We are unabashed auto enthusiasts, enjoy power in any vehicle, and have high expectations of vehicles especially when its a Mercedes-Benz.
Although an S Class with an ABC suspension and serious power is a wonderful machine, its also a little over the top, and perhaps too obvious. The moments with such a car are extreme fun, and remain found memories.
When you are packing serious adult horsepower, and torque the components must deliver a corresponding level of performance.
With an older car you decide at what level of performance the vehicle is maintained. Do you just repair what is amiss, are you pro active to remain ahead of the wear and tear curve, and a variety of alternatives.
Usually older vehicles tend to fall through the cracks, with reconditioning and maintenance being done on a budget...at times a tight budget. These vehicles are beyond the factory warranty, can generate unexpected surprises, and can get expensive to repair.
From our perspective, if it does not drive, feel, perform like a Mercedes-Benz its not much fun or much of an enjoyable car.
Not only is there the wear and tear of consumables (oil, filters, tires, brakes) which are similar to a new vehicle. There is also the wear and tear of time which is often the unknown aspect of maintaining an older vehicle.
When one is around vehicles for a few decades. The more you know, the more you are familiar, often the more issues you can uncover, which is not always a good thing.
As vehicles get older they are not welcomed with open arms at franchised dealers, who prefer to deal with newer vehicles having a warranty as the facilitator for unexpected repairs. Warranties are a convenient interface between franchised dealers and customers. You need a friendly trusted mechanic that has the resources to repair and maintain the car, and has an understanding of your expectations.
Our expectations are not to save money by having economical maintenance performed on the car. The urban legend that the franchised dealer will kill you with the labor rate compared to an independent...is an urban legend.
We have an extensive knowledge base of these cars, from several perspectives. We have long standing relationship with several service alternatives. In addition to having our own mechanic to maintain this car, and we enjoy doing our own "old school diagnostics" when an issue arises.
It becomes an enthusiast, gear head experience, which is at times aggravating but more often fun, and satisfying.
You don't fool around with an older car to save money, you do it for the enjoyment, the fun.
One more thing, the more new vehicles we review the more this E500 holds its own. Perhaps if we did not review new vehicles we would have a different perspective.