1979 1991 Mercedes SClass 19791991(W126) | car review @ Top Speed

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Mercedes-Benz W126


In addition to improving comfort and safety, development of the new series focused on decreasing consumption. The use of weight-reducing materials and an body optimized in the wind helped the new Mercedes S-Class a ten-percent reduction in fuel its predecessor models. The two eight-cylinder of the predecessor series were with two redesigned units larger displacement and light-alloy

The 5.0-liter engine . which the 4.5-liter cast iron was already familiar as the power from the 450 SLC 5.0 . while the 3.8-liter engine was developed based on the 3.5-liter V8 with cast block. With both output and reduced weight, the new V8 could now achieve improved while at the same time less fuel. The carburetor and versions of the 2.8-liter six-cylinder in the range unchanged.

Diesel For

The W 126 series also saw development of a version for export to the. its predecessors, the 300 SD Turbodiesel offered a 3.0-liter five-cylinder engine, with output now increased by ten hp to 125 hp.

design was essentially the same as for models. The new S-Class sedans featured a diagonal swing-axle at the and double-wishbone front suspension zero-offset steering.

The body incorporated state-of-the-art findings in research. Thanks to its new design the passenger compartment was now able to the so-called “offset crash” at a speed of 34mph. The W 126-series were the first production worldwide to meet the criteria of the offset crash.

Many of the design elements of the S-Class are to be beneath the waistline. For the first a Mercedes-Benz passenger car had no bumper in the classical sense, having generously proportioned plastic-coated that were seamlessly into the car’s front and aprons. Broad lateral strips made of plastic a visual link between and rear aprons, positioned at height between the wheel

A Coupe Joins The Range

At the IAA in of fall 1981, two years the debut of the W 126 series, an elegant was added to the family, available with eight-cylinder engines. V8 units underwent comprehensive as part of the recently initiated “ Energy Concept ”, a program to reducing fuel consumption and emissions. In addition to an increase in the list of improvements included with modified valve air-bathed injection valves and idle speed control. with modified valve enabled maximum torque to be at a lower engine speed and in the of the 3.8-liter engine torque was increased. This unit was to particularly thorough revision: In to achieve a more favorable ratio, the bore was reduced and the increased. The modified 3.8-liter V8 benefited from a slightly displacement. But by way of compensation for their better fuel economy, the two units were obliged to a minor drop in output. In cases, rear axle were tuned to meet the characteristics of the engines. And the two six-cylinder also saw a whole series of modifications that likewise led to economies, even if these less dramatic. These did not affect power output.

years after the launch of the Concept the company carried out a model refinement package, so in September 1985, once at the IAA in Frankfurt, it was able to introduce a revised S-Class lineup . In to discreet facelifting measures primarily the bumpers, side and the wheels, the focus here was all on restructuring the engine range.

Two newly-designed six-cylinder units, had been premiered nine earlier in the mid-range W 124 series . now the trusty 2.8-liter M 110 engine . In the of the carburetor version came a direct injection unit, the parallel-developed 3.0-liter unit successor to the injection variant of the M A new addition to the range was the 4.2-liter V8 developed by increasing the bore of the unit and now fitted to the S-Class . the SEC coupe and the SL . The 5.0-liter engine was modified. Now equipped with an ignition system and the electro-mechanically Bosch “KE Jetronic” injection it generated an output of 245 hp.


The most spectacular innovation in the range was a 5.6-liter eight-cylinder which was developed by lengthening the of the 5.0-liter V8 and which unleashed an of 272 hp. If required, an even more compressed version was also that delivered a mighty 300 hp, it was not possible to combine this with a closed-loop emission system. But even without converter this so-called ECE met emissions standards set down by the Commission for Europe . The models with this engine — the 560 SEL and 560 SEC — were in day the most powerful Mercedes-Benz cars ever built.

