Buying review of the Mercedes-Benz CL (C140) 1992-1999 Common Issues Engine Inspection
Welcome everybody, today we got another classic Benz, the CL based on the W140 chassis. In its day this was one of the most expensive coupes that Mercedes had to offer. This is the coupe version of the flagship S-Class. The CL600 had the 6.0 liter V12 engine. That is quite some overkill for a coupe, the V12 is not made for extreme speeds but mostly for torque and elasticity. The real question we want to be able to answer is if this car is still worth buying in 2021.
First of all, this car, together with the W140 is considered one of the last from Mercedes to be over engineered. That means in this case that budgets where not met and some production delays plagued the manufacturing process. This car was still hand built, the next generation was built by robots on the assembly line.
Second, to state the obvious, the car is now potentially 30 years old. Rubbers, engine mounts, shocks, electrical wire harness will all deteriorate over time. There are still spare parts available for the car, original or aftermarket. If you are not planning to do all the maintenance at the dealer and still do some of it yourself, that can save a lot of money. The V12 engines are potentially money pits and need a specialized mechanic. If maintained well they are reliable, but if a small part break your car is totaled.
There are reports of electrical issues with the soft closing doors, electric windows breaking down. So far noting special, what is special are the prices you pay when you have this car fixed at the dealership. This car has double glassing, back in its day that was unique, it isolated you from the rest of the world when you drove down the road.
This car is made for long motorway journeys in great comfort and on high speeds. The most rational choice to go for would be the CL500 with the V8 engine. The V12 offers extra refinement and delivers effortless performance, but at a price. Repairs will be more pricey and the V12 is in terms of economical driving the worst you can buy.
This all means you need to decide if you want to daily drive this beast of keep it for the weekends. The V12 really suits the car best but with the 5 liter V8, the 8 cylinder still offers many of the features that makes the CL great. An uber luxury grand tourer with a nostalgic 90’s swag all over it. Sorry for the popular language, it does not fit me.
Going back to the issues, make sure you flush the automatic gearbox if you want to daily drive the car. As always see what kind of repairs the previous owner did. Timing chains, head gaskets, spark plugs, tires all need replacement over time. They all need to be in optimal shape if you want to daily drive it. If you are not good in engine inspections and you want an independent person to check your car, ask a mechanic to do an pre-buyers inspection. This will tells you the overall state of the vehicle and this will give you either a better negotiation position or gives you the info you need to justify you leaving the car. On of the most important after all is the history of the vehicle trough repair and service bills. Couple that together with the longevity off the various parts and you have a good idea of the state of the vehicle.
I have already made a video about the W140 chassis, this CL is based on that chassis and is basically the coupe version of the S-Class Mercedes of the 90’s. These cars are technically related to each other, so check out that video as well.
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