What car is the 560 SEC AMG?

This blog will answer the following questions: what car is the 560 SEC AMG? What are the technical specifications of the 560 SEC AMG? How fast does the 560 SEC AMG go? Can you still buy the 560 SEC AMG?

What car is the 560 SEC AMG?

The 560 SEC AMG is the AMG-modified version of the second generation of the S Class C126. Mercedes Benz launched the coupe model in 1981 and named the model series SEC. AMG modified the standard 560 coupes and sold it as a high-performance version along with the latest features in the S Class. In addition to Mechanical modifications, AMG also made widebody kits for all the W126 second generation S Class.

The 560 SEC AMG was launched in 1989 when AMG was an independent engine tuner. The 560 SEC is considered one of the best cars modified by AMG. It is more popular than the W124 because of its limited production.

As AMG also sold only the widebody kit with flared wheel arches and side skirts, many customers installed it on the standard 560 SEC. The original 560 SEC AMG had a modified V8 engine and a  Gleason Torsen differential.

AMG also offered engine tuning in other W126 models but the 560 SEC AMG is the most popular one. The wheels on the AMG version were also 17 inches, it was one of the ways to distinguish between the 560 SEC with only the body kit and a real 560 AMG SEC.

What are the technical specifications of the 560 SEC AMG?

The technical specifications of the 560 SEC AMG are given in the table below:

Technical specificationsMercedes 560 SEC AMG
Engine V8 modified M117
transmission4-speed automatic, 5-speed manual
Displacement 5.953 cubic meters
Maximum engine speed5,500 RPM
Wheelbase 2850 mm
Width 1821 mm
Height 1406 mm
Curb weight1610 kg 

AMG increased the displacement from 5.6 liters to 6.0 liters by increasing the bore. The cylinder heads were sand cast in aluminum and housed double overhead camshafts. AMG used its own design for the cylinder heads; there were 4 valves per cylinder.

The design of the engine block did not change, but the dual overhead camshafts design was modified for a higher valve lift. AMG also Used a three-way catalytic converter for controlling the emission levels in the exhaust gasses.

AMG used this naturally aspirated V8 engine from 1984 to 1996. These engines were also given the designations M117/9, the cylinder head covers were different as more space was needed for the additional valves compared to the two valves found in the M117.

There are two transmission options: 4-speed automatic and manual. The manual transmission is very rare and there is no data on how many S class coupes had the AMG manual transmission. The 560 SEC AMG is a rear-wheel drive car, on the rear axle; AMG used a Torsen differential instead of the open differential.

A Torsen differential not only gives the 560 SEC AMG great torque in the straight line but it can also send more torque to the wheel with maximum traction. The worm gear inside the differential can instantaneously lock the differential if any one of the rear wheels starts slipping.

The packaging of the differential is also very compact and no complicated clutch packs are required in order to lock the differential. The Torsen differential was also fitted with an additional pair of worm gears to handle the increased torque of the 6.0-liter V8 engine.

On the inside, the 560 SEC AMG retains the luxury feel of the S class. The seats have memory functions with lumbar support. AMG used the Recaro racing bucket seats so the driver and the front passengers were properly seated. 

The standard Mercedes Benz steering wheel is replaced by AMG steering wheels and the door sill moldings are chrome plated. Other comforts and convenience features in the 560 SEC AMG are fully automatic climate control, heated driver and passenger seats and the Recaro racing seats are electronically adjustable.

The 560 SEC AMG was also the safest car on the road, it had seat belt pre-tensioners that tightened the seatbelts if sudden braking or collision was detected. Mercedes Benz used high-strength steel in the construction of the body and the W126 was the first car that introduced the driver’s airbag.

AMG also tuned the suspension of the 560 SEC AMG. It was a lot stiffer in the rear too and the widebody kit had aero components that improved the high-speed stability of the car. 

How fast does the 560 SEC AMG go?

The Mercedes 560 SEC AMG has a top speed of 177 mph. It can reach speeds of 62 mph from a standstill in under 6 seconds. The 6.0-liter V8 engine with 32 valves produces 380 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque.

The stopping duties are taken care of by ventilated high-performance disc brakes on all the wheels. These brakes are bigger than the standard 560 SEC S class allowing the car to slow down quickly.

The front axle has independent suspension and on the rear axle, there is a multiple with a separate coil and spring setup. The power steering is a hydraulic recirculating ball mechanism and it gives great feedback to the driver.

The SEC 560 AMG is very fast through a corner, the Torsen differential ensures there is minimum wheel spin when accelerating. 

Can you still buy the 560 SEC AMG?

It is possible to buy the 560 SEC AMG at classic car auctions or by approaching car collectors. However, the price can vary depending on the condition and the type of drivetrain available in the car.

Recently at a classic car auction, 1989 560 SEC AMG was sold at 250,000 USD. That is a massive price considering a brand new Mercedes AMG GT will cost half of that price. The 560 SEC AMG widebody is also rare as it was never officially launched in international markets like the USA.

Mercedes Benz only offered the 3.8-liter V8 engine in America which was severely underpowered. The 5.0 liter V8 S class coupe with widebody kit later made it to the USA through gray market importers. However, the 560 SEC AMG never made it to the American market as AMG was not a part of Mercedes in the 1980s.


This blog provided details on the 560 SEC AMG which is an extremely rare car. AMG later used the same engine in the  W124 chassis after Mercedes discontinued the 560 SEC. There are less than 50 560 SEC AMG widebodies today and only 26 units have the original naturally aspirated V8 engine.