1996 Mercedes Benz S600

V12 - 6.0 Liter - 48 Valve

Matt Garrett - Dallas Texas

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1996 Mercedes S600!

Mercedes S600, 6.0 Liter V12. WDBGA57E4TA315228  Black Opal. 58K miles, collector owned, garaged, Texas only history, truly a flawless example of one of the best cars ever.  All original paint!  Perfect Interior. Perfect car in every manner.  The W140 S600 is another car I have searched for a really good example of for a very long time.  This is what I have come up with.  I waited until all the depreciation was taken out and found the best one I could.  Probably the most car for the money I have ever bought but still more than the average beat up one, as those reflect typical market price.

 There are a lot of nice sedans made, a lot of sedans that cost a fortune but there is only one sedan that does cost a fortune that actually gives back and contains in its make up, about what you pay for.  That car is the W140 Mercedes S600.  With over $1Billion in engineering behind it, the Mercedes W140 from 91-99 is probably the finest and most substantial sedan ever produced.  There are some really good lower cost sedans out there that make much more sense for daily cars (crown vic), but when you combine engineering, product substance and actual performance, this is the top sedan in history.  At least in my book.  Yes Mercedes kept building sedans after this, some with even more power using turbo chargers and superchargers, but history will show you what those are.  This is the real deal with the real motor.  History is really now just recognizing the substance of the W140 given the fact things have not really progressed since this car. Many automotive gurus are in agreement with what I am reflecting here and this sedan will keep earning respect from auto aficionados that encounter its substance.

There are so many neat features on these on these S600s, I am not going to get into all of them as most are standard.  Keep in mind, all W140s are great cars, but you cannot compare an S600 to an S420 or S500.  There are MAJOR differences in just about every aspect, but the two lower optioned cars are fine cars too.  I have some links below that have some history on these cars that are kind of neat from the day.  The few things you could get as an option are the Rear Electric Shade , the Phone, the Disc Changer, AMG 18 Wheels,  Lumbar Seats, other than that I am pretty sure all else is standard and the list there is long.  This car has all of the extras and the paint/color on this car is an extra cost option too and is quite rare.  There is also a rare 4 seat option on the S600 that gave the car a center console in the back but lost the center seat.  This car does not have that.  This car still has power rear seats and headrests and heated rear seats too.

Learning these cars in pretty good detail since they were built, I can tell you that a 96-99 model S600 sedan contains some pretty good improvements over the earlier versions.  Things like the 5 speed automatic transmission vs the 4 speed, improved wiring harness, improved engine management on top of many other subtle changes perfected the car throughout  its model life. 96-99 are about the same things but the last years had a parking sensor option that was not available on this year.  That is about the only change.  One thing is for certain, these cars are grossly under tested in their performance.  I do not think anyone realizes these 5 speed versions are low 13 second cars in the 1/4 mile as they sit and top speed is limited by the computer but is in the 170MPH range with the limiter removed.   With less than 50 rated HP vs a Bentley Arnage and about equal weight, the S600 will literally annihilate the Arnage, the BMW V12 and many others.  I can explain why and its not weight, its not HP and its not torque. It's power range.  This car has power throughout is wide RPM range with near 7K top RPM as where other cars that do not have 48 valves and 12 cyls, are more peaky and produce their top power in a small range.  So 398HP all the time vs 500HP in a couple 1000 RPM range wins every time.  Since Magazines sold cars and the people writing magazines always went by rated HP #s did not understand this..... People really did not get a full glimpse of the 6.0 liter Benz V12.  Being $140,000.00 optioned like this, left very few people willing to really push it to the limits.  BMW, Jag and other V12s are not even close to these in actual performance.  Only today are the newer Benz with a blower or twin turbos doing what this car did years before.  This car will still outlast the new one bought today in reliability.  That car will be long since dead and this very car you see here will still be going strong.

