MercedesBenz 123 series (1975)

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Mercedes-Benz 123 series

In January Mercedes-Benz introduced the 123 series It stepped out into the limelight for the time with all the poise and of being best in class. body lines placed new Mercedes-Benz in the tradition of its predecessor (W they gave the new car modern a spirited but dignified look, and authority. This was no automotive strutting out before the public, but a mature car of the upper mid-size in which up-to-date technology and engineering merged with the values. Much as expected, and customers alike gave the a very warm welcome.

In ways the design of the W 123 pointed the future: technically, with innovations in the area of safety; and with a design that its cue from the looks of the new S-Class W 116 and the R/C 107 SL models. Expressions of this the horizontally configured headlamps, for instead of the previous classic lamps. The W 123 impressed with the standard of its workmanship, its functionality, and its wide range of body and engines. From 1977 model series included the production station wagon in-house by Mercedes-Benz.

1975 123 series

Gains in safety and

Greater safety, improved and better serviceability: these the demands made of the Mercedes-Benz engineers when the specifications for the new series were drawn up in Almost eight years it was apparent that the experts Stuttgart had accomplished their in a convincing manner. It was precisely the level of safety engineering and the overall design that this model the attention of the press and the customers from the beginning.

The formulation of the specifications laid the foundation for developing the intermediate class model. In the that followed, new design were repeatedly thrown the ring, demonstrating just how the spectrum of possibilities for the design of the new was: attempts at gentle of the existing model series at one end of the spectrum of the studies; at the other, visions with sharp roofs with huge at the back, steep rear and massive rubber bulges the body. But the boldest designs in cold storage. By 1973 the of the W 123 was known for the most part. prototypes were under way by The vehicle safety test began with impact in the summer of 1974.

In developing the new the design engineers set particular on an even higher level of for the occupants. This was a topic of debate in the 1970s and resulted in new On January 1, 1976, the Federal of Germany made the wearing of belts for front seat compulsory. In keeping with trend, vehicle development on restraint systems and passenger designed to minimise sources of The engineers also considered airbags, but these were not until 1982 as an optional in the W 123.

1975: Brilliant

Perfect preparation was the slogan to the start of series production. For the time at Mercedes-Benz a so-called line was set up to build the W 123. On training line, equipped to the future production facilities, practiced assembling the W 123. In 16 cars were produced in summer 1975.

The meticulous paid off, for the new model got a reception from the public. after presentation of the W 123 the first output was sold out; in young used cars of the often fetched the price of a new Because of the long delivery among other reasons, continued to build the Stroke 8 for a year parallel to the new model. drivers, in particular, important in the intermediate range, had pressed for offer.

Innovations and tried-and-tested technology

In terms the 123 series was an entirely new but was modelled both on its predecessor (W and the new S-Class of 1972 (W 116). the Stroke 8 series the new model in particular the engines, though one exception: the newly designed six-cylinder engine of the Mercedes-Benz 250 (M Other features borrowed the S-Class included the double-wishbone suspension, in which the steering axes of the wheels were so that their imaginary coincided with the contact of the tyre on the roadway. This setting (zero scrub ensured that the wheels not be deflected inwards or outwards braking. The double-wishbone front meant the elimination of the subframe, had been introduced in the Ponton and the engine, transmission and front as a unified whole. At the rear of the W 123 was a swing axle, which had its value in the W 115/114.

Occupant was served particularly by the combination of an sturdier passenger compartment large crumple zones: the and rear ends of the vehicles designed for controlled deformation in a to absorb appreciably more energy than was the case in designs. The central section of the the so-called safety cell in 1951 as shape-retaining occupant surrounded by energy absorbing at the front and rear), had even stability owing to the incorporation of box sections in the roof frame and the six pillars. Stronger door ensured better impact

The steering column of the 123 series was optimised with a view to the safety: a corrugated tube the jacket and the steering gear each other. In an accident, the tube could buckle in directions. This reduced the of the steering column penetrating the passenger compartment (lance This and the rigid passenger with crumple zones inventions of Béla Barényi, the of passive vehicle safety at Installation in the W 123 marked the premiere of the steering column, patented in as a complete system.

1976: class with new face

Mercedes-Benz put the new intermediate class on the market in 1976, its place in the Stuttgart model generation was at a single glance. Like the W 116 and the new SL of the 107 series, the W 123 had horizontal headlamps of the upright configuration of earlier The great majority of models the roadway with round in pairs behind a common lens. In 1976 this was the hint of the four-eyed face of the E-Class (W 210) and its successor of (W 211). Only the top-of-the-range 280 and 280 E had rectangular halogen wide-band at the premiere of the W 123. In the 1982 these rectangular lamps then introduced for all versions and all variants.

