The first Mercedes-Benz 300D automobile (not to be confused with the 300d) was introduced in 1975 (U.S.) and started its life by placing the newly developed 3.0 litre five-cylinder naturally aspirated diesel engine 617.910 in a W115 chassis four-cylinder Mercedes-Benz 240D diesel. For the American market those cars only came with power windows and automatic transmission.
The W123 chassis of the Mercedes-Benz 300D was introduced as a 1976 model (1977 U.S.). Its 3.0 litre five-cylinder diesel engine with indirect injection (using a Bosch MW (for the American market) or W for the rest of the world piston-type mechanical fuel injection pump) produced 80 to 88 hp (59 to 65 kW), depending on the year or country, from an extra 600 cm³ more displacement than the four-cylinder Mercedes-Benz 240D diesel. The W123 chassis evolution continued with the addition of the 300D Turbo Diesel in 1982 (1981 for station wagon), sporting a 3.0 litre five-cylinder turbocharged engine which was originally developed in 1978 and first offered in the US market for 300SD models in 1979. This engine developed 118 to 123 hp (88 to 91 kW) and considerably improved the car's performance while still maintaining the superb reliability and efficiency of earlier models. In addition to the sedan (300D) a station wagon (300TD) and coupe (300CD) were also produced. The 300TD also had optional rearward facing third row seat which could fold flat into the floor, which was also seen on Volvo, Saab 95 and Ford Taurus station wagons.
Production of the W123 chassis ended in 1985 but in many countries as many as 75% of the cars originally registered remain on the road today 20 years later, a testament to the quality and durability of the original design. The 300D badge continued on in the W124 chassis family until 1993, but as a completely different design. The W123 is an ultra reliable automobile which routinely goes over 500,000 miles in its lifetime.
The W124 chassis 300D (pre E Class facelift) has the OM603 engine, which is a 3.0 litre six-cylinder turbocharged engine that appeared for one year only, 1987. The Turbo Diesel W124 appeared anew in 1990 until 1993, as the 300D 2.5 Turbo, with the OM602 engine. The latter engine was a 2.5 litre five cylinder turbocharged engine.
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