All variants in the revised model — with the exception of the 560 SEL and 560 SEC in the ECE — were available on with a closed-loop emission system with three-way converter. In each case the version was the so-called “catalytic retrofit version”, for which the was delivered without catalytic and oxygen sensor, but with the mixture preparation and ignition These “retrofit versions” be fitted with the closed-loop converter without difficulty at a date. This gave maximum flexibility in choosing the to convert their vehicle a not insignificant advantage, given unleaded gasoline was not universally at the time. From September the closed-loop catalytic converter was equipment on all Mercedes-Benz passenger car with gasoline engines; the versions were available August 1989 — a corresponding price discount.

the introduction of the new model range, the model — which was reserved exclusively for export was replaced by a modified variant. The new 300 SDL was with the additional space of the version and featured an entirely new of engine. This was based on the 3.0-liter six-cylinder unit the mid-range W 124 series, although too was equipped with a turbocharger. The turbodiesel now delivered 150 hp -60 hp more the basic version without and almost 30 hp more than the engine of the predecessor model.

As was the running gear of the facelifted displayed no fundamental modifications. the rear axle design was in a few details in order to improve comfort and reduce engine In addition, all models in the W 126 series now fitted with 15-inch and larger brakes to match. The of the optional light-alloy wheels these were only equipment on the 560 SEL and 560 SEC — was updated to those of the compact-class and mid-range series.

Minor modifications

The other modifications carried out on the improved of the W 126 series not only served to the design, but were also for specific technical reasons. By the aprons it was possible to further front axle lift and improve airflow at the rear. also had the effect of further directional stability and road when moving at speed, an of considerable importance with to the performance of the new top-of-the-range 560 SEL.

The protective strips were now in design rather than and like the bumper system reached down lower and additional trim on the frame members. As the 5.6-liter models with wider 215/65 VR 15 as standard, unlike their sister models, front and fender beading were in shape in order to create the lateral clearance for the front

In September 1987, when the encountered an unusually chilly wind in the form of the BMW 750 i . higher-performance of all V8 engines were introduced. ratios in all cases were to 10:1, and additional measures taken to improve performance by six and ten percent depending on the model. The was even clearer in the case of the with catalytic converters: By the emission control equipment the succeeded in significantly reducing loss due to the catalytic converter. The ECE of the 5.6-liter V8 was discontinued without a since as a result of the treatment to output the catalytic converter version was now also capable of 300 hp.

At the Paris Motor Show in 1988, the model range was to include the 560 SE from the W 126 series, making the 5.6-liter engine in a sedan with conventional

A New Diesel Variant

From 1989 a new variant with engine was produced, although too was only available in the USA. of the previous 300 SDL had already come to an end in 1987. The 350 SDL model had a new 3.5-liter engine that had been by increasing the bore and stroke of the 3.0-liter unit. The new turbodiesel was more for torque than and, with exhaust gas and oxidation catalyst, generated 14 hp than its predecessor in spite of the displacement. But the 350 SDL’s 136 hp was more adequate, especially given the limits that applied the USA. Maximum torque was by almost 15 percent and was reached at 2000/min. In June 1990 the 350 SD a conventional wheelbase was introduced to go the 350 SDL.

As was the case with the series W 116, the eight-cylinder W 126 were also available as variants. Protection design had further perfected after development work and a total of units were produced. Two 500 SEL are of particularly interest here, with a wheelbase extended by 200 and roof raised by 30 millimeters. The of these was built in January and served as an additional representational in the company’s own car pool. The second was on commission from the for the Holy and handed over to Pope Paul II in August 1985.

As successors to the W 126 series, eight W 140 series sedans were at the Geneva Motor Show in 1991. Although the new models into production only a later, the plant continued to out 126 sedans for export for a while. of most variants came to an end August and October 1991, the last few armored models did not off the production line until 1992. During the entire production period a total of sedans left the production in Sindelfingen, 97,546 of them diesel engines . That the W 126 the most successful premium-class in the history of the company.

Mercedes-Benz W126
Mercedes-Benz W126
Mercedes-Benz W126
Mercedes-Benz W126
Mercedes-Benz W126


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