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Used 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560-Class Consumer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
18 reviews

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5 out of 5 stars

Almost Perfect

Rob, 03/21/2010
1990 Mercedes-Benz 560-Class 560SEL 4dr Sedan
25 of 25 people found this review helpful

This is the 4th SEL I've owned, unfortunately the first three have had tragic deaths, 1 stolen, 1 totaled while parked and 1 caught fire after AC maintenance. I will always go back to these cars, amazing handling for the size, power to spare and has a classic style that will never look old. I've tried to replace this car with other new cars only to be disappointed. Out of the 4 I've spent a total of $20k to purchase and maintain but have driven over 300k miles with never a problem. Here I am 8 years later and still can't believe how amazing these cars are.

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4 out of 5 stars

Classic Styling

automaniac9, 03/04/2014
1990 Mercedes-Benz 560-Class 560SEL 4dr Sedan
24 of 24 people found this review helpful

Driving this car makes you feel like no one can touch you. The car has great power for the day and can handle pretty well too. The fact that mine is black over black just adds to its presence. For being so heavy, its massive 5.6 liter has enough torque to move this beast faster than you could think was possible. The interior is classic Mercedes; wood throughout, nice leather seats with all the electric options, and easy to understand buttons, make it a great place to sit. This being a 1990, it has a more advanced sound system than years prior, and it sounds quite good considering its now 24 years old. The biggest aspect of the car that lets it down, is of course the gas mileage.

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5 out of 5 stars

Not for everyone, but if you have the means...

WillyP, 07/20/2019
1990 Mercedes-Benz 560-Class 560SEL 4dr Sedan
8 of 8 people found this review helpful

First things first: be very careful of buying any used Mercedes unaware. There's a saying that the most expensive Mercedes is a cheap Mercedes. The W126 (the Mercedes chassis designation for the 300/380/420/500/560 SE(L), 380/500/560SEC, and 300/350 SD(L) – the "L" means the longer wheelbase sedan) is a very mechanically robust car, one of the best designed and engineered cars you'll find. Unfortunately, a combination of complexity, expensive parts, and careless (and/or over-reaching) owners means that probably half the cars on the road would not be worth bringing back to fully functional/presentable condition even if they were free. That kind of project may be worthwhile to a few buyers, but for the average person, buy the best car you can find/afford. I'd also steer away any new buyer who isn't either mechanically inclined has access to a good independent mechanic who knows these cars (someone named Helmet, or Fritz). Then have a full inspection, and walk away if there's any question. Common problems on the V8 cars are timing chain service (the guides break, and often take the engine with them), fuel injection issues, transmission leaks (not a hard fix when the transmission is out...), self-leveling suspension issues, and "broken toys" (power accessories, sunroof, etc). The basket cases are easy to pick out; with the in between cars, do your homework on the "just needs a..." car. With all that aside, these cars have a look and feel that would cost you $200K+ in a new car. Yes, even the mid-level Merc/Audi/BMW has many more toys and features, but the work of the accountants can't be fully masked. You can sense the difference just opening the door and sitting down inside a good example. That "bank vault" feel is often imitated, but seldom duplicated. The driving style continues that: it's never pillowy, like an old American car. Mercedes of old never translated "luxury" to mean just "soft," and driving around pot-holed city streets, it doesn't feel exceptional. In fact, I suspect a number of people could find the ride either too firm (the old-school Cadillac buyer), or the steering and responsiveness numb (the BMW buyer). Once you settle in on the highway though, you'll understand. The steering is accurate and has just the right weight. Bumps big and small are perfectly damped, and everything from sweeping corners to lane changes feel perfectly composed. I own two of these (an SEL and a SEC), and have made 1000+ mile drives in both; I've yet to drive a car I'd rather make those drives in. At the end of the day, these cars are a screaming value. I'm talking about a well-maintained car – those still don't bring half of what they probably should. That said, they're not cheap even in the best of circumstances, and most are 30+ years old. One would be wise to budget a thousand or so per year towards upkeep and minor repairs, plus having $3-5k in reserve in case of a blown engine or transmission. That said, I've yet to have an engine or transmission go, or even been stranded, in 50,000 miles of driving, both cars having over 200K on them. And then they aren't easy on fuel either (18 is doable in conservative highway driving, but as low as 12 isn't uncommon). Ultimately, to me it's worth the cost. In the long run, for the same money, the closest you'd get is to buy a mid-life used luxury car (take your pick) and trade up every 3-5 years. Those cars generally aren't bad – in fact, on paper they're head and shoulders above – but park them side by side, then drive them, and the difference becomes clear if it wasn't already.

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4.63 out of 5 stars

200,000 and going strong

Long-termer, 01/11/2005
1990 Mercedes-Benz 560-Class 560SEC 2dr Coupe
8 of 8 people found this review helpful

We like strong vehicles, and the 560 SEC is probably the strongest we've ever owned. Heavy duty! Powerful, always reliable, and at 200,000 miles it still runs as smoothly as it did when new. Did I say powerful? I've probaly invested $4,000 in replacing things like a sunroof slide assembly, timing chain, valve guides -- - and have a car that is better than most on the road, at far less total cost. This car was built when Mercedes knew how to build cars that lasted forever.

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4.88 out of 5 stars

It's still Golden

Convinced!, 04/05/2004
1990 Mercedes-Benz 560-Class 560SEL 4dr Sedan
7 of 7 people found this review helpful

I've always been one of those people who could never justify paying gobs of money for a MB. My neighbor sold me a 1990Sel with 132000 for $4500 original owner. Sat for two years in her drive way. Best car I have ever owned. Ride, comfort, power, grace and fun.The ride is a myriad of exhilarations. It feels so safe behind the wheel. I'm looking to buy my wife a E420 for our 25 annniverary. Yes it's worth the money. It's that nice!

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