1985 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 280SE 2.7 from Australia and New Zealand


Great build quality. Dismal performance


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 300SD 5 cylinder turbo diesel from North America


The Unsinkable Bismarck


The only things I've needed to replace are the alternator belts, as they were worn and squeaked when wet. Parts are still plentiful for the 126 Mercedes series and the 5 cyl diesel engines.

General Comments:

Incredibly solid, well made machine. I've driven Subarus and Toyotas for years, and this old Mercedes feels much more sturdy.

Acceleration is not great until the car warms up, and you have to punch the accelerator to get the RPMs up and engage the turbo if you are merging onto the freeway.

Once you obtain speed on the highway, it's extremely smooth and comfortable. Definitely a cruising car for long trips. Spacious trunk. All the power equipment works.

The automatic transmission shifts "hard," but I understand an adjustment can be made to the vacuum modulator, or just replace the modulator as it is a cheap part. Many of the car's systems run off vacuum, so you have to be very careful the vacuum lines are well maintained and not disconnected. If you change your own oil, be very cautious when you pull the oil filter out to ensure you don't disconnect a nearby vacuum line.

I feel very safe in this car. It even has an airbag. Hopefully, I'll never need it.

The diesel engine gets very good MPG, low 20's around town and high 20's on the highway. As good as my Subaru Baja, but much more comfortable.

I call this car the Bismarck. She is definitely a battleship on the freeway, riding high and majestically through the seas of SUVs. What a classic.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd November, 2009

1985 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 380SE 3.8 Gas from North America


Great Highway Car


Thermostat Stuck Open - Not surpising for it's age.

A/C - Same Case.

Squeaky Leather Seats.

General Comments:

Geared for high speed = lackluster acceleration.

Poor gas mileage - 17 MPG average.

Very quiet on the highway, even at double the revenue generating speed limit.

Well equipped.

Incredibly well built - very solid.

IMHO - modern styling.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 22nd June, 2008

22nd Jun 2008, 19:42

Was the 3.8 Liter engine a 6 cylinder or a V8 engine? I was never sure how many cylinders the 3.8 Liter was, I've always loved the 1980s Mercedes-Benz S Class's.

7th Jun 2010, 11:43

I just got an 1985 380SE. It is in such good condition. It has a few problems, but nothing big. The inside is like new.

True, it takes it a minute to get going, but it's so smooth when you're going 60 or more. Love this car and it has been taken care of so well, and I only got it for about 1800, and it is immaculate, though there are some minor things to fix.

But overall I love this car. Never thought I'd feel this way about a car LOL.