Ok, I have gone on about the performance.  I have done that as even people that have owned these cars probably never even understood what they had at the time.  Very few people ever got the chance to know what these cars could do.  However, they did understand the ride quality and driving characteristics. Excellent is the word.  With the Benz Hydraulic shocks helping the springs and sway bars (that they took away in later years and ruined the car) these cars were extremely comfortable and had a nimble but excellent and very predictable control to them.  Once Benz took away sway bars and let computers take the place in compensating the shocks, the cars really became unpredictable and felt unnatural.  You may have seen the later S class CL or SL class sitting on the ground totally undrivable when this system failed too.  Pretty silly actually, this system in the W140 was way better.

The other thing that many people have come to know this car for, is its structure.  The W140 has been called a rolling Vault.  The body structure on the W140 is that of a bank safe mounted deep in a large building.  Closing the door on one of these tells the story.  The doors even close theirselves shut, a feature most people have come to identify with the W140 along with the dual pane glass.  People have called the glass bullet resistant, its not really, but its certainly more capable of slowing a bullet down vs 1 piece of glass.  The dual glass is for sound first and does add another element of safety too.  The W140s structure makes it one of the safest cars ever produced.  Lots of info has been written about that with these cars.

One of the aspects of the 6.0 liter V12 cars like the W140 and the R129 are the large GLASS headlamps.  All these newer cars have plastic headlamps, new SLs have plastic hoods, some have plastic fenders and more.  You can look at any plastic headlamp 2-3 year old Mercedes (or any car) headlamp and that will finish the rest of that story.  The use of plastics is an evil that just becomes more and more every year.  For the German cars, I would say the late 80s to the 90s was their time to shine.  That they did.  No other car carried the quality of the top model Benz and many BMW models through this era.  And this was their king car.  Probably the ONLY late model car that you can use the line, "they don't build them like they used to with".





Great reflection shot on the Black Opal paint.  The paint on this car is really the quality you expect for $140K

Zoom in on the bumper and front.  Like a 3000 mile car.


Great stance with the AMG 18" wheels.

Just a great looking car, even under heavy florescent lights

AMG 18x8.5 Front, 18x9.5 Rear.  Tires Michelin Pilot Z Rated Sports.  Front- 245/45 ZR18   Rear-275/40 ZR18

AMG 18x8.5 Front, 18x9.5 Rear.  Tires Michelin Pilot Z Rated Sports.  Front- 245/45 ZR18   Rear-275/40 ZR18

AMG 18x8.5 Front, 18x9.5 Rear.  Tires Michelin Pilot Z Rated Sports.  Front- 245/45 ZR18   Rear-275/40 ZR18

AMG 18x8.5 Front, 18x9.5 Rear.  Tires Michelin Pilot Z Rated Sports.  Front- 245/45 ZR18   Rear-275/40 ZR18

Rear seating, sun shade up and headrests up.

Two Tone Leather, Lumbar Seats.  I would say this is the best leather and best seating ever done.

The M120 Engine.  6.0 Liter V12 DOHC 48 Valve

The M120 Engine.  6.0 Liter V12 DOHC 48 Valve

Two Tone Headliner!

Sunset 6/25/2010.  A nice one.


Airbag Update

Red/Green lights for the keyless entry and factory alarm.  Top left item is factory phone mic.

Perfect rear section with power reclining seats, power head rests, heated seats, rear AC controls and a mile of leg room.

Floor covered in plastic to keep clean.  These years have a great sounding stereo too.  What a change that was in 94 from the Becker systems, this system is incredible.

Phone option.

Great looking car, zoom in!  Armrest is up revealing the nice wood underneath.

The S600 interior with all the upgrades from the other W140s

Power antenna with cell phone section built in.

Drivers seat! Perfect.  The car has been kept perfect of course, but take a look at a Bentley seat even in 5K miles. You will want to redo them.  Mercedes really wear well in these years.  The newer versions will not look like this.  These seats are as good as have ever been put in a car.

Some neat W140 Links;

Top Gear W140 Segment Early W140 1991

Early W140 Ad

W140 Crash Test Video

W140 Promotion Video

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