First time in history, the “S-Klasse” was driven by a Diesel engine

In May 1978 the 116 series model range was once more extended. The new member of the family, Type 300 SD, gained as much attention as the 450 SEL 6.9 three years before. The new S-Class model, however, was at the other end of the performance scale and – for the first time in the history of this vehicle category – was driven by a Diesel engine.


Der erste Turbodiesel von Mercedes-Benz ist ein Reihen-Fünfzylinder und trägt die Bezeichnung OM 617. 


The 3.0-liter 5-cylinder aggregate which had proven so well in the Types 240 D 3.0 and 300 D was now provided with a turbocharger. This made it possible to increase the performance to 115 hp. The development of this unusual S-Class variant, which was exclusively available in the USA and Canada, had been started with the goal to fulfil the lower consumption figures newly introduced by the US government. The important figure was the so-called “corporate average fuel economy”, an invention of the Carter-administration, which designated the average consumption of all car-models made available by a manufacturer. With an extended offer of traditionally economical Diesel models the fleet consumption could be lowered under the legal limit.


Mercedes-Benz Motor OM 617


The first luxury passenger car with a turbocharged diesel engine

Models 300 SD / W 116 D 30 A, 1978 – 1980

Mercedes Benz Baureihe W126 300 SD

In May 1978, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SD is the world’s first series-produced passenger car with a turbocharged diesel engine. At the same time, it is the first luxury passenger car with a diesel engine. The 300 SD has an output of 85 kW/115 hp and is only available in the US. The driving performance with a top speed of 165 km/h is more than appropriate in view of the speed limits in the US. The consumption of 10.6 litres per 100 kilometres is about 30 per cent lower than with alternative petrol engines. In addition, the turbo engine has an about 40 per cent higher performance than he naturally aspirated engine with the same fuel consumption.

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