The 2001 Mercedes-Benz S500 had the job of carrying on the legacy of being the best sedan in the world for the past 40 or so years. It failed miserably. Not only was the design a soft, mushy shape, but the materials inside were less than stellar. Thanks to unproven things like Airmatic suspension (as opposed to hydraulic), reliability wasn’t great and legacy buyers were jumping ship for cars and SUVs from rival brands. Don’t get me wrong, people still bought these but the S-Class was no longer than the standard of full-size luxury and technology and more-so just another blob sedan in a now very crowded market. So why am I featuring such a forgettable car today? Well the interior, of course.
Something always brings me back to the M275-powered Mercedes-Benz cars. Is it the 603 hp and 738 lb·ft of torque? Probably. But something else just draws me to these mid-2000s rocket ships on wheels. I love the conservative styling with just a touch of aggressiveness like the quad exhaust tips and 18-inch twin-spoke AMG wheels in gunmetal gray. Just when I think I’m ready to dive in headfirst with one of these beasts in a business suit, I turn and run the other way when I see what it takes to live with one. This 2006 S65 AMG for sale in California checks all the boxes when you looking for one of the cars. Including a recent repair bill that will question how it is it possible that car repairs cost that much.
Last week I checked out the lowly 2006 Mercedes-Benz S350 that in addition to being literally short, was short on options too. Today, we travel to the other end of the (non-AMG) W220 spectrum with a car that has no problem with features or power, the S600. The thing about the W220 S600 is that despite only being produced from 2001 to 2006, this super sedan had two variants of V12s. The early S600s used the naturally aspirated 5.8 liter M137 that was so disastrous that it only lasted two years before the engineers went back to the drawing board to totally redesign a new V12 for their flagship cars. What they came with was a twin-turbo 5.5 liter M275 that proved to be much less troublesome. Luckily today’s car, a 2003 S600 for sale outside of Chicago, sports the M275. Even better, it checks in with just a little over 27,000 miles.
Everyone once in a while one of my favorite mystery cars pops up for sale again. That mystery being why in the world Mercedes-Benz brought these for sale in North America. The car I am talking about is the 2006 S350. I’ve covered this odd ball over year ago but incase you are new or just don’t know the story with this car, let me explain.
In 2006, the last year for the W220 in North America, Mercedes-Benz sold the S350 alongside the S430, S500, S55 AMG, S600 and S65 AMG. This would be totally normal except the S350 was a short wheelbase car that was over five inches shorter than the rest of the model lineup. It was also the only one with the V6. These cars weren’t highly optioned at all and as a result, were nearly $10,000 cheaper than the 430 and $20,000 cheaper than the 500. But why did Mercedes bother to bring over the S350 for only one year? My only guess is they had an abundance of them scheduled for production and needed to rid themselves of these cars while planning the W221 production to start later that year. But that can’t be it, right? Mercedes probably has an entire building full of production planners who make sure things like this don’t happen. They are German, after all.
In my opinion, custom body work can either go really good or really bad. Those who know what they are doing usually put out some unique stuff. Those who don’t know what they are doing put out work made of nightmares. Luckily for everyone, this 2003 Mercedes-Benz S55 AMG for sale in Vancouver, Canada, has some custom body work that actually looks pretty good. Normally, the bodies of the mid-2000 AMG cars don’t have much of a flare to them, but this seller of this specific car had something to say about that. This S55 had the front the rear fenders pulled out by a decent amount to give it the look of a CLK63 AMG Black Series. The more I look at this car, the more I appreciate it, but I can’t decide if I really love it or not.
Finally. After so many times looking at aftermarket limousine conversions (with questionable build quality) on Mercedes I finally found a real factory Pullman. This is a 2001 S500 Pullman six seater with the AMG Advanced Mobile Media System. And here this whole time you thought AMG was just good at making cars that burn tires. This is a fully mobile office computers, desks, live televisions, DVD players and 43 kbps internet service. Well, maybe stick to your smartphones for the internet service. But this car is a great example how well a limo can be done with the right materials and planning. Lets check it out.
