From 22 to 28 January 1976 Mercedes-Benz showed its long-awaited new offshoot, the Mercedes-Benz W123. Under the southern French sun, the new Stuttgarter trump card in the upper middle class was shown to the trade press on the Paul Ricard circuit. The introduction marked the start of a successful episode in the history of Mercedes-Benz 40 years ago. The media are very enthusiastic and this favorable call is not without consequences.
The demand from the market is already faster than the supply. Waiting lists are created in no time at all and the first newly used examples of the Mercedes-Benz W123 exceed the price of new ones. Aesthetics and progressive innovations were important pillars within the design. The sublime standard of finishing, the functionality and the extensive range of engines for that time (from 200 D to 280E) also contributed significantly to the popularity of the Mercedes-Benz W123.
Safety one of the main starting points
In 1968 the predecessor of the W123 - the Strich 8 - comes onto the market. While the then newcomer was well received, those responsible are already working on the successor, which must set standards especially in the field of safety. Among other things, it results in well thought-out crumple zones. In addition, the safety steering axle, already patented in 1963, is integrated into the model and reinforced door beams find their way into the balanced design. Meanwhile, the Mercedes-Benz W123 is also airbag-proof. Since 1982, this safety feature finds its place within the extensive options list of the W123.
The engineers also make themselves known in the technical field. Technical solutions included in the W123 of the S-Class (W116) include double-wishbone front suspension without “roll mode”. And while many of the engines for the start of the series are taken over from the Strich Acht, the arrival of the W123 also prompted the manufacturer to introduce a new 250-liter six-cylinder engine for the 2,5 (M 123 Type 250, 95 kW / 129 hp). From 1978 Mercedes-Benz thoroughly revised the engine range for its upper middle class. For example, the five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine OM 1981 “A” (617 D turbo diesel (300 kW / 92 hp) made its debut in 125. The M1979 four-cylinder engine, introduced in 102, also played an important role in the petrol models “200” and “230”, which were previously equipped with the M115 blocks from the Strich 8 models.
Lifestylecombi makes its debut in 1977
The station version of the W123 debuts in 1977. At its premiere in January 1976, the 123 series was initially offered as a sedan only. The following year, Mercedes-Benz introduced the Coupé (C 123) and the "T-Modell" - the station wagon (S 123). Stuttgart does not only focus on transport. Leisure and a sporty lifestyle are also ingredients that are used for positioning this station Benz. Mercedes-Benz also builds the extended Limousine version: the V123.
The best-selling and most-produced Benz
The Mercedes-Benz W123 has been revised several times during its career, but basically its characteristics remain highly recognizable. The 123 series saloon will be built until the end of 1985. The T model will remain in production until January 1986. A total of nearly 1975 million W1986 versions were produced from 2,7-123. The sedan versions with standard wheelbase account for the lion's share of W2.375.440 production with a number of 123 units. The T model is built in 199.517 units, while 99.884 Coupe versions are being built. 13.700 long-wheelbase sedans are manufactured and Mercedes-Benz builds a chassis for special external purposes 8373 times. To this day, the 123 series is the best-selling Mercedes-Benz in history, which was also the best-selling car in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1980. Incidentally, the W123 was the most commonly built in 1982.
Diesel sedans are top 3
The top 3 of best-selling versions is fully occupied by diesel sedans. The 240 D, the 200 D and the 300 D lead the ranking of the best-selling W123 models. The best-selling petrol version was the 230 E with the M102 engine, also a sedan. But no matter which engine the Mercedes Benz W123 series was equipped with, it developed into the respectable classic which he is today. For many, he is still as fascinating as at the premiere which 40 took place years ago under the southern French sun.
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