1998 Mercedes Benz S600

V12 - 6.0 Liter - 48 Valve

Matt Garrett - Dallas Texas - 214-878-3823

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1998 Mercedes S600!

Mercedes S600, 6.0 Liter V12.  Black Opal. 60K miles, collector owned, garaged, truly a flawless example of one of the best cars ever.  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 less cost sedans out there that make much more since for daily cars, 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, and that is happening right now.  In fact those cars have actually tarnished the more quality older Mercedes values too, making these W140s and R129s a very good car to buy .... You get more than your money's worth in the used market with these cars.     This generation V12 is the real deal and 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 and many automotive gurus are in agreement with what I am reflecting here.   This is an Engineer's car.  If you know what you are looking at when you get underneath one of these, then you can say that not much else compares. 

 If you know sedan performance... Not much does what this does... and that includes Mercedes' own famed W124 500E that was built along with Porsche.   It is totally ironic that a 94 500E commands a very high price to collectors today and the S600 is relatively affordable....  Well they say its low production with only 1735 500Es made for the 94 year....  Well there were only 167 S600s in 1998 and even less S600s in 99 that the rare 95 500E.   So that does theory not hold water at all.  Well the 500E must perform better, it was done with Porsche right???    Wrong... the S600 is a lot better....  In that comparison, I wont even take into consideration the 96+ W140 models that really got fast compared to the previous.  If you do its a bloodbath then.   No disrespect the the 500E, it is a great car that deserves the credit it has... This comparison is just stating that how far collectors have missed the mark when it comes to the S600 when rare and substantial performance sedans are looked at.   It is only now being understood.   Under the hood of a new Benz... yes technology has been incorporated... In performance, cars like the 06-06 CL65 are better for sure.... but at what reliability cost???    The quality and really daring engineering has been lost though with high quality materials traded for plastics.  So in terms of as best as it got, the W140 and the R129 are substantially well build cars that have yet to really be outdone by Mercedes in terms of all out quality.

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.  This one does have the few extra options that were available too.  Those being the AMG 18 Monoblock wheels, the Xenon Headlamps, the Front and Rear Parking Sensor System, Contour Seats, the Factory Phone (useless now) and the Rear Shade.   There was one option that was available not seen on this car.  The rear independent seats.  This had a console in the middle in the rear.  Very rare to see, as you lost a seat in the car.  But that was an option that is very rare to have.    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.   This car has all of the extras and the paint/color on this car is an extra cost option too and is quite rare with the unique and incredible color of Black Opal. 

Learning these cars in pretty good detail since they were built, I can tell you that a 96-99 model S600 contains some pretty substantial 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. The radio is a huge improvement over the horrific early Becker Mexico system too.   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 175MPH 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 $138,000.00 also left very few people willing to really push it to its limits.  BMW, Jag and other V12s are not even close to these in power.  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.  But why say the Manufacturers'???.  Its never the first owners that keep these cars so why not cut down on endurance and quality and make us a better buck!!!!  This crowd only buys for image anyway!!!  Sad but true, but the W140 goes way beyond image and it may be the last car that really took that into account.

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 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 their selves 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.  In fact the only vehicle that I can say that has as strong of body structure as the W140 is the new  09+ F150 platforms.   Yes I am comparing the S600 to a 09+ F150.  Am I nuts???   That new 09 F150 is a heck of a good vehicle and the irony that gives them both the quality of design put into them is the fact that both platforms had over 1Billion in R&D put into the platforms.   Both the two most expensive single platforms in automotive history from what I know.   Ford did it in 09 as it was logically worth the investment to put the money into the best selling vehicle in the world, and Mercedes way before in 1990 in continuation of the finest luxury sedan ever made.  So the point is that design investment made them good!  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.  Engineering wise, this may be the single most significant car ever produced.

I had one of these before and sold it.  I have a V12 collection of both BMW and Benz of what I believe is their finest examples.  E31/E32 V12 BMWs and R129/W140 Mercedes.  Out of the many cars I have owned, sold and not looked back, this was one of the few I regretted selling....  So I had to get another.  This is it.   I drive this car on nice days, and it is the finest driving car in the entire collection.  Sadly makes you want to kick everything else in the driving category.

Click here for a Video Walk Around of this car


I am not showing the ODO on purpose as this is a car I drive just a little so it changes slightly.  I overestimate the miles in the text also, so the chances of this car seeing much above 60K in my life are low.

The lower buttons are the rear shade and the parking sensor system off. Not all the cars had these. All the others you probably know.

AMG Monoblock II wheels W140 specific part # wheels and the proper offest for the W140. 18x8.5 with OEM Continental Tires

255/45/18 and 275/40/18 staggered tires.  Great setup!

Not all 18 Monoblock wheels are the same!  In fact there are 5 variations from what I know in this same style for other body cars.  The W140s are rare.

Many W140s have the wrong offset monoblocks on them taken from other series..... And it shows!  This is right.

The Increadible M120 48V V12 6.0 Liter Engine.

Black Opal is just a great color... Dark blue in some light, black in others.

Yes it all works... everything of course.

Some neat W140 Links;

Top Gear W140 Segment Early W140 1991

Early W140 Ad

W140 Crash Test Video

W140 Documentary Video

Click here for a Video Walk Around of this car


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