If you’re a Mercedes S-Class coupe enthusiast, then this page should provide some interesting reading, and we certainly welcome additional information to bolster this page as a reference for other enthusiasts. This guide provides detailed facts and observations covering the evolution of the 140 series Mercedes S-Class coupe (model designation “C140”) through its short production run from late 1992 to 1998.1 Where appropriate, a number appears in superscript referring to the relevant information source / reference in the final section of this guide.
The 140 series S Class received a mixed reception following its launch, particularly in the European market where its size has always been controversial. However, this billion dollar engineering project has established itself over the subsequent decades as 'King of the S-Class'. The 140 is often referred to as the last over-engineered Mercedes-Benz car, built to a standard with little regard to cost. It introduced a plethora of technological, comfort, quality and safety innovations, many of which became standard features on vehicles as much as 20 years later, but some of which have never been seen on a production car since.
Development of the coupe derivative commenced in 1985, with the intention to launch the car only several years later. With the Saloon launch delayed by engineering and cost challenges, the coupe launch was also set back, and a final choice for the exterior design was only settled in 1987. It wasn’t until January 1992 that the coupe finally premiered at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, a year after the sedan launch. The European premiere took place two months later at the Geneva Motor Show, and production of the first coupes commenced in September 1992.2
At 5.065 metres (199.41 in) long, the C140 is the largest S Class coupe ever built. In typical Bruno Sacco style, its distinct shape reflects a softer and enlarged evolution of the C124, particularly from the rear and side perspectives. The front end retained the genetics of Sacco’s sporty C126 coupe, with a broad grille containing a large central emblem, and shorter headlamps pushed to the corners - but now also wrapping over the top of the hood.
C140 production and build numbers:
With just over 26,000 units built globally3, C140 production remains one of the lowest volume production coupes in Mercedes’ recent history. By comparison, its predecessor (the C126) had a production of close to 75,000 units.4 The C140’s successor (the C215) totaled 47,984 units.5.
Production of the 500 V8 and 600 V12 coupes ran from September 1992 through to September 1998 (Confirmed by Daimler AG website and google play book).6 In March 1994, the smaller 420 V8 was introduced to the coupe, but only in selected markets. The 420 ceased production slightly earlier than its larger capacity siblings, in August 1998.7 A replacement for the C140 was not introduced to the USA until the 2000 model year. Therefore, excess 140 S-Class stock manufactured in 1998 were sold in the US as 1999 model year cars.8
The following breakdown of models has been confirmed by several sources9:
|S420 / CL420||2,496|
|500SEC / S500 /CL500||14,953|
|600 SEC / S600 / CL600||8,573|
C140 exterior badging:
Early models up to June 1993 were badged as the 500SEC or 600SEC, continuing that name from the previous generation C126 S Class coupe. The 420 was never badged as an SEC due to its later launch date.
Mid generation models from June 1993 to June 1996 were badged S420, S500 and S600.
Later vehicles from June 1996 until the end of production were badged CL420, CL500 and CL600.
C140 bumpers, flank panels and colour schemes:
Body accessories & features:
The below colours available on the C140 have been derived from brochures1 in relevant years, and vehicles sighted. Where possible, we have labeled examples of each colour in the gallery for reference. There are a number of assumptions that have been made where it is unclear over what years certain colours were available. There may be differences in availability between different markets which are not accounted for in this list, so please don't regard the below list and dates as a a strict rule.
Based on our research, colour availability was not necessarily limited to those colours listed in brochures for each year. We have come across clear exceptions to the colours offered in the brochures, and we assume customers were able to special order colours outside of those offered in the brochures. This would make sense for a vehicle of this status, but it is just an assumption. For example, Signal Red (code 568), Calypso Green (Code 279) and Imperial Red (Code 582) are not shown in any of the C140 Brochure we've reviewed, but clearly exist from vehicle's we've seen for sale.
