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Published on June 13th, 2010 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Used 2000 Mercedes S280 Prestige Buy

With so many choices these days, the S Class still reigns with its image and high desirability factor that some of the other fail to break even with superior models. More so with image conscious Asians. It will be interesting to see if local towkays, royalty and corporate heads keep to this new mindset though. With every new model introduced the replacement model goes thru high depreciation at launch. With high cash and credit reserve owners wanting immediate ownership of the new model, the previous model is left to the used car dealers to declare potentially low resale values. Prices are pushed down even further as delivery of the new car starts increasing. Over the last few years, the S-Class has been feeling the depreciation pain with too many grey cars entering the market and owners switching to competing brands. Unlike the 60’s and 70’s when the S-Class had one of the best values even after years in the market. Being in a niche market helped and with few competitors, it was a much desired used purchase.

This week we look at a year 2001 S280 with a single owner that has been hit by the depreciation bug in a big way. Its first and only owner has looked after it very well with a full detailed service history and the car is 100% accident free. With full Mercedes specified equipment and accessories, this car is in its prime is still one of the most desired in the car-park with businessmen.

The level of equipment is top-notch of course, and just about everything inside is power-operated. Supremely comfortable, the front and rear seats are adjustable fore and aft independently of the rest of the seat, to provide as much or as little under-thigh support as you want. The clever two-tier centre console cubby in between the front seats is also a neat touch, being designed so that smaller items like mobile phones can be stored in the shallower upper tier, and not get lost in the recesses of the deeper compartment beneath.

On the road, grip is good but not exceptional, and the car does roll moderately, but turn-in response to that relatively quick-geared steering is excellent, and the chassis’ balance is evident in the car’s ability to drift neutrally at the limit of adhesion. And, of course, this agility is achieved without any compromise in ride comfort. This old S-class traverses ruts, bumps and undulations with dismissive ease, the suspension supple enough to cope with all tarmac conditions, yet well-damped enough to keep float and wallow at bay. You must however ensure that the air-suspension is not on its way out as replacement for the front alone can cost as much as RM20,000 for a pair. Check to make sure all electrics are working as replacement can be expensive. Avoid acident dmage cars at all costs as there are plenty of others to purchase.

Performance-wise, the level of entertainment probably increases exponentially as you move up the S-class range, but this 10 year old 204bhp base model S280 is more than you’ll need. Pick-up is brisk enough to never be found wanting in traffic or during highway overtaking, and the 5-speed automatic gearbox swaps gears quickly enough, although it is a tad hesitant when kickdown is requested. Still commanding respect curbside and at the hotel lobby, a used 10 year old S-Class is worth considering especially a well looked after units like this when the new one is selling for almost 4 times this price. Prices start from RM140,000 and work its way upwards.

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