E320 4 matic

I posted a note about 3 weeks ago but have been on the road for business and missed the responses that might have been posted in response. If you could
take the time and share your insights I would be appreciative. I live in Connecticut - fair amount of snow so I am thinking of purchasing a 2002 or 2003 E320 4matic. The question are:
- How does this vehicle really handle in the snow? Can it go thru snow drifts (relatively small - say 2 feet), or snow on the road without wandering off the intended path - i.e. track well?
- How does the car corner in rain (I've driven in in dry weather and I like it but the weather is not always good - of course)
- What is the reliability of the vehicle. JD Powers and other agencies have been indicating that that MB reliability has suffered quite a bit in the past few years and I was wondering if it was limited to the C class (very poor quality) or is the issue broader.
- What kind of problems are common to the E class and the 4matic.
- Dealers do make a difference - what dealer services you car in the CT and are you happy with them or do they leave you wanting?
Thanks folks, I appreciate your insights and time. Depending on what I actually buy the cost could be anywhere from $40K to $55K and I want to ensure I'm spending my money wisely.
Be well,
Jeff snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net
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On Sat, 27 Dec 2003 15:15:21 GMT, "Jeff Sloane"

I have no experience with the MB 4 matic but I do have a volvo AWD and have had "real" 4wd jeeps and such. The AWD drives are better than rwd in light snow, the awd will not bail you out of deep snow drifts and IMHO are not worth the potential problems that the extra mechanicals add. If you think you need 4wd because of snow, get a car with a real 4wd system like a jeep or land rover.
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MB's AWD system adds a minimal amount of extra mechanicals. It is very reliable and efficient. Over a RWD vehicle, 4MATIC (a.k.a. 4ETS on the M-Class) adds axles for the front wheels and two normal differentials (a center and a front). Instead of using complex differential locks or viscous couplings, the ABS system is used to control the spinning of wheels that have lost traction. It does not stop the spinning wheel, but instead keeps it turning at the same speed as the other wheels that do have traction. This allows for lighter materials to be used on the axles and bearings since no one wheel would ever have to handle 100% of engine torque. Coupled with ESP, the 4MATIC system makes for a very stable vehicle. I drive an ML and even with its high center of gravity and extra weight, it handles slippery curves with great control and stability.

The only advantage of an SUV over and AWD car in the snow is the ground clearance, which can be very important. Unless you have a Jeep Grand Cherokee with the QuadraTrac system, you will have an old "traditional" 4WD system with a locked center diff and a limited slip rear diff. Although this is better than a 2WD vehicle, it's no match for an "intelligent" AWD system. And by the way, the AWD system on the Land Rover is very similar to MB's 4MATIC/4ETS system.
With a 4MATIC system and good snow tires, the only thing stopping you is very deep snow. If that's a problem, then you might want to consider an M-Class.
--

- RODNEY



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MBs current 4-matic is a simple, reliable system that works well. It is very good in snow and gives you a good safety margin and feeling of stability. It has much better ride quality, performance and fuel efficiency than an SUV.
Unlike some idiots that are giving you advice, I actually own one.
h
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What year is your 4Matic and how many miles do you have on it?
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Writes:

very
It
SUV.
It's an '00 with 47,000 miles. Bought new.
h
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