Super Sedan: 1992 Mercedes-Benz 500E

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Throughout history, there have been moments when automakers collaborate for the sake of producing a performance vehicle they couldn’t necessarily build on their own. In most cases, this takes the form of fairly boring partnerships wherein a manufacturer adds a vehicle to their lineup they don’t currently have or otherwise want to set up an assembly line to produce. Minivans, light-duty pickups, econoboxes, and so on. But when Mercedes-Benz decided to build a high-performance sedan known as the 500E, it enlisted the help of Porsche to bring the car to reality. This limited-production factory hot rod is offered here on eBay for $65,000 or best offer.

The 500E is instantly recognizable when you view the flared front fenders, a body modification made necessary after the company decided to wedge the V8 from the R129 500SL under the hood. Those fat fenders are the biggest visual takeaway, and that’s pretty much it for clues, which has always made the 500E a slightly “sleepy” performance car. It otherwise looks by and large like your standard W124 sedan from the outside, and even in the car, it’s just the subtly bolstered seats and two-person rear seating to set the 500E apart. But the performance on tap represented a serious upgrade over the most powerful E-Class at the time, with the 500E able to record a 0-60 run of 6.1 seconds.

The car shown here has just under 65,000 original miles, so while it’s not exactly a time-warp specimen, it’s in very nice condition for a car that’s been used. The interior is all business, with the standard W124 steering wheel and HVAC controls, along with the sedate instrument binnacle. Mercedes didn’t even bother putting white-faced gauges in this four-door bahnstormer, which makes me love it even more. The production process was quite complex, with Mercedes shipping the core components to Porsche for assembly by hand, and then sending the assembled body and chassis back to Mercedes for paint. The car then went to another Porsche assembly for engine installation and final assembly.

While the performance may seem sedate by today’s standards (and yes, a late-model Hyundai would outpace it in a 0-60 run, I’m well aware), this was a rocketship for a heavy German sedan in the early 90s. When you consider how valuable the original four-door German rocket – the W116-chassis 450SEL 6.9 – has become, it’s inevitable that in a galaxy not so far away the modern 500E will soon join it as one of the more collectible Mercedes models made in the last 30 years. The seller’s car appears to be in excellent condition and may be available for a lower price given the option to submit a best offer.

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Comments

  1. leiniedude leiniedudeMember

    Sweet ride! Its a shame there is no manual tranny. With all the bouncing back and forth to Porsche I am surprised there is no Stuttgart badge somewhere. Wiki claims a 1992 model with a retail price of $81,800 in the States. Nice find Jeff.

    Like 4
  2. U.K. Paul

    Beautiful car. This is proper quality and automotive history.

    Like 7
  3. SirRaoulDuke

    These have exploded in value the past few years, we all missed the boat on a 500E for sure.

    Like 2
  4. alphasudMember

    Want to own a 500E but you find yourself priced out of the Market? Buy a W124 400E/ E420. For pennies on the dollar. Nice examples under 10K driver quality 5-6K. Last of the true MB build the best at any cost Mercedes got caught with their pant down when Lexus showed up on our doorstep. The 400E was meant to compete the the LS400. After someone pulled in front of me and killed my 300E I decided to find a 400E to fill the void. 4.2L V8 275hp makes the car entertaining. The 400E got a final drive of 2.24 and a different valve body in the transmission to give you a first gear start. The 500E received the 2.82 final drive w/o the first gear start. I am installing the 2.65 and a Wavetrak LSD which should help to bridge the performance gap somewhat. Great cars and yes not having a manual does take away some of the driving experience. Swaps have been done. My car with snow wheels and tires.

    Like 9
    • FireAxeGXP

      Alpha! I knew you had good taste.

      Like 1
  5. matt grant

    I sold these new at an authorized dealer. we couldn’t give them away. this trend is but one more bubble about to burst.

    Like 1
    • U.K. Paul

      I think time will show different. These are great cars with genuine pedigree.

      Like 1
  6. Frank Barrett

    Even as a huge Porsche and Mercedes-Benz fan, I can’t get excited about the 500E. If not for the Porsche connection, it would be just another W124, and my 1971 6.3 did 0-60 in six seconds. As one commenter said, the 400E is a much better buy. Even better are the early AMG supercharged E55 V8s, up through 2006. I bought an ’06 E55 AMG wagon on BaT five years ago for $22K, and at 125,000 miles it still hits 60 in 4 seconds and goes beyond 155 mph (I chickened out). The 500Es that I’ve driven felt heavy, even a bit clunky, but the E55s are much bettter to drive.

    Like 3
  7. Rick in Oregon Rick in Oregon

    Having owned several W124’s over the years, the E500 was always on my wish list, until now that they are so darned expensive! My last W125 was an ’87 300D, considering it was diesel, it went like its tail was on fire! My answer to the big motor little Benz was my 2005 C55 AMG, which when I purchased was a screaming deal when you consider they only produced 1399 of them.

    Like 2
    • alphasudMember

      A lot of bang for your buck there. m113K engine is very reliable as well as the transmission.

      Like 1
    • alphasudMember

      I totally missed your Milano in the background. Proof that you are a petrol head.

      Like 1
  8. PAW

    I have to place a critical comment – not of this car – but 500E in general.

    I went to see one of these – the want was strong. The build quality was guaranteed MB, everything worked flawlessly for very, very nice 30 year old car.

    BUT. I was as expecting driving to be a somehow different, perhaps even special. The opposite. What a let down. The V8 audio track is there but 326hp with slush box in 1.5ton car failed to impress me in any way. Sleeper, yes. In case one decides to sleep in one

    Needless to say – did not buy the car.

    Like 2
  9. PRA4SNW

    Auction ended with no takers at the 65K price.

    Like 1

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