Two tone and single tone paint schemes:
Early cars (up to June 1996 in most markets) were available with the traditional Mercedes-Benz two tone paint schemes. Unfortunately, the data card on many models including the C140 often only specifies the main body colour, and not the secondary (lower) colour. In the list below, we have shown the secondary (lower) colour that was available (if available) with each paint colour on these cars. Most of this information is thanks to Paintscratch.com2 who provide a great reference for some of the combinations that were available in specific years. Note, many of the lower panel colours were a "matt" non-gloss finish.
Any further information on colour availability throughout production would be appreciated - please get in touch by clicking the "contact author" button at the top of this page.
Other colours sighted but not shown in brochures:
There were a limited number of factory fitted wheels, and several AMG wheel options available on the C140 from new. There are also many additional varieties from suppliers such as AMG, Brabus and Lorinser outside of the factory options. Below, we detail the standard factory wheel options which are largely based on the availability confirmed in C140 brochures. Below that, we run through the other wheel options available from AMG, Brabus and Lorinser.
Mercedes 140 coupe standard wheel options:
There were a number of wheels available on the Mercedes 140 coupe. One method to confirm the original factory fitted wheels on a car is to check the sticker on the inside of the door B-pillar. In some markets, the sticker will confirm the tyre size and specifications / air pressure etc. This will at least allow you to coinfirm whether the vehicle was originally fitted with 16 or 18 inch wheels. We note that these stickers may not have been applied to cars in all markets (but certainly were applied to Australian vehicles).1
Mercedes 140 coupe AMG Wheel options
AMG wheels were available as dealer fitted options in some markets and are shown in several brochures for the C140. From our research, we have identified two wheel designs available (with the names taken from a German brochure):
Mercedes 140 coupe Brabus wheel options
There are a few "Brabus" wheels we've seen commonly fitted to teh C140. We are undertaking further research to confirm which of those were available for Brabus enhanced cars at the time. As with Lorinser wheels, there are a number of aftermarket immitation wheels that have been created.
Mercedes 140 coupe Lorinser wheel options
Lorinser enhanced cars had 5-spoke 19 or 20 inch wheels, available with a chrome or standard alloy finish. These are the most accentric of all the wheel options available. Several immitations have been produced by aftermarket suppliers. We are still researching the original offset specifications for these wheels. We attach an image of the wheels as fitted to Michael Jordan's Lorinser C140, and another for reference.
Steering wheels fitted to the C140 were all based around the same 4-spoke design with large dual horn centre pad. However, the wheel was available with different rim and centre boss designs and finishes, including:1
Several timber trim options were available. Those are detailed further in the trim colour section of this guide.
Dashboard and front centre console:
The main Instrument panel included the following (from left to right):
2. Climate Control:2
3. Parking sensor LEDs3
4. Front Centre console4
5. Dash buttons and options
Shifter knob differences between years:
6. Rear centre console:
The C140 was originally available with a number of factory option units over the 6 year production run, including units with navigation functionality. The stereos were different “Becker” or Blaupunkt units (except in Japan where a Bosch nav unit was available). We have summarised each that we have observed on the cars below, including the approximate years they were available. Labeled images have also been included in the gallery:
Type 1: Becker 780//1430/1480/0830/BE1100 Mexico Diversity 830:
This model was named either the Becker Europa 2000 or Becker Mexico 2000. This was fitted to early vehicles, and we've only sighted these units on 1993-94 cars. This unit was carried over from the C126. Note, the “Becker Europa 2000”, was the "BE 1100", and has a label on it at the base that says “Becker Mexico Casette Code”. The label on the base of the BE1430 is “Becker Mexico 2000”.
Type 2: Becker BE1492 / 1692
These units were available from 1994 – 1999, and were the most commonly fitted stereo to the 140 series cars. The BE1492 has Mercedes part number 0038203686(07). The BE1692 has Mercedes part number 0038205986(09).