The lines of the saloon, which the other body derived, impressed in 1976 by up-to-date elements while regard to the established concept: designs during the planning had put forward many variations for but neither the large roof-level spoilers nor the fastback concepts got the drawing board. At the premiere of the new the W 123 was offered not only as a saloon, but as a too, in keeping with tradition. Mainly Binz and Miesen (Bonn) built on this basis; hearses created by Pollmann (Bremen), (Wülfrath), Stolle (Hanover) and (Mayen). The chassis with wheelbase (2.80 metres) was the series number F 123 and were offered as the 240 D and 230. The extended with a wheelbase of 3.43 (VF 123) was initially available for the 240 D, 300 D and

Four or six cylinders?

The creators of the W 123 fell back on proven for the engines. Solely the new 2.5-litre M 123 in model 250 (95 kW/129 hp) was newly for the premiere. The other eight of the first year featured which had already powered the 8: the in-line four-cylinder M 115 was used in the 200 (69 hp) and 230 (80 kW/109 hp); the top-of-the-range 280 kW/156 hp) and 280 E (130 kW/177 hp) were amply powered by the M 110 six-cylinder (as carburettor and injection The diesel models 200 D (40 kW/55 220 D (44 kW/60 hp) and 240 D (48 kW/65) featured the engine OM 615; the 300 D model (59 hp) was powered by the five-cylinder OM 617.

As as 1978 Mercedes-Benz thoroughly this engine range. Up to the of the 123 series the power of the individual increased owing to improved units. The 200 model (now 80 kW/109 hp) even got a new engine, the M in 1980. This engine was fitted as an injection unit in the 100 kW hp) 230 E model. An outstanding new power was the turbocharged five-cylinder diesel OM which was included in the series in for the 300 D Turbodiesel model (92 kW/125 In the United States this compression-ignition engine was offered in all variants; in Germany, however, the 300 D model was available solely as a wagon.

1977: Three new in one year

Enthusiasm for the W 123 increased in 1977. This was the year in Mercedes-Benz presented three body variants: the coupe, the saloon, and for the first time in the history a factory-built station By expanding its model range the forcefully demonstrated the versatility of the new series. Compared with its the coupe was much more in its design than the saloon. And the wagon inaugurated an entirely new variant in series production at

In March 1977 the coupe excitement at the International Motor in Geneva. Whereas the coupes of the 8 series very closely the styling of the saloon, the new 230 C, 280 C and 280 CE models distinctly more autonomous in Particularly the wheelbase, 8.5 centimetres than that of the four-door in interplay with the lower and the sharply raked windscreen and gave the car a stockier, sportier The developers also improved the safety: a stiffened roof structure with high-strength pillars and reinforced doors in an even sturdier safety cell. The C 123 also profited from the body design of the with its front and rear zones designed for controlled The coupe also shared the (diagonal swing rear and double-wishbone front suspension zero scrub radius) and system with the four-door

The appointments of the two-door versions on a level with those of the 280 and 280 E saloons. For all three coupe this included wide-band chromed air inlet grilles in of the windscreen and chrome strips the taillights. Accordingly, the facelift of 1982 did not have as much of an on the coupes as it did on the saloons. After the coupes had always had the wide-band that were now introduced for all The new coupes were best by the air inlet grilles in front of the which were painted from 1982 on.

Compression-ignition engine for the coupe

At start-up there were versions with petrol the four-cylinder coupe from the 230 C (80 kW/109 hp), and the two six-cylinder 280 C (115 kW/156 hp) and 280 CE models kW/177 hp). A diesel-powered the 300 CD model (59 kW/80 hp), was in autumn 1977, but this was exclusively for the US market. The diesel in the elegant guise of the coupe the aim of reducing the corporate average economy (CAFE) of Mercedes-Benz in the North American market. describes the average fuel of all models of a brand. The economical engines permitted Mercedes-Benz to improve its CAFE score. CAFE standards were tightened, the 300 CD model was replaced in by the 300 CD Turbodiesel model. This with its 92 kW (125 hp) output was not on the European market either, but the 280 CE in the USA.

