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1983 300 SD; 2000 E320
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Discussion Starter #1
Noone needs to convince me that the 126 wins for style, beauty and grace, and probably craftsmanship too. This leaves only:

1. is 126 hands down more reliable mechanically?
(forget accessories)

2. is the ride/ performance experience any better?

3. do they hold up better than 140 after many miles?

I hope we can get some objective answers, backed by facts.

Thanks
 

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The w140 series have known wiring problems, some critical problems (engine related). if you can find one without this problem, you'll be fine in terms of reliability for core components.

The handling.....tough question. All around, the w126 is better because it's lighter, but the w140 is slightly smoother.
 

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I love this topic! Just to let you know you wont be getting "straight" answers...this is a w126 and nothing else matters forum lol.

When talking to several people who went from the 126 to the 140 they said there is no comparison to the 126....its massive and rides much better.
 

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I've got a w140 and 3 w126's, so I'll try and be objectve as possible.

The w140 is a better car in most departments than the w126 - in my view, it's better built, better (over) engineered and has massive presence. I doubt that any car manufacturer will build a more solid car ever again. Not even MB.

But still, the w126 looks betters, has even greater road presence and will likely last as long as a w140.

Yes, early w140's were plagued with several electrical issues and AC issues...but post 95 W140's were fine.

Handling and ride is awful on both cars - far too much roll. But the cars weren't designed to be sped along wiggly country lanes....you can buy a Porsche 911 for that !

The interior in the w140 makes the w126 look agricultural. Sit in a w140 and it feels superb.

BUT....no matter how better the w140 is in so many departments, the w126 is just a better car overall. IT's one you'd always choose to drive if you had the choice....it involves you that little bit more. And even though the w140 V8's and v12's have so much power, there is just TOO much bulk. So much, it's almost embarrasing !

My w140 S320 is a perfect car but I never choose to drive it - my euro W126's, 560SEC, 500SEC and 300SE are always further up the list and there is a greater feeling of satisfaction when driving them. And it's not just the lack of power in the S320 (I also have an w140 S600 V12, from which I am taking the engine and tranny out to put in my 500SEC...plenty of power there..), it's just not involving.

But I'll say one thing...whatever the conclusion on w126 vs w140, the w124 E500 beats both hands down.
 

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Benzonline - 5/13/2005 3:55 PM

talbir...I think that was an excellent answer to a topic like this.
yap, the 500E is on my tobuy list anyways...[:D]

talbir could you tell me how the handling of the 500 e compared to a 500 SEC is?
 

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The handling of the 500E is excellent for the car that it is - a 4dr saloon weighing 1750kg.

Unlike the w210 and w211 E55 AMG's, the E500 is a bespoke performance saloon. With the E55's, they are standard E-class vehicles with bolt-on AMG goodies. The w124 E500 however received fundamental structural reform and siginificant enhancement of the suspension. The w124 is a hand-built piece, with r129 sl suspension which sits 1 inch lower than the standard w124 and has a wider track, both front and rear.

Add to all the structural and suspension modification the M119 with 326bhp and 354 lb ft torque (due to larger intake valves than the standard m119), mated to a 722.370 transmission and 2.82 differential...and you have a VERY fast normally aspirated saloon.

The w126 SEC however has poor handling in comparison. In stock form, the Euro 560SEC has 300bhp with 335 lb ft torque, but has the earlier tranny and a 2.65 rear end....plus approx 50-100kg more weight, depending on options spec.

When I drive my euro 560SEC and 500E back to back there is very little difference in power and straight line speed - mainly because my 560SEC has AMG cams and lifters, a 722.370 tranny with link to the EZL for super fast shifts, a free flow dual exit exhaust system, a 2.82 rear diff and of course 1st gear start. It's probably running at approx 335bhp with the cams and better breathing exhaust - and the 722.370 is torquier too. Standing start to 60 is almost identical to my 500E in my tuned 560SEC.

But go down a curvy road and the 500E will be long gone....it's tighter and more reponsive to steering...overall there's more feedback and you can throw the 500E around a bit more. But at the end of the day, they are both heavy cars and not really tuned to be sprinting down the country lanes.

There was nothing that could beat the SEC's for me - I've owned and modified my 500 and 560 SEC's since 1998 and 2002 respectively. There was no better car in the world for me...until I bought the 500E last year in May. Absolutely sensational....it's only just better than the SEC to be honest...but better it definitely is....!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
great response Talbir - Thanks

I am now driving a nice 83 SD after driving lesser, though decent marques my entire life. It is sooo pleasurable to be on the highway with this car. Makes me realize that a car is more than transporation. Though I am satisfied, I remember this: after driving a Porsche 911 (hard) for the first time I boasted to the owner that nothing could possibly handle better and he said his Ferrari blew it away. Didn't get to drive that.
 

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In the year 2012 (will it be ‘twenty twelve’ or ‘two-thousand twelve’?) I doubt there will be as many 140s still on the road as there are 20 y/o plus 126s now. My 20 y/o 126 is still a joy to drive.
 

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talbir - 5/13/2005 3:50 PM

1- The w140 is a better car in most departments than the w126 - in my view, it's better built, better (over) engineered and has massive presence. I doubt that any car manufacturer will build a more solid car ever again. Not even MB.

