This ClassicCars.com Marketplace featured listing is a 1991 Mercedes-Benz 350SD for sale in Astoria, New York. This final year of the W126 body represents the pinnacle of German technology at the time.
Mercedes-Benz S-Class, in various forms from 1979-1991, sold a staggering 892,123 units (818,063 sedans and 74,060 coupes) in total of both the First Series (1979-1985) and Second Series (1985-1991). Let that sink in for a moment, because these were anything but inexpensive products. These were the top of line and set the bar high for all competitors. Think about what most sedan design was in the late seventies and then think how the S-Class, designed by Bruno Sacco, rocked the world. In 1985, the re-freshened body created a modern style that carried through to the other lesser Mercedes-Benz models. This 1991 Mercedes-Benz 350SD still looks like a class-act.
Mercedes-Benz earned its reputation as a luxury brand. Mercedes either innovated or was an early adaptor on the S-Class of numerous engineering marvels. These feats of technology included ABS, Traction Control Systems (TCS), driver’s side air-bag, high-strength – low alloy steel (HSLA), and crumple zones. Plus, features like courtesy (puddle) lights, a fully automatic climate control system, exterior temperature sensors, and easier to use seat switches that were more conveniently located, along with memory controls made this a superior offering. While these features are commonplace today, these were all but revolutionary when Mercedes featured those on the W126 models.
Spanning three decades of productions, a number of engines were available. The largest and most powerful was the 560. The 560SE in 1991 provided the thrill of 275 horsepower (down from 300 in the 1989 model) and a top speed of 155-MPH (governed) and could manage a 0-60 in just a hair under seven seconds.
As Mercedes, as well as other OEMs, needed to comply with CAFE rules and EPA requirements, more eco-friendly engines were offered in the USA. The thirsty 560SE only squeezed out 17.3 MPG, and that was probably with a tailwind, drafting, and having a very light foot on the go-peddle. The diesels were one of the ways car companies were able to meet their goals, hence the reason why the 1991 Mercedes-Benz 350SD was important to the brand.
Also, when the W126 came to market, there was a recession and fuel shortages. Of course, the economy and availability of fuel at the pumps rebounded in the Reagan era.
While the 1991 Mercedes-Benz 350SD is comparable to the 560SD in many respects, performance isn’t one of them. Yes, this is a fuel-injected, turbo-diesel, but the 3.5-liter, inline-6 motor can only manage 130-horsepower. With a 0-60 sprint, or perhaps a stroll, this takes a leisurely 13-seconds, and top speed is just 109 MPH. But, this does get 10% better economy compared to the big 560, gasoline V8 at 19 MPG. And, diesel motors have a reputation for longevity.
Just glancing at the images, and this 1991Mercedes-Benz 350SD does appear to still be in good condition. The caramel-colored, leather interior is in equally good shape. No doubt, this is a handsome car.
At 197-inches long, and roughly 3,500-pounds, this is still a big, impressive ride, nearly 30-years after this was rolled out the factory doors. In 1991, of all the S-Class cars produced, only 2,066 were Mercedes-Benz 350SD sedans. Given the attrition rate over the last three decades, this could very-well be considered an exotic.
To view the listing on ClassicCars.com, click here.