Both the Mercedes-Benz S-class saloons and the CL-class coupes have a distinguished and fascinating history. Succeeding some four ranges which had been around since the 1960s, the fifth generation of Mercedes-Benz S-class was announced in 1991 and soon became the yard stick for the luxury cars to follow.
Indeed, much praise was heaped on the original 'W140' shape, which is what the S-class produced between 1991 and 1999 was called by its engineers. The motoring press in particular were extremely impressed although the car did receive criticism from certain areas largely because of its bulky shape. In addition many saw it as a symbol of excess while it still became the model on which every luxury car of the 90s -- even the new Lexus LS400 -- was subsequently judged.
In fact, the approved used Mercedes S-class and its rarer sibling coupe version are still very much market leaders in the executive category. Both the used fifth and sixth generation Mercedes Benz S-class make a safe bet especially if you are intent on impressing the neighbours.
Bang for Your Buck
The fact is you will probably want to drive this car forever. Built to last, these S-class Mercedes cars for sale are generally found in excellent condition even those that are ten years old or more. Indeed, a 30-year warranty can be had on the latest editions while of course some conditions do apply here.
Furthermore, considering the early cars are over twenty years old they still remain a genuine competitor to many new cars that are being produced today. However, many would argue that the square rigged styling that featured on the earlier models is now somewhat dated certainly in comparison to the more curvaceous cars of today. Nonetheless, the used Mercedes S-class sixth generation that appeared from 1999 onwards continues to have the kind of state of the art technologies that are a feature of the latest luxury cars.
What You'll Pay
For an early fifth generation second hand used Mercedes S-class 300SE you can expect to pay upwards of about £2,000, while for a slighter later S280 you will have to find another £600 on top of that. Around £3,000 will land you a 400SE on a 92J plate. Meanwhile around £2,000 will get you a 92J-plate 500SE, about £3,400 a 600SEL (on a 92J-plate) and another £1,000 on top of that will get you a 93K-plated 500SEC coupe.
For later fifth-generation saloon models you can expect to pay anything from £4,000 to £8,600 and about £5,600 to £9,400 will land you a similar aged S300s/S320s.
What to Check
Since this is a Mercedes, each generation S-class has been designed with a more than generous budget ensuring that all their components have been suitably tested -- almost to the point of total destruction in fact -- before production began on any prototype model. Thus it's highly unlikely that a second hand Mercedes S-class for sale will cause any concern as far as it wearing out is concerned. The S-class is especially strong mechanically with both engines and gearboxes extremely soundly made.
In similar vein, the interiors are made with the same tough quality, although some discolouring or creasing may be evident on the leather interior upholstery. The decidedly small handbook is nonetheless packed with information on all the electrical features so find it if you.
Parts, of course, are not cheap with a new clutch costing about £225. Replacing the entire exhaust system will set you back around £530 and front and rear brake pads are about £30 and £60 respectively. Meanwhile a new headlamp unit will be around £200.
How it Drives
Passenger comfort is perhaps the best point regarding how the car drives. There is plenty of room and a smooth ride is ensured through the quality suspension. Even the fifth generation version, despite its size, has managed to retain these qualities.
Indeed, the later Mercedes S-class models have been continually voted as the best in its class from a driver's point of view. It displays handling better than a BMW 7 Series, is more comfortable and refined than a Lexus LS400 and it is faster as well. The Mercedes S500 goes from 0-60 in just over 6 seconds which is actually better than a Porsche Boxster and can reach top speeds of around 150mph. Nonetheless the S-class can offer a return of an average 25mpg, even in difficult driving.