Safest Mercedes: W140 or W220? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-27-2007, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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Safest Mercedes: W140 or W220?

I'm considering purchasing a 1994 350TD which has had a factory rebuilt engine installed. As has been well described on this forum, the W140 is built like a tank. However much engineering design and safety features have been developed over the past decade. Side airbags, traction control, electronic stability control. So which is the safest car: The newer S class Mercedes (W220) or the well-built W140? Which would you choose? Since the new class is not yet available as a diesel model in the US, how would you compare the new E320CDI to the W140 in terms of safety?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-27-2007, 04:09 PM
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They're all tough.

The W140 managed to save the only passenger who wore their seatbelt during the Princess Di car wreck. And this man was sitting in the "death seat".

W140 survives Concrete barrier at > 80 mph.

I've also posted videos of a W126 with a combined impact speed in excess of 120 mph (mph, not kph), and the safety cage remained intact (with a slight buckle in the roof). The passengers were fine. The car's front end crushed right up to the double firewall, and was grossly deformed (the front wheel pressed against this firewall), but the survival space remained intact. Not to mention THE SIDE GLASS NEVER CRACKED OR SHATTERED.

Not sure on the 220, but the W126 and W140 are legendary in regards to high speed impact safety, IMHO.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-27-2007, 08:23 PM
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Historically speaking Mercedes has always led with Safety in the development of each series of new cars. That “should” make the 220 safer. However in the late 90’s MB cut some corners on quality [which showed up in their electronics and some rust issues] so one would have to draw their own conclusions as to whether they also cut corners on safety design. I have no idea whatsoever.

As posted earlier, the hits taken by W140s where folks have survived are legend.

Has anyone on the board found any documentation online to support or dispute any safety issues with any of the newer Benzos?

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-27-2007, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by mcbear
Historically speaking Mercedes has always led with Safety in the development of each series of new cars. That “should” make the 220 safer. However in the late 90’s MB cut some corners on quality [which showed up in their electronics and some rust issues] so one would have to draw their own conclusions as to whether they also cut corners on safety design. I have no idea whatsoever.

As posted earlier, the hits taken by W140s where folks have survived are legend.

Has anyone on the board found any documentation online to support or dispute any safety issues with any of the newer Benzos?
No real life documentation, but the W211 was the safest car in the world at one point with the W220 coming in at second.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-28-2007, 06:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluhorizan
I'm considering purchasing a 1994 350TD which has had a factory rebuilt engine installed. As has been well described on this forum, the W140 is built like a tank. However much engineering design and safety features have been developed over the past decade. Side airbags, traction control, electronic stability control. So which is the safest car: The newer S class Mercedes (W220) or the well-built W140? Which would you choose? Since the new class is not yet available as a diesel model in the US, how would you compare the new E320CDI to the W140 in terms of safety?
bluhorizan,

I know you have asked this question on the W140 forum so I won`t go into the advice already given about the 350TD other than say DO NOT BUY IT.

As to the general question of safety of the W140 and W220 each car will have comparatively large margins of occupant safety engineered in. Later models of the W140 had many of the features incorporated in the early W220s so I doubt that there is much to choose between them.

One potential advantage the W140 might carry is that it is heavier than the W220 perhaps 10% or so.

The following link was posted by a forum member before and it is interesting.

You can click on the various category headings and it gives more info.

Interestingly the W140 has excellent ratings across the board.

Hope this helps

Mercedes-Benz Crash-Test Results, Mercedes-Benz Safety Information, Mercedes-Benz Insurance Data, NHTSA, IIHS, NCAP, S Class, E Class, C Class, M Class, A Class, Smart, SL Class, SLK, CLK, 190E, 300E, 260E, 200E, SL300, SL500, 300SE, 300D
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-28-2007, 02:32 PM
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What I'm worried about is that since the w221 that has PRE-SAFE technology relies on electronics, I hope the electronic bugs have been sorted out already. Otherwise, we could see a deterioration of the safety features together with all the other electrical problems of the new MB's.

Other than that, I'd say both the w140 and w221 are very, very safe cars if only for passive (mechanical) safety.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-29-2007, 07:10 AM
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I am a W140 driver, the car is a tank and alittle Bigger and alittle heavier than the 22o.

That being said

the 220 has side airbag in all rows and I believe the stability electronics is better.

The E CLASS 99 (2000-2003) was rated the safest car with the lowest fatalities in the last insurance research

The 220 was the best Large luxury car.

The newer W140 have driver/passenger airbags which some of the older models do not have.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-29-2007, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by karugs
What I'm worried about is that since the w221 that has PRE-SAFE technology relies on electronics, I hope the electronic bugs have been sorted out already. Otherwise, we could see a deterioration of the safety features together with all the other electrical problems of the new MB's.

Other than that, I'd say both the w140 and w221 are very, very safe cars if only for passive (mechanical) safety.
Pre-safe has been available since the later years of the W220. It's not that new.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-30-2007, 06:28 AM
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I was hit head on by an SUV while driving my late, sadly gone 600SEL. I walked away with only scratches that were caused by the airbag when it hit my glasses. The SUV driver sadly was killed. I don't know about the newer ones, but I can say without hesitation that even years later, the W140's are some of the safest cars on the road!

I would think twice about the diesel engines though. They are infamous in the W140's!
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-30-2007, 10:48 AM
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get w140 - it's the rare masterpiece of a car. probably Money pit - since you will be maintaining 100K$ car

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