1985 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 380SEC 3.8 from Australia and New Zealand


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


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!

1985 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 500 SEL 5.0 from North America


Radiator replaced at 162,000, but that was my mechanics fault.

Alternator went out and replaced at 165,000.

Notorious rocker click started at 170,000.

General Comments:

For the cars massive stature it drives like a sports car.

Lots of power, made for the Autobahn...

Gas mileage is dreadful, 14 MPG.

For an '85 it has move options that most new cars do.

Comfortable to drive for extend periods.

Cockpit layout is perfect.

Mercedes forgot about only one thing, the stereo. Better stereos are being put in Kias.

Lots of room, will accommodate a tall/big person easily.

Parts, for the most, are cheaper then expected.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd March, 2005

1985 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 500 SEL 5.0 litre fuel injected from Finland


A high performance, low maintenance, world class luxury vehicle


Muffler and tailpipe broke after I had just gotten a tire changed and didn't realize that the suspension had dropped. I backed out of the garage and the muffler hit the ground and broke.

Hydraulic suspension became very rough.

Electronic fuel controller stopped working.

Front tires started to wear unevenly (suspect ball joint problems).

Car has a wobble when driving between 120-140km/h.

General Comments:

This car is twice the size of most cars on the road, and can still beat everything except a motorcycle to 100km/h from a standstill.

It has excellent brakes; it can stop unbelievably quickly.

It has the ability to pass 3-4 cars at a time on the highway, e.g. can accelerate rapidly from 80km/h to 160km/h while passing.

It has a huge cabin and large trunk as well.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th September, 2003

14th Sep 2004, 08:39

I just wanted to let the world know that I have a 1985 500 SEL with 250,000 miles on it and it is still going strong. I have often had the opportunity to replace it, but refuse. In my opinion, there is no better car on the road!

22nd Sep 2004, 17:59

I have a 1985 Mercedes 500SEL. I love the car. Unfortunately for me, I have moved to CA and it is a Grey Market car and I cannot get it licensed. It has approx. 188,00 miles on it and is still going strong. I would keep it forever, but since I cannot license it in CA I must buy another. The inside is perfect.

I will miss my car. It is almost perfect. It has been garaged all of her life and is faster than most other cars out there. I am in mourning.