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Hi everyone, I'm currently deciding to purchase either a 2008 s550 or a 1997 w140 s500. The s550 is selling for $14k with 97k miles while the w140 is selling for $6500 with 135k miles. I used to own a 97 s500 a few years ago before it was totalled, and the s550 is my brother's car that I've had the privilege of driving it for the past two weeks. This was been one of the toughest decisions of my life since I love both cars and in my opinion the w221 and w140 are the best cars from Mercedes. I appreciate the massaging seats, rear reclining seats and ambient lighting of the w221 and the car looks like a current model (more attractive than the w222), however the w140 feels more solid inside and out and it has a slight edge with it's imposing and kind of the road appearance. It seems like w140's are starting to appreciate in value since well kept examples are harder to find, while the w221 still hasn't bottomed out in depreciation. Also, the w140 is a simpler car with far less technology so over the long term there are less things that can go wrong versus the w221. The difference in purchase price doesn't hold much weight in my decision as much as the ride quality, driving experience, build quality and long term value as I intend to keep the car for as long as it'll drive. Has anyone here owned both cars and what is your take in comparing the w140 vs. w221? I have similar post in the w140 forum, but I want to get a w221 owners perspective as well to balance out any biased opinions. Thank you in advance for your feedback

William
 

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Hey William, I'm not sure if you have looked into the w220s but I find it to be it's a beautiful car.. I had a similar problem where I wanted the w126 but my wife didnt like it for being "outdated" told her she was crazy that the car was like wine but she insisted on something newer.. so I got my hands on a 2000 S500 and I've loved it so far, I found a totaled S600 took the leather wrapped interior and installed it on my car along with some other goodies, the car has an amazing feeling to it that you don't get too often, its heavy but nimble at the same time and drives like a dream, if you can get your hand on a good conditioned model you will not regret it.. it looks older but its a iconic car it has all the newer "creature comforts", mine has the cooled/heated seats, massaging seats, with good options you can get the same for the rear seats, radar guided cruise control, sun shades, Bose premium sound system with factory subwoofer I could go on for days. All this on a soon to be 20 year old car next year I could even register it as a antique/ collectable and not pay car insurance. 馃槀

Ps.. I even upgraded to the 2006 facelift stereo/infotainment system, took it to a dealer had them updated and reinstall all the maps and now I even have stock navigation.

Something to think about?
 

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The price for the 2008 seems high, especially from a family member. I was looking at a 2007, one owner, AWD with 69k at a MB dealer for that same price.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hey William, I'm not sure if you have looked into the w220s but I find it to be it's a beautiful car.. I had a similar problem where I wanted the w126 but my wife didnt like it for being "outdated" told her she was crazy that the car was like wine but she insisted on something newer.. so I got my hands on a 2000 S500 and I've loved it so far, I found a totaled S600 took the leather wrapped interior and installed it on my car along with some other goodies, the car has an amazing feeling to it that you don't get too often, its heavy but nimble at the same time and drives like a dream, if you can get your hand on a good conditioned model you will not regret it.. it looks older but its a iconic car it has all the newer "creature comforts", mine has the cooled/heated seats, massaging seats, with good options you can get the same for the rear seats, radar guided cruise control, sun shades, Bose premium sound system with factory subwoofer I could go on for days. All this on a soon to be 20 year old car next year I could even register it as a antique/ collectable and not pay car insurance. 馃槀

Ps.. I even upgraded to the 2006 facelift stereo/infotainment system, took it to a dealer had them updated and reinstall all the maps and now I even have stock navigation.

Something to think about?
Thank you for the suggestion Anthony. The w220 s65 amg is one of the cars on my bucket list, however I'm a bit more fond of the imposing look of the w140 and w221. One day, I'll have an s65 in my garage.
 

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My previous '95 S420 was the best car I'd ever owned (ok, maybe the R129 SL500 was), until I bought the W221 S550. There are MANY great things about the W140, however there are few that keep it from being better than the W221 in my perspective.

The W221 has far better engine management and a far superior transmission, leading to better fuel economy and performance. The self-closing doors in the W140 were more prone to failure as was the soft-close trunk.

The styling of the W140 is as you mentioned 'imposing' but the curves of the W221 have me looking back at it after I've parked.

The are mechanical aspects of the W140 I enjoy more, like a metal power steering fluid reservoir with a metal lid ... just feels like someone wanted it to last.

