I just picked up my 1990 560SEL from Phoenix, AZ. I took on an 800 mile road trip home. What a dream!! The car is every bit as good as people told me it would be. What a classic design!! And, talk about smooth power!! I am getting the timing chain replaced, since it is right at 100K. I am also going to replace the air suspension later this year with a standard Bilstein suspension system (same as what the 420SEL has). My mechanic told me in the long run, this is the cheaper route to go, and a more dependable suspension system.
Make sure you use Mobil 1 oil, and change it every 6,000 miles. And yes, follow all regular maintenance, and the car will last as long as you want it to!! For me, I am looking forward too many great years cruising the highways with my new best friend!!
This review is great. I too acquired my 1990 560 SEL in 2003 (from an auction, with similar miles) which was an upgrade from my w123 Diesel. Everything said here about this car is very accurate. I am VERY pleased with my car, and I agree that the w126 truly is the last of the great Mercedes touring cars.
If you can afford the maintenance, don't hesitate to buy a w126 as long as the car is in good shape to begin with.
I truly agree with this review. I bought my 560SEL new in 1990. Its still running smoothly, and I have been driving it for the past fifteen years. Right after I bought it, I took it to Cape Cod and Rhode Island from Connecticut about a week after I purchased the car. There was no trouble with the engine, and I once looked down at the speedometer to see I was going well over 85 mph! It felt like twenty normally. And I hadn't had any major problems with the car except in 2003 when the radiator cracked. You might expect this after driving over 300,000 miles in over 15 years. Otherwise, I had no problems with it. It worked great and always will for as long as I have it (hopefully for the next twenty years). The only other problem I've had with the car is that for minor things (oil changes, etc.) it can get kind of pricey. After paying over $80,000 for the car, I didn't expect to pay over $25,000 in maintaince fees.
I have a 1991 Black Beauty. It is the Master of any other cars that ever exsited. the only major problem I had ever haa was the a.c. I bought it in 2002 with 85000 miles it now has 102000 miles. It is a Head Turner and cops sea it coming. Best car with Personality that say Move Over here I come.
I purchased my 1991 560 SEL out of Southern California in August 2005. It only had 64000 original one owner miles. It now has 71000. I take it out and drive at least every couple of weeks to keep everything operating well. I have had to put some money into it, but it was in such immaculate shape when I got it. I keep garaged when not being driven. I don't think Merecedes will ever be able to top it for style. The only other one that would tie it is the older model Mercedes 600 limos. Not very practical for me though. I love my 560 SEL. I don't know who is designing the look of the Mercedes since 1991 but they seem to have lost their touch. Although, I saw a newer model the other day in the 500 series sedan and it looked a little better than what has been out in previous years.
I enjoy my Pearl Black with Gray Interior. When I bought it the previous owner had the polished fender guards and the polished chrome Mercedes wheels done when he bought it in 1991. I normally wouldn't do this, but it really looks good with the black exterior. The 560 SEL with the 126 body is a classic like no other and I plan to keep mine for many years to come as a collectible car. It truly is the Flagship of the Mercedes Line and the last of a breed.
I bought a black 560 SEL with black interior about nine years ago. It had 97,000 miles on it. It looked mint.
I do all the heavy maintenance work myself, i.e. I did the timing chain, I replaced injectors, and so on. I am about to do a lot of the rubber - engine mounts, flex disks, and so on. I have the oil changed every three months.
This car is a gem. It is wonderful to drive, and wonderful to work on. Also, it has never broken down on me. Compared to the $43,000 Audi we also bought, new, around the same time, the maintenance cost and reliability are just phenomenally better! This Mercedes turned out to be the cheapest car to operate!
A timeless classic that has not been duplicated. I bought this car knowing of the gas mileage, I commute to class 120 miles round trip daily, and the 17-18 miles per gallon on it is terrible! But with that said, it's a tank and a reliable one. I currently own a 2008 BMW 750Li, and some of the same amenities are in this 1991 model! Heated front and rear seats, rear shade, sunroof, etc.
This is my second W126, the first was a 420 SEL that I felt was a little under powered. I sold it and recently found this one, and it had been properly taken care of with a small ding in the side bumper from road debris.
I catch myself driving this tank more to keep miles off of the BMW, and I get compliments on how timeless the look is along with the ride. Purchase one that is well maintained, and you have one of, if not the best car ever built!!