Mercedes S Class 1991-1999 W140
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Tyres – tyres can wear sooner than expected, so this can be taken as a higher maintenance cost, which is understandable for a car of this class
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Sub trunk lid strip – the light-coloured strip positioned below the trunk lid and between (or below) the tail lights can often change colour, but only in certain places, making that part look far less attractive. However, this is only a slight visual downside
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Electrics – the W140 was a car ahead of its time in almost every respect, featuring many things which are still pretty expensive optional features in many modern cars, while some of its comfort perks are still reserved only for the top-class cars. However, after almost 25 years since the first W140 saw the light of day, it is expected that some of these parts have failed. Make no mistake, they were engineered to perfection and it doesn’t mean that you will have problems with them for sure, but after that much time and having so many features, electric niggles should be no surprise.
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Brake hose – after-facelift models built in 1995 and 1996 may lose brake fluid due to faulty hose.
No recalls to report. Please let us know if one has come out we have not shown
The W140 is either a four-door sedan in two versions – short-wheelbase, or long-wheelbase – or a two-door coupe. All of the cars were RWD with the engine placed up front. Engines ranged from I6 petrols or diesels, all the way up to massive V12 engines from AMG. In the first two years after the W140 went into production, more powerful engines appeared, including the V12 for the S 600 and several different V8s for the S 420 and S 500. The car only had two diesel options, both I6 with 3 l, or 3.5 l of displacement and only available on the sedan models.
Even though the initial models were improved over time, the first massive facelift came in 1994, bringing several styling changes such as clear turn signals, new taillights, new grille options, but also some hi-tech stuff like Parktronic.
Trim Lines & Engines
Standard equipment was vast for the W140. Moreover, if you went for bigger engines, the number of standard features would rise as well. In each and every one of them, regardless of the engine, you would get colour-coded bumpers, leather steering wheel, adjustable seats and steering column, electric heated mirrors, wood interior, double-paned soundproof windows, parking guide rods on earlier models and Parktronic on the later ones, seat memory function, rain sensors on later models, auto-dimming rear view mirror which would be set up together with the memory settings of the seats, dual climate control for short-wheelbase cars and four-zone climate control for the long-wheelbase models, air conditioning which could work for 20 minutes after the engine had been turned off, self- and soft-closing doors and boot and a lot more. Mind you, this was almost a quarter of a century ago.
Just some of the optional features were orthopaedic seats with inflatable and deflatable air cushions, Nappa leather interior, GPS navigation system for the later S 600 model, voice control system, TELEAID, ADS, which was even standard on V12 models, hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension, cruise control (also standard on V8 and V12 models), ASR, ASD, remote boot opening, Brake Assist, ESC and even the AIRMATIC air suspension was taken into consideration for the W140, but since the development wasn’t over, it was saved for the next version of the S-Class – the W220.
2.8 L M104 I6 (petrol)
3.2 L M104 I6 (petrol)
3.0 L: OM606 I6 (t/c diesel)
3.5 L: OM603 I6 (t/c diesel)
4.2 L: M119 V8 (petrol)
5.0 L: M119 V8 (petrol)
6.0 L: M120 V12 (petrol)
7.0 L AMG V12 (petrol)
7.3 L AMG V12 (petrol)
There were three options for transmissions. You could go for a four-speed, or five-speed automatic, or a five speed manual.
The W140 appeared in 1991 as a sedan and a year later as a coupe. It was to follow the extremely popular W126 and serve as the flagship model for the company. The Germans wanted to outdo the previous model and make the W140 the absolute pinnacle of the industry and they have done exactly that. The W140 was arguably the best car in the world when it appeared, featuring a number of innovative solutions increasing both comfort and safety and pushing boundaries for the entire industry. Many of the features which were standard on the W140 almost 25 years ago are offered as optional features on modern cars, while some others are simply too upmarket to be offered even by today’s standards. As a result, the very expensive W126 was on average 25% cheaper than the W140.
In the years preceding the appearance of the W140, Mercedes-Benz created a reputation for themselves for over engineering their cars and especially their flagship models. The W140 is considered the last over engineered Mercedes at the time, so all of its features were extremely reliable.
This was also the first S-Class with a V12 engine.
In 1993 Mercedes-Benz chose to start naming their cars differently and this affected the W140 as well. After that time, letters and numbers switched places which has remained so until today.
Even though there were several additions during the first few years, the first official facelift came in 1994 bringing several styling changes and also a number of safety and comfort perks.
The W140 was replaced by the W220 in 1998, marking an end of an era in which they were producing revered over engineered cars for the company – a reputation they seem to be getting back to successfully in the past few years.
W140 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan (SWB W140 and LWB V140) and Coupe (C140)
Model Year : 1991-1998
Class : Full-size luxury car
Body Style : 4-door sedan, 2-door coupe
Drive Wheels : RWD
Seating : 5 (4 on some models)