Everyone should own one at least once
This one owner 1989 300SE is all original paint and interior, showing nearly no wear.
Mechanical issues: heater required new monovalve - which is common on all W126 Mercedes after 60k miles, new driver's window switch, and a repair to passenger seat headrest lift mechanism (was working, but got out of alignment).
Cosmetic issues: Replaced drivers armrest due to minor nicks, antenna seal from slight cracking, and touch up of minor road nicks.
These W126 Mercedes are built like bank vaults. You are always aware of the weight of the car, even at speed... and speeding is easy to do, as 45 feels about the same at 100.
The 300SE is the 6 cylinder version - getting almost 20 MPG highway/18 city. Its larger brothers - the SEL (4 inches longer in the back seat) with the V8's are less efficient, with the 5.6 litre just drinking the stuff at 12 MPG.
In SWB form, the cabin is still roomy for five, and the car is more fun to drive than the LWB models. Pickup from a standing start is "acceptable", but once at cruising speed, the number of cylinders is of no concern.
The quality of materials used is exceptional. Many consider these Series 2 W126 cars (1986-1991) as the pinnacle of Mercedes quality and sedan design - which has become iconic.
LOW mileage (under 100k) is the key to value, as the cars are expensive to repair both mechanically and cosmetically. Used parts - however - are plentiful on sites like eBay. Nice low mileage examples sell for $10-$12k, which is a bargain considering what they went for originally - and if maintained, they will last 400k miles or more.
In summary - the W126 sedans are a great car and great investment.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 25th February, 2013