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1992 Town Car Cartier & 2014 Accord LX MTX
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Discussion Starter #1
I have been looking to drive one of these for years, and after my conversation with my father last week about a new car (yes, german cars are finally ok!), I decided it was time to get my feet wet in the german pool. I searched autotrader and carsoup for any W140 S Class in my area, whether it was the Inline 6 powered S320 or V8 powered S420 or S500. I found examples of all, but I found a '95 S 500 with 72k miles, for $8900 at a small used car lot (actually, they take cars that have been taken by insurance companies, for whatever reason, fix them up and repair them), this one was a flood salvage car.

I get out there, ask the salesman where the car is located at, and it's in their backlot, so I walk back there, and see a Benz from that same era that's also black, so I figure that it's it. It wasn't, it was a W124 E Class, but I keep walking and what do I find?! A 1979 Continental Mark V! It was unlocked, so I sat in it and played with the seats and stuff. Nice car, could totally see myself in a '70s Lincoln, especially a Mark Series, but the IV is still my #1 choice based purely on exterior aesthetics. I asked to take that V out for a spin, but it wasn't for sale. :/ Oh well, atleast I got to sit in it.

So I got the keys to the W140 and was let free.
Exterior Design: 9.5/10
The W140s, to me, are probably the best looking European car ever. Either those or the W126 Benzes. I like blocky cars, and you don't see a lot of european cars anymore that are as blocky as these. The proportions done extremely well...the hood is long, but not too long, and the rear deck fits in very well with the design. I read these cars have an extremely low coefficent of drag, even though they're so blocky..german engineering for you. Anyways, great looking cars.

Interior design: 9/10

Sitting behind the wheel, the first thing I noticed was the high dashboard, atleast in comparison to my '92. But on the plus side, the guages are right in your line of sight, so you don't have to keep looking down to see your speed. The interior has a logical feel to it, everythings done for a purpose, and it's got a very "quality" feel to it. The materials are superb, there are no rattles or clunks or anything when driving...everything is tight and superb. The only thing I didn't like about the dashboard was the enormous steering wheel, and how that got in the way of a clear sight to some of the guages (fuel and the analog clock), oh, and I can not figure out what the oil guage is saying...it says 0....1...2..3. I assume it's an oil pressure guage and 0 is low oil pressure and 3 is relatively high. And lastly, Cadillacs fuel economy display is a MUCH better setup, on our cars, there's a digital display that gives, instant, average, fuel used and range. The W140 only has instant, and it's not instant lol. If for example, you're coasting and nail the throttle real quickly, the guage won't move at all. Kinda defeats the purpose eh?

Other than those minor things, I was very impressed with the interior setup. The seats were firm but comfortable, adjusted more ways than I'd ever need. The radio was superb, no distortion, good base, real tight sound to it, no matter how loud it was. There was loads of burl walnut used to decorate the interior, but it never felt overdone or tacky, just rich and elegant. Some of the controls were tough to use though, and that's only because they had those odd pictograms on it, not the words like in american cars. It had that dual zone A/C and that worked wonderfully, and I like having the wheels to adjust the temp and fan speed, better than buttons IMO. IIRC, it had a seperate rear HVAC control too, but I didn't spend much time in the backseat. Which, by the way was superb. The seatback cradled you in the seat, and wasn't totally flat like I'm used to. It was very comfortable, and I think it adjusted too! Either that or it was heated, can't remember. There was probably more legroom in the back of that Benz than there is in my deVille, I'm not kidding! And it had the drop-down mirrors for the rear seat occupants, just like the Fleetwood Broughams!

Overall, a very, very nice interior setup.


Driving impressions:

Engine/Transmission/Performance: 9/10

The engine is rated at 315 hp and 347 lb/ft of torque, and it's plenty fast, but only in the higher RPMs. Around town, and from a stop, the power isn't there, but that's the norm in DOHC V8's. It's an extremely smooth V8, much more so than any GM V8 I've felt, save for the Northstar. As you'll see in my video, acceleration from a roll is quite good, but I think an L37 Northstar would be quicker, especially on the highway. M-B quotes the 0-60 time for the S500 at 7.2 seconds, which is like .3-.5 seconds behind an early Northstar STS or ETC. It's fast and subdued, you don't ever really hear the engine working, it's just there, silent.

The tranny is different, it's not as quick to downshift as the GM trannys I'm used to, but just like the engine, it's extremely smooth and when you go to kick it down into passing gear, it goes!


