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Most readers will probably look at this review and overlook it; the common misconception is that the flagship Mercedes-Benz S Class is a luxury that many cannot afford. WRONG – You can pick them up for as little as £5000, considering they retail for over £60k at new, this is fantastic. But why should you choose the S over any other car? It is a Mercedes and the best of the lot!!! The S class has been around for many years and is currently on the W221 range, which came out in 2006. The review I will be writing is about the W220, in my eyes the nicer of the two. What you will come to appreciate is that the S class is the benchmark of the motoring world. What comes as standard on the S class today will be standard on a Mondeo in ten years time.
The S280 cost £52,000 when new, my model with the extras it has came in at over £65,000. Today you can pick up a 51 plate with around 80,000 miles for around £7,000. Something of a price drop across eight years??! Suffice to say petrol prices and the recession have had an effect but considering the car you get for your money with a full MB history this to me is SUPERB value for money!
I bought my S280 in September 08 and haven’t looked back since. The car exudes class and success and is an eye catcher. Traditionally the status that comes with the car is you are successful. The associated stereotype is a director or chief executive and probably over fifty years old. Suffice to say I am neither but still try and live upto that image….
The car is loaded with features. Engine wise she packs a 2.8 V6 petrol engine with an automatic gearbox. She can certainly shift but owing to the size you don’t really appreciate the speed as the car simply glides along. You can be cruising at 85 and you wouldn’t even be aware. The ride is smooth and sublime.
To help provide this experience the car has a number of traction and suspension features. Airmatic suspension comes as standard. Essentially you press a button and the car will rise up a few inches and ride along on a cushion of air. Particularly useful for poorly maintained roads as the suspension helps to level this out. This really does work, but once you reach 75mph it will self cancel to make the car more aerodynamic and thus fuel-efficient. When you want to have a more ‘fun’ ride and really experience all the bends of the road you can change the suspension settings to make the ride harder or softer, livening things up for the driver. The S manages to light up the road fabulously with the Bi-Xenon headlights that really help you when in the dark, more so than traditional headlights.
Inside the cabin it really is another world. You have every executive toy you require in a luxobarge like the S class. All front seats and the steering wheel are fully automated for luxury. They do all the hard work for you and even remember your favourite seating position should you have a number of drivers. There is dual zone climate control that allows you to split the temperature from each side of the car, helping you keep everyone comfortable. There is also an abundance of air vents that help keep everyone cool.
The main nerve centre of the vehicle is the COMAND cockpit drivers system. COMAND operates the music centre (Radio, Tape and CD), Television (where installed), Telephone (situated in the armrest) and Satellite Navigation. Everything is within easy reach and unlike the BMW iDrive system, extremely easy to use. The satnav works really well, has fantastic detail and never fails to get you to your destination. Even though the S came out in 1999 it was at the forefront of technology and the satnav communicates to avoid traffic jams and reroute you where needed.
The remainder of the switchgear is all in easy reach. The onboard computer is fully controlled through the steering wheel, which gives you all the information about your journey, fuel consumption, radio controls, any information or vehicle malfunctions. It feeds you every piece of information you could need.
In the rear of the vehicle is probably one of the favourite places to be. The seats are soft and sumptuous and there is plenty of space. Passengers are protected by the double glazed privacy glass to keep both the sun and noise out and there are even rear vanity mirrors to make sure you get out of the car looking your best. For business travelers there are two rear cigarette lighters to power your phone or laptop if you have the necessary cables. Some S classes also have a rear sunblind to add further privacy. It really is a nice place to be.
Running Costs With a car this expensive you may think the running costs are high. Now when things co wrong it can be expensive to replace some of the items but that is few and far between. Servicing at a Mercedes main dealer can be expensive at between £2-500 per service. However like most savvy Mercedes owners you can take the car to an independent Mercedes specialist who will service the vehicle for between £1-300 dependent on service, which really isn’t that bad.
Fuel consumption is pretty standard with a combined figure of around 29MPG. In the town it can be quite thirsty but when you open her up on the motorway she is extremely frugal.
Overall the S is to me the undisputed king of the road. It ticks all the boxes of luxury, technology and roadworthiness and I genuinely smile everyday that I get to take her out on the road. If you are looking for a decent saloon car then take a look at the S class. For the prices around today I am confident you can find one that looks after you for many years to come. I know mine will!
Mercedes S Class S280 was purchased in 2008 from a local dealer. I swapped my Mercedes SLK 230 for the vehicle but the valuation at that time was around £8000. I am aware that there are other vehicles available at cheaper prices today. Autotrader has plenty of them but make sure you test every piece of equipment on the car before you part with the money. Like I said she serves you well but you want to make sure everything works before you part with your ££. If anyone has any questions then please feel free to ask me.
Pictures of Mercedes S 280
Mercedes Benz S-Class 280 4dr
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