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Old 11-27-2001, 06:20 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
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Whats the difference between the Short Wheel Base and Long Wheel Base on the S series cars, and why did Mercedes make both models?
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Old 11-27-2001, 06:58 PM
sixto's Avatar
smoke gets in your eyes
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 18,745
1) About 4 inches in rear seat legroom.

2) Because the marketing folks said to? MB has offered the S-class in two wheelbases since the W112 of the early 60s. I think the US gets only one length of W220. I don't know if there are shorter or longer W220s elsewhere.

91 300SE
81 300SD
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Old 11-27-2001, 11:18 PM
HaYN Benz
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Although not from a MB source, I have been told that the two sizes were due to limitations in the european market. This comes by way of a Chrysler source when he was trying to explain why the Chrysler 300M had such an abbreviated rear end. Same thing for Cadillac's Seville. Both cars needed to be shorter in order to sell in the european market.

MB knows however that long wheelbase vehicles are needed/demanded by overseas (read: US) buyers, so both were made. This is not uncommon as many european marques maintain this short wheelbase (SWB) vs. long wheelbase (LWB) practice:

Rolls Royce: Silver Seraph (SWB), Park Ward (LWB)
Jaguar: XJ8 (SWB), XJ8L and Vanden Plas (LWB)
BMW: 740i (SWB), 740iL and 750iL (LWB)

As a matter of fact, Lincoln also adopted this "long wheelbase" idea in the 2000 MY with the Lincon Town Car Cartier L. It has a chassis six inches longer than a standard Town Car. Of course, this takes the car from just long to longest-US-production-car status. As with the european cars, the Lincoln is not a "stretched car", it is purpose built with the longer wheelbase (as opposed to having been created by aftermarket conversion companies where the car is actally cut in half and then reassembled with the added length).

Along with length in europe, there is also a stiff penalty for cars with large engines. In order to keep up performance with a small engine, they made the bodies smaller. For example, the car Lady Di was in when she met her untimely demise was an S280 (!). For the US market, the smallest "S" class powerplant is the 6 cylinder 3.2 liter engine. On a recent trip to London, I saw a BMW 719 (that's 1.9 liters! compare to the US 740/750 - 4.0 and 5.0 liters!!) .

Hope this helps.

Oops, didn't mean to be verbose.....
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Old 11-27-2001, 11:38 PM
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Driver, Mercedes-Benz
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Malaysia
Posts: 1,645
I thought it was a difference of 6 inches on the LWB?
... Kerry

126 tailed by a 203, 129 leading the pack.
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Old 11-27-2001, 11:39 PM
HaYN Benz
Posts: n/a
Oops, forgot to answer whether there are any SWB/LWB W220's. The answer is "no". In DC's infinite wisdom, the W220 comes in only one standard chassis length (ignoring the Pullman model - which is a "cut-n-stretched" conversion anyway). This was in an effort to cut costs. They did this by reducing the overall length of the LWB W140 while at the same time increasing the rear legroom!

W140 (LWB): Overall - 205.2 inches; rear legroom - 39.6 inches
W140 (SWB): Overall - 201.3 inches; rear legroom - 36.1 inches
W220: Overall length - 203.1 inches; rear legroom - 40.3 inches

Ah, the marvels of modern engineering where less IS more.
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Old 11-28-2001, 02:04 AM
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W140 Maniac
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Burnaby, BC, Canada
Posts: 960
Actually, W220 DOES come with SWB..... just to point it out...

All models of W220 can be ordered as SWB(not US though.. Canadians get SWB version of S430 as well as LWB) except V12 model....

Andy Kuo
1992 Mercedes-Benz 400SE

2002 Acura TL Type S
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Old 11-29-2001, 12:06 AM
HaYN Benz
Posts: n/a
Thanks Andy,

Checked out some DC literature for the Canadian market and walla! SWB and LWB!

Appreciate the heads up.:p
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