Suspension/Steering: 9/10
The suspension sorta reminds me of a german Town Car. It's quite stiff, but probably not as quite as stiff as a 7 series, but it's quite comfortable. It's kinda bumpy at highway speeds....think of it trying to float but being over ruled by the german stiff ride. (does that make any sense?) It rides smoother than that 93 STS I drove a while back....probably rides a lot like a late model DTS.

Otherwise, the steering is magnificent. It's not firm, but man oh man does it offer feedback! It communicates wonderfully with the road...you know exactly what's going on down there, but it never feels harsh or rough. Probably the best steering I've ever felt.


Overall, I give it 93/100.


I'd love to pick one of these up, even if it's not totally perfect. I'd try to get a 1997-99 though, after they changed the wheel design to the style I like more. And I've always wondered how I'd feel driving a Mercedes...I say it fits pretty well and I don't feel out of place in it at all like I thought I would.


Sitting in the 1979 Mark V:

Getting into the S500:

Starting up the S500:

25-70 in the S500:

Overall review of the S500:

PICS!


God that hood is ****ing enormous!
















 

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1992 STS / 2005 MB G500 / 2003 STS / 2006 XLR-V
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Terrific review!

That car is recognized all over the world as the gold standard of Presidential style rides, that particular body style is highly soughtafter.

Are you sure the 95 5.0L was 315hp though? The 2000 S500 I was looking at is rated at 302, as are the E500s.
 

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I was never into the cheap-looking interior... I dunno, maybe it's different in person, but it all looks like alot of bland hard plastic.... and the buttons to control everything, and the climate control... all the same squares, it just kinda runs into each other.

I dunno, in comparison you look at a 1995 STS and it just looks a whole lot more welcoming and user-friendly inside.... and cooler :) Even my '96 Town Car has a more welcoming interior.... I dunno... what it would be considered..... looks kinda industrial tho.
 

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1992 Town Car Cartier & 2014 Accord LX MTX
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Discussion Starter #5
Sitting in that Mark V was like sitting in a beanbag, on top of a waterbed.

The seats (especially the rears) had no support what so ever, but were soooo comfy....so plush! And there's something about those big silver guages and giant cartier clock that really pleases me. This car has so much class and personality to it. I'd definitely rock a '70s Mark Lincoln, but I'd still pick the IV first.



















 

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'98 STS (Crimson Pearl)
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Sweet ride...Iv'e always loved the Benz....that one is one of my favorites...just looks rich and big. But if you think your Caddy is expensive to fix....just watch out! It is though the only other luxury ride I would own.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Sweet ride...Iv'e always loved the Benz....that one is one of my favorites...just looks rich and big. But if you think your Caddy is expensive to fix....just watch out! It is though the only other luxury ride I would own.
Yeah, and that's what I'm trying to figure out. Is a Mercedes enough of an improvement over a Cadillac to justify the much higher repair/maintenance costs?

Are you sure the 95 5.0L was 315hp though? The 2000 S500 I was looking at is rated at 302, as are the E500s.
Yeah, the 1995 S Class brochure I have states it's 315hp and 347 lb/ft.
 

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And you think its tough getting a race in the Caddy, most people don't even think of a Benz as fast..and they don't think the driver will run!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
My dad just came down and talked to me about this situation. He said there's a really small timeframe with my car when everthing is working so I can sell it without any troubles, and I don't have any troubles now. He wants me to sell my '92 on here (that's the route I would go with) and take the money from that and what I've got in my account and use that towards the down payment for whatever's next. I showed him this Benz and he didn't say no to the W140s, but he wasn't sure If I could afford the maintenance/repair/insurance costs, but he told me to check into parts prices to see how it stands up against the Caddy. He declined this particular S500 because it's a flood car, but I think he'd be ok with a newer (98-99) if it wasn't a flood car. I told him about the BMW I'm thinking about too, and he said they might be cheaper to own, but not by much, and they'd probably be more expensive to insure than the Benz, because of their more sporty nature.

So him and I started looking at Caddys newer than 2000 (he wants me in something newer than 2000), he suggested the Escalade, but I declined that, but I brought up some Sevilles and Eldorados on Carsoup in my area, he ok'd those because they're newer and still cheaper to maintain than a BMW or Benz, and he agreed with me when I told him I would get a warranty with any Northstar.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
97 S320.

