Which S Class is the most reliable? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

View Poll Results: Overall: Which S Class is the best?
1980's 16 31.37%
1990's 31 60.78%
2000's 4 7.84%
Voters: 51. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 59 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 07:11 AM Thread Starter
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Which S Class is the most reliable?

Looking to buy an S class. I really like the design of the late 90's. Which is the best?
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post #2 of 59 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 07:44 AM
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This may be a w140 forum, but I'm gonna have to go with the w126 on this one.

78 280S W116
81 300SD W126
82 300D Euro W123
83 200 W123 (Dad's old car being resurrected)
91 190E 1.8 W201 (wife's)
92 300E 2.6 W124
90 260SE W126
94 S280 W140
10 E300 Avantgarde W212 (Dad's)
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post #3 of 59 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 10:34 AM
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I am the original owner of my 97 S320. In 13 and 1/2 years of ownership, i have had one breakdown due to a water pump failure.
by far, this is the most reliable car i have ever owned -
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post #4 of 59 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 10:58 AM
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Just picked up a 95 s320 swb, im the 3rd owner, im at 156k with this thing. No problems from what I can see, previous owner took care of it, original owner only leased it for a year when it was new.

Ive seen some for sell with 250k plus still running so I figure it should last a long time. Granted I have the more simpler with inline 6 with no options so I dont really have to worry about stuff breaking.
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post #5 of 59 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 11:55 AM
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I have a '83 w126 coupe and a '93 300se. My parents have a '05 S430.

No doubt in my mind that the best build quality/reliability goes to the 80's. The w140 has been quite the pain but I heard they sorted those out in the mid-late 90's. The w220 hasn't been flawless either with some seat control issues and some other electrical gremlins.
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post #6 of 59 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 01:03 PM
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reliable and best are two different things...

Some factor in a car's cheap maintenance and overall reliability and consider that "best" while others factor in the car's overall build quality and features and consider that "best" or a combination of both.

Statistically, a W126 should be the cheapest to maintain/own though you'll still find the occasional lemon here and there.

That being said, its a hit or miss for any generation. You'll find owners whose had better luck with one generation over the other.

Regardless, a late model W140 or W220 should've ironed out most of the kinks that plagued the early models.

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post #7 of 59 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 02:23 PM
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tricky question

in general 221>126>140>220 in terms of factory induced faults

long term they are pretty much a draw. each one has its own kinks

vw phaeton. when vw copies mercedes, but forces you to service it next to golfs and jettas
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post #8 of 59 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 02:46 PM
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Time is more of an issue now then anything. The W126's were rock solid when made, but they have been out of production for nearly 20 years now. Time will get to even the best made cars. Then on the other hand, the W220 was an unreliable repair prone cut rate mess from day one, and has only gotten worse with time factored in.
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post #9 of 59 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 06:17 PM
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i think w140 is getting too old. if you can afford look for a 2004+ s-class/w220 since the earlier w220 seems to be problematic. drive both w140 and w220 and you will see that w220 is more responsive and drives better. if you can afford w221 than look at those too. i have seen early w221 list for less than $40k. lately i have been looking at w221 and if i find a good one for around $35k i'll get it, i have already found a buyer for my s320.
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post #10 of 59 (permalink) Old 07-19-2010, 10:35 PM
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Good Question , Looking at the Poll Results here in the W140 1990s to 1998/99 Forum ,obviously it will be higher for the W140s,you should ask the same Question in the W116/W126/W220/W221 Forum too & see what Happen's there .
I to owned a W116/W126 like many of us here and loved it ,for that Time era it was good if not Perfect ,Coming from them and jumping into the W140 is awesome , totally different Experience exept the same Hoodstar in front of you ,lol, so far i have never had any Problems with my S500 ,nothing Major .
I cant Judge the W221 yet as they are still to new to see it's true defects showing ,but i guess they will be Electrical Nightmares later on ,hope not .
The W220 does have a Bad Reputation with its earlier Models not so much with the later once ,maybe not all are Bad but wich once are they wich are Bad .I will skip the W220 all together .
OK ,Best MB ever made ,was the ? W1?0 .
For me its the W140 anyway ,Looks good, Drives exellent ,has everything you need and its a Solid Respected Car ,you just need to find a real good Example of an S500 .
Ciao & good Luck
And dont ask me to Sell u mine cause it,s NOT FOR SALE , capisch , lol.

>->->- My-S600 ->->->-

"I came-I saw-I conquered".
Driving a W140 & everything else feels like is standing still .
Everything you like to know about the W140's
>>>> " http://www.mb-w140.de/ " <<<< .

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