1995 MERCEDES-BENZ S320 (W140)
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
The straight-six delivers plenty of power right through the rev range. The ride is refined and free from clunks and vibrations, suggesting that the suspension and running gear are in good health, and automatic gear changes are barely discernible. The brakes are strong but there’s a little steering wheel wobble around 55mph, possibly as a result of warped brake discs or wheels in need of a rebalance. Generally though, it’s a beautiful drive.
There are no dents or signs of corrosion and only very light scuffs on the rear bumper, and along the edge of the offside rear door. Pitting and curbing on the 16in alloy wheels is minimal, though a professional refurb would bring them up to the standard of the rest of the exterior. There’s evidence on the boot lid of the (now removed) S500 badge the car wore in Japan, but fitting an S320 one should cover the marks. Tyres are 235/60 Bridgestones, all with ample tread and even wear, though there’s a little agerelated cracking to the rears.
HOW’S THE INTERIOR?
There’s some loose trim on the passenger door and the central dash cubby box is reluctant to open, but the immaculate black leather (with only gentle creasing on the driver’s seat) and clean carpets point to a caring previous owner. Specification is impressive, including dual-zone climate control, an auto-dimming rear view mirror, electric steering wheel adjustment, illuminated mirrors and cigarette lighters for both rear passengers, rear privacy glass, an electric rear window blind, original Mercedes radio/cassette with CD auto-changer and double glazing. The central locking mechanism on the driver’s door is sticking and requires the key for it to open, but the other doors open as they should.
UNDER THE BONNET
There’s not much to see of the straight-six engine, lurking as it does beneath its plastic protective covers, but the engine bay is clean and leak-free, as befitting a car with such low mileage. A sticker on the power steering fluid reservoir indicates that the fluid was last changed in 2014 and the timing belt appears to be a recent replacement. Service history comprises a stack of Japanese inspection sheets (which are sadly undecipherable for the average English monoglot), the seller’s own checklist and a stack of photographs of the underside taken by the seller showing a reassuringly clean and solid underbelly.
THE CCW VIEW
Remedial work on a car as extravagant and luxurious as this can be hugely expensive, so choosing a W140 in such solid, clean condition as this can often prove to be a wise investment. You’re unlikely to find one with lower mileage.