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  #1  
Old 08-26-2005, 02:29 PM
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W140 S280

I am curious about this model. I know it was not available in the U.S. but I am wondering if it was available in both standard and long wheelbased models like the S320 (for most years). Anyone know anything about this other than it came with a 2.8?
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Old 08-26-2005, 11:15 PM
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The W140 S 280 was introduced in Germany and most world markets at the early stages of the facelifted model. Hence, there was no W140 280SE with the original pre-facelift design.

The S 280 came to life in an attempt to broaden the W140 public appeal (which was appaling at the time for its size and price) and in a way to offer a more affordable W140.

The W140 S 280 had some very peculiar features:

1/- As it happened with the earlier 260SE (W126), the W140 S280 was hopefully underpowered for its bulk and size.

2/- It was available only in Short wheelbase form.

3/- It was equipped as standard with a FIVE-SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION. Yes, a manual on a W140!!! Obvious reasons: it helped the underpowered pick-up of the 2.8 liter engine and also made the car more affordable, making the automatic an expensive option.

4/- In Germany, and also in most markets, it also came equipped standard with cloth upholstered/manually operated seats, without any A/C and tintless windows all aorund (although this was the case for the S 320 in most markets too).

5/- It sold in very, very small numbers. Production figures are insignificant compared to the S320/S500 which were the best sellers of the lineup.

Foloo this link for a picture of the interior of an S 280 with manual transmission (check the three pedals on the floor and the manual stickshift):

92 300se W140,5 Speed Automatic

Hope the info was useful.
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Old 08-27-2005, 02:32 AM
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I am curious what was the MSRP of a S280 and how did it compare to an S320 and S500. Since we didn't get them here in the states the comparison will give an idea of just how much cheaper it was.
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Old 08-27-2005, 01:33 PM
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On June the 2nd, 1997, a W140 S 280 retailed for DM 78,500 and the S 320 for DM 93,500 [Tourist Price List].

That would make the S 280 about 16% cheaper than the S 320.

To make the comparision fair, though, you would have to add to the S 280 the automatic transmission price which was standard on the S 320. The option code for the auto transmission was 423 and it carried a primium of DM 2,990.00 over the sticker price.

This scenario makes an automatic S 280 about 12% cheaper than a comparable automatic S 320.

As you can see the difference was minimal, and if you started adding other options such as A/C, power seats, leather, an audio system (which was also an option), etc, etc, etc, the difference was minimal.

Hence the reason this basic model sold in such few numbers.
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Old 08-29-2005, 02:38 PM
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An S-Class with 2.8L 6!? Does that thing even move!? Frankly, I don't know how the S-class with the 320 moves.
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Old 08-29-2005, 06:12 PM
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The S 320 moves just fine if it is a short wheel base model without to many options. Actually, the rear differential fitted to the S 320 makes it feel very fast from standstill.

The S 280, on the other hand, is easily overtaken by Vespa scooters anytime.
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Old 08-29-2005, 06:41 PM
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Call me crazy, but I still think a heavy ass car like that with an underpowered 6 cyl. engine is kinda...well...stupid. I don't mean to insult anyone, but I don't understand what the lure of an oversized car with an undersized engine is or, for that matter, why MB would make such a car. Just doesn't make too much sense to me.
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Old 08-30-2005, 12:38 PM
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I imagine (and I am just guessing on this one) that it was done because of gas mileage as well as affordability for the European market - especially with the standard transmission version. Anyone know the actual reason?

Also, thanks for all the info. I wondered as this was the infamous car that Princess Di had her accident in. It is strange that they would use this model for VIP transport.

Last edited by benzboy87; 08-30-2005 at 12:39 PM. Reason: add info.
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  #9  
Old 08-31-2005, 12:30 AM
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As I understand, the savings on an automatic S 280 compared with an auto S 320 were non existant. Actually, the auto S 280 would consume slightly more than a comparable S 320 because of the engine higher effort on trying to move such a heavy weight beast.

On the other hand, as you mentioned on your previous post, the market for luxury cabs and limos was one of the main targets for the S 280. And yes, a W140 S 280 was the car Lady Diana had the accident in Paris (not an S 600 or an S 500 as most news agencies wrongfully stated).

The car was also popular in countries were taxes on engines above 3,000 c.c. get very high.
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  #10  
Old 08-20-2011, 08:31 AM
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I dont think its fare to mock such a nice combination of engine and car. I agree the s280 auto is not a brilliant idea but we all know the auto gearbox somewhat takes away performance. My dad has an s280 manual, yet its not badly equipped. Its got electric leather seats, climate control and parking sensors. While the 2.8 liter engine might seem small for a car like the s class its perfectly reasonable for a normal everyday family car. Put it this way : the w140 s280 weighs about 1.9 tons and it has 193 bhp which makes for a power to weight ratio of about 100 bhp per ton. Thats about the same as an w210 e230 which weighs about 1.5 tons and has 150 bhp - 100 bhp per ton. The manual gearbox however doesnt take away the feel of the w140. Its still fantastically comfortable, really not as slow as you might think with the manual transmission and the advantages are it would easily do 30 to the gallon at highway speeds and i recon it would just as easily do 120 - 130 mph and the best part is that engine is so unbelievably quiet you cant hear it up untill 3500 - 4000 rpm with the windows up. So to sum up you just have to think of it as of a very big, very comfortable, very quiet and very well equipped E class ... and thats something i can live with ...
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