Type 3: Blaupunkt APS4 BP4902 Navigation radio
This unit was fitter to some later 140 coupes, and had a large central screen with navigation arrows on the left side, pre-sets 1 - 6 on the right had side and a "Nav" button at the top right. Mercedes-Benz was printed above the screen. Our understanding is that this was a European market only unit.
Type 4: Blaupunkt APS4 BP4902 Navigation radio (version 2)
This unit was very similar to the Type 3 system. It had navigation arrows (and what appear to be volume controls) on both the left and right side of the unit, similar to the navigation toggles on Type 3 on the LHS (but on both sides for this Type 4 unit). As with the type 3. this unit is believed to have only been available for the European market.
Type 5: Bosch Japanese exclusive navigation unit with integrated climate control
This unit is believed to be a japanese market only product, and contained a much larger navigation screen than the European market navigation systems (types 3 and 4 above). We have sighted this fitted to one coupe.
On review of many cars, it has become difficult to state with certainty whether certain stacker units were factory fitted. We have signed examples from Kenwood, Pioneer, Blaupunkt etc in the trunk space of the C140. However, the factory correct units, so far as we can tell, should be within a Mercedes-Benz branded plastoc casing, witha slide window. We have sighted two types applicable to the C140 - a 6-disc stacker and a 10 disc stacker. Images of both have been included for reference. The same 10 stacker system has been sighted in person on two Australian CL500s (1996 and 1997 models). Further research is needed on this item, and if anyone has further information that could assist, please get in touch.
Post-facelift models had small “Bose” badges fitted to the rear parcel shelf speakers identifying the vehicles fitted with the Bose sound system option. This comment is based only on a forum discussion so needs further research.
Rear view mirrors:
Several rear view mirror styles were applied to the C140. Supposedly, very early W140s in 1992 were fitted with a simple manual dimming mirror (with a small tab underneath which was flicked back or forward for the dimming function). We have not sighted this type of mirror on the C140, which presumably is explained by the C140 being introduced later than the W140, and by that time the earlier mirrors were phased out.
We have observed 4 types of rear view mirror on the C140, and included part numbers based on those observations (note, there is a part number shared between Type 1 and 2):
This mirror is the simplest in overall appearance, with no home link buttons or knobs on the casing itself. These power mirrors were electronically adjusted using a knob on the lower dash(the same knob that was used to adjust the side mirrors). There were three memory settings available, linked to the driver's seating memory positions. This power adjustable mirror was only available on the earlier cars (we believe up to June 1995).
This mirror is identical in appearance to the early power adjusted mirrors, with no home link buttons or knobs on the casing. However, it was manually adjustable. The mirror retained the auto dimming functionality (with the light sensor on the front side of the casing). We believe this mirror was available throughout the entire production period, but certainly on vehicles up to 1995.
This is perhaps the most rare of the rear view mirrors applied to the 140. At some point in 1994 or 1995, Mercedes introduced this mirror which had red and green lights in the base (a receiver for the central locking) and the circular knob linked to the vehicle’s security lock/alarm system. The mirror was not available with a power option (ie, it's position is manually adjusted), and it is similar (possibly the same) as the mirrors fitted to many R129 SLs. This style of mirror has been sighted on vehicles from as early as 1995 through to 1997.
This mirror is similar in appearance to the Type 1 mirror, but has three small buttons on the underside of the casing (left hand side) which are the “Homelink” buttons. This mirror was not available with a power option (ie, it’s position must be manually adjusted). The buttons could be programmed to control up to three rf-controlled items such as garage doors, gates etc. Forum discussions suggest that some of the early Homelink mirrors will not work with later garage door which use a rolling frequency.
Bose speakers attached to mirrors:
All mirror types were available with two types of Bose overhead speakers which were mounted forward of the mirror base. These speakers were installed on vehicles optioned with the Bose sound system. One type of speaker is a small rectangular design (part number 1408101211), the other is a small round design (part number 1408201202). Several examples have been included in the images. It ie not clear from our research so far whether the different speaker designs relate to different years.