It may not be fast, but it sure is cheaper to maintain than the top dog 500/600.
Hmmm...I'll have to drive one to see how much of a difference there is between an S500 and S320. When you say it's a lot cheaper to maintain, what do you mean? Just because it's missing two cylinders? Or are there a lot of expensive, complicated systems that the 500/600 had that the S320 didn't?

Would an S420 be a nice medium between the performance of the 500 and 600 and the economy of the 320?

So the question is, do you want one (S500)?
Does a bear shit in the woods? LOL!
 

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Keep the reviews coming, they're highly entertaining.

One question ... after you've spent time driving these vehicles, I wouldn't mind hearing what the salesperson experience
was like. Do they pressure you, hype the car, offer further discounts, etc? Do they try and peg a trade in value on your Deville?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Keep the reviews coming, they're highly entertaining.

One question ... after you've spent time driving these vehicles, I wouldn't mind hearing what the salesperson experience
was like. Do they pressure you, hype the car, offer further discounts, etc? Do they try and peg a trade in value on your Deville?
Thanks. I've only gotten hounded once, and that was at a B/P/GMC dealer when I was looking at a Regal GS. When I went in there, I told that sales person that I was just looking and wasn't ready to purchase or trade my old one in, but even then, after I returned from the test drive, he took my keys to appraise my car, and then made me sit around the dealership for another 45 minutes before I could talk to someone in finance about numbers and stuff. When I got into Finance, I explained what happened and my situation and he let me go and apologized for the salesperson's wrong doing. I literally ran out of that dealer and sped out of the lot, lol.

No, but at this place, I returned from the test drive, gave the salesman back the key and told him I'd think about it and give him a call back, thanked him and left. Couldn't have gone down any smoother.

A few more videos:

Ben, this is for you:

Exterior Walkaround.

I was never into the cheap-looking interior... I dunno, maybe it's different in person, but it all looks like alot of bland hard plastic.... and the buttons to control everything, and the climate control... all the same squares, it just kinda runs into each other.

I dunno, in comparison you look at a 1995 STS and it just looks a whole lot more welcoming and user-friendly inside.... and cooler :) Even my '96 Town Car has a more welcoming interior.... I dunno... what it would be considered..... looks kinda industrial tho.
Oh trust me, that interior isn't cheap at all, the materials are all top notch and the build quality is fabulous.

German cars don't exactly have the most welcoming interiors, they're always kinda cold and clinical (businesslike?) in comparison to the interiors from American luxury cars, but the new Audi interiors are much more warm and inviting than the ones in the older BMW's and Benzes, this one included.
 

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Oh trust me, that interior isn't cheap at all, the materials are all top notch and the build quality is fabulous.

German cars don't exactly have the most welcoming interiors, they're always kinda cold and clinical (businesslike?) in comparison to the interiors from American luxury cars, but the new Audi interiors are much more warm and inviting than the ones in the older BMW's and Benzes, this one included.
Yeah, thats what I just don't get... same with BMW... I'm sure the interior quality IS nice...

but looking at them from pictures and the video... it honestly dosn't look much better then pictures of the '90's GM "rubbermaid" interiors, and all the blocky square buttons for the climate control and stuff.... I know the European drivers love that, and all the mags, which favor all imports love them too.... I just don't get it, it dosn't appeal to me.

Because the interior of a car is really important to me, I dunno if I could ever own one of them... I'd have to spend some good time in one driving it around to see if it fits me.

Same with the W126 Benz, I really like those cars, outside styling is great... but the interior, IMO is just really lacking, I think thats why I don't have one now.... compared to an 80's Fleetwood Brougham, its just so different, the Caddy is very inviting and warm, yet the Benz kinda pushes you away... I dunno how to say it.... and the Caddy was already running a somewhat out-dated interior. I wasn't a fan of the gauge style either.... it looks like there wasn't much thought that went into the gauges, and the yellow needles, not my style either... tho its something I could get over if needed... its still there. But even the door panels and everything... guess I am just used to the American luxury car style.

Don't get me wrong, the W126 and the W140 (126 still being my favorite tho) are really good cars.... they just have a really iffy interior IMO, I'm sure alot of people really like them, and feel the exact oppisite as me tho.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
And that's understandable Rick, a lot of people don't like the german's colder, more sterile interiors. I didn't for a long while too, and the W140/126 is really one of the only ones from an "older" German car that I do really like.
 

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Thanks for the reviews as well as the videos :)
 
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