RE: Mercedes S-Class (W220) | Shed of the Week

RE: Mercedes S-Class (W220) | Shed of the Week

Friday 11th June

Mercedes S-Class (W220) | Shed of the Week

An '05 S320 is hardly a bank vault for your money. But we'd accept a sturdy Shed...



Elbows are useful things. Set at the right angle, they could be used in an offensive fashion to help you get to the bar through a crowd in the days when we had crowded bars. When your drinking buddy was looking at you in the foolhardy expectation of you buying the next round, your elbows allowed you to lift your hands up to your ears or to fold your arms and adopt the sort of determined look that suggested in no uncertain terms that you had no intention of reaching into your pocket for your wallet.

In cars, elbows are the parts we like to rest on whatever soft parts of the cabin furniture might be in reach, such as the padded lid of a central cubby, the door armrest or the window ledge, or ideally all three if you are double-jointed.

Historically, one of the best cars for this sort of slouching is the Mercedes S-Class. Built by Germans to accommodate the larger members not just of their own society and also that of the United States, the S-Class has been offering an optimised lounging experience for the best part of half a century. In fact, if we take the W116 as the first generation S-Class - and we will take that for the purposes of this story - 2022 will be the S's fiftieth anniversary year. If you buy our fourth-gen W220 shed you could without any shame enter it into any celebratory parade M-B UK might see fit to put on. Just a few swipes with the touch-up pen and nobody would ever know that you'd paid just ยฃ1,490 for it.


Now, if you believe the forum that will follow this story, you may get the impression that you'd be mad to pay ยฃ149 for it, let alone ยฃ1,490, because in the minds of many W220 S-Classes are practically synonymous with 'borkage', or regular breakdowns. The W220 weighed literally tons less than its W140 predecessor because lightening was all the rage at M-B back then. The consequences of that policy provoked a different sort of rage among serial Benz buyers who left the marque en masse as a result of the shocking rust problem to which cars from any part of the Merc range suddenly began to succumb. On the W220 corrosion could affect many areas, some of them visible like the wings, wheel arches and bootlid, others less so like the suspension subframe mountings and turrets, or the inside of just about any panel.

That wasn't the only potential area of nastiness on a gen-four S-Class. Blocked plenum chamber drains could soak the footwells and more than likely any electronics (of which there were a lot) that were lurking beneath the carpets. Electronics generally could be a right pain. Mechanically, cars with Active Body Control fitted often had their pumps fail, along with crank position sensors and important parts of the heating system. Suspendically (?), the Airmatic setup could turn into an 'access all areas' pass to impressive repair bills.

All sounds a bit depressing but then you look at the MOT history on this particular car and find that the only thing to pop up on there since January 2019 has been a misaligned front washer jet. Almost everything prior to that has been consumables related. It's breezed through the last three tests with not one advisory.


The last W220 we had on here was a 500 V8 petrol. This is a 320 diesel, which is a few rungs down the ladder in terms of its suitability for such a splendid vehicle, but even so could this be the anti-lemon, one of the few W220s that had all the money thrown at it from the start of its life to keep it purring along the outside lane looking for all the world like a proper limo? Not all Airmatics fail, and a new pump can be picked up for ยฃ100 or so anyway, plus it's easy to fit. And it does say 'full Mercedes dealer' in the sparse ad copy. If the missing words there are 'service history' then we could be laughing. If they are 'prison record' then we might not be so happy. For ยฃ1,500 however Shed would happily put up with the odd parking scrape in exchange for the amount of lateral space he'd get in the front of the cabin.

The Sheds owned a Land Rover Defender for a short time. That was the opposite of an S-Class in just about every way, but especially in the important category of elbow room. Once Mrs Shed was ensconced in the Landie's passenger seat there was no space left for Shed to get behind the wheel. He had to fit a set of extended hand controls and a running board to allow him to drive the thing from the outside. With Mrs Shed on the other side he would look down to see the entire offside of the car floating lightly in the air, making the steering even less feelsome than it was with all four tyres on the ground. Onlookers thought he was practicing to become one of those stunt folk who drive cars on two wheels.

As a final note, the buyer of that previous 500 turned out to be PHer Uncle Dicky, a brave man who bought an earlier Shed of the Week (this ยฃ500 Sherpa van). He was most excited by the Merc's ability to cool the zone of the car getting the most sunlight by detecting the angle and position of the sun and automatically adjusting the specific climate zone. That's the sort of tech we surely need more of. Is Uncle Dicky still around to pull the trigger on this one? Stay tuned.


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Author
Discussion

xcentric

Original Poster:

596 posts

185 months

Friday 11th June
quotequote all
Nearly bought one of these a few years ago - wanted something comfy to do long winter commutes in. The engine isn't the most exciting but suits the car, and the numerous test drives I had showed it to be a quiet and comfy place to be. But at the time the lower end of the market where I was looking was £5-6k, with the same borkage potential, so we ended up with something else entirely. But at £1.5k it's a much more appealing punt, though I've run out of garage space.....