Seat adjustments and options:
Front door trims
Rear trim cards:
Leather exclusive option (Code 515)
The trim colour was applied to the upper areas of the dashboard, door cards, rear side trims and the steering wheel. Different colours were available for these areas, but the vast majority of cars were fitted had a dark grey finish applied.
1. Single-tone trim colour options:
Most early cars were fitted with single tone trim. However, two tone leather was available on 1995 and earlier cars and certainly so on V12 examples. From our research we note that colours such as Saffron Tan, Blue and Red were possibly only available on the earlier cars (1995 and earlier). Later cars retained the more corporate single tone colours (grey, black and creme), but also more often had two-tone trim applied.
- Saffron beige: This is a beige trim, but noticibly darker / richer than the cream trim.
- Saffron Tan / Brazil: This is a brown beige trim, usually matched with mushroom trim, noticably darker than the Saffron;
- Blue: This is the blue that was very popular in earlier Benz models, but not so common in the C140 these days. It's usually matched with blue leather or cloth;
- Medium Red: This is a burgundy / maroon trim , and we've only ever sighted this with matching burgundy cloth trim. However, presumably it was also available with Medium Red leather);
- Cream Beige: This is the lightest of the colours available;
- Grey: This is a lighty grey material, sighted in both cloth and leather
2. Two tone materials:
A substantial number of 1996 and later vehicles (both V8 and V12 cars) had two tone interiors. However, single tone interiors continued to be available in light grey, black and cream beige. Two tone interior options included:
- Saffron Beige over mushroom
- Black over light grey
- Dark grey over light grey
Timber trim options:
We note that the base model timber finish available on the W140 sedan “Zebrano” was not available on the C140 coupe. We have not been able to confirm whether “Dark Ash” was available on the C140 (that being the trim applied to the Grand Edition” sedans in the US.
Mechanical (all from W140.de):
VIN number identification:
The following prefixes were applied to each C140 series:
The M119 V8 engine has an engine number commencing with prefix "119"
The M120 V12 engine has an engine n umber commencing with prefix "120"
The W140 series was the first Mercedes model to incorporate every single Mercedes safety innovation in a single vehicle (Reference the Caribbean Bruno Sacco video where they state this). AT the time of launch, it was the safest mass production car in the world. On reflection, the W140 series was at points over 20 years ahead of its time in terms of features and performance of the vehicle to safety standards, which Mercedes had been working on since the introduction of the passenger safety cell concept since the 1950s.
We have not been able to obtain crash test results from Government assessment agencies for the W140, as the vehicle’s age pre-dates institutional testing such as that undertaken by the NIHS, EURONCAP, ANCAP and JNCAP. However, there is plenty of crash test information available for the cars, as Mercedes took it upon themselves to crash test the vehicles. Further, the age and now affordability of the W140s (particularly in sedan form), has meant that there are a number of videos out there actively demonstrating the vehicle’s safety in real world situations.
Some of the safety features incorporated into the C140 coupe include:
Section 1 Exterior:
Section 2 Exterior:
Section 3: Paint colours and codes:
Section 4: Wheel options:
Section 5: Steering wheels, dashboard and consoles:
The other cooler was option No. 307, fitted to my S 500 L. This larger cooler is trunk mounted and has the capacity for four six-packs of alluminun cans or six bottles of champagne (see pic below). This cooler can be taken out of the trunk and used with 120/240V electricity with a provided converter. The converter is also capable of charging the car's battery directly through the fridge connection. Also, it does not need the "Sky Bag" option, leaving the gas tank untouched with its original capacity. One more advantage of the trunk mounted cooler is that it also could be used as a frozen box (for ice and such). The rear central armrest unit did not had the frozen capability.