In 1980 the new 230 CE model the 230 C coupe model. The 230 CE’s M 102 with mechanically controlled injection delivered 100 kW (136 Mercedes-Benz also supplied the with ABS as an optional extra, and – as of – with airbag. In August series production of the C 123 ceased. A of 99,884 units of this type were manufactured 1977 to 1985, including with diesel engine. In the few months of its existence, particularly the waits testified to customers’ for the new coupe. Customers ordering in sometimes had to wait over two for their cars.

1977: saloon

In August 1977 introduced the long-wheelbase version of the class saloon: the wheelbase of the V 123 metres) was 63 centimetres longer that of the saloon (2.80 That provided enough for a third seat bench and the car a comfortable taxi, company car or limo for seven passengers. The 240 D and 300 D models were offered long wheelbase and had the same as in the W 123. Whereas the tailfin saloon was limited to one very diesel engine (200 D the 123 series with three versions of the long-wheelbase saloon the trend set by the Stroke 8.

Despite its proportions and powerful engines, the saloon was not mainly intended as a vehicle. An indication of this was the diesel engines were in the majority as against the petrol of the 250 model. Rather, this variant served as a sophisticated car for several passengers. Operating for and trade fair companies and as a taxi, the V 123 impressed with its degree of ride comfort and spaciousness. Many characteristics of body variant were by well-equipped vans.

1977: wagon model introduced at the Motor Show

A station is a combination of passenger car and delivery Such vehicles have available with the Mercedes on the bonnet for several model However, the cars were not in Sindelfingen, but were the work of from 1953 on Lueg supplied the 170 V as a pack mule; in the 1960s Binz (Lorch) made a station wagon out of the W 186. Versions of the Ponton, the and the Stroke 8 followed (in each by Binz and Miesen). In particular, the for the W 115, which adopted the without modification from the were considered questionable of styling.

But these practical body with the large load were not completely new to the Stuttgart and designers. At first, under the Universal Mercedes-Benz marketed the tailfin as a station wagon built by the Belgian manufacturer And the station wagon variant of the 8, which had been developed to standard, showed what an load carrier should like, even if in the end it was not manufactured in During the design phase of the W 123 were still reservations a station wagon as a fully-fledged of the model family. The reason for negative attitude was mainly to do the reputation station wagons had at the The critics warned that body type was too reminiscent of and the trades. They felt was incompatible with the claim by a car in the Mercedes-Benz upper mid-range.

On the hand, market research during development of the concept for the 123 showed there to be a definite for a sporty, luxurious five-door quite a different segment of the the station wagon was well on its way to a family and leisure car. The of Management realised this too and the go-ahead for the project in 1975. In the market, though, the new Mercedes not bear the typical German for a station wagon, Kombi, and in the former designation Universal failed to gain approval. At the designation Stationswagen was considered that instead of 250 K or 250 U the small variant with the load would get the label 250 St on the tailgate. it was decided that the suffix T indicate the new variant, the letter for Tourism and Transport. The unusually demand following its presentation at the International Motor Show also suggested it stood for Only the internal series still recalled the term the station wagon model was S 123.

Mercedes-Benz E 200 CDI 125hp W210

Station wagon: the elegant, spatial miracle

production of the station wagon at the Bremen plant in April Technically the vehicle conformed to the drive system, brakes and were identical, as were the dimensions (length, width and But the rear end, with the trailing edge of the roof and the low of the load compartment, made the new variant a true spatial Even when the standard were occupied by the driver and as as four passengers, the station still offered 523 litres of for loading up to the window line. And the rear seat bench down, the load compartment was 879 litres up to the window line. The additionally offered a number of for flexible configuration of the interior. As an extra, the rear seat could be supplied with an split. As required, one third or two of the backrest could then be down. Additional folding facing the rear of the vehicle and in the load compartment floor also available on demand. features made for particularly stowage space – appropriate for a vehicle for family and sports, and transport.

Automatic hydropneumatic level made for a high degree of comfort irrespective of the load This could be as much as 45 of the station wagon’s kerb which tipped the scales at kilograms. As an optional extra, the wagon could be equipped 15-inch wheels, alternative and shock absorbers, and a stronger booster, in which case the load capacity of the station rose from the standard 560 to 700 kilograms. Further options a child bench seat in the area and chromed roof The rails became standard in the summer of 1978. All station models were fitted carpeting throughout, i.e. in the area too. Unlike in the wagons of other manufacturers, materials were not used in to distinguish between passenger and areas.

