Need quick help!

I have finally narrowed down my two cars. Both are 1998 models, a E320 4MATIC w/50k and a E430 w/ 50k Both have starmark, service history and are one owner cars. Now, we do have winters here in the Midwest that can be
slick sometimes where the 4MATIC would come in handy, but I also want the most reliable of the two, and to me the thought of the 4MATIC system seems like something more to go wrong. So my two questions are, which one of those two would be more reliable?And how would the E430 do in the winter? I see a lot of E-CLASS cars without the 4MATIC option so I would assume they must do OK. Any other advice would be appreciated.
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You recognize the issues between these two cars. The relative reliability of these cars is moot if your expected retention period falls within the Starmark warranty for it should cover the AWD. How important (vs. the lower fuel economy) is the V-8's stronger acceleration?
The V-8 can be driven in Winter mode; it causes the transmission to start off in 2nd gear and upshift quickly so less torque is applied to the rear wheels. I'd try this car in some snow before buying it to determine if that W mode is sufficient. If you live in a flat area the 2 wheel drive may be OK but hills favor the AWD.
Don't forget that the standard car has Traction Control to avoid wheel spinning.
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I like the V8 punch for merging on the highways. A few less miles per gallon doesn't mean much to me.

I don't face any big hills. I usually stay in when the roads are bad, but when I have to go to work at 5am sometimes the roads aren't plowed much yet. But this is pretty rare. Does anyone have any experience driving the non 4MATIC in the snow?
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I have driven a Gen 1 (1991 300TE 4matic) in the snow and it does wonderfully. The reliability only became an issue at the 225K mi mark (repair cost $2800.00). I understand that the later cars 4matic system is much different and much more reliable. Good luck! Paul Elliot San Jose, CA
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Just a note the standard starmark is one year. You have the option to bump to three at purchase time. Negotiate the price that is printed on the paperwork. Search for starmarked cars in the southeast off of mb's site. The prices of the all wheel drive is much cheaper down here.
Check out www.jackingram.com we have more starmarked cars than showing I will update that Monday
Good Luck
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