Earlier this year I looked at a 2005 Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG and pondered how cheap it would need to be for me or you to take the risk on. Ultimately, at the $17,495 the seller was asking still wasn’t cheap enough for me to even think about buying the car. 603 hp and 738 lb·ft of torque be damned, $17,495 is still $17,495 to me. Today, we have the brother of the CL65 for sale in New Jersey, the S65, and guess what? It’s cheaper than $17,495. How cheap?
If you wondering why I am featuring a run-of-the-mill W220 S430 look no further than the words “Almandine Black Metallic”. That’s the name, in my opinion, one of the most wonderful colors Mercedes-Benz has ever produced for its cars. It direct light it looks plum purple only for it to be mistaken for black in the shade and at night. It’s conservative enough to be taken seriously in any setting but still gives off a great shimmer that separates itself from the usual sea of black cars. So when this 2006 S430 4Matic popped up for sale in California, I had to take a closer look at it while trying to restrain myself from getting shipping quotes to bring this thing home to me.
Model: S430 4Matic
Engine: 4.3 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 186,660 mi
Price: $6,900 Buy It Now
Non Smoker Car – second owner – Delivery in San Jose area – buyer must arrange out of area shipping.
Outside of the paint, this is your fairly standard W220. It’s a nice, clean California car with albeit fairly high miles at almost 187,000, but it looks like it has about half of that. Being this is the last year of the W220 and probably the best year of these cars to purchase as most of the problems that plagued these cars had theoretically been worked through, but at the end of the day it’s still a W220. You’ll occasionally run into Airmatic faults but generally I trust these cars at their core. It’s still just a basic M113 V8 paired to the 722.6 gearbox that has been tested a million times over in every Mercedes from this era. These cars do a pretty good job at being what S-Class are supposed to be: a relaxing, enjoyable place to be. If you stay up on your maintenance and repairs when needed, there’s no reason this car can’t go another 187,000 miles — just keep it away from salt.
So what’s the price to make it purple rain? A surprisingly reasonable $6,900. This price is indicative of it being in the place like San Jose where your mail carrier just got a new E550 so the price is a little softer than what you’d probably see if this car was for sale in any other part of the country. But this is a probably the best way to own a purple German car if you want to save $248,000.
File this, or rather these, under the “You don’t see that everyday!” category. What we are looking at today is not one, but two Mercedes-Benz S600 limousines that have B7 level armor. Back in October I looked at another armored W220, but that one was only good for a B4 certification — good for a few rounds from a handgun. The B7 in these cars? They will take fire from full metal jacket assault rifles and those pesky suicide bombers as well. But who would need this kind of protection? You probably won’t be that surprised.
Model: S600 Limousine (times two!)
Engine: 5.5 liter V12
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 15,000 mi
Price: $250,000 Buy It Now
Bulletproof Category “B7” capable of withstanding suicide bombs and armor penetrating bullets from assault rifles. Built by TRASCO & Mercedes Benz these two limos are a force not be reckoned with. Mileage last counted is 15,xxx on each limo. All properly maintained to the fullest extent! Interior & Exterior Completely Flawless. Previous owners were the royal family in Abu Dhabi. Price is listed at $250,000 (Negotiable) & Includes all Transfers, USDOT Registrations, Transportation Costs, and any other legal forms needed to assure legit transactions.
Disclaimer: VIN IS A INTERNET SAMPLE, cannot list actual VIN in the appropriate slot since Limo’s were built in Dubai and EBAY cannot decode the VIN.
