1995 Mercedes-Benz S-Class S420 4.2 from North America
Brake booster hose - The one way valve broke in two.
EGR valve - Needed to be cleaned. Done. Easy job.
Finicky auto close features - Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't; either way the doors can close normally.
Amp getting gray and cranky - speakers sometimes make screeching noises, but quickly turning the radio off and then on makes it go away. Worse when it's cold.
It's heavy and feels heavy, and it's big, seemingly dwarfing my XJ8 VDP, which is supposedly in the same size class. These are not bad features. It is a very solid feeling car with complicated gadgets, but pretty simple to figure out and fix once one gets the hang of it.
Things to look for AS A MUST BEFORE, again, BEFORE, you buy one of these, especially the 1995 year, is the engine wiring harness. Make sure it's in good condition, or better yet, make sure it has been replaced with an updated version. Or all sorts of gremlins will happen as the original harness degrades, as it was curiously, designed to do.
And make sure the climate control works properly. The price to get it straight makes the W126 heating core job looks like pennies.
But overall after driving this car clear across the country, and up the country and back home, it was smooth and quiet, and pretty easy to drive. The seats are comfortable, not as cushy as the XJ8, but comfortable, and the ride is near the best outside of upgrading to a Rolls-Royce. Very very little wind noise even at high speeds (70-90 mph).
A cared for one is good to own. A dogged one is a PITA on the wallet to own.
The interior is classic; probably the last of the MBZ classic Teutonic straight business feel. Some will like it, some will not. I like it. Nice, classy and simple. Everything just about is electrically adjustable. Even the rear view mirrors, side mirrors and steering wheel all adjust with the memory seat function.
Plenty of space front and back, and the pop up antennae helps with placing that big rear end into tight spots, but the updated radar one works better.
DO NOT GET if you're looking for a gas sipper to putter around town. Forget about it, and don't bother asking about MPG city wise. More like "What is miles to the gallon?" On the highway, it's not too bad. Got over 500 miles per tank on the highway.
This car is no sports car, but if pushed will move decently with off the line, feeling so-so, but with plenty of passing power. But with more reluctant feel than the Jaguar, Audi or BMW, which seem always ready to rev and go.
Overall, for a nice highway cruiser, the MBZ S-Class is about it. For something more sporty, get a Jaguar or BMW, or for even more rougher or road feel, get an Audi.
This car handles well for its large size, it moves well for its size, and even accelerates well for its large size, but it's designed for cruising in quiet serene comfort while eating up highway miles. If a serene, quiet, smooth ride is "boring", the S420 is the wrong car. But if serene, quiet and smooth is what one is looking for, like I was, the S420 is hard to beat. Now if one is looking for that and straight simplicity, get a Lexus LS400 or LS430. Simplicity to the uninitiated, the S420 is not. But someone that is a MBZ enthusiast or knows how to work on them or knows how they work, then the S420 is good. For bit more pep, get the S500. And if that isn't enough and you want even more doodads, get the S600. The S320 is solid too, but don't expect to save much gas due to the sheer mass of this thing.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 16th April, 2014