So long as you use full synthetic every 5000 miles and premium fuel, the 1997 s500 will be a loyal trusty steed. I love the black on black color combo, 11 Bose speakers and HID headlamps. Also the auto sensing wipers are great. 1997+ have these features stock.. The car is a tank.
I have owned this car for 6 years. Bought it used with 90K mileage - had been in love with the look of the vehicle since I first saw it at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 1997. When I found a nice used one, I bought it. Needed some work to restore it and I did that. It is a very fun and comfortable car to drive. Costs more than the norm to repair it, but it is an experience you just cannot find in a normal car. I use it for highway driving and know that I will have the performance and safety that I need. It also happens to be quite beautiful.
1997 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Sedan S320 SWB 4dr Sedan
I purchased this car a month ago used with 162000 miles on it. The price was right, and I thought it to be a "disposable" car. NOT SO!!!! I have driven much newer mercedes, and this 14 yr old car has not lost a step in performance or comfort. Beware of a "weeping" oil drip of this car. I was stunned and horrified when I discovered it. A little research on the internet told me that the oil should not be at the "max" of the dipstick. it should be in the middle. The key comes down to maintainance records. If you had an anal previous owner, you are in luck. If you had an owner who saved his pennies to get it (and did not want to spend his pennies to maintain it) you will have a bad experience.
I live in Plaos Verdes, so I have to climb the "hill" on a routine basis. I love to toss it into d3, and do 50mph in my 4500 lbs car on a "hill". Some reviews say that the 320 is not powerfull enough for this heavy a car. I beg to differ.
The best advice so far would be to not freek out over the "weeping" oil issue. I believe that I read somewhere that mercedes changed the oil fill recommendation from 7.5 liters to 7.0.
The most overengineered MBZ ever built. Love the Black leather, don't get the beige or gray. Even has a parking assist in 1997 ! I love this car. Best driving car I have ever driven. Parts are very $$$ if you buy this used. You can get one for 7K, but make sure it has been taken care of. Mileage is meaningless on this car. Maintenance is most important, and a good mechanic. These cars can go to 1,000,000 miles actually. I think it's in the world record book. The car drives like a sports car. The car is very heavy, so get the S500, not the weaker S430 or S300, there too weak to pull this much weight. And get black interior.
Burlwood dash, keyless entry, vacuum doors/trunk, solid heavy duty feel, sports car like drive in V8 (S500 only), parking assist, electric rear sun visor. Double pane glass.
It's perfection. Maybe make replaceable parts more affordable, but then it wouldn't be a BENZ!
I have owned a few MBZ in my life. I had admired the W140 chasis on the road for many years. The square bold looks, & rock-solid build looked indestructable. New price: $ 100,000 A few points: Steering Wheel: If you can get a wood steering wheel. Hard to find. Interior: Black is the only way to go. Grey / beige don't age as well. Engine: This is a super heavy car. Don't waste your time with a V6. It's like using a wheel barrel to pull the Queen mary. Stick with 97-99. This cars can be had for 7K-8k used, but buyer be aware. Most of the lower priced ones need work of easily 10K - 15K. Get one with service records & an anal owner, that had the work done for you. 10K-15K
Double pane bullet proof glass, 0-60 in 5 seconds. Huge backseat. Vacuum doors / trunk, Insane lumbar support. Square look of car. Solid feel. Unsurpassable build. They don't make'em like this anymore.