2- But still, the w126 looks betters, has even greater road presence and will likely last as long as a w140.

3- Yes, early w140's were plagued with several electrical issues and AC issues...but post 95 W140's were fine.

4- Handling and ride is awful on both cars - far too much roll. But the cars weren't designed to be sped along wiggly country lanes....you can buy a Porsche 911 for that !

5- The interior in the w140 makes the w126 look agricultural. Sit in a w140 and it feels superb.

6- BUT....no matter how better the w140 is in so many departments, the w126 is just a better car overall. IT's one you'd always choose to drive if you had the choice...

7- there is just TOO much bulk. So much, it's almost embarrasing !
1- Agreed. My first W140 was a bargin basement corner lot example, and the build was quality was STILL jaw dropping. That car ALMOST broke me before I got it straightened out, and I STILL bought another.

2- From the front coming at you - YES! The W126 is probably the most "BENZY" Benz in the world hands down. But all around road presence? Nothing short of a Bently or Maybach out "road presences" a W140. And yes, I am trying to be objective about it.

3- my '97 DID have it's wiring harness replaced at 86,000+ miles. Great for me at 125k! But it WAS replaced.

4- "AWFUL?" It IS? On BOTH? Strong, STRONG word you used there.

5- "The interior in the w140 makes the w126 look agricultural. Sit in a w140 and it feels superb." Wow. Should be etched in stone. You know the "memory wipe pen" on the 'Men in Black' movies? THAT is the effect a nice example of W140 interior will have on a W126er. I "try on" many W126's at my mechanics shop. LOVE the cavernous ROOOOOM of the SELs and the wonderful simplicity. Reminds me so much of my beloved 190E, (which is a model so many of you ignore, but thats another post), yet still a W140, especially a later model, is a whole 'nother level.

6- I would argee on an "everyday" basis, but even a W126 is at the "opulent" end of "everyday", at that.

7- I must admit, must people at work don't even know I own a W140 and there are many days where I ask even myself how my wife drives something THIS "out there" everyday?[:I] We do not come from families that even "think" they can drive a Mercedes, so there are many gatherings where I make sure we drive the 190E, if for no other reason, to be sure not to cause some kind of perception of us putting on aires or basically just hurting evryone's feelings. That was a long run-on why of saying that I try to make sure that I don't cause any "player-hate."[:eek:)]
 

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I agree with you all on many fronts. The W126 interior is quite spartan compared to the W140. No comparison. But it may be a bit overdone(cripes, even suede headliners)![:)]

The W126 is designed to be a car one can work on. The blower motor is underneath the passenger side kick panel, the engine computers are right behind the firewall in plain view, the window regulators are not riveted and/or sold as a motor/regulator combo only, the trunk has dual pockets for sand bags in slick weather, wiring harnesses are not biodegradable,...There are no multiple harnesses, etc.

Road presence. W126 wins from all angles. As far as imposing value, the W140 takes the cake for it's sheer size. But the W126' exterior is recognizeable by all as the Mercedes-Benz that made Mercedes what it is today. It is Hollywood's, and California's, favorite S.

Not just the W140, but ALL newer cars are hard to recognize if you don't look closely. If they were badgeless, it would be near impossible. Now I'm not saying the W140 is not "Benz-Like". It certainly is!
But the softer the edges you add to a car, the less definition there is, and the less distinctive it will be.
 

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The Looks, this fine W140 belongs to dantefr Vs my W126.. I just Love the look of my 126 over the 140.. It mostly prefrance. Nothing wrong with eather.
 

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W126 =

vintage models
- not too many well kept example.
- some of the most solidly built cars
- very distictive looks.. i can point a W126
- headlights on a highway from a kilometer away

W140

- High tech
- superior on comfort
- easy on gas
- better power
- gets chicks easy
- more interior room..
 

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Being around these cars every week and listening to all of the jokes made at my father-in-law's garage about the upkeep on a W140, I just can't ever see myself taking the plunge. My father-in-law claims he's in the business because he likes the W126, but the W140 and BMW's are what keep him bu$y. Sooooo many gadgets to break. I truly do not believe the interior wears as well either. I have yet to see a driver's seat on a W140 with over 50K miles that looks like it hasn't had a 600lb man backing in to sit down every time. Nice cars if you have a seperate expense account and want everything to work. I think most W140 owners could think of a few things that don't work and they're fine with not fixing it, i.e. reverse trunk markers, vaccuum door shut, cup holders, etc.
 

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Just out of curiosity, have you posted a version on W140 forum (Objectively, why the 140 over 126?) to solicit the views from W140 owners?

If you haven't it maybe worth doing so you get both sides of the story.

I do not have much experience riding in a W140, but the interior of a W140 does look more attuned to today's standards of luxury. I did enjoy quiet interior thanks to dual glazing and door seals like that of an industrial freezer.

I like W126 for its relative simplicity, much as I prefer a manual mechanical camera (old Leica, Nikon FM-2) over today's plastic blob overstuffed with green circuit boards that tend to break more easily - more gadgets, more trouble.

"Less is more"
Mies Van Der Rohe
 
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