best years for late model E class sedan or coupe??

Greetings,
I am looking for a mint E class sedan or coupe from early 90's up to 98. Can anyone offer educated opinions on which model years seem to have the
best build quality and reliability?
Thanks much,
Paul
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'97 E320, which I bought new, is a combination of new and good old. The body is new, a clean sheet of paper design rather than an update of old. The transmission, starting in '97, is the new, electronically controlled 5 speed overdrive, absolutely first class. And the engine is the very smooth 24 valve old straight six, a fine engine but with a reputation for oil leaks from its valve cover and front cover. Later models use the V-6.
This car glides along at speed and we average 26 mpg on trips. Ours has 32K miles and has been problem free with the exception of the oil leak that was a warranty repair at 18K.
This model, with low mileage, now sells for about 50% of its original MSRP.
Whether this car is the "best" depends on YOUR priorities.
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My personal favorite year for the E class would be 1995. Although, the 1997 E class has the later electronically controlled transmission, some of those transmissions have a plastic bushing instead of a torrington needle bearing. That bushing usually causes the 5 speed transmission to fail at something below 80,000 miles. Apparently, some of the earlier and later 5 speed cars don't have the bushing but most of the factory rebuilt transmissions still use that plastic part.
I own a '95 E320 wagon and it still gets 26.5 mpg on long trips if you keep your speed right under 80 mph. Driving above 80 mph, the mileage drops to slight above 24 mpg. The '95 E class doesn't have rack and pinion steering like the '96 and later E class. Some people love rack and pinion steering but I like the longevity of the recirculating ball gear box in the earlier cars. Every car I've owned with a power rack and pinion gear box developed leaks at moderate mileage.
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Always go with the last year production model - they have it down to a science by then; most glitches are ousted and recalls are down to a bare minimum. Try 95 E320...I've got one with 134,000 miles...NEVER had a problem...replaced brakes, timely maintenance...that's it.
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