I owned my W140 for 6 years and put 95k miles on it, regularly driving it from Phoenix to Las Vegas. Just a great road car! So far with 2 years in, I've put 36k miles on the W221 and it is also a great road car and the airmatic suspension is amazeballs.

It's not like there is a bad choice here, but if you do decide on the W140, I'd stockpile some spare non-maintenance parts (trim, panels, headlight glass, etc.) because finding them could be expensive.
 

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I would definitely consider the newer option, W140 is the best S class MB made in my opinion considering technology and options it has in relation with time. However I will consider a W140 as a collection toy rather for day to day transportation.
 

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I have an S500 95 and an 07 S550.

No way i am going to consider a w140 compared to the w221. Night and day difference.
W140 are nothing but nightmares. Look into the post numbers on the W140 section, they are nothing but trouble. My reverse went bad and rebuilt it myself, then the rear hydraulic suspension went to crap, than the suspension mounts starts going bad it was banging in the rear every pothole I would go over, Steering pump leaking, window regulators always go bad, rear sunshade gets stuck in the upper position, lifter tubes break and lifters starts to tick...Do not even consider a w140.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all your advice everyone. I've been driving the w221 s550 for almost 3 weeks now and I've noticed that the doors on the w140 feel a bit more substantial from both the inside and outside of the car. Also, the w140 seems to ride a bit smoother and quieter. For those of you who have owned a w140 and w221, have you noticed this difference or could there be something wrong with the w221 that I'm purchasing? Regardless of this, I think I'm moving forward with the w221 since it's a newer car and I don't have to travel to northern CA to purchase the car like I do with the w140. I'm just a sucker for build quality :wink
 

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I do not drive a W140 regularly, but when I did drive them some years ago to compare to other cars, I found the steering and handling to be "heavy" - more like a truck or heavy SUV than a sedan. It was a disappointment, because I loved the look of the W140. Having owned and driven Audis up until that time, and comparing the W140 to a W220 I drove as an alternative, I thought the Audi and the W220 felt far more nimble, far more like something I would want to drive. I bought the W220.

I loved the W220, drove them for 12+ years - but I like the W221 even more. It feels more solid (and is 600 lb heavier than the W220), but is still nimble.
 

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I do not drive a W140 regularly, but when I did drive them some years ago to compare to other cars, I found the steering and handling to be "heavy" - more like a truck or heavy SUV than a sedan. It was a disappointment, because I loved the look of the W140.
I believe the W140 was one of the last if not the last Mercedes models to have recirculating ball steering v. rack and pinion. It did steer heavy until you got it out on the highway.
 

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I believe the W140 was one of the last if not the last Mercedes models to have recirculating ball steering v. rack and pinion. It did steer heavy until you got it out on the highway.
MY 95 s500 steering super easy with the pressure of a finger on the Monoblock II wheels which are wider than the OEM 16' rims.
It is one of the lightest steering wheels I have ever used actually. The w221 is slightly heavier than my w140.

I believe the W140 you used might have had issues with the steering pump or rack itself. All W140s I've driven steer with no pressure on the steeringwheel.
 

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Quaintly enough, when I asked about the heaviness in the W140 steering (it was a '99 model), the Mercedes dealership sales guy I was riding with at the time said "Yes, Mercedes designs that into the cars to give them a substantial feel; they even design it into the smaller cars, like the E-Class and C-Class." He went on bragging about it for a bit. My comment in reply was "It feels like a truck." I did not do further investigation, it turned me off on the car. We were driving curvy roads at speeds of 35 to 45 mph - no freeways. When we got back, he offered me a C-Class convertible of some kind - some pro football player had ordered it and turned it down on arrival (it lacked some package he wanted). I declined to drive it, taking the salesman's word for how it would feel. I continued looking, and ultimately bought the MY 2000 W220 (from a different dealership) after driving it, when it became available a few weeks later (obviously, this occurred in late '99 or early 2000).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for your great advice everyone. I've came to a decision yesterday and I'm a new owner of a 2008 s550. I still plan on adding a 1992 600 sel in the future. I'm looking forward to enjoying the w221 and in being a part of this great community. Here's a pic of the s550 next to my beloved Volvo 240. Thanks again

 

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Discussion Starter #15
That's a beautiful S550! (of course I am biased ;P ) Congrats and looking forward to taking the journey with you. Here's mine, same year, model and AMG trim package.
That's a clean s550. Looks just like mine with a different color. Thank you for the warm welcome!
 
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