The new body variant was offered as the 230 T, 250 T and 280 TE models, as well as the 240 TD and 300 TD. For all light-alloy wheels were as an optional extra, but only the 280 TE had rectangular headlamps. The station was built in Bremen. Only the shown in Frankfurt and the first 100 of the series were produced in Seventy workers from the plant came to Sindelfingen for training in the production of the new station series, during which 40 specialists from the parent of the W 123 put finishing touches to the production for the station wagon in North Such painstaking preparations largely responsible for the tributes would later by heaped on the S 123 for its craftsmanship.

Turbodiesel premiere and for the 123 series

During production of the W the output of various models was on several occasions and new models added. In 1980 the new M 102 engine the old M 115; in the 200 model the new four-cylinder 80 kW (109 hp) as a carburettor engine; in the 230 E replaced the old 230, the in-line – here fro the first time with petrol injection – 100 kW (136 hp).

In October Mercedes-Benz presented a car with a diesel engine for the first in Germany. The 92 kW (125 hp) 300 TD Turbodiesel had the engine as the 300 D Turbodiesel saloon and the 300 CD coupe, both of which built exclusively for the US market. At its launch, with a basic of DM 37,200 the Turbodiesel was almost the expensive production model of the 123 Only the 280 CE coupe model more (basic price DM 100 Appropriately enough, the car with the diesel power plant had the upscale appointments, including wide-band headlamps and chromed air grilles in front of the windscreen.

In 1982 a previous distinguishing of the smaller models of the 123 series, the twin headlamps, was discontinued. All of the 123 series were equipped the rectangular wide-band headlamps from the 280 and 280 E models as part of an model refinement package. The other improvements included wind-deflecting mouldings on the A-pillars and steering as standard.

Versatile: versions of the 123 series

The W 123 often as a basis for different bodies and For the purposes of the police, fire and services there were saloons and station wagons. like Binz and Miesen ambulances on chassis. Other and conversions – hearse, pickup, etc. – were created by bodybuilding firms. Finally, for operation Mercedes-Benz offered the the station wagon and the long-wheelbase ex factory with the appropriate

Various specially tuned of the 123 series were offered its production life by companies AMG, Brabus or Lorinser. The ranged from optical to the body with the help of side skirts and various wheels to modifications of the suspension for the body, tauter damping, and changes on both axles. possibilities for sports-related improvement optimisation programmes for production or the installation of more powerful

The W 123 series and alternative drive

Mercedes-Benz began looking alternative drive technologies at a early stage. This was repeatedly served by 123 series used by the engineers as test In 1983 Mercedes-Benz presented a 280 TE hydrogen drive. There was a test vehicle with drive based on the station And from 1982 on there was a 200 with bi-valent drive as a production vehicle: the car operated on gas or petrol, the driver choosing the by means of a switch.

From model to classic

Production of the ceased in November 1985. As the transition from Stroke 8 to W the new 124 series was built parallel to the old for almost a year. Mercedes-Benz did not the particularly successful station models of the 123 series out of production January 1986. Production of the 123 ran from 1975 to 1986, a total of just under 2.7 vehicles being built. At units, saloons made up the share (2,375,440 saloons standard wheelbase and 13,700 saloons); but the new station wagon for an impressive 199,517 units. The was made up of 99,884 coupes, and 8,373 chassis for special-purpose Around 1,080,000 cars of the were exported.

During ten of production, the diesel-engined models the most successful: the top favourite buyers was the 240 D model (448,986 38,903 station wagons, long-wheelbase saloons and 1953 for a total of 493,683 units). The successful petrol-engined model was the 230 E (245,588 saloons, 42,284 wagons, 29,858 coupes and 294 giving a total of 318,024 Ranked according to body the best-selling saloon was the 240 D model units), the 230 TE model (42,284 proved to be the most popular wagon, and among the coupe the 280 CE (32,138 cars) took the The 250 model led among the long-wheelbase (5,180 units) and long-wheelbase (2,888), the 240 D model among the with standard wheelbase units).

Many years the end of production the 123 series was still a sight on the roads. But today generation of Mercedes-Benz upper has become something of a rarity and its are rapidly establishing themselves as classics; the coupe, in particular, is one of the coveted cars on the youngtimer

Source: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz E 200 CDI 125hp W210
Mercedes-Benz E 200 CDI 125hp W210
Mercedes-Benz E 200 CDI 125hp W210
Mercedes-Benz E 200 CDI 125hp W210


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