1978 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 280SE 2.8L Inline 6 from North America


Possibly the best sedan EVER


The power windows in the back have stopped working and as have the dome lights, but those were due to someone stealing my stereo and doing a very bad job at it.

Other than that, I've only had the alternator go on me. And it was the OEM alternator. 27 years later, she still runs like a gem.

General Comments:

I received this car from a family friend whose wife had passed on. She took EXTREMELY good care of it and except for a few tears on the drivers seat, it was pristine.

Even for having the smaller engine, the car has plenty of get up and go. I still pass newer cars climbing the lovely uphill interstates of western Colorado. Engine runs very smoothly, and never makes a complaint.

She also handles well for a 5000lb land yacht. You can't pull any stunt work, but then again, you're driving an S class. Why would you?

Cabin is VERY roomy. No one has ever complained about riding in the back. In fact most people chose to ride there, with the illusions of being chauffeured.

If I ever see another for sale when I'm buying a new car, I'd buy one in a heartbeat. FANTASTIC car. I'd make a review of all swear words to express the joy I feel about driving it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th April, 2005

1978 Mercedes-Benz S-Class SE 2.8 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


Makes driving a pleasure


The drivers seat is a big saggy.

Central locking is slow.

General Comments:

The car is very smooth to drive - everyone comments on how it floats along.

Not nippy by any means, but comfortable and roomy.

Very good long distance car. More economical on the open road.

I have never had a problem starting it, or anything else mechanically. But it has been very well looked after, and I have only had it for a few months.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th September, 2004

1978 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 450SEL 6.9 DOHC V8 from North America


Among the greatest automobiles ever to wear the three-pointed star!


The power steering pump blew, but was easily and inexpensively replaced.

A low pressure air conditioning line chafed through, also a fairly affordable replacement.

Paint on the hood, roof and deck lid is badly oxidized and may need to be color-sanded to make it at least presentable. Some evidence of repainting at the front, but extremely well done.

One accumulator for the hydraulic suspension has been replaced and it needs at least one more. Again, an easy and cheap fix.

The cruise control, odometer, two power windows and automatic climate control are all inoperative. Typical for the breed.

The windshield washer and headlight wiper/washer systems are an ongoing project and nearly complete.

The central locking system worked until recently. The problem is a broken line going to the right front passenger door.

The factory power antenna I refurbished doesn't work properly since the wiring had been badly redone to accept an aftermarket radio.

Seats were reupholstered with inferior material and are in shreds. The rest of the interior is in nice condition.

Body is in excellent condition with no rust.

I've replaced a myriad of small parts and components including the European-style headlights and front turn signals. I stumbled on all four units at a wrecking yard and paid only $60 for everything!

General Comments:

This car is true automotive royalty and a bona-fide, blue-chip collector's item, despite the fact it had been neglected before I bought it. It was a $99 "come-on" for a used car sale at a local dealer! I'd wanted a 6.9 for years and finding this one for such a low price was literally the deal of a lifetime.

It's blindingly fast, fun to drive and handles beautifully thanks to the hydropneumatic suspension unique to the 6.9. Handling and ride will improve greatly when I replace the other two accumulators. These are pressurized, nitrogen-filled spheres that take the place of the springs.

It's a rare, exotic and just plain wonderful machine despite the fact that it looks like thousands of other W116-chassis Benzes. Make sure you get a good one, because certain parts are horribly expensive in typical Mercedes-Benz fashion. Having some mechanical aptitude and shopping for parts on the Internet will save you a bundle.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th February, 2004

12th Jun 2005, 15:03

Fuel consumption of 7.2 km per liter, in other words about 17miles per gallon, how do you pull that off, the usual is 13-14MPG at about 55MPH. Were you doing 55miles per hour/88.5km hour, 100km-hour?

18th Jul 2005, 10:02

I have a 350SE and live in Europe. The car has 200 DIN hp (230 SAE) and believe it or not, I can average 13l per 100 km on the freeways at a steady 110 kph. The lower figures of previous posters has to do with a heavy foot.

I tested the heavy foot theory : I got only 16l/100 when I pushed the V-8 to a steady 150 kph on our fine french "autoroutes".

The W116 is great, but I far prefer it "original" Stuttgart -styled (W/O the silly bumpers and Chevy headlights.

My 1973 350SE has 306,600 km, starts instantly, runs like a 4 year old 21st century car and is imminently maintainable. Today and back then, the fuel consumption is the only failing.

11th Jun 2008, 10:16

The auto trans on W116 v8s are 4 speed - with 1st gear adjusted at factory to be made inoperative - hence they spend their lives using 2nd, 3rd & 4th gears - which everyone takes to be 1st, 2nd & 3rd.

In both my 4.5 litre 450sel plus my 6.9 I had an auto trans genius unlock my 1st gears. He did something similar to my W124 24 valve as well - they usually only get to first via vigorous kickdown. After he 'adjusted' it, that car always idles off from a standstill in 1st - instead of 2nd. With the 6.9 it was different. He adjusted it to engage 1st not at standstill but on kickdown when at walking speed - say 5/10kph..and brother it was a mad beast for a few seconds before banging into 2nd - the gear that just about everyone reckons is 1st on a 116.

5th Dec 2010, 15:25

All the info I can see, states 3 speed on all 4.5 SELs. I have a 1978 450 SEL 4.5 and would like to clarify, please advise.

18th Mar 2011, 11:18


This film was shot in the late 70's in Paris. The sound is dubbed in Ferrari, the actual vehicle (whilst being driven by an unknown professional) is your and my beloved 6.9!