I purchased this car used, 14 years old at the time. I have owned it 10 years now. First off, it's the most beautiful car I have ever owned. The previous owner was a surgeon, who took excellent care of it. The paint still shines beautifully. The interior has no rips or tears. I truly found a beauty...and have kept it this way the past 10 years. I still get complements everywhere I go. Maintaining this car has not been too expensive. The quality everywhere is top notch. I can do most maintenance myself. The old girl has 195,000 miles now. I have been so happy, I even considered moving up a generation or two. Unfortunately, the newer models lack the true German Quality of this last W 126. I simply must keep her now, after seeing the poor quality of newer generation models. Not that I'm complaining. She's been like a loyal friend. Always there for me, and truly reliable. If you can find one that's been well cared for...grab it, and you'll have it for many years. If it's been neglected...the refurbishment might be too costly...so walk away and keep looking. Update: after owning my S Class for 11 years, it still looks great and runs great. I am, however, considering the next newer body style...the W140. I'm still undecided.
1991 was the last year for this body style, and Mercedes certainly got their money's worth out of the design - it has been in production since the 1980 model year. Trunk space is great for a foreign car (larger than Lexus LS400 or Infiniti Q45), but not nearly as spacious as Deville or Continental. Fuel economy is not great, acceptable for a car of this size - but made even worse since you must use premium (min. 91 oct.) fuel. Interior room is cavernous - and the front seat adjustments (and telescoping steering column) can be tailored to make just about any size driver comfortable. Acceleration isn't as swift as the larger 560 series, but considerably better than the 6-cyl. 300 models.
Leg room front and rear is generous compared with the tighter rear quarters of the SE or SD models. The design has held up very well, and still look great today. These are considered the last "simple" S-Class models before the overly-complex '92 was introduced. Build materials are outstanding.
A/C system struggles in warm weather. Check for common rust spots on front fenders, and in back beneath the tail lights. For this much money ($64k new), you'd think Mercedes wouldn't over look anything, but cup holders, automatic headlights, and a power driver's side mirror were not available.
I purchased the 420 SEL with 35K miles for the price of a new Maxima in '99. The S Class has a smooth, comfortable ride and has the feeling of a bank vault. At 65 mph you can hear the ticking of the still accurate clock. This S is spacious, handles well under all conditions, and even at 17 years old is better than most new cars. The car still garners respect and perhaps best of all, it is long paid off. I have been told by more than a few Mercedes experts that the '91 420 SEL was one of the best of the modern Mercedes Benz autos. They are an investment. When you fix a Benz you still have a Mercedes Benz.
The leather seats still are excellent after all these years. Much better than the typical soft Japanese or American leather seating. Overall quality and integrity is very fine.
This Mercedes 420 SEL is my pride & joy. The comfort and safety of this car is better than some of the newer ones, for 16 years young and with a 113,000 miles on it, she still performs every time its called upon.This is a quality built car.
Large interior with comfortable seats. Large trunk, long trips are a joy and the sunroof is my favorite.
Cup holders would have been nice for this year, but oh well.
The Mercedes 420 SEL has preformed well for our family for over 10 years. Still offers the comfort and safety as new cars. The car is now sixteen years young and running strong. With only 74,000 we expect to own this car another ten years. Just because a car is old, does not mean it is not a well made.
Large interior cabin with large comfortable seats. Large trunk for luggage and storage.
Of course before cup holders, however, the model should have had power locks.