Mercedes-Benz W 116 series S-Class Saloons
In September 1972 a totally new car generation of the upper class was presented to the public. For the first time the name “Mercedes-Benz S-Class” was officially used. It replaced model series 108/109 and at that time consisted of Types 280 S, 280 SE and 350 SE. Six months later the S-Class saloon was also available with a larger displacement capacity in the 4.5-liter V8-engine, parallel to the 450 SL and the 450 SLC. Since November 1973 the prolonged version was also available as 350 SEL, since April 1974 finally also as 280 SEL.
1974, European Car of the Year , The “450 SE”
The 450 SE was named the European Car of the Year in 1974, even though the W116 range was first introduced at the Paris Motor Show in the fall of 1972. The W116 range became the first production car to use an electronic four-wheel multi-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS) from Bosch as an option from 1978 on.
The 450 SEL 6.9
In May 1975 Type 450 SEL was presented as the new top model of the Type range and as the legitimate successor to 300 SEL 6.3. The powerful 6.9-liter V8-engine, developed from the 6.3-liter unit, achieved 286 hp and a maximum torque of 56 mkg. For the first time in a Mercedes-Benz car a hydropneumatic suspension with level control system guaranteed highest driving comfort. Further optional equipment belonging to the production delivery of the top model included central locking system, air-conditioning and headlamp washer system. As its direct predecessor, the 450 SEL 6.9 was an immediate and full success. Even though it was more than twice as expensive than the 350 SE, as many as 7,380 cars were built within its production time of four years and six months.
The new member of the family, Type 300 SD
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. 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 antilock system
A technical innovation of trend-setting importance was available since autumn 1978, world exclusively in the 116 series S-Class models: the antilock system (ALS) which had been developed together with the Robert Bosch GmbH. It guarantees the unrestricted controllability of the vehicle even when slamming on the brakes, thus contributing considerably to active safety. Today it is almost self-evident and also available in small cars. In those days, however, the market introduction of the ALS was a real sensation.
A total of 473,035 built units
In September 1979, models series 126 was presented at the Frankfurt International Motor Show IAA, succeeding the first S-Class type range. The production of model series 116, however, was not finished yet. It ceased only between April and September 1980, depending on the model. The last car of a total of 473,035 built units of this range that passed the final-assembly inspection at the plant in Sindelfingen was a 300 SD.
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