Review coming soon!
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class has been around since the late 1950s to 1960s. Adhering to Mercedes-Benz’s W-naming convention for their models, the first E-Class model, the W120 “Ponton”, debuted in 1953. It was noted for its stylish body and its first rate engineering. Fast forward to the fourth generation E-Class, which became the most successful Mercedes-Benz model to date. Over 2.6 million of these were built from 1976-1986. Fast forward to the eighth generation, and the E-Class is now known as a true luxury sedan. I had the opportunity to review a 2014 E350, and my findings were that it was a capable and nice sedan. However, my friend came to me with an interesting car to review: a 1990 300E (in 1993, Mercedes-Benz used a new different naming system where the models would be called the E-Class). He has one of the best jobs a car fanatic can dream of: a BMW dealership valet and delivery driver. He gets to drive cars that only I can dream of. Lamborghini Aventador? Check. Mercedes C63 AMG? Check. Rolls Royce? Check. And many more. Strangely, he said he loves his 300E more than any of those cars. Now that intrigued me, so I had to see why. This generation is dubbed as the W124 which lasted from 1985 to 1996 with a refresh in 1993. While I am not a fan of the latest Mercedes-Benzes, I have always liked the old ones for their elegant design and faultless engineering.
Contrary to what most people think, the Z3 was not the first Z to start off the Z series (Z3 and Z4). That title goes to the Z1. During 1989-1991, BMW built the Z1. The Z1 featured many innovative touches such as doors that slide down in their sills and a removable plastic body. This car could be driven with all of the body panels completely removed. They were never sold in North America, and the Z1 was discontinued after just two years and with 8,000 models produced. After noticing the success of the Mazda Miata roadster, BMW decided it wanted a piece of the action. Introduced in 1996, the Z3 made its debut in the James Bond film, Golden Eye, which BMW used to promote the car. The BMW Z3 emphasized its mix of modern BMW mechanicals with retro styling cues from the BMW 507 (a classic BMW roadster). It gained new interior and exterior revisions in 2000.
Launched in 1989, Nissan’s luxury division, Infiniti, attempted to rival BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi, as well as competing with other Japanese luxury manufacturers such as Lexus and Acura. As one of Infiniti’s first two models, the Q45, inspired by the term “Q-Car”, meant to be a high performance car without the high performance looks. As such, the Q45 focused heavily on power and handling. It met rave reviews relating to its superb handling and fast acceleration. However, sales did not really take off due to the unconventional looks and a poor advertising campaign. Redesigned in 1997, the second generation focused more on luxury and comfort this time with reduced acceleration and handling abilities. Despite the effort, the Q45 faltered in sales behind its main rival, the successful Lexus LS. The Q45 was again redesigned in 2002, this time, the Q45 combined sharp styling with the performance of the first generation with the luxury of the second generation.
For the review of the first generation of the Infiniti QX56 click here.
With Infiniti moving up in the luxury world, it took the Nissan Pathfinder Armada (later changed to just Armada) and spawned an Infiniti clone named the QX56. While it did reasonably well, it failed to entice buyers away from the Cadillac Escalade and Mercedes-Benz GL. It was cited for not having enough of the luxury factor and also because of its relatively harsh ride. Knowing this, Infiniti went to work at its replacement. Now no longer a clone of the Nissan Armada, the QX56 (As of 2014, it is now QX80) is based on the Nissan Patrol, an SUV not sold in North America. Boasting Infiniti’s latest design language and a more luxurious interior, the QX56 is aimed at the full size luxury SUV market. Continue reading