1985 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Reviews from Australia and New Zealand

1985 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 280SE 2.7

Model year1985
Year of manufacture1985
First year of ownership2009
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission 2.7 Automatic
Performance marks 1 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.5 / 10
Distance when acquired285000 kilometres
Previous carJaguar XJ6

Summary:

Great build quality. Dismal performance

Faults:

I bought this car sight unseen, and it was surprisingly good. The usual wear and tear items had to be replaced, which were expensive, but normal with this sort of car and age.

The windscreen wipers occasionally like to stop working for no apparent reason, as do the electric windows.

Clearly some electrical fault that just cannot yet be found.

General Comments:

It would be quicker to be put a small outboard motor on the moon to get around.

It is just ridiculous that a car this size was ever sold with a 2.8 litre engine. It is nowhere near powerful enough. I was go as far to say that this car is dangerous in modern traffic. It takes a lot of work to it moving, and certainly there is no hurrying out of anyone's way.

It is very well made. Rides great. Good steering and excellent brakes. The engine size is just too small to bother about.

I won't not recommend you buy anything less than the 4.2 in this model.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th June, 2010

3rd Mar 2012, 21:40

I'm not to sure about your 280SE, but mine goes well. Quite fast, pulls away from most cars at the lights. Maybe there was something wrong with your one?

1985 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 380SEC 3.8

Model year1985
Year of manufacture1985
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 3.8 Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.4 / 10
Distance when acquired195000 kilometres
Most recent distance215000 kilometres
Previous carCitroen BX

Summary:

Super car of the 1980s with lots of life left in it for the 2000s

Faults:

When I first purchased the car 18 months ago, the air-con and the cruise control were not working. I had these fixed immediately and they have been working perfectly. The only cost I have incurred since has been to replace a distributor cap. This car is extremely reliable and well-built. All electrics and motors work perfectly. I paid top-dollar to buy an above-average condition model and have been rewarded with very low running costs.

General Comments:

I dreamed of owning a car like this in 1985 when it was released. Nineteen years later I was able to afford one and 18 months into ownership, I am amazed at how well it runs. Its power is more than adequate and the ride, handling, braking and comfort are sensational. It feels like a sturdy and safe car and I wouldn't want to be in anything less. It's still a head turner with a timeless shape and beautiful balance and proportion.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th May, 2005

15th May 2005, 21:28

It is always a good idea to buy the best with available funds rather than buying a cheaper, poorer example with a view to restoration later.

The S class Mercedes (W-126) needs to be maintained well and a perfect service record is essential. High mileage should not be a deterrent if the vehicle had been looked after. I have a 1986 560 SEL with 149,000 km and it is still running almost like new. Forget about what Mercedes tells you and use the best of synthetic fluids for lubrication. I use Mobil 1 SuperSyn and Mobil 1 ATF.

Enjoy your 380!

28th Nov 2005, 15:53

Most MB W126 series enthusiasts steer clear of synthetic oils. Since 2000 I have put 90,000 km on my 1983 500SEC (Euro). See review "Magnificent and handsome." Now 325K! Replace timing chain (380SEC only has single width / 500 has double) and chain tensioner every 150,000 km. Engine oil every 5,000 km. And ENJOY!

17th Mar 2006, 23:11

Related to the above comment that "380 has single width" timing chain.

I'm told that only the US market 380 V8 engines got the single row timing chain, and even then M-B switched to the dual row in 1984 and made a kit to retrofit the single row chains with the dual row - aka double row or duplex.

For example, my 1984 Australian-delivered 380SE was equipped from new with a duplex chain.

Average review marks: 7.0 / 10, based on 2 reviews