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Even as a Cheap Used Car, the W140 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Feels Special

Every carmaker has its moonshot. Volkswagen bet the farm on an air-cooled people’s car; Porsche threw the dice on a sports car with the engine in the wrong place; Tesla staked its future on an electrified Lotus chassis—and during the manic 1980s, Mercedes-Benz set out to reimagine the platonic ideal for luxury sedans. Once BMW escalated the eminence of its E32 7-Series with a V12, Mercedes was left with no choice but to engineer a flagship of magnificence like the world had never seen. Enter the 140 Series S Class.

Mercedes-Benz’s ultimate one-upmanship was a product of unchecked excess. Hot on the heels of the classically stoic 126 series S Class, Benz dumped a billion bucks into developing the all-new W140 Mercedes. Produced between 1991 and 1998, the blocky model became more than a retort to archival BMW. It was a middle finger to mediocrity. The big-bodied flagship introduced a slew of firsts including double-paned glass and self-sealing doors, not to mention stuff you never knew you needed, like a motorized rearview mirror and retractable metal masts to shepherd the car’s ginormous rump into parking spots… read more >

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