1989 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 560 SEL 5.6 Litre V8 from North America


It broke my heart and stole my wallet


A/C leaked freon.

Many oil leaks, my driveway gradually became *covered* in oil.

Power steering pump leaked, lost all its fluid in a week.

Fuel distributor failed at 170,000 miles, causing rough running and stalling. - $1200.

Suspension needed all new bushings.

Rear shock absorbers leaked, causing a bouncy ride.

Rear power windows failed.

Piston rings started wearing out at 175,000 miles, causing massive blue smoke.

General Comments:

I bought this car as my first car near my 18th birthday for $4000. I was lured in by the quality feel and the sterling Mercedes reputation.

However, suspension problems started to surface mere months after I purchased the car, with a clunk that occurred during acceleration; this gradually worsened to clunking over every bump and most turns.

The fuel distributor also went out, causing stalling and extremely rough running, which necessitated a $1200 repair.

Several fuel injectors went out, causing the highway fuel economy to go from 14 to 12, and the city to go from 12 to 8. Despite the car's thirst for fuel, it struggled to keep up with traffic even before the problems started.

After the piston rings wore out (causing a cloud of blue smoke every time I hit the pedal), I traded it in for $800 towards a 2005 Mercury Grand Marquis, sick of the 4 digit repair bills and appalling mpg. I will never buy a German car again.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th July, 2008

20th Jul 2008, 15:28

Too bad, a lot of expenses and still no benz like it should be, the mileage wasn't that high though.

I think that someone has tampered with the odo-meter or something, the things that happened to your car happen mostly with S-classes doing over 300000 miles, driven as a taxi or other heavy-duty use.

But I do understand your point of getting rid of it.. I should have done the same thing.

German cars are bad??, try a french one!! If you like running empty on some wheels..

1989 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 560SEL 5.6 liter from North America


Last of the true Grand S classes


Windshield washer leaks all fluid out.

General Comments:

Premium fuel only must be adhered to.

OEM parts and independent MB mechanics are out there, and can be very reasonable, if you do your research.

This by a huge margin is the best handling/driving/riding car I have ever owned.

Learn as much as you can about the model and year of MB you want to purchase, and find a competent mechanic before you buy, and then buy the best one you can afford.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th April, 2008

20th May 2008, 16:05

Hey - I got the same car, had the same problem with the windshield washer fluid, and the fix for the windshield washer fluid was a new reservoir tank (about $30 when I bought it on the web) and 30 minutes worth of work!

If you do any work on a car yourself, this is the one to own. Parts are out there, you can get them at very reasonable rates, and the reward is a solid, highly reliable, and beautiful ride, though at 10 miles per gallon in the city!

14th Nov 2009, 00:24

I am the author of the last of the Grand S Class, and am coming up on 2 years of ownership. I stand by my original post. Still the best car I've ever had. One caution to add you HAVE to find competent mechanics to work on these cars, preferably with experience with 560 SEL as they have more complex systems than 420/300's. "Klaus" is my daily driver with 160,000, and has never let me down!!

10th Jan 2013, 17:34

Well we are still together, "Klaus" and I. 5 years this month, Jan 2013, and 200,458 miles, and I still love car as much as the day I bought it in 2008. Not one single breakdown.

Drove to Florida and back to Arizona last year; no problems at all.

Lots of preventative maintenance, flex discs motor/trans mounts, plugs, wires etc, but nothing major.

I want to stress one thing; I am on my third mechanic. If you're not one yourself, find a really good indie, don't be cheap and stick with him. Believe me, it's like finding a good surgeon. Remember, the 560 SEL/560 SEC was Mercedes shining hour. Do your homework, and get documentation, books, Carfax before you buy. Even really low mileage one owner S Classes have 20+ years on them, and rubber bushings/plastics don't last forever.

Also prices have fallen quite a lot lately, so my advice is buy it to love it, and drive it.