Moe1ps

4 posts

27 months

Friday 11th June
quotequote all
I’m the first one to come to !!!

aaron_2000

4,544 posts

49 months

Friday 11th June
quotequote all
For me you don't get any better as a shed. The S320 is pretty much bulletproof, the gearbox is a strong unit too. Air suspension is cheap to fix and easy to work on yourself, the only issue being the need for the STAR computer to calibrate it which is what ended up killing mine. Rust is the big killer on them, arches and sills go pretty badly especially on earlier cars. My black S320CDI was a facelift with 212k on it when I sold it, I paid £850 for it and never had an issue with it until I botched a repair and ended up selling it to a breaker for £1000. They're even pretty fun to drive, especially in the wet although the steering is very light and ship like. Can't rate them high enough, they're absolutely brilliant. Mine was better when it had the smaller 19" CLS alloys fitted. The engine has some pretty serious grunt for what it is and sounds nice being a straight 6, mine was mapped too which made it pull really well but still managed 50mpg on a motorway run.





Edited by aaron_2000 on Friday 11th June 01:59

dvs_dave

6,402 posts

191 months

Friday 11th June
quotequote all
aaron_2000 said:
My black S320CDI….

V8 biturbo badges on an S320CDI….meme badging or just being lame?




Edited by dvs_dave on Friday 11th June 06:25

bitofayank

42 posts

35 months

Friday 11th June
quotequote all
This is kind of what I envision as a shed’s shed. A little risky but also able to reward. It’s an S class for probably what a dealer charges for a minor service on the latest generation.

That interior does look a little dated for an S class. The height of develop them in a shorter time frame and cheaper in Stuttgart. Mrs Yank (ha) would kill be if I came home in this, I could probably explain a Lexus LS whatever but not this. Still it’s a Mercedes

Eazy71

99 posts

22 months

Friday 11th June
quotequote all
Great value at 1500 quid. Can’t go wrong at that money.

Billy_Whizzzz

1,459 posts

109 months

Friday 11th June
quotequote all
Moe1ps said:
I’m the first one to come to !!!
Congrats!!
Oh….

Tyre Smoke

17,434 posts

227 months

Friday 11th June
quotequote all
For a shed, it wins hands down.

Not my cup of tea, rather have a Volvo, but can't argue this is lots of car for the money.

g3org3y

16,922 posts

157 months

Friday 11th June
quotequote all
Top (BARGE!) Shed. cool

yme402

80 posts

68 months

Friday 11th June
quotequote all
Textbook shedding, and potential shed of the year contender.

Edited by yme402 on Friday 11th June 06:36

2smoke

139 posts

77 months

Friday 11th June
quotequote all
Yep great shed this week. I would happily take that on as the long distance car of the fleet. Unfortunately I have no chance of justifying 4 cars with the other half.

alorotom

9,393 posts

153 months

Friday 11th June
quotequote all
That’s a whole lot of car (and cow) for the money

Surely breaking would easily return the investment when the inevitable borkage finally occurs

Court_S

4,932 posts

143 months

Friday 11th June
quotequote all
That’s a lot of car for the cash especially as it seems like a good one (on the surface at least).

A Winner Is You

23,040 posts

193 months

Friday 11th June
quotequote all
The article said:
the W220 weighed literally tons less than its W140 predecessor
Blimey, just how heavy was the W140!?

cerb4.5lee

19,093 posts

146 months

Friday 11th June
quotequote all
I'm still laughing at the Mrs Shed in the passenger seat bit of the article! biglaugh

Funnily enough I only saw an 06 plate one of these yesterday in silver, he was merging into traffic and he booted it to get past a couple of cars and it generated a big cloud of smoke! I was surprised on two accounts...one that it smoked, and two that an S-Class was being ragged because I associate them with being driven sedately.

This seems to be a lot of car for the money I reckon. A proper shed. cool

CDP

6,847 posts

220 months

Friday 11th June
quotequote all
I really liked the C-Class of this generation so I'd expect I'd like this more.

Spleen

3,727 posts

87 months

Friday 11th June
quotequote all
Billy_Whizzzz said:
Moe1ps said:
I’m the first one to come to !!!
Congrats!!
Oh….
I have no idea what that even means.

samoht

2,344 posts

112 months

Friday 11th June
quotequote all

Worth noting that this is a 55 plate car, and Merc introduced galvanising "from Quarter 1 2003 production onwards" on the S Class. So this car is probably averagely rust-prone for an 18 year old vehicle, but not to the Alfasud/Beta levels of the immediately preceding era of Mercs.

https://forums.mbclub.co.uk/threads/galvanising-of...


I think it's a good shed if you have the knowledge or have a good independent nearby who knows the tricks of these cars. Could do a lot worse for £1500 in today's superheated market.

Limpet

4,640 posts

127 months

Friday 11th June
quotequote all
That is a lot of car for the money. MOT history is impressive as well. Only failed twice, once for something stupid, and the second for tyres and a bulb.

I'd take a punt on this if I were in the market. It doesn't look knackered, and the clean sheet MOT pass last year inspires confidence.

Best shed in ages.

Seesure

1,071 posts

205 months

Friday 11th June
quotequote all
I like that....would be perfect for a trans Europe cruise....

Kind of thinking it could replace the little C200 shed I bought for the job.... smile