Throw a bigger engine in a smaller car and it’s almost always better. Let Porsche design and build the suspension, and…
Considered now to be an underground classic, the 1993 Mercedes Benz 500E is a little known “wolf in sheep’s clothing…”, resulting from a one-time collaboration between Mercedes Benz and Porsche, and until friend and car collector, Al Mulder, offered me a drive, I had precious little knowledge of how Porsche came to build a Benz.
Porsche was called on to help engineer and produce the 500E, and in the same plant that was used to build their 959 super car, the boxy mid-size became a stormer with Porsche engineering and construction, attached to a robust all aluminum 4 valve per cylinder, giant killer of a motor.
White bodies were shipped to the Roessle-Bau Porsche facility for modification, then back to Benz for paint, then back again to Porsche for final assembly.
Walk past one, and you’ll notice flared fenders. It sits a bit lower and looks a touch wider. Designed to convey wealthy businessmen down the Autobahn at very high speeds, underneath the rather drab exterior lurks a beast and the genesis of AMG.
Bulletproof is a word seldom associated with cars of the early 90’s, but even after all these years, this car feels like a bank vault. Close the door and the typical Mercedes “thunk” is what you hear. Power seats, really power everything, the car was built with almost every option included.
Takeoff is brisk considering the car actually starts from 2nd gear, and you have to do a funny little dog-leg to drop down to 1st, and why bother. Fast, the car is much quicker than I imagined, and even by today’s standards, performance is instantly available.
What’s really impressive, though, is mid-range when passing and the trans downshifts two gears and rockets the little car ahead.
I loved the steering (thanks Porsche) and it goes where you point it with no complaints..
So surprising to drive, it’s fun, fast and collectible all rolled into a daily driver. Like having enjoying Wagner while chomping on a bratwurst, a surprising collaboration combine to produce one hell of a ride.
- list price in 1993: $82,000
- 0-60 5.5-6.0 seconds
- top speed: 155 MPH
- HP: 300
- torque: 434 pounds
- 1,528 were imported to the US