The Individual VINS of each limo are listed below:
If you guessed these cars were in the Middle East, congratulations! According to the seller, these were used by the Al Nahyan royal family of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Taking a look at the paint colors of these cars and peeking inside fully supports these being in UAE because of the absolute flashiness and general attitude of being as over the top as possible. The interesting thing about these cars is that despite the seller saying the are 2005s, everything about them tells me these are pre-facelift cars based on the bumpers and headlights/taillights. I can buy these being 2005s if Trasco decided during the armoring process just to use the pre-facelift parts that were already armored instead of spending the time and the money redoing a bunch of work only for it to slightly change the look of the car. I wish the seller would have attached a picture of the center stack so I could tell for sure what year these cars are.
The price to take home both of these rolling vaults on wheels is a whopping $250,000. It seems crazy at first, but doing the math here you are looking at over $100,000 each to get these up to a B7 level when they were new. Now add in the actual cost of buying two S600s at the time for over $100,000 each and it’s probably creeping close to $500,000 when it was all said and done. Not a problem if you are royal family of Abu Dhabi, but for anyone else? This is really fast way to blow $250,000. I can’t imagine the increased wear and tear on these cars because of the extra weight it has to haul around and the W220 S600 isn’t exactly a great buy if you are looking for a car that is worth buying. So who is the market for these cars? Other governments? Private citizens that need an almost unnecessary level of protection? Whoever it is, I hope they like cranberry colored suede.
Very rarely do the fine people at Mercedes-Benz perpetrate a major mistake. But when they do, oh boy. Maybe it’s just the nature of the beast of car manufacturing that when mistakes do happen, it’s usually of grand proportion. Today’s car, a 2002 S600, is one of those mistakes. It’s not the sub-par build quality and lack of longevity that makes this car an absolute nightmare, it’s what is under the hood they makes this W220 almost radioactive to any buyer.
Engine: 5.8 liter V12
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 138,599 mi
Price: Buy It Now $3,445
2002 S600 Mercedes that runs and drives but has an oil leak from the top of the motor in back. The motor has 389 horsepower. It delivers it very smooth. The transmission shifts so nice through all of the gears. The wheels are correct factory S600 wheels wrapped in as new Michelin tires. The brakes stop this heavy car easy. The exhaust is all in good order. The battery works just fine and is the big battery. The car goes down the road so smooth. The inside is loaded up with heated, cooled massage front seats, wood all over the place, Suede headliner, leather dash, steering wheel. Heated power back seats with lumbar. The navigation and Bose system is great!! The car has a clean clear title in hand ready to transfer. No extra fees in my auction. The 2 coil packs and the set of xenon headlights are worth $3000 alone!! Make me a fair
This problem with this W220 is the 5.8 liter M137 V12 engine. There is a reason why this engine only lasted for two years in the United States before moving to a 5.5 liter twin-turbo M275. The M137 is notorious for out of round cylinder walls and oil fouling basically making the engine a giant paper weight. The excessive blow-by oil fouls all of the downstream oxygen sensors. So you say, “what’s one or two O2 sensors?” Except there are eight on this S600 which adds up to a total cost of $1,600. What if you damage the cats too? There are six of them at a cost of $8,000. At this rate, you’ll be living on the street with a bunch of real cats.
For this specific S600, the seller comes out and says this car leaks oil from the top of the motor towards the rear. This the dreaded M137 oil cooler issue. There is a long metal plate in the middle of the oil cooler. You need to access this to install new o-rings to fix this leak before you fry your transmission control unit with hot oil also turning the transmission into a boat anchor. The oil leak isn’t something minor when this happens, it goes from a few drops to a quart rather quickly. This job doesn’t sound so bad until you hear that you need to pull the heads to access the oil cooler. It’s only a $350 part but the killer is the many many hours it takes to pull the heads on a Mercedes V12. This entire repair basically starts at a few thousand dollars and only goes up if they find vacuum or breathers hoses that need replaced.
So should you buy a reasonably clean 2002 S600 with runs and drives just fine for $3,500? Of course not! You are signing up to spend thousands of dollars and be potentially be left with parts and scrap value once something catastrophic happens. If I was forced to buy own this car as-is, I would drive it until the inevitable happens then start cannibalizing it, because there are plently of rusty W220’s out there looking for parts.