Monday, 26 January 2015

Bruce's Car of the Week: Mercedes Benz S-Class

As it's Australia day and nothing screams Australia quite like a big lazy V8 engined sedan. So this weeks car, you guessed it, has a V8, seating for 5 and has a boot almost as long as it's bonnet, only being my blog, it had to be a great big German. My car of choice this week, in complete and utter contrast to last weeks Morris Minor, is the Mercedes Benz S-Class, a bargain luxury barge.

Mercedes Benz S-Class Silver

Choices, choices 

I discovered quite quickly after picking the S-Class that choosing one model in particular to hone in on is no easy task. S's have been around since the late 70's going through 6 generations, older ones are most certainly classics while newer used ones are still cars you wouldn't think twice about using every day with price tags nudging $400,000. Throughout the decades they have been powered by all sorts of engines, from 6 cylinders to V12's resulting in a so many letter and number combinations stuck to the boot you'd be forgiven for thinking I was giving you a algebra lesson if I wrote them all out in sequence, what is S320 x S500AMG for example! None the less I settled on the W220 generation S, in particular the S430 because it's got a ruddy big 4.3 litre V8. Built from 1999 until 2006 W220's fall neatly into the realm of not being too old to be reliable daily transport, but old enough to have taken the major depreciation hit already, leaving behind a car seriously worth considering if you fancy some cut price German excellence.
Mercedes Benz S-Class W220


Mercedes, with the S-Class range, have always been pioneers when it came to mass producing technology that would over time filter down to our more mundane family hatchbacks. Pre tensioning seat belts, airbags and anti lock brakes for example where all S-Class features long before other manufacturers started using them. The S has always been thee car to turn to if you want a glimpse at what your Kia hatch will have in it in say, 10 years time. This means of course that getting your hands on a late 90's early 00's W220 is not going to leave you short changed in the safety and tech departments, most of the stuff this car featured has only just now trickled down to bottom end of the car market. Reassuring to know if you plan on using it daily with the family on board, the big Merc will keep you just as safe as a new car will. Here is the crash test footage from 1999
Mercedes Benz S430L front

Mercedes Benz S430L rear


I could easily go on and on about the build quality, refinement and general ambiance of the S-Class being nothing less than superb, however I suspect there's enough people on the internet already signing it's praises. So I'll just say that personally I have been a passenger in one and it was, quite simply, wonderful. Quiet and smooth yet adequately powerful when you wanted to get some distance between you and the guy behind, and that was just the S320 with a V6, the S430's V8 has substantially more punch, 205kw to be precise. I could also list here the range of features the W220 came with as standard, although I fear the internet might run out of space before I finish. So instead I'll just list the highlights. They include Airmatic suspension which self levels for optimum comfort and control, distronic radar guided cruise control, essentially cruise control which radar locks onto the car in front and keeps pace with them. There's also in car television, LED brake lights, 8 airbags, ventilated seats to keep you cool and self closing doors. Have a look here for a full rundown.
Mercedes Benz S-Class interior
You can make the seats in an S go seriously "gansta"
 Happy Australia day everyone, it's a holiday I don't quite understand yet but one that this country loves. It was probably not the best day to tell you to go and buy something distinctly German, but at least if follows an Aussie recipe and doesn't it make a more interesting choice than a Lexus?

Go get yourself one

The car I've picked this week is a S430L, the "L" meaning it has the lengthened wheelbase for even greater interior space. There are 20 photo's of the car with one importantly showing a very packed service book and many receipts, proof that this car has been cared for. It's also only had 2 owners since 2000, looks immaculate and has a rather nice set of AMG wheels fitted to it. Rego is due to run out unfortunately, however you are getting a lot of car for the money and as the seller points out this car would have cost over $200,000 when new. 

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