 engine, hooked up to the rear wheels by a five-speed automatic with ‘Touch Shift’. That’s a fancy word for ‘manual mode’. Optionally available was a 5-litre, 302 horsepower V8 backed by the same gearbox and transmission.

As time passed, the E-Class was joined by a wagon model, as well as a diesel engine, all wheel drive, and two high-performance variants, namely the E55 and E63 AMG. Towards the end of its life, the E-Class powertrain lineup was updated to include a 3.5 litre, 268-horsepower base V6 engine, and a jacked-up 5.5 litre V8 that approached 400 ponies. Names changed to E350 and E550 accordingly. A seven-speed automatic kicked into play as well, as did a new 3-litre, 228-horsepower base engine.

Shoppers should note that the numerical designation of a used E-Class represents its engine. Models with V6 power were called the E300, E320 or E350, while V8-powered models were called E500 and E550, respectively. Diesel E-Class models got a “CDI” or “BLUETEC” designation, and all wheel drive models, a “4MATIC” badge. No 4MATIC BLUETEC E-Class was produced.

Those looking for a used E-Class can expect to find all the toys-- including heated power leather seats, navigation, a CD-changer audio system, an intelligent key system, integrated Bluetooth phone interface and more. Auto-leveling air suspension, a sunroof, and power memory seating and steering wheel were on board, too.

Not surprisingly, most E-Class owners bought their cars for the reputation, prestige, luxury, space, styling and overall comfort factor. All season performance and brand loyalty were other reasons. Common functional complaints include a choppier or rougher-than-expected ride on some models, as well as ‘cheap’ factory equipment tires.

2004 Mercedes-Benz E 55 AMG (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
Justin Pritchard
Justin